The Footloose Killer (Beach Murder Mysteries)
by Michelle L. Johnson
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Koehler Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781938467134
Date: 20 July 2012 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Footloose Killer is a great light and fun read. It takes place in my home town, Hampton Roads Virginia, specifically in the City of Virginia Beach. Michelle L. Johnson is a local author who I met when she was exhibiting at a local craft show. Michelle gave me a book to review for Gumshoe Review and I am glad that she did. I loved the story.
Virginia Beach police detectives Lexi Sawyer and Morgan Pryce are called to a crime scene where a severed foot was caught on a fishhook at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The interesting part is that this is the eighth consecutive year that a severed foot has been found at the beach at the beginning of the tourist season.
Sawyer and Pryce are thoroughly frustrated, as their search in this string of mysteries has always come up empty. The Virginia Beach economy depends on the tourist income so there is lots of political pressure to solved this case and avoid the bad publicity.
Their search leads them to the widow of the victim. When they meet her, she is watching The Doctor Lawrence Hill Show. The show is a fictional reality-type TV show that films in Virginia Beach one week every year. Dr. Hill helps married couples with troubled marriages and holds up a shoe as he does his on-air spiel. The audience votes whether the couple should stay together or spilt up. The tag line that Dr. Hill uses for splitting up is to "put on the walking shoes". That gave Pryce and Sawyer the clue they needed to investigate and ultimately solve the case. It is a fun plot line to follow.
I also enjoyed that the personal lives of the two detective fit into the story. They have been partners for years and help each other with personal issues like alcoholism and family pressures as they solve the clues of the case. The balance between the detective story and the personal issues in just right.
I love The Footloose Killer. It is fun that it happens in my home town, but regardless I would have enjoyed it. I hope to read more Michelle Johnson books.