Don’t Look Back: A Mack & M Mystery
By: Stephen Winn
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: October 2022
ISBN: 978-1639885800
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 19, 2022
Stephen Winn pens a winning formula of intrigue, murder, mystery, and who-done-it in his latest Mack & M Mystery Series, Don’t Look Back.
Mackenzie (Mack) Sampson is a relatively successful private investigator. A few years back, he was an even greater detective with Boston Homicide. Detective Nik Lewis, Mack’s boss, used to think as much at one time. That was until Mack screwed up royally by not only showing up drunk to a crime scene but compromising the evidence as well. There were no more ‘get out of jail free’ cards for Mack and Detective Lewis told him that when he fired him on the spot that fateful day.
Fast-forward a few years later and Mack is doing ‘okay’ but the reality is if he doesn’t pull in new business soon, it won’t be long before the doors to his business close permanently. Mack reminisces back to that time when the love of his life Jamie was still alive and how he got to where he is now. Back then, his feet were planted firmly on the ground and he and Janie were destined to live happily ever after until a devastating car accident took Jamie away from him. That’s when alcohol and prescription drugs set up permanent residency in Mack’s life that eventually ruined his professional life as a detective with Boston Homicide. A few years later, he opens his private investigation firm. However, business has been less than great and Mack is worried about yet another devastating closure in his book of life.

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Hope shines bright when one least expects it and such is the case for Mack. It seems a body is found in the trunk of an abandoned vehicle outside one of the local watering holes. The car, however, isn’t your typical ‘beater.’ Rather it is a Bently and it just so happens to belong to Bill Stewart, esteemed partner of John Whiting in the successful Royal Ransom import business. John smells a rate and doesn’t trust the local law enforcement to get to the bottom of what really happened to his partner. It’s a win-win situation for both John Whiting and Mack the day he walks through the doors of Mack’s business. For Whiting, the prospect of getting to the truth and for Mack, the offer of $100,000 to keep his business doors open to see another day. What Mack doesn’t know is this God-sent pay day is going to lead him down some very interesting paths before he can stamp the file ‘case closed.’