Review: Backstabber

Backstabber Backstabber by Tim Cockey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. Hitchcock Sewell has a few problems. First of there’s his name. What kind of name is Hitchcock, particularly for mortician? Then, there’s the fact that he’s called to a murder scene before the police which makes him a possible accomplice. He’s also wondering just why old people are dying faster than usual and under suspicious circumstances at a certain nursing home. Then there’s his life. Well, one impossible task at a time.

In his fifth addition to his Hitchcock Sewell series, Tim Cockey delivers an entertaining tale filled with colorful characters and a fair share of comedic moments. Professional undertaker, amateur detective and full-time smart aleck, Hitchcock invariably manages to put himself in the worst possible situations. This in itself can be handled, but when he should be using his mastery of language to get himself out of trouble, he simply digs himself a much deeper hole. Maybe when he received that call in the wee hours of the morning from his friend Jonathan "Sisco" Fontaine, his brain wasn’t functioning. Answering Sisco’s plea for help, Hitchcock finds himself at Polly Weisheit’s house, where he is introduced to her recently-murdered husband, Jake. Claiming innocence, Polly and Sisco hope Hitchcock will remove the body before the police find out. Although in the business of disposing bodies, Hitchcock refuses to help and encourages them to call the police. Rather than waiting for the police, Hitchcock leaves which marks the first of many mistakes he will make over the length of this audiobook.

Cockney paints Hitchcock as a very loveable character; witty, sensitive, intelligent, but often lacking in common sense. Like the bad penny, Hitchcock turns up in all the wrong places and never manages to say the right things, particularly when in the presence of investigating officer Lieutenant Kruk. But Hitchcock is too busy, trying to determine who killed Jake, presuming it was Polly and Sisco. In the midst of all this, he stumbles upon another case of elderly people dying rather abruptly at a certain nursing home.

Patrick Girard Lawlor executes Hitchcock’s character expertly in this first person narrative. Inherently knowing where to zig and where to zag with the jokes, Lawlor also manages to pass off Hitchcock’s mind-boggling naivety. He covers the range of characters quite efficiently creating distinct voices in which the listener can easily follow.

“Backstabber” has mystery, humor and a certain charm. You won’t be on the edge of your seat, but rather relaxed in your chair just enjoying this tale unfold.

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