Mulberry (The Organization, Book 2) by SJ Sprague

‘MulberMulberry_WEB.smry’ 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.

RussellCounty_WEB_FINAL_sm2Samantha 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!

Mulberry_WEB.smThe paperback edition for Mulberry is now available on Amazon.com, the paperback edition is currently $13.29 and the Kindle version is $5.11. Also available on Amazon.co.uk , the paperback version is currently £9.39 and the Kindle version is £3.38!

RussellCounty_WEB_FINAL_sm2You can also purchase the paperback or Kindle edition of A Presence in Russell County on Amazon.com ($10.74 for paperback and $4.73 for the Kindle edition) and Amazon.co.uk (£7.45 for paperback and £3.18 for the Kindle edition). Prices correct at the time of posting this review.

All prices are correct at the time of publishing this post, however they are subject to change.

JESSE BUTTERFLY: THE ORGANIZATION BOOK 3 COMING SOON!!

If you would like to contact SJ Sprague you can e-mail the author at sjsprague01@gmail.com.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

A Presence in Russell County (The Organization #1) by SJ Sprague

16150880[1]After reading many paranormal novels, I decided to take a break and read another of my favourite genres. ‘A Presence in Russell County’ is a crime thriller that is generally a full and interesting novel that is easy to read and has a nice collection of characters. As I wasn’t sure what to read I chose this book for the title and because the description of the story sounded like it was just right up my street. I love crime thrillers and this appealed to me as after watching programmes such as ‘The Shield’ and ‘The Unit’ this book combines the two for me. It’s almost like sending in the ‘The Unit’ guys to crack down on the Strike Team from ‘The Shield’, with an extra twist of the Organization.

The police are corrupt. Stealing, drug running and murder are only some of their crimes. And after being harrassed by one of them in particular, Samantha Biggers opens up to a man that she has only knew online but for a couple of years. He happens to be ex-military and when times become more intense for Sam she leans on him for support. As he realises the extent of the corruption surrounding the police in Russell County with the help of the Organization, of which he is part of, they begin to obtain as much evidence as they can against the police.

The Organization is generally unheard of by the public, however if in any way corruption is brought to their attention they seek out the culprits and with evidence, are able to carry out a proper trial in which the defendant could be found guilty and detained very quickly. Without the evidence there is little they can do and if the defendant is found innocent they are free to go. It works almost identical to the system already in place, however it is quick. Within days a defendant could be imprisoned if found guilty. The people that make up The Organization are from all walks of life, however they appear to mostly be retired military.

An interesting character of the book is a journalist, Cap Finch. He becomes involved early on when a policeman is shot and he arrives at the hospital ready to make notes for a story. However, whilst there he begins to find reactions a little strange. There are hardly any police there, the ones that are present are walking down the corridor laughing and joking amongst themselves, not acting in the least bit bothered that one of their fellow officers has been shot and could probably die at any moment. The officers’ wife is sitting alone, waiting for doctors to let her know how her husband is doing – there is no one comforting her. This is unbelievable to Cap Finch.

As the story unfolds Cap Finch finds other odd actions of the police, however his editor has told him he cannot publish these stories. He knows deep down that something isn’t right and as he comes across other stories and people that have been affected he almost falls into the lap of the Organization. Towards the end of the book we are left wondering whether he will go on to work for them and whether he will write a novel based on what he has been a part of. The idea passed through my mind whether this was the case in SJ Sprague. Has the author came across information in which they could not act upon and therefore used it loosely for the novel? Is Cap Finch another side of SJ Sprague?

The whole novel was quite exciting. When it comes to Sam’s lovelife however, I was a little confused towards the end. After becoming a widow she had been online with John Hollingsworth and over two years she had a very close on-line relationship. This seemed to grow naturally and when meeting him in person and becoming more intimate with him I thought that it was happily ever after for them. However, the last few chapters see her engage a little more with Crogan, John’s closest friend. I’m not quite sure what the reader is to make of this.

Also, during the last few chapters I felt that the story was a little rushed. The trial seemed to end abruptly. I was reading intensely and then the following chapter moved on completely and I wondered whether I’d missed something out. I was a little disappointed about this. However, the story and characters in general were really good. If it wasn’t for the ending I would have given this book five stars. I will be reading the following novels and I am hoping the series goes from strength to strength.

I apologise now for a scatty review. This novel is one I would have loved to have read in one go. However, other priorities came up and therefore I read this book very sporadically. I am hoping to read the sequels much more quickly than this. I cannot wait to read ‘Mulberry: The Organization Book 2’. If you would like to contact SJ Sprague you can e-mail the author at sjsprague01@gmail.com.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker