“A Criminal Defense” by Steven Gore, “Strong Rain Falling” by Jon Land, and “Never Go Back” by Lee Child

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Three of grit-lit’s favorite authors have outstanding new books ready and waiting for your e-reader or nightstand.

I like Steven Gore’s writing so much I’ve read all his books at least twice.

“A Criminal Defense” a Detective Harlan Donnally thriller by Steven Gore. (Harper Collins,

A Criminal Defense

$9.99, 340 pages, paperback.) www.stevengore.com.

Just three sentences demonstrate why Gore’s books have been on best seller lists around the world.

“I know who killed Mark Hamlin.”

“A recorded voice overrode the next words spoken by the man. ‘This is a call from a California state prison.’”

And that’s all it took for me to be hooked.

And just to prove those aren’t the only three great sentences in the book, here’s some more.”

“But it was only now, gazing at the criminal defense attorney hanging by his neck from the Fort Point lighthouse, that Donnally realized these thoughts were reverberations from the last case he’d cleared as a homicide detective a decade earlier. They’d echoed not only in his unease about the uncertainties and entanglements awaiting him in the shadow of the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge, but in his musing about the mechanics of life and death…”

A detective who’s investigated sex and drug trafficking, political corruption and organized crime around the world. Gore is trained in forensic science and has been featured on 60 minutes. If you want to know what it is really like to be a private investigator, you need to read “A Criminal Defense” and his first Donnally book “Act Of Deceit”. Then pick up all three of his equally outstanding Graham Gage novels: “Final Target,” “Absolute Risk,” and “Power Blind.”

Invest fifty bucks or so in all five paperbacks. Read ‘em front to back a couple of times. Make notes. By the end you’ll know almost everything you need to know to be a private eye.

Except how to shoot. And how to avoid being shot at.

Strong Rain Falling

“Strong Rain Falling” a Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land (Forge, $25.99, 364 pages, hardback.) www.jonlandbooks.com

The thriller world needs more women. And Land’s Caitlin Strong is simply the best.

“Strong Rain” is an outstanding example of a bigger than life heroes and heroines, defiled, demented bad guys, twisted plots and entertainment that’s more addicting than Godiva chocolate laced crack.

“The boy walked out of the desert, the late-afternoon sun in his face, his skin burned red, parched lips marred by jagged cracks. His tattered clothes carried the thick, smoky scent of mesquite mixed with the acrid stench of burned wood, as if his journey had taken him through a brush fire burning to the southwest.

But it was the flecks of blood staining his face, shirt, and sweat soaked hair, tangled with wisps of tumbleweed, that caught John Rob Salise’s eye …”

Texas Ranger Caitlin and her lover, former outlaw Cort Wesley Masters take on the Mexican drug cartels. A bloody real world battle being fought in “Strong Rain” and the front page of your favorite daily newspaper.

Never Go Back

“Never Go Back” a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. $28.00. 397 pages. Hardback. Random House. www.leechild.com.

Seventeen mega-bestsellers. A major motion picture. Published in almost 100 countries with 70 million copies worldwide. And readers so loyal that my review copy always “disappears” somewhere between my mailbox and my desk.

Child can nail you with just one word. Don’t believe it? I’ll show you. This is the first line from “Never.”

“Eventually they put Reacher in a car and drove him to a motel a mile away, where the night clerk gave him a room, which had all the features Richer expected, because he had seen such rooms a thousand times before.”

One word, eventually, creates tension, excitement, mystery and captures your soul. Something it could take a lesser author three pages to do. You can’t read that sentence without screaming— “EVENTUALLY? What do you mean eventually? What happened before they put Reacher in a car?”

I gotta know. And I bet you do too.

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