Books and Movies Reviews

For The Shop

In Aspen, Colorado, a pop star and her entourage are brutally murdered in their luxury chalet. The lead assassin, ex-Navy SEAL Cyril Landry, has no qualms about carrying out his mission until the instant before he kills the young star—an intense, shared moment that will ultimately drive him to find out why these people had to die. Landry transforms from mercenary to hunter as he delves into the depths of The Shop, the shadowy organization that has hired him to execute people across the country. Thousands of miles away, in a seedy motel in Gardenia, Florida, a local police chief is found shot to death. The scene has all the signs of a romantic rendezvous gone wrong, but Detective Jolie Burke isn’t so sure. As she digs for clues, the tangled threads of evidence lead to a disturbing place: Indigo, the lush tropical estate of the powerful Haddox clan and home of US Attorney General Franklin Haddox. As Jolie continues to pursue the truth, she quickly discovers that Haddox will do anything to protect his country’s ugly secrets—even kill.Landry’s quest to uncover The Shop’s motives throws him into the dark currents of Jolie’s investigation, and they find themselves working together as an unlikely duo: a cop and a killer, joining forces to expose a shocking conspiracy that ascends to the highest offices in the land. Intricate and fast-paced, The Shop is a breathtaking thriller in the vein of Nelson DeMille and David Baldacci.

A Q&A with J. Carson Black Question: What was your inspiration for the shadowy conspiratorial organization that your book The Shop is named for? J. Carson Black: There has always been speculation–especially in thrillers–that secretive organizations have existed within the federal government–that there are black bag operations, often carried out in other countries. Human nature being what it is, it’s easy for me to picture people in power at the highest level planning all sorts of operations. Power corrupts, and if the resources are available, I have no doubt that something like The Shop could exist. All it would take would be people who are powerful enough to put it in place, and the operations could go as far as their imaginations would let them go. Throughout history, powerful people have made enormous mistakes, and have corrupted power to their own needs. I can picture the rich and powerful–the people who can command just about anything–coming up with the most hair-brained of schemes–and getting away with it. It’s more about human nature than anything else. Q: Do you think it’s possible an organization like The Shop could really exist? JCB: I think it can. Recently, it has come to light that the secretive clandestine operations team “JSOC”, Joint Special Operations Command, has an assassination squad operating with impunity in other countries. Q: Jolie Burke and Cyril Landry couldn’t be more different and make for a very unlikely duo. Can you tell us more about how you developed these characters? Do you have a favorite? JCB: I like them both. I didn’t expect to like Landry, since he’s a killer, but he sort of evolved for me. For one thing, he and I both have a passion for horse racing. As I wrote my way along, he kept showing new facets of himself. He has a wife and daughter. He has a code, although it’s a bit relaxed compared to those of normal people. He was trained to be a warrior and a killer, as people in the armed services are, and these are the skills he depends on to make a living. Having been a Navy SEAL, he has extraordinary talents and abilities. And he thinks he is killing in the name of his country. Jolie is my idea of what a homicide cop should be. She’s strong and reasonable, capable and calm. And Jolie has to deal with plenty of red tape and departmental b.s. She’s thorough and cares about what she is doing. She cares about the young man whose death is at the center of her investigation. The young man is gay, and she doesn’t want his death to go unremarked. She wants justice for him.

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