3 out of 4 stars
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A Ton of Gold by James R. Callan is a book in the crime fiction/suspense genre. It is the first book in the Crystal Moore series.
A job as a computer scientist required her to be continuously inventive, and Crystal always performed well, except that this time her company was up for performance appraisal by their sponsors. If having venture capitalists breathing down their neck was not enough, Crystal is terrified to know that someone attempted to murder her grandmother, her only living relative. Already swamped on personal and professional fronts, Crystal gets the unpleasant news that her nemesis who haunted her dreams is about to re-enter her life. Arson, kidnapping, murder; the thugs have stopped at nothing to get her grandmother out of the way. Will Crystal and her friends outwit these rogues and get to the bottom of the folklore which has fueled these attacks?
The prologue to the novel narrates the tale of a wagon full of gold being pushed off a lake somewhere in rural Texas. Back in 2012, nearly one and half century later, a gang hears this tale and resorts to any measure, fair or foul, to lay their hands on the gold. Now, this premise for the plot seems a bit exaggerated, considering that a group of criminals would believe a story sprouted by someone at a local bar, and moreover be ready to commit murders without any certainty about the existence of the gold itself. However, the author to his credit builds a story on this shaky foundation and creates a plot replete with several adrenaline-charged scenes and an interesting subplot revolving around the protagonist trying to regain her confidence and her old self.
The scenes shift to and fro between Dallas and East Texas, and the latter provides for superb descriptions of rural scenery in the book. The novel is written in third person and covers the story from several angles. Coming to the characters, the septuagenarians steal the show with their feisty and cool nature. Crystal’s grandmother, Eula’s, character seems a bit unbelievable in places, but nonetheless it is the most entertaining character in the novel.
Crystal’s character, as the protagonist of the novel, is no less interesting. The professional setback she receives early in her career ruins her self-esteem. Her journey of how she rebuilds her belief in her abilities is quite impactful, especially the realization that if she can fight a couple of ruffians to save her grandmother and friends, then dealing with her past should not be that difficult. The other characters are pretty well-rounded as well, especially Mark’s (Crystal’s boss) with his supportive nature, and Brandi’s (Crystal’s housemate and friend) with her hilarious penchant for accurately renaming people.
This fast paced adventure, will entertain readers who like a light mystery/thriller with compelling subplots. I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars.
A Ton of Gold
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