Review of Steve Ulfelder’s WOLVERINE BROS. FREIGHT & STORAGE: A Conway Sax Mystery

What does it take to transform an average Joe into a bad ass dick (sleuth, that is)? Pure grit and hard core determination. Just ask critically acclaimed, Edgar-nominated author Steve Ulfelder, whose gutsy yet affable hero, Conway Sax is back, with a vengeance.

Wolverine Bros. Freight & Storage: A Conway Sax Mystery

Book DetailsJH-01027
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Number of Pages: 320 print pages

Purchase Link:  

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Book Synopsis:  

“Conway Sax is a man on a mission—this time in Los Angeles, where he uses his race-driving experience in a desperate bid to rescue Kenny Spoon, a washed-up TV star who’s been kidnapped. It’s a favor for Kenny’s mother Eudora, Conway’s dear friend and a fellow member of the Barnburners, his tight-knit maverick AA group.

After hauling Kenny back to Massachusetts, Conway finds himself caught between Eudora and her two sons: Kenny, and Harmon, a cop who resents his talented, troubled half-brother. Each member of the Spoon family distrusts and even despises the others, it seems… and each has a past full of dark secrets that may explain why.

While Conway tries to learn why Kenny was kidnapped and protect him from further harm, a shocking murder devastates this complex, all-too-human family. Conway vows to find the killer and avenge the death, but each clue only points to more suspects.

Things get even more complicated when Conway, separated from his girlfriend Charlene, begins a passionate affair that can’t help but cloud his judgment. The more secrets he uncovers, the more danger he’s in as this masterfully written page-turner builds to a wrenching confrontation.” –Official Website of Steve Ulfelder

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My Review:

You’ll love this guy. The protagonist, Conway Sax, relies on his keen instincts, a healthy man card, and a zealous reliance on his own baggage to get him to the bottom of the mysteries that encroach on his life as a car mechanic. His lovable soft side, his resiliency in the face of whatever bad guys throw at him, and his enduring loyalty to his friends and his comrades in dependency (“Barnburners”) make him a true hero in my mind.

Ulfelder’s writing style is steady and approachable, reeling in the reader from the first page. His use of first-person perspective is vulnerable, acute, and engaging. Ulfelder taps into Sax’s recovery from dependency with affecting honesty and humor. He unfolds the mystery with gradual pace that feels real and justified.

Ulfelder also plunges a dip stick into some car racing jargon that’s smooth and slick. You’ll find yourself adding “bootlegger turn,” “tank slapper,” and “bump drafting” to your everyday vernacular. His secondary characters are spot on, full of enough vitality that you’d think they were idling in a Crown Vic outside your front window. The authentic journey through the winding roads of Central MA will have you dropping your Rs. The dialogue, as well as Sax’s inner monologue, is sincere, fresh, funny, and noteworthy (“Two times a year, I wish I had a gun.”)

If you’re a fan of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels, this Steve Ulfelder mystery is for you. It is fresh, raw pulp fiction that’s refined into a sweet and coarse concoction, and it’s sure to please.

My rating: 5 out of 5 FAVA beans.

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SteveUlfelder-e1363706586930-150x150Steve Ulfelder is the author of three mystery novels featuring unlikely hero Conway Sax: SHOTGUN LULLABY, THE WHOLE LIE, and PURGATORY CHASM. Steve left journalism to write novels and focus on Flatout Motorsports, a company he co-founded that builds, rents, sells and services race cars. Steve’s debut novel, PURGATORY CHASM, published by Minotaur Books in 2011, was nominated for the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the Best First Novel category, and was named Best First Mystery by RT Book Reviews. Steve is a proud member of Mystery Writers of America (serving as president of MWA’s New England chapter), Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio Wesleyan University, and lives with his family in Worcester County, Massachusetts. Learn more about Steve Ulfelder’s books at www.ulfelder.com.

 

 

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Murder Mystery Show

murder and mayhem

 Come on out on May 10th to Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, NH at 7pm to see who’s murdered and who dunnit!

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Join fellow authors and thespians CJWest, Steve Ulfelder, and Michele McPhee, and me, for a one-night-only performance.

Tickets just went on sale. The last 7 shows all sold out, so if you want to be in the crowd of 200 super sleuths, get your tickets right away. This event is in Sandown, NH and is $35 per person.   Your admission includes the choice of a novel from any one of the authors, including my debut novel, THE RACE:  A HELL Ranger Thriller.  Hope to see you there!

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

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My friend and colleague, J.H. Bográn tagged me with these interview questions last week.  Who am I to pass up a blog hop?  But don’t think he can just tag me from out of the blue and get away with it–keep an eye out for a J.H. Bográn guest post right here later in November.

Okay, I have fulfilled my civic duty and exercised my informed right to VOTE on this fine Election Day. I have my coffee.  My computer’s fully charged. Now, let’s have some fun with these questions…

What is the working title of your book?

My suspense thriller is The Sculptor, where the hunt is on for the serial killer who sculpts and plasters female grad students in Rome.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In college, I studied in Rome, Italy just as the US was entering the first Persian Gulf War.  Tensions ran high for Americans in a foreign country, and many of the scenes I wrote depicted the peril–bomb scares, abductions, armed guards on every street corner, etc.  This tension formed the backdrop to the romance element in the book, a close interpretation of how I met my husband, also a student in Rome at the time.  The villain is a mix of Hannibal Lector and American Psycho, and my Art in Rome professor.

What genre does your book fall under?
I’d call it a suspense thriller–a mystery, with elements of action, suspense, romance, and peril that keeps you reading into the wee hours to find out what happens next.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If Bradley Cooper agrees to play the male lead, I’d speed-read Acting for Dummies a few times and then cast myself as the protagonist.  Won’t cast the villain now, that would reveal too much.  The genius, Kevin Spacey, needs to play some role.  And, Jimmy Fallon.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Graduate student Mara Silvestri, targeted by Rome’s serial killer, The Sculptor, must uncover the family secret that draws him to her before she winds up the prized masterpiece in his collection.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m currently seeking a literary agent, but I’m open to both avenues of publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I outlined it in a couple weeks, produced the first draft in about three or four months, revised and polished it in another three or four months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The story is comparable to Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs, or maybe The Relic by Preston and Child, and somewhat akin to a Lisa Gardner novel or a Harlan Coben mystery.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Real life experiences inspired the book, but then again, what book isn’t inspired by life?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Rome, Venice, the Alps, and Tuscany. (Location, location, location, right?)  Romance, bro-mance, terror, wine, art, plot twists, characters you want to hang with, and a dog.

The new tags are:

And here are the rules:

* Give credit to the person / blog that tagged you
* Post the rules for the blog hop
*Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog
*Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.