Monday, May 17, 2010

Portrait of Deadly Excess

D. Jeffrey Ostling
Xlibris (2009)
ISBN 9781441507075
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (04/10)

When Van Hazard, a free lance investigator, gets a mysterious, desperate phone call from a friend, he rushes over to the house to find it ablaze. Unable to save the caller, and another friend, Hazard is able to rescue a young man with a very unusual story.  According to this witness, who was also badly burned, the assailant was a man named Kane who is supposedly already dead.  As Hazard investigates further, he discovers a series of victims whose bodies resemble husks.  As unimaginable as it may seem, it appears that Kane is stealing the life from these victims via his paintings.
Not being the type of person to believe in the supernatural, Hazard gets further involved in the case.  As he investigates, he also has to deal with other undesirable characters and racist cops.  He immediately rectifies many of the situations, and teaches the undesirables that it is really not good to get on his bad side.  Having extensive training in self defense tactics, he gets to put his abilities to use on both the bad guys and some bad cops.  He definitely had me in his corner rooting for him. 
Hazard has his hands full with trying to keep himself alive, while also trying to figure out exactly what is going on.  While he is hard headed, he is also very level minded so, the allegations of a dead man committing these crimes just does not make sense.   He also has to figure out really quickly who he can trust and who is against him.  He is fortunate enough to have a tough girlfriend who can kick some major butt.  Working with him, she helps him infiltrate some of the darker places so that he can get the information that he needs. Nothing comes easily though.  This is one interesting case.
I totally enjoyed reading "Portrait of Deadly Excess." I liked that the main characters were strong and not easily taken in by the supernatural elements of the case. I also enjoyed the uniqueness of the individual characters, especially the bad ones. They gave the story so much more flavor.  This suspense definitely has an incredibly unique plot.  I feel that other readers will really appreciate the uniqueness of this story and look forward to future adventures with Hazard.