Until Death, James L. Thane

Until Death

                James L. Thane’s second book in the Sean Richardson series was riveting.  He brings us forward from No Place To Die by a few months to see how Richardson is coping with the loss of his wife.  He seems battered, beaten and a bit at a loss.  He haunts the places he went with his wife, listens to her CD’s.  Through all his pain, though, he is still a strong man and a good detective.

                When Neil Ballard is bludgeoned to death in his garage with his crowbar, Richardson and Maggie McClinton catch the case.  Later, when another man is shot, there seems to be nothing to connect the cases, just more workload when they are making zero headway on the first case.  It is frustrating, but probably happens more often than not.  Then there is another shooting- same style same gun.  The second two cases are obviously connected, but the first?

                Enter Gina Gallagher.  She is smart, beautiful, strong… and scared to death.  She comes to Richardson with information.  All three of these men were… shall we say, special clients.  To make matters worse, before this all began she had lost her client book.  This is quickly turning into a hit list of her clients.  As they interview, and warn, all clients things start to heat up.  Several men look good for it, especially the ex-boyfriend.  Still, something doesn’t add up.

                It’s a race against the clock between the detectives and a vengeful shooter.  Throughout all this, you see more of the great characters that made the first book so very captivating.  You feel for Richardson, and I was intrigued by Maggie who is now stepping further (albeit reluctantly) into the dating scene with a beau her mother adores.  Gina, too, is an interesting and complex case.  She defies the normal stereotypes associated with escorts.  I found her character charming, her liking and care of her clients refreshing.  It was hard not to be captivated by her, to the point where you often lost sight of the job description.

                As you learn more and more about the killer, you also begin to feel for them.  Not in the same way as our last antagonist- it would be hard to live up to that-but you see motivation.  You see pain, humiliation… and maybe some mental issues?  It was never flat-out-said, but yeah… maybe that too.  As a good author, Thane brings us to this character- never justifying them, just laying out a more complex character.  As with his other book, each character is unique, and has an important part.  I like that.  Sadly, after reading his first book… this one fell the slightest bit short for me.  I had too many expectations and so a great book is getting four stars. 

                This book came out in 2013, and I sincerely hope there will be more.  Read it- but read No Place To Die first.  You won’t be sorry!

                As far as the Adult Content scale goes… there’s a lot.  While the sexual content was understated, there’s still an escort here so that’s a thing.  Obviously, people are being murdered, so there’s violence.  Cursing, and alcohol as well.  I have to give it a seven.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle


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