This interesting title’s similarity to the famous Italian liqueur, Limoncello, aroused my curiosity enough to read the book. Lemoncella Cocktail is a story of coincidence - carefully constructed in a ‘reporter-like’ fashion where little imagination is needed. What is required to follow Patrick, Emy and the entire Mcloed family, is an abundance of patience as this tale is riddled with spelling errors too numerous to mention, bizarre word choices and poor grammar. Based on the prolific, incorrect use of articles and the pluralization of words which should have been singular and vice versa, I gather the author’s native language is not English. More than a few words are in French (pyjamas, Kilometres, en guard, en mass). Several word choices were so inappropriate they were comical; I laughed out loud. For example: 1. “He stopped his tirade and bored his eyes into Martha’s and the two men’s.” 2. “Oscar didn’t badge.” 3. “He fingered Ron’s body and came across a cell.” (Ew!) 4. The dog “began leaking her face and her arms.” 5.” Susan had finished feeding Michelle and put the baby on her shoulder to burble.” 6. “In that quiet break the dogs started tonguing.”
The setting is August, but the author tells us in the story’s first paragraph that Patrick risks freezing. It’s easy to fly past that however, as the reader then gets wrapped up in Patrick’s business. He witnesses a girl (Samantha) in a dress, get pushed off a cliff into a river. He jumps in and saves her. Enter the Ontario Policeman, Gary Hutson who has a crush on Samantha’s grandmother (Jessica). Jessica is babysitting her three grandchildren while their parents are working “up west”. She writes Patrick a check for fifty-thousand dollars – apparently for saving Samantha, which I found odd even though she is a millionaire. The hint of a romance between Gary Hutson and Jessica is soon squelched and she is grieving tremendous loss.
Andres Des Pres is the Canadian version of a head FBI investigator. We follow Mr. Des Pres and his trusty sidekick, Lucien Borodin as they unravel Samantha’s attempted murder while also employing Patrick who is minus a job and a vehicle. Although many interchanges between the characters seem awkward, the tempo of this story is solid, but again, the lack of editing makes it a huge challenge.
The scant romance that begins halfway into this story is more about two people with dysfunctional pasts finding and trusting each other. Both people are involved in the hunt for the men who tried to kill Samantha – therein lies a clever twist of fate as we learn this is a case of mistaken identity.
This story contains fewer than half a dozen profanities, no sex or vulgarities, several instances of non-graphic murder and a satisfying ending. Although many components of a good who-dun-it are present in Rene Natan’s crime mystery, Lemoncella Cocktail, it reads like a very rough draft and I rate it 1 out of 5 stars.