Select one of the keywords
Drowned Hopes    by Allan Cole order for
Drowned Hopes
by Allan Cole
Order:  USA  Can
PublishAmerica, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Allan George Cole's new mystery, Drowned Hopes, boasts a plot in which con artists sting con artists and robbers steal from robbers. The author sweeps the reader to immediate attention with soundly characterized, fun cast members, displaying naiveté and human fallibility.

Ellen Berman, central figure número uno, is timid (sort of) until she gets her dander up, and reveals her ability to stand strong and watch out for her welfare. Opposed by her family, Ellen ran away with lover Andre (leaving her husband) from the U.S. to Jamaica. There she established a boutique selling her artwork - designer jewelry, cloth, and clothing. When Andre left her, Jamaican authorities closed down the gallery. Moving to Boca Raton, Florida, Ellen hopes to begin life anew, even though she is subject to her brother's control (he doles out the trust fund money she needs to survive). Sam Barr is central figure número duos - he's suave and slick, tough and sassy. He's also an ex-convict, having robbed robbers who stole from innocent victims. When Sam meets Ellen at his girlfriend's apartment house, plans begin formulating in his crafty mind. The reader can never be sure of Sam, trusting him for one second, and then mistrusting him for hours!

On to the secondary characters. Ruth Castro is Sam the Man's girlfriend and soon also Ellen's landlady. Sam's friend Danny is rough around the edges, but bright enough to charge large fees for check-cashing services. Ellen's brother Harold is a rich powerful attorney, fitness jock, and womanizer. Harry placed mother Berman in a nursing home. Her Alzheimer has progressed, and charge of estates, trust funds, and the like are his number one priority. Police Sergeant Bill Propp, very rough around and inside the edges, just happens to be on Harold Berman's payroll. Vivian Berman loves Perry Mason TV shows, and even with Alzheimer's, knows the exact time when Perry will make an appearance each day. Mom talks about how much she misses her daughter, how good Harry has been to her, and loves to show visitors her secrets album.

I always enjoy the author's splendid phrasing, as in thoughts about 'the 'Miami Herald', favoring the business section, which in recent days had become almost like the 'Policeman's Gazette', with all the corporate executives being indicted and mostly dodging jail. You could get a lot of good tips, if you studied those guys.' Cole cuts to the quick in Drowned Hopes with splendid casting, action, and dilemmas - in a pinch, I might want Sam on my side, even if he is a low-down con-artist skunk. And the grand finale is action-packed ... with a lot of drowning going on.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews