Val Bosanquet, a former New Orleans detective, is offered a job as Chief of a campus PD. A Haitian child killer he helped convict for the murder of her mother has just been enrolled at the university. Val stumbles across new evidence linking the ten-year old murder to a disgraced cop and one of America's most popular sportswear companies. Corporate corruption and Voodoo make for a volatile mix in the Deep South.
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An Evil Shadow
As he lowered his head to spit in the sink, he caught a face reflected in the mirror. A mountain of a man with skin as shiny and black as an eggplant, his long hair hanging down in braids tied off with red and blue ribbon. Warholís Marilyn Monroe adorned the front of his short-sleeved shirt. The man grinned wickedly, displaying a solid gold bicuspid.
Jackson knew the dental work only too well. Gilett and he had worked together on countless occasions and Jackson had considered him an ally. The manís unannounced manifestation in his bathroom suggested that he had been wrong.
The stiletto blade in his hand confirmed it.
Jackson twisted around and spat a stream of mouthwash straight into the manís eyes. Momentarily blinded, Gilettís stabbing thrust veered off course slightly and deflected against a collarbone instead of severing Jacksonís spine as intended. Locking his hands together, Jackson clubbed his attacker, catching him off balance. He followed up by grabbing a handful of hair and slamming the manís head against the Spanish tiles on the bathroom wall. He seized hold of Gilettís right wrist. It felt as hard and rigid as a baseball bat. There was no way he could match Gilett for strength. He made a claw of his other hand and raked his eyes.
Gilett caught his arm and pushed it away before he had inflicted any real damage.
They wrestled for dominance, grunting with effort, their feet slipping on the marble floor. A cloud of steam enveloped them as Garth Brooks started into Friends in Low Places
Gilettís cannonball of a head was inches from Jacksonís. Close enough for him to catch the heavy sour stench of rum on his breath. Jackson tried to sink his teeth into a cheek. Gilett pulled away and butted him.
Richard Askenase 8/15/10
I purchased this book and am writing this review in response to a posting by the author on the Amazon Kindle forum lamenting that there were no reviews of any of his books. Therefore, I humbly weigh in.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/action thriller set in New Orleans (always a treat to read a book set in this fascinating city). Val Bosanquet, the main character, is a former police officer (detective?) from NO, who retired after capturing a young girl, Marie Duval, who killed her own mother while defending herself from her mother's voodoo torture/ceremonies. She was only 9 at the time. Although convicted of the crime, the extenuating circumstance allowed her to obtain mental and other rehab. Now, ten years later, with the help of a Haitian charitable organization, she will enroll as a freshman at New Orleans University- which will be controversial due to her violent past. The school hires Val to be the new chief of campus police, believing that his past involvement with her will help diffuse the problems.
Val, still shadowed emotionally by that old case, agrees. As he does so, he begins to learn new facts about that old crime, leading to investigate the Haitian charity, a famous athletic goods manufacturer, and old "Baby Doc" Duvalier's (of Haiti) followers and enemies in a series of new corruptions, some related to that old crime.
With many twists and turns, a heavy dose of the Haitian community, voodoo, and the bayou areas around the city, the story rapidly moves forward to a series of well built climaxes. In short, this is a fine mystery, with well defined characters, good action, and a satisfying conclusion. I will read more of his books, and encourage others to do so.
Author Interview - Indie Books Unbound 8/21/2010
Aj Davidson has been writing for over 15 years; he has published numerous crime novels, a non-fiction account of kidnapping in Northern Ireland, and even a play. A well-seasoned Indie Author, he has been involved with Large Presses, Small Presses, and Independent Presses. Graciously, AJ offered to be the first in a series of Indie Author Interviews.
IBU: Aj, when did you begin to write fiction?
AJ: I started writing fiction in 1995. My first manuscript was Phoenix, a thriller set in Madeira, Spain and Gibraltar. Unfortunately, the plot was linked to the IRA and political progress in N. Ireland made the story redundant. A bit like spy stories going out of fashion after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the regime changes in Russia. The book sat in a drawer for a year before I rewrote it to allow for the peace talks. No sooner had I finished, than the political background shifted again. So the story went back to the drawer, where it remains Ė still gathering dust.
IBU: In addition to your fiction, you have written a non-fiction account of kidnappings in Northern Ireland that were well publicized. Can you tell us about that?
AJ: My first book contract was with Gill & Macmillan. The commission was for Kidnapped, a non-fiction book about Irish people caught up in kidnapping. The fact that I knew two of the kidnappers, but only one of the victims, some might say, was a sign of a misspent youth. Several of the kidnaps made headlines around the world; Brian Keenan and Shergar being two such stories.
IBU: You knew the kidnappers? How did that happen?
AJ: Growing up in N. Ireland during the troubles was a very determining experience, in that violence and atrocity became commonplace. With a population of just one-and-half million, it was inevitable that paths would cross. My neighbour was a quiet young man, Dessie OíHare, who went on to become an enforcer with the INLA, a Republican paramilitary group, killing upwards of thirty people. He was known in the media as the Border Fox. He was finally caught after kidnapping a dentist and cutting off the victimís fingers when the ransom was delayed. Released from prison in 2009, he has lived a quiet life since.
IBU: And the other kidnapper?
AJ: The other kidnapper I knew well was a police officer with the RUC. After a fellow officer was killed and another abducted by the IRA, he and a colleague kidnapped a priest and threatened that the cleric would be killed if the officer was not freed. Unfortunately, the abducted officer had already been killed; the priest was released unharmed.
IBU: Wow, that must have been quite an experience writing such a book. How did people react?
AJ: Kidnapped was a best seller, and I still receive wonderful letters from people whose lives were so dramatically affected. A year ago I was contacted by the grandchild of one kidnap victim. The unfortunate man was murdered by his IRA kidnappers and his wife, devastated by grief, took her own life some years later when his body was eventually found. As did their eldest daughter who had unwittingly admitted the kidnappers into their house. With no family left to talk with about her grandfather, I was able to put her in contact with people who had known and respected him.
IBU: Many of your novels have very particular details about cultures, locations, or history. How do you research this information?
AJ: With a background in anthropology it was a given that I would incorporate some cultural aspects in my stories, and having always been a bit of a rolling stone Iíve picked up a lot of trivia over the years. My wife claims that Iím a sponge, soaking up information that I will store for years. I tend not to do a lot of research when Iím writing, leaving it to end before checking out the details. Iíve found out that, for me, researching in advance of writing meant too much time was wasted as my story might go off at a tangent and render the research useless.
IBU: How about your characters? Do you take the develop before the plot approach, or the develop as you go approach?
AJ: I develop them as I write. I rarely do much outlining before I start a book, preferring to let the story and the characters decide what direction the story will go. Writing should be an adventure, a journey of discovery. Perhaps itís for this reason that I have never suffered writerís block.
IBU: Speaking of writing as an adventure, why have you chosen to be an Indie Author?
AJ: My main motivation for becoming an Indie author was to be involved in such a rapidly evolving industry. Letís face it, until recently the book business had changed little since the days of William Caxton. But the last few years have seen a revolution, and weíre only scratching the surface. Authors are free to write the books they want to; readers can buy the sort of books they want to read.
IBU: What other changes do you foresee with the advent of popular e-readers?
AJ: I believe the next big change will be the addition of soundtracks to e-books. This has already happened in a limited way. Imagine reading a scene set in a busy city and hearing traffic and street sounds as you read. A scene set near a stream could have the sound of water trickling and bird calls added, even the cicadas.
IBU: That would certainly change the entire production of a novel! Any other changes you can foresee?
AJ: Another possible change is the ability for authors to write alternative endings and receive instant feedback.
IBU: Those are some interesting suggestions. Changing the topic a bit: what books and authors have been the most inspirational to you?
AJ: My two favorite books are The Long Goodbye and The Last Good Kiss. But my most inspirational writers have to James Lee Burke, Michael Connolly, Robert Crais and Harlan Coben. I read voraciously and could easily list thirty or forty writers that I admire greatly. Any writer who finishes a book has to be applauded; it takes determination and dedication.
IBU: Speaking of finishing a book, any new projects we can expect from you soon?
AJ: Iím almost finished Death Sentence. A deputy sheriff finds a young woman who had been abducted ten years previously, one of four women that disappeared at that time. He helps her come to terms with her ordeal and eventually marries her. Then young women start to go missing again. The deputy realizes that his new wife holds the key to finding the victims, but is she as innocent as he believes? The story is set around Clinton, Louisiana, a location that I used in Piwkoís Proof.
Aspen Mountain Press is also publishing Decoys in the fall. This serial killer book is set in the seedy world of Miamiís fidelity testing agencies. A young rookie police officer is asked to go undercover, as the bait in a honey trap, in an attempt to discover how a killer is targeting his victims.
IBU: Fantastic! We look forward to the release of those two novels. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions!
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