A Turtle Roars in Texas
By Russ Hall
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Trouble rides through Texas.
Detective Al Quinn had hoped to spend his retirement fishing at his lakeside home and taking care of the local deer. That bubble pops when Gladys Sanders, the sixty-year-old co-owner of an organic farm, is found dead by her two sisters, her body displayed like a scarecrow. On the same day, her son is run over in his kayak.
Evidence slips away from the scene right under the noses of two deputies, so Sheriff Clayton asks Al to mentor a younger detective. That simple task explodes into raw danger when three rival biker gangs with ties to Mexican cartels start mixing it up in earnest. ICE Agent Jaime Avila tells Al that old turtles ought to leave the fighting to the young. But when the danger involves Al’s brother, Al dives into the heart of the ruckus. Before the war is over, the gangs just might get to hear the turtle roar.
First of all, how great is the title of this book? Seriously!
The action starts on the very first page of Turtle, with two serious crimes evidenced in the first four pages. A 60 year old co-owner of an organic farm with a touch of Alzheimer's (Gladys) is killed and posed (strung up?) like a scarecrow. Someone takes pot shots at the scene as the law begins their investigation. Her son's kayak is run down by a cigarette boat. Something rotten is up in the state of
And it's up to Detective Al ("I'd-rather-be-retired") Quinn to sort out the mess. He's at that point in his life where he's got a boatload of experience, but his desire is aimed at pursuing other interests he's had to 'give up' during his career. So, naturally, he gets dragged into the investigation.
As if that's not enough fun, three biker gangs with ties to Mexican drug cartels turn up the heat. Just the weather in Texas is hot and humid enough without adding drugs and crime to the mix. Texas shares 1,254 miles of border with Mexico (which is nearly 2/3 of the US total border with our neighbors to the south). More than any other state (with the possible exception of California), Texas shares its history with Mexico. So in Texas, more than in any other state (with the possible exception of California), cross-border traffic of the legal or illegal sorts, is frequent and heavy.
OK, yep, I had issues with ICE Agent Jaime Avila and what he said to Al about the 'old turtles' stepping aside for the 'young blood'. I don't know whether I'd like to slap him upside the head, or just call him an idiot (or whatever *wink*) to his face - what an appalling lack of respect. Maybe Al would have been content to offer some advice here and there ... until the danger comes too close to home (and Al's brother). Maybe Al can put the smack down (no drug pun intended) on the situation one last time. I was anticipating Agent Avila's lesson in remedial elder appreciation from the moment he uttered those words!
A Turtle Roars in Texas gripped me from the very first page ... and did not let go! It's a wild, thrilling ride that will take your breath away. Then, when you turn the last page, you'll be like someone at the end of a roller coaster ride and want to go again!
MEET THE AUTHOR
Russ Hall is author of fifteen published fiction books, most in hardback and subsequently published in mass market paperback by Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery imprint and Leisure Books. He has also co-authored numerous non-fiction books, most recently Do You Matter: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company (Financial Times Press, 2009) with Richard Brunner, former head of design at Apple, Now You’re Thinking (Financial Times Press, 2011), and Identity (Financial Times Press, 2012) with Stedman Graham, Oprah’s companion.
His graduate degree is in creative writing. He has been a nonfiction editor for major publishing companies, ranging from HarperCollins (then Harper & Row), Simon & Schuster, to Pearson. He has lived in Columbus, OH, New Haven, CT, Boca Raton, FL, Chapel Hill, NC, and New York City. Moving to the Austin area from New York City in 1983. He is a long-time member of the Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.
He is a frequent judge for writing organizations. In 2011, he was awarded the Sage Award, by The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation -- a Texas award for the mentoring author who demonstrates an outstanding spirit of service in mentoring, sharing and leading others in the mystery writing community. In 1996, he won the Nancy Pickard Mystery Fiction Award for short fiction.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Sage's Blog Tours in exchange for my objective review.)