Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker

Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
Published By: Boo Walker
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Format: eBook - 206 pages / Kindle - 352 KB / Nook - 450 KB
Genre: Suspense Thrillers

About The Author:

Boo Walker spent his College of Charleston years and a few after in Nashville as a banjoist and songwriter for the avant-garde punchgrass band, The Biscuit Boys. Some hand problems knocked him out of the game, and he stumbled into a position with Automated Trading Desk, a short term equity firm based out of Mt. Pleasant, SC. To feed his ravenous muse, he began writing his first novel, Lowcountry Punch. Around that time, what started as a passion in wine became a neurosis.

After six years of the Wall Street thing, Boo decided it was time to end his sedentary, computer-driven lifestyle. He grew out a handlebar mustache and moved clear across the country into a double-wide trailer situated on 5 acres of Malbec vines just down the road from Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain in Washington State. The Hedges family took him in and taught him the art of farming and the old world philosophies of wine. He now travels North America peddling the family's juice, and chances are you can find him in an airport somewhere.


BUY THE BOOK: Lowcountry Punch

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and for hosting a virtual book event on my book review blog site.

Virtual Book Event: On Friday, July 27, 2012, author Book Walker participated in a virtual book event with an Author Interview on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.

Book Description:

After the worst Christmas Eve of his life, DEA Agent T.A. Reddick leaves Miami for the magical city of Charleston, South Carolina, hoping a return to his roots will heal a broken heart and the guilt of killing a friend. The sleepy and sultry town of Charleston is filled with echoes of the Old South: genteel playboys, society debutantes, and quiet cobblestone streets. But as Reddick will soon discover, there's danger lurking under her charming veneer. When a movie star's death shines a national spotlight on Charleston's underground cocaine trade, he must go undercover to find the main supplier and shut him down. As a hurricane bears down on the port city and the DEA gets ready to spring its trap, Reddick must contend with more than he ever could have imagined.

Brash and bold, T.A. Reddick is a hero you won't soon forget. Lowcountry Punch is an action-packed novel that will have you on your knees begging for more.

Book Excerpt:

                                                     Chapter 9

On the way to the office, I stopped on the side of the road at Mickey’s Boiled Peanut stand. Big Mickey parks his red trailer in the lot near the Earth Fare, which is James Island’s version of a Whole Foods Market. If you can get past the folks that don’t believe in deodorant, it’s a good place to fill your cart.

Mickey was pushing three hundred pounds, so as he waddled over to the back to fill up my brown bag with his boiled peanuts, the trailer tilted with him. He had three choices: regular, Cajun, and ham-hock. I always asked him to layer them in one bag. Give me a pound of Mickey’s peanuts, a cup of coffee, and a Pelegrino, and I can go for miles. I thanked him and walked back toward the Jeep.

Something hit me hard on the back of the head. I dropped onto the asphalt and everything went black for a second. Two black men hoisted me into the back of a trunk, tied my hands with a zip tie, and shut it. I kicked and thrashed until I knew I wasn’t going anywhere.

The back of my head hurt like hell. I felt around with my hand. Had a bloody gash on the right side. The nausea nearly overwhelmed me. I tried to shut it out and sense where we were going, but it was hard. Much more difficult than figuring out who had decided to take me for a joy ride. I hadn’t given Tux enough credit. That’s what I get for letting my guard down.

I looked at the glowing hands on my watch and marked the time. I had the day off, so unfortunately, no one was expecting me. Tux had me all to himself. Two minutes later, I could tell we were heading over a bridge. I guessed the West Ashley connector. A few more turns and another bridge confirmed it. Then the highway wasn’t too hard to figure out. Smooth and fast. The engine working harder.

Fourteen minutes later, we took an exit. It could have been one of three or four. It was impossible to tell. All I knew was that we had driven into North Charleston. The nausea faded but the pain had only begun to throb. I made a few more futile attempts to bust open the trunk. Then several turns. Finally, a big bump and we slowed down and came to a stop. A garage door squeaked open.

The engine shut off. The trunk opened. Two of them. I recognized one instantly. Jeff Cooke. One of Tux’s known associates. A shadow of a beard, groomed neatly. A flat nose. Street tough. Detectives liked him for Jared’s murder and had been looking for him. The other guy had on a light blue Adidas warm up suit. His eyes were tucked into deep sockets.

“Did you guys happen to grab that bag of peanuts?” I asked.

“Shut the fuck up.”

“That was my breakfast.” Cooke jerked me up by my elbow. Dragged me out of the trunk. He had hard, calloused hands. I couldn’t get my feet down and fell onto my back. He helped me up in a not so polite way.

I grunted. “Be gentle, honey.”

He walked me through an empty garage and into an abandoned house. Probably for sale. The other guy followed us in and when I turned, I noticed a .38 in the front of his jeans. Cooke threw me to the ground in the living room. Brown walls. Some spider webs on the ceiling. Two large glass doors leading to the backyard with a ragged curtain covering half of them.

The other guy made a phone call. “We got him… yep. Aight.” He looked at Cooke. “Change of plans.”

“You gonna tell me why I’m here?” I asked. “I don’t have all day. I’ve got a luncheon on the other side of town.”

“You might wanna start sayin’ your prayers,” Cooke said.

I sat up slowly. Somehow, I had to make a move. Sounded like it was gonna get a lot worse.

The man with the .38 walked by me toward the kitchen. It was the only chance I had. I threw my legs up and kicked him in the balls. Then got to my knees and thrust my head into his chin. His jaw cracked and he fell backwards.

Cooke was in between the glass door and me. I pivoted around and was on him before he had time to get over the shock of the action. I tucked my bound hands into my chest and ran right into him. His back hit the curtain and then smashed into the glass door. We brought the curtain down, breaking the glass and tumbling down the brick steps into the backyard. Glass shards splattered over us and the patio.

I stood quickly, knowing I wasn’t even close to being free. The fall had knocked the wind out of him, but Jeff was stirring. I kicked his head with my boot just like the old UVA days, trying to knock his head into the goal. I didn’t score but his lights went out.

I went back up the steps, lifting my hands in the air. As I reached the broken door, I started to cut the zip tie with a sharp edge of glass sticking out of the doorframe, but the big guy was up and reaching for his gun. I had to get out of there. I sprinted toward the chain-link fence at the end of the yard. He began firing.

The bullets whizzed by me, giving me a shot of adrenaline. It gave me the power of an Olympian on steroids, and I increased my speed. Reaching the first fence, still bound by the wrists, I leapt into the air. My feet caught on the top of the fence but I made it over. I tucked a shoulder and rolled. Coming back to my feet, I didn’t even turn around. The bullets were coming quickly, cracking into the house in front of me.

As I rounded the corner, I felt one hit me in the side. I hadn’t been shot in a while, but it was a familiar feeling. I felt the wound to see how bad it was. I was so adrenalized that I couldn’t tell. I could feel the warm blood dripping down my side but I had no idea how deep it was. As long as I could run, it didn’t matter. Staying close to the houses, I didn’t slow for a second. Seeing some signs of life in the distance, I began to head that way.

Breathing like I was dying, I reached the parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly. I finally realized where I was. An older woman was pushing a grocery cart to her car and had a cell phone to her ear. I went right for her, mumbling that I’d get it back to her as I snatched it away. I ran toward the grocery store. Didn’t see Cooke behind me. I yelled to the first clerk I saw, a high-school girl, “Call the cops!”

The clerk stalled. Someone else screamed.

“I’m DEA. Call the cops. Okay?”

The clerk went for the phone.

“Is there a security guard here?” With a phone to her ear, she shook her head. I wanted a gun. I had no idea if he was still coming. I dialed Chester’s number with the woman from the parking lot’s cell. I walked back outside and scanned the parking lot. No signs of trouble. Chester picked up. I said, “I’m at the Piggly Wiggly off Rivers. I need you here now. Tux sent some guys after me.”

“Oh, shit. You all right?”

“I took a bullet. I think I’m okay, though.” I touched my side. “Jeff Cooke was one of them. Black jeans and a white polo. The other one, same age, has on a blue Adidas warm up suit. White stripes up and down. Get an APB out.”

“On it. See you in a few.”

                                                       * * *

After getting patched up by one of the paramedics, I climbed into Chester’s g-car. The bullet had only grazed my side. Another scar to remind me of what’s important. A crime scene unit was at the house where they’d taken me. Both men were gone. Lots of good DNA, though. They didn’t have time to clean up. The whole county was looking for them.

Chester and I only knew one way to fix this problem. Something we should have done earlier. We both had logged hours dealing with gangs in L.A. and Miami, and sometimes you have to treat them like businessmen. They appreciate it and it prevents trouble. Even when we did catch my attackers, they wouldn’t finger Tux. I had a feeling Tux already knew about the botched attempt, and he was expecting me.

We drove to his house, only five miles away. He owned a little white house in a neighborhood that had begun its leap into gentrification. He paid the mortgage on it with income from a legitimate landscaping business that he had owned for five or six years. Tux knew how to be careful and cover his ass.

He was on the porch, looking like he was waiting for us, just like I’d thought. His feet were propped up on a table, not a worry on his mind. An older BMW sat in the driveway. I was going to let Chester do the talking, but seeing Tux there got me excited. I stepped out of the car and said, “I don’t think we’ve been formally introduced.” I slammed my door and hiked up the steps.

He had a well-groomed appearance complimented by some gold around his wrist and neck. No visible tats. Dark skin. He had on jeans and a white muscle shirt. Very broad shoulders. Clearly had a thing for lifting. Looked like he’d be a hell of a lot of work to beat down.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“You know exactly who I am.” I pulled the table out from under him and his feet hit the floor.

“I’m guessin’ you’re a cop,” he said, all tough and badass. “I could smell you coming ‘round the corner.”

“You’ve been looking for me. Now you got me.”

“All I know is I have two pigs in my yard.”

Chester came up the steps. “I’m Agent Benton. You know who my partner is. We’re looking for some resolution. You don’t need to admit to anything.”

“You can get back in your car and ride out. I didn’t do nothing wrong.”

“Such eloquent speech,” I said. “No ivy league for you, huh? Very surprising.”

“Don’t you come into my neighborhood insulting me.”

“You threatening me? Is that a good idea?” I got in his face. “That’s what your cousin did.” I stood back and lifted up my shirt and ripped off the bandage covering my wound. “I owe you one for this anyway.”

Chester pulled me back and said, “Tux, I know you aren’t gonna come clean, but I want you to hear us out. You don’t fuck with us. I know you feel like you got to, but don’t do it, man. We won’t let up. I know he messed up your cousin, but I doubt you’re gonna get an apology out of him. You know he had no idea who Jesse was. The guy robbed a bank, took a baby hostage, and shot his mama. He had it coming. But because I want you to owe me, I can help Jesse out. We can make sure the prosecutor goes easy. That is, if you wanna back off Agent Reddick. We’re still gonna track down the boys who grabbed him.”

My turn. “Or you can try again. I’ll dance with you every night, sunshine. We could go right here. You’re the least of my worries.”

Ches waved his hand, trying to shut me up. “He’s got a hot head. You both do. Leave this one alone, Tux. I’ll look out for Jesse.”

Tux thought about it and then nodded at him. Ches started to walk back down the stairs backwards.

“Then we’re cool.”

“We’re cool.” Tux put his feet back up on the table. “Just get this muthafucka off my porch.”

I threw up my middle finger and started down the steps. “You know where to find me.”

As we drove away, Chester said, “You know, Reddick. I’m startin’ to like you. You don’t take shit from anybody, do you?”

“I wanna know who gave him my name.”

My Book Review:

What do you get when you mix a DEA Agent ... cocaine dealers ... an undercover drug case ... sexy problematic women ... and good ol' Southern hospitality of beautiful Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA? You get a suspense thriller that throws one hell of a Lowcountry Punch!

DEA Agent T.A. Reddick  is one of Miami's best undercover agents, but on one Christmas Eve his whole world was turned upside down. In a drug deal gone bad, T.A. kills a dirty cop, who also was a friend who had once saved his life. And if that wasn't bad enough, the woman that he was engaged to for a year and knew and loved since childhood left him with only a "Dear John" letter. Living in pain and despair, abandoned by his fellow Miami DEA co-workers and branded a cop killer, T.A. was transferred to his childhood summer home of Charleston, SC. It's not long before he finds himself right back in the saddle with an undercover assignment to crack a cocaine case that has ties to some of Charleston's most elite citizens. This case isn't going to be easy to crack ... smart drug dealers, a sexy Hollywood actress, a new love interest, a crazy woman stalker and a strong hurricane with its bullseye on Charleston will give T.A. all he can handle and then some in this action packed suspense thriller!

Lowcountry Punch is an entertaining and action packed suspense thriller that will immediately draw you into the dark world of drug dealers, drug busts and undercover DEA agents. In his debut novel, author Boo Walker weaves an epic tale with enough drama, thrills and chills, twists and turns, and a bit of romance thrown into the mix to keep the readers in suspense while sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath until the surprising conclusion.

The story is written in a witty, humorous manner, told in the first person narrative by the protagonist, DEA Agent extraordinaire, T.A. Reddick. The narration is superb, T.A. draws you into his story, it feel like you are sitting on the couch next to him as he recounts his adventurous tales. T.A. is such a fun character: he's realistic, has a mixture of grit and toughness, some flaws and imperfections, but also has a tender side, a love for playing the banjo and some good jazz music, and a wicked sense of humor that just draws you into his bigger than life personality. With a supporting cast of characters that add their own flavor of personalities and intriguing interactions, this suspense thriller is a compelling read.

This novel is rich in details and descriptions that engages the reader to follow along with the fast paced action that explodes off the pages. The author provides the reader with some really fine background into the drug trade and DEA enforcement, his attention to detail and research is first rate. With a lowcountry setting based in the beautiful Southern cities of Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, the author transports the reader to their ambiance, history and Southern hospitality. Dip your toes in the water, smell the salty air, taste the Southern cuisine, and embrace the culture that these cities are known for. As a girl who grew up on the shores of NJ and summered in NC/SC, the author's accurate and enchanting descriptions of Charleston and Savannah are worthy of a virtual travel guide and makes me yearn to become a permanent Southern "transplant." If y'all get a chance to visit Charleston, Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island, Savannah, and the surrounding areas, it won't disappoint you!

Lowcountry Punch is a wickedly fun suspense thriller that will tantalize you with the dramatic and action packed adventures of DEA Agent T.A. Reddick. This is a must read for anyone who loves a suspense thriller that throws one heck of a punch! Kudos to author Boo Walker on his fascinating debut novel, I look forward to reading more of his novels in the future.


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