BOOK REVIEW: 'Hovering Above a Homicide': Ernie Creekmore Returns in a Novel of Hoops, Houses and Homicide in Washington State

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Hovering Above a Homicide': Ernie Creekmore Returns in a Novel of Hoops, Houses and Homicide in Washington State
Dear Readers, did you miss Ernie Creekmore as much as I did?

Ernie Creekmore? You respond.
Yes, the real estate agent and basketball coach  featured in Tom Kelly's "Cold Crossover."  My  Dec. 23, 2012 review:
http://www.huntingtonnews.net/52236


You don't have to read "Cold Crossover" to appreciate the old-school former basketball coach Creekmore. But I recommend getting a Kindle -- if that's your pleasure (it wouldn't be Old-School Ernie's, who loves print versions and is always misplacing his cell phone) or a used paperback. The writing is outstanding and Kelly knows how to make characters jump off the page.
 
Ernie is back in action -- and sometimes during the course of the mystery novel, out of action -- in "Hovering Above a Homicide" (Crabman Publishing, Rolling Bay, Bainbridge Island, WA,  240 pages, $14.99 print, also available in a $3.99 Kindle ebook from Amazon.com).

Who killed Tim Whalen? And why?

That's the question everybody in Skagit County, Washington, north of Seattle -- and even beyond -- is asking after Whalen is found shot to death in a house that's on the market.

Was it because of the North Fork real-estate agent’s rumored infidelities? Or those of his wife, Samantha? Was it because he was a “helicopter parent” who micro-managed his short-tempered basketball-star son? Perhaps he was murdered because he somehow got on the wrong side of the shadow network of sports hangers-on who brokered big-money deals to deliver talented young athletes into big-time sports programs.

Ernie Creekmore, real estate agent and semi-retired coach, is asked to help by his fishing buddy, Skagit County sheriff’s detective Harvey Johnston, when the investigation goes cold. But Ernie doesn’t like the idea that he’s apparently being asked to set up the cops’ top suspect: Trent Whalen, the troubled but talented son of the victim.

Besides, Ernie’s got a full plate as it is. He’s scouting prospects for a regional all-star basketball team as a way of easing back into coaching. He’s trying to cultivate sales prospects at work —and keep his irascible boss, Elinor "Cookie" Cutter,  off his back. And then there’s hot-to-trot Margie McGovern, Harvey's secretary, who’s trying to maneuver Ernie into a commitment -- something Ernie is not ready for.


The more Ernie pokes around, the more he’s disturbed to find out just how deeply corrupted the once snow-white world of high school sports has become. How fast the money runs. And how far someone might go to protect his — or her — secrets.

 The more he pokes around, the more he's subjected to rocks with dire warnings thrown through picture windows. And people in tinted window cars forcing his ancient VW Bus off the road.

"Hovering Above a Homicide" is as good as "Cold Crossover," with even more unforgettable characters.
 
A sidelight: Just as I was finishing the book, I heard a TV news reader -- that's what really they are, they read news off a teleprompter -- discuss a new book about parents of sports players and how they distort reality. "The Matheny Manifesto" was written by Mike Matheny, general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Jerry B. Jenkins. Matheny says most high school sports players would rather not have their parents at their games and they definitely don't want them hovering over them, "advancing" their careers. Matheny's hometown newspaper says:"[T]his book should be read by anybody who coaches a kids team, as well as the parents of those kids.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 
About the Author
"Hovering Above a Homicide" is the second book in Tom Kelly's Ernie Creekmore series featuring the adventures of legendary high school basketball coach turned real estate agent and amateur sleuth. The book finds Ernie trying to solve the murder of a helicopter parent whose body is discovered in a vacant home for sale. The first book, "Cold Crossover", introduces us to Ernie who gets word that his former start player Linnbert Cheese Oliver has gone missing from a late-night ferry boat.

 Before launching into fiction, Tom served The Seattle Times readers for 20 years, first as a sportswriter and later as real estate reporter, columnist and editor. His weekly features now appear in a variety of newspapers including the Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Louisville Courier-Journal, Tacoma News Tribune and Spokane Spokesman-Review plus hundreds of websites. His ground-breaking book "How a Second Home Can Be Your Best Investment" (McGraw-Hill, written with economist John Tuccillo) showed consumers and professionals how one additional piece of real estate could serve as an investment, recreation and retirement property over time. His other books include "Real Estate Boomers and Beyond: Exploring the Costs, Choices and Changes of Your Next Move" (Dearborn-Kaplan); "The New Reverse Mortgage Formula" (John Wiley & Sons); "Cashing In on a Second Home in Mexico" (Crabman Publishing, with Mitch Creekmore); "Cashing In on a Second Home in Central America" (Crabman Publishing, with Mitch Creekmore and Jeff Hornberger), and Bargains Beyond the Border (Crabman Publishing). Tom s award-winning radio show Real Estate Today has aired for 20 years on KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. The program also has been syndicated in 40 domestic markets and to 450 stations in 160 foreign countries via Armed Forces Radio. Tom and his wife, Jodi, Dean of the Humanities College at Seattle University, have four children and live on Bainbridge Island, WA, where they back the runnin , gunnin Bainbridge High Spartans when not wrestling with grandson Myles.



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