Thursday, March 14, 2013

RESOLVE by J. J. Hensley

Tomorrow is the publication date for this debut novel and I just couldn't wait any longer to review it.  It's a different type of plot than I've ever read, set during the Pittsburgh Marathon with flashbacks to fill in the storyline.

Each chapter is a mile of the marathon.  Protagonist Dr. Cyprus Keller is running the race.  He explains that 18,000 people are participating.  Some will drop out for various reasons, others are running relays or just a half-marathon, and one person won't finish the race because he will die before the finish line.  Dr. Keller knows this because he is going to kill him.

Keller is a professor who teaches criminology at a small college.  He innocently finds himself involved in a mysterious plot after a young coed unsuccessfully tries to seduce him.  Actually she is conducting a study and seeing how many professors are willing to take her up on her flirting is the meat of the research.  She doesn't go through with any offers, but meanwhile she stirs up a hornets' nest.  The girl is found murdered in a part of town she would never visit.  After that, Keller's teaching assistant tries to murder him and Keller kills the T.A. as he defends himself.  Coincidentally, the police view Keller as a prime suspect in the girl's murder.

We meet intriguing characters such as the college president who for some reason has a grudge against Keller, two policemen who are wise to the world, and other professors who are running partners of Keller's.  Best of all, we meet Keller's wife, who is a psychologist, a fact which is both a blessing and a curse to her husband.  Since he can't ever pull the wool over her eyes, he has stopped even trying.  Theirs is a beautiful marriage.

Despite the killings and seriousness of the plot, I laughed all the way through this book.  Hensley is a very funny writer and Dr. Keller's wit sets this book above other mysteries in my opinion.  I do hope Hensley is currently hard at work on his second novel.  I'll be first in line to buy it.

Recommended reading
Source:  LibraryThing win


  1. A love a mystery/thriller told with humor. I can't imagine 18,000 people in a race!

  2. I love when the author's add humor -- even in mysteries:) sounds like a good one.

  3. Kathy and Diane, This mystery is really funny. The protagonist has a healthy sense of humor. 18,000 runners reminds me of the NYC, Chicago, and other marathons we've attended.