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

Chester D. Campbell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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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: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,962 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Private Investigator Sid Chance prefers the solitary life at his rustic cabin located somewhere fifty miles east of Nashville. He'd spent three years there after his career as a small town police chief abruptly ended. Before that, he was a park ranger and that career abruptly ended. He has a history of not playing well with others and not being very good at the game of politics at work. Being a private investigator is a good fit and he has his friend Jasmine Le Mieux to thank for that.

Jasmine Le Mieux, ex cop and chairman of the board of Welcome Traveler Stores (a chain of truck stops) also referred his latest client, Arnie Bailey of the law firm Bailey, Riddle and Smith. It seems Arnie Bailey's client, Wade Harrington, owns and operates a small company just outside Ashland City that makes specialty shipping boxes. Residents in the area are dealing with the results of an environmental disaster. State investigators have found that trichloroethylene also known as TCE was dumped at his plant at some point in the past. The chemical was probably dumped onto the ground many times and has contaminated local well water and the public water supply. As the current landowner, Wade Harrington is being blamed and will have to pay claims and damages along with clean up costs. It could financially ruin him and his small company Harr Co.

Wade Harrington isn't responsible as TCE isn't anything they have ever used and isn't part of any manufacturing process for his company. But, as current owner of the property he is going to be held accountable unless the previous ownership can be found. The lawyer, Annie Bailey, wants the people actually responsible to be identified and tracked down so that if they are still alive, they can be held accountable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely and Well-Written Mystery January 10, 2010
This is the first of a new series by Chester Campbell, author of the well-loved Greg McKenzie mysteries. While I enjoy both series, after reading THE SUREST POISON, I realized I enjoy the harder-edged Sid a bit more. Greg and his wife, Jill, are like old friends, while Sid is a hero you can sink your teeth into.

The plot involves an old chemical spill that has very immediate consequences in a small Tennessee town. Although Campbell tackles some timely environmental issues in this book, the message is never preachy and never slows the story.
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1 of 1 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific and right on time
Chester Campbell really knows his stuff. In "The Surest Poison" he tells a great story about one of the most pressing problems of our era--without ever making it feel preachy. Read more
Published on October 9, 2012 by Tim Hallinan
5.0 out of 5 stars You're Going To Want To Read This Book
A puzzle packed with surprises, The Surest Poison draws the reader in quickly. But reader beware, and strap yourself down. The suspense is relentless.
Published on October 8, 2012 by Ben F. Small
5.0 out of 5 stars The Surest Poison
Nashville P. I. Sidney Lanier Chance is not a typical private investigator. Sure, he has a military and law enforcement background; he lives alone, has a brash female associate,... Read more
Published on October 8, 2012 by L. W. Chavis
5.0 out of 5 stars The Surest Poison - A Sid Chance Novel
The Surest Poison introduces the readers to two new exciting characters of varied backgrounds.

Sid Chance is somewhat of a loner. Read more
Published on October 6, 2012 by Patricia E. Reid
1.0 out of 5 stars Amatuerish effort
This novel proves that being a "reporter, freelance journalist, political speechwriter (and)advertising copywriter," does not make you a novelist. Read more
Published on April 13, 2011 by KGS
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok story but didn't keep me enthralled
I am having a hard time thinking of how exactly I felt about this book. There was nothing necessarily wrong with it but I have to admit it did not engross me. Read more
Published on September 21, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed for Midwest Book Review
Former police chief turned private investigator Sid Chance is hired by a businessman who's being sued for a chemical spill on a piece of property he owns. Read more
Published on April 5, 2009 by Christy Tillery French
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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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