5 out of 5 stars
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Free Fish Friday: Slacker Mills Mysteries Book 1 by Lee Stone. Five out of five stars.
Since, I just finished reading a gut-wrenching novel that had me laughing, crying and depressed for two days, I needed a change of pace. In seeking an amusing, light and entertaining book--nothing too deep--I chose Free Fish Friday, by Lee Stone, reasoning that a novel about fishing, introducing a character named Slacker could not be too depressing. I was not disappointed. Slacker Mills’ life is just about everybody’s dream of the perfect escape.
Slacker (not his real name) tells this story in his own words, starting from when he was a boy, somewhat neglected by his parents and taught to fish by his Grandpa. Another title for the book could have been “Hooked” because Slacker was hooked on fishing the very first time a bass struck his line. From that point on, fishing became his passion and his life.
In time, fishing for bass on the inland lakes of Minnesota was not enough. Slacker convinced Grandpa to buy a slightly bigger boat, large enough to take out on Lake Superior where they could fish for something different and larger.
One day Slacker found a used Sports Illustrated magazine at Grandpa’s barber shop. He wore out the magazine, devouring the articles about fishing the Florida Keys. This became his dream. And so, when he accumulated a few bucks, he dropped out of school, took off for Florida and never looked back.
Slacker is not the brightest bulb in the room, except in the area of fishing. As the years go on, his career in saltwater sport-fishing is noted by wins in half the fishing contests, up and down the Florida coast. His reputation is so golden that he could name his price as a guide or charter-boat captain. But, Slacker dislikes guiding for others. He has no desire for things, not even his own boat. He prefers a worry-free freedom to come and go as he pleases, over any money, power or recognition.
Slacker eschews the responsibility of owning so much as a car, nor does he allow any commitment to the women he beds, one at a time and only once. In fact, he is so lazy he allows them to screw him. He hangs out most evenings in a local bar where women on the prowl pick him up. There is a moral to the story having something to do with this behavior, but I will not spoil it for you. Trust me, it will make sense in the end.
All he ever really wants is to hear that reel zing as the fish takes off with the hook in its mouth. He has very little need for money and his meager needs are met in other ways. He has a free room in a run-down Key West motel in exchange for acting as manager, pretty much in name only, as his duties are few. Many of his meals and much of his beer is furnished by admirers who appreciate him as a celebrity, the fabulous fisherman who caught the trophy-fish mounted on the tavern walls.
Since the sub-title of this novel has to do with mysteries, sooner or later a murder comes into Slacker’s story and, more or less, hits him upside the head. From that point on, you will enjoy the abrupt changes and the interesting twists.
Five out of five stars for a story that delivers.
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