Today it is my pleasure to welcome author W. F. Ranew and his novel Rich and Gone.
Author’s description of the book:
PI Red Farlow is on the hunt to find $300 million a Florida insurance executive has bilked out of family and friends.
Woody Cunningham stashed the money in safe havens around the world before disappearing. Has he been done in by one of his enemies? Or did he skip town with his girlfriend to live off the ill-gotten wealth? If that’s the case, where is he?
Farlow must quickly learn how and why people hide their money in offshore accounts if he’s to find out what happened to Cunningham.
When a tough guy from Farlow’s past resurfaces, wanting to settle an old score, Farlow discovers he also has links to the missing man. Clues lead him across Georgia and Florida, and Europe, to find the answers.
Is Woody Cunningham dead, or just rich and gone?
We straddled barbed wire in a low-slung section of the fence and tramped toward the cabin pitched above the languid, black-water river, stained dark by tannins of vegetation. Along its banks, the sugar loaf knees of cypress trees rose up out of the water. An idyllic spot, if you loved pines, mossy oaks, solitude, and an occasional water moccasin basking on a stump. Lord, it was quiet out here. A quiet broken only by the gently moving stream, birds chirping, and fish jumping. In the distance, a mourning dove sang its song of lamentation.
The dark brown chink-log cabin looked rustic enough. Upon closer inspection, modern accouterments stood out. A roof-mounted satellite dish turned up to the southwestern sky, and a surveillance camera pointed in our direction. A deck had been added at some point and wrapped around the original structure. One section, with a hot tub, hammock, and rocking chairs, extended over the riverbank.
Cunningham owned an expensive collection of shotguns for his frequent hunting trips on the property. Had he kept them in this house? Probably not. He was an insurance executive after all.
Rich and Gone starts off with a great title and it goes to on tell an interesting and complex who-dun-it story spiced with lots of genuine southern flavor and the occasional bit of big money intrigue.
Things I especially liked:
- All the financial sleuthing, and the impressive research behind it.
- An older protagonist who trusts his hunches, is tech savvy, and who is finally having a love affair with the woman he’s yearned for, for forty years.
- Great descriptions of Florida and Georgia, and even better descriptions of the food and drink of the south
Things I struggled with:
- Too much background information about minor characters, especially those introduced late in the story
- A graphic sex scene between two minor characters and a graphic murder showing the homophobia involved — both scenes seemed out of place and gratuitous, as they were unnecessary to plot or character development
- Several cases of the protagonist figuring something out, or his future self chiming in about finding useful information, and then not telling the reader what the tidbit is
Even though the story didn’t quite fire on all cylinders for me, it’s a well-crafted crime novel with plenty of complexity and surprises. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.
About the Author:
W.F. Ranew is the author of Rich and Gone, a Red Farlow mystery set for publication May 29, 2019, by Tirgearr Publishing. He a former newspaper reporter, editor, and communication executive. He started his journalism career covering sports, police, and city council meetings at his hometown newspaper, The Quitman Free Press. He also worked as a reporter and editor for The Augusta Chronicle, The Florida Times-Union, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he was a news editor.
Ranew has written two previous novels: Schoolhouse Man and Candyman’s Sorrow. He lives in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Ga.
W. F. Ranew is giving away a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Nobel Gift card!
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