The Pine Barrens Stratagem

From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish

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Pub Date 27 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 30 Jan 2022

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Description

Private Investigator Steve Rockfish needs cash, like yesterday. The bad news is that yesterday, a global pandemic raged, and Maryland was headed toward a lockdown that would ultimately lead to cheating spouses no longer “working late,” and hence a lack of new clients.

Rockfish's luck changes when a Hollywood producer reaches out, but the job is two states away and involves digging up information on a child trafficking ring from the 1940s. What he uncovers will be used to support the launch of a true crime docuseries. He grabs a mask, hand sanitizer and heads for South Jersey.

On-site, Rockfish meets Jawnie McGee, the great granddaughter of a local policeman gone missing while investigating the original crimes. As the duo uncover more clues, they learn the same criminal alliance has reformed to use the pandemic as a conduit to defraud the Federal Government of that sweet, sweet, stimulus money.

It's not long before the investigation turns up some key intel on a myriad of illicit activity over the last eighty years and Rockfish rockets toward a showdown with the mafia, local archdiocese and dirty cops. COVID-19 isn't the only threat to his health.

Private Investigator Steve Rockfish needs cash, like yesterday. The bad news is that yesterday, a global pandemic raged, and Maryland was headed toward a lockdown that would ultimately lead to...


A Note From the Publisher

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. While this is his first traditionally published novel, he previously self-published two novellas and two novels. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Northern Virginia.

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique...


Advance Praise

“Using his own experience with the FBI child exploitation task force, Harris weaves the decades' old mystery into today's pandemic with a private investigator you can like.” -Val Conrad, author of Signal of Guilt

“Harris stands out from other authors in the genre, shining like a star upon a midnight sea of mediocrity. Fearless, full of heart, loveable characters, and twists and turns that will take you to the very heart of darkness.” -Ben Eads, author of Cracked Sky and Hollow Heart

“Amazing novel by a great writer with a tremendous background in the subject matter! Ken Harris's The Pine Barrens Stratagem was an exciting, fun, and captivating read that kept my attention for hours at a time.” -Larry Karl, Retired FBI Senior Executive

“As a retired police detective I found the storyline spot on and compelling. The author tied together past and current day stories seamlessly, making it easy and enjoyable to follow.” -Michelle Cyr, retired Detective

“This excellent detective novel from Ken Harris puts a modern twist similar to detective stories featured in episodes of The Rockford Files … combining intrigue, colorful characters, fast flowing action and a storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat.” -Carlton James, author of The First Coronation and The Final Proclamation

“In Ken Harris's fast-paced, can't-put-it-down thriller, Steve Rockfish takes his place in the PI pantheon alongside Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and Jim Rockford.” -John Hazen, author of Fava and Beyond Revelation

The Pine Barrens Stratagem is a fantastic blend of classic detective storytelling with modern elements, making for a fun and thought-provoking read. I demand more stories about the adventures of Private Eye Steve Rockfish!” -Brent Michael Kelley, author of Keep Away from Psycho Joe, Cruce Roosters and The Chuggie Series

“Ken Harris takes you on a trip through history, tied to the present and hidden by police corruption, mob influence and church secrets.” -Stephen W. Briggs, author of Family of Killers: Memoirs of an Assassin

“A private detective thriller in the same vein as the great detective shows of the `70s, `80s and `90s, but as up-to-date as the global pandemic.” -Ben Sharpton, author of The Awakening of Jim Bishop: This Changes Things

“Using his own experience with the FBI child exploitation task force, Harris weaves the decades' old mystery into today's pandemic with a private investigator you can like.” -Val Conrad, author of...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781684338719
PRICE US$19.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This new mystery was a delightful blend of old world and new world detective skills with Rockfish and his potentially new protege, Jawnie. These two are as far apart as you can imagine when it comes to their thoughts and abilities except when it comes to wearing a darn mask because of COVID.

The mystery spans about a century when Rockfish is hired to investigate young women that went missing. There is a lot more to the story and it definitely ruffles some feathers once Rockfish lands in this small township and starts asking questions. The mafia plays a major role in what happens in this sleepy burg and they are not a fan of dredging up the past.

The dialogue is snarky and witty, the characters a bit crazy in their actions, but paired together it creates a fascinating read for any mystery buff. Jawnie has a lot to learn about who to talk to and what to say when it comes to investigations, but Rockfish is a great teacher and there are only a few "I told you so" moments.

This is set at the beginning of Covid-19 so there are a lot of references to the pandemic, wearing masks, hand sanitizer, and political jabs. I tended to skim over most of that because I really prefer to not have too much about the pandemic in my books since they are my form of escape, but it was rather comical to see many of the characters insist that others put on face masks and were rather insistent on it too. Of course, the face masks help during certain scenes when the bad guys don't want to be identified.

I loved the ending and might have suspected some of it, but it sets it up for the next book due out in July 2022.

We give this book 5 paws up.

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