Police procedural fans will enjoy diving into award-winning author BJ Bourg’s exciting “James 516,” part of the London Carter series. “James 516” received the EPIC eBook Award in mystery for 2016, awarded by the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition.
Carter is head of the Magnolia Parish Sheriff’s Office’s sniper team. When he is called in on a hostage situation, he finds more than he expected. Victims are stacking up like cordwood and the intense officer must battle old crimes as well as current ones. Before he solves the murders, Carter will find his own life in jeopardy. Can he identify the killer before he is killed?
Bourg, himself a trained sniper, calls on every bit of his own experience as he describes situations and procedures. His mastery at bringing the reader into the scene makes the book a page-turner of the first order. Consider this passage from Chapter One:
“Still hidden behind the storefront, I dropped prone on the boiling roof and cradled my rifle in the crook of my forearms. Inch by inch, I moved—the searing heat penetrating my uniform and tearing at my flesh—and little by little, the bank parking lot came into view. When I was far enough that Jerry could fit beside me, I carefully oved my rifle out in front of me, slowly extended the legs of the bipod and pulled the butt into my shoulder, all the while moving in exaggerated slow motion so as not to attract any attention from below.”
The book provides a glimpse into the life and preparation of a police sniper within the context of an addictive case. Bourg shares the sights, sounds and smells of south Louisiana in realistic language. “James 516” contains some cursing and some sexual content, but nothing explicit. Any police procedural is likely to include violence, by its very nature, but the violence Is not gratuitous and not glorified.
Label this one PG for language and subject matter, but most mature readers of police novels will enjoy the look inside the mysterious world of police snipers. The relationships within the story are complex and multilayered. No throwaway characters here—every character adds to the depth of the plot.
“James 516” by BJ Bourg
Available in print and electronic form
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Disclaimer: This review is based on a purchased copy of the book. All opinions are my own.