How can one author come up with someone as loveable as Aaron Tucker for one mystery series, and then another one just as sweet in Elliot Freed? Jeffrey Cohen introduces Elliot in Some Like It Hot-Buttered, the first Double Feature Mystery. I'm projecting great success for this series, since the first book manages to be fun and witty, and serious at the same time.
Elliot Freed could be considered a loser. "I was a divorced man in his late thirties, living alone in a rental I really didn't call home, operating a business that didn't have a chance to survive, pining after a woman who had chosen to leave me for a guy who spends most of his day with unconscious people, and brooding over another woman I'd met less than a month before, and who had just dumped me, before I even knew what I was being dumped from. I didn't own my own home, my own car, or a stick of grown-up furniture, and my closest confidant was my father....Clearly the only thing left to do was investigate a murder."
After his divorce, Elliot sank money from the sale of his parents' house, and his alimony money, into a movie theater, Comedy Tonight, a building desperately in need of renovation, but one where he could show only comedies. Elliot knew something was wrong when the customer didn't laugh at Young Frankenstein, and he proved to be right when the man was found dead, killed by poisoned popcorn. The more he learned about the dead man, the more he liked him, and felt bad that the man died in his theater. Elliot felt violated that a man died in his theater, and didn't die laughing. The only thing Elliot could do was poke around. He liked Barry Dutton, the Police Chief in Midland Heights, New Jersey, but he just couldn't trust the police not to blame his staff. Especially when pirated DVDs were found in the basement of the theater.
Cohen creates wonderful, likeable characters. Elliot is a loveable, smart loser. Police Chief Dutton is subtle and intelligent. And, Elliot's ticket seller, Goth-wannabe, Sophie, is priceless. Along with the rest of the cast, they star in a jumbled mystery, with a convoluted perfect ending that only Elliot could resolve. It's a witty, enjoyable mystery.
Jeffrey Cohen's Some Like It Hot-Buttered is perfect for anyone who needs a "Comedy Tonight."
Jeffrey Cohen's website is www.jeffcohenbooks.com
Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2007. ISBN 978-0425217993 (paperback), 304p.