How far would you go to protect your friends and family? Tom Crayder is the All-American guy next door with a business, a wife, a son, a mortgage, and an expensive hobby. He is also a politically incorrect, wisecracking, operative working for a shadowy organization dedicated to administering justice outside of a broken system. Not even his wife knows of his other life when she finds herself unwittingly involved in a drug war. Strap in with Tom as he navigates his way through the strata of a drug cartel. Lock and load with Lorena, a hard hearted assassin, as she lends her deadly skills to Tom’s fight for his family. Sit back and watch Tom and Lorena figure out how to work together without killing each other. Join the rest of the cast from "The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles)" as they pitch in to track down the hitmen that threaten their associate. Some mysteries are solved. Some questions are answered. Some live. Some die.ebook,
Published November 21st 2011 (first published November 19th 2011)
Four Stars: This series gets better and better!
The Willing, picks up shortly after the conclusion of book one, The Reluctant. Our middle aged, slightly paunchy (though he did lose ten pounds) hero, Tom Crayder, has transformed from the reluctant crime fighter to the willing hunter of baddies. He, for the most part, remains in the dark and on a need to know only basis, as far as his new employers are concerned. Tom was unwillingly seduced (well more like thinking with his other head got him into some trouble) by the sexy, seductress, Lorena, to go undercover and covertly fight the bad guys that fly under the radar of law enforcement. Tom now secretly works for a very powerful and wide range organization, in order to make sure justice is served. His crime fighting partner is none other than the smoking, hot Lorena. The only problem is that Lorena is a lipstick lesbian, who firmly believes that most men are pigs, including Tom. After the duo completes another successful mission, Tom returns home to a whole pot of trouble brewing. His lovely wife, Jenny, has inadvertently uncovered a money embezzling operation that is connected to an extremely powerful drug lord. Jenny has no knowledge of the danger that she unleashed. She was just doing her job in the accounting firm where she works. Now, people are gunning for her. How far will Tom have to go to protect the woman he loves?
What I Liked:
- Book two starts with a bang, and the action is non stop from the first pages until the end. This book excels over its predecessor. It has something for everyone: action, mystery, planes, guns, shoot outs, lovable chihuahua, bad guys, a plane dog fight and lots of humor. If you are reluctant to start this series, what are you waiting for?
- I loved the buddy relationship between Tom and Lorena. Think of some of your favorite crime fighting duos and you have the basis for the partnership between Tom and Lorena. Except you get the many colorful jokes and references that arise when one of the partners is a lesbian and the other a typical man. Needless to say the banter between the two is hilarious. Lorena is constantly making degrading male jokes, while Tom enlightens us with more of his trademark, sexually charged humor. Trust me, these guys are highly entertaining.
- The plot of this book is more complex. There is a whole array of bad guys to take down. With each new development another lead to follow turns up, and just when you think you have it all figured out, Mr. Splitter throws in some big twists and surprises. I thoroughly enjoyed the reveals.
- The cast of characters. Several of the players from The Reluctant, return in this installment including my favorite, Tiny. Tiny is a huge man, who screamed like a woman, when Tom crash landed his plane in book one ( oops I mean forced landing with style, and yes Tom is still bemoaning that landing). Anyway, Tiny is back with a more formidable role in this book, and let's just say the big guy is full of surprises. I also enjoyed delving deeper into Lorena's character. She is tough as nails but willing to step in and help a friend, even if it is a piggish man like Tom. Don't let the off color remarks between Tom and Lorena fool you, there is definitely a good solid foundation between the two, hopefully the pair will continue a long and successful partnership.
- I was glad to see the rescued chihuahua return. Sammy, fully recovered provides a little flash of cute, doggy comic relief. I wish there were more of him in the book.
- I laughed at the cameos of two of my blogging friends who managed to make an appearance in the book, Cambria and the Long Haired Texas (a.k.a. known as Jenn over at Indie Supporter.) It was fun to see Mr. Splitter incorporate two of my friends in the story. Hey, who knows maybe if I am lucky I will gain notoriety in a future installment as well.
And The Not So Much:
- I have only a few minor considerations. Jenny, Tom's wife, I am still waiting for her to be a little more fleshed out (and no I don't mean she needs to show more cleavage). She is sexy and seems to be a willing lover, but I want to know more about her, especially after the ending. Jenny surprised me with some of her own antics, she is shaping up to be sassy and capable in her own right. I can't wait to see more of her in the next book.
- I wish there was a little more explanation into the agreement reached at the end with the bad guy. How did they track him down? What were all of the contingencies of the contract? How powerful is this guy?
- Again, as in The Reluctant, this book is littered with all kinds of sexual references, innuendos and often crude and off color remarks. Mind you, nothing is extremely offensive or over the top. It is in my opinion a realistic portrayal of an average a man. Let's face it ladies, men often have gutter minds. So, be prepared for some entertaining, enlightenment. I found it enjoyable.
- This isn't really a criticism, but does burning human flesh really smell like bacon?
The Willing, is a high energy, fast paced thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. With plenty of jokes and antics to keep you laughing along the way. Mr. Splitter has proven with this second installment, that his first book was no fluke. This novel exceeds the first one. Again, if you are sitting there reluctantly waiting to read this series, what are you waiting for? Dive in and have fun!
"We headed for a local buffet. Jenny hated buffets but I liked being able to eat a little bit of everything. I also thought there was a good chance of Tiny seeing someone bigger than him and figured that would make him feel good. Some people take “all you can eat” very seriously."
"He started with a huge salad (yes, I was shocked) and ended with two slices of red velvet cake. Given what went on in between, it was an impressive display of culinary destruction."
“You listen to me, Fat Man.
If you get yourself shot, I am not dragging your lard ass to the hospital. Got it? If you get ME shot, I will kill you.”
“Uh…,” I articulated. I am suave that way."
"I was wrong too. The dumpster did smell worse than the alley once I was inside of it. If my nose had not already been swollen nearly shut, I may have broken it myself in order to survive the next several minutes."
"When you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow,” she agreed."
“Keep talking,” she encouraged, “just don’t hurt your brain with all that thinking.”
"Real men don’t get manicures. We just grind our nails away on the bones of our enemies."
"A sign at the entrance said, “Trespassers will be shot.
Survivors will be shot twice.”
"Part of being a man is being tough. Mostly, when it comes time to be tough, it really sucks to act tough. That’s what it is too: an act."
"I know I tended to say it to anyone who would listen, but duct tape is the ultimate tool for the man who is not very mechanically inclined."