Author: Lloyd A. Meeker
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Pages/Word Count: 54 and 148 Pages
At a Glance: I have definitely become a fan of Lloyd A. Meeker and the Russ Morgan Mystery series.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurbs: Enigma: Who’s blackmailing the high-profile televangelist whose son was famously cured of his homosexuality fifteen years ago? Now in 2009, that ought to be ancient history.
It seems there’s no secret to protect, no crime, not even a clear demand for money—just four threatening letters using old Enigma songs from the 90′s. But they’ve got Reverend Howard Richardson spooked.
Proudly fifty and unhappily single, gay PI Russ Morgan has made peace with being a psychic empath, and he’s managed to build a decent life since getting sober. As he uncovers obscene secrets shrouded in seeming righteousness he might have to make peace with a sword of justice that cuts the innocent as deeply as the guilty.
Blood & Dirt: Family squabbles can be murder. Psychic PI Russ Morgan investigates a vandalized marijuana grow in Mesa County Colorado, landing in the middle of a ferocious family feud that’s escalating in a hurry. Five siblings fight over the family ranch as it staggers on the brink of bankruptcy, marijuana its only salvation. Not everyone agrees, but only one of them is willing to kill to make a point. Russ also has a personal puzzle to solve as he questions his deepening relationship with Colin Stewart, a man half his age. His rational mind says being with Colin is the fast track to heartbreak, but it feels grounding, sane, and good. Now, that’s really dangerous…
Review: Enigma is a story that introduces us to P.I. Rhys “Russ” Morgan, who has the ability to read auras. He’s fought the hard fight of alcoholism, and he still fights loneliness and guilt. Russ is plain and simple—he wants facts upfront, access to everyone connected to a case, and the truth. He has no problem walking away from a case if the clients don’t cooperate, and when we meet Russ, he’s being harangued by a nasty little lawyer by the name of Kommen.
Along with Russ, we meet Colin Stewart, assistant to Kommen. Colin puts a spark in Russ, but even though Colin occasionally flirts with Russ whenever he shows up at Kommen’s office, Russ’s past still weighs heavy on his mind, and he knows he could never get involved with Colin.
The focus of the blackmail mystery is James Richardson. At the age of seventeen in 1993, he was sent into “reparative therapy” by Reverend Richardson for being homosexual. This is where Mr. Meeker takes James Richardson’s story and wraps it around music from Cross of Changes by Enigma.
Enigma is so much more than a case of blackmail, it’s a mystery melded with the mystical. If there is any chance you can listen to Enigma’s music, do so because the lyrics will define James Richardson’s character.
I liked what Mr. Meeker did with Russ Morgan’s character. He doesn’t flaunt, overuse or abuse Russ’s abilities. In fact, Russ could solve a case with just his investigative skills. Mr. Meeker had me fascinated with Enigma from the beginning to end. Excellent story and excellent music!!
After reading Blood & Dirt I have definitely become a fan of Lloyd A. Meeker and the Russ Morgan Mystery series. This is the second installment, so if you have not read Enigma, it’s a must read before Blood & Dirt. Mr. Meeker takes us on another roller coaster ride, with so many clashing personalities for Russ to examine before he can solve the case.
Russ Morgan finds himself taking on another dysfunctional family case. He’s being hired by Evan Landry to investigate an incident at the Ellis Ranch, where his sister Sarah’s medical marijuana grow has been destroyed. At the Ellis Ranch we meet Stanford Sr. and his adult children Stanford Jr., Marianne, Billy, Evan and Sarah. Needless to say a few of them are vindictive and greedy. This is more than just sibling rivalry. In fact, I wanted to strangle a couple of them myself! This is also about a father’s regret and his not knowing if he made the right decision. Poor Russ, he’s caught up in this chaotic mess, and then a case of destruction of property turns into murder.
That brings Deputy Sheriff Heath Baker into the story. Even though he flirts with Russ, he’s sort of demeaning and cocky, and doesn’t want Russ’s help. Russ does use some of his aura ability to prove a point with Heath. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to dislike Heath or not, but there’s something about him. Maybe he will get his own story.
Before Russ tackles his new case, we find that he’s been sporadically dating Colin Stewart, a paralegal he met during the blackmail case in Enigma. Colin becomes so much more in this story. He’s been chipping away to become a part of Russ’s life, but Russ still fights with the idea of Colin being too young, and with the fear of getting hurt. Colin is very smart, not only good at his job but smart about life too. He’s an “old soul,” and his character is mature beyond his years, which scares Russ. Colin is so careful with Russ’s feelings, but he brings a little mischief too. The story of the two men in Ireland that Colin shares with Russ was a touching moment and sends an important message.
The romance between Russ and Colin is written with passion, and Mr. Meeker leaves us to use our imaginations in the love that Russ and Colin share. Colin brings a special warmth to the story, and I was glad to see him grow to an important character. I still can’t say enough about Russ’s character. Mr. Meeker still doesn’t overuse Russ’s abilities, and I like how Russ was surprised, just as I was, when things weren’t what he expected.
This story also contains details on the process of starting a medical marijuana grow. Check out the Acknowledgements. It contains information on how much research the author put into this subject.
You can buy Enigma and Blood & Dirt here: