DEAD IS DEAD: JOHN LANSING
Jealousy and revenge take center stage at the start of this novel as a young man decides to take out his competition for a girl. The man is about to complete a drug transaction when Toby comes along and not only takes him out but a six-year-old girl is shot for being in the line of fire in her own living room. Jack Bertolino is a retired inspector and has been hired as the technical advisor for a film starring Susan Blake. Jake is also on hand to be her bodyguard because she is being stalked and harassed by someone unknown. But, it’s not someone on the street or that you can see it’s some on the Internet or cyber stalking. When Jack realizes that this young child is at the center of what happened and her brother is arrested for selling drugs, he goes into action to try and persuade Juan to come clean with what really happened hoping to help his parents with the grief of losing their daughter. The murder is gang related and the body count high. The person who did the killing is resuming his life as if nothing happened and is trying in his own words to act cool. The film is being filmed just blocks from where the child was killed.
Jack goes to different bars to see if he can get a handle on the gang behind the shooting or to find out who was driving the car that Juan saw and hid behind not to be in the line of fire. But, someone does not want him to learn the truth and the family that is running the money laundering is quite powerful, business oriented and the mastermind dealing in art theft, drugs and money laundering and more might take in even Jack.
Toby seems to hold grudges and when the doctor he thinks is all-alone is responsible for what happened to his girlfriend once again he enacts his own form of justice. With his family covering for him and no one that dares rat him out, for now he and his brothers get away with a lot more. When one dealer does not come up with the goods he is no longer a factor in their lives as they pilfer someone’s house, take the person’s money and deal with a boat filled with drugs. Never faltering and never feeling any guilt the Kirk brothers seems to reign for now but what about Jack?
Things become more difficult as Toby’s girlfriend comes into the limelight, his actions become more dangerous and the police and Jack decide to attend the funeral of Tomas Vegas to see who shows up and who might be behind the murders. Added in we learn more about the Sinaloa brothers who are at the helm of the drug business and the reasons why no one wants to cross them and why Juan Sanchez is going to need protection. The three brothers worked as a team and even though the police might come after Toby to question him about Maria’s death and possibly link him to Eva and the death of the doctor, no one seemed to give it too much thought as the drug business was booming and the money they got from killing Ricky J is more than anyone needs in a lifetime. But, double-crossing these brothers is dangerous. The doctor’s body is found, a severed arm belonging to the pilot and Ricky’s body hidden in their own makeshift coffin, no one has managed to put it together in a way they can prove it. With Jack eyeing the DA for more than legal advice or to make a deal for Juan, the events start to get interesting as the trial begins and outcomes are not what you expect.
When the police think they have the right person who killed little Maria they look no further. Retribution comes fast when it comes to these gangs but unfortunately they targeted the wrong person. Tomas Vegas was evil and misguided but he loved Eva Perez and paid the ultimate price. Anyone that crossed the Dirk brothers would soon learn their fate but when Joey Ramirez was arrested for the murder someone found their way into his jail cell and a strong message was sent even though he never ratted anyone out.
With the help of a neighbor of the Sanchez family Jack learns the connection to the Dirks and maybe the pieces might fall into place. His assistant Nick is eager to help and his relationship with Susan falls apart when his ex-wife shows up. The author brings to light his relationship with his son Chris that would like to live with him and yet Jack for some reason hesitates taking him away from his mother. Yet, if you look closely at what is said you might disagree with Jack and his reasoning as the truth about why Chris wants out of his mother’s house makes sense yet you never know when things might change.
Jack becomes embroiled in not only the case to take down the Dirk brothers who seem immune to any prosecution and law but helping Susan Blake regain her life from the man who has been blackmailing her for too long. The ending brings not only Jack in danger but Nick Aprea an LAPD cop working with Jack and Cruz Feinberg his assistant who is fantastic with technology and is able to find the brothers by tracking them using various devices. With Detective Gallina not wanting to accept Jack’s theories and having egg all over his face when proved wrong and his partner trying to deal with Jack and accepting what he thinks really happened, the situations get out of control and lives are lost. With Terrence Dirk under the watchful eyes of the police and another death in a cell of Eva Perez, the three brothers think they have it all figured out but what about the cartel and the Sinaloa boys who will stop at nothing to get revenge even if they have the wrong people in their sites.
When the police and Jack finally realize the connecting link you won’t believe where it’s found or how. When Toby goes off and kills someone he leaves a witness in his wake but you won’t believe what it is and how it does them in. When they took over Ricky J’s boat, looted everything and then ransacked his house they thought they were home free but the technology today just might get them and hopefully bring them down. With Jack hoping to stay one step ahead he never sees the clunk coming and winds up in the hospital. An ending quite unique and explosive filled with gun shots, buffalos on the loose and much more keeping readers reading this fast paced novel from start to finish as author John Landsing takes us inside the world of movies, starlets, drug lords, and three brothers who thought that their actions did not speak louder than the words that would eventually take them down. DEAD IS DEAD: Find out who?
Fran Lewis: Just review/MJ Magazine