Light, quick reading, Stiff In The Freezer by J.R. Ripley, is a thriller
laced with a good dose of humor.
We meet our hero, Tony Kozol, a Florida lawyer disbarred in a frame up by his former client, crime boss, Michael Razner. Razner found out Kozol was
dallying with his girl, stripper Pamela Brown, and took revenge; a pretty mild
response for a cuckolded Mafioso-type.
When Kozol's Uncle Jonathan offers to sell his fast food joint to him for a dollar, Kozol - down, out and broke - agrees. Jonathan, riding high on a
windfall of money he unexpectedly inherited tosses the restaurant keys to his
nephew and, with his wife Louise, rushes off to embark on a cruise.
Totally at a loss as how to run the business, Kozol relies on the staff.
Inspired to clean up the slovenly place, Kozol and manager, Joe, discover a
stiff in the freezer. It's none other than Razner.
The cops arrive on the scene and point the finger at Kozol. (If I sound
Runyanesque, it's with reason. Ripley's dialog and bumbling characters smack
of Damon Runyan's style.)
Determined to exonerate himself, Kozol sets out to do his own sleuthing with the help of just hired, temporary employee and looker, Nina Lasher.
In and out of jail, nearly killed in a deliberate hit and run, bopped and
bruised, our hero perseveres. Ripley adds a little love interest here and
there, but nothing spicy enough to dog-ear the page.
Never mind that no one can locate the cruise ship to question Uncle Jonathan.
The police claim there are just too many travel agents in town. Huh? And
never mind no one with an ounce of intelligence would have agreed to take over
a business in that way. Maybe it's just as well Kozol was disbarred.
Overlooking this sort of implausibility, it's a good read for the holidays
when we have little time to get into anything deeper, and it's perfect for an
afternoon at the beach.
Stiff In The Freezer provides humor for light readers. If you are
yearning for a quick mystery read, light, fluffy entertainment, try J.R.
Ripley's Stiff In The Freezer, a Tony Kozol mystery. This is the initial
book in the Tony Kozol Mystery Series.
Tony, a young struggling Florida attorney, had been debarred from his
profession because of being framed in his dealings with a noted local "hood."
His uncle, his only living relative, calls him in and tells him that he, the
uncle, has received an inheritance and he and his wife are leaving on a world
cruise, and the uncle is giving Tony the fast food restaurant, Dairy Delites.
Uncle Jonathan departs and Tony's troubles begin. One might not
think it murder running a restaurant, but Tony quickly finds it so.
Among some of the first minor problems of not knowing how to run a
restaurant arises the major problem of Tony's life; the finding in a large
box in the restaurant's freezer, the body of the man who caused him to be
debarred as an attorney. From then on fireworks go off in every direction.
Tony is practically buried in problems Everything he touches turns into a
problem for him.
The story is lighthearted, sexy, funny and entertaining.
Well-plotted, it rises to an amazing finale. The characters are well-drawn,
interesting and believable. . .You'll enjoy it.
The Tribune (Oklahoma)