Don't miss this one!
Too frequently new authors, particularly self-published authors, are overlooked in favour of the usual suspects. Don’t miss out this time!

Ed Earl Burch, drummed out of the police force following the death of his partner, is an overweight and uninspiring Private Investigator. After a less-than-conventional introduction to femme-fatale (with emphasis on the fatale) Carla Sue Cantrell, Burch finds himself d*ck deep in a sh*t day*. Having been pinned for a couple of particularly nasty murders, Burch is on the run from his former colleagues, and members of a violent gang, and is in search of the man responsible for the death of his former partner. He and Ms Cantrell must make their way across Texas and into Mexico to find the formidable T-Roy.

I thoroughly recommend “The Last Second Chance” to anyone who loves detective genre books, “China Town” style stories, Noir classics, Elmore Leonard, and well you get the picture. It’s full of snappy dialogue, sharp one-liners and an edgy plot that will keep you reading until the end. I particularly like the short chapters – great for the time-poor readers who get most of their reading done on the trains/buses. This book contains descriptions of strong violence and sex. It is only suitable for mature audiences – who will really enjoy it!
The best writer I know
I'm a science writer. I wrote a book about hallucinogens and your brain that has underground comics in it (for those of you on drugs) and interviews with medicinal chemists and psychopharmacologists. So why am I writing this review with the very highest praise for any kind of writing, and now a first novel, by Jim Nesbitt? I'll tell you -- it's because whenever I read anything he writes, in my head there's a running dialog: That's the best sentence I've ever read. Where did he get that word? That analogy could slice an onion. Who even writes like this anymore? Part of it's because, as he likes to say, for three decades he chased presidential candidates, hurricanes, earthquakes, rodeo cowboys, ranchers, neo-Nazis and nuns as a roving correspondent.That'll spice up your word supply. Also, as he once described himself: he's a storyteller, born of Scots-Irish hillbilly stock. Now he's written The Last Second Chance, an Ed Earl Burch novel. Burch -- and these are all Nesbitt's descriptions -- is a cashiered vice and homicide detective with bad knees and a battered soul. In the novel he plays a deadly game with a short blonde with a taste for muscle cars, crystal meth and the high-wire double cross. See what I mean? And then the story begins. If you like to read, if you appreciate words and people who run them brilliantly through their paces, give this book a read, and his next one and the one after that. You'll be enthralled, like I was.
Jim Nesbitt:
Hard Boiled Books
"Rare, endangered, but still kickin'... . 
Ed Earl's Books

The Last Second Chance

Ed Earl Burch, a cashiered vice and homicide detective, has his life narrowed down to chasing financial fugitives from the carnage of the oil bust and savings and loan crash that scarred Dallas in the mid-1980s. Throw in the occasional wayward spouse and a ready eye for the next round of bourbon, sipped with a boot resting on the rail of his favorite saloon.  

He’s an ex-jock gone to seed, a private investigator with bad knees and a battered soul. He’s trying to keep at bay the memories of three ex-wives, the violent mistakes that got him booted off the force, a dead partner and the killer who got snuffed before Burch could track him down. Play it smart and cautious. Keep the lines straight. Don’t take a risk. Don’t give a damn. It’s the creed of the terminal burnout and he’s living it a day at a time, drink by drink. 

That all changes when Carla Sue Cantrell, a short blonde with ice-blue eyes and a taste for muscle cars, crystal meth and the high-wire double-cross, walks into his life. Pointing a Colt 1911 at his head, she tells him his partner’s killer, a narco named Teddy Roy Bonafacio, is still alive. She forces him into a deadly game where Burch is framed for murder and chased by cops and the narco’s hitman. They’re on the run through the scrubby Texas Hill Country and the high desert of El Paso and northern Mexico, gunning for the same man both want dead – T-Roy, the narco known as El Rojo Loco.  

Final destination – kill or be killed. 

Take a waltz across Texas with Ed Earl Burch and Carla Sue Cantrell. It’s one helluva dance.

Five Star Smooch
Make no mistake. “The Last Second Chance” may be a classic noir tale full of bullets and babes and booze.
But at heart it is a western. And our ex-cop hero, Ed Earl Burch, is a modern day cowboy, minus the spurs. Smart, tough, profane and reckless, Ed Earl has plenty of savvy, but he’s saddled with bum knees, a wounded liver and a long list of people who want him dead.
Along saunters Carla Sue Cantrell, who is wicked enough and saucy enough to just about steal the book out from under Ed Earl. She wants to kill a man, the same man Ed Earl wants to kill.
The journey begins in Dallas, a place novelist Jim Nesbitt calls “icy and soulless… In its brittle sunlight its glass towers are glittering but mirthless. Its streets have no warmth and offer no shelter…”
And the bad guys are getting closer. Time for our renegade duo to head for open country, the place where Nesbitt finds his most lyrical voice…
“They crossed the Brazos in the dark and the Colorado just after dawn, leaving the Comanche Plateau and cutting down through the Hill Country, watching the ridgelines turn from black to slate gray and gray-green in the rising light. “
Nesbitt loves Texas.
“Brown and jagged, the Franklin mountains thrust at the heart of El Paso like a sword from the gods. Not a Baptist god rambling on about hell’s fiery furnace, but something pagan, Stone Age and earthbound, forcing the town to bend around the broad, blunt point, caught between the sharp rising rocks and the Rio Grande.”
And he loves looking at why men do what they do.
“A man afraid of finding his foot dangling over a long drop tends to pull back and shorten his stride. He tends to narrow his scope and keep things close and simple. A small apartment. A cramped office. Thrift shore furniture. A worn groove between office, home and bar. Work that doesn’t challenge and doesn’t force a stretch beyond that invisible border he never wants to cross again.”
Kudos to Nesbitt for pace, for tone and character. But mostly what we’re here for is the story. And what we want is to get to the end so we can find out what happens. And who’s left standing. “The Last Second Chance” is something of a thrill ride and the lessons for survival are many.
Fair to say our hero survives, although he is, perhaps, a changed man by the end of this saga. Will we see Carla Sue again? Time will tell. 
Hard bitten novel that bites back
I checked the author's bio twice while reading the novel finding it hard to believe he hasn't published a dozen other award winners. The character development was rich and deep. The pace of the story kept me interested. And the plot made the book impossible to set aside. The protagonist, Ed Earl, indeed receives his last second chance...and makes the most of it. Of course, Ed Earl has some help along the way...some mighty fine help!

The author makes you feel like Ed Earl and his story are old friends from the moment you read the first page. You will be happy that you didn't pass on this one!


(c)2016, Jim Nesbitt Hard Boiled Books
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