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Unforsaken

Posted by on Apr 2, 2019 in Mysterious Book Report, Reviews, TV Townsman Articles, Uncategorized | 0 comments

John Dwaine McKenna

Unforsaken is a bullet packed with gritty characters and explosive action. 

John Dwaine McKenna skillfully takes readers to the untamed Southwest at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  The Wild West is past its heyday. Locomotives have replaced horses.  Bandit gangs are a vanishing menace, yet outlaws still prowl the dusty streets looking for easy marks.  The lone and honorable lawman is on the verge of extinction.  Men and women crave stability as they carry on their often desperate and risky lives. The old morality codes are forgotten, forsaken.  There is no honor among thieves, but there is corruption in the Marshall’s office. 

Into this simmering mix, McKenna throws a veteran Texas Ranger, a frontier woman with more than one secret of her own, a violent murdering cowboy gangster, Mexican revolutionaries, Mormon legends, and more, much more.  Unforsaken will satisfy any reader looking for firmly-etched characters, an exciting story line, and a cold, hard look at humanity under pressure.   For die-hard western fans, Unforsaken is just what the Doc ordered. –Manuel Ramos The Havana Night 

UNFORSAKEN GETS GREAT REVIEWS!!!

UNFORSAKEN

Posted by on Mar 26, 2019 in Mysterious Book Report, Reviews, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

John Dwaine McKenna

Unforsaken is a bullet packed with gritty characters and explosive action. 

John Dwaine McKenna skillfully takes readers to the untamed Southwest at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  The Wild West is past its heyday. Locomotives have replaced horses.  Bandit gangs are a vanishing menace, yet outlaws still prowl the dusty streets looking for easy marks.  The lone and honorable lawman is on the verge of extinction.  Men and women crave stability as they carry on their often desperate and risky lives. The old morality codes are forgotten, forsaken.  There is no honor among thieves, but there is corruption in the Marshall’s office. 

Into this simmering mix, McKenna throws a veteran Texas Ranger, a frontier woman with more than one secret of her own, a violent murdering cowboy gangster, Mexican revolutionaries, Mormon legends, and more, much more.  Unforsaken will satisfy any reader looking for firmly-etched characters, an exciting story line, and a cold, hard look at humanity under pressure.   For die-hard western fans, Unforsaken is just what the Doc ordered.   Manuel Ramos author of The Golden Havana Night

UNFORSAKEN IS RECEIVING GREAT REVIEWS!!

The Golden Havana Night

Posted by on Dec 10, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

The Golden Havana Night

Mysterious Book Report No. 356

by John Dwaine McKenna

One of the most interesting new private investigators to come to the MBR’s attention is a Denver-based ex-convict named Gus Corral.  He’s the creation of Manuel Ramos, a life-long resident of the Mile High City, as well as an acclaimed, award-winning author and astute observer of the changing nature of Colorado and its capitol city, Denver.

In his newest adventure, The Golden Havana Night, (Arte Publico Press, PB $17.95, 196 pages, ISBN 978-1-55885-8671) Gus is hired by a man named Joaquin “Kino” Machaco, a Cuban defector and the all-star center fielder for the Colorado Rockies baseball team.  The job is simple.  All Gus has to do, is deliver a bag of money to a Cuban gangster in Havana, which is intended to pay off the gambling debts of Kino’s brother, and then convince the man to leave the Machaco family alone . . . never accepting any more bets from the degenerate gambler and black sheep of the family.  Oh yeah . . . and he also has to keep the gambling brother away from the cash long enough to make the money transfer.  Gus dreams of an easy job and then a few days of rest and relaxation on a nice sunny beach, with a rum concoction in hand and some female company to help while away a pleasant afternoon or two.  Nice dream.  But like most dreams, it goes poof, almost as soon as Gus makes his way to the island dictatorship.  That’s when the bullets start flying, the blood-letting begins, the bodies pile up and all kinds of old animosities reignite again.  Then, Gus finds himself running for his life, just hoping to get off the island in one piece in this fast-paced and electrifying noir adventure.  Read it for yourself and find out why Gus Corral is a Mysterious Book Report favorite.

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101

Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

101

Mysterious Book Report No. 355

by John Dwaine McKenna

US Highway 101 runs north from the San Francisco Bay, up to Humboldt County . . . the remote, pot growing area of California known as the emerald triangle because of all the grow operations up there.  It’s an area that’s rugged, fertile and brimming with fierce and independent cultivators of the magic green plant that, when smoked, makes all of your “worries be gone,” to quote the legendary Guy Clark.  Humboldt County is where a doofus named Jerry Bertram runs to when he gets in the bad graces and gunsights of some outlaw bikers in Tom Pitts new novel entitled, 101, (Down & Out Books, PB $18.95, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-948235-38-9)

When Jerry Bertram and his girlfriend break into a medical marijuana store in the Bay area and take the contents of the safe, they’re not just stealing from the dispensary, they’re also ripping off the one percent bikers who own the store through a front.  But, in addition they’re also robbing a group of Russian gangsters and their boss, a man known as “Vlad the Inhaler.” They finance the motorcycle club, and all of them want a piece of Jerry’s hide, and the return of the money before they kill him.  Trying to save his life, Jerry’s mother sends him north, to hide with a dour and enigmatic pot farmer named Vic, the “bravest and truest and toughest man I know,” according to her.  But her son’s a selfish doofus, who doesn’t seem to realize the mortal danger he’s in—or that he presents to others by his very presence—even when the bullets start flying, the killing begins and the bodies begin to pile up.  At the same time, Vic starts showing a skill set for violence, fighting and surviving that makes this an unstoppable read that will leave you breathless and needing a towel to dry off with.  Oh yeah, 101 is just that hot!

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Pushback

Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

Pushback

Mysterious Book Report No. 354

by John Dwaine McKenna

Serendipity is the ability to make a fortunate discovery by accident . . . which is just what happened to the MBR last summer, when an author we were interviewing asked if we had read or reviewed the work of a sci-fi writer named John Stith.  “No,” the MBR is crime fiction oriented was the reply.  “Well, you should,” she said, “because he just finished a psychological thriller that’s being released in November.  It’s his first new book in eighteen years . . . and he’s one of your nearby neighbors.” Barbara Nickless gave us the contact info, and voila! We have a new writer friend just a half-dozen stone throws up the road with a compelling new novel to introduce and talk about.

Pushback, (Re-animus Press, $15.99, 339 pages, ISBN 978-0-9672984-6-7) by John Stith is his tenth work of fiction, the first of what we can only hope will be a series of mystery crime thrillers after an award-winning run of off-planet sci-fi yarns.

Pushback begins when a young investment advisor named Dave Barlow leaves work for the day and discovers that someone has put three bullet holes in the drivers door of his brand-new car and drawn a smiley face around them with a magic marker.  Instead of going to the police, Dave covers up the damage with one of his employers magnetic signs. He avoids confrontation of any kind, because he suffers from PTSD due to a terrible tragedy when he was a little boy which left him an orphan.  With that revelation, the author peels back the first layer of an increasingly complex plot, as he makes one disclosure after another until the entire mystery is laid bare.

And just to whet your appetite, here’s the next layer of this complex and mystifying whodunit . . .

The following week, when Dave takes his new girlfriend to his ten-year high school reunion, he doesn’t know anyone in attendance.  Then, someone tries to kill him . . . but who, and why?  The only way to find out, is by reading this meticulously well-plotted and insightful novel of psychological suspense that plumbs the deepest depths of the human heart and soul.

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Some Die Nameless

Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

Some Die Nameless

Mysterious Book Report No. 351

by John Dwaine McKenna

Every single human being on the planet has a past; the deeds, events and situations that have shaped us and made us into the persons we are today.  Some of those experiences were happy and good . . . others, not so great . . . and a few of them we do our absolute best to put out of our minds forever.  But sometimes, no matter how honest an effort, the past just won’t stay in the rear-view mirror.  Instead, it drives up, cruises on through, then cuts in front and runs you off of the big highway of life.  (What a metaphor!)  That’s what happens to an ex-airborne army ranger named Ray Devlin in a propulsive new thriller that’ll keep you nailed to the page long after you were supposed to be off somewhere, doing something else.

Some Die Nameless, (Mulholland Books/ Little Brown/ Hachette, $26.00, 337 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-44020-2) by Wallace Stroby, begins in Florida, where fifty-four year old Ray Devlin is semi-retired, living on his boat and off the grid.  He takes odd jobs in construction to make ends meet, keeps to himself and does his best to put his past as a mercenary soldier behind him.  He’s seen action all over the world as a sergeant in a tight-knit group of commandos, working for a governmental contracting company run by an elusive man named Kemper.  But after Rays last job in South America left him severely wounded, he recuperated, then walked away from life as a soldier of fortune and hasn’t seen, or been in touch with any of his old comrades-in-arms for twenty years.  He’s surprised then, when one of the handful of men who went with him on that last fateful mission, a trooper under Devlins command named Bell, turns up at the south Florida marina where Ray’s docked, looking to reconnect.  In less time than it takes to drink a bottle of beer however, the two men are locked in a fight to the death.

At the same time, up in Philadelphia, the discovery of a decomposing corpse in an abandoned house triggers a young, ambitious reporters instincts for a major story, even though the failing newspaper she’s working for doesn’t want her to pursue it.  She and Devlin are forced to team up as the two cases unfold, becoming evermore intertwined, sinister and deadly, with hitman and killers lurking on every page.  If thrillers are your thing, you don’t want to miss Some Die Nameless, because Wallace Stroby is one of the hottest crime fiction writers working today.  He’s fast becoming a national treasure, as well as one of the MBRs personal favorites!

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Black and White Ball

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

Black and White Ball

Mysterious Book Report No. 353

by John Dwaine McKenna

There must be something in the air, water . . . or maybe an unknown isotope emanating out of the ground at night, that germinates world class crime writers in, around and about Detroit, Michigan.  From the late great Elmore Leonard, to the much-lauded Steve Hamilton, to the indefatigable, prolific and much admired Loren D. Estleman, they’re all masters of the hard-boiled crime fiction universe, who never let their readers down.

Black and White Ball, (Forge/ Tom Doherty Associates, $25.99, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-7653-88476) by Loren D. Estleman, is his eighty-first novel and there’s no sign, at this point, of him ever slowing down.  Mr. Estleman is, in fact, as creative, fresh and original as he was three decades ago . . . a rare feat in today’s era of Energizer Bunny-like rapid reproduction novels that are all about the authors name recognition and saleability . . . and  not about plot, character development, or innovation.  Black and White Ball, is by contrast, a breath of fresh air because the author reprises two of his best characters: a tough, wise-cracking private eye named Amos Walker, and a remorseless cold-blooded contract killer named Peter  Macklin,  and puts them together in the same novel for the first time.

When Macklin the hit mans second ex-wife is threatened with death by his own son, he hires Walker the PI to protect her, while Macklin (the father) tracks down Macklin (his son by his first ex-wife) and “Sets things right,” in his own words.  What follows is Walker being forced to do a job he doesn’t want, for a client he’d like to see in jail, protecting a woman who’s unsympathetic, as well as unwilling to accept the mortal danger she’s in.  Stuck in the middle between two vicious killers, Amos Walker is just trying to stay alive in this fast-paced and compelling novel from the pen of a Master Wordsmith at the top of his game.  With old knights, dark deeds, and nefarious villains, crime fiction aficionados will eat this one up and ask, as did young Oliver, “Please sir, may we have some more?”  The sooner the better the MBR says!!

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The Devil’s Half Mile

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

The Devil’s Half Mile

Mysterious Book Report No. 352

by John Dwaine McKenna

Wall Street trickery, corrupt politics, racial strife, gangs, murder . . . that all sounds like the headlines from today’s news, but instead, it’s the lead-in on the cover of a nifty murder mystery which takes place in New York City in the year of our Lord, 1799.  Through the skill of Alexander Hamilton and the formation of a Federal Bank, the new nation has recovered from the depression of 1792, but the financial panic back then ruined a great number of speculators, and many of them are still trying to claw their way back to prosperity in a marketplace with few restrictions, no regulations and zero oversight.

The Devil’s Half Mile, (Forge/Tom Doherty Associates, $24.99, 289 pages, ISBN 978-0-7653-9913-7) by Patrick “Paddy” Hirsch, is an exciting debut murder mystery in the form of historical crime fiction.  The novel begins in New York City in the summer of 1799, where a young man named Justice Flanagan had just returned from Ireland with a brand-new law degree and a burning desire to find out who murdered his father.  Before he can make it down the gangplank of the ship that brought him home however, he’s a spectator to the racial violence that’s happening throughout the city between the increasing numbers of free blacks and poor immigrant Irishmen who’ve been coming into the city in huge numbers, as a fight breaks out on the dock between the two groups over who will get the job of unloading a nearby ship.  The melee breaks up and the work is awarded to the blacks after the body of a murdered young woman of color is pulled from the harbor, right in front of the combatants.  Justy realizes that the city has changed substantially while he’s been away . . . the ghosts of the past seek retribution, while at the same time more bodies keep turning up and the crimes of the present demand attention.  Against the backdrop of the infamous Tontine Coffee House—where more nefarious schemes were hatched than eggs at a Tyson chicken farm—Justy and his friend Kerry struggle to solve the murders, avenge his father, and along the way, uncover a plot that could destroy the young country while at the same time, keep from getting killed themselves.  The action never ceases in this fine-tuned and carefully plotted mystery that’ll educate readers at the same that it entertains them by bringing the last year of the 18th century to colorful, vivid life!

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Some Die Nameless

Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

Some Die Nameless

Mysterious Book Report No. 351

by John Dwaine McKenna

Every single human being on the planet has a past; the deeds, events and situations that have shaped us and made us into the persons we are today.  Some of those experiences were happy and good . . . others, not so great . . . and a few of them we do our absolute best to put out of our minds forever.  But sometimes, no matter how honest an effort, the past just won’t stay in the rear-view mirror.  Instead, it drives up, cruises on through, then cuts in front and runs you off of the big highway of life.  (What a metaphor!)  That’s what happens to an ex-airborne army ranger named Ray Devlin in a propulsive new thriller that’ll keep you nailed to the page long after you were supposed to be off somewhere, doing something else.

Some Die Nameless, (Mulholland Books/ Little Brown/ Hachette, $26.00, 337 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-44020-2) by Wallace Stroby, begins in Florida, where fifty-four year old Ray Devlin is semi-retired, living on his boat and off the grid.  He takes odd jobs in construction to make ends meet, keeps to himself and does his best to put his past as a mercenary soldier behind him.  He’s seen action all over the world as a sergeant in a tight-knit group of commandos, working for a governmental contracting company run by an elusive man named Kemper.  But after Rays last job in South America left him severely wounded, he recuperated, then walked away from life as a soldier of fortune and hasn’t seen, or been in touch with any of his old comrades-in-arms for twenty years.  He’s surprised then, when one of the handful of men who went with him on that last fateful mission, a trooper under Devlins command named Bell, turns up at the south Florida marina where Ray’s docked, looking to reconnect.  In less time than it takes to drink a bottle of beer however, the two men are locked in a fight to the death.

At the same time, up in Philadelphia, the discovery of a decomposing corpse in an abandoned house triggers a young, ambitious reporters instincts for a major story, even though the failing newspaper she’s working for doesn’t want her to pursue it.  She and Devlin are forced to team up as the two cases unfold, becoming evermore intertwined, sinister and deadly, with hitman and killers lurking on every page.  If thrillers are your thing, you don’t want to miss Some Die Nameless, because Wallace Stroby is one of the hottest crime fiction writers working today.  He’s fast becoming a national treasure, as well as one of the MBRs personal favorites!

Like the review . . . let your friends know, You saw it in the Mysterious Book Report . . . The greatest compliment you can give, is to like us and share it with others on Facebook.

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Bearskin

Posted by on Oct 15, 2018 in Mysterious Book Report, TV Townsman Articles | 0 comments

Bearskin

Mysterious Book Report No. 350

by John Dwaine McKenna

There is a quiet, but ongoing—and growing—conflict in America, in which well-intentioned, ultra-wealthy individuals are buying up huge parcels of undeveloped land and forests, which they then put into Nature Conservancies . . . places where, they hope, all things of and in the earth will flourish as they did before the emergence of mankind.  Human beings, due to their rapacious and destructive nature, are strictly forbidden from any contact with, or entry into, the designated area.  Which puts the absentee owners into immediate conflict with the local, occasionally impoverished folks who’ve always hunted, fished, trapped and timbered on the now closed off property.  It’s a situation people living in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York are painfully aware of.  And, it’s a conflict dripping with drama that’s explored in an electrifying new debut novel that will keep readers bolted in place reading, from the first page until the last.

Bearskin, (Ecco/Harper Collins, $26.99, 340 pages, ISBN 978-0-06-274279-7) by James McLaughlin is the raw, compelling and lyrical story of a man running away from a criminal past in the desert southwest and redeeming himself by escaping into an uncertain future as a caretaker on a remote northern Virginia forest preserve.  Its owned of course, by a rich, aging California woman who’s an ex-hippie and nature lover.

Rice Moore is the caretakers name.  He’s a former mule who carried contraband back and forth across the Arizona-Mexico border, done time in a Mexican prison and is hiding out from the cartel assassins who’ve vowed to kill him.  The Preserve, as it’s referred to, is pristine, untouched for more than a hundred years . . . and it’s full of wild black bears . . . hunted for their meat by locals using hounds, and coveted by poachers who sell the gall bladders and paws to the Chinese.  Rice, a bad-ass who survived a term in one of Mexico’s most notorious prisons, is there to protect all the wildlife in the preserve, document the echosphere and, in his spare time, rebuild a neglected guest cabin.  All-in-all, a typical non-profit job, where the workload far exceeds the pay.  But when Rice discovers the remains of a bear, killed illegally on the Preserve, he takes it personally and becomes obsessed with catching the poachers . . . which brings unwanted attention from the law . . . and blows his carefully constructed false identity.  Teaming up with the woman scientist he replaced, Rice fights to save not only the wildlife, but himself in this evocative and beautifully rendered first novel from an accomplished, and exciting new writer who has with an affinity for all things wild, and many more stories to tell.  We’re looking forward to them!

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