Service before Self by Tegon Maus

Service before Self by Tegon Maus
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (97 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A recent transplant to Southern California, Toby Grant has landed his dream job. He’s a service tech for Handy Dandy Services—the premier handyman service in the southland.

Things don’t go well for Toby on the first day when he is teamed up with Ryan Burnell, a twenty year veteran of Handy Dandy. Toby quickly learns the hardships of being Ryan’s partner, and finds himself in one uncomfortable situation after another.

In an effort to understand his new partner, Toby accidently uncovers Ryan’s past involvement with drugs, burglary, and murder. He also learns about Ryan’s last partner of five years—Delsin Honaw—who had been murdered…stabbed twenty-seven times.

Haunted by one misunderstanding after another, Toby learns the true meaning of the company’s motto—“Service before Self.”

Everyone feels nervous on their first day at a new job, but Toby has a few extra reasons to worry.

A murder mystery generally isn’t something I’d expect to find funny, but this one provided me with a lot of opportunities to laugh. Mr. Maus has a unique sense of humor that worked really well with the tone of this story. His uncanny ability to draw out the humorous side in all kinds of unlikely scenarios is one of the biggest reasons why I get so excited when this author releases something new.

There were a few minor pacing issues in the beginning. This tale needed to introduce several important characters before the plot picked up. While all of the characters were important to what happened later on, I would have preferred to dig into the mystery sooner because it was such an interesting one. A slow introduction works well for a novel, but it felt a little out of place for something this length.

Some of my favorite scenes in this book showed how the customers that Toby and his coworker visited were actually living. How people present themselves to the outside world doesn’t always match what is really going on their lives. The gap between that image and the reality of their private lives was a fascinating place to explore.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of Mr. Maus’ books yet, Service before Self is a great place to start. If you’re already a fan of his work, I’d recommend it just as strongly. There’s something here for everyone!


  1. Thanks for the read and did I mention the review ?? Very cool !!
    Thanks for your time !!

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