Read Murder by Accident: Sequel to Palm Beach Detective by Erik Brown Online

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A chance discovery that an old friend has died in a car accident leads Detective Tony Tauck on a spine tingling journey through his favorite Palm Beach haunts where he discovers an accident isn't always an accident. The five million insurance on his friend's life may not be the reason he's dead. Still coping with feelings for Gabriella he believes lost forever, Tony is torA chance discovery that an old friend has died in a car accident leads Detective Tony Tauck on a spine tingling journey through his favorite Palm Beach haunts where he discovers an accident isn't always an accident. The five million insurance on his friend's life may not be the reason he's dead. Still coping with feelings for Gabriella he believes lost forever, Tony is torn between haunting memories of this past great love and the carnal pleasures of the present-Palm Beach's plethora of beautiful seductresses. MURDER BY ACCIDENT has a plot that twists and turns until an unexpected ending leaves the reader again asking for more....

Title : Murder by Accident: Sequel to Palm Beach Detective
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781491255919
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Murder by Accident: Sequel to Palm Beach Detective Reviews

  • Stephanie Murphy-Lupo
    2018-10-22 05:18

    By Stephanie Murphy-Lupo Steeped in a frontal-assault of the five senses, Tony Tauck caresses regret, savors aroma, tastes the exotic, hears music from his youth, and ogles enough eye-candy to need goggles. Still, our private-eye protagonist makes room for a sixth sense -- communing with other-worldly notions while navigating a maze of body-snatchers, zombies stashed in downtown Palm Beach, cops, FBI and ex-CIA agents, femmes fatale and a Mafia principessa. Mired in melancholy over the one true love lost to "duty" two years earlier, Tony uses skills from his career as an insurance-fraud investigator to keep his hand on the pulse of intrigue around the island where he lives. He and his former boss, Frank, an eighty-something widower, tackle a mystery -- the presumed hit-and-run death of a buddy, in an ugly, dangerous neighborhood across the bridge. Such is the theme of Murder by Accident by author and Palm Beach resident Erik Brown, a compact, easy read of 219 pages; some chapters run a few pages -- others, one page or less in this sequel to Brown's 2012 book, Palm Beach Detective -- Sunny Skies, Shady People. Brown peppers his fictional tale with enough real names and places to give readers means, motive, intent, plausible deniability and ripped-from-the-headlines audacity (To a lesser extent, best-selling author Ted Bell, formerly of Palm Beach, sprinkled his fiction with references to real-life island personalities such as dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Beer). Murder by Accident has references to the national pill-mill sting in 2010, when dozens of doctors were jailed for improper dispensing of OxyContin (or "hillbilly heroin"), and the overseas operators who bought the clinics; political fallout from the Mecca Farms land-grab; somebody selling body parts to Niger and Thailand; the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; the Scripps Research Institute campus in South Florida; Russian psychoanalyst and pioneering "cougar" Lou Andreas-Salomé; and real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman's $200 million gift for brain research. In other instances, the author gives a real-life name to a fictional character. For example, Ben Rabbani is a chef, most recently with El Big Bad in Houston. In Brown's book, Behrouz "Ben" Rabbani is a retired neuro-scientist altering the brains of hand-picked "zombies" with injections of Scopolamine (made from extracts of the Burundanga plant, it acts as a hallucinogen; it resembles cocaine, and if someone blows the powder in your face, you go into a trance and respond to commands -- such as kill that guy or detonate this bomb). Our fictional Ben has a real-life boss: Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah, founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, based in Damascus, Syria, who also has ties to Tampa. The FBI deems him a "specially designated terrorist." In another chapter, Brown, a native of Boston, refers to Southie gangster Whitey Bulger (now 85, in prison for life and the subject of a fall 2015 movie, Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp), who underwent experimental drug testing that turned out to be a CIA project on brain programming. Tony learns that the FBI believes the Iranians are setting up sleeper cells in Central and South America. The author does not say that throngs of teenagers and young adults crossing the Mexican border are really trainees from the Middle East taught to look the part; the reader is left to wonder. Murder by Accident opens with the apparent death of Jimmy Patterson -- a riff on mega-selling mystery author James Patterson (actually alive and well, living in Palm Beach). In this tale, the body of "Jimmy" has been found on the lawn of the ITS Curtains Funeral Home on Tamarind Avenue in West Palm Beach. It is somewhere Jimmy would have avoided in broad daylight, let alone late at night. Poor Jimmy, say those who had witnessed his decline into alcoholism and debt, a free-spirited, profound philosopher who made poor choices about women and money. "Jimmy went broke before he could afford to party himself to death," intones one of Tony's confidantes during a liquid-lunch at Chez Jean-Pierre (a real place, with top-tier French cuisine). The book's cover image shows a red sports car at an odd angle, a street lamp illuminating a man's body. The back jacket warns readers who are uncomfortable with references to "the horizontal rumba" to avoid certain pages -- and "just skip Chapter 23 entirely." That's because Tony is something of a hound-dog, by some standards, yet the author is careful to steer the guy into situations between consenting, very willing adults (in some cases, he is the one seduced or encouraged to couple). Tony does not so much objectify women, as admire the parade. The author has some colorful phrases (Rusty the bartender, daughter of an Apache chief, has "a serious front porch"). He refers at some point to the allure of a woman with "meat on the bone"). Yet our guy redeems himself when he describes the obvious conclusion a man of mature sensibilities might reach, upon spending a non-intimate afternoon with a seriously interesting woman. Stacey, who works at Main Street News, is ex-CIA; attractive, smart, and pleased to give Tony her seasoned insight on his latest case. The author downplays her physical appearance, other than to note a great smile, interesting blue eyes, and the fact that she is both slim and shapely. Back that truck up because, Tony declares, as soon as Stacey speaks, you forget her looks and focus on her intellect. So why is Tony pining for a lost love? Two years earlier, he parted with Gabriella Giacometti, a woman who sacrificed personal happiness to return to Italy to run the "family business." And despite a wealth of distractions, he cannot forget her or the void in his heart. While investigating the hit-and-run case and its zombie-terrorist tentacles, Tony reconnects via phone with Emily, an FBI agent in Europe who knows Gabriella. For Palm Beachers and those who enjoy the island side of the bridges, Tony's daily and nightly rounds make note of restaurants such as the Palm Beach Grill, Nick & Johnnie's, Ta-boo, Cafè L'Europe, Buccan, Michael R. McCarty's, Green's (diner), and Cucina dell' Arte. The author refers to off-island spots such as Table 26 in West Palm Beach; Duffy's Sports Bar & Grill, and Grease -- both on Clematis Street; Sunset Bar & Grill, and the This Is It Café, both in the Old Northwood district; Old Key Lime House in Lantana; Boston's on the Beach in Delray; and the infamous Cheetah Lounge, a strip club with multiple Florida locations. In addition to the nudge about James Patterson, there are references to Rebecca (Maartens), bar manager at the Palm Beach Grill -- one of the few places in the country where one stands in line to get on the wait list to eat dinner at the bar; Mar-a-Lago Club owner (and 2016 presidential candidate) Donald Trump; the late Patrick Flynn, advocate for the perennially controversial Royal Poinciana Playhouse; Café L'Europe co-owner Lidia Goldner; philanthropist Dorothy Sullivan; Donna Marks (a psychologist who bought Sprinkles Ice Cream shop and joked about calling it Shrinkles); New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft; author and retired Baltimore lawyer Jim Gabler; think-tank founder Dale Coudert; and singer Rod Stewart. There are items about the Palm Beach Country Club (where Bernie Madoff reeled in investors in his multi-billion-dollar Ponzi-scheme), the Everglades Club, The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea and its Cluett Memorial Gardens, Hermès, et al, on Worth Avenue, The Bradley House on Sunset Avenue. In Murder by Accident, Veuve Cliquot is the champagne of choice. Tony defaults to Dewar's and water, and one of the female characters likes pinot grigio. But at least one character drinks Pimms Absinthe, a nod perhaps to the link between Palm Beach and numerous British and European royals. You can't get lost in this book, as Brown gives the reader compass pointers when he's on a stake-out or just on his way along Royal Poinciana Way, North and/or South County Road, Peruvian Avenue, Australian Avenue, Dixie Highway, Rosemary and Tamarind avenues, the county morgue, and Palm Beach International Airport. In a nod to Brown's lengthy day-job in the insurance industry, he needles Joel Steinger, one-time head of Mutual Benefits Corp., who was sentenced in August 2014 to 20 years in prison for running a $1.25 billion viatical insurance fraud scam (his now-defunct firm bought life insurance policies from people with AIDS, cancer and other chronic illnesses and sold them to investors). And in a fit of nostalgia, Brown's protagonist watches Double Indemnity, a 1940s film about insurance and intrigue. A native of Marblehead, Mass., Brown is still engaged in life insurance policy analysis and tax planning. He was associated as an agent and later as a partner with Northwestern Mutual for 40 years. He and another associate founded Atlantic Benefit Group. Brown first came to Palm Beach on vacation about 2002. Enamored with the setting and charmed with the sociable natives, he anticipated extended visits and purchased a condominium. He wrote an exposé, The Death of Life Insurance, about many corrupt practices in the life insurance industry. Brown said he shelved that manuscript in the interest of survival: "It was strongly recommended that I would have more lawsuits than I needed, so I switched to fiction," Brown said. His first book, Palm Beach Detective, used a different, yet authentic scenario set in the climate just before and after the year 2000, a time when "loop holes in many state laws allowed indiscriminate buying and reselling of life insurance policies on elderly individuals for pure speculation." In that book, he posed a hypothetical question: "I wondered what if the Mafia were buying these policies and creating early claims. Ironic, but I felt safer writing about the Mafia than the insurance industry," he said. Apparently, that book was tame by today's standards. A reviewer for Kirkus concluded a positive piece by saying: “More modest readers will appreciate Brown’s old- fashioned quirks: Violence is witnessed indirectly ... and steamy romantic scenes between Tony and Gabriella are left up to the reader to flesh out the details.” Thus, Brown explains, he cranked up the steam in Murder by Accident, because, "I’ve been called a lot of things but a possessor of old-fashioned quirks is not one of them." He recently received an email from a fellow writer whose wife referred to the book as "Murder by 50 Shades of Grey." In a follow-up email, he repeated the caveat on the back jacket: "Again I hope those who do purchase the book will heed my warning and avoid Chapter 23 entirely." Brown and his girlfriend live in Palm Beach. He has two married daughters and a granddaughter, and divides his time between Palm Beach and Boston. A Chartered Life Underwriter, he is past president of the Boston Estate Planning Council. He also was an insurance instructor for several years at Northeastern University. When Brown is not busy with life insurance policy analysis and tax planning, he mulls over the next adventure for Tony Tauck. He also is organizing a collection of short stories about growing up in the little coastal town of Marblehead.