Saturday, October 14, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attical Locke


    Darren Matthews was gone—free, maybe—from East Texas that seemed to have a grip on so many who were unable, or afraid, to leave. Darren was in his third year of law school in Chicago, married to a fellow student, and ready to take on the world. But duty--his sense of it anyway, not his lawyer and professor Uncle Clayton’s, or his wife Lisa’s--called, and Darren returned to become a Texas Ranger, following in the footsteps of his Uncle William, the first Black Ranger.
     But things don’t always work as planned, and the
beginning of Bluebird, Bluebird, the fourth novel by Attica Locke, finds Darren suspended from the Rangers, separated from Lisa, and battling the demons of alcohol. But when a friend from the FBI calls and asks him to look into two deaths in nearby Shelby County, one of a black man and the second a white woman, Darren can’t resist. He’ll just look, see if they’re connected, maybe race related, and report to his friend. Too much effort could put what’s left of his career in jeopardy, but not looking into it could mean that the deaths could go uninvestigated, and Darren wouldn’t have that. His “looking into it” uncovers a town that seems not to have progressed in decades, and a possible stronghold for the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Were the deaths related? How deep are the ties of the ABT to local law enforcement? And how far will they all go to prevent Darren from finding the truth?
     Bluebird, Bluebird has something for most readers. A great crime to investigate; a Texas Ranger family legacy, complete with its blemishes; the story of a small East Texas town; and the roles of race in America, both today and over the lifetimes of many characters in this book. Some parts made me wish the book was set in 1917, not 2017, as there was clearly not enough progress in the 100-year interim.


Locke, Attica. Bluebird, Bluebird, Mulholland Books, September 12, 2017.
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316363297




A copy of Bluebird, Bluebird was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.com.  No compensation was provided for this review. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille


    Another page turner from Nelson DeMille! The Cuban Affair features a new character, Daniel 'Mac' McCormick, an Army vet escaped to Key West and running a heavily mortgaged fishing charter. When he's approached by Cuban Americans interested in retrieving some cash and papers from the Old Country, he thinks maybe the adventure--more appropriately mission--could fill the void and need for adventure that he's been feeling. And pay off his boat. And maybe some extra cash. And his parter in this adventure, Sara Ortega, was motivating in her own right!  

     The Cuban Affair is classic DeMille. A fun, witty, smart assed protagonist; a beautiful, confused, less than honest with Mac but honest in her cause partner; rich and colorful characters; and a peek into the unknown in descriptions and experiences in Cuba. 

     While there's not a lot of new ground in the style or tone of this book, it is a fun and easy read that will keep you up at night to finish!


DeMille, Nelson. The Cuban Affair, Simon & Schuster, September 19, 2017. 
ISBN-13:978-1501101724




A copy of The Cuban Affair was provide by the publisher via NetGalley. No compensation was provided for this review. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

BACKSTRAP by Johnnie Dun


     Callie Byrne is an Iraq war vet, former MP, recovering drug addict and suicide attempt survivor working to get her life together enough to regain custody of her young son, Dillion. When her friend and fellow MP veteran, Rachel Martelli, sends her some digital files and a request for help from Guatemala, Callie balks, but knows she must go. She quickly finds herself in the middle of a drug cartel and human trafficking ring that seems to be imploding as key players turn against each other. 
 
   Backstrap is the first novel by Johnnie Dun. The first half
had a few slow spots, and what I thought was an abstract tone throughout, giving a sense of feel for the plot. The characters were compelling, particularly Callie Byrne and the complicated, compromised, unpredictable, and even by the end of the book hardly understood John Slinger. The plot was solid, unpredictable, and finished with the emergency abated but certainly no resolution for Callie and her unlikely allies, leaving wide open a follow-up featuring Callie Byrne.  

Dun, Johnnie. Backstrap, Pearly Baker Crimes, November 8, 2016

  • ISBN-13: 978-0997968309




A copy of Backstrap was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. No compensation was provided for this review.