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Reviewed by Julia Hopkinson for Readers' Favorite
Out of the Past is the latest in Renée Pawlish’s comic mystery series featuring Denver Private Eye, Reed Ferguson. In this tale, Reed is strong-armed – both physically and metaphorically – into baby-sitting the spoiled, brattish daughter of local businessman, Forrest McMahon. Reed’s charge, Stephanie McMahon, spends her days shopping, socialising and spitting out smart remarks, and her nights partying and getting her chemical and physical kicks. Reed’s duty appears fairly routine, albeit frustrating, until he spots two shadowy figures on their tail and one of Stephanie’s friends is killed in what Reed is sure is not an accident. When he learns that another of her friends has died in tragic circumstances recently, Reed starts to suspect that Stephanie is also in danger from someone seeking to avenge the past.
This was my first Renée Pawlish book, but I doubt it will be my last. Out of the Past and Reed Ferguson are both good fun, and the tale develops into a thrilling mystery. The characters are believable – if not all exactly likable – and the writing and dialogue are both sharp. My only criticism would be that the story itself is quite short; perhaps it’s because I’ve not read the earlier books, but I would have been happy with 50 or so more pages about Reed, his girlfriend and his friends and about the solution to the mystery and Reed’s search for, and unmasking of, the perpetrator. I did really enjoy the story and the revelation of whodunit and why. I’d definitely recommend this book, and I plan to start reading the series from the beginning.