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American Blood

In Ben Sanders's high-speed thriller, Marshall Grade--a former NYPD officer now in witness protection--compromises his safety when he starts to investigate the disappearance of a woman in Albuquerque. If the mob-hired killer known as the Dallas Man finds him, he's dead. Still, Marshall hopes that his search might assuage his guilt over the mistakes that landed him in New Mexico. His investigation pits him against drug traffickers, and the shockwaves trigger the attention of the Dallas Man.

Eschewing words unnecessary to pell-mell plot advancement, Sanders's tense voice lends gritty heft to the time-honored trope of a man blessed with a very specific set of skills. Handy with a weapon and possessing a quick mind, Marshall matches wits with thug after thug, but will he meet someone more dangerous than himself?

As the title American Blood suggests, copious pints are shed in varied and gruesome fashions. Although the pacing is swift, character development is not lost in the shuffle, and the Dallas Man in particular intrigues. Sanders keeps forward momentum at maximum velocity, and manages to slip in a few nifty plot twists at the last second, including a terrific hook that sets up a sequel. American Blood is a thrill ride more than worth the admission. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads