Dead Wrong

Ralph Zeta
Blue Iguana Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9780983916925
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/17)

“Dead Wrong” by Ralph Zeta is the second book in the Jason Justice mystery series about a divorce lawyer turned murder investigator.

Justice, divorce lawyer extraordinaire, loves his current lifestyle of living on a yacht, drinking, and beautiful women. He has no intention of changing this or seeking out dangerous cases. An unexpected phone call from millionaire Milton Lowry however, will change his life forever. Assuming that Lowry wants a divorce from his “controlling” wife, and with very little information to go on, Justice makes the trek to Lowry’s old run-down farmstead to find out the reasons behind all the secrecy. Lowry is a well respected figure in the community as a philanthropist, real estate developer and world traveler. His wife Gabriela Benitez married Lowry for his money as a way to get out of her financial difficulty.

As Justice arrives at the neglected farmhouse, he discovers the front door ajar – his first clue he should leave, and leave fast. Receiving no answer from his call out to Lowry, he encounters rasping sounds as if someone is struggling to breath. He sees a senior man being strangled by someone decked out in camouflage, using a garrote to silence him. Before Justice can take any action, a sharp blow to the back of his head leaves him unconscious. Local Sheriff Powell is having a hard time believing Justice’s account as there is no evidence of a murder at the farmhouse. The biggest question being, “How do you figure into all this Mr. Justice?”

Zeta does an excellent job of capturing the reader’s attention from the very first page. As each character with a motive to kill Lowry comes forth, the author's vivid descriptions incite speculation and assumptions about who did the “deed.” Zeta characters will invoke strong opinions from his readers, who will end up either loving or hating the potential murder suspects.

The authors writing style draws readers in with the complex plot twists, along with the detailed thoughts and experiences of each character, and how they present those behaviors and thoughts to others. His narrative gives readers the opportunity to involve themselves in the investigation as they try to figure out who gains most from Lowry’s death.

What most drew me into the story was how Jason steps out of his comfort zone to explore different options and reevaluate his profession. For me as a reader, that shows great character development, as he is willing to grow both in his inner-self and profession.

“Dead Wrong” by Ralph Zeta is a fast-paced, intriguing story that you won’t be able to put down. At 326 pages this is a thrilling read, as each character and their motives provide unexpected revelations and dark secrets one would expect from a good mystery. I highly recommend this murder mystery.

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