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Jam Run (The Eddie Barrow Series) by Russell Brooks



Date of publication: March 31st, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Series: The Eddie Barrow Series

Chill Run—Book 1

Jam Run—Book 2

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if crying out for help made you a target?

Within hours of arriving in Montego Bay, Eddie Barrow and his friend Corey Stephenson witness a gruesome murder outside a bar. When the victim’s sister reaches out for help, they learn of machinations to conceal foreign corporate corruption and a series of horrific sex crimes. However, Barrow and Stephenson’s commitment to solving the case is put to the test once they find themselves in the crosshairs of a ruthless criminal network—one that extends beyond the shores of Jamaica.

First Line:

Eddie Barrow thrust a Jamacian five hundred dollar bill across the counter to the bartender before the other patron could utter a syllable.

Jam Run by Russell Brooks

Eddie and his best friend, Corey, are in Jamacia for Eddie’s book signing. After some urging from Corey, Eddie decides to go to a local bar to unwind after his flight. There, he notices a beautiful girl dancing and then being harassed. Going outside, Eddie catches the tail end of an assault and is assaulted himself. It is while being questioned by the local police that Eddie learns that the beautiful girl is a man and that his murder will not be looked into because the victim is gay. Approached by the victim’s sister, Eddie and Corey decide to investigate the murder. That investigation leads them to a world of horrific sex crimes, a corporate CEO determined to cover up his crimes, and a super secret league of assassins helping them. Will Eddie and Corey solve the murder? Or will they become pawns in the scheme to cover everything up?

When I initially agreed to review this book, I did it because of curiosity. I had read a few reviews before accepting the author’s request, and what I read intrigued me. I am glad that I read Jam Run because this book was fantastic!!

Jam Run is a fast-paced mystery that does take some time to get going. The first few chapters of Jam Run were slow. But it was necessary because the author took his time building up Dwayne’s backstory. After that was built up, the momentum sped up until this book was popping along. The speed at which the book went was necessary for the plotline. Everything that happened to Eddie and Corey happened within a week (give or take a couple of days) of them being in Jamaica. If this book had gone any slower, it would have ruined the story.

I also loved Jam Run’s location. It is set entirely on the island of Jamaica. Instead of showing me the usual resorts and resort-like areas, the author took me on a tour of the towns and parishes that make up the island. I enjoyed it. I want to add that Eddie and Corey spent most of their time in Jamacia, running from Stepmother, Hansel, and Gretel. So, the author did not give a lot of detail about the towns. I didn’t mind because this book was vivid enough. I also want to add that the author does have the Jamaican natives speak in Jamaican Patois. It can be a little tricky to understand (reading-wise), but the author had Eddie or Corey repeat what the speaker was saying in either thought or out loud.

Jam Run is the second book in The Eddie Barrow series. You can read this book as a stand-alone. There are mentions of the previous book sprinkled throughout Jam Run, but that storyline is kept to comments. I recommend reading book 1 (as I always do).

The author weaved two main storylines through Jam Run. There is also a secondary storyline that is intertwined with Dwayne’s murder. That isn’t introduced until halfway through the book.

The first storyline, which was the main one, centered around Dwayne’s murder and Eddie’s investigation into Dwayne’s death. It was a well-written storyline that took somewhat of an unbelievable turn in places. But those twists and turns in the storyline kept me glued to the book.

The second storyline involved Corey and what became his investigation into a group home for special needs adults and children. While the subject matter of both storylines was difficult to stomach, this was the more difficult one for me. What Corey uncovers is directly linked to Eddie’s investigation (even though it didn’t initially seem so).

The secondary storyline that was intertwined with Dwayne’s murder was interesting. I liked how Eddie solved that storyline and outed the person involved. I got a little giggle out of it.

I mentioned that Jam Run has some difficult-to-read aspects of both storylines, which I will explain. The first is the hate crimes against LGBTQ people through the book. Reading from the slurs thrown at them (and their allies) to the violence against them was appalling. As a parent of an LGBTQ person, I was sick to my stomach at how his parents treated Dwayne. And the funeral scene just broke me. I didn’t know that Jamacia had such a stance against the LGBTQ community, and it saddened me to read. Let’s not forget the people in power. The police were as homophobic as the citizens, and the scenes between the police and Eddie made me sick.

The other difficult aspect revolved around the church, conversion camps, a group home for children with special needs, and one of the most horrific sex crimes I have read about to date. I will not get into what happened, but I found it hard to read as a mother. I was physically sick when I realized an innocent man was sent to jail for someone else’s crimes. The whole reveal scene in the hospital was sickening.

The characters in Jam Run were larger than life and memorable. Even the secondary characters left an impression on me, which rarely happens.

I liked Eddie. He might be physically unimposing, but he could use his quick wits and mind to outmaneuver his enemies. He repeatedly showed that while running from Stepmother, Gretel, and Hansel. He also made it a point to tell people he knew things because he READS.

I loved Corey. His relationship with Eddie was one of the best ones I have read to date in a book. He always had Eddie’s back. He was also the brawn to Eddie’s brains. It was refreshing to read a male character that wasn’t afraid to be in touch with his feelings (Eddie wasn’t either, just saying). He is the best friend that everyone wants.

I am going to mention the three bad guys that were featured in Jam Run. The lesser bad guys (including the Reverand, who got his just deserts at the end of the book) were lesser. These three were pure evil, and they had unlimited everything. I loved the nicknames that Eddie gave them at first: Stepmother, Gretel, and Hansel. The author provided little background, except they were tying up loose ends for a corporate CEO. Even the organization they were from was mysterious. But they were evil and didn’t hesitate to kill anyone in their way. I enjoyed their interactions with Eddie (and the Shaft comparison was right on). But I did have questions. And Hansel’s actions at the end of the book made me have even more questions.

The thriller angle of Jam Run was amazingly written. The author kept me on edge with everything that was going on in the book. I felt that I couldn’t take a breath during certain scenes.

The mystery angle of Jam Run was just as well written as the thriller angle. The author kept throwing up red herrings and multiple diversions to the storylines. Then, two massive twists in the storylines had me internally screaming (I couldn’t yell because it was night and everyone was sleeping).

The end of Jam Run had me nervous for Eddie. The author ended the plotlines in Jamaica in a way that made me very happy. But the plotline with the assassins didn’t end. What was said at the meeting made me wonder if they will appear in book 3.

I recommend Jam Run to anyone over 21. There is violence, there is language, and there are sexual situations.

Many thanks to Russell Brooks for allowing me to read and review Jam Run. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed this review of Jam Run, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Russell Brooks:

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