Purgatory Key

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by Darrell James




Investigator Del Shannon is assigned to find two kidnapped teenagers. In Tuscon, Shannon makes contact with one of the kidnappers and negotiates a money drop. However, the drop goes bad and Shannon has scant leads. ATF Agent Frank Falconet is assigned to trace a major league felon presumed to be dead. The man's brother's image was picked up on surveillance in Tuscon. When Shannon and Falconet meet up, they realize their two cases are connected and it's off to the bayous of Louisiana. While they also try to sort out their previous romantic relationship, the teenagers must contend with killers and tiger...and the possibility of treasure nearby.

Oft-seen plot given a little sizzle with the wilds of the southern bayous. The addition of tigers provides a little more interest.


Del Shannon: 31, Investigator for Desert Sands Covert in Tuscon, carries a nine millimeter Baby Eagle, parents dead, short blonde hair, ice green eyes, drives a Jeep Wrangler, graduated Community College

Frank Falconet: 39, ATF agent, lives in New Jersey, Irish-Italian, grew up in Brooklyn, divorced, has a teenage daughter

Lissa Rogers: 18, teenager, long dark hair, slim, runner up in the Miss Teen America pageant, parents dead

Kendra Kozak: teenager, friend of Lissa, long red curly hair, average looks, curvy body, lives with Lissa as parents aren't around

Payton Rickey: smokes, hairy body, has a leg injured from a plane crash, handsome

Teddy Rickey: Payton's younger and taller brother, blonde hair buzzed on sides, spiked on top, pale skin, hooded almost colorless

Standard bad guys. The main two good guys have some depth and the interplay between them is good. There were two problem scenes I had with Lissa. I know the author had to include the first particular scene for the purpose of suspense. I also knew how the scene would end because if it ended the way it should have, the story would have been shorter. However, I didn't believe how Lissa responded to the situation at hand, even with her adventurous spirit. The second scene also could have had a different choice made when she discovered the circumstance at hand. I don't want to reveal too many details to spoil the story-basically each scene dealt with two possible chances at escape-but personally, I didn't buy either decision or action. Maybe I could believe the first one, because, as I mentioned it had to happened the way it did to prolong the story. But, not the second instance, not with the surroundings and the issues involved. I also didn't like the second teen, Kendra. She was irritating with no ounce of strength or common sense.


The Cajun character's voice comes through best. Conversations were fine but I didn't feel real energy in them.


Some profanity. Varying lengths of chapters. It's written well and it's a good thriller. There was nothing unexpected, no twists. Having read a previous book in this series, I wasn't disappointed but at the same time wasn't excited. I read the ARC but noticed a lot of errors to be fixed, in some instances incorrect words altogether. Because I knew it was an ARC, this didn't affect my ranking, just noted that there were more errors than usually seen in ARCs. Anyway, it was a good book.

My Rank:

Purple Belt