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The Puppy Bomb
1st in the Jonah LeClaire Detective Mysteries

by James Lynch


My husband asked why I was crying. "This is the damnedest book!" I told him. "I'm only on page 21 and already I'm crying my eyes out. I was doing the same thing back on page 10."

"What's on page 21?"

"The Ranger is talking to his mommy." (More crying)

The Texas Ranger in question, Jonah LeClaire, is investigating the torture and death of several young State Troopers. He is also personally guarding another trooper who fits the profile of the dead men.

This title both intrigued and frightened me, but finally I had to look. The term Puppy Bomb is full of graphic potential. Was it going to be something warm and wonderful turned into a horror like a puppy with a C4 collar, or just an imagined nightmare, like finding an unmarked box in a lobby and when a puppy jumps out we are so relieved that we keep it and even come to enjoy it? James Lynch tells a story that gives us both components.

Detail is limited such that the abhorrent situations described do not overwhelm you, and just enough is drawn from the witnesses to make your horror and revulsion proportional to what you alone know and have endured. The storyline has a clipped, journalistic style, creating a structure for the people drawn together by the investigation. It is through their emotions that the many threads are brought together, the solutions found. Jonah is by far the most complex character, with his role frequently switching from investigator to father, husband, and confessor.

What happened on page 10?  The local troopers, who are all co-workers and friends of the first victim, arrive at the crime scene. A caring hand stops the man's best friend from going to the body and directs him "down to the house" so he doesn't see what has happened to his friend. They all cry. When you finish the book, go back and read page 10 again. This is how real people act in a small town, even the ones with badges.  This is the reason I think James Lynch is a writer to watch. (More crying)

The Book

February 6, 2009
143895042X / 978-1438950426
Mystery - Detective
More at
NOTE: Contains frank discussion of mutilated bodies and of homosexual date-rape

The Reviewer

Beth E. McKenzie
Reviewed 2009
© 2009