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Laura Cardinal Books In Order

Publication Order of Laura Cardinal Books

Darkness on the Edge of Town (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dark Side of the Moon (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Devil's Hour (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cry Wolf (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Laura Cardinal series are a series of police procedurals cum mystery detective thrillers by the J. Carson Black, the American author from Tucson, Arizona. “Darkness on the Edge of Town” that went on to become a fan favorite and a bestseller, was the first novel in the series that also introduced the lead character Laura Cardinal. After the much-vaunted success of the first novel in the series, Black went on to publish several more titles in the still ongoing series. The novels have proved so popular that they were optioned by SONY pictures television, and are soon to be made into a TV series. The lead character in the series is Laura Cardinal who works for the Department of Public Safety as a public safety consultant and unofficial investigative officer. Cardinal troubleshoots and oftentimes investigates homicides in the DPS. Much of the story in the novels is derived from J. Blacks childhood experiences that may in some instances include her fears and hobbies. In 2002, Black was approached by two police officers who were worried about the increasing problem of sexual predation on the Internet, that asked if she would not mind writing something about the issue. It turned out that Laura had an idea for a new thriller/police procedural in mind, and had even taken the name of one of her lawyer friends to use as the lead in her new series. With the police officers and several persons in the Arizona DPS as resource persons, she set out to write the Laura Cardinal series of novels.

Laura Cardinal the lead character of the Laura Cardinal series was born and raised in Tucson Arizona, in a small town known as El Fuerte, which also happens to be the author’s hometown. As such, the lead character in the series shares a lot with the author, including experiences such as being chased in a white and orange Chevy Bel Air, which also makes an appearance in the first novel in the series Darkness on the Edge of Town. In fact, she drew much of the scenes in the novel from the farmland and river settings of her hometown El Fuerte. Laura works for the Arizona Department of Public Safety as a homicide investigator and troubleshooter, called in to assist when the department lacks the resources to do so. She also works with the smaller jurisdictions that lack the expertise to deal with complex homicide investigations. With such a mandate, Laura always finds herself embroiled in fractious relationships and resentment from her colleagues in the police department, whenever she sets out to work a case. However, having been brought up in small town settings, Laura knows how to navigate small town politics, wide-open spaces, old motels, greasy spoon diners, and rural areas making her the most effective consultant and investigator the department has. Given her expertise dealing with sexual predators, kidnappers, and all manner of small town and rural settings, Laura can move to all corners of her state and even beyond to find and arrest her antagonists.

While they are primarily thrillers, the Laura Cardinal series of novels incorporate romance and detective mystery to make for hair-raising narratives. The novels are about the life of the lead character Laura Cardinal, a protagonist who went through tragedy to emerge stronger. Laura’s parents were killed when she was a child, and she had nearly fallen prey to sexual predators, incidences that had left her nearly traumatized. While she was in college, she had lost both parents in a home invasion. Some criminals had mistakenly come into her house demanding drug money from her parents, before killing them when they failed to produce it. Her life had been transformed in an instant, and seeking stability and the family life she had lost, she gets married to her college fiancé too young. The marriage was fated to fail from the very onset, and it was not long before it fractured into many pieces leaving her in a painful and deep void. It is not until she reconnects with Frank Entwistle, the homicide cop who had been her rock during her parents’ trial, that she gets her life back on track. Mentored by Entwistle, she transforms into an urban legend, helping track down criminals and sexual predators.

“Darkness on the Edge of Town” is the first of the enticing thriller in the Laura Cardinal series of novels by J. Carson Black. Cardinal finds herself in a case that sees her leave her lavish Tucson estate, and go deep into Florida’s secretive Forgotten Coast where she is forced to face up to the ghosts of her past. The series starts out in Bisbee Arizona, a community that has recently become a tourist hotspot. Similar to many other towns of its size, it has the usual domestic disturbances and petty thefts. But the murder of a teenage girl whose body is dumped in a park band shell and dressed in doll clothes draws the attention of the small community. Laura Cardinal has seen similar instances before and immediately knows that she is up against a dark sexual predator. But working this case will not be easy as she is plagued by the memories of her childhood, when her friend and schoolmate was the victim of a kidnapping and child abuse syndicate.

“Dark Side of the Moon” is a thrilling novel that takes the reader on a perilous descent into the dark world where light never penetrates, the deepest truths disintegrate into outright lies, and trust is fatal. When two newlyweds are found killed on an Arizona campsite, Laura Cardinal of the Arizona DPS is called in to investigate the case. Laura Cardinal is a specialist that has made a name for herself after troubleshooting a series of complicated homicides all over the state. But the case could not have come at a worse time, as Cardinal is on an emotional tightrope as she has recently been seeing visions of her late friend and mentor Frank Entwistle. To make matters worse, the DPS gives her a partner who she has never gotten along with in the past. However, nothing is going to stop the determined troubleshooter as she dives into the case to uncover the spine tingling dark side of romance and love. She soon finds that the man had been involved with a secretive organization that could have wanted him out of the way for reasons unknown. But it is not long before the spotlight of the organization is turned on her as a high stakes conspiracy plays out in the harsh Mojave Desert.

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