Captain and Pauley are buddies. These two former Afghanistan war veterans have formed a close partnership of drifters crisscrossing the United States. Their war wounds, mental and physical, are deep and bond them together. The trouble is the corpses left behind as this unit passes through their latest port of call and on to the next.
BUDDIES is a gripping thriller that tracks the continual movement of Captain and Pauley and the investigative team on their trail, comprised mainly of officials from the FBI and the Pima County, Arizona police department. As the duo strives to stay ahead of detection, the law enforcement team uses every tool and advantage to corral the suspected serial killers. BUDDIES captures the action of a cat and mouse game if the mice were deadly, wily truckers and the cat relied on the IAFIS fingerprint database and informants.
Author Kip Cassino writes with precision and authority that makes for an interesting read about the Veterans Administration bureaucracy to illegal drug distribution to FBI procedure to long haul trucking. Captain and Pauley are provided a deeper character study and even extended some sympathy despite the depraved and ruthless murders they commit. Cassino does not shy away from the pair’s life experiences, the trauma they faced in the war and the resulting mental and psychological anguish, some gleaned from details of nightmares and delusions. The pair help each other and provide a sense of security.
Even as the end approaches and with it a rise in desperation and a shockingly high body count, there is a dose of perspective mixed with revulsion for the characters. Not only are the inner workings of law enforcement and the two demented drifters explored, BUDDIES also gives a glimpse of the blighted side of scattered towns, as well as some of the bullies and swindlers who inhabit them.
Well-written and taut, BUDDIES offers some complexity in the characters whose perspective force the readers to contend with war, psychic wounds, isolation and barbarity.
~Kai Olson-Sawyer for IndieReader