by Anita Dickason
Pages: 324 pages
Publication Date: July 4, 2021
Genre: Suspense / Thriller / Crime Thriller
A Texas Multi-Billion Dollar Lure!
Following a tactical raid at an Oklahoma farm, a phone call sends U.S. Deputy Marshal Piper McKay rushing back to the East Texas cattle ranch where she grew up. Her grandmother, Jennie Layton, is near death from a crushed skull. When local authorities claim the cause of the injury was an accident, Piper isn’t convinced.
Who wants Jennie dead and why? Is the reason connected to a dubious contract Piper finds in Jennie’s desk?
Piper realizes her grandmother isn’t the only one in danger when she barely escapes a deadly attack. Thrust into the middle of a high-stakes, high-risk shell game, Piper’s become the target. The case takes a bizarre turn when Piper unknowingly crosses paths with a Special Ranger. If he can’t derail her investigation, it could cost him his life.
With millions of dollars on the line, nothing will stop a ring of cold-blooded killers, including the murders of a U.S. Marshal and a Special Ranger.
The story opens with an introduction to Piper as a sniper in a tense action scene, then she’s notified of her grandmothers “accident” and Piper rushes home to find her grandmother in a coma. Her distress over her grandmother’s precarious health condition is palatable, and I had an immediate emotional connection. As I learned more about the grandmother, Jen, I came to love her almost as much as Piper does. Jen is one of those strong accomplished horse women similar to a few I have known in my lifetime who can sit a horse with command and ease. The fact that she’s been able to run the ranch since her husband died is a testament to the strength of so many women who step up when the need is there. It’s not surprising that Piper has that same strength and can-do spirit. Piper knows that her grandmother’s so-called accident was in fact an attack, and she puts herself in great danger when she goes toe-to-toe with the local sheriff, as well as some nefarious businessmen to prove it.
As I read the book, it was a delight to be immersed in rural Texas life, especially at a ranch with cowboys saddling up to ride fences and check on the cattle. There’s something so special about farmers and ranchers, and when I first moved to rural East Texas, I loved to go to a local diner and listen to the cattlemen, and women, talk about the price of beef, the cougar someone saw in the hay meadow, and the weather. The way they talked, and the colloquiums they used, were such a pleasure to listen to. While reading Deadly Business, I smiled when I came across this description of a weathered older cowhand, “Tougher than a boiled boot.” It took me back to that diner and those cowboys finishing up their Saturday breakfast before going to the sale barn.
The suspense in the story is heightened with a second attack on Jennie’s life, and Piper is backed by her colleagues Davy and Tony. Not only do they provide protection for Jennie while she’s in the hospital recovering from her first attack, the men assist Piper in her showdown with the dishonest cattle buyer. Catching the bad guys is no easy feat, and it entails careful planning and execution.
Grady, the ranch foreman who has been there long enough to be more than just an employee, is a wonderful character, as is Cade, the Special Ranger. I can’t say anything more about Cade without adding some spoilers, so I won’t; better for the reader to be surprised, but I can say one of the things I especially liked about Grady. In addition to wrangling cattle and using a rifle to good purpose, he’s an excellent cook. Some of the meals he prepared for Piper and her colleagues made my mouth water. I’d love his recipe for chili, minus the jalapenos.
During the investigation, Piper discovers that her grandmother’s ranch isn’t the only one that’s been the focus of the ring of rustlers, and that adds another layer of suspense and danger to the story. This complicated plot will keep readers guessing, and just when you think it’s over…maybe it’s not.
Award-winning Author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer, and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.
Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.
In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo. The novels are not a series and can be read in any order.
As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.
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3rd & 4th: eBook copy.
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