HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS
A JACK FLIPPO MYSTERY
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2000
Jack Flippo is still recovering from losing his wife when his friend and mentor, Wesley Joy, calls needing help. Wesley has been arrested and is suspected of murdering two drug-lords. He swears his wife can provide him an alibi, but Angelique has gone unaccountably missing. Wesley needs Jack to track her down. Jack can hardly refuse--he owes Wesley too much, and he has some unfinished business with Angelique as well. So he heads off from Dallas to Galveston where, last Welsey knew, Angelique was cruising the gulf.
Flippo gets into trouble almost as soon as he reaches Galveston. A combination of bad oysters and dead bodies that seem to turn up everywhere he goes makes Galveston something of a ghastly trip. When Wesley breaks out of prison, all of Flippo's calculations are turned around. What if Wesley really was the killer?
In HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS, Doug Swanson has written a novel with a touch of Chinatown. Nothing is as it appears, everyone is hiding motives and objectives. Having Flippo walk around in a near permanent daze caused by his food poisoning heightens the mood, but makes Flippo less an active and driving character and more a victim of what happens to him. Late in the book, Wesley asks Flippo what happened to his one-time mastery of interogation. It is one heck of a good question. HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS comes close to being a masterful dark mystery. Even with its flaws, it is a page-turning read.
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