Friday, October 10, 2014

J. Carson Black Aims At A Hard Return

The Shop may have introduced former Navy Seal turned assassin Cyril Landry, but it's the second installment by J. Carson Black that begins to ground him. This thriller picks up three years after Landry had a change of heart that transformed him from a hired gun into a solo investigator.

Since then, he has taken advantage of his presumed death and built a life well off the grid. In the morning, he works at a horse ranch. In the afternoon, he catches a glimpse of his daughter Krystal from a distance after school.

Neither she nor her mother, Cindi, know that Landry is alive. They have both mourned him and moved on. His regret is painful and apparent, but Landry had no choice. His death was their assured life.

Hard Return is a straightforward smoking gun thriller.

Landry would have been content to carry on this way for a few more years, but his plans change when a shooter, dressed in black and loaded up with body armor, begins to unload an M-16 on students as they exit the school and spill into the parking lot. Landry, knowing it will take several more minutes before law enforcement arrives on the scene, decides to take action into his own hands as the gunman fires indiscriminately at students exiting the school before abruptly turing back around toward those in the parking lot — including Landry's daughter.

As the gunman makes his way toward his daughter, Landry opens the back doors of his van and centers his sniper rifle on the back the gunman's neck. Meanwhile, Krystal;s boyfriend encourages her to climb under the car before following suit and positing himself as a human shield between her and the shooter.

The report of the M-16 is loud. The single round from the sniper rifle isn't. The shooter immediately crumples like a marionette with its strings suddenly cut. Krystal is still alive, but her boyfriend Luke is not. The boy Landry had quietly maligned for kissing his daughter just moments ago is dead. So are seven other students, with dozens of others wounded.

Suspecting someone might be trying to draw him out, Landry begins his own investigation. As he rules out several other students as possibly connected to the atrocity, he comes closer and closer to the realization that not only was his family the target, but they are also still very much in danger. Landry has no choice but to put his family into hiding and find the people responsible.

Except, there is another problem. Shortly after Landry contacts his brother to put his family under the protection of an old friend, Krystal and her mother disappear with Cindi's fiancé. Landry has no idea where he might have taken them.

A few graphs to introduce author J. Carson Black. 

Best known for her detective Laura Cardinal crime thriller series that became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, J. Carson Black has written sixteen novels across several genres. Her newest series brought anti-hero Cycil Landry to life as an Amazon Kindle bestseller.

Although Black earned a master’s degree in operatic voice, she was inspired to write a horror novel after reading The Shining. As she continued writing, she found a home writing crisp, tight thrillers and police procedurals. Pick them up any time you want to be entertained.

Hard Return By J. Carson Black Hits Home At 5.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

In Hard Return, the story is largely a a straightforward page turner. It's entertaining, even when it is expectant. Some of the twists feel forced and some leads go nowhere, but there is something oddly likable about the analytical, short-spoken and distant Cycil Landry that is addictive enough to overlook little annoyances like contradictions and repetitions.

Hard Return (Cyril Landry Thriller) by J. Carson Black is available on Amazon. You can also find the audiobook on iTunes. Christopher Lane narrates with a convincing and leveled pitch. He becomes as much Landry as the words on the page.
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