Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gunn

Red Man Down by Elizabeth Gunn

Red Man DownRed Man Down by Elizabeth Gunn is the fifth book in the “Sarah Burke” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, May 2014

Sarah Burke’s Saturday off is interrupted when she is called to a shooting – a rookie cop has been involved in a shootout with a criminal stealing copper wire from a warehouse. When the criminal in question turns out to be ex-cop and Red Man Ed Lacey, Sarah is shocked. The evidence suggests he wanted the cop to shoot him. But why?

Sarah and her team delve into Ed’s life, and soon decide to re-open an investigation into three deaths. The more they investigate, the more obstacles they encounter – particularly from the family, who quickly close ranks. What are they hiding?

This was a very enjoyable drama where Sarah and her team work a case that involves the death of a police officer and once that can of worms is opened, this investigation take an unusual turn. Someone is hiding something which leads to more death and it’s the painstakingly story that keeps my attention that I couldn’t stop reading until I knew who was behind these deaths. The author did a great job in telling this story and putting me right in the middle of all the action with Sarah and her guys. Everyone is back and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.

Meet Sarah Burke and Jake Hines by Elizabeth Gunn

Red Man DownA lifer in the innkeeping trade who got a chance to indulge her taste for adventure after the kids were grown, Elizabeth Gunn has been a liveaboard sailor, SCUBA diver and explorer through North America, Mexico and Europe. After a second career in travel writing, she settled in Tucson, and now writes two police procedural series.

In Tucson, her police detective is Sarah Burke, divorced, ambitious, hard-working, trying to stretch her days to include the job she loves and her cobbled-together family—a niece and mother with special needs and a laconic night detective who’s quietly devoted.

Thinking about the first time she met the Red Man, Sarah felt the wind grow colder.

The man in the red padded suit looked at her with his face showing nothing through the mask and said, “You’re in a fight for your life now, you understand?” When she nodded, smiling, a little cocky, he hit her in the face.

It wasn’t just a little tap; it hurt like hell. And the force of it knocked her down. Lying on the floor at his feet, she felt her confidence drain away like water down a sink drain. It was all she could do to get up, and as soon as she was back on her feet he hit her again. The merciless man with the toneless voice landed two more solid punches and a hard shove before she suppressed enough of the fear to look for some way to get at this monster, who was plainly bent on taking away the career she’d set her heart on.

The other thing she hadn’t known much about till that morning was rage. She learned a great deal about it in the next five minutes. Red hot rage flooded her brain and helped her go on fighting till she landed a couple of well-placed kicks she’d learned in Tai Kwon Do. They were good enough to earn a welcome grunt of surprise and appreciation from the Red Man, who quit pummeling her and said, “That’s more like it. Now let me show you what you missed at the beginning…”


In Minnesota, the protagonist is Jake Hines
Eleven little piggesI was brought into the world one crisp October evening, late in the twentieth century, by a janitor who fished me out of a motel Dumpster in Red Wing, Minnesota. I was probably a couple of hours old, naked in a stiff breeze off the Mississippi and almost too cold to cry.

Smart money, if there had been any around, would not have bet on a bright future for this shriveled brown-skinned castoff with the puzzling face. But I caught a few lucky breaks—the Minnesota welfare system kept me from starving, and I was helped along the way by a great caregiver and a couple of talented teachers. So now, in my late thirties, contrary to reasonable expectations I’m not in jail or living under a bridge. In fact I’m a husband and father, with all the markers—the mortgage, the car seat, the worried frown from always being late. My name is Jake Hines, and I’m a cop.

You can read more about Sarah in Red Man Down, the fifth book in the “Sarah Burke” mystery series, published by Severn House. The first book in the series is Cool in Tucson. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on May 5, and you will be entered for a chance to win a Kindle version of COOL IN TUCSON. One winner will be chosen at random.

Meet the author
A one-time innkeeper with a taste for adventure, Elizabeth Gunn has been a private pilot, a sky diver, a SCUBA diver, and a liveabord sailor. Extensive travel in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe led to a second career as a freelance travel writer, during which she also began writing a series of police procedural mysteries set in southeast Minnesota, where she grew up. Her books contrast the sometimes gritty routine of police work with the idyllic rural scenes around a mid-sized city in the midwest.

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The Magic Line by Elizabeth Gunn

The Magic Line by Elizabeth Gunn is the fourth book in the “Sarah Burke” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, March 2012

On a hot afternoon in Tucson, Arizona, Detective Sarah Burke arrives at the scene of a mass shoot-out: a home invasion has gone badly wrong and five men are dead. Or so it first seems. In a bout of trickery to rival Houdini, ‘dead’ gang leader Robin Brady escapes.

Zebulon Butts wasn’t exactly sure what he was getting himself into when he agreed to be involved in Robin’s latest ‘job’ to invade the stash house, but he sure as hell needed the money. Fleeing the scene as things get heavy and on the run from the police, help comes his way from an unexpected source.

But as her team hunt down the surviving leads, Sarah Burke isn’t the only one on Zebulon’s tail.

Sarah and her team can’t catch a break, especially with the capture of an escapee and a runaway thief, who’s hiding in plain sight. As she deals with this, her family affairs continues to be on her mind. I enjoy reading about Sarah and watching the steps she takes to close out her case and also the role her family dynamics plays in her day-to-day life. This is good read and I look forward to the next encounter with Detective Sarah Burke in this terrific series.

Kissing Arizona by Elizabeth Gunn

Kissing Arizona by Elizabeth Gunn is the third book in the “Sarah Burke” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, February 2011

As Sarah Burke and her crew of police detectives investigate an apparent murder-suicide in a well-known family of local merchants, their façade of diligent respectability explodes in a burst of violence that rips the cover off long-concealed family secrets.

Then, in a second case, the many tragedies of illegal immigration area confronted as border crossers, drug smugglers, federal agents and local cops all fight for turf and answers in a beautiful valley that’s been loved and fought over for centuries.

Sarah, struggling to succeed in her tough job and protect her family through illness and recession, must also find time for her troubled lover and damaged niece if she is to keep the family together.

Sarah gets involved in two cases and works non-stop to solve them. Her home life is hectic as well, with raising her niece and finding time for her boyfriend. When her mother becomes ill, she relies heavily on her boyfriend and her niece, until a solution that works for all. This was a very enjoyable story and I hope to see more of Sarah.

The Ten-Mile Trials by Elizabeth Gunn

The Ten-Mile Trials by Elizabeth Gunn is the 9th book in the “Jake Hines” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House, February 2010

When a dead man is discovered in a suburban house that is being used as a drugs lab, and Captain Jake Hines pulls in all his detectives to investigate. The victim carried no identification but the discovery of a small Mass card written in the Cyrillic alphabet hidden in his jacket gives Jake an important lead—could this be connected to a ruthless Eastern European gang that has started operating in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, a rash of burglaries are hitting the city and the way they are staged indicates that the perpetrators are new in town. Jake must work fast if he is going to track down the gang responsible, however, economic cutbacks are hitting the squad hard and the detectives have their work cut out for them.

This was a good mystery and I love the tone and the characterization of this story. I also liked seeing Jake handle the responsibilities of his job while dealing with the pressure of being a first-time father. My rating: 3 stars

New River Blues by Elizabeth Gunn

New River Blues by Elizabeth Gunn is the second book in the “Sarah Burke” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, May 2009

Tucson Police detective Sarah Burke is called in to investigate a horrific double murder in a high-dollar neighborhood.  The tragic destiny of a rich and troubled family unfolds against the backdrop of the imploding construction industry and the politics of downtown reconstruction.

Meanwhile, Sarah’s household bulges at the seams, as her niece, her mother and her boyfriend – vivid personalities all – search for accommodation in her small spaces and crowded schedule, and her sister, as usual, does nothing to make things easier.

This was a very enjoyable mystery. 

Cool in Tucson by Elizabeth Gunn

Cool in Tucson by Elizabeth Gunn is the first book in the new “Sarah Burke” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, September 2008

Tucson police detective Sarah Burke, smart and ambitious, worries that Sergeant Delaney, her superior on the homicide squad, seems to have a grudge against her. Still smarting from a painful divorce, she puts personal concerns aside to concentrate on a body found in a parking lot. The case takes a bizarre turn when Sarah’s young niece, Denny, neglected by her substance-abusing mother and struggling to stay in school, disappears. The search is complicated by interference from the drug ring that the suspected murderer’s been working for, and Sarah’s growing romantic interest in a troubled colleague rebuilding his life after injury.

I liked it so much that I couldn’t stop reading it from the first word to the last sentence.  

*new-to-me author