Saturday, March 7, 2009

'... the surest poison"

That's a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and also the title of Chester Campbell's book launching a brand-new series. The man just never quits!
Chester is a southern gentleman, and not the pushy type, so I'm giving his new book a little push of my own.

I'm reprinting here an excellent review of THE SUREST POISON. The reviewer is Gloria Feit, and I have her permission for this reprint.

Gloria and her husband Ted are active reviewers on the DorothyL mystery listserv, and for author Lorie Ham's online No Name Cafe. The Feits live a few miles outside of New York City. For 26 years, Gloria was the office manager of a medium-size law firm in downtown Manhattan. Ted is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for several daily, weekly and monthly publications. Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the U.S. and U.K.

And now, applause, applause ....
Review by Gloria Feit, as published on the DorothyL listserv. Reprinted here with Gloria’s gracious permission.
THE SUREST POISON by Chester Campbell

Night Shadows Press April 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9799167-9-3 Hardcover, 272 pp., $26.95
[Simultaneous release in pb, ISBN 978-0-9799167-8-6, $15.95]

Sid Chance is a former member of the Army Special Forces in Vietnam and a former National Parks ranger for eighteen years, as well as a small town police chief for ten, forced out of office when falsely charged with bribery. Never finding who had set out to destroy him, he has taken refuge for the past three years in a rustic cabin [read “no electricity or running water”] fifty miles east of Nashville.

As the book opens he finds himself wondering “if he'd made the right decision in leaving. Going back to the type of work he had pursued for more than three decades left him exposed to the same flawed humanity that had chased him up here in the first place.” But he is coaxed out of his hermit-like existence by his old friend Jasmine (Jaz) LeMieux, who has recommended him to a corporate attorney and his client who is facing major financial disaster unless he can be cleared in a chemical pollution case. Sid is hired to find the company which had owned the property previously which, they are convinced, is the true culprit.

Jaz is quite a character, literally and figuratively. She “had the looks and the brains to be whatever she wanted, and she had the money and the contacts to pull it off.” Her c.v. includes having been a professional boxer, member of the Security Police with the Air Force, cop, board chairman of a major company, and during the course of the book is applying for a p.i. license, the better to enable her to work with Sid, finding she “couldn't resist the lure of the chase.”

A second story line evolves when Jaz's employees, a couple in their late seventies, plead with Jaz to help when their grandson and his nine-year-old son are threatened. When Sid assists in this effort, it means he must, with misgivings, return for the first time to the small town he had left in disgrace nearly four years earlier.

The author smoothly blends the two investigations being worked on by Sid and Jaz, which is accomplished with a little help from his friends, which include his poker-playing pals, the “Five Felons,” comprised of a Metro police sergeant, a retired newspaper crime writer, a former Criminal Court Judge, and a local homicide detective, charmingly named "Bart Masterson."

The reader is treated to a good old-fashioned detective story -- and that is intended as very high praise -- with swear words at a minimum, any violence not of the graphic variety, instead a more subtle but no less lethal kind, interspersed with ominous threats, some vague and some pointed.

The title comes from a line by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which “named such
things as alcohol and strychnine but concluded …’the surest poison is time.’”

Mr. Campbell has written another terrific novel, one that is recommended.
(Review by Gloria Feit)


Jean Henry Mead said...

What a nice post, Pat. If Chester's latest release is as good as the rest of the books in his Greg McKenzie series, I can't wait to read it.

Pat Browning said...

This isn't a Greg McKenzie book, Jean. It's a new series.

Gloria Feit wrote such a good review I couldn't resist passing it along, with her permission.

The book does sound terrific!


Ben Small said...

It's a very good book. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I mentioned it once on DorothyL and plan another write-up on it there in the near future.

Chester Campbell said...

Thanks, guys. Happily, it has received several great reviews. One to come is from Jon Jordan in Crimespree Magazine who said:

"Campbell's work here is his best yet and the book has a natural rhythm that moves the story along at a nice pace. The people who populate the book are realistic and nothing feels forced, its as if Campbell is just telling their story without embellishing, which I found refreshing. A top rate mystery by a gem of a writer."

Kaye Barley said...

It is wonderful. I finished it this morning, and sent a post to DorothyL, and a little nudge for people to come read Chester's blog at Meanderings and Muses, which everyone has commented on how very inspirational they think it is. Chester - Take a bow!

Chester Campbell said...

Thanks, Kaye, he said blushingly.

Beth Terrell said...

THE SUREST POISON is an excellent book. Chester just gets better and better!