Detective reopens cold case in new mystery ‘Final Sale’
The final sale of a teenage gas station clerk was the one that left him dead behind the counter. In Final Sale, seventh in a series about Jo Ferris, a police detective in a small college town, Kathleen M. Fraze tells a disturbing story of murder and deception.
The action takes place in the early ’90s. Jo’s loose household consists of her boyfriend, Dave; his son, Adam, and his girlfriend; many pets, and usually Jo’s mother, Ruth, but she’s temporarily in a nursing home for rehab following complications from hip surgery. Ruth’s roommate is an Alzheimer’s patient named Mary Breckenridge (the name is the only similarity to the Beacon Journal columnist).
Mary’s thoughts are seldom orderly, but she is able to tell Ruth the tragic story of her son, Andy, who was an 18-year-old gas station attendant when he was robbed and murdered 20 years before. The crime remains unsolved, and it’s no use for Jo to balk when Ruth informs her that she will now be looking into this cold case.
Jo already has plenty to do with a domestic fatality that seems, at first, to be a “slam dunk” — an abusive husband got drunk and shot his wife, with her son as a witness. Jo is determined to make the case airtight, but keeps having little inklings that it’s not as solid as it seems. The evidence goes from pitiful to sordid, and not for those who prefer refined language.
When she can, Jo works on the tangled Breckenridge case: All over again, she interviews witnesses and slogs through files, while worrying about her mother, whose recuperation isn’t going well.
The author’s experience as a former reporter and editor at the Beacon Journal is evident in her storytelling ability.
Final Sale (290 pages, softcover) costs $8.99 from online retailers. The series began in 2004 with Final Straw. Kathleen M. Fraze is a native of Massillon.
‘Reflections on a Silver Spoon’
As the grandson of Harvey Firestone, Kim Firestone had a career path laid out for him, and he followed it for a while. In Reflections on a Silver Spoon: How a Foodie Found Home, the 79-year-old restaurateur — he owns Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick, Md. — talks about his many careers and diversions.
Firestone tells of his privileged childhood, which included summer camps and private schools, and dining at swank Beverly Hills restaurants with movie stars and politicians. Firestone served in the Army and became a newspaper reporter, and eventually, as he says, “I decided it wouldn’t kill me to work for the family firm in Ohio.”
Firestone and his family moved to Akron in 1964, where he rotated through various departments and worked in community fundraising for about five years, and then relocated to Washington, D.C., in 1969.
He left the company in 1976, embarking on a succession of enterprises including horse breeding, an Ecuador shrimp farm and, eventually, the restaurant and its attached market.
He talks about his marriages and divorces with the same affability as when he describes his yogurt franchise.
Reflections on a Silver Spoon (209 pages, hardcover) is available for $24.95 at the Learned Owl Book Shop, 204 N. Main St., Hudson, or by calling Firestone’s Market on Market, 301-696-8586.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.) — Brad Ricca discusses Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the Creators of Superman, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Registration required; call 216-831-6868.
Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Scott H. Longert talks about and signs The Best They Could Be: How the Cleveland Indians Became the Kings of Baseball, 1916-1920, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday; Robert Sberna signs House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler, 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Brecksville branch, 9089 Brecksville Road) — Brad Ricca signs Super Boys, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Registration required; call 440-526-1102.
Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Hudson resident Aaron Chokan reads from and signs his storybook The Adventures of Lai-Lai and Chub-Chub, 11 a.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.