The Missing Element by John L Betcher

Right here, in my own home state of Minnesota, I open the pages to meet James Becker, recently retired government official, who has made his way back to his home town of Red Wing, Minnesota with his wife Beth.  While James “Beck” may be ready for retirement – he soon finds out retirement is not ready for him.  In short time he finds himself helping out a friend and Chief Sheriff Deputy on a crime of a missing woman.

Seems Katherine Whitson, a Minneapolis computer whiz, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances and Beck offers his help to see what he can find out.  What follows within the pages of this book is a masterful read of intelligence, intrigue, and enough humor mixed in to keep things Minnesota nice, and this Minnesotan laughing out loud.

I have to admit this book was not a hard sell for me to review.  First of all it is set in my home state and I do love to be able to picture the areas described, the roads traveled, and the sites seen.  Secondly, I do love a good mystery and it didn’t take me very many pages to realize that was exactly what I held in my hands.

John Betcher has created a character I found to be fully rounded – a retired Government Agent, a good guy, incredibly wise and good at what he does and fully in love with his wife.

Ok – stating that he is fully in love with his wife might seem like an odd statement, but I have to mention this because this is one of the thee in the book that really impressed me.  So often our detective/ crime fighter characters are either single, divorced, or married but you never actually get to see the wife as a fully developed character.  In John Betcher’s book, not only is Beth fully present – she is fully active in this book.  Beth is smart and completely in love with her husband and I loved how they had each others back.  Maybe this is just me seeing this, but I felt having such a wonderfully functioning couple was – well… refreshing.

I was impressed all the way around with the writing, the plot, the whole story.  As I finished the last pages I closed the book very satisfied that all the loose ends had been tied and hopeful that I could follow the roads that Beck travels again…

(Oh – and I was not disappointed to discover that Beck, does make an appearance in John Betcher’s newest release:  The 19th Element )

Amazon Rating

Book Journey has updated the 2010 read map to include The Missing Element

When in Red Wing Minnesota, stop in at Best Of Times Book Store for a wonderful experience and a complimentary cup of coffee!

288  Pages

Cover Story:  This is a cover that would not cause me to pick up this book.  I hate to say that, because it is truly a wonderful read – but this cover does not sell the book for me.  I had to hear about the book from other sources, and still wondered about it once I seen this very plain cover.  I am here to tell you friends – do not judge this one by its cover – this is a wonderful read!

I received my copy of this book for review from Author John Betcher

16 thoughts on “The Missing Element by John L Betcher

  1. Yes, I would say that the cover focuses in on “missing elements.”

    Something is definitely missing from the cover.

    But the book sounds great. I also love books that are set in familiar locations.

    Thanks for sharing, Sheila!

  2. It sounds like a good read! I like to support fellow Minnesotans too, so I just reserved this thru the library website. Only one copy in the whole system, so I will have to wait thru six people, good news for JB.
    I agree, the cover is sort of underwhelming. It doesn’t even really look like a MN horizon, especially not near Red Wing…

  3. My friend read that book and she told me that it has wonderful story. She gives that book but I still don’t have time to read it. I am planning to read it this coming weekend.

    1. Dear DRT- I have to say I think you are spam comments but you keep commenting in actual sentences and they make sense. I have spammed your last two comments. If you are not spam you really should consider not linking to the table site.


    1. They are Mystee I agree, my fear is that really good books like this can get missed in the constant new and upcoming reads…. to be fully competitive, I think you need a great cover that draws the person to the book – them wow them with the story just adds to the attraction 🙂

  4. I *love* seeing strong, vibrant marriage relationships in books! One mystery/crime fiction series that does this well (actually I’ve only read the first book — STILL LIFE — so far) is Louise Penny’s Three Pines series. I highly recommend Still Life if you’ve not read it.

    1. I do too Hannah and actually when I read about this wonderful marriage within these characters I realized how badly it is lacking in literature.

      I have not read Still Life but will definitely look into it on your recommendation. Thanks 😀

  5. Sounds good. I agree with you about the couple relationship. Too often, marriages and spouses are being depicted as a hindrance or thorn in the side of the main character or the plot. Nice to see a healthy relationship. A good mystery with a well done ending is great. More and more I am looking for humor, dry wit is OK, in my reads. Things are depressing enough, a bit of levity helps.
    I agree about the cover. I can understand the design. It gives the feeling of something missing, but less is more doesn’t work in this case.

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