Friday Book Review

This week, I am reviewing the Last Call at the Esposito, by Richard J Cass. I have read all four volumes in this series now and have enjoyed them very much. When Richard Cass was asked if this was truly the last call, he was noncommittal, and with a smile, said, “We’ll have to wait and see.”

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An Excellent Addition to the Series.

Last Call at the Esposito is the fourth in the Elder Darrow Mystery series. It follows the the story of Elder Darrow, a recovering alcoholic who bought a bar, The Esposito, in Boston, on the theory that being surrounded by alcohol would help him with recovery. He has been more or less successful proving that theory.

Elder has encountered various mysteries and situations since purchasing the bar and cleaning it up from the dismal place it was, occupied by down and out street people, drug dealers, and sloppy drunks. His goal has been to turn The Esposito into a jazz club at night and a lunch bar during the day. He has been fairly successful at that.

He has gotten beaten up a few times and been on the wrong side of some of the “gangsters” in Boston. But has become friends with a Boston Homicide Detective, Dan Burton, who also has a drinking problem. He and Burton have had varied adventures over the previous three books, each saving the other, and that trend continues in this novel.

The premise in this novel is that there is a faction trying to get the Olympics to come to Boston. The area that would be absorbed by that project includes where the Esposito is located. Elder is understandably concerned and starts to look in to whether or not this looks likely. Of course, he irritates the wrong sort of people and things start to happen.

There is also a mystery concerning Kathleen, a woman he almost fell in love with before who disappeared on Elder. Well, she shows up again in this book and he is sidetracked by her reappearance. He is still trying to decide if he is or was in love with her and what’s her connection, if any, to the Olympics question?

My only criticism is the author, through Elder Darrow, is overly concerned with men’s wear. We get a detailed description of the outfit of every man that Elder meets. This includes the material of the suit and shirt, how well it fits, and what it’s condition is. This description pulls me out of the story and makes me think, “why do I care?” I realize that the clothing says a lot about the man, and that the condition of a man’s suit can also make a statement about the man, but I do think a briefer description would be more appropriate.

Except for this one criticism, I found this book to be a great addition to the series. The characters are well-developed, with both positive and negative character traits, and believable. I enjoyed this book very much and do hope that Cass is not quite done with Elder Darrow.

Overall, I would give Last Call at the Esposito Four and One Half Stars. **** 1/2*

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