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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Houseboat: A Novel by Paul Shadinger is an engaging story steeped in mystery, with distinct, well-developed and enjoyable characters. Matt Preston is a guy addicted to the game of poker, a man who had once lost a 57 Chevrolet convertible in a card game. Then he bets on another game and wins a houseboat belonging to Slim. Soon after, Slim, the former owner of the houseboat, is murdered and every finger seems to point at Matt. Could it be because of his military past? Could it be Slim was murdered by Wheeler, who seems to have suffered a devastating loss at the card game and didn’t receive any sympathy from Slim? Follow the tale of Matt Preston through a gritty investigation, a tale that involves a beautiful girl and a powerful enemy lurking in the dark.
The reader is immediately introduced to Matt’s world, with his poker friends and acquaintances such as Slim, Tom, Scott, and others. The story is told from the perspective of the protagonist and in a powerful first person narrative. The author delves into details and pulls the reader in to follow the scenes closely. The scenes are focused and the descriptions are terrific. Whether the author is describing himself as “My body was sore and I was just plain dog assed exhausted!” or likening Wheeler’s looks to those of a kindergarten child caught with his hand in a jar of cookies, there is a refined sense of humor that hits the most dormant nerve in the reader. Paul Shadinger’s Houseboat is fast-paced and riveting.