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Homicide cop Bobby Dunston's daughter has been kidnapped, taken in broad daylight on a city street in the middle of September. The kidnappers demand a million dollars and force Dunston to get the ransom from his friend Rushmore McKenzie. It soon becomes apparent to both of them that one of the kidnappers is childhood pal Scottie, a once aspiring drummer now gone astray, and that the kidnapping is payback for "crimes" they committed in their past.
Of course McKenzie, a former cop and now unlicensed P.I., handles the ransom drop-off and the child is returned safely. But Scottie is soon brutally murdered (maybe that's Mac's fault and maybe it isn't) and someone takes out an open contract on McKenzie, using his own money to pay for it. Dodging attempts on his life from assassins of all shapes and sizes, McKenzie now has precious little time to uncover the mastermind behind it all if he's going to survive.
Praise for MADMAN ON A DRUM:
"Hate, revenge and old-fashioned greed propel Edgar-winner Housewright's stellar fifth mystery to feature former St. Paul, Minn., cop Rushmore McKenzie. Housewright's chivalric noir hero never fails to charm, whether mourning a St. Paul that's lost much of its colorful, if shady, past or busting a bestial dogfight entrepreneur out in the chilly countryside. Against a realistic Minnesota backdrop, this homage to Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer raises cutting questions about crime and punishment and today's price of friendship and loyalty. Of course, McKenzie knows it's all about money, but Housewright makes it so fresh and real it hurts." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Housewright returns with another noir-tinged mystery starring St. Paul detective Rushmore McKenzie. Lots of narrative momentum and exciting scenes." --Booklist
"McKenzie's subtle humor keeps the tension from boiling over, but don't expect any breaks in the action." --Minnesota Monthly