Mike Shannon is used to taking on the hard cases. He's a private investigator and ex-cop in St. Louis, and when the authorities throw up their hands, Shannon is there to bring the guilty to justice. But doing what's right doesn't mean keeping your hands clean: he's stacked up quite a body count over the years-something he's not proud of-and it's beginning to take its toll on him.
When a teenage girl goes missing, Shannon takes what he believes will be a simple case. But when he finds cocaine hidden in the girl's bedroom-cocaine that apparently came from the police department's evidence room-things begin to get complicated. Things get even worse when Shannon begins to suspect his own ex-partner, who was brutally murdered, may be linked to the girl's disappearance and the stolen drugs.
Shannon's investigation of a possible runaway is shaping up into one hell of a case against police corruption and drug trafficking. As Shannon digs deeper, the danger escalates when he comes face to face with a dark figure from his past, a rogue CIA hitman known as the Sandman. Shannon might be in over his head, but that's never stopped him before. In all the confusion, Shannon is sure of one thing, he's not done killing yet.
As Shannon's past catches up with him, his two worlds collide and the dead bodies begin to litter the streets of St. Louis, with a trail of blood leading downtown to the Arch, The Gateway to Hell.
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The Gateway to HellA Mike Shannon Novel
By Ray Mileur
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Ray Mileur
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThey wanted him dead.
He heaved a deep sigh. It was almost dawn, and the muted darkness was eerily quiet. Mike Shannon, the private investigator who had made a career of taking cases the St. Louis Police Department couldn't-or-wouldn't take, stood alone on the balcony of his loft apartment overlooking the river, wearing only his white cotton boxers. His cover had been blown. He held a cold can of Dr. Pepper in his left hand and a Springfield Armory XD .45 in his right, half expecting to take a sniper's bullet in the chest.
He carefully scanned the neighborhood below. Last night's horde of tourists and locals had deserted Laclede's Landing. A couple of cars and delivery trucks dashed across the Martin Luther King Bridge into the city, ahead of the rush hour traffic. The small grey squirrel he fed in winter was making its early morning rounds, jumping through the trees that lined the narrow cobblestone streets.
The slight odor of stale beer from Big Daddy's bar, and garlic from the Spaghetti Factory, permeated the heavy, humid air. In the background, the tireless movement of the Mississippi River passed under the massive cantilever truss bridge. It was quiet, except for the serene hum of three ceiling fans and the ticking of an antique wall clock coming from inside his apartment.
Shannon was a highly decorated Marine Corps veteran and a member of an off-the-books paramilitary unit with tenuous ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. After two tours with the Marines, he had served eleven years with the St. Louis Police Department as a tough and uncompromising street-wise cop. Newspaper headlines often recorded his exploits and he became one of the most decorated police officers in the city's history.
He glanced at his watch. Forty-eight hours ago he had led his black ops team, Sabre 6, and successfully rescued the daughter of a U.S. ambassador from the hands of what was left of the Escobar drug cartel in Columbia, South America. In the name of God and Country, he had fought in unconstitutional wars, carried out clandestine commando missions, participated in the never-ending, futile war on drugs, and the misguided war on terror. He had killed more men then he cared to remember. Their ghosts haunted him. His unwanted memories fueled his relentless pursuit for redemption.
He had often tested fate and usually took danger in stride without apparent concern for his own well-being, but he harbored no illusions of his own invincibility. He had just walked away, virtually unscathed, from another deadly gunfight, and it was beginning to weigh on his mind that his time could be running out. He was conscious of his own brutality. He wondered how long could he could fight monsters before he became one? Each time he took someone's life, he felt a piece of himself die.
He could hear the rumble of the distant thunder and a sense of dread washed over him. He knew they were coming for him. He was living on borrowed time, but he'd be ready for them. He was experienced at war and experienced at killing; it's what he did, it's who he was.
Chapter TwoHe parked the stolen black Cadillac Seville at the airport, in long-term parking. It would be days, or even weeks, before the cops would discover the body in the trunk.
In the terminal, Anthony "Tony" Morreti, aka "the Sandman," the most prolific contract hitman of his time, passed undetected through the TSA checkpoints at LaGuardia. The elite, lone-wolf assassin, known for his lethal grace and unwavering precision, looked like any other businessman boarding the early flight to St. Louis. Morreti's business was murder and business was good.
Morreti was a second generation Italian American. He stood 6'2" and weighed 200 pounds, all of it lean muscle. He had a full head of coal black hair, dark olive skin, and piercing gunmetal-colored eyes. He was dressed to kill in a tailored black Armani suit and wore a solid gold Rolex President, and the obligatory mobster pinky ring. For over a year now, he had moved like a cat through the concrete jungle of New York City; a predator stalking human prey.
Morreti began his bloody career as a young Marine Corps sniper; a big-game hunter on the battlefield. He had often penetrated deeply into enemy territory, waiting for the right moment to take the killing shot with a single bullet. The CIA had recruited Morreti, and his platoon sergeant, to carry out covert paramilitary operations in central America and the middle east, assigning them both to the Special Operations Group within the Special Activities Division of the Company.
On the record, Presidential Executive Order 12333, issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, prohibited the CIA from conducting assassinations. But, off the record—before he left the reservation to go into business for himself—Morreti's body count for Uncle Sam had soared past forty.
A buxom, blond forty-something flight attendant with American Airline wings on her blouse, greeted Morreti at the door of the Boeing 747. "Good morning," she said. "Welcome aboard flight 624 to St. Louis."
"Good morning," Morreti replied as he took his seat in the front row of the first class section.
Morreti always travelled first class. He was fond of great Italian food, fine wines, custom tailored suits, fast cars, and faster women. He stayed in the best hotels and ate in the finest restaurants, and passed the costs of his extravagant lifestyle to his desperately motivated clients. By his own estimate, without any reservation or remorse, he had killed over 100 men, making him a much sought-after specialist in the underworld. He was the perfect ice-cold killing machine, taking great pride in his work. And the money was very good.
Once they were in the air, the flight attendant served a complimentary breakfast. He ate, sitting quietly for the rest of the flight, reading a newspaper he had purchased at the airport and leafing through the in- flight magazines.
Despite his storied background, the police had never linked Morreti to any of his free-lance killings. On this assignment he would fly in and out of St. Louis without being detected, leaving behind one dead cop. If everything went according to plan.
It always did.
Chapter ThreeShannon's loft apartment was accessible by an open-grillwork freight elevator, which had a single slab-opening door and a wrought iron stairway in the back that served as a fire escape. The apartment featured a large open living room and kitchen combination with fifteen-foot ceilings, four large skylights, arched cast-iron framed windows, and worn chestnut wood flooring.
The living room was furnished with a group of heavy antiques and a large bomber-jacket microfiber sofa and recliner, giving the room the comfortable feeling of old-fashioned luxury. On one end of the room, the home entertainment center held a big screen TV. A couple of Georgia O'Keefe prints were displayed on the exposed brick walls. His grandfather and great-grandfather's shotguns hung above the mantle over the fireplace.
The kitchen contained the latest appliances, including a stainless steel fridge and an impressive state-of-the art range that he used only to prepare chips and dip.
Shannon strolled through the living room and picked up the cell phone off the kitchen counter. "This is Shannon," he said as he walked down the hallway to the bathroom.
"Mike, this is Jackie, are you home?"
"I got in late last night."
"Have you seen the news on TV?"
"I've seen it," Shannon moaned.
"They're making you out to be a hero."
"You can't believe everything you see on TV."
"I can believe the hero part," she replied. "I thought you would be excited about the free publicity."
"I'm not," Shannon said, knowing the trouble that was coming his way. "It comes with a price."
"I don't understand."
"I don't expect you to."
She took a deep breath. "What do you want us to do?"
"Call Chili and J.T.. Have them meet us at the office at eight. Tell them to expect the local media to be camped out in front. Have them park in the garage and slip in the back entrance."
"Okay Mike, anything else?"
"No one is to make any comments to the press."
"I've got to go take a shower and unpack."
"Is it true what they are saying about you? Did you really kill all those men?"
"We'll talk about it later, kid," Shannon said.
She thought his voice sounded tired and weak. "Okay."
Shannon laid the cell phone on the bathroom sink. He peeled off his skivvies and tossed them on the floor, and took another drink of his Dr. Pepper. The soda was the only bad habit he had; at least the only one he could admit to in public. He turned on the hot water in the shower and let it run for a couple of minutes before he stepped in.
He was on the backside of forty, crowding the big "five-oh", and the excessive wear and tear on his six-foot, two-hundred-pound frame was beginning to show. He often thought that the warranty on his body had expired after he hit forty.
Shannon lingered in the shower, letting the cascade of steaming water gently massage his aching and battered body. He noticed a deep purple contusion on his left shoulder and couldn't remember how he had hurt it. He brushed his teeth, filled his mouth with water from the shower head, swirled it around, and spit it out.
Shannon reached down and turned off the shower. He stepped out of the stall and dried himself with a large, thick white towel. He carefully patted the purple bruises on his chest, courtesy of two 9MM slugs, that were stopped by his Second Chance ballistic vest, during the rescue of the Ambassador's daughter. He wrapped the damp towel around his waist as he glanced at the small clock radio on the counter. He had lost track of time. He been in the shower for over thirty minutes. The older he got, the longer and hotter the showers had become. He grabbed a hand towel hanging on the rack next to the sink and wiped the steam from the mirror.
As he reached for his razor, he glanced at his reflection. He saw the scars on his body that testified to the violence that he had endured; and a face hardened by life, lined with pain and sorrow; battered eyebrows, scarred in countless forgotten brawls. The eyes that stared back at him had seen too much violence and too much death. But he knew that there was more to come.
Shannon shaved and applied Old Spice sport stick deodorant under his arms and added a touch of Lagerfeld cologne to his face. The bottle of cologne was almost empty. She had given it to him last Christmas, before the divorce. It was her favorite scent. He still wore it for her every day, as if it mattered anymore.
He took a bottle of Advil out of the medicine cabinet and washed four of them down with what was now a warm, almost flat Dr. Pepper.
Shannon ambled down the hall to the bedroom, leaving a trail of wet footprints on the hardwood floor. He grabbed a pair of clean underwear from the top dresser drawer, put them on, turned around, and began to unpack his bags.
After he unpacked, he returned to the kitchen. The pantry served as his arms room. He opened the door and took out his handgun cleaning kit, and placed a green felt pad over the round oak dining room table that had been in his family for more than 75 years.
In Marine Corps basic training, at Parris Island, his DIs had drilled into him that poor weapon maintenance was a common cause of misfires. More than once, Shannon had lived to fight another day because some poor dumb bastard had failed to clean his weapon properly. The Springfield Armory XD .45 was Shannon's weapon of choice; it was a black matte polymer, double action semi-automatic, with a 13 round magazine. He carried it religiously.
He removed the magazine from the .45, cleared the round from the chamber, double-checked the chamber, and pulled the trigger back. Then he pointed the weapon toward the brick wall, removed the slide from the receiver, and removed the barrel from the slide. He carefully and meticulously cleaned the weapon inside and out. When he had finished cleaning his weapon, he washed his hands and put the cleaning kit back in the pantry.
He walked back to the bedroom. The king-size bed in the middle of the room seemed bigger now that she was gone. But now, he mused, he had the walk-in closet all to himself; it beat living out of his Marine Corps sea bag.
Shannon dressed in his usual business attire; a starched white shirt, open at the neck, tucked into his khaki slacks. He slid on a pair of brown, handcrafted, ostrich Justin cowboy boots, and put on a matching brown belt. He slipped on his holster, a double magazine pouch, and a pancake holder with a pair of handcuffs and a small flashlight. He grabbed a blue blazer from the closet and put it on, and from the top of the dresser, he picked up the brown leather ID folder with his PI license and put it inside his jacket pocket. Then he grabbed his Ray Ban aviator sunglasses.
Shannon returned to the dining room table. He reassembled the .45, loaded a hollow-point round in the chamber, and inserted a fully loaded 13-round magazine. He placed the weapon in its brown Bianchi holster on his right hip, and stuffed two additional magazines in the leather pouch on his left hip.
Shannon paused in front of the full-length mirror in the hall next to the ancient freight elevator. He inspected himself and adjusted his gig line. Even on the backside of forty, he still projected the aura of a man not to be trifled with.
He coughed lightly and his face twitched with pain. He shook his head.
"This is as good as it gets," he said to himself.
Chapter FourShannon hit the button with his right thumb and took the freight elevator down to his office on the ground floor.
Walking through the frosted front door, painted with a sign that read "MIKE SHANNON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS," was like stepping into a perfectly preserved time capsule from the early 1900s. The fifteen- foot brick walls, with their original nine-foot arched windows, open oak ceiling beams, and wood plank floors, all showed their age; a stark contrast to the boring modern architecture and interiors found in the downtown area.
The casual observer rarely noticed the state-of-the-art security system that Shannon had installed when he bought the place. The system included several hidden cameras, both inside and out, with motion sensor detectors and lights for protection. Shannon still had plenty of friends on the job, ensuring a rapid response for any breach in security.
Adorning the brick walls in the small reception area were four custom-framed prints by Georgia O'Keefe. Shannon loved the turn- of-the-century artist for her distinctive paintings of flowers, animal bones, and landscapes, in which she synthesized abstraction and representation.
Art critics and writers often claimed that Georgia O'Keefe was born ahead of her time. Shannon, who longed for a time when life made more sense, always felt that he was born 100 years too late. He was a hopeless romantic, and thought that if he and Georgia could bridge the gap of time, they would be perfect soul mates.
An old handrail separated the reception area and the secretary's office. Shannon had salvaged the antique 36-inch oak banister from the historic Marion County courthouse in Hannibal Missouri, the boyhood home town of Mark Twain. There were four 1920s banker-style chairs lined against the outer wall of the reception room. Past the handrail, into the front office area, stood Jackie Chase's vintage oak library desk with a computer work-station, a copier, and a fax machine. Her desk and work area was clean and tidy, a stark contrast to Shannon's own cluttered office.
Shannon's private office was down the hall, the first door on the left. It featured an ornate Persian rug that he'd brought back from one of his overseas missions. Various mementos from past cases were on display on the sleek mahogany desk and in his bookcases.
Further down the hall, past Shannon's office, was the break room containing four chairs drawn up to a round table. A microwave, blender, toaster, and coffeemaker were sitting on the Formica counter top. A new refrigerator stocked with Dr. Pepper and unidentifiable leftovers, sat in the corner. There were two more offices in the back. One was a combination conference and library room. Shannon's associates, J.T. Thomas and Willie "Chili" Brown, shared the other office.
Shannon walked into his office and sat down in his high-back leather executive chair. He put his feet up on the desk, grabbed a stack of St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspapers and scanned the headlines, to catch up on the local news.
Excerpted from The Gateway to Hell by Ray Mileur Copyright © 2012 by Ray Mileur. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In the world of hard-boiled detective fiction, the story is generally not so much about solving a mystery as it is setting things up for the hero to take on the bad guys and win, usually with bullets flying and plenty of bloodletting. Unfortunately, too many writers have turned this into a template for a lot of bad stories filled with clichés, caricatures, and stereotypes, not to mention a lack of any shred of originality. The Gateway to Hell is certainly a part of this genre. Thankfully, it manages to avoid many of the pitfalls of this type of fiction, and turns out to be an entertaining read. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its share of clichés, caricatures, and stereotypes. In fact, the private investigator at the heart of the story is introduced to us being very much an over-the-top, cliché of a detective. Mike Shannon is a St. Louis’ private investigator who has made a career out of solving the cases the police couldn’t or wouldn’t take. He’s killed more men then he cares to remember. He’s fiftyish and his work is starting to wear him down. Shannon is also a former Marine sniper, former St. Louis police detective whose exploits often landed him in the newspaper, and the leader of a covert CIA op team known as Sabre 6, who we learn has just rescued an ambassador’s daughter in South America from the Escobar crime cartel. Shannon is one very tough, hard-to-kill, private dick, uncorruptable and a boy scout at heart. And if, by the bottom of page two of the book you aren’t convinced of this, well, you just haven’t been paying attention. Admittedly, the opening chapters don’t really get the ball rolling. But the fact is, author Ray Mileur is just using those early chapters to set us up for a great ride, as Shannon ends up having an assortment of bad guys-- the mafia, the Escobar cartel, corrupt cops—all out to kill him. His rescue of the ambassador’s daughter has led to a $1,000,000 bounty on his head, and resulted in the New York mob, at the prompting of the Escobar family, sending hit men to St. Louis to do him in. On top of that, the “Sandman,” a former marine sniper—trained by Shannon and now a freelance hit man— is also in St. Louis to perform a hit. And while Shannon isn’t his target, the Sandman clearly wouldn’t mind having a shot of Shannon. And when Shannon pays a visit to the local mob boss, Salvatore Salerno—a Don Corleone-type who wants nothing to do with drugs, the FBI turns up. Their agents initially arrest Shannon in a ruse to get information out of him to help in their investigations into a cocaine trail that leads to St. Louis. In the middle of all this, Shannon is hired by a minister and his wife to find their missing 17 year old, runaway daughter, who may be linked to one of Shannon’s police buddies, Steve Holland. When Holland turns up dead, and appears to have been a dirty cop involved in the drug trade, the action amps up, as things get increasingly personal for Shannon. What ends up setting Shannon apart from so many other similar characters, is that it turns out he’s not superman-- he manages to nearly get killed while trying to catch the runaway. Shannon gets hurt, physically and emotionally, and he makes mistakes, e.g., had he returned a phone call he might have been able to save Holland. He’s also got an ex-wife who manages to complicate things even more for him.
Ray Mileur has done a wonderful job of building a great story around a strong character. The story had my attention from the first chapter. Once I started reading, I didn't want to put it down. The story is suspenseful and keeps you wondering what will happen next. Ray has an interesting way of weaving a story and has an eye for details. The story is set in St Louis and I love the references to this great city. The ending was so good and leaves you wanting more. Looking forward to reading Ray's next book.
I was hooked instantly with the heavy details in the book. From page one and on this book takes you on a nonstop and fast paced trip into the characters and what they endure. There were many twists and turns along with unpredictable outcomes that I truly did not see coming. I’m glad that this book made it hard for me to predict what would happen next. There are many suspense thriller books out there that follow a certain way of writing books in this genre. It’s nice to see an author not go down that route and instead works hard to put out a book that will satisfy his readers. I can’t wait to read the other Mike Shannon books the author will release soon.
Captivating. I was hooked on the character Mike Shannon by the end of the first chapter and couldn't put it down. The pace is fast and furious. It's filled with plenty of action, mystery and suspense. I'm looking forward to more from this author and the Mike Shannon character. If you like Robert Parker's "Jesse Stone" or "Spenser" series, or Steven J. Cannell's "Vin Scully" series, you're going to love Mike Shannon in the Gateway to Hell.
I loved the mystery and suspense this book produced for it’s ready. I had a hard time putting down this book as it was filled with exciting details and I wondered where this girl went. Mike Shannon is a private investigator who has taken on cases the police couldn’t handle or didn’t have an interest in taking on the case. He has also killed others in the process of trying to solve the cases. The private investigator is pushed into a world of police corruption, as he found out the missing girl had some of the cocaine in her possession that was missing from the police headquarters. I hope the author looks into creating a movie or TV series based on the book.
A wonderful book, easy to read an a great story line. I enjoyed the way St. Louis is brought to life in this book. The cast are well written and filled out thru the book. I can't want to see if he releases another book soon
Mike Shannon is a PI with a past. Like the author, he’s an ex-Marine and ex-cop that has just returned from a secret mission rescuing a U.S. Ambassador’s daughter from a Columbian drug cartel. Unfortunately, the mission wasn’t so secret after all, as Shannon’s face and exploits are soon plastered all over the news. To make matters worse, Shannon gets a tip that someone has put a hit out on him, with a million dollar payday to whoever kills him first. When a client asks him to locate his missing daughter Lori, Shannon's life gets even more complicated when he finds a brick of crack cocaine under the girl’s bed, sealed with an evidence sticker and signed by none other than his cop friend Steve Holland. Luckily, Shannon has a friend on the police force named Frank Taggert, who believes that Holland is being framed, and who knows Shannon is one of the good guys. What follows is a rollicking story through the mean streets of St. Louis, as Shannon shoots his way through a barrage of dirty cops and Italian mobsters while trying to locate Lori, clear Holland’s name, and stay alive long enough to rendezvous with his ex-wife Carol. This book had just about everything I look for in a good novel: well-developed characters, humor, perfect pacing and a page-turning story. Shannon is a battle-hardened, Dr. Pepper addict who has no qualms about leaving a slew of bodies behind wherever he goes. In his world it’s kill or be killed, and he’s got the shooting skills that will not only keep him alive, but give him the ability to take out all the bad guys by the end of the book. Shannon has an almost Clint Eastwood-like persona. Age-wise he’s on the older side for a hero (approaching fifty) and has the self-confidence and experience to practically save the day by himself, although he does have a crack team of employees that help him out. I also loved that he’s a man with weaknesses, his ex Carol for one. Even though he finds out that she’s also sleeping with a dirty cop named Danko, a truly awful character that eventually gets his comeuppance, he still loves her and cannot give up their post-marriage trysts. And he’s not infallible. He gets shot twice during the story and frequently complains about his aging body's aches and pains. Shannon’s nemesis is a hit man named Morreti, an Italian connected with the New York mob. Morreti’s come to St. Louis to perform a hit on a cop, and during the course of the novel we discover the complicated relationship between the two. Both men have a grudging respect for each other and it shows in their brief but memorable encounters. I’d love to see Ray write another book with these two characters. The two clashing groups of mobsters, one from New York and one from St. Louis, add a twist to an already exciting story. St. Louis crime boss Salvatore Salerno is as upstanding as a crime boss can get, I image, and I liked his character immensely. He clashes with the New York faction, a couple of Italian thugs who have come to town to collect the million dollars on Shannon’s head, and to work behind Salerno’s back with his nephew Joey to get a drug trafficking business going. Although blatant stereotypes, I loved the under-handed dealings of the two groups. Throwing Shannon and Morreti into the mix only made things more interesting. Filled with authentic details and cop-speak, this is one thriller that you won’t be able to put down. Many thanks to the author for supplying a review copy.
Such a great book! Love that it takes place in St. Louis, a place I know and love. The writing is superb and I definitely rank it up there with the likes of Harlan Coben the other greats of Crime Fiction.
This is one of the best novel I had ever read. The material is well researched and I learn a lot from it. Ray Mileur has done a wonderful job of building a great story around a strong character.
The Gateway to Hell: A Mike Shannon Novel is an excellent novel, I love to read it and the material is well researched and very interesting. I love to read it again and again. Thank you
This book was amazing! I haven't read a really good crime novel in a long time and 'Gateway to Hell' surpassed my expectations. Considering this is the author's first book, I am really excited to see what he writes next in the Mike Shannon series. the plotline could have been boring as it's a well used theme with a world weary PI up against insurmountable odds, but Ray Mileur got my attention from the very beginning and he hasn't let go even now after I have gobbled up every word in the book. I am stoked to see what happens to Mike Shannon in the next book in the series, what next mystery he is going to solve and how it's going to draw me in. I am really impressed by this book and am very eager to see what the author comes up with for his second book.
I don't usually give reviews on a book I've read, whether good or bad, but when I read this book I just had to let people know how truly good this book is. Ray Mileur has created a true-crime novel that has all the makings of success: mob bosses, a missing runaway girl, corrupt police officers, the CIA and a haggard private investigator as the protagonist. The author put all those pieces together to create this intricate world of intrigue, mystery and emotion that had my nosed pressed to the pages, fervently reading the pages and wondering what was coming next. "The Gateway to Hell" is a promising start to Ray Mileur's writing career and I am looking forward to seeing what he releases next. One thing for sure is that I will be there among the throng of fans when his second book comes out.
“The Gateway to Hell” was such an engaging read from the first page to the last. Mike Shannon is man who knows his mind, has a tough no-nonsense personality and is a good man in a world where corruption and greed dominate. The novel had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it, wondering what was coming next and how Shannon would find his way through the murky mess and mayhem surrounding his life. With organized crime families, a missing minister’s daughter, shadowy government agencies and police corruption, Ray Mileur’s debut novel has everything a true crime novel reader could want. Mike Shannon is a protagonist that is relatable and emotionally engaging, something that fewer writers today are able to truly capture. I would recommend the book to anyone who is looking for a novel that will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very end!
I always enjoy crime thrillers (anything by James Patterson, Clive Cussler or Robert B. Parker) and I absolutely LOVED this book by a new favorite, Ray Mileur!!! I'm surprised that this is the author's first novel because it was such a great read. Mike Shannon makes a great hero, but the author hasn't tried to make him a super-hero, he sometimes makes mistakes, and his flaws make you root for him that much more!!! One of the things I loved the most was that there were some amazing twists in the plot/characters that I didn't see coming. I hope we don't have to wait too long for the next Mike Shannon book by Ray Mileur! (Note to the TV world: I really miss Spenser & Hawk and I could see a new PI series based in the mid-west starring Mike Shannon & his crew!!!)
This is one of the best book I had ever read. The material is well researched and had a lots of knowledge in it. I highly recommend them.
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