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Shakedown (Jack Davis Thrillers Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 379 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A killer identified via a fleeting facial expression and behavioral cues turns a middle-aged FBI agent dealing with a disruptive disability into an unexpected hero in Goldman's latest terrific thriller (after Deadlocked). After the brutal murder of Marcellus Pearson, a notorious Kansas City drug dealer, the collateral damage includes his cronies; his young son, Jalise; Jalise's mother (and Pearson's girlfriend); and an older woman who witnesses the killer fleeing the crime scene. The shooter is Pearson's mild-mannered neighbor, Latrell Kelly, who harbors more than a few dark secrets behind his soft-spoken ways. FBI Special Agent Jack Davis understands secrets—he has seizures he's been able to hide until the Pearson crime scene makes him erupt into visible tremors. Davis must take medical leave, but conducts a private investigation that connects to another chilling puzzler involving his missing daughter, Wendy. Is her significant other, Colby Hudson, an undercover and possibly corrupt FBI agent, responsible? Davis's new girlfriend, jury consultant Kate Scranton, helps him deal with both cases by teaching him how to read faces using the Facial Action Coding System. Goldman's surefooted plotting and Davis's courage under fire make this a fascinating, compelling read. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A masterful blend of rock-solid detective work and escalating dread. The Dead Man is both a top-notch thriller and a heart-rendering story of loss, courage and second chances. I loved it."
Robert Crais, NYT Bestselling Author

"The Dead Man is one of those rare novels you will be tempted to read twice: the first time to enjoy and the second time to appreciate how Goldman put the pieces together. The hours spent on both will be more than worth it."
Joe Hartlaub,

"Goldman's realistic setting, fast-paced dialogue and chilling plotting will have you wanting to read more in this gritty suspense series."
Cindy Bauer,

"The Dead Man has all the plots and twists one may expect from a Grisham novel and the pace of a James Patterson crime story."
Carolyn LeComte,

Product Details

  • File Size: 993 KB
  • Print Length: 379 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1467996610
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Character Flaw Press (November 25, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 25, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006EAMZ62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,511 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joel Goldman writes crime thrillers to die for. He's the Edgar and Shamus nominated author of three riveting thriller series.

Trial lawyer Lou Mason is a powerful, sexy man, more than six feet of hard muscle and once a keen rugby player. He's loyal and principled, both to a fault. His wry, sarcastic sense of humor and knack for top class banter are disarming, sometimes obscuring a recklessly brave spirit. Passionate about justice, he dives into the dark water, taking on cases others lawyers would run away from.

In Jack Davis' world only liars, drunks and guilty people shake uncontrollably. Then he joins their ranks. After 25 years as an FBI Special Agent, Jack is forced to retire because a mysterious movement disorder that makes him shake, sometimes bending him in half, sometimes strangling his speech. The cause and cure are unknown and Jack's condition colors his entire life. So much so that it ends his FBI career. In his new guise of part time private detective, he can't predict when the shakes will start... he just knows they will. Most of the time he just hopes he isn't holding a gun when it happens because crooks and killers don't give anyone a break.

Alex Stone is a Public Defender, devoted to representing people charged with a crime who can't afford a lawyer. More often than not, her clients and cases are lost causes. But the dismal odds only encourage her. Long, lean, and ropy from years of early-morning workouts, she knows only one way to live and one way to try a case: bear down and go all out.
She's determined to give her indigent clients the same measure of justice the rich and well bred receive. That's what everyone, guilty or innocent, highborn or low, deserves, and that's why she became a public defender. That higher calling matters more than whether her clients are guilty or innocent. But when the system fails to deliver justice, she makes certain justice is done.

If you like heroes you can care about, believe in and root for, you'll love Lou Mason, Jack Davis and Alex Stone. If you like crime thrillers with riveting suspense, jaw dropping twists and page-turning action, you'll love Joel Goldman's novels.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Doris E. Mendel on May 31, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shakedown was my first Joel Goldman mystery,but won't be my last. You will be inexorably drawn into the world of FBI agent Jack Davis,an unlikely protagonist with a tendency to shake at the worst possible moment. The characters are compelling and the plot twists will keep you turning the pages through to the satisfying end. A warning to all true detective fans, you will not be able to stop. I immediately ordered The Dead Man, and since consuming that in an afternoon, am hungry for more. I guess I will have to satisfy my cravings by going back to his prior series until he cranks out the next Jack Davis thriller.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By T-Bone on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Actually, it's two firsts... Usually, when a book gets off to a weak start, I can push myself through it for a while, resisting the urge to cut my losses, and then eventually the story gains some traction. For the first time in my life (I'm in my late 40s), I had to stop reading a book in the middle. It was just too painful. The not-even-almost-believable characters and dialog were causing me to roll my eyes with such frequency I thought they might get stuck in the back of my head.

The characters were weakly developed so you never really care about any of them, one way or another. As an example, the main character was like an "average Joe" kind of guy that's unexceptional in every way, makes stupid mistakes, has weak people skills, has no leadership qualities, is not especially bright or interesting... We're supposed to believe that he's some kind of FBI boss? Just about every character is similarly two-dimensional and I often find myself literally cringing at the dialog. By halfway through the book, I had long lost count of how many times I asked myself how much longer should I subject myself to this completely unengaging story.

One other odd thing I'll mention--it's not really significant but it's just kind of funny--the story starts out in third person, before switching over to first. During the third-person part, the narrator suddenly, for no apparent reason, starts talking in "gangsta." I kept wondering if perhaps there were missing quotation marks, perhaps it was supposed to be part of the drug dealer's dialog, but no! The narrator went from an average white guy to an urban gang-banger and then back to the white guy! Needless to say, this was highly disruptive to the reading experience and the engagement process.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on May 6, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
FBI Agent Jack Davis is in the process of getting divorced, he's fighting a never-ending battle to keep his daughter straight, he lost his son to a child-molesting killer, and he's afraid that his daughter's boyfriend may be a corrupt agent. Developing uncontrollable shakes is not the best way for him to deal with his problems, but that's what his body has decided to do. When he starts shaking at the scene of a mass murder--which took place on a group he was actually investigating--he's suspended from his job and given a strong message that he won't be welcomed back until the doctors give him the okay.

But Jack is certain he saw something in the darkness. He can't just back off and let the team he built mess up the case. And when he learns that his daughter might be involved, he becomes a bulldog after any evidence that will prove her innocence. In the meantime, he's got a sexy witness expert, and a sexy near-ex-wife who both seem interested.

Author Joel Goldman keeps up the suspense as Jack digs himself more and more deeply into trouble. Relying on friends, providing only partial information to his former co-workers in the FBI, and boning up on the techniques for reading microexpressions, Jack seems determined to learn the truth--no matter how much it hurts. For the most part, the story works. With his multitude of problems, Jack is sympathetic. That his dog loves him and two women are attracted makes him admirable, as well. Since he's doing the crazy things he does for his family, for his daughter, we're prepared to cut him a lot of slack.

Ultimately, Goldman relies a bit too much on coincidence. It's a coincidence that the killer happens to murder right when Jack is unable to see.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on April 13, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jack Davis is an FBI Special Agent in Kansas City. His wife is divorcing him and has already moved most of the furniture out of their house. Their only remaining child, Wendy, is out on her own and dating Colby, an FBI agent who is undercover - something Jack finds very risky. And now someone is systematically killing the crack dealers that Colby is involved with - and there are few clues.

In the middle of one crime scene, Jack suddenly gets the shakes and loses sight of a possible suspect. He is put on administrative leave and knows he's one step from his career being over - unless he can solve the crime. But officially he's off the case and without the resources that he is used to having.

He knows the suspects, he has questions, but no answers, and he has help from some unlikely friends, including a Kansas City Police detective and a psychologist who specializes in jury consulting and micro expressions - tiny fleeting facial movements that most people can't see, but that enable her to read people like a book.

Goldman does a wonderful job of painting characters that you can care about - including some of the people that end up being villains. His descriptions of Kansas City will make you feel as though you lived there. The ethical and psychological dilemmas he has given Jack Davis, including those surrounding the abduction and death of his son some years earlier, will have you feeling the same emotions of helplessness, anger, commitment, and hope that Jack does.

Armchair Interviews says: Book really touches emotions.
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