Sunny Solomon Book Review

Latest McKenna mystery certain to be a ‘Hit’

Sunny Solomon Book ReviewEver since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, time seems to move at a pace determined to mess with our internal calendars.

Not until I received my copy of Todd Borg’s 18th Owen McKenna mystery, “Tahoe Hit,” was I certain that summer had finally arrived. Well, never mind. According to my wall calendar, summer is almost over.

We at Bookin’ with Sunny are huge fans of that ex-SF cop, now private investigator, who lives in South Lake Tahoe with Spot his Harlequin Great Dane and, at a respectful distance from his cabin, his girlfriend Street Casey and her dog, Goldie (you can guess the breed). I almost never hesitate to recommend a McKenna mystery, but for me, “Tahoe Hit” is one of the best.

Borg’s forte is action read with camera-like eyes. The initial murder of each mystery occurs in the prologue. The first murder in “Tahoe Hit” takes place at an evening party hosted by wealthy hedge-fund owner Carston Kraytower at his palatial getaway at the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The gathering includes investors, friends, wannabe millionaires, business associates and the killer, dressed in black, hiding behind giant trees and loading a blowgun aimed at a Kraytower associate.

A stealthy murder

By the time the killer takes aim and successfully commits murder, the reader may be struck with something new. This murder was done with slow deliberation, precision and perfect timing – stealth, not thrill.

From the moment the local sheriff calls in McKenna to assist in their investigation of the murder, the reader is awash with words.

Questions McKenna asks and questions asked by the people McKenna questions. The characters: Kraytower’s young, teenage and painfully introverted son, a male Tahoe housekeeper and driver, a female housekeeper from San Francisco (Kraytower’s home away from Tahoe), a San Francisco nanny, a charismatic musician friend of Kraytower’s son, a female gardener and an assortment of lesser folks.

The pace of “Tahoe Hit” accelerates with dialogue, so that the reader must pay careful attention to what is being said. What clues has Borg dropped like Hansel and Gretel crumbs to keep us not guessing, but actively detecting? What to make of history, psychology, science, math, even dog training? All are important.

Long-held secrets

Another Kraytower associate had been murdered shortly before the story begins, and more will follow. Long-held secrets lead to long-ago Ivy League fraternity days and deaths. Not only is the reader taking mental notes of clues but also noticing how the questioned look while being questioned. How important is body language?

“Tahoe Hit” has a surprising and satisfying Shakespearean twist: “How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge.” Fathers and sons, husbands and wives, the past and not-so-past, and revenge.

“Tahoe Hit” is a mystery for the pandemic. No need to leave your home or wear a mask. Grab your deerstalker, sit back in your favorite reading chair and enjoy.

Sunny Solomon is a freelance writer and head of the Clayton Book Club. Visit her website at for her latest recommendations or just to ‘talk books.’