Jailed (Cal Rogan Mysteries #7), by Robert P. French

Nine stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Robert P. French for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Picking up soon after the last novel, Robert P. French offers Cal Rogan fans another electrifying novel that tackles crime on the streets of Vancouver. A young man is stuck in jail when he is convicted of murdering his girlfriend. His sister hopes to exonerate him by hiring Cal Rogan, who’s recently left his role as a private invetigator. It’s a case that is more complicated than meets the eye and Rogan will have to use all his resources to help, while being targeted for his inquisitive nature. French keeps the momentum going with another thrilling novel, which shows just how talented he continues to be.

Cal Rogan has turned over a new leaf, one might say, choosing to pursue academics rather than stay as a private investigator at the firm he helped build. However, when he is approached by a student on campus, he is intrigued about the case, where a young man is in jail for murder, having been convicted on some evidence that may have been tampered with by a crooked cop. Rogan agrees to approach his former colleagues, feeling that there is something to the claims, but makes no promises.

When Rogan arrives, he is able to sell the case effectively and have the team looking into what could be a major frame-up. It turns out the woman he is accused of killing was his girlfriend, part of a strict Muslim family. While Canada is a fairly open society, many of the strict beliefs espoused by the woman’s brother are chilling, particularly when he praises her death for sullying the family name.

While the investigation takes off in many directions, Rogan finds himself crossing paths with some disturbing members of a radical organisation who would like nothing more than to erase his constant queries. All this leads to some truly devastating actions that could put Rogan and those he loves in serious danger.

When a new angle emerges in the case, it provides additional suspects that could be involved, while also tossing the victim in a new light. Just when Rogan thought he knew what was going on, this turns things on its head and makes the streets of Vancouver all the more dangerous. Robert P. French delivers again and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout this stunning novel!

I stumbled upon the early work in this series by accident, but could not put the books down as soon as I started. They are so full of intensity and drama, while also set on the streets of Vancouver, one of Canada’s great cities. Shedding light on the Canadian angle made me want to read the books even more, as I felt a sense of home with each chapter. Add to that, French has such a way with words and there is no doubt that this is a series worth the attention of any reader who loves the genre!

Cal Rogan has been through a lot in this series, yet he’s never lost the grit that makes him a stellar protagonist. Series fans have seen his exponential growth throughout the series, while makes for some wonderful development, as well as a little backstory that never quite goes away. Revisiting some of the early struggles he’s faced, Rogan is also able to assess how far things have come since those early days as a washed-out cop who relied on heroin to get through the tough times. Rogan has also amassed some wonderful characters to surround him, many of whom enrich the novel in their own way.

French has always had a talent with his writing, even if he tells you that he struggles at times. The narrative is always on point and moves along at such a pace that the reader must remain attentive or risk falling behind. Short chapters propel the story forward effectively and left me eager to see where things were going. Using Canada as a backdrop adds to the story and keeps me wanting to read more, something that makes me happy as I have finally found a strong investigative thriller set in my own backyard. Working with multiple plot twists and injecting some poignant ‘current events’ with mention of COVID, French does an amazing job of electrifying the story and keeping the reader enthused throughout. I cannot wait to see what’s to come and how I can be a part of it!

Kudos, Mr. French, for yet another powerful addition to the series. These books keep getting better and your ideas seem endless.

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

Captive (Cal Rogan #6), by Robert P. French

Nine stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Robert P. French for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Returning for the sixth instalment of the Cal Rogan series, I could not wait to get my hands on Robert P. French’s latest book. Full of grit and balancing two impactful plot lines, French shows that he is an author to be reckoned with in this genre. Things are quite busy at Stammo Rogan Investigations, with two complex cases arriving in one day. The first involves a CEO who says that he’s being blackmailed for something he did a decade before in order to garner some quick cash. It would seem a video of the act has surfaced and someone is after a large sum of money. The second involves a man who reports that his two adult children have gone missing in Hong Kong. Zelena Gutkowski and her friend won a trip and made their way over there, but she disappeared and her brother’s attempts to find her proved fruitless. Cal Rogan agrees to head to Asia to get a handle on what’s going on, leaving Nick Stammo to mind the business and work the blackmail case. When Cal lands in Hong Kong, he works a few angles given to him in the background he received while still in Vancouver. He connects with a local PI in hopes of continuing some of the work done during the early stages of the Gutkowski family investigation. Rogan discovers that Zelena may still be alive, but that her social media presence is surely nothing but forced postings to divert any fear by friends. There is a seedy underbelly within Hong Kong and when Rogan gets too close to some answers, someone strikes to send a message. Back in Vancouver, Stammo finds himself in some hot water when the blackmail case turns out to be a ruse to frame him for something else. After a night in jail and some significant misunderstandings, Stammo and the rest of the team begin to peel back the layers to determine just who might be trying to stick it to them. Creating a ruse of their own, they can only hope to lure someone from out of the shadows before bringing down the hammer. As Rogan discovers just how much trouble Zelena Gutkowski finds herself, he must figure out how to get her back and safely to Vancouver before he disappears as well, which can only lead to certain death. A stunning story that pulls the reader into the middle of an intense narrative. French dazzles again and is sure to impress series fans with this one. Recommended to those who have enjoyed the previous novels in the series, as well as the reader who likes Canadian content in their crime fiction.

I discovered Robert P. French earlier this year and devoured all five of his past novels consecutively. That experience permitted me to develop a decent idea of Cal Rogan the character and how he might fit into the larger story of each novel. Rogan has a sordid past, though has been able to rise above it all and prove his worth as a private investigator. While he still struggles with addiction and having lost his wife and daughter when he put the drugs first, he is trying to rebuild his life and develop new ties to his family. His gritty approach to investigating helps him leave no stone unturned and provides superior work for his clients. While he is a risk taker, he likes to think that he knows what awaits him around the corner. Others in the book help to flavour the story in their own way, especially Nick Stammo, who has been dealt some tough cards, though he never lets that get him down. French effectively weaves in the Rogan-Stammo characters throughout the book to add depth to them without taking away from the central story. There are some wonderful returning characters and intriguing first timers, all of whom add to the story and keep the plot moving along. Series fans will see the progress and larger roles some of those secondary characters have come to receive, which shows that French is able to effectively build some advancement into those who support the aforementioned protagonists. The story itself is well-crafted and takes the reader into a challenging position, not only because both cases are developing simultaneously, but also with effective plot progress on two continents. French juggles this masterfully and keeps the action coming without losing any of the impact. His use of multiple narrative perspectives is also genius, as it permits the reader to crawl inside the heads of many who play key roles and hear what they are thinking, rather than the single omnipotent narrator. A mix of chapter lengths keeps the reader guessing what is to come and how things will resolve themselves, without fully being able to guess before the final reveal. Much praise is due Robert P. French and I can only hope many readers of crime thrillers will stumble upon this series and see just how strong it is, especially when weighed against much of the books out there today!

Kudos, Mr. French, for another winner. I cannot say enough about your work and am eager to see the reaction that others have to what you’ve published.

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

Oboe (Cal Rogan #2), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Returning for more of Robert P. French’s crime thrillers, I was again treated to a well-paced novel that placed Cal Rogan in the driver’s seat, unsure where things would take him. Having been reinstates with the Vancouver Police Department, Rogan is called to work the scene of a missing boy, Terry Wright. While scouring in the woods, Terry is located, with many odd markings on his body and face. Rogan and his partner pass along the gruesome news to his parents, discovering that the boy is autistic. It’s now time to await the autopsy, hoping it might shed some light on the murderer. Rogan is sent to look into a hit and run, which turns out to be a targeted attack. Both the victim and the Terry’s mother attend a church with strong ties to spiritual symbolism. Rogan wonders if the markings on Terry Wright might be attributed to the church, though the idea is soon dismissed. However, something has him wondering even more when Terry’s fellow autistic friend begins talking about “oboe is blood”, a hex if Rogan has ever heard one. Working some leads, Rogan is making progress but is soon kidnapped and fed heroin against his will, sure to spoil his random drug tests. When Rogan is able to escape, he puts some pressure on those within the church, thinking that this might be his best lead. The hex is soon explained, though, and things take a turn in another direction. Might there be a business angle here, with a massive payout at the end? Rogan’s time with the Vancouver PD could be coming to an end when his urine test comes back dirty and no one is ready to listen to him. With two victims and no line on a killer, Rogan continues his work, which is only stymied more when his ex-wife goes missing and his daughter’s life is threatened. Rogan has nothing and everything to lose at the same time, in a case that has more twists with every passing hour. A wonderful follow-up novel that keeps the reader guessing until the very end, French shows that he was not a flash in the pan. Recommended to those who love a great crime thriller, as well as the reader who needs a dose of Canadiana.

I always love a book set in my native Canada, as it allows me to feel closer to the action. French begins in the opening chapter and does not let up throughout, keeping the narrative moving at a break-neck pace. Cal Rogan is back for another story, this time working on the right side of the law with goals of reuniting his family. While he will never be able to shake the ‘addict’ label, he has been trying to make a name for himself and stay on the straight and narrow. As French explores mid-way through the piece, while the desire for heroin never ceases, Rogan knows it is beast best left caged. Struggles ensued though Rogan is not yet prepared to toss it all away. His grit and determination help show that he is dedicated to the job, even if those around him are trying to push him out again. The handful of other central characters add both to Rogan’s own personality and the larger narrative. Some returning faces offer more flavour to Rogan and develop a backstory and character development series fans will surely enjoy. The story moves at such a pace that there is little time to take a breath and the mystery only gets better the more twists present themselves. The reader will likely binge the book in one day, as I did, or stay up late to try to find the clues that lead to the final reveal. This was one of those series that appeared out of nowhere for me and I am fully dedicated to finish it before moving onto much else.

Kudos, Mr. French, for keeping me enthralled. I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for readers!

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

Cabal (Cal Rogan #5), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Robert P. French for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having binge-read all four previous books by Robert P. French in as many days, I was eager to get my hands on this latest novel in the Cal Rogan series. When a terrorist bomb explodes in Ottawa, the reverberations can be felt as far away as Vancouver. Cal Rogan is approached by one of his friends from his life on the streets, asking that he look into finding the next of kin for a fellow homeless man who was recently killed. Rogan agrees, knowing that this will be a pro bono case, something he will have to sell to his partner. At Stammo Rogan Investigations, Nick Stammo is meeting with a man whose wife has a habit of disappearing weekly for unknown reasons. After meeting together, Stammo and Rogan pursue their cases, only to discover a connection between the dead homeless man and the terrorist attack in Ottawa. Further documents on the man’s possession show that there may have been illegal goings-on at the top of the Canadian Government. While Stammo follows his own leads, he discovers something equally disturbing and a woman roped into staying quiet. As Rogan and Stammo work to reveal just how sinister things are within the Canadian Government, their lives are thrust into danger, alongside an intelligence officer and a journalist who knows how to press just the right buttons. The safety of all involved hang in the balance in this stunning crime thriller that exemplifies how some use power to pursue nefarious actions. French continues to impress with this series, sure to pull any curious reader into the middle of something exciting. Recommended to those who love crime thrillers with a political twist, as well as those who enjoy something with a little more Canadian flavour.

Any good series deserves some binge reading and Robert P. French’s novels surely rank above some of the best I have read for a long time. Over the past few days, I have learned a great deal about Cal Rogan and his rise back to a degree of normalcy, but also the constant blips on the screen when it comes to his family and the heroin habit that haunts him. Rogan seems to have accepted that he will never be able to find solace with his ex-wife and daughter, as he thrusts them into constant danger no matter what happens. He keep in touch as best he can, but is also willing to move forward and find new sparks in his life. Those sparks are tempered with a return to heroin, something that can be attributed to the loss of his family. However, Rogan will not set aside his passion to help others, pursuing mysteries wherever they lead him. This was the most harrowing story in the series to date, seeing Rogan head to the nation’s capital to track down a killer and collection of villains whose entire purpose is the cause havoc. Nick Stammo remains a strong secondary characters as well, coming out of his shell but also putting himself at risk to the extreme. There are other key characters who place writhing the book could surely enhance the series, should they stick around. That being said, any solo character appearance in this piece enriches the narrative and adds depth to the various plots. The story remained as strong as any other French novel and kept moving at a break-neck pace, only adding to the reader’s enjoyment. With a mix of perspectives woven into the different chapters, I am eager to see what else French has to come, keeping the reader on the edge of their seats while injecting some harrowing plots throughout. This is definitely strong thriller writing with a Canadian flavour, something I thoroughly enjoy. I hope others will take the time to enjoy this series as well.

Kudos, Mr. French, for another explosive thriller. I am eager to see what else Cal Rogan and Nick Stammo might face, allowing me to further my interest in this series.

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

Three (Cal Rogan #4), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Robert P. French uses this Cal Rogan novel to immediately follow the last, where the protagonist is in a heap of trouble for three murders he’s committed, one of which is the son of his own partner. While Rogan gets all that sorted, Nick Stammo opens a new case in which a wealthy woman is trying to locate her husband. It would seem he has been dodging her, which forces Stammo to wonder if there might be something he is not being told. When Rogan is able to return to the office, he sets out to locate Dale Summers, only to discover his body with a set of numbers carved into it. When the case seems open and shut, new evidence blows it wide open and Rogan is tasked with trying to find the murderer, working in tandem with his old partners in the Vancouver Homicide Squad. At the same time, Rogan is trying to bring his family closer together, though his ex-wife and daughter seem to have fallen off the radar. Could it be his past and the nature of his current work make them no longer interested in all the drama? As the homicide investigation heat up, Rogan takes on a case to help an elderly couple who were swindled. Thinking that this will be a simple bullying of a con man, Rogan rushes to a fundamentalist church to tighten some thumb screws, but soon discovers there is more to the story. Meanwhile, lurking in the background, the son of a powerful drug dealer that Rogan killed is plotting his revenge. He’s decided to strike at Rogan’s weakest point, in hopes of sustaining the most pain. Powerfully written and keeping the reader alert to developments from all perspectives, Robert P. French knows how to tell a marvellous tale. Recommended to those who love a high-impact crime thriller, as well as the reader who cannot get enough of Canadian settings for their mysteries.

I have been waiting for French’s novels to link together so closely and it has been worth the delay. Picking up a week or so after the last novel, the story runs together nicely and pits Rogan against the VPD and a man seeking revenge. All the while, he must locate his family before he loses them forever. Cal Rogan remains a great protagonist in this piece, pushing the limits with his detective abilities, as well as keen sense of danger. He is committed to the cause of the cases brought before him, able to pick up on some of the nuances effectively. However, there is the need to protect his family, even if they are not on the same page, as these are the women who matter most to him. Rogan juggles work, family, and a spark of love interest in this piece, balancing them as best he can. Nick Stammo leads a strong cast of supporting characters, offering up the right colouring for the narrative to flow with ease, while finding new ways to surprise the reader with personal revelations. I am eager to see where this partnership will keep going, as I have seen some great development between these two men, even with the obvious strains that have come to the surface. The story is strong and picks up effectively from the end of the last novel. There is so much going on and so little time that the reader must dive right in. With a mix of perspectives throughout the varied length chapters, the reader gets a full view of the cases as they come to life. French uses his stellar skills to keep the reader wondering until the very end, and the action continues even there. I cannot wait to get to the latest book in the series—especially with the cliffhanger French left—as this binge keeps getting better with each added novel.

Kudos, Mr. French, for another fast-pace novel that kept me fully committed.

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

Lockstep (Cal Rogan #3), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Another wonderful Robert P. French crime novel takes the reader into the core of Vancouver’s darker side. It is here that Cal Rogan tries to help a family whose daughter has gone missing, the second such case in the last few months. After leaving the Vancouver PD, Rogan teams up with his former partner, Nick Stammo, to open an investigation firm. While much of the work at Stammo Rogan Investigations will be word of mouth, things are picking up slowly. Rogan agrees to meet with a woman who has recently reported her daughter missing, but feels VPD is not taking things as quickly as she would like. Ariel Bradbury has disappeared days ago and there has been no ransom demand. The Bradburys, while in the middle of a separation, have money and cannot surmise why no one has sought it. Rogan has a bad feeling about this and agrees to look into the case, working in tandem with his former colleagues. When Rogan uncovers that Ariel was involved in a children’s beauty pageant type reality show, he can only wonder who might have been lurking around, seeking her out. Rogan uncovers some issues within the show, red flags that the Bradburys ought to have realised, but cannot dwell too much on that. He also learns of a ‘grooming’ that Ariel undertook by a certain young man, all through social media. Meanwhile, Nick Stammo has been contacted by a friend in Toronto to check on his son who has made his way to the West Coast. It would seem the young man is tied-up with one of Canada’s most notorious drug dealers, which cannot bode well. Now stuck in a wheelchair, Stammo can only do so much and must come face to face with some of the people he spent his police career putting away. When Rogan discovers that his own daughter, Ellie, is being groomed online as well, he takes a proactive approach and it lights a fire under him to solve this case. All the while, a local politician has been pressured to bow out of an upcoming federal election because of a secret in his past. Might all these cases connect in some odd fashion? Rogan and Stammo will have to work quickly to save themselves and they newly-forged alliance. Another winner in the series that has me begging to know more, particularly after that great cliffhanger. French is a masterful writer and this series came out of nowhere for me. Recommended to those who have read and loved past French novels in the series, as well as anyone wanting a Canadian crime thriller to enjoy!

French opens his book with a bang and hooks the reader before too long. The story, like its characters, connect from the opening pages and the reader cannot help but push through to learn everything there is to know. Cal Rogan returns, away from the VPD, but still with some loose ties. His investigative work shines through yet again, as he continues to battle The Beast in the form of a past heroin addiction. French pulls in more personal story for Rogan, whose ex-wife and daughter play a more prominent role in this piece, leaving questions about whether they will ever reunite formally. Other characters make an impact, including Nick Stammo, whose presence in the second novel surely whetted the appetite of the series fan. Stammo gets a little of his own personal life backstory and development, though the results will surely resonate into the next novel. The list of others is long but they impact the plot so definitively and keep the reader wondering who might make another appearance down the road. With a story again set in and around Vancouver, French keeps things Canadian and yet does not go for docile. There is much grit in these pages, with a mix of chapters and narrative perspectives. The reader is pulled in and must try to keep pace, as the momentum of this tale has no room for lagging. I loved it and binged yet again to finish it in a single day. I cannot wait to see what else Robert P. French has in store for fans, but I am reaching for the next book now!

Kudos, Mr. French, for another winner. I love your writing and how smoothly things seem to flow.

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

Oboe (Cal Rogan #2), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Returning for more of Robert P. French’s crime thrillers, I was again treated to a well-paced novel that placed Cal Rogan in the driver’s seat, unsure where things would take him. Having been reinstates with the Vancouver Police Department, Rogan is called to work the scene of a missing boy, Terry Wright. While scouring in the woods, Terry is located, with many odd markings on his body and face. Rogan and his partner pass along the gruesome news to his parents, discovering that the boy is autistic. It’s now time to await the autopsy, hoping it might shed some light on the murderer. Rogan is sent to look into a hit and run, which turns out to be a targeted attack. Both the victim and the Terry’s mother attend a church with strong ties to spiritual symbolism. Rogan wonders if the markings on Terry Wright might be attributed to the church, though the idea is soon dismissed. However, something has him wondering even more when Terry’s fellow autistic friend begins talking about “oboe is blood”, a hex if Rogan has ever heard one. Working some leads, Rogan is making progress but is soon kidnapped and fed heroin against his will, sure to spoil his random drug tests. When Rogan is able to escape, he puts some pressure on those within the church, thinking that this might be his best lead. The hex is soon explained, though, and things take a turn in another direction. Might there be a business angle here, with a massive payout at the end? Rogan’s time with the Vancouver PD could be coming to an end when his urine test comes back dirty and no one is ready to listen to him. With two victims and no line on a killer, Rogan continues his work, which is only stymied more when his ex-wife goes missing and his daughter’s life is threatened. Rogan has nothing and everything to lose at the same time, in a case that has more twists with every passing hour. A wonderful follow-up novel that keeps the reader guessing until the very end, French shows that he was not a flash in the pan. Recommended to those who love a great crime thriller, as well as the reader who needs a dose of Canadiana.

I always love a book set in my native Canada, as it allows me to feel closer to the action. French begins in the opening chapter and does not let up throughout, keeping the narrative moving at a break-neck pace. Cal Rogan is back for another story, this time working on the right side of the law with goals of reuniting his family. While he will never be able to shake the ‘addict’ label, he has been trying to make a name for himself and stay on the straight and narrow. As French explores mid-way through the piece, while the desire for heroin never ceases, Rogan knows it is beast best left caged. Struggles ensued though Rogan is not yet prepared to toss it all away. His grit and determination help show that he is dedicated to the job, even if those around him are trying to push him out again. The handful of other central characters add both to Rogan’s own personality and the larger narrative. Some returning faces offer more flavour to Rogan and develop a backstory and character development series fans will surely enjoy. The story moves at such a pace that there is little time to take a breath and the mystery only gets better the more twists present themselves. The reader will likely binge the book in one day, as I did, or stay up late to try to find the clues that lead to the final reveal. This was one of those series that appeared out of nowhere for me and I am fully dedicated to finish it before moving onto much else.

Kudos, Mr. French, for keeping me enthralled. I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for readers!

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

Oboe (Cal Rogan #2), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Returning for more of Robert P. French’s crime thrillers, I was again treated to a well-paced novel that placed Cal Rogan in the driver’s seat, unsure where things would take him. Having been reinstates with the Vancouver Police Department, Rogan is called to work the scene of a missing boy, Terry Wright. While scouring in the woods, Terry is located, with many odd markings on his body and face. Rogan and his partner pass along the gruesome news to his parents, discovering that the boy is autistic. It’s now time to await the autopsy, hoping it might shed some light on the murderer. Rogan is sent to look into a hit and run, which turns out to be a targeted attack. Both the victim and the Terry’s mother attend a church with strong ties to spiritual symbolism. Rogan wonders if the markings on Terry Wright might be attributed to the church, though the idea is soon dismissed. However, something has him wondering even more when Terry’s fellow autistic friend begins talking about “oboe is blood”, a hex if Rogan has ever heard one. Working some leads, Rogan is making progress but is soon kidnapped and fed heroin against his will, sure to spoil his random drug tests. When Rogan is able to escape, he puts some pressure on those within the church, thinking that this might be his best lead. The hex is soon explained, though, and things take a turn in another direction. Might there be a business angle here, with a massive payout at the end? Rogan’s time with the Vancouver PD could be coming to an end when his urine test comes back dirty and no one is ready to listen to him. With two victims and no line on a killer, Rogan continues his work, which is only stymied more when his ex-wife goes missing and his daughter’s life is threatened. Rogan has nothing and everything to lose at the same time, in a case that has more twists with every passing hour. A wonderful follow-up novel that keeps the reader guessing until the very end, French shows that he was not a flash in the pan. Recommended to those who love a great crime thriller, as well as the reader who needs a dose of Canadiana.

I always love a book set in my native Canada, as it allows me to feel closer to the action. French begins in the opening chapter and does not let up throughout, keeping the narrative moving at a break-neck pace. Cal Rogan is back for another story, this time working on the right side of the law with goals of reuniting his family. While he will never be able to shake the ‘addict’ label, he has been trying to make a name for himself and stay on the straight and narrow. As French explores mid-way through the piece, while the desire for heroin never ceases, Rogan knows it is beast best left caged. Struggles ensued though Rogan is not yet prepared to toss it all away. His grit and determination help show that he is dedicated to the job, even if those around him are trying to push him out again. The handful of other central characters add both to Rogan’s own personality and the larger narrative. Some returning faces offer more flavour to Rogan and develop a backstory and character development series fans will surely enjoy. The story moves at such a pace that there is little time to take a breath and the mystery only gets better the more twists present themselves. The reader will likely binge the book in one day, as I did, or stay up late to try to find the clues that lead to the final reveal. This was one of those series that appeared out of nowhere for me and I am fully dedicated to finish it before moving onto much else.

Kudos, Mr. French, for keeping me enthralled. I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for readers!

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

Oboe (Cal Rogan #2), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Returning for more of Robert P. French’s crime thrillers, I was again treated to a well-paced novel that placed Cal Rogan in the driver’s seat, unsure where things would take him. Having been reinstates with the Vancouver Police Department, Rogan is called to work the scene of a missing boy, Terry Wright. While scouring in the woods, Terry is located, with many odd markings on his body and face. Rogan and his partner pass along the gruesome news to his parents, discovering that the boy is autistic. It’s now time to await the autopsy, hoping it might shed some light on the murderer. Rogan is sent to look into a hit and run, which turns out to be a targeted attack. Both the victim and the Terry’s mother attend a church with strong ties to spiritual symbolism. Rogan wonders if the markings on Terry Wright might be attributed to the church, though the idea is soon dismissed. However, something has him wondering even more when Terry’s fellow autistic friend begins talking about “oboe is blood”, a hex if Rogan has ever heard one. Working some leads, Rogan is making progress but is soon kidnapped and fed heroin against his will, sure to spoil his random drug tests. When Rogan is able to escape, he puts some pressure on those within the church, thinking that this might be his best lead. The hex is soon explained, though, and things take a turn in another direction. Might there be a business angle here, with a massive payout at the end? Rogan’s time with the Vancouver PD could be coming to an end when his urine test comes back dirty and no one is ready to listen to him. With two victims and no line on a killer, Rogan continues his work, which is only stymied more when his ex-wife goes missing and his daughter’s life is threatened. Rogan has nothing and everything to lose at the same time, in a case that has more twists with every passing hour. A wonderful follow-up novel that keeps the reader guessing until the very end, French shows that he was not a flash in the pan. Recommended to those who love a great crime thriller, as well as the reader who needs a dose of Canadiana.

I always love a book set in my native Canada, as it allows me to feel closer to the action. French begins in the opening chapter and does not let up throughout, keeping the narrative moving at a break-neck pace. Cal Rogan is back for another story, this time working on the right side of the law with goals of reuniting his family. While he will never be able to shake the ‘addict’ label, he has been trying to make a name for himself and stay on the straight and narrow. As French explores mid-way through the piece, while the desire for heroin never ceases, Rogan knows it is beast best left caged. Struggles ensued though Rogan is not yet prepared to toss it all away. His grit and determination help show that he is dedicated to the job, even if those around him are trying to push him out again. The handful of other central characters add both to Rogan’s own personality and the larger narrative. Some returning faces offer more flavour to Rogan and develop a backstory and character development series fans will surely enjoy. The story moves at such a pace that there is little time to take a breath and the mystery only gets better the more twists present themselves. The reader will likely binge the book in one day, as I did, or stay up late to try to find the clues that lead to the final reveal. This was one of those series that appeared out of nowhere for me and I am fully dedicated to finish it before moving onto much else.

Kudos, Mr. French, for keeping me enthralled. I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for readers!

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

Junkie (Cal Rogan #1), by Robert P. French

Eight stars

Having come across Robert P. French and his Cal Rogan mysteries, I could not help but pick up the series debut to see if it might be something I would enjoy. I surely did and found myself pulled into a case from the opening pages, not wanting things to end. Cal Rogan is a former detective with the Vancouver Police Department who has fallen into a deep hole. A heroin addict, Rogan lost everything, including his work and family, and is now living on the streets. During his moments of clarity, he cannot help but think of his daughter, who makes him want to shake the drugs, as difficult as that might be. When Rogan returns from a visit with his daughter, he discovers his best friend dead of a knife wound to the stomach. When he calls the authorities, Rogan learns from his former colleagues that it is likely a suicide. However, Rogan refuses to believe that a man doing so well in the pharmaceutical industry would toss it all away. Rogan begins his own investigation and discovers some interesting things, which might help build a case for something more than suicide. Rogan will not back down and finds himself enmeshed with big business and very powerful men who will do whatever it takes to silence those wishing to open too many doors. With Rogan refusing to back down, something has to give, but it will take more than a junkie’s word to sway the police to take any formal action. A stunning debut that presents the reader with a handful of very emotional scenes throughout. Recommended to those who love deep and thought-provoking thrillers, as well as the reader who loves some good Canadian fiction.

I always love a good book (or series) set in Canada, in which the story comes off the page. It is almost as though I am there, roaming the streets and seeing what makes the city tick. While the book started off a little slow and scattered for me, French found his rhythm and soon I could not wait to learn more about the characters and how things progressed in the alleys of Vancouver. Cal Rogan finds himself in the middle of the narrative from the start and his character develops effectively from there. A man who threw it all away and let his addiction subsume him, Rogan knows he will not be able to do it alone, yet he still tries to hold onto some of his dignity. He values his daughter more than anything and has tried to shield her from his lifestyle, while juggling parenting as best he can with his ex-wife. He loves them both, but knows that he is not in a position to be around with any regularity. While the heroin may cloud it, Rogan still has the cop running through his veins and when he feels his friend has been murdered, he will stop at nothing to find out if there is any truth to this. Gritty and determined, I cannot wait to see what comes of Cal Rogan in subsequent novels. Robert P. French has created a powerful collection of supporting characters in his novel that depict Vancouver’s seedier side with some grace, while also showing the span of socio-economic situations. Each character does well to define their role in the larger story and rides the twists in the narrative to flavour the plot. The story was great, pulling Cal Rogan from the ashes of his life and showing that he can still play an effective role in helping crack this case wide open. Many emotions will run through the reader as the story takes many twists and leaps. I can only hope there is more of this, as French delivers so effectively with his writing. Propelling the story forward with easy to comprehend writing and strong dialogue, French keeps the reader guessing and wanting more with every page flip.

Kudos, Mr. French, for a stunning debut novel. I am pleased to have an entire series here to enjoy!

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