Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Matanzas Bay" by Parker Francis

I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries, but being from northeast Florida, and having been to St. Augustine many times, and also having met the author a couple of times, I wanted to read his latest book, a self-published ebook, on my Kindle. With a few exceptions on Goodreads, I've never reviewed a book before. So this is a first for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by the novel Matanzas Bay by Parker Francis. The writing is crisp and engaging. Wit and humor show through a number of passages. For example, "...and he stared at me as though I was a cockroach crawling over his Christmas ham."  And, "...I couldn't remember the last time I'd been hit on by an eighty-year-old woman." And there is a witty exchange between the main character and his girl friend that involves the titles of some of Shakespeare's plays.

As far as the mystery element goes, I didn't know who the murderer was until near the end, and then I wasn't sure until it actually came out.

The plot is complex, intriguing, and plausible.

On the negative side there are a number of editorial errors, at least in my edition. On this point, I give the book a grade of 'B' (a few errors, but doesn't affect the story).

I wish the author had given more descriptions of St. Augustine. He mentions many of the famous historical sites and their historical significance. But he doesn't paint a picture for us. Except for the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and the Matanzas Bay National Monument, which figure prominently in the story, they are just landmarks in his book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to a mystery buff. On that level it works very well. The characters are well drawn, and their interrelationships are masterful. Francis Parker has a talent for telling a good story. I look forward to reading his next mystery.

Matanzas Bay is available on and Barnes &


Tanya Reimer said...

Wow! Great review. It gives me a great sense of what to expect. Mysteries used to be my fav. Now, I'm expanding my reading outside this genre.

Jolene Perry said...

Sounds fun!

Ann Best said...

Hi, Richard. I saw your comment on my post yesterday, saying you had bought my book on Kindle. I hope you enjoy it. I whizzed through the first three chapters, holding my breath for "errors." I scrolled through the entire book, and found only two--blondhaired and Ahandsome. That's it. I'm SO relieved. Those few errors out of 80,000+ words is not bad, I think.

Editorial "errors" are so common these days. I think all publishers, self and traditional, especially some of the Small Press traditional, don't take enough time with editing. But my final editor and I read through mine three complete times. Sigh. You still miss something, but if it's very minor and the story is awesome, I'm okay with it.

Self-publishing can be a problem. I've read some excellent stories recently that are almost error-free and others that are terrible with comma and grammar errors. Yours, by the way, are in the first category. In fact, the writing is superb. You are great with dialogue. I'm great with it, too. And your description passages are excellent too. And the stories are interesting. As soon as I get my head together--it's rattled with all this sudden book promotion I have to do--I'm going to post a review for you as well as some other blogger followers. You are an impressive writer!

I hope you have a great weekend with your family!!

Sincerely, Ann