Like Lions by Brian Panowich

Five Stars Five stars

Like Lions by Brian PanowichTitle: Like Lions: A Novel  by Brian Panowich

Genre: Small Town and Rural Fiction, Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers

Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:1784082716
  • ISBN-13:978-1784082710
  • ASIN: B07J4WBB81

 Print Length: 293 pages

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Like Lions

Book Blurb:

Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father, and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain’s most notorious criminal family.

As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally-inclined brothers last year, he’s doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice.

When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind. Revenge is a powerful force, and the vacuum left by his brothers’ deaths has left them all vulnerable. With his wife and child in danger, and the way of life in Bull Mountain under siege for everyone, Clayton will need to find a way to bury the bloody legacy of his past once and for all.

My Review:

Like LionsWell, phooey, a new author to me and this a sequel to Bull Mountain (2015) before it, prize-winning graphic grit-lit. So I can’t gauge whether this is better or as good as the first. I will say, however, that I read as a standalone and, believe me, you have no problem picking up very quickly on just who these hillbilly, backwoods, and heinous people can be. (N.B. Skip if you don’t want a personal aside: One time when my motorcycle buddy, Noni, and I were riding through West Virginia we stopped at a large pull-out area to scour maps for directions thinking we might be lost. The narrow, darkened two-lane road, often broken out by heavy summer rains just seemed to go through this tree and vine-covered valley forever. The area was eerily quiet, no sounds–deserted. We peered through the grime-covered window into the barn and got the creeps. Noni said to me, “Do you want to be someone’s barefoot mama?” I said “NO!” and flipping the face shield of my flip-up helmet down we jumped back on our bikes and took off. There are some mountains and hollers out there that simply do NOT invite visitors. Ever heard of the Hatfields and McCoys?)

It didn’t take me long in this book to get those same prickly apprehensive vibes and the tension stayed elevated throughout the narrative which begins with a chilling and compelling prologue hook.

Clayton Burroughs, county sheriff of this small north Georgia location, is still recovering from the major, near-death injuries of a year ago. But his family and the legacy left by his father and brothers is never far under the tumultuous crime-ridden surface. It’s Burroughs territory and they reined heavily until that confrontation. Their deaths and his lack of desire to take over the helm of the dynasty has begun to open the door for new and even darker gangs or clans and the paths forged by his recently deceased brother, Hal. Clayton and his wife, Kate, have been struggling to keep their marriage together despite his slow recovery, pain, and guilt-ridden attitude.

Oh. My. God. You don’t even want to have to stop for gas here. There are forces unseen and powerful building a dreadful foreboding of the war to come. These factions play for keeps and when moonshine took a back seat to the drug trade, millions of dollars, as well as the territory, went up for grabs. Ever played around in the mountains over forest service roads only to confront a big-assed pickup truck with a gun rack in the rear window? (We have.) And that’s your sign.

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you numb, was truer to the point.”

“He was a cereal-box preacher–all sugar and tooth decay, dressed up to look wholesome and good for you.”

“Pride will kill you faster than a bullet.”

This is a gritty, southern lit, hick lit, hillbilly noir or whatever you want to call it and I’ll warn you, it’s rude, crude, and socially unaccepted. From the language to the graphic scenes, it surpasses “Breaking Bad” for pulling no punches. The characters are raw, open, and vicious. Scary real. Kate is wonderful, strong, decent. She loves her man. But the man is damaged and he’s drinking. He has a number of “family” who will cover his back–well, most that–because this is also a story of loyalty and betrayal. His office gal slash dispatcher, Cricket, is a great support character, and he has a number of them “on his side.” The characters have names like Scabby Mike and Nails McKenna, JoJo and Coot Viner. You’d expect that…

As for the fun they were throwing at Coot for his Tracker, I have to say they are a great little car (cheap-Jeep) for climbing those northern Georgia hills–or off-road into the deserts of Arizona!

The conflict and turmoil have you reeling from the punches and flipping pages, unsure what will happen next, except that it is probably not something good. The plot moves with gathering speed until the climax and then like a pebble in a pond, the rivulets begin to slow. Wow, is this guy a storyteller or what?

And then, BAM! just when you think everyone is safe, the epilogue. NOOO! 

I can’t stand it–I may have to part with my milk money and get Bull Mountain. I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and totally, absolutely, irrefutably found it electrifying; it’s a train wreck, a shock of a book that you can’t put down. Totally recommended for all you thriller fans; deep, dark, noir fans. Do you have the stomach for it?

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The Author: *Brian Panowich feels a bit strange writing about himself in the third person but he will do his best. Brian started out as a firefighter that wrote stories and morphed into a writer that fights fire. He has written three novels, a boatload of short stories, and maintains a monthly column called Scattered & Covered for Augusta Magazine. He lives in East Georgia with four children who are more beautiful and more talented than anyone else’s. He also might be biased.Brian Panowich - author

Brian’s first novel, BULL MOUNTAIN, topped the best thriller list on Apple iBooks, placed in the top twenty best books on Amazon, and went on to win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Southern Book Prize for Best Mystery. The book was also nominated for the Barry Award, the Anthony Award, The Georgia Townsend Book Prize, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. BULL MOUNTAIN was also selected for the coveted BOOKS ALL GEORGIANS SHOULD READ list by the Georgia Center of the Book, and has been the recipient of several foreign press awards. Brian’s latest novel, LIKE LIONS, isn’t due out until April, but Daniel Woodrell and CJ Box really liked it, so Brian is pretty happy. Oh, and YEAR OF THE ROOSTER will be out next year. (2020)

Brian Panowich burst onto the crime fiction scene in 2015, winning awards and accolades from readers and critics alike for his smoldering debut, Bull Mountain. Now with Like Lions, he cements his place as one of the outstanding new voices in crime fiction.

Note: That Tracker was ours. ©2019 V Williams Blog author

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The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan – a #BookReview

The Bones She Buried by Lisa ReganTitle: The Bones She Buried (Detective Josie Quinn Book 5) by Lisa Regan

Genre: Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers, Serial Killers, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN: B07MNV2ZKN
  • ISBN-10: 1786816407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1786816405

Publication Date: HAPPY RELEASE DATE! March 27, 2019

Print Length: 342 pages

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: The Bones She Buried

Book Blurb:

Josie works until her arms ache, until the paramedics arrive and pull her gently away from the woman’s cold, fragile body. Noah’s voice cracks beside her as he calls the time of death for his own, beloved mother.

Arriving with her partner Noah for dinner at his family’s immaculate countryside home, Detective Josie Quinn is devastated to find Noah’s mother, Colette, lying lifeless in the back garden, her mouth clogged with soil.

Searching the house for answers, Josie’s team don’t know what to make of the rosary beads buried in the dirt near the body, or the hidden file labelled “Drew Pratt”, the small town of Denton’s most famous missing person.

As she delves deeper into Pratt’s case, Josie quickly discovers he had a brother whose body mysteriously washed up on the banks of a river. There’s also a diary entry suggesting that Collette may have met him on the last day he was seen alive. Can Josie believe the unthinkable, that a kind old soul like Collette might have been involved in their murders? And, will Josie’s new relationship with Noah survive the accusation?

Josie’s only hope lies in tracking down Pratt’s daughter. But when she arrives at her home to find she’s been murdered just minutes before, Josie knows the real killer is one step ahead and won’t stop until Colette’s secret is buried forever. With many more innocent lives on the line, how deep is Josie prepared dig to reach the truth? Continue reading “The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan – a #BookReview”

Solomon vs Lord by Paul Levine – a #BookReview

Solomon vs Lord by Paul LevineTitle: Solomon vs Lord (Solomon vs Lord Legal Thrillers Book 1) by Paul Levine

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Legal Thriller, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Satire, General Humor

Publisher: Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.

Publication Date: March 6, 2014

578 pages

ASIN:B007RTS9VE

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: Solomon vs Lord – Legal thriller–tilt!

Book Blurb:

“LEGAL THRILLERS SHOULDN’T BE THIS MUCH FUN!”

Victoria Lord follows all the rules…
Steve Solomon makes up his own…
Defending a murder trial, they’ll either end up in ruin, in jail…or in bed.

Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer to barely graduate from law school. Victoria Lord toils for an ambitious D.A., before Solomon gets her fired. Thrown together, they defend a sexy young widow charged with killing her kinky husband in Miami’s steamiest trial of the century.

“Hiaasen meets Grisham in the court of last retort. A sexy, wacky, wonderful thriller with humor and heart.” – Harlan Coben

***My associate reviewer has been fully engaged in reading the free offerings from BookBub, many of which have been outstandingly delightful, resulting in laugh out loud passages and recitations to me. As this one seemed exceptional, I asked that he provide a review even though the book published in 2014 could constitute a proper Throwback Thursday offering. (The author released Bum Deal, the 13th and final book in the Jake Lassiter series, in June. ) 

The C.E.’s Review:

Levine’s writing is comical and engaging from the beginning.

Stephan Solomon is a rogue lawyer working against a rookie prosecutor. The abrasive repartee between Steph and Victoria Lord is immediately humorous and engaging and quickly builds into an excellent story. Solomon has a number of rules he has created for his practice. Rule #1 When the law doesn’t work, work the law.

Victoria was at the top of her class in law school and prepares well and documents everything. His lackadaisical style aggravates her immensely when she is trying to do everything by the book while Solomon as the defense lawyer is nearly impossible. They wind up in jail for getting into a scuffle in court which results in a contempt charge. Steph wants to “tutor” her in the finer elements of jurisprudence. His motto is, “A lawyer who’s afraid of jail is like a surgeon who is afraid of blood.”

In the first offering of the series, these two find themselves on opposing tables in court. She is a rookie state’s attorney and as opposites attract while offering friction, he’s smitten and thinking she’d be a great partner (in more ways than one).  Lord has other ideas (and guys) and isn’t ready to give up either. It’s not long before a trophy wife ends up in trouble with Lord pushing to take her case and Solomon rushing to help.

The banter and sexual tension between the two is not a new stratagem and the dialogue often goes from funny to silly, but the well-plotted story grabs and holds interest and doesn’t flag as it develops a sub-plot. Solomon is well developed, showing a multi-dimensional personality as he cares for his nephew. Victoria Lord is well educated but still very naive.

C.E. Williams - Associate ReviewerThe characters have been compared to Hepburn and Tracy and the story is fun and fast-paced; hard to put down. I highly recommend it.

Free eBook provided to me by BookBub. C. E. Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

Paul Levine - authorThe Author:

(Bio truncated from Amazon) Eleven of [Paul] Levine‘s thrillers have hit Number One bestseller status on Amazon in their genres, and in June 2015, he was the Number One bestselling author on Amazon Kindle.

BUM RAP was a Number One bestseller out of six million books in the Amazon Kindle Store. The setup: Lassiter has had it with sleazy clients, shifty prosecutors, and a legal system out of whack. He’s about to hang up his shingle when Victoria Lord calls. Solomon has been arrested for murder. What’s worse: the only person who can clear him has disappeared. Now it’s up to Lassiter and Lord to track down the witness–a stunning Bar girl–before she’s roped in by the feds…or eliminated by the Russian mob.

Levine’s first novel, TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD, introduced the world to Jake Lassiter, an NFL linebacker turned hard-nosed lawyer. Lassiter has been described by Booklist as “one of the most entertaining series characters in contemporary crime fiction.”

Levine’s other series features squabbling lawyers – and lovers – Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, who duel in and out of court. The Chicago Sun-Times praised “Solomon vs. Lord” as “remarkably fresh and original with characters you can’t help loving and sparkling dialogue that echoes the Hepburn-Tracy screwball comedies. A hilarious, touching and entertaining twist on the legal thriller.”

Levine has won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and has been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Shamus Award, and the James Thurber Humor Prize. A graduate of Penn State and the University of Miami School of Law, he was a trial lawyer before becoming a full-time novelist. He divides his time between Santa Barbara, CA and Miami.

Here is a list of Levine’s novels that have hit Number One bestseller status on Amazon in their genres:

LEGAL THRILLERS: “To Speak for the Dead,” “Solomon vs. Lord,” “Fool Me Twice,” “Illegal,” and “Bum Rap.”

MYSTERIES: State vs. Lassiter, The Deep Blue Alibi, Kill All the Lawyers and Mortal Sin.

SERIAL KILLERS and INTERNATIONAL CRIME: Night Vision.

HARD-BOILED MYSTERIES: Mortal Sin.

ORGANIZED CRIME THRILLERS and SPORTS FICTION: Paydirt.

The “Solomon vs. Lord” series:

Solomon vs. Lord
The Deep Blue Alibi
Kill All the Lawyers
Habeas Porpoise (previously titled Trial & Error)

OTHER ENDEAVORS: Paul wrote 21 episodes of the TV series “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday,” both on CBS.

More info at http://www.paul-levine.com
Follow Paul @Jake_Lassiter
Visit Paul’s updated Facebook Author Page for the latest news: https://www.facebook.com/PaulLevine

(From Goodreads) NEW and available in print, e-book and audio editions: Paul Levine’s latest legal thriller, BUM DEAL, debuted June 2018.

©2018