Killing Influence

Earl Town Book 2

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
269 Pages
Reviewed on 02/04/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

In C. James Brown's Killing Influence, when two social media influencers are found dead, Earl Town finds himself in more trouble than he could imagine. His previous fame attracted attention, which was great for his detective agency, right up until the mob boss seeks him out. The two deaths had both been written off as unsuspicious, but given that the mobster's granddaughter works for the same talent firm as these social media stars, and their deaths happened so close together, this protective mobster has made a connection he doesn't like and wants Earl to investigate. If only it had been as cut and dried as a strange coincidence. P.I. Town finds himself under mob escort, trying to crack a case even the police had turned their backs on. The further he digs, the more trouble finds him, and now not only the mob has him in their sights. Will he survive to find the answers?

Killing Influence is the second book in C. James Brown's Earl Town series and makes for an excellent read for lovers of a good murder mystery. Earl Town is a remarkable character who skillfully navigates his way through an extensive plot, uncovering surprises and connections that will astound the reader. I really enjoyed watching everything come together so expertly as the dots are connected, suspects are interrogated, and clues are gathered. This really is a perfect murder mystery and, with its delving into influencer and social media marketing, has a very modern setting. I particularly liked how Town was unfamiliar with the scene and the true to life reactions and astonishment of one who suddenly discovers that influencers are the new celebrities for the younger generations. His humor made me smile, and the escalating sense of dread continued to grow as investigations seem to lead the way to a path best left unseen. Murder, danger, and hair-raising twists will keep a reader glued to the page. Killing Influence is certainly a must-read for those who enjoy a well-crafted murder with a strong leading character.

Risah Salazar

C. James Brown's Killing Influence is the second installment in the Earl Town series, but it can be read as a standalone. In this book, private eye Earl Town is hired by Giacomo "Momo" Ragazzi, the godfather of one Italian mafia, to protect his granddaughter, Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa is a famous social media influencer and is part of the Boom Girls - a group of five girls managed by Boom Productions. A few of these five girls have either been killed or assaulted mysteriously and that's the very reason why Momo is deeply worried. As Town investigates another case involving a missing stripper called Unique, he realizes that these two cases might be related after all.

Earl Town is everything I could ever ask for in a detective - curious, daring, and has a sense of humor. This crime thriller is fast-paced and compelling, it's so hard to put down. I would also like to commend the author for being politically correct, using words such as diversity, inclusivity, and follicly-challenged. The book also has good representation and is LGBTQ-friendly. The only thing that seems off is the ending. The last few chapters reveal several things that seem out-of-the-blue. It is also a bit puzzling to see how this thriller somehow turns into a far-fetched comedy in the resolution. Killing Influence is a good read that borders on suspense and comedy. Trigger warnings include drugs, murder, suicide, bullying, blackmailing, and pregnancy.

Lex Allen

Boom Productions, a self-described "arms dealer in the platform wars," has lost two of their social media stars to an unknown killer. Another standout star in Boom's talent stable is the granddaughter of the local mafia don who hires the private investigator, Earl Town, to investigate and keep his granddaughter safe or else. Hard enough, but Town gets saddled with a shadow in the don's grandson and a hard-nosed police detective who could prove to be a potential ally or a huge hindrance to his efforts. Another complication comes from an old lawyer friend that ropes him into looking for a dancer who disappeared just before a large court-mandated payout. Two cases, a shadow, a tough detective, and operating in the crazy world of self-absorbed social media starlets, their fanatical parents, rock stars, and gangsters could prove to be his undoing at best and at worst, his death.

In his second Earl Town novel, Killing Influence, C. James Brown continues his winning ways and has confirmed his place as an up-and-coming star in the crime/detective/PI mystery genres. The lead character Town is old-style and his sharp, often sarcastic commentary, tough veneer but sometimes self-deprecating nature makes him an unforgettable actor that will prove to be the key to a successful series. Brown skillfully mixes old-style ex-cop, private investigator in a modern, social media milieu with characters half his age and beyond his comprehension. Verisimilitude is a big part of any story. The author's ability to coerce the reader into a sense of reality while suspending their disbelief is second to none. C. James Brown is clearly knowledgeable in every topic of his story. He knows how to use this knowledge to develop an unforgettable writing style that will fix him firmly in the minds of readers in this genre for years to come.