Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Booker: Streets of Mayhem" by John W. Mefford

Streets of Mayhem
by John W. Mefford

Streets of Mayhem, the first book in John W. Mefford's new Booker series, has just been released. You can read an excerpt, my review, and a short interview with the author. Now available for pre-order: Tap That.

This review opportunity is brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours.

On a cool October afternoon, the majestic blue sky above Dallas is polluted with swells of gray smoke, carrying shattered memories of fifteen people, mostly children, who've just been killed by an explosion on a bus. A white supremacist group claims responsibility, opening old wounds, turning neighbor against neighbor - fracturing the community.
A Southeast Dallas native, Booker T. Adams couldn't be more invested in the city … in the people he'd served for the last seven years as a beat cop for the Dallas Police Department. Without warning, it becomes personal for Booker on so many levels. And as panic grips the city, he must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice to end the chaos.
With his career called into question and his family in the crosshairs of one terrorist act after another, Booker invests every fiber of his being to protect a broken community, and to stop the brutal, senseless slayings.
If he fails, terrorism will reign in the city of Dallas.
Fans of Alex Cross and Jack Reacher will enjoy this private investigator thriller novel full of suspense, action, and crime.

Walking away from the woman toward the command post, my eyes locked on the bus. A stiff breeze smacked my face, squeezing water from my eyes, but I never blinked. My jaw hung open. I couldn't lose my Samantha. She’d been the one perfect thing in my life, had cracked my sarcastic exterior and given me a reason to push through the everyday drudgery - and bigotry. Her crackling laughter could elicit a smile from a mute. Samantha was pure joy, and she represented hope for everyone who interacted with her.
Unaware of my surroundings, I ran right into the yellow tape, and two cops approached me. I snapped it over my head and ignored their pleas to stay clear of the command post. I marched back up to Rodriguez.
“I thought you said that was the last group of kids.” I pointed in the direction of the group of kids who had escaped.
“You left before I finished.” The man was serious, but he wasn’t blowing me off. I could see a sincere look of concern. He put his hand on my shoulder. “There’s group of kids on the bus. We think about fifteen kids and two adults.”
“Why haven’t they evacuated like everyone else?”
Just then, I noticed a person in a brown bubble protective suit waddling down the street toward the bus.
“Look, Booker. We believe someone has a bomb attached to the bottom of the bus. We’re sending in the bomb squad to try to disarm it.”
I looked at my watch. I’d set it on a ten-minute timer when I raced out of the police station. Ten minutes had passed. We were at 11:43 and counting. I pointed at my watch.
“I know it’s beyond the time limit given by the caller.” Rodriguez nodded.
I tried to think logical thoughts through the fog of fear.
“Why hasn't your team rushed them off the bus?” It seemed so obvious, I wondered what the hell everyone was thinking.
“We can’t. This nut job chained the door shut. And we don’t know if the set of chains is wired.”
“Back door?”
“Same deal. Chains.”
“We thought about it. It would be a tight squeeze, but now we’re worried about shaking the bus and causing the bomb to go off. Also, could be weight sensitive. We can’t overlook any possibility.”
I brought a fist to my chest and tried to breathe. Then I felt my phone vibrate in my front pocket.
“Have you talked to anyone on the bus?”
“Yes, talked to a Michael Scandrick. He’s doing his best to keep everyone calm.”
“Where is the phone line you’ve opened with him? I need to check and see if my Samantha is on the bus.”
Rodriguez flipped around and jogged to his left to a mobile command unit. I was right on his heels, but my eyes stayed with the brown figure moving closer to the bus.
“Hey, Frank, one of our own, Booker here, might have a kid on board. Let me him talk to Scandrick.” The uniformed man walked toward me with the phone. Just as it touched my hand, I felt a wave of energy slam my left side. A ball of fire lit up the fall sky, dark smoke pumping upward. But it was the sound that etched a hole in my heart. The sound of shredding metal followed by gut-wrenching screams from onlookers, from the kids on the bus - maybe from my Samantha.
It didn't seem real. For a few brief seconds, something else directed my mind, convincing me it was fiction, possibly a nightmare. I shut my eyes and slapped my face, but I still saw the flames, the gutted bus, faces in complete shock, just staring at charred remnants of papers, backpacks, and clothes scattered all over the street. I thought I yelled out, but all airflow had ceased.
My eyes burning from the inside out, I tossed the phone back in the mobile unit and ran like hell toward the burning bus.

Praise for the Book
"I really enjoyed the book and the suspense that came along with it. I highly recommend the read if you enjoy suspense!" ~ Leila
"I really enjoyed this book as you read you didn’t want to put the book down. There is plenty of action, well developed characters and lots of suspense. John Mefford did it again!!!" ~ Cindy
"This is the third book I have read by John Mefford and it is clear that he knows what he is doing. His descriptions of the scenes of destruction are graphic and detailed and Bookers emotions at the school bus bombing were particularly heart felt and well written. There is a lot of racial tension in this story, again well written and emotional, and I would recommend this series to all fans of the suspense thrillers." ~ Jane

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Booker T. Adams is a biracial cop in Dallas, too white for some, too black for others. After witnessing an incident of police brutality, Booker assaults the officer in question and is suspended from active duty. Then a bomb blast kills fifteen people aboard a school bus, and it's followed by several more bomb threats, all seemingly racially motivated. As the attacks escalate, Booker seeks vengeance on those responsible, but he begins to wonder who is actually behind these acts of terrorism. Is the perpetrator a racist, or is he just a psychopath? And what can Booker do now that he no longer has his badge?
Streets of Mayhem is told from the alternating viewpoints of Booker and a mystery man we find out more about as the story progresses. There are a number of editing errors, including incorrect word usage, and the narrative is a bit repetitive. Nevertheless, the story is interesting and the author maintains suspense throughout.
The book features a likable cast of characters, including Booker's foul-mouthed parakeet roommate Big Al, his barman friend Justin, his DA friend Henry, Justin's barmaid Alisa, and CSI tech Felix, all of who contribute in their own ways to help Booker solve his case. I'm sure we'll see more of them is further books, and I look forward to reading Booker's next adventures.

Interview With the Author
What made you want to write a private investigator series?
I've always had strong desire to write private investigator thriller novels. When I was young, I was drawn to books, TV shows, and movies that featured a private detective with a little bit of attitude, a rebellious streak so to speak, a determined, gritty soul who used every gift they possessed to solve the case, but for a higher purpose than just paying the rent. I enjoy private detective novels that know how to create and build suspense ... and then deliver a mind-splitting thriller with plenty of crackling action.
What can we expect out of the Booker Private Investigator Thriller Series of Crime and Suspense?
To put it simply - a roller-coaster ride brimming with action and suspense. The characters are tested to their limits, Booker in particular, which adds all sorts of interesting layers to his evolution. There's always a bit of humor mixed in, along with a healthy dose of pulse-pounding thrills. Born in South Dallas, Booker is driven to do anything in his power to protect the mixed bag of people living in his city. But even with the best intentions, Booker is dragged into seedy situations, slammed into obstacles that seem insurmountable. The man's got substance, though, which make his thriller moments even more powerful.
How many books are you planning to publish in the Booker Private Investigator Thriller Series of Crime and Suspense?
Six and a half. Sort of. Six full Booker private investigator thriller novels are planned for release in 2015. And I might have a Booker novella to share with my readers as well. It's in the surprise bucket that I hope to open in the next couple of months. After that, there could be more. I can envision at least two more stories.

About the Author
A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, John W. Mefford has been writing his debut novel since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.
John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection to the characters.
When he's not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.
John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three curious kids, and a feisty fat cat.