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“THE SHOP is a hair-raising thriller from start to finish. J. Carson Black draws the reader into a world where nothing is as it seems. This book is both spooky and convincing, just what a thriller should be.”
—T. Jefferson Parker, New York Times bestselling author of THE BORDER LORDS
When former Navy SEAL Cyril Landry and his team of assassins enter a chalet in Aspen, Colorado, he recognizes the pop star Brienne Cross asleep on the couch. As he is about to kill her, she wakes and looks into his eyes.
There is that one moment between them. And then she is dead. Someone with a higher pay scale than Landry has been ordering celebrities killed. Now he wants to know why.
At first glance, the shooting death of a police chief in a rundown Florida motel room appears to be an assignation gone wrong. But as detective Jolie Burke plumbs deeper into the crime’s murky undercurrents, she unveils a conspiracy shocking in its scope.
In her relentless pursuit of justice, Burke follows a byzantine path that will take her from the lottery-driven fantasies of a yard maintenance worker to a Panama City Beach missing-persons case and finally to the island compound of her estranged uncle–the Attorney General of the United States.
The death of a celebrity in Aspen has set the table for an orgy of death, destruction, and infamy. As the stakes rise, Jolie finds herself teamed with a killer. Only Jolie and her unlikely partner, Cyril Landry, can dismantle the shadowy entity known as The Shop–before it strikes again.
“Infused with an original voice and packed with compelling characters, J. Carson Black’s THE SHOP is a thriller to pay attention to.”
—-David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE
“Fresh and imaginative, J. Carson Black’s THE SHOP is a riveting read and a compelling tale of character. From FBI agents to local cops, from heroes to villains, THE SHOP is an exciting, sweeping crime thriller that will linger in your mind for a long time.”
—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of THE BOOK OF SPIES
Amazon 5 Star Customer Review – By Maynard F. Allington “novelist”
Today’s thriller market has a number of franchise authors who consistently grind out “best sellers.” Their plots are, for the most part, skillfully constructed, and they know how to tell a story. But their writing skills are often ordinary, even mundane, and rarely soar into that rarefied atmosphere of “style” that is the mark of a great writer. There was a time when stylists such as Eric Ambler and Graham Greene owned the thriller genre and lifted it to the level of literature. J. Carson Black is a throwback to that generation. She not only has the technical skills to shape a novel, but a gift for words that crosses into that exclusive literary terrain of art.
THE SHOP opens in a tense action sequence with the assassination in Aspen, Colorado of Brienne Cross, a well known actress/pop star. The hit is carried out with military precision by a lone assassin who vanishes from the scene, leaving no clue behind, least of all a motive.
The assassin is Cyril Landry, former SEAL and now a member of a black ops unit (known as “the shop”) operating within a private security firm. The firm has been used on occasion by the government for missions requiring solutions outside the law. Landry is a man of contradictions – on the one hand devoted to his family, on the other capable of killing dispassionately. But the execution of Brienne Cross troubles him. For the first time, he finds himself drawn emotionally to a dead target. The years of mental programming that have conditioned him to kill, never questioning an order, are suddenly coming apart. In the course of this psychological dislocation, Landry will come to learn why Brienne’s death was ordered, and will turn against the shop.
A second story line opens in a motel room on the gulf coast of Florida where a police chief has been found dead. Sheriff’s homicide detective Jolie Burke is assigned to investigate. She suspects the suspicious death was a suicide, covered up by the victim’s wife to protect his name. A tough, seasoned investigator, Jolie has some deep issues in her life, and a terrifying, repressed fear from early childhood.
Jolie’s investigation will lead to a puzzling string of interrelated homicides that reach into the highest corridors of power. Eventually it will bring her into contact with Landry, on his own mission of vengeance against the shop, and a confrontation with the childhood memory she has blocked out. The life and death climax, when the antagonists finally clash on a private island off the Florida coast,is a masterpiece of narrative tension and suspense.
THE SHOP is original in concept, skillfully plotted and paced, with three dimensional characters, all of which make for an intriguing read.