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Hope Road (John Ray #1) (John Ray / LS9 crime thrillers) by [Barlow, John]
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Hope Road (John Ray #1) (John Ray / LS9 crime thrillers) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in John Ray / LS9 crime thrillers (2 Book Series)
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Editorial Reviews


Crime thriller fans, this novel is a must read.
Jersey Girl Book Reviews
I can't wait for the next book. Hope Road is a fast-paced, exciting novel.
Preferred Reading
A gripping read... A fascinating study in dark and evil... The stuff of Great British grit and dark, dark humour... Beautifully cinematic... far more cinematic than a McDermid or a Rankin.

Barlow throws in plenty of twists... he spins the yarn in fast-paced, very readable prose. HOPE ROAD is a fine novel, the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the others.
Rough Edges

This book was fantastic!!  A wonderful who-done-it!! I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
I loved the story. Little twists and turns and an ending I did not expect.
A wonderful read which I highly recommend. [...] An engrossing story with fascinating and complex characters. The setting is wonderfully portrayed. A tremendously exciting debut and I look forward to more.
The Guy with the Glasses
Very highly recommended. Exactly the kind of book I love. And I did love it.
Meeka's Mind
John [Ray] is a great character.
Beth Kemp
I enjoyed it tremendously.
Not the Baseball Pitcher
I don't know when I've read anything quite so visual. Hope Road would make a great [TV] program.
Letters from Hill Farm
A pretty gripping story. The description of the city was great too. 
Click's Clan
An intriguing murder mystery from start to finish.
Welcome to Tweedling
You'll be curious to find out where Barlow plans to take John Ray in upcoming installments. 
Nights and Weekends
This is an intriguing beginning for author John Barlow [...] A strong start. 
His Futile Preoccupations
Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Today I Did This For Me

From the Author

I've been thinking about this book for years. Counterfeit banknotes figure prominently in the secondary plot of HOPE ROAD. I've always been fascinated by fake money. How do you spend it safely? Is it really such a bad thing to print your own money (governments do it all the time!). Finally, is there a way of 'passing on' large quantities of fake banknotes without causing financial harm to anyone? In other words, is there a perfect crime with counterfeit money? I think I've come pretty close...

Product Details

  • File Size: 866 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Storm Books (January 2, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 2, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006LWJ75K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,998 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Burke on February 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Barlow hits on all cylinders in his newest thriller, Hope Road. Mystery, espionage, love, loyalty, betrayal, and a host of other themes wend their way through this book in a fast-paced, complex story. But what really sets it apart is Barlow's deft development of the central figure. This psychological study intertwined with the crime story plot makes for a different kind of novel.

The plot revolves around John Ray, the "prodigal son" of crime boss Tony Ray, who has returned home to run his dad's used car business. He stepped in when his brother was murdered, in a case that was never solved, but the motive of which was attributed to the same kind of seamy lifestyle of his father. Everybody thinks that John Ray has always been different--the golden boy, smart enough to get away, to shun a life of crime. John Ray himself shows the reader how different he really is.

But the past is hard to escape, and family ties leave a shadow of doubt. Freddy, one of John's employees, is arrested for murdering a prostitute, whose body is found in the trunk of one of John's cars along with a bundle of counterfeit money. The police see it as an open-and-shut case, so it's up to John Ray not only to prove that Freddy is innocent, but also to verify to one and all that his own business is legitimate, that he's not continuing in his father's footsteps. Barlow seems to get inside John Ray's head so well that the reader connects and understands what makes him tick. Part of that is Denise Danson, the police detective he's been dating and is in love with. But will his actions in trying to clear Freddy cause Detective Danson to sever all ties?

Set in Leeds, the dialogue and the atmosphere are not so British as to distract an American reader.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took me a while to get into this book, but once in, I liked it and read it straight through, in one long read. As others have pointed out, the main character, John Ray, is a complicated, appealing man, but it takes the whole story to find out who and what he really is. Even at the end of the story, I was not 100% sure that I knew the "real" John Ray. It was unclear to him, and to the reader, through most of the book, what really happened and why. We follow along with John Ray (and a cast of unusual characters) as he tries to figure out "whodunnit". It's personal - his best friend is the jailed suspect in this gruesome murder case and his current girlfriend is a cop in the unit assigned to solve this crime.

My main dissatisfaction is the number of British terms used that I wasn't familiar with, but needed to know, in order to understand what was going on; "googling" the term sometimes helped. And there were a few somewhat suddenly appearing, ill-defined characters to keep track of and figure out what their role was and is - in John's past and present.

The reader finds out, in the end, the "who, what, and why", but I was somewhat frustrated as the story unfolded. I found myself using the "search this book" feature on my kindle to go back and reread scenes where the character was introduced, to find out who some characters were, what their relationship was, and now is, to John Ray - and to the crime itself. I'm not sure I really, finally, understand John Ray. I actually read some of the final pages over a couple of times to get a better sense of a couple of characters.

In the end, I still wasn't absolutely sure that I understood who and what John Ray was, is, and will be. The good thing about that is that I WANT to know more about John Ray and will likely read the next book in the series to find out.
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We have all heard the jokes about 'used car dealers', and in this new e-novel we meet one, John Ray. John has a fascinating history, he comes from a family of crooks. His dad was a big crime boss in the city of Leeds, and the entire family seemed to be wrapped up on the wrong side. John, it seems, did not want the life of crime, and had gone away and returned only when his brother was murdered and his father needed assistance. He put his father in a nursing home, and took over the used car dealership. It seems all was going well, John was making enough money to survive, he had a girlftriend he met when his brother died. The girlfriend, Denise Danson was a 'copper' as the police are known in Leeds. Everything looked rosy, until..

After a big night for John, he was given a party and celebrated as the Used Care Dealer of the Year'. He and Den celebrated and, then in the morning Den was called out on a call. A young woman was found dead in the trunk of a car. In the tire well, $40,000 in counterfeit money. From that day forward, nothing was right for John. The car was his, and one of his employees was implicated in the murder. John is not well liked by the police. He came from a crime family and once a criminal always a criminal. John spends much of his time following up on leads and trying to prove his employee innocent, and at the same time, to clear his name.

This is a story of old, a man trying to clear his name, but there is nothing old about this book. It takes place in present day Leeds, and from the writing we can picture the dark, and often dank streets of the city where crime occurs, and the streets that John inhabits. The writing is intense and specific.
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