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Server Down: A Mad Dog and Englishman Mystery    by J. M. Hayes order for
Server Down
by J. M. Hayes
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Mad Dog and Englishman are back in the fifth novel by J. M. Hayes featuring these two wildly different brothers. Sheriff English (one can understand his moniker) and his brother Mad Dog (a half Cheyenne whose nickname comes from his 'eccentric mannerisms and for performing mystical Indian ceremonies') live two very different existences. Which makes for some very good and exciting reading.

Told of a Yaqui Indian festival in Tucson, Mad Dog drives straight through from Kansas to take part. Before he barely can set foot on Tucson soil, he is accused of murdering a policeman. Englishman's daughter, a part-time deputy for her father, rushes to Tucson to help. Oh, forgot to mention that Mad Dog took his pet wolf with him. Said wolf disappears but seems to know to reappear when needed - such as by attacking anyone threatening Mad Dog.

Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Mad Dog's house is blown up. Any connection with the arrest in Tucson? The plot of this fast-moving novel takes some concentration to keep everyone in order, but it is well worth the effort. Englishman is recovering from surgery on his back and must use a walker, which only adds to the appeal of the mystery. A sheriff carrying out his duties plodding along on a walker? Believe me, it works. Well.

But the main thrust of the whole scenario is the young men who are playing an Internet game that they have devised and fine tuned. I didn't understand a word of the process but it really didn't matter. All of these pieces wrapped up in one book kept me enthralled in a fun and suspenseful read. If you haven't read the first four of this series, get with the program. It's well worth it.

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