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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Exciting Mystery from Howard Owen: "Oregon Hill"

Author Howard Owen hits it out of the park with his new novel, Oregon Hill. The protagonist in this fast-paced mystery is Willie Black, a Richmond, Virginia, newspaper reporter.  Black's drinking, and attitude towards management, has gotten him busted down from covering the state capitol to covering the night cops' beat.  But he is a wily 30-year veteran of the newspaper business and when a university student is found murdered, Willie Black is on the story.

What Black doesn't expect is that the story will take him back to his days growing up in Oregon Hill, the tough neighborhood where his mother still lives.  After the police make an arrest in the murder case, Black's local knowledge and connections - including an ex-wife who represents the defendant - make him question the case built by the cops.  And as it turns out, questioning the cops is a very dangerous thing.

Oregon Hill is truly a page turner.  But in addition to being an exciting read, Howard Owen folds in many engaging stories, ranging Willie Black's life growing up as a mixed-race kid in a tough, all white neighborhood, to the decline of the newspaper business, and Black's spin through three marriages.

Willie Black is smart and likable.  I hope there are more books featuring this character in the future.  But for today, check out Oregon Hill.

A special thank you to my husband, Bill, who suggested this book to me.