Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Hard Ticket Home (Mac McKenzie, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Hard Ticket Home (Mac McKenzie, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Hard Ticket Home (Mac McKenzie #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  474 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Ex-St. Paul cop Rushmore McKenzie has more time, and more money, than he knows what to do with. In fact, when he's willing to admit it to himself (and he usually isn't), Mac is downright bored. Until he decides to do a favor for a friend facing a family tragedy: Nine-year-old Stacy Carlson has been diagnosed with leukemia, and the only one with the matching bone marrow tha
Mass Market Paperback, 326 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Leisure Books (first published January 1st 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 02, 2014 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Faced with the possibility of having to turn in an embezzler and come away with nothing or leave the police department and collect a huge finders fee from the insurance company, St. Paul detective Rushmore MacKenzie chooses the latter. Now he works similar to Lawrence Block’s Scudder: he has no license but does things to help people. In this story he’s been hired to find the sister of a girl who needs a transplant. Jamie Carlson had left home at 18 (never satisfactorily explained) never to retur ...more
Oct 28, 2015 Darlene rated it really liked it
I've found another local Minnesota author. This is his first in the McKenzie series. Very entertaining book, McKenzie chases down the bad guys with muscle, charm, and a fun sense of humor. I definitely will read more in this series.
Laurel Bradshaw
Dec 06, 2010 Laurel Bradshaw rated it really liked it
I needed another quick and easy read in between book club books, and this fit the bill. This is the first book in the series. I don't think it mattered too much that I had read the second one first. Again, I liked the quick pacing, the humor, and the local flavor. Too much violence to call it a "cozy," nevertheless it reads like a cozy.

Book description: Ex-St. Paul cop Rushmore McKenzie has more time, and more money, than he knows what to do with. In fact, when he's willing to admit it to himsel
Oct 30, 2009 Carol/Bonadie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna Siebold
Nov 09, 2016 Donna Siebold rated it liked it
This is Housewright's first novel featuring Rushmore "Mac" McKenzie. He is a former cop who quit the force just prior to arresting a man who had stolen a massive amount of money. He quit the force so that he could collect the reward.

He no longer needs to work but he comes from blue collar stock and finds it difficult to leave his work ethic beyond. He doesn't want to go through the process of becoming an official private detective but is sometimes willing to take on a case that interests him or
Nov 29, 2016 Kat rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Payne
Jan 02, 2017 Steve Payne rated it liked it
There was a lot not to like about this book but overall I enjoyed it. I'll forgive the super-human detective skills displayed by Mac as I found him to be quite likable. The thing with the hand grenade was almost more than I could take though.
Oct 15, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it
I don't read too many books written in the first person, but I enjoyed this one. Good dialogue. Good mystery. Rushmore McKenzie is an engaging character, and I look forward to the next book in this series. I plan to read the other books written by Housewright.
Apr 08, 2010 Spuddie rated it really liked it
#1 Rushmore "Mac" McKenzie mystery set in St. Paul, MN. Mac is an ex-cop who quit to take a huge reward from an embezzler he caught, so now is technically unemployed. While not a licensed investigator, he helps people who need helping, sometimes taking a small fee, sometimes accepting trade for his services.

When Richard Carlson, a man who did some renovations on his lake cabin, contacts him asking him to find his daughter Jamie, Mac might've turned down the job but for one thing: Richard's othe
Jul 11, 2016 Gail rated it it was amazing
Rushmore MacKenzie has money and doesn't need to work but he can't leave behind his working class background or his training as a cop. Now he does favors for people in need, much to the dismay of his girlfriend who wants them to see other people. The people he helps and the people he encounters often live on the raggedy edge of life.

He is asked to help a couple find their daughter, Jamie, who ran away seven years ago because their youngest child, now fourteen, has cancer and needs a bone marrow
A HARD TICKET HOME (Unlicensed Sleuth/Former Cop-Minnesota-Cont) – VG
David Housewright - Standalone (or 1st of series, I hope)
St. Martin’s Minatour, 2004- Hardcover
Former policeman Rushmore McKenzie has enough money that he doesn’t need to work, but he likes helping people. He agrees to look for Jamie Carlson in hopes that she might be a bone marrow match for her younger sister. But a simple search turns much more dangerous as McKenzie becomes a target for murder and others start dying around hi
Aug 26, 2016 Megargee rated it liked it
This is the first book in a new (to me) series that so far numbers 13 titles. Stuck as a Minneapolis patrolman with not much chance for a promotion, Mac McKenzie on his day off apprehends a CEO who made off with $6 million in embezzled cash along with the money. The firm's insurance company has offered a massive reward but cops can not accept rewards. So Mac quits the force before bringing him in.
Mac now spends his time feeding the ducks in his pond and helping others. (Think Lawrence Block's
Apr 02, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
A St. Paul cop named Rushmore McKenzie comes into a large sum of money and begins "helping" people on the side (shorthand for "not a licensed PI"). An acquaintance asks him to search for his long-lost older daughter, because his younger daughter has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. This somehow morphs into a gangs-and-guns hardboiled story.

The plot kept me curious, although I guessed one element pretty quickly. But Housewright tries to make McKenzie both tough and funny and neither o
Marissa Jonas
May 03, 2015 Marissa Jonas rated it it was amazing
McKenzie has more money than he knows what to do with. He used to be a policeman, now he spends his time helping other people and solving their problems. McKenzie has been assigned one of his hardest tasks yet, finding a donor for Stacy who has leukemia. His best bet is to find her sister, Jamie. The only problem is, Jamie ran away from home seven years ago. McKenzie must track down her before it’s too late, but when the unexpected happens McKenzie finds himself focusing on another problem. {P.g ...more
Anna Marie
Jan 02, 2016 Anna Marie rated it liked it
This the first book in the series about Rushmore McKenzie, with a prologue covering the back story of how he went from cop to wealthy investigator / problem-solver.
(The second one I've read.)

He is asked to find Jamie, the older sister of a child who needs a bone-marrow transplant. He finds Jamie pretty quickly, but the bodies start piling up, and hers is one of them. He discovers that her son is still out there, and possibly able to be a donor.

McKenzie thinks he understands what is going on, b
Jun 19, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
This was an OK book. I would have liked it to focus more on the family described in the preview on the back cover and less on shooting bad guys, but that's just me. All told, kind of a weird book, the main character/narrator hard to figure out. I couldn't tell whether this was the first featuring this character or not. It seemed like there should be at least one before this one, but that book would be from an entirely different perspective of this character, so I'm not sure.
Don't know that I'd r
Aug 01, 2010 Sara rated it it was ok
The writing and style of this book reminded me so much of Robert Parker. I rather like Robert Parker's abrupt and stoic style, but this story had really violent death depicted and I don't want images like that in my head. Omitting the descriptive violence this book would have been more likeable for me. Tell me if this sounds familiar--tough older PI tracking down the killer without police assistance and against all odds. McKenzie is tough--surviving death threats and shoot-outs while investigati ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Patty rated it really liked it
I like Rushmore McKenzie and his cast of friends. This is the first book in the McKenzie series and my attempt to get back in order after having read The Taking of Libbie South Dakota because of the title.

This book introduces McKenzie and builds the background I was missing in Libbie. Still, there was a bit more violence and death in this book than I usually want to deal with. However, it was not too over the top and I was able to enjoy the story and the mystery. I didn't have a clue what was g
Read Ng
Mar 16, 2014 Read Ng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, thriller
A most entertaining, edge of your seat tale. Just the right mix of clues and plot twists to keep your heart racing and your mind spinning. Everyone has a secret, it's just a matter of sifting through all the clues to find the answer. Oh, and try not to be killed on your search for the truth. Our hero's references to pop culture are so close to mine, that I already see myself sitting at the bar, sipping a few and having a great time. I will definitely be placing Housewright on my favorite authors ...more
Neill Smith
Jul 01, 2013 Neill Smith rated it it was amazing
After Mackenzie arrested Thomas Teachwell out of his jurisdiction, the resulting reward allowed him to retire. He occasionally took on jobs as an unlicensed investigator and he had enough remaining connections from his policing days to make the jobs easier for him. But the new missing persons case has put him in conflict with a Minnesota-St. Paul old boys network with their associated marital infidelities and gang connections and it's looking like he may not survive - the women, the old boys, th ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Glen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
First book in the Rushmore MacKenzie series tells the origin tale of our hero.

Mac's bored, and decides to help an acquaintance find his daughter, who ran away from home seven years ago. It seems fairly straightforward, but within hours of starting the investigation, people start tying to kill Mac, and down the rabbit hole we go.

Pretty good, when the author isn't spouting off boring liberal social commentary.
Al Iverson
Nov 14, 2010 Al Iverson rated it really liked it
A fun detective novel set in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Well written, I thought. A little bit of exposition at the start, setting the stage for why the main character has money, but no job. That perhaps dragged a bit, but once past that part, the story was interesting and held my attention well. Like so many pulp paperbacks, there are a couple of wacky "that'd never happen in a million year" plot points, but I'm used to that from the genre.
Feb 21, 2016 Mindy rated it it was ok
Interesting enough that I picked it up every night. Would've been a lot better if the author didn't keep intruding into the story with his own thoughts about various topics such as how some men need too grieve silently, etc. That kind of "telling not showing" was also the reason that the characters fell a bit flat.
Katherine Clark
Jun 10, 2011 Katherine Clark rated it it was ok
I heard many good things about this series. It opens really well (quite clever), and I liked the Minnesota setting. (Minnesota is one of the places I would like to live.) But I had serious problems with the book, most notably that the author seemed to have a hard time picking a subgenre. Was this a PI novel? Hardboiled? Traditional? Police Procedural? I got tired of the shifts in genre.
Jul 08, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it
I liked the character Mac and the general writing style of David Housewright....I see a lot of potential and evolution of the character. Sort of a similar length and feel of a Stuart Woods Stone Barrington story which I love! Plan on reading the series and getting caught up this summer on Mr. Housewright's work.
Mar 19, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Recommended to me by someone in my book club as the author lives close to us, and I really liked this book. I have read quite a few mysteries by John Sandford and he also writes about a copy living in the Twin Cities. This was quite a bit like his books but I didn't know who was the killer until they revealed him to the reader. I really liked his characters and will read more of his books.
Nov 14, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it
This was a book given to me by my father, the mystery book reader. I don't read many mysteries. I guess its always weird to me when you get all of the answers at the end of the book. I always wonder if I am supposed to have already figured this stuff out, cuz I don't. Anyway, back to some senseless biker book or something.
Duffy Pearce
Aug 14, 2014 Duffy Pearce rated it really liked it
This is the first in the series, I read the third "Pretty Girl Gone" first and liked it so much I thought I'd go back to the beginning. The first was even better, next up is Tin City, which I 'm too cheap to buy until I check the library for a free version first. Kindle did have another Housewright book for free, not part of the Mackensie series, but what the heck?
Nov 15, 2012 Jim rated it liked it
Fun, but gory, mystery. Not too much character development, but energetic. Wanted to read on, a page-turner. Lots of cliches apply, but I never put it down. Because it's set in my home city, it was amusing to recognize streets, buildings, and so on the author mentioned. There is a series of the Rushmore books, but I'm not sure I'll read another.
Jan 07, 2010 james rated it liked it
I like David Housewright whose novels take place in Minnesota. This one starts in the frozen north of the state in Grand Rapids. The central character is Mac McKenzie, a former police officer who suddenly comes into some money. He likes to help people in trouble. Even though I sometimes found myself thinking of the Lone Ranger, I did enjoy this fast-moving tale.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Red Knife (Cork O'Connor, #8)
  • Drink the Tea
  • Silencing Sam (Riley Spartz, #3)
  • The Price Of Blood (Phil Broker, #1)
  • The Burying Place (Jonathan Stride, #5)
  • Blood Country (Claire Watkins, #1)
  • Cape Disappointment (Thomas Black, #12)
A reformed newspaper reporter and ad man, Housewright's book "Penance" (Foul Play Press) earned the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated for a Shamus in the same category by the Private Eye Writers of America.

"Practice to Deceive" won the 1998 Minnesota Book Award (it is currently being developed as a feature film) and "Jelly's Gold" won the s
More about David Housewright...

Other Books in the Series

Mac McKenzie (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Tin City (Mac McKenzie, #2)
  • Pretty Girl Gone (Mac McKenzie, #3)
  • Dead Boyfriends (Mac McKenzie, #4)
  • Madman on a Drum (Mac McKenzie, #5)
  • Jelly's Gold (Mac McKenzie, #6)
  • The Taking of Libbie, SD (Mac McKenzie, #7)
  • Highway 61 (Mac McKenzie, #8)
  • Curse of the Jade Lily (Mac McKenzie, #9)
  • The Last Kind Word (Mac McKenzie, #10)
  • The Devil May Care (Mac McKenzie, #11)

Share This Book