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People move from place to place for any number of reasons. It was always intriguing to look at people and try to imagine why they were on the bus, where they were coming from and where they might be going. Time spent with some law enforcement agencies gave author JR Conway some insight about why individuals whose behavior was undesirable might be on the bus.

 

When persons acted in a manner that was considered by the general population as other than normal, around schools, restaurants, hotels and other public venues, the police or sheriff’s departments were called to remove them from the premise’s or takes whatever actions required protecting the public.

 

Some jurisdictions, not willing to spend time or resources dealing with the person, would take them to the county line and threaten them with jail if they came back. Other enforcement agencies were somewhat more considerate. They would buy the person  a bus ticket to the next big city, put them on the bus and wait till the  bus pulled out to make sure they were gone.

 

In Greyhound Therapy, the author fictionalizes the impact that this migration could have on law enforcement activities in a county in Wyoming. The possible approaches taken by the County Sheriff, while dealing with the tragedies in his own life, and the alliances assembled in his efforts to fulfill his obligations.

Book Reviews

TITLE INFORMATION
GREYHOUND THERAPY
Conway, J.R.
Xlibris (140 pp.)
$29.99 hardcover, $19.99 paperback
ISBN: 978-1493183548; March 14, 2014

BOOK REVIEW

 

A debut thriller in which a small-town sheriff races against time to catch a vicious murderer.

Career criminals Albert Brown and Calvin Watson are out on bail from the attempted robbery of a local gun shop. After robbing an elderly man on a Greyhound bus, they’re jailed in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Watson, terrified of Brown, distances himself by telling the police that Brown has the man’s stolen wallet. Both men get thrown into the understaffed prison’s overcrowded cell, with Brown handcuffed to the bars. But Brown frees himself and kills Watson. He escapes and eludes the police by hiding out in an abandoned construction site. He then steals a car and severely beats the owners, leaving one buried in sand and the other locked in a trailer. Running out of gas and looking for a way out of town without the police noticing, Brown ditches the car and decides to travel a different way: on a Greyhound bus. Luckily, Sheriff Craig Spence intuits the murderer’s decision and, preparing for a violent showdown in which there may be many potential hostages, grabs his seldom-used gun. Debut author Conway ably presents Spence as a quick-thinking hero who anticipates the escaped con’s next move: “He had just thought of something that had rung a bell in his head. Those guys, Brown and Watson, had come to town on a Greyhound bus. They had probably traveled all over the country on buses. He would feel comfortable on a bus.” Conway makes his characters believable by combining personal stories with their dedication to law enforcement, especially Spence, who is not only fighting political bureaucracy for more officers and better facilities, but struggling with his wife’s cancer.

Courage takes center stage in this action-packed crime story.

Clarion Review

THRILLER

Greyhound Therapy
J. R. Conway
Xlibris
978-1-4931-8355-5
Three Stars (out of Five)

 

Well-choreographed combat scenes and exciting dialogue add to this high-octane thriller about the troublemakers who arrive in small town Wyoming via Greyhound.

What do you do with the psychiatric patient who is being released after a seventy-twohour hold? Or the alleged murderer you don’t have room for in your small-town jailhouse? If you’re a character in J. R. Conway’s chaotic, high-octane thriller, there’s only one thing to do: put them on the bus. That’s right: buy the troublemaker a one-way ticket to a destination far, far away so he’ll be somebody else’s problem. All your troubles are solved. Except, of course, that sooner or later a bus will stop in your town and deliver someone else’s troubles on your doorstep.

That’s just what happens at the beginning of Conway’s debut novel, Greyhound Therapy. Conway knows the scene well: years of experience in law enforcement and private investigation inform the chaos he inflicts on County Sheriff Craig Spence and his small-town staff. From ruthless killer Albert Brown to mentally unstable nun Patricia, Conway paints iconic portraits of the extreme personalities that come through Spence’s office. No doubt drawn from the author’s real-life experiences, and clearly meant to deliver a message about the problem of underfunded psychiatric and law enforcement facilities, the characters nonetheless lack realism. Brown particularly so, as his nonstop shooting spree carries him over the Wyoming roads, leaving a trail of violence, but few clues about his motives.

If Brown is the quintessential bad guy, Spence is no doubt the good guy. The book attempts to flesh him out more through the story of his wife’s cancer diagnosis, but even that offers only a brief glimpse of what appears to be a perfect marriage. The light character development limits attachment to the story’s outcome.

The story itself moves along at a fast clip, and Conway deftly alternates between road chase scenes, violent confrontations, and cutaways to Spence’s wife’s medical situation. He realistically captures the cadence of law enforcement colleagues’ conversations: a combination of urgency, efficiency, and a little dark humor. In this, Conway perhaps reaches too far, though, as when he uses authentic codes to relay radio dialogue; a few instances of “10–4, SO2” create a convincing setting, but repeated use of the convention can be confusing.

The writing is easy to read and moves along just as briskly as the action it’s describing. A little more care with punctuation and grammar would help it flow even more smoothly. Conversations and well-choreographed combat scenes move along especially well, and Conway might consider building on this strength. For instance, he could replace some slightly awkward descriptions—such as the frequent reports of characters’ exact height and weight—with the dialogue or action scenes that are his forte.

While a longer text might give Conway room for a more nuanced story, Greyhound Therapy is satisfying if approached as a quick read, an entertaining escape readers can start and finish on, say, a single bus ride.