Book Review and Giveaway: Thunder Road by Colin Holmes | Lone Star Book Blog Tour

THUNDER ROAD
by
Noir / Suspense / Historical Fiction
Publisher: CamCat Books
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Page count: 384 pages

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In this gamble, more than a few poker chips are at stake.
When an Army Air Force Major vanishes from his Top Secret job at the Fort Worth airbase in the summer of 1947, down-on-his-luck former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is hired to find him, because the Major owes a sizable gambling debt to a local mobster. The search takes Sharp from the hideaway poker rooms of Fort Worth’s Thunder Road, to the barren ranch lands of New Mexico, to secret facilities under construction in the Nevada desert.
Lethal operatives and an opaque military bureaucracy stand in his way, but when he finds an otherworldly clue and learns President Truman is creating a new Central Intelligence Agency and splitting the Air Force from the Army, Sharp begins to connect dots. And those dots draw a straight line to a conspiracy aiming to cover up a secret that is out of this worldliterally so.
PRAISE QUOTES:

“[In this] intriguing debut . . . clear crisp prose . . . morphs from a western into a detective story with an overlay of conspiracy theories.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sparkling 1940’s dialogue, wry humor, an unpredictable yet coherent storyline, and a breezy style all his own, make Colin Holmes’ somewhat spooky novel, Thunder Road, a winner. I’ll be on the lookout for his next novel.” —Rob Leininger, author of Killing Suki Flood and the Mortimer Angel “Gumshoe” series

“This genre-defying and enormously entertaining romp is Mickey Spillane meets Whitley Strieber meets Woody Allen. I can’t remember when I’ve had so much plain old fun reading a book and just didn’t want it to end.” —Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice

“A carefully crafted and original suspense thriller of a read, Thunder Road by Colin Holmes is the stuff of which block-buster action/adventure movies are made. With many and unexpected plot twists and turns, Thunder Road is an inherently fascinating and entertaining novel . . .” —Midwest Book Review

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Take a dollop of Western, a splash of sci-fi, a generous pinch of noir, and a sprinkling of romance, and you might come close to describing Thunder Road. Think of it like the Rifleman finding himself dropped into a casino scene from a James Bond movie crossed with The X-Files. (Now that I think about it, I did picture someone rather like Chuck Connors as our protagonist while I was reading!)

Former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is working as a livestock detective for the Fort Worth and Western Stockmen’s Association. Life has gone a little sideways for him, as an unexplainable incident out in the field led to him having to put his horse down, losing his job, and finding out his wife has been cheating on him with his biggest rival. So when a local mobster hires Sharp to find an Army Air Force Major who’s disappeared from his top secret job owing the mobster a pretty fat gambling debt, Sharp takes the opportunity.

Boy, does that decision lead him some places. It’s 1947. Something has happened in Roswell, New Mexico, and Las Vegas isn’t much more than a blip on the map with delusions of grandeur. Sharp finds himself rubbing elbows with the underworld on Fort Worth’s notorious Thunder Road, confronting the military-industrial complex, and heading off into the desert to find answer to some questions that dangerous men might not want asked.

Colin Holmes has a way with words, and he creates a 1940s setting that really sucks the reader in! The story he tells is entertaining and suspenseful, and made me snort-laugh in a few places like a good Terry Pratchett tale does. He also does a great job of weaving in actual historical figures like Howard Hughes, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky, adding to the enthralling nature of the world he’s constructed.

I like the relationship between Jefferson and Roni. It isn’t an insta-romance. He’s a little slow on the uptake in figuring out that Roni isn’t his buddy’s kid sister anymore (maybe in part because his marriage has only very recently ended), and her exasperation with his slowness is just right. The ending of the book hints at more story to come, and I hope we see what direction life takes them.

Thunder Road may not have been the book I expected (because really, who could anticipate this level of genius?), but it was definitely the book I needed. Just the right amount of tension to keep you turning pages, enough intrigue to keep you guessing, and a perfect little kiss of romance for sweetness. I’d give it ten stars if I could, and I can’t wait to read more from Colin Holmes.

Before the pandemic, Colin Holmes toiled in a beige cubicle as a mid-level marketing and advertising manager for an international electronics firm. A recovering advertising creative director, he spent far too long at ad agencies and freelancing as a hired gun in the war for capitalism.

As an adman, Holmes has written newspaper classifieds, TV commercials, radio spots, trade journal articles and tweets. His ads have sold cowboy boots and cheeseburgers, 72-ounce steaks, and hazardous waste site clean-up services. He’s encountered fascinating characters at every turn.

Now he writes novels, short stories and screenplays in an effort to stay out of the way and not drive his far too patient wife completely crazy. He is an honors graduate of the UCLA Writers Program, a former board member of the DFW Writers Workshop and serves on the steering committee of the DFW Writers Conference. He’s a fan of baseball, barbeque, fine automobiles and unpretentious scotch.

CamCat Publishing

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

THREE WINNERS:
Each receives an autographed hardcover copy of THUNDER ROAD.
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 12/16/22.)

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

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2 Responses to Book Review and Giveaway: Thunder Road by Colin Holmes | Lone Star Book Blog Tour

  1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this review and it makes me want to get a copy of the book in print and read it again (I read it with my ears and recommend you do the same. FABULOUS.)Thanks for the enthusiasm — and you really should get paid on sales ’cause you just made one.

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