Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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The Best of Evil
by Eric Wilson

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"Wilson is a master artist ... we want more Aramis!"

Nashville Tennessee seemed the perfect place for a former anarchist-drug user to reinvent himself as a bean-roaster. That is, until someone was murdered while ordering a whip…

“Spare your soul and turn your eyes from greed, “ the patron, obviously on a meth trip said to Aramis Black before a bullet shut him up. In an instant, images of another shooting filled Aramis’ mind as screaming customers dove for cover.

He was six years old. After breaking free from his uncle’s restraints, Aramis bolted from the weedy hiding place toward the man holding a gun to his mother’s head. Uncle Wyatt yelled at the man holding the gun. A flash of light. A CRACK like thunder; his mother’s body fell from the riverbank landing with a splash into the water below. Before the bullet entered her brain she uttered the words that now came back to haunt him by another soul on the verge of being gunned down. And as time passed, weeds of bitterness and blame darkened Aramis’ heart.

It didn’t take long for the owner of Black’s coffee house to discover a bizarre connection between the murder in his coffee shop and his mother’s murder. Even more bizarre was his relation to famed explorer Meriwether Lewis. Aramis’ brother Johnny Ray, a rising star on the music scene helps Aramis piece together the secrets of their past. A missing stash of gold, hidden by Lewis centuries ago, brings malicious treasure hunters to Nashville hoping Lewis’ heir has the map.

The Best of Evil is far more than a mere mystery. The evolving relationships in the lives of the Black brothers adds the richness of a dark roasted coffee bean. Aramis, in his desire to live a normal life, must deal with the hatred he feels toward his Uncle for failing to stop his mother’s murder. Romantic interests and a visit from Dad Black, add texture and multiple layers of movement in the overall plot.

The brotherly banter between Aramis and Johnny Ray made me laugh aloud, waking my husband and cats as I read into the wee hours of the morning. I love the attention to detail Wilson employs when creating characters such as Johnny Ray’s Tabasco boxers, and Mrs. Michaels’ emphasizing the first syllable of select words to capture southern twang. Wilson is a master artist in the way he creates three dimensional characters with only words.

Considering how many times my husband whined, “Honey, do you remember I have to get up in a few hours?” I give this book 4 ½ shots of espresso from Black’s special blend. Eric, we want more Aramis!

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.