Book Insights – “Pura Vida”

Pura Vida a synopsis

Chelsea resident Jim Utsler has recently published his first novel, “Pura Vida.” Set in both Michigan and Costa Rica, this exhilarating mystery/thriller follows a disgraced Detroit homicide detective, Jacob Miller, as he attempts to redeem himself.

The synopsis: “Detroit homicide detective Jacob Miller has been accused of many things, but being smart isn’t one of them. The murder of drug-dealer Willy is proof enough of that, but not covering it up is even worse. So why would he think that stealing a fellow inmate’s hidden fortune is any smarter, especially when an ex-mafia family head is after the same thing?

Pura Vida cover

“But even the stupidest people have occasional flashes of brilliance, and Jacob is no exception. After being released from prison and moving to sunny Costa Rica, he solves an international murder mystery involving the usual suspects: love, lust and loot. Despite that mildly brainiac feather in his cap, he still has to deal with the beef between him, his fellow inmate and the mob boss…and the violent fallout that ensues.”

The style and tone of Pura Vida have been compared to those of a fellow Michigan-based author. As one reviewer describes it, “Kind of in the Elmore Leonard vein of Detroit cop thrillers – with twists and turns along the way, of course! Had trouble putting this one down!. Two thumbs up.”

Another reviewer writes, “I have to say that I enjoyed this book immensely. Mr. Utsler’s writing style is very engaging, and I especially liked hearing the internal dialog that the characters use. I love books with “real” characters and all their flaws. Jim Utsler does a masterful job of portraying the human frailties and strengths of each of his characters.”


Mr. Utsler, who has been in the editorial industry for more than 20 years, has writing degrees from both Eastern Michigan University (written communications) and the University of Michigan (creative writing). He’s currently both a freelance writer and editor and senior writer for IBM Systems Magazine. Awards include a gold for best technical article, a silver for best regular column and award of excellence for regular column/department.

Pura Vida is now available in both e-book and physical-copy formats and can be found at outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and his website at

For more information, visit, or