Local author Frank Zafiro’s latest mystery novel “At This Point in My Life” is a powerful examination of love, loss, regret and justice. It is also a thoughtful look at growing older and hopefully finding some wisdom and character along the way.
“At This Point in My Life” is the story of retired Spokane police detective Jack “Mac” McCrae and what happens after he sets out to a small town in Oregon to try to find a young woman who may be his daughter.
He is accompanied by the missing woman’s sister Rachel Kittredge. Mac and Rachel’s investigation soon leads to them uncovering horrible secrets in her family’s past and running afoul of her sinister uncle who controls the town.
The novel is an effective, carefully plotted morality play that begs to be adapted as a movie. Zafiro keeps the scale of the story fairly understated and realistic, but there is enough drama and suspense to keep readers on the edges of their seats as a seemingly simple case repeatedly puts Mac and Rachel in the path of danger.
Zafiro also deftly explores the internal life of his over the hill protagonist. Mac has a bunch of health problems, and his eyes aren’t so good any more. He finds retirement unfulfilling because it gives him too much time to think about how he feels like he never really achieved anything.
A life-long bachelor, Mac doesn’t have any family or even any friends outside of the police department. He sees the quest to find the missing woman is his chance to finally do something that truly matters.
The novel is told from Mac’s perspective. Zafiro uses his wry narration to ease readers into both a dark mystery and some profound thoughts about growing older. As Mac applies his methodical approach to helping Rachel, his moral outrage and his beliefs about how people should treat each other will probably cause readers to realize some important things about themselves along the way.
Zafiro’s mastery of his art is on display in the first chapter. As Mac walks readers through his last day on the job and a property crime case he doesn’t even get to solve, the author appears to be telling a fairly light procedural story that would appeal to fans of his River City short stories. Readers will soon discover that what he was really doing was laying the groundwork for the gut wrenching drama that comes later.
“At This Point in My Life” is more than just an engaging mystery. Zafiro has much wisdom to share with his readers. People in the Spokane area who are over 30 will probably see some of their own struggles reflected in Mac’s inner life, and they might just get some encouragement from what Mac learns about himself. If there is hope for Mac, there is hope for the rest of us as well.
Mystery lovers in the greater Spokane area who own Kindles can download “At This Point in My Life” from Amazon for only $2.99.