Title: Death in Eden by Paul Heald
Publisher: Yucca Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 344 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author
He wanted to do research, but what he ended up with was a murder investigation—murder deep within the porn industry.
Desperate to complete the last chapter of his law thesis on workplace dynamics for women to secure his tenure, Professor Stanley Hopkins stumbles on an old close college friend, Donald Johansson, who has plenty of female employees. The problem is that Donald is a porn video king. Taking his wife to California’s seedy city of Burbank to help with taping interviews (and to protect his reputation with the university, not to mention his marriage), Stanley realizes he is in way over his head the moment a leading porn star is brutally killed in Donald’s office during a party.
Donald is arrested and pleads with Stanley to play legal detective. Stanley’s problems are compounded, as playing detective for a porn king puts him on thin ice with the university trustees, gets him in hot water with the police, dangles temptation in front of him, and puts his marriage at serious risk. As he solicits the help of eager porn stars and scrabbles for clues to help defend his old friend, Stanley feels the walls closing in on him more and more each minute.
Death in Eden is a gripping page-turner and a darkly funny debut novel.
Death in Eden by Paul Heald is a delightfully unique and fiendishly clever mystery that is quite riveting. Set against the backdrop of the porn industry, a college professor finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation when an old college friend is arrested for the beating death of his brightest star. An overall witty and intelligent whodunit that mystery lovers are sure to love.
Professor Stan Hopkins is a sociology professor who needs to complete his latest book to make tenure. His final chapter recently hit a major snag but inspiration strikes when he discovers his old college pal Don Johansson is poised to bring the porn industry back into theaters. With his wife Angela at his side, Stan makes a trip to LA to interview actresses about their adult entertainment careers. But when Don is arrested for the brutal murder of Jade Delilah, Stan agrees to find the real killer.
Stan is happily married but a little dissatisfied with his career as a professor. He is laid back and content to take life as it comes. He is a pretty successful amateur sleuth and while he would like to exonerate Don, Stan is most interested in making sure Delilah’s killer is brought to justice-even if the murderer turns out to be his friend. With the LAPD convinced of Don’s guilt, Stan uncovers several viable suspects and with the help of porn actress Janet Stephens, they doggedly follow where the evidence leads.
Death in Eden is a fast paced and well-written novel with a well-developed cast of characters. The porn aspect of the storyline is tastefully written and very informative. The suspect pool is vast and Paul Heald does an excellent job obscuring the killer’s identity until the novel’s dramatic ending. It is an immensely intriguing mystery with a refreshing plot that I highly recommend to fans of police procedurals.