Todd Borg’s mystery series featuring private detective Owen McKenna has become part of Lake Tahoe’s culture. Rumor has it you can order an Owen’s Omelette, named for his popular protagonist, off the menu at the Red Hut Cafe. That’s quite a tribute. With 10 published books under his belt, Borg’s 11th, “Tahoe Chase,” was released in August and does not disappoint. I found “Tahoe Chase” to be engaging with a well-developed plot. It was sprinkled with just the right amount of sophistication and coupled with a double dollop of suspense and drama that added the extra spice. Borg provides vivid descriptions and uses a great deal of detail to set his scenes. It doesn’t matter if you are a faithful follower or a first-time reader, you’ll enjoy this one. No, the books in Borg’s series do not have to be read in any particular sequence… just in case you’re wondering.
“Tahoe Chase” is set during the winter months. Locals, as well as other Tahoe aficionados, will be well acquainted with the evocative and familiar scenes of the area. McKenna is hired by Joe Rorvick, a former Olympic ski racer, to investigate how Rell, his beloved wife, could take an ugly fall from their backyard deck. Rell receives serious injuries from the fall and lingers near death. She was not clumsy nor was she careless. Was this an accident or was there a perpetrator that tossed her off the deck intentionally? The story unfolds while she lies in a hospital bed, and Joe, 92 years old, struggles with the decision to remove her from life support. A series of supposedly accidental deaths and strange occurrences ensue, leaving both McKenna and Joe to wonder if there’s a sinister connection. Is a proposed Tahoe ski resort driving someone to murder? With Spot, McKenna’s beloved Great Dane, by his side, the detective unravels the truth, but it’s not a flawless effort. There’s a lot of second-guessing and a handful of gut instincts to explore before the facts are exposed.
Readers will enjoy the Tahoe scenes both on and off the water. They’ll travel through parts of Desolation Wilderness, ride on a snowmobile by moonlight and enjoy a Cave Rock adventure involving a fancy cruise craft.
“Tahoe Chase” touches on the socially sensitive topic of domestic abuse. Simone, who suffers at the hand of her brutal boyfriend, emerges to take center stage in the book’s plot. “Tahoe Chase” may provide a sense of empowerment to anyone in a similar situation, and, if so, that’s a positive.
At 351 pages it’s possible a twist or two could have been eliminated from the book, but then it wouldn’t have been nearly as clever. Each turn is well thought out and interesting. If you’re looking for a steamy novel, this is not the one for you. I enjoyed the sentiment and the suspense, and I fell in love with Spot. “Tahoe Chase” will provide a lot of interesting developments that pop up when you’re least expecting them. It’s a great source of entertainment to dive into after a brisk walk in the woods. Sit back and enjoy, but be warned. It might be addicting. You could find yourself ordering that Owen’s Omelette and tapping your toe waiting for McKenna’s next adventure. Borg’s goal is to write one each year.
Gloria Sinibaldi resides part-time in South Lake Tahoe. She is a job coach, trainer and author. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.