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John Steele Books In Order

Publication Order of Jackie Shaw Books

Ravenhill (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Seven Skins (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dry River (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Pete and the Pottery Genie (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A History Of Ecclesiastical Proceedings Relative To The Third Presbyterian Church (2011)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

John Steele is an author of thriller and historical fiction books best known for his Jackie Shaw series. He weaves his stories around historical events and spices them up by incorporating elements of thrillers, which makes his writing unique. His Jackie Shaw book series tells the story of a man by the same name leading a complicated life.

Ravenhill

Ravenhill is the first book in Jackie Shaw series by John Steele. We are quickly introduced to Jackie Shaw; a young paramilitary man who can’t stay away from trouble-he’s got a knack for trouble. Besides his main job that involves keeping psychotic Rab Simpson in check, Shaw has an affair with the wife of a gang leader named Billy.

A bomb attack leaves nine people dead and many others injured. Shaw is designated as the getaway driver in a reprisal killing. He isn’t what he seems, but the gang members have no clue about his true nature. While he looks all rough from the outside, Shaw lacks the cold-hearted quality of most killers who feel no remorse for their actions.

After the events following the planned reprisal killing, Shaw mysteriously disappears. He resurfaces 20 years later for his father’s funeral. While the plan is to mourn his father and leave town as soon as possible, Shaw finds himself staying for longer. Some of the figures in his past begin to emerge. These figures do more than remind Shaw of his violent past.

Ravenhill is an action-packed crime fiction debut novel. The book is exceptionally written. It comes with a vivid description of events so readers can travel with the characters on their life journeys and experience some of the tragedies that they encounter. This is a story of community defenders who will do whatever they deem fit and security forces that have a hard time controlling the self-appointed protectors. There is enough action to keep you interested, and the plot, together with the characters, turn this into an excellent read.

This book is split into two timelines, each detailing Jackie Shaw’s complicated life. At the beginning (1993), Shaw is an upcoming member of the Ulster Defense Association. While this is a terrorist organization, it is surprising to discover that Shaw does not want to see anyone hurt. The second timeline features an older and wiser Shaw haunted by his violent past. Unfortunately, when Shaw comes to town to bury his father, his troubled past threatens to catch up with him.

The book details life in Belfast in the wake of sectarian violence and indiscriminate killings by those in power. The fiction based on the Irish conflict comes with historical facts that add a dash of sophistication to the story. The author has done his research, and the historical details included are accurate and merge well with the rest of the story. The transition between the past and the present is flawless, making it easy for readers to follow all the events as they happen as they get a bit informed on history.

Ravenhill features an impressive cast made up of terrorists, law enforcement officers, and innocent bystanders. Jackie is a rounded character with strong beliefs and a fierce drive to seek the truth. His weakness when it comes to hurting people comes as a surprise considering his dark past. This is a perfect thriller if you are looking for something that will get you out of your comfort zone. Discover the world of terrorists and the law enforcement officers who work so hard to keep them in check.

Seven Skins

Seven skins is the second book in Jackie Shaw series. It’s a story of an ex-soldier and undercover agent named Jackie Shaw and his quest to stop a group of assassins from completing their mission.

Seven Skins are the two words scrawled on a list of six names. These people are on an assassin’s hit list, and the killer will use anything from a bomb to a blade to eliminate them all. Jackie Shaw is the only person standing between the people on that list and the assassin. The odds are not on Jackie’s favor. First, he is outnumbered as there are three killers on the agenda determined to kill their victims ruthlessly. It does not help that the security services company he works for has cut him off, leaving him with little if any support. Despite all this, Jackie tales up a task that many would hesitate to.

Following a series of random killings, the GCHQ and MI5 gather that the three assassins made up two vicious professionals, and a young idealist are killing individual ex-police officers. From their investigations, the security forces know that the next target is an ex-police officer living in the capital. The security forces are desperate to find the officer before the assassins get to him, and Jackie is coerced to join the team.

Shaw is conversant with the Northern Ireland history and the violence meted on the people in the past. He is also an experienced agent who can adapt to his environment and infiltrate his enemy. Shaw moves to the capital in a quest to find and protect the ex-police officer. The tension goes a notch higher when a lost abused girl is involved. The girl, running away from brutal traffickers, is desperate for help, and she is fortunate enough to cross Shaw’s path. Now Shaw is ready to tear down the entire town.

This is a fierce and chilling story that will keep you captivated from the beginning to the end. It’s the second book starring Shaw, and it is refreshing to see how this lead character overcomes the challenges that life throws his way. The story is beautifully written, and the author introduces surprise twists when you least expect them. The historical details are weaved beautifully into the story, and the facts are both entertaining and accurate.

If you’re looking for a thriller featuring a talented yet flawed agent and terrorists that will kill thousands without giving their actions a second thought? Seven Skins is just the right book. The book is slightly over 300 and can be enjoyed in a single sitting. The flow is perfect, and the story is nothing but delightful.

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