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Black Lily: Have No Mercy III

Author: Kam Ruble
Genre: Mystery
Reviewed by Kevin R. Tipple

577This third book in the series and the first written solo by Kam Ruble returns the reader after considerable back-story to Mt. Pride, Colorado. The focus of this novel, primarily, is the tragic hero Charles Monroe Sutton who never fit into his family and was well aware that he was unwanted by his father.

"Cut from a different pattern, longhaired, urchin looking, free spirited Charley was nothing like his clean-cut, studious, white collar seeking brothers. From the days when they first learned to read, Abe and Bill seemed to always have their noses buried in books. Charley, on the other hand, could not sit still long enough to read but a few paragraphs of any written words. He was too active and too curious about living life, not reading about it." (Page 5)

Instead, he jumps off the roof of their shed thinking he can fly with the aid of a bed sheet. It doesn't work but Charley is undeterred. In fact, it becomes a challenge for him and he begins early in his young life to do more and more dangerous stunts. A situation made worse by his mother's decision to abandon her abusive husband and three sons leaving, Charley, the youngest by several years, for all intents and purposes alone in the world with a pseudo family that doesn't care about him at all.

Charley's love of danger as he grows up eventually leads him into a highly successful career as a stuntman. Known by his nickname of "fearless" his services are in high demand and Charley is making money fast and spending it just as fast in a lavish lifestyle. While in a bar during a movie shoot, he meets and befriends the bartender, Ann Tailor. He falls hard for her and for approximately a year they live together in California. That is, until her own painful childhood past coupled with her need for wealth and revenge causes her to leave him.

Her leaving devastates Charley and rekindles his intense feelings of abandonment. His work performance suffers, his gambling increases causing him to lose large amounts of money, and he is spiraling down out of control. Before long, he suffers another devastation in the form of a career ending back injury. In massive debt to the Vegas mob and with little left but the clothes on his back after a failed suicide attempt, he has little choice several months later when Ann calls to offer him a job as a chauffer.

He accepts the job out of desperation despite strong misgivings about being in Ann's presence as he still loves her depite her many flaws. Soon, he is living very well in Mt. Pride, Colorado on the estate and is performing his job as chauffer for Ann and her husband, Allen Clifford Eckard. By marrying the wealthy businessman son of the wealthy Mayor, Ann is doing very well financially. But, like Charley, no matter how good the current standard of living is, it isn't enough. Believing she is smarter than anyone around her as well as driven by her own history of abuse, she seeks revenge no matter the cost. Slowly, she seduces Charley into resuming their physical relationship as well as into her plot for revenge. However, the husband has plans of his own for his lovely wife. As people begin to vanish, Colorado Homicide Detectives Joe Warner and Eddy Konklin are brought in to work the case and untangle the webs of deceit, revenge and betrayal.

This third novel in the series features brief allusions to the earlier books but like them could be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. While the dialogue occasionally seems a bit off and the author has taken liberties with the facts concerning a certain National Park, the overall novel is very enjoyable. This novel is more streamlined than the previous two and therefore moves forward at a significantly faster pace with less switches in points of view evidenced in the earlier books while retaining lots of character development. This could be due to the efforts of several editors or the fact that Kam wrote this novel solo. Regardless, this 368-page novel is an enjoyable read full of twists and turns with a final left hook punch to the reader at the very end.


July 11, 2004 in Mystery | Permalink


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