Author's Showcase: Thrill Ride of the Imagination
March 10, 2012
Caleb Pirtle III
Some mystery novels are thorough and methodical. Others rely on the wisdom of forensic experts who can solve the biggest of cases with the smallest and most unexpected of clues. And, historically, from the days of Sam Space and Philip Marlowe, the genre has relied on the ruthless determination and relentless investigation of its detectives. Some pack you up, throw you in the back, and take you on a thrill ride that’s guaranteed to leave you breathless. Big Trouble in Aruba and Unreasonable Persuasion take you on a wild ride that won’t soon be foergotten.
The Book: Seals III: Big Trouble in Aruba
The Author: Roger D. Grubbs
The Story: Human trafficking spans the globe, and it is a big bad and dangerous business. The President of the United States has gotten his belly full of this nonsense.
Young women are being stolen from their families, leaving behind no traces of their abduction.
A long list of excuses is provided to explain these strange disappearances, but none of them hold water where the president is concerned.
Soon he realizes he has his hands full while trying to stop these crimes.
Finally there are three people providing a glimmer of hope. Bart Nelson (the Ghost SEAL) is fittingly the head of the team. Chelsea Steele (the Hammer) is an explosive expert, which certainly comes in handy. When she introduces herself to the enemy, there is no mistaking it. The Hammer comes down with a vengeance. The third member of the team is a small young girl of only eighteen. But, little sister is Big Trouble to anyone who crosses her. Thus you have her code name.
The third phase of the mission takes the team to the beautiful Island of Aruba. In order to track down the head of the snake that controls the organization of human trafficking, they must go undercover.
Acting on a tip from the last mission, these three companions arrive on the scene. In the beginning they face some minor obstacles. Before long this leads to Big Trouble in Aruba!
As one reviewer wrote: Roger Grubbs knows how and when to turn on the action in Big Trouble in Aruba. He successfully establishes the situation that is nothing short of an abomination, sets the scene on a beautiful island in the Caribbean, creates villains that are really villainous and a heroic band of Seals that just may be the toughest and most ruthless on the pages of fiction today, and throws them all into a heart-racing, heart-stopping plot that never slows down until the final sentence is in place.
If you want a grand adventure, you’ll want to link up with the creative mind of Roger Grubbs.
The book: Unreasonable Persuasion
The Author: Neil Low
The story: UNREASONABLE PERSUASION is a novel based on a real Seattle Police case that Neil Low discovered in the vaults while he was the city’s Homicide Commander. The investigation was an example of great, old-fashioned police work, accomplished in the era before Crime Labs and DNA. This was a time when detectives solved their cases with brain power, shoe leather, and often times a leather sap.
In 1940 – In the dark misty streets of Seattle – there is no rest from crime. Young Alan Stewart, a second-generation gum shoe, is once again paired with the beautiful and dangerous Vera Deward, embroiled in a mystery that’s shaking the entire Emerald City.
This time, a well-loved and aging heiress has disappeared. Has she simply departed early on her glamorous honeymoon, taking the train to Minnesota as her much younger and newly acquired husband insists, or has there been foul play?
Alan Stewart and Vera Deward race against the clock, tracking suspects through the murky cityscape, looking for clues to the heiress’s whereabouts, clues that lead to shady hotels, underground catacombs in Seattle’s Chinatown, and to heart-pounding confrontations on fast-moving trains.
Can Alan and Vera unwind the enigma in time to save the heiress, or will this mystery ultimately elude them?
As one reviewer wrote: “Unreasonable Persuasion is another wonderful Neil Low book. Neil Low describes Seattle like no one else, and I love the references. I learn something about Seattle in every book. His characters Alan Stewart and Vera, among others, are back dealing with the disappearance of a socialite. The ending is a TOTAL SURPRISE. So run – don’t walk – and order this book. You will not be disappointed. My only disappointment with this book? I didn’t want it to end.”
Another reviewer pointed out: It’s refreshing to pick up a novel and read about a familiar locale, realizing that even with over half a century dividing the then and now, it’s easy to lose oneself in the sense of place as the author draws a vivid portrait of Seattle in the 1940’s.
“The story opens with a pair of women traveling by train to Minneapolis, and murder ensues.
“Meanwhile, back in Seattle, Alan and Vera begin looking into the disappearance of a woman assumed to be on her honeymoon. Too many inconsistencies arise when the much younger husband arrives back in town shortly thereafter, with power of attorney, holes in his story, and a criminal past.
“In the age before computers and cell phones, our two dogged investigators use their wits, skills, determination, and even a little charm to pursue leads in the case. The ending is a great twist and once again affirms the era of the story.
“This is the third in a series of books by Mr. Low, and I broke my own rule of not beginning the series at the beginning. There is a lot of back story hinted at between the two main protagonists, and at times I thought of putting the book down to read the previous novels and catch myself up. The brief glimpses of what came before didn’t quite satisfy my curiosity, and detracted slightly from my total enjoyment of the book.
“I liked the characters, place, and especially the era of the novel, and look forward to stepping back and reading the rest of the series.”