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5/5 ⭐ | Blaze In, Blaze Out by Joseph Lewis

When you look at author Joseph Lewis’ author photo you see a man with close cropped, salt and pepper hair. You see a man that after 47 years of serving others as a teacher, coach, counselor, and school administrator is finally enjoying retirement. When you crack open the spines of his books though, you see a man that has done an extraordinary amount of research understanding the ins and outs of law enforcement, the hobbies of each of his characters, and the nuances to criminal enterprises and psyches.

“Blaze In, Blaze Out” is named for the Wisconsin hunting law that requires hunters have at least 50% of their outer clothing be blaze orange as they enter and exit, hunters must be sure to blaze in and blaze out so other hunters do not mistake them for targets. This title is fitting as this read revolves around a northern Wisconsin hunting trip Brett, George, Brian, and Michael take with two family friends that also happen to be members of law enforcement, Graff and O’Connor.

Fresh off an undercover case, O’Connor is looking forward to this hunting trip. A time to relax and enjoy the boys’ company while taking in the peaceful escape of nature. However, what he didn’t anticipate was a contract out on his head. Work seems to have followed him and now he may have placed more people in danger. Once again, Lewis crafts a work of art, from the characters to the criminals within, each piece of this book is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Similarly to his other books, Lewis’ novels all read as standalones. But when read together these books all lend to an enjoyable puzzle coming together. The threats and the criminals are always new throughout each, but the family and friends within build and remain from book to book.

“Blaze In, Blaze Out” is a well laid out and thorough read. Continuing to show his understanding of the world at large and maintaining the realism of his writing, Lewis inserts the underlying racism present towards the native Navajo Evans brothers. This supporting theme and series of events serves to ground the reader to the sadly real experiences faced every day by minorities in the Midwest and across the United States. As law enforcement unravels the pieces, Lewis makes readers feel a part of the diligent effort to remain vigilant to anyone out of place, going so far as to provide us clues to watch for like a limp from new hunting boots and a city demeanor that may belong to the man potentially hunting them. The reader begins to feel they are right there amongst the trees, water, and buzz of nature watching the boys’ back. What another phenomenal read in Lewis’ arsenal of thrills and suspense.

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