Review: Deadly Portfolio by John Hohn
ABOUT THE BOOK: July 2008. Four families are riding high on heady market returns until the body of Rene McAllister, wife of multi-millionaire Alan “Mac” McAllister, washes up on the beach after a daylong Fourth of July bash at the home of stockbroker, Matthew Wirth. Eager to avoid publicity, authorities dismiss her death as an accident. Days later, when the body of college drop out, Jamie Sherman, a neighbor to Wirth, is discovered adrift in his fishing skiff, investigators suspect foul play, but the Medical Examiner reports that the youth died of a drug overdose. Only Detective James Raker, upon hearing McAllister’s complaints of unauthorized trading in his deceased wife’s account, suspects the two deaths are related. Bucking his superiors, Raker plunges into an investigation and quickly discovers that at least four members of the affluent lakeside community had motive and opportunity in either one or both of the deaths. Raker’s pursuit slams headlong into an investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) who were closing in on Jamie Sherman’s drug dealings in the affluent neighborhood. Ignoring the orders to back off, Raker fears that the killer will strike again and races to prevent it. The killer does strike for a third time but, tragically, claims the wrong victim. The story is set in the fictitious bed-room community on Heron Lake, NC, a short commute from Charles City, a metropolitan area of more than 1,000,000 and the financial center of the state.
REVIEW: This mystery novel is absolutely enticing! The story starts out with a drawn out explanation of what happened to the accounts and investments of multi-millionaire Allen McAllister and his wife, Rene McAllister. Matthew Wirth is the head of the brokerage firm holding the McAllister accounts and a good friend. With his retirement coming soon, he throws one last party in honor of his success and clientele on Independence Day. When Rene McAllister is found face down in the water the next day, everyone starts pointing fingers out of discomfort. Could one of their neighbors and friends be a cold-blooded killer or was it an accident? Detective Raker is in charge of covering the case; however, he just can’t shake the feeling that stories just don’t add up. I really enjoyed reading this wonderful novel. It really held my attention and made me want to finish it that much quicker! I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters that played roles in this story, major and minor. Jamie was my favorite character in this novel. He was twenty-one years old, a drug dealer, but also smart about his business. My least favorite character was Mr. Sherman, the esteemed young doctor. He was never around for his children and it didn’t bother him. He was self-conscious and absorbed, making him seem very arrogant. This book does not have a gender specific target; therefore, I recommend it to a young adult and/or adult audience. I enjoyed it and feel like anyone who likes to read mystery novels would enjoy it as well. I rate this story with five stars because it is well written, creative, and original. I was able to relate to some of the characters in this story, which is something that I love!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I am a small town boy. Born March 9, 1939, I grew up in Yankton, South Dakota, the last upstream steamboat stop on the Missouri River. Yankton’s history reaches back to the Sioux Nation, from which the town draws its name. Lewis and Clark parlayed with the Lakota there. Decades later, it became a jumping off point for homesteaders, a campsite for Custer, a territorial capital, and in the 1920’s, the home to WNAX radio that once boasted it broadcast from the highest radio tower in the world. Huckleberry Finn would have felt right at home under the shade of the Hackberry and Elm trees.
My own family’s history is intimately tied to the history of South Dakota. My grandfather, John Hubert Hohn, came to America from Germany as a boy of eleven-years-age. As a young man he homesteaded north and west of Yankton, staking out 360 acres that remain in the family today.
My father, Joseph M. Hohn, was the sixteenth child of a family of seventeen and the only one to receive a college education. He became a dentist and practiced in Yankton until his death in 1980. Dad and mom were veterans of the Dust Bowl. “Nobody had any money,” mother would explain. “Doc would get up in the morning and find a chicken and some turnips on the front porch from a patient as payment.“ Mother, Ileen Carlon Hohn, was an elementary school teacher. Mother followed Dad out of life in 1985. Of the three children born to them, I am the middle child.