This year Al Toth, an administrator at Veterans Memorial High School, and his wife, Linda, self-published a book called “Dead Secrets” under the pseudonym L.A. Toth.
The novel follows Detective Jack Mango after his life took a drastic turn from being shot while protecting the governor and losing his wife to cancer. He moves his family from New Mexico to Serrano, California, because of his new job as police chief. Three days into his job he arrests Billy Morton; however, four years later Morton is found dead on the beach. Later that day a second body is found near a boat. Mango works with his fellow officers to solve this case while balancing his personal life and trying to tame his past that seems to haunt him.
Two years ago, Al Toth came into my sixth-period creative writing class at Carroll High School with the first couple of chapters of the story for the class to critique and give ideas. The story has changed a lot since then and it came out better than the rough drafts that were brought to class.
The story itself has a great plot that keeps the reader guessing on who the killer is. The dialogue between the characters is realistic, including the steps taken in an investigation since Al Toth was a criminal investigator. The women have more of an impact in the story and have more of a voice than what I previously read two years ago. The amount of detail in the story helped me picture the scene, the characters and their background like I was there meeting the characters or in California; some areas went a little too much into detail like the exact height of a person.
I recommend this book not because I know him, but because “Dead Secrets” is a great story that is written by a former investigator, which makes the story much more interesting, but also has a woman’s touch to really bring out the female characters in the novel. Mango’s story does not end at the first book; a second book is on its way. If you want to read more about Jack Mango you can order the book on Amazon.