Women's Fiction, Feminist Westerns, Mysteries
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A fast-moving whodunit with compelling subplots and an appealing protagonist who’s likely to keep winning fans.
The Fisher King is a haunting novel about different people’s claims on a place, and the power struggles, violence, and deception they use to seize it. Dark and ominous, the novel strikes the perfect mood and will be sure to appeal to fans eager for more of McBride’s adventures.
Lenhardt perfectly captures the intrigue and drama inherent in small town Texas life. Throw a few murders into the dichotomy between the long-time residents and those who’ve just arrived, and you have a satisfying mix of dark, dangerous, and sexy.
In a town run by a powerful family, a new lawman arrives and tries to glue the pieces of his life back together. Melissa Lenhardt’s second Jack McBride novel, The Fisher King, is a terrific soap opera of an East Texas noir. Populated by shady characters, small-town gossips, and legions of folks with dark secrets, Stillwater tenses as a drug turf war looms. Chief Jack McBride, battered by his own personal crises, must get to the bottom of several killings before he’s drummed out of office. Drug gangs, broken families, and a reluctant hero walking the finest line between success and failure. Don’t miss The Fisher King. A riveting tale of disgrace, betrayal, and redemption. . . . Lenhardt writes a hard story with a soft hand. Evocatively descriptive and painfully believable, The Fisher King is Peyton Place meets The Godfather in small-town Texas. Politics, drugs, money, and sex. Lots of sex. Read it with Dwight Yoakam in your ear. Top notch.” —James W. Ziskin, author of the Ellie Stone series
Lenhardt draws you so deep into Stillwater, Texas, you’ll think you live there and know everyone in town. In-depth characters, finely drawn descriptions, and a sure-fire plot make The Fisher King a very satisfying addition to the Texas crime fiction scene.” —Terry Shames, Macavity Award Winning author of The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake
Melissa Lenhardt’s Jack McBride is a complex and fallible protagonist you will root for. In The Fisher King, McBride takes on small town greed and corruption to his own peril in this sexy, gritty, and gripping thriller. A terrific new series!” —Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones series
[T]his combination of police procedural and romance puts the pedal to the metal and revs up the action.
VERDICT: A finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, this debut crime novel, spanning decades of Stillwater’s history, features an ingenious plot and a complicated protagonist with inner depths worth plumbing. Readers who miss Donald Harstad will appreciate this well-done police procedural, which is also a good choice for fans of Terry Shames’s “Samuel Craddock” mysteries, Lee Martin’s “Deb Ralston” series, or Tricia Fields’s “Josie Gray” novels.
Dangerous things lurk beneath the placid surface in Stillwater, Texas. Secrets shunning the light of day, decades-old betrayals, lies that have taken on a life of their own. Moody and atmospheric, utterly compelling, you don’t want to miss Melissa Lenhardt’s marvelous debut novel, STILLWATER.
Small-town loyalties and long-simmering secrets combine for a compelling page-turner! A fish-out-of-water lawman and his adolescent son try to escape the past in not-so-cozy Stillwater, Texas –but soon they’re battling corruption, revenge, and murder. Fast-paced dialogue, an authentic setting, and engaging characters–Stillwater is a one-sitting read. – Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Daphne and Mary Higgins Clark award winning authorSTILLWATER runs deep with intrigue, passion, and long-buried secrets. Melissa Lenhardt weaves a rich tale of suspense as hot as the east Texas town in which it’s set.
Dallas native Melissa Lenhardt offers a punchy page-turner that’s certain to draw a fan base.
The author strikes a delicate balance between the romantic aspects of McBride’s life and the unsolved crimes swirling around him. Lenhardt weaves unpredictable twists and turns and is not afraid to take the reader to seedier parts of her psyche, but she doesn’t linger there. “Stillwater” couldn’t be considered hardboiled noir, but it has all the elements of a noir novel.
Secrets, lies, and betrayals run through STILLWATER like irrigation through dry land. Melissa Lenhardt’s writing drips with detail to create a story that rushes like a wave toward an ever-twisting ending. Don’t let the name fool you; STILLWATER’s threats lie right below the surface.
With a twisting plot, nonstop action and a sexy, complex protagonist you’ll root for from page one, Lenhardt brings the town of Stillwater, Texas (pop. 2,436), and all its long-buried secrets, to life. Fast-paced and tightly-written, STILLWATER is a must-read for anyone who loves great crime fiction. Book two can’t come soon enough!
Inspired plotting, fast pacing, sly foreshadowing, and a steady serving of plot twists keeps you turning pages. With shades of Walking Tall (1973), long-held secrets surface and reveal the tangled motivations, intertwined lives, and political machinations of a small-town fiefdom. As McBride’s personal and career fears converge, Lenhardt expertly sets the hook for the next installment. I hope she writes quickly.
This is a smooth and enjoyable small-town Texas mystery, with well-chosen police issues, strong emotions (criminal and otherwise), and top-tier pacing in the tension and suspense. Maybe Jack McBride is a little too balanced to take the Western prize away from Walt Longmire and all his depression and losses ... but reading one series and then the other is going to be a lot of fun, as Lenhardt continues to push Jack forward in his challenged new police role. Glad to have found this author, looking forward to more.
Crisp and pacy writing pulls you in deep from page one, when Jack McBride strides into a crime scene and a world of trouble. STILLWATER is the perfect combination of a tightly plotted tale peopled by rich, complex characters (plus one or two deliciously hateful true baddies). Slashed budgets, racial tensions, messy pasts – this small town is anything but cozy. The mystery itself is a classic puzzle, though: clever and convincing. Roll on Jack #2!
Small-town loyalties and long-simmering secrets combine for a compelling page-turner! A fish-out-of-water lawman and his adolescent son try to escape the past in not-so-cozy Stillwater, Texas –but soon they’re battling corruption, revenge, and murder. Fast-paced dialogue, an authentic setting, and engaging characters–Stillwater is a one-sitting read.