This is a worthy addition to the 'almost accidental' (and unlicensed) private detective mystery genre. I didn't realize it was part of a series until I got to the end, so it can definitely be read on its own. Mac just tries to do a favor for an old friend and what happens? Mayhem and murder and mysterious mobsters!
Clearly I've got to go get the rest of Housewright's books now!
From back cover: It started innocently enough. An elderly beekeeper asked Mac McKenzie to find out why his bees were suddenly dying. Asking a few questions isn't a big deal for Mac, but it looks like the beekeeper's neighbor, Frank Crosetti, doesn't like nosy people. Crosetti stuck around just long enough to make some nasty threats, then disappeared, leaving behind a dead body...and a very angry Mac McKenzie. With only a faint trail to follow--and some very suspicious federal agents gunning for him--Mac is forced to dive underground. But he'll find Crosetti even if it means sniffing aoround the Twin Cities' darkest corners. No one's going to stop Mac--unless of course they kill him.
#2 Mac MacKenzie mystery set in and around the Twin Cities, MN. Mac works as a private investigator but due to having his own financial resources, often takes cases without a paying client. In this book, Mr. Mosley, and old friend of his father's, asks him to look into what could be causing the demise of the honeybees in his hives. Mac hires a research assistant to a friend of his at the University to go out and take soil samples--and when she ends up getting shot at by an unknown farmer, Mac pays the farm a visit and ends up embroiled in a case of a rogue mafia don and a rogue FBI agent having a power struggle.
The problem is, Mac's friends end up getting in the crossfire, with Mr. Mosley dead and his lawyer's wife attacked. Determine to find the man who killed Mr. Mosley and bring him to justice, Mac passes himself off as a journalist from South Dakota doing a story on the city of Hilltop, a small enclave that seceded from the suburb of Columbia Heights. The FBI agent resides there temporarily and Mac wants to find out what he is up to in the hopes that he will be led to the mafia guy, whom he believes is responsible for Mr. Mosley's death.
As much as I enjoy the writing style and the wonderful local color and ambiance, I find this story, much like the first in this series, to be too fantastical to be believed. Far too many coincidences, and the main character has an almost super-hero list of friends who will go to no end of trouble to do very big, very strange favors for him. I mean, it's almost laughable at times, and I found myself snorting and mumbling, "yeah, right!" because it was one extremely-unlikely situation after another. Still, I did mostly enjoy it and liked the little history lesson about Hilltop as well.
"Raymond Chandler with tongue-in-cheek humor..." from the cover. Lots of action and interesting characters.
Excellent mystery, also for all you Minnesotans out there. Who knows where Norwood young America is?