Loose Ends Kill, by Bob Doerr

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MWSA Review

Loose Ends Kill by Bob Doerr is an intriguing murder mystery that is a great read. This book is part of a series featuring detective Jim West. Jim is a retired Air Force special agent with the Office of Special Investigations. He lives largely on his pension, is divorced and lives with his dog Chubs. Loose Ends Kill begins with the coldblooded murder of a beautiful woman by an unknown assassin. As it turns out, she was the wife of Randy LaMoe, a friend whom Jim had served with in the military.

As the book opens Randy is in jail for the murder of his wife, and the circumstantial evidence against him is so strong the police have almost put the case to bed.  Randy asks his lawyers to contact Jim West to help him prove his innocence. Jim is soon on his way to San Antonio to help his friend.  On his arrival he learns that if he is to save his friend he will have to develop suspects on his own, since the police response is indifference to outright hostility to his efforts.

Soon he realizes that nothing is as it appears. He must uncover the relationships that are the dark secrets in Randy’s wife’s past. And as he does so he realizes there are people who are willing to go as far as more murders to stop him. As the list of suspects grows the menace to Jim and his investigation grows apace.

This is a satisfying read on many levels. The protagonist is sympathetic and likeable, the setting of the book works, there are enough suspects to keep the reader guessing as to “who done it.” Bob Doerr writes well, and as a retired Air Force specialist in criminal investigations he knows his subject well. He also has the skill as an author to write a modern tale without resorting to the foul language and gratuitous sex and violence that is a plague of modern fiction. This is a series the reader could follow with enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Weymouth Symmes (2011)

Author's Synopsis

In this new Jim West novel, West comes to the rescue of an old friend suspected of killing his own wife. West rolls up his sleeves and begins to dig deep—perhaps too deeply—as someone begins to follow and target him. 

It’s not long before West discovers that he didn’t know his friend’s wife as well as he thought.  Everyone but West and his friend knew that she had had many affairs. Any of her lovers could have had a motive to kill her.

As he investigates one lover after the other, West ignites an outbreak of more deaths and mayhem.  The killer wants him dead. His friend’s lawyer wants him to go back home, and the police threaten to arrest him. 

Feeling the pressure to solve the murder quickly, West sets a trap for the killer—using himself as bait.  However, he soon learns he may have only outsmarted himself.