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Thunder Beach: a Merrick McKnight Mystery Book 1 (Merrick McKnight Mysteries) Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this less than impressive stand-alone crime novel from Lister (Double Exposure), Merrick McKnight, an unemployed newspaper journalist, struggles to maintain his bearings after the deaths of his wife and their young son, Ty, in a car accident. In Panama City, Fla., where Merrick hopes to get a glimpse of Regan, the married stripper with whom he's been having an affair, who's in town with her weekend-biker husband, he spots a photo of Ty's much older half-sister, Casey, with whom he's lost touch, on the cover of the official magazine of Thunder Beach, Panama City's annual spring biker rally. When Casey is reported missing, Merrick goes on a hunt for the young woman that takes him in and out of strip clubs and seedy bars. A possible link with sex slavery raises the stakes. Some readers may find a misunderstanding that relates to Casey's fate a bit of a cheat, while the idealistic note struck at the end jars with the atmosphere of grim realism that pervades the rest of the book. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

From January Magazine
Michael Lister continues his dark explorations of northern Florida's underbelly in Thunder Beach (Tyrus Books).
The author's prose is spare, with the dialogue introduced by dashes instead of quotation marks, à la Charlie Huston. And his narrative is laced with a peculiar sadness that permeates McKnight's life.
Novelist and screenwriter Michael Lister, already known for his series about Florida prison chaplain John Jordan, has written in Thunder Beach a poignant and lyrical noir story that's as much about redemption as it is about shattered lives.
From Spinetingler Magazine
Merrick McKnight is a recent victim of the downsizing of The Democrat, the newspaper published in his town in the Florida Panhandle. The area itself, Panama City and Panama City Beach, at the moment finds itself inundated with bikers there to attend its annual spring biker rally, the eponymous Thunder Beach. The author describes the Hathaway Bridge, giving onto the port of Panama City, as something which "connects two worlds - - one of dreams, of paradisiacal fantasies, of concrete condos, giant houses built on sand; the other, of small town sensibilities, deep South traditions, of papers mill and port and public Protestantism." The "feel" of the Florida Panhandle is wonderfully evoked.
The author effectively doles out tidbits that are intriguing, before furnishing the reader with more backstory information on his protagonist. Suffice it to say that things are not always as they initially appear.
The book ultimately turns out to be quite a page-turner, one which I unexpectedly consumed in only several hours after I opened it, and it is recommended.

Product Details

  • File Size: 478 KB
  • Print Length: 207 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Pulpwood Press (October 31, 2013)
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GDKV1RW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,703 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Multi award-winning novelist, Michael Lister, is a native Floridian best known for his literary suspense thrillers DOUBLE EXPOSURE, BURNT OFFERINGS, and SEPARATION ANXIETY, as well as his two ongoing mystery series, the prison chaplain John Jordan "Blood" series (BLOOD SACRIFICE) and the hard-boiled, 1940s noir Jimmy "Soldier" Riley Series (THE BIG HELLO).

The Florida Book Review says that "Vintage Michael Lister is poetic prose, exquisitely set scenes, characters who are damaged and faulty" and Michael Koryta says, "If you like crime writing with depth, suspense, and sterling prose, you should be reading Michael Lister," while Publisher's Weekly adds, "Lister's hard-edged prose ranks with the best of contemporary noir fiction."

Michael grew up in North Florida near the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River in a small town world famous for tupelo honey.

To receive one of Michael's books for free, sign up for his newsletter at www.MichaelLister.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaye Oldner on February 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
With readers getting their news from electronic devices, Merrick McKnight, a journalist, is out of a job. He teaches a couple of classes at the local college, but it's not enough to live on. Even though money is low, his interest is in a stripper, Regan, he's fallen for. Problem is, she's married though she claims her marriage is over.

As Merrick tries to find Regan, he sees a familiar face on the cover of a magazine--Casey, his stepdaughter. Before he can reconnect and make amends for the past, she ends up missing. With crowds in for Panama City's annual spring biker rally, it's like finding a needle in a haystack. Also, some people don't want him to find her and he's running out of time.

The flavor of the story, how it unfolded mixed with well with the character's emotions. The lack of quotation marks and marked chapters gave it a raw, authentic feel as Merrick and Regan search strip clubs for Casey.

THUNDER BEACH caught me off guard. It's not a book I'd normally read, but I found the story haunting, the writing edgy, and the characters memorable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Feit VINE VOICE on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Merrick McKnight is a recent victim of the downsizing of The Democrat, the newspaper published in his town in the Florida Panhandle. As the tale opens, he finds himself in a somewhat questionable relationship [although that might be glorifying it a bit] with a married stripper working one of the apparently numerous stripper bars and like establishments in the area. The area itself, Panama City and Panama City Beach, at the moment finds itself inundated with bikers there to attend its annual spring biker rally, the eponymous Thunder Beach. The author describes the Hathaway Bridge, giving onto the port of Panama City, as something which "connects two worlds - - one of dreams, of paradisiacal fantasies, of concrete condos, giant houses built on sand; the other, of small town sensibilities, deep South traditions, of papers mill and port and public Protestantism." The "feel" of the Florida Panhandle is wonderfully evoked.

McKnight, fortunately, still teaches two classes at the local college, one in writing, one in philosophy, although he won't be able to sustain any kind of existence if that doesn't change soon. Dealing with his professional and personal problems is only complicated when a young woman who he cares about deeply finds herself in jeopardy, and he will go to any lengths to protect her.

The author effectively doles out tidbits that are intriguing, before furnishing the reader with more backstory information on his protagonist. Suffice it to say that things are not always as they initially appear. Another interesting technique has been implemented in that there are no formal chapters, only a couple of lines of extra space added at appropriate junctures.

The book ultimately turns out to be quite a page-turner, one which I unexpectedly consumed in only several hours after I opened it, and it is recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patricia E. Reid on June 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Merrick McKnight is a journalist without a job. The woman he is in love with is a stripper and married to someone else. Merrick's wife and son are dead and Casey and Kevin, his stepchildren, whereabouts are unknown to Merrick.

Thunder Beach is a rally where bikers gather on the Miracle strip in Panama City for a bash held twice a year. Merrick roams the crowd heading for a strip joint where he hopes to see Regan, the stripper he is involved with when he spots a copy of the official events magazine for Thunder Beach. The cover is a picture of Casey, the stepdaughter that has been gone from his life for sometime.

Merrick finds Casey but she is older and independent and tells Merrick that she is doing well but will contact him if she needs him. That call comes much sooner than expected and Merrick finds that Casey's life is in danger. Merrick begins a desperate search that takes him to alleys and back rooms and reveals a completely different life style than is shown on the surface.

Old contacts and good friends are called to help in the search to find Casey before her time runs out. The suspense is high and the search dangerous but Merrick is determined that no one will keep him from finding Casey. Regan or Raven as she is known on the stage lends her help for a while.

Michael Lister has a unique style to his writing that keeps the reader on edge and turning the pages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ggma on July 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
Terrible writing! I thought I'd get a suspense/thriller but I didn't get that far, the writing is like a newbie wanna be--if you want to read about strippers/sex in just the first few pages then every page is written like every sentence is a paragraph, instead of having dialogue in quotation marks all dialogue is written like a paragraph----huh?

Anyway I found it to be more of a childish way of writing a book although it is not for a child but it sure isn't interesting at all!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on July 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Merrick McKnight is a recent victim of the downsizing of The Democrat, the newspaper published in his town in the Florida Panhandle. As the tale opens, he finds himself in a somewhat questionable relationship [although that might be glorifying it a bit] with a married stripper working one of the apparently numerous stripper bars and like establishments in the area. The area itself, Panama City and Panama City Beach, at the moment finds itself inundated with bikers there to attend its annual spring biker rally, the eponymous Thunder Beach. The author describes the Hathaway Bridge, giving onto the port of Panama City, as something which "connects two worlds - - one of dreams, of paradisiacal fantasies, of concrete condos, giant houses built on sand; the other, of small town sensibilities, deep South traditions, of papers mill and port and public Protestantism." The "feel" of the Florida Panhandle is wonderfully evoked.

McKnight, fortunately, still teaches two classes at the local college, one in writing, one in philosophy, although he won't be able to sustain any kind of existence if that doesn't change soon. Dealing with his professional and personal problems is only complicated when a young woman who he cares about deeply finds herself in jeopardy, and he will go to any lengths to protect her.

The author effectively doles out tidbits that are intriguing, before furnishing the reader with more backstory information on his protagonist. Suffice it to say that things are not always as they initially appear. Another interesting technique has been implemented in that there are no formal chapters, only a couple of lines of extra space added at appropriate junctures.

The book ultimately turns out to be quite a page-turner, one which I unexpectedly consumed in only several hours after I opened it, and it is recommended.
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