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The Surest Poison (Sid Chance Myseries Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Chester D. Campbell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

Three seemingly unrelated murders crop up during the investigation of a decade-old chemical dump that plagues a rural community west of Nashville. PI Sid Chance, former National Parks ranger and small town police chief, takes the case and finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of lies, deceptions, and threats. Who is tailing and warning him to back off? Is the man responsible for the pollution dead or alive? When ex-cop friend Jaz LeMieux offers her help, she is awakened by an explosion behind her mansion. Is it related to the abduction of her employees’ grandson, or Sid’s case? As the tension mounts, Sid finds himself confronting the unsavory people responsible for his past troubles.

A Mystery Magazine Editor's View

"Chester Campbell’s latest, THE SUREST POISON, introduces a new character, PI Sid Chance and his side kick Jaz LeMieux...Chance is a great character, 59 years old, Viet Nam vet, ex cop and relentless. Campbell’s work here is his best yet and the book has a natural rhythm that moves the story along at a nice pace. The people who populate the book are realistic and nothing feels forced, it's as if Campbell is just telling their story without embellishing, which I found refreshing. A top rate mystery by a gem of a writer."

Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Hired to find the company responsible for a 1995 chemical spill that poisoned the land and water of Ashland City, TN, PI Sid Chance discovers delving into the past dredges up old enemies and danger. By the author of the Greg McKenzie series (The Marathon Murders).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 476 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shadows Press; 1 edition (April 10, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00292A38G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,055 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Surest Poison March 5, 2009
Sid Chance is a former member of the Army Special Forces in Vietnam and a former National Parks ranger for eighteen years, as well as a small town police chief for ten, forced out of office when falsely charged with bribery. Never finding who had set out to destroy him, he has taken refuge for the past three years in a rustic cabin [read "no electricity or running water"] fifty miles east of Nashville. As the book opens he finds himself wondering "if he'd made the right decision in leaving. Going back to the type of work he had pursued for more than three decades left him exposed to the same flawed humanity that had chased him up here in the first place." But he is coaxed out of his hermit-like existence by his old friend Jasmine ("Jaz") LeMieux, who has recommended him to a corporate attorney and his client who is facing major financial disaster unless he can be cleared in a chemical pollution case. Sid is hired to find the company which had owned the property previously which, they are convinced, is the true culprit.

Jaz is quite a character, literally and figuratively. She "had the looks and the brains to be whatever she wanted, and she had the money and the contacts to pull it off." Her c.v. include having been a professional boxer, member of the Security Police with the Air Force, cop, board chairman of a major company, and during the course of the book is applying for a p.i. license, the better to enable her to work with Sid, finding she "couldn't resist the lure of the chase." A second story line evolves when Jaz' employees, a couple in their late seventies, plead with Jaz to help when their grandson and his nine-year-old son are threatened.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amatuerish effort April 13, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel proves that being a "reporter, freelance journalist, political speechwriter (and)advertising copywriter," does not make you a novelist.

The publisher is a small firm; two of its other authors provide glowing reviews on the back cover, and that tells you a lot. The Surest Poison is a set-up novel, the first of a planned series. Consequently, it is over-populated with a "cast" of characters who most likely will appear in future novels.

The story jerks about, bogged down with a lot of vehicle changes, over-identification of the roads driven, and way too many phone calls. The plot presents two story lines that end up being two parts of one case...Surprise! The reader sees this coming from the get-go and dragging it out just insults the reader's intelligence.

In addition, the writer seems very uncomfortable telling the story as the narrator; perhaps he would have achieved more flow by writing in the first-person.

There were a couple of very odd elements included, which reveal none too subtle prejudices on the part of Sid and/or the author himself. They stand out because their inclusion in the story have nothing to do with the plot and are totally unnecessary. Did the publisher demand "something" to include minorities? And if that was the reason for their inclusion, the author's attemps should have been sent back for rewrite or deleted altogether.

The subplot concerns a young black man and his family. They appear throughout the story and are presented as very, very nice, but none too bright, salt of the earth people, who also spend a lot of time bringing Sid and Jaz food and drink, with a lot of emphasis on what a great cook the eldest black woman is with a lot of references to her cakes and brownies. Really!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Surest Poison October 10, 2012
By krwt
Format:Kindle Edition
Don't we all wish we had a cabin in the woods to escape to when life serves us one foul ball after another? Sid Chance was lucky to be able to do that after his job as police chief was ruined by a set-up drug deal, orchestrated by people who'd rather their sheriff be a half-blind lap dog than hard-working crime-buster.

That wasn't Sid's first brush with people who don't play nice, so his retreat to the hills and woods was understandable. However, he still had friends, and they pushed him into a new career as a PI, something for which he had an innate knack.

When lawyer Arnie Bailey hires Sid to get to the bottom of an environmental pollution case, Sid isn't sure he wants the job, because it would take him back to Ashland City, scene of his ruined career. Also, this isn't going to be an easy case, because the pollution has caused birth defects, and the local people are ready to lynch someone--anyone--because of what's happened.

Sid accepts the job and very soon finds out that the people responsible for the original pollution for which his new client is being blamed are tied up tighter than a bucket of noodles with his former persecutors. The plot, as they say, thickens. Or sickens.

How Sid gets to the bottom of the noodle bucket and what he finds when he gets there forms a suspenseful reading experience. Chester Campbell turns in a workman-like job with a good number of twists and that should keep your inner armchair detective on the edge of his/her seat. Campbell has some nice turns of phrase that convey a lot with a few words: "Bailey launched his short, chubby body through the door like a well-dressed groundhog storming out of hibernation." You can just see the guy, can't you?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough info to get into the story
I guess that because this book is a part of a series that you can't solve too much of the mystery in one book. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Gwendolyn Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars The Surest Poison
It was a pleasure to read a good story that kept me interested all the way and it was told without the profanity that many authors are using. I really appreciated it.
Published 24 days ago by glenice owens
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This is a well written story that holds your attention and has a surprise or two. It is well edited and is clean.
Published 25 days ago by Jane Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ!
I got this book because I have read other books by this author and have always enjoyed them. This book was no exception to the rule. I loved it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Great story line. I mostly liked the very detailed descriptions of the many aspects of investigative procedures, including the various dead ends, which most authors fail to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael Ciko
4.0 out of 5 stars With a name like Jaz LeMieux
I''ll say Amen to 4 and 5 star raters who have gone before me. With a name like Jaz LeMieux, I expected the setting to be Cajun Country in SW Louisiana rather than Nashville. Read more
Published 1 month ago by William S Hogate
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book wood like to read more books by author
Published 2 months ago by judi navarre
5.0 out of 5 stars A believable PI!
This novel was my first Sid Chance mystery. The story line was interesting, as was the development of the characters, with the hint of future romance and definitely more PI... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Margaret A. Zahrowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Surest Poison
Good book
Published 2 months ago by Patricia G. Raburn
4.0 out of 5 stars Chester does it again.
Another great book by Mr. Campbell. His stories always sound like they just jumped off the front page of your local newspaper. Read more
Published 2 months ago by RonUp
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More About the Author

After following a snake-like career path that writhed about from newspapers to magazines to speechwriting to advertising to PR to association management, I settled on novel writing after retirement. I'm having a blast. My PI characters do things I'd never dare attempt. The reviewers love 'em, and so do the fans. Most of my stories are drawn from life, from all the weird and wonderful things that go on around me. Since I've been observing this for the last 88 years, there's no shortage of stuff to draw on. Lately I've finished work on a trilogy of Post Cold War political thrillers. The first, Beware the Jabberwock, and the second, The Poksu Conspiracy, are now joined by Book 3, Overture to Disaster. They're set in the early nineties, a time that arrived just after my retirement.

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