When Moths Burn

A James Strait Mystery

Fiction - Thriller - General
340 Pages
Reviewed on 03/18/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

When Moths Burn is the second book in the James Strait Mysteries series by John Eidswick and it is an electrifying thriller packed with action and suspense. James Strait is a changed man who wants nothing but serenity in his hometown. But the peaceful life he dreams about is shattered when his home is bombed and a loved one killed. What makes things worse is that he is being framed for the crime. He is decided on hunting down the culprits and having his revenge but his plans change when a homeless child comes asking for help. Her mother is missing and her stepfather is abusive. What follows is a gritty story of investigation fraught with danger. Can Strait come out alive?

The protagonist is thrust into a dangerous world where drug lords, neo-Nazis, pedophiles, and other dangerous characters lurk and prey on the weak. It is hard to trust anyone and I enjoyed how the author cunningly gets readers to mistrust some of the characters, especially the forensic guy. The writing is superb, filled with exciting descriptions. The exploration of the emotional and psychological parts of the characters reinforces the already strong sense of realism and humanity that permeates the writing. When Moths Burn is a gripping thriller, a page-turner with an unpredictable plot and real characters. The short chapters are written in a way so that readers feel compelled to read on, curious about what could happen next. John Eidswick is a new and exciting author that will delight fans of crime novels and thrillers.

Rabia Tanveer

When Moths Burn by John Eidswick is the story of a man who lost everything, but in return, he found a reason to live. James Strait used to be an FBI agent but now he is looking for a job. When a young teenager comes to him for help, he can't refuse. Edie is just 16 years old, her mother is lost and her stepfather is not the best person. She finds Strait, asks for his help, and maybe to get some housing at the shelter for teenagers that his significant other, Jessie, is hoping to run. Suddenly, everything is crashing and burning and Strait is at the center of it all. He was once a hero, but now he is just a simple man. But desperate times call for desperate measures and Strait has to do whatever it takes to save Edie and himself. He has no other choice but to fight and this time he is not backing off.

Action-packed and tremendously well-developed, When Moths Burn by John Eidswick transports the reader to experience Strait's life along with him. The story itself is cohesive yet powerful; the author conveys a very profound message with each character and allows readers to form their own opinions. Somehow, it has become exceptionally easy for people to harass others and destroy their lives. This book raises a voice for people who don’t have a voice in the system. Strait was such a calm man, living his life the way he wanted, but circumstances changed all that. His development was tremendous because he had no option but to face his fears and fight for what he thought was right. His interactions with Edie were hilarious yet so comforting at the same time. I enjoyed their relationship the most; it wasn’t much like father-daughter but more like an elder brother and little sister. They annoyed each other yet they cared for each other as well. I enjoyed their story and I enjoyed this novel! Very well-written and conceptualized.

Risah Salazar

James Strait, a former FBI agent, is starting a new life with his girlfriend, Jessie Brightwater. He had been falsely accused by jealous officemates and had lost his job because of it. Despite being ousted, Strait has kept his friendship with his best buddy, Graham Footer. He and Footer once tracked down a racist cult and saved several children in the process. This incident made him a hero in Pine River, attracting admirers and detractors alike. One day, after his long walk, a bomb blows up his girlfriend's church and kills her. He swears he will find the criminals and punish them himself. But a girl named Edie suddenly turns up in his place, saying that her life's in danger and asking for help.

When Moths Burn by John Eidswick gave me a roller coaster of emotions and I'm not complaining. This book is definitely a winner. The plot was well-thought-out and was developed in great detail. I loved the idea of Jessie's character - a liberal pastor. Today, we live in a world where religion clouds progressive thinking and Jessie is just what we need to believe that a person can have religious beliefs while keeping an open mind. I liked that this book raised awareness of Meniere's disease, and that plot twist at the end got me. John Eidswick's When Moths Burn is worthy of recommendation to all the thriller lovers out there.

K.C. Finn

When Moths Burn is a work of thriller fiction with plenty of thrills and spills and was penned by author John Eidswick. Written for adult audiences due to the inclusion of violent scenes and profanity, in this story we meet protagonist James Strait when he has finally decided to put his life of violence behind him. But in this follow up to The Rabbit Skinners, the first James Strait Mystery, someone doesn’t want James to fade into the sunset. Framed for horrendous crimes that will haunt him forever, James will enact his plan to hunt down the real perpetrator and the seedy underworld of criminals to which they belong.

Author John Eidswick starts this story with a true bang, and the tension, intrigue, mystery, and thrills never let up until the very last page after that. I particularly liked the character investment put into the development of James Strait. His emotional arc is well-timed and interplays excellently with the intriguing thriller plot of the criminal storyline to unpack his trauma and put it to good use as fuel for his fire. The underworld which Strait discovers is fraught with danger and well described with intelligent use of language and atmosphere creation. The intrigue surrounding who is a friend and who might be a foe is also really well played out to create genuine surprise and suspense. Overall, When Moths Burn is a highly recommended work of thriller fiction that will suit readers seeking powerful heroes with emotional backstories, as well as high stakes action in the dark criminal underworld.

Sandy Masia

James Strait is a hero. Under the FBI, he helped carry out a raid against a fanatical anti-government cult which was set to bring about doomsday. When the police wouldn’t help, he had helped rescue kids who were taken hostage by a neo-Nazi group. However, the bosses at the FBI conspired to get him out, and they did. With nowhere to go, the national hero returned to his home town of Pine River to seek a quiet life, start over and build anew. Maybe even start a new career altogether. But that will change when there is bombing at a church where he stayed.

James Strait is the type of protagonist whose masculinity is a veneer. You get the feeling that for all his bloodthirst, exceptional fighting abilities and typical hero qualities, he is a well of sensitivity and emotional vulnerability. He practices the familiar stoicism prevalent in male culture, but these deep-hidden, softer qualities find their way out in characteristically male ways. There is a beauty to that, and this makes him an easy person for readers to like. So when a teenage girl comes to him, asking for help to find her mother, this is an opportunity for something truly heroic to come out of him. Author John Eidswick does a fantastic job of giving us a truly special, heartwarming relationship. This relationship is a jewel that makes this book shine, it gives When Moths Burn a lot more heart, depth, and charm. I found myself utterly transfixed by it.

The characters in When Moths Burn are people, they come to you effortlessly through the pages. John Eidswick has the ability to use dialogue to bring the characters he pens to the fore. Something about reading When Moths Burn, with its pragmatically aesthetic prose and realistic dialogue, gives the book the air of a noir without the moral ambiguity and crushing cynicism. One finds instead a book brimming with something more hopeful and charming. It's been a long while since I didn’t feel like I was reading a book and that is because the writing is so immersive and captivating. When Moths Burn is thoroughly entertaining, it is a page-turner. Readers will race through this one very quickly, enamored by interesting characters and enthralling twists and turns.