- Series: A Jon Cantrell Thriller (Book 1)
- Paperback: 514 pages
- Publisher: Thomas & Mercer; First Edition edition (February 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1477808728
- ISBN-13: 978-1477808726
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 349 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,404,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Contractors (A Jon Cantrell Thriller) Paperback – February 4, 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review: Set in Dallas and sparsely populated West Texas, Hunsicker’s first standalone packs a mean wallop. Captain Sinclair, a retired Dallas policeman, hires Jon Cantrell and his female partner, Piper, to bust a drug warehouse—a rich payday for the two DEA agents, but the prize for Sinclair is the opportunity to eliminate Eva Ramirez, a key witness against a Mexican cartel chief. The plan fails badly when Ramirez escapes in a shootout that leaves Cantrell and Piper minus their cut of the proceeds and scrambling for their lives. The shadowy, violent, legal and extra-legal War on Drugs not only claims many lives but involves endless deceptions on the part of those who fight it. Helping to make this a standout are perfectly drawn characters, nifty surprises, and a frightening portrayal of the federal government’s poorly monitored use and funding of “contractors” who are heavily armed and extremely dangerous. Hunsicker, author of the Lee Henry Oswald PI series (Crosshairs, etc.), has crafted a truly chilling thriller.
From Library Journal
In his new stand-alone, the author of the Lee Henry Oswald PI mysteries (Still River; The Next Time You Die) takes as his realistic premise the proliferation of private military contractors and the privatization of law enforcement. Ex-Dallas cop Jon Cantrell, along with his partner Piper (with a penchant for orphan charities and a shoot-to-kill policy), works for a private contractor, intercepting drug shipments along the U.S.-Mexico border. But when they confiscate the wrong load, all hell breaks loose—violence, murder, revenge, and shootouts are here aplenty. Verdict: Hunsicker has written a very good thriller, all the better for addressing the serious issue of narco-trafficking and privatization of law enforcement. His complex story line is plausible, very well paced yet also easy to follow. Characters both major and minor are well drawn and memorable, and the action sequences are convincing and compelling. The only drawback is the rather inappropriate humorous tone that detracts from a well-crafted novel of suspense.
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It is also a story of corruption from the highest governmental levels right down to the deputy marshal in the tiniest, dustiest, lost little Texas town that isn’t even on the state maps. The author apparently based his tale on the stories out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Washington, about the current trend to contract for certain services instead of using government employees. It’s a cost saving endeavor. No doubt about it and it helps keep taxes under control. Of questionable value is the assignment of law enforcement activities to contractors too ready to break the laws they are supposed to uphold. Contract employees, especially those working for agencies that deal with the law and unlawful activities, like murder and drug smuggling and such like, have to be incorruptible and when they aren’t, certain social norms break down. People get hurt, particularly people with little or no contacts or clout. Ordinary citizens, that is.
Jon Cantrell is a disgraced Dallas cop. He had a good career going until he beat up a corrupt FBI guy. Now he’s a contract player for the DEA. That’s right, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, part of Homeland Security. His partner and lover, Piper is likewise a contract DEA agent. They are pawing through the seamy side of Dallas, looking for a prostituted teenager as a favor for a retired Dallas cop who has gone over to the dark side—gambling, vice, drugs, so forth. One thing leads to another and soon Piper and Jon are on the run from the retired cop, various Mexican drug cartel killers, and corrupt members of nearly every other agency active along the Tex-Mex border. They are escorting a drug cartel spouse to a date testifying before a grand jury. Everybody wants the woman dead and they are careless about collateral damage.
The lethal hardware is varied and extensive. The death toll is not to be believed. Indeed that becomes the primary difficulty with this novel. Raymond Chandler may have suggested that when an author gets stuck he should have a character come through the door holding a gun, but this one goes beyond belief. Even if the dark gritty events are separately within the realm of possibility, the sheer number is out of sight. The author wraps things up in an almost plausible way and if car chases, almost endless running gun battles, and multiple really bad guys are your thing, this one is for you.