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What the Dead Leave Behind (Mac McKenzie) by David Housewright
Cover Artist: Citycscape by Greg Lundgren Photography;
Sky by SJ Travel Photo and Video / Shutterstock
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover / eBook  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250094513
Date: 06 June 2017 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Erica Truhler sweet talks her mother's boyfriend, PI Rushmore Mac McKenzie, into discovering who murdered her friend Malcolm's father, Frank Harris. On December 13th, he was stabbed in the head and left for dead in the snow-covered Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton, Minnesota. Frank died on Christmas Eve. McKenzie learns another man, Raymond Bosh, had been bludgeoned to death six years earlier at a baseball field in Veterans Park. Also, Frank was director of the Human Resources Office (HRO) at the Szereto Corporation, a cosmetics company. Its former president, Jonathan Szereto Jr., was shot to death at a red light. All three men had unsavory pasts. McKenzie suspects their murders are connected. His suspicions are confirmed when he begins receiving threatening phone calls and muscle thugs attack him.

What the Dead Leave Behind is one of the most intriguing mysteries I've read in David Housewright's Mac McKenzie series. It is an extremely complex whodunit. Near the end, I was getting some of the characters confused.

There are many beautiful, high-class women linked to the Szereto Corporation and to a social club called Hotdish. Hotdish was founded by the parents of a now defunct little league baseball team, the Yankees, who wished to continue getting together for potluck dinners. Some parents are also employees of Szereto. Needless to say, the Hotdish is a very close knit group. Whenever McKenzie confronts one member, they all soon know about it. Same with the Szereto Corporation. Strangely enough, no one in either organization, except for Malcolm Harris, wants McKenzie investigating the murders.

McKenzie, I must say, is definitely tenacious in his determination and dedication to see that justice prevails. When faced with danger, he doesn't flee. He knows how to fight. He even taught Erica self defense. (It comes in handy when she and Malcolm are attacked by some of the former baseball players on the Yankees.) Neither is McKenzie perturbed by the coldness and aloofness that the Szereto employees display towards him when he asks questions about the murders.

However, several of the same female employees attempt to seduce him. I find this hypocritical considering that the murdered Jonathan Szereto Jr. was notoriously known for sexually harassing women. Szereto's employees need mandatory sexual harassment training on an annual basis. It is a requirement at the government installation, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), where I work.

Indeed, office politics play a significant role in What the Dead Leave Behind. Reading it made me nervous from my own personal experiences. I work closely with HRO at NNSY. HRO handles many grievances. Security, especially in regards to keeping new products a secret from competitors, is another one of the novel's hot topics. At NNSY, numerous security measures are installed to prevent foreign nationals from knowing our secrets. Speaking of secrets, members of Hotdish as well as employees of Szereto conspire to hide secrets involving theft and murder.

What the Dead Leave Behind isn't a high body count action thriller; most of the murders occur in the past. However, startling revelations, sexual tension, and family drama keep it fast-paced. Most importantly, McKenzie is kept busy trying to solve three murders. He soon learns that what these dead men leave behind is more pain, misery, and suffering.

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