Ghosts And Shadows

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By H. Max Hiller



2009. Louisiana Police Investigator Cooter Holland is called to an arson scene in New Orleans where the evidence of a super hot fire makes for a strange case. The incident and others like it soon attracts Homeland Security and a company that specializes in military and domestic spy products. Holland finds himself in the middle of federal authorities, local and Mexican gangs, an election, and if he doesn’t put it all together and stop the coming explosion, he may not live to see the Saints in the Superbowl and Mardis Gras is going to be a deadly celebration.

This plot just keeps growing in intensity and complexity as the pages turn. I expected an interesting murder mystery with an arson thrown in. Who knew the feds and gangs and bombs and a tracker dog and family relationships were also included? This one has a lot and is well presented.


Cooter Holland: Nickname Cadillac, owns two Cadillacs, Louisiana State Police investigator, 42, part owner of a bistro, father dead, former military intelligence, has a sister

Clyde Wheeler: State fire Marshall, thin, 50s, short

Bill Avery: Chief of detectives, overweight

Katie Reilly: state attorney, Holland’s girlfriend, long brown hair, divorced

Bradford Skincare: Deputy Director for Homeland Security

There are a few other characters who pop up from time to time and I like them all. Very different personalities, attitudes, and hints of good guy/bad guy in several. I think the characters were well developed. Family ties for Holland came into play and that was well handled.


Some issues with punctuation in the dialogue going to the tags. Periods instead of commas. The issue that caught my attention with dialogue is the author tended to explain the meaning/relevance of the statement just said. At times it was okay, but I think it was overdone. Let the scene and the dialogue explain rather than the narrator tell the reader what somebody’s words meant.


First person from Holland’s POV.

No profanity, which surprised me because this would have been a book I would have expected some. This doesn’t make it an unrealistic book and I enjoyed how the author kept the reader interested with the plot and the action without profanity.

Some tense problems that didn’t work for me.

Other than that, it’s a longer book than most. Not too bad but it took me awhile to read through it. Still and good mystery, good action, a bit of New Orleans culture thrown in and enough believe-ability to show that the author had done some homework and knew about the material.

My Rank:

Purple Belt