The Milk Wagon by Michael Hewes
I admit: what first appealed to me about The Milk Wagon by Michael Hewes was the cover. That sleek, retro ’80s image kept calling to me even as I tried to ignore the Mystery title in favor of a different genre. The last mystery book I read was so focused on the detective and his miserable social life, not on the case at hand, and that got me so fed up I couldn’t even finish. Be warned: The Milk Wagon is nothing like that one.
Taking place in backwoods Mississippi during the 1980s, The Milk Wagon focuses on a group of teenage boys who find themselves involved in a local money-laundering scheme. The FBI investigator working on the case has nowhere near the amount of information these boys do and it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with them. This book was absolutely enthralling because the dynamic between the boys is so cool and natural, I would have read a whole book on these guys hanging out even if there wasn’t a mystery going on! Having the story take place in the 1980s was a great aspect of the book because it was that sweet time when kids could be kids with not a cell phone in sight. I also loved that it took place in a small town in Mississippi instead of some big city which made the mystery all the more intriguing. I’m sure you’re probably wondering: what is the milk wagon, anyway? Well, it’s one of the character’s old beat-up suburban that’s always with them on their adventures. It gives that tinge of nostalgia for the first vehicle you drove in high school, dependable to a fault.
While there is a detective in this story, only as much as necessary about her personal life is revealed so I really appreciated that. The focus is on the boys and the mystery. The case also didn’t feel too far-fetched, like a group of kids could never get involved in something like that. The story was never truly predictable and the author did a great job of understanding that his reader is smart enough to connect dots on her own with just enough help to keep the mystery going.
I usually reserve 5 star reviews but there was no way I could only give this 4. There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about The Milk Wagon! The mystery was exciting, the kids were cool, the investigator was a woman (not some crotchety old man), the premise was believable, and besides being a mystery involving murder and bad men–it had the feel-good aspect of a buddy novel. I highly recommend this read to anyone who loves mystery, intrigue, danger, and friends.
I’d like to thank BooksGoSocial for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Originally posted 17 May 2020