Fasten your seatbelt before delving into Philip Shirley’s second work of fiction, The White Lie. It’s a crime thriller that quickly pulls the reader in for a wild ride. Drug lords in Jackson, Mississippi? Innocent citizens who get pulled into this web of intrigue? That and more are woven into this tight, fast-paced story.
The characters are fictitious, but anyone who knows anything about Jackson will probably try to name some real people who were the inspiration for them. Many of the places mentioned are real and that adds to the book’s interest for local readers.
The action begins at the downtown bus station as Peter Brantley, an advertising executive — what else? — waits in traffic to get on the I-55 ramp. As police swarm the bus station in a drug bust, one guy makes a fast escape by jumping into the back seat of Brantley’s Jeep Cherokee. Although Brantley is able to rid himself of the gun wielding assailant, he keeps the drug dealer’s bag of cash and cocaine.
To use an old cliché, then the plot thickens. Peter and Mary Beth Brantley take matters into their own hands to avenge the drug-induced death of Peter’s brother. They are definitely novices when it comes to dealing with drug kingpins. A paragraph quoted from How to Become a DEA Agent in Jackson, Mississippi states that the five county metropolitan area’s location along major highways and interstates makes it a popular destination for drug traffickers looking to bring drugs into the city, the interior of the U.S. and the East and West Coasts. The author has done his research to make this fact, as well as others regarding drug crimes, authentic.
My only complaint is the lack of character development, which is usually the case with this type of book. It’s all about the action; that’s why books of this type read like movie scripts, and that’s also why I don’t read them often. There is, however, a segment of readers and movie goers who relish this action. Therefore, I predict success for Philip Shirley’s book. I will confess I raced to finish it because I wanted to see how it would end, and that’s always fun. There’s a surprise twist or two, but I won’t give them away!
I’ve known Shirley, a mild-mannered, easy-going guy, for many years, and I commend him for having the discipline to write and publish works of fiction. A native of Alabama, he now lives near Madison and is CEO of GodwinGroup advertising agency in Jackson.
— Lynn Lofton, email@example.com