Bone Rattle (Arliss Cutter #3), by Marc Cameron

Nine 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.

Marc Cameron is back with the third in his Arliss Cutter series, a collection of novels that get better with each new addition. Cameron’s background as a former Deputy Marshall serves him well in this piece, where the action is ever-mounting and the reader is pulled into the middle of a sensational story from the opening pages. Arliss Cutter enjoys his work on the Fugitive Task Force, but has no interest in any management position. When he and his team are sent to Juneau to help with a high-profile trial, things go south soon enough. Cutter is pulled into a situation and must find a young woman who is the target of a crooked businessman, all in rural Alaska. It’s a story that will keep the reader flipping pages well into the night. Another winner from Marc Cameron for sure!

Arliss Cutter loves his job as Supervisory Deputy Marshall up in Anchorage, though there are surely times he misses his native Florida. Working hard all day, capturing those who have tried to evade the law, Cutter and his team within Alaska’s Fugitive Task Force do all they can to help balance the scales of justice. There are bumps and scrapes along the way, but it’s all in a day’s work. When he returns home, it’s to help take care of his twin nephews and teenage niece, a handful on their own. Still, he would not have it any other way.

While there are some odd goings-on in Anchorage, Cutter and his partner, Lola Teariki, are sent to Juneau to help in a high-profile trial. The jury is about to be sequestered and the judge is in need of protection, as the defendants are part of a gang that prefer to take justice into their own hands. With the trial being covered by a sharp reporter, everyone is wondering where she’s getting her scoop. Lori Maycomb is not prepared to say much of anything, as she wants to keep her information under wraps and her informant out of the limelight.

When things at the trial go sideways, Cutter knows that he will be put to work hunting rather than simply protecting. There’s more to the story than a simple confidential informant, but a crooked business owner has plans of his own for the local territory and he’s not prepared to let anyone stand in his way. Even when a valuable artifact is found that might impede a money-making transportation venture, it’s no impediment to progress, as long as the right people can be silenced, permanently.

With a young woman in hiding up in the Alaskan hills, Cutter will have to work quickly to get to her, or at least keep those with a mission to scrub her out from arriving first. It’s a race against time and through a series of hurdles, including a mining area. Cutter knows it won’t be easy, but he’s not prepared to simply let a young girl’s life be silenced to pad the pockets of a corrupt individual. Justice must be done, no matter the cost!

I have long had an appreciation for Marc Cameron and his work, which pushes the reader to think outside the box. Not only is the Alaskan setting unique, but the writing delivers something that is not entirely in line with many novels in the genre. It is a different type of gritty, one that leaves the reader wanting to know more. So much is going on in this book, though it never feels overwhelming. This is definitely a series for those who love trillers and quasi-procedurals. While some applaud this as a decent standalone, I cannot think why anyone would not want to grab the previous two books to have the full context of this sensational series and its protagonist.

Arliss Cutter has grown on me over this trio of novels and there is nothing like seeing how his progression has developed. I love a mix of personal and professional growth in a character, something that Cameron offers in spades throughout. Cutter may be a saviour to his family, after the death of his brother, but he is also one who allows his sister-in-law to take on the primary role, while injecting some of his own familial life lessons when they are needed. On a professional front, Cutter works well with his partner, Lola Teariki, but does not force her to conform to what he does at every turn. The richness of the Cutter character develops well throughout this book and in the previous two novels, making him one that many readers can admire, given the time.

Marc Cameron has done well in this piece to really add some standout supporting characters. From those who recur throughout the series to the people who are one-offs to add depth to the story, there are few who do not make an impact. I thoroughly enjoy how Cameron crafts those who appear on each page, honing their personalities to flavour the narrative and enrich the plot where needed. There is something to love or hate with each person the reader encounters and this is precisely what I needed after reading some novels where things are brushed over too swiftly. While not a dense read, the book is by no means superficial and the characters help add some weight to the final product.

This is the second of Marc Cameron’s series that I have read, neither of which have left me feeling disappointed. The writing is strong and there is something that makes me want to keep reading every time I pick up one of his books. The narrative flows well, offering wonderful twists throughout, without tying the reader up in knots. The characters have depth and prove to be intriguing no matter what they have going on in their lives. Cameron teases the reader with shorter chapters at times, as if to coax them into settling down for the longer and more detailed parts of the book, which allow plot development. I enjoyed the banter through dialogue, which added something to the book and helped me imagine things playing out on the screen with ease. I cannot wait to see what’s next with Arliss Cutter, as there were a few threads left loose, which is another of Cameron’s great abilities, as the reader begs to understand what’s to come!

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, on another stellar piece. I cannot get enough of your writing and hope Arliss Cutter will be back soon!

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

Stone Cross (Arliss Cutter #2), 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.

A great fan of Marc Cameron’s work, I was pleased to read this second novel in the Arliss Cutter series. Set in Alaska, Cameron takes the reader on quite the adventure and uses the setting as an integral part of the thriller. Stationed in Anchorage, Arliss Cutter is a key member of the US Marshal’s Fugitive Apprehension Team, while also trying to care for his widowed sister-in-law and her family. When he is asked to help with security for a federal judge, Cutter is not entirely sure he is well-suited for the job. It would seem that this judge has a hearing in a remote community, but threats have arisen that might cause his time there to be less than peaceful. Even with the judge dismissing the needed for security, Cutter takes his job seriously and agrees to help. When they arrive in the community of Stone Cross, Cutter realises just how remote things are for a city dweller like himself. A predominantly Inuit community, Cutter sees the poverty that pervades the town, but also the tight-knit nature of those who share the area. While trying his best to provide security, Cutter and his team become aware of a missing couple and a few murders that have stirred up trouble. Working both protection and some investigation as best he can, Cutter learns that crime of a serious nature is rampant. With a killer lurking in the dark and cold, Cutter must determine what he can do, or whether the local lore of a ‘Hairy Man’ might hold some truth after all. A great piece by Cameron that takes the reader well out of their comfort zone and to a locale about which few with have experience. Recommended to those readers who enjoy a thriller that uses unique settings, as well as those who love the world of Marc Cameron.

While I became addicted to Marc Cameron’s other series, this one surely has grown on me after two books. Taking the action to rural Alaska had me hooked from the early going and I am looking forward to learning more with additional books. Arliss Cutter is back as a strong protagonist, working as best he can in the somewhat isolation of Alaska, far away from his native Florida. As well as being a stellar US Marshal, Cutter has a military past that he chooses to lock away, much like his idol, a grandfather whose work ethic drives him to be the best he can. Compassionate but slow to show it, Cutter finds ways to keep himself involved in both work and family life, without becoming too ensconced in either. His drive and ability to cut through the erroneous makes for a highly intriguing character that many will enjoy. Others, both returnees and new faces, help to support this book, which surely offers much for the open-minded reader. There is a strong sense of community found in some of the Stone Cross locals, which helps support the plot and ever-advancing narrative throughout. The story was strong and while not entirely unique, the setting makes it a story that will stand out for many. Poverty in remote communities is one thing, but with crime and limited resources, the reader is forced to see how things can be done on a shoe-string budget. Cameron conveys this effectively, while also pulling the reader in for more throughout this impactful piece. I learned a great deal throughout and hope Cameron will work at building this series, which has begun to rival his other work in its intensity.

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for another winner. I cannot wait to see what else you come up with soon!

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

Active Measures (Jericho Quinn #8), by Marc Cameron

Eight stars

Marc Cameron returns with another novel in the Jericho Quinn series, sure to impress those who have followed from the beginning, as well and new and curious readers. Mixing some new locales and an interesting thrill angle, Cameron succeeds again at impressing his reading core. When a family of Cuban nationals arrives in South Florida, they come with a dire warning about an imminent attack geared towards the United States. Jericho Quinn receives word of this and agrees to make his way down to see what’s going on. A secret operative for Homeland Security, Quinn gathers his usual crew, only to discover that his Florida contact has been murdered. Quinn realises that they will have to sneak into Cuba to see the extent of the threat. This will allow Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Garcia to return to her place of birth and contact some family members, while also helping diffuse any situation. While Quinn seeks to do some reconnaissance work, Ronnie visits her aunt, only to discover that she has a half-sister about whom she knew nothing. While this shock resonates, she tries to learn a little more about the threat that had them visit this communist country. Jericho appears hard pressed to learn about what’s going on, finding himself on the wrong side of Cuban law when his undercover situation is blown. Quinn is held in a Cuban prison and treated to their ‘best’ antics, which is sure to make any incarceration in American seem like a five star hotel. Meanwhile, a ruthless Cuban general has plans to resurrect Cuba’s strength in the region and goes to far lengths to ensure the annihilation of America, in Castro’s honour. With Quinn being used as a human punching bag and Ronnie questioning what other secrets her parents kept from her, the future of America hangs in the balance. There is no time to ask questions, all while doing this under the radar, with the world oblivious. Marc Cameron showcases some wonderful new ideas in this series that remains top of its game. Recommended to those who have long enjoyed Jericho Quinn’s adventures, as well as the reader who enjoys new angles in the thriller genre.

I have long enjoyed Marc Cameron’s solo work, which explores interesting aspects of the thriller genre. He’s always eager to put his protagonist in interesting situations that are sure to keep the reader highly entertained. Jericho Quinn has been around for a while, long enough to have left much of his backstory in past novels. He is a great operative in his own right, but still finds himself rushing ahead and making some poor decisions, including landing in the Hotel Havana for a time. Others, both recurring and new characters help to flesh out this fast moving piece. Of great interest is the family angle for Ronnie Garcia. Both Cameron’s introduction of this new sister angle and some time with other family, Garcia’s character receives a breath of fresh air, while leaving the door open for new and exciting character development in the future. With numerous plot angles, these characters propel the narrative forward and keeps the reader intrigued. In a series that has moved through some domestic terrorism, Cameron pushes his characters outside of America to help solve a crime of chilling proportions. A mix of short and longer chapters keep the reader wanting to know more as the narrative takes many tangential paths that enrich the larger story. While some readers found this less than their ideal novel, I suspect them dove in too late to fully appreciate the series and its wonderful nuances. I look forward to what else Cameron has for the reader in the years to come!

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for another stellar piece in this ever-evolving series. Always impressed when authors can remove themselves from traditional plots while keeping the story current.

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

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

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.