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Savage Reckoning

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Savage Reckoning by C. Hoyt Caldwell
Book Review by Dawn Thomas

357 Pages
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Alibi
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Mystery & Thriller

Dani Savage is a young deputy sheriff in Baptist Flats, TN. Her uncle Otis, is the sheriff and rescued her from a pious boarding school after she was beaten within an inch of her life. She is investigating two mysterious deaths when she stumbles across Kenny Fable and Step Crawford. They the Closeout Kings, two thugs that work for the Pike Family.

At a rally, Dani is approached by a woman crying about her missing daughter. Kate Lynn Farrow of Rock Hollow. When Dani and Otis visit Laura’s house brings unwanted attention, they realize there is much more to the missing girls’ story.

The book is written in the third person point of view. The characters are developed and the story flows well. I enjoy reading stories with strong leading women and this one did not disappoint.
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At times, rambling dialogues become irritating as they contribute nothing to the plot or character development.  While the story itself is quite compelling, I would have enjoyed it all the more without including the "screenplay scripts"
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Thanks to net, C. Hoyt Caldwell and Random House Publishing Group - Alibi for the advance arc copy for my honest review.

This was my first read from C. Hoyt Caldwell, what an awesome read 'Savage Reckoning' is, fell in love with his character Deputy Dani Savage and be warned it's not for the faint of heart.

This was my style of a read, it has sex, drugs, profane language violence, humor, it's fast paced, with an over load of twist and turns, tension filled, even have Caldwell throwing in the kitchen sink, action packed, suspenseful, you have nasty vile characters and it builds to an epic conclusion. 

Caldwell is such an amazing writer, has multiple storylines that could be ripped out of the headlines, accurately portraits how small mountain towns are in this case Tennessee and it's way over the top. 

Not to give too much away, but the basic story is, you have a good cop who due to a double murder in her little Redneck town and stumbles into a missing children case that goes back decades. 

How can you not love the Dani Savage character, a petite redhead, a preachers daughter that has star tattoo's on her dorsal, has a tribute tattoo on her neck, but more importantly she's a good cop in Buffalo Flats, TN, her Uncle Otis is sheriff and she has a mean left hook. Everyone calls her, 'Little Deputy' which just pisses her off. It just makes her more determined to prove herself, but truth be told she doesn't give a shit what anyone thinks of her and that includes god. 

Then you have Step Crawford and Kenny Fable, the Closeout Kings who work for the Pike family, they follow Bosses orders, getting rid of anyone who can't pay back money they borrowed and even they have a line that neither will cross. The dialogue between the two is hilarious, made me think about Cheech and Chong the iconic comedy duo.

While these three were my favorite characters in Savage Reckoning. The coolest thing about Caldwell's writing, just like with Ace Atkins. He wastes no character, they just come to life in his pages, they makes the storyline that much better and watch out for that mean left hook. 

Give C. Hoyt Caldwell, he'll end up being your new favorite author and can't wait for more Backwoods Justice adventure.
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Ever wonder what it would be like to live in the backwoods of Tennessee? Ever wonder about the lifestyle of a bona fide hillbilly? Savage Reckoning: A Backwoods Justice Novel will answer your questions. Dani Savage is a deputy in the small town of Baptist Flats, Tennessee. She is petit, and has almost no experience, but like most things that happen in this hillbilly town, she is hired because she is the niece of the Sheriff. As Dani works hard to gain respect from other law enforcement officers, as well as the residents of the town, she meets the mother of a girl who has gone missing, who insists that law enforcement has done nothing about the disappearance. As Dani delves into the case, she discovers that young girls have been going missing for years, and while she investigates, she learns first-hand about the corruption and the hold a powerful family has on the town residents.

This novel has plenty of sex, violence, and language, which would normally make it unsuitable for many readers. However, in this case, these attributes set the scene for the novel and give readers what seems to be a true-to-life taste of the low-classed, hillbilly lifestyle and the fact that they don’t value life like mainstream citizens. There are two interesting characters, Kenny and Step, who are employed by a mafia-type family as “close-out kings.” Neither feels remorse for their killings, but both are upset over a small girl who disappears, and they team up with Dani to get to the bottom of what turns out to be dozens of missing girls.

As the story builds, there is palpable suspense. Readers will not know who to trust, or who is behind several murders. Dani and her uncle, the sheriff, are in constant danger, since they don’t happen to be corrupt like most of the law enforcement officers in the small towns surrounding Baptist Flats. Kenny and Step have been hired to close them out.

While this novel isn’t a particularly fast read, it is quite well-written; the hillbilly type idioms and improper grammar make the characters seem real, and will make readers thankful that they don’t live in Baptist Flats.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
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Great book. All I can say is that I'm glad that I don't live there....(4-star review on Amazon)
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Alibi and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Savage Reckoning.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

Deputy Dani Savage, of Baptist Flats, Tennessee, polices in a community that is resistant to authority.  Forced to reason with citizens who are unreasonable is just part of Dani's job description.  Her "little deputy" nickname has sent her to the heavy bag in the station more than once.  When the closeout kings, Kenny Fable and Step Crawford, are sent into town by their boss to commit murder, Dani and her Uncle, Sheriff Otis Royal, have their work cut out for them.  When the investigation yields more victims, what can Baptist Flats PD do to keep their own citizens safe?

Savage Reckoning gives readers a clear view of the town of Baptist Flats and the surrounding area, with all of its corruption and backwoods dealings.  Dani Savage is a good main character, inquisitive by nature and somewhat headstrong.  There were too many supporting characters, as readers will need a flow chart to help keep it all straight.  The problem with a story like this one is that there are too many conflicts, leading to too many side plots.  Savage Reckoning was an average read for me, as it really does not stand out in a sea of police procedural novels.
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In his own words Caldwell isn't smart enough to be subtle so his work tends to be tasteless and gritty. He's not out to offend anyone, but he's also not to win anyone over, either. His stories are full of sex, violence, humor and heart. 

Not my typical genre and at times I was a bit uncomfortable reading but evil is never and should never be put in a good light and when you think about it what is in this book is also in the bible. The bible was referenced quite a bit, not in a very good light but how it can misinterpreted and used against others to play God. 

Set in the mountains of Tennessee, with the players being an Appalachian mob, small town deputies, a mouse and men duo, you have an explosive thriller. Deputy Dani Savage is a complex character. Why she became deputy and working with her uncle makes her the woman she is. She investigates a murder that leads to the duo of the Closeout Kings that kill for a family run mob. The duo believe that they are killing "bad" people but when they discover what the family is really doing, they begin to see the light.

Reading something like this always begs the question what is good and what will you do to do the right thing? .

A Special Thank You to Alibi Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review
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