Tuesday, December 2, 2014

To Hell and Gone in Texas / Russ Hall

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

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The author of numerous books, from mystery to westerns and nonfiction to poetry, Russ Hall is an award-winning author who currently lives in Austin.

For more, visit Hall’s website.


“Trouble big as all hell.

Retired sheriff’s detective Al Quinn hasn’t spoken to his brother, Maury, in twenty years. When Maury lands in the hospital under suspicious circumstances, though, Al reluctantly abandons his quiet country seclusion to look into the matter. A second attempt to take Maury out drives the brothers back to Al’s lakeside home, where Al knows the territory, but they’re not alone for long. ICE agents demand that Maury rat on his silent partner, city cop Fergie Jergens comes investigating the murders of Maury’s lady friends, and someone takes a match to Al’s house.

Al soon learns his problems are only getting started—his brother’s in trouble on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Caught in a ruthless power struggle between the ICE and Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican mafia bent on ascendancy, Al learns the hard way who he can trust—and who’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

With everything he loves on the line, Al will find out just how far he’ll go to 
protect his own.”


To Hell and Gone in Texas is a mystery that often reads like a police procedural (to be expected with a retired sheriff’s detective as the protagonist), yet it has much more going on. It’s a thriller, with several intense scenes where the good guys aren’t sure they’ll make it through (this sure isn’t a cozy mystery). There’s a hint of romance and it’s even spiked with a touch of humor, as in this line near the beginning when the protagonist, Al Quinn, is learning why Maury, his estranged brother, is in the hospital:

“Well, the lab tests suggest he’d taken the equivalent of three Viagra tablets. Why do you suppose he’d do that?” “Ambitious?”

But what makes To Hell and Gone in Texas unique from a typical book in this genre neighborhood is the secondary storyline about the relationship (or lack thereof) between Al and Maury. We slowly learn what caused their falling out and, to use a cliché, things aren’t always quite what they seem. An intense and entertaining read.


Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

Although the version I read was an advance reader copy and I can’t judge the final product in this area, I found no significant issues in the review version.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

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