The Second Letter

The Second Letter

Robert Lane

Mason Alley Publishing, LLC

ISBN-13:9780615841885

323 pages Genre: Mystery

 

Robert Lane opens The Second Letter in 1961with a hand-carried letter delivered to the widow of a Secret Service agent. Dorothy Harrison lives a good life in Florida, and follows the instructions of her dead husband’s friend, a CIA agent, regarding the letter. Is it about her husband’s death or just a government secret that could be used against the United States?

Along with her gardener, she hides the letter in a safe place. They do not open it, intuitively knowing it contains secret government information that could affect the Secret Service or other government agencies. And possibly information about her husband she doesn’t want to know.

Fast forward from 1961 to present day.  Dorothy Harrison’s home is now a museum. It is broken into one night without an apparent robbery.

Enter Jake Travis, an ex-military man living on Florida’s coast. His ex-Army commander contacts him with an “off the books” mission. Find the mysterious fifty-year-old letter that was taken during the Harrison Museum robbery.

It is being held by Raydel Escobar, a shady millionaire that is attempting a trade with the IRS – they get the letter, he gets the tax evasion charges dropped as well as the slate wiped clean of all the money he owes the government.

Travis is on Escobar like a dog on a meat truck. With the help of his girlfriend Kathleen his neighbor Morgan, and his partner Garrett they get close to Escobar, discovering he has many secrets that are much worse than hiding money from the IRS.

The question is, how far will Travis go to retrieve a letter that is possibly of no consequence today? He may be risking his relationship with Kathleen and the lives of those closest to him if he keeps hounding Escobar and his associates.

I loved this book. The first of I hope many from Robert Lane. His characters are sharp, witty and have a depth that many authors can’t or don’t often give them. Travis has a tortured soul. We get glimpses into his past through his comments and actions. He treads softly around alcohol must have been a problem for him at one point in his life. Escobar is the character you love to hate. He has an unusual soft side that shows up when least expected. There is a fabulous tie-in to the 1960’s in Escobar’s choice in music. It becomes the soundtrack of the book, reminding the reader where the story started and where it will circle back to end.

Lane uses dialog and descriptions beautifully. For example, of all the ways to describe the hot Florida sun, Lane chooses “…I lowered the blind to block the sun that assaulted our bodies like white bread in a toaster”. This is just a small sample of the authority and realism he commands with his words.

He must be amazing sharp-witted, because I suspect the voice of Travis is close to his own. Humor and sarcasm go hand in hand when Travis opens his mouth. This often gets him in trouble, but he does not really seem to mind.

If this is a glimpse into the head of Robert Lane, I’d love to attend a dinner party where he is in present and sit back and listen. Maybe even verbally spar if the occasion warrants – but I accept defeat in advance.

His next book, Cooler Than Blood is scheduled for release Fall 2014. I will be the first in line to get it.

 

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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