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Tombstone Blues by Ken Hodgson
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432826031
Date: 15 August 2012 / Show Official Info /

Little does Samantha 'Sam' Sterling know when she applies for a new job, she will place her life in jeopardy, but also have the opportunity to save the country from al Qaeda terrorists with a nuclear weapon.

After divorcing her lawyer husband who squandered their assets, she worked as a restaurant manager. Determined to leave Houston and her past behind, she answers an ad for a manager of a small bed and breakfast in the historic town of Tombstone, Arizona. She and her cat, Shakespeare, drive off to a new life, but she has no idea she faces not only a career change, but death.

The owners of the bed and breakfast are Sidney and Michael, two gay men, and Esther, Sidney's elderly mother. Michael cooks mouth-watering gourmet meals while Esther chain smokes and drives the inn's Hummer like a maniac. All three take to Shakespeare, especially after he catches a mouse.

Sam soon learns the inn and its inhabitants are anything but normal. In a plot that has some resemblance to Arsenic and Old Lace, Sam faces a life or death choice. Either join this weird trio in offing lawyers and other misguided people or join the dead. Her old life, according to news reports, ended in a fiery crash. She now has a new name, Samantha Sullivan, a new bank account, and a new profession.

Initially determined to escape, Sam learns the trio has ways of ensuring she doesn't. When they allow her to drive her Jeep to town, she locates a bomb under it and disconnects it, but doesn't realize it's only one of the mechanisms the three have used to ensure she stays or dies escaping. When she realizes lawyers and other nasty people comprise the main clientele killed, she has no qualms about assisting in their demise.

Eventually she learns the identity of 'The Company' that employs the trio and her when it assigns a task related to an attempt to smuggle an atomic weapon into the U.S.

Hodgson excels with his characters, especially the minor ones. He provides a fun, tongue-in-cheek read with an exciting climax. However, parts of that climax strain credibility, but other readers would say that of the entire plot. Sly humor predominates. For those who enjoy this type of satire, more such novels are in the works.

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