Tom Jefferies has done a lot of things over the years. He used to be a member of Special Forces and still maintains links to his old group. He used to be a Dallas cop. A cop with, according to some, a rather checkered history though nothing was ever proved. These days he is a private investigator in Broward County, Florida. That means he hands out a lot of business cards with his signature and the slogan--"If I can help, call me."
The young dead woman in the morgue was found with such a card between her fingers. No doubt a final indignity given by those who raped her and beat her to death. While the cops have his card, they don't have her identification or much of anything else. PI Tom Jefferies is in no rush to help them either as he has another way of getting justice.
Mary Lou Smithson was her name and she was in that often difficult time between a young teenager and womanhood. Found in Coral Lakes, the woman was the daughter of old friends Charlie and Lonnie Rogers. Seventeen and sure she knew what she was doing, she was hanging around with a punk boyfriend who sported a certain kind of tattoo. Her parents tried everything to stop her escalating dangerous behavior with no effect. Now, she is in the morgue dead and Tom Jefferies wants answers and justice. That tattoo is going to be a major piece of the puzzle.
What follows is a far more complicated story than your typical vigilante style book. Far different in style and tone from the Ace Atkins series, author Randy Rawls has created a much harder character who isn't bound by what law enforcement would consider permissible. While there are the occasional inside nods to readers familiar with his other series based in Texas, Tom Jefferies has very little in common with Ace Atkins.
He also has little time for outsiders no matter their intentions as he is on a mission for Mary Lou Smithson. A mission increasingly jeopardized by solid police work, a romantic entanglement, and other issues including the toll the quest is taking on this heavily conflicted character.
Published by L & L Dreamspell, this is the powerful start no doubt of a new series from Randy Rawls. Dark in tone with occasional flashes of humor and romance, the 264 page read takes readers on much more than a vengeance ride. Thorns On Roses is a good one and well worth your time.
Material supplied by the author quite some time ago in exchange for my objective review.