Books Worth Reading: Check-Out Time by Mark Rigney
Back in April I had the good fortune to meet Mark Rigney at the Ohioana Book Festival. Mark was my table-mate, and I couldn't have asked for a better partner to help pass the time between book sales. I won't deny that there was quite a bit of time between book sales for me that day. ;)
It was great to meet a new friend and even better to discover that he is a super-talented author whose book I really enjoyed reading.
Check-Out Time features the characters of Reverend Renner and Dale Quist in their third adventure together. Renner is a fussy, peevish Unitarian minister and Quist is a gruff former linebacker and retired investigator. The narrative switches back and forth between the two characters and I honestly couldn't decide which one I liked better. Each time I would think Renner was my favorite, Quist would do something to change my mind. While they are an odd couple, they are both engaging and thoroughly enjoyable characters.
The story begins when Renner receives a spooky invitation to come to a long-demolished hotel in Columbus, Ohio. He can't resist going off in search of the sender. Despite the fact that the hotel no longer exists, Renner is able to enter it and soon encounters the ghosts of guests who stayed at the hotel during its luxurious heyday.
To Renner's dismay, the building is much harder to leave than it was to enter, and he finds himself trapped in a hotel that could give The Overlook a run for its money. Quist follows Renner to Columbus and works to save him, but the hotel has no intention of making that job easy.
In addition to loving the two main characters, I also loved the setting of Columbus. I went to college there and have fond memories of the place and an affection that continues to this day. I don't remember ever reading a book set in Columbus before so I enjoyed wandering the streets of the city with Quist as he tried to rescue Renner and bring him back to the physical world.
This is a creepy story that sent a shiver up my spine more than once, but it is also quite funny thanks to its two leads. I highly recommend it, and I look forward to reading the next Renner and Quist adventure.