BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bea Reviews Hard Return by J. Carson Black

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Series: Cyril Landry #2 
Format Read: Kindle book 
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Cyril Landry has been a dead man since he escaped a firefight off the coast of Florida three years ago. In all that time, the former Navy SEAL has been living off the grid to protect his wife and teenage daughter, who have mourned him and moved on.

Five days a week, Landry watches from a distance as his daughter Kristal leaves school—his only chance to see her. One day a shooter in black unloads his M-16 on the students, killing eight kids—including Kristal’s boyfriend, Luke. Landry takes out the gunman with a single sniper shot before melting back into the city. But this wasn’t a typical massacre, and the clues add up to only one conclusion: someone knows Landry’s alive, and wants him dead—again. Teaming up with Detective Jolie Burke—a homicide cop who plays by her own rules—Landry must find a way to protect his family, and avenge Luke’s death.

In the second Cyril Landry thriller, black ops turn the world red.

Bea's Thoughts:

I love thrillers and mysteries and the blurb for this one grabbed me - a husband and father whose been in hiding to protect his wife and daughter? SOLD! The first third or so kept me hooked. Black masterfully teases us, withholding information until it's necessary for us to know. Usually, I get impatient when authors withhold info and slowly play it out but not this time. It worked beautifully and kept me reading.

At first, Landry seems like a decent guy, just trying to survive. Slowly, we find out that he's not quite as good as he first seems. In fact, he's more anti-hero than hero and he's just barely the good guy of this story. This is one of those stories where no is all good or all bad but a realistic mix. Landry loves his family, he can be kind, but he doesn't think twice about snapping someone's neck even when it creates more problems than it solves. He comes to realize over the course of the story that maybe he wasn't as good as husband and father as he thought all these years. He makes some hard choices and I often disagreed with him but usually I could understand. There was one story thread that didn't make sense to me and I'm still puzzling it out. I did predict one twist but  Black spun a compelling story that kept me guessing for much of it.

I didn't realize this was part of a series when I picked it up but even so I had no trouble reading this and following events. It seemingly picks up on the consequences of events that occurred in book one but she weaves in the back story so that it's not necessary to have read it. I might have appreciated certain aspects of Landry better if I had but maybe not. He was hard to like at times, he really was a vicious man at times, but he interested me and he could be sympathetic. Black's characterization was rich and complex.

While "Hard Return" had some moments of predictability, it was a twisty, complex, and compelling read with full-bodied characters. It's not a cookie cutter thriller so be sure to pick it up.


  1. Ooh I think this book is perfect for me! I love mysteries and yes, sometimes slow beginnings can seem drawn out. So knowing the author just dives right in there sounds very appealing to me too. I will keep my eyes peeled for this one!

    Check out my review and giveaway:

  2. Oh sounds like a fun intense read! I've been reaching towards thrillers over cozies lately and this sounds like a fun one! Great review!

  3. This sounds hard hitting and tense, and I like that premise too. I'll have to look into this one, think I would like it.


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