Title: Voxlightner Scandal (BJ Vinson #6)
Author: Don Travis
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Page Count: 253
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
No good deed goes unpunished, as investigator BJ Vinson is about to discover.
Writer John Pierce Belhaven was murdered before he could reveal the name of another killer—one connected to the biggest scandal to rock Albuquerque in years. Two of the city’s most prominent citizens—Barron Voxlightner and Dr. Walther Stabler—vanished in 2004, along with fifty million dollars looted from Voxlightner Precious Metals Recovery Corp. It only makes sense that poking into that disappearance cost Belhaven his life.
But BJ isn’t so sure.
He’s agreed to help novice detective Roy Guerra reopen the old case—which the wealthy and influential Voxlightner family doesn’t want dredged up. But Belhaven was part of their family, and that connection could’ve led to his murder. Or did the sixty-year-old author die because of a sordid sexual affair?
Book six in the series! I recommend starting with book 1, The Zozobra Incident and reading in order for the background information and character building.
If you are new to this series, be advised these are not gay romances per se. There are romantic elements, but the romance is not the main emphasis of the book – the mystery is.
And another delightful mystery this was too! Or rather, two mysteries! A two fer one deal with The Voxlightner Scandal.
Book starts with the murder of Pierce Belhaven, a local author who claimed to have solved a decades old scam involving millions of dollars and would reveal all in his next mystery book. Barron is unfortunately murdered before he can write his novel. BJ Vinson and Paul are enlisted by the Voxlighter dowager to ascertain if there was any truth to Pierce’s claim and resolve once and for all, if her son Barron Voxlightner had truly absconded with millions or if he was murdered.
When BJ and Paul start investigating, they find a web so tangled it takes all their collective investigating skills, along with the Albuquerque police department and Charlie and Hazel’s help to figure out what is what. As they start to pull on sticky strings, someone starts to take exception to their investigating and BJ and Paul might not live to figure it out.
I adore this series! These are one step up from a “cozy” mystery, but not quite a full-blown suspense book either. BJ has a respectful and strong working relationship with the Albuquerque police department and doesn’t hesitate to include them in the investigation – ie, a non-adversarial relationship. Which is very refreshing to read.
We see BJ’s sensitive side as he realizes somethings off-kilter with his and Paul’s relationship and his quiet agonizing about what to do.
Paul starts to come into his own in this book as he contributes to the interviews and sleuthing in his capacity as a journalist. The point of view is still solidly BJ’s, but it was nice to read the collaboration.
An aficionado of mysteries will figure out the “who done it” fairly easily, but these are so well written it’s a delight to watch everything unfold and blossom. So satisfying.
One small issue with this installment was that the history aspect felt like an afterthought. In previous installments, the history, geography and some cultural aspects were beautifully integrated. In this book it almost felt like a “Whoops!, I forgot to talk about the area…I’ll stick something here.” Perhaps because this book was more character driven about a scam and all set in Albuquerque.
If you enjoy investigative mysteries with solid characters set in New Mexico, I recommend this series. Absolutely delightful!