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Choker: An Ike Schwartz Mystery    by Frederick Ramsay order for
by Frederick Ramsay
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

One of my favorite characters is Ike Schwartz, a police chief in the small Shenendoah town of Picketville, VA. Satanism seems to have come to Picketville in the guise of its young people. Ike leaves before the advent of the discovery of Satan amongst the town's youngsters to take a vacation in a rented house on Chesapeake Bay.

While readers learn of the problems the local fishermen have with the questionable progress that has been made in the Chesapeake area and has ruined their crabbing livelihood, Ike is drawn back into the CIA to help a former colleague find what happened to his niece's fiancÚ. The young man had been flying over the area when he disappeared from the radar.

An operation begins that boggles the mind. A terrorist plot may be involved, possibly the next 9/11. While Ike is drawn back into the machinations of the CIA, Picketville, under the auspices of the deputy chief, is alarmed by Satan and the new pastor at the Episcopalian church finds himself trying to mollify everyone instead of taking a stand.

Chief Ike always comes out ahead in his series but it's a close call in this episode. Author Frederick Ramsey has created some true-to-life players and the interaction of the residents of Picketville could easily be that of real small town America. The plot works and works well. Choker is great beach reading.

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