It's early 1944 and Richmond, Virginia is a devil's paradise. Ration scams and police corruption are rampant while the inflated black market commands top dollar.
Detective Sergeant Bennie Sherwood, fresh off a soul-scarring tour of duty with the Marines, couldn't care less. His old man was recently murdered under suspect circumstances, and he's on a hunt for the truth.
But then an old friend is killed during a botched black market raid and Bennie is thrust onto a hellride through Richmond's underworld. Suddenly, he's at the front lines of a new kind of war, one that's played out in gentlemen's clubs and back alleys between tobacco kingpins and numbers runners.
It's a dark, twisted journey that will test Bennie's every limit, even as it gets him closer to the truth about his father...
Until, that is, he's framed for murder.
Now the subject of a citywide manhunt, Bennie must choose - disappear into the shadows and succumb to his fractured mind, or confront his darkest fears and root out the evil that has infested his city.
©2016 Ward Howarth (P)2017 Ward Howarth
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Norma Miles on 07-04-17

"Hunger and need are universal, my good friend."

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Returning home after a stint in the fighting of World War 2, 1943, Benny Sherwood is injured more in mind than body. His constant night terrors took him back to the jungles and the constant Japanese threat, and these fears even infiltrated his waking hours when he was under duress, the feeling of danger, of being watched and even faces of people he knew morphing into murderous Japanese, causing him to freeze up in fear or even pass out. All of which made his new job that much more difficult. Because Benny signed on as a cop, made detective by virtue of his war record, and that of his father, another well respected cop in the area, who had recently been murdered. That case was still unsolved. Benny intended to find out who killed him.

This is a fabulous story set in the dark days of wartime, where black marketeering was rife as well as youth gangs, racial prejudice, homosexually kept hidden, prostitution and robbery as well as dance halls and jazz, corruption and murder. And the constant sadnesses of the telegram to tell that a loved one would not be coming home. The author captures the dark atmosphere perfectly, the poverty, desperation and the need to find release in some instant gratification. It is a thriller and a mystery, well, more than one: there are murders to be solved and always that one killing closest to Benny's heart: the death of his dad. The book is complex and twisting, moving ever faster to the final conclusion.

The narrator is excellent, perfectly matched to the tale being recounted by the damaged yet dedicated cop, Benny, in his ongoing search for justice. Ward Paxton's reading is steady and clear and he voices the other characters distinctly and in such a way as to further give life to already well drawn characters, real people with shifting attitudes, fears and allegiances.

I was very fortunate in being gifted a copy of River Street Blues by the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom. My thanks for this. It wasn't until i had finished the book that a brief note about the author, Ward Howard, revealed that this was his first novel. I was surprised given how well constructed and visual it had been. It is a story which will stay with me for a long time and is one which i recommend to anyone with an enjoyment of unusual detective noire.

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Customer Reviews

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3 out of 5 stars
By Cyn on 13-08-17

Not an audio I enjoyed

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I had a hard time getting into this audio it isn’t the plot or story. I just feel I most likely would have enjoyed it more if I had read it. There are a lot of twists and turns, the author gives you suspense and action. It is a believable story with some very good characters.

For me the narration isn’t smooth, there are places I think he should have paused and others where he should not have. Mr. Paxton has a very nice voice but all of his character voices seem really old when I thought they should have been a little younger. Don’t get me wrong he does a very nice older one. I hear no repeating of words, it is a very clear audio, there are no background noises. I really think the reason I could not get into it was it wasn’t smooth moving from plot to character. It is really hard for me to explain. I just found my mind wondering thinking about other things. The narrator just could not pull me in which took away from the story. For me it just all kind of ran together and I found myself going back re-listening to what I had already listened to.

I really did not enjoy this audio but do plan on reading the book at some point. I feel I will enjoy it more. At that point I will redo my review.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Mary on 18-10-17

WWII War Profiteering, Police Corruption & Murder

I had a hard time getting into this book. A different narrator would of made a big difference.

The narration was choppy and sounded recited rather than performed. It was not a terrible narration, it just could of been much better.

The story is about the black market, war profiteering, police corruption and murder. The major character, Bernie, is an marine newly discharged due to war injuries who is also suffering from PTSD.

His father, a police officer was killed in the line of duty and Bernie has joined the police force to to solve his father's murder.

Bernie is assigned to the special "Victory" unit, an unit investigating war profiteering and the black market.

The story was a bit confusing at times, however if one sticks with it everything comes together in the end. I do like endings were things come together without unanswered questions and loose ends, and in this aspect this novel delivers.

I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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