Mortom by Erik Therme
Genre: Currently #1555 on Best Seller’s Rank for Kindle eBooks, Mystery Thriller & Suspense
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: April 2015
Submitted by author for review
Mortom by Erik Therme – Cover hints at suspense
Maybe it was the discovery of the odiferous rat found under the refrigerator when the protagonist, Andy Crowl and his sister Kate, tentatively set foot in the house he has just inherited, but this one grabbed me from the beginning. The rat had a key wrapped in a note shoved into his rotting jaws. His unfortunate cousin, Craig Moore, had passed and left his entire estate, consisting of this old house and an empty bank account to Andy despite the lack of recent familial connection.
What he remembers of his cousin was the puzzles in which they both shared an interest. Craig wasn’t just good with puzzles, it was the one activity where he could actually best Andy. It doesn’t take Andy long to realize, however, this puzzle is a deadly one, but one that could also reap him some major bucks if successful–and heaven knows (given his current circumstance) he needs them! Unfortunately, the puzzle comes with a timeline.
Kate’s concern is for their aunt, the mother of Craig, with whom she wishes to comfort and resolve some family issues. As Andy desperately seeks the answer to each clue, Kate rails at him for his lack of family sensitivity and they argue heatedly. Craig had apparently discovered he would die shortly, but wants to go on his own terms, leading the reader to believe he had time to set up this elaborate riddle as a parting shot to Andy. Clues become more complicated; Andy more obsessed now realizing he must solve the treasure hunt within the time period allotted, or else…
As Andy pursues the quest, Kate tries to connect to her Aunt Mary, who, pregnant and single at 19 escaped to this tiny town of Mortom to have and raise her baby alone. Kate also meets the 13 year old living across the street with her grandfather who had befriended Craig until they had a major falling out.
Andy meets Nate, the corner crook who knows everyone and their business and can be induced to share. Andy becomes crazy agitated as he digs into each clue only to find that it leads to another. As Andy becomes more immature and unpredictable, Kate escalates her nagging, becoming downright annoying, and is dealing with “stomach” issues.
Nate is the epitome of the small town merchant; been there “forever.” Craig becomes more sympathetic as you glean additional information about his life and his little secrets and triumphs. Meanwhile, dialogue between brother and sister reflects an contentious relationship, projecting their individual emotional issues.
And then, BOOM, the ending comes at you like a freight train…and NOT what you expect. NOOO, it didn’t end right…or did it? Where was my choice of endings? I’d have picked another! Or would I? Really, the repercussions of a different ending could get real complicated.
Definitely a different plot idea than I’ve read for quite some time. Will it keep your interest? Oh yeah! If you enjoy psychological mystery, plot-driven thrillers, this is it. For a first effort, the book is remarkably clean. I received the novel in exchange for an honest review. I loved it (you will too), and I’m looking forward to the next one!
Rosepoint rating: Five of five stars
Author description: Erik Therme says he has thrashed in garage bands, accidentally harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. Residing in Iowa City, Iowa, he is active with his daughters when he is not at his computer. Find him at: http://www.facebook.com/erik.therme and http://www.twitter.com/ErikTherme ©2016 Virginia Williams