4 stars out of 5
This is the second full book in the author's series featuring retired college professor turned private investigator Ray Courage (a novella kicks the whole thing off). Like the others, I received it free in exchange for an unbiased review.
Whether that's entirely possible is a matter of debate in my mind; you see, I enjoyed the novella and first novel (Courage Matters) immensely. So when I opened this one, it was with every expectation that I'd enjoy it as well. Whether or not that had any influence on how much I liked this one I'm not sure; I do know it held my interest enough that I plowed through it almost nonstop (in fairness, that's not too hard since it comes in at just 216 pages).
About 13 years earlier, Ray lost his beloved wife Pam in an automobile crash that officially was deemed a horrific accident. In the morning of that day, the two had a nasty argument that resulted in her storming out of the house in an uncharacteristic fit of anger (exacerbating, needless to say, Ray's feelings of sadness and guilt). But now, out of the blue, he receives a couple of email messages from someone who claims to be Pam. Worse, the sender accuses him of murdering her and threatens to get payback all these years later. Could it be, Ray wonders, that she didn't die in the accident after all? And if she's still alive, could she really hate him that much - especially since he had nothing to do with her death?
But then the local police get wind of the emails (thanks to an alert from "Pam"), and a detective starts digging through the years-ago car crash and decides to reopen Pam's case to determine if the accident was, in fact, murder. It doesn't take long, as you might suspect, for Ray to become a person of interest.
As if trying to avoid the clutches of the police weren't enough, it seems other bad guys are monitoring everything Ray says and does and where he goes - possibly in an attempt to make sure he's charged with Pam's murder and possibly for other, darker reasons. Suffice it to say from then on there's plenty of action as Ray and his sidekick Rubia, a former student from his college days who runs a nonprofit to help troubled youth), try to ferret out the truth about what happened to Pam.
Things get a bit hectic over the last few chapters (coming close to exceeding the realm of possibility, especially for a guy who doesn't spend a lot of time at the gym), but everything works out in the end (sorry, but I don't consider it a spoiler to reveal that the hero of an ongoing series survives). I assume (make that hope) there'll be a new adventure coming down the road - and for sure I'll be wanting to get my hands on it.
Courage Resurrected by R. Scott Mackey (Big Hound Publishing, April 2015); 216 pp.