Nearly Departed in Deadwood - Ann Charles
Five stars! I realize this novel has been out for a while, possibly making the blog circuit and winning awards, but I enjoyed it so much I thought I would share it here regardless.
Nearly Departed is a mystery heavily laced with humour and romance. It stars Violet Parker, a single mother of twins living in a small town and struggling to keep her job as a real estate agent. Under the constant threat of losing her job and being faced with the prospect of moving herself and her children back to her parent's basement, she soon learns that she faces yet another overwhelming threat. The town of Deadwood has a serial kidnapper. The chosen victims of said kidnapper are nearly a perfect physical match for Violet's own daughter. Not only does the mystery of the serial kidnappings continue throughout the story, it develops new layers. Some of the characters become mysteries in their own right. And as the plot unfolds we soon discover that things in Deadwood might not be all that normal anyway. Could there really be a paranormal influence? Who can say. It's a mystery.
It was just so much fun to read. The characters were unique and life-like and even the bad ones were likeable in their own way. And like all great first mystery books in a series - it left me hanging. With another mystery dangling away at the end - I could hardly wait to pick up the next book. The writing was simply a pleasure to read. A full five stars. Although I picked up this copy for free, it's worth full price (whatever that may be). Now on to buy Optical Delusions in Deadwood.
Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Deadwood Mystery Series #1)
Night of the Assassin - Blake Russell
Night of the Assassin is the prequel to Russell's thriller novel, King of Swords. The story follows the early life of hired assassin El Rey from his training as a boy, his time as a Mexican marine (in the Fuerzas Especiales) and through to his maturity as an assassin working within powerful drug cartels. In terms of the chronology, it jumps around a fair bit; beginning with the assassination of a well protected, billion a year earning cartel lord in the first chapter. It then back tracks to El Ray as a teenager and then as a young man. The writing is very descriptive, particularly when it comes to weaponry, the cartels and the action surrounding the assassination and military operations. It does a great job of presenting the substantial research that must have gone into it.
I found this book difficult to review. It reads like a chilling inside look at the very harsh world of drug lords and cartels in Mexico. Most of the characters are cold and calculating if not outright sociopathic. In fact on a personal note, I found it hard to like or empathize with any of the characters at all - but that may have been the intention of the author. As I read it, I thought it to be a very disturbing crime thriller that in places gave more information than I wanted - but if that is the sort of thing you're looking for - then it gets a full four stars.
Night of the Assassin