Title: Shadows in the Fog
Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Genre: Mystery Thriller
The story begins on a stormy morning in February of 1959. The front page of the morning paper is dominated by news of the plane crash which killed rock ’n roll stars Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens.
Private Eye Sam Slater is hired to perform what he thinks is a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam.
The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full time partner in the private eye business.
Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters every where they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses.
At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead.
As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late.
The reader will be drawn into fast moving events which culminate in a harrowing conclusion as Sam Slater races against the clock on a foggy night in Chinatown.
“Shadows In The Fog” is the fifth book in the the award winning Sam Slater Mysteries Series but is a stand-alone thriller in the tradition of great whodunits.
I believe I have read all of the Sam Slater books and I really enjoyed this one much better than the first couple of ones because by now Sam and Amelia are getting into the swing of things and have become partners in the Private Eye business that Sam runs.
Amelia was an airline stewardess and he was a relief pitcher for the Seals in San Francisco back in the 1950's until he hurt his throwing arm pretty bad and had to give up his dream.
These are what I consider soft core murder mysteries as they don't go into too much detail about the murders and there isn't very much cussing in them also which I think makes the stories much easier to read and enjoy. I know some like it as rough and nasty as possible but for me, I think my own imagination is good enough and I don't need all those gory details.
I also appreciate that Greg Messel throws in romantic scenes for Sam and Amelia and that they end up getting married. I also appreciate the bits and pieces of some of the historical places and people that are in the stories also, so if you have never been to San Francisco, these will give you good starting points as to what is going on. I have been once and would love to go back but since I have gotten sick, not much travelling is being done, so these stories bring the city to me, right here in my own living room!
You will become attached to all of the main characters and how close a bond that they all share, which is definitely rare in most books these days. The story is easy to understand and Greg Messel is very good at giving you great backgrounds into each character who happens to run across Sam or Amelia and why it happens.
The Sam Slater series of books will become one of your favorites to collect and share with friends, especially those who grew up in that time period. Shadows in The Fog will not disappoint!
About the Author:
Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg retired from the corporate world and now lives in South Jordan, Utah with his wife of over 40 years, Carol Madsen Messel. They have three adult children who are married and have 11 grandchildren.
Greg has written eight novels. His latest is “Shadows In The Fog” which is the fifth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” His other three novels are “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.”
Greg is currently working on his ninth novel–the sixth in the mystery series–”Cable Car Mystery”–which will be published in late 2015.