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review 2017-09-18 22:16
Lightning Men
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

Darktown #2

By:  Thomas Mullen 

ISBN: 9781501138799

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 9/12/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars + 

 

From the acclaimed author, Thomas Mullen who introduced readers to the hit, Darktown landing on my Top Books of 2016 —racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948 — with an explosive multi-layered complex follow-up: LIGHTNING MEN. 

Racial violence and corruption continue in 1950’s Atlanta, with African-American police officers, Boggs and Smith. 

As they say in the South, these two find themselves in a "heap of trouble.” (Among others). 

“Hot Atlanta” is not just sizzling. It is blistering. Fiery. Tensions and emotions run high. Loyalties are tested between family and law. Color lines are threatened. Moral lines are blurred. 

The second in the Darktown series, Mullen uses his hard-boiled crime, cop procedural, to explore post-WWII racism in the South. 

The highly anticipated character-driven LIGHTNING MEN is much more than just a crime-fictional thriller. It is infused with critical historical details and timely controversial subjects we face today.

“Any candid observer of American racial history must acknowledge that racism is highly adaptable.” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 

Highly-charged, Mullen turns up the intensity with characters facing moral, family, social issues and compromises. 

Tensions rise. From racial prejudice, moonshining, drugs, greed, conspiracy, Klansmen, fascist Columbians, white supremacist, corruption, bigotry, violence, Jim Crow laws, preachers, shootouts, paybacks, fear, power, and segregated neighborhoods.

In Darktown, we met rookies: Officer Lucius Boggs and his partner, Tommy Smith. 

From different backgrounds, their office was housed in the basement of the Negro YMCA, a makeshift precinct. They were not even allowed to arrest white men, nor allowed to drive a squad car. They could not patrol outside of the Negro neighborhoods that constituted their beat. No respect and little support. 

Only ten black officers patrolled those thousands of souls. A third of Atlanta were black, yet they were crowded into only a fifth of the land. 

Boggs and Smith had not taken bribes; however, with two years on the force, it appeared half of the white officers took bribes, so how long would the Negro officers resist? 

They were tiring of their powerlessness. The son of a preacher, Boggs was all too familiar with the fallibility of men, even men with power. 

Denny Rakestraw (white) is distrusted by his fellow officers for his suspected role in the disappearance of his former partner, Lionel Dunlow. 

Rakestraw is not a racist but finds it difficult to fit in with his fellow white cops and work with the ten black cops. Neither side, fully trusts him. 

Denny’s problems increase when his Klansman brother-in-law, Dale Simpkins, gets involved in a plot to stop the influx of African-Americans into his neighborhood, Hanford Park. 

Some cops are part of the Klan. Will they accuse one of the richest men in Atlanta of selling moonshine and marijuana?

Boggs had come to respect McInnis over the last two years. He had stuck up for his charges during a few disputes with white officers. How far can he go to protect them? 

Boggs (preacher’s son) is dating Julie with a young son, Sage. Soon to be married. His family opposes the relationship since she is not of their social status. She has a secret past. She is intimidated by their prestigious family. 

When a black man, Jeremiah is released from prison after five years, things get personal. Boggs life gets complicated when he learns the connection. 

Two years earlier, Boggs came close to resigning his position and had second thoughts after a near-death experience. Now, he is unsure again.

Too many mistakes that weighed heavily on his soul. He is sure there would be more guilt and an awkward relationship with his partner. Can he remain as a cop? 

Events will lead each character to major soul-searching. Smith had crossed another line as well. He was afraid. 


. . . The Armor. The façade victims’ families typically wore when they needed to protect themselves or the memory of their loved ones. Folks who wore The Armor sometimes had secrets to hide. 

The Armor was firmly in place as they parried the officer’s attempts to learn more about the deceased. They wore The Armor to keep the cops from learning things. The secrets. . . 

The Armor was worn by the innocent, who had nothing to hide but their dignity, and they were so deeply offended to be questioned by these employees of the corrupt City of Atlanta, these paid enforcers of Jim Crow, that they refused to play along. They may be innocent, hurt, or protective. 

. . . “And lines are only ideas people dream up, to govern what should be possible, to keep you from moving toward the forbidden.”


Three policemen struggle. Each has an agenda and react in different ways to protect. Loyalties are tested. Family versus law. 

Can they continue to work with one hand tied behind their packs without the proper support to do their jobs? Will the latest emotional events, their actions, and tensions make them second guess their current careers? Will they continue to serve and make Atlanta a better city, or is it a useless effort? 

After violence and a shootout, will Hanford Park be transformed? Will the lines between white and black be blurred after the postwar crowding, pushing blacks into areas formerly considered whites-only (without violence)? 

From racial politics and struggles of history, Mullen does not miss a beat! 

The complex emotions of each character are portrayed in depth, making the characters jump off the page. Others threaten lives. Others protect. Struggles both interior and exterior. 

Complications. Affairs interrupted. Old scores settled. Blood feuds magnified. Pride. Costs were high. Greed. 

Hard-boiled. Explosive. Riveting. Timely! 

Love this enthralling series and looking forward to seeing what is in store next for Smith and Boggs. 

When reading of Boggs at his dad’s house for dinner with Julie, reminds me strongly of Greenleaf (a favorite show) and their preacher/family dinners. Heaven forbid, their children do not follow their well-laid controlled plans. 

Movie-worthy! For those who enjoy good crime fiction, and historical fiction as Mullen meticulously traces the civil rights movement through his well-written crime stories and cop procedurals, that involve "real" characters you come to care about. 

Fans of TV mini-series: Underground, Greenleaf and Queen Sugar will enjoy this intense series as well as Michael Connley’s Harry Bosch and Greg Iles' Penn Cage series. 

In addition to the early digital reading copy (thank you) provided by NetGalley and Atria, I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – for an award-winning performance. Just finished. 

Move this series to the top of your list. If you reside in the South, this is a “must read.” Especially for those of us who found (find) Atlanta our home for many years. Another Southern winner! 

JDCMustReadBooks

****
Due to post-Irma, residing in South Florida with water damages, power outage, cell towers, and loss of internet for nine consecutive days; no gas, grocery, or mail service – late posting my review on pub day. Let's hope Maria does not pay us a visit. 

Yay! Today we have internet restored, power, cell towers, and mail service! Back in business. Ordered the hardcover copies of both DARKTOWN and LIGHTNING MEN for my personal library. So excited, they are out for delivery today, from Amazon! (Love the covers) Looking forward to receiving my copies. (Now, I have to figure out how to get the author to autograph) my copies. 

Busy catching up with posting reviews and my blog. Thanks everyone for your patience.
 
 
 

City on the verge of a race riot in ‘Darktown’ sequel


Thomas Mullen’s new novel examines brotherly hate  

By Tray Butler - For the AJC

 
 
 
 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/19/Lightning-Men
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review 2017-09-14 21:42
Book Review of Tegen Punishment (Tegens Book 3) by Inge-Lise Goss
Tegen Punishment (Tegens) (Volume 3) - Inge-Lise Goss

Who will be the next spider victim?

 

For over two years a treacherous Tegen has evaded capture by enforcers, executing anyone who crosses his path.

 

Newly requisitioned to assist a Tegen enforcer, Sara Jones is on a desperate hunt to stop the renegade who has no regard for human, or spider, life. To penetrate the religious compound he uses as his hideout, she must conceal her true identity. But finding the elusive Tegen is more difficult than she may have imagined, and the compound is far more dangerous than anyone could have known.

 

When a notorious crime boss shows up in town, Sara enlists his help, but he has his own agenda – one that may advance his criminal enterprise.

 

As mayhem erupts, she must outwit unsavory zealots and find the killer before her cover is blown. The clock is ticking. Can she bring the fugitive to justice before it’s too late?

 

This action-packed fantasy-thriller constantly leaves you on the edge of your seat.
Tegen Punishment is the third book in the Tegen series. After reading the Tegen definition at the beginning of the novel, it can easily be read as a standalone story.

 

Review 4*

 

This is the third book in the Tegens series. I really enjoyed it.

 

Sara Jones is a wonderful character. When I first met her in The Tegen Cave I wanted to shake some sense into her. I feel that she has grown and adjusted well into her new life as a Tegen as the series has gone on. I love watching characters grow and mature.

 

It has been two years since I read the second book. Nevertheless, I easily slipped back into the tale. This story continues from the previous book and sees Sara facing disciplinary action for helping Wendy. However, her punishment is slightly unusual. She finds herself going undercover to locate a rogue Tegen hiding in a religious compound. She will need to keep her wits about her as the danger mounts.

 

I started this story and was hooked from the first page and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. So why the 4 stars? There were some things about the story that bugged me (no pun intended) even though I can't put my finger on the exact reasons why. I think it may have been my mood at the time of reading or the time difference between reading book 2 and this one that may have influenced me. It is told through the eyes of Sara and the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of action, adventure, mystery and danger. I love the way the story unfolds. There are some interesting characters introduced, such as Alex Newark and the renegade Snyder. Kendall makes another appearance. He is a Tegen enforcer and is quite mysterious. He still sends shivers down my spine. The heat between Conner and Sara is still explosive, though there is not as much intimacy in this book compared to the first one, although there are a few clandestine meetings (not explicit but implied).

 

One thing I will say about this book is that the story is wonderfully written. The characters are lifelike and the storyline gripping. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings. Although it doesn't end in a cliffhanger, the author has left me with the feeling that there could potentially be another book due to the ambiguous ending. Now I can't wait to find out what is in store for Sara in the next book.

 

Inge-Lise Goss has written an intriguing horror full of mystery and suspense. I love her writing style, which is fast paced, and the flow was wonderful. I am curious to see what this author comes up with in the future.

 

I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some violence and to readers who have arachnophobia or have a nervous disposition. However, I highly recommend this book if you love horror/suspense genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-09-02 20:53
Beta ARC Book Review of Killing Rumer by Joshua Winning @SentinelTrilogy

 

 

A ruthless gangster will stop at nothing to get his hands on an occult relic. Word is, Rumer has it...

 

Rumer Cross
Age: 19
Location: Enfield, London
Mother: Celene Cross
Father: Unknown
Likes: Black nail polish. The Dark Crystal. Stevie Nicks. Cemeteries; everybody there is already dead.
Hates: Justin Bieber. Butterflies. Teenagers who think they know everything. Impenetrable fucking mysteries.
Weird habits: Collecting bottle caps. They're everywhere.
Worst fears: Becoming her mother. Letting somebody get too close. Being buried alive.

 

Why you should care...

 

Rumer Cross is scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency. She lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the 'Witch Assassin' whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

 

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she's targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she's hiding an occult relic, she's drawn into the very world she's been fighting to avoid.

 

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother's dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she's cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she's ever grown close to has died screaming.

 

Set in an urban sprawl of bullet-riddled buildings, Killing Rumer is a thriller that asks the question: can we ever really change who we are?

 

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This review is based on a complimentary Beta advanced reader copy given to me by the author with no expectation of a positive review. This book is currently being crowdfunded and will be published once fully funded. Please find the link to the crowdfund here: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer in hopes that you would consider funding it to be published.

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Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This is an intriguing crime thriller set in London, England. I loved it!

 

Rumer is a fascinating character. I found myself not only liking her, but also feeling sorry for her, though I also wanted to shake her at times too. She is nineteen years old, but seems more mature. This is due to her upbringing I think. She has grown up in foster care, knowing that her mother was a notorious assassin. Unfortunately, she believes herself to be cursed as everyone she comes to care for dies in the most terrible ways. Working for a private detective as a shadow (someone who follows, watches and listens to garner information), she is thrown into a life and death struggle when a mobster turns his attention in her direction seeking an occult relic last known to be in the possession of her mother, who died several years previously.

 

Having previously read the author's YA work, when I was contacted about reading this book, I instantly accepted. Although not YA, this is an intriguing crime thriller that instantly caught my attention when I read the synopsis. Knowing that I would also be taken on an amazing journey was a bonus.

 

I started reading and didn't put the book down until I'd completed it. The story is told through Rumer's eyes. I found myself fascinated with Rumer and her life. I cannot imagine how knowing that you are the progeny of a criminal/assassin (even if deceased) would affect your life. Rumer emotionally distances herself from everyone in the hope that she will not 'kill' like her mother. She carries around a huge burden of guilt for things that she has no control over too. Understandable in some ways, annoying in others hence my desire to shake her at times.

 

There are several interesting characters introduced. Rumer's employer is Julian Hart and runs Hart Detective Agency, but he is only in a few scenes so didn't really get a feel for this character. Reverend Mara is the name of the mobster who is after Rumer and I found him to be a strange character. He is obsessed with locating an occult weapon called the Crook Spear. Then there is Bolt, an ex-policeman who befriends Rumer. I would have liked to have gotten to know him a lot more as there seems to be some chemistry between him and Rumer and would have liked for the author to have explored this a bit more. There are also a few other characters introduced, like George for instance and someone thought to be long dead.

 

Killing Rumer is a pulse pounding read full of action, danger, violence and potential romance. There are several twists and turns that surprised me and I found myself on an emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I did find some scenes disturbing, particularly the one containing George and I shed a couple of tears for not only him, but Rumer too.

The occult weapon with the weird name is not what I thought it would be. However, so as not to spoil it, I will not say what kind of weapon it is. I will say that when it was disclosed I was completely thrown; I had a completely different weapon in mind. The end of the story sent chills up my spine. There could potentially be a sequel as it finishes ambiguously and ominously.

 

Joshua Winning has written an intriguing crime thriller with a kick-ass heroine. I love his fast paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. He is one of only a handful of male authors who I have added to my favourite authors list and I can't wait to see what he will come up with in the future.

 

Due to the nature of the story (danger, violence, bloodshed), I do not recommend this book to young readers or those of a nervous disposition. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love crime thrillers with kick-ass heroines. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-08-22 20:30
The Other Girl
The Other Girl - Erica Spindler

By: Erica Spindler

ISBN: 9781250083654

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date: 8/22/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 
Loved! 5 Stars +. Set in a small southern Louisiana town of Harmony—Erica Spindler continues to raise the bar with her latest: THE OTHER GIRL, following (2015) The First Wife. 

A chilling and "unputdownable” taut crime suspense thriller (her best yet)! A clever blending of past and present with masterful twists. 

Officer Miranda Radar has had a difficult journey in life. In 2002, at fifteen years old, she was called, “Randi” (from the wrong side of the tracks). She was caught in a crime and no one believed her. After all, she had her own problems with her dysfunctional family: mom, brothers, dead beat dad, and the law. 

She no longer is this scared fifteen-year-old girl. The one caught with possession of pot, shoplifting, drinking, and truancy. However, can she run away from her past? Has it caught up with her or did she just move on? 

Who was her tormentor from that summer fourteen years ago? The beautiful monster in the Alabama ball cap. The guy who picked her up on the side of the road. Supposedly sent by her brother. She had escaped and left for help. She had to rescue "the other girl." 

What happened to the girl (Cathy) who was left behind after the rape and torture? The one she promised to save. She went for help and no one believed her? 

What if she had been a girl who did not lie. One who was cautious instead of reckless. The kind of person people believed. Back then no one would believe her. The girl could have been saved. 

Clint Wheeler the cop. His voice still haunts her. He thought she was a liar. 

Who was the monster who populated her nightmares? He was the reason she became a cop. They would have to believe her now. 

Presently, years later she and her partner, Jake (friend, partner, and possibly more) of two and half years are called to investigate a brutal crime. A college professor. A murder. A murder of hatred and rage?

Richard Stark. Handsome, single, charming, and smart. He was also writing a novel. A dominatrix and the lives of her clients. A sexual predator? Abuses women. He liked his women immobilized and unwilling.

President Ian Stark (father) is quite anxious to protect the school’s reputation. What is he hiding? A powerful and rich man. How many people does he control and have in his back pocket?

Miranda promised herself back then she would escape to California and never look back. Escape her family and every memory of the God-forsaken place. The girl who had done time. She had not belonged and not sure she still does. She had to let the past go. She was almost thirty years old. 

However, she may have to visit her painful past in order to find clues to save herself in the present. 

A clipping was found. About Miranda from that summer years ago was found the old. A coincidence? How could her fingerprints be found at the scene? Why would her past abductor keep this clipping, or was it planted? 

She did not know Stark and had never met him. Yet they had found her prints at the scene and the news clipping about her?

A sexual predator who had hurt an untold number of women and gotten away with his crimes for years . . . until now. 
 



Someone had to be setting her up. 

No one believed her back then. Will they believe her now? Her own mom never defended her, nor her brother. 

What happened to the Jane Doe years ago? The missing girl?

Miranda had to protect herself from whoever was setting her up. She was a good cop. Now a box. A key. 

However, who could she trust? 

Was the person who killed evil Richard, the who planted her fingerprints at the scene? 

Is someone out for revenge and is she the target? 

With pressure from her Chief — her job is to find the killer, not to vilify the victim. Is she in jeopardy of losing her badge? Everyone thinks she is losing it. She thinks Richard Stark is the perp, not the victim. 

Now Wheeler is found dead. Miranda (Randi) had spent six months in juvie because of this Officer, and now dead. Fingers are pointing at her. Does she have a score to settle, or is it someone trying to take her down? 

Will she have an ally or champion this time, or will it be just like fourteen years ago? 

Jam-packed full of dark secrets and a twisty story that never stops . . . and a sprinkle of romantic suspense. Hooked from the first page to the explosive conclusion – Spindler keeps readers glued to the pages, and a kick ass leading lady, Miranda. (hope we see more of her in the future). 

With clues from the past to present, a complex whodunit mystery thriller which will keep you guessing. 

Fans of Lisa Gardner, Sandra Brown, Chevy Stevens, and Karin Slaughter will devour fast-paced THE OTHER GIRL. 

In addition to the reading copy, also purchased the audiobook and wow, Tavia Gilbert delivers a perfect voice for Spindler’s characters in this small dark town of secrets and corruption. 

Move this one to the top of your list!

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/13/The-Other-Girl
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review 2017-08-16 09:05
freaking LOVED this!
Bone to Pick - TA Moore Bone to Pick - TA Moore
I won an early ARC copy of this book, for my honest opinion. Cloister is a man with a dog. Bournville is his best friend and she always finds what she is looking for. When called in to help search for a missing ten year old boy, Cloister is and Bon Bon are again boughtinto contact with FBI agent Javi. Against a back drop of cold cases running hot again, Cloister and Javi must work together to bring the child home alive. This is the first book of TA Moore's I have read, I do have Dog Days to read and I will pull that to the top of the TBR pile, because I freaking LOVED this!! Cloister and Javi have, quite clearly, come into contact before and Javi made his opinion of Cloister as just a dog man perfectly clear. Here though, Javi's mind and indeed, his body are running off a whole nother page! But what I really liked is, we don't get the full picture of that meeting. You get enough to keep you wondering, but only JUST enough. Loved that! The guys attraction to each other creeps up on them. It's not an instant thing. But when they get it on?? oh hell yeah! And after?? Oh, that was brilliant! Random thoughts, things said, or the way they were said set each guy off. You never knew just what would cause the reactions! Loved that! Well played there, Ms Moore, very well played! I couldn't see where the missing child storyline was going until it was revealed in the book and I do so LURVE being kept on my toes. And I did NOT see the way that went down coming at me, not at all. There are some interesting comments and hints about Cloister's family and his history. Hints that left you with questions. Questions that need answering in another book. Because there HAD better be another books! There isn't a happy ever after as such for the guys, more a happy for now. Both men have commitment issues that will take some working through before they get their HEA. So, again, another book, Ms Moore! So, Because I almost read it in one sitting but the darn dayjob got in the way. Because I'm left with so many questions about their meeting before, and about Cloister's family. Because because because, oh just bloody because. . . . . 5 full and shiny stars, even if they are covered in dog hair! **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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