A Sporting Murder
by Chester D. Campbell
Cover Artist: Design: Michael Hicks & Beth Terrell
Review by Mel Jacob
Night Shadows Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780984604401
Date: October 2010 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The fifth Chester Campbell novel featuring Greg and Jill McKenzie, A Sporting Murder, begins with the death of a young German friend, Arnold Weschel, who asked to meet with Greg to discuss some explosive information he has learned about the McKenzies' latest case. A lawyer representing a consortium of investors sponsoring the National Hockey League team, the Predators, hired the McKenzies to investigate efforts by a rival group to bring a professional NBA team to Nashville. Interested in any such rumors, Greg agrees to a meeting.
When he arrives he finds the young man murdered. Lucky for Greg, he calls a friend, a police detective. Unfortunately, Greg cannot reveal his clients and has no idea what the young man wanted to talk about. Meanwhile, he and Jill set up meetings with the local backers of the group who want an NBA team in Nashville as well as the hockey supporters who oppose it.
Greg, having sponsored Arnold, has a personal motive to find his murderer. A strange black SUV dogs Greg, but he is unable to get a license number. Among the NBA faction is a newcomer from Florida, a venture capitalist. Greg suspects him of funding the NBA activities and asks a former Air Force contact in Florida to investigate. The other members of the group are well known Nashville businessmen.
The story moves along as Greg and Jill discover new information and piece together the clues. A complication comes from a freed drug trafficker Greg helped convict. An attempt on the McKenzies' lives raises the stakes, but it could have been by those interested in the NBA, the drug trafficker, or even organized crime looking for gains from betting.
Campbell provides red herrings, plenty of action, and a smooth narrative. It makes a nice change from foul-mouthed detectives and gritty settings. Some characters verge on stereotypes, however most readers won't care. It's refreshing to see a mystery set in the middle of the country instead of on either coast.