Hill Country Rage, by Patrick Kelly ISBN 9780991103331
Four out of five stars
When the story opens, the reader is not given a clear picture of the kind of man the main character, Joe Robbins, is. In the prologue, the reader learns that Joe was a good boxer in college and one of the other significant characters, his former wife Rose is introduced. His relationship with Rose and their two children is a recurrent theme throughout the book.
In chapter one, the reader learns about Joe’s best friend for life, Neil Blaney and that Joe is now playing the sexual field with other women. In chapter 2 the reader learns that Joe is a financial officer for Hill Country Capital, a group that operates in the real estate market of Austin, Texas. The company has raised a first round of twenty million and another investor named Kenji Tanaka has expressed a great deal of interest in investing millions of additional money.
Later in the story we learn that very little is what it appears to be. Tanaka is a channel for dirty money from illegal drug business and he employs some ruthless henchmen. Robbins is a man with an unusual streak of willingness to do good deeds. He takes a drug-addled prostitute off the street and pays an enormous sum to get her into treatment.
However, the person that is most not like originally portrayed is Robbins. When Neil is gunned down in what was clearly a professional murder, Robbins becomes a ruthless and very capable vigilante, almost single-handedly taking down a complete drug operation. Truly not what one thinks of as a finance officer. While there are hints that Robbins has some previous experience in professional gun slinging, there is nothing solid, other than the fact that he spends a great deal of time at the gun range.
The two threads of Robbins’ love and professional life are meshed fairly well, he and Rose are very much dancing around their love for each other, even though each has other people in their lives. It ends when Robbins tells Rose that he will always be one that will go towards danger, never move away from it.
I give the book four stars because there is a little too much in the area of superhero action. The opponents are ruthless, extremely powerful men, yet when there is a physical confrontation, Robbins wins. Furthermore, the positions of the police are a bit absurd, Robbins cannot count on their assistance until the very end. Their arrival in the nick of time was predictable.