I have to admit to being surprised by this one. Although it is set in the period of the American war for independence, there are some interesting parallels with today. The story revolves round a British Lieutenant Michael Stoddard, a redcoat. Today I guess he would be a redcap, i.e. a military police detective. The characters are well written as are the various locations where the action takes place.
As I know very little about this period as history and the events taking place at the time, this is not a book that I would have bought for myself. However, being asked to review it is a different matter. Having said I know very little about the time and place(s) in the story, I have to assume the author has done her homework and knows what she is talking about. I note that this is one of a Lieutenant Michael Stoddard series so if you are familiar with them you don’t need this review. This was an enjoyable, interesting and enlightening read, so much so that I will be looking out for other works by the author Suzanne Adair. All of which appear to have good reviews.
About the author….in her own words
Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in a two hundred-year-old city at the edge of the North Carolina Piedmont, named for an English explorer who was beheaded. Her suspense and thrillers transport readers to the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, hiking, and spending time with her family.
From where do you get your inspirations for your characters and storylines in your books?
The inspirations for my characters and storylines come from both historical and modern events.
During 1781, Major James Henry Craig and the Eighty-Second Regiment occupied the town of Wilmington, North Carolina from January through November. Bolstered by loyalist militiamen from the backcountry, the regiment created a wedge of Crown forces power across North Carolina, stymieing movement of the Continental Army between South Carolina and Virginia. The British campaign in North Carolina isn't taught in American History classes. However this successful campaign prolonged the war for a year. Thus I found Craig's strategies and this piece of American history worthy of exploration as the external conflict in a historical thriller series.
For his Masters Degree at East Carolina University, Dr. Gregory De Van Massey wrote The British Expedition to Wilmington, North Carolina, January–November, 1781. The events chronicled in Massey's thesis form the backbone of this series' story arc.
The internal character arc of the series follows British infantry officer Michael Stoddard, a fictitious criminal investigator for Major Craig. In each book of the series, Michael investigates crimes tied to historical events in North Carolina, ultimately linked to the same desires for money, power, and sex that fuel modern crimes we read about every day in the news. As Michael is solving crimes, his investigative ability grows. But his internal character grows, too. Moving forward on a path of internal growth and redemption is the only way Michael will be strong enough by the end of the series to exterminate his nemesis and the series villain, a psychopathic British officer.
What were your favourite books?
I read across many genres and am drawn to atmospheric novels that make me feel like I'm there, in the head and body of the main character, as well as novels with three-dimensional characterizations. Memorable for me and among the novels in my personal library: The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters, Gabriel Lacey mysteries by Ashley Gardner, Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle, and just about everything by Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, H. P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe. My interests run to speculative fiction as well as historical fiction because I'm also writing a science fiction series with a tentative release on the first book of October 2013.
What are the best thing and the worst things about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer? I'm using my creativity to fuel education, exploration, and escape.
Seldom does a week pass when I don't receive mail from a reader on the theme of, "I just finished reading [insert one of my book titles], and I never knew that [insert historical fact]. Thank you for making history so accessible!"
Some readers add that they enjoyed the history in my books so much that they're inspired to conduct their own historical research. What an honor, inspiring people to teach themselves. Most readers don't know enough about history, and the best way to learn it is, in my opinion, by teaching one's self.
And a few readers write to thank me for providing them with a diversion from something unpleasant in life, like a surgery or the trauma of a car crash. It's a profound honor for me to play a part in comforting a reader.
The worst thing about being a writer? I must spend so much time researching, writing, editing, and marketing that I don't have the leisure to read many fascinating novels I see out there.
Tell us a little bit about your books, who they are aimed at, and where people can buy them?
I write crime fiction set during the Southern theatre of the American Revolution. All my books can be read as stand-alone and don't have to be read in chronological order. The audience is those readers who enjoy crime fiction (mystery, suspense, thriller) and/or historical fiction—teen and adult readers, because the books contain war violence and brief love scenes.
The "Mysteries of the American Revolution" trilogy (Paper Woman, The Blacksmith's Daughter, and Camp Follower) explores the war from the point of view of middle-class women who are caught up in the turbulence, thus showing how the hostilities affected a segment of the population not traditionally given a voice for this war. The women's stories are interconnected, so the same set of characters appears in several books. Paper Woman won the Patrick D. Smith Literature Award. Camp Follower was nominated for the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award.
The "Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller" series continues this exploration of the Southern theatre from the viewpoint of Michael Stoddard, a British infantry officer in the Eighty-Second Regiment. Michael had minor appearances in each book of the above trilogy, and numerous characters from that trilogy appear in his books. Regulated for Murder made Suspense Magazine's "Best of 2011" list. The second book in the series, A Hostage to Heritage, is scheduled for an April 2013 release.
All my books are available in trade paperback and ebook formats from numerous retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, and Sony.
Quarterly electronic newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/Suzanne-Adair-News