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The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen #Review

The Question Is Murder
Setting – Washington D.C.
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pen-L Publishing (May 14, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683132246
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683132240
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091RNCRQ7

Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified?

That’s the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not.

So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions.

As his investigation into the Senator’s death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can’t let go—even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can’t back down until the killer—whoever that may be—is brought to justice.

But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can murder ever be justified? That is the question Sam Turner aka Mr. Ethics, a Washington D.C. newspaper columnist is asked in an email from “Truly Desperate”. He feels compelled to learn the mystery woman’s story even though he shouldn’t get personally involved. She tells him the man harassing her is a powerful Washington insider and she believes the only way to stop him is to kill him. No names are revealed but when Senator Wade Morgan is murdered he has a bad feeling that he was the man referred to in the email and his involvement may come back to bite him big time. Instead of backing off, he jumps all in on his own investigation putting his job, his life, and the mysterious woman’s life in danger.

Sam Turner receives many emails for his Mr. Ethics newspaper column but this one draws him in and he makes some terrible decisions which he tries to justify throughout the entire story. Told from multiple points of view the author takes the reader on quite a journey as Sam gets deeper and deeper into the case. The suspect’s first-person accounts really give the story depth but there is some repetition that messed with the flow.

The author brings many ethical questions to light as his characters try to validate what was done. All the characters have flaws and I did have sympathy for their plight. Sam really is at a crossroads in his life and the email plus the suspects are a challenge to him.  Truly Desperate is also struggling but is she guilty?  Is the Senator’s wife involved? What other enemies did the Senator have? I did enjoy the chase. Sam involves his co-workers and other contacts to try to find answers but the entire investigation was a little fuzzy. For that reason, I felt the ending was a little abrupt. Questions were answered but after the ride we had been taken on I just expected more. I felt like the author noticed his word/page count and felt like he just needed to wrap things up.

The theme of The Question is Murder is fantastic, ethics in D.C. is always a slippery slope. I was just very disappointed in the ending. I am open to reading more by this author because this story had a great start but the author seems to have lost his way heading into the conclusion. For me, this is a 3-Star book which is a conundrum because my rating system states those are a Satisfactory Excursion but I was not satisfied with the way the story played out at all.

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About the Author

Mark Willen has been a reporter, editor, producer, columnist, and blogger at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. He has published and broadcast hundreds of nonfiction articles from datelines as varied as New York, Concord, N.H., Moscow, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Mark retired from full-time journalism in December 2010 to devote his energies to writing fiction. His short stories have been published in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. The Question Is Murder is his fourth novel.

Mark also leads a writer’s workshop for teenagers and serves as a volunteer tax preparer for elderly and low-income clients. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

Visit Mark’s Website here.

Also by Mark Willen

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”