Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: "Poison Makers" (Jimmy Olsen)

Edgar "EJ" Espinosa-Jones, a dual citizen between the Dominican Republic and America and a scuba diver who sometimes moonlights as a detective finds himself in hotter water than he ever expected when he accepts an acquaintance's request to investigate the recent death of the American ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

As it turns out, the ambassador's murder and subsequent disappearance are among the least of EJ's worries, especially when he realizes that almost no one in his life is telling the truth: not the woman he's been seeing in the Dominican Republic ... not the ambassador's daughter, who is convinced her father was murdered and agrees to be EJ's contact ... not the ambassador's two employees who, out of nowhere and with no apparent motive, attempt to kill EJ and his law enforcement friend during a routine interview.

Before long, EJ is shuttling back and forth between the Caribbean and the United States, interviewing scientists about evidence that proves zombies actually exist, attending dark voodoo ceremonies, searching for answers to all his mounting questions, and trying to stay (a) ahead of everyone who seems to want him dead and (b) alive.

There is never a dull moment in a book by author Jimmy Olsen. Poison Makers, a mystery-slash-suspense-slash-psychological thriller, is one that will keep you on your toes and turning pages long after you ought to have been fulfilling some other responsibility.

Olsen seamlessly blends excruciatingly thorough research, intriguing premises, nightmarish "what if ...?" scenarios that plague us only when we're too tired not to let down our rational defenses, and characters so three-dimensional and well-rounded that they leap off the pages, one after the other, in every scene, with every snappy line of dialogue.

His writing style is an amalgamation of descriptive literary, painting scenes and settings with refreshing eloquence, and fast-paced thriller. Together, these maintain tension and reader interest, and, truly, left me with no choice but to keep reading.

Protagonist EJ was also a tremendously fascinating factor in the work. Told in the first-person perspective from his viewpoint throughout, his mixed ethnic heritage, oddly endearing relationship with his mostly incompetent housekeeper, complicated relationships with his family and friends, and wry sense of humor make his a unique voice among characters of his ilk in other works.

But for the occasional typo, easily corrected in a future edition, the novel is flawless in its excellence. Olsen's writing is always worth a look --- check out my reviews of his other mystery and his short story collection --- but this time, he's really outdone himself. Make time to find and read this work. You won't regret it!

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Author: Jimmy Olsen
Title: Poison Makers
ISBN: 978-0-9801835-4-2
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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