Thursday, June 18, 2020

Blue Magnolia by W.F. Ranew (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT ADULT title

ADULT title
W.F. Ranew


GENRE: Mystery-Thriller



PI Red Farlow dives headfirst into a hornets' nest of extremists. His new client, Hank Tillman, only wants to get a shot at country music stardom. While playing in a Georgia bar, Hank—known as Cowboy to his fans—stumbles into trouble. The kind that kills. PI Red Farlow steps in to help him.

Hank’s song, Redneck Devil, attracts the attention of a violent group called the Blue Magnolia. Its leaders want him to perform at their next hate rally. There's another, darker reason the Blue Magnolia wants Hank in its fold.

An elderly patient in a Florida insane asylum reveals a decades-long secret that devastates Hank. It’s the worst kind of fake news.

Can Farlow root out the truth? The PI has his own problems as he confronts a hired killer face-to-face.



You couldn’t help but like Hank. He smiled broadly and often, friendly in a wholly Southern way. Which is why there was no easy way to explain what happened to loveable Hank Tillman. But it did happen. How could he offend anybody? Not easy, if you knew him. But he did.

Hank’s story told a long and complicated tale for his number of years, a romance bitten with tragedy, his life’s destiny crawling along like a rattlesnake on a hot July afternoon.

Yet, Hank himself smiled brightly. He always made most well-adjusted people feel good, whether he played in a honky-tonk or just talked while sipping iced tea on his mama’s screened front porch in Norman Park, Georgia. He preferred the sweet tea rather than bourbon during periods of hoisting himself up on the wagon for another short ride. Besides, his mother wouldn’t allow the hard drink in her house. Other times, liquor held on to Hank and wouldn’t let go. He tried Alcoholics Anonymous once. Didn’t take. Couldn’t take. Probably never would.

Hank’s story evolves from a crossroads in his life. There, he encountered some people who wanted to destroy him. He also met Red Farlow, who happened to be in the audience the night in Southwest Georgia.

Farlow worked as a private investigator with a checkered past in law enforcement and a real badass attitude. But, like Hank Tillman, Red was a pretty nice guy. Most of the time.
Cowboy’s story started in Nashville, Tennessee. If you asked Hank, he hoped it would end there one day.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

W.F. Ranew is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and communication executive. He started his journalism career covering sports, police, and city council meetings at his hometown newspaper, The Quitman Free Press. He also worked as a reporter and editor for several regional dailies: The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, The Florida Times-Union, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ranew has written three previous novels: Rich and Gone (Tirgearr Publishing), Schoolhouse Man and Candyman’s Sorrow. He lives with his wife, Dr. Lynn Ranew, in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Ga.

Find W.F. Ranew Online:



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My review:

3.5 stars

Blue Magnolia by W.F. Ranew is the second story in the ‘Red Farlow Mysteries’ series and follows the private investigator as he provides protection for up-and-coming country singer Hank “Cowboy” Tillman. Cowboy has written a song that makes him a target for members of a hate group known as the Blue Magnolia and they’re determined to recruit him, whether he wants it or not.

This suspense-filled and gritty contemporary tale has quite a few twists and turns, creatively alludes to very sensitive current events, and showcases the evils that some will perpetrate in their quest to remake the world according to their precepts. Those who have triggers or who are squeamish should be aware that there are multiple violent episodes, horrific hate crimes, and sexual assaults described.

There are entertaining and creative descriptions sprinkled throughout the story (e.g. “To proclaim the two dumber than dirt would insult dirt.”) and certain characters are vividly portrayed and capture the reader’s attention and sympathy. I struggled with the shifts in points of view and tenses, since much of the story is told in third person omniscient but has first person observations sprinkled in, and the tenses shift back and forth between present and past, which got a little confusing in places. There is an extensive cast of characters, with thumbnail histories provided for many, and this was a bit overwhelming and made me wish for a reminder list to figure out who was connected to who!

The story is reminiscent of a noir detective story and gives a unique (and frightening) look at a certain element of contemporary society. It’s thought-provoking and intriguing, and I have no doubt that Red will continue to have more exciting adventures to come.

A copy was provided for review