Gary Reed’s third novel Things Could Get Ugly continues to deliver the high-quality mystery writing of his two earlier works. This time out Reed focuses on Jack O’Brien, an ambitious and good-hearted reporter in Covington, Kentucky, who is looking for a career-boosting story. His quest gets complicated when he runs afoul of gangsters, pimps, crooked cops, morally dubious elected officials, and the worst kind of racism—the kind that frames an innocent black man for murder.
That’s not all. In 1939 the Great Depression continues its stranglehold at home and abroad. More ominous, in Europe the NAZIs are on the move. Covington serves as a microcosm of the world at large, a world that desperately needs heroes—and love. Jack’s sterling moral compass and dogged determination to be a bone fide journalist tackles them all—and finds love along the way.
Reed, a well known Greater Cincinnati attorney, has a knack for writing well-researched mysteries that shine a spotlight on relevant social issues used to fuel a cracking good plot. He makes us care about those caught in the grinding wheels of oppression. But Reed gives us a bonus: a love story that deeply humanizes the hero.
Yes. I loved Things Could Get Ugly.