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.
About the author
A.J. Devlin grew up in Greater Vancouver before moving to Southern California where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from Chapman University and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute. After
A.J. Devlin grew up in Greater Vancouver before moving to Southern California where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from Chapman University and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute. After working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he moved back home to Port Moody, BC, where he now lives with his wife and two children. Cobra Clutch, the first book in the “Hammerhead” Jed mystery series, was released in April 2018 and was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery and won the 2019 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel. The follow-up, Rolling Thunder, will be released in Spring 2020. For more information on Devlin and his books, please visit www.ajdevlin.com.
Excerpt: Rolling Thunder (by (author) A.J. Devlin)
"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.
Praise for Rolling Thunder:
"Devlin's comic caper has a goofy charm and action aplenty."
"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."
~Lesa Holstine, Library Journal
"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."
~ Mystery Tribune
"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."
~ The New York Times bestselling author Andrew Shaffer
"Rolling Thunderhas everything! Action, humour, mystery, and most importantly pro wrestling. I'm totally invested. Can't wait for the next one!"
~ Cat Power, pro wrestler and former ECCW Women's Champion
"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!"
~ Jeanne "Hollywood" Basone, the first G.L.O.W. girl hired by creator David McLane
"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."
~ Jenna Hauck -- aka Hydro-Jenna Bomb -- Former Terminal City Rollergirls skater / Multimedia Journalist with the Chilliwack Progress
"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."
~ Bob Harris, writer, promoter, and archivist of pro wrestling vintage memorabilia
"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."
~ Niall Howell, author of Only Pretty Damned