Shelby Alexander is an aging ex-boxer and retired fixer, whose activities often flirted with the wrong side of the law. Looking for a little peace and a slower pace of life, he moved to Serenity, the small Michigan town where he grew up. But trouble follows men like Shelby, and he finds himself embroiled in an underworld of drugs and violence that may prove to be his undoing. The first book in the new Shelby Alexander Thriller Series, Serenity is an action-packed read with a lovingly rendered cast, witty dialogue, and a main character who doesn’t know when to quit.
Serenity starts off calmly and with ideas everyone can relate to; growing older, family issues, and a coffee addiction. The main character—Shelby—isn’t altruistic by any means—but moved to a small town to retire from his rough livelihood and wants to slow down. Life doesn’t care after opening thoughts—a local drug lord’s sister dies in our protagonist’s house. From there it ramps up with our old warrior being asked to figure out what happened to the drug lord’s sister, and probably stop a rival gang from taking over the area.
At some point, Shelby thinks a line that perfectly sums up his character;
“What the hell was this town coming to? Before long, it would be downright civilized.”
—and that impression carries through the book. He has an amusing disgust for change which made me laugh more than the actual mystery.
The cast of characters were all lively and unique to read. The Ellis folks (the local drug group) were especially amusing; probably because I find threatening postures mixed with naïve stubbornness amusing. Another character—Evans—stood out distinctly and was well-written.
My biggest complaint is if I looked away or blinked, upon returning to the page I frequently couldn’t figure out who was talking. If you’re reading this story it’s best to do it in one sitting with your eyes wide open—which shouldn’t be hard. The story has little in the way of dull spots due to how entertaining the characters are and the constant evolution of events happening.
The story ended on a good note and left very little plot hanging out there. Not every item mentioned was wrapped up. One event / conversation looked to be focused purely on character background and explaining why his best friend dropped everything to come up—but I found myself wondering what became of Mack’s relationship issues since Shelby’s were pretty much solved.
In the end—if a grumpy shit kicker in a small town going through growing pains interests you; Serenity is a good choice. I enjoyed the story.
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Want more? Visit Craig A. Hart’s website here!