Title: Dead Man’s Bridge by Robert J. Mrazek
Jake Cantrell Mystery Series Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
For fans of Linwood Barclay, this exhilarating series debut by award-winning author Robert Mrazek features former Army officer Jake Cantrell as he tries to solve a series of murders at a small college town in upstate New York.
Unfairly disgraced former army officer Jake Cantrell has only one friend left: Bug, a wolf-dog he saved while serving in Afghanistan. Together, they try to put his bitter past behind him and Jake settles for employment at the bottom rung of the campus security ladder of a small upstate New York college. But things only turn worse when the college’s richest and most powerful alumnus is found hanging from a campus footbridge on the eve of homecoming weekend.
Jake is convinced the man was murdered, but with no credibility to his name, no one agrees—at least not until a second body is found hanging from the same bridge. But as a vicious hurricane sweeps up the Eastern seaboard, the clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again.
Trusting his instincts, Jake puts his own life in peril as he attempts to uncover the buried secrets at the heart of the murders in acclaimed author Robert J. Mrazek’s Dead Man’s Bridge, the first in a new heart-pounding mystery series sure to keep readers hooked until the very last page.
In Dead Man’s Bridge by Robert J. Mrazek, disgraced Army veteran and St. Andrews College campus security officer Jake Cantrell is certain the hanging death of college alum Dennis Wheatley is murder but his boss Captain Janet Morgo declares it a suicide.
Jake left the Army under a cloud due a mission gone horribly wrong and he still shoulders a great deal of guilt for the loss of several men under his command. Virtually unemployable in the aftermath, his longtime friend and college president Jordan Langford secures a position for Cantrell as campus security officer. Captain Morgo might not have a choice in hiring Jake, but this does not mean she likes him nor does she trust his judgment. Jake immediately clashes with Morgo over their differing viewpoints on the death but when Dennis’s wife demands Cantrell be put in charge of the investigation, Janet has no choice but to acquiesce to the request. With another victim and a hurricane induced storm bearing down on the college, Jake is soon in a race against time to catch the killer before it is too late.
Despite his somewhat checkered past, Jake is an immensely appealing protagonist who is incredibly compassionate and caring. His tenderness when caring for his ailing dog, Bug, shows the type of man he is as does his loyalty to his longtime friend Jordan. Despite their somewhat complicated past, Jake does not hesitate to agree to look into a very delicate situation that jeopardizes Jordan’s career at the college. In addition to looking into Jordan’s problem, Jake is also willing to risk both his job and his life in order to uncover the truth about Wheatley’s untimely death.
Robert J. Mrazek’s Jake Cantrell Mystery series is off to a very strong beginning with Dead Man’s Bridge. Jake is an intrepid sleuth who is willing to buck authority when necessary but it is his endearing loyalty that will win readers’ hearts. The mystery surrounding Dennis Wheatley’s death is quite intriguing as is the story arc dealing with Jordan’s embarrassing predicament. The novel comes to an action-paced and adrenaline laced conclusion that completely wraps up the various storylines. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this exciting first installment in what promises to be an outstanding mystery series.