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First Case: Murder Alley

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Award winning author, Roger Stelljes, delivers a mystery NOVELLA (12 chapters/25,280 words) that is the prequel to the McRyan Mystery Series. First Case provides an introduction and backstory to the lead character, "Mac" McRyan and his fellow detectives. Stelljes' knack for GRITTY and REAL DIALOGUE (slang/jargon/behind the scenes dialog), as well as his uncanny sense of pl Award winning author, Roger Stelljes, delivers a mystery NOVELLA (12 chapters/25,280 words) that is the prequel to the McRyan Mystery Series. First Case provides an introduction and backstory to the lead character, "Mac" McRyan and his fellow detectives. Stelljes' knack for GRITTY and REAL DIALOGUE (slang/jargon/behind the scenes dialog), as well as his uncanny sense of place and time, will put you in the middle of the action allowing you to feel the desperation of Mac McRyan and his fellow detectives.


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Award winning author, Roger Stelljes, delivers a mystery NOVELLA (12 chapters/25,280 words) that is the prequel to the McRyan Mystery Series. First Case provides an introduction and backstory to the lead character, "Mac" McRyan and his fellow detectives. Stelljes' knack for GRITTY and REAL DIALOGUE (slang/jargon/behind the scenes dialog), as well as his uncanny sense of pl Award winning author, Roger Stelljes, delivers a mystery NOVELLA (12 chapters/25,280 words) that is the prequel to the McRyan Mystery Series. First Case provides an introduction and backstory to the lead character, "Mac" McRyan and his fellow detectives. Stelljes' knack for GRITTY and REAL DIALOGUE (slang/jargon/behind the scenes dialog), as well as his uncanny sense of place and time, will put you in the middle of the action allowing you to feel the desperation of Mac McRyan and his fellow detectives.

30 review for First Case: Murder Alley

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This prequel to the McRyan Mystery Series has been sitting on my kindle for forever. I originally bought it as I lived in St. Paul for a couple of years during my medical school days, and I love to read books set in a familiar area. This is a pretty darn good story, especially considering it is a novella. Michael McKenzie (Mac) McRyan is a 30ish-year-old attorney turned copper who is embarking on his first case as a detective--a fresh murder of an up and coming attorney. He is paired with veteran This prequel to the McRyan Mystery Series has been sitting on my kindle for forever. I originally bought it as I lived in St. Paul for a couple of years during my medical school days, and I love to read books set in a familiar area. This is a pretty darn good story, especially considering it is a novella. Michael McKenzie (Mac) McRyan is a 30ish-year-old attorney turned copper who is embarking on his first case as a detective--a fresh murder of an up and coming attorney. He is paired with veteran detective Richard Lich (“Dick Lick”). Dick wants to see if the kid has talent, so he hands over the reins and lets Mac lead the case. Mac is smart and extremely hard-working. We go through his thought processes as he ultimately solves the case. I loved learning about mind-mapping, Mac’s way of pulling clues together. Mr. Stelljes introduces us to Mac’s personal life, including a pretty significant domestic crisis in this little tale. I suspect we will see considerable interaction with his extended family, which is full of cops, in future books. The ending was a nice twist. I thought I had it worked out, but I didn’t. Yay! I certainly liked this introduction enough to continue on with the Mac McRyan series. He is an easy guy to root for, and I really like Mr. Stelljes’ style.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erth

    This is a fairly short thriller (less than 100 pages) that won’t take you very long to read, but it’s pretty good and sets the stage as the opener for longer books in a series. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Hamilton

    I really enjoyed this prequel to the McRyan series ~ it's well-crafted and kept my attention. I think Mac is a good character and I liked getting his full background. It will be interesting to see where his career as a detective takes him. I'm glad to see there are several more books in the series and I look forward to reading them!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    First Case by Roger Stelljes was recommended by a friend to read, and I am very pleased that I did. First Case introduces a new detective called Michael Mckenzie McRyan (Mac) who teams up with veteran cop Dick Lick to investigate the murder of Gordon Oliver. Readers of First Case will follow the twist and turns of the investigation intertwine with Detective Michael Mckenzie McRyan personally life. Also, the readers of First Case will laugh and be impressed with the ending. At first I though Firs First Case by Roger Stelljes was recommended by a friend to read, and I am very pleased that I did. First Case introduces a new detective called Michael Mckenzie McRyan (Mac) who teams up with veteran cop Dick Lick to investigate the murder of Gordon Oliver. Readers of First Case will follow the twist and turns of the investigation intertwine with Detective Michael Mckenzie McRyan personally life. Also, the readers of First Case will laugh and be impressed with the ending. At first I though First Case, was about a mafia family due to the reference of "family business". However, this was not the case, "family business" refers to law enforcement family. I am impressed with the way Roger Stelljes portrays his characters. Readers of First Case will learn about how to be it feels to be a new detective and how to win over your work colleagues. Also, readers will learn that you can not keep a secret in the workplace, you are always eventually found out. I recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dolly Sandor

    3.5 Stars!!! I am one of those readers who can't start a series at the second or third book. I have to read them in order if I know previous books in the series exist. First Case was written after the first book in the McRyan mystery series but I hadn't discovered the author yet, so I started with the first short story. What I liked: Since I had no expectations and short stories are well, short; I really enjoyed the background on the protaganist, Michael McRyan (known as "Mac"). I had never read a 3.5 Stars!!! I am one of those readers who can't start a series at the second or third book. I have to read them in order if I know previous books in the series exist. First Case was written after the first book in the McRyan mystery series but I hadn't discovered the author yet, so I started with the first short story. What I liked: Since I had no expectations and short stories are well, short; I really enjoyed the background on the protaganist, Michael McRyan (known as "Mac"). I had never read any books by Mr. Stelljes and First Case gave me a sampling to see if I should continue. All of this came about because the third book in the series came to my attention as a free Kindle deal, before I rush in to obtain a free book, I now do my homework. I went crazy with free offerings when I first received my Kindle and was very disappointed in some of my book deals. Now, I research before I click the "get it free" button. Mac is written as a very idealistic character but extremely savvy. (He also has a law degree, which the book explains why he's not a lawyer. He's extremely smart and picks up on the slightest clues. The thing I enjoyed most was the characters thought process and sense of fairness. In addition, Mac is a bulldog when he gets the bit between his teeth. I also really enjoyed the secondary characters, Mac's partner, Richard Lich (Dick Lick) and the Police captain and commissioner are solidly behind their cops. What I didn't like: It's hard to find something in such a short book not to like especially if the author is halfway decent writer. So, yeah, I just enjoyed the book. I'm extremely glad I read First Case before starting the series as the background on Mac and his thought process is critical to the series. Recommended - start with this one before the first full length novel, The St Paul Conspiracy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    Michael McKenzie “Mac” McRyan had it all. A former University of Minnesota Gopher hockey player, he was a good-looking law school graduate married to a beautiful lawyer. They had money, a big house, and an auspicious future. Then two of his cousins, police officers in a long line of McRyan cops, were killed in the line of duty, and Mac gave up his promising legal career to follow in his late father’s footsteps and become a homicide detective. First Case is a prequel novella to Roger Stelljes’ McR Michael McKenzie “Mac” McRyan had it all. A former University of Minnesota Gopher hockey player, he was a good-looking law school graduate married to a beautiful lawyer. They had money, a big house, and an auspicious future. Then two of his cousins, police officers in a long line of McRyan cops, were killed in the line of duty, and Mac gave up his promising legal career to follow in his late father’s footsteps and become a homicide detective. First Case is a prequel novella to Roger Stelljes’ McRyan Mystery Series. I first hit upon this author when I noted that he is a Minnesotan, and I am always interested in local writers. I don’t find his writing as stimulating or compelling as a couple of my other favorite Minnesota authors, I think his storytelling is solid, his characters convincing, and his plots entertaining. First Case is Mac’s initiation into homicide investigation after four years as a street cop. Is it realistic that he is given full reign on his first case and that his instincts are dead on? Maybe, maybe not. He is definitely given the benefit of the doubt because of his genealogy. His dad was practically a saint in the department. When a hard-working, hard-playing lawyer is found dead in the alley behind a bar, Mac and his partner start asking questions. Is the killer someone related to his law cases, or is he an angry husband or boyfriend? Stelljes kept me guessing as Mac went back and forth, examining all angles. There are some personal issues in this book as well. I was somewhat surprised by the level of emotion – I would have expected more, considering the circumstances. But First Case is primarily a police procedural, and the writing is straightforward with a well-constructed plot. The solution was unexpected, if a bit unrealistic. I give the author points for creativity, however. If you’re looking for a quick read on a Sunday afternoon, pick up First Case. Mac McRyan is worth getting to know. 3-1/2 stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Ferland

    This novella introduces us to Michael "Mac" Mckenzie McRyan. The story was just enough to hook the reader. All of the McRyan's are in Law Enforcement except Mac. He was a lawyer who was married to a lawyer. They seemed to have a perfect life until two McRyan cousins are killed in the line of duty. . .

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Short read. Fast paced & unputdownable! Short read. Fast paced & unputdownable!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Zain

    A Fast Thrill The McRyan Mystery Thriller moves so fast that the book has ended and the crime is solved before you even get a chance to exhale.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Black Butterfly

    I REALY ENJOYED AND SUPER PROUD I FIQURED OUT WHAT THE MURDER WEAPON WAS WHEN THEY WERE AT THE MURDER SCENE. RAHHHHHHHHHHH ME! I ALSO KNEW WHO THE KILLER WAS(while they were interviewing suspects) JUST DIDN'T KNOW WHY THEY DID IT. DOUBLE RAHHHHHHHHHH! ;D THERE WAS A LOT OF DESCRIPIION OF SOME STUFF I THOUGHT WAS A BIT OVER DONE, I WILL BE READING MORE OF THIS SERIES. EVEN WITH THAT I STILL LIKED THE CHARACTERS ESPECIALLY "MAC" HE IS A SUPER COOL SMART ALPHA GUY AND ANY WOMAN WHO COULDN'T SEE THA I REALY ENJOYED AND SUPER PROUD I FIQURED OUT WHAT THE MURDER WEAPON WAS WHEN THEY WERE AT THE MURDER SCENE. RAHHHHHHHHHHH ME! I ALSO KNEW WHO THE KILLER WAS(while they were interviewing suspects) JUST DIDN'T KNOW WHY THEY DID IT. DOUBLE RAHHHHHHHHHH! ;D THERE WAS A LOT OF DESCRIPIION OF SOME STUFF I THOUGHT WAS A BIT OVER DONE, I WILL BE READING MORE OF THIS SERIES. EVEN WITH THAT I STILL LIKED THE CHARACTERS ESPECIALLY "MAC" HE IS A SUPER COOL SMART ALPHA GUY AND ANY WOMAN WHO COULDN'T SEE THAT, IS ONE BLIND A*S CRAZY SKEEZER BIT*H. HE IS ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS, A MAN YOU GO "WHOO-HOO! YES! EVERY DAY 'CAUSE HE'S YOURS. MY ONLY PROBLEM I HAD WITH THE BOOK WAS, WHY WOULD ANYONE NAME A SCHOOL "CRETIN" REALLY? "CRETIN HIGH SCHOOL"? (ha-ha-ha-hah-ha!) NOOOOOOOOOOO! COULDN'T YOU FIND A BETTER NAME FOR A HIGH SCHOOL? I HOPE THIS NAME WASN'T TAKEN FROM REAL LIFE AND SOMEWHERE THERE IS A HIGH SHOOL WITH THAT NAME. BOO-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! ;# ;} ;D ;0 SORRY! LOL!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Thank goodness it's over! Reading this book was so hard, I can honestly say I only persevered out of sheer stubbornness. The writing is awful, not only because it's all tell and very little show, but also due to the endless repetitions and the going around in circles,seemingly with the sole purpose of pointlessly filling pages. The dialogue is forced and stilted and as natural as a blue banana. And really, the whole thing reads like the first effort of a very inexperienced amateur, which for all Thank goodness it's over! Reading this book was so hard, I can honestly say I only persevered out of sheer stubbornness. The writing is awful, not only because it's all tell and very little show, but also due to the endless repetitions and the going around in circles,seemingly with the sole purpose of pointlessly filling pages. The dialogue is forced and stilted and as natural as a blue banana. And really, the whole thing reads like the first effort of a very inexperienced amateur, which for all I know, it might well be. I only hope the writing gets better in subsequent books, since I downloaded the first three of the series at the same time to read on a holiday. It's taken me over a month to finish the first, and I don't think I'll be rushing to start the second just yet.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elissa

    Of Good Moral Character? OK, this is easy. I'm already a fan of author Roger Stelljes--I've been reading his McRyan series out of order--and I love narrator Johnny Pepper's voicing of the various characters, so this introductory novella was a relaxing and enjoyable romp for me. There were parts with which I was familiar, because each of the novels is carefully constructed to stand alone so critical background is included, but being the core of the instant story they were more layered and detaile Of Good Moral Character? OK, this is easy. I'm already a fan of author Roger Stelljes--I've been reading his McRyan series out of order--and I love narrator Johnny Pepper's voicing of the various characters, so this introductory novella was a relaxing and enjoyable romp for me. There were parts with which I was familiar, because each of the novels is carefully constructed to stand alone so critical background is included, but being the core of the instant story they were more layered and detailed, giving additional depth to and understanding of the characters and their world. I read/listened to this first class police procedural as part of a box set, which I can strongly recommend, but if you happen upon any one of the stories, grab and enjoy it! ***Disclaimer: "I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."*** [AB]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yve-Anne

    If you like a good old cops and robbers book, USA style, then you will probably enjoy this one. This is the first in a series, so you have others to follow it. Personally, I found the book ok but it wasn’t up to the standard of Earl Stanley Gardner, an American author of this genre who I have really enjoyed even though it was written back in the 30’s-50’s. But give this one a chance-it is short and sweet and you won’t have to commit loads of reading hours to it. If you like it, you can carry on If you like a good old cops and robbers book, USA style, then you will probably enjoy this one. This is the first in a series, so you have others to follow it. Personally, I found the book ok but it wasn’t up to the standard of Earl Stanley Gardner, an American author of this genre who I have really enjoyed even though it was written back in the 30’s-50’s. But give this one a chance-it is short and sweet and you won’t have to commit loads of reading hours to it. If you like it, you can carry on with the other books, if not then no real time is wasted.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kennedy

    I have to start of by saying that usually when I read these short stories that authors put out, I hate them. To me they seem to be the author trying to make a quick buck. That being said, I really liked this short novella in the Michael "Mac" McRyan series. Even though it was short, I thought it did a good job letting the story and mystery play out. It also gave us much more insight into Mac's first marriage and his history. I would say anyone who has been reading this series would enjoy this sh I have to start of by saying that usually when I read these short stories that authors put out, I hate them. To me they seem to be the author trying to make a quick buck. That being said, I really liked this short novella in the Michael "Mac" McRyan series. Even though it was short, I thought it did a good job letting the story and mystery play out. It also gave us much more insight into Mac's first marriage and his history. I would say anyone who has been reading this series would enjoy this short tale. I am looking forward to starting the next book in the series, Electing to Murder

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ben Phillip

    Fast read. You get a solid introduction of "Mac," his persona, and his investigative skills. The story itself was not exactly impressive. You could guess fairly easily who the murderer was. Nevertheless, it was a good read. I had read the other books first, so reading this book was just the steps I had to take to continue this journey in this series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shalonda

    Very good Enjoyed the storyline, enjoyed the background drama. Very well written and kept me interested. The wife.....what a shallow @#$%&. I was so hoping she wouldn't take the deal so she could land on that shallow butt. That would have been the highlight to the end of a good story. Very good Enjoyed the storyline, enjoyed the background drama. Very well written and kept me interested. The wife.....what a shallow @#$%&. I was so hoping she wouldn't take the deal so she could land on that shallow butt. That would have been the highlight to the end of a good story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Trudi

    This Novella was my introduction to Mr Stelljes books. I absolutely loved it. Writing was brilliant and I could not put it down. I loved the characters who were wonderfully filled out and certainly interesting. I love his style of writing and can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jim A

    A very quick read, about 77 pages, that is a prequel to the 'Mac' McRyan series. The plot itself is only a three star story, but I added an extra star for how Mac handled his cheating, gold digging, wife and the divorce negotiations.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This was pretty shallow. If I hadn't read it I wouldn't have missed anything. It wasn't terrible, but it lacked the character development necessary to get me invested in a book. It was short, and maybe that was part of the problem. If I could, I would rate this 2.5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara Boeyen

    Dull and predictable. Short book but lacked a real story. I'm very surprised at the many high ratings, I struggled to pick this book up.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This Kindle freebee was a surprise as it was a well done police procedural introducing the reader to McRyan and the rest of the characters at the precinct. Its a short 90 pages, but I liked it so much I bought the first complete book that follows. The story is a murder mystery with good characters, good plot, and an involving mystery as to why and who done it. Check this book out.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl Hansen

    First Case: Murder Alley I did manage to finish this book. To be fair there were parts that were pretty good. But, the repetition of the family owned bar, his being as good of an investigator as his dad, to mention a few, took away from the story. Just write the story without all the needless fill in. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for this book...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peg

    Not Very Good This is a short prequel to the McRyan mystery series. It was probably written after the first or second full length books to give background to Mac's life. It seems stilted and unnatural like most prequels do. I'll read the St. Paul Conspiracy and judge the full book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    A real shame it wasn't edited This would have easily been a 4-star book if it had just been properly edited, but sadly, I kept getting yanked out of the story by errors. Otherwise, it was an interesting tale with a likeable protagonist and supporting cast of characters. I would have been a new fan and buying the next book right now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ellen White

    Good beginning to the series, giving us the background of Mac, his intuition, and how he goes into the cases. Along with the ones who work with him. Peppers has a unique voice that gives you the voice of the different characters and added to the story. Given audio for my voluntary review and my honest opinion

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Alvarez

    THE FIRST CASE I am so glad that I bought this book. The author was new to me. I have enjoyed this book and will try to get all of series. So enjoyed reading this book and looking forward to many more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Novella, not novel, literally and figuratively. This was an okay read. I like the characters but the story is all a bit too cliched and stiff. Really enjoyed the personal side of Mac's life, kind of interesting. Perhaps the work side will improve with the next books in the series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meggie

    Excellent start into the McRyan mysteries. I liked Michael McKenzie "Mac" McRyan, he was down to earth, intelligent and had good head on his shoulders. I'm looking forward to The St. Paul Conspiracy. Johnny Peppers narration was really good. Highly recommended start.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Forton

    Page turner I finished the book in a day. I'm not a strong reader so that says something. It was well written. It has a few subplots but doesn't focus on them to the detriment of the main plot.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary Knopp

    I liked this book The story takes place in Minneapolis area. The detective put in charge is a newly minted detective. This is his first case (thus the title). It is well written book with a story that moves right along

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