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Friday, May 6, 2016

Dark Crossing by Royal Bouchor (Zack Sinclair #1)

Deadly CrossingDeadly Crossing by Royal Bouschor

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  America’s relentless search for terrorists coupled with heretofore unknown and covert eavesdropping techniques and other invasions have uncovered a uniquely coded message between Afghanistan and Mexico. The translation, if it is to be believed, is alarming. Arab terrorists are going to smuggle a Russian into the United States.

A retired former special ops CIA agent, Zack Sinclair is brought back in to go undercover in Mexico to find the Russian before he arrives in the United States.

Zack learns that funding and transportation for the Russian are financed by a Guadalajaran banker for a drug cartel that has corrupted the border and politicians, making Sinclair’s task perilous and deadly.

A tenuous relationship evolves with a member of the banking family that controls the critical sale of drugs to finance the movement of the Russian to the United States. Their relationship puts them both in mortal danger as the body count rises.

When the CIA learns the real reason for the Russian’s arrival in the Unites States, Sinclair alone must find him at all costs, or the results will be America’s worst nightmare.

2.5 stars. It was between OK and I Liked It.

First book in a self published suspense-mystery series set in the southwest between Arizona and Mexico.

Zack Sinclair is recruited by a former colleague as part of a highly secret covert ops mission to find out who and what is being smuggled into the states across the Arizona/New Mexico border. Zack witness a drug deal gone wrong, rescues the one survivor, and is sucked into Mexican politics like a thirsty tourist downs a margarita.

The plot was a bit different from the mysteries I've been reading, and I suspect a big part of that is in the location alone. Living along the Mexican/US border brings its own unique issues that most people in the States never even think about. Or if they do, it "that thing" that happens "down there".

Dark Crossings doesn't deal with illegal immigrants, it deals with smuggling drugs and more across the border. With illegals being such a hot topic in the news, I don't know that I would have wanted to have read about a fictional case. So, points for plot.

Where the book faltered was the dialog. It bounced between a stilted and repetitive to almost too casual given some high pressure high government situations. My largest hang-up was the repetitiveness - the characters would repeat themselves two or three times, which would leave me scratching my head and muttering "you just said that...".

I also noted a repeated use names, where in live dialog, people just don't say the other person's name more than once or maybe twice. Once to garner attention, and perhaps again in closing, or, if in a committee setting, to bring a person to the attention of the group or assign matters. In Dark Crossings, lots of name usage.

Speaking of names, the author hit the repetitive first names - "R's". Rob, Rosa, Ricardo, Ruben; "E's - Edwards, Eduardo; "V's" - Victoria and Veronica; which caused a bit of confusion more than once.

Don't expect a lot of description in this book - it's dialog heavy and light on scene establishment. The most one gets is a quick rundown of what a character is wearing and that's about it. You won't get a feel for Guadalajara - you could be in Anywhere, Mexico. I had trouble discerning when Zack was back in states and when and where he was in Mexico.

I was less than enamored with the protagonist claiming adoration for multiple drop-dead gorgeous women that seemed to litter his path. Zach is supposed to be "playing" Rosa, a hardened business woman, but all it came away with was Veronica Rabbit. It's to Veronica, mistress of disguises, that Zach professes a more complete adoration, but I'm perplexed as to when and where he actually got to know her since Zach spent most of his time with Rosa. And, ultimately, in my humble opinion, it all falls under the James Bond trope anyway of over being overdone.

Overall, an okay read for a independently published first book. I'll read the next out of curiosity.

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