One Good Man – Del Staecker

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

“That voice and his love of music made him a legend—a true living legend.”

Atlantic City’s whiskey-voiced radio DJ, “Jersey Shore Joe” had enough. Music and times were changing; it was time for this 1960s and ’70s legend to retire. He buys a cheap boat to restore and moves to Ocean City to temporarily live with his niece who runs an inn. He’s going to live the quiet and slow life.

Or not…Joe finds himself feeling sorry for a teenage girl whose friend is missing. He wants to do what he can to help her and right all the possible wrongs. It’s not that simple though, as he later to finds himself trapped in a brutal crime network bursting with drugs, prostitution and murder. No one is who they seem—from gangsters to cops—everyone is on the take.

One Good Man is a fast-paced thriller that is dark and gritty with characters to reflect the story. This is in contrast to the naïve Joe, who is easily manipulated and just wants to be liked. His popularity both helps and hinders him.

The characters are distinct and well-explored. I wasn’t sure that I would like the story in the beginning. I usually like my thrillers with all of the characters dark and disturbing, like the perverted sleuth or psycho P.I. I’m not use to liking my characters—any of them. As I read on, I was pleasantly surprised. Though Joe is a nice guy, the story is not for the faint of heart; it is graphic and disturbing.

More importantly, there are so many unexpected twists and turns with dead ends to match. Right when you (and Joe) think you’ve figured it all out, boom, there’s more.

I didn’t predict the final ending, but it was satisfying and made total sense.

I recommend The Good Man for those who crave a strong thriller with characters to match. You won’t be disappointed.

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