Rula, The Heist

RULA, The Heist ISBN: 9781976968525, copyright and written by Nicole Parris.

The story opens when a young woman checks out of a cheap hotel on the fourth day of a dismal rain in London. Apropos instructions she had been given, it was late in the evening when she hires a taxi to be taken to a remote location. Supposedly her activity was being undertaken in an effort to right numerous wrongs. On the way, her cab is struck purposely and repeatedly by a car she assumes contains someone wishing to steal the contents of a small metal box she had been instructed to guard with her life. It was a box that held centuries of secrets and codes of Rula – a strange, ancient game whose secrets had been retained for centuries by one noble Italian family and had impacted society through the years in often evil and unexpected ways. Another car attempts to cut in but quite literally explodes just before the three cars arrive at a bridge crossing a sizeable stream. The original attacking car precedes them onto and across the nearing bridge and on the other side shoots out the taxi’s tires to stop the car. The attacking car’s driver then shoots the driver, and moves to open the passenger door where “trapped alone in the back seat, a part of Abby died with him. She relaxed. This was how she imagined her life would end – on the side of a dark road, alone at the mercy of ‘them’.” From this initial activity the reader is taken on a complex journey that begins in 1980 when the heir to the noble Italian family decides to acquire five new players to participate again in the ancient game. One of the players engaged is a prominent, intelligent and cunning magician who has an agenda of his own in playing. The ensuing action then shifts constantly through multiple scenes in London and others here in the U.S. and involves the now twenty-year-older magician, his henchman, a beautiful, spoiled, rebellious, wealthy young woman wishing to make her own way as an investigative reporter, the small paper’s owner, a male co-worker, a new husband who is the best friend of a man who also serves in the same capacity with her, her dominant father and several other interesting individuals.

Discussion: First and foremost, the author has provided a well-written, fascinating plot with most empathetically presented characters in a story that should offer various degrees of appeal to devotees of mystery, suspense, romance, thriller, for those enjoying erotica and even a bit of paranormal interest. The plot is complex, the main characters all exhibit varying degrees of mental ‘quirks’, some from obvious past occurrences while others are discerned as arising from other unknown factors. Most of the rather copious descriptions of places and activity appear to be justified with the particularly descriptive erotic activity, although well-done, appearing to be somewhat overly presented in that the quantity does not add appreciatively to the story. Further from this reviewer’s perspective, although some confusion occurs occasionally, most is eliminated as one progresses through the book, so there is really only one problematic feature for certain prospective readers – those who do not like being forced to read a serial. This volume introduces the reader ONLY to the first part of a story that seemingly will be extended through several episodes.

3* 5* fascinating plot, empathetically characterized. 3* important caveat.

My Sister’s Detective

My Sister’s Detective, a mystery/suspense/romance assumed to have been published, copyright and written by T. J. Jones.

Eric Slater has returned home after retiring from the Navy where he served considerable time as an NCO apparently somewhere around a Master Chief level in the Military Police, often working in affairs concerning Naval Intelligence and closely with civilian police. He is living in the home left to him by his loving mother who had died some time earlier. His mother for years had performed housecleaning chores for the mostly very wealthy residents of “Point Road”, a relatively short distance away. During summers when school was out and he was eleven and she could not find, or was unwilling to pay for a babysitter, he often accompanied his mother when employed. He sat in the car all day playing games and/or reading comic books. Eventually a few of her customers noticed him and invited him inside to read where it was cooler. One of these had a son a year younger than he. This David Templeton was a lonely boy with whom he formed a close relationship and soon he was spending most of his time at the Templeton home. The boy was gay but neither of the children were aware of the matter at the time. They were just two youngsters who grew into a closer relationship because they were too awkward for anyone to want on their team when games needing sides were chosen. The relationship was placed pretty much on hold during the school year because Davey attended private school while Eric’s was public. During summers, the relationship resumed and strengthened as the years went on but did not have any homosexual aspects. Eric was completely enchanted by Angie Jefferies who had a younger sister Maggie who was mostly ignored and otherwise a nuisance. The story begins to unfold years later when Davey is found dead in their barn, seemingly having hung himself. Angie does not believe it was suicide, Eric begins employing the investigational powers learned during his years as an MP, and the reader is taken on an intriguing journey through a complicated plot where presentation of more detail simply would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion/Conclusion: A sensitive, partially qualified ‘detective’, caught in an investigation involving an old love, old acquaintances and a budding new love interest. The tale is an often amusing, occasionally poignant, purposely slightly sexist, suspenseful investigation of the darkest of criminal activity that involves closely related family members. A unique plot, interesting characters skillfully handled and suspenseful action throughout.

5* Most enjoyably suspenseful detective romance.