Book Review: ‘Running Out Of Road’ Is The Next Buck Schatz Mystery

Author Daniel Friedman is back with book number three in his Buck Schatz mystery series. This time a man is on death row in 2011, about to be executed and is telling his story. He’s been on death row for 35 years and claims he’s innocent or at least his confession was under duress at the hands of Buck back in 1976, when he was a detective with the Memphis police station.

Back in those days Buck and the police didn’t always play by the rules. One of his first cases was investigating the disappearance of Chester March’s wife. He never found her and always believed that Chester was responsible. He even arrested him for the murder based on circumstantial evidence. He was told to release him as the evidence would never convict and the fact that Chester’s dad was a US Senator, who put pressure on to get this dropped. Buck gave Chester his type of justice before letting him go.

Now in 2011 as Chester waits to be executed, he’s telling his story to Carlos Watkins, who has a justice show on NPR. Carlos is telling his story, as Chester tries to get his execution stayed, with no luck. There have been many appeals over the years with no luck.

Carlos wants to talk to Buck, who remembers everything from back then but is not in the best health. He has trouble remembering things today, needs help walking and is as cranky as he was all those years ago. His wife of 72 years Rose has health issues of her own. He has no desire to talk to Carlos and puts him off.

The story goes back and forth from 2011 to the pass and recounts the actions of Buck and Chester over the years. We also see the podcast as it runs, written out so we can read what’s being said. The story ramps up to Chester’s execution and if he will be stayed and the politics around the death penalty in general and if Chester or Buck were telling the truth about what happened back in 1976 with Chester’s confession.

My first time reading one of these Buck books and he’s a well-written character of the olden days when cops were cops and there was no social media to expose police corruption and violence. The story is written in a great way so we follow the events in real-time as they happened as well as being able to follow the podcast.

You can pick up Running Out Of Road in stores on Tuesday, March 24th from Minotaur Books.

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