“The Sinister” by David Putnam is part of the “Bruno Johnson Thriller” series. The previous few books in the series were “prequels” so it has been a while since readers were with Bruno Johnson, his wife, and the twelve children in Costa Rica whom they rescued. Little reminders of the horrible events in Los Angeles from the two previous months are dropped into the narrative along the way as a recap for regular readers and as an introduction for new readers. Now, at the start of this book, they are ready to return to Costa Rica, to finally go home.
The story unfolds in Bruno’s first person narrative. The story is driven by conversations, what Bruno says directly to readers, what he says to himself, what he says to the people he encounters, and what people, sometimes harsh, rough, inappropriate people, say to him in the language of the street. Bruno lives a complicated life that gets more complex every day. His past hangs ominously over him, but it is this past that provides the foundation for his life, both his extensive experience in the LA County Sheriff’s department and his experiences outside law enforcement. His specialty is hunting people, and he is good at it.
There is just one little thing Bruno must do before they return home; someone from Bruno’s past needs help. A child was kidnapped; the ransom was paid; the child was not returned, and law enforcement has all but given up. Bruno is no longer a cop, so he can do things differently. He will not be reading people rights; he has no burdensome rules to follow. This child needs the help that only Bruno can give. Things move quickly over the next few days. Events are traumatic; information is unpredictable, and informants are probably unreliable.
“The Sinister” does not quite have buckets of blood running in the street, but this is not a tidy scenario; it is not without distress. It is a “nail biting” pursuit right to the end. I received a review copy of “The Sinister” from David Putnam, and Oceanview Publishing. As always, I recommend reading the “Author’s notes” at the end of the book for the real life inspirations for these fictional escapades.
And, if you ever need a safe word, take a clue from Bruno and use “Get your a$$ in here”