For Arthur Conan Edwards it all began in this, the first novel of a very enjoyable series. Released in 2004 by the now very defunct Quiet Storm Publishing, this novel relates his first case and a tragedy that serves to haunt the series.
Both Arthur Conan Edwards, known to one and all as Ace, and Jake Adams grew up in Cisco, Texas. Cisco, located in Eastland County somewhere around halfway between Abilene and Fort Worth, was and is your typical Texas small town. Despite very different backgrounds, Jake and Ace became friends.Â That friendship endured despite Jake becoming rich and Ace eventually becoming first a Dallas police officer and later a private investigator. Occasionally Jake has steered work Ace’s way, often by way of a 3am phone call, but nothing like this.
Jake used to have a rather nice home in Cisco but his ex wife Sheila got the place in the divorce. Â A divorce that wasn’t as expensive as it could have been because Jake found out some dirt on Sheila during the divorce. Now, according to Jake, the house is nothing more than a pile of smoldering wreckage, Sheila is missing (no doubt sleeping somewhere with the stud of the month) and Jake wants Ace to investigate the arson. Considering Jake is willing to pay fifteen hundred a day plus expenses Ace is willing to come take a look. But, Ace and his investigative skills are not wanted by the folks of the local fire department. Jake talked way too much about Ace and how great he is and they are annoyed before he even drives in to meet with them.Â So is the local law who heard the stories. So too is just about everyone around including a killer, determined to make this Ace’s last visit back home.
A weird case, charred bodies, a romance and plenty of action and suspense make this first book in this series a highly entertaining read. The legend of the watch cats, Sweeper and Striker, begins here as do numerous relationships that continue throughout the series. The same folksy story telling style that Randy Rawls uses later in the series, as well as in person is evident here. So too is his sense of humor and quick wit as well as thoughtful reflection. It might be a hard book to find but the read is well worth it.
Jake’s Burn: Arson in Cisco
Quiet Storm Publishing
Large Trade Paperback
Review copy provided by the author quite awhile back in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2008