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Hot Shot

Solomon King has only ever done things one way- his way…much to the chagrin of his superiors. However, despite their frustrations, no one could deny that Solomon was one of the greatest assets to the Durham Police Department. He ends up assigned to a case involving a string of apparently random, accidental deaths, determined to prove their connection to each other and find the person behind it all. With little more to go on than some tenuous leads and a deep gut instinct, Solomon has to work against time and a police task force to solve a crime with no solid clues. But, if anyone can do it, Solomon King can.

Hot Shot by Wayne Daye is written in the solid tradition of hard-boiled crime thrillers. This suspenseful action novel reads like a fast-paced, cat-and-mouse game between a grizzled old detective and an unhinged killer. While the killer is introduced to the readers reasonably early on, watching Solomon and his partner trying to connect the dots and reach the same conclusion is both tense and exciting. Daye creates enough twists and turns to keep the story fresh while keeping things from ever getting too deep. Readers will enjoy following the clues and watching as Solomon analyzes facts and uses his intuition to make connections that other team members miss.

This intriguing story is a fun and enjoyable read. There were some editing challenges in parts where readers may have to slow down and reread a few lines, but overall this does not distract from the novel’s composition. The creativity of this unique storyline makes up for any missteps there may be in editing. Watching the mind of a star detective at work is always fascinating, and the killer was also a well-written and multi-faceted character who was fun to watch.

Hot Shot is a riveting crime mystery novel that lovers of detective stories will gravitate to. The character of Solomon makes this suspenseful thriller novel a must-read.

Pages: 217 | ASIN : B08T5X667Q

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Savage City

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 1932, the Savage City of Detroit has become a microcosm of the subsequent ferocities of the century. Amid the murky politics between the capitalists in control and the Communist-backed Unemployed Council for the worker’s rights, there are Black Legions, Purples, and Sicilians, the criminal organizations with their ridiculous radical views and drugs trade. With the backdrop of the 1932 Ford Hunger March, the four protagonists of this crime thriller encounter, and are stuck in, the political and criminal deluge that irrevocably change their fate forever.

Within the span of eight days before a six-week leap in the story, the narratives of the four main characters in the psychological thriller expose the frustration and helplessness of common people just getting by with their lives in the racially divided, xenophobic, and brutal city of Detroit, where a person’s life is as fragile as an acorn. Detective Clarence Brown’s agitation and utmost efforts while tracking down the killer of a teenage colored boy reveals the general disbelief in the preposterous prejudice against black citizens. On the other hand, Ben, the Jewish victim of racial persecution, and Elizabeth, the member of a communist league, demonstrate the victims of tragic circumstances, emblematic of the society in general.

The author Donald Levin fuses aspects of the historical Ford Hunger March in 1932 with fictional characters and plots that make for an engaging and powerful read. As the story unfolds, the scenes with more than one protagonist offer an extra perspective through the character’s self-narratives. This allows for a clear and precise description of the event and thus enhancing the sense of inclusivity and anticipation. 

This crime thriller features a large number of minor characters to add depth to the plot, which both adds excitement and complexity. It’s ideal for readers who prefer reading novels with numerous and distinctive characters.

Savage City reveals the stark reality of the Great Depression in its most vivid colors, showing the desperation of a city crippled by the consequences of the masses of frustrated men and women, crushed between dirty politics and corrupt authorities. It is answered explicitly by the many characters in the novel as to who transforms a city into a savage beast. This intense book is ideal for readers who want a glimpse into the human psyche of a city affected by a bull-headed and corrupt system, perfectly encapsulated in a brilliant work of fiction.

Pages: 426 | ASIN : B09N6RJCVF

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Flotsam, by Tracy Grogan, is a slow-burn thriller that follows an ex-pat to the Palau Islands named Ricky. Ricky Yamamoto is a divemaster for a local dive shop who enjoys her time underwater far more than life on solid ground. That is until she comes across two bodies during a leisure dive and gets herself tied up in a crime much bigger than originally anticipated.

Readers are introduced to the major plot almost immediately in this work of fiction. This suspenseful novel is richly detailed and builds readers curiosity leading them through the hair-raising adventures of Ricky while building up to an incredibly intense final act.

The story is broken up into specific times and wherever Ricky is currently at in terms of the story. Readers will find this type of story setup helpful in keeping track of the story setting as they try to follow the events of the investigation and Ricky’s personal life. This mystery novel presents facts and information leading the readers down many possible paths, not knowing what information will be useful to solving the mystery of the murders.

Readers who enjoy the thriller or mystery genre will be kept on their toes in this intriguing novel. This is an engaging story that readers will enjoy following just as much as they enjoy solving the mystery at the heart of the novel.

Ricky remains a mystery throughout most of the novel, leaving readers to draw conclusions until the author decides to reveal key characteristics and personality traits. This style allows readers to be their own judge of character and draw their own conclusions without the author explicitly telling them how to view a character, making the mystery more entertaining.

Flotsam is incredibly well-written and readers will find Ricky intriguing and likable. Readers of mystery and thrillers will love this travel adventure mystery that is filled with international crime and murder.

Pages: 386 | ASIN : B09KPZVJ81

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They Only Wear Black Hats 

They Only Wear Black Hats by Edward Izzi is a modern crime novel that will grab readers right from the title. The title successfully generates the right amount of curiosity, and relevance while maintaining a theme that can be seen throughout the major sequences in the novel.

This gripping story begins in a high school setting and the language can give readers the illusion of a contemporary breezy read. Soon however readers will realize its anything but a cozy mystery novel. This captivating story wastes no time in lettings the readers know that it’s going to be a dark and intense journey filled with toe curling twists and heartbreaks.

This thrilling story is fast paced with the murders of many young children containing explicit descriptions of their mutilation and death. Detective Palazzola grows frustrated with the lack of convictions on these murder cases yet has no recourse for the problem. One night he learns of the secret group called the Archangels. They step in when the law has failed to enact justice for the victims. A single black bowler hat left at the scene of each vigilante killing, the only clue to what is going on. This vigilante group however has vowed to put an end to anyone that tries to stop them from their mission of enacting justice to the victims.

The plot is enthralling, and the flow is brilliant with concise chapters that keeps you invested and intrigued throughout. The narration is also nonlinear and shifts from the perspective of Detective Palazzola to an omniscient third person narrator. The surprising story gives you small but significant details about each victim in such a way that you feel the sadness and root for justice to happen.

They Only Wear Black Hats will keep readers of suspenseful crime mysteries hooked from the opening lines. Those that want a fast-paced thriller will not be disappointed.

Pages: 333 | ASIN : B09LQ9JPP1

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Blaze In, Blaze Out

Blaze in, Blaze out by Joseph Lewis is an action-filled mystery crime novel. Two members of a law enforcement task force are the lynchpins to putting away the crime boss Dmitry Andruko. In retaliation Dmitry puts out a hit out on the two officers with the instructions, kill anyone that gets in the way. Following the trial, Eiselmann spends the weekend with his family, and O’Connor heads out on a fishing trip with a friend and his four adopted teenage sons. What should have been a relaxing weekend for both men, turns into a nightmare and a fight for their lives and those they love. Detective O’Connor’s story and attempted murder interlaces itself with Brian and Bobby’s troubled relationship in a world filled with crimes, betrayal and homophobia.

Lewis’s comprehensive writing style makes sure the reader never gets lost in this complex and fast-moving plot. The point of view alternates with the chapters so readers can experience the story through the eyes of all the characters providing them with the full picture of what is occurring and sharing the characters insights and emotions. Care is taken by the author to provide descriptions of every place visited and every clothing item worn by the characters. Readers will become fully immersed into the world created by Lewis.

Besides being a crime thriller, this novel tackles the challenging subject of coming out. Brian struggles with his identity and his relationship with his adopted father due to his sexual orientation. The perspective of a teenage boy coming out to family adds a level of drama to this thriller novel.

Blaze in, Blaze out with its engaging plot and deep themes is a riveting novel and fast read that will keep readers in suspense and hooked till the last page. I recommend this action packed book to any teenager going through a difficult time with their parents and to any reader who loves suspenseful thrillers, and crime novel.

Pages: 321 | ASIN : B09B576BPJ

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Journey of 200

Journey of 200 by Wilbur is a story told from the point of view of Guillaume, a boy with autism.  With his two sisters, Catherine and Madeline, Guillaume wins a robot-building competition. The prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to India, and they somehow manage to set off on their trip with no parents involved. While in India they hear about a trek in China that will grant them life to the age of 200 if they survive the journey, so they set off for China to make the perilous attempt to reach the top of the mountain.

Journey of 200 is the first novel by new author Wilbur. The dialogue reflects the characters autism, it doesn’t always flow very well but that is part of the character development of Guillaume. The overall writing is well-structured and clear. The author has created a detailed world, giving readers a sense of his vision of India and China through the eyes of Guillaume. 

Journey of 200 is a colorful adventure story, and it does give a fascinating glimpse into a mind influenced by autism. I think this novel is for mature readers as it contains casual violence throughout, from the punching and kicking, children’s acquisition and use of guns, common brutality and horrific death. There is racism laced throughout the story, and savage misogyny, as when Guillaume impassively witnesses his sister being beaten and is unmoved. Wilber is able to use these themes to build on the suspense and action of characters.

Journey of 200 by Wilbur is shocking and provocative while maintaining a clear story line. While this book is not for everyone, those that enjoy seeing the darker side of society with a thrilling adventure and quest mixed in will enjoy this novel.

Pages: 121 | ASIN : B08ZXQ3NN8

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I Am Beast

I Am Beast by [Marta Nater]

Marta Nater wrote I Am Beast to educate readers on the heinous act of stalking, which causes a victim to suffer extreme fear. The book consists of five chapters, the first four of which, in the form of factual stories, analyze stalker behavior types, motivations of the perpetrator, and the impact of the crime on the victim. In the last chapters the author covers the book’s sole objective. The author reminds the reader of the case of Jennifer Kesse, unaccounted for since January 23, 2006, from Orlando, Florida. In asserting that Jesse’s abduction was the work of a stalker and analyzing possible abduction scenarios based on extensive research into Jennifer Kesse’s case and the psychology of abductors, the author explains what she believes occurred with Jennifer Kesse.

I Am Beast begins with a poem from the perspective of a beast which is symbolic of a stalker or the abductor of Jennifer Kesse. Though the beast seems to have been struck by conscience, confessing the negative consequences of his conduct on the victim, his confession takes a turn to his fear, which later on becomes a challenge for people to find him, the only way to find the many Jennifer Kesses in the world.

While researching extensively to identify what happened with Jennifer Kesse on the unfortunate day of January 2006 and noting the suspects she feels were let go, the author’s persistence in investigating a case 15 years old is admirable and brave. It’s nice to see that the book offers more than just the intention to kill the beast, the stalkers. Stalkers and victims are both prescribed physiatrists and therapies, with the belief that those who are determined will change.

I Am Beast enlightens the reader on the seriousness of stalking and how it could worsen if the early stages are ignored or taken casually. The book certainly educates readers on a crime that is often ignored, sometimes due to fear of being stigmatized as weak. It is an appeal to help find the abductor of Jennifer Kesse and a guide for potential victims to come out of the initial phase before another beast is born and another Jennifer Kesse is taken away.

Pages: 87 | ASIN: B07P89MKW6

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Juanita Chase FBI: The Rainbow Killer

Someone is stalking the LGBTQ community of Long Island, New York. When the drowning death of a federal agent’s daughter connects to the serial killings, Special Agent Chase joins the investigation. Is the killer a jilted lover? Is the father taking revenge on the women he suspected of drowning his daughter? When the fourth victim turns up butchered, Juanita must race against time to save the remaining women on the monster’s death list.

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