'Leaving the door wide open he stepped out into the night. A brief glance left and right, he walked the shadows to the wheat fields and disappeared into the crop. No wind, no stars in the sky, just cloud the colour of smoke.'
In The Long Count, the first book of JM Gulvin's masterful new crime series, we meet Ranger John Quarrie as he is called to the scene of an apparent suicide by a fellow war veteran. Although the local police want the case shut down, John Q is convicinced that events aren't quite so straightforward.
When his hunch is back up by the man's son Isaac - just back from Vietnam and convinced his father was murdered - they start to look into a series of other violent incidents in the area, including a recent fire at the local Trinity Asylum and the disappearance of Isaac's twin brother, Ishmael. In a desperate race against time, John Q has to try to unravel the dark secrets at the heart of this family and get to the truth before the count is up.
Dripping with atmosphere and a sense of time and place. The Long Count is a page-turner and a psychological puzzle - for fans of Shutter Island and True Detective.
The Long Count: A John Q Mystery by JM Gulvin is published by Faber & Faber in paperback original on 5 May 2016.
I'm really pleased to welcome Kate from Bibliophile Book Club here today as a guest reviewer.
Kate's blog, The Bibliophile Book Club has been around for a couple of years, her favourite genres are crime, thrillers, mysteries and police procedurals.
The Bibliophile Book Club is also on Facebook, and you can follow Kate and her reviews on Twitter @BibliophileBC
Here are Kate's thoughts on The Long Count by JM Gulvin:
The Long Count is a brilliant crime thriller. I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I first started the book as I only glanced at the blurb without really taking it in. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down. I devoured The Long Count in three sittings.
John Quarrie (John Q) is a Ranger and he reminds me of Jack Reacher and Walker, Texas Ranger at the same time. He is tough, honest and very quick with his guns if the situation arises. When he is called to the scene of a suicide of an Army veteran while on his way to another incident, he is all but convinced that it's not as simple as it seems. Quarrie suspects murder, but the local law enforcement disagree.
The Army vet's son Isaac, just having returned from Vietnam, is also certain that his father would never commit such an act. Together, John Q and Isaac find coincidences in nearby violent crimes and so they investigate the connection further, not realising that it will have dangerous consequences.
I don't like to divulge too much about plots, but suffice to say, this book is so well planned out. It is full of red herrings, beautiful descriptions of the American Deep South, moments where you find your pulse is racing a little because you just know something is going to be said or done. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed The Long Count. It has everything I look for in a book. It has a a really likeable character in John Q, there are plenty of little nuggets of information scattered around the book which only come together towards the end and it is also a fantastic appetite-whetting beginning to a series.
Regular readers of The Bibliophile Book Club will know that I'm a sucker for a good series, and if The Long Count is just the start, then I cannot wait for the next instalment. John Q is also one of my favourite characters that I've encountered so far in the books I've read this year.
Massive thanks again to the lovely Anne Cater for letting me review this hidden gem of a book that I'm so glad to have found.
Kate ~ The Bibliophile Book Club
Born in the UK, JM Gulvin divides his time between Wales and the western United States. He is the author of many previous novels, and was the ghost writer for Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's bestselling travel book Long Way Down.
The Long Count is his first John Q mystery and he is currently at work on the follow-up.
He is married with two daughters.