A Beau­ti­ful Voice

Robert Lane Ma­son Al­ley Pub­lish­ing (NOVEM­BER) Soft­cover $14.95, 978-1-73229-451-6

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews | Adult Fiction - MICHELLE ANNE SCHINGLER

The in­domitable Jake Travis returns for an­other high-stakes in­ves­ti­ga­tion in A Beau­ti­ful Voice.

Jake Travis is a hero, but he’d protest that des­ig­na­tion. He’s—mostly—left his for­mer mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence life be­hind. He proudly em­bod­ies the best of Florida, liv­ing on the beach and down­ing beers far be­fore five. He also speaks high lit­er­a­ture like no­body’s busi­ness, and has a knack for get­ting him­self into hairy sit­u­a­tions that leave him out­gunned, but never out­smarted.

In this in­stall­ment of Robert Lane’s cap­ti­vat­ing thriller se­ries, Travis has been tasked with pro­tect­ing Ale­jan­dro and Martina, who are on the run from a drug car­tel. The three ram­bunc­tious chil­dren they bring with them are an un­ex­pected ad­di­tion. When Ale­jan­dro and Martina are ex­e­cuted and the chil­dren dis­ap­pear, Travis, who has a soft spot for the in­no­cent, knows that he’ll have to go off-books and find them.

Lane’s prose is both fine and un­pre­ten­tious. It flirts with won­der. Sen­su­al­ity is ever-present, even in de­scrip­tions of the un­think­able: “Good wine is like good mur­der—it takes time to do it right.” Travis’s own ob­ser­va­tions skirt ex­is­ten­tial­ism but re­main in love with the Florida land­scape, with its “fal­ter­ing party bal­loons” of moons hang­ing over lap­ping wa­ters, and with phys­i­cal beauty: “She had cinnamon hair and the eyes of a nun.”

The ad­di­tion of Stephen Cole—a for­mer lawyer who is af­flicted with “bur­den­some sad­ness”—to Travis’s usual sup­port team adds a fresh el­e­ment, as does Tina Welsh, a DEA agent with a check­ered past who’s try­ing to bal­ance her eth­i­cal ac­counts. The search for the chil­dren moves at a mad­den­ing pace (Travis ad­mits as much over com­fort-of­fer­ing glasses of wine on the beach), though it ul­ti­mately slopes to­ward jus­tice.

Em­i­nently con­sum­able, wry, and at­mo­spheric, A Beau­ti­ful Voice is a per­fect thriller that begs for a tran­si­tion to Hol­ly­wood.

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