New friends: “Bubba Mabry”
Bubba Mabrey is a character in Steve Brewer’s novella, a short, sweet read about Christmas fun and skulduggery at the mall.
P.I. Bubba Mabry needs Christmas cash to buy his wife, a newspaper reporter, a laptop computer. He takes an undercover job at Albuquerque’s new mall, where all he has to do is monitor Santa’s workshop for shoplifters, pickpockets, lost kids and perverts posing as Santa. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. Here’s my review.
SANITY CLAUSE by Steve Brewer
A Bubba Mabry novella
Kindle edition, 99-cent Special
P.I. Bubba Mabry needs Christmas cash to buy his wife, a newspaper reporter, a laptop computer. He takes an undercover job at Albuquerque’s new mall, where all he has to do is monitor Santa’s workshop for shoplifters, pickpockets, lost kids and perverts posing as Santa. “Albuquerque loves the ‘new’ the way a monkey loves a shiny penny,” he says of the hordes flocking through the doors.
Unfortunately Bubba has a Santa phobia dating back to when he was 5 years old. It gives him the creeps but that’s nothing when Daniel Gooch, the Santa team’s best man, is murdered. Santa? Murdered? It gives new meaning to the seasonal chaos.
Bubba’s wife Felicia, ever the intrepid reporter, shows up pen and notepad in hand, to interview Bubba. Gooch is big news, a famous inventor who gives all his money to charities and is a Christmas nut.
Bubba’s caught in a conflict of interest; can’t talk until okayed by the guy who hired him, the ever-smiling Milt Jablonski, head of mall security. Milt promptly fires him.
Everyone was after Gooch’s patents and money. His lawyer Marley plans to invoke a sanity clause in the will. Gooch’s much-married sister stands to inherit millions if the will is broken. Charities called Joyous Noises and the Holiday Food Bank will fold without Gooch’s money.
Hopwood, manager of the food bank, says, “Charity organizations are a funny business, Mr. Mabry. Very courteous, very circumspect. Never do anything that might upset the donors because they’ll take their dollars elsewhere. There’s a limited pool of giving out there, and an ever-growing number of charities trying to survive. Out front, everything’s sweetness and light, but behind the scenes, it’s a cutthroat business.”
So who knocked off Gooch and tries to knock off Bubba? Good question. SANITY CLAUSE is a short, lively read for anyone needing a break during the holiday rush.