Title: My Man Walter
Author: J.S. Cook
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 236 Pages
At a Glance: I can’t say enough about all of J.S. Cook’s stories, but My Man Walter was outstanding.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: Billionaire inventor Chase Gordon has just turned forty—and everything in his ordered little world is going to hell in an Hermès bag. His acerbic English butler Juliet Lavish has decided to retire. The humanitarian church founded by his late parents has suddenly gone broke—in the middle of the jungle—in Honduras. Lastly, NYPD detective Brian Schrade wants to use Chase’s palatial mansion to hide Walter Godfrey, a newspaper reporter who might know something about a recent rash of mob-related business deals. Part of the deal is the conniving, misanthropic Alec Pratt, son of a local newspaper mogul and unapologetic police informant who just might have a teensy weensy crush on Brian Schrade.
But Walter isn’t safe, not at Chase’s residence or anywhere else. His too-frequent forays into the city—against Brian Schrade’s advice—make him a target, and his strong attraction to Chase Gordon is setting him up for some serious heartbreak. When Chase goes to Honduras to investigate the state of his family’s failing fortunes, he adds another trouble to the long list: he’s been set up for kidnapping.
Review: Walter Godfrey was a reporter for the Times until he was fired. He’s made some prominent people upset by reporting on their criminal acts and then naming names. One of those people is Franklyn Pratt, the owner of the paper, and the Masettis crime family, who want Walter silenced. Walter wants the big story, and he thinks he’ll get it by being a butler for the elusive Chase Gordon.
Chase Gordon may be rich and have a reputation, but he is a lonely soul–the day after he lost his parents, he also lost the ability to walk. He’s invented the bionic exoskeleton, a type of body suit that gives him the ability to walk and could be beneficial to others. He also has the responsibility of managing the family fortune, so when financial troubles occur, he’s off to Honduras where he’s kidnapped.
Along the way, Walter and Chase become familiar with each other and find they have a love for music, and Walter’s perception of Chase changes. They both have had tragedies in their lives and they carry guilt, which they haven’t learned to let go of.
Detective Brian Schrade is after the Masettis mob and has set Walter up to think he’s at Gordonstoun’s to get the big story, but in truth, Walter’s there to be protected. Brian has the perfect “snitch,” Alec Pratt, who’s experienced in the being-a-snitch area. Alec, being the only son to Franklyn Pratt, doesn’t have a very good reputation amongst the reporters. He’s just the big pain and a nuisance for everyone. But being disliked gives Alec an opportunity to find out about illegal happenings. He and his father don’t have a relationship, and Alec wants to bring Franklyn Pratt down. At times Alec feels that no one cares about him, and he doesn’t think anyone can love him, but Brian has his eye on Alec for more than one reason, and his patience is wearing thin. Alec is an interesting character. At first I was suspicious of him, but as the story progressed he became a favorite. And even though Brian seems like a tough guy, he’s really not, and he fears for Alec’s life.
Both Walter and Alec wind up at Gordonstoun, being schooled by none other than Juliet Lavish. She’s worked for the Gordon’s for years and is ready to retire. She’s feisty and really lights a fire under Alec. Juliet is definitely the heroine of this tale. She has connections that come in handy, and seems to be one step ahead of everyone. She’s definitely not “a foolish old woman.”
I can’t say enough about all of J.S. Cook’s stories, but My Man Walter was outstanding. There’s not one romance going on in this book but two! The author gives us an abundance of likable and not so likable characters, along with a tension filled plot, danger, suspense, drug and human trafficking. There’s also the moments of sadness with our MCs, Walter and Chase, and the tragedy of losing loved ones and knowing when it’s time for letting go. Most of the entertaining books that I have read by J.S. Cook have been set in historical eras, but this novel is set in 2014, though she mixes in music from the past and references the movie My Man Godfrey.
You can buy My Man Walter here: