Authors Showcase: Deadly Side of Fiction

The Book: Kiss Her Goodbye

The Author: Harvey Burgess

The Story: Houston Cash is an ex-cop turned private investigator who doesn’t expect his life to be extraordinary, and that’s just how he likes it. But that’s rarely how it seems to work out for him. His cases tend to take him places where he has to employ his skills, his sense of humor, and his sense of right and wrong to maximum effect to solve the problems of the interesting people who walk through his door. Though his network of friends and contacts help him navigate the labyrinths he encounters, it almost always boils down to Houston’s own abilities to see a case through to the end.

When Houston makes the acquaintance of a bank executive’s wife, he finds himself thrust in a world of money, sex, murder, and double-crosses; it’s just another day for a detective (or so it seems). But this woman is about to lead him on a path of twists and turns with an unexpected finale, and not everyone survives. Can Houston’s instincts help him stay out of too much of the trouble she represents?

Review by Jaymie: I’ve always loved mysteries, with my series of choice being J.D. Robb’s In Death books. When I picked up Kiss Her Goodbye, I thought that going from a female centered novel to a male centered might be jarring, but I forgot about any expected differences by the end of the first chapter. I got caught up in the story and found myself wondering what Cissy would do next – whether she was really an innocent victim or something more sinister.

I found Houston Cash to be a witty, relatable character and will be picking up his next adventure as soon as it is available. Until then, I’m following Burgess’ blog, where I’ve already discovered really interesting information about the author and his past in journalism and law enforcement. Keep on writing, Harvey!

Review by Darian Wilk: The book begins in a very familiar way, PI in a shabby office – a loner of sorts, not much work and not much to go home to besides his cat. And in walks this beautiful young woman, a trophy wife to a multi-millionaire banker.

She’s mysterious, hiding something, and needs his help. Now the main character, Houston Cash, played up his somewhat clichéd life, but as I was reading I thought, “Oh, he didn’t just go there, did he?” afraid this would be another detective novel like the thousands before it.

But Burgess has fine-tuned his craft, and echoes the talent of the masters like John Sanford, Robert B. Parker, and Ed McBain. Just as apprehension started to churn, Burgess quickly pulled me into the story with the first of many twists. You’re not very deep into the book before you feel like you’re beside Houston on this journey, wondering what the hell happened and how to make sense of all these pieces that don’t seem to fit together.

The Book: Night of the Assassin

The Author: Russell Blake

The Story: Night of the Assassin is the gritty, edge-of-your seat prequel to King of Swords. A no-holds-barred, breakneck-paced thriller, Night charts the early years of El Rey – the King of Swords – a super-assassin responsible for some of the world’s most spectacular and daring executions.

Framed against the backdrop of present-day Mexico’s brutal narco-trafficking violence, Night of the Assassin chronicles the making of a monster – a cold-blooded, ruthless killing machine. Raw, disturbing, edgy and unflinching, this epic saga defies convention to create a roller-coaster of intrigue, suspense and thrills that will leave even the most jaded thriller aficionados gasping for breath.

Review by David C. Cassidy: Night of the Assassin is brutal and beautiful. Blake offers riveting and revealing details of the black world of the drug lords in the Colombian and Mexican cartels, showing us in-your-face violence, all the while writing with an uncommon flair that is exceptionally strong and fluid.

I often found myself disgusted with the cruelty and the barbarism, but at the same time found myself utterly in awe of the author’s style. It’s a rare instance where one can be appalled by the material but so drawn by the writing one has no choice but to turn the page.

For those stirred by the grisly details of a frighteningly real underworld, Night of the Assassin delivers the straight goods. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. The book could be a textbook on the inner workings of the drug world, but a textbook that wildly entertains. I couldn’t put it down. And for a guy who’s never been a fan of this genre, well, that pretty much says it all. Highly, highly recommended.

Review by Claude Bouchard: Russell Blake is not just a good writer, he is a brilliant writer. Night of the Assassin gives you a front row seat from which you watch a child morph into “El Rey” a killing machine in cartel-war torn Mexico with no lack of suspense and action.

For a novel to cut it for me, it must be well written and plausible. Blake not only can write sentences which are grammatically correct, he can actually paint with words such that you’re not as much reading a book as watching the action take place.

You can feel the heat, smell the dirt and, yes, you wince at the pain. As one might expect, violence is present but Blake doesn’t present it more graphically than is required to get the message across. In terms of plausibility, not one scene or element within the novel was unbelievable. No super-heroes here catching bullets in their teeth to defy death. When in pain, the characters scream and when shot, they die.

Needless to say, I give Night of the Assassin a robust 5 STARS and I’m already enjoying another of Blake’s works, which so far has not disappointed in the least. Thanks, Russell!


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