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Tahoe Chase (An Owen McKenna Mystery…

Tahoe Chase (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller)

by Todd Borg

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Apparently Todd Borg has a very loyal following who enjoy his books and rate them very highly, based on reader reviews I see on Amazon and other sites. Tahoe Chase is my first Borg book and was chosen because of its setting. I was unfamiliar with the Tahoe area and was intrigued by a crime fiction story that used Tahoe as background. And I was very satisfied with that particular aspect of the book. I learned a lot about the area, the seasonal attractions, topography of the surrounding mountains and wilderness, layout of the town of South Lake Tahoe, etc. But I was disappointed with a number of other features of the book, particularly the prose. The dialogue didn't work for me. I thought it did not quite sound natural. Most of it was too formal and virtually all the speakers sounded alike. The author chose on many occasions to repeat information he had just shared with the reader by having one of the characters brief another and pass along the same detail. I also thought there were a number of unsupported assumptions as the hero PI Owen tried to establish a theory of the case. And his relationhip with the local cop sounded way too casual - way too much info was shared by the cop, and Owen benefited from leads from the cop that were far beyond the norm in any of the other 500 crime fiction books I have read. And finally, I thought the characters were OK but I didn't get hooked on any of them and I thought the Owen-Street relationship was dull and passionless. ( )
  maneekuhi | Mar 7, 2014 |
Owen McKenna is back again breaking hearts, breaking jaws, breaking rules, and solving murders.

Murders that were made to look like accidents were plaguing this ski town, and all the reasons for the murders were pointing back to one man, Joe, who was opposing the building of another ski resort. Could this be the real reason or was it a diversion?

Why would someone want to hurt or kill anyone associated with Joe and especially his sweet wife? Joe had no idea, and Owen was on the trail as one person after another kept being eliminated. It wasn't an easy trail to follow even in ski country.

The characters are well developed as in Mr. Borg's other books, and most are likable and pleasant, especially Owen. The book also brought up domestic abuse and psychological issues along with the murders. Every facet was very well researched.

The tension of the investigation isn't one that will have you chewing your fingernails, but I liked it that way. It is a good mystery that will have you guessing until the end about who the murderer is. TAHOE CHASE has a good twist on who the murderer turns out to be. I thought I definitely knew, but did not guess correctly. I actually had two suspects in mind, and neither was correct. :)

TAHOE CHASE was an easy, smooth read with skiing as a major theme. If you are a skiing fan, you will be drooling over the details...they were phenomenal, but the skiing detail was a bit too much for me, though. It actually was overwhelming in the sense that it wasn’t of interest.

I am going to rate this book a 4/5. It is another good read by Mr. Borg.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review. ( )
  SilversReviews | Nov 18, 2013 |
Once again Todd Borg has wrapped me around his little finger. From the brief beginning scene with Cynthia and Molly the mountain chickadee, I began falling in love with his characters. Next in line for my adoration was the aloof Joe Rorvik, 92 years old, a former Olympic champion ski racer, and shattered by his wife's hospitalization. One by one, Borg deftly fits all these well-drawn characters into his puzzle of a story. He's written a fine example of misdirection, and by the time you realize you've been suckered, your car's already begun to lose control on that hairpin mountain curve.

I know these Owen McKenna books are usually referred to as thrillers; they're even published by Thriller Press. Yes, they normally do have a fast pace and lots of action, but they are so much more than your standard thriller fare. What raises them high above that standard thriller fare is three fold: (1) Borg's characters, (2) Borg's setting of the luscious Lake Tahoe area, and (3) those added extras.

I've already gone into how much I love his characters. Cynthia only has one very short scene, but it's enough to make you mourn what happens to her. Joe is gruff and prickly, but his love for his wife gets readers past the prickles, and I can guarantee that the old man will have you cheering out loud before the end of the book. Simone is a long-time victim of abuse, and she's so real that you don't know whether you want to hug her or shake some sense into her-- but she'll surprise you more than once before you can make up your mind. I've only mentioned three of the characters in Tahoe Chase, but they aren't alone. Good guy or bad guy, you can visualize them all, hear them in your head, and react to them.

Of course Owen McKenna (and Spot) are the very best characters of them all. Spot is the best four-legged sidekick in crime fiction, and he does it without going all ninja psychic or talking in italics. He's a dog, and as far as I'm concerned he can sprawl across my lap any time. (I may need help to move afterwards though.) As for Owen... if I weren't happily married, I'd be headed up to Lake Tahoe to find him. As an ex-cop, he has an excellent working relationship with local law enforcement-- and the way he treats each person he's with as well as the way he listens to them... okay... I'm feeling all knotted up here. I think I wrapped myself around someone's finger again.

The added extras are numerous. The Lake Tahoe setting, complete with dazzling word pictures and a bit of history. You learn a bit about how new ski resorts are created and built, as well as a bit about skiing. Want to find out where you are by reading a compass and topographical maps? You'll learn a bit about that, too. Every added extra is there for a reason. Each builds suspense. Each gives you a tool so that you can deduce what's going to happen. The pace in this book doesn't grab you by the throat in chapter one and throw your exhausted body out the door at book's end. No, the pace builds gradually-- perhaps in deference to the 92-year-old man who is at the book's heart. The book moves steadily and surely to one dynamic chase scene, and when you've turned the last page, you'll have a smile on your face.

If you get the impression that I love these books, you would be correct. I've read four books in this eleven-book series. All four have been "Wow" books for me. I've never had this happen before, but oh, am I ever enjoying it. ( )
  cathyskye | Aug 4, 2013 |
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Tahoe Detective Owen McKenna takes on a mysterious villain who is killing the friends of 92-year-old former Olympic ski racer Joe Rorvik.

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