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About this book
Former pro wrestler "Hammerhead" Jed Ounstead, now a fully-fledged private investigator, is riding high after his first successful case. In this second episode, Jed leaves the wrestling realm to enter a new arena: women's flat-track roller derby. When old acquaintance Stormy Daze seeks his help finding her team's missing coach, Jed discovers that the turnbuckle-and-metal-chair mayhem of the wrestling ring pales in comparison to roller derby's four-wheeled ferocity.
As his search intensifies, Jed is drawn into the criminal orbit of a shady entrepreneur who doubles as a late-night TV personality, a high-class bookmaker with a yen for racing dachshunds, and a kinky painter with a special technique for producing art. When the thunder rolls, Jed finds he needs more than a few of his beloved banana milkshakes to solve this case.
Rolling Thunder continues A.J. Devlin's hard-hitting, award-winning mystery series with its unbeatable one-two punch of over-the-top-rope humour and elbow-to-the-face adventure.
- Interview on CBC The Next Chapter
- Interview with the Port Moody Public Library
- Interview in the Vancouver Sun
- Interview on Do Some Damage
- Interview in Punk Noir Magazine
- Interview on the What's It About Podcast
- Interview with Lesa's Book Critiques
- Interview on The Poisoned Pen Bookstore
EXCERPT FROM ROLLING THUNDER:
“Do you have a picture of Lawrence?” I asked Stormy. She pulled out a black-and-white booklet and a pen from her back pocket.
“This is the program from our last game. It has pictures of Lawrence and the team and all of our bios inside. I glanced at the cover illustration of an anthropomorphic taco and a buff babe, both grappling one another while on roller skates. The large retro font read: TACO KICKERS VS. SPLIT-LIP SALLIES and underneath the date, venue, ticket pricing, team website, and Facebook page were all listed.
“Please tell me your team isn’t the ‘Taco Kickers,’” I pleaded.
Stormy giggled softly. I had forgotten how silky smooth her laugh was.
“We are not,” she said.
“All right. I think I have enough to get started.”
I checked the rates on your website and I have a cheque in my purse for the retainer,” she said. “Just hold on a second while I go to the locker room.”
“Don’t worry about that now. Besides, you’re an old friend, so that means I’ll charge you the friends-and-family rate our agency offers. Let’s see what I can dig up first before we talk payment.”
Stormy seemed relieved.
“Thank you, Jed. It took a lot for me to convince the entire team to go in on a private detective.”
“How long has Lawrence been missing?”
“The last any of the girls heard from him was a week ago. He sent out an email to the team and since then no one has been able to get a hold of him. All calls go straight to voicemail.”
“Do you have his phone number?”
Stormy plucked the program out of my hand and scribbled on the booklet.
“That’s Lawrence’s cell. I wrote mine down too,” she said coyly. “Call or text me anytime. And if you could keep me updated as much as possible, I would really appreciate it. The girls and I are starting to get really worried.”
I nodded and folded the program in my hands. Before I could say goodbye Stormy slowly rolled forward, cocked her head to the side, and gave me a soft, seconds-long kiss on the cheek. The rest of the Split-Lip Sallies wooed loudly from the track.“I really appreciate this, Jed,” she said, before spinning around and skating off toward her teammates. I turned and headed for the exit before my face flushed more red than the lipstick lingering on my cheek.
“Professional wrestler-turned-PI ‘Hammerhead’ Jed is back, and not a moment too soon—trouble is brewing in the Greater Vancouver area on the roller derby circuit. Rolling Thunder is sheer fun. The dialogue is snappy, the action fast-paced. A.J. Devlin is the Canadian Carl Hiaasen. In fact, America will trade you Carl Hiaasen for him. I feel that strongly about this kid’s future.”
“A.J. Devlin’s latest crime novel packs a punch with nonstop action! His witty, entertaining style hooked me quicker than a figure-4 leglock and pinned me to the pages.
“‘Hammerhead’ Jed’s colourful stable of heels and babyfaces create a suspenseful, romantic, comedic vice. Very entertaining! His rock-star persona makes him the ultimate chick magnet. His story takes me back to my four seasons at The Riviera hotel in Las Vegas with the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling and the words of my trainer, the legendary pro wrestler Mondo Guerrero, come to mind—‘No guts, no glory.’
“Rolling Thunder is a must read for everyone who is a fan of sports, wrestling, suspense … or all three!”
"Rolling Thunder has everything! Action, humour, mystery, and most importantly pro wrestling. I’m totally invested. Can’t wait for the next one!"
“Award-winning author A.J. Devlin hip-checks the reader from one captivating clue to the next in this gripping crime novel. Rolling Thunder is a laugh-out-loud mystery with unique and hilarious characters, and a realistic peek at the hard-hitting, counter-culture sport of women’s roller derby.”
“A.J. Devlin scores again as he sends ‘Hammerhead’ Jed on another no-holds-barred romp through the dark underbelly of Metro Vancouver. Brilliantly done.”
"A clever braiding of suspense and comedy, wildly memorable characters, and main-event-worthy plot, Rolling Thunder has cemented Devlin's unique niche in the realm of crime fiction. This book was made to be devoured.”
"Devlin’s comic caper has a goofy charm and action aplenty." full review
"The follow-up to the Arthur Ellis Award–winning Cobra Clutch is another action-packed violent mystery.... readers of the first book will enjoy the humor and outrageous antics." full review
"Rolling Thunder, with its captivating and twisty plot and hilarious characters, is a great pick for fans of private eye novels and readers of novels by Sam Wiebe, Carl Hiassen, and Janet Evanovich." full review, 4/5 stars
"Jed is growing as a person and as a character. His horizons are broadening, he takes his mistakes to heart and tries to learn from them, and he genuinely wants to help people. The general decency of the guy makes you root for him, both inside and outside of the ring." full review
"The “Hammerhead” Jed series is rolling right along. There is a wonderful flow to the book that drew me swiftly through the pages. I enjoy being with Jed on his adventures." full review
"Strap on your knee pads and buckle your helmet; it’s about to get physical." full review
"It’s the kind of book we need right now." full review
"Funny, smart, readable ... Devlin takes his cues from the likes of Carl Hiaasen and builds the suspense along with the craziness. Welcome back, Hammerhead Jed and company." full review
"Rolling Thunder is a wildly entertaining story, skillfully crafted by A.J. Devlin, with equal parts humour, suspense and action. Buckle up and prepare for a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, with unforgettable characters, extraordinary settings and pure, unadulterated fun."
"Rolling Thunder is wonderful escapist crime fiction. It snakes along like a roller derby skater, and you never quite know who Jed is going to run into next – or whether he’ll slip through to the next stage of his adventure or end up bouncing on his backside." full review
"Yeah, this one has everything I love about the genre. Action, laughs, attractive women, mystery. This one proves the first novel (Cobra Clutch) was not a one hit wonder. Can't wait for the third book." full review
"It's just so much fun, action-packed and non-stop. If you're looking for a fun, violent mystery, check it out." full review
"Get yourself ready for another entertaining read with the second “Hammerhead” Jed Mystery. It’s the kind of book we need right now." full review
"I wrote that A.J. Devlin’s Cobra Clutch was 'intense and cinematic.' Rolling Thunder promises more of the same, sending pro wrestler/private eye Hammerhead Jed into the world of female roller derby. Cobra Clutch won the Arthur Award for Best First Novel, and this looks to continue the roll."
"Rolling Thunder features plenty of action, humor, genuine mystery, wiener dogs, gym rats, bunny puns, greasy talk show hosts, and Shakira, and balances it all with precision. It never relies on being offensive to give you a sense of a dangerous seedy underworld, instead sucker-punching the reader when something unexpected happens so the reader feels off-balance along with the character." full review
"Rolling Thunder hits all the marks for a PI thriller. Thoroughly recommended. 5 stars." full review
"Devlin utilizes a gut-punch at the end of each chapter. He does this deliciously, so that every chapter starts with a pit in your stomach followed by a smile on your face for the flavour of what’s to come. Devlin’s work is reminiscent of pulp-fiction — fast-paced thrilling stories with bright covers that are as easy to consume as a DQ banana milkshake, but with a spoonful of modern-day grit." full review
"It’s hard to compare “Hammerhead” Jed Ounstead with other fictional detectives – as I’ve not really come across any characters quite like him. He’s got the smoothness of a Phillip Marlowe, say if Marlowe was an ex-pro wrestler with a quirky set of family members and a penchant for banana milkshakes. Or perhaps he’s more like Lana Lee of the cozy Noodle Shop Mystery novels, who deals with a fair share of family drama herself. If you like either of these, or both as I do, you need to meet Jed." full review and interview