Cast Them Dead: A Brig Ellis Tale
by Joe Kilgore
Encircle Publications

"You know there’s no statute of limitations on murder. As far as this one goes, the detective overseeing the case is a bit of a fanatic."

Brig Ellis works as a private investigator in San Diego, but he heads to Los Angeles when an old friend in the LAPD calls him in to help solve a cold case. Abel Dane, a talented film director, was murdered the year before under mysterious circumstances, and Ellis’ detective friend cannot let the case rest without a final look. Ellis, “ex-military but not ex-badass,” tracks down and interviews the case’s five suspects. These suspects include an under-appreciated screenwriter, an ambitious personal assistant, a skilled cinematographer, a dashing but drug-addicted lead actor, and a beautiful starlet. Ellis unearths evidence that all five had reasons to want Dane dead, and as he starts to narrow his investigation, his suspects start dying of mysterious deaths themselves.

This thriller’s narrative jumps between Ellis’ current investigation and the past events leading up to Dane’s death. There are flashbacks illustrating Dane’s villainy as well as the unusual arrangement that the five suspects make to save themselves from his blackmail attempts. The novel moves at a driving pace, striking the perfect balance between action and dialogue-oriented scenes.

The dialogue itself is one of the most captivating parts of this novel. The conversations between the characters are engaging and well-written. Even the book’s minor characters have unique personalities, from LAPD officers to a waitress in a diner. This attention to detail carries through the plot’s main mystery, with intriguing events and subtle clues unfolding throughout Ellis’ investigation. The satisfying resolution is equally surprising and inevitable. The story is riveting, from the first chapter’s clandestine meeting to the delightfully memorable last line of the book.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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