||Night Shadows Press
Barnes & Noble.com
Nashville Mystery Writer Chester D. Campbell
The is the first book in the new Sid Chance Mystery Series. Now a PI, Sid was a Green Beret in Vietnam, a National Parks ranger, and small town police chief.
When the state and outraged neighbors come after a small company over a toxic chemical spill, Nashville PI Sid Chance is hired to find who is responsible. The pollution occurred before the current owner bought the property. A former Green Beret in Vietnam, National Park ranger, and small town police chief, Sid quickly finds all his leads point to dead ends. A night-time explosion behind his associate's house, threats, and three possibly-connected murders turn up the heat. Sid finds a task that looked routine has turned deadly. As the tension mounts, he discovers the unsavory people responsible for malicious accusations of bribery that brought his police career to an untimely end.
Sid shut down the computer, dashed out to his car, and raced toward his house. He slowed on reaching his street. He kept his eyes moving from side to side, like watching a ping-pong match. He saw no cars except those parked in driveways. He spotted no one on foot.
When he turned into his driveway, it triggered the motion detector and the lights flashed on. He circled around the back and hit the garage door opener. Easing the car in beside his truck, he glanced about the garage but saw nothing that sparked any concern.
As he stepped out of the car, two soft popping noises froze him.
The sharp clang of metal against metal followed instantly.
Having fired suppressed weapons, he recognized the sound made by a silenced gun. What had they hit? He ducked beside the car. He heard what sounded like air escaping from tires. If somebody was shooting at him, he realized, he’d already be dead.
He reached over to the door opener controls and switched off the light. Hugging the wall, he moved toward the open door. The eve lights angled outward toward the lawn, leaving the garage mostly in darkness. When he reached the back, the faint glow was enough to show the pickup’s rear wheels resting on a flat bed of rubber.
Sid stared out across the darkened lawn but could see no one. The shooter may have slipped through the yard behind to the next street or escaped along the riverbank. He had no doubt it was Scarface. It made him mad as hell. Shooting his truck was almost as big a sin as shooting at him. He took another careful look around, then accepted there was nothing he could do about it at the moment.
Sid closed the overhead door, entered the house, and shut off the alarm. He walked into the living room and turned on the TV. Switching to camera monitor mode, he watched the succession of pictures showing the view from each side of the house. The lights were off now. All quiet.
The phone rang.
He picked it up and was about to answer when a voice he recognized as Scarface said, “You’re lucky, Chance. This time it was just tires.”
A Top Rate Mystery
Chester Campbell’s latest, THE SUREST POISON introduces a new character, PI Sid Chance and his side kick Jaz LeMieux. Sid lives just outside Nashville and is a former Police Chief who wanted to just retire and get away from it all. His friend Jaz works her magic and talks him into taking a case and becoming a PI. With this book opening she has pulled some strings and gotten him another case. A local lawyer is representing a business owner in trouble with the authorities because of a chemical spill at his plant caused by the previous owners. Unfortunately the previous owners are more than a bit elusive. The further along Sid gets, the stranger things become and it soon becomes clear these are people who want their privacy. Something very hinky is going on.
Chance is a great character, 59 years old, Viet Nam vet, ex cop and relentless. Campbell’s work here is his best yet and the book has a natural rhythm that moves the story along at a nice pace. The people who populate the book are realistic and nothing feels forced, its as if Campbell is just telling their story without embellishing, which I found refreshing. A top rate mystery by a gem of a writer.
Jon Jordan, Editor, Crimespree Magazine
Heart Stopping, Action Packed Whodunit
THE SUREST POISON is the fifth book penned by octogenarian mystery writer Chester D. Campbell. Proving that you don't have to be in your 30s or 40s to write a heart stopping, action packed whodunit, this former journalist, magazine editor, public relations genius, and political speechwriter i s finally channeling his love for the written word into the kind of fiction writing that those with a penchant for Lawrence Block can enjoy.
THE SUREST POISON is the start of a new series. Loyal mystery readers may know that thus far Mr. Campbell is renowned for his Greg McKenzie series. The Sid Chance mystery presents a foray into the world of a former small town police chief falsely accused of bribery who, after a long hiatus from society, comes back as a private investigator to chase criminals on the private payroll rather than at the taxpayer's behest.
THE SUREST POISON pits Sid Chance and his indomitable sometimes-sidekick Jaz LeMieux against a small town shyster, a former auto parts shop that seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth - except for the sickening pollution left behind - and several dead bodies that seem to be piling up quite rapidly because of the old business.
The cast of characters is reminiscent of John Sturges' "Magnificent Seven" or the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but without the capes and transformations. Chester Campbell succeeds in crafting a solid "good versus bad," "law versus lawlessness," and "little guy taking on the machinations of scheming lawyers" mystery that has more twists and turns than you average rollercoaster. Ex cops, detectives, a judge, journalists and others form a loosely knit poker round where the case is discussed and solutions suggested.
The result is a happy ending - albeit with a fly in the ointment! - that can be squarely traced back to solid investigative work. As an avid mystery reader, I am in awe at the writing skill of Mr. Campbell who can make even a records search sound interesting on paper -- no deus ex machina for this writer!
Mystery readers who like solid whodunits without clichés, easy answers, and stereotypical female characters will love Chester D. Campbell's THE SUREST POISON!
Now, if he could only write faster and release the next few installments in this new Sid Chance Mystery series...
Sylvia Cochran, Associated Content Arts & Entertainment
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