Those Who Walk In Darkness
(Jacks Jackson Mystery Book 1)
Print Length: 266 pages
Publisher: J. Lavene (March 8, 2016)
I’m such a huge fan of these authors. How could I pass up a chance to read their new mystery. It’s different from their cozies and takes place in the late 1800s.
The first thing I was going to talk about was the beginning. That first chapter had a doozy of an ending. I was all ready to tease you about Jacks, but then I read the blurb and that burst my balloon. You see, when you first meet Pinkerton’s finest agent, you have no idea Jacks is a woman, Julia Jackson. I really had no idea until a conversation revealed it. From there on, I was riveted.
Julia’s transformation begins the day of her wedding. Her husband to be is gunned down and dies in her arms. From that day forward, she’s consumed with vengeance. She’ll do whatever it takes to track down Jonathon’s killer and exact retribution. Hopefully by her own hand. So begins Julia becoming Jacks.
She goes to Pinkerton for help, but ends up with a job. He strikes a deal with her. Work for him and he’ll help her. Now she has a name to put to the face of the killer, Zeke Castle.
Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Boy, that first case was wild. Jacks is saddled with a green agent, Davey Hume. He’s only been an agent for a month and is overly excited to be working with the legendary Jacks. Things go boom, a gang is taken down, and Jacks’ infamy grows.
Now she has a new case, Track down the Cherokee Indian named Coyote. He kidnapped the wife and son of a railroad man associated with Pinkerton, sending grisly proof. Jacks usually works alone, but this time she’ll have company. The husband of the victims, David Boyd, the newbie Davey Hume, and their guide, Running Wolf, who will come in handy when they have to enter Cherokee territory in pursuit of Coyote.
Jacks senses something hinky about the case right away. But with Coyote’s ties to Zeke Castle, her fiance’s killer, she heads off in pursuit.
About a a quarter of the way into the book, I started to pick up on a bit of a supernatural or paranormal theme. What’s with the raven that keeps following Jacks? And those yellow eyes peering in at her from the darkness outside? Or that voice that whispers in her ear when no one can be seen? Getting creepy.
The only hitch with this book is the cover. It works as their is some mysticism in it. But I think having Jacks on the cover, maybe standing in the roadway of a western town, back to us, arm ready to draw her gun, would be amazing. She’s become a favorite character of mine and I’d like to see her in action. Just sayin.
It’s only fair I should warn you. There’s a cliff hanger ending. A big one. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Hated that the story ended where it did. Loved that there would be more. Gonna miss the whiskey drinkin, cigar smokin, gunslinging, Jacks. Curious whether Davey Hume will continue to work with her. And I’m hoping their might be something going on between her and Running Wolf.
I’ll be ready for the next story. The authors have built a strong character base and I’m excited to see where they go.
Three years ago, Julia Jackson was a well to do young woman from Boston whose fiancé, Jonathon, was killed right before her eyes. Obsessed with finding the killer, a man whose face she saw only in a flash as he walked up and shot Jonathon, she leaves her family and her life behind. She starts a new life as ‘Jacks’ Jackson—a cigar smoking, dead eye, female Pinkerton agent…pretending to be a man.
Now Allan Pinkerton needs Jacks to find the man who kidnapped the wife and son of a railroad official, David Boyd. Their only clues are the severed finger from the man’s wife, complete with wedding ring, and a map of the Qualla boundary, the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina.
Jacks doesn’t like the way the whole thing sounds from the beginning. David Boyd isn’t important enough to target for a kidnapping. And why travel so far with two hostages?
But Pinkerton tells her that he believes the man responsible for the kidnapping worked with Jonathon’s murderer in a train robbery five years ago. Jacks agrees to go after the kidnapper with hopes of catching him before he can reach his home grounds.
Pinkerton insists that Jacks bring three men with her—Boyd, her new partner, and a Cherokee guide named Running Wolf, who’s always watching her, like he’s trying to figure it out.
Can Jacks catch the kidnapper with her secret—and her life—intact?
Authors Jim and Joyce Lavene
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.
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