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A Colossal Injustice

Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr. does it again with another heart-pounding ride along with the incomparable Detective Griffin Knight. A Colossal Injustice, a sequel to his first story Do Nothing, Griffin takes a trip to Seattle to help out Kalyx, the anonymous hacker who helped him to solve his last murder case. Kalyx’s fiance, Dylan Walker, was murdered after discovering someone stole money from his high-profile tech company. 

Kalyx sets Griffin up with the tools and access he needs for his investigation and with help from two sidekicks, Felix and his sister Aurora. Felix was a close friend of the murdered Dylan Walker and a personal bodyguard. Aurora, his sister, is Seattle PD and helps to ensure that even though Griffin is outside of his jurisdiction and only acting as a civilian, he has police backup. Together, and with the assistance of information cleverly left behind by Dylan Walker, they discover who stole millions of dollars from the company and what other crimes they were using the money for.

The plot twists and turns as they first confront a mob boss, only to find they are following a dead end. The novel concludes in an epic way you will have to read to find out about. Hernandez keeps the door open to a follow-up story and leaves us wondering if justice will be served in the end. 

I genuinely enjoy reading about Griffin Knight. He is part detective and part superhero, which is both realistic and fun to read. These two stories from Hernandez Jr. have been easy to follow without being boring or predictable. They are a proper mix of suspense and are easy to read. I would like a little more background on Griffin. We learned a little more about his life in this book, and I will be soaking up the more Hernandez Jr. can deliver!

A Colossal Injustice is a fast-paced and exciting murder mystery. While short in page count, there is no lack of thrills and suspense in this story. Readers are given a compelling mix of fantasy and science fiction in their crime mystery, leaving them wondering what could possibly happen next.

Pages: 94 | ASIN : B0BLT6VB3N

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Murder at Amapas Beach

Murder at Amapas Beach by James Gilbert follows American consul Amanda Pennyworth as she finds herself once again in the middle of a murder investigation. During what was supposed to be a romantic excursion to Amapas Beach with her not-quite boyfriend, Romero, Amanda stumbles upon the bludgeoned body of a woman. Amanda finds herself inexplicably drawn to the case and finds herself questioning the shady group of tourists who are somehow able to cast the blame on everyone but themselves. No one is as they seem, and Amanda is unsure who is telling the truth and who knows more than they are letting on. She must uncover the truth behind this murder before it becomes completely unsolvable.

In Murder at Amapas Beach by James Gilbert, Amanda, an American consul living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, finds herself as a primary witness and translator in a murder investigation after stumbling upon a woman’s body. Unfortunately, the possible suspects are a group of tourists the woman was traveling with. Still, after the Puerto Vallarta Police allow the American suspects to return home to Racine, Wisconsin, Amanda finds herself still closely involved in the case.

At the heart of this book is the theme of keeping up appearances. The police departments Amanda works alongside try to maintain their reputation while the American tourists maintain their innocence despite misleading statements. Yet, even Amanda struggles with self-doubt as she questions her career and romantic life.

Murder at Amapas Beach features engaging, dynamic characters, both likable and unlikable, and a relatable and sympathetic protagonist, Amanda. The police procedure flows well throughout the book; however, some descriptions of the setting or actions of a character feel heavy-handed and even mundane at times. As a result, the reader may find themselves asking questions that remain unanswered other than vague remarks that seem half-baked, like who was the murder victim really? The characters seem to know, but the readers never get the full glimpse.

Murder at Amapas Beach is an enjoyable murder mystery and crime novel that is a quick read. Readers will be drawn into the scenery and the mystery of the crime, allowing them to feel like they are right there with Amanda, trying to figure out what really happened.

Pages: 288 | ISBN : 1639886494

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Contracts For Sale

The disappearance of a wealthy CEO, corporate murder, and a ‘stealth’ company Eradication Inc. that operates below the radar providing a sophisticated hitman service: all of this forms the crux of Edward Izzi’s latest crime novel Contracts for Sale. This story begins with a chillingly efficient disposal of a well-dressed corpse in a vat of hydrofluoric acid—the perfect crime that leaves no body, no witnesses, no DNA. Paul Crawford, a journalist, along with the Chicago P.D and a news anchor Chaz Rizzo, work in a friends-and-enemies dynamic to solve the cases of Eradication Inc.’s ‘Houdini Victims’ with no discernible links to each other disappearing throughout the city of Chicago.

The irresistible lure that power and money has, coupled with the desire for revenge and control, is made very clear and is brought out well in this gritty story. Despite the millions that each of the seven shareholders of Eradication Inc. receive every year from the company’s nefarious activities, personal motives compel some of them to put out contracts against their personal enemies—something that the company strictly forbids.

The author does a good job of holding the reader’s attention with his account of the company’s workings, proven in the fact that the reader knows Eradication Inc. to be responsible for the murders within the first few chapters and is still engrossed in the story. The worlds of reporting and policing are de-glamorized in this book, with Crawford and Detective Dorian working to deadlines, reporting to superiors, and playing by the rules, something that is rarely shown in most police thrillers.

Contracts for Sale by Edwrad Izzi expertly combines strong characters, knowledgeable descriptions of Chicago’s geography and its environment, with the various fields of journalism, detectives, the mob underworld, and upscale society to tell a grounded and realistic police procedural story that is thrilling and compelling.

Pages: 334 | ASIN: B0BK4VQ21V

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Do Nothing

The door is open, but you swear you closed it. Something – one small thing – is moved into your house, and you know it wasn’t you or anyone you know. You feel a chill across your body that notifies your brain – danger! 

Author Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr. knows how to recreate this feeling for the reader and delivers a hair-raising suspenseful thriller. Hernandez Jr. takes his audience on a ride as the main character, gruff and gritty Griffin Knight, attempts to find the murderer of New York City’s District Attorney Natalie Costa. The evidence and another similar murder point to the reemergence of a serial killer returning after 10 years. Known as “The Judge,” he’s handing out death sentences to people he feels did nothing when justice needs to be served. Griffin has help from the previous detective on the cold case and a mysterious benevolent hacker. It points to a negligence lawsuit where a significant corporation bribed witnesses to make one man fall for the company’s illegal practices. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel as the plot moved along quickly, and the character-hopping chapters kept me engaged as I figured out who this was and how they fit into the story. However, I would’ve liked Griffin Knight to have more character development. As a reader, I want to fall in love with the main character, and with very little background information on Griffin, we only see him as he is now. Detectives in stories like these are either the new hotshot or the seasoned and jaded type. I’m not sure where Griffin falls in this spectrum, but as the reader, I would have liked a chance to get to know him and care more about him when he is fighting for his life. Overall, the story was entertaining, fun to read, and still has me looking over my shoulder in a dark room. 

Do Nothing is a thrilling hard-boiled mystery that will have readers in suspense from the opening pages through the exciting conclusion. This short police procedural novel is perfect for a weekend read when you want to get your blood pumping.

Pages 76: | ASIN : B0BDJ8LZY8

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Little Town Blues

Set in the fictional town of Fryebury Falls, this story revolves around police chief Mike’s family and a diverse community of people suffering from various mental or psychological issues brought together by the hand of fate. Like in a typical small town in Fryebury, everybody knows everybody, and their lives are deeply interconnected. But when Jack Cleary joins Mike’s department as his deputy, the fine state of balance between reality and fantasy, right and wrong, sane and insane, becomes suddenly upset.

Little Town Blues by David Gonthier Jr. starts as a police procedural and eventually develops into a mystery novel with a hint of paranormal in it. One might find it interesting how the narrative builds towards a particular ending but surprises us with a completely different resolution. Although it is unclear as to why the author chooses to conclude his novel in this fashion, it is not one that the readers can quite anticipate. However, it is worth noting how each character has been given the opportunity to flourish within the story.

The novel is replete with literary and movie references, allowing us to identify characters with specific traits or preferences that were previously established in the original works and giving the readers an impression of the vast knowledge base of the author himself. However, some references make us question their significance to the plot. One must admit that stories loaded with references can be a distinctive style of writing, but keeping the targeted audience in mind can be equally challenging. Despite the unconventional mode of writing, as a thriller and mystery novel, this book captivates readers with its innovative delivery and a healthy dose of melodrama.

Little Town Blues is a thrilling genre-crossing novel with mystery and suspense. From the police procedural side of the story to the paranormal elements, this story will intrigue readers that are looking for excitement, unpredictability, and memorable characters.

Pages: 368 | ISBN: 1639885153

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You Have The Right to Remain Silent

Mark Bello’s You Have The Right To Remain Silent follows the grisly case of a man who is murdered in a particularly brutal fashion. Bradley Crawford, a two-term congressman, bleeds to death after being castrated by an unknown woman. Renowned ‘King of Justice’ Zachary Blake is brought into this case as a favor, and his role is to defend Mia Folger, the victim’s wife.

The evidence against Mia appears damning, and soon the entire public seems convinced of her guilt. However, as more revelations about Mia and Bradley’s turbulent relationship are revealed, it becomes clear that Zack has an almost impossible mission on his hands, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

This police procedural is not for the faint-hearted with explicit gore and graphic images. The plot is fast-paced and gripping, with sharp dialogue and interesting character dynamics. The most well-developed characters are Zack Blake, the charismatic hero, and his ally on the case, Dr. Rothenberg, who showcases a quieter yet equally compelling brand of masculinity.

Shari Belitz, the team’s jury consultant, has personality and fire, and she is the feisty counterpart to Blake. Mia Folger, arguably the most psychologically complex female member of the cast, is rendered catatonic and unable to speak for much of the story. The murderer, whose feelings about killing are ‘borderline orgasmic,’ is a complex, scary, and unpredictable character. The killer represents pure evil and has excellent emotional depth especially considering the manner in which they dispatched their victim. 

You Have The Right To Remain Silent has a cast of characters that are well developed, the story’s pace is just right, and the story is well written. I highly recommend this novel to fans of a good thriller and detective novel. It makes the legal processes involved in a murder case digestible, with a sense that action is never far away.

Pages: 396 | ASIN : B09W39LZLX

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Corrupted Souls

Corrupted Souls by Lynn-Steven Johanson is a page-turning police procedural novel that takes readers on a nail-biting journey full of murder and mystery. We begin by meeting Chicago Detective Joe Erikson, who is fighting for a chance to return to duty after a traumatic case. With a new psychiatrist’s approval, he re-joins the force alongside his old partner, Sam Renaldo. Not missing a beat, they begin investigating the high-profile hate-crime murder of 24-year-old Jewish graduate student Daniel Silverman, who was found on the shore of Lake Michigan with a swastika carved into his back.

As it turns out, this initial murder was only the beginning of a fast-paced and unpredictable expedition that would lead to uncovering a dangerous and corrupt conspiracy linked to organized crime led by Vincent Scalise. First, we meet the Fielding family, owners of a large interstate freight company where Daniel Silverman was interning. Next, the detectives unravel an odd array of potential suspects, including neo-Nazi white supremacists tied to the company and members of the Fielding family themselves. This case takes every ounce of Erickson’s skills and intuition to solve, but not before several more murders, risky love affairs, and uncovering unthinkable family betrayals that almost get him killed.

This was one of the best police procedurals novels that I’ve read. It was easy to keep track of the different characters and their roles in the crime and investigation, yet it was nearly impossible to predict what would happen next. As a reader, I couldn’t help but root for Joe as he fought through old traumatic events to move forward with his life and continue the career he was so passionate about. There was even a little love story that’s deftly inserted into the story with his supportive girlfriend, Destiny.

Corrupted Souls is a riveting crime thriller novel that will take readers through an intense homicide investigation. This page-turning mystery will have readers guessing till the end.

Pages: 224 | ASIN : B09TRVW7MX

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What Drives the Serial Killer

Lynn-Steven Johanson
Lynn-Steven Johanson Author Interview

Havana Brown follows detective Erickson on a bloody case to find a serial killer preying on women in Chicago. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

Since this was a prequel to my novel Rose’s Thorn, there were only a few references to the backstory in that novel: Joe’s prior relationship with Destiny, his nervous breakdown, and the serial killer. So, when I decided to write a prequel, I had to construct the story around those things. But the story itself came strictly out of my imagination.

What were some new dimensions of detective Erickson’s character that you wanted to explore in this book?

Joe won’t let go of a case and will do whatever it takes including working himself into the ground to solve it. A paradox exists in that he decides to make a life change and begin taking good care of his physical health while at the same time ignoring his psychological health. And he begins a romance with a woman who is an intellectual and physical match for him. She will be a recurring character in subsequent mysteries. In addition, I wanted to explore his relationship with his father, since it was only touched upon in Rose’s Thorn.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Oddly enough, I don’t think of themes in my writing. I focus on characters and telling the story but not so much on theme. Now that I think about it, I guess I would say that obsession is the main theme. Joe’s fixation with catching the serial killer leads to his self-destructive behaviors. And obsession is what drives the serial killer to continue murdering young women.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I recently finished the first draft of the third installment in the Joe Erickson Mystery series. It should be published by Level Best Books next spring.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In this prequel to Rose’s Thorn, Detective Joe Erickson discovers a clever and vile serial killer preying on women in Chicago. Only a few cat hairs provide clues to the perpetrator of six mutilation murders. Joe’s razor-sharp intuition and unorthodox methods ultimately lead him on a trail fraught with twists, turns, and close calls. But pushing himself day and night begins taking its toll, and his obsession with apprehending the killer will be his undoing.
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