Hail Storme: A Wyatt Storme Thriller (Brash Books, May)
The rise of Wyatt Storme (and his extra-deadly sidekick, Chick Easton) by W. L. Ripley
On the heels of the highly successful fourth Wyatt Storme, Storme Warning, Brash Books is releasing the previous three Storme thrillers for the first time in paperback and Kindle version, starting with the first Storme novel, Hail Storme, introducing readers to NFL star turned troubleshooter, Wyatt Storme, who critics are hailing as the long-awaited heir to Travis McGee and Spenser.
Hail Storme finds Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Wyatt Storme seeking some R and R in the Missouri Ozarks but it is delayed when he is set upon by a vicious attack Doberman and a thug armed with a high-powered rifle. Storme overcomes both using his outdoor skills and a compound bow. This opening scene is one of the most harrowing I’ve penned in my writing career.
Storme reports the incident to the county sheriff and figures that’s the end of things but it’s only the beginning of the danger for the reclusive Storme. Storme has arranged to provide transportation back to Colorado of a friend of a friend. “You’ll find him in a local bar” is the only information given Storme. Storme finds the man downing beer and bourbon like Noah was pairing up animals outside.
The man is Chick Easton. And Storme soon learns that Easton possesses highly unique, even lethal, talents. Additionally Storme also finds that Easton’s sense of humor is lively, his loyalty firm and his unflagging courage born of wars endured.
The Sheriff is murdered and Storme is set upon by the local authorities and also by a State Trooper named Sam Browne who initially suspects Storme but later becomes an ally.
Storme just wants to go home.
However, when the world pushes Wyatt Storme, he pushes back.
Storme begins checking around, much to the irritation of acting Sheriff, Deputy Baxter, who takes an immediate and inexplicable dislike to Storme.
Following the trail leads Storme and Easton to a local businessman, “Willie Boy” Roberts, who is not who he seems, in fact, Roberts is a formidable antagonist with a shadowy past fully capable of killing Storme and Easton with no more thought than what socks to wear. Willie Boy is one of my favorite Villains who is Storme’s “Goldfinger”.
I write Storme and Easton as a fun pair of adventurers which many reviewers compare to Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. However, the real comparison for Storme is to John D. McDonald’s, Travis McGee, in that Storme, like McGee, is a societal drop-out who is neither cop nor private detective. Storme is just a man reluctantly pulled into dangerous situations due his atavistic code of honor. Storme is a throwback – a modern cowboy without a horse or a Stetson. His partner, Chick Easton, is a man of action who is the antidote for complacency. Storme has limits to his idea of justice. Easton has no moral dilemmas about dispatching bad guys. They are the yin and yang of literary tough guys.
And they are tough. Exceptionally so. They mean no harm but like nitro they are explosive when disturbed.
They are also wittiest duo this side of Dennis Miller. Look for the Easton line about the coital act that gave the world lawyers that sold this book the first time it was printed in hardcover.
If you’re looking for a Miss Marple cozy Hail Storme isn’t that. If you like bristling action, laugh out loud humor and if you like your heroes tough and larger-than-life than look no further. Storme and Easton are all that and more.
My good friend and colleague, Ace Atkins (Spenser and Quinn Colson) calls Wyatt Storme “one of my all-time favorite series characters, up there with Spenser and Dave Robicheaux”. The Library Journal calls him “an undeniable treat”.
I call Storme my friend I like to visit and a fun character to write about. I have no doubt you will find him the same.
Hail Storme (Brash Books, May 2015)