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Wild Card

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Wild Card
By Michael Brandman

4 stars

Action thriller. 

Buddy is an LAPD detective that has returned home to take on the sheriff's role while his father recovers from illness.  He is suddenly hit with a serial killer on the loose as well as a Russian millionaire running a string of crimes.  Things heap up as the Russian thugs get violent.

Buddy is a wild card, someone not looking for publicity and not able to bend to political pressure. 

The story is well written and flows easily, although the outcomes are predictable, the story is enjoyable. Wild Card is the third book in the Buddy Steel series, however it reads fine as a stand-alone book. The background information is quickly and smoothly established. 

It is fast paced with interesting. A great read.

This title has been reviewed by  This title was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in return for an open and honest review.

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"Wild Card" is not as wild as I thought it was going to be. To me, this is just a passable read. Having read the first two books in the series, I found "Wild Card" is not as suspenseful as the two predecessors. 

There are two simultaneous cases going on. One has to do with corruption/international interests/politics while the other one is more a psychological crime. There are no crimes or cases to solve so to speak because readers know for sure who are behind the crimes. The only interesting elements are the funny dialogues and the continuous development of Buddy's character. His growing intimacy with his ailing father who is also his mentor and his competency as a sheriff add depth to the series.

Regardless my slight disappointment in "Wild Card" but I am still looking for ward to the next installment. Towards the end of the book, Buddy wants to take a break and a respite as a sheriff working for his father. I'd still want to find out if Buddy will choose between his passion as a regular law enforcer or to continue his duty as a loving son. (Those who have read the book would know what I mean.)
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Wildcard – Michael Brandman

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

It’s Monday, and Buddy Steel is trying to catch up on his reports when he receives a call from his dispatcher requesting his presence at a scene. Upon his arrival, he finds that a young woman has been shot while sitting in her car. No apparent motive can be ascertained. 

Meanwhile, the California Coastal Commission is enlisting Buddy’s assistance with another matter. It seems that a reclusive Russian with reported film interests in Hollywood, also has an interest in privacy, to the detriment of public access points to the beach, which he has boarded up and guarded, despite a law to the contrary.  The Russian, Boris Petrov, supposedly a pal of Putin, has a reputation for getting his way…but he’s never met the likes of Buddy…

Then a second woman is found murdered, shot to death like the first one, and shortly after that, a third. With a serial killer taking aim at Freedom, Buddy finds himself trying to head up both investigations…and enlists the aid of young attorney named Jordyn, a former lover, to take on Boris Petrov, as he looks for a remorseless killer – a killer who is much too close to home…

Filled with suspense, action, witty characters, and more than a few surprises, Buddy’s latest adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat, and then longing for more…. 

I cannot wait for the next Buddy Steel installment!!
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Wild Card is the third in the Buddy Steel series by Hollywood writer Michael Brandman who, has  written New York Times bestsellers in the Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone series and written the screen play for Jesse Stone  films starring Tom Selleck. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity.  My opinion is my own,.  This is my first reading of the authors work. I was quite impressed with his multi layers of plot and ability to bring the charcters to life.   I love the witty repartee, the moral integrity of Buddy Steel and his sarcasm.  
The action starts in a small California town with a shocking murder and the action takes off from there. 
Buddy has returned home to his hometown  as a Sheriff to care for his ailing Father and he is not happy about his situation. 
He battles a Russian who refuses to follow American laws without compromise and humor.,  He seeks out the killer with his sharp skills  as the plot deepens.  He soon has a serial killer case that is giving him headaches as the town demands answers.  Many layers of personalities enter into his investigation and I enjoy the likable charcters this author creates. I will definitely be reading more of his work. 

A  good interesting read with humor, witty dialogue, and  plenty of action .  He does not suffer fools and does things with his own morals applied to each and every investigation.  I love the charcter of Buddy and appreciate his realistic outlook on life. A fun read that I highly recommend.
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What a ride. Great story and fantastic storytelling by Michael Brandman. Thank you #NetGalley and #PoisonedPenPress for this eARC of Wild Card the third book about Buddy Steel covering as sheriff for his ill father in Freedom. I have to get the other two books in this series, I don't know how I could miss them. I have read every single Jesse Stone Brandman has written. I love the language and humor in both series and I think that is why it appeals to me so much. Don't miss this author or his work.
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Buddy Steele is a big town cop come home to small town America to run the county Sheriff's department because his dad, the Sheriff, has ALS.  A murder in Freedom, however, diverts him from his latest effort- investigating a Russian billionaire despoiling the area while denying access to the beach-and then there's another one.  Brandman packs a lot of plot into a fairly slim novel but note that's partially because he has an economical style that gives you a lot for a little. Buddy, who narrates, is a hoot and a man of strong opinions.  DOn't worry if you haven't read the earlier books- you'll be fine with this because you get enough background (but not too much for those who have).  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I'm looking forward to the next one.
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Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for this arc.

I did not realize that this was authored by one of the new authors of the Robert B. Parker's Spencer series when I started this read (number 3 of the series so far but easily read as a stand alone).  But about 15% into to book, I had the weirdest sense of deja vu and stopped to research the author and found out he was Parker's "heir apparent".

No wonder it felt so familiar.  This has the exact same characters (with different names) and the exact same plot line as the Spencer series....  on the other side of the country.

I found it to be an easy-cheesy read.  But mindless.  The story was compelling enough to finish even though I found Buddy's smug sense of humor wearying.

2.25 stars rounded down for lack of originality.
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Wild Card by Michael Brandman – 5 Stars
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN: 9781464211584 

As I was browsing the book offerings from NetGalley I recalled Michael Brandman as the author who very pleasingly and successfully continued Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. He did an excellent job with those books. So, I chose Wild Card, the third book of a new series by Mr. Brandman and was not disappointed.

Although Wild Card is the third book in the Buddy Steel series, it is fine as a stand-alone. The background information is quickly and smoothly established. There is a dual plot: one in which Buddy stands up to a billionaire who uses his wealth to manipulate the law for his own selfish and criminal reasons, and a second which is a multiple murder mystery with a surprising villain.

It is fast paced with interesting, likeable characters and witty, often amusingly sarcastic dialogue. I absolutely enjoyed this book. It is a high compliment when one yearns to read more of an author’s books -- I have already gotten the first two of this series and hope there will be a fourth. 


Reviewer: Nancy
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advance copy of Wild Card, the third novel to feature acting Sheriff Buddy Steel, set in the fictional Californian town of Freedom.

Buddy has been called home to Freedom to help his ill father, Sheriff Burton Steel, from his real job as an LAPD homicide detective. He doesn’t particularly enjoy it but he soon has his hands full hunting a serial killer and enforcing rights of way on behalf of the Californian Coastal Commission against a recalcitrant Russian oligarch.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wild Card which is a short, amusing tale of Buddy’s adventures. It is a straightforward telling of Buddy’s strategies to get a result, in that there are few twists or roadblocks. This could be interpreted as no depth but it would do Mr Brandman a disservice as the strategies are bold, almost outrageous and in the case of the Russian highly amusing. The point seems to be the unfairness of life for the well off who seem to assume that high priced lawyers and litigation will win at every turn. Being an avid consumer of Washington politics at the moment this assumption seems to me to be true so it’s great fun to see Buddy outmanoeuvre them, if less credible!

Buddy Steel is a great character and I always look forward to spending time with him. His banter is amusing, he’s smart and dedicated, if not downright obstinate, and highly moral. The events in this novel take a toll on him so I hope that he will overcome his angst and come back for more mayhem.

Wild Card is a slim, lighthearted read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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I loved this mystery with it’s funky fun characters and setting. I’ll be reading more in this series. 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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Interesting, fun characters with wry sense of humor, 2 involved cases and a damaged bad guy. I loved this book and am happy to have an author new to me to watch for
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Wild Card or Wild Ride? Either name would work well in this third book in the Buddy Steel series. Old friends, enemies, and lovers mix well with new troubles and political corruption to create a thrill ride of a novel.
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An amazing third novel with Buddy Steel Jr. as “interim” Sheriff of Freedom in San Remo County. Buddy is assisting his father who is actually the Sheriff, but is suffering from ALS. Buddy is a no-nonsense cop who left his job with LAPD Homicide in order to assist his father. He has been ordered by the California Coastal Commission to reopen the beach land near a mansion owned by a wealthy Russian. The owner has fenced off the beach and has hired “thugs” to patrol the land. When Buddy decides to do something, he goes all out, is effective and doesn’t worry about making enemies in the process. A series of murders soon happen in Freedom, leaving no clues. Who could be targeting strangers in the middle of the day and in the town? When Buddy needs legal help, he brings in a friend of his, Jordyn Yates, a kick ass lawyer and his former lover. As Buddy and his small group of deputies work to solve the murders, Buddy learns more about the Russian’s dealings and takes action as only Buddy can. What a ride! I love Mr. Brandman’s style of writing…sarcasm, humor, brief dialog and action that will keep you cheering for Buddy as he solves things his way. Mr. Brandman has written some of the Robert B. Parker “Jesse Stone” novels and he is one of my all-time favorite authors. A fast action and thoroughly enjoyable mystery! I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
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