Mr. Joyce has a way of drawing the reader into his novel. I like hockey and I love thrillers, so The Black Ace was intriguing from the beginning. Joyce’s grasp on the human psyche is tight and while hockey is a focal point, it goes past the hockey and into the people who are on or off the ice. And this is where the novel becomes cataclysmic.
Brad Shade is drawn to Swift Current due to an old friend’s (Whisper Mars) suicide. To Brad it was a formality, and then get back home, or on the Scouting Trail of hockey players, anywhere but there. Instead Mitzi, the widow, asks him to check out Whisper’s death as she doesn’t believe it was suicide. So Brad and Chief (also a player from Whisper’s past) travel to Swift Current to meet the former Mrs. Mars.
Mitzi had been a Vegas showgirl when Whisper met and married her in 24 hours. Back then no one believed the marriage would last, but no one said so to the happy couple. It surprised Brad to hear Mitzi tell him how much Martin would have appreciated his visit. When Brad checked into the police report and talked to the police, they claimed suicide. But when Brad talked to the witnesses, things did not add up. So it was not surprising that Mitzi was right: Whisper was murdered!
This was a great book. Seldom do I get the opportunity to have a murder mystery writer with expertise in a sport (other than a sports writer) be able to explore both talents with the depth and breadth it takes to pull off such a great novel. This was a fully-packed knowledgeable book from beginning to end. Well worth opening the novel and reading it from the first page to the last.
Hatred, blackmail, and murder?a Brad Shade hat trick. The Black Ace reunites us with our favorite, savvy fourth-liner, with plot twists, wisecracks, and an ending that could only come from G.B. Joyce.
Thanks to Shade’s work at the NHL draft last season, he gets to hold on to his job as scout for L.A.?at least for now. But a journeyman’s work is never done. Shade is checking out small-town talent with his old friend and teammate ?Chief.” But when they learn of the suicide of an old teammate from their playing days in L.A., they take a sometimes violent detour through the dark side of a small town with no shortage of secrets it wants kept at almost any cost.