Trail of Fear

Trail of Evil. Fearless Publishing, an e-book published first in 2011, copyright and written by Jansen Mancheski.

Following ‘The Chemist’s’ capture, he names an African known only by the single name Kinsella to escape at least the murder charge of beheading the first of his kidnapped women. Cale van Waring, the senior investigating officer believes this to be simply a ploy but does contact his FBI friend who verifies the man’s existence with additional information that he had been deported from Great Britain back to Liberia because of his purported association with human trafficking. Cale, even though his investigative results had been superb and he had received commendations, had been suspended from the police force for ignoring police procedure during the events moving up to the arrest. Thus, in typical Cale fashion, he decides to travel on his own to Liberia to request Kinsella be turned over to him to be brought back to the United States for trial. Through a friend, he has the complete backing of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and tacitly Interpol because the human trafficking problem is immense. He is put in the hands of Jacek Tumaj, a Czeck freelance mercenary, and his team in Italy. From there the action proceeds to Liberia where Cale’s meeting with the government officials is shunted to meet with Colonel Tazeki “Taz” Mabutu, the head of the Liberian National Police. It seems that Taz also is an extremely highly placed African voodoo priest, a botono or master of all loa, especially the petro loa or dark gods. As such, it is believed Taz can possess another person’s body turning them into a zombie slave to do the botomo’s bidding. Regardless, the colonel is an unusually cruel individual and like many other Liberians, enjoys human meat. It is here that an incredibly horrendous series of activities begin with Jacek and his team becoming totally responsible for Cale’s survival. The action is fast and suspenseful leading to a finale that provides a legitimate introduction to Book III of the series.

Discussion: On the good side, the action is high octane with plenty of suspense. On the bad side, Cale’s mental as well as physical actions are difficult to accept. His expectations of journeying to a totally unstable country and expecting their government to deliver one of their citizens for expedition to the United States because of a mid-western detective’s request is incredibly unrealistic. Similarly, his superior/questionable (?) attitude in general is that exhibited unfortunately by numerous Americans travelling to foreign lands and the source of the term ‘ugly American’ widely heard at one time. And one more inexplicable, but in character, attitude is that toward learning any of the tricks of survival the mercenaries attempted to teach him.

Conclusion: An interesting, but disappointingly flawed follow-up to the first book in the series that reader’s still may enjoy for the high octane action.

3* Enjoyable suspenseful tale; rating reduced for reasons described

 

The Chemist

 

 

The Chemist, an e-book of an award-winning novel first published in 2010. Fearless Publishing, copyright and written by Jason Mancheski.

The story opens with the kidnapping of a young woman in an unusual manner and with her disappearance even her automobile cannot be found. The perpetrators are described to an extent with specific attention to the shadowy ‘Chemist’. The reader then is introduced to Cale Van Waring the detective lieutenant heading the special crimes unit of the Green Bay, Wisconsin PD. He becomes lead investigator on the missing woman case that begins to worsen when more blond young women completely disappear along with their automobiles. He is aided in his search particularly by longtime partner James “Slink” Dooley and Sargent Anton Staszak and their first ‘break’ is the gruesome discovery of the first woman’s decapitated body appearing in the waters of Lake Michigan. Cale has other, personal, problems with which he is struggling. He and Maggie Jeffers, a beautiful young lawyer with the Public Defender’s Office, have been living happily together now for fourteen months but since the relationship appears to be going nowhere, she has given him until a late July date to make up his mind, or she will leave. From here, the manner in which the story proceeds to unfold, both with respect to the missing persons’ investigation and the Cale/Maggie relationship, is quite convoluted. It also, is this reviewer’s opinion, would be a disservice to the prospective reader to divulge more aspects of the process. Suffice it to say that the story involves Chloe, Maggie’s 2-year-olded clairvoyant sister, along with several gang members, and other sinister characters with a mounting amount of evidence pointing toward the despicable but unfortunately lucrative human trafficking industry.

Discussion: The author has provided a quite involved plot with variously described characters set in a suspenseful multi-genre tale. The protagonist perhaps is a little too strong in his tenacity of purpose when mixed with his ambivalence on a number of counts and his strong adherence to his own particular mindset with respect to others. However, it is a tale that most readers should enjoy and the brief synopsis at the end of this volume presenting the following book’s opening lines should enhance one’s interest in proceeding to the next in the series.

4* Suspenseful multi-genre tale readers should enjoy.