by Suzanne Adair
For ten years, an execution hid murder. Then Michael Stoddard came to town.
Bearing a dispatch from his commander in coastal Wilmington, North Carolina, redcoat Lieutenant
Michael Stoddard arrives in Hillsborough in February 1781 in civilian garb. He expects to hand a letter to a courier working for Lord Cornwallis, then ride back to Wilmington the next day. Instead, Michael is greeted by the courier's freshly murdered corpse, a chilling trail of clues leading back to an execution ten years earlier, and a sheriff with a fondness for framing innocents—and plans to deliver Michael up to his nemesis, a psychopathic British officer.
For those who don’t remember this bit of American history, the War of the Regulation (or the Regulator Movement) was a North Carolina uprising, lasting from approximately 1760 to 1771, in which citizens took up arms against corrupt colonial officials. While unsuccessful, some historians consider it a catalyst to the American Revolutionary War. REGULATED FOR MURDER takes place ten years later, but memories of the Regulators is still fresh in citizens' minds.
Twenty-six-year old Lt. Michael Stoddard is attached to the British 82nd Regiment under the command of Major James Henry Craig in Wilmington, North Carolina. Michael is investigating the disappearance of Horatio Bowater, a devious man willing to murder if it conceals his crimes. But Michael is taken off the case and it’s handed over to his recovering assistant, Pvt. Nick Spry. Michael must conceal his disappointment, and leave on the undercover courier assignment to deliver a cipher to an agent in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Riding his horse, Cleopatra, Michael arrives at his destination five days later, weary and hungry. Instead of food and rest, he finds his contact has been murdered and Michael accused of the killing. Only a lie from the woman in whom he is interested, Kate Duncan, prevents Michael being jailed. Though not incarcerated, he’s far from safe and soon learns the murder is linked to others. Along the way he encounters Lt. Dunstan Fairfax, his nemesis. Fairfax is a sociopath who abuses his position of authority to torture victims, reveling in their pain.
If you were fortunate enough to read Ms Adair’s PAPER WOMAN, then you received the first, brief introduction to Michael Stoddard when he investigated the murder of three men. Happily for Ms Adair’s fans, Michael now has his own book series, of which this is the first. Michael Stoddard is everything we wish for in a hero: compassionate, loyal, of high moral fiber, and determined to fulfill his mission.
Suzanne Adair is the most amazing historical author I’ve read (easily on a par with Diana Gabaldon) for precise historical details. Ms Adair’s books are so filled with excitement that one fails to notice one is incidentally learning history. Although I am something of an anglophile, only Suzanne Adair's writing could make me cheer for a Redcoat officer!
Even if you don’t enjoy history, you will delight in the exciting pace of a good thriller/mystery in which all the threads (except one saved for future books) are tied up satisfactorily. I enjoyed this book both times I read it and cannot recommend it highly enough. Ms Adair's books would make wonderful assigned reading for high school and college students. Certainly they're pleasurable reading for adults! REGULATED FOR MURDER was released Friday at Smashwords and Amazon for $4.99.
Please return on Wednesday for an interview with author Suzanne Adair. Until then, thanks for reading.