Cold Slice
by L.T. Fawkes
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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After a brief stint in jail, Terry Saltz is rebuilding his life. During his incarceration for a bar room brawl and beyond, Terry lost his job as an accomplished carpenter. His no-good wife  left with his beloved truck as well.

When he's released to the free world, the only thing Terry has to his name is a long-standing friendship with his buddy Danny, who is kind enough to offer the former jailbird a place to stay in a little Ohio town.

The first thing Terry does on the outside is look for steady employment. The manager at Carlo's pizza place offers a job as a driver and Terry eagerly accepts. He soon forms tight bonds with other members of the Carlo's staff. Through the kindness of his new buddies, Terry rents a new trailer, finds side work as a carpenter and gets his precious truck back.

There are many types of people working at Carlo's: pretty ones, ugly ones, funny ones and a very strange one. The odd man out is named The Witness and he gives the other workers the creeps with his strange behavior and sexually-twisted sketches.

When the Witness goes out to deliver pizza one night and doesn't come back, the manager finally has a reason to fire the driver he doesn't like. However, the termination plan is terminated when the Witness is found dead behind the restaurant.

The staff members at Carlo's are on edge and countless safety precautions are taken. Nobody is allowed in the alley alone and drivers are ordered to take no chances and report anything suspicious.

When the police investigation stalls, Terry and his pals do a little sleuthing of their own. There are several suspects that need to be checked out so the boys go undercover to find a killer.

Investigating a murder is dangerous business. Can these combination amateur sleuths/drinking buddies find the killer and restore peace to the pizza place? The answer can be found among the pages of Cold Slice.

The characters in this novel are a blast. L.T. Fawkes has created a cast of blue-collar buddies who are friendly and fun. Terry Saltz is a great man who got a bad break. Aside from the mystery, its amusing to watch him hang out with the guys and rebuild his life.

Cold Slice is loaded with humor. Some jokes are potty-level, just as you'd expect from a group of males. There are plenty of laughs including Terry's on-going attempt to get people to call him by his chosen nickname, the local meaning of which isn't as hip as he thinks it is.

There are so many suspense novels on the shelves now that the protagonists are starting to look alike. Fawkes's unique story of a pizza parlor mystery solved by a normal guy allows Terry Saltz to stand out from the populous crime-solving pack.

Though the sleuthing isn't too complex, Cold Slice is just plain fun. Terry Saltz and his motley bunch are so down-to-earth and genuine, you'd expect to see them sitting at your local bar. Their basic crime-solving ways and imperfections add to their charm while setting them apart from current run-of-the-mill sleuths.
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