Stark House Press offers us a Terrific double feature in an unassuming cover by a writer who should be better known than he is. It’s not often you come upon a two-fer with two “A” sides, but Rick Ollerman pulled it off with two powerful Florida crime novels.
Turnabout is set in the Nineties around the beginnings of the Internet explosion as the General public and criminals as well are just starting to wrap their heads around networking and computer security, but it might as well have been set in the late Fifties or early Sixties. It has the look and feel of one of those early paperback originals.
Frank O’Neill is an ex police officer making a living as a computer security consultant. He got burned out working nights in all the worst neighborhoods, never leaving the job behind, never relaxing. It nearly cost him his marriage. But, as these stories go, retirement is just a fantasy cause the crap has a way of following you wherever you go.
The opening scene will leave your jaw dropping open as O’Neill’s best buddy takes a nose dive into the Gulf of Mexico from a small plane and nothing about is right. O’Neill can’t let this go even if it costs him everything and it nearly does. With a team composed of a born loser working a late night cleaning crew and a 300 pound pickpocket, O’Neill finds the twisted trail to hell as his hunt for his buddy’s killers leads him into the deadly Florida swamps.
Even if O’Neill’s painstaking investigation seems to lead nowhere at first, hang on tight because you are in for a harrowing thrill ride filled with breathtaking twists and turns and it becomes just as action packed as anything.
Shallow Secrets also features a Florida ex police officer, but one who leads a special team investigating a serial killer, leads it, that is, until the new suspect in custody who was caught red handed turns out to have been a houseguest of Officer Robinson. All of a sudden, Robinson becomes a bit of a suspect himself and his career goes down the tubes. You don’t really know through much of the story whether Robinson is Lou Ford or just an innocent guy connected to the wrong person at the wrong time.
This one at first seems to be a bit slower to get going, but rest assured the twists and turns are just beginning and the action when it comes is fast and furious.