Dead Certain by Forrest Barriger (Mystery)

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Rachel Olivier (
4 Stars
Dead Certain, by Forrest Barriger, follows the travels of treasure hunter and private investigator Burke Thomas (an assumed name, his real name left behind in a colorful distant past). In this story, he gets involved in what he thinks is a cult rescue and recovery operation but soon turns into a labyrinthine plot including mining, land rights, old treasure, idealist aims, and of course, lots of money. The seemingly insurmountable problems faced by our hero are often solved in true heroic fashion by a combination of manly brawn and hard won, intelligent fact searching and puzzling. In the end, all the characters get what is truly coming to them.

Told in the first person, Barriger’s story paints a picture of a tough Southwest character who likes to solve puzzles. On the one hand, his first love is in treasure hunting, searching out sometimes centuries old facts to track down old booty. On the other hand, he often gets paid to use these same skills to solve mysteries for people. It felt like a cross between Tony Hillerman and old J.A. Jance. Other than a few stumbling blocks such as typos and a couple of descriptions that were just a tad unwieldy, this was a very enjoyable read.
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Rita Hestand for Romancing the Web Reviews (
Rating: ***** 5 STARS

When you begin reading Dead Certain you know it's different. Not because it is written in First person exactly, but because you get an immediate no holes barred picture. The author drags you into the scene with Burke Thomas immediately. Dead Certain is told through the eyes of Burke Thomas a private investigator. Contrary to what you might think this is no ordinary private eye story. Instead it's overall tone gives you a feeling of immediacy that doesn't leave you till the crime is solved.

What's really a clincher is that you think it's over, and it's not. You think you know the answers and you don't.

Dead Certain will keep you on your toes to the very end with one escapade after another, and it's charming first person tone that keeps you turning those pages for another mystery and another laugh. Dead Certain is full of dry humor, which I dearly love. This book has everything to entertain you. A little romance, a lot of humor, and more double crosses than you can keep up with. I enjoyed it no end and didn't put it down till I was through.

It's the ordinary guy solving the craziest swindles in the most precarious ways that keeps you glued to the book. Burke Thomas may not be Magnum PI but he can totally immerse you in suspense and make you want to help him solve it all because you feel as though you know the guy and you are right there with him. He's Magnum, Charlie Chan and Mickey Spillane all rolled into one gigantic man that knows the ropes better than Perry Mason. I can't say enough good things about this mystery. It had little romance (between Merrilee and Burke) but it had plenty of action, crazy stunts, and wild moments that were just plain funny. I highly recommend this mystery, to one and all. It's not a run of the mill book by far. The author, Forrest Barriger knows exactly how to tell a tale with facts and details that oddly enough make you wonder how. It's gritty, ingenious and fabulously entertaining! And you'll have to read it to understand why!
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