Review: TRADE SECRETS by Ray Garton

I was first introduced to Ray Garton when I became a member of the Leisure Horror Book Club. The first two books I received were Bryan Smith’s THE FREAKSHOW, and Ray Garton’s NIGHT LIFE. I put them on a book shelf, knowing I would return to them at a later date, I was reading a lot of Richard Laymon and Bentley Little at the time, so I decided to save them when I took a break from those others. See, when I discover an author I’m not familiar with, I read a lot of their books in one large cluster, and then move on to something else, coming back to said author and reading two or three in a row again. It’s how I do it, I’m not sure if that’s odd or what, but that’s just how I roll.

Anyway, flash forward a couple years. My family and I moved to a new a house, and I had the dreadful task of packing/unpacking all of my books. While going through them and putting them in order by author, I realized that I had four Garton books that I hadn’t even read yet. So, I decided to read NIGHT LIFE, finally. I was hooked instantly, but knew right away it was a sequel to a book he’d written back in the eighties. Finally, after a crucial character was killed, I closed the book and said I have to go read LIVE GIRLS before I move any farther. And, I did.

I haven’t stopped reading Ray Garton books since. This brings me to my review of TRADE SECRETS.
Amazon’s plot rundown:
One rainy night, Gerry Brady discovers a beautiful woman with heartbreaking eyes hiding in his garage. The moment he sees her, he is struck by an involuntary thought he does not understand: I've found you. She is a woman in danger. He does not understand why he feels so powerfully drawn to her, but he feels compelled to help her, even though doing so puts his life and the lives of his friends in jeopardy. Gerry's relationship with Kendra draws him into a conspiracy too horrifying to believe...a conspiracy rooted in his own past. As he falls in love with a woman he doesn't know, he learns more about himself than he ever suspected. TRADE SECRETS is a riveting, emotional thriller that features the most memorable and terrifying villain Ray Garton has ever created.

The last line of that synopsis couldn’t be any truer than that. Ms. Macomber is an awfully evil minx that makes Annie from Misery look like Betty Crocker. Seriously, I wanted Macomber to die horribly reading this book. What she does to an innocent family is atrocious, and Garton doesn’t pull any punches when writing it. Some people might be turned off by this, but I found it brilliant that he was able to take something so disturbing, but write it in such a way that you want more…you NEED more.

Now, don’t be confused, this is NOT a horror novel, but it is full of horrific moments. I haven’t read a book that fast in a long time. I was actually becoming worried that I was getting burnt out on reading books until I began reading Ray Garton’s novels.

If you’ve never read Garton, start with this one, then choose from the myriad of novels he has. I believe he’s published sixty, maybe more, so you have plenty to choose from. I look forward to reading his entire library. I’m hooked.

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