After being impressed by Fallen Angel by James Harper, I followed links and found another freebie No Rest for the Wicked, a lengthier short story than Fallen Angel. There is a subtitle on the cover that might be a mantra: “There Ain’t No Such Thing as Free.”
There is a robbery gone wrong. Three people entered a store, all were wearing masks. The store owner tried to protect what was his and was shot for his troubles. There wasn’t supposed to be any shooting but one of the three gang members, one who was short several cards of a full deck, overreacted. The three fled, taking a female clerk hostage. Intending to flee to a nearby hotel deserted for the winter, they had not counted on the entrepreneurial spirit of the hotel owners. There was a promotion to which only three select couples were invited as test guests prior to a grand opening. Unfortunately for the evildoers, Evan Buckley (it’s a series) and girlfriend Gina were one of the couples. Another couple canceled. But that left two guest couples, a manager and a chef, four bad guys, a hostage store clerk, and one small child (brought by the other couple) to weave an entertaining tale.
This is a short story, but Harper still manages to develop each of his characters well (except for the murdered store owner). There are surprises worth waiting for. The action scenes are well done, not overdone. After all, there was a chef at the scene. As I read the story, I felt that this was a very logical extension of Fallen Angel a much shorter story I reviewed two days ago. That story had the same tense, taught action this one does which I feel is evidence of the author’s skill. The action scenes in this novel could have been watered down with the reader getting more quantity but less quality. That did not happen. There were enough twists in this novel that I want to read more from Harper. Being the type that likes to save money, I signed up for his reviewer team so, according to him, I should be able to read a lot of his work in advance for free.
I look forward to it. I gave this four Amazon stars on Goodreads because it did not appear for review on Amazon. If this quality of writing keeps up, I anticipate giving five stars to his longer works.