Mystery Book Review: The Hobo Chronicles - One Bare Foot
Chronicles Of a Hobo and Mysteries
Some type of odd game is afoot, because person or persons unknown is writing stories about hobos. Meanwhile, a hobo is suddenly found dead in a thrift shop's clothing collection bin -- He's missing one of his shoes. One bare foot. What happened?
One Bare Foot
"The Hobo Chronicles"
Detective Acey Tapp is a middle-aged man carrying around a lot of baggage. When he snags a job working for an aging P.I., it gives him important work to accomplish.
Life Of an Aging Private Investigator
Acey Tapp is an aspiring private investigator getting to a late start in his 40s. Hailing form Willow Falls, Michigan, he is the only child of Karl and Laura Tapp, his estranged parents. On top of this family situation, Laura is dying.
This is the premier installment of the Acey Tapp mystery series by author S.E. Schenkel, and it is an engaging beginning. It's protagonist is an out-of-work 40-something, much like many Americans during the Great Recession that lasted from 2008 to at least 2010, with additional aftershocks.
I think the unemployed and mid-lifers can both relate to Detective Tapp.
Unfortunately, Acey is also a philanderer that must face Laura's imminent mortality and his own some time after that, but he's somewhat a coward about it all. He also has substantial difficulty earning a living. One wonders what the women see in him.
Hanging around the scene of the hobo's murder, Tapp decides that he is best suited to the job of private investigator, because he lies easily and is free to travel long-term. He may also feel that his sex appeal or what ever quality draws women to him will work in his favor as he questions persons of interest and witnesses.
Overarching all of this drama is the fact that his father abandoned him in infancy. Therefore, Acey decides eventually to become a PI that specializes in missing persons.
Acey Tapp lives in the fictional Willow Falls, Michigan; but, the author, Shirley E. Schenkel, lives in the Greater Detroit Area. Ms. Schenkel was a nun who did missionary work in Africa for a decade, then began writing books.
Acey and Shirley
A Man with Two Sides...
Protagonists in murder mysteries in recent years have not been solid gold, no matter which side of the law they inhabited. This wannabe-PI, Acey Tapp, is certainly one of these. While he is likable in some characteristics, he is unsavory in others. With the rise of reality TV and it's show-all features, perhaps this food-and-bad characterization is to become more prevalent in the 21st century.
Tapp seems to live a depressing life, abandoned by his father, about to lose his mother, and at loose ends in employment status. He really could use some new friends that can provide a better influence and some encouragement.
Nosing around the site of dead hobo bodies, Tapp meets the owner of McMunn & Son, PIs. This is an answered prayer or a timely serendipity. Mr. Webb McMunn is completely obsessed with missing persons phenomena, because he was missing in his youth himself. He adopted the condition as a battle for the betterment of mankind.
Abducted at age two years, McMunn was finally rescued 8 years later at until age 10. This provided the motivation for his life's work of finding others. Mr. Charlie McMunn rescued, adopted, and raised him to adulthood and trained him to become a PI. Now it's his turn to help Acey. Aged and ill, he is still just what Acey Tapp needs in this life.
More Books by S.E. Schenkel
Teamwork and Love...
Even though Webb sometimes regrets it, Webb and Tapp become PI and trainee, investigating the cases of a murdered hobo and a woman missing for half a century.
Tapp continues to have all sorts of "bad luck" - - He faces eviction, has his car stolen, needs to rid himself of a cheating lover, investigation by law enforcement agencies, and multiple beatings from underworld figures and their henchmen.
Acey loses what little composure he had accumulated in life, throwing fit after anxious fit. He still survives and and gains a larger measure of integrity. Ms. Megan Bork is manager of a motel she runs also as a halfway house for the homeless and discouraged. She can see the gold under the bad attitude in Acey Tapp.
Megan maintains her inner peace and Acey craves it for himself. They seem to bond and become able to work together effectively in fighting crime. It turns out that the two cases - the lady and the hobo - may be connected in an intriguing way.
Acey gains a PI job, new friends, and a new mentor in Webb Munn and begins to make peace with the hard luck in his life. Through his friends, he learns to refresh his mind and spirit to rid himself of darkness. He may become a most popular PI in 21st century serial crime fiction.
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