In a novel from prolific author Fobes (Touch Not the Cat, 2012, etc.), a helicopter pilot back from Afghanistan reunites with a former love in a hometown controlled by the Russian mob.
As an 8-year-old in Rockport Grove, New Jersey, Jake Gallent witnessed a humdinger of a fight between mother Laurie and father Kurt, who rode away on his motorcycle and later washed up on a New Jersey beach. After almost 10 years as an Airborne Ranger, Jake returns to a town devastated by Hurricane Sandy to work in construction; he might have PTSD. At Rowdy Ray’s Roadhouse, Jake learns that his friend Alex has joined the Rockport Grove Rebel Guardians, a motorcycle club of which Kurt was a member. Alex tells Jake that the town is now run by the Russian mob, which provided disaster relief not covered by insurance and government programs, and it’s time for payback. He also glimpses Alex’s sister Sofia; they were lovers before he left for boot camp. Although Alex warns Jake to stay away from her, the attraction between the two remains, and they drift dangerously close to where they left off a decade ago. Rowdy Ray, who owed the bratva, the brotherhood, is found dead with his head bashed in, and Laurie is also seriously indebted and endangered. With the police under the mob’s thumb, Jake is forced to join the Guardians as the only viable solution. Fobes’ novel is a pleasingly diverse mix: a decorated soldier with a father void and a thing for the woman who affects him like no other; a resurrected town shackled by nasty Russians; and a secret society in need of a new recruit. The story moves quickly and has a couple of unexpected twists as well as a violent pair of goons with the gift of gab. Dubbed Ugly and Uglier by Jake, they effectively place him back in the battlefield. One letdown: At book’s end, the town’s fate is unknown, presumably to be addressed in a future installment.
Entertaining blend of erotic romance, Russian baddies and revved-up motorcycles.