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Bourbon and Bliss
by Larry Rochelle

Category: Fiction / Mystery
212 pages; ISBN: 1-894869-74-5

Rating: 3/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kevin Tipple


In this installment of the ongoing Palmer Morel series, thirty-nine year old tennis pro Palmer Morel and his young girlfriend, Corky Kennedy, have come to New Orleans. Flush with Palmer’s recent inheritance of three million dollars they have come to rest and recuperate before Palmer plays in a scheduled tennis tournament, the greater New Orleans Open, featuring the likes of John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

Palmer is beginning to wonder how much longer he can keep playing, let alone keep the much younger Corky happy. And while the first week of vacation has been fun, the nights have been difficulty as dreams of doom and death haunt him. He doesn’t know what the dreams mean anymore than he knows the meaning of what he saw on the balcony of a movie set as Corky and he passed quickly by on a streetcar. Unlike the dreams, that he could investigate and briefly did before Corky explained it away as the actor and the actress was rehearsing.

Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t. Troubled by his dreams of doom and death and what he witnessed, Palmer isn’t looking forward to the interruption provided by Bliss, Corky’s old friend. The beautiful Bliss arrives like a hurricane stampeding across Palmer and Corky’s lives. Her arrival sets off a cascade of events involving wild sex, illicit drug use, and Mob involvement that ends in a shattering and very bloody climax beneath a full moon.

While billed as a mystery there is virtually no mystery involved here at all and very little depth to any of the characters. These characters are known for what they are within a few pages, if not paragraphs, as each one is introduced. Both the Mob boss and the movie director seem to have come from central casting. Palmer is a troubled aging tennis pro, with a hip young and fun girlfriend and an ability to get into trouble no matter where he goes or what he does. Within the first fifty pages of the novel, the parameters of the situation are clearly defined and all that is left as they followed their scripted roles are a few details.

Palmer’s angst over the twilight of his career and his future relationship with the much younger Corky, while pushed heavily by the author, comes across as shallow as his studly activities, drug induced or not. The character seems more like a caricature than an actual person to care about and as such, his own drama means little, as do the dramas of the other characters. While often told what to feel through lines in the text, this author does not jump that gap to make the reader actually feel or even care about these shallow characters.

Any alleged story is pushed to the background by the rampant and very graphic sex scenes laced heavily throughout the 210-page novel. Wild sex is the primary theme aided at times by illicit and accidental drug use. Much of the sex is performed by women gone wild as their secret sexual fantasies come to life unleashed by the ingestion of the drug Rohypnol.

What this novel is, instead of being a mystery, is a very graphic men’s adventure read. The hero, often injured is still a stud, the women are beautiful and amazingly willing (with or without drugs), the crime guys are Italian and do their typical Mob stuff. For what it really is, a fast paced simplistic storyline and read, it isn’t bad.

Book Facts:

Bourbon And Bliss: A Palmer Morel Mystery
By Larry Rochelle
Zumaya Publications
ISBN # 1-894869-74-5
Large Trade Paperback

Kevin R. Tipple © 2004



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