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Thunder Road

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In this gamble, more than a few poker chips are at stake.

When an Army Air Force Major vanishes from his Top Secret job at the Fort Worth airbase in the summer of 1947, down-on-his-luck former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is hired to find him, because the Major owes a sizable gambling debt to a local mobster. The search takes Sharp from the hideaway poker rooms of Fort Worth's Thunder Road, to the barren ranch lands of New Mexico, to secret facilities under construction in the Nevada desert.

Lethal operatives and an opaque military bureaucracy stand in his way, but when he finds an otherworldly clue and learns President Truman is creating a new Central Intelligence Agency and splitting the Air Force from the Army, Sharp begins to connect dots. And those dots draw a straight line to a conspiracy aiming to cover up a secret that is out of this world⎯literally so.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published February 15, 2022

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About the author

Colin Holmes

1 book39 followers
Before the pandemic, I toiled away in a beige cubical as a mid-level marketing and advertising manager for an international electronics firm. A recovering advertising creative director, I spent far too long at ad agencies and freelancing as a hired gun in the war for capitalism.

My ad copywriting covered everything from newspaper classifieds, TV commercials, and radio spots to trade journal articles and tweets. I've sold cowboy boots and cheeseburgers, 72-ounce steaks, and hazardous waste site clean-up services. And encountered fascinating characters at every turn.

Now I write stories - novels, short stories, and screenplays in an effort to stay out of the way and not drive my far too patient wife completely crazy. I am an honors graduate of the UCLA Writers Program, a former board member of the DFW Writers Workshop, and serve on the steering committee of the DFW Writers Conference.

I was the original writer on the film Edge of the World which made the festival rounds in 2019 and I detail that story on my website at byColinHolmes dot com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,967 reviews677 followers
May 5, 2023
I listened to the audio (9H 43M) by one of my favorite narrators, Grover Gardner! He brings the characters to life with a hint of comedic tone. In my opinion, he's a perfect choice for this story.

Thunder Road is an action-packed historical fiction mystery thriller, set in 1947. The story begins in Fort Worth with a little western feel but is more detective with some scifi, some romance and some nior combo. Jefferson Sharp is a WWII vet and a former cop who had a rough day, fired from his current job, and slap with divorce papers. He tried out being a PI.

Colin Holmes did an excellent job weaving different themes together. It is well-written. From Fort Worth to this place with casinos called Las Vegas to Roswell plus Bugsy and Howard Hughes, good times!

Thank you CamCat Books and Netgalley for my listening copy.
Published February 15, 2022.
Profile Image for Theresa (mysteries.and.mayhem).
106 reviews53 followers
May 20, 2023
Do you enjoy cross-genre books? I love them. Usually you'll get a mix of a couple of genres—maybe some horror crossed with a thriller or dark romance. But this book! Oh, my! Thunder Road by Colin Holmes opens as a western. Our leading character is out on the range just outside of Fort Worth watching for cattle wranglers. Yep, we have a western; it appears. After some action, we enter some noir detective territory (a genre I genuinely want to read more of after this book, I'll add!). Enter some characters from the mob, and sci-fi. Really? Yes! But wait, there's more! We have a little romance brewing as well. Too much? One would think. But no! This book ties it all together brilliantly! How, I don't know. I only know that I found it entertaining from start to finish.

The story takes place right after World War II in the 1940s. Our main character, Jefferson Sharp is having a rough time getting his footing with a job and his wife after returning from the War. Through a few well-connected friends, he ends up on a wild mission in search of a missing Army Major. Sharp's long-time friend, Veronica (Roni), is along for the ride. I adored Roni as much as I did Sharp. The characters were all well developed and pulled me into the story.

I can't possibly say enough about this book. If I go on, I might give some of the major plotlines away. We don't want that! Instead, I insist you go read this book for yourself! The only genre it seems to be missing is horror. We can't have it all! But otherwise, there shouldn't be a reason anyone would refuse to read it. I give Thunder Road five multi-genre stars! I'm thankful to Partners in Crime Tours for the book, which I received in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
2,294 reviews43 followers
February 15, 2022
Fast paced and great fun

It's 1947 and Jefferson Sharp has been a special ranger for the Fort Worth and Western Stockmen's Association since the end of WWII. But he got the job through his father-in-law and since his relationship with his wife just went down the tubes, so did his job.

This story started out with a western feel and then segued into a private eye tale with Sharp involved with mobsters, the military and trying to track down a missing Army Air Force Major.

He joins forces with an old friend and they hit the road to Roswell (yes, that Roswell), and what was barely a wide spot in the road at that time - Las Vegas.

So throw in a lot of noirish action and some sci-fi and you have a rollicking fun tale. I think this would make a great movie one of these days.

I highly recommend this book if you're looking for something a bit off the wall but well written.

I received this book from CamCat Books through Edelweiss in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Joey Madia.
Author 16 books18 followers
April 18, 2022
Every so often—and it is, as it should be, very rare—I read a book for review and think, “If only there were six stars in the rating system, instead of five…” So imagine my surprise when I realized that this is the author’s debut novel.
It is admittedly a perfect storm for me, as a reader, paranormal researcher and experiencer, and a creative. It combines the gumshoe detective genre of the 1940s with the birth of Las Vegas and UFOs. Those are some rich ingredients for a novel, and Holmes combines them like a master pastry chef into a true guilty pleasure.
The novel opens in June 1947, at the time of the fabled Roswell, New Mexico UFO incident. As that craft is (crash) landing, a livestock agent/special ranger named Jefferson Sharp witnesses a similar event in Texas. This is a multilayered inciting incident, not only kicking off the central narrative of the mystery of the UFO sightings, but delivering a triple punch in the gut to Sharp of having to put his horse down, losing his job, and finding out his wife is having an affair with his rival.
In Hero’s Journey terms, his Ordinary World has blown up and Sharp—strapped for cash, homeless, and looking for something, anything new—answers the Call to Adventure, going to work as a private investigator. Although in many ways he is typical of the genre, Sharp is less Mike Hammer or a Humphrey Bogart type and more the laid back, Jimmy Stewart persona you can’t help but root for.
I mentioned the novel is a perfect storm for me. Not only do I write gumshoe murder mysteries for the stage and Escape Rooms, I’m a paranormal investigator and experiencer. On top of that, I write a lot of historical fiction. Holmes does an impressive job of situating Sharp at a very interesting time in American history. Bugsy Siegel’s just been shot in Beverly Hills, a product of his rivalry with Meyer Lansky. Howard Hughes rules the skies with his two airlines and heavy involvement in innovative aircraft design.
Looking at the noir genre overall, Holmes gives us pretty women, night clubs (one in Texas called the Four Deuces, or 2222 Club, reminiscent of the famous 6666 Ranch), plenty of mobsters, a powerful newspaper editor named Leo (who first appears in a white tuxedo, complete with white carnation and spats), the fledgling CIA, intimations of what becomes the classic MIB lore, beautiful cars, exotic locations, and lots and lots of fires and explosions. An ambitious operator named Doyle Denniker runs the Four Deuces. Holmes makes the most of the club-as-info-hub device, ala Rick's Café Américain in Casablanca. Being that it’s Texas, and the start of the Golden Age of Westerns, there’s an amalgam of famous real-life cowboy/movie stars named Gentry.
As to the title: Thunder Road is the old-time, local name for Highway 199/Jacksboro Highway. Although the story later moves to Nevada, Thunder Road in Fort Worth is the epicenter of the action. For those who like a local historical deep-dive, Holmes weaves in some fascinating Fort Worth facts.
The mechanism for the expansion of the story is Sharp’s history during World War Two with a major named Jerry Cartwright, whom Sharp cut down from a tree after Cartwright had to eject from his damaged plane. Their common denominator in the present is Sharp’s girl that got away, Roni.
Although Sharp is not your typical noire gumshoe, he still has to deal with all of the tropes that we love in this genre: the love interest and their complicated past, ransacked rooms, lots of bumps and bruises and a few close brushes with deaths, and plenty of double-crosses and twists and turns.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s the Roswell et al. UFO mysteries operating as the meta-theme, and all lines of inquiry and action Sharp pursues are tentacles of this dangerous leviathan. Holmes pushes the envelope far—starting with the established fact/lore (for which there’s a mountain of credible data), he fictionalizes much of it to serve his story and, like Chris Carter and X-Files, keeps us wondering what’s fact, fiction, government cover-up and false-flag ops, and what is just boloney. Holmes inserts Cartwright into the famous front-page photo of Marcel and Ramey after the government retracted their initial statement about a UFO and went with a weather balloon. He also gives us some details on the develop program of the B-36 Peacemakers and the first helicopter, and the start of the secret measures the USAF and their private contractor partners have taken, which explain a good percentage of supposed UFO sightings. What grew into Area 51, Groom Lake, S4 (perhaps hinted at with the phrase “Rabbit Hole”), and so on was conveniently located near an Atomic Energy Commission–designated A-bomb test range in Nevada. Last, he takes the odd foil-like material that returns to its shape when crumpled that was retrieved from the Roswell debris field and goes next-level with it.
This has been a rich vein for many others to mine as well, including the Project Bluebook History channel series—one of the highlights of which was the split-off from the Army of the USAF and the shockwaves sent through the adolescent Military–Industrial–Intelligence Complex by the new kids on the block, formed from the OSS, the CIA. I could easily see sequels to this book dealing with Eisenhower’s supposed visit and treat with ETs in the 50s and the circumstances around the assassination of JFK. There are direct threads to both in Thunder Road, as LBJ is ready to transition from congressman to senator and Sharp even drives through Dealy Plaza. With the Mafia and CIA already mentioned, it’s hard not to wander into Conspiracyland, especially after later mentions of Majestic Twelve, “indoctrination” into the UFO program, and the Military-Industrial Complex, which Eisenhower famously warned about. By the way, so did JFK… just not so famously, but even more strongly.
Holmes’s method for delivering information cues a high level of technique. One of his go-to devices is something termed “The Pope in the Pool”—information is delivered while the characters are engaged in another activity. In Thunder Road, it is card playing, watching baseball, and playing golf. The delivery of clues and how Sharp solves them are also carefully plotted. Holmes has clearly done his research. After 13 years as a published author and lecturer on UFOs and other paranormal topics, I can say this with all assurance. The foundational facts are solid, allowing Holmes to go where he will. Where the story wills him to go.
Maybe this is solely coincidence, but I mention it anyway. Toward the end of the book, one of the character’s says: “Only a half dozen people truly know the whole story.” When Steven Spielberg screened ET for President Reagan at the White House, Reagan—who was a UFO enthusiast—is rumored to have said to the filmmaker, “Only half a dozen people in this room know that this is a true story.”
One last clue in the “where do the fiction and fact overlap?” equation comes when Sharp meets a German deeply involved with the USAF UFO reverse engineering program. Project Paperclip, anyone?
Maybe the best news of all for this six-star read is that the ending teases a sequel. A hope that is the case, and I wish this author the best in what looks to be a very promising career.
Profile Image for Ed.
634 reviews54 followers
March 21, 2022
This is an eclectic work of fiction that works all day long. The characters, dialogue, plot and pace all interact to create an original and very entertaining story set in post war Dallas/Fort Worth. It's got everything; good guys, bad guys, Air Force bad guys, corrupt guys, beguiling women, cowboys, gangsters and aliens from outer space. What's not to like, in crime fiction or any other category of fiction now that I think about it.
Profile Image for Colleen Chi-Girl.
612 reviews97 followers
May 26, 2023
I'd like to thank the author, Audiobooks, and NetGalley, for the audio ARC in return for my unbiased and honest review. My first impression was enhanced due to the enjoyable and terrific narrator, Grover Gardner, who lends authenticity and some humor to the characters in this debut novel by Colin Holmes.

Picture late 1940's, a western setting, just outside of Fort Worth, TX, featuring a cowboy-ish detective called Jefferson Sharp, who is at first looking for cattle wranglers. WWII is finally over and Sharp is fired from his job, hit with divorce papers, and trying to adjust to life after the war. As we follow along with the intro, we meet head-on with a missing person case, mysterious and political conspiracies, historical significance, the mob/Mafia, a bit of romance, and even UFO's....sci-fi?! Yep. This a masculine driven novel, meaning macho and male-oriented, IMHO.

I found it was confusing at some times because it was so much of everything, and lots of back and forth, and suspension of disbelief, but overall an interesting read.

Publisher's Blurb: "When Army Air Force Major vanishes from his Top Secret job at the Fort Worth air base in the summer of 1947, down-on-his-luck former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is hired to find him, because the Major owes a sizable gambling debt to a local mobster. The search takes Sharp from the hideaway poker rooms of Fort Worth's Thunder Road, to the barren ranch lands of New Mexico, to secret facilities under construction in the Nevada desert."
Profile Image for Leslie Lutz.
Author 2 books81 followers
May 18, 2022
awesome western noir

I live in Fort Worth, so it was so much fun to see a story set here during the aftermath of World War II. The author builds a mystery relentlessly and makes you keep turning pages. I especially liked the romantic subplot, which felt authentic and nuanced. A really awesome read.
Profile Image for Ruthie Jones.
1,009 reviews45 followers
December 15, 2022
“It is a riddle in the middle of a question surrounded by a mystery.”

What an outrageously wild story! Thunder Road by Colin Holmes wrangles your attention on the first page, and then things really get going. The author weaves some historical events and people into a fantastical fiction that gets more exciting and superbly strange with every chapter.

It is 1947 in Fort Worth, Texas, with WWII two years in the rear view mirror. Jefferson Sharp, previously in the US military, is about to have his priorities shifted and his life rocked. Losing his son-in-law job and his cheating wife notwithstanding, Sharp lands feet first in mystery, murder, military stonewalling, a steady stream of danger, and one astronomical cover up in the Nevada desert.

Most of the story takes place in Fort Worth, with Jeff coming to terms with single life, the consequences of rubbing elbows with mobsters, and a new career as a private gumshoe who is apparently getting too nosy. Also at the forefront is Roni Arquette, the sister of Jeff's late childhood friend. Roni is all grown up now and turning heads, including Jeff’s. But who has time for romance when people think you have something important and choose violence to find it? If all this sounds confusing, then how about reading this fabulous story because any spoilers will spoil the pleasure of following Jeff and Roni from Texas to Nevada and right into one of the biggest conspiracy nests and covert operations of all time and into a new desert town built on blood, money, and organized crime. Yeah, you know the place.

“’There’s a place in Nevada called Las Vegas,’ Sharp said. ‘I might go check it out.’”
“’There’s supposed to be some sort of casino there.’”

The pacing is as fast as a flying saucer looking for intelligent life on Earth or maybe just a B-36 Peacemaker booming overhead. Either way, hang on to your fedora because Thunder Road is on fire.

Word of warning: While Thunder Road has minimal offensive language and no sexy explicitness, remember that in the 1940s, people smoked cigarettes and imbibed alcohol quite freely and made sexists and other offensive remarks on the daily. The author rightly includes all this and more, wrapping the story in a heavy dose of reality on par with the times. If that does not deter you, then the only actual downside to Thunder Road is that it ends. Rivaling any Stephen King novel, in terms of imaginative plot and characterization, Colin Holmes’s debut novel will keep you constantly entertained with 1940s ideology and old-fashioned everything, a main character with an attitude as big as Texas, and an interesting spin on what really happened when a so-called high-altitude balloon crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Tune in, suspend your disbelief, and get ready to marvel at this author’s extraordinary storytelling ability. As the ending clatters into place, you will never look at a square piece of tinfoil the same again.

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for VT Dorchester.
188 reviews5 followers
April 16, 2022
Debut novel Thunder Road from Colin Holmes is a tale of a veteran and “cowboy” detective, navigating corruption, conspiracy, and romance in 1947’s Texas. This book takes us to a world where UFOs, the Mob, Hollywood, the military industrial complex and cattle rustlers collide, (the rustlers only appearing disappointingly briefly.)

I received a copy to review through Blackthorn Book Tours. Thank-you!

I will state honestly that I am left somewhat confused by this book. While I was reading it, I couldn’t decide where I wanted it to be going, and now that I’ve finished reading it, I’m not sure if I’m happy with where it did go. I think I really wanted more cowboy and less political conspiracy mumbo jumbo, but of course your miles may vary.

A warning to potential readers that there was a (for me) rather unexpected (but brief) burst of sex early on in the book, and there is also the occasional obscene word employed.

What really kept me interested in this story was the laughs it provided every now and then. It does have a sense of humour, and I always appreciate that in a novel. There were a few times I felt it was trying too hard and the humour wasn’t hitting me right, but depending on where your funny bone is located, you might find this book very funny, sometimes funny as I did, or, theoretically, not funny at all, which would be a shame.

The occasional historical detailing was also appreciated.

Also, little interesting turns of phrase, such as a character asking “What in the cat hair hit you?”

However, because I wasn’t fully engaged in the main plot, the novel started to feel slow and pace-challenged in the second half and perhaps a little over-long at 384 pages. Moments of action were well written but perhaps a little too far apart – over all, I think this is a book with an interesting (if sometimes rather convoluted) idea for plotting, a decent sense of humour, that could have used a bit more tightening up to really shine.

But because I’m not this would likely never have been really for me.

I am giving this novel three stars out of five. Thank you again to Blackthorn Tours and thank you to the author, for providing me a review copy.
201 reviews5 followers
February 17, 2022
What a fun read! To use an analogy, you're sitting there enjoying watching Dragnet when, about 60% in, the episode morphs into The X-Files ... at which point you are truly in love. "Thunder Road" stands on its own merits as a '40s detective story with WWII veteran Jefferson Sharp trying to make a go of private investigation, but what really makes this book shine is author Colin Holmes' ability to perfectly capture a bygone time, down to the smallest detail. Without getting bogged down in long descriptive passages, he sprinkles little details throughout and absolutely nails it: expressions, new-fangled products, stores and brand names that were all the rage but are now long-gone, people's names and nicknames, headlines. You'll be transported to a world where everybody smokes, men wore hats, date night meant dinner and cocktails at fancy dinner clubs, you needed to go through the operator to make a phone call and you could fill up your tank on less than $3. Older readers will get a kick out of items they'll remember from their childhoods: metal ice trays with levers that had to be pulled, stores with signs reminding shoppers to keep the door closed to keep the cool air in, water coolers instead of air conditioning. Holmes also manages to work in things we take for granted now that were just coming into public use back in 1947: these crazy oversized beds called "king sized," plastic, multi-line telephones, residential subdivisions. There is historical name dropping, also, as LBJ (then a congressman), Jack Benny and Howard Hughes all make an appearance. Protagonist Jefferson Sharp's wry observations lend plenty of humor as he makes such comments that quickie marriages in this nowhere town called Las Vegas will never catch on and why couldn't other organizations be as efficient as the Post Office. Younger readers might not appreciate all these references packed into the book, but as I said, older readers should find them very interesting and amusing. There is also an element of romance, and while the book definitely wraps up the story in the end, the door is open for future PI Jefferson Sharp capers.
Profile Image for Iseult Murphy.
Author 25 books109 followers
April 14, 2022
Thunder Road is about Jefferson Sharp, who starts the novel protecting cattle from rustlers, but after a very bad day, becomes a reluctant private detective.

What I liked: The 1940s setting. I love movies from that era, and Holmes really captured the time period with the dialogue and descriptions. I could see it playing out like a movie in my head, and I loved that.

The inclusion of real life figures in a time of incredible change after the Second World War. I loved that no one had heard of Las Vegas, and all the other new things and changes in the book.

Aliens! Wow, despite the 1947 setting, that was completely unexpected.

What didn’t work for me: There is a detective story here, and a great conspiracy with lots of nods to the reader, but altogether I found it slightly underwhelming. Neither the plot nor the character arcs wrapped up in a way that I found intellectually or emotionally satisfying. It’s not that the ending is bad, but I found it anticlimactic. I enjoyed the journey and spending time with the characters, and then the book ended and we went our separate ways.

The aliens. There are so many nice touches about the Roswell incident in this book, but it’s one of many story threads that seem to be there because of the time period and a certain cool ‘what if…’ factor, rather than a central or driving force. I suppose their inclusion in this book led me to expect more typical science fiction developments, and I was disappointed when that didn’t happen, which ultimately led me to believe the book would be stronger without these guys, much as I loved the scenes they were in. It raised my expectations and failed to deliver.

Altogether, Thunder Road is a very enjoyable, pleasant trip back to the 1940s with a focus on what an exciting time for change it was for the post war US, even though a lot of that change wasn’t positive.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free review copy and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
Profile Image for Jean Roberts.
Author 13 books141 followers
December 12, 2022
What a wild ride this book is! Jeff Sharp, WWII vet, ex cop, cattle rustler investigator loses his wife and job in short order. An offer for private investigative work seems like a good direction. His first assignments are to run down information on a Dallas mob boss and catch a cheating husband in an affair. Both lead to trouble.

On the bright side, Jeff reunites with a childhood friend, Roni Arquette, a war widow. When Roni’s new boyfriend, Army Air Force Officer Jerry Cartwright disappears, under mysterious circumstances, Jeff and Roni are determined to find him. Their search leads them to Roswell, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Set in the 1940s, the story is full of period details from cars to gambling dens in Fort Worth, Texas and the crash of an alien spaceship. The narrative has a noir detective feel with a heavy dose of Sci-Fi. There is a fair amount of violence. Poor Jeff is on the wrong end of several nasty beatings.

Well written with an unusual story line, I was sucked in from the beginning. I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to readers who like detective/mystery/thrillers in a historical fiction setting.
Profile Image for Kristine Hall.
827 reviews43 followers
January 5, 2023
I need to write a full, glowing, gushing review of what may just be my favorite book of 2022. AMAZING, intriguing, unique, and chock-full of Fort Worth history with some Twin Peaksy terrific-ness, too...and maybe some aliens. Colin Holmes has a new fan, and securing Grover Gardner to narrate this gem absolutely seals the deal. Outstanding in every aspect. I will be getting a print copy to hug and read with my eyes the 2nd time around.
Profile Image for Julie Porter.
271 reviews13 followers
March 30, 2022
Spoilers: Colin Holmes' Thunder Road is one of those detective novels that has fun playing on real events or possibly real events.

Set in the late 1940's, it borrows heavily from the hard boiled noir detective genre with the loner detective hired to solve a case that takes him right into a den of gangsters, prostitutes, corrupt officials, and many secrets yet to be exposed. But then it takes a very strange and bizarre detour into Science Fiction which either can become the highlight or the worst thing about this book.

Jefferson Sharp has been removed from his position as a cattle thief investigator with a Ft. Worth investigation company as well as his position as husband when his wife, Evelyn, files for divorce.

Divorced and unemployed, Sharp goes gambling in Ft. Worth's Thunder Road. There he is spotted by Doyle Denniker, casino owner and gangster. Denniker wants to hire Sharp to keep watch on Myron Williamson, an associate of his rival, Bobby Caples. It's a simple tail-and-report job.

The assignment ends up being anything but simple when Sharp finds himself surrounded by dead bodies, feuding gangsters, mysterious aircraft, suspicious military personnel, and a piece of what appears to be tinfoil that is out of this world.

Thunder Road is one of those types of historical detective novels that marries its fictional world with the real world and events, well allegedly real events anyway. While Sharp faces fictional gangsters and criminals he discovers that they are connected to real life gangsters, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Meyer Lansky.

Through Sharp's investigation we learn about the creation of Las Vegas from a backwater forgettable desert town to the gambling and entertainment venue that we know today. We also see how the creation of the city played into the decline of Lansky and Siegel's one time friendship.

Siegel wanted Vegas to be a glitzy success. Cost was no object. He even personally oversaw the construction of the first casino hotel, The Flamingo, later known as the Flamingo Hilton (named for the womanizing Siegel's then girlfriend, Virginia "Flamingo" Hill).

Lansky however was concerned about the cost and felt that the showboat Siegel was getting too full of himself and drawing too much attention to the illegal dealings. Unlike most friendships which end with a fight or a Twitter battle, Siegel and Lansky's friendship ended with a bullet in Siegel's head. (Fun Fact: Siegel and Lansky were the inspiration for the characters, Moe Greene and Hyman Roth respectively in The Godfather franchise.)

It's brilliant how Holmes weaves Sharp's investigation with real life people like Siegel and Lansky. It gives a sense of history to this noir novel. Thunder Road seems to be a descendant of works like James Ellway's L.A. Quartet series (which The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential are a part) which uses a fictional case to comment on the very real and salacious past of certain American cities. This connection shows that in fact and fiction, there is a dark history that leads to the problems that are still prevalent to this day.

So far not bad, but then things get weird. Because Thunder Road then references another event from the late 1940's one that you would not expect to find in the genre: the alleged U.F.O. crash in Roswell, New Mexico (that's where the tinfoil comes in).

For those that don't know: In 1947, a mysterious aircraft crashed outside Roswell, New Mexico. Eyewitnesses even saw bodies near the craft that didn't look human. Authorities insist that it was a weather balloon and the supposed bodies were merely crash test dummies. However most people believe that the craft was a U.F.O., the bodies were the alien occupants, and that the United States government covered up the crash and the results.

Some also think that the Roswell crash was also tied to the mysterious section of Nellis Air Force Base, called Area 51, in Nevada (strange how Nevada appears a lot in Thunder Road isn't it?). Many people have seen strange lights and aircraft flying in and out of Area 51. Conspiracy theorists have been obsessed with it, even to the point of planning a raid on it three years ago.

That's when Thunder Road steps away from detective noir and jumps right into science fiction conspiracy theory. It makes Thunder Road stand out from other neo noir books. The plot then makes the stakes higher than just a simple gang war. However, the book takes Sharp's investigation to a level that is distracting and only has a tangible connection at best to his initial case.

Perhaps this is a case of Holmes doing too many things in one book. Maybe he should have split the ideas into two different books. He could have kept the noir detective book in this one and put the Area 51 stuff into a separate book. Maybe he could even have saved it for another Sharp book.

Besides the separate subplots that Thunder Road takes, there are some really great things to recommend. Among them is the development of the relationship between Sharp and his female friend, Roni Arquette. Longtime friends, they have been unlucky in love with Sharp's recent divorce and the death of Roni's husband.

Roni and Sharp often taunt and tease each other but also are one another's confidant and partner. Roni even assists Sharp in his investigation by tailing and spying on potential targets.

Throughout the book, Sharp and Roni are put in danger and have some very heated arguments to disguise their developing attraction towards each other. It would be interesting if a sequel to Thunder Road comes about and not only do Roni and Sharp become romantically involved but Roni becomes his partner. She is smart and observant enough to help him out. Their barbs and wit will keep one another on their toes for the rest of their lives.

Thunder Road has some aspects that work well, maybe not necessarily together. However, Holmes' book definitely makes a thunderous addition to the detective noir genre.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Author 1 book
October 18, 2021
Connecting the Dots in a Simpler Time & Place

Once in a great while you’ll finish reading a story and think, “Man. That was awesome.” Thunder Road is such a book.

Colin Holmes’ debut novel takes us on a wild ride through post-WWII Dallas-Fort Worth and points beyond. With equal parts Old-Style Detective story, spy thriller, and sci-fi intriguer, the book doesn't stay in any single category for long.

Southwestern flavor and authentic dialog puts you right along side the hero, Jefferson Sharp, a survivor of the first order. The whole world seems to love dumping on this guy, but he gets back up every time, determined to keep going because there’s really no alternative.

Mr. Holmes does a fine job of leading the reader on, injecting laugh-out-loud humor in unexpected places and sending the story off on wild - but strangely connected - tangents. Throw in just the right amount of romance and you’ve got yourself a fine weekend read.

Highly recommended.
December 6, 2021
"Veteran and former cop, Jefferson Sharp, finds his wife cheating and gets fired from his job. Luckily, he manages to get hired on a private eye assignment, but people he meets keep getting killed, and thugs beat him up. An explosion puts Sharp in the hospital, making him worry about his safety and that of his new girlfriend. A major he knew from the war disappears, but sends Sharp a mysterious package. Sharp and his girlfriend head to Las Vegas to search for the major, but keep hearing there may be some truth behind the rumors of flying saucers. Reading about the wild times in Fort Worth and Dallas in 1947, kept me engaged until 1:00 a.m. because, like Jefferson Sharp, I had to find out what was going on."
Profile Image for Bonnye Reed.
4,093 reviews69 followers
June 24, 2022
I received a complimentary ARC of this excellent historical novel from BookSirens and Colin Holmes. I have read this historical tale of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. If you have an interest in WWII, classic cars, Area 51, the Roswell Incident, illegal gambling, and the still-active Dallas/Ft. Worth rivalry, this book is for you. It is a novel my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed, one I am pleased to recommend to friends and family. As a Roswell native who grew up with hushed secrets around the dinner table and later little green men all around the town, I found this an excellent tale. More, please Mr. Holmes. Soon?

It's June 1947, the World War II soldiers are coming home and life seems to be gearing down to the pre-war domestic bliss as the post-depression late-1930s are fondly- and usually erroneously - remembered. Jefferson Sharp was a policeman in Ft. Worth before the war, never rode a horse, didn't own a stetson or cowboy boots, and had to explain to everybody in Europe who knew he was from Texas that he was a Texas Big City Man.

But the job he takes on returning home is as a horse-mounted Stockman's Special Ranger for his father-in-law, E. G. Lavelle, the head of the Ft. Worth Cattlemen's Association, doing his best to stop the rampant rustling occurring on some of the bigger isolated ranches. He finds himself camping out with the herd, riding a borrowed horse, cooking over a campfire - all those things the world thought Texas men did for fun. Jefferson was coping, but he was not amused.

And at the first sign of trouble, a loud whirring sound and flashing colored lights coming through the early morning fog, the herd stampedes through his campsite. Right behind the cows comes an old rusted Studebaker with two men in the front seat running right through his camp and over his campfire and coffee pot. Jefferson is in full horseback pursuit, dodging returning fire when his horse steps in a gopher hole and breaks a leg, tosses him into the nearest cactus, and the rustlers escape through a section of cut fencing, pulling a trailer full of Cattlemen's Association's cows. Jeff has to shoot the horse with his last bullet, pull thorns out of his backside, and limp the three miles back to the bunkhouse. His shoulder is really bunged up and he's afraid his collarbone is broken. The rancher of course doesn't understand that Jeff's position is law enforcement and investigation, and not a security patrol, nor is he responsible for repairing the cut fence.

And his father-in-law is not the least bit sympathetic. The rustlers got away and it was his horse who broke its leg. Jefferson is royally chewed out and gets home to find his wife in bed with Smitty, another Special Ranger of the Cattlemen's Association. Maybe he had better start over this new, post-war life of his. Since his old police chief is a running buddy of his soon-to-be-former father-in-law, he has little chance of returning to the police force. Not that he would necessarily want to. He quickly gathers his stuff and finds a low-rent motel on Ft. Worth's notorious Thunder Road, home of the illegal underbelly of Ft. Worth. Jeff unloads his worldly goods in just two trips from the car and heads down the road for lunch.

At the cafe, he runs into childhood friend Roni, the little sister of his best buddy Dave who was lost in Normandy, and the widow of his police partner Frenchy lost in the Pacific. Veronica is a reporter in the District Court. She encourages him to get his Private Investigators license. She knows lawyers who often need private information gathered on their cases going before the court. Maybe one who will be willing to trade out divorce proceedings for PI work. Maybe he will do that. Yeah.

And that decision will lead him to underground gambling dens on Thunder Road, and to the July 4, 1937, Incident in Roswell, New Mexico. Which will lead him to Las Vegas, Nevada, the newly established national gambling center backed by Bugsy Segal and the East Coast Mafia, and on into Area 49. And 50.

Hey, were those little men grey, or green? Depends on who you ask...

Reviewed on June 23, 2022, at Goodreads, BookSirens, AmazonSmile, BookBub, and Kobo. I tried several times to review at B&N but though the book comes up, I was not allowed to review.
Profile Image for Mike.
171 reviews3 followers
December 8, 2022
Before reading Thunder Road, a reader must prepare for full immersion in 1940s America. I haven’t felt this immersed in a novel since reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63!

This story, initially set in post-World War II Texas, begins like a Western, with a cowboy out on the range. However, in one of the quickest segues I’ve ever read, the author brilliantly transitions to a classic gumshoe-ish novel! The protagonist, Jefferson Sharp, a World War II veteran and former detective, finds himself—on the same day—fired from a job he didn’t really like anyway, as well as divorce-bound from his wife. He decides to try out being a private eye. His pre-war connections, including guys with mob affiliations, get him a case to find a missing Army Air Force Major. What follows is a story that I was sad to see come to an end.

I mentioned being immersed in this story. My words cannot do that experience justice. The dialogue is top notch, although he only used the word, “dame,” once. I’m sure Humphrey Bogart would be disappointed. Something else that added substantially to the immersion was the smoking. Oh. My. God. Everybody smoked! Further, they all smoked unfiltered cigarettes. Well, that’s not exactly true: some characters smoked cigars. I read the Kindle version of the book, but I would not be one bit surprised if the pages of the paperback were yellowed from all the cigarette and cigar smoke! However, that’s really the way it was. It was what it was. Authenticity matters.

I only loosely consider this to be historical fiction because it includes some celebrities and events that actually existed. The celebs included Howard Hughes, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, and gangster Bugsy Siegel. Among the events are the birth of Las Vegas, the establishment of the CIA, as well as the creation of the Air Force from the Army Air Corps and the related creation of Area 51 in Nevada.

The author managed to tuck in some hidden humor. Among my favorites, near the end of the story one character tells Jeff Sharp that the Nevada state law was recently changed to allow for quickie marriages and divorces. Jeff then says, “Who’s going to elope to the middle of nowhere and get married?” I know people who would gladly—or reluctantly—raise their hands.

I think author Colin Holmes has an amazing talent for writing noir stories. If he writes another one, I will surely read it. Even if he doesn’t want to write a series, I encourage him to revisit this period in future novels.

This book is also available as an audiobook. If the video Book Trailer is any indication of how good the narration would be, it’s going to be next level!

This is one of those very few books where I read very slowly and even put off reading the ending because I didn’t want the story to end. That’s probably about the highest praise I can give any book. My comment to author Colin Holmes, “Please, sir. I want some more!”
Profile Image for Lisa.
403 reviews38 followers
December 11, 2022
Take a dollop of Western, a splash of sci-fi, a generous pinch of noir, and a sprinkling of romance, and you might come close to describing Thunder Road. Think of it like the Rifleman finding himself dropped into a casino scene from a James Bond movie crossed with The X-Files. (Now that I think about it, I did picture someone rather like Chuck Connors as our protagonist while I was reading!)

Former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is working as a livestock detective for the Fort Worth and Western Stockmen’s Association. Life has gone a little sideways for him, as an unexplainable incident out in the field led to him having to put his horse down, losing his job, and finding out his wife has been cheating on him with his biggest rival. So when a local mobster hires Sharp to find an Army Air Force Major who’s disappeared from his top secret job owing the mobster a pretty fat gambling debt, Sharp takes the opportunity.

Boy, does that decision lead him some places. It’s 1947. Something has happened in Roswell, New Mexico, and Las Vegas isn’t much more than a blip on the map with delusions of grandeur. Sharp finds himself rubbing elbows with the underworld on Fort Worth’s notorious Thunder Road, confronting the military-industrial complex, and heading off into the desert to find answer to some questions that dangerous men might not want asked.

Colin Holmes has a way with words, and he creates a 1940s setting that really sucks the reader in! The story he tells is entertaining and suspenseful, and made me snort-laugh in a few places like a good Terry Pratchett tale does. He also does a great job of weaving in actual historical figures like Howard Hughes, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky, adding to the enthralling nature of the world he’s constructed.

I like the relationship between Jefferson and Roni. It isn’t an insta-romance. He’s a little slow on the uptake in figuring out that Roni isn’t his buddy’s kid sister anymore (maybe in part because his marriage has only very recently ended), and her exasperation with his slowness is just right. The ending of the book hints at more story to come, and I hope we see what direction life takes them.

Thunder Road may not have been the book I expected (because really, who could anticipate this level of genius?), but it was definitely the book I needed. Just the right amount of tension to keep you turning pages, enough intrigue to keep you guessing, and a perfect little kiss of romance for sweetness. I’d give it ten stars if I could, and I can’t wait to read more from Colin Holmes.
Profile Image for Danielle.
117 reviews2 followers
April 17, 2022
Holmes constructs a well-written story from a bygone era, filled with rich history, a compelling plot, and a main protagonist who you want to follow into the unknown.

It’s set in the 1940’s, the story starts with small town vibes and is reminiscent of a simpler time. The dialogue and setting give an authentic feel and captures a sense of time.

The story unfolds from Sharp’s point of view, he’s sarcastic, witty, and I enjoyed his wry observations. His narrative captured my attention straight away and held it throughout.

Jefferson Sharp is a man that’s experienced more than most, he’s a WWII veteran, former cattle detective, branching out into the world of being a private investigator. When his friend Doyle asks him to look into a competitor, Caples, Sharp is happy to dig up information and tail him.

Then out of no where there’s explosions, kidnapping, people disappearing, conspiracies, and you realise there’s way more to Doyle’s assignment then meets the eye.

When Major Cartwright goes missing leaving Sharp a cryptic note, he vows to get to the bottom of it. It’s a slow burn, I liked the pacing and getting to know the characters as different pieces of the puzzle were slowly revealed.

I loved Roni, although she’s been through so much loss and tragedy she’s fierce, loyal and not afraid to get involved. Sharp teams up with her to keep his cover and an entertaining night ensues. They complement each other well and I liked the will they won’t they element.

As the danger levels rise they find themselves on a road trip to Las Vegas hoping to find the missing answers to finally be able to connect the dots. The mafia, CIA, government, and Air Force all seem to be in cahoots. Everyone has their own interests at heart, even those closest to Sharp are keeping secrets.

I had no clue where the story was going to end up, and as it takes a sinister turn it’s hard to know who the good guys are. Morally ambiguous acts are committed all in the name of national security.

The ending creeps up and injects an added layer to the story which is an unexpected twist and really adds to the overall picture. It’s a bit of a western, a detective story, and a sci-fi all rolled into one – these elements seamlessly weave together and nothing feels out of place. If you’re looking for an original read then look no further, it’s a wonderful debut.

With thanks to @BlackthornTours, @bycolinholmes and @CamCatBooks for a place on the tour and the opportunity to read and review this book

Profile Image for Shirley Schwartz.
1,114 reviews59 followers
April 19, 2023
I received the audible version of this book from NetGalley, and would like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to listen to this book. Following is my review, which I offer as thanks. This is quite the book for a novice author, and this is his first novel. Colin Holmes does a great job on the plot. It moves along swiftly, and there's lots of excitement throughout. I also liked his main character--Jefferson Sharp. Sharp is an ex-militia, just recently returned from WWII. Sharp is a former Ranger who is currently down on his luck when we meet him. He takes a job as a Livestock Enforcer, and gets pretty beat up after a fruitless chase after cattle rustlers when we first meet him. He has an odious boss who also happens to be his father-in-law. When he arrives home unexpectedl , he catches his wife in bed with another hombre. So now Sharp is out of a job and a home. His main claim to fame is the he is a semi-professional poker player, and while at a game nursing his wounds, the owner of The Four Deuces poker palace on Thunder Road in Fort Worth, Texas, asks Jeff to take on a job for him. Sharp agrees, but warily because he knows that Doyle Deneker is well-connected to the Mob. Deneker wants him to tail an Army Major. From then on we're on a whirl-wind ride as Sharp falls into one rabbit hole or another, and it isn't long before he realizes that this job for Deneker is far more dangerous than he was led to believe. He kicks over a lot of hornets' nests, and finds himself dodging bullets and bombs all over the place. When he hooks up with his best friend's sister, things get really interesting. The book was exciting and fun. I loved Sharp and Ronnie, and even the bad guys were entertaining. Unfortunately, the book started to fall short for me when Sharp discovers an other-worldly clue, that really comes out of nowhere. From Texas to Arizona to Las Vegas, it's a wild ride as we ride along with Sharp and Ronnie. I found the ending to be a bit unsatisfying, and things seemed to left up in the air. But, I am happy I listened to the book, and enjoyed the diversion of Jefferson Sharp, who is a new kind of anti-hero. Grover Gardener does a fine job of narrating this whirlwind of a book.
Profile Image for Désirée Nordlund.
Author 11 books13 followers
April 17, 2022
Colin Holmes knows how to handle written language. It was a pleasure to read this novel.
We follow Jeff Sharp from where he comes home to find his wife in bed with another man and he starts a new life without her, to a dangerous game with high stakes when he gets involved in the disappearance of a major working with secret things in the Nevada desert.

The pace was too slow for my taste. The Major in question does not disappear until over a third of the book is read already. Interesting things happen in the meantime for sure, but nothing I felt was part of the story I thought I was reading: a crime noir.

I began to wonder why everyone smoked like chimneys, there were no cell phones, and there were wristwatches worth repairing. Then I read the description of the book again and saw that the story took place in 1947. If you miss this detail, the story becomes rather confusing. On the other hand, the author has caught the mode of the time well.

Since I am not an American — even less living in Texas — there were a few things that should have been better described to give me a correct picture of what was going on. An example of this is the main character Sharp’s two hats. One is in felt and he leaves this for getting cleaned and re-shaped. Another is a straw hat. My image of a felt hat is a fedora, not a cowboy hat, which I later learn that Sharp’s hat probably is. And a straw hat for me is something you use for the beach, which Sharp’s hat is not, obviously, but I cannot see for my inner eye what kind of hat it is.

I am not sure if I like Jeff Sharp. He is a fellow that helps you when you are in trouble and I would probably feel safe being around him. Still, he is married to a woman he has no trouble leaving without a second’s thought. And he does not realize that Roni is worth the trouble until she puts on a nice dress. Personally, I would dump a guy who does not find me interesting enough in everyday life.

But all this is my personal views and does not stop the novel from being interesting and worth reading. And as I said in the beginning, the language is fantastic and makes this book worthy of your time. I will sure read more books by Colin Holmes.
Profile Image for Karen Siddall.
Author 1 book53 followers
December 18, 2022
Thunder Road hits the ground running!

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.

Profile Image for Barbara Schultz.
2,920 reviews159 followers
May 7, 2023
Book Title: Thunder Road
Author: Colin Holmes (Debut Author)
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Publisher: CamCat Books
Genre: Mystery, Noir, Historical Fiction and Noir
(I had to look up ‘Noir” it is a sub-genre, the protagonist is usually not a detective, but
instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. He is someone tied directly to the
crime, not an outsider called to solve or fix the situation.

Pub Date was: February 15, 2022
My Rating: 4 Stars!
Pages: 384

I am one of those readers who always have two books going on at the same time. One is an audiobook and I was all caught up with my audio TTBR list. When I read the blurb on this is sounded okay but when I saw it was narrated by Grove Gardner, I knew his performance would be good as well as entertaining.
He is the narrator for the Andy Carpenter series – which are always fun!
This story starts when an Army Air Force Major vanishes from his Top Secret job at the Fort Worth airbase in the summer of 1947, down-on-his-luck previously in the Military as a former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is hired to find him. Apparently the Major owes gambling debt to a local mobster.
He joins forces with an old friend their search takes them from the hideaway poker rooms of Fort Worth's Thunder Road and they hit the road to Roswell (yes, that Roswell), to secret facilities under construction in the Nevada desert.
The 1947 nostalgia had me laughing - e.g. complaining about the $0.15 cost of hot dogs at a baseball game and the invention of plastic and of course flying saucers!
Story was better than I expected. It appears Colin Holsem has a sense of humor and certainly picked the right narrator to not only read his words but perform the characters!

Want to thank NetGalley and CamCat Books for granting me this audiobook.
Publishing Release Date was February 15, 2022
Profile Image for Shelly.
Author 1 book21 followers
May 9, 2023
The noir-mystery genre is one that I dove head-first into a few years ago and devour them up in between all the romance I read to balance me out. Because of the lack of color TV prior to the 1950’s, I love being swept away in a black-and-white picture that plays out in the words before me. With the bit of sci-fi inclusion, I felt like I was reading a spin-off of the Twilight Zone mixed with a detective flick. Colin Holmes delivers in a big way with this novel!

The post WWII setting of Fort Worth, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada are the perfect backdrops to set the stage for each layer. To me, this is a critical time in history for the entire country – as well as mankind. The unique happenings all across the US were rolling in from all directions — and even outside of our standard purview (i.e. outer space!). Having them layered in with personal problems that plague our hero gives the reader a very well-rounded book. I even got a bit of romance! Ranger Jefferson Sharp has his personal world fall apart just before he’s catapulted onto a new path that leads him into unknown territory. It’s dark, adventurous, and compelling for anyone looking for a read that is outside the box.

If you’re a fan of the tv series Fringe that ran from 2008-2013, you may remember an episode that pulled a bit of noir mystery in with the sci-fi. This is right up that alley, and I was here for all of it. I enjoyed that Sharp keeps a level head despite the entire world shifting before his very eyes. I’m impressed that this is a debut novel and I sincerely hope that there are many more of these to come. This is a fantastic read!

I received a complimentary copy for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Rox Burkey.
Author 42 books103 followers
December 13, 2022
Colin Holmes depicts a bygone era of the 1940s with the renowned gangsters, the creation of Las Vegas, and post-WWII characters. The blending of history, romantic noir, and science fiction results in a remarkable story. Jefferson Sharp is an extraordinary mixture of Texas cowboy, law enforcement, veteran, and gambler with an irresistible personality. Veronica, Roni, connects with her childhood friend, Jefferson, in a way he never saw coming.

The words were masterfully positioned to paint vivid images of places, people, and things including a fabulous car that readers will want in their driveway. The story moved fluidly from one scene to the next increasing the suspense and thrills. The mixture of humor with known quirky celebs like Bugsy Siegel, Louie Armstrong, and Howard Hughes and the highway to hell Jacksboro Highway aka Thunder Road where gambling was available for several years.

The dramatic shift to New Mexico and Area 51 reminds readers that the government protection from the unknown was alive and well. It is a controversial discussion that lives on as legend at a time when the war allowed an alteration in military structure. The historical events are woven together into a perfect tapestry of storytelling with readers begging for more.

The delightful voice acting of Grover Gardner perfectly relates the story with emphasis, pauses, and error free delivery. To be honest, this is a story that you will want to listen to or read with a one, two punch as you rush to the end hoping you’ll find more. Colin Holmes is a masterful storyteller whom I will look to read again. Five stars seems like he’s short changed.
877 reviews4 followers
April 15, 2022
*4.5 Stars On My Instagram Account*

"Well now, I'm no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood..."

Now that's a line from, in my humble opinion, the best Bruce Springsteen song, Thunder Road. It is also the song I kept hearing in my head reading the wild crime noir drama Thunder Road by eclectic author Colin Holmes.

Like the song this book is about a down on his luck would be hero who seeks redemption and may have just found the woman to help him.

In 1947 Former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is divorced and unemployed when he is hired to find an Army Air Force Major who went missing during a top secret mission. Seems the Major owes gambling debts to some angry mobsters.

Jefferson's investigation takes him to Nevada before Las Vegas was what it is now. With a nod to real life gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky to reclusive Howard Hughes the story turns from a bow to my favorite movie Casablanca to a tribute to the iconic TV show The X Files. Imagine Humphrey Bogart dealing with UFOs in Roswell instead of Nazis in Casablanca!

Then there is Jefferson and Roni. She is the girl that when he gets on the road will, "...climb in, its a town full of losers and (we're) pulling out of here to win."

From smoky poker dens to desert highways, fron dangerous men to sultry women, from humans versus aliens, and from desolation to hope Thunder Road is the only way out.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kelly Marie Purdy.
554 reviews19 followers
April 17, 2022

I found this to be a book that quickly sparked my interest without too much going on.

I felt that the protagonist, Jefferson Sharp, was an interesting and likeable character, and he was presented in a way that helped readers to identify with him, and maybe sympathise with the situations that he found himself in. For me, a likeable protagonist is something that's important, because if I don't like or relate to them, that affects my enjoyment of the book. Sharp, in my opinion, seemed like a character who had good intentions and tried his best, even if things didn't always work out in his favour.

I appreciated the bonds and connections between the characters, particularly the chemistry between Sharp and Roni. As a reader, I hoped for a happy ending for the two of them, and that was something else that motivated me to keep reading.

I found the book quite light and pleasant to read - it held my interest without being overly descriptive and didn't have any content or themes that I found unsettling or disturbing. The combination of a Western and a thriller/mystery was something that also struck me as interesting, and in that sense, this book didn't remind me of anything else I had read. So if there were more stories featuring Jefferson Sharp as a character in the future, I may be interested in reading them.
Profile Image for Amys Bookshelf Reviews.
393 reviews23 followers
April 18, 2022
Grand Read

What a grand story in Thunder Road by Colin Holmes. This is the first book of Holmes that I've read, and I really liked it. Holmes has an interesting writing style, and it was great how he was able to merge different genres, so they just fit the story. It's an interestingly chilling story, and he brings the characters alive, even taking the reader back to the 1940's. If you're only aware of the 1940s by historical information (as I am), this fit the era, and how it was so interesting. It's a mash of historical and thrilling layers of plot lines. The plot drives the story, bringing the characters along with them. It's a well-written drama, and definitely made me a fan of Holmes. When I first saw the title, and the cover of the book, it brought me back to the musical "Grease" and their version of "thunder road." Then, I read this story, and I really enjoyed it, and embraced the story. This author is a great storyteller. The story brings the reader on a superb journey. This author has a great imagination and I'm glad it's being shared with stories. I hope to read more books by this author. Thunder Road is a definite recommendation by Amy's Bookshelf Reviews.
Profile Image for Joan.
3,649 reviews66 followers
May 10, 2023
What an interesting and wide ranging novel. It is a combination of western, detective story and science fiction. I like the historical aspect and the inclusion of actual historical figures. There are several conspiracy aspects to this novel involving the military, warring mobsters and agents of the newly minted CIA. Because of that, the plot is quite involved but it all comes relatively clear near the end. I like Sharp as the hero. He has a dogged commitment to pursue the truth even though it brings him into the realm of danger.

It took a while for me to get into the rhythm of the book. I was unclear as to where the plot was actually going for some time. At the end I was glad I read the book. Readers who always felt there was more than meets the eye to Area 51 will enjoy this novel. And people who wonder how in the world Las Vegas, in the middle of a desert, became such a rousing place will also appreciate this novel. It is a fun adventure into what might have actually happened years ago.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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