PRAIRIES BOOK REVIEW - 08.08.20
August 8, 2020
A sophisticated and strikingly fresh crime thriller series…
The excellent first two installments in Rupp's crime series featuring the seasoned FBI agent Dick Hartmann, who heads up San Francisco's Violent Crime Squad, finds him dealing with cunning killers who would go to any length to realize their ulterior motives. In Death & Taxes, the first installment, Dick and his team are brought in to investigate a suspicious death at the IRS Service Center in Fresno. But the seemingly straightforward murder investigation soon turns into a bloody wild-goose chase that takes dick and his team from Fresno to Los Angeles and ultimately to Mexico. In Death on the High Seas, the second installment, a free vacation on a cruise ship puts Dick and his friend and fellow agent Coleen Ryan in the middle of a murder inquiry. As investigation moves from the ship to San Francisco, New York, the Cayman Islands, Europe, and ultimately to India, Dick and Coleen realize the brutal murder is just a tiny part of the international money laundering conspiracy. Rupp cleverly integrates complicated crime thriller tropes: international money laundering, drugs, bloody cartel wars among others into a clever police procedural plot. While Dick is brilliant yet thoroughly humane, the lovely and intelligent Coleen makes for a kick-ass female protagonist. But it's Rupp's antagonists who steal the limelight; they are united by their unwavering devotion for violent death and their extreme psychopathic tendencies; Emelia's psychological aloofness compels, leaving a feeling of unease in readers' minds. Rupp does a good job of balancing action and characterization, and his stylish, edgy prose and myriad twists keep readers turning pages fast. Smooth pacing, cleverly executed plot, and a touch of romance combine to make this series a winner. Crime readers who appreciate high action and complicated plotting won't want to miss this one.