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Looking for a good carnival mystery, look elsewhere

Death of a Kootch Show Girl

by Corey Recko

Black Opal Books

Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 25 Feb 2017


I couldn’t get through Death of a Kootch Show Girl. I tried, but in the end I put it aside. I admire the author for what he was trying to achieve, but I just didn’t like the book. Each chapter is narrated by a different character - told from their point of view complete with their individual speech patterns. That means there are some overlaps. The same event is described by different characters in different chapters. This takes some skill. While I initially was intrigued by the content based on the description, the more I read, the more I disliked the characters and the story. The mannerisms of the different characters also grated on my nerves as the story progressed. Normally I love mysteries and novels featuring carnivals, but Death of a Kootch Show Girl was far from appealing. Many will find its attitudes and descriptions offensive.


I received a copy of Death of a Kootch Show Girl from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



It’s Halloween night 1953, the last night of the carnival in rural Ohio, and a stripper turns up dead. Tom Davis, the chief of police, orders the carnies to stay in town while he investigates, but there are no leads to Mary’s killer—no fingerprints on the murder weapon, no blood but Mary’s at the scene, no foreign hairs or fibers—no clues of any kind.

Brian Stockton, a reporter for the local paper, hopes this will be his break into the big time, so he begins to investigate as well. But, alas, the killer’s identity eludes him, too. As tensions build, the carnies become paranoid, pointing fingers at each other. Could it be the owner, Bill Harris, the one who discovered the body? Or was it perhaps Gino Guglielmo, the man who runs the kootch show and has a nasty temper? Was it the eccentric clown, Otto Radowski, a man with dark secrets in his past and who just happens to have Mary’s cat?

And how did the killer manage to commit such a violent act without leaving a single speck of evidence? Mary certainly wasn’t killed by a ghost…or was she?

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