My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Book Two in "The Crayder Chronicles"
How far would you go to protect your friends and family?
Tom Crayder is the All-American guy next door with a business, a wife, a son, a mortgage, and an expensive hobby. He is also a politically incorrect, wisecracking operative working for a shadowy organization dedicated to administering justice outside of a broken system. Not even his wife knows of his other life when she finds herself unwittingly involved in a drug war.
Strap in with Tom as he navigates his way through the strata of a drug cartel. Lock and load with Lorena, a hard-hearted assassin, as she lends her deadly skills to Tom’s fight for his family. Sit back to watch Tom and Lorena figure out how to work together without killing each other.
Join the rest of the cast from "The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles)" as they pitch in to track down the hitmen that threaten their associate.
Some mysteries are solved. Some questions are answered. Some live. Some die.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
After the first book, I wasn’t sure exactly where this book was going to leave. I wasn’t exactly Tom’s number one fan after some questionable things he did in the first book. But I’m happy to say that Tom rubbed off on me by the end of this story and I’m certainly looking forward to the next book.
To start, I like to say for me it was a real treat to read this book written by a guy from a guy’s perspective. It reminded me that I have a lot of favorite male authors with great male characters I follow such as James Patterson (Alex Cross and Michael Bennett series), Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Pendergast series),Jim Butcher (Dresden files series) and of course one of my favorite authors John Grisham. Although this series doesn’t exactly remind me of those series per say. It did remind me of my reading roots.
The cast of character’s in Splitter’s Crayder series are vast and well developed. They each have their uniqueness that make you want to love them. Especially Tiny. He is so great. And while Lorena grew on me, I’m still leery of her. But my heart still belongs to Jake. Tom Crayder’s wife did step it up in this one. I have to give her due for she did show she had balls of steel.
This story was different in the last and I guess not having to world build we were off to the races with the first page. There was action, mystery, crime, punishment, hair raising air dramatics. It was a story that really kept the pages turning.
I can’t wait for the next book.
I have to say, a women showed up in the story named Cambria. I have to wonder if that Cambria is the one in the same author Cambria Herbert. She bore a similar resemblance if pictures don’t lie.
If so, I have to ask, because it never hurts to do so. Can I be written in with Jake? I like Donna I do, but well, like I said, it never hurts to ask, lol.
*****end of spoiler*****
So readers, go pick up this series if you like crime mysteries with thrillers. And no pictures of hot guys this time. (check out previous post)
Instead I have an interview with C.S. Splitter.
1. When did you realize you wanted to be an author? Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I wanted to pitch in the Major Leagues but a glaring lack of talent prevented that! I always wanted to write, but a good idea for a fiction story (I am a huge fantasy fan) eluded me. There were many books that were started and stopped once I realized that someone had done a similar story before and probably better than I ever could.
But, when the story for The Reluctant and the character of Tom Crayder hit me, there was no stopping the flow of words. It really was one of those lightning bolt moments you hear about.
2. If you had to summarize your book the Willing it in less than 25 words what would you say?
Friends will help you move. True friends will help you move bodies.
It's a Wonderful Life meets Death Wish (weird combo, huh?)
3. Can you tell us a little more about your book The Willng? What was your inspiration for your Crayder Chronicles series?
Tom Crayder is the main character in the series thus far, but he is actually the sidekick of a hard-hearted femme fatale named Lorena. She introduces Tom to an organization that administers justice outside of a broken system. The good guys are complicated and the bad guys are nasty.
By the end, you'll be rooting for “good guys” that do some pretty terrible things.
In The Willing, Tom's wife unwittingly gets herself into some trouble with a drug cartel. Lorena and other unlikely characters join Tom, much to his surprise, in his quest to save his wife and himself.
Planes, guns, intrigue, mystery, humor, and dangerous women. All of those things are wrapped in the ribbon of a regular guy in way over his head but learning quickly.
4. How do you come up with ideas for your characters and setting for the book?
Characters come first for me. I take pride in making fairly outlandish characters believable and real. I love it when someone says they started out hating a character but ended up loving them. The conflicts, which every good story must have, come from throwing these disparate characters together and watching them figure out how to work with one another.
The story for The Reluctant came from a police acquaintance at a dinner party. I had given up writing fiction when I heard him say that criminals got caught because they left stupid clues and bragged about their exploits. I got to thinking, “Well, what if they had a little means, could keep their mouths shut, and had a little intellect?”
I didn't want to write about a stone-cold criminal or someone that was forced into a life of crime. I wanted it to be a choice. I wanted to answer that question: If you had to do something really bad for very good reasons, would you? Could you? (maybe that's really two questions...).
By the time we got home from that dinner, the story for The Reluctant was formed in my head along with Tom Crayder's character. It was miraculous.
5. If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? And why?
Everyone would expect me to answer “Tom” because people think we are so much alike. But, I like Jake, the leader of the local motorcycle club. I don't ride motorcycles and I don't rule over a crime ring, but if there is one “cool guy” in my books, it's him.
Lorena and I have some things in common, but I don't look as good in heels as she does. My wife hated her at first but now she loves her. Most people come to love Lorena and that's why the third book, due out in June, is going to focus on her. She is probably the deepest, most mysterious character. Everyone seems to want to know more about her and she is a blast to write.
Not your typical, formulaic heroine.
6. What genre would you place your books into?
Primarily, they are action and adventure, but there is a lot of suspense, thriller, a touch of mystery, and some hard boiled detective. Plus, I like to throw in a healthy does of humor to keep the reader's attention while I develop the characters.
7. After you complete the Crayder Chronicles series, what is your next project?
You know, I spent more than a decade without what I thought was a good idea for a fantasy character and story. Now that the dam has broken, I finally have a good fantasy story and character rolling around in my head. It's a different take on the standard hero and definitely a departure from the trite fantasy themes we have seen for so long. I think it's good, at least.
But, the Crayder Chronicles will go on for some time. I know how Tom's story ends, I am just not sure of all the steps I will take to get there. And there are other characters who might need some attention along the way...
8. Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
First, I come up with the characters and then the story forms. Early on in the writing, the working title takes shape but I do not decide on a title while writing. You really have to go researching such things to make sure no other books in a similar genre have a similar title.
I like the one-word titles for this series because they imply a general theme for the story. In the first book, Tom was truly “reluctant” to do many things. In the second book, he has already made his decisions and is “willing” to do what is necessary.
The third book's working title is “The UnMasked.” Since it tells part of the story of the very mysterious Lorena and gives us a look into the forces that formed her character, it fits.
9. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I can kick out two books per year, maybe more. The writing takes about three months for 80K words...which is really 100K words before I start whittling it down to send to my editor. I do a lot of outlining and writing character backgrounds before I start writing a book, but with every book thus far, the storys stray from the original outline in a good way.
As an example, Lorena has one notable trait that makes her different from any other woman with whom Tom has come into contact. That trait (which I am purposefully not telling so as not to ruin the first book for readers) was not part of her character until my very last rewrite before letting anyone see it. Prior to that rewrite, she was a pretty typical femme fatale with no unique characteristics. She was bland.
Heck, even going into book two, she was not supposed to be such a large part of the story. But she wouldn't let me leave her out and kept pestering me for more screen time. That's the way she is.
10. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write! I know everyone says it, but it is SO true. I lost a decade looking for the perfect idea. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to find it and, in the end, the idea that got me going had nothing to do with the genre in which I wanted to write. It was a lightning bolt from left field.
Had I been writing, I think the process would have started years ago. You won't get that idea that turns you on unless you are writing. You won't become a better writer without writing. Go sit down and write something every day even if it just ends up languishing on a hard drive somewhere. You will be better for it and when you hit that story that flows out of you so quickly you have trouble typing fast enough to get it out, you will know it is the story you have to write.
I would also say, GET AN EDITOR! Life is tough for those of us breaking into the business. There is a stigma attached to indie and self pubbed writers and we don't help our cause by putting out work that is sub-standard (and standards from Big Six publishers are low to begin with!). If you need an editor, contact me because I know several good ones who are very reasonable. A good editor can make an average book good and a good book great. So, do us all a favor and help yourself at the same time.
Thank for having me, Terri It great to see your blog doing so well!
I'd like to thank you to for taking the time to answer my questions. I didn't read through your interview before writing my reviews and I found it interesting you chose Jake just like me. "Great Minds!" as the saying goes.
I certainly look forward to the next book in June.
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