Once again we are plunged into the world of Sean Kruger and his particular brand of justice in The Assassin’s Trail by J.C. Fields. While reading the first novel in the series is not necessary, it does provide excellent backstory for those who like to know everything. We follow Kruger once again as he gets pulled into another debacle. While he might groan about it, Kruger is excellent at his job and his reputation precedes him. With such greatness comes great expectations. Can Kruger deliver? Or will the case be his undoing? Hold on tight for a wild ride as we follow our favorite FBI special agent as he hunts down his prey. Fields shows us crime drama at its best: twists, turns and heightened anticipation for the good guy to win. The question then becomes, at what cost?
You can tell this is not Fields’ first time writing a book. A lot of attention and care went into the crafting of this story. A complication that can arise when writing a book in a series is losing track of subtle details and hoping your readers don’t notice. Happily, there is none of that in this installment of the Sean Kruger novels. The way Fields’ crafts the world of Kruger is deliberate and very well done. There is no shortage of action and readers will find themselves glued to the pages in order to find out what happens next. Some true crime stories can lag in the middle or when there is no action present making them almost a chore to read. You won’t find that here and even if crime drama isn’t your thing, this is a hard book to pass up. It’s not filled with useless jargon or procedures and policies only die-hard fans or those who work in the field can understand. This was truly a piece meant for the reader.
What makes a good story in this genre is suspense, action and realism. If the crime is too outlandish or the way the criminal is discovered is too unrealistic it can ruin the entire experience for the reader. Fields understands this and crafts the tale to reflect that. Readers will need to prepare their hearts for the twists and turns in this book as Fields’ expertly dangles disaster in front of us. There are no complaints about this easy to read and equally easy to enjoy story.
There is so much to gain and so little to lose from enjoying The Assassin’s Trail by J.C. Fields. The action is well paced and the story doesn’t suffer for it. The realism makes our main character, Sean Kruger, that much more relatable. While he is a special agent with the FBI he really just wants to enjoy his life. That is something we can all relate to. Kruger doesn’t seem able to catch a break on the work-life balance of things. Things will come to a grinding halt though as Kruger is faced with the greatest decision of his career. Is this the end of Special Agent Sean Kruger? You’ll have to read it to find out! You won’t be disappointed.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B01JAW1VI8
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Suspense, intrigue and subterfuge. An agent chasing a fugitive who knows more than is healthy for him. What begins as a cat-and-mouse game evolves into a spectacle that is sure to entertain all readers. The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields appears to be the first book in a series centering on the skills of Special FBI Agent Sean Kruger. His son now off to college we meet Kruger as he sells his home and moves into a condo where he hopes to just relax and quietly move about his business. Relaxation is not so easily found for our agent. No sooner does Kruger make a romantic connection with his attractive neighbor than he is pulled into a man-hunt. Will Kruger catch this so-called fugitive and bring him to justice? Or is the thought of justice much more subjective than previously thought?
For a debut novel this is a fantastic piece of work. Any reader can tell that a lot of time and effort went into crafting this adventure. Fields has done his research in this area of crime fiction and it all feels quite realistic. Understanding how major organizations like the FBI, CIA or even the local police department work can be a daunting task for a new writer. Fields is clearly comfortable with this topic and has either studied or done enough research to become so. What’s unsettling with this genre is the matter of how loose-lipped certain agents can be when they are in the comfort of their home with their significant other.
Fields does a great job describing the scenery, particular points of interest and characters in general. The main characters in this particular book have their back stories fleshed out under the pretense of first-dates. Instead of feeling forced, this is a natural stage for such information to be shared. A clever trick indeed.
If there are any drawbacks it would be when Fields describes the race of a character. Using such phrases as ‘the black guy’, ‘the white guy’, or the ‘girl of Asian descent’ seems rather bland in comparison to how he describes other aspects of the book. Opportunities to describe a characters skin tone with more grace are missed here and it grates hard to read such a stereotypical and flat profile. Other parts of the character are described with more elegance which is what makes this particular aspect stand out.
If you are looking for an adventurous crime-drama where the elements of surprise and intrigue hide around the corner then The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields is a must-read. Quick-paced with easy to digest chapters and interesting characters you can’t go wrong by adding this to your collection. Besides, aren’t you curious to see just what happens when Kruger does catch the fugitive? The delectable twist shouldn’t be missed.
Pages: 307 | ASIN: B00WS00FW8
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The Tenth Nail revolves around a homicide detective Nate and his new partner Manuel as they work together to solve the murder of a beautiful young woman. Where did the idea for this novel come from?
I spent several years in law enforcement both as a civilian and military. I carry a deep pride and love for the officers of today and respect what they have to survive. Much of that challenge is to survive the emotional impact of witnessing just how ugly and cruel people can be to each other, day after day. I don’t think the story of the true impact this has on officers has ever been told. Over my years in law enforcement I witnessed too many officers die emotionally. This death could be seen through sexual affairs, abusive drinking, physical violence, reckless behaviors, and even stealing. A quick tally to illustrate this is I knew five officers who died while “on the job.” Two of them died in the line of duty, and three of them died by their own hand. The Tenth Nail is an attempt to introduce the stress of being a cop to those who don’t know.
One of my primary goals when I write a story is to get the reader emotionally involved. Via, the victim of this book is introduced as a common street walking prostitute. A kind of victim that is easily forgotten relatively quickly in our society. In these days of limited budgets and overstretched manpower, she represents the kind of crime that is soon to be a cold crime if not solved in the first few days. Nate, the lead detective assigned to the case, shares a private moment with the dead girl and due to a shared injury promises her he will bring her killer to account for her death. This sets up conflict from many directions. The fact is, if it’s not another girl, who killed her, or her pimp, the odds of finding and convicting the killer of a prostitute is difficult, at best. The department wants Nate to shelve the case to free him to handle cases with a higher possibility of solvability. Manny, Nate’s new partner, and new to homicide, wonders if he should request another training officer. The more he is pushed to release the case, the more resistant Nate becomes. He refuses to break the promise he made to the dead girl.
The Tenth Nail is a edgy crime novel that throws readers right into the action with a murder in the first pages. How did you balance mystery with answers with crazy twists?
I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels and I was determined to solve the case before the “great detective.” My mother and I watched hours of Raymond Burr as Perry Mason and we discussed the cases as the show progressed. To balance the mystery without giving the story away to soon requires work. Truthfully, I hope I got the job done.
Detectives Nate and Manny are entertaining and intriguing characters that I felt were well developed. What was your inspiration for their characters and their relationship?
Nate and Manny are combinations of several police officers I have known over the years. I admit that both carry a little bit of me in them, as I have been in both positions as senior and junior partner. I wanted officers (in all cases) who represented more than just the stereotype of cops. I also expected the same from the other characters. One of my favorite scenes is when Manny arrives home after a day much too long and he is still adjusting to his first murder, his first victim, his first expose to Nate and all the rest. Selma, his heavily pregnant wife allows him to lay his head on her lap and stretch out on the sofa. When he kicks off his shoes, she scolds him for wearing socks with a hole in the toe. To me, that is the center of the Tenth Nail, trying to balance extreme violence with complete love.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next book is called Dead Men Walking and it is a continuation of the story of Nate and Clare. Several of the characters from The Tenth Nail will return though the are many new ones as well. The plan is to release the book by early summer.
“Nate knelt beside the dead girl. This wasn’t his first homicide, it wasn’t even the first dead prostitute he’d investigated. It wasn’t the first strangling death he’d been assigned to. But, this one bothered him.
Maybe it was her youth, she appeared to be in her early twenties. Maybe it was her looks, as death had yet to rob her of her beauty. Maybe she reminded him of his own daughter, Lizzie, who was only a few years younger. Maybe it was something else entirely.
The big detective looked over the body, careful not to touch or disturb her. He had one of the best crime scene technicians, Winston Rawls, and he did not want to make his job harder.”
Posted in Interviews
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Do you like TV shows like Psychic Detective, The Dead Files or Medium? If you do, this book is for you. A team of psychics, telepaths and remote viewers—along with police support—investigate several cases of disappearances, murders, and missing persons.
The author opens the book with a foreword with many examples of actual cold cases, murders and disappearances that were solved by psychics. Some of them went on to fame and fortune, while others work quietly with police, presumably to this day. However, the fictitious psychics at this agency have skills and near-future technology that gives them powers above and beyond what famous psychics can do.
The founders, Richard, Honey, Rose, and Chuck, are joined by Joe Fraser, a billionaire from the U.S., joins the firm to help them make connections with local law enforcement. Their first case is a real challenge, involving a contentious divorce rife with infidelity and manipulation. Could Ms. Nicky Lestrange be married to a psychopath, or are there even darker things afoot? Honey’s psychic trail leads them into the life of a man who is hiding more than a much younger girlfriend. This case is the longest and most detailed of all, and the rest of the book delves into cold case files and unsolved mysteries, and the individuals on the psychic teams that resolve them.
The Deaduction Agency had a slow start that bogged down the opening of the novel. The first two chapters seemed caught up in describing every detail of the office and their technology but didn’t flesh out the characters very well. Some of it was high-tech and interesting, but I found myself wanting to get back to the “Case of the Deranged Husband.” Once that first case gets underway, we get to know the characters very well, and the rest of the story shines through.
The many the cases undertaken by the psychics range from very quick and easy, like the “Case of Spontaneous Eruption,” to edge-of-your-seat cases, where one of the team members places herself in danger to catch a serial killer. My favorite was the “Case of the Prodigal Son” which offered a surprising conclusion. Each case is like a series episode, which makes it fun and easy to read. One involved a scene of vigilantes murdering two men. In another, a pedophile ring is broken up, and after the perpetrators are arrested, their memories (and their quite literal demons) are destroyed by a machine called a “spectrometer.” Later, we learn what became of those men, and while it doesn’t absolve the Agency, the mediums would be able to use their machine for a different purpose. Indeed, by the end of the novel it’s clear that the Agency is changing its focus—for better or worse, it remains to be seen—and greater things lie ahead for Richard. With all of this there’s still a primary plot that develops throughout the course of each investigation.
If you like tales of paranormal activity, remote viewing and the powers of the mind, The Deaduction Agency is a multi-layered story with intriguing characters that you’ll enjoy.
Pages: 316 | ASIN: B00Y2I8DB4
A REPLY FROM THE AUTHOR:
A final, general observation on the review itself. The opening scene is criticized for its excess of descriptive detail, That is almost a verbatim criticism made by another reviewer, Marta Cheng in 2015, who stated: In some places, such as near the beginning of the book, there is an inordinate amount of detailed explanation provided as to the set up of the agency’s offices – details that detract from the momentum of the story. In response, I cut down the detail to a mere 360 words, which is hardly inordinate! It also became apparent that Marta (who got fond of changing her surname to put me off the scent) had not read the book in its entirety and was intent on having a dig at another reviewer from the same stable as herself.
To emphasize why it was done, I then suffixed the description with the following sentences:
Richard, the most senior partner in the agency, was busying himself constantly re-arranging brochures on a side table in the waiting area in reception. It was a quirky habit of his that Honey found most annoying. It also reflected his fussy preoccupation with orderliness and exact measurements.
Naturally, he was the architect of the office layout, which Honey was often tempted to rearrange, solely to unsettle him.
Love scenes soon followed as well! Some of this preoccupation is revisited later, as part of Honey’s tangled love life. What more can an author do?
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The Ryder Quartet is a collection of four crime thriller novels featuring detective Jeremy Ryder. When creating Jeremy Ryder did you have a plan for his development and character traits or did he grow organically as you were writing the story?
Definitely organically rather than pre-determined, for me. There are, of course, authors who prefer to map out a novel before embarking on the task of writing. Some might prefer to write detailed and very specific profiles for each of their main characters. Others might prefer to work out in advance every major plot development. This is an entirely acceptable method, but it is one to which I don’t subscribe. My own preference is to discover more and more about my characters in the act of writing, as they grow together and fertilise one another and tempt me to take them down paths I had not intended. Who am I to decide, before the act of writing, the intricacies of these complex people and the nuances of their being? How can I presume to know them merely by mapping them in broad outline before I commence my intimate journey with them? I feel far more comfortable getting to know them as we proceed together through the complexities of their lives and their actions. Like the actor resistant to creativity-sapping ‘line-readings’ provided by some directors I like to think that through exploring rather than pre-determining I can create a narrative that is more organically in harmony with the personalities of the full cast of characters. Of course, this then means re-writing and adjusting and reversing and re-drafting. But for me that is the great joy of writing. It is the journey, not the destination that absorbs me.
I know that you have undertaken thorough research for these novels, visiting crime scenes, and interviewing detectives and victims. Is there anything that you saw or heard, and wanted to put in your novels, but couldn’t?
Yes. For example, I interviewed one victim of crime who described to me details that were so horrific that I could never have exposed them in print. I try to create scenes and events that are analogous, or homologous, to those from the real world, and then to develop fictional counterparts for those experiences. In that way I hope to keep my fiction rooted in – I hesitate to use the word ‘authenticity’ – a world of plausibility.
In each of the four books there are different sets of villains. Which was your favorite to write for?
I got to the point where I was living and breathing the character of Thabethe. In the middle of the night he was in my thoughts. When walking dogs, when eating meals, when watching a movie, I couldn’t get rid of this man. My wife enjoyed watching me, she says: she could see how immensely satisfied I was in this world of creative imagination. It probably also kept me out of her hair. Anyway, I wondered what made him tick, and I wondered how I could ensure that I remained honest and truthful to the character. I judged him, of course, as we always judge each other. But I didn’t want to simply invent him as a bad guy and leave him to his own devices. I needed to understand him to the best of my ability. So I never stopped exploring him. It’s an amazing process, creating fiction. I love it.
Where do you see Jeremy Ryder, let’s say, a year after the series ends?
I will definitely travel further with Ryder. I’m just completing my next book, and the focus in this one is not Ryder but another character that emerged in one of the quartet volumes. Because my focus is on the real world of policing and crime in and around Durban, Ryder will definitely be back. There are significant things happening there as I write this: things that impact upon crime, politics, morality, and many other issues in which I am interested.
The Ryder Quartet comprises four crime thrillers. Each of them is also separately available as an independent book. In this collection they form an overall cohesive narrative. Detective Jeremy Ryder and his colleagues pursue heinous criminals into the depths of the criminal underworld. The action takes place in Durban, South Africa, but the confrontation between the forces of law and justice on the one hand and criminal machinations on the other make these four stories relevant to any major city in the world. The author’s field work involved detective-guided tours through forensic analysis, to the front line of drug dealing, and into the private pain of victims of crime. Readers of the individual volumes have hailed the work as action-packed thrillers steeped in authenticity and plausibility, reflecting the real world of police encounters with the dark world of crime.
Posted in Interviews
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The Ryder Quartet is a crime/mystery series written by Ian Patrick, and consists of Devil Dealing, Gun Dealing, Plain Dealing, and Death Dealing. Devil Dealing is about a police investigation of an illegal gambling unit, where one of the department’s own is behind the operation and finds himself face to face with the consequences of his misdeeds. Gun Dealing is the story of an intense search for the gangster Thabethe which tests the ethical and moral judgment of the detectives involved. Plain Dealing focuses on cops who kill four thugs in an execution style shooting and try to cover it up, and Thabethe makes an appearance again as the eye witness to the shooting and tries to include Jeremy Ryder in with the corrupted cops out of spite. Finally, Death Dealing, tells the tale of the criminal’s determination to take down Jeremy Ryder for good. Their prime target has become his family.
Each of the books in the series build upon each other. Elements from previous novels carry over into the next one, building the tension and suspense of the series. Patrick takes a close and harsh look at the corruption within the police force in these novels, and focuses on the Durban, South Africa area as his setting. Often readers don’t think much about the settings in the books they read, but Patrick makes an effort to make the setting stand out, which makes you want to learn more about the area. It takes a strong author to make readers interested in the real life setting of a book, and Ian Patrick is such an author.
I enjoyed the book, but there were rare moments where I was grudgingly reading through paragraphs of unnecessary detail and commentary and I wanted to get back to what I enjoyed most about the novel, which was the characters and the core plot. Ian Patrick takes readers on a roller coaster ride through South Africa. The series is full of twists and turns that will leave the reader almost breathless. It’s nearly impossible to guess what will happen next. It is evident that Ian Patrick does his research for each of these novels. He writes with an air of authority and knowledge on the subject. Readers get an in depth look into what drives someone to committing evil acts and thoughts. This series is as much a look into the human psyche as it is a look into moral and ethical corruption. In most novels the villain becomes a sort of secondary character, but in the Ryder Quartet they become the main characters.
The Ryder series as whole is one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys mysteries, crime thrillers, and even those who enjoy a good psychological novel. Each book left me asking, ‘what will happen next?’ And sure enough, I didn’t see the twist coming.
Pages: 826 | ISBN: 1519539622
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Plain Dealing (the Ryder Quartet Book 3) by Ian Patrick is a mystery, thriller and suspense novel. It’s the third book in the series and follows the activities of six cops after they execute four criminals for committing a crime. What they didn’t know was that there was someone watching them as they executed the thugs. The witness, Thabethe, decides to go the media with what he saw and thought he would include Detective Jeremy Ryder in with the group, as a sort of payback for Ryder coming down on him. Now the cops who committed the execution style murder are out to shut Thabethe up while Ryder tries to piece together the puzzle.
Plain Dealing is a novel that addresses the emotional, ethical and even criminal choices that law enforcement officials handle on a daily basis. It plays on the moral struggles officers go through to maintain their control over crime. Ian Patrick creates a thrilling tale filled with action, suspense and drama. He brings his story to life through minor details such as Sugar-Bear growling at a shady journalist and well developed dialogue. He builds up the suspense and draws out the reader’s anticipation for what will happen next. Details are so rich that readers can see the story unfold as if they’re watching a movie or seeing it firsthand. Patrick’s words are vivid and realistic. They bring out the reality of the tough choices police officers need to make as they confront brutal and heinous crimes.
It’s evident that Patrick did extensive research before writing Plain Dealing. I got the feeling that the descriptions and character actions were accurate. The setting of Durban, South Africa is an interesting one as most books of this kind take place in urban cities. It is refreshing to see the fictional war on crime taking place in a unique and almost exotic setting. It brings to light the reality of crimes in other places, not just in the United State, something we tend to forget or try not to think about. There were moments that seemed dull and stifled, but those are few and far between. Once readers read this book, the will want to read the other books within the series. This novel truly is a page turner; one that will burn itself into the reader’s memory and stay there for a long time. Readers will read this within a day as they will not want to put it down for one second.
Plain Dealing is a riveting tale that keeps the readers guessing only to be surprised at the next turn. This is the perfect addition to the library of any mystery, thriller, and suspense fan. There are elements of this novel that puts it into the caliber of best sellers like James Patterson and John Grisham, they should watch out for Ian Patrick as he is a compelling contender in the mystery genre.
Pages: 271 | ASIN: B01263D7VC
Posted in Four Stars
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