Book Review: The Purple Heart Detective Agency by Rock Neelly

PHDA - Cover Front OnlyTitle: The Purple Heart Detective Agency

Author: Rock Neelly

Genre: Comedy / Mystery

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“What do wounded warriors do when they return from war missing a leg or two? These tough guys start The Purple Heart Detective Agency. Using battle-tested skills, laughing all the way, when others have turned their backs, these sleuths solve mysteries. Rock Neelly’s novel is easy to pick-up, hard to put down.”

– Robert Beattie, author of Nightmare in Wichita: Hunt for the BTK Strangler

“Rock Neelly hands the reader well-defined, believable characters, caught up in a deft blend of old-school detective noir and modern technology.” 

– Brian Dobbins, author of The Witch’s Cartel and Corryville

The sudden disappearance of a magician isn’t usually cause for alarm, but it’s a different story when the disappearance isn’t part of the act.

Clay and Roddy are two war veterans – both amputees – trying to rebuild their shattered lives through their struggling Purple Heart Detective Agency. Then the beautiful Angela Thayer enters the picture, asking for their help in finding her missing friend and employer, Trevor Baker – stage name, Merlyn the Magician. The high profile case promises to jumpstart their careers…until the search leads to betrayal, intrigue and mind control. And then the murders begin…

A hard-boiled detective story of murder and mayhem, a war story of pathos and survival, an action story of intrigue and violence, a love story of abandon and betrayal, a stick in the eye of the entertainment industry, wry social commentary on how America treats its veterans of war, but mostly a rousing tale of brotherhood in war and beyond.

And of course, a foul-mouthed monkey named Jerry.

The Purple Heart Detective Agency was not at all what I expected. Clay and Roddy, our two main characters, have started the Purple Heart Detective Agency as a way to rebuild their shattered lives. Both of them are war veterans and amputees. The agency is their way to cope with what happened to them. But then Angela Thayer shows up, a beautiful woman, who seeks their help in finding her friend and employer – a magician who disappeared, and no, it wasn’t part of the act. Merlyn the Magician is a high-profile case, and might just save the careers of Clay and Roddy. But when a string of murders start, they realize more is at stake than just their careers.

The book offers so many interesting perspectives and stories, and touches upon a lot of intriguing subjects – like even how war veterans are treated, how the entertainment industry works, and about the band between brothers, a band forged in war, but that never really goes away. It’s a hard-boiled crime novel, but it also has its lighter moments. Both Clay and Roddy bring interesting personalities to the table, and each of them has a lot to offer. The writing is fluent and easily transports the reader into the setting and story.

If you like detective stories, you should definitely give this book a chance. And even if hard-boiled isn’t usually your cup of tea, the book has enough merits to give it a shot either way.

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