The following readers provide their reviews of Don Lewis’, mystery novel Kalup’s Crossroads written about Sonny Kalup, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tampa, Florida. The book involves drug smuggling, jurisdictional disputes between the FBI and DEA, and the Columbian Cartel.
By Jane Smith, writer for the Meadville Tribune
Augustine “Sonny” Kalup, of Cambridge Springs, PA, now a resident of Golden Living Center at Cambridge Springs, is a former tool and die maker. Injuries from wounds suffered after being shot when he was a Navy SEAL in Vietnam have now taken their toll on his body, and he can no longer live on his own. “I got shot through the gut,” he said very matter-of- factly during my interview of him. Six bullets entered his lower intestines, and now those injuries are causing him to need assistance for almost everything.
And, although Sonny now is confined to the nursing home, his name is making news in the world of mystery fiction. His name is used as the main character in the latest book by Don Lewis, former Crawford County District Attorney and defense attorney and now a mystery writer. Lewis, a personal friend of Sonny’s, asked for and received permission to use his name for a book someday. “I kind of shrugged it off,” said Kalup, not thinking of it again, he said of the idea.
So he wasn’t completely surprised when a mutual friend, John Holt, recently delivered a copy of the book, “Kalup’s Crossroads,” to him. However, Kalup said he hasn’t had time to read it yet. When he does, he will find it a real thriller and a very easy book to read.
Lewis writes in such a manner that the reader quickly envisions all the action. In the book, Sonny Kalup is an assistant U.S. attorney, who becomes the target of the drug-dealing world after he arrests one of the major dealers. When a number of undercover drug agents start getting killed when working in the drug world, the question soon becomes who is tipping off the bad guys.
One of those agents has the name of another familiar Crawford County man – “Johnny Holt,” who is killed in one of the first few chapters. Holt — another personal friend of Lewis — is retired chief adult probation and parole officer of Crawford County. His death haunts Kalup as he and others begin their work to identify who is double crossing them.
In another scene, retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Roger Nydes of Meadville is transformed into a 20-year DEA agent and is agent leader in charge of an assault team. Nydes comes into direct contact with one of the major drug lords. Nydes’ actions in the story note that: “Other agents marveled at Nydes’ courage, but wondered about his lack of discretion.”
As the book continues, it hints that behind the killings is a turf war between the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI’s plan to incorporate DEA agents into its organization. The story details how far some of the group may be willing to go to succeed in their efforts.
Would they go so far as murder?
Kalup’s wife, Beth, is murdered while lying next to Kalup in the bedroom of their home when a group of men enter their home, overtake Kalup, kill his wife and plant incriminating evidence; a photograph of his wife in a sexual encounter with another man, intended to suggest Kalup’s motive was outrage and jealousy. Kalup is arrested and now must face trial.
The question Kalup and his friends must answer: who was responsible for the murder? Was it somebody in the FBI or was it somebody from the drug world, killing Beth in retribution of Kalup’s previous arrest of a major drug lord?
As a reader, the book becomes even better to read as the action moves quickly with details of the trial, the investigation and what ultimately happens to Kalup.
In this book — as in others — Lewis shines when writing about this action. His experience as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney helps him create the drug world scene. But his experience as a prosecutor and courtroom attorney is what makes this book so very interesting, and so easy to read.
Will Kalup be able to help his attorney convince a jury that despite what the evidence appears he is innocent?
“There’s an old saying that today is the first day of the rest of your life,” writes Lewis as his character, Kalup, prepares to take the stand in his own defense. “There was always the possibility that it might be the last day of his freedom,” Kalup ponders as he prepares to testify.
“Kalup’s Crossroads” has everything a reader wants in a good mystery — murder, deceit, corruption, mystery and suspense. Will Kalup be vindicated or will a jury believe the incriminating evidence? Will the law enforcement world be able to identify who has turned against them — and why?
All evidence starts to point to a good friend of Kalup, Kevin McClure. Kalup doesn’t want to believe that his friend is guilty. So, he and others give the friend a false “tip” to learn whether it will come back. When it does, Kalup is devastated, but doesn’t want to give up on his friend. Will that friend be vindicated?
This is the third book that Lewis has written and he continues to keep readers wanting to learn more. Lewis’ descriptive nature of writing makes this a great book to read and a great book for “would be” detectives to try to solve.
I finished Kalup’s Crossroads this weekend and it was great…I think I like it the best, too. Can’t wait for “Rizzo”!
Just finished you latest book, which I very much enjoyed. Not sure how you know so much about the drug trafficking & Columbia, but I guess that’s your secret, right? Let me know when the next one is ready, since I still try to read several books a month all year. Best to you.
Al, Pittsburgh, PA
Loved the book; it’s great!
Maureen, Freedom, PA
I loved “Kalup’s Crossroads.” It’s great.
Maureen Robbins, Pittsburgh, PA
I just returned from a cruise to Virgin Islands, San Juan, and the Grand Turk Islands. Took “Kalup’s Crossroads” along and could not put it down!!!! It is your best work so far!!!
Howard Bruce, Rural Retreat, VA
I thoroughly enjoyed “Kalup’s Crossroads,” and I could not put the book down until I finished reading it to the end. It did keep my interest since I could not figure out who was the snake in the woodpile. You are getting better with every novel and they are certainly mysteries…..
Joe and Rose Bushofsky, Pinehurst, NC
I have now read and enjoyed all three of your books, and find the plots innovative, the characters interesting and the story line progression as good or better than the current mainstream best selling mystery writers. I especially enjoyed “Kalup’s Crossroads” with its in-depth character development and plot twists that kept me turning pages and staying up late. It did keep me guessing, and in spite of my many theories as I moved through the book, the ending was totally unexpected. I enjoy your writing very much, and as such will continue to recommend your books to others.
Wayne Carberry, Frederick, MD
I thought I’d write you a note about your fine book,”Kalup’s Crossroads.” I usually don’t like mystery stories, but I read your spellbinding book in two evenings. I think you may have drawn on a few things that you learned from your days as a criminal prosecutor and an Assistant US Attorney in Tampa, FL. I could mention some things that I really liked, but I may give away the plot.
Rich Bowers “57,” Pittsburgh, PA
Once again, you did not disappoint. I did not get a chance to start KC until last Friday, but it was one of those “can’t-put-it-down” reads. I really enjoyed your earlier books (Satan’s Boots – Dark Covenant), but this one might be your best work – just my opinion. Again, I loved the Pittsburgh references, even the subtle ones – Judge Joseph Bushofsky; Kalup calling Nevers a “jag-off” (I wonder if any of the non-Burgers are scratching their heads about that one). Great work, can’t wait for the next one.
Enjoyed “Kalup’s Crossroads”; I like the fact you left the door open for another “Sonny” adventure.
Tom, Jacksonville, FL
Just finished your book, Kalup’s Crossroads. That’s a great book. I read about 150 books a year since I retired. Judy works for our library here in Conneaut Lake. I read Sanford, Parker, Woods, Patterson, etc. and I’d say you can run with the “Big Dogs”. Keep up the good work.
Jim Haylett, Conneaut Lake, PA
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