Pressure Point by Charles Colyott (The Randall Lee Mysteries #2)

Pressure Point is the second book in the Randall Lee Mysteries by Charles Colyott. I saw the first book mentioned on Goodreads so I bought it, and since then I’ve never looked back. In fact I’ve read by now every book in the series published by the author, including the last one, which is a novella.

The books are so good, I can only recommend them to anyone who loves a good thriller with a witty, fun guy who always feels sorry for himself and guilty as hell, only to end up being the hero in every book. The typical anti-hero.

Here we meet Randal returning from a well deserved vacation, only to find his detective friend Knox lying in a hospital bed in critical condition due to some vicious attack by someone unknown. And just in case this is not enough, he finds out that Knox’s wife is apparently missing, which makes for some very disturbing thoughts in Randal’s mind.

Everyone, including Knox, tells him to lay off the case and go back to doing what he knows best, healing folks with acupuncture and doing Tai-Chi, however Randal wouldn’t be Randal if he didn’t at least take a peek at what is going on – and hey, maybe even solve it since he’s at it already. Especially since the way Knox was hurt seems kinda familiar…

Needless to say, his nosing around takes him to the underground world of street fighting, where the winner takes all and the loser might just end up losing his life.

There is a lot going on in this book and the further you get in the story, the darker it gets. Now I know that there are those reviewer of Pressure Point who don’t like the darkness within. However strangely enough this dark book got me even more hooked on the series than the first on, with was a rather light fun, humorous crime novel.

I love Randal and his younger punk girlfriend Tracy. They have an odd, but loving relationship which I very much enjoy reading about. Randal himself doesn’t understand most of the times what Tracy sees in him and why she keeps sticking around him, an old, washed out, flawed human being.

I love this relationship, it is very real, described perfectly in the book and I can easily imagine it playing out in real life. It is not one of those typical sparkly love affairs you find in most romantic suspense novels. It is real, with all its ups and downs, trials and tribulations of a relationship that has seen it all. Well, not all, mind you, as having read the third book already, I can only say…wow…what is to come brings it all to another level. But that’s for the next book to discuss about.

I love martial arts (dabbed a bit in it during my teen years, enough to keep my interest in watching Bruce Lee movies over and over again), and the way the author describes Randal’s training, fights, defeats and successes with this art, is as real as it gets. It really got me hooked in the first book, and I’m glad to see that it hasn’t lessened in the second one.

If anything, the fights are more intense, the descriptions are more detailed and here we get additional glimpses in Randal’s secret past with it, allowing us to learn more about him and what drives him to get himself into trouble over and over again…

While this book is darker – much darker than the first novel, Changes, the humorous elements are still there to break the tension at the right moment. And trust me, tension is there plenty. If anything, I loved Pressure Point even more than Changes, noting the deliciously dark and disturbing direction the series takes.

Overall I loved loved loved Pressure Point and I remember having started reading the third book, Jianghu the minute I finished this story. I think I was never happier to already have the next book in my hands (well, Kindle really) when a story ended than with this series.

A complex character with complex relationships, all in a complex, gripping and nail-biting story that will literally leave you reading till late at night until you turn the last page in the book.

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