Black Jackknife: A Nick Montaigne Mystery
Peter Kurtz, author
Urbane, vain Nick Montaigne has a taste for Porsches, fifties jazz, and cinnamon chewing gum. When a beautiful Georgia coed is brutally murdered on the Appalachian Trail, Detective Montaigne and his lovable but awkward partner Vern Wister are pulled into terra incognita. Montaigne not only has to hobnob with tennis studs at an elite university, and match wits with an arrogant attorney while bedding the man's ex-wife, he also has to keep trail dirt out of his Italian shoes, all while solving a murder and disappearance. In BLACK JACKKNIFE, author Peter Kurtz introduces a detective with the panache of James Bond and the craftiness of Lieutenant Columbo. BLACK JACKKNIFE is a mystery thriller with a little sex, a little blood, and several packets of freeze-dried noodles. Cue up some Dave Brubeck, strap on a backpack, and join Montaigne and Wister as they hunt for a mysterious psycho killer, lurking somewhere between downtown Atlanta and the trail shelter near Buzzard Knob.
Kurtz (Evergreen Dreaming: Trail Tales of an Aging Hiker) puts his hiking experiences on the Appalachian Trail to good use in this suspenseful mystery. Atlanta attorney Denison Harriman, who claims he believes the local police too inept to be of much use, asks PI Nick Montaigne to handle a missing persons case. Harriman’s son, Price, who was hiking the legendary trail with his girlfriend, Helen Botticelli, stopped calling his father several days earlier, leading the elder Harriman to fear the worst. His worries are validated when another hiker comes across Price and Helen’s tent, with Helen lying dead nearby. Helen was stabbed numerous times, but she may have left a clue to her killer’s identity; scrawled in the dirt near the tent are the initials P.H. Harriman summarily fires Montaigne, who becomes suspicious of his ex-client after learning he wasn’t actually Price’s natural father and had withheld other vital information. Harriman’s ex-wife retains Montaigne to probe the murder and to locate and exonerate her son in the process. Kurtz keeps readers guessing about what really happened to Helen. Montaigne is an entertaining enough lead to make a sequel welcome. (Self-published)
DEAN WRAY, producer/writer/actor of "Down Here"
If you like quick reads packed with twists and turns, lifelike characters, and a throwback detective (think Lew Archer and Travis McGee), you'll eat this one up. It played like film in my head. Nick Montaigne could become a habit.