Saturday, March 23, 2013

Avenged. Pacific Coast Justice Series.



I was not a reader of mysteries. Not until I met the phenomenal Ollie Chandler Series by Randy Alcorn. Deadline, Dominion and Deception opened up a new kind of books for me, and I have been looking for another mystery series ever since. In God's Providential timing, I joined Netgalley this month and Tyndale was offering  Avenged by Janice Cantore. This book is the third book in The Pacific Coast Justice series, which follow the life of police officer Carly Edwards and her husband Nick. A series with a title like that sounds so good...and it is.

After putting away a man who murdered his wife, Theresa Burke, who was the mayor of Las Playas, Carly is considering moving to detectives division. She loves patrol and her partner Joe is a brother to her, but maybe it is time for a change.
Then comes the night Carly finds herself and Joe responding to the sounds of gun shots, and discover three young gangsters shot in the head. Only one of them is alive.

When Joe is injured during a foot pursuit of a gang leader, military weapons taken from an Army base where a reservist was killed are found in the gang leaders stolen car. The gang leader insists he didn't buy the weapons. They were given to him by a man who says he just wants to even the score after the three shootings.

Nick, Carly's husband, is now working in gang division after recovering from a shooting that left him wounded around a year before.
When he is caught in the middle of a gang-style drive-by shooting in which his partner Mickey is wounded, Nick thinks this is not all gang war as it seems. Someone is behind this. Who wants to start a gang war, and why? The Army base where the guns were stolen from lost explosives in the same theft, enough explosives to blow quite a big crater out of their city.
Who wants that much explosive? Is it "Oceans First," a radical environmentalist group that has created a tent city in Las Playas to hamper construction?

To Carly it seems there is one place that stays the same, Half Baked and Almost Grounded, the local coffeeshop where Ned and Ericka work. Until Ned's brother arrives, fresh out of a ten year sentence and covered with prison tattoos, showing evidence of some serious prison weight training.
He is Trouble with a capital T, and he threatens that one day he is going to hold all the cards.
When Londy, a reformed gang member and employee at Half Baked disappears and is left bound to a newly made bomb in the back of a van in Carly and Nick's driveway, they know that someone with murderous plans is watching them.

Carly is a strong and feminine character. In book three she has remarried Nick, whom she had divorced after he had an affair. As Christians now they have committed to a godly marriage and partnership. Carly insists in trying to leave Nick out of her troubles, fearing that she will hurt him by "distracting" him from his work- and distraction in police work might be fatal. This was a line from one of my favorite scenes: "When we were married the first time, it was my life and your life and we both did a lot of lone ranger stuff. But now I thought we were a team- a partnership- and here you want to shut me out of what's hurting you."
I love their relationship- very realistic, with him wanting to protect her and her admiring him so much as he works the job he loves. I also appreciate Nick's desire to start a family, something that neither one wanted before they were saved. I can picture Carly being a good mother to children. She has a softness and a strength to her.

This book picks up to a quick pace and has a good bit of intensity. There are plot twists in it that I could not imagine untangling in one book...and this book is 378 pages long, giving us time for things to develop.
I read Avenged without reading either Accused or Abducted, and that only made me want to read the first and second books more! I am looking forward to reading books one and two, and I see a preview in the back of this book for Janice Cantore's next book....which I hope I will have the pleasure of reviewing! I can honestly say- I loved this book, including the adventure of reading it aloud to eager family who was listening!

As G. K. Chesterton said, "The detective story at its best allows the full range of human motivation, from hatred and greed to a desire for redemption, to play out in limitless ways. Moreover, given the universality of human emotion, the settings for a good detective story can be just as varied, from country houses to urban offices."

"Both the crimes and the confessions can be as catastrophic as lightning. Indeed, The Ideal Detective Story might do some good if it brought men back to understand that the world is not all curves, but that there are some things that are as jagged as the lightning-flash or as straight as the sword." 

Makes me want to write a detective novel. 

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