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Micheal Jimerson
Draw a Hard Line

A racist killer uses the resources of his Aryan gang to falsify an innocence claim, intending to use fraudulent evidence to gain his release from prison. Only the original trial team, cowboy detective E.J. Kane and his former prosecutor ex-wife Rebecca Johnson, refuse to surrender to injustice. An unrelated suicide holds the key to unraveling a massive conundrum of DNA evidence. \tMeanwhile, their daughter faces the stark consequences of drug addiction and continued victimization from sex trafficking. E.J. will have to battle a corrupt sheriff, an army of white supremacist, the legendary Big Thicket National Preserve, and a startling revelation about his past dishonor. The fast-paced modern world of changing social norms forces E.J. Kane to question the traditional codes of his heritage. He must embrace truth and reject false values to draw the hard lines necessary to forge the future.

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Draw a Hard Line is an unrelenting, hard-boiled investigative thriller that deals with issues related to racism, suicide, drug addiction, and sex trafficking. The consistently compelling storyline is expertly handled by Jimerson in an absorbing and tension-packed powder-keg of a novel.

Prose: Jimerson's text is fast-paced and gritty, his excellent use of language heightening the dramatic atmosphere. Full of carefully curated dramatic set pieces and intense stretches of dialogue, Draw a Hard Line is a powerful and engaging read.

Originality: Draw a Hard Line is a strong, well written thriller with brilliantly devised episodes of deftly orchestrated action and violence. The sharp, dynamic dialogue and excellently written characters make for a winning combination in Jimerson's impressive novel.

Character/Execution: The characters are sharply written by Jimerson, particularly E.J. Kane, who is not only dealing with the death of his son but his daughter's drug addiction too. Kane's intelligence and hard-edged attitude are the driving force of Draw a Hard Line, a bold novel that does not disappoint.

Blurb: An absorbing investigative thriller.

Date Submitted: April 17, 2024

Set in a Texas where “the bland, khaki shades of drought punished the landscape,” Jimerson’s second cowboy-inflected detective thriller finds Ranger-turned-independent-sleuth E.J. Kane facing off with a terrifying former adversary seeking an exit from prison: white supremacist gang leader and murderer, G..H. Burton, who is attempting to gin up evidence of his innocence—and punish those who convicted him. Kane must work with his ex wife, the hard nosed lawyer Rebecca Johnson, and law enforcement officials skeptical of their disgraced former colleague, to prove that Burton is guilty not only of the crimes with which he was charged but others ongoing right into the present. Burton seems to have inside help, possibly including a DA and a powerful politico.

Jimerson's protagonist is a multi-faceted, decorated hero with a complicated past and his own personal and professional demons as he works to outsmart a cunning enemy. Dealing with the trauma of his son's death and his daughter's drug addiction, Kane is movingly divided between his professional obligations and the impossible hope of righting the wrongs in his personal life. Jimerson seamlessly incorporates gritty violence, bursts of action, and an unsettling feeling of not being sure who to trust with compelling glimpses of Kane’s home life and personal relationships. “Grown men building their lives on the simplistic moral codes of Don Quixote-style heroes,” Kane muses, at one point, contemplating the popularity of a Walker, Texas Hero. Jimerson, in contrast, digs deeper into the hard choices and human costs of heroism without slowing the pace or skimping on explosive twists.

The prose is crisp, sometimes biting, with sharp dialogue, strong local color, and a vivid feel for scrub, mud, trucks, and cottonmouths. But it’s Kane’s wit, intellect, and no-nonsense attitude that make him a cowboy detective readers will root for until the satisfying ending, that, for all the bullets and corruption, pulses with a hopeful spirit.

Takeaway: Fast-paced, character-rich thriller of Texas justice.

Comparable Titles: Jon Land’s Strong to the Bone, Craig Johnson’s Longmire series.

Production grades
A Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A