This book is part of the TLC tour for The Contractors.
Book: The Contractors
Author: Henry Hunsicker
Morality Rating: R
Readability Rating: 4 stars
Buy it: Amazon
In THE CONTRACTORS (Thomas & Mercer; February 4, 2014), acclaimed thriller writer Hunsicker turns his attention to the shadowy world of private military contractors and the hypocrisies of the War on Drugs, delivering a heart-pounding, complex standalone thriller in the vein of James Ellroy’s Underworld U.S.A. series.
Disgraced ex-Dallas PD officer Jon Cantrell carries a DEA badge, but he’s not a federal agent. Rather, he works for a private contracting company, busting drug shipments along the U.S.-Mexico border for commission. When Cantrell and his partner-slash-lover Piper confiscate the wrong load, they find themselves in possession of a star witness in an upcoming cartel trial, a mysterious piece of hotly sought after scanning equipment, and the ire of the largest criminal cartel in the Americas.
To clear things up and collect their paycheck, all they need to do is deliver the witness, Eva Rodriguez, to the US attorney across the state in Marfa. Except Eva’s got ideas – and pursuers – of her own, and the trio soon find themselves in the crosshairs of an all-out war between the cartel, a group of competing contractors, and a corrupt Dallas police officer with everything to lose.
About Harry Hunsicker
Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America and the author of three previous novels, crime thrillers set in Texas. His debut novel, Still River, was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America. His short fiction has been nominated for the Thriller Award by the International Thriller Writers and selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2011, edited by Otto Penzler and Harlan Coben. Hunsicker lives in Dallas, a fourth-generation native of the city. When not writing, he works as a commercial real estate appraiser and an occasional speaker on the creative process.
This fast-paced thriller was easy to read and was everything you would expect from a Texas-themed drug war thriller.
Plot: The plot is pretty basic. Cantrell and Piper accidentally pick up the wrong cargo when conducting a drug bust, and end up with a live person. They are supposed to deliver her across the state so she can be a witness in a drug cartel trial, but everyone wants to stop them along the way. I found myself more interested in the political side of the story, rather than the parts of the story centered around the main characters.
Characters: All of the characters are strong and have a filled-in history, which is sometimes rare in a thriller novel. I appreciated the extra effort to give every character a back story of some kind. I found it interesting seeing how all of the characters ended up in the roles they had in the book.
Setting: This book is set in Texas, but I did feel like Hunsicker tried a little too hard to remind us. It seemed like every other sentence said “the Dallas skyline” or “the Texas town.” I just thought it was a little too much name-dropping.
Writing: The writing for The Contractors is tight, action-packed, and clear. I have no complaints with the writing, other than the aforementioned name-dropping. The writing was to-the-point like you would expect from a thriller, but had enough details to flesh the story out more.
This emotional thriller is full of all the things you love to hate: drugs, alcohol, prostitution, dirty cops, and a corrupt government. Anyone who is a fan of realistic thrillers or police-related plot lines will enjoy this story.