Private military contractors. They're not just for foreign wars anymore. Jon Cantrell, a disgraced ex-cop, works for one such company. He's a DEA agent paid on a commission basis, patrolling one of the busiest drug-hubs in the country: Dallas, Texas.
When Cantrell and his partner and sometimes lover confiscate the wrong shipment of drugs, they find themselves in possession of a star witness in an upcoming cartel trial that could destroy the largest criminal organization in the hemisphere.
To turn a profit, all they have to do is safely deliver the witness to the US Attorney on the other side of the state. An easy trip, except the witness doesn’t want to go and a group of competing DEA contractors and a corrupt Dallas police officer want everybody involved dead.
This heart-stopping thriller takes readers deep into a strange underworld where the lines between government officials and mercenaries blur. In this complex network of drug traffickers, cartels, politicians, and police, no one's hands are clean.
Another new author and another Net Galley book which on the face of it……..drugs, corruption, dirty cops, Mexican cartels and hit squads…..ought to have been up my street. Whilst it was enjoyable up to a point I wasn't engaged in the outcome and felt somewhat indifferent as to how things played out.
The author provides a decent back story for our main character and puts flesh on his bones ….. a troubled job history, family difficulties with an unstable half-sister looking after his father who is suffering from dementia, on/off romance with an equally troubled partner, Piper……but I just didn't feel any connection or empathy towards Cantrell and less for Piper, the other main figure on the side of the good guys.
Cantrell and Piper take down a drug shipment. Cantrell and Piper find themselves in possession of a witness in an up and coming trial against a top figure in one the Mexican drug cartels. Cantrell and Piper endeavour to deliver her to a US attorney somewhere else in Texas and in return secure themselves a big pay-day. A road-trip ensues, with numerous encounters and a fair bit of blood-letting as a variety of miscreants on both sides of the law try to stop the pair and silence the witness permanently.
Gun fights, death, betrayal, secrets, corruption, drug-addiction, tech-wizardry, family, Texas, Mexican hit squads, indifference, constant mind-wandering, page-counting, loss of reading momentum, ennui, swimming through treacle…… the end, joy, relief, a burden lifted.
I’m possibly being a little bit unfair to the author as the plot was ok, the characters were more than caricatures and the setting was well-described……..I just wasn't swept along – when I read a 500 page book, I want it to be epic and in my opinion this fell some way short. Maybe 200 pages less and it would have been more.
Better than a 2 – as I didn't contemplate stabbing myself in the eyeballs with a pen at any point, but only marginally. In the spirit of generosity a 3 then.
3 from 5
Hunsicker has previously written 3 other books in a series with a protagonist named Lee Henry Oswald set in Dallas! The first of these – Still River was nominated for a Shamus Award back in 2005. Whilst this one wasn't to my taste, I think I would be prepared to give this first book a read.
My copy was accessed via Net Galley website. The Contractors was published in February, 2014.