Posts Tagged ‘crime’

First of all for those looking at the title and wondering, this is not about zombies. This is about three very unlikely heroes who trip over a sex trafficking operation and try to do the right thing.

Here’s the blurb:

An unlikely bond is forged between three men from very different backgrounds when they serve time together in prison. A series of wrong turns and disastrous life choices has led to their incarceration. Following their release, Mangle, Decker and Tazeem stick together as they return to a life of crime, embarking on a lucrative scam. But when they stumble upon a sophisticated sex-trafficking operation, they soon realise that they are in mortal danger. The disappearance of a family member and the murder of a dear friend lead the three to delve deeper into a world of violence and deception. In their quest for retribution and justice, they put their lives on the line. Their paths cross with that of Tatiana, who has left her home country for a better life in the West – or so she thinks. She soon realises she is in the hands of ruthless, violent people, who run an operation supplying girls to meet the most deviant desires of rich and powerful men. Will she survive the horrors of The Zombie Room? Are Mangle, Decker and Tazeem brave enough to follow her there, in an attempt to set her free?

I very much appreciated the knights being less than shining in this story. Heroes can be from all walks of life. All you need to do is have the courage to do the right thing. Their distrust of the police, and worry they wouldn’t be believed upped the stakes nicely for the story since they had to dive in and get proof before they could even consider getting help.

The plot is engrossing. There’s a sense of brutal reality to it all. The characters are varied enough to keep track of. Despite showing everyone’s pov, I only felt I got a deep look into Mangle and Tatiana’s thoughts. Though I did see into the other guy’s heads enough to understand their motives in all this. There are some good twists in here.

This whole book has a gritty feel to it. So if you don’t like that kind of book, you won’t like this one. I did like that it very much captured the powerlessness most people have over the doings of that rich one percent. For that reason I felt the end did a good job. Not everything goes right. I won’t say how it ends, but it echoes the brutal reality of the rest of the novel.

I’m on the fence about a big event that Tatiana causes near the end of the book. It was a nice echo of something that happened at the beginning, but it felt a little empty. I’m not sure if that’s just because it was incredibly sad. You can make up your own mind.

Plot = good, characters = good/great, world = fascinatingly gritty, themes = awesome.

Four stars. A nice read if you like gritty books and can stand a lot of bad things happening to decent people. Don’t expect a picture perfect ending. This isn’t that kind of book.

One last nitpick. Tatiana spends most of the book deaf. This is awesome as I do like it when books remember there are different kinds of people out there, but after a short period of learning she manages to lipread perfectly. She’s hearing for most of her life, learns how to read lips, goes to a foreign country, and can understand what everyone is saying by reading their lips.

Dude, not even people born deaf have 100 percent accuracy reading lips. So, this irked me a little, but hey, at least I didn’t catch her understanding someone not looking at her (though she was strangely good at keeping up with multiple people talking at once). Small detail. I can live with it.

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Truth Seeker

A dead child.
A girl locked away for his murder.
A mysterious gift.

Locked up for the murder of a boy she tried to save, eighteen year old Aleeta Veritras is determined to bring the real killer to justice.

Except, no one believes she didn’t do it. No one believes the strange gift she claims helped her find the boy. And no one believes that last night, locked in her cell, she glimpsed the killer again for the first time in three years.

But the more she digs, the more she finds herself tangled in lies. And there are those who will kill to keep the truth hidden.

“Truth Seeker” is a crime/thriller with a hint of the paranormal.



Writing this book was a long journey. I wrote the first draft all the way back in 2012. I used it in one of the editing courses I completed, filling it full of red pen for months before ripping it all apart, writing three separate outlines before finding the right one. Then it was time to start the real work! I rewrote the entire thing from scratch. Then the red pen came out again.

Three years after writing the first word it’s as ready as it’ll ever be.

When I wrote this I was going through a hard time. I was applying for job after job and getting nowhere. I had a lot to offer. A lot of tenacity, a lot of dedication and skill. I was frustrated. Once, I applied to a post where I knew someone in the company. They told me they had to stand up for me in order for me to get it. Why? What was so terrible about me that I kept on getting turned down?

I’m autistic.

Now I can’t be sure that was the problem every time, but in that case it definitely was. And from the amount of times I’d be turned down for not answering a question in a straight forward manner, or ‘not being the right fit’ I guess my autism was seen as a bigger problem than I’ve ever considered it to be. I declared my autism, I’d be turned down. I didn’t declare it, I’d be turned down (it can be pretty obvious in stressful situations like interviews). I made it to interview level for medical school two years in a row. At every school I failed the interview due mostly to poor ‘non verbal communication skills.’

I was angry. I wanted to prove myself to the world, and at every turn got held back. So I wrote this book.

Aleeta has a gift. That gift has the power to do great things. And there’s nothing Aleeta wants more than to do great things with this gift. Sounds simple, right? Sounds like the basis for any good superhero.

But life isn’t simple. More often life will look at what you can’t do instead of what you can. It will jump to blame and be slow to reward. And somehow through all that you need to stay open to the possibility that things will change. That the dream you’re holding will come true.

Aleeta’s struggle has more guns and missing children than mine did, but looking back a lot of my feelings echoed in her. Along with some of the realizations I came to at the time.  In case you missed it, here’s the link again.

Coming up soon are lots of short stories and some more books in the Crystal Wolves stories. Here’s the link to the first in that series.

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This one is the sixth book in this series, and if you haven’t read at least ‘gone baby gone’ you’re likely to get confused. In that book little Amanda went missing at four years old. I was just as surprised as Kenzie to find out she’s sixteen now.

Yup, this book is a jump ahead in time from the last one. Kenzie has a family and everything. Guys, he has a daughter who is amazingly cute, and has his love of word play which leads to some odd but amusing conversations. I thought he was starting to feel a little creaky around the edges in the last book, but in this one he’s definitely not feeling like a spring chicken anymore.

Here’s the blurb:

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child’s aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda’s aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie’s door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn’t been seen in weeks.

Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It’s a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.

In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it’s possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don’t always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.

Gone baby gone was always my favorite book of the series, mostly because of the moral problem Kenzie and Gennaro found themselves in once they finally found Amanda. There is no right answer. I mean, you can’t just take it on yourself to snatch kids from neglectful parents. If an individual off the street is allowed to judge parents and find them lacking, then where would that lead? On the other hand, Amanda could have had a much better childhood if she were allowed to stay with the parents who loved and took care of her instead of going back to her mother.

This book takes another look at those moral problems we faced in that book, and see the impact of the choice Kenzie had to make. And of course there’s a whole boat load of action, made even more scary by Kenzie being a little rusty and stupid thugs threatening his daughter what seems like every couple minutes. I didn’t realize what a unique position he had before only having friends who can kick ass until there’s a little girl these guys can try and use for leverage.

On a happier note Bubba has a decent amount of face time, and is much loved uncle Bubba now. He’s shooting guys in one scene, then babysitting in another. It’s both cute, and scary.

The plot is as usual for this series full of twisty twistiness. I think the only thing that stopped this being five stars for me was my sadness about Kenzie losing his grove. Still, he does pretty good, and I guess he does have to slow down eventually.

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I’d recommend reading the previous book in the series before this one, but you might be able to swim along without it. I for example due to supply have only read books 1 (a drink before the war) and 4 (gone baby gone) in this series before this one. I got along well enough.

In this book Kenzie is less bright eyed and bushy tailed than in previous books. His hectic life seems to be getting to him. Poor guy. In the last book (I think it was explained enough in this book that you shouldn’t get lost) he broke up with Gennaro: the love of his life, so he starts off really down about everything. Then we get to see him claw his way back up. Before I go any further, here’s the blurb:

The master of the new noir, Dennis Lehane delivers a shattering tale of evil, depravity, and justice that captures the dark realism of Boston’s gritty blue-collar streets.

Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie wants to know why a former client, a perky woman in love with life, could, within six months, jump naked from a Boston landmark–the final fall in a spiral of self-destruction. What he finds is a sadistic stalker who targeted the young woman and methodically drove her to her death. A monster the law can’t touch. But Kenzie can. He and his former partner, Angela Gennaro, will fight a mind-twisting battle against this psychopath even as he turns his tricks on them.

So yay, Gennaro comes back, which helps things along hugely. We also get to see a lot of Bubba who manages to be both adorable and terrifying.  So that’s already pretty awesome.

The plot is a good one with lots twists and turns as is usual for the series. I love this series for three main reasons. One: so many twists and turns. Two: the gritty hard hitting atmosphere. Three: Kenzie’s witty remarks.  Now, Kenzie is slightly less witty than previous books, but I can forgive him that. There is wit enough to be happy about. And this book isn’t as hard hitting as the previous books I’ve read in the series (books 1 and 4) but still has enough gritty atmosphere to keep its usual style. The twists however are their usual twisty selves.

The stalker in this book is a scary guy. I was amazed by how much a person can damage another person’s life without even interacting with them. Which of course makes it a lot more difficult to get the law involved, and makes Kenzie and Gennaro’s job far from easy.

I gave this book four stars. To be honest, it probably lost that extra star due to high expectations. Both the two previous books in the series I read had moments and twists that were ‘oh my god, almost drop the book’ kind. The wit was sparkling. The atmosphere was at times too hard hitting to take.

This book had great twists, good wit, and interesting atmosphere. In short it was good, great even, but it didn’t have the same impact on me as the other two books had. So while I still recommend it, it’s a four star book for me.

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I’ve found a new favorite author: Dennis Lehane. That’s how much I liked this book.

Here’s the blurb:

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro know their home, rough neighborhoods of South Boston. Their first PI job seems simple – find Jenna, a black cleaner, and confidential state documents she stole. Extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extend from the ghetto to the government. The worst atrocities are closest to home, and committed in the name of love.

This is the first book in a series I’m eager to read the rest of. Lehane doesn’t shirk from tough topics, something I learned reading mystic river, which I’ll write a review on eventually. Considering that, it was surprising how much humor there was in this book.

Patrick, our narrator, is full of snark. But when things get serious, he gets serious too. That about sums up the book. There are lines that made me laugh out loud, lines that made me want to cry, and even lines that were so insightful they made me look at the world a different way.

I went into this steeling myself against the difficult topics like child prostitution I knew would be brought up, but they didn’t appear until a good chunk of the way into the book which I thought was a good move. It let me get to know the characters a bit more before you get the punch in the gut that brings that topic into play. So if you’re a bit afraid of the entire book being full of that issue, don’t. When it comes up it does get a bit graphic, but it doesn’t appear until a good third of the way in, and I think was treated respectfully.

The thing I loved most about this book was the relationship between Patrick and Angie. They were just so close, like finishing sentences type of close. They seemed to know each other better than they knew themselves. There’s one moment when they get in an argument, and Angie knows just what to say to poke the deepest most vulnerable part of Patrick, and Patrick immediately does the same to her. And then a couple minutes later they brush it all away and are best friends again. To me, that’s the definition of true friendship. You know each other inside and out, including the parts you don’t want to admit. No one can destroy you as easily as your best friend can, and sometimes you fight, but you always make up again.

And I can’t write a review on this book without mentioning Bubba. He’s been their friend for a long, long time, and he hates just about everyone but them. He was awesome, just about the cutest giant gun toting psychopath ever. There were times when I honestly didn’t know whether to grin at his loyalty to his friends, or be very, very afraid.

The plot was good. Twisty enough to be enjoyable. There was at least one big twist in there I didn’t see coming, which is always a neat thing. Not anything that made me throw up my hands and go ‘oh my god,’ but a decent amount of twists.

My opinion: if you like mysteries, try this one. I loved it so much I’m thinking of buying the next one, even though I have over a hundred books I already have access to that I really should read first.

Link to more reviews on this book: