Book Review – Serenity by Craig A. Hart


Craig A. Hart
File Size: 2445 KB
Print Length: 162 pages
Publication Date: October 14, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

BOOK BLURB – Shelby Alexander is an aging ex-boxer and retired fixer, whose activities often flirted with the wrong side of the law. Looking for a little peace and a slower pace of life, he moved to Serenity, the small Michigan town where he grew up. But trouble follows men like Shelby, and he finds himself embroiled in an underworld of drugs and violence that may prove to be his undoing. This is he first book in the new Shelby Alexander Thriller Series.

REVIEW – This is a quick read, well-paced, with a main character who is far from perfect, but who has a good heart. Shelby is an old-fashioned chivalrous type of man who takes umbrage when someone is mistreating a woman verbally and emotionally. If anyone was physically abusing a woman he would jump in with his 60 year old boxer body and help. At one point when he is witnessing men verbally abusing a woman he wants to do something, but the men are drug dealers who might kill him if he interferes. The following made me chuckle:

Shelby was often dismayed by what so often seem to be an attack on the idea of masculinity, but Behavior such as what he had witnessed made him embarrassed to own a dick.

Perhaps it was old-fashioned and not politically correct to want to defend Lila, but Shelby couldn’t help feeling a surge of chivalry deep in his gut.

The story starts off with the discovery of a body by Shelby’s old ramshackle barn. It turns out to be the sister of the notorious Ellis brothers, who are the main drug runners in the area. Jenny is not dead when Shelby finds her out in the cold and snow, but she dies soon after he brings her into his cabin. What at first appears to be an accident, soon turns into murder, and one of the Ellis brothers wants Shelby to find out who killed her.

Shelby’s friend, Mack, from Detroit, downstate to those in the know, comes up to help when things get particularly dicey, and the banter between the two men adds touches of humor to the story. As does the banter between Shelby and Carly, the very young woman who has fallen for “this old fogey.”

Leslie, Shelby’s daughter, is introduced via phone calls during which she tries to take care of dad long-distance. Between those two women in his life, Shelby does not stand a chance. Leslie badgers him to drink less coffee, eat better, and talk to his ex-wife, and Carly throws out all the perishables in his refrigerator because they are well past the expiration date.

This is a quick, fun read, and even though some of the plot elements seemed a bit forced, it is a good introduction to a new mystery series with a different kind of protagonist. I really liked the characters, and the surprise at the end makes me eager to read on to see where that plot element is leading. Hopefully, as the series continues, the mystery in each story will get stronger and match the wonderful characterizations and dialogue.


Craig A. Hart is the stay-at-home father of twin boys, a writer, editor, Amazon bestselling author, lover of the arts, and only human. He served as editor-in-chief for The Rusty Nail literary magazine and as manager for Sweatshoppe Media. He also served as director for Northern Illinois Radio Information Service, an outreach that brought daily news and information to the visually impaired.

He has been published in The Orange Room Review, Voices, The Stray Branch, Red Poppy Review, The Mindful Word, Inclement, Right Hand Pointing,7×20 Magazine, and others.

Visit him on his WEBSITE and follow him on FACEBOOK and  TWITTER

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