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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
A Hole in the Head (James Strait Mysteries Book 3) by John Eidswick is an out-and-out action thriller that takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of action, excitement, and emotion. When retired F.B.I. Special Agent James Strait’s estranged brother is murdered, the day after he had sought help from James and been refused it, the former law enforcement officer is stricken with pangs of guilt. Forced to leave his partner and their troubled, teenage foster daughter behind in the small northern Arizona town of Pine River to travel to Tucson to formally identify his murdered brother, James has little idea of the chaos and mayhem he is about to encounter and his own family secrets that he will uncover along the way. James will find himself not only caught up in a massive manhunt for the man who killed his brother but also a serial killer guilty of murdering scores of illegal immigrants who have crossed the Mexican border seeking freedom, asylum, and a better life. James, with his immense bulk and height, plus his history with the F.B.I., is considered by many to be a true American hero but this adventure will test all his physical skills as well as put his emotions through the wringer.
As a professional reviewer, I read hundreds of books a year but few have captured my absolute and undivided attention as much as A Hole in the Head did. Author John Eidswick grabs your attention from the very first paragraph and never lets you get even the slightest bit distracted from the compelling narrative he is spinning. The author’s plotting skills are second to none and even I struggled to pick some of the intricate plot twists he throws in along the way. I particularly enjoyed that this was a substantial story and one that, once started, was impossible to stop. He did a superb job of not only narrating the violent and graphic action scenes in the story but there is also a significant amount of time and effort that went into character development and analysis of James’s motivation and his emotional state. I did appreciate that the story was incredibly timely with the current political situation in America and the state of illegal immigration, especially across the Mexican border. What the author highlights perfectly in this book are the incredibly entrenched viewpoints that seem prevalent across all aspects of American society these days. There are no grey areas anymore, it seems, no middle ground, just two firmly delineated sides to every argument, both of whom appear incapable of empathizing with even a smidgeon of the other’s opinions or beliefs; understanding and compromise are things of the past. This is the third book in the James Strait Mysteries and if this book is to be used as the benchmark, I definitely want to read the first two and indeed any more iterations that this author pens. This is a fantastic story, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time and I can highly recommend it.