Thunder Road

Mysterious Book Report No. 480

by John Dwaine McKenna

Thunder Road, (CamCat Books, $24.99, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-7443-0497-8), the debut effort of author Colin Holmes, is a genre-jumping, rock-n-roll kick-ass, action-adventure novel that begins with some cattle rustling and a gun-fight, then roars off into a private-eye crime novel before ending with a bit of sci-fi for good measure.

It begins in 1947, on a ranch near Ft. Worth, Texas.  That’s where a man named Jeff Sharp gets fired from his job as a special ranger for the Fort Worth and Western Stockman’s Association.  He then goes for a drink at a gambling house owned by a gangster with ties to organized crime named Doyle Denniker, where he runs into Jerry Cartwright . . . a U.S. Army Major who saved his life in Europe during World War II.  Now out of work, Sharp is offered a job investigating a real estate tycoon and becomes a licensed professional private investigator.  Then Major Cartwright—who owes sizeable gambling debts to Denniker—disappears, and the mobster hires Jeff to find him.  The search takes Sharp from the gambling dens and hideaway poker rooms of Fort Worth’s Thunder Road to the New Mexico barrens before ultimately winding up at a secret facility in the Nevada desert near the nascent gambling town of Las Vegas.  Shadowy, sinister figures, obfuscation by military authorities and plenty of gangsters keep threatening Sharp’s efforts to solve what becomes a more unworldly mystery with every chapter.  The beleaguered new PI never gives up his dogged efforts to solve the mystery that begins in a town called Roswell and ends in the Nevada desert with a startling conclusion.  This one will leave readers satisfied with the action and curious about the outcome, but looking forward to the next installment of the adventures of Jeff Sharp, Texas Private Investigator.


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