Derrick: The Second Installment of Gavin Nolan Biography, by Russell the Author, reviewed by author Travis Borne
In Hyde Park, a movie theater erupts in flames on a bitterly cold November evening. It seems like a job for the fire department, but under Captain Creighton’s direct orders, Detective Gavin Nolan and his partner, Derrick Williamson, must investigate. Arriving on the chaotic scene, they find multiple fatalities—but one of the victims is most peculiar…
Gavin soon discovers that this fire wasn’t the first of its kind. The arsonist has set ablaze other buildings around Chicago, and more female victims left in the same gruesome state have been discovered. Gavin and Derrick determine that the arsonist is not an arsonist at all—but a sinister serial killer with an agenda.
Juggling the unexpected events in his personal life, Gavin digs into the locations of the explosions. At the same time, Derrick probes into the victims’ lives, searching for any possible connection. However, when the next explosion occurs, the killer leaves behind a significant object, and Derrick becomes noticeably reserved. Gavin soon uncovers an enigmatic link, one that points to Derrick’s military past. A time that his partner had wished to forget. Yet, to catch the vicious maniac, Derrick must tell Gavin everything.
In a suspenseful, gripping ride to the end, it is up to Gavin to rescue his partner from the clutches of a killer. But will he make it in time?
WARNING: This book contains graphic scenes, explicit language, and violent sexual situations.
Travis Borne’s review:
I found Russell’s first book, GAVIN, to be gripping and shocking, an emotion jolter, a masterfully sculpted, synergistic opus—and this second novel in the series had all of that, and more! DERRICK was two novels in one, with an ending that’ll have you brimming with payback smiles, as well as shedding tears. I relate this book to watching a great movie, and can imagine it as one. Most movies give you zilch. Really, you forget them almost instantly. But DERRICK grips you as if your emotions were balled up in your throat, and then it squeezes.
And it squeezes. It gets you like that emotional movie that has your eyes wide, anxiety piqued, tears a waterfall.
The story begins with new investigations of ghastly crimes, Gavin and Derrick on the job (plus, introduce a third member to their team, a sexy and intelligent female detective: Evelyn). And the pressure steadily builds. Then, near the middle the story, change gears. Dive into Derrick’s experiences as a soldier in the Middle East. It gets rough, brutal, and something’s not right. There’s scandals, rape and torture, and plenty of action and mystery.
DERRICK has an explosive ending. And then an epilogue that’ll pop your top. Yes, it keeps getting better, deeper (in more ways than one, pun intended). I NEVER expected THIS—nor did Gavin! And after all that—as though two, or several novels had been compacted into one, their details intertwining like Gordian Knot greatness—there’s the sneak-peak finale: a chapter from the final novel in the series! This short but pithy extra will (hint:) give the movie Hostel a run for its money. But with the insanely deep character development in THIS series, one that has you ACTUALLY caring, you can take your Hostel DVD and toss it in the trash. I’m sure to read the final book! Because DERRICK rocked my world in so many ways. It’s my favorite book of 2019.
One star for the sheer amount of work that had to have gone into something like this, making every one of the hundreds of details in this novel come together as though Beethoven had just finished destroying a piano with his magnum opus; the ending is reversed time, piano pieces snapping back to perfection. Clever, very! Beethoven raises his clenched fist and lightning strikes it!
Another star for descriptive prose that had you smack in the action: be it in the Middle East, at one gruesome crime scene after another, interviewing suspects, or in the bedroom, taking it up the… Well, I better stop before this review gets too HOT!!!
Better than many bestsellers I’ve read. DERRICK gets its third star for some of the deepest character development I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing; I shed more than one tear during the course of the story. (Smiled quite a few times too, eyes wide or not, red-faced or not).
A fourth star for the way in which Derrick was focused on more and more. His depth of character was a crescendoing flood of genius that could fill the Grand Canyon. (I also LOVED Evelyn, and Maria and her family, and even Chad—and the antagonists were BRUTAL). All of the characters! Masterfully the author kept me engaged in the story and wanting more.
A fifth star for how Derrick reacted to Gavin’s exposé, the two of them as good friends and a great team, Thanksgiving dinner, and especially, for what Derrick told Gavin during much time at his apartment (several chapters—the “gear change”), and, for what he shockingly hit Gavin with at the end of the novel! Wow!
I liked EVERYTHING about this novel. I liked it more than the first book in the series. I loved the ending, which had more than just one punch (one in particular sent my heart to my stomach). I loved the epilogue. And I loved the engaging, albeit gruesome, enigmatic sneak-peek chapter. That said, six stars out of five. The sixth because a genius must have written this. Russell, you are an ingenious author. DERRICK knocked it out of the park.