Trade Winds

Fiction - Crime
201 Pages
Reviewed on 01/24/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Trade Winds is a work of crime fiction penned by author Adam Adrian Crown. Written for adults due to its violence, sexual references, and explicit language, this fascinating combination of crime, mystery and urban thriller has a strong bluesy twist. In the big city, poor songstress Brenda is found dead, and the official verdict is an unintended overdose resulting in accidental death. But not everyone believes that Brenda died as a careless junkie, and Jack is a man on a mission to discover the real truth. Ruthless and vengeful, he’s seeking answers in all the dark corners of town to cure his own blues over Brenda’s demise.

A payback tale with a deep and soulful touch, there’s a sharp sense of musicality running through the pages of Trade Winds that gives something really unique to the reading experience. Author Adam Adrian Crown imbues the crime genre with a literary quality, pouring personality by the gallon into our vengeful leading man, Jack. I particularly enjoyed the atmosphere of each scene, crafted with color, sound, and a fully visceral use of the senses that makes you feel like you’re really walking into each room as the author describes it. The plot is well constructed to deliver appropriate amounts of mystery and thriller-style action, with the occasional well-timed punch of graphic content to keep the realism and danger of the narrative going. Overall, Trade Winds is a new experience in the world of crime fiction, offering a dark and edgy rhythm that many readers are sure to enjoy.

Kathryn Bennett

Trade Winds by Adam Adrian Crown takes us directly into the life of Jack, who is out for some payback for a young woman named Brenda. Brenda is a songstress that shows up dead, with a needle in her arm. The cause of death is listed as an accidental overdose but Jack is not buying what is being sold. He will make sure that his payback has some bite because revenge 'don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting.'

I will confess the main reason I chose this book to read was that the pun in the description made me laugh out loud. Maybe laughter is an odd thing to draw you into a whodunit story, but I couldn’t resist. I am extremely glad I followed that instinct because Jack is one interesting character. Murder is never funny, letting someone get away with it even less so, and Jack seems to feel the same way I do on that account. This book is a very solid entertaining novel and author Adam Adrian Crown knows his way around hooking a reader in.

Personally, I did find the first few chapters a little bit slow, but it wasn’t enough to put me off and the story really does hit a great stride after those first few chapters. Jack might not be the kind of guy you want to bring home and introduce to some prim and proper friends or family, but he is the guy I would want solving my murder. A little bit like Doctor House, but as a specialist in revenge, not medicine. I don’t want to give any of the fantastic plot details away, but let's just say if you love a good story this book will have you singing like a nightingale over how entertaining it is.

Patricia Reding

Jack, a Chicago blues musician, receives news that friend, fellow crooner and former love interest Brenda Michaels is missing in Trade Winds by Adam Adrian Crown. Visiting Brenda’s apartment and finding things amiss, Jack is concerned. Days later, Brenda’s body is discovered on the dunes near the lake on the north shore. Her death is ruled accidental, or more precisely—based on the needle stuck in her arm—death by accidental overdose. But Jack, knowing Brenda’s aversion to needles, believes she was the victim of a homicide and so he begins his own investigation. Soon after one of Jack’s nightly gigs, a woman shows up, buys him a drink, discloses her identity as Jan Whitfield with the district attorney’s office, and enlists Jack’s help in looking into the circumstances of Brenda’s death. It turns out that a trial had been about to begin for a case assigned to Jan in which Brenda had been a witness. Sharing information with Jack, Jan hopes to assuage some of the guilt she feels in not successfully protecting her witness. Jack learns of Gummy Bear, a drug dealer and confidential informant, and the last person Brenda was known to have visited (while accompanied by an unknown female friend). From there, the choices Jack makes in his effort to find justice are for the reader to discover.

In Trade Winds, Adam Adrian Crown introduces Jack, a complicated, frustrating, sometimes borderline intolerable, highly opinionated but in spite of all that, a nearly always sympathetic character. Indeed, these characteristics are part of Jack’s charm. His thoughts on a wide variety of issues are sure to leave some offended—regardless of what side of the issue they may adhere to. Jack surrounds himself with a bevy of unusual characters, each with his or her own laudable traits and clear weaknesses and failures. There is Jan, the D.A., who shares confidential information with Jack out of her guilt; Gummy Bear, the drug dealing informant who plays both sides and consistently gets a pass; Lupo the locksmith and general badass with a keen ability to plan a con; and The Judge, who understands Jack’s deepest nature and who Jack sees as his conscience, the one person able to keep him from becoming the monster he might otherwise be. Crown’s unique voice plays out in Jack’s consistent internal dialogue, as well as through Jack’s dealing with others. The reader looking for a realistic story with an array of identifiable characters need look no further than to Trade Winds.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

Jack gets a call from his bandmate to inform him that Brenda, the vocalist of their band, the Van Buren Jazz Quartet, is missing. Trade Winds captures the atmosphere of both blues and noir as Jack attempts to find out what happened to Brenda. He knocks on doors and turns up nothing, but his determination to find answers is spurred on when a man walking his dog discovers Brenda’s body. Jack might have accepted that she’d died of an accidental heroin overdose if Brenda hadn’t been found with a needle in her arm. Brenda had a phobia of needles. All the pieces of Brenda’s murder start making sense when Jan Whitfield from the District Attorney’s office tracks Jack down to get his help.

Trade Winds may follow a standard noir-style detective story plot but Crown’s lyrical writing and development of Jack in the unlikely role of detective makes for a memorable novel. Jack is a jaded guitarist who knows how the law and police work from his time on the Chicago police force, and his stint in jail. Growing up in poverty in the windy city has helped him become a man who knows wrong from right even in the murky grey areas of life, and his opinions are both direct and insightful. Crown’s prose shines like a well-sharpened knife and is as dazzling as it is cutting, blending social commentary into Trade Winds with skill. Jack has his own ideas about pursuing justice when the odds are against you and this pulls the reader into a satisfying conclusion.

Samantha Gregory

Trade Winds by Adam Adrian Crown is the story of a young singer called Brenda who disappears and is later found dead. It looks like a simple case of a drug overdose, but Jack thinks it is something more sinister. He sets out to discover the truth, no matter what the cost. I think this story was unique in its setting and its use of characters. Most stories like this usually have cops or ex-soldiers as the leads, people with specific skills that help them. Jack is different; he is a musician but he cared about Brenda and wants to figure out what happened to her. He has to dig through her life to see how she ended up where she did and why. He knows that she would never inject herself, so from the beginning, he knows that there are suspicious circumstances that the cops have overlooked.

Adam Adrian Crown has written an interesting story in Trade Winds. He certainly has a unique voice; the narration comes across as a hippie mentality and the lead character is very laid back. The prose was quite lyrical in nature and it suited the character. It does go off on tangents sometimes, but the story overall was pretty well paced and I kept reading. I think it would do well on the mystery market, or in crime perhaps. I would recommend Trade Winds by Adam Adrian Crown for mystery fans.