Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Deadly Laws - Book Reviews

Coming October 15, 2007, Deadly Laws! In this hard-edged legal/crime thriller, Bryson Coventry teeters on the ragged edge of danger, battles his own moral dilemmas, hunts "Tarzan," and gets entwined with two hypnotically dangerous women--Aspen White and Rain St. John.

Deadly Laws
Dark Sky Publishing, Inc.
(c)Jim Michael Hansen
ISBN 9780976924333
Original Trade Paperback
423 pages
October 15, 2007

Back Cover Copy: Third-year law student Kayla Beck receives a chilling telephone call. A stranger has chosen her to be the rescuer of a woman he has abducted. Kayla can either attempt to rescue the victim and possibly save her life or she can ignore the call and never be bothered again. If she disregards the call, however, no one else will get a similar opportunity. The woman will die.

What happens next catapults both Kayla and Denver homicide detective Bryson Coventry into a deadly world where the FBI has been hunting unsuccessfully for years; a world of unknown boundaries and dangers; a world where, in the end, the only hope of getting out is to go all the way in.


"An ominous voice on law student Kayla Beck’s cell phone offers her a horrible choice: If Kayla doesn’t try to rescue a kidnapped woman, the chained woman will starve to death – or take another way out with the razor blade provided by her abductor. Any attempt by Kayla to bring in the police will have disastrous results, warns the man; she is on her own. “You’re her only hope,” the grim voice concludes. “She has no one else. Only you.”

Kayla’s decision sets her along a dark and dangerous path; brutal criminals she had only read about in her law school books suddenly become very real, and extremely threatening. For example, in her attempt to discover the identity of the killer behind the chained woman’s abduction, Kayla is caught after breaking into the creepy home of a Tarzan-like misogynist, with disastrous results.

Although she doesn’t know it, Kayla has allies, including a Denver police detective who is working on stopping the trail of bodies left by the “Razor Blade Killer.” Detective Bryson Coventry and an FBI profiler, Dr. Leanne Sanders, have teamed up to track down the killer, whose identity remains unclear to the reader as the plot unfolds; true to the genre, though, the author leaves cryptic clues along the way.

The author is an attorney who has written four previous crime novels featuring homicide detective Coventry, which can be read in any order: Night Laws, Shadow Laws, Fatal Laws and Bangkok Laws. He writes in a crisp and clean style, using short and powerful sentences which convey the brutality of an evil man at the center of the spider’s web in which the characters are enmeshed. Though lengthy, the book can be read swiftly due to its smooth pacing and tight plot development.
One slight disappointment with the story involves the ending as it leaves several questions unanswered. Also, a “plot twist” revealed by one of the main characters, which seeks to explain the details surrounding the fateful phone call to Kayla, rings slightly contrived. These quibbles, however, do not detract from the author’s clever and engrossing mystery tale involving gorgeous women, lustful men and scintillating suspense."
--ForeWord Magazine (Nov/Dec 2007 issue)

"As a third-year law student, Kayla Beck has plenty on her plate even before a phone call completely changes her life. A stranger tells her where she can find a woman bound in chains, fighting for her life, and says that only Kayla can save her. Should she ignore the creepy call and maybe let a woman die so she won’t be inconvenienced? Should she report the call and risk her own life, as the caller threatened? Instead, she goes where directed—an old rail yard—on her own and soon realizes she is in way over her head. A Denver homicide detective, Bryson Coventry, is involved in the case, too, but he knows less about the perpetrator than Kayla and her new “friends”—other women who’ve been targets of anonymous phone calls requesting that they save a life. Despite some gratuitous sexual content, Deadly Laws successfully pairs an intriguing premise and some solid suspense into a satisfying entry in the ever-expanding serial-killer subgenre."

"You are about to embark on a fast paced journey along with Coventry into a deadly game of cat and mouse, as he tries to catch a ruthless killer. * * * Jim Michael Hansen has a way of delving deep into the heart and soul of his characters. His ability to bring out their actions, and yes even their very thoughts and feelings, will leave a picturesque scene in the mind long after you, the reader, have put the book down. He is one of todays best thrilling suspense writers."

--Wanda Maynard, Simegen

"Kayla Beck is a law student. Life is going along well until she receives a strange phone call where the voice is distorted. The caller tells her there’s a woman being held in a box car, and she’s the only one who can save her and only if she acts quickly and follows the directions exactly. Kayla does so and is able to save Aspen White, but not before Aspen kills a man. They become friends and pair up to try to find the serial killer who called Kayla.

Denver Homicide Detective Bryson Coventry is called to the murder of a man in a box car. Then later a law student is found dead by the tracks. Bryson feels in his gut these cases are related, but he can’t find what ties them together.

Tracking down a car seen at the first crime scene, Bryson arrives at Kayla’s apartment only to find Aspen White. He is drawn to her because she is so beautiful, and they become involved.

When more young women go missing and end up dead, Bryson realizes he is on the trail of a serial killer. An FBI profiler, who is also Bryson’s friend, comes to help with the case. She’s been tracking this guy for years. What neither of them knows is that Kayla and Aspen are also looking for the same guy. Can they find him before he kills again and without putting themselves in danger?

I have to say this is one book you will have trouble putting down from page one. The author has done a fabulous job of pulling the reader in and keeping them there. He has a great knack at switching from one part of the story to another at just the right time. He will keep you wondering what is going on until the last page. There are lots of twists and turns and suspense.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more. I highly recommend this book! Just remember, start it when you have lots of time to read. You won’t be able to put it down!"
--Dawn Dowdle, Mystery Lovers Corner

"DEADLY LAWS is the fourth book in the LAWS series by Jim Michael Hansen. Hansen continues to expand the high tension drama that is the life of Bryson Coventry, a Denver homicide detective.

While investigating the death of a drifter, Bryson Coventry has only a single clue to go on. Kayla Beck, a third year law student who is overloaded with her studies, Law Review and life in general becomes the pawn in a wicked game of life and death. They share the same goal to find out who is behind the savage serial murder of young women. An out of the blue phone call to Kayla challenges her to her moral core; “do as I say and you can save the life of an unknown women or else she dies.” Her decision unleashes a chain reaction that keeps the reader glued to 400+ pages of electrifying tension. How Coventry and his colleagues put all the pieces of the puzzle together will keep you guessing and the masterful twist at the end is stunning.

Coventry is still battling his demons; he drinks way too much coffee, falls too easily into bed with so many beautiful women and tries to squeeze in time for his passion to paint. Hansen’s characterizations are what draw you into the core of each of his books. Coventry faces his own moral deliminas – the professional cop, who has a strong drive for justice, but just as easily can fall in bed with a beautiful suspect involved in the his investigation. Can he control is libido and still be objective in solving the crime?

There is more to the series than just Coventry. Hansen carefully surrounds his protagonist with a strong cast of characters who support Coventry and lovingly give him a hard time about his carefree lifestyle. Even Denver is a character in the books providing a contextual and atmospheric backdrop for these horrific crimes. If the good guys are this complicated, Hansen is among the best at getting into the heads of the vicious killers; men of no moral fabric who as easily smile at you or kill you depending on their disposition.

DEADLY LAWS is face paced and well plotted novel. Hansen has once again demonstrated that he a gifted wordsmith and he able to balance the thriller, crime, romance and violence aspects of writing and develop them into a well written novel. In each of the novels of this series Hansen is able to draw the reader in quickly and hold them captive until the satisfying ending is at hand. For the uninitiated, this is a caffeinated, high tension tour de force."

--Aldo T. Calcagno (Mystery Dawg, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine

"Third year law student Kayla Beck is flabbergasted when she receives a cell phone call. The message is clear--she has the opportunity to save a victim from uncertain death. To quote the ruthless killer, "You're her God. How's it feel?"

With little choice, Kayla follows the killer's directions and saves Aspen White from a brutal rape and murder. In the process, Aspen grabs Kayla's gun and shoots her rapist. Kayla and Aspen flee, but Kayla is now in deep. She is an accessory to murder if the man dies. If not, she failed to report a shooting. Either way, her law career could be over.

Detective Bryson Coventry is investigating the death of a drifter. His only clue to the case is a rare automobile seen leaving the crime scene. The trail leads to Kayla Beck but her friend, Aspen, gives her a perfect alibi. When another murder occurs, Bryson delves further into the case that winds and spirals in many directions. Where the case ends is anybody's guess.

By now, I would have expected Jim Hansen to reach a sophomore slump. Now, I'm not being mean, but every author has a slump. Even Stephen King, a man I consider a master, has failed to "wow" me with a book or two. DEADLY LAWS is Jim Hansen's fourth Bryson Coventry novel, and I'm still on the edge of my seat.

Do not get me wrong, Bryson is not always a likeable man. He hops into bed with many women and never looks back. That can get a little tiresome, but sadly there are men like that in the world, so it's another dose of realism.

The cases are always shocking. Jim Hansen knows how to keep his readers on the edge of their seats, and perhaps a time or two you may find yourself teetering on the edge in the process. Expect a spiraling plot and some seriously deranged characters, they drive the plot along and make you glad you are locked up in your cozy little house and not in the streets of Bryson Coventry's district!" --Tracy Farnsworth, Roundtable Reviews,

"Jim Hansen is more than an experienced trial lawyer, he is a master of the erotic serial killer mystery. Deadly Laws is his latest and best in a series of similar novels set in the Denver area featuring protagonist Bryson Coventry, the 34-year-old head of Denver’s Homicide Unit. Bryson never knew a beautiful woman he didn’t love, literally, and is the classic romantic who easily falls in love with love until the next easy conquest raises her head. In this twisted tale, a strange serial killer captures woman victim and then directs another woman to be her rescuer. If there is no rescue, the victim dies a slow lonely death or commits suicide. If the rescuer performs with other victims until she eventually becomes a victim herself.

Jim’s plots are hairy, his pace is harried, and his stories are kinky. He is a master of Alfred Hitchcock-like endings which really throw the readers off the track and yet are logically explained eventually. None of his books end like one might expect. For those readers who like to predict endings, be very careful out there. We rated this book five hearts." --Bob Speer, Heartland Reviews.

"Deadly Laws is the fourth title in Jim Michael Hansen's scintillating Laws series.

Denver homicide detective Bryson Coventry has been called to a railroad yard to investigate a shooting death. He found more than just a man's body. There was evidence that an unknown person had been held captive (by a dog collar) and escaped from the boxcar where the murder victim had been found.

Third-year law student Kayla Beck receives a chilling telephone call. A man challenges her to a game: follow his directions and save a woman's life, or ignore the call and the woman dies. Kayla believes the caller and follows his directions. [Spoilers omitted]

Hansen's plots are masterful and terrifying because they could be real life. His characters are rich, multi-dimensional and deeply flawed. Sometimes you love them, and sometimes you don't.

My only criticisms of Deadly Laws are Detective Bryson Coventry's 'skirt chasing' comes off as juvenile and unprofessional. It makes him less likeable than in the previous books in the series. Hansen also litters the landscape (in all of his books) with what I feel is too much gratuitous sex. Toning it down would add to the richness of the story.

Armchair Interviews says: Deadly Laws, while flawed, is a page-turner that leaves you scared, wary of strangers and breathless." --Andrea Sisco, Armchair Interviews,

"It always amazes me how author Jim Hansen writes a book that is filled with the actions of terrifying un-godly murderers, detailing their hideous and repulsive acts of violence, yet pens his words in such a way that you are propelled into a story that locks you in until the final page. I sat glued to the pages reading his latest work, "Deadly Laws," hating the horror poured upon helpless victims, yet desperately needing the conclusion I knew awaited me at the end of the read. Indeed the mark of a great writer.

Unlike our author's other works, that focused mainly on the life of a Denver Homicide Detective; this story takes us more into the lives of two young woman, Kayla Beck and Aspen White. Our story begins as Kayla receives a phone call from a serial killer telling her that Aspen is tied up in an old railroad car; if Kayla can get there in time she can save her life; if not, she will die.Kayla does save her life but not before Aspen kills a man who has stumbled upon her and assaulted her while she lay helplessly tied-up. After the rescue the two women become fast friends and set off to try and find this serial killer before he decides they both need to die.

Not to worry, there is still plenty written about our beloved Bryson Coventry, 34-year-old head of Denver's Homicide Unit. He is drawn into the story as he investigates this man's murder. Getting a line on a car seen at the scene of the murder that matches Kayla's car he investigates, meets the two woman and becomes involved with the beautiful Aspen. Soon young girls turn-up missing and end-up dead and Aspen and Kayla step up their search for this killer knowing they may well be next. In the meantime, Coventry finds out that he may be searching for a serial killer as well but does not know the two woman are doing the same.

I cannot begin to tell you the entire storyline as it has more twists and turns than a mountain road. Characters upon characters are added in, some bringing spice, others bringing fear, some bringing romance and more than one serial killer suspect rises up leaving you totally at the mercy of the author to bring this mountain of mystery to its final conclusion. Just when you think you may be starting to travel on a straight road more is added to the mix as there are some hidden motives behind some actions taken by our characters and your mind will totally explode when you find out the secret that Aspen has been hiding and who the real killer is. An unbelievable conclusion awaits you; or is this really the end of this story? Somehow I'm suspicious that it is not. However we will have to wait and see.

To bring my review to a close I would have to say this is one top-notch read. Again, Mr. Hansen adds just the right amount of mystery, suspense, romance, horror and nail-biting adventure to keep you turning the pages. Be warned, there is some rude-talk and sexual content to be aware of. However, for those who love the hair standing-up on your neck fear; the delving into the mind of a heart-less killer and the challenge of solving one outstanding who done it read; you will love this book. It is a murder mystery that you will never know or even imagine what lies around the next turn; I promise you that. Excellent read!"
--Shirley Johnson, Senior Reviewer, MidWest Book Review,

"Kayla Beck loves her life as a law student; excited as to what the future holds for her. Then the deep, scrambled voice coming through her cell phone threatened all of that. Next thing she knew, she was caught up in another woman’s obsessive journey into revenge.

Denver Detective Bryson Coventry is the best homicide cop around. It seemed that all the best – and most complicated murders – come his way. True to form, he has stumbled into another one. First it is just a murdered drifter. Then a young law student shows up dead. The two deaths seem unrelated at first, but Bryson’s gut tells him differently. Digging deeper, he finds himself in a race to catch a serial killer.

This is the fourth book in the author’s series of “Laws” books. Having read the other three, I have to say when I heard there was a fourth I was a bit skeptical that Mr. Hansen could keep up the same pace and mystery that the previous books had.

“O ye of little faith,” keeps running through my head. How could I have ever doubted that the author was up to the task? Not only did I learn a few new things about him, I got to fall in lust again with the same sexy and intriguing Bryson I had met before. One thing that still amazed me is the way this Detective attracts women. He is never content with just working through the mysteries of his cases, but continually wanders through the ever-changing mystery of women. (And they always seem to be beautiful women.)

Just as with the previous three books, this one grabbed me from the first page. My habit is to go through a book a few chapters at a time. With this one, I sat down just after dinner, and other than a couple of breaks, I finished it the same night (actually it was the next morning). The story does not get boring or bogged down in details. This author has a great knack for going just deep enough into one area and then shifting to another just at the right time. This technique also helps to build the tension. And believe me – there is tension.

Should you read this book? Yes, definitely. I have said this before about this author’s other works and it still applies now; turn off your crime thrillers on television and tune-in to this book." --Kathy Martin, In the Library Reviews.

"Talented author Jim Michael Hansen keeps the many subplots and characters moving in a delicate balancing act that tightens the noose around a serial killer as victims, killer and Bryson Coventry cross paths, often missing each other. This is a thriller that will have you looking in one direction while the killer is doing something else.

I'm pleased to recommend this tale to any thriller or mystery fan. The imaginative departure from the time-tried plotlines will satisfy and have readers looking for other books by this author." --Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader Magazine,

"DEADLY LAWS by Jim Hansen: Fourth in the Law series, drawing us again into the life and work of hard charging, coffee drinking, womanizing, homicide solving Denver detective Byson Coventry. A man is abducting women, and then calling other women to go rescue them. If the proposed rescuer refuses, the abducted woman dies. ... Crisp as a Rocky Mountain morning and as exciting as a new powder run at Vail, this is the best “Laws” yet. 2007 Release." --Jack Quick,