Cover Image: Tushhog


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Great character driven story that I became completely immersed in.  I had read the book before this one, but don't think you have to in order to enjoy this.
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Tushhog by Jeffery Hess
Scotland Ross #2

“Tushhog: A Southern male that always finishes a fight”

Scotland Ross returns in book two of what I hope will be a continuing series. Set in 1981 Florida the writing made me feel the heat and humidity and grit of the places mentioned and took me back to a time I remember well.

Scotland is a man who seems to be a trouble magnet but for four months after his last “troubles” he has held a regular job, lived a normal life with musician Kyla and managed some memories from his past fairly well. He has a regular bar, some people he calls friend and as he approaches thirty thinks maybe he is finally on the right track. 

And then…trouble finds him again…

Wanting to help out his friend he finds himself drawn into a situation that feels wrong but is one he cannot turn away from. Finding the people that murdered a friend’s son leads to much more than any of the characters expected. With Cuban refugee thugs, mafia thugs, drug dealers and plenty of violence this book left me hoping that Scotland will find his way back to “normal” but I have a feeling that perhaps normal for him is a whole lot different than it is for me! 

Can’t wait for more in this series and would like to thank NetGalley and Down and Out Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

4-5 Stars
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It's 4 months since the events of Beachhead and Scotland Ross is attempting some straight living between his day job and living with Kyla. He's drinking a lot though and on the anniversary of his son's death the bar owner he's become friendly with is harassed by a couple of Cuban goons who claim to have kidnapped the bar owner's son. Scotland intervenes as a guy who "does the wrong things for the right reasons" only to be dragged into a shadier world than he could've imagined.

Hess writes character driven stories in the vein of Florida great Elmore Leonard inhabiting this story with a slew of well written and nuanced characters. He can take tiny details and imbue them into the character's biography as the below example shows:

"Most days, Scotland avoided Gator Doug's office. He'd been in the underdecorated room a few times. He always noticed a crack in the window even though he always fought to ignore it. The crack's edge zigzagged from one corner to the next. The pattern and size reminded Scotland of the window years ago in the nursery he'd damaged with the impact of a chair he'd smashed against the wall the night his infant son died. Upon impact, chair parts exploded and the left armrest bounced off the window and left a similar scar. Every time he saw it he felt all the pain from that night well up in his abdomen, made it hard to think straight. It seemed fresh to him now, like a wound so raw air made it hurt."

He does this consistently throughout the book. He also has a knack for introducing characters at any part of the story with memorable, meaningful characters popping up in the latter half of the book. As well as this he has a way of lulling the reader into a sense of security with where the story is going and then whips it away with little twists. 

I'm hopeful there will be more Scotland Ross adventures in the future.

Thanks to Down and Out Books for providing a review copy!
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