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Review of Kevin G. Chapman's Perilous Gambit
From:
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
Montreal, QC
Monday, October 25, 2021


Review of Kevin G. Chapman's Perilous Gambit
 

Author: Kevin G. Chapman

ASIN : ‎B09HT232BP

Though Kevin G. Chapman's Perilous Gambit: A Mike Stoneman Thriller unfolds with a homicide of a U.S. Senator in Rapid City, South Dakota on December 22nd 2019, the action, predominantly that follows, is set in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The opening scene has Senator Harlan Bushfield III driving home with his wife Loretta on a bitter winter night after attending a fundraiser.



The SUV Harlan is driving has a flat tire. He telephones Triple-A for help. After a brief wait, a fellow with a thick black beard wearing a sizable down coat and a brown fur hat shows up. He tells Harlan to get out of the SUV and come with him to his tow truck. Harlan complies, and in the ensuing sequence of events, he is tasered from behind, paralyzing his nerves.

The man yells out to Harlan, "you should have played ball." The van with a barely conscious Harlan pulls onto an isolated road and rides past the SUV, to Loretta's astonishment. We later learn that Harlan has been assassinated, and his body was spotted lying on ice under an overpass over Rapid Creek.

Crimes of this variety don't crop up very regularly in Rapid City. Why did someone want Harlan dead? Loretta did recall that her husband was unusually fidgety and uneasy over the previous few weeks. She associated that to some upcoming votes in the senate.

The scene shifts to New York on December 26th. We meet senior homicide detective Mike Stoneman of the Manhattan North Division, and his sweetheart, Dr. Michelle McNeill, the county medical examiner.

We are also introduced to Michelle's best friend Rachel, who is about to wed Mike's friend and partner, Detective Jason Dickson.

Michelle is terribly upset because she just found out that she is pregnant. She is worried that Jason will have an adverse reaction and also doesn't want to have the baby before she is wed.

Michelle is relieved when Jason is thrilled that the couple will be having a baby and both agree that they run off and marry in Las Vegas instead of the big, lavish wedding they had planned.

They invite Mike and Michelle to travel with them to Las Vegas.

The narrative jumps back to Rapid City, where FBI agent Derek Dumm and his junior partner Chelsea Anne Shields are involved in struggling to solve the murder of Bushfield.

Dumm communicates with his boss and informs him they have very few leads except for an embarrassing photo found on Bushfield's phone.

Dumm is warned not to contact Bushfield's wife about the image, and he is to make certain that it will be kept a secret.\

The photo shows three showgirls with Bushfield in an embarrassing position. It suggests it was used to blackmail him, which Dumm surmises from the note attached to the message dispatched to Bushfield.

Maybe whoever was trying to blackmail Bushfield was attempting to manipulate votes in Congress. What is this about?

The FBI agents are at a loss when and where the photo was taken. They again are baffled as to the identity of the ladies in the picture.

We later learn that two individuals in the image were two black drag performers and the other a pole dancer. The agents also don't know what legislation involving Bushfield would be of interest to the blackmailer.

As the story further unfolds, Mike and Jason's superior is contacted by the FBI, requesting the support of the N.Y. police department in tracking down the individuals in the photo.

Mike and Jason are presented with a picture of three women, dolled up like showgirls or Carnivale dancers with a "dude" whose identity is not divulged. They are told not to let anyone copy the photo or even bother with the identification of the "dude."

Another character that Chapman throws into the plot is mobster Freddy Costanzo. The latter has set up his criminal activities in Las Vegas.

Freddy is not thrilled that someone is blackmailing him to the tune of one-hundred -thousand- dollars.

The blackmailer claims to have evidence of linking Freddy to the murder of Senator Harland Bushfield, and he said he would turn it over to the FBI.

To add insult to injury, the initial undertaking by Freddy's Lieutenant, Rick "The Neck Garetti" and his two further attempts to grab the culprit are screwed up.

We subsequently learn that one of the young women in the photo is a pole dancer who, sadly, is killed. Another member of the trio, a drag queen, is likewise killed, leaving one left.

This person is the brother of Rachel, and he winds up being in considerable danger.

Chapman takes us on a roller-coaster ride as he deftly weaves together an assassination of a U.S. senator, a photo of the senator in a compromising position, a detective who is about to be married in Las Vegas whose future brother-in-law is embroiled in the photo, extortion, two other murders, a mobster who is being blackmailed, and a corrupt Las Vegas detective.

The narrative's pacing is outstanding, its tautly written plot is full of surprises. Clever characterizations are tailor made for an action-oriented audience. In the end, readers are left with a heart pounding nail-biter keeping you on the edge of your seats.

FOLLOW HERE TO READ NORM'S INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN G.  CHAPMAN

 

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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