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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review: Loose Gravel by David P. Holmes

TITLE: Loose Gravel 
PUBLISHER:  North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
FORMAT: Softcover, 239 pages
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
ISBN: 9780878395545
Welcome to the dark world of Harold Bruntz, a thirty-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force. Detective Bruntz is tenacious about bringing justice to the streets he works. His methods of exacting righteousness can be brutal, illegal, unethical, and quite often deadly.

He is overweight, a drunken slob, and has no hygienic values. Up to now, the only thing he cared about was cheap whiskey, cheap cigars, and his cheap woman. This case will overturn Harold's sordid life, adding one element he was not prepared for.

In Loose Gravel, Harold confronts the most evil and sinister product of the devil's loins, Leonid Cherasky, a sadistic Russian underworld mob boss. Bodies are piling up around Bruntz, and Cherasky must be taken down before there can be closure on the mess. Dealing with a psychotic killer, a mother and daughter bent on destroying each other, and dirty politics in the squad room, Harold puts his own life on the line for a woman who wants nothing to do with him.


I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.   

Detective Harold Bruntz is his own worst enemy. After the death of his daughter and the subsequent break-up of his marriage, he has punished himself by becoming slovenly. He has become obese, and his hygiene habits are sorely lacking. He lives in a small run-down apartment, which is just as unkempt and untidy as he is! His only friend and sometimes playmate is a prostitute who also lives in the building.

Even though he has a solid reputation as a police officer, no one can stand being partnered with him. The Captain pairs him up with another misfit, Yolanda “Yo-yo” Brown, with the warning that they will both be fired if they can’t work together. Yo-yo used to work as an undercover prostitute and enjoyed her work a little too much! The two of them are an odd pair, but they make it work.

Loose Gravel starts off with a bang when a couple having some outdoor adult fun in the backyard leads to a crime scene. Both are shot while engaged in the act, and the man dies at the scene. When Bruntz is called to investigate the crime scene and question the surviving victim, he becomes obsessed with her. One crime leads to another which leads to another, and the Russian Mafia becomes entangled in the crimes. Bruntz has to keep one step ahead of the perpetrator to keep him from coming back to finish the job. When the killer attacks someone close to Bruntz, it becomes personal and he is bent on revenge.

I loved Bruntz, flaws and all! He is a great hero whose emotional baggage is so overbearing that one can’t help but feel a little sad for him. He has made mistakes, and he is paying for them every day because no one is harder on him than himself. Because of what happened, there is no room in his heart to let anyone in but he makes a couple of exceptions. He genuinely cares for the ones that he allows to get close to him.

The book is liberally sprinkled with crime scenes and sexual situations, and I found myself engaged in this dark and gritty tale that is fraught with corruption. However, some things that happened were so utterly over the top that it ruined the believability aspect of the story for me. It felt as though some elements were added to the story for mere shock value. Overall, I did enjoy the book but probably would have enjoyed it more if some of the outrageousness was toned down a little.



  1. Good review, I'm not sure if I'll go for it because there were books in the past for me that my interest faltered to see through the end due to grittiness and perhaps the despondency I was getting from the story. I guess I'm one of those types that need to see a bright ray of hope every now and then when I'm reading. :D

    1. Thanks, Raine. It is a bit of a dark and twisted tale. There are glimmers of hope and redemption, so it's not all bad!


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