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Good People (Glyn Capaldi Mysteries) by Ewart Hutton
Cover Artist: Mark Owen / Archangel Images
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250019615
Date: 16 April 2013 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Publisher's Author Page / Show Official Info /

On a cold, snowy night in Dinas, Wales, six male friends pick up a prostitute, hijack a minibus and spend the night in a desolate cabin on a hill. The next morning, Detective Sergeant Glyn Capaldi finds the group of friends but learns that one of them, Boone Paterson, a black man enlisted in the Army, and the prostitute are missing. During the course of his own personal investigation, Capaldi makes one gruesome discovery after another. He learns there is a cover up among the local police officials and that the townspeople will do anything to protect the surviving friends. Everyone keeps insisting that the young men are "good people" and incapable of the sexual perversions and murders of which Capaldi suspects them of committing.

This year, because I haven't read a novel by David J. Schow (Internecine and Upgunned), I'll consider Ewart Hutton's Good People to be my guilty pleasure. After reading this sexually violent novel, I nearly ran to my minister for confession, but then remembered I'm Baptist. The young friends in this novel are not good people; they are nasty people.

Appearances can be extremely deceiving. Throughout the novel, the author poses the question: How well do we really know someone? First of all, "good people" don't exist. Jesus Christ himself told his disciples that there was no one who was good except God (Mark 10:18). We all have our dark secrets. It seems, however, that the townspeople of Dinas have more than their fair share.

Tightly written and fast-paced from its dramatic beginning to its shocking end, Good People contains a great deal of police and medical procedures. The author has done extensive research in order to bring his complex, intricate plot to life. The numerous subplots and characters made my head spin. Everyone, it seems, is guilty of something. Therefore, I am reminded of the classic mysteries written by Agatha Christie and the more recent ones written by Jim Kelly (Death's Door and Nightrise). Kelly, like Hutton, also writes about conspiracies and gruesome crimes in the present that are connected to even more gruesome ones that have occurred in the past.

The dreary, desolate countryside of mid-Wales is an appropriate setting for this sad, depressing story that will make your skin crawl. The hero, Capaldi, seems like a genuinely good person who has been banished from Cardiff to Dinas because of an error in judgment that left a man dead. The media hailed him as a hero but he is treated as a pariah among his coworkers. Capaldi is extremely persistent in his desire to find the missing Boone and the missing prostitute. Meanwhile, he develops a romantic relationship with Boone's mother, Sally Paterson. He is aided by his boyhood chum, Graham Mackay, who married Capaldi's ex-wife, Gina; however, Gina has left Mackay for another man and he is begging Capaldi for advice on how to win her back.

Ewart Hutton's bizarre, perverse mystery, Good People, will keep you reading late into the night. Some of the gruesome scenes may haunt your dreams. The term "sick puppies" kept repeating itself in my mind as I read about the nauseous sexual exploits of the McGuire brothers and their friends, Les Tucker and Paul Evans. Many sexual terms, such as pederasty and coprophilia, of which I had never heard, were used. Good People is definitely not a novel recommended for minors. However, I do highly recommend it for adults who are interested in mysteries with unique settings; twisting, complex plots; admirable heroes; vicious villains; grisly deaths; dark, perverse secrets; and blossoming romance.

With his excellent debut, Hutton is bound to become a rising star among European mystery writers. I'm eager to learn if his next novel, Dead People, will be as good as Good People.

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