In Cobra Clutch, Jed investigated the murder of his former tag team partner. Stephanie Danielson, a wrestler known as Stormy Daze, was a suspect for a brief period. Now, she's skating in roller derby as the Amazombie, and she and her teammates hire Jed to find their missing coach, Lawrence Kunstlinger. It's a case that thrusts Jed into a world that's as bizarre as pro wrestling's world. But, can anything be as bizarre as the Emerald Shillelagh, the bar where Declan battles daily with students from the Vancouver Film School and with customers who don't appreciate Guinness?
Jed's investigation takes him to a bookie, Sykes, a man who can make connections for the case. But, Sykes, devoted to training his champion racing dachshund, Napoleon, always wants a favor before he'll make a connection. Sykes' favors send Jed and Declan to a kinky sex club and a casino, and, eventually put Jed in contact with a sleazy talk show host and entrepreneur. But, Jed's investigation also leads to the roller derby coach's murder.
The police might be investigating the murder, but Jed's angry and feeling guilty. He witnessed the man's violent death, and he heard the coach's dying words. If he can figure out what they mean, he might just be able to find out why someone wanted to kill a roller derby coach.
I loved Rolling Thunder for several reasons. Let's start with characters, Jed, Declan, and, even Sykes. Jed's a guilt-ridden man who still loves wrestling despite his past. He's a determined investigator who wants justice for victims. And, he's trying. He has his flaws, as anyone does, but he's trying to be a better person. Declan, on the other hand, loves women, fighting, and has a ribald, coarse vocabulary. He's not trying to be any different, and Jed sometimes drives him nuts. Sykes is devoted to training the best racing dachshund he can, and he handles his business ventures with competence and confidence.
In addition, I would have never viewed roller derby in the manner it's presented in Rolling Thunder. Stormy Daze says, "This is roller derby. Our names empower us as warrior women and make us who we are." The Pacific Northwest teams are more hardcore and extreme than most of the other leagues, and they'll fight to keep it that way because the women and their coaches see it as "empowering women".
Devlin's Rolling Thunder can be crude, even a little lewd at times. But, it's just so much fun, action-packed and non-stop. If you're looking for a fun, violent mystery, check it out.
A.J. Devlin's website is www.ajdevlin.com
Rolling Thunder by A.J. Devlin. NeWest Press, 2020. ISBN 9781988732862 (paperback), 272p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.
As of April 21st the audiobook for Cobra Clutch can be found at the following locations: Audible, Kobo, Google, Findaway, Bibliotecha, Hibooks, Scribd, Playster, Downpour, ABC (not connected to the TV channel), Libro FM, Recorded Audio, Hoopla, OverDrive, Storytel and a few other small ones.
And here are a few direct links: