‘Mulberry’ is the second book of this great crime thrilling series, ‘The Organization’, by SJ Sprague. The Organization series deals with corrupt law enforcement officers who take part in drugs and gun crime, which often involves beatings, murders and cover ups. However, justice can be done and done quickly if The Organization have anything to do with it as long as they have enough evidence. The corrupt officers will do anything to cover their tracks and in ‘Mulberry’ the reader is given a great example of this when they beat Davin Presser, making him comatose.
Mulberry begins with an excellent prologue of an ex-police informant, Sterling Greaves, who had become aware of some officers’ activities – in particular the drug running – and had reported his findings, along with some evidence to the police force. Yet, nothing was done and it left Sterling running for his life, living in the woods for three years, to prevent the dirty cops from killing him. The twist that Sterling has on these cops is the evidence that he has collected and buried in the woods, until he has a chance to use it. He reaches out to Samantha Biggers, an ‘angel’ in Sterling’s mind, who is now a member of The Organization.
Samantha Biggers, a widow and previous victim of corrupt police (check out A Presence in Russell County, The Organization Book 1), has now joined The Organization, moving to Holcomb County to be near her trainers, John Hollingsworth and Stuart Crogan. And nothing is better for Sam’s training than a case she can be involved in as soon as she moves to Holcomb.
Unknown to the culprits of Davin’s beating his six year old son, Kale, witnessed the terrible attack. However, it affected Kale to the point where he began to behave in an infantile manner. He began to crawl and became mute. His only way of communicating is by drawing the same picture repeatedly and with the same colour. Will Sam be able to decipher the meaning of these drawings?
Although Mulberry is first and foremost a crime thriller it probably offers the same amount of romance as it does crime, with Crogan’s growing relationship with his chess playing friend and trainee, Sam. It certainly clarifies the reader’s confusion from the last novel in regards to Sam’s lovelife, where the reader at one point believed that Sam and John were to be happy ever after. I think that Mulberry is definitely Crogan’s book as he steals the show for me. I love how he does everything he can to ascertain Sam’s safety and the way how when she isn’t with him he’s thinking of her, and yet he still allows her space for herself. He respects her opinion and treats her as an equal when it comes to The Organization’s work. Crogan is also caring when it comes to his long-term friend, John. He does worry about the relationship he has with Sam and how it could affect John. Crogan is just a really nice guy.
John’s character has the reader sympathising for him in parts as Sam, or ‘Brit’ as he always called her, is romantically quite distanced from him, however at times he does become a little too creepy for me as he is a little persistent and leaves certain messages on Sam’s answerphone that are a little too personal. Maybe Sam is to blame a little though, as she wasn’t altogether clear that their relationship had ended and thus leaving John a little lost and possibly half expecting her to be closer to him seeing as she moved to Holcomb. I don’t dislike John as it has been clear that John is a very strong member of The Organization and he knows how to get things done. The fact that he had an injury whilst serving as a soldier and is now in a wheelchair certainly doesn’t hold him back when it comes to taking down a band of criminal cops. I love his decisiveness and direct manner.
Whilst reading the first novel, A Presence in Russell County, I found that it ended abruptly, however Mulberry ends at a perfect pace and leaving the reader fully aware of where the characters stand and where they are possibly headed. This novel is definitely a five star! My only disappointment was that I missed the character Cap Finch from the first novel and I was hoping for a mention of him as I really like his involvement with the case in Russell County. I always tend to go for the supporting characters and in some cases they don’t reappear in the sequels!
SJ Sprague writes Mulberry really well, making it clear to the reader that the characters have a history from book 1 and have now, especially in Samantha Bigger’s case, made a fresh start with her move, her job and in her lovelife. Therefore, Mulberry could be read as a stand alone. Although I strongly recommend for you to read A Presence in Russell County before this novel as it is fantastic, introducing the characters really well and providing the reader with their background!
You can also purchase the paperback or Kindle edition of A Presence in Russell County on Amazon.com ($10.79 for paperback and $4.81 for the Kindle edition) and Amazon.co.uk (£7.49 for paperback and £3.18 for the Kindle edition). Prices correct at the time of posting this review.
JESSE BUTTERFLY: THE ORGANIZATION BOOK 3 COMING SOON!!
If you would like to contact SJ Sprague you can e-mail the author at email@example.com.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker