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Book Review: A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl

Sam Jenkins retired from the NYPD 14 years ago, moving to the quiet town of Prospect, TN, to live a more serene life with his wife. But when he reads about an opening for police chief of the small town, he can't help but jump at the chance to get back into it. After all, Prospect is a rural town where there aren't many high-profile crimes to solve.

In A New Prospect, Wayne Zurl throws Jenkins into more than he bargained for when he is faced with a murder just two days into the job. The victim is Cecil Lovejoy, a wealthy man Jenkins soon learns wasn't the nicest guy in the world. Actually, he probably deserved to die. But Jenkins may not get a chance to find the killer as Lovejoy's wife gets the case reassigned to the state investigators. He soon finds himself on the wrong side of a good old boy network of politicians and local folks who are all trying to get him off the case.

A New Prospect is a great mystery that kept me guessing for quite some time about the killer. But what really makes this novel great is the characters and the voice of the narrator, Sam Jenkins. Jenkins is a sarcastic guy who tells us exactly what he's thinking ~ and it's so much fun to be inside his head. The language Zurl uses, the way he successfully presents the southern dialect without annoying the reader, and the fun banter that makes up much of the dialog make for a very enjoyable read.

Here's a quote that I just loved and that I think sums up the way Zurl shows his narrator's character clearly, in a fun, easy-to-read way:
"I suppose the portly rich-kid craved a heated shouting match but I wouldn't accommodate him. My calm, rational, adult response to his snotty, juvenile, asshole, shit-for-brains, dumb-ass, petulant, stupid, moronic statement must have confused him. I remained unmoved and unemotional. Well, almost. He just gaped at me."
With passages like that, I spent most of my time reading this novel with a smile on my face. If you like detective stories and mysteries that incorporate lots of humor and realistic interactions between people, I highly recommend this one. I know I'll be reading more in the Sam Jenkins series.

My Rating: 5/5

A New Prospect was named the year's best mystery at the 2011 Independent Publisher's Book Awards.

Read an excerpt

Read my review of Heroes and Lovers by Wayne Zurl
Read my review of A Leprechaun's Lament by Wayne Zurl
Read a guest post by Wayne Zurl

Visit the author's website 

This review was written based on a copy of A New Prospect that I received from the Pump Up Your Book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Hey, this sounds really good! I like a sense of humor in my mysteries and thrillers, to keep things from getting too heavy. And the main character sounds like someone you'd want to read more about. I may have to try this one (or get it for my husband!).

    Thanks for the great review -



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