“…a maze of a murder mystery—the kind that weaves through military secrets and international espionage.”

As the men around her are dropping like fliesThe Abduction of Patient Zero

In his sixth labyrinthine hard-boiled puzzler, NYC private eye Joey Mancuso finds himself neck-deep in a maze of a murder mystery—the kind that weaves through military secrets and international espionage—at the center of which is the woman he loves.

Despite a recent drop in New York City’s crime rate, the PI business is booming for acutely-astute investigator Joey Mancuso and his partner-in-solving-crime Father Dominic O’Brian (who happens to be his half-brother). So it’s no surprise when Mancuso is called to the scene of a particularly gruesome and utterly confounding Lower Manhattan murder one otherwise pleasant afternoon.

The vic, Oscar Stanton (name etched into his designer trousers), was gunned down in Washington Square Park in broad daylight, just after a lunchtime rendezvous with a business associate. A quick and dirty ID reveals the real Oscar Stanton was working in cybersecurities for the DOD—and, perhaps unsurprisingly, was KIA in Afghanistan. And since Mancuso’s antics tend to weave a winding yarn as intricately-connected as a satisfying Sherlock Holmes, it’s even less surprise that the imposter Stanton’s lunch date was someone recently tailed by FBI agent Marcy Martinez (who happens to be Mancuso’s wife).

FBI Special Agent Marcy Martinez.

When crucial evidence from the scene is found in Marcy’s car—and Marcy’s hands test positive for gunshot residue—it’s off to the races. Clearly, Mancuso deduces, she’s being framed—elementary, dear Watson. But why? At first, the signs point to her partner, Thomas Lyons. After all, she has a history of shall we say unreliable partners (i.e. murderous psychopaths). And Lyons, as luck would have it, has mysteriously gone awol—until his body is found stuffed in a janitor’s closet at a subway station.

As a complex white collar crimes case unfolds with the usual barrage of infighting between the NYPD, CIA, FBI, and military intelligence, it becomes increasingly evident that, despite personal ties to the case, Mancuso and his associates are Marcy’s only hope. They must race the clock—and a likely well-connected killer, not to mention the intelligence forces the killer certainly has in his back pocket—to catch the FBI’s missing suspect and clear Marcy—before she’s falsely accused of espionage and murder. Or goes the way of the men surrounding her.

Joey Mancuso

Who will like this: It’s Matt Scudder meets Father Brown. Fans of both New York PI novels and police procedurals like those by Raymond Chandler, Joseph Wambaugh, Lawrence Block, and Rex Stout — and of clerical mysteries — will love this offbeat detective team. As will devotees of the greatest detective of all time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

Reviewed By Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite 5 Stars

Owen Parr is back with Book 6 of the Joey Mancuso, Father O’Brian Crime Mystery series; The Abduction of Patient Zero. A man was shot dead point-blank in the face at Washington Square Park. The victim is identified as a 44-year-old retired US Army Major Oscar Stanton. However, Major Oscar Stanton was reportedly killed in Afghanistan in 2012. Special Agent Marcy Martinez -Joey’s wife-and her partner, Agent Tom Lyons, are implicated in the case until authorities find Lyons’s body stuffed in a janitor’s closet at a subway station. With Marcy’s hands testing positive for gunshot residue and crucial evidence found in her car, all fingers start to point to her and Joey is livid. With the help of his associates, Joey is racing against the clock to clear his wife’s name in an intricate case that involves powerful entities.

The gang is back! It’s good to see the tough but lovable “face of the pub” Mr. Pat and the genius hacker Agnes including other recurring characters. All is not well though, as the tension between Marcy and Joey resonates early through the pages, no thanks to a murder case that caught the pair off guard. Owen Parr deftly rattles readers with a crisis in the beginning, with one of my favorite characters, Agent Martinez, being gradually scapegoated. The question is why? Luckily, Joey’s half-brother, Father Dom, and his friends are always there to help. The plot is well-developed and has Parr’s usual fast-paced style. As expected, the element of humor blends in seamlessly without disrupting the intrigue and suspense of the story. All in all, fans of the series will enjoy this sixth installment, The Abduction of Patient Zero, and its standalone nature will attract newcomers who love solid P.I. mystery novels.

Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite 5  Stars

The Abduction of Patient Zero is a work of thrilling crime mystery penned by author Owen Parr. Forming the sixth novel in the Joey Mancuso and Father O’Brian Crime Mystery series, the action this time is set in Joey’s own back yard, as it were, when his wife Marcy becomes the central figure as people are murdered all around her. The IDs on the victims reveal that nobody is who they say they are, and much espionage and falseness are at play. Amongst the in-fighting of the official agencies, our hired PI team of half-brothers must investigate and clear Marcy’s name before she’s either jailed by the do-gooders or murdered by the baddies.

Fans of crime and murder mystery novels will find everything that they seek in this exceedingly well-developed and multi-layered novel. There are elements of the classic detective and New York PI genres peppered throughout, not least in the presentation of Joey Mancuso and his distinctive personality and style of deduction. But there’s also plenty of police procedural to add to the gritty, realistic feel of the tale and keep it grounded, which in turn produces some very intriguing espionage elements and FBI mysteries that give the plot an added layer of suspense and tension. Thrilling from start to finish, author Owen Parr has a flair for clever dialogue-style exposition that keeps the plot moving without bombarding his audience. Overall, The Abduction of Patient Zero is a high-quality mystery read recommended for crime fans across the genre’s vast expanse of tastes.