BOOK OF THE DAY
Killer Nashville 2019 Silver Falchion Nominee
By Ernest Lancaster
Publication Date: July 2018
Review by Danny Lindsey
Ernest Lancaster’s debut novel The Jinx (Fiery Seas Publishing, 2017) is more than just the plot and the characters. It reminds us that there is always more going on with our co-workers, our friends, and even our enemies than we can be aware of. Lancaster peels back more than one layer, character by character, and reveals what each one is, what they are perceived as, and what they want others to think them to be. He gets much closer to portraying our collective nature than most, unusual in a first work.
Memphis is a gritty, little big town. It’s not complicated; blues and barbeque, law and order, pimps and whores coexist there as in any city. Policeman Rick Munro, a fifteen-year-veteran, is a member of the elite TACT, the division made up of snipers and specialists in any type of situation that needs overwhelming force delivered. But Rick has a monkey on his back. Each time he is placed in a new situation, bad things happen – a crash that killed his partner on his first callout, a round that penetrated his targeted victim, passed through a wall and killed a child on another. His personal jinx seemingly won’t be denied.
Lancaster blends Munro’s story with other policemen and -women, both good and bad cops, with politicians, and with pimps and their “merchandise.” He takes us to the limit with all, from whores seeking to leave the life, to cops plotting their own crimes, and to careerists who are willing to further their lot at the expense of peers. He does it by weaving several plot lines into a cohesive story while keeping focused on Munro’s jinx throughout.
Internal strife, the pressure of everyone’s daily lives, and the camaraderie that persists and enables a group to succeed are all explored in a professional manner. Hats off to Ernest Lancaster for the first in what could be good reading for a while.
Danny Lindsey keeps trying to retire. After a 20-year Army career and a 25-year second one in the private sector, he’s finally settled down. His current gig is as the Veteran Employment Services Manager for a Huntsville, A.L. based non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. Both full careers were characterized by numerous writing assignments, from war plans to operating policies and procedures, then on to white papers, analyses of alternatives and competitive contract and grant proposals. Now his writing consists of blogs for the website www.ssv.org, podcasts for the local NPR affiliate, and a half dozen Pulitzer-worthy, albeit unpublished novels.
Update: Danny’s 2017 Claymore Award winning manuscript Serial Justice is now available on Amazon!