Extreme Prejudice (Jinx Ballou, Bounty Hunter #2), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

As I tackle this second book in her newer series, I remain pleased with what Dharma Kelleher offers her readers. Never one to shy away from the controversial, or at least tackle issues that are still not fully mainstream, Kelleher uses her wonderful descriptive ways to tell an energetic crime thriller. Jinx Ballou has been happy working as a bail enforcement officer (bounty hunter) and seems to be keeping herself quite busy. After a few easy apprehensions, she is handed one that will challenge her. What looks like a simple capture for skipping bail on a murder charge soon takes on a life of its own. While she and her crew scour around Phoenix, another criminal from her past crosses her radar. These two men are not only dangerous in either own right, but have ties to White Power, which makes the apprehension even harder. If that were not enough, Jinx is getting closer to her boyfriend of a few years, Conor, though the Northern Ireland police appear and want to speak with him about a bombing from years ago. Jinx tries to stay calm, but there is more going on that leaves her worried. While she has dealt with a lot since transitioning as a teen, Jinx is shaken to the core and needs all the support she can find. Things reach a climax for Jinx, as the reader will surely also feel the plot reverberations. Well paced and never with a dull moment, Kelleher tackles much in this novel and educates the reader as they are entertained throughout. Recommended to those who love crime/police procedurals with a twist.

I have long enjoyed Dharma Kelleher and all her writing, which takes a well-established genre and spins it with some unique elements. Keen to promote some of the areas to which she is well-versed, Kelleher educates readers on queer lifestyles (her word) and how the stereotypes remain misunderstood. Jinx Ballou has quite the life, both with her work and at home. She has been able to handle herself well and finds the balance within her control, at least until she is thrown the odd curveball. Working to advance an understand of the transgender community, as well as trying to settle in with Conor, Jinx must also rub elbows with some of the criminal underbelly around Phoenix, never shying away from a fight. Others who grace the pages of this book help to sketch out many of the themes Kelleher wishes to explore throughout. The banter on many levels helps to elevate the narrative flow and provides a great deal of information on a variety of subjects. The story is quite well written and keeps the action going throughout. There is a great deal of information on a variety of subjects, particularly the gay-transgender-straight equality as the reader is provided with terms and lifestyle choices to help better explain to the less educated on the subject. I wish not to misidentify terms or anything like that, but I did find the discussion refreshing, even as it is set against a backdrop of white supremacy and ignorance to those who differ. Kelleher uses this series to tackle some weighty issues, but also keeps the core ‘chase the criminal’ theme that is highly entertaining. I have read both series she has written and love them both, as well as some of her short stories, which leave the reader guessing at how things tie off. A fabulous book that pushes the limits for some, but in a highly inclusive manner.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for another wonderful book. I cannot wait to begin the third, an ARC that awaits me.

Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons