I’m trying to expand from Westerns but NetGalley has four more I couldn’t resist:
- Under Pressure--a damaged body, an exceptional mind, and boundless curiosity–ingredients for an FBI agent
- Hard Vengeance–former special forces Jon Reznick investigates the apparent murder of his girlfriend
- Serpentine–Alex Delaware again out-analyzes a murderer
by Robert Pobi
In Robert Pobi’s Under Pressure (Minotaur Books 2020), Book 2 in the Lucas Page series, when FBI Special Agent Brett Kehoe asked his friend Lucas Page for help, Lucas should have said no. But Kehoe made it sound so simple and quick:
“I just want you to do a walk-through and get a feel for what happened. Look at it as an exercise in basic physics and chemistry. That’s all.”
When Lucas agreed, everything changed because he never did anything partway. Lucas wasn’t an ordinary man. I’m not talking about his prosthetic arm and leg or his one remaining good eye or the way he could see time in reverse. The way his mind was unique. He loved numbers, could see patterns where others just saw gore and death. So when he went to this walk-through, “basic physics and chemistry”, he saw so much more, enough that he realized this murder wasn’t simple at all and he had to solve it before others died.
Two things to consider: There’s a little bit of politics. You probably won’t notice unless you’re sensitive to it. Second, the plot is complicated. Don’t doze off. Luckily Lucas likes complications, thrives on them, so he tries to unravel them for us slower folks. Oddly, my only real compliant is that it’s a bit slow. There’s lots of action but it bogs down with the unending detail of this outrageous mind. It didn’t block the stellar ranking but give me pause.
Overall, an excellent read and a great new character for me.
by J.B. Turner
J.B. Turner’s Hard Vengeance is #9 in the Jon Reznick Thriller series. When Jon Reznick’s wife dies, Reznick doesn’t think he’ll ever love again but it seems to be happening with long time friend Martha Mayerstein, Asst. Director of the FBI. When a yacht blows up and she is killed while on vacation, most call it a horrible accident but neither Martha’s father nor Jon think that’s true. Jon flies to Spain to investigate and quickly finds out it isn’t as simple as it sounds. First, why is the FBI covering it up? And then, why is Jon’s life threatened for simply trying to uncover the truth?
I love this series. I’ve read every book in it. The characters are strong and believable. The plots always quick and pithy and the writing tight. But this book was not one of Turner’s best (IMHO). There was no lack of drama but Jon seemed slow to react and the plot’s development and pacing seemed similarly slow. Scenes covered the same dramatic and emotional territory too many times which made me skip ahead. I was completed vested in Martha’s safety and wanted to see Jon use his prodigious skills to beat the apparent bad guys, which he did, but slowly. The story was there but the storyteller wasn’t on his a game with this one.
by Jonathan Kellerman
Serpentine (Ballantine Books 2021) is the thirty-sixth in Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series and another excellent story starring Dr Alex Delaware, psychologist, and Detective Milo Sturgiss of the LAPD. Together they are clever, analytical, and inspired to solve crimes. This crime is a thirty-nine-year-old cold case that many detectives have tried and failed to solve. It starts as a simple missing person and ends up with multiple murders. I can’t say much more without spoiling the plot but if you wonder if the author’s smart voice is intact, read these few quotes:
“A charging bull if a bull could find an aloha shirt that fit [this is Milo]”
“…make a living creating beauty [Delaware’s live-in girlfriend]”
Kellerman has lost nothing of his writing skills since the last thirty-five books in this series. If you like those, you’ll love this. It may even be your favorite.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.