By John Lansing
Series: Jack Bertolino!#1
ISBN: : 9781451698343
Publisher: Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
Publication Date: 12/31/2012
My Rating: 4 Stars
A pulse-pounding thriller with a charming protagonist,” praises Kirkus Reviews. A sizzling thriller for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell—an exciting tour into the real-life world of cops, crime, drugs, and murder.
Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. A line in the sand he never crossed. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered – and Jack is the lead suspect.
Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Colombian drug cartel, Jack Bertolino is forced to pull out all the stops to figure out exactly what Mia had gotten herself into and a way to clear his name. As Jack delves deeper into the world of drug dealers and murderers, he uncovers an international drug ring, and the top players in this game knew Mia personally.
It is uncovered that Mia had a loving relationship with the son of a major drug lord, but she was never accepted into the family. Despite this, the relationship bloomed, and Mia became pregnant. Upon hearing this news, someone ordered her pregnancy be terminated, forcibly. Mia had spent the past few years getting revenge on the cartel family, right up until she got found out. It just so happened that she reached out to Jack on the day of her death. And now Jack is seeking revenge on behalf of his slain lover.
A special thank you to Gallery Books, Karen Hunter Publishing, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
Wow, loving protagonist, Jack Bertolino! Was dying to read The Devil's Necktie, after having just finished an ARC of #2 in the series Blond Cargo (10/20/14). Was intrigued with the sexy and complex Jack, and how he found himself in LA on the west coast. Highly recommend both!
Jack Lansing delivers a riveting and intense crime thriller debut novel, The Devil’s Necktie (#1 Jack Bertolino) a hero and ex-NYPD, now in LA in the middle of a world of danger, violence, gangs, drug cartels, and murder while mixed with Hollywood glitz and glam!
Jack Bertolino has left his hometown of New York City, and his position of NYPD narcotics chief after ongoing back pain side, taking early retirement, and relocates to Los Angeles, CA to enjoy life at a slower pace. (for like 5 seconds)?
Unfortunately, at the opening of the novel, his leisurely evening on the balcony of his loft in Marina del Rey, grilling a steak and nursing a glass of wine, is interrupted when he receives a call from Mia, one of the best Columbian CIs in the business, for the DEA, the NYPD, and the federal government. She and Jack had teamed up with groundbreaking work together. With the help of Mia and DEA agent Kenny Ortega, Jack and the team of NYPD narco-rangers he headed up—put away a heavy hitter in the cocaine trade.
Manuel Alvarez was the head of a Columbian drug cell that had been importing a thousand keys of coke into Florida on a weekly basis, and the poison was dripping into New York City. Jack and his group had put away a major cartel scumbag, and Mia had gotten rich, at a great personal risk.
The only problem, informants had a short shelf life. Once a major domo got busted, the cartels worked very hard to discover where the sickness had come from. If your name ended up on the short list, you turned up dead. Jack had made a promise to Mia that if things ever got too hot to handle, he would do whatever he could to help her out of the jam. She was calling in the note (chit, or favor).
She is in LA, and he drops everything and he goes to visit her. She tells him the entire story and they wind up sleeping together for hours of passion. When she falls asleep, he leaves. Who was she running from? What kind of game was she into to? Had someone discovered her secret? Had Alvarez tumbled to the fact that Mia was the reason he was eating jail chow? If this was serious he would reach out to Kenny in Miami. The feds might be able to put her back in the system and arrange for witness protection. Mia had become an informant for revenge for what this horrible family did to her, for loving the wrong man, the wrong people.
However, all this went up in smoke, when less than 30 minutes after he left her bed, she was brutally murdered. He rushes back when he sees the police cars headed that way; too little, too late. The drug kingpins called it a Columbian Necktie—some, the Devil’s Necktie. (gross). They had butchered her to death. This scene tormented Jack, and her eyes, would continue to torment him, until he took down the animal who had killed her. Could he have done anything to prevent Mia’s death? It weighed heavily on him.
The Los Angeles police initially suspect Jack but quickly clear him, and then brush him off when he offers to help. This of course does not stop Jack, as he investigates the murder on his own, using his instincts and invaluable connections from his cartel-busting days to unearth new evidence that makes the LAPD crawl back to him. Old enemies return to haunt Jack, placing not only himself in danger, but the people he cares about too. Soon Jack realizes that motives for Mia’s murder go much further than just a local gang hit, the people behind the brutal slaying have connections all the way back to the drug cartels of both Mexico and Columbia.
From the 18th Street angels, cops, sex, drugs, money laundering, murder, violence, danger, cops, mafia, Mexican cartels, and some cool LA hot spots, fancy cars, yachts, upscale neighborhoods to seedy bad ones, and a hot romance, for an explosive and mega bucks’ ending of killing two birds with one stone with delicious revenge.
What makes Lansing’s novel so enjoyable is his unique character development, Jack’s personal life with his son, Chris, his east coast ex-wife, new relationships; his strengths, weaknesses, and humor—mixed with the fast paced action – a dynamic winning combination! Hope we see a movie upcoming!
The Devil’s Necktie, lives up, and I was not disappointed! Highly recommend reading both books; high quality, with superb and sharp writing. They can be a standalone; however, you cannot stop with one. (I tend to read new releases, get hooked, and then devour their previous work).
Jack Bertolino is Jack’s Lansing’s dangerous, and sexy LA hero; similar to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller; Karin Slaughter’s southern and troubled GA Bureau of Investigation agent, Will Trent; J. Carson Black’s Cyril Landry, former navy seal; and Paul Cleave’s Christchurch PD, Theodore Tate.
Lovable tough heroes, fighting the bad guys; ones we support, root for, and keep reading, and reading, anxiously awaiting for the next, while hoping the series never ends. The Blond Cargo carries on the explosive action and cannot wait for the next one!
#2 Jack Bertolino Series