Spectre Black: Cyril Landry, book 3

Spectre Black: Cyril Landry, book 3




You would be strongly advised to pay attention when Cyril Landry is the person correcting your grammar.


When homicide detective Jolie Burke awakens to intruders in the dark of night, she’s forced to flee. Jolie’s nobody’s victim, but she cannot fight this faceless enemy alone. She reaches out to Cyril Landry, the ex – Navy SEAL who is long on special-ops skills and short on patience. He suffers no fools – ever. But when Landry rolls into Branch, New Mexico, Jolie is gone, and there’s nothing waiting for him but trouble.
As Landry hunts for Jolie, he becomes immersed in a quagmire of corruption – a toxic brew of graft, homicide, and the ominous shape of something much bigger. Framed for murder and dodging a sexy FBI agent and a suspicious sheriff, Landry finds himself pitted against a psychopath with secrets even blacker than his sinister sports car. Now Landry’s on a double-barreled mission: reach Jolie before the killers do and dig up some dirt on his enemies before they get the chance to dig his grave.
©2015 J. Carson Black. (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.


I’m a sucker for the take-charge, ass-kicker type characters who show up somewhere, don’t take crap from anyone and do some damage to some bad people while they’re there. That is a pretty fair description of former Navy Seal Cyril Landry. He is hardly bland, however. One of his more interesting quirks is his need to correct the grammar of others even if the moment he does so is best described as inopportune.
When homicide detective Jolie Burke finds herself in trouble, she reaches out to the one man she knows she can trust. Fortunately for Jolie and unfortunately for her enemies, that man is Cyril Landry. So when he gets to her location in Branch, New Mexico, Landry won’t stop until he finds Burke and figures out who is chasing after her. He’s willing to use any means necessary to accomplish his goals.
Cyril Landry finds himself in a town that is full of corruption and mixed motives. From dedicated militia groups to a seductive FBI agent to the local law enforcement who are in the pocket of the wealthiest man around, it is hard to tell exactly who’s on who’s side.
There really is a lot going on in ‘Spectre Black’. There is the mystery of a serial rapist, a murdered detective, a paranoid schizophrenic who guns down militia types and his rather unique vehicle. Not to mention the person who tries to have Cyril Landry framed and then killed in prison. But to the author’s credit, all of these pieces fit in a clear puzzle by the end and the biggest crime of all comes into focus.
As someone who has read the first three books in the Cyril Landry series, there is one thing in particular that I like about this one. I enjoyed the character of Jolie Burke in ‘The Shop’ and was sad to see her relegated to a cameo in ‘Hard Return’. I was pleased to see her play a more important role this time.
Where the book doesn’t quite measure up for me is in the climax. I never felt like Cyril or his friends were in any real danger near the end. It just felt a little too easy this time around, and that stands out in stark contrast to the climactic scenes of the prior two installments. I guess you can call it the curse of high expectations.
I did however, leave this book with a high degree of interest in what is to come next. It feels like there are some things that occurred in ‘Spectre Black’ that were left open and could be followed up on down the line. So while I did not have a sense of dread about the potential end for Cyril, Jolie or Eric, it is replaced by a sense of intrigue over what is going to happen next.


J. Carson Black admits that much of ‘Spectre Black’ was inspired by real events in New Mexico. However, to her credit she frames these events in the story in such a way as to prevent it from feeling too dated. In other words, these current events could just as easily feel current to someone who reads this book for the first time a decade from now. The only thing that might make the story feel antiquated in a decade is the technology, and there’s not much the author can do about that without straying into science fiction territory.


Christopher Lane’s portrayal of Cyril Landry felt very Jack Webb-like to me in that it was all business and little if any feeling. His Landry is definitely cool under pressure. His deep voiced Eric Blackburn is also enjoyable enough.
Doing female voices isn’t his strongest suit. His natural, or narrator, voice is very deep, so softening it up for a female character still sort of makes them sound like women who are heavy smokers or steroid users.


There is a brief bit of music that opens and closes the book, otherwise there are no other music cues or sound effects to be found on the track. There are 38 chapter stops on the Audible track which match up exactly to the book’s 38 chapters.
The track sounds good and is free of any defect. The volume level remains consistent throughout, and I did not notice any breathing on the track.


While not quite as strong an entry as the prior two books in the series, there is plenty for fans of Cyril Landry to like about ‘Spectre Black’. First time readers could start with ‘Spectre Black’ and not get terribly lost, but there are a few references to the prior books that do add some depth to what is happening here.
After reading ‘Spectre Black’, I couldn’t help but think that this was a bridge that had to be crossed to get to something even better. The ride across the bridge was nice enough, but the excitement lies in where we’re headed next.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Stars
Spectre Black: Cyril Landry, book 3 J. Carson Black Christopher Lane Brilliance Audio Mystery & Thriller 09/22/2015 8 hours, 23 minutes 3.5/5


A copy of ‘SPECTRE BLACK: CYRIL LANDRY, BOOK 3’ was purchased from Audible for review.


  • The Shop: Cyril Landry, book 1
  • Hard Return: Cyril Landry, book 2
  • Spectre Black: Cyril Landry, book 3

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