Title: Stick ‘em up!
By Author: Joyce A. Laird
NO STARS. NONE.
Police characters: Tom Ringer, Jessica Hiller. (Patrol officers I think. It was never really divulged what they were aside from two people getting out of a squad car.)
The gist: The safe at Rod & Reel Sporting Goods store had been robbed. The thief was dressed like a cowboy, with a bandana covering his face, and he took off towards the fairgrounds where a Wild West Festival was being held. Sam, the owner, reported that besides the bandana, the thief wore a black cowboy hat, had dark eyes but he was squinting so he couldn’t really be sure, was tall and thin, and was walking funny. When asked about the ‘funny walk’ he said he walked strange. No other description was given. He said the guy had a pearl-handled .45.
One of the store’s employees, Jack, was on probation for some juvenile ‘stupidity’. but the owner felt that Jack was not the thief. During the police interview of Sam, Jack showed up from a visit to the probation office because he had gotten a text to check in, but when he got there it was closed. The owner of the store next door, Marjorie, came in next demanding to know why the police were there. She came in with her manager, Frank. Marjorie put her arm around Sam and told the officers that Sam had a heart condition and added, “hasn’t he give you enough information?”
Frank pointed to Jack the probationer and said, as his dark eyes flashed, that he warned Sam not to hire the kid.
The cops knew who the robber was.
Crime scene: Rod & Reel Sporting Goods store.
Clues: Dark, flashing eyes. How stupid is that? How many people in this world have dark eyes? And the store owner wasn’t even sure about that because the guy was squinting. Ay-yi-yi.
Suspects: Jack the probationer, some random cowboy from the festival, or the dark flashing eyed guy, Frank.
Red herrings: None. Lord, I wish there were some in this dumb story.
Solution: Frank knew about the safe. He was the same build as Jack only shorter, so he boosted his height using lifts which gave him an unusual gait. Then using a disposable cell phone Frank sent Jack a text, allegedly from his probation officer, in order to get him out of the way and under suspicion. What Frank forgot was his eye color was different from Jack, who had light blue eyes.
My two cents: Holy cow poke poop. What a mess this was. The solution was almost a whole column long. It had to be because besides the dark eyes clue, there was little for the reader to go on. Of course the dark eyes clue was enough really in this sadly written tale. The only thing I liked was that there was a Wild West show in town. I thought that was fun and could lead to a great set-up. Sadly, I was wrong.
How did Frank know about the safe? That wasn’t revealed in the story. I suppose the reader has to guess?
Putting lifts in your boots doesn’t give you an unusual gait. That was just dumb.
A disposable cell phone? (rolling eyes here) You know, we do have caller ID. If the probation office had called, it would show up on Caller ID. Duh.
The fact that Marjorie told the cops to leave Sam alone and ‘hasn’t he given you enough information’ just boggles the mind. First of all how would she know what information he gave the cops? Secondly, she’s interfering with a police investigation. She’s lucky she didn’t get a fast boot out the door, or a seat in the back of a patrol car.
Probation officers don’t send text messages. If Jack thought that it was a real text for him to report, why didn’t he call the probation officer instead of running down to the office in the middle of a work day?
Clue: The dark eyes was okay, but we didn’t learn that Jack had blue eyes until the solution. That’s just wrong. How can the reader figure out the answer if the clue is missing? The lifts/gait thing was also a very bad clue. Again, no mention of the heights of these individuals, so how would the reader even know to think about that sort of thing? We didn’t know that one guy was shorter. We didn’t even know that they had similar builds. There was so much missing in this story, it should never had made it past the first reader’s cut.
Police Work: They let other people into the store in the middle of their investigation to listen to and hear what was going on. Just not done.
Writing : What can I say? I think the reader is the one who got robbed. The whole thing was just dreadful.
Characters: Confusing, missing information, no likeable people here.