Thursday 25 August 2022




Rule #3 – Leave when it’s time.

For a guy that lives his life by a set of written rules, former deputy Sam Strait has made a habit of casually violating one of them. He’s violated it to find the killer of a stranger. He’s broken it to solve a friend’s murder. He’s constantly disregarding it for beautiful women.

But whatever the cause, Sam is determined to adhere to all the rules this summer.

So, when an attractive woman shows up claiming she killed her friend, Sam is hesitant to get involved. The woman doesn’t remember how it happened, but the crime scene is littered with evidence proving her guilt.

It should be a slam dunk case for the investigating officers. Knowing this forces Sam to reluctantly help. Because he remembers a time when he was accused of a crime and no one believed him, and he won’t let this woman go through that drama alone.

Strait Out of Nowhere is the third book in an exciting new series from the author of the 509 Crime Stories and the co-author of the Charlie-316 series. If you like your crime fiction with a dose of humor, then pick up this book today.

An enjoyable enough entry in Colin Conway's Sam Strait series. If I'm being honest the Strait books are my least favourite of all the Conway series books that I have tried. I think it's perhaps that I feel a slight disconnect from the main character, Sam. 

Sam Strait's parents died when he was young and he was raised by his grandparents who have now passed. He was unfairly bumped from his previous job as a police deputy. He has a bit of money in the bank and is a free spirit so to speak. He's a snowbird (not a term I was familiar with prior to reading these books), every winter he heads off somewhere else to enjoy a few months in a different environment. Bak home, he has one close friend and he avoids attachments and entanglements with the opposite sex. He lives his life by a set of rules, which help him avoid the chance of caring enough about someone to get hurt. I understand all of that and it makes sense from the perspective of the main character, but it doesn't endear him to me. If you kind of like the main character at a distance, it's hard to get super excited about anything they get up to.

Strait gets entangled with a woman he knows slightly from a previous book, Jordan Withers. One of her friends, Tasha has been murdered and she fled the scene, leaving DNA and all sorts of incriminating evidence behind her. As a consequence she is the prime suspect in the murder. Jordan is fuzzy on events of the previous night, but Sam doesn't believe she is a killer. The book involves Strait sheltering her from the police, while trying to get information about the dead woman and the people she met in the run up to her demise. The more he can find out about her and her life and her circle, the better the chance of finding the real killer.

I enjoyed the dynamics of Strait with his neighbours - all of whom look out for him and have an opinion on what he should be doing with his life and in the love department. There is some cat and mouse shenanigans with the lead cop investigating the murder. There are also some incredibly funny and frustrating scenes with his ex-girlfriend, Sonja who is now hooked up with a dentist, but who still holds feelings for Sam and is irrational in her thoughts about them as a couple. She's jealous of Sam's 'new woman' who actually isn't his woman, whilst oblivious to the hypocrisy of having a new relationship herself. 

Over the course of the book, we get answers to the mystery and Sam grows a bit closer to Jordan. Might close enough to threaten the rule book and the snow bird lifestyle. Maybe not. I suppose book 4, assuming Conway continues with the series might tell us.

I enjoyed the mystery element of the book. We discover Tanya's secrets and see the cracks beneath the surface. The lifestyle she portrays is an illusion. She hurts for money and gets in over her head trying to attain it. Everything is superficial, and beneath the surface it's all a bit sad and tawdry and sleazy.

3 from 5

Strait Over Tackle and Strait to Hell are the earlier entries in the series. 

Read - August, 2022
Published - 2022
Page count - 311
Source review copy from author
Format - Kindle


  1. That's an interesting point about caring for characters, Col. If you don't connect with them, it's hard to get invested in what happens to them. Still, I like Conway’s wit. And the plot sounds interesting. I'm in awe, too, of how prolific he is. I can't keep up!

    1. Margot, he's very funny in places here. I might be slightly thawing towards Strait, perhaps his reactions and emotions were something he wasn't trying to suppress so much by the end of the book. Regarding Conway's output, he needs to take a breath and slow down. I can't keep up myself!