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Book Review – Knights of the Shield by Jeff Messick

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Cop shows on TV used to fascinate me as a kid. I loved Hawaii Five-O and Kojak. I still have a soft spot for them although these days I tend to watch things like Castle and Bones. And lately I’ve been reading paranormal stuff. So I have been eagerly awaiting Jeff Messick’s Knights of the Shield, due to release 11/11/14 from Pandamoon Publishing.

Jeff’s an IT guy who lived in San Antonio. He also writes and does it well. But it’s his storytelling skills that make his debut novel shine. Not only is it a fascinating story it merges a couple of pretty-much mutually exclusive genres with a touch of the supernatural blended in just for good measure.

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Luke Graham is a fairly standard hardboiled detective. You know the sort, a lone wolf who is forced to take on a brand new partner, Brackett who, though he has cop experience, doesn’t appreciate the finer points of being in the real world of investigating murders. Brackett is also a computer geek. So there is something to be loved there. The pair has a conflict immediately that Brackett exacerbates by following the book counter to Luke’s direction. When Luke is nearly killed, he ignores that Brackett saved his life because he disobeyed an order and allegedly caused the problem in the first place and it was that that almost cost Luke his life.

While recovering from the near fatal stab wound to the chest Luke receives an unexpected visit from a distant relative, a cousin who is a century or so removed – and a chainmail wearing knight at that. And so the journey begins for Luke to learn lessons about honor, respect and duty. In the background, Chuckie, one of Luke’s informants, is the latest victim of the Ribbon Killer, a serial murderer who, after killing eight ex-con in a row turns on other people who at first seem to have no connection to one another or the previous victims.

If you like books about cops, you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re into books that stretch the limits of imagination you’re in for a treat. Oh yes, there is also a touch of romance as Luke reconnects with a high school sweetheart who becomes the damsel in distress as Luke’s investigation proceeds.

Review based on an advance copy supplied by the publisher.

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