A murder mystery sweetened by budding romance, “Checking Out,” Clair M. Poulson’s latest novel, tells the story of a young police officer grappling with his mother’s suspicious death and his role in their dysfunctional family, all while dodging looming danger.
Keene Tempest is disgruntled to suddenly find himself manager of his mother’s hotel in a sleepy Wyoming town at the behest of his domineering older siblings. But within days of leaving his criminal justice studies and Los Angeles Police Department work for his new responsibilities, Keene finds himself in the middle of a case that will take all his training and resources to solve.
Since Keene and his mother were the only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his family, they shared a special relationship. He is grateful when her former acquaintances and loyal accountant as well as the Hardy Police Department quickly befriend him. He takes a special interest in fellow Mormon Officer Chaille Donovan, who soon joins him in the search for answers. Tempest's mother’s former love interest, mean-spirited law officials, unsavory townspeople and even well-respected associates are all suspects for robbery and murder, but Keene has high hopes in his clever trap for the one he suspects as the criminal mastermind.
The author draws on both his criminal justice and Latter-day Saint background to write this fairly predictable novel in which flawless Mormon good guys who attend church and read their scriptures are pitted against conventional, unlikable bad guys.
While the book revolves around violent crimes, Poulson steers clear of any graphic detail. The book features a squeaky-clean romantic relationship and no inappropriate language. Alcohol consumption is mentioned but not condoned.
“Checking Out” is a quick read with a few twists to keep the reader guessing until the perfect confession reveals all.
Gail Sears is a mother of five children. She lives in Georgia and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.