ECLECTIC READING HIGHLIGHTS
My reading interests are wide and eclectic bordering on eccentric. I’m always scouting for current books with a cool new premise or a twist on an old theme. I also enjoy discovering older books by authors either new to me, or who I have never read in the past, but am now drawn to try.
These forays aren’t always spectacular successes. Some are downright flops that don’t pass my twenty page test—if I’m not drawn into a story in twenty pages, it’s time to move on. I may miss a few gems, but I’d rather pick up another potential winner than wade through boring books to see if they get any better. Even if a book is mediocre, I no longer have the desire, the attention span, or the compulsion to finish it simply because I started it. This means I do a lot of separating wheat from chaff, but the end result is the joy of discovering worthwhile, enjoyable reading.
Here’s a look at some recent titles I found worthwhile...
THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL ~ R. S. BELCHER
Belcher is a new author to me, but has been lauded for his previous horror/supernatural action titles Six Gun Tarot and Shotgun Arcana. He has now launched a gritty new urban fantasy series about the mysterious society of truckers known only as, The Brotherhood of The Wheel...
In 1119 A.D., a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon--a militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order's original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.
Theirs is a secret line of knights: truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers, RV gypsies--any of the folks who live and work on the asphalt arteries of America. They call themselves the Brotherhood of the Wheel.
Jimmy Aussapile is one such knight. He's driving a big rig down South when a promise to a ghostly hitchhiker sets him on a quest to find out the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing all across the country. The road leads him to Lovina Hewitt, a skeptical Louisiana State Police investigator working the same case and, eventually, to a forgotten town that's not on any map--and to the secret behind the eerie Black-Eyed Kids said to prowl the highways.
THE STRIVER’S ROW SPY ~ JASON OVERSTREET
Set in 1920’s Harlem, this debut novel features the FBI’s first African-American agent, who has a very complicated personal agenda...
Stunning, suspenseful, and unforgettably evocative...glitters with the vibrant dreams and dangerous promise of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, as one man crosses the perilous lines between the law, loyalty, and deadly lies...
For college graduate Sidney Temple, the Roaring Twenties bring opportunities even members of his accomplished black bourgeois family couldn’t have imagined. His impulsive marriage to independent artist Loretta is a happiness he never thought he’d find. And when he’s tapped by J. Edgar Hoover to be the FBI’s first African-American agent, he sees a once-in-a-lifetime chance to secure real justice...
Instead of providing evidence against Marcus Garvey, prominent head of the ‘dangerously radical’ back-to-Africa movement, Sidney uses his unexpected knack for deception and undercover work to thwart the Bureau’s biased investigation. And by giving renowned leader W. E. B. Du Bois insider information, Sidney gambles on change that could mean a fair destiny for all Americans...
But the higher Sidney and Loretta climb in Harlem’s most influential and glamorous circles, the more dangerous the stakes. An unexpected friendship and a wrenching personal tragedy threaten to shatter Loretta’s innocent trust in her husband—and turn his double life into a fast-closing trap. For Sidney, ultimately squeezed between the Bureau and one too many ruthless factions, the price of escape could be heartbreak and betrayal no amount of skill can help him survive.
IRON GODDESS: A SHEA STEVENS THRILLER ~ DHARMA KELLEHER
Who isn’t up for a kick-ass lesbian biker chick thriller? Sexual politics aside, this debut mash-up mixes Sons of Anarchy with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to produce an effective wild ride. I’ll definitely be looking for the follow-up...
In this gritty, fast-paced debut thriller, an ex-con biker chick turned law-abiding citizen risks everything to save her new life—and confront the demons of her past.
Shea Stevens is biker royalty. Her father was the president of the Confederate Thunder Motorcycle Club. Under his watchful eye, she learned how to pick locks, disable alarms, and hot-wire cars like a pro. But all that is ancient history. Or so she thought...
After a stint in prison, Shea has worked hard to make a quiet, happy life for herself in Arizona. She spends her time bonding with her big-city girlfriend and running her bike shop, Iron Goddess Custom Cycles, with her dedicated team of misfits. But when one of her employees is shot and three of her specially commissioned bikes are stolen, Shea’s new life collides with the criminal underworld she tried to leave behind.
Shea knows better than to trust the police. So, with her Glock on her hip, she takes the investigation into her own hands. Shea’s search for the bike thieves leads her straight to her father’s old gang—and her estranged sister, whose young daughter has been kidnapped by a rival club. The last thing Shea wants is to be caught in the middle of a war—but if she learned one thing from her old man, it’s that when someone comes at you, you push back. Hard. And that’s exactly what she’s going to do.
THE TALL MAN IN THE RAY-BANS ~ JOSEPH FLYNN
This book came out of left field. It’s the first of four John Tall Wolf novels. Author Flynn has a lot of titles to his credit. He has been published traditionally, but now appears to be doing well self-publishing under his own Stray Dog Press imprint…Halfway through The Tall Man In the Ray-Bans, I was enjoying it enough to swing over and pick up the three other titles in the series.
Out for a day’s adventure exploring the dry bed of Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, two young boys stumble upon a skeleton. It might be all that remains of a fugitive named Randy Bear Heart. Wanted for robbing three banks and killing three cops, Bear Heart was never brought to justice.
The FBI is called on to determine how the outlaw avoided arrest for twenty-five years and who put him in the lake wearing chains. The BIA — Bureau of Indian Affairs — gets the very same job. Special Agent John Tall Wolf is put on the case because one of the dead cops was a Native American who worked at the Mercy Ridge Reservation.
The FBI wants John to “coordinate all your efforts” through SAC Gilbert Melvin. John is having none of that, saying, “I’ll conduct my investigation as I see fit.” He doesn’t even get along with his own boss, Marlene Flower Moon, head of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services.
While interviewing John for his job, Marlene was amused by his assertiveness, and asked him, “What do you want, a license to take scalps?” John said, “Yeah, that’d be good.”