This book was a quick and pleasant read. The writing is straightforward and clear, with very few errors. Police Chief Sam Jenkins tells of his first week or so back on the job in a small Tennessee town, after having been retired for more than a decade, from New York. He is greeted on his first full day with a murder to solve, and a good ol’ boy network to navigate.
Sam is an honest cop, and a good man. I often felt like I was reading his highly detailed personal journal. The writing is tasteful -- as tasteful as talk of murder and certain vices can be. There’s no sensationalism, no great acts of heroism, no comic book villains, no pervasive seaminess. This was a nice change, from my usual reading.
Sounds bland, right? Well, not quite. Coming out of retirement to a job he didn’t really need, Sam had a certain style of humor and irreverence, and a low tolerance for scheming and politics.
The author does a nice job of presenting southern dialect: “If y’all would take ya seats… Before we git inta reg’lar bidness, I’d like ta introduce Sam Jenkins, our new po-leece chief…”
And, the author can turn a phrase. He refers to cops out to write traffic tickets: “... provide the public service that makes the public nervous.” A bar-room suspect: “In eighty-five degrees, Luttrell wore a plaid wool shirt with the sleeves cut off at the shoulder seams, beneath Liberty brand, denim overalls. His arms were big and tattooed. [He] smelled like his fashion choice might be more suited to a cooler climate.” Of a sting operation: “... the state cops played Buck like a hillbilly banjo.”
I recommend this book. As to a whole series of Sam Jenkins books -- maybe not… I may prefer this style of writing only for occasional palate cleansing.
There is a new sheriff in town, literally and figuratively. His is Sammy to his lovely wife and very close friends.
After retiring from an NYC police department at the ripe old age of fifty, he and his wife settled down in a small Tennessee town. Reaching the age when many people do retire, sixty-four, he applies for and begins a new career as police chief of Prospect.
Not even a week into his new endeavor, a wealthy resident is found dead at a Car Show. This event is when his and that of his new work environment come into conflict over Sam's abilities to conduct the murder investigation.
His style endears some and his respect increases as Sam goes about business even though hindered by his boss and wealthy individuals. The chief's secret investigation takes interesting turns, and how he conducts himself sets the tone for future series novels.
Mr. Zurl's understanding of the human character comes across in his prose especially in applying Sam's NYC cultural abilities to Tennessee's simple slow pace of life. Stimulating, sometimes comical, and easy flowing, you'll enjoy the characters in A New Prospect.
I have read other novels by Wayne and will return for more.
Southern Culture at it's Best. I interviewed Wayne Zurl on my online radio show OFF The Chain. And then I read this book. Being from the south ie Georgia and having family in Eastern Tenn. I was not sure that he got IT! Boy was I impressed. You see Wayne is from New York and a retired cop to boot. When he moved south he found himself in a culture shock. The New Prospect nails, the culture and the dialogue of the south, especially in small towns. The story line flows like a rambling, lazy brook that washes over the rocks and makes them smooth as silk. I found myself saying , "Just one more chapter." Wayne made me homesick for southern cooking, southern hospitality and southern living, That slow, laid back - good ole'boy attitude - Politics in the south is done with a glass of bourbon and a handshake. Secrets go deep and not discussed in polite company. Grudges follow generations. I cannot wait to see where the next book takes the new Sheriff in town Sam Jenkins, as he tries to adjust to his life in the deep south from his life in New York. Well Done!!!!
It took a little bit for me to engage with Jenkins' character, somewhat old time sexist and constantly judging every female's physical value as if it were an obvious necessity, but once I got into the story, I have to say that I was hooked. There were parts that at first glance seemed extraneous, but drew me into the background paths that completely enriched the main story line. The humor is very well placed, self deprecating and flawlessly executed - usually an unexpected break in the tension that just makes you want to throw your arm around the author's shoulders with a quick grateful chuckle. The references may overwhelm a young reader at times, but are well "touché-d" for the older one. The smooth prose keeps you flowing along, fully engaged, though I'm not sure that the culprit came with fair indication [having to read the book in short spurts, however, could have been the problem]. As it ended, I wished it not to...and I will definitely be picking up another Jenkins instalment in the future. He just good o' boy-ed his way into my heart! This was a Voracious Readers Only copy that was pure savory pleasure!
I really enjoyed this book. New author for me, but the story was like a warm blanket on a cold night...Love a good murder mystery! So Sam, a New York City detective retires and moves to Tennessee with his wife. After a few years he gets bored and decides to apply for the unexpected, newly opened position of Sheriff. All is going well and Sam's settling in and then there's a murder. But Sam is told not to investigate, that another department will handle this. Seems to Sam something smells bad, real bad. He investigates. Good writing, good story. I happened to enjoy how the author used the Southern drawl to individualize the way people responded and spoke. Very relaxing for me. If you enjoy a good murder mystery, this book is for you. Glad to know this is the first of a series already written.
I really enjoyed "Pigeon River Blues," a later entry in this series, so I decided to go back to the beginning. I'm glad I did. "A New Prospect" is one of the stronger "origin" stories I've encountered. Sam Jenkins emerges as a fully realized character right from the first page. One of Wayne Zurl's strengths as a storyteller is the way he allows his stories to unfold at a leisurely, but never lazy pace. He is also adept at creating believable characters who are more than just stock figures or caricatures. He does exceptionally well with his female characters, notably Sam's wife, Kate. It's refreshing to see a police story where the character has a stable home life and a solid marriage. All too often, good mysteries are derailed by the dysfunction in the lead character's life. None of that here. Also, Sam relates in an easy-flowing, natural relationship, with Bettye, the officer who holds it all together in the day to day operation of his small town police department. The banter between the two as the story progresses is reminiscent of the repartee between James Garner and Mariette Hartley in the old Polaroid commercials. The conflict in the story arises when Sam, after several years of retirement, takes on the job of chief of police in a small town in East Tennessee. Expecting life and work to resemble something out of "Mayberry, RFD," he is almost immediately disabused of that notion when a murder occurs at a vintage car show. Shouldn't be hard to solve, right? After all, it's a small, quiet community where murders just don't occur. Turns out, though, that the victim is a hugely unsavory person who seems to have deserved his fate, and the suspect pool is correspondingly large. Of course, the murderer is hiding in plain sight. It's just up to Sam to determine who it is.In spite of the relaxed pace of the storytelling, the investigation is satisfyingly suspenseful. For Sam Jenkins, "A New Prospect" represented a new beginning. It will for readers, too. After putting this one down, you'll want more of Sam Jenkins.
Mr. Zurl is a mighty fine storyteller. Here he gifts readers with Sam Jenkins. He’s come out of retirement to be a Chief of Police in Tennessee. He’s an honest man and a good cop. He’s there to make sure the right thing is done and that things are done right. The characters in this book are magnificently developed. I particularly enjoyed Kate, the Chief’s wife, and Betty, the officer who keeps things organized and moving forward at the office. It’s a mystery. It’s well crafted. And it takes readers on an interesting ride-a-long.
I really liked this book. I'm not a fan of southern themes, even thought I read every James Lee Biurke book. This book has every thing I look for, good character lead, humor in the midst of crime, likable and unlikeable characters, soul, compassion and although there is a smattering of the F-bomb, the complexity and intrigue keep me in the game. First time I've read this guy Zurl, and I'm glad to see there are more to choose from. A bit to much room and clothing description at times but nothing I couldn't skip over to look for the quote marks. The dialogue was great, New Your and Smoky Mountain lingo is fun.
This is the prequel to the Sam Jenkins series (at least I think it is, I’ve read all the other books in the series and only recently came across this one, I recommend reading it first). This is the beginning of Sam’s new career as Chief of Prospect PD. Having spent his law enforcement career in New York, small town Prospect sounded like a cakewalk, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Sam is faced with small town politics, a disgusting victim who honestly deserved to die, and interference in his investigation into the man’s death. I’ve yet to read a Sam Jenkins novel that I couldn’t give 5 stars to, this one is now different!
Typically I receive books for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, however this is a verified purchase.
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Living in Colorado, I've always said if I didn't live here, I'd live in Tennessee, somewhere near Gatlinburg. When we lived in Ohio, we spent lots of time in the Smokies. Therefore, Wayne Zurl's books about the area are right up my alley and he doesn't disappoint me whatsoever. My husband is also a retired career detective as well as a small-town Chief of Police, so these books wrap all of my loves up and tie them with a pretty bow. I love the humor in his style of writing, mixed in with a good portion of down-to-earth police procedure. To me, this is a can't miss book and I loved it.