What do you do when you find the dead body of your boss's son in an alley and your best friend is a detective? Solve the murder yourself, of course! Cuz what could possibly go wrong, amirite?
Everything. Everything could go wrong. But Skyler has that special trait necessary for all amateur sleuths: too stupid for his own good. Um... I mean... stubborn determination and a flagrant disregard for the safety of himself and his friends. Yeah. That's what I meant. ;)
The key to the success of this book is it doesn't try to take itself too seriously. Everyone in it, including Skyler, knows he's being reckless and should leave things up to the police. But when the police miss vital clues and Skyler keeps getting dragged in even when he agrees to quit, there's not much else he can do.
I wasn't actively trying to figure out the whodunit because I was too busy enjoying the story. Skyler's a closeted high school teacher who loves his job and his students. He wants to help them succeed and he wants to be himself, but living in Bible-thumping Redlands doesn't make that easy, especially as a teacher. And Skyler has a lot going on besides the murder. There's a new assistant football coach who's got a Jekyll/Hyde thing going on with Skyler, there's a troubled student who he's trying to help, there's a teacher giving dire warnings, and his circle of friends who are all too eager to tell him he's in over his head.
While the narrator wasn't particularly the best - he tended to have all the characters speak in a stilted fashion, and there wasn't much variation in voices between the male and female characters, and his accents are pretty bad (his Jamaican accent had an Irish baroque to it, I swear) - he still performed this book with such enthusiasm that I could easily overlook the shortcomings. And this book was hilarious. I haven't laughed out loud this often to a book in a long time.
One minor warning: While the main mystery is solved in this book, another is introduced that is left hanging for the next book. In the afterword, the author said this was going to be a trilogy - and there are now 5.5 books in the series. Which seems like way too many mysteries for a school teacher. Hopefully, they don't all involve murder. Looking forward to the next one!