The Texas Job by Reavis Z Wortham – #BookReview – Small Town & Rural Fiction

Book Blurb:

The Texas Job by Reavis Z WorthamTexas Ranger Tom Bell is simply tracking a fugitive killer in 1931 when he rides into Kilgore, a hastily erected shanty town crawling with rough and desperate men—oil drillers who’ve come by the thousands in search of work. The sheriff of the boomtown is overwhelmed and offers no help, nor are any of the roughnecks inclined to assist the young Ranger in his search for the wanted man.

In fact, it soon becomes apparent that the lawman’s presence has irritated the wrong people, and when two failed attempts are made on his life, Bell knows he’s getting closer to finding out who is responsible for cheating and murdering local landowners to access the rich oil fields flowing beneath their farms. When they ambush him for a third time, they make the fatal mistake of killing someone close to him and leaving the Ranger alive.

Armed with his trademark 1911 Colt .45 and the Browning automatic he liberated from a gangster’s corpse, Tom Bell cuts a swath of devastation through the heart of East Texas in search of the consortium behind the lethal land-grab scheme. 

His Review:

Early 20th Century east Texas was a wide-open territory. Texas Ranger Tom Bell has a very dangerous job. The mob has infiltrated the area because of quick riches from the discovery of oil. A forest of oil rigs blight the once open range and forest lands. Where money flows, greed and corruption closely follow. One of the get-rich schemes was to marry the ladies who owned the land and then kill them to inherit the land and the wealth stream.

The Texas Job by Reavis Z WorthamThe mob has no compassion for people, their problems, or their needs. Take whatever you can and if someone dies in the process, oh well! Author Wortham weaves a very interesting tale of bravado and heroism against wanton killing and conniving. I found his tale engaging and entertaining. His writing style harkens back to western authors of old. The characters who became Texas Rangers were smart and cared for the people of east Texas.

The weapons and attack methodology were reminiscent of WW I war tactics. The mob sent in large groups of killers with the instructions to “take care of the problem.” Ranger Tom Bell is one of those “problems.” Six men are sent down from Hot Springs, Arkansas to accomplish the goal. Their problem was a lack of understanding the abilities of Tom Bell.

Segregation was rampant in Texas at that time. The African American youth were considered slightly less valuable than cattle. African American women were considered ignorant and were generally ignored. Therefore, Tom has a ready source of intelligence because the criminals gave them little consideration. The Black population, however, knew everything that was going on and appreciated being treated fairly.

CE WilliamsEnjoy this tale from a gifted writer. Set aside time because you will not want to put the book down. 4.5 stars- CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Current on pre-order.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Murder
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
ASIN: B096L96MP1
Print Length: 272 pages
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):  The Texas Job [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Reavis Z Wortham - authorThe Author: As a boy, award-winning writer, Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for the fictional setting for The Rock Hole and The Red River Mystery Series. He was born in Paris, Texas, but lived in Dallas. “We grew up in the city and went to school there, but every Friday evening my parents put us in the car and made the 120-mile drive to Chicota, where we truly lived at my grandparents’ place in the country until Sunday evening, when we came back to the city. Our real home was that little scratch farm in Lamar County.”

 [Amazon bio Truncated…]

Reavis also penned Doreen’s 24 HR Eat Gas Now Café. More than 2,500 newspaper and magazine articles bear the byline of this award-winning Texas writer. The Rock Hole was a finalist in the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association, is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Writers’ League of Texas, International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch), and International Thriller Writers.

He lives with his wife, Shana, in northeast Texas.

(Reavis Z. Wortham retired in 2011 and now works harder than before as the author of the critically acclaimed Red River historical mystery series. Kirkus Reviews listed his first novel, The Rock Hole, as one of their Top 12 Mysteries of 2011. True West Magazine included Dark Places as one of 2015’s Top 12 Modern Westerns. The Providence Journal writes, “This year’s Unraveled is a hidden gem of a book that reads like Craig Johnson’s Longmire on steroids.” Wortham’s new high octane contemporary thriller from Kensington Publishing, Hawke’s Prey, featuring Texas Ranger Sonny Hawke was released in June, 2017. [Goodreads])

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint winter graphic

Ghosts of the Past: The Search for a Lost WWII Art Collection Worth Killing for by Mark Downer – A #BookReview – #crimeaction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerIn the spring of 1945, on the eve of the Allied victory in war-torn Europe, an unmarked German transport plane crash lands deep in the rugged Swiss Alps, and with it is buried one of the greatest single collections of World War II stolen artwork never recovered. Lying undisturbed in its rocky tomb for over half a century, a family member’s deathbed disclosure and war memorabilia hold the key to the existence and dormant location of this incredible treasure. Subsequently, one man’s quest to locate the crash site is unwittingly exposed, and the race to recover the find of a lifetime becomes a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that weaves together an eclectic cast of characters in an international web of intrigue, murder, mystery, and surprise.

American advertising executive Matt Ferguson, determined to track down his great uncle’s mysterious legacy, enlists the help of a beautiful art expert, Courtney Lewis. They immediately become embroiled in a local murder investigation that draws them together to save not only a piece of history but ultimately their lives. Pursuing them is a cold-blooded killer and his henchmen, representing the past and present generations of the German Nazi party, and also gangsters dispatched by a multi-millionaire South American boss, whose passion is acquiring art by any means necessary. As Ferguson and Lewis struggle and maneuver to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, their relationship swells through ups and downs of trust, mistrust, mutual attraction, deception, and, finally, shared mission.

The dogged persistence of a city homicide detective determined to solve a triple murder, and his ability to knit together an international police effort as the scope of his investigation explodes, are the last component affecting the thrill of the chaotic chase and the excitement of the climax.

His Review:

As World War II comes to a close, two flyers from Germany are engaged to make a special flight to Switzerland by none other than Hermann Goering! This starts a saga of immense value and hair-raising discovery. Mark Downer creates a narrative with the efficiency of a master fly fisherman. Information from a dying uncle sets Matt Ferguson on the quest of a lifetime.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerAn immense treasure of purloined art is hidden away in the mountains of Switzerland. Not by design but by a fortuitous accident as the treasure is being flown to Switzerland by two young shanghaied German Luftwaffe pilots. The transportation of art objects is at the personal bequest of Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering himself. A chance meetup with a US fighter pilot results in a crash landing of the German plane prior to arriving at the airport in Switzerland. The plane and its’ crew remain in hiding sitting out the rest of the second world war.

The quest begins at the dying bed of Max Hignite, the German pilot in question. His nephew, Matt Ferguson, is given a map drawn on the back of the cargo manifest by Max. Two pieces of art are in Max’s safe and are authenticated by assistant curator Courtney Lewis and her contacts at the Speed Art Museum. The two small paintings are valued and insured at $4,000,000. Courtney and Matt set out to find the treasure and have it distributed to the rightful family owners. The problem is that the curators who helped verify the authenticity of the paintings are interested in the rest of the shipment and as Matt and Courtney begin the quest, they start an international conspiracy to obtain the balance of the valuable cargo.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark Downer
(See NB below)

Matt and Courtney are not well versed in clandestine operations. They are followed by some very rich and powerful individuals who want to control the artifacts. They are followed discretely by operatives whose sole purpose is to gain ultimate control of the entire cargo. Keeping the two of them alive is not really a concern to the criminal element wanting to own the cargo.

Mark Downer has put together a quick engaging read with a number of twists and turns that are very entertaining. The book took center stage in my daily activities until I finished it. You will find the story well-plotted and paced although at times predictable. I highly recommend it for a quick and satisfying read! 5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from publisher through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Action Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Crime Action & Adventure
Publisher: Old Stone Press (2nd edition)
Print Length: 287 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Ghosts of the Past [Amazon] (Second Edition)
Also find the book at this location (See NB below):
Barnes and Noble (First Edition)
 

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The Author: (Barnes & Noble) Mark Downer was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Journalism, he has spent the last 30 years in executive level marketing, sales and management. He currently owns and operates a transportation and logistics company in Louisville, where he resides with his wife and three children. Ghosts of the Past is first novel.

NB: This novel was originally published in 2014 under the same name.

The Pearl of York, Treason and Plot by Tony Morgan – a #BookReview – #HistoricalFiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

The Pearl of York by Tony MorganThe gripping new historical novel set in atmospheric Tudor York.
Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Highly Recommended award – “A heartbreaking book that grabs you from the first page and does not let you go until the last full-stop. I cannot praise this book enough. It was absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. This is an example of Historical Fiction at its most exquisite.”

When Margaret Clitherow is arrested for illegally harbouring Catholic priests, her friends, led by a youthful Guy Fawkes, face a race against time to save her from the gallows. As events unfold, their lives, and our history, change forever.

What events could persuade a happily married woman to become a martyr or transform a young man into a terrorist?

My Thoughts

Guy Fawkes didn’t set out to be an explosive expert, nor Mistress Margaret Clitherow a martyr. Nor did either begin life as a Catholic, but life, experience, and events have a way of unfolding an inexorable path down which we seem to be drawn. This storyline doesn’t focus on Guy Fawkes and his later exploits that eventually got him caught but it is while he is being tortured that he reverts to the narration of his life to divert himself from the pain to the path that diverged with Mistress Clitherow.

In Tudor York, England is in the midst of a major change of reigning churches and seeing a dissolution from the Roman Catholic Church and the Papists. It has now become a treasonable offense to remain Catholic and suddenly those who practice the “old religion” must do so in privacy, careful not to reveal their true allegiance. AND, anyone caught harboring a priest or the religious were quickly brought up on the same stiff penalties as those caught performing Mass.

In a well-researched and plotted account of the story of St. Margaret Clitherow, the author weaves a plausible account of young Guy being expelled from school for fighting with the town bully and the discovery of his mother sneaking out to Mass held in a deeply secreted space under and behind the residence of Margaret Clitherow. She has a reputation for kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. Her husband is the neighborhood butcher, a Protestant, and elevated in social standing. But one night, after Guy accompanies his mother to Mass, the house is raided and one of the two priests is caught. Not long after, Mistress Clitherow is also arrested.

The trial being a sham, not difficult to imagine she’ll be sentenced to death. The form of her punishment, however, is said to be shaped by how she’ll plea. And she does not. Will not. She is caught between a rock and a hard place. Anything she admits to would only trickle down and cause untold suffering to not only her family but many others as well. In addition, she will not denounce her Catholic faith, revert to the Church of England. She appears to have no equitable way to save her own life and resolutely resigns herself to a death she didn’t realize would be quite such a horrendous, hideous, extremely torturous way to die. Still, she has no real choice. It seems beyond reason that humans could devise such a brutal execution.

The author has done a tremendous job of bringing a stinging history to light and creating a plausible explanation for her sacrifice as well as the lasting effects her death and the later death of Guy’s own family has on the course his life will take. Fawkes’s life left an indelible mark in the history of England as well.

If I had any quibbles, it was the subtle changes of Guy’s retrospective to his current circumstances on the rack. Utterly engaging tale of suspicion, betrayal, brutality, survival, and faith. Deeply emotional and sympathetic characters, barbaric instruments, descriptions of Tudor streets vibrant with the sounds and fetid smells of crowded city life. Thoroughly entertaining, captivating prose.

“Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise.”

“Mistress Clitherow…she’s a pearl inside this monstrous oyster.”

We received this digital download from the author in the expectation of a review and these are our own opinions. Wholly recommended.

His Thoughts

The Pearl of York by Tony MorganThis author opened my eyes to the reason for western migration to the Americas in the 17th century. The Reformation period developed large schisms within the European countries. The Church of England was replacing the Roman Catholic Church and it became a treasonable offense to remain Catholic. Trials were held throughout Great Britain for those who practiced the old faith or harbored priests. Priests that did not renounce their faith were subjected to terrible pain and ultimately killed.

Mistress Margaret Clitherow is one of these unfortunates. She resided in York and was held in great esteem by the local populace. However, she was caught attending clandestine Catholic masses. It would have been easy to save her own life, simply renounce her faith and embrace the Protestant Church of England. For a staunch catholic this would mean saving her life but going to hell. She is a young and affable lady caught in a martyr’s quandary. She will not give up her faith.

The main character, young Guy Fawkes, is determined to save her. He and a local priest as well as a Protestant minister set out to accomplish that task. The fervor within the area is to trap and bring to justice those who have not renounced their faith.

Some of the methods for punishing the holdouts are particularly gruesome.

Priests who are caught were usually hung, drawn and quartered. The spectacle was available for the entertainment of the population. Trying to rescue those who practiced the faith was also a treasonable event.

This book is well written and mesmerizing in the telling. I wondered how Martin Luther and the others who began the Reformation must have felt. The tithes received by the church would be kept in the countries who altered their faith. The faithful paid the ultimate price for the changes to the faith and the dissolution of the Roman Catholic faith in the various countries. CE Williams

I highly recommend this book to those who cherish their faith and embrace the sacrifice made by those who suffered the ultimate for their beliefs. This author captures the sentiment of the period in the telling. 5 stars CE Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller
ASIN: B0852P7RPV
Print Length: 237 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Link(s): The Pearl of York [Amazon]

Tony Morgan - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Tony Morgan is a Welsh author living in Yorkshire in the UK, near to the birth place of Guy Fawkes.

His books have been described as a perfect read for lovers of the works of C.J. Sansom and S. J. Parris and anyone interested in how historic events have shaped our own times.

In addition to writing novels, Tony gives history on topics such as Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and the life of Margaret Clitherow.

[Find Tony Morgan on his website here.]

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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