Book Review: The Breaker by Nick Petrie @_NickPetrie_ @PutnamBooks

The Breaker
A Peter Ash Novel #6
Nick Petrie
G. P. Putman’s Sons, January 2021
ISBN 978-0-525-53547-8
Hard Cover

Peter Ash is back living with his girlfriend June in the Milwaukee area.  After his previous adventure in Iceland, (The Wild One)  he’s  considered a wanted man and he and June his girlfriend are trying to stay under the radar. Together with his best friend Lewis, they are heading to an outdoor market when Peter notices a suspicious man walking through the market.  When Peter glimpses a gun under the man’s jacket, he’s sure this guy is up to no good, a definite threat to the people in attendance but events don’t unfold as expected when the man corners and confronts one person.

Peter attempts to intervene, but after a brief altercation both the attacker and his potential victim escape; one on an electric bike the other on foot, leaving Peter and Lewis to wonder what really went down.  Lewis finds a pair of sunglasses and not wanting to be questioned by the Police, who were summoned to the market, they both slip away.

This is the beginning of what turns into a rather complex and bizarre plot, involving a tech thief, a paid assassin, an inventor out for revenge, and a paranoid man who is a danger not just to the local community but to the entire country.

The next day June, believing she knows the man the attacker confronted, decides to see if she can uncover his identity.  As a journalist meantime working on a book, she’s also snagged a desk at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and heads to the office on her bicycle.  When she is sideswiped by a pickup truck, and the driver seems intent on giving her a ride, she senses the encounter wasn’t accidental and deftly makes her escape.

Meanwhile as Peter and Lewis attempt to find the owner of the sunglasses they are met with polite but steady resistance at every turn, a sure sign that something is afoot.

They aren’t wrong….

Peter Ash is a character not unlike Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.  They were both in the Army, both strong silent types, both willing and more than able to jump in and help someone in trouble or in need.  And they seem to rise to the occasion whenever they meet a dangerous and deadly adversary.

Since the author’s first outing, The Drifter, I’ve been waiting and watching for each new novel.  While the plots and action are at times a little over the top, that is part and parcel of the fun and excitement each of his novels generate. Peter is always on the side of the underdog, the oppressed, and even with problems of his own, he relishes the challenges he faces along the way.

Check him out…. you won’t be disappointed.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, April 2021.

Book Review: Hometown Burning by C.K. Crigger—and a Giveaway! @ckcrigger

Hometown Burning
A Hometown Homicide Mystery #2
C.K. Crigger
City Lights Press, December 2019
ISBN 978-1-64734-154-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Paramedic and Afghanistan veteran Frankie McGill and resident deputy Gabe Zantos are caught up in a case of arson and murder. A house at the end of a country road has stood vacant for years, it’s occupants mice and the stray raccoon or two.

When the derelict house catches fire, the Hawkesford Fire Department responds because of the danger to the dry wheat fields surrounding it. But then two bodies are found in the ashes, along with evidence of a meth cooking operation. Gabe suspects gang rivalry.

Soon, an experienced welder dies in what appears at first to be a horrific accident at his lonely farm. A second house burns, and Frankie barely saves the elderly occupant. Then there’s the mysterious call over 911 that cries for help at an isolated ranch. There’s one thing ties these events together…

People like Frankie, whether fictional or real, interest me because I wonder why war veterans frequently seem to get into EMT work (or firefighting or law enforcement). Is it because of the adrenalin rush, having become accustomed to always being on high alert? The aspect of danger or maybe the real need to continue finding ways to serve the greater good? I wonder, too, how much harder it must be for someone like Frankie who suffers from a certain level of PTSD, not to mention physical disabilities. Whatever her reasons, Frankie is a stand-out character and she continues to show her strength and intelligence in this second novel.

Frankie’s roommate, Gabe, is a deputy sheriff so, when a suspicious fire leads to the discovery of bodies, the two work together to follow the trail of what seem to be the repercussions of a particularly ugly drug operation. Before long, though, it becomes obvious that further deaths will take them down another path altogether.

While Frankie is certainly a strong woman with plenty of resilience, she would find life much more difficult if it were not for the love and assistance of her dogs. Then there’s Gabe who clearly cares for Frankie, and she for him, but we’ll have to wait to see if that mutual caring will develop into something more. I can only hope 😃

One further note: besides reading the print edition, I also listened to the audiobook. I thought that Gail Shalan’s tone was a little lightweight, almost like a teenager’s voice, but I still enjoyed her narration of the story.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, December 2020.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giveaway 

To enter the drawing for a paperback
copy of Hometown Burning by C.K. Crigger,
leave a comment below. The winning name
will be drawn on Saturday evening, December 19th.
Open to the US and Canada.

Book Review: Hometown Homicide by C. K. Crigger

Hometown Homicide
C. K. Crigger
Black Opal Books, October 2017
ISBN 978-1-626947-67-2
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Former soldier, Frankie McGill has returned home from Afghanistan minus half of her left foot and with a plate in her head. After some months in medical care, she’s ready to take on the new battle of finding and holding a job. But not just any job. Frankie is a combat-trained paramedic. When all she can find is a position in the small, mostly volunteer fire department of her old hometown, Frankie is immediately plunged into much more than dealing with her own trauma and holding down a job. She moves into a duplex that the previous tenant abruptly abandoned and quickly discovers someone has some dark secrets to hide–and they don’t care who they have to kill to keep them hidden. Will Frankie’s military training and experience be enough to save her life?

Most of us are fortunate enough to never know the troubles that come with either PTSD or wounds incurred in war but it’s good for us to at least see it secondhand and, hopefully, develop an understanding of what our returning veterans face. With Frankie, author C. K. Crigger gives us that opportunity.

In the opening paragraphs, we get a first glimpse of who Frankie is, a woman who is doing her best to put her life back together, starting with a job that fits her capabilities as a paramedic while letting her keep to herself to a certain extent. Her own hometown should bring her the peace she craves and the time for healing or so she thinks…small towns have a way of holding secrets that can be deadly as she soon learns, at home and on the job.

Frankie’s new place gives her the “collywobbles” but it’ll do for her and Banner, her rescue Samoyed, although it’s odd that the previous tenant left literally in the middle of the night. Then they find that somebody apparently had an unhealthy interest in the apartment and in Denise, the tenant. The next day, Banner becomes so agitated he wakes up Frankie and alerts Howie, the next door neighbor. Digging a hole under the flimsy fence, he leads Frankie and Howie to a small tragedy, another item on a growing list of troubling facts.

Frankie is a very appealing young woman, aged immeasurably by her experiences in Afghanistan but fighting to recover some semblance of her former self. Coming back to her hometown means reconnecting with people from her past and those familiar folks become even more important when whatever happened in her apartment begins to ensnare Frankie. I liked this little town and its citizens, even those who aren’t necessarily bright shining citizens, and the county deputy sheriff, Gabe Zantos, is a really nice addition to Frankie’s life. Frankie has a mystery to solve, not because it’s her job, but because it’s in her nature to find answers. Those answers are complex and disturbing and become very dangerous for her but Frankie is no weak-kneed maiden. I want to spend more time in Frankie’s world and really hope to see her again soon.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2018.