Review: Local author Todd Borg releases ‘Tahoe Payback’ |

Review: Local author Todd Borg releases ‘Tahoe Payback’

Autumn Whitney

Local author Todd Borg has done it again: His latest installment in the Owen McKenna Tahoe mysteries, “Tahoe Payback,” debuted at the start of August — and fans won’t be disappointed.

The 15th in the series, the novel opens with the makings of a murder on Emerald Bay’s own Fannette Island and the private detective McKenna receiving a tip-off regarding a missing person. As he begins investigation protocol, the body count rises and McKenna is taken on a wild goose chase throughout Tahoe, the Bay Area and the Central Valley.

At its heart “Tahoe Payback” — true to its name — is about revenge. Each murder victim is strangely connected to fraudulent charities and their deaths are assumed to be warning signs to other scammers, who are conveniently in the basin at the same time.

The reader is kept in anticipation as McKenna is tossed from suspect to suspect, constantly battling new obstacles thrown his way. From kidnappings to car chases, a multitude of crime scenes and suspenseful subplots, “Tahoe Payback” covers all the markings of a classic mystery.

Borg is talented at setting the scene and balancing dialogue with exposition, but the extreme attention to detail is at times overbearing.

A town in the story is given the descriptor: “If one loved conformity and regularity, it was an attractive way to construct a miniature village” — the perfect metaphor for Borg’s own flair, which includes many staccato sentences that succeed in painting a picture.

Despite proclivity for unnecessary detail, the plot shines — especially when it reaches its climax: What seem like disjointed facts at the start of the story come to fruition as McKenna nears the truth of the original crime.

While slow to start, “Tahoe Payback” is worth the wait. Like most stories of its kind, once you reach a certain point you just can’t put it down.

“Tahoe Payback” is available online through Amazon. Learn more about Borg and his books at

The author also hosts a presentation at South Lake Tahoe Library on Tuesday, Aug. 15, where he will discuss his writing techniques, inspirations and storylines. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. The library is located at 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd.

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