Praise for The Palm Reader
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe Susan Keefe reviews novels, poetry and non-fiction books for TheColumbiaReview.com
“The author of this fast paced suspense thriller, Christopher Bowron, is a successful businessman with a Bachelor of Arts. He has a second residence in southwest Florida, which is the setting for this story, and he brings the Everglades and its people wonderfully to life.
The Palm Reader is the sequel to his #1 Amazon Bestseller, Devil in the Grass, in which Jackson (Jack) Walker and his Seminole cousins defeated Mason Matye, a high-ranking leader in the American branch of the Church of Satan and his henchmen, the McFadden brothers.
The book opens with a recap when, five years previously, Jackson Walker and Mason Matye were put into a police van together. The ensuing fight only stopped when police officers intervened, however both men knew that it was not over yet.
Five years later, and Jack, having been cleared of all charges, is working as an investigative lawyer for Peter Robertson, whereas Mason Matye is in a Louisiana prison.
A member of a close-knit family, Jack loves his Seminole grandfather Nathaniel Portman (Gramps), who lives in the Everglades. Although Gramps is a strong leader and has always spoken to the spirit world, Jack struggles with this side of his heritage and fights the evidence in his dreams—that he, too, can be guided by spirits. His Gramps is concerned for his safety, and so for his sake Jack agrees to take care and stay close. However, when he is contacted by Lolita, a palm reader with a strong spiritual side, who tries to convince him that their lives are inextricably entwined, he finds this a step too far…
After all, in his line of work, danger is inevitable, and for his current assignment he has teamed up with Janie Callaghan to investigate the disappearance of a corrupt client who specialises in taboo pornography. Their investigations lead to Aversions, a men’s club run by unscrupulously vile Russians—Eli and his right hand man Boris. As the plot thickens, Jack and Janie find themselves entering a very dangerous world, rife with cruelty, terror, and crime. Above ground Aversions appears to be a typical men’s club, but they soon discover that things are not as they seem, and beneath the club lie dungeons where porn films are made, and many of the films’ participants never leave.
In the crime world, people can disappear even from impossible places, and can become whoever they want to be. Anything is possible with money – and connections.
So, when the case turns personal and Jack’s family becomes involved, Jack is sure he knows who is to blame. On instinct, ignoring Janie and his inner voice, he forges ahead with a plan, unable or unwilling to see any other option.
In the background, the men of the Church of Satan are planning their revenge. They have not forgotten his participation in their demise, and the death of their henchmen. They are not finished with him yet! As the plot continues to thicken, traps are set, but who will be the eventual victor—good or evil?
In Summary: The Palm Reader is action packed and exciting, with twists and turns, fantastic characters and a truly spellbinding plot—the best book in its genre I have ever read. Highly Recommended!” – Susan Keefe for TheColumbiaReview.com
Here’s What People are Saying About Devil in the Grass
From The Columbia Review
“A fast paced, action-packed thriller that is, at the same time, warm and exciting in a uniquely positive way. The somewhat unusual setting for a thriller-suspense novel – The Everglades – will provide particular entertainment for readers who have visited Florida. The novel is further enriched by the wide range of interesting and provocative characters and the cleverly intertwined plotlines involving romance, good vs. evil, southern politics, and regional issues. Highly recommended!“
“Move over Randy Wayne White and Carl Hiaasen. Chris Bowron has arrived!” – Betsy Ashton, author
“A snappy, scary premise executed with skill against the backdrop of the Florida Everglades… Chris Bowron’s debut novel is a gripping read that promises even better things to come.” – Ron Base, Author of The Sanibel Sunset Detective Series
Publishers Daily Reviews
Satanic rituals, a beautiful young woman, and a former NFL quarterback all come together to form the heart of this sensational mystery, carved out of the Florida Everglades and woven tightly with spellbinding suspense. This is an exceptional piece of first-class fiction, with a strong dose of Stephen King horror thrown in for good measure.
Jack Walker is just looking for a quiet restart to his life when he meets Sarah, a petite twenty-something who promises Jack a very good time if he can just accept one little thing about her — she’s a devil worshipper, a devout member of the Brotherhood of Set.
Jack doesn’t want to jeopardize his job working for a prominent state senator, but the flesh is oh-so-weak, and he winds up agreeing to deliver a packet stuffed with hundred-dollar bills to an old plantation house late one night.
What he finds there is a bloody knife, two dead bodies, and a frame-up custom-made to indict him. To make matters worse, his new girlfriend has disappeared, and he has to kill someone who is at her apartment waiting for him. The police quickly start pursuing Jack and, out of options, he flees to the Seminole reservation nearby, where he enlists the help of his family — native Americans with the ability to hide him in the trackless swamps.
Meanwhile, Jack’s luck is about to run out as both police and the Satanists begin closing in on him. The McFadden’s — deranged good old boys in deep with the Devil worshippers — are seeking revenge for the brother who was killed when Jack fled Sarah’s apartment. They are the creepiest characters in the book and if they don’t produce at least one nightmare from you as you read this, you are either on high doses of Valium or not paying attention.
The author does an excellent job of ratcheting up the tension as one event after another spiral things out of control. A hundred-year-old witch named Henrietta LePley figures prominently in the growing and grisly death toll, and characters for whom you’ve developed a strong emotional attachment begin falling under her spell — and worse. Much, much worse.
The story builds inexorably from its well-drawn beginning to its heart-stopping finish. Indeed, the entire last one-third of the novel will keep you riveted to the action as blood-thirsty gators and ten-foot-long bull sharks join in a feeding frenzy with one terrible objective — the painful death of Jack Walker and anyone who helps him.
Five sterling stars to Devil In the Grass, a stunning debut novel by Christopher Bowron, a talented writer with tremendous authorial expertise. We look forward eagerly to the sequel, and perhaps an action-packed movie as well.”
– Top Ranked Reviewer & Book Publicist
“Devil in the Grass is a brilliantly plotted and chilling read! With characters that you don’t want to meet in dark places, those that you won’t forget in a hurry popping off the pages. The book just grabs hold of you and does not let go until you reach the climax and hopefully remember to breathe. Highly recommended for lovers of fiction that has a darker edge to it, this entertains all the way.”
Anabella Johnson (BellaReadz)
– Goodreads; Indie Book Reviewers
“This book by Christopher Bowron was terrific! Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing. It pulls you in from the beginning, and I enjoyed the author’s descriptive narrative and style of writing. The interweaving plotlines were well-developed and certainly not predictable, and the element of the Satan worshipping cult a new angle for me – never read any with this before and it was interesting how the author framed it as a ‘point of view’ and made it feel authentic not come caricature-style plot device. The way this book was written grabbed me right from the beginning and kept my attention throughout. It was intelligent, weird, sad, dark, funny, deep, tragic… I thought the storyline and the character development to be very well done and thought out. I feel like this level of complexity could have easily ended up badly, but instead I darn near gobbled the whole book down in just a few evenings. There were some pretty shocking events that may upset some readers but I thought Bowron handled the sensitive subject matter well. This book will haunt me for a long time, but in a good way. I’d love to read more from this author in the future! Recommend for adults only.” (5 stars)
Review by Lori
– Good Reads Reviewer
“WOW — I couldn’t stop reading this book once I started, and I’m still haunted by the McFaddens, some of the best and most frightening bad guys I’ve ever encountered in a book. Bowron had me from the very beginning, and I turned many pages with a kind of horrified expression, fearing and eager to see what happens next. The book fit in well with my experiences of the Florida swamp, although it expanded and illuminated them in a way that will make me watch over my shoulder the next time I’m there. Highly recommended! (Five Stars)”
Review by Susan Phend – Chicago
– Good Reads and Amazon Reviewer
“I love a well written mystery/thriller novel and this one fills the bill perfectly. Devil in the Grass by Christopher Bowron is a riveting book with a complex storyline and consistantly excellent action.
The story’s constant twists and turns engage the reader up to the end. Best of all, the book is so skillfully written that I felt I was there watching each event unfold.
Every character in Devil in the Grass has such depth and their quirks and agendas are so well described that they are no longer characters in a book, but real people. The good guys had my sympathy and the bad guys made me cringe. I wondered if I’d ever met anyone capable of doing the things that the bad guys in this book do. You may find yourself wondering the same thing, because really, who does these things? Devil in the Grass is an outstanding example of the mystery/thriller genre. It’s definitely a 5 star read.”
– Goodreads; Indie Book Reviewers
“Wow, Devil in the Grass by Christopher Bowron was awesome! I haven’t read anything like that in a long time, if ever. For once it seemed like the characters were anything but the stock, ordinary typical hero/protag guys, but instead all had demons (literally – ha!), motivations, secrets, and I don’t want to focus too much on it, but I thought the satanic aspect was pretty cool too. I loved the plot line, as it was really original and unlike anything I’ve read before. I was really invested in the character’s fates, and was surprised more than once. I thought the ending was perfect, and overall it was a genuinely good book. All came together to create a fresh-feeling novel that was out of the ordinary and kept me hooked throughout. This was a standalone novel (not a part of any series, it appears), but I hope Mr. Bowron writes more like this in the future. I’d be reading it! A well-written and compelling read, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of thriller/mystery/suspense novels.” (5 stars)
– Goodreads; Indie Book Reviewers
“This was the first book I’ve read by this author Christopher Bowron, but I certainly hope it’s not the last. He has a gift for writing descriptive and life-like scenes that make us feel like we are really there inside the story, as opposed to it all just being ‘told’ to us, as so many rookie authors make the mistake of doing. I like that this book didn’t feel stale or derivative, but instead like a new niche of suspense that serves well to help diversify a somewhat cookie-cutter genre (in my opinion). Great editing (I notice things like that) but the frequent italics were a bit annoying. Started off a bit slow, and there was a lack of tension at times where I though could be more – things were just sort of glossed over on occasion, but overall the entire novel was one that I thought was nicely developed and delivered a wild ride of unexpected twists and turns. I like the darker element, and there were some pretty sexy scenes as well, but I wasn’t sure about the ending. Best suited for mature fans of thriller/suspense who’d like a new twist.” (4 stars)
– Goodreads; Indie Book Reviewers
“From the opening pages of Devil in the Grass I knew it would be different from the books I’ve been reading lately and I was right! Christopher Bowron sets of the scene and characterizations in a skillful way that not only pulls us in, but creates great visualizations and elicits emotional investments. I truly cared about the characters’ fates, and was shocked and saddened at certain things (no spoilers). I think Mr. Bowron writes very well… very descriptive and strong and we feel like we are there almost like watching a David Lynch movie or something. There were some slow parts where I thought there was too much dialogue and conversation that did little to advance the forward progression of the plot, and at times was bit too ‘telling’ when would have preferred more action. But it all came together in the end in a shocking way. Overall a unique, if not surreal novel that pushes the boundaries of typical suspense/thrillers. An interesting and diverse cast of characters, along with several intriguing plotlines interwoven against unique, diabolical setting makes this a memorable read for me. Highly recommend. Warning – only for mature readers as has some graphic subject matter and language.” (4-5 stars)
– Goodreads; Indie Book Reviewers
“Woah, what a crazy book! I’m not one for rehashing the plot (that’s what the summary is for on the book description page), but trust me when I say you’ve never read anything like this before! It starts off with some considerable backstory to set up the scene and ground the reader in the world-building, which the author Christopher Bowron does a wonderfully convincing job of creating a believable backdrop for Jack to meet his new ‘friends’. The story progresses when he meets Sarah, and continues to get creepier and more disturbing, but in the best way… Bowron has a great ‘voice’ in spinning these complex and intelligent plotlines all together, and if you like thrillers with and edge, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s a pretty fast read and has some interesting philosophical discussion, something I wasn’t expecting. Would love to read more from Bowron in the future.” (5 stars)
– Goodreads; Indie Book Reviewers
“Devil in the Grass by Christopher Bowron is one of the most original and well-crafted books I’ve read in a while, and I absolutely loved his descriptions of the different scenery and locales (felt like I was really there in Florida, gaters and all…), and his attention to character detail and their personalities through their actions and conversation. Great “bad guys” and Jackson made for a good, solid lead. The story itself was fairly even-paced, but I thought the beginning was a bit slow until things started to pick up as it begins with backstory on his character and situation (and then repeats as new characters come into play) to set up the scene and ground the reader in the various perspectives, which the author does a wonderfully convincing job of creating as believable background for the plot to unfold. Then the action begins as a slow simmer, then a rolling boil, finally to an exciting explosion. This book does touch on some pretty heavy subject matters and there are shocking events. A powerful, mind-bending read that kept me captivated. Liked the characters but the ending was a head scratcher… is there more? Recommend for mature readers.” (4 stars)
Shelves: reviews; Beach Bound Book Reviews
“Devil in the Grass is an intense thriller filled with riveting suspense and chilling characters which quickly capture and a hold a readers attention from beginning to end.
Jackson ‘Jack’ Walker, is an ex-NFL player who, after a disgraceful fall from glory, is set on turning his life around. After landing a job with a prominent Republican Senator, Jack thinks he’s done just that however things are’’t always what they seem. Shortly after meeting Sarah, Jack’s life begins to spiral out of control. He tries to overlook her membership with The Brotherhood of the Set, but soon feels himself getting pulled into the satanic cult. Just when Jack decides enough is enough he wakes up in a pool of blood. It doesn’t take a genius to realize he’s been played, but for the life of him he doesn’t have a clue why. Until he can sort things out Jack must lay low and rely on his family and their strong Seminole roots to clear his name. But, those loyal to The Brotherhood of the Set don’t give up that easily and Jack finds himself in the fight of his life.
I found Devil in the Grass to be an absolutely gripping novel. The complex characters are well-developed and credible, aiding in bringing the shocking plot to life. The author artfully spins this sinister tale through his appealing writing style and rich detail making Devil in the Grass a story worth reading.
I highly recommend pre-ordering a copy.” ( 5 Stars!)