Charles L. Fields
Outskirts Press (2010)
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (1/11)
When United States Border Patrol Agent Jack Spates is brutally murdered, his death is investigated for more than one reason. The first reason is obviously to identify the killer and bring him or her to justice. The second reason involves the disbursement of his life insurance policy. Spates had a $500,000 policy, but the beneficiary seems to be an odd choice – a woman associated with Mexican drug cartels. Consequently, the life insurance company hires lawyer Charles Stone to investigate how Spates and the woman are connected and whether or not they should grant her the money. Stone’s hopes for a relaxing and carefree drive across the country quickly turn into one wild ride.
The book had the potential to be an intriguing and stimulating read. There is a decent amount of action and the story advances at an acceptable pace. However, the author spends entirely too much time dwelling on the different cities Stone traverses, what hotels he is staying in, and what type of food he plans to have for lunch or dinner, rather than deepening the plot. Instead of getting bogged down with the minute details of Stone’s day, I would have preferred a more in-depth look into the murder and its ensuing investigation.
Charles Stone is an interesting character. He seems like an old-fashioned guy with simple tastes. He likes to remember the good old days by playing his favorite song “Sentimental Me” in his cassette player. Driving his 1996 Chevy Blazer (with only 30,000 miles on it) from Boston to Arizona for this case conjures up memories from some previous assignments. However, aspects of his past that still haunt him lend more dimensions to his character.
This book will appeal to a middle-aged audience because they will be able to better relate to Charles Stone than younger readers might. I wish the author had strengthened the plot but it seems instead he was aiming to make a connection between the reader and the main character. While there is nothing wrong with doing that, I felt it took away from the action and adventure of the story. “Sentimental Me” is worth reading, although the creepy cover may turn some readers away.