Any Man Joe ~ The Retribution Trilogy #2

  • AnyManJoeAuthor: Robert Leigh
  • Published: May 2015 by Screaming Magpie
  • Category: Crime, Suspense
  • five-stars

DI Edwards was called to the scene of a shooting. Four of the deceased were well known to him. The fifth man remained a mystery. 
Until he woke up. 
His name was Joe, a misfit shelf stacker living on the crime ravaged Forest Estate. As the investigation continues, DI Edwards finds himself being drawn deeper into Joe’s world of vigilante revenge. But will the truth of Joe’s actions ever fully be revealed?

The Forest Estate is a rough area, overrun by drug dealers and users, leaving most of the law-abiding residents wary and afraid. Joe lives in one of the maisonettes on the estate, keeping mostly to himself and working at a local supermarket. Another resident, Mrs Winters, has known Joe since he was a boy and Joe looks out for her, helping where he can. Joe is quiet and unassuming until someone he cares for very much is killed and the police do little to nothing about it.

The story opens with Joe, on a living room floor, dying from a gunshot wound, surrounded by four slaughtered local gangland members. As DI Edwards and the forensics team enter the room, there’s no clue as to what provoked the carnage and no obvious suspect. However, bloody footprints show someone has left the scene. 

Darkness.

Just my thoughts in the darkness.

I couldn’t move. I wasn’t even sure I had a body anymore. I thought, is this what death is? Just thoughts in the darkness. 

How long would I be just thoughts? And if the thoughts went, what then? Would that be me done, not even thoughts anymore?

The dual narrative, from the perspectives of Joe and DI Edwards, works brilliantly. The story unfolds continuously throughout with the narrative moving back and forth between the hospital, the police station, the mental facility and Joe’s flashbacks to life on the estate and the events that lead up to the shooting. Continue reading

The Devil’s Necktie

  • 15800358Author: John Lansing
  • Published: December 2012 by Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
  • Category: Crime/Mystery/Thriller
  • four-half-stars

Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered—and Jack is the lead suspect.

As part of my affiliation with PubShelf I was given a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review

Jack Bertolino has retired from the NYPD on medical grounds and moved over to Marina Del Ray on the West Coast. He’s put the drug dealers, criminals and the world of cops firmly behind him…..or so he thinks.  Until he gets a call from Mia, a confidential informant he’s worked with in the past, saying they need to talk. Jack has a sinking feeling his new-found peace isn’t going to last much longer. How right he is.

Jack didn’t reply straight away. He did a quick analysis of how Mia could know he was living in L.A., what kind of blowback he was going to suffer from just having this conversation. He came to the instantaneous conclusion that however this new wrinkle in his life played out, it would definitely have an impact on his newly found state of bliss.

When Mia is brutally murdered Jack is inevitably drawn into the investigation. After initially being the prime suspect for Mia’s murder he goes it alone using his considerable experience and contacts to gather evidence against the 18th Street Angels gang and a dangerous and widespread drug cartel.

A very dramatic, gripping and well written storyline crammed with action and suspense. The characters are well-developed, strong and believable. It’s obvious the author knows what he writes about and it shows. 

Jack Bertolino is my type of protagonist, a good guy with principles. Not perfect but determined, steadfast and can show emotion. He’s multi layered and easy to connect with. 

The story flows well and realistically, showing the extreme differences between the seedy underworld of drug dealers and gang members and the rest of society. The bad guys are frightening and vicious and don’t think twice about ending someone’s life. The violence is chilling, the title of the book has a very macabre meaning.

I like the style of writing very much, it’s vividly descriptive both in dialogue, story and structure. I look forward to more Jack Bertolino.

The Devil’s Necktie may be purchased at Amazon UK and Amazon US