Clyde Lynwood Sawyer Jr. and Frances Witlin's An Uncertain Currency is a psychic murder mystery absolutely packed with action and expertly seasoned with vibrant characters and several underlying subplots including race, homosexuality, and lifestyle issues.
The book is centered in the small town Floraville, Georgia, where a fabric factory has been the economic
heart for generations. Citizens of Floraville tend to have unwritten racial, sexual and corporate laws that are meant to stand. People have to learn to change, but not all are willing to do so without a fight. The small-town police chief, Beaufort Tyler, is challenged by many issues and struggles
from the stress of it all.
Mario Castigliani, a psychic, is called upon during his tour in the area to help with a series of apparent suicides. One of the women he meets reminds him of his wife, who
died many years ago. Guilt and regret line his memories as they confront him like never before. Mario’s discovery of his gift (which he calls
"la Lucia") as a youth - and how it has touched members of his family in the past
- is explained very well. Intriguing sections explore how Mario’s decisions affected those he left behind in the small Italian mountain city where he grew up. In fact, the book seems to focus on Mario’s life, making the deaths, romances and the mystery itself more like sub-plots.
The authors include a touch of romantic suspense to spice things up. Both Mario and Beaufort are smitten with Claudia, a beautiful and intervening woman who happens to be the wife of one of the most powerful men in town. Loss of the farming lifestyle due to droughts and the high costs of agriculture, and the effects this brought to a small town,
are also masterfully interwoven into the tale. Readers will enjoy intelligent clues that
nonetheless keep them guessing until the very end.
An Uncertain Currency was released through Momento Mori Mysteries - an imprint of Avocet Press Inc. One would never would know that two authors wrote the book; it is very smoothly organized with a pace that mimics the waves of an ocean – sometimes calm and introspective, then so intense that it is almost overwhelming.
This technique brings the stress and confusion, the frustration and pain, closer to the reader.