Tag Archives: Freebie

Courage Begins by R. Scott Mackey

I read a good book the other day #12

Image: Courage Begins book jacketUsing your nous to nail the guilty

Detective story… sort of. That’s to say, not a police detective story, though police do come into it. Ray Courage is a fifty something former college professor making a life change. He signs on as apprentice investigator for a Sacramento insurance company who harbour suspicions that one of their clients has done them over by murdering his wife in order to make a claim.

Now, I would normally find it difficult to sympathise with an insurance corporation. In my estimation they are, taken as a class of people (admittedly limited to my experience of such mundane things as motor and house insurance), a bunch of thieving baskets who only offer cover for things they think most unlikely to happen anyway! On the other hand, neither do I approve of murdering one’s spouse in a fit of resentment at all those premiums paid and nothing to show for them.

Courage is assigned this cold case as his first investigation for the company. The story is well constructed and written in a style that appeals to me. I’m not much into superheroes with the sort of mental or physical powers the rest of us mere humans lack. Roughie-toughie detectives who treat everyone else as a piece of horse manure and merrily spray bullets around the streets of New York or indeed anywhere, leave me yawning mightily. I prefer realistic characters in whose shoes I might, albeit with a little stretch of imagination, see myself or others of my acquaintance, and R. Scott Mackey gives us just this kind of story. Nothing happens that would require the likes of James Bond or Dirty Harry to sort out; no spectacular explosions; the body count is minimal; nobody does anything that any of us might not have done in similar circumstances, and that’s just the sort of story I like. Realistic people in a realistic setting, albeit filtered via the imagination of the author. Ray Courage does what detectives have to do: he follows the clues; he has to be a bit devious here and there; he uses his nous to nail the guilty, and quite right too.

Courage Begins is a novella designed as a freebie giveaway introduction to the Ray Courage series. This is a laudable marketing ploy. It gives readers new to the author a chance to try him out at zero cost, and if the rest of the series (I haven’t yet tried any of them) lives up to this intro then R. Scott Mackey has done a good job. My verdict: If you’re into mystery give him a try.

Disclosure: The author’s agent brought this book to my attention. I do not normally review to request. I only mention books I happen to have read and liked. This looked interesting and I was in need of a good read at the time so I gave it a shot. I did not formally accept the invitation to review but simply downloaded the book independently direct from the author’s website.