A Venture Into Murder by Henry Kisor

In my review of Henry Kisor’s first novel, Season’s Revenge, I noted that the work had the markings of a good mystery series:

I know Mr. Kisor is probably a busy man but I am sure his readers are eagerly awaiting his next book. In my opinion, Steve Martinez – and the folks of Porcupine County – would make a fine central character in an ongoing mystery series.

As it turned out, Kisor fans like me got their wish with the release of A Venture Into Murder which again features Sheriff Deputy Steve Martinez and the folks of Porcupine County Michigan. Once again Kisor mixes interesting characters, a unique setting, and a proclivity for thoughtful rumination into a enjoyable read.

The book seems to reflect the personality of its setting. Despite its close knit and gossipy nature, Upper Peninsula Michigan can be a lonely place; one that offers a lot of time to think. As a result Martinez is prone to ruminations on everything from identity politics, the drug war, and life in the boonies to the joys of being a pilot, home cooked meals, and the love of a good women.

These ruminations slow the pace down at times, but they make for interesting reading. As in Season’s Revenge the clues to the mystery build up slowly. A body washes up on shore, then a hundred year old corpse shows up in the woods, and soon Martinez knows that something fishy is going on in Porcupine County. Kisor weaves in some relationship problems for Martinez and even some local politics. Kisor, like his character Martinez, takes it slow painting the scene and laying the ground work.

It doesn’t take long, however, for things to get interesting. You have a sexed-up suburbanite from Chicago on the prowl, a mysterious boat captain with a past, and bodies being found in the woods. Throw in some possible mob connections and the suspicion of drug trafficking and the tension mounts. Despite its languid start, A Venture into Murder has an action packed climax involving a shootout in an old cooper mine and an airplane/boat chase out on Lake Superior.

Their unique setting and interesting observations/ruminations make Kisor’s mysteries a real treat. I recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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