The Jon Cantrell Thriller Trilogy, by Harry Hunsicker


Private military contractors aren’t just for foreign wars anymore. Jon Cantrell, a disgraced ex-cop, works for one such company. He’s a DEA agent paid on a commission basis, patrolling one of the busiest drug-hubs in the country: Dallas, Texas. When Cantrell and his partner and sometimes lover confiscate the wrong shipment of drugs, they find themselves in possession of a star witness in an upcoming cartel trial that could destroy the largest criminal organization in the hemisphere. To turn a profit, all they have to do is safely deliver the witness to the US Attorney on the other side of the state. An easy trip, except the witness doesn’t want to go and a group of competing DEA contractors and a corrupt Dallas police officer want everybody involved dead.


For once, things are going well for former DEA contractor Jon Cantrell. He’s got a real job as a fix-it man for a law firm that specializes in handling government contracts. But when his ex-girlfriend Piper asks him to meet with a high-ranking police official and Cantrell is forced to take an off-the-books assignment to find a missing boy, everything starts to unravel. Not helping the situation is his client, Deputy Chief Raul Delgado, an up-and-coming politico carrying his own tragic burdens he doesn’t like to dwell on. Forty years earlier, a racist cop brutally killed Delgado’s brother. Now, in a weird twist of fate, Delgado works for the very department that altered his life. As Cantrell proceeds, he uncovers a puzzling link between Delgado, the missing boy, and a series of vigilante murders. As the link becomes clearer, Cantrell struggles to stay alive and find the missing child.


A former federal law enforcement contractor with a somewhat spotty record, Jon Cantrell has seen—and done—just about everything. Now he’s a sheriff, keeping the peace in small-town Texas. He thought that he’d finally settled into a quiet, less-complicated life—until his deputy gets himself murdered. Soon Cantrell’s search for the killer points to an online-dating site designed for extramarital affairs and to a woman who may have been the unfortunate deputy’s last date. Meanwhile, someone is staging a series of seemingly random attacks on the regional power grid, and Cantrell is reluctantly pulled back into the federal fray when he accepts an off-the-books assignment to uncover the culprit. With the power company and the feds impatient for an arrest—and clues in his deputy’s case pointing to something more sinister—Cantrell must run parallel, conflicting investigations. But will he find what he’s looking for? Or is he about to take a fall?

These reviews were written as each book was read, and they’re short, so I’m lumping them all together despite the odd wordings that happen they’re read together:

The Contractors: I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure, at first, if I could get into this book. The beginning was a little confusing, switching between time frames and then switching between characters. In the end though, it all made sense and was actually a good way of introducing the characters and what the story was about. Once everything was laid out, the book was easy to follow, and I found it to be a great read with lots of action and suspense. I’m really looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Shadow Boys: I am really enjoying reading the Jon Cantrell novels! The first one took me a little while to get into, but then I didn’t want to put it down. The second one, Shadow Boys, had me hooked from the beginning, because I enjoyed the first so much, and the main characters carry over. In this book, instead of protecting a witness, they are searching for a missing kid. There are all kinds of twists and turns and surprising connections revealed. The characters are all very human with good, bad, and ugly traits. Shadow Boys is a very good read and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in the next book!

The Grid: I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed all three books in the Jon Cantrell series, and I really hope that Harry Hunsicker decides to continue the series! I had a little trouble getting into the first one, but once I did, the rest of that book, as well as the rest of the series just flew by. The two main characters from the first two stories are in this third book, but a lot has happened between them in the space between books. The story itself is full of crazy twists and turns and surprising connections, which seem to be running themes for all of the books and I love it!


Harry Hunsicker, a fourth-generation native of Dallas, Texas, is the former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America. His debut novel, Still River, was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America, and his short story “Iced” was short-listed for a Thriller Award by the International Thriller Writers. Hunsicker lives in Dallas, where he works as a commercial real estate appraiser and occasionally speaks on creative writing. The Grid is his sixth novel, and will be available August 25th.


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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