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GW Allison
Into the Marrow
GW Allison, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Publish)

A killer forces Leroy Cutter to a last resort in Key West.

In the aftermath of a high-profile case that brought the city to its knees, Leroy Cutter leaves Detroit, seeking refuge in Key West. He plans to unwind with an old Navy buddy and reset his life. Unfortunately, Key West PD pegs Cutter as their prime suspect in a brutal murder and the number of victims are starting to rise. With his freedom on the line, Cutter attempts to clear his name and find the real killer as he delves into the dark underbelly of Key West, where sunken treasure, seedy real estate deals, and drugs collide.

From the author of the best-selling novel The Sinful comes Into the Marrow, a thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Get ready for a heart-pumping ride with Into the Marrow, book two in the Leroy Cutter series.

Former Detroit cop Leroy Cutter, introduced in The Sinful, has sailed to Key West to escape his past and renew a friendship, but finds murder and other dark doings that will severely test his physical and emotional limits. Arriving in Florida, he finds his old Navy buddy Dan Yarnall has been killed and Cutter realizes he may be a suspect. He starts to look into the death, and soon finds it seems to be connected to real estate developer Jankowski and a mysterious emerald. He also starts a romance with local woman Stacy, who impresses him with her ability to take care of herself. Together, they uncover a grim series of crimes.

Allison has a great feel for the mind and murky world of the cynical PI. Cutter comes with a troubled background in the military, having "done things I could never forget." He also has a past as a cop, where he saw, among other harrowing incidents, a murder over cookies. But Allison always makes it clear that his inner sense of honor shines through, perhaps most memorably when he stands up for common decency while talking with a tough cop. And Cutter’s prickly romance with Stacy comes across with warmth and a lot of humor. Some of the secondary characters aren’t as vividly rendered as this pair, and some motives are at times unclear, but Allison keeps the action going at top speed.

Fans of this genre will especially like Allison's playful language, which both honors and slyly mocks the gumshoe tales of another era. Cutter tells us his "Michigan blood was sludge in my veins." And everything he says at one point "was as thin as a runway model’s lips." In a more serious vein, Allison waxes poetic in the sailing descriptions, which serve as an effective counterpoint to the violence. All of Allison's narrative powers come together at a nail-biting conclusion that will leave readers breathless—and hoping to join Cutter on future adventures.

Takeaway: Fast-paced PI sequel set in a morally murky Florida Keys.

Comparable Titles: Lee Child, Lawrence Block.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A-