Waif: A Sammy Shovel Novel Book Three by Ronald M. James
Peggy is shot full of holes. Sammy takes one near the neck and one in the thigh when two of his cases collide.
A waif, Zoë Hummerstein, hires Detective Sammy Shovel to solve a twenty-two-year-old murder that her father was accused of. Zoë made certain her makeup and clothes were chosen with care before she stepped into the private investigator’s office. Sobbing, Zoë tells her story of a hit-and-run took that took place in San Francisco; not only was her father accused of murdering his wholesale liquor business competitor, but also having an affair with a woman from Oakland. Her father’s young business partner, Tony Lucchesi had taken over the business and married a woman named Linda from the east coast; a New Jersey Mafioso’s daughter.
Zoë knew the only way to solve the mystery was for Sammy to find the mistress.
Sammy feels the case seems straightforward and it will be simple enough to prove her father innocent. But Sammy soon learns there are things Zoë didn’t tell him: her mother died six months after her father died in prison. Linda took over the company, L&T Liquors, and her father’s partner, Tony is somehow different. Sammy learns an astonishing truth; Linda had been paying Zoë’s mother secret monthly stipends. When her mother died, Zoë lost her cash cow.
But when the waif’s case slams into another, they explode into a fantastic struggle of such magnitude that it leaves Sammy in shoot up and in totally dismay. The leads will take him on a perilous journey from seemingly unrelated warehouse robberies in San Francisco to a ghastly murder in Oregon.
Like some of Sammy’s other cases, Waif is filled with lies and murderous greed, but when he finds the police corruption aspect, he knows Herman Ziece, Zoë’s father, was railroaded for murder. But Sammy needs proof. It came in sealed vials of DNA samples taken years before by a funeral operator. The DNA proves the extraordinary circumstances of the case. However, it almost gets him killed when he falls into a well- laid trap. Regardless of the risks, Sammy Shovel delves into every case with equal gusto–to find out why pure innocent people turns into public enemy number one. Growing more suspicious with each–now provocative– visit from Zoë, Sammy finds her high school yearbook, and it all becomes clear and the answer was right in front of him from the start.
Bullets, threats, and seduction won’t stop Sammy Shovel from unraveling the truth.
5 Star Book Review: San Francisco’s Private Investigator Sammy Shovel is determined to unravel the truth at whatever costs. Whether or not you have been following the Sammy Shovel mystery novels or this is your first one; dust off your sleuth skills and join in the hunt. Let’s recap as Author Ronald M. James keeps writing.
Book One: An Adventurous Night: introduces us to a “short, slightly overweight, balding” PI that (who?) “sinks his teeth into (each) case” and never loses his grip. (How about adding he’s despised by the SFPD and will take on repo jobs for a buck or two.)
Book Two: Too Beautiful For Words shows us that Sammy Shovel (wants to change his rotten attitude and the reader is introduces to a world class European courtesan named Zondair. She becomes his on and off again secretary in the next book Waif).
Book Three: Waif is set in 1994. Zoë Hummerstein hires Detective Sammy Shovel to solve a twenty-two-year old murder that convicted her father (Herman Ziece) of murdering his wholesale liquor business competitor. With characters that keep any sleuth on his or her toes, twists and turns that kept me engaged, I invite you to step into Sammy’s office as Zoë retrieves a checkbook from her purse. Sammy notices the word ‘Coach’ burned on the leather checkbook as she hands him a check for his retainer. Mostly it is a waiting game when greed, hate, (police corruption) and seduction trumps sanity.
Questions mount as Sammy examines photos, documents and begin his detective work. Instincts tell him that things may or may not be as they seem. Sometimes you have to dig deeper and drudge up old memories that people have put to rest. I quote:
“Good morning. Is this Carolyn Cross?”
“Yes—but we’re not buying anything at this time.” Carolyn answered, hesitantly.
“Carolyn, I’m Samuel Shovel. I’m a private investigator. I received your name from Gary Betts—” Building on the lie, he started with Gary, he added, “I’m investigating SFPD corruption that occurred in the past.”
“I don’t understand, how past?”
“Over twenty years ago, when your sister died.” “Oh dear, that was so long ago.”
“Unquestionably to you, but to Gary, it seems like yesterday. Do you recall the events that took place around the time your sister fell to her death?”
Like in the golden age with Kojack, Columbo, Jim Rockford (the list goes on and on), PI Sammy Shovel has his own style of digging up archives, dredging up memories and using every tool in his investigative tool chest.
Stay tuned for Author Ronald M. James next mystery titled Flame Man: Sammy meets his match and is almost killed. “What a lovely spring day. Let’s find a corpse.” Other stand-alone books include Harrington Manor and The Two Jacks byRonald M. James.
I endorse and encourage you to read Waif (A Sammy Shovel Novel Book Three) by Ronald M. James. Review by Theodocia McLean.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
About The Author: Ronald James was born during the great depression, and as a toddler watched WPA men build a new street, from his home’s big front window. His playmates were a red rider wagon, a small black satchel and rocks.
By using his imagination, he had conversations with mythical street workers that soon bloomed into fashioned fantasies by age four. He used cardboard boxes to create fun spaces for his neighborhood playmates to enjoy and he kept telling stories all through high school.
In college he abandoned writing and studied architecture. James had a successful architectural career and retired, however he wanted to keep his creative juices fluent, so he returned to his childhood story telling days and joined a writers group.
Like architecture, each day he couldn’t wait to create, finish, and start new stories—like this book, Harrington Manor.