Open Carry, by Marc Cameron

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marc Cameron, and Kensington Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Established author Marc Cameron has branched out to create a new series, full of all the excitement his fans have come to expect, but with a few new twists to lure in more followers. Arliss Cutter is proud to work for the US Marshals, though being assigned to Alaska has come to be less exciting than he’d hoped. Spending days with his team hunting down fugitives makes for interesting, though not always enthralling, work. When Cutter is contacted to help a small local police detachment on a rural island in the state, he jumps at the opportunity. A teenage girl has gone missing and the list of suspects is quite long, owning to the fact that a reality television program is in the middle of production. When two members of the crew also go missing, Cutter must try to determine if this is all connected or just a matter of overly curious folks in a rural setting. As Cutter connects with some of the locals, he learns a little more about the indigenous population and their deep roots in the area. Meanwhile, someone has arrived with a vendetta to settle, one that Cutter had better diffuse before things get out of hand. In a story that takes readers on many twists and turns, Marc Cameron shows why he is top of his genre with this fast-paced novel. Recommended to those who have enjoyed Cameron’s work in the past, as well as the reader who enjoys a thriller set outside the major metropolitan areas.

When I heard that Cameron was beginning a new series, I had mixed sentiments. I have read authors who seek to expand their writing base, but their core series tends to fade and fans lose out on strong writing. However, it would seem that Cameron has a wonderful collection of ideas in this novel, which could be a standalone or the start to a new and successful series. Arliss Cutter is a great character whose grit and ‘bad cop’ mentality is balanced with his love of his extended family and roots in the state. Cutter shows his affinity for those in his inner circle, even as he chases the scum of the earth around on a daily basis. His tunnel vision works well in this story, as he gets to the heart of the matter in short order. Others around him add interesting flavouring to the narrative and could, given the chance, show more depth in future pieces. The story may not be completely unique, but Cameron’s use of the Alaska setting and some of the locals adds a certain individuality that will keep the reader wanting to know more. Short chapters and an ever moving narrative keeps things clipping along and allows the reader to discover just how talented Marc Cameron is at the art of writing. I would hope to see more Arliss Cutter in the future, but am not worried if Cameron returns to his core series for a time. Either way, the reader is in for a treat!

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for a wonderful piece. I am eager to see where you take us next.

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

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The Triple Frontier (Jericho Quinn #7.6), by Marc Cameron

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marc Cameron, Kensington Books, and Pinnacle for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

In his latest novella, Marc Cameron brings Jericho Quinn back for another high-octane adventure, this time way out of his comfort zone. The Triple Frontier—the area where the sovereign states of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge—is extremely dangerous. Drug running and human smuggling are common, creating a zone where the authorities have all but stopped trying to enforce the law. Bo Quinn is down in the region with a group of rich Americans to ride their motorcycles around the country. While travelling one morning, they are ambushed by a group of locals, though Bo is able to activate his SOS and GPS beacons before being tossed into the back of a van and led away. Back in America, Bo’s older brother, Jericho, receives word that the beacon has been activated, but cannot raise his sibling over the phone. Panicked, Jericho prepares to make his way down to South America, though his close friends will not let him go alone. On a rescue mission, Jericho prepares to head into the unknown, though is promised the help of a local when he arrives. Meanwhile, a ransom note comes in, seeking $3 million, only to be trumped by another offer of five million. Could rival cartels be using Bo and his clients as pawns in a larger battle? By the time they reach the Triple Frontier, Jericho and his entourage realise that this is one mission that will not end peacefully. When an unexpected individual shows up to offer Jericho added support, the mission takes on an entirely different flavour. Jericho forges ahead into the unknown in hopes of trying to clean up the mess that is this hostage situation without alerting the formal authorities. Faced with kidnappers who have nothing to lose and seek a major payday, the end result is anything but predictable. Cameron provides an entertaining addition to the Jericho Quinn series that fans of the collection will surely enjoy as they wait for the next full-length book.

Marc Cameron has done well crafting the Jericho Quinn series over the past numbers of years. While he has taken on some additional series work elsewhere, fans of the novels have been biding their time with some novellas, though their quality remains at the highest calibre. While much attention has been spent on Jericho and his interesting backstory, Cameron has only recently shed any light on the life of the younger Quinn, Bo. In this piece, the reader is able to see just how resilient Bo can be when faced with trouble, cool under pressure and ready to fight for what he feels is right. As the premise of the piece is an intense rescue mission, Jericho is still able to take centre stage in this story and does so, showing a compassionate side when it comes to protecting his family. Some of the secondary characters on both sides are able to keep the attention focused on the fast pace of the rescue mission, adding interesting flavours to the narrative. The story remains a ‘cookie cutter’ effort to save those who are being held captive, but it is the way in which Cameron approaches the story and how he is able to inject some much-needed humour into the dialogue to lighten the mood. With a narrative that clips along, the reader is swept up in this novella that has as much action as any of the stories that Cameron has published to this point. That being said, I eagerly await something longer in the near future.

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for this entertaining piece. I can always count on something interesting and full of adventure when you write.

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

Dead Drop (Jericho Quinn #7.5), by Marc Cameron

Eight stars

Marc Cameron is back with a short story/novella addition to the Jericho Quinn series, with a summer-themed piece perfect for the beach. After a harrowing meeting with POTUS, Jericho Quinn and Jacques Thibodaux have agreed to take their respective families to the Buccaneer Beach Thrill Park, home of the Dead Drop waterslide. Soon after arriving, an explosion rocks the Park, leaving many hurt and thousands fleeing for cover. Separated from their loved ones, Quinn and Thibodaux seek to neutralize the situation in an intelligent and tactical manner, while also learning as much as they can about the perpetrators. It would appear that a group of teenagers fuelled by religious zeal has turned the Park into a terror zone, but for what reason? As time slowly advances, Quinn must find his daughter before she is injured in the crossfire, but there are many more who rely on his fast thinking. Led by a young man with nothing to lose, this terror cell hopes to cause as much havoc before the authorities arrive. However, no one thought to tell Quinn and Thibodaux of this little beach party. A worthwhile standalone for the curious reader, but also highly enjoyable for those who have long been fans of Cameron and his fearless Jericho Quinn.

Marc Cameron is always on his game when writing about Jericho Quinn. While the genre is super-saturated with men (and women) ready to save the world one gunfight at a time, there is something about Quinn that individualises him. It might be that every story is strongly weighted with a family aspect, which occurs in this piece as Cameron allows both Quinn’s family (daughter, Mattie, and girlfriend Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Garcia) and members of the Thibodaux collective (sons Shawn and Dan, alongside wife, Camille) to play more than a wallflower role. There is little room for character development between Jericho and Jacques, but the reader is able to learn a little more about some of the aforementioned characters. Additionally, there is the handful of ‘terrorists’ who play villain roles in the story. I am of two minds about this depiction. Cameron has fallen into the stereotype of Muslim extremists (front and centre in the aforementioned super-saturated genre), but does take a step back and inject some blowback when certain passing characters make blatant generalizations about Muslims or Arabic people. It is here that Cameron at least partially redeems himself, perhaps trying to step away from the ‘Muslim as whipping boy’ mentality that has been overused at least since September 13, 2001. The summer theme of the story is perfect and brings even more realism tied to its release. Now then, I have had my Quinn fix, though I am not sure I can wait until February, though I will have to try. 

Kudos, Mr. Cameron for another jam-packed thriller. I can only guess what else you have up your sleeve for the next novel.