Blond Cargo

  • BlondCargoAuthor: John Lansing
  • Published: October 2014 by Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
  • Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • five-stars

Jack Bertolino is back…John Lansing taps into the real life world of cops, crime, drugs and murder to deliver another sizzling whodunit.

A pulse-pounding thriller with a charming protagonist” (Kirkus Reviews), this gripping ebook continues the story that began in The Devil’s Necktie.

Jack Bertolino owes a man a big favour. The trouble is, that man is Vincent Cardona, mafia boss. Cardona supplied Jack with information relating to the attempted murder of his son, Chris, during the last case Jack worked, which allowed him to take down the would be assassin. Now Cardona’s only daughter, Angelica, is missing and he’s calling in his marker. He wants Jack to pull out all the stops to find Angelica and Jack feels honour bound to repay the debt, regardless of the effect his working for Cardona is having on the  relationship with his girlfriend, Deputy District Attorney Leslie Sager.

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Jack’s subsequent investigation leads him deep into the dangerous waters of murder, drugs and sex trafficking, uncovering high level corruption along the way. Angelica has been abducted by totally vicious and immoral men who think nothing of bartering and selling young women into the sex trade.

Jack is fundamentally one of the good guys despite his all too human flaws. This is a man who put in twenty-five years as an undercover detective working in the narcotics division of the NYPD. After multiple and unsuccessful back surgeries after a serious fall he retired out to California to find some peace and live the good life. But the hoodlums still manage to plague Jack’s life and so, with his new career as a private investigator, he can still take them down, even without having the back up of a police badge.

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Jack, in emotional turmoil with the pain and distress Chris is experiencing, is trying to tread delicately in his attempts to help his son, whilst concentrating on the job at hand. Chris is doing his best to keep his father at arm’s length and resorts to desperate measures to try and ease his torment. I love the relationship and interaction between these two, completely human and relatable, and I couldn’t help but feel for them both. Jack is an extremely likeable character and easy to empathise with.

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John Lansing brings Jack Bertolino, together with a large cast of diverse characters, to life vividly with a gripping and unpredictable storyline, full of action, suspense and drama. The villains are completely chilling and the characters are all authentic and convincing. The main antagonist, Malic al-Yasiri, surrounds himself with exquisite, stolen antiquities and fine art and has no hesitation in selling the beautiful women, who are kidnapped at his bidding, to Middle eastern harems. He is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep what he has acquired. The horrifying trail of murder, abductions and the sex trade lead to a tense and dangerous conclusion.

This is a realistic and intense tale with detailed descriptions of places and people, unrestrained and sometimes brutal, but compelling throughout. John Lansing is a skilled author and I love his concise and suspenseful writing style. The storyline is well planned and thought through, the pace brisk, which kept me immersed from beginning to end.

Blond Cargo may be purchased from Amazon US and Amazon UK