Sunday, December 18, 2011


With the cold wind blowing and the temperature dropping, maybe it's time get away from it all and escape — in a pair of hot crime novels set in sunny Florida.

Each book is action-packed and full of violence, starring quick-thinking heroes with a background in the military's Special Forces.

"Collateral Damage" by H. Terrell Griffin (Oceanview, $25.95) is the sixth in his popular series starring Matt Royal, a retired lawyer and Vietnam veteran who's relaxing in Florida as a beach bum.

Griffin's latest exciting tale opens with a young man being shot to death by a sniper on a beach on the day after his wedding. Royal gets involved in the case when the dead man turns out to be the son of one of his Special Forces buddies.

A dinner cruise ship nearly collides with Royal's boat; two passengers and the captain are discovered murdered.

Longboat Key Detective J.D. Duncan is doing her best to see if the cases are connected; Royal gets help from former members of his military unit and a hacker.

Griffin offers another enjoyable, carefully crafted tale filled with intriguing characters, nifty plot twists and fast-paced action.

"Thorns on Roses" by Randy Rawls (L & L Dreamspell, $14.95) is a paperback in the same category, but the hero is more twisted and the violence amplified.

Tom Jeffries is a private investigator in Broward County who had worked as a Dallas cop for many years.
He identifies the body of a 17-year-old girl who's been raped and murdered by a local street gang. She's the stepdaughter of Charlie Rogers, his best buddy, who served with him in Vietnam in the Army's Special Forces.

Swearing vengeance, Jeffries stalks and eliminates gang members in the best Charles Bronson style, with
deadly, jaw-dropping scenes.

Rawls has deftly produced a gritty, dark tale with a memorable, flawed vigilante. There's considerable room for a sequel.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, December 11, 2011

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