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The Lumbermill

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Los Angeles, 1954.

Sending a pair of mass murderers to the chair got his name in the papers, but veteran fighter pilot turned detective, Augy Small, couldn't celebrate. The culprits confessed, but the cops only ever found one body. Who had the killers died to protect?

Katya Tyler, a Russian enigma with a wad of cash in one hand and a hit list in the other, claims to have the
Paperback, 334 pages
Published September 24th 2020 by Black Rose Writing (first published August 19th 2020)
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Average rating 4.56  · 
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Dave Wickenden
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story takes place in 1954 in the Los Angeles area. Augy Small is a private detective down on his luck. Haunted because of treatment by the Japanese while a POW. It has cause the slit up of his marriage and the slow fall from grace.

When he hits a woman with his car who is running from a monster of man, it thrust him into a conspiracy of evil that has bodies falling all around him. With too many questions and not enough answers, this story is a thrill ride of epic proportions. Not for the fai
Jean Roberts
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Lumbermill by Laya V. Smith
Published: September 2020
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Noir detective story, historical fiction, Vigilante Justice
Pages: 335
Available: ebook, paperback and audio

Sex: 💗mild
Violence: 😱extreme with a crazy high body count


Los Angeles, 1954.

Sending a pair of mass murderers to the chair got his name in the papers, but veteran fighter pilot turned detective, Augy Small, couldn’t celebrate. The culprits confessed, but the cops only ever found one body. Who had
Luke Swanson
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shocking, alluring, and utterly absorbing. Whether you're a fan of classic noir or white-knickle action, I dare you to not be totally sucked in by The Lumbermill. As I turned the pages, I could smell the cigarette smoke and feel the fire on my back. What a ride! ...more
A.J. McCarthy
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
The Lumbermill is a noir thriller set in Los Angeles in 1954, and features Augy Small, a WWII veteran who is emotionally crippled and physically scarred by his POW experience, leading him to a divorce and the loss of his home and his business as a private investigator. A fateful car accident embroils him in a case that tests his limits and forces him to face the demons that haunt him.
This novel is a brilliant debut for Ms. Sm
Janet Thomson
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was sent a free copy by Voracious Readers in exchange for a true review.
Augy is an ex pilot, ex POW from the Japanese camps. He has been to hell and back and is still haunted by the atrocities of his time in the camps.
He has lost his wife and his PI business, about as far down on his luck as is possible.
A chance road traffic accident, he knocks over a beautiful Russian woman, will take him straight back to hell!
An amazing, riveting story, a real page turner!
Amazing, believable characters, you
Val Conrad
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Your mind wants to think of old black and white Dashiell Hammett or James. M. Cain PI tales, but Laya V. Smith keeps digging deeper, tightening knots that tie her characters to dark pasts and to the utter blackness no one could imagine happening. Monsters do exist, and they are hard to defeat because death means nothing to them.

Her story has facets that set it apart from both history and its genre. Augy is a broken man, one who loved but understood how much he hurt this woman. He lives with sca
Alastair Luft
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Lumbermill is an action-packed thriller that hits all the right notes of the noir tradition. And yet, it’s also much more than that, with the vivid character development of Augy Small, a self-aware protagonist who struggles to overcome the emotional scars of lost love and his time as a POW. An engaging read, although not for the faint-hearted, The Lumbermill is hopefully the first of more novels from Laya V. Smith.
Suzy Cape)
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cinematic, Fast-Paced and Emotional

Private detective Augustus Small, an ex-war pilot and P.O.W, crosses paths with Russian enigma Katya Tyler. Their encounter provokes his curiousity and leads to his discovery of a body in a sink-hole. He follows some leads, and he finds out that The Lumbermill, a wartime torture chamber, is still in operation, albeit behind a respectable facade. His investigations lead him to the identity of the woman behind it - she is known as The Countess of London - and tho
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When August Small has to revisit past demons to help Russian Katya Tyler bring justice to human traffickers, old wound he believed to be buried down deep arwnt as deep as he thought. After losing his wife to his rages after the war and having been a Japanese pow his nightmare is just beginning again but as before he refuses to let the bad guys win and is determined to make them all pay one way or another.

This book hits you so hard with the atrocities that went down in ww2. Human experiments, tra
Laya Smith
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Obviously I'm biased, but I think it's worth a peek. ...more
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Lumbermill is an excellent debut novel that takes horrific, little-known historical events and embroiders them into a dark and sinister narrative. Unit 731, or the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department, was a part of the Japanese army responsible for atrocities greater than, or on a par with, those of the Nazis, and Augy Small has first-hand experience and the scars to prove it.
Now a private investigator in Los Angeles, the former WW2 fighter pilot and Japanese prisoner of wa
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! What an epic thrill ride from beginning to end! THE Lumbermill is a Noir Thriller set in Los Angeles 1954 follows Augy Smalls, a down on his luck private eye who suffers from PTSD from his time as a POW.
This book is very well written and researched (historically speaking). Events contained are horrifying and gory, so I wouldn't suggest for those with a weak stomach.
Sara B.
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Laya Smith is a very talented writer. I don't usually read crime novels, but took a free copy of The Lumbermill in exchange for an honest review. It was nearly impossible to put down, and I fell in love with the characters. My favorite part was Smith's wonderful descriptions, so often funny and pitch-perfect in Augie Small's (the protagonist's) voice. The writing itself is up there with the best literary works. Smith has very obviously done her homework, as all of the little details from the tim ...more
Samantha Wells
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not my usual genre but when I read the blurb it intrigued me. Having once studied for a history degree I was exceedingly interested by the historical elements of this book. At the centre of the plot is a little known piece of quite awful history. Everyone is aware of the terrible atrocities performed by Nazi doctors but the details of the experiments performed by Unit 731 which was run by the Japanese Army is not so widely known about. I am so glad I decided to give this a try. Right fro ...more
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this horror story. It is a non stop, action packed story that has so many twists, my head was spinning. The story opens with Augy Small hitting a woman with his truck. His life goes downhill from there. This book has triggers for violence and descriptions that it is not for the faint hearted. If you enjoy horror stories, you will definitely enjoy The Lumbermill. I received this book for fre and I am voluntarily leaving this review.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
There were definitely twists in this plot!! Very enjoyable! The characters were not "simple" either!!
I look forward to reading more from this author!!

This was definitely a good choice from Voracious Readers Only.
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good! Very well written! Drawn into it right from the beginning and couldn’t put it down
Myra Mcculloch
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A free book from Voracious Readers

A top book and a page turner once you get started.
The story, while a work of fiction, could well be happening today when one hears and reads about eugenics. Frightening in its reality.

Thank you Laya for the opportunity to read this book.
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 Northern Light
Sep 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, e-books, giveways
This book starts out as the story of an unassuming former soldier now a down at heel private detective. When he knocks over a woman though it triggers a series of events that will change the lives of many people for ever.

There are so many facets to this story that the reader is put through a roller coaster of emotions. One minute things seem to be going well and then in an instant he's on the run again.

Through it all he is clearly suffering from PTSD from his war experience and it affects him t
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
As i've read in the other reviews and I will keep the momentum going, this book is not for the faint of heart. It is very dark and inflicts so many horrors upon the majority of it's characters. I felt like the book itself flowed very smoothly. It took my mind on a thrilling adventure that only stopped when sleep called.
We followed the main character Augy as he climbed over obstacle after obstacle, only to be halted when he was knocked unconscious. Augy was well developed and aside from his su
Louise Brighton
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a frenetic ride through a “film noir” filled with blood and guts. I’m not shy of violence in a novel, but I felt it was all a bit too much, unnecessarily so. The violence and the POW flashbacks were repetitive and they became a bore. I thought the background premise of the novel was solid and could have been interesting, but sadly, the execution didn’t work for me.
Thank you to the author and Voracious Readers Only for a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my review.
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Laya V Smith is the author of “The Lumbermill”, a new Noir thriller available through Black Rose Writing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, SCBWI, AWP, and LUW. Through no fault of her own, she was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and still lives there with her husband and two children. She has a degree in history from the University of Utah and a deep passion for the subj ...more

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