Neck & Neck


Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
390 Pages
Reviewed on 08/19/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Neck & Neck by C. James Brown is a fast-paced, engaging novel that follows private investigator Earl Town on a path to unravel a conspiracy that can damage the life of an innocent man. The PI is hired to follow an ex-convict suspected to be behind the threats against US Senator Finn Harper and his wife. But as Earl follows Andre Bolduc, aka Drebo, a young man who has been in maximum security prison since turning eighteen for stabbing and mutilating two rival gang members as part of an initiation into the Latin Killers street gang, he begins to see a set-up, a nasty game unraveling. The problem is that Andre doesn’t look like trouble and might not even be the author of the threats against the Senator and his wife. But tension escalates when a member of Finn’s campaign is murdered and the blame is put on Drebo. Earl follows a conspiracy that is carefully crafted to discredit Finn’s rival, Maria Santos. When the truth comes to light, who will be left standing?

C. James Brown writes a plot that is captivating and introduces characters that fans of sleuth and crime will enjoy. I liked the way the political theme is handled. The reader is pulled into a world of conspiracy and blackmail where people will do anything to manipulate the public in order to get a political position. Earl Town is a character that is elaborately developed, intelligent, and fully drawn. While the story starts out slowly, it becomes more and more interesting as characters like Drebo are introduced; the suspense is well-written, the prose is strong, and the plot loaded with surprises. The most endearing and exciting moment is the reunion of Drebo and his son. Neck & Neck is an engaging story with a good plot and characters that are well-written and real.

Ruffina Oserio

Neck & Neck by C. James Brown is a well-written treat for fans of mystery, sleuth, and well-paced thrillers. Earl Town, a private investigator, is hired to follow an ex-convict, recently released on parole, who is suspected to have threatened a senator and his wife from an anonymous internet account. He is Andre Bolduc, also known as Drebo, released from the Middlesex House of Correction where he served fifty-six months for a double murder after being sentenced to serve fifteen years. Earl quickly discovers that U.S. Senator Finn Harper is building up a conspiracy intended to destroy his opponent, Maria Santos. Everything changes when a member of Harper’s campaign is murdered and Andre Bolduc is accused of the crime. Earl will find out who is setting up a man who might be innocent and how much the senator is involved in this dirty game.

Neck & Neck is a mesmerizing thriller with strong political themes and explores what an unscrupulous politician might do when he notices that his campaign is faltering. C. James Brown’s characters are complex, starting with Senator Finn Harper, a man who suffers from nightmares in which he is being chased by dogs. He is someone who is psychologically disturbed. I enjoyed the investigative, sleuth aspect of the narrative and readers will find the protagonist, an intelligent private investigator, captivating. This novel does not focus on action, but the plot is cunningly written and strong enough to keep the reader intrigued through each page, curious about what happens next. While the pacing is good, the strength of Neck & Neck lies in the excellent writing, the deft plotting, and the memorable characters.

Romuald Dzemo

Neck & Neck by C. James Brown is a great sleuth story with strong political hints. Earl Town, a Private Investigator, is hired for a very simple job: follow an ex-con and uncover what he is up to. His client thinks that he is behind the threats made against a US Senator, Finn Harper, and his wife. But Earl begins to think that there is more to the story than his contact seems to reveal, and when one of the staff in Harper’s campaign is murdered and Andre Bolduc, aka Drebo, is accused of the murder, Earl is sure that Harper is out to destroy his rival, Maria Santos, and is about to make an innocent man pay for it. Can he prove Bolduc’s innocence and help bring the senator to justice?

This is a novel filled with drama, featuring characters that are not only likable but memorable. The story has a strong premise and C. James Brown introduces the conflict without creating anything explosive but he does so in a way that the reader’s curiosity is stirred. The suspense is introduced right from the very start of the story. It is easy to believe that Drebo is up to something sinister; of course, he has been in prison and never completed his sentence for double murder. The character is well-developed and readers will gradually sympathize with him as the story moves forward. The bad guys are well written and they play a role in the story that shows readers what corrupt politicians can do to stay in power. Neck & Neck is well-plotted and fast-paced, a novel with unforgettable characters and strong drama that lifts the entertainment quality of the story.