Anne Bonny #BookReview Cemetery Road by Greg Iles 5* #CrimeFiction #AmericanNoir #LegalThriller

Cemetery Road by Greg Iles
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

Two murders. One Town. And a lifetime of secrets.

‘Pure reading pleasure’ Stephen King

The No.1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying standalone. A tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

Some things should never be uncovered…

When successful journalist Marshall McEwan discovers that his father is terminally ill, he returns to his childhood home in Bienville, Mississippi – a place he vowed to leave behind forever.

His family’s newspaper is failing; and Jet Turner, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of the powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Poker Club.

Bienville is on the brink of economic salvation, in the form of a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill. But as the deal nears completion, two murders rock the town to its core, threatening far more than the city’s economic future.

Marshall and Jet soon discover a minefield of explosive secrets beneath the soil of Mississippi. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth about his own history – and the woman he loves – he would give almost anything not to face it.

My Review ~

I am a huge fan of Greg Iles and was very much looking forward to reading this mammoth book beast! I had heard from some early reviewers that Cemetery Road was very similar to the Penn Cage series and in particular the Natchez trilogy. Greg Iles is know for his deeply layered and complex stories and this one did not disappoint!

The title opens with Bienville (Mississippi) local archaeologist Buck Ferris. We are aware he is digging on private property and that he has discovered Native American bones. When he is subsequently attacked and left for dead due to his discovery, we become aware there that Bienville Is much more than the sleepy forgotten American town.

Marshall McEwan is a successful journalist that ran away from Mississippi many years ago, when he was just 18yrs old. He returns 28yrs later due to the health needs of his elderly father Duncan. Duncan McEwan is a legendary newspaper editor of the Bienville watchman. His health is in rapid decline due to his alcoholism, anger and depression. Both men are haunted by the death of Marchall’s brother Adam over 20yrs ago.

‘To understand this story, you must swim between two tides like a person moving from wakefulness to sleep and then back again’

Over the first few pages of the title we become acquainted with several of Bienville’s residents, whom all hold close ties to Marshall. From Quinn Ferris (Buck’s wife), to Denny Allman a 14yr old home-schooled loveable delinquent and Bryon Ellis a county coroner concerned with the crime rates in the African American community. We learn how each character fits into Marshall’s life and why the death of Buck Ferris wounds him so greatly.

 Marshall is a Pulitzer prize winner, a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq wars. Yet there is so much more emotional depth to his character than initially thought. We learn more about the death of his brother Adam and the impact this had on Marshall’s relationship with his parents, friends/locals and most importantly himself. Marshall has Never truly recovered from Adam’s death.

‘A fourteen-year old boy doesn’t need to know grief can last that long’

In the town of Bienville there is a massive wealth divide in the community. Between those that live rich and affluent lives and those who live in near poverty. Inequality in America is a HUGE issue and I have also seen the economic and political consequencesof it within my own country too. I felt that Greg Iles does a brilliant portrayal of this in a fictional form. The struggles of Bienville, feel very real!

‘Not caring is the same as begging for fascism’

As Marshall Looks into the case of Buck’s death, at the request of his wife. He learns something sinister is afoot in Bienville. Something very sinister, that leads all the way to his first love Jet Matheson…
The Matheson family pretty much own Bienville and if Marshall wishes to uncover their secrets, he will have to tread very carefully indeed.

‘A town like Bienville is like the river it was founded on, filled with deep and conflicting currents’

Marshall becomes convinced Buck was murdered and promises Quinn he will unmask the killer in their midst. But who would want to murder an elderly archaeologist? And why?

The book deals with two compelling main themes, that of corporate greed and the fundamental need for a free press. The last 1/4 of the title is very gritty and much more like the Penn Cage trilogy on level of shock value and twists.
American Noir at its finest. 5*

Greg Iles

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Whispering Room by @deankoontz 5* #JaneHawk #Epic #Series @fictionpubteam @HarperFiction #Thriller

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz (#2 in the Jane Hawk series)

It’s either fight, or die…

The second gripping thriller in an exciting new series featuring FBI agent Jane Hawk, from the master of suspense and New York Times No.1 bestselling author.

‘Do what you were born to do’

These are the words that ring in the mind of a beloved teacher as she drives a car full of burning gasoline into a hotel. The police believe she was insane, but rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk knows the truth.

In the wake of many similar inexplicable suicides, including that of her husband, Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of formidable players who are bent on obtaining world power.

Now Jane has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

My Review:

The Whispering Room is the second novel in the Jane Hawk series. The first novel, The Silent corner kicked of the series, to a phenomenal start! I absolutely LOVED the sci-fi twist in a novel in the crime fiction genre. Jane Hawk is a likeable, strong and feisty protagonist.
In the series she refuses to back down, despite being confronted with her darkest fears. . .

‘Cowardice was the default position of the times’

The novel opens with Cora Gunderson, a 40yr old SEN teacher from Minnesota, as she goes about her morning routine. Only this morning, there is the presence of a strange man in her kitchen. Cora has been suffering from migraines lately, she often dreams of fire and has some memory loss. With her current circumstances causing her enough alarm, for her to be documenting her feelings in a journal.

Across the US, ex-FBI agent Jane is preparing to make her move on a journalist. A journalist that had recently written an article on David James Michael aka ‘DJ’ the Silicon Valley billionaire connected to the nanomachine web implants. But Jane has her back against the wall, as she is wanted in connection to several deaths. She is currently listed on the NICI National Crime Information Centre Website, as a fugitive.

‘Killing to save the word – Why is that hard to believe? It’s as old as history’

Jane must also be one step ahead of the individuals she investigates. Everything she has uncovered points to their ruthless and depraved actions and disregard for the law. These individuals are wealthy, powerful and well-connected.

As Cora finishes her morning routine, she prepares for the act before her. by the end of the morning, she will have driven a vehicle engulfed in flames into the Veblen hotel. The fire will leave a substantial death toll and a devastated community. But was it all pre-arranged? Or was Cora mentally ill and hearing the voice of god? Sheriff Luther Tillman is the local police officer frozen out of the investigation. But having personally known Cora, it is a case he can not let go.

Meanwhile Jane is learning more about Lawrence and his involvement with the people she fears are leading the nanomachine project. She also learns he has scrupulous ties to his own wife’s death just a year earlier. Everything Jane learns fuels her desire for revenge and wish to see justice brought to those involved. Using mysterious contacts given to her by the hacker. She must navigate a criminal world, staying under the radar of law enforcement.

‘If her loathing were a poison, they would all be dead’

The lengths the powerful people will go to, to control the free will of others, is truly dark and depraved. In the last novel we learnt of the club Aspasia, where young women have their personalities and memories wiped to ensure they are the perfect sex slave. The club boasts of offering women, who will give complete and utter submission. There are no lengths this organisation won’t go to, to get what they want.

‘Hell had several levels’

Sheriff Luther Tillman continues to discreetly investigate Cora’s actions. What Cora did goes against everything he has ever known. He locates the journals, just before a fire breaks out at Cora’s house and all other evidence is lots. What he discovers, is a series of comments, repeated over and over again. ‘I’ve got ice in my veins’ and talk of a spider in her head laying eggs. Was Cora suffering a mental health breakdown? Or do these phrases offer a clue to her suffering? With the death of a governor and congressman among the dead, Luther has no access to the evidence.
Just the journals and a good old fashioned hunch. . .

‘Taking refuge in the hopeless nature of anything was just a form of cowardice’

Jane follows the clues determined to gather the knowledge needed to penetrate DJ’s security at his personal residence in San Francisco. She comes across clues leading her to the mysterious location of Iron Furnace. With information of a place called ‘the whispering room’ but what does it all mean? And how is it all connected?
‘The early bird doesn’t just get the worm; he gets the worm’s entire family’
Luther follows the trail of a conference recently attended by Cora. Shortly before her symptoms developed. A conference held in the small town of Iron Furnace. . .

‘Play Manchurian with me’

This series is fantastic! It is extremely dark in places yet has a complex and well-planned plot. It has the action scenes of a movie or TV series. With Jane our protagonist hero, on a selfless mission to take down the powerful elite. 5*

I cannot wait to read the next in the series, which is titled The Crooked Staircase.

Dean Koontz

Cover 1
The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz (#1 in the Jane Hawk series)
My Review
‘I very much need to be dead’

These are the chilling words left by a man who had everything to live for but took his own life. Now his widow, FBI agent Jane Hawk, is determined to learn the truth, no matter what.

People of talent, seemingly happy and sound of mind, have recently been committing suicide in surprising numbers. Jane will give up everything to find out why.

Her enemies are devoted enough to exterminate anyone in their way. But Jane is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love.

Coming soon. . . .
Cover 3
The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz (#3 in the Jane Hawk series)
Due for release in the UK on 14th June 2018
‘I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead’

Rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk knows she’s living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom – and free will – of millions.

Battling the mysterious epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband has made Jane a wanted fugitive, hunted relentlessly by the secret cabal behind the plot. They are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Propelled by her righteous fury, Jane will confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

#Review and Q&A Blood Truth by @coylem @oceanviewpub #AmericanNoir 4* #NewRelease

*I received an arc via the publisher is return for an honest review*

Blood Truth by Matt Coyle

A hard-boiled PI novel for fans of Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald and Dashiell Hammett.

Rick Cahill has long feared the truth about his own blood—the blood of his father coursing through his veins.

When a long-hidden safe unlocks clues about why his father was kicked off the police force twenty-seven years ago and then spiraled into an early drunken death, Rick determines to find the truth even if it proves the one thing he’s always feared.

But as he grapples with his father’s past, the woman he still loves pleads with him to find out if her husband is having an affair—or is involved in something much more sinister. Could the truth send her back into Rick’s arms? Would he have a last shot at happiness? He may never get the chance to find out, as killers who will do anything to protect their secrets lurk in the shadows.

My review:

I am completely new to the writing of Matt Coyle, but I am a huge fan of American noir. I love the crime fiction novels that revolve around specific divisions of the justice system or like this one, feature an intriguing PI.
Rick Cahill is the (PI) private investigator, he is the son of a rumoured disgraced police officer. Nobody has ever uncovered the truth, and this has burdened Cahill all his life. He deals with feelings of shame and self-hatred.
He longs to discover the truth but fears what that truth maybe………..

“We can’t quit just because things get hard” – Cahill motto

This novel covers two separate cases. The novels narrative jumps between the two, keeping you firmly on your toes.
You do not want to miss clues and the backstory, so play close attention to the writing.

The first case revolves around Cahill’s father. He is alerted that a safe exists in the family’s old home. The home was sold off many years previously. But the new owner tracks down the original owner of the safe, Cahill’s father.
Which in turn, leads to Cahill opening the safe……
What he finds, generates so many questions and confirms the inner belief, that his father was a dirty cop. But Cahill, being Cahill, wont rest until he can prove his theories.
No matter how painful they are.

The second case involves Cahill’s ex-lover Kim. She seeks to hire Cahill to spy on her husband and find out if he is being unfaithful. This also creates internal pain for Cahill, as Kim was the one that got away!
She is now married and pregnant. However, days after a positive pregnancy test, she finds her husbands second phone. A series of texts sent to a woman named Sophia Domingo. But who is Sophia Domingo? Is her husband really having an affair, so early in their marriage?
Kim needs answers, so she hires Cahill, as she knows he is the best in town, at what he does.
Rick Cahill’s characterisation is brilliantly written. The back story of his father’s career end and plight into alcoholism, makes for eye-opening reading. He has always believed that, sometimes you have to do what’s right, even if the law says it’s wrong, but never for personal gain. I felt that his internal struggle was that in some way, he would become his father. He feels great shame of the man his father became after the loss of his career.
The writing of this and how it has impacted Cahill’s life from childhood, to adolescence to adulthood, is intense.

Sophia Domingo and the mysterious affair. A case that also throws up more and more twists. I actually really liked Sophia as a character. She is a feisty woman, determined to get what she wants in life. She doesn’t care for who she hurts in the process. Sophia is quite the anomaly, because despite her behaviour being distasteful. I found myself smirking at the way she manipulates people with ease.
I also think it is a great testament to an author, who can write such a different bunch of characters exceptionally well.

The items found in the safe, lead Cahill to a cold case from 27 years ago. A cold case with ties to the mob, police corruption and caused much suffering for all it effected. Cahill asks his PI partner Moira for her, something she may come to regret! Moira is another fantastically written character and I enjoyed every page she was on!
Cahill refuses to back away from the case. But he is unaware it will strike right at the heart of the La Jolla police department; uncovering corruption others would prefer to stay buried with Cahill’s father.
Was Charles Henry Cahill a dirty cop? Where will the clues in the safe, lead Cahill? Who is watching Cahill? And do they seek to silence him forever?

This novel is perfect for fans of American hard-boiled PI novels.
It is a cracking read and Rick Cahill and Matt Coyle, have a new fan!


Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I’m the author of the Rick Cahill crime series. The series has won the Anthony, Ben Franklin Silver, and San Diego book Awards and been nominated for The Macavity, Shamus, and Lefty Awards. I’ve worked in the restaurant, golf, and sports collectibles businesses. Although I knew I wanted to write crime fiction as a kid when my father gave me THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER by Raymond Chandler, I came to writing later in life.

BLOOD TRUTH is the fourth Rick Cahill book. Rick has long feared the truth about his own blood, the blood of his father coursing through his veins. When a long-hidden safe unlocks clues about why his father was kicked off the police force and then spiralled into an early drunken death, Rick searches for the truth even if it proves the one thing he’s always feared.

As Rick grapples with his father’s past, the woman he still loves pleads with him to discover if her husband is having an affair or is involved in something much darker.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) The mystery about his father had been hovering over Rick since the first book, YESTERDAY’S ECHO. The shame, guilt, and disappointment of his father’s demise has been a determining factor in who Rick has become, good and bad. I knew the mystery had to be solved at some point and felt this book was the perfect place to do it. That was made all the more poignant when my own father passed shortly before I started writing the book. With my father’s passing, the flashback scenes of Rick with his father caused me to think about my own relationship with my dad. This made for a difficult, but, ultimately, very rewarding write.

The father/son journey figured to be enough for one book, but I wanted Rick to have other obstacles to overcome as he tried to unravel his father’s mystery. It made sense to have Kim, Rick’s ex-girlfriend involved as she was one of the few people in Rick’s life who he’d ever loved.

I don’t outline. My process is very organic. In other words, I’m disorganised. That used to worry me, but doesn’t anymore as I’ve come to trust the process. My subconscious works overtime when I write and I’ve learned to trust it. This method proved helpful in BLOOD TRUTH, as the thematic connection between the parallel plots became apparent to me with a simple statement by Kim that initially was just a chapter ender but came to have much greater influence on the story.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favorites go way back to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sir Author Conan Doyle, Chandler and Ross Macdonald. Contemporary favorites are Robert Crais, T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Connelly, and Megan Abbott.
A few recommends are: THE SUN ALSO RISES, by Hemingway, SILENT JOE, by T. Jefferson Parker, and SUSPECT by Robert Crais.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My brother gave me THE COMPLETE ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATED SHERLOCK HOLMES for Christmas one year and I read every tiny-fonted story in the tome. I also read all the Agatha Christie books I could get my hands on.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) The night I won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel still stands out as my favorite memory. Winning the award was obviously a thrill, but I got to celebrate it with people who had been instrumental in me being in that position. My agent, Kimberley Cameron, who said yes to me after years of so many others saying no and who continues to be a wonderful advocate for my work, was sitting next to me when the award was announced. My publishers at Oceanview, who gave an unknown author with no writing creds and no platform a chance, were in the audience, as was a member of my writers group who had helped shape YESTERDAY’S ECHO into something publishable. Having those folks, as well as other friends, there to celebrate was truly special.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My family has been very supportive along the way. My mother, who never lived to see me published or even get an agent, always believed in me. My father supported me throughout, but his early encouragement was instrumental in me carrying on through some of the tough times. My brother and sisters have turned into guerrilla marketers of my books.
I learned early on in the writing process that you can’t write in a cocoon and become successful. You need people to critique your work along the way and I’ve been lucky to be in some great writers groups.
My agent, part cheerleader, part velvet hammer, is always in my corner encouraging me. I wouldn’t be where I am without her.

Matt Coyle
Authors Links:
Twitter: @coylem

Author bio:
I grew up in the tract home section of La Jolla, California, battling my Irish/Portuguese brother and sisters for respect and the best spot on the couch in front of the TV. I was a sports addict as a kid, but realized early on that I’d never be good enough to turn pro. Or even amateur.

That didn’t matter because I knew I wanted to be a writer at the age of twelve when my father gave me The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler.

Somehow, I smuggled a degree in English out of the University of California, Santa Barbara and decided to write the great American novel. That lasted two months until I realized I needed to eat and I got a job at a restaurant back in La Jolla. After managing the restaurant for years, I sold golf clubs for a decade and then went to work in the sports collectible business.

Thirty years after beginning the great American novel I finished it as a thriller, instead. Yesterday’s Echo is the first in the series of Rick Cahill crime novels. I’m currently working on book two in San Diego, where I live with my Yellow Lab, Angus.

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

Blood Truth by Matt Coyle
Available now in the UK and USA

#Review Bring Her Home by @DavidBellNovels @BerkleyPub @penguinrandom #TuesdayBlogShare #Mystery #USA #WhereIsSummer

Bring Her Home by David Bell
Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family…

My review:

I was looking for some gripping American fiction, something that surrounded a mystery. Similar, to Harlan Coben style but a new author to me! WOW did I find it!!!!!!

Bill Price is our central protagonist, after 18 months after the tragic death of his wife in a bizarre accident. His young rebellious teenage daughter Summer goes missing. 48hrs later she is found at Dunlap Park. She has been beaten within an inch of her life and she is found with the lifeless corpse of her best friend Haley!
What happened to these girls? Who attacked them so savagely? Is everything as it seems?

Bill Price receives the call from local Jakesville town detective Hawkins. He rushes to the ER to see his daughter and is instantly plunged into every parent’s worst nightmare!
Only for Bill, the nightmare is far from over……….

Dr Renee Davis informs Bill of Summer’s extensive injuries and warns him, she may never fully recover. The prognosis on eye sight and brain damage is still unclear. Whilst discussing Summer’s trauma with Hawkins. Bill suddenly points the finger of suspicion at local teen boys Clinton Fields, Todd Stone and Brandon Cooke.
But are three immature, teenage boys capable of such a heinous crime?

Bill begins by trying to communicate with his daughter, bringing in her most treasured possessions. But all Summer can mumble is the word ‘no’ over and over again. Bill’s sister Paige arrives from Ohio. She is the first person to ask the most prominent question. How can they be so sure the injured girl in the bed is in fact Summer?
So, begins the first twist in the mystery novel, packed from start to finish with twists and turns galore!

There are so many themes within this exceptional novel. Why was Summer so distant recently, before the attack? The grief of Bill’s wife and Summer’s mother is fully explored. Having lost my own mother myself, at just 21 years of age. I can assure you that Summer’s responses of anger, pain and rebellion are completely natural. The characterisation is a huge winner in this novel. You really become invested in the characters and the lives of the teens involved. Bill attempts to unravel the mystery, whilst almost unravelling psychologically himself.
His sister Paige and close friend/neighbour Adam, try to hold everything together.
But in a scenario now chaotic, and confusing, who can Bill trust?

I don’t want to go into, too much into detail about the individual twists/turns, as that would create spoilers and undo the hard work of the author, in this clever interwoven plot. This novel is the perfect mystery novel, it is realistic, and I will MOST DEFINITELY be reading more by the author. 4*

Be prepared to be shouting at the book, as each twist in the tale develops!

David Bell
Authors Links:
Twitter: @DavidBellNovels

Author Bio:
David Bell is the author of seven novels from Berkley/Penguin, including BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. His work has been translated into numerous foreign languages, and in 2013, he won the prestigious Prix Polar International de Cognac for best crime novel by an international author. He is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University where he directs the MFA program in creative writing. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he spends his free time rooting for the Reds and Bengals, watching movies, and walking in the cemetery near his house. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with his wife, writer Molly McCaffrey.

#Review and Q&A #LittleBoyLost by #JDTrafford 5*Genius

Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford

A broken city, a missing young man, and a lawyer searching for truth when nobody else cares.

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

My review and Q&A:

This is one of them novels where I have Loved every single page! It has crime, politics, diversity and most of all intensity! It is almost as if the novel takes you on a journey through the USA, its legal system and modern racial tensions. I feel educated, moved and humbled by the story of the lost boys!
So let me start by telling you why…….

The protagonist of the novel is Justin Glass, a mixed race attorney from the shabby side of Saint Louis. Now I only mention his race as it is pivotal to the story and themes within the novel. One day he is alone in his run down, seen better days, office when in walks Tanisha Walker. She has a jar full of change from her grandmother’s cuss jar. She is a fearless and savvy little 8-and-a-half-year-old and I liked her instantly. She asks Justin to attempt to find her brother Devon Walker (16yrs), who has been missing a month. Justin is reluctant to take the case. But upon learning the police have had zero contact with the family, he reluctantly agrees to do a little digging.
At this point Justin has no idea, what he will unearth………

We learn some more about Justin and his background. How his father and brother are political figures and his grandfather a retired judge. We also learn they have ties to the civil rights movement, right from its beginnings. Justin is recently bereaved of his wife Monica and left to raise his 11-year-old daughter Sammy alone. The theme of grief/depression is fully explored and we learn of Justin’s fall from grace due to his inability to cope with his personal grief.
Justin is barely hanging on!

Justin contact local police officer David Schmidt (Schmitty) to gather some information on Devon and it is not positive news. Devon is known to the local police since the age of just 6yrs old. He recently had a warrant for his arrest in a serious case of aggravated robberies and was in the process of being transferred to adult court. Devon had a full juvie file and incident reports, including photos of his tattoos held by the gang unit. Devon one of a series of young men bored, uneducated, disconnected and disenfranchised that turn to crime. Schmitty hands over the files and states
Devon is more than likely just a runaway case and will turn up soon.

“he was only sixteen, but getting arrested had become a way of life”

As Justin continues to investigate, chasing Devon’s previous girlfriends etc. He stumbles upon his friend and fellow business owner Nikolai being assaulted. He calls the cops and offers Nikolai assistance but when the cops arrive, they just see a black male, towering over a white victim. Justin is instantly arrested and beaten. When his father and brother arrive at the jail to bail them out. His father warns Justin’s brother Lincoln not to make this political, as “you don’t want to light a fire that we can’t put out”. The continue to discuss the relationship African Americans have with the police.
This makes for eye-opening reading to the non-USA reader.

“The white only signs have been taken down but they’re still there. This is your fight now”.

Recuperating from his beating, Justin receives a call from Schmitty. He is summoned to a wooded area at Castlewood State Park. Where hikers have stumbled upon a mass grave. Schmitty believes one of the victims to be Devon and asks Justin to inform the family. The mass grave contains the bodies of 9 juvenile African Americans with criminal records. Is this the work of a crazed serial killer with a score to settle? Justin informs the family, whom meet the news with mere acceptance, almost as if they news this news inevitable. The media labels the kids as ‘the lost boys’.
Someone is cleaning up the streets one lost boy at a time…………

Sensing his workload is about to surpass his capacity. Justin hires Bosnian refugee Emma Tadic, as his paralegal. Emma turns out to be the perfect assistant and re-organises Justin’s hectic life. Justin agrees with Scmitty to interview the families with missing/lost boys, knowing they won’t work with the police. He also notices a distinct pattern in the young men’s lives. From their teens, to truancy, to petty crime, to gangs, to regular disappearances, to serious crime, to probation and finally gone! When Justin interviews mother Deonna Villa, she informs him that she has had no contact from the police, that they never even called. Why does no one care about these young boys lives? Why are they so casually throwaway? Justin becomes distracted from the case when his daughter goes through some issues with her school and the case loses even his attention.

“Rules equal love. If you let your children run the show, then you really don’t love them”.

Justin meets with Schmitty and they agree that the cases are too cold, calculated and organised. They both begin to suspect it may even be the work of a cop or probation officer. Then more bodies are discovered at Castlewood State Park. This is now a high profile case, with the media watching their every move. With some of the boys sharing the same probation officer, Jimmy Poles. He immediately becomes suspect number one. when Jimmy Poles online and offline racist activities are uncovered. He seems to fit the profile exactly.

“Racism had become the last defence of a way of life that’d been dead for over a century”.

Justin pulls out all the stops and contact local juvie judge Danny Bryce, he is determined to solve this case at all costs. He attends Devon’s funeral and is moved by the words of Reverend Battle “truly sad that the most diverse neighbourhood in our city is one for the dead and not the living”. Justin rallies the community in an effort to stop a repeat of past riots. But then a Twitter account leaks details of the case, naming Jimmy as suspect number one! with a whiff of police corruption, it isn’t long until Jimmy’s house is set alight and the Governor calls a state of emergency!
How will Justin solve the case, while the city burns?

This novel is a mixture of crime fiction, legal thriller and diversity. The USA justice system is fully explained for those non-USA readers like me! I also think this explains the legal system better than any novel I have ever read before. The location of Saint Louis, its social and cultural changes are fully explored. I almost felt as though I was in the city, watching the events unfold. The novels offer’s so much food for thought is terms of discussion about disenfranchised youth, BAME young males and their life opportunities etc. It is very diverse in its writing style! I think the author has achieved a very intelligent and gripping novel.
Easily compared to the likes of Greg Iles, Joe Ide and John Girsham etc.

5* Genius

Q) I had a little nosey at the about the author section at the end of the novel. For the readers can you give a brief summary of yourself and your novel Little Boy Lost?

A) Like many authors who write “legal fiction” or “legal thrillers,” I graduated from law school. That’s also where I met my wife, who is an excellent immigration attorney. After we graduated law school, she worked in human rights. My work before and after law school related to consumer fraud, health care, and housing. I also represented individuals in communities of color who were the victims of predatory lending.  Little Boy Lost is a mystery related to a young African-American man who disappears and nobody seems to want him found.

Q) The novel explains the American criminal system exceptionally well. In fact, it is the best explanation I have ever read in a novel. Was this intentional, so that you wouldn’t alienate non-USA readers?

A) I’m always a little frustrated by legal thrillers that make our legal system seem really exciting and quick. While there are certainly interesting cases, it is mostly a grind. I wanted to show that side of the legal system to both readers in America and abroad.

Q) The novel is based in Saint Louis, what was the inspiration behind this?

A) I used to live in Saint Louis. My wife is from the Saint Louis area, and I go back often for holidays. It is a city that is unique geographically and historically, and I’ve wanted to write a story that takes place there for over ten years. After the high profile police shootings in the United States, I figured out the background for the story.

Q) The novel offers up so much food for thought as mentioned in my review above. Was there a specific incident that inspired the themes of racial tension and relationship with law enforcement in the novel?

A) I was in Saint Louis shortly after the Michael Brown shooting. I went to Ferguson while there were still boards on the windows downtown and visited the site where he was shot. There was a group of teenagers hanging out on the steps of the apartment building nearby, and they were watching me. My focus shifted away from the stuffed animals, flowers, and cards in front of me, and my mind started to think about them.

Q) The novel is extremely diverse in its style. I loved this and the mixture of characters such as Emma and Nikolai. What drew you to include a wide range of diverse characters?

A) Saint Louis is diverse, and I wanted to represent different aspects of the city. I also wanted to provide a little relief from the heaviness of the rest of the novel.

Q) Finally, I admitted I loved every single page of this novel. Will there be a next in the series? Will we get to see Justin Glass’s progression? Can you give us any snippets of information about a next in the series?

A) My next book is not a Justin Glass book. It is called “Good Intentions,” and it will be out next summer. It involves a young judge in Oakland, California who handles child protection cases works with children in foster care. His mentor is killed and he tries to find the person responsible while, at the same time, he is coming under intense public scrutiny after the unrelated death of a child on his caseload.

I have the next Justin Glass book partly on the page and mostly in my head. It begins with Justin Glass, now a state senator, balancing life as a politician with his commitment to follow his principles.

Some of my favorite books involving race and politics are:

The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay

Pagan Babies, Elmore Leonard

The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen Carter

*Huge thank you for agreeing to take part on this Q&A on my blog. I wish you every success with this novel.