CASHED OUT – By Michael H. Rubin

cashedoutcover1A JIM NESBITT REVIEW:

BLOODY ETOUFFEE

 

The main difference between Mike Rubin and all the other lawyers-turned-authors out there writing legal thrillers is that this guy writes like a homesick angel and never lets the law get in the way of a terrific and well-told story.

In Cashed Out, Rubin is note perfect in serving up a down-and-out lawyer with a name you could only find in America’s Banana Republic state, Louisiana. With vivid prose and an effortless familiarity, Rubin also captures the baroque and grotesque essence of the state, from the stench of petro-chemical plants along the Cancer Corridor to the patois of murderous New Orleans greaseballs, the silent ka-ching of politicians on the take and the cultural and political corruption that seems as natural as swamp gas.

The book’s main character, Hypolite “Schex” Schexnaydre, is a fourth-generation Bayou State native living in a rundown house on the ragged side of Baton Rouge, a failed barrister with no clients and an empty bank account until fast-talking, porcine G.G. Guidry shows up at his door to put him on retainer to draw up a quintet of shell corporations that name his mistress as president.

Money is Guidry’s game and he’s made his as a toxic waste disposal hustler. He’s playing a hazardous game of three card monte with state regulators who are about to shut down his infamous plant, community activists tired of getting poisoned and his partners, who include the aforementioned mobsters and Schex’s ex-wife, a hard-driving blonde with the focus of a heat-seeking missile on the money she thinks Guidry owes her.

It’s enough to get a man killed and Guidry gets murdered just a day or so after he puts Schex on retainer. But not before he pays a midnight visit and leaves Schex holding a suitcase bulging with more than $4 million in cash.

Michael H. Rubin

Michael H. Rubin – author

That makes Schex an instant target of cops who think he had a hand in Guidry’s murder, a philosophical mob boss and his rebellious button men and the mistress and that conniving ex-wife who both think they have a rightful claim to the dead man’s dirty money. Above them all, pulling the strings, is a crooked patrician pol with his eyes on the loot and the seat of power where Huey Long once ruled.

Schex, the perfect patsy, is on the run, dodging the cops and the button men, relying on his wits to clear his name, keep from getting killed and somehow get his hands on that money to beat them all at their own game. Off-shore oil rigs, Garden District mansions and a gruesome discovery at a processing plant for alligator skin and meat are all whistle stops on this rollicking ride.

Schex is nobody’s angel. But you can’t help but root for this native son of Louisiana, playing the state’s favorite corrupt blood sport. You want him to win it all.

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Jim Nesbitt – author.

Jim Nesbitt is the author of two hard-boiled crime thrillers set in Texas and northern Mexico that feature battered but dogged Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch — The Last Second Chance and The Right Wrong Number. Both are available on Amazon, and a third is on its way.

amazon.com/author/jimnesbitt
www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01D2D9ASO
jimnesbittbooks.com

 

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DAY of the DEAD – Frieda Klein #8 – Nicci French

Day of the Dead JpegAs the last leaf of autumn falls, so comes the final reckoning in Frieda Klein, psychologist’s pursuit of serial killer, Dean Reeve. Of course, just who is pursuing whom? If you like final conclusions, this is a deadly one indeed. It has taken seven nail-biting novels to get here.

Readers of the previous seven will know Frieda, her friends and family well, and will miss them after this final farewell, but even if you start right here, it’s obvious that they are all your old friends, as well. Loyal to a man, or a woman, she misses them as much as they do her, but with Reeve’s intent to destroy those near and dear to her just stepping-stones on the path to cutting her throat, she must avoid them.

Nicci French

Sean French & Nicci Gerrard – authors

A student, intent on writing a dissertation on the enigmatic Klein, steps into the path of the killer. As intent as Klein is on keeping away from her nearest and dearest to keep them from harm, she in turn must keep the student close to protect her. She must simultaneously follow the thread of a trail which the placing of bodies strategically around London indicates,until she can get ahead to lay an ambush of her own. Each new victim is a message. If she can’t interpret it, more may die.

An excellent finale to a great series. Thanks, Penguin Random House, South Africa for this ARC.

Read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/273137/day-of-the-dead/#1KXe55lEqd1eYrUb.99

Note: Nicci Gerrard and Sean French also write separately.

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WANNA GET LUCKY – Deborah Coonts

Excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed this bawdy, funny, tale of a Las Vegas hotel and casino’s six foot trouble-shooting customer relations gal.

Wanna get LuckyShe answers to The Big Boss, whom she is in awe of. A girl falls out of the Hotel’s VIP helicopter to her death. It knocks Lucky’s world sideways when she discovers that The Big Boss was sitting beside her when she fell. Did she fall, or was she tossed out? The pilot and the other passenger go missing. Lucky takes it on herself to fend off the press, the police and the perps as she juggles the drugged customers, the various weird conventions of wife-swappers and Adult film industry among others, all the while getting to the bottom of the mystery.

Her mother, whom Lucky loves and is in awe of, who runs a high-class brothel in a town nearby, provides a clue or two and lots of advice… There are loads of interesting characters, including Vegas’ famous female impersonator, and the hunk on the security team; both of whom stir Lucky’s libido.

Deborah Coonts

Deborah Coonts

While tongue in cheek and very funny, I did not find it slap-stick. It was non-stop action by way of happenings and trouble for the resourceful Lucky to deal with, rather than violence, per se.

Lucky O’Toole has a new fan. Bravo, Deborah Coonts. An Instafreebie selection – thank you.

www.deborahcoonts.com.

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REMORSELESS – Will Patching

RemorselessDoc Powers, is a forensic psychiatrist; now one of a panel of three who must determine whether parental murderer, Leech, is eligible for parole, half a life-time after eighteen year old Leech stood trial. Outnumbered two to one, Doc is troubled to see the psychopath go free, as his testimony helped put him behind bars all those years ago. Judy Finch, beautiful parole officer, wants to give Leech a chance, convinced that he is a reformed man.

Not only is Leech determined to avenge himself on Doc for putting him behind bars, he is fixated on Judy, convinced that she will be his own. The author paints a believable and scary portrait of the deranged serial killer.

As Leech prepares to cut down members of the team that incarcerated him, including his own brother, Doc is fighting his own nightmares. Fearing for his sanity, drinking too much, enduring guilt over the death of his pregnant wife, Judy becomes a rock in his unstable world. For all his training, Doc is a little less convincing in his despair and Judy almost too good to be true, but that doesn’t spoil the empathy.

Will Patching

Will Patching – author.

As the purported no.1 in a series, and a partnership between Doc and Detective Inspector Jack Carver, we hardly see much of Carver until the last quarter, but supposedly, that gives us something to look forward to in the series as it grows.

This is promising. Except for the odd wobble, I enjoyed the read and have no doubt this is a series that will go from strength to strength. A great eyecatching cover, too.

This Crime Fiction was chosen from Instafreebie for the sole purpose of exposing emerging and little known authors to the public. All received from Instafreebie that meet a rating of four-stars or more will be reviewed, along with chosen ARCs from Penguin Random House and other reputable publishing houses who choose to request reviews from Book Postmortem

 

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DEATH & DECEPTION – B.A.Steadman.

Death & DeceptionDetective Inspector Dan Hellier returns home to Exeter afraid that he might not be up to standard in a force critical of a young newcomer from London. Especially nerve wracking is the soon-to-retire DI who he feels is always looking over his shoulder.

He and his team must swing into credible action when the body of a young woman, a talented singer, is found in the woods. How is a school music teacher involved? Does the recording studio where she sought fame have any connection to her death? Why is her fellow student, Jamie May on the run? What does a Latvian gang have to do with it?

B.A. Steadman

B. A. Steadman – author

This is a credible start to B.A Steadman’s writing career as we are led on a tense path of intrigue and mystery to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Hellier is a warmblooded character, vulnerable, but easy to like and root for. Likewise, the supporting cast are well portrayed; the flow is smooth and there was no moment when it was easy to put this down.

I choose Crime fiction from Instafreebie for the sole purpose of exposing emerging and little known authors to the public. All received from Instafreebie that meet a rating of four-stars or more will be reviewed, along with chosen ARCs from Penguin Random House and other reputable publishing houses who choose to request reviews from Book Postmortem.

 

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COLDWATER – Samuel Parker

Another extraordinary thriller from the author of PURGATORY ROAD, testing our belief in the physical manifestations of the powers of the devil.

ColdwaterA man returns, after twenty years in prison for murder, to his home town. To the rotting home he halfway grew up in, where his foul deed as a jealous child destroyed his family, to live alone. He is hated and feared by the folk of the backwoods town to an extent where six vigilantes try to bury him alive because they do not have the courage to kill him.

The evil force-field that has taken possession of him also protects him and has the power to destroy his attackers. A woman with a gun comes from the city to expunge him from the world for shattering her family, and finds herself at odds with the gang that pursue him for the same purpose.

Samuel Parker

Samuel Parker – author

When you get your head around the esoteric aspect, this is an exciting tale told in a prose that is almost poetic. The characters are many-fold; the meek, the bullies, the evolving, all believable and real.

The action unfolds on edge of civilisation, where the dense forests and hills envelop the reader, and the protagonist on the run, like a straight-jacket.

The sense of doom is overwhelming, although you can’t help but hope that there might be salvation before he is consumed by the evil that inhabits his soul.

 For more details and an extract, visit http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/coldwater/381240.

My thanks to Anne Rogers [annerogers.freelance@gmail.com ] for this ARC

ISBN 9780800727345
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A BLACK SAIL – Rich Zahradik

A JIM NESBITT Review:

A Black SailWhen you pick up one of Rich Zahradnik’s Coleridge Taylor mysteries, get ready for a taut and gritty tale wrapped in the perfect time capsule — New York City in the 1970s and all it’s violent, bankrupt, crumbling and corrupt splendor.

It’s a bygone era before Google, smartphones and the 24-hour news cycle. It’s a time when cops and reporters had to use shoe leather and a telephone to do their sleuthing. And it’s a city on the verge of fiscal collapse and the hysteria of the Son of Sam killings.

The New York of this era is the magnificently rotten motherland for Taylor, a hard-nosed and marvelously obsessive police reporter who gets jicky when he hasn’t had a scoop in a couple of days. Zahradnik masterfully distills this throwback New York essence without turning his third Taylor mystery, A Black Sail, into a sepia-toned period piece.

The book’s title is partly a nod to the big event that serves as a backdrop — the parade of tall sailing ships in New York harbor to mark America’s bicentennial. But a black sail is also the lethal street trademark of potent Chinese heroin that sends Taylor on a dark and difficult voyage, doggedly chasing a scoop that stays just out of reach and might just get him killed.

Rich Zahradnik

Rich Zahradnik – author

Taylor is an ink-stained hard news guy who hates the fluff story he’s been assigned to do on the tall ships and worries about his future working at a dinky city news service that gave him a job when his paper folded. Hard news comes knocking when the police boat he’s on fishes the body of a housewife out of the water with bricks of heroin wrapped around her waist.

The victim isn’t just any housewife — she’s the daughter of an Irish mobster and the wife of an Italian wiseguy’s son. The heroin is the stepped-on stuff of French Connection infamy, the brown junk the wiseguys sell. This is a murder meant to send a message and Taylor is convinced he has stumbled upon the opening shot of a war between the wiseguys and the Chinese tongs that want to muscle in on the city’s lucrative drug trade with China white branded with the stamp of a black sail.

Like a bloodhound tracking a strong scent, Taylor charges ahead, ignoring the rough terrain and frequently placing himself in harm’s way. Just as frequently, he’s bailed out by his tough, gun-toting girlfriend, an ex-cop named Samantha Callahan.

Taylor is a different kind of tough — as in, he’s a guy who can take a punch. Good thing, because he gets smacked around a lot by tong foot soldiers and wiseguys. He’s also menaced by crooked cops and a power-mad FBI honcho.

In the end, he learns the twisted truth about the housewife’s murder but can only write about bits and pieces of it. He survives, just barely, ready to chase his next scoop.

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Jim Nesbitt – author & reviewer

Jim Nesbitt is the author of two hard-boiled crime thrillers set in Texas and northern Mexico that feature battered but dogged Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch — The Last Second Chance and The Right Wrong Number.

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IF THE BED FALLS IN – Paul Casselle

He is a man in two minds; are either of them his?

If the bed falls inThis question is an excellent summary of this action-filled tale of extraordinary originality. A tale of two personalities linked by drugs. Flabby, middle-aged photographer Tom Friday is under psychiatric care to try to cure the damage done by a long cocaine habit. Highly trained secret agent Miller has lost parts of his memory due to a too-heavy dose of truth drug administered by a combination of MI6 and the CIA agents who tried to get at the details of the suspected plot. Having escaped, they need to re-capture him to find out how he is involved with a band of men who call themselves the Bedfellows.

The purpose of the Bedfellows is rooting out the Bankers of the New World Order in order to try to break their hold on the system they have manipulated for more than a century. Miller needs to evade their agents while trying to remember his role as the Bedfellows assassin and exactly what their mission was.

As Tom, he is ill-equipped to deal with the world of espionage and murder. As Miller, he must not only battle the forces arraigned against him, but the flip-flop nature of his psychological alter-ego.

Paul Casselle

Paul Casselle, author

I was prepared for a struggle to find some sort of order eventually in the confusion, but soon I was wrapped up in the convolutions without stressing too much about whether I would understand it or not. The writing is entertaining and fluid, even if the plot is baffling. Go with the flow, and enjoy the first in a three-book series with the One-Percenters, or New World Order, as a back-story.

Plucked at random from INSTAFREEBIE, I made a lucky choice. Thank you, Paul Casselle!

 

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SOOT ANGEL – M.A.Petterson

Soot AngelI found this story of a highly qualified forensic fire expert, Dr. Anja Toussaint, to be a good inter-weave of the informatively technical, the tensely exciting and mysterious. Although the perpetrator was soon a valid suspect, their motives were puzzling until the last pages.

A handful of well-described and disparate characters form a rag-tag firefighting unit with one ancient fire truck, while across the county another unit with all the mod cons and the latest in training gear look down on them. An arsonist setting old warehouses alight for unknown purposes might not seem like a big deal until a small child’s crispy remains are discovered in the cinders of one such, haunting Anja until she tracks the perpetrator down and discovers a horrific plot far greater than the mere safety of the county.

She is hindered by the power and secrecy of the city’s most prestigious law firm, but cannot find the link until it is almost too late, when a shipload of stolen government warfare drugs sets sail from the harbour.

A well-written, exciting read, with several more of the series available right now. Thank you to the author for the Instafreebie copy. An author pic seems to be unavailable.

I choose Crime fiction from Instafreebie for the sole purpose of exposing emerging and little known authors to the public. All received from Instafreebie that meets a rating of four-stars or more will be reviewed, along with chosen ARCs from Penguin Random House and other reputable publishing houses who choose to request reviews from Book Postmortem.

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WELCOME to the HOTEL YALTA – Victoria Dougherty

I seldom read short stories and it should have been glaringly obvious that WELCOME TO THE HOTEL YALTA was one such when I snatched it off Instafreebie without really reading the blurb, but liking the cover artwork.

Welcome to the hotel YaltaNo regrets, though; I read the six loosely interwoven Cold War-set espionage tales without pause. I liked the un-jarring style and the brilliant descriptions of the mostly sleazy characters with confusing motives, killings and liaisons. It could easily give me a complex that I am just too thick to understand, of course. That’s not to say that, a week later, I could even tell you what the stories were about. I can’t. All open-ended oddities with a curious selection of vaguely possible conclusions…

Victoria Dougherty

Victoria Dougherty, author.

The brilliant writing is the only reason I would still snatch up any of Victoria Dougherty’s work if it came my way, and certainly not be expecting any neatly parcelled package.

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