The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and find any sentence or a few ( no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.
Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading along with you initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
Please include the title of the book and the author’s name.
All I had to do is see the cover and I knew I wanted to read Sucker Bet by James Swain.
This is the cover for my hard copy, but there is another awesome one below.
“Shoot the pickle?” Moon declared louly. “What in bloody hell does that mean?”
(Page 56 in hardcover,1st edition, published in 2003)
The mark’s name was Nigel Moon.
GOODREADS BLURB:A hardened ex-cop with great instincts, a sharp eye, and a short fuse, Tony Valentine still catches crooks, but a very special breed of them. He nabs hustlers who rob casinos, and finds the fatal flaw that allowed the place to get ripped off in the first place. Sometimes that means biting the hand that feeds him, but Valentine isn’t paid to sugarcoat the cold, hard truth. Along flashy strips and in seedy dives, if there’s a game to be fixed, Valentine knows how to spot the tricks, the scams, the sleight of hand. And with his new case, there’s definitely more on the table than meets the eye.
Harry Smooth Stone, head of security at the Micanopy Indian Reservation Casino in South Florida, desperately needs Valentine’s expertise. A blackjack dealer has rigged a game, dealt a player eighty-four winning hands in a row, and disappeared. Valentine’s gut tells him a different story: that the runaway dealer is alligator food and his employers are keeping secrets.
But the missing dealer is part of an even bigger, far deadlier scheme. Valentine’s trail leads him to Rico Blanco, a ruthless gangster who once worked for John Gotti, his shady, elusive partner-in-crime, Victor Marks, and a bombshell named Candy Hart, a hooker with dreams of love, a combination tailored made to double-cross. It appears they have a con going down involving a cocky, filthy rich Brit and his millions of dollars. Valentine’s challenge: to figure out how all the pieces of the seamy puzzle fit together . . . before his luck runs out and his life goes bust.
In prose that sizzles with style and a wicked sense of humor, with plot twists that could cause whiplash, James Swain takes readers behind the neon-lit scenes of casinos and the gambling trade—and reveals a colorful cast of hustlers and con men, bookies and grifters. Make no mistake about it: on the crowded shelves of fiction, Sucker Bet is a sure thing.
Red Tide by Jeff Lindsay is part of a series, but can stand alone. I have been reading his work, since the Dexter novels.
Jeff Lindsay’s abilities to describe his characters and their surroundings are so vivid and detailed they come to life through his words.
He talks about Key West, the only thing on my bucket list, and makes we want to be there. I would be in heaven in a lean-to on the beach.
Billy and Nancy have a relationship that is on again and off again. Billy’s attitude doesn’t help the situation. He’s starting bar fights and going to jail and that sure isn’t going to win her over.
I love Nicky. He is a friend of Billy’s, a quirky character who believes in astrology and crystals and runs a New Age store. He is a true diehard friend of Billy’s and is there when he needs a two by four upside the head, which is all too often.
Comical writing with wit and snark. The characters are so much fun, I would find myself busting out laughing here and there, looking around to see if anyone thinks I’m crazy.
Water, boats, booze and babes, fishing…and dead bodies?
The trio, Nicky, Anna and Billy are going to solve the mystery of the dead Haitians and black magic.
Jeff creates twisted and flawed characters that had me laughing and cussing, thank God for friends and favors, because Billy was calling them all in.
A dark cozy that had me trying to figure the outcome. One of two ways in my book. I want him to be a hero, but which kind? Who will survive the black magic? The chase for the bocor gets pretty intense and the ending was twisted in a way I thought was great and saw coming, sorta. My only complaint, the pacing was a bit slow in the beginning. Until the kidnapping, I felt no sense of urgency. My expectations are always high when it come to Jeff Lindsay, so maybe that is my fault. I would highly recommend any of his work.
I received an ARC of Red Tide by Jeff Lindsay in return for an honest review.
From Jeff Lindsay, the bestselling author of the Dexter series, comes the long-awaited sequel to his debut novel, Tropical Depression, featuring ex-cop Billy Knight.
Billy Knight wants to ride out Key West’s slow-season with the occasional charter and the frequent beer. But when he discovers a dead body floating in the gulf, Billy gets drawn into a deadly plot of dark magic and profound evil. Along with his spiritually-attuned terrier of a friend, Nicky, and Anna, a resilient and mysterious survivor of her own horrors, Billy sets out to right the wrongs the police won’t, putting himself in mortal peril on the high seas.
As the title of Lindsay’s latest book declares, Dexter is dead—the serial killer saga is over. Now, Red Tide offers fans of Jeff Lindsay a new thriller, one twenty years in the making.
Read an excerpt:
Excerpted from Chapter 4 of RED TIDE: A BILLY KNIGHT THRILLER
By Jeff Lindsay
Miami has this problem with its boaters. Some of them are still sane, rational, careful people—perhaps as many as three or four out of every ten thousand of them. The rest act like they escaped from the asylum, drank a bottle of vodka, snorted an ounce of coke, ate 25 or 30 downers and decided to go for a spin. Homicidal, sociopathic maniacs, wildly out of control, with not a clue that other people are actually alive, and interested in keeping it that way. To them, other boats are targets. They get in the boat knowing only two speeds: fast and blast-off.
I mentioned a few of these things to the boats that tried to kill me. I don’t think they could hear me over the engine roar. One of the boats had four giant outboard motors clamped on the back; 250 horsepower each, all going at full throttle no more than six inches from Sligo. If I had put the boom out I would have beheaded the boat’s driver. He might not have noticed.
“To get a driver’s license,” I said to Nicky through gritted teeth, “you have to be sixteen, take a test, and demonstrate minimal skill behind the wheel.”
Nicky was busy fumbling on a bright orange life jacket, fingers trembling, and swearing under his breath.
“To drive a boat—which is just as fast, bigger, and in conditions just as crowded and usually more hazardous—you have to be able to start the motor. That’s all. Just start the motor. There’s something wrong with this picture, Nicky.”
“There is, mate,” he said. “We’re in it. Can you get us out of here?”
My luck was working overtime. We had four more close scrapes—one with a huge Italian-built motor yacht that was 100 feet long, cruising down the center of the channel at a stately thirty knots, but I got us out of the channel alive and undamaged. When I cleared the last two markers and turned into the wind I told Nicky, “Okay. Raise the sails.”
He stared at me for a moment. “Sure. Of course. How?”
It turned out Nicky had never been on a sailboat before. So he held the tiller while I went forward to the mast and ran the sails up. Then I jumped back into the cockpit and killed the engine.
“Home, James,” said Nicky, popping two beers and handing me one. “It’s been a bitch of a morning.”
I took the beer and pointed our bow south.
It was a near-perfect day, with a steady, easy wind coming from the east. We sailed south at a gentle five knots, staring at the scenery. Cape Florida looked strange, embarrassed to be naked. All its trees had been stripped away by the hurricane. Farther south, the stacks of Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor stuck up into the air, visible for miles. It was a wonderful landmark for all the boaters. Just steer thataway, Ray Bob, over there towards all them glowing fishes.
• • •
The weather held. We made it down through the Keys in easy stages, staying the first two nights in small marinas along the way, rising at dawn for a lazy breakfast in the cockpit, then casting off and getting the sails up as quickly as possible. Part of the pure joy of the trip was in the sound of the wind and the lack of any kind of machine noise. We’d agreed to do without the engine whenever we could.
That turned out to be most of the time. Nicky took to sailing quickly and without effort. We fell into the rhythm of the wind and the waves so easily, so naturally, that it was like we had been doing this forever, and would keep doing it until one day we were too old and dry and simply blew gently over the rail, wafted away on a wave.
The third night we could have made it in to Key West. But we would have been docking in the dark, and working a little harder than we wanted to. So we pulled in to a small marina with plenty of time left before sunset.
Nicky used the time doing what he called rustling up grub. I don’t know if that’s how they say it in Australia, or if he heard it in some old John Wayne movie. From what he’d told me about Australia, there’s not much difference.
I sat in the cockpit with a beer, stretched out under the blue Bimini top, and waited for Nicky to get back. I had a lot to think about, so I tried not to. But my thoughts were pretty well centered on Nancy.
It was over. It wasn’t over. I should do something. I should let it take its course. It wasn’t too late. It had been too late for months. Eeny meeny miny mo.
Luckily, Nicky came back before I went completely insane. He was clutching a bag of groceries and two more six packs of beer.
“Ahoy the poop,” he shouted. “How ’bout a hand, mate?”
I got him safely aboard and he went below to the little kitchen. It sounded like he was trying to put a hole in the hull with an old stop sign while singing comic opera, so I stayed in the cockpit, watching the sun sink and thinking my thoughts.
There is something very special about sunset in a marina. All the people in their boats have done something today. They have risked something and achieved something, and it gives them all a pleasant smugness that makes them very good company at happy hour. A few hours later the people off the big sports fishermen will be loud obnoxious drunks and the couples in their small cruising sailboats will be snarling at them self-righteously from their Birkenstocks, but at sunset they are all brothers and sisters and there are very few places in the world better for watching the sun go down than from the deck of a boat tied safely in a marina after a day on the water.
I sipped a beer. I felt good, too, although my mind kept circling back to Nancy, and every time it did my mood lurched downwards. But it’s hard to feel bad on a sailboat. That’s one reason people still sail.
Anyway, tomorrow we would be home. I could worry about it then.
Early the next morning we were working our way towards Key West, about two miles off shore on the ocean side. We had decided on the ocean side because of the mild weather. With the prevailing wind from the east, we would have a better sail on the outside, instead of in the calmer waters of the Gulf on the inside of the Keys.
And because the weather was so mild, we went out a little further than usual. Nicky was curious about the Gulf Stream, which runs close to the Keys. I put us onto its edge, and by early afternoon we were only a few miles out of Key West.
Nicky had dragged up his black plastic box and, surprise, pulled out a large handgun.
Like a lot of other foreigners who settle in the USA, Nicky had become a gun nut. He was not dangerous, or no more dangerous than he was at the dinner table. In fact he had become an expert shot and a fast draw. The fast draw part had seemed important to him out of all proportion to how much it really mattered. I put it down to the horrors of growing up a runt in Australia.
Somehow Nicky managed to rationalize his new love for guns with his philosophy of All-Things-Are-One brotherhood. “Simple, mate,” he’d said with a wink, “I’m working out a past life karmic burden.”
“All right then, I just like the bloody things. How’s that?”
Nicky had a new gun. He wanted to fire off a few clips and get the feel of it. Since we were out in the Stream and the nearest boat was almost invisible on the horizon, I didn’t see any reason why not. So Nicky shoved in a clip and got ready to fire his lovely new toy.
It was a nine millimeter Sig Sauer, an elegant and expensive weapon that Nicky needed about as much as he needed a Sharp’s buffalo rifle, but he had it and so far he hadn’t blown off his foot with it. I was hoping he would stay lucky.
“Ahoy, mate,” called Nicky, pointing the gun off to the south, “thar she blows.”
I turned to follow his point. A bleach bottle was sailing slowly out into the Gulf Stream.
“Come on,” Nicky urged, “pedal to the metal, mate.”
I tightened the main sheet and turned the boat slightly to give him a clear shot and Nicky opened up. He fired rapidly and well. The bleach bottle leaped into the air and he plugged it twice more before it came down again. He sent it flying across the water until the clip was empty and the bottle, full of holes, started to settle under.
I chased down the bottle and hooked it out with a boathook before it sank from sight. There’s enough crap in the ocean. Nicky was already shoving in a fresh clip.
“Onward, my man,” he told me, slamming home the clip and letting out a high, raucous, “Eeee-HAH!” as he opened a new beer. We were moving out further than we should have, maybe, out into the Gulf Stream. It’s easy to know when you’re there. You see a very abrupt color change, which is just what it sounds like: the water suddenly changes from a gunmetal green to a luminous blue. The edge where the change happens is as hard and startling as a knife-edge.
“Ahoy, matey,” Nicky called again, pointing out beyond the color change, and I headed out into the Gulf Stream for the new target.
“Coconut!” Nicky called with excitement as we got closer. It was his favorite target. He loved the way they exploded when he hit them dead on.
I made the turn, adjusting the sheet line and again presenting our broadside, and swiveled my head to watch.
Nicky was already squinting. His hand wavered over the black nylon holster clipped to his belt. He let his muscles go slack and ready. I stared at the coconut. From fifty yards it suddenly looked wrong. The color was almost right, a greyish brown, and the dull texture seemed to fit, but—
“Hang on, Nicky,” I said, “Just a second—”
But the first two shots were already smacking away, splitting the sudden quiet.
I shoved the tiller hard over and brought us into the wind. The boat lurched and made Nicky miss his second shot. He looked at me with an expression of annoyance. I nodded at his target. He had hit the coconut dead center with the first shot. It should have leapt out of the water in a spectacular explosion. It hadn’t. The impact of the shot pushed it slowly, sluggishly through the water and we could both see it clearly now.
It wasn’t a coconut. Not at all. It was a human head.
Jeff Lindsay is the award-winning author of the seven New York Times bestselling Dexter novels upon which the international hit TV show Dexter is based. His books appear in more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies around the world. Jeff is a graduate of Middlebury College, Celebration Mime Clown School, and has a double MFA from Carnegie Mellon. Although a full-time writer now, he has worked as an actor, comic, director, MC, DJ, singer, songwriter, composer, musician, story analyst, script doctor, and screenwriter.
GIVEAWAY This is a giveaway hosted by Diversion Books for Jeff Lindsay. There will be 5 winners of 1 eBook copy of RED TIDE by Jeff Lindsay. The giveaway begins on October 26th, 2015 and runs through November 11th, 2015. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Dark Ice by Dave Stanton took me to a slippery slope and I zigzagged my way to the end.
Genre: Crime, Murder Mystery, PI
Published by: LaSalle Davis Books
Publication Date: April 11, 2015
Number of Pages: 304
Series: Dan Reno Novel #4
ISBN: 098960313X (13: 978-0989603133)
Dark Ice by Dave Stanton has such a pretty cover and sounded a bit different, so I wanted to check it out.
I wondered if the author was an extreme skier, because he was able to vividly describe the terrain with all my senses involved. I saw the sparkling white snow, I smelt the crispness of the air, I tasted the snow on my tongue, I heard the soft hiss of my skis gliding through the snow, I felt the burn in my legs…
The body belonged to the daughter of General Raymond Horvachek and he had no faith in Captain Galanis’s ability or willingness to solve the murder. I would have no faith in him either. He was slimy, slutty and way to into himself.
The General wanted to hire Dan to solve it. Dan’s nickname, The Snake, made me think of Kenny Stabler from the Oakland Raiders football team. You can tell what time of year it is as I write this review. Football season coming up and I can hardly wait. Dan had that ball buster kind of attitude and was a party animal, until he met Candi.
His friend, Cody, on the other hand is still going strong and still quite the party animal. By the way, where is Cody? He just left, and with all the threats against Dan and his girlfriend, I would think Cody would be right behind them…but when the shit hit the fan, heeeeee’s back. I thought the book was too well written for Dave Stanton to forget about him, but I was surprised by how long it took for him to make another appearance. He is a great character and adds a bit more spice to the story.
The killer was no one I suspected, but there is a reason for that. I cannot tell you why, but it didn’t work for me.
I was curious and would not quit reading until I had the answers, but the road to get there seemed confusing and disjointed at times. I see why he kept two courses of action going, it did keep the suspense level up there, but It didn’t work very well for me. It kind of seemed like it was action for action’s sake. Or maybe it was just my mood. I finished the book in one sitting and it did keep me involved, so I would recommend you give this a try if you are in the mood for a “chilling” mystery on a cold winters night.
I received a copy of Dark Ice by Dave Stanton in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Two murdered girls, and no motive…
While skiing deep in Lake Tahoe’s backcountry, Private Eye Dan Reno finds the first naked body, buried under fresh snow. Reno’s contacted by the grieving father, who wants to know who murdered his daughter, and why? And how could the body end up in such a remote, mountainous location? The questions become murkier when a second body is found. Is there a serial killer stalking promiscuous young women in South Lake Tahoe? Or are the murders linked to a different criminal agenda?
Searching for answers, Reno is accosted by a gang of racist bikers with a score to settle. He also must deal with his pal, Cody Gibbons, who the police consider a suspect. The clues lead to the owner of a strip club and a womanizing police captain, but is either the killer?
The bikers up the ante, but are unaware that Cody Gibbons has Reno’s back at any cost. Meanwhile, the police won’t tolerate Reno’s continued involvement in the case. But Reno knows he’s getting close. And the most critical clue comes from the last person he’d suspect…
The cornice stretched three feet over the sheer face below. There was about fifteen feet of vertical drop before the snow covered slope angled out at forty-five degrees. I inched my skis farther forward, the tips hanging over the void. I was wrong—it was more like twenty feet of mandatory air. And that was the shallowest entry the ledge offered.
I blew out my breath and ignored the sickly sensation of my testicles trying to climb into my stomach. Turning back now would mean a long uphill hike, while the reward for leaping off the cornice was five hundred feet of untracked powder. A slight dip to the left marked the most forgiving launch point. I pushed myself back and sidestepped higher up the ridge. A couple deep breaths, then I released my edges and glided toward the dip.
In a second I launched over the precipice, my hands thrust forward, my knees tucked toward my chest. As I dropped, I could see the distant desert floor of Nevada fall behind the stands of pine and fir at the bottom of the bowl. I extended my legs in the instant before I touched down and absorbed the shock, blinded for a second by a blast of snow. Then I cranked my skis on edge, bounced out of the fluff, and made a second turn through the deep powder. It had snowed about a foot last night, but here the fresh coverage was at least two feet, maybe more. Bottomless under my boots.
Twenty turns to the glade below, my heart pounding, my body disappearing in blasts of powder, the white coating me from head to toe. When I reached the tree line, I skidded to a stop and caught my breath. Then I looked up and admired the S-turns I’d left on the otherwise unblemished slope. Not bad, I thought, smiling at the understatement. Most of the winter storms that blow through the Lake Tahoe region come out of the warm Pacific and dump wet, heavy snow, creating the notorious Sierra cement. But last night’s blizzard swept in from Alaska, bringing colder and lighter snow. As a result, I was in the right place at the right time.
I skated along the terminus of the bowl and turned into the trees when they became sparse enough to allow passage. This was the Nevada backcountry, unpatrolled, accessible by ducking the boundary ropes at the highest elevation of South Lake Tahoe’s ski resort, right at the California-Nevada border. Before me lay 4000 feet of descent to the high desert floor where I’d parked my truck, near Route 207 outside of Gardnerville.
It was slower going now, the terrain interrupted by tangles of deadfall and icy patches where the wind had scoured the surface. I picked my way through it, my skis alternately sinking in powder then chattering and scraping across slick bands of ice. Finally I spotted a clearing—a wide, sweeping snow bank that fell toward a collection of pines hundreds of feet below. I rode the section like a surfer on a wave, turning down off the lip then riding back up, staying high and avoiding a flat area that would likely necessitate a hike.
When I reached the trees below, I entered a broad glade, the trunks spaced at wide intervals, the snow as soft and uniform as a white pillow. The morning sun had just appeared from behind a swath of swift moving clouds, and the snow glittered with pinpricks of light. I took a long moment to take in the scenery, then I picked a line and pushed off into the mild grade. The pristine snow held no surprises, the powder light and consistent, making it easy to find a rhythm. Floating through the trees and leaving a wake of rounded tracks, I become immersed in the splendor of the moment, as if the setting had been created solely for my indulgence.
My grandiose thoughts came to a crashing halt when I came around a tree and my skis rammed into something solid beneath the snow. My binding released with a loud click, and I flew forward and face-planted in a poof of powder.
“Son of a bitch,” I said, wiping the snow from my goggles. I took a quick inventory of my body and found no injuries. Then I crawled back ten feet to where my ski lay. When I pulled it from the snow, the edge caught, probably on a hidden stump, I thought. Then the powder fell aside, and I saw a flesh-colored streak. I froze for a second, certain my eyes were playing tricks on me. Blinking, I used the ski to push away more snow.
“No way,” I whispered, my heart in my throat. A bare shoulder revealed itself, then a snarl of blond hair strung with ice. I reached down with my gloved hand and carefully pushed aside the hair. The face was half-buried, one eye visible, lashes thick with mascara, a blue iris staring blankly. Using both hands like a shovel, I pushed away the bulk of the snow covering the upper body. A sour lump formed in my gut. The body was naked, the skin that of a young woman, perhaps a teenager.
ABOUT DAVE STANTON
Dave Stanton is the author of five novels in the Dan Reno private eye series. They do not have to be read chronologically to be enjoyed, but for those who want to know, the order is: Stateline, Dying for the Highlife, Speed Metal Blues, Dark Ice, & Hard Prejudice.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960, Dave Stanton moved to Northern California in 1961. He received a BA in journalism from San Jose State University in 1983. Over the years, he worked as a bartender, newspaper advertising salesman, furniture mover, debt collector, and technology salesman. He has two children, Austin and Haley, and lives with his wife, Heidi, in San Jose, California.
Stanton’s five novels all feature private investigator Dan Reno and his ex-cop buddy, Cody Gibbons.
This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dave Stanton. There will be one US winner of 1 $20 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015. For US residents only.
Stop by the Tour Participants sites to get chances to win copies of Dark Ice & more!