Cal Rogan may be a former detective, turned junkie, but that in no way diminishes his intuition nor his skills as a detective. When his best friend, Kevin, was murdered - yet everyone insisted it was a suicide - only two people wanted the answers: Cal and Kevin's dying father.
Even with an addiction to battle, Cal would turn over every stone to prove his best friend did not take his own life, despite the desperate situation he soon learned Kevin had been facing.
Junkie was an apt portrayal of addiction. The cravings took priority over everything, and everyone. The evidence shows how his addiction to heroin detroyed his marriage, even threatened his relationship with his little girl. Even the friends who had held him in high regard had trouble trusting the new Cal.
Despite the break-up of his marriage, Cal still loved his wife. His little girl - he could never live without. In fact, his little girl is the reason he chose to survive and face another day, no matter how hellish that day might turn out to be.
As for Cal's connections, because he was homeless he had connections with people from his past, and from his life on the streets. Though he felt a sense of betrayal at his previous comrades not trusting him and/or his instincts - not taking him seriously - he had to admit to having a few trust issues of his own.
Admittedly, the pages flew by as I entered what I could only refer to as a maze, so intricately written. The journey was, at times, painful but the writing was absolutely spectacular. There is no doubt Robert P. French has a brilliant mind.
If you would like to read this action-packed crime-fiction thriller suspense novel, visit Junkie's page on Amazon.
When I first heard of Cal Rogan, he sounded intriguing and, having an opportunity to buy three books in one, I took the opportunity - only having read the synopsis for the first book.
I finished that one and it was on to the second in the series at which time I read the synopsis. Phrases such as "ritualistic murder" and "religious cult" sent shudders through my spine.
I got in touch with French and made my apologies, telling him I would have to skip reading Oboe and go right into the third book. He replied almost immediately to assure me I should give it a chance, telling me he didn't dwell on details and thought I would really enjoy the story. I took him at his word and have never looked back.
Cal, the detective, is on fire to solve a case involving the murder of a young boy which appears to be ritualistic in nature. As a family man, his ex-wife and daughter remain the two people closest to his heart. As an addict, he has been winning his battle against heroin for 15 months - until something happens which threatens to spiral his life out of control.
To say I enjoyed the story is an understatement. It truly does have more twists and turns than a rattlesnake - from Cal's personal life to his life as a detective. Even when the mystery of a young boy's murder seemed to have been solved, Cal's gut sensed something was missing - and it turned out he was right. In fact, I wondered if Cal's mind would ever be settled; it seemed there was always something more that had to come together for him to feel the case had truly been solved. I am usually good at solving mysteries but this one had so many layers, I didn't stand a chance of unravelling them.
In actuality, I believe I enjoyed Oboe even more than Junkie, and I loved reading Junkie. Now I wait with breathless anticipation to see what the third book, Lockstep, will bring. If you would like to read Oboe, click here to visit its page on Amazon.
In Lockstep, the disappearance of a young girl tugged at my core. It didn't matter that she was a fictional child; she could have been any one of the young girls who have been kidnapped throughout a countless number of years. I was worried about her as I would have been if it was my own child or grandchild. In fact, it has always been a fear lurking in the background, that terror one would realize if a child did not come home or disappeared from home.
Becoming personal for a few moments: I know I am a strong individual but I have stated for numerous years that I would lose my mind if anything of that nature ever happened to one of my children/grandchildren. I've felt someone would have to lock me up and throw away the key if the time came that an officer came to my door and told me they could no longer continue with the search, that there were no answers.
My mind is graphic. It has the great possibility of imagining the worst, just as it can hope for the best. In a situation that a search for my child/grandchild was dropped, I would conjure up the
worst and could never live with the aftermath...or so I feel. The truth is I never want to find out the reality of what would happen. No parent/grandparent ever does - but there are some very
strong people who, somehow, have endured the worst of news about their child/grandchild.
Thankfully, Lockstep has other events happening, introducing us to a couple of politicians. We also get thrown back into the world of drugs as Cal Rogan and his partner team up to try to put the pieces of a very large puzzle together. To be expected, even when it seemed all of the pieces had fallen into place, Cal was certain something was still not right and couldn't settle his mind until he tapped into the missing piece.
The greatest thing about French's storytelling is not necessarily the diverse situations he ties together by the end of the story, though it's amazing. It's not the fast pace the story is told in during which the pages fly by largely unnoticed. It's not even because I get so wrapped up in the worlds he creates that it's easy to forget about the real world, my own world. For me, it's that he leaves his readers to draw their own conclusions in some sensitive areas, instead of providing graphic details which could have a detrimental effect. I applaud it because no author ever knows the full scope of his/her readership, nor the hardships they may face in their daily lives - whether the graphic words he/she writes could pose a very dangerous trigger response in the life of a reader.
The surprise ending made me very happy the next book was available to be read. If not, I would have been gravely disappointed if forced to wait for an extended period of time to read what happened next. Yes, this series is very powerful but, strangely, I feel pulled into the worlds French creates in the same way I get pulled into the characters and worlds I created in my Freedom in Love series. No other author has ever done that - no matter how much I have enjoyed their stories, no matter how much sleep I had lost.
There is something about Cal Rogan which gets inside of me, much the same as my Tyler Washington - though they are two different people, yet both cops - both with a great amount of passion and deep love for those closest to them - both with their inner demons which continue to chase them.
I look forward to reading the next book; I just have to know what happens next. Meanwhile, click here if you would like to visit Lockstep's page on Amazon. I would suggest reading the first two titles (Junkie and Oboe) first so you will know the backstory about some of the characters.
Norma Budden is an avid reader who enjoys sharing her thoughts about the stories she enjoys most right here at Budden Book Reviews.
However, she is also a Canadian author who makes her home in Arctic Canada. To take a look at her books, please visit her website at www.normasbooks.com.
Please note: there are Amazon Affiliate links scattered throughout Budden Book Reviews. Should you click on a link and purchase a title, a small fee will be paid to me for referring you to Amazon's site.