Quick Pivot

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Quick Pivot

A Joe Gale Mystery

“A lot of the time, the story you go looking for isn’t the story you’ll find. It’ll be bigger or smaller than you thought it’d be. A quiet meeting with a short agenda will get raucous. The sure bet for page one will fizzle. You’ve got to master the quick pivot”

Joe Gale is an old fashioned newspaper reporter, determined to stick to the old school ways of reporting the news. But, it’s a hard task to accomplish with the internet, cell phone videos, and bloggers with online newspaper sites always one step ahead. But, when Joe finds himself covering a mundane story about a closed up textile mill in his small Maine community, he gets the scoop of a lifetime when a human skull is discovered behind a crumbling wall.

The first thing that pops into Joe’s mind is a forty-year old unsolved mystery involving an embezzler who allegedly absconded with a nice size chunk of change, causing the mill to fall upon hard times and eventually close. The man was not seen or heard from in all these years, and now it looks like he may have murdered.

Despite his boss’s admonitions to back away from reporting his theories, Joe smells a story, a big one, and he is determined to solve this perplexing cold case.

Not to sound like a broken record, but those who know me or follow my reviews, know that cold case stories are my favorite mystery trope. So, of course, I thought this book would be a good match for me, and I was right.

Joe is a straight-laced fellow, serious about reporting the news, and tries to live up to the standards of his late mentor, Paulie Finnegan, who poignantly works side by side with Joe, via old notes Joe saved when he cleaned out Paulie’s desk.

I thought this was a nice touch, which takes the reader back to 1968 when the crime was first committed and then fast forwards to 2014, where Joe is working hard to solve the mystery once and for all. This gives us a dual first person perspective about the case, but of course it’s Joe’s unique voice that drew me in and held my attention.

Decades old secrets come to light, revealing a connection to the mob, a cover-up, a rushed investigation, and a few unknown facts about Paulie.

Joe’s methodical investigative skills, gives the story a procedural style feel to it. The plotting is evenly paced, with a few twists here and there, which kept me interested. But, the characterizations are what really won me over. I liked Joe and Paulie, although I would like to see Joe lighten up just a little, because for some reason he gives off a sad or lonely vibe. But, the secondary characters added depth and atmosphere to the story, giving it human element that made me what to see justice served at long last.

This book sets the stage quite nicely for what will hopefully be a long running series. There are some adult situations, no overly graphic violence, with only a small amount of strong language. If you like crime stories and cold case formats, you will want to give this series a try.

Book Blurb for Quick Pivot


A cunning thief skimmed a half a million dollars from the textile mill that was the beating heart of Riverside, Maine. Sharp-eyed accountant George Desmond discovered the discrepancy, but was killed before he could report it. After stashing the body, the thief-turned-killer manipulated evidence to make it appear Desmond skipped town with the stolen money, ruining his good name forever.

Present Day

Veteran journalist Joe Gale is covering a story for the Portland Daily Chronicle when a skeleton falls at his feet: Desmond’s bones have been found in a basement crawl space at the long-shuttered mill. For Joe, digging into the past means retracing the steps his mentor Paulie Finnegan had taken years ago, when the case was still open. But the same people who bird-dogged Paulie four decades ago are watching Joe now. As he closes in on the truth, his every move is tracked…and the murderer proves more than willing to kill again.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2016 4.00