Smoke and Murders – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds Desserts
‘Inside the still smoky house, Lieutenant Bill Kenny of the Vinyard Police Department was approached by a tall, older man in a baggy brown suit. He introduced himself as Virginia State Police Lead Investigator Bernard McNutt. McNutt assumed he was introducing himself to the Vinyard police chief since Lieutenant Kenny was wearing a suit and tie instead of a uniform. McNutt was surprised to learn that the chief wasn’t at the crime scene. He had heard the firemen on the radio talking about the four bodies they discovered and had expected the top cop to be at a crime scene of this magnitude. Kenny told McNutt the police chief left the heavy lifting to him and said he would be working more with him than the police chief. Kenny explained that the police chief did all of the media releases, the glad-handling with business people, and dealt with the town officials, and he, Bill Kenny, handled the crime and workaday part of the Vinyard police business. Then he informed the investigator of what they had found and as much as he know about the victims’ background.
Vinyard is a small town in Virginia. Most of the residences were born there and never left. Everyone knows everyone as well as everyone’s business. So when ex-postal worker Brad Harmon, his wife and two children were murdered, the first person Investigator Bear McNutt suspected was Adam Brackett. Bear has had his eye on Adam every since two girls that he had taken to his motel room disappeared to never be seen nor heard from again. He couldn’t pin it on him then but he would get his, one way or another, for the Harmon murders. But could Adam really murder the only friends he has really ever had? The more Bear talks about the case, the more people are starting to believe he could and did.
In Vinyard, you find the typical small town politics. The council rules the police chief and the judge, at least they think they do. The police chief rules his lieutenant Bill Kenny, so he thinks. Bill Kenny rules the drug dealers in town, yeah right. And the whole time, the major crimes are being committed by those that are sworn to uphold the laws. The only results can be nothing more than disastrous.
Vinyard is the story about a town that’s so corrupt that the only way it can correct itself would be to move everyone out and start over. Yet the story is so believable that I have no doubt there are many towns out there just like Vinyard. And I bet if you grew up in a small town or live in one now, you will be able to relate to a lot of the happenings in Vinyard. I know I can.
Smoke and Murders became a book that I really enjoyed and I think you will too.