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384 pages, Hardcover
First published February 15, 2022
Thunder Road by author Colin Holmes is an exciting and action-packed scorcher of a story from the very first page, and considering it begins in a pasture somewhere west of Fort Worth among a herd of cattle, you'd think that would be hard to do. But Holmes grabs the story by the horns, and it's off and running.The reader is introduced to the book's hero, Jefferson Sharp, on one of his worst days ever. Between the events of the pasture and discovering he and his wife are no longer a compatible match, the guy takes several tough gut punches and still gets up to start all over, all the while maintaining a decent attitude. He's a down-to-earth guy and a 'ride or die' kind of friend. He's joined in the story, for the most part, by friends he's grown up with, some of whom have secrets that bring him a lot of trouble. However, my favorite supporting character is Veronica "Roni" Arquette, the sister of a childhood buddy and the widow of Sharp's former partner when both were detectives with the Fort Worth PD before the war.
I loved the post-WWII, 1947 time period and the setting in my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. The author sprinkles the non-stop action and casework with Fort Worth history, historical figures, and local lore. Some characters appear to be fictional recreations of actual individuals, such as Amon Carter. The historical 'time travel tour' aspect was so delightful and fun that before I was even done reading the novel, I purchased multiple hardcover copies to gift to family members at Christmas.The story can be broadly categorized as a thriller or mystery or noir or historical fiction or sci-fi; there is literally something for everyone here. But the main character is a private investigator with cases to work on, so that is the book's predominant 'look and feel'. Sharp is a stand up guy who's good in a fight and takes his drinks with little fuss. The dialogue is crisp, snappy, and clever, and place descriptions are saturated with mood and atmosphere, so much so that you'll think you're hanging at the Four Deuces right along with the characters.
I recommend THUNDER ROAD to mystery readers who would enjoy a story with a noirish post-WWII Fort Worth setting and wouldn't mind a little sci-fi action in their crime drama.