Thunder Road by Colin Holmes

Debut novel Thunder Road from Colin Holmes is a tale of a veteran and “cowboy” detective, navigating corruption, conspiracy, and romance in 1947’s Texas. This book takes us to a world where UFOs, the Mob, Hollywood, the military industrial complex and cattle rustlers collide, (the rustlers only appearing disappointingly briefly.)

I received a copy to review through Blackthorn Book Tours. Thank-you!

I will state honestly that I am left somewhat confused by this book. While I was reading it, I couldn’t decide where I wanted it to be going, and now that I’ve finished reading it, I’m not sure if I’m happy with where it did go. I think I really wanted more cowboy and less political conspiracy mumbo jumbo, but of course your miles may vary.

A warning to potential readers that there was a (for me) rather unexpected (but brief) burst of sex early on in the book, and there is also the occasional obscene word employed.

Because I watch a lot of older films, I got distracted by a relatively minor character, a Hollywood film star character. Every time he appeared, I was pondering if this character was inspired by a real person or was an amalgam of several people, and I came up with several possibilities in my mind – and felt let down when the author didn’t answer the question of who (if anyone) they were meant to represent in a note at the end of the book – it would have been perfectly fine if he’d just said “I made this character up,” – I just wanted to know if my guesses on that subject were anywhere near the mark.

I did think the main character is appealing.

There are some typos in the book that my editing brain couldn’t help but notice.

What really kept me interested in this story was the laughs it provided every now and then. It does have a sense of humour, and I always appreciate that in a novel. There were a few times I felt it was trying too hard and the humour wasn’t hitting me right, but depending on where your funny bone is located, you might find this book very funny, sometimes funny as I did, or, theoretically, not funny at all, which would be a shame.

The occasional historical detailing was also appreciated, but there was one explanation that really stood out for me as unnecessary –  was I really meant to believe that a war widow needs to ask what an ack-ack gun is?

As someone who has vacationed in Texas and passed through the Dallas-Fort Worth traffic tangle, it was neat to learn of the rivalry between the two cities, and about Fort Worth’s unusually white fire trucks. For me, it’s neat little details like this that can make a book worthwhile reading, alongside humour, even if you are confused about whether or not you’re enjoying the main plot.

Also, little interesting turns of phrase, such as a character asking “What in the cat hair hit you?”

However, because I wasn’t fully engaged in the main plot, the novel started to feel slow and pace-challenged in the second half and perhaps a little over-long at 384 pages. Moments of action were well written but perhaps a little too far apart – over all, I think this is a book with an interesting (if sometimes rather convoluted) idea for plotting, a decent sense of humour, that could have used a bit more tightening up to really shine.

And because I’m not super into UFO stories, this would likely never have been really for me.

I am giving this novel three stars out of five. Thank you again to Blackthorn Tours and thank you to the author, for providing me a review copy.

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