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The Strategist: A Camille Grisham Novel (Grisham/Sullivan Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

John Hardy Bell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

After her decorated career as an FBI agent comes to an unexpected end, Camille Grisham leaves the chaos of Washington D.C. for her hometown of Denver, hopeful that the security of a familiar environment can heal the wounds that time could not. But hope quickly turns into tragedy when her best friend Julia is brutally murdered in an apparent home invasion.

Faced with mounting evidence that the crime is not at all what it seems, Camille becomes a reluctant participant in an investigation that leads to a startling aspect of Julia's life - a dark secret that may have ultimately led to her death. All the while a killer whose sole purpose is to preserve that secret waits in the shadows, watching Camille's every move.

With the help of a rookie homicide detective whose doubts about her department's case increase by the second, Camille races to uncover the true motives behind Julia's murder. In doing so she will not only expose a dangerous conspiracy involving political and financial corruption, she will also be forced to confront the demons of a deadly past that she desperately wants to leave behind.

Editorial Reviews


Set against the frightening, and all-to-plausible backdrop of a win-at-all-cost political environment, THE STRATEGIST a gripping, fast-paced read filled with crackling dialogue, remarkable characters, and dizzying plot twists. It also introduces the world to former FBI agent Camille Grisham and Denver P.D. Homicide Detective Chloe Sullivan, two fascinating new heroines who are destined to take the genre by storm. If you are a fan of heady, character-driven thrillers, combined with a dose of political intrigue, then THE STRATEGIST is the read for you! 


About the Author

Long exiled from the world of politics, John now spends his time with his wife and five-year-old son, binge-watching full seasons of his favorite television shows, and writing thrillers. He lives in Denver, CO.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1424 KB
  • Print Length: 371 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Second Sight Publishing (September 2, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,327 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Idea December 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The Strategist, by John Hardy Bell, is a story that started with an interesting premise. Camille Grisham, an FBI agent who having quit the force after a traumatic incident, has returned home only to have her best friend murdered within a day of her arrival. Though she, at first, resists, Camille begins her own investigation into the murder. The story was fairly well developed with the back story of Camille's last FBI case used to make us understand where she is, emotionally, during the time frame of the novel. The story was interesting, however, there were issues that detracted from the overall experience. To start with were the stereotypical characters - the old, jaded, has-been veteran police officer, the young police officer who has incredible insight and a father who is obviously wise yet isn't listened to by his child. There were typos throughout the book that, while not egregious, were distracting. The overly excessive use of the word 'But' at the beginning of sentences, in fact too often during the reading of the novel, became tiresome and, for me, hindered my enjoyment of the book. Finally, the denouement, was a disappointment in how it played out. I cannot be specific without giving away too much information but I will say that the rule of distance is something anyone in law enforcement knows. That one, basic, mistake by the author took away significantly from what was a good story. Overall I did enjoy the story but was disappointed by the climax. For those reasons, I give 'The Strategist' 3*
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think About the Consequences of Your Actions September 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I give this book 4 1/2 stars

The Strategists is a story about the consequences of actions. They can make you lose everything you hold dear, even your life.

Camille Graham is a former FBI agent, suffering from anxiety attacks, she leaves Washington, and seemingly, all of her troubles to head home to family and friends. Julia Leeds is one of those friends waiting for her at home. Her best friend. But the day after Camille arrives, Julia is murdered.

In his debut novel, Bell weaves a very good story of murder, the far reaching hand of those in power, facing your problems and making decisions that can bring harsh consequences. Everyone in this book suffers from their choice of action. Camille in not getting help with her emotional problems, Julia for delving into uncharacteristic territory, as well as all those that participate in the crime and it's cover-up. The book is about learning from your actions, unfortunately, the author offers, sometimes you learn too late. The characters are real and relatable. The opening chapter pulls you right in, it is suspenseful and enticing. The book has a good pace and even though you know early on who is responsible for Julia's death, you won't want to put the book down. It is that good and well-written. The Strategist is one of those books that gets inside of your head and stays with you even after you have finished it.

For me, hence the 4 1/2 stars, there were logic gaps. Police detectives remiss on Constitutional law, killers pulling up to their mark's front door in the middle of the day to do a hit. And a trained criminal investigator who has trouble recognizing faces. I think that there was too much direction around the dialogue instead of letting the dialogue set the emotion.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars where do I start.... November 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Aside from the numerous typos *throughout* the book, I could've done without the whiny, never ending pity party Camille does the whole way through! There was a lot of eye-rolling; I did not feel sorry for her--I couldn't empathize. I wanted to slap her silly for always cowering instead of being a take charge HERO as she should be! She kept acting the victim instead of an unstoppable force her reputation preceded her to be (at least that's what everyone keeps saying in the book, but I've yet to see!). I think I had very high expectations for this book b/c (1) the past few books I read for same genre were amazing, (2) it was so well reviewed. so disappointed in this book, i dont even know that 2 stars is apt. More like 1 star. I read it allll the way through even though I should've stopped at the 3rd chapter just so I can justify the rating and review. I was right. -__-
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read April 6, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although not as well written As the likes of the Jack Reacher series, it was entertaining and the plot was totally imaginable. I think if he were to continue writing and turning the characters into a series, it would be an interesting series to get into.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively, Interesting Action October 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In "The Strategist," FBI agent Camille Grisham's meteoric career trajectory is derailed by the onset of a panic attack during a confrontation with a serial killer, resulting in the death of her partner. The stress of the event leads her to quit the FBI and head home to Denver, only to encounter an even greater tragedy within the first twenty-four hours of her arrival.

Camille seeks to excise the demons of her past while simultaneously probing the circumstances of the latest trauma. As she relentlessly pursues the case, a cloud of evil conspirators gathers around her, leading to a dramatic confrontation in book's finale.

I rarely give five-star ratings, but with "The Strategist," first-time author John Hardy Bell has defied the odds and delivered the goods. Finely-described, three-dimensional characters, lucid descriptions of people and action, a plot that keeps the reader guessing until the very end, and protagonists possessing the right balance of strengths and failings all serve to move this page-turner along at a brisk pace. While the book certainly stands on its own merits, it also invites a sequel, which this reader would welcome.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A can't put down read
Breathtaking, suspenseful, scaredy and wonderful character development. The story was almost too realistic,with bumps, twists,, turns to the point I had to walk away from it just... Read more
Published 9 hours ago by Judi Burnes
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story
Kept me reading. It was a good story. I am a character person and the characters needed more. I couldn’t bond with them. I will read other stories by this author.
Published 2 months ago by Mahree
4.0 out of 5 stars nicely done
Really enjoyed the book, the only issue I had was that I am now running late because I had to finish it. Now even later as I felt the need to leave a review!!
Published 2 months ago by Wenlee
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it. Showed how cops often charge crime on someone innocent when...
Liked it. Showed how cops often charge crime on someone innocent when they need a hot body. Easy read.

Barbara C. Johnson, author of Accused? Guilty.
Published 3 months ago by Barbara Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book!
One of the most suspenseful/intelligent books ever. I can't wait to read more from the author! Fabulous writing and storyline!
Published 4 months ago by WesternPAGirl
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great thriller
This book kept me reading until I finished. the heroine, Camille Grisham, a former hard-as-nails FBI agent has just quit and is returning to her hometown, Denver, Colorado. Read more
Published 4 months ago by L. A. Otts
FIRST IN RELATED SERIES: When Camille returns home to Colorado, she's a burned out FBI Behaviour Sciences Agent. Now, she must cope with the murder of someone close to her, again. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mikala Rated
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good. Took awhile to get into but was hard to put down once I got inot story line!
Published 4 months ago by Deb
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book was really interesting and entertaining. I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
Published 4 months ago by Mary Cordova
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait to read the sequel.
I liked the twists and turns. Kept me guessing.
Published 5 months ago by Rene Loizou
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More About the Author

A proud Colorado native, John currently lives in Denver with his wife and son. His stories feature cops and robbers, FBI agents and serial killers. But beyond the archetypes, he writes about people. "There is darkness in the most heroic among us, and good in the most corrupt. My job as a novelist is to not only tell an entertaining story, but also to cultivate the truth of the characters who drive that story."

To learn more, visit

Twitter: @johnbellwrites


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