The Trade List by R. Franklin James: A Frantic Search for a Dangerous List

trade_listThe Trade List ($14.95, 250 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-219-1) is book 4 in a mystery/suspense series by R. Franklin James featuring Hollis Morgan, a young attorney whose past as a pardoned white-collar ex-con makes her a magnet for trouble. A woman dies trying to pass on a list of money launderers to Hollis. Now Hollis is the target.

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“The Trade List’s two story lines are strong, detailed, with plenty of twists to keep readers turning pages. The unique concept of the Fallen Angels Book Club provides continuity and shows growth in her characters as they look into real life mysteries. A strong use of details throughout the book gives readers a feeling they are a part of the story. Although readers can start with any of the books in the series, some may want to start at the beginning, or catch up at a later date, to fill in the background of this interesting and fulfilling mystery.”  Read more….

—Edie Dykeman, Reader, Writer, Reviewer

“I love it when a story captivates and has me completely engrossed in all that are bound by the pages of a book. What a way to start with a tease here and there and then bam, the plot thickens into a fast-paced and action-packed drama that quickly became a page turner. I liked the tone of the narrative and how each scene blends from one chapter to the other, taking me deeper into all the facets in the storytelling. With skilled resources, the author does a great job of taking me along on this ride with enough suspense and intrigue to keep me moving forwards.”  Read more….

—Dru’s Book Musings

The Hollis Morgan Mystery series began with The Fallen Angels Book Club and continued with Sticks & Stones and The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club.

“The two storylines are well fleshed out and Hollis is a character that you can’t help but feel close to. The Return Of The Fallen Angels Book Club is well crafted; the writing is top-notch.”

—Mystery Sequels.com

Sticks and Stones: “Readers are sure to be captured by this plot-twisting, exciting mystery. It is a real page turner and I certainly am going to keep reading this series.”

—Long and Short Reviews

The Fallen Angels Book Club: “This book is full of murder, mystery and of course mayhem. Thoroughly entertaining and a fast read, I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Excellent debut novel, Ms. James!”

—Nook Users’ Book Club

Hollis Morgan has come a long way since serving time for her ex-husband’s white-collar crimes. After receiving a state pardon, she is now a probate attorney at the Bay Area firm where she began as a paralegal. In a case close to home, her manager, George Ravel, inherits a fortune from his newly found birth mother, but her dead husband’s heirs are overcome with greed, not grief. They are determined to discredit her will and deny her natural son even one cent of the millions they believe should belong to their father’s estate.

George asks Hollis to handle the case, but her attention is divided. A dead woman has been discovered with Hollis’s business card—one that dates back to Hollis’s years on parole. The police don’t believe Hollis’s claim that she never met Olivia Shur. As it turns out, she did know the woman, only under another name. At the time of her death, Olivia Shur possessed a list that could end the careers and lives of several public officials and prominent businessmen. Copies of the list exist. Someone believes Hollis has one of them and will go to any extreme to obtain it.

To protect her friends and stay alive, Hollis turns to her ex-con buddies from the Fallen Angels Book Club. In this case, there are too many people on both sides of the law who are determined to see her stopped.

Says James, “The premise for The Trade List originated with a real-life crime case arising out of the 2008 financial crisis and the immunity given bank executives. Hollis is evolving as a character. No longer defensive about her past, she’s smart, confident and courageous.”

Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco East Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband currently live in Northern California. Click here to find R. Franklin on the Web.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Hollis was still smiling to herself as she waited in the police station lobby for Silva to call her back into his office. To make sure she was on time, she had driven straight there from Berkeley. Silva came to the double glass doors and waved her into a long hallway. They entered an interview room and sat across from each other.

Silva handed her a computerized report. “Your contact list.”

“Thank you.” She put the pages in her tote. “What were you able to find out?”

“This is an ongoing investigation, and I can’t discuss details, but we agree with you that there may be something to the message,” he said in a flat voice, his hands folded together on the table.

A shudder went through Hollis.

“Ah … what kind of something? I mean, am I in danger?”

“Is there a reason why you should be?”

Hollis was starting to feel irritated. She wasn’t willing to play guessing games with Robocop. “No, there isn’t. Look, did you find out anything or not?”

His demeanor relaxed. “You’re right. I’ll cut to the chase.” He picked up a pad of paper and read his notes. “Seven numbers were flagged in our screening net. Four belonged to your book club members, two are from phones with current service, and one is from a toss-away phone.”

She blinked. “Wow, that’s pretty good for just twenty-four hours.”

“Maybe you won’t have to write us off after all.” He wasn’t smiling, but his eyes had a teasing gleam. He looked at his notes. “Here’s where it gets tedious. We’re still going to follow up with all screened calls, but the toss-away we can’t do much about. We’re just going to have to wait for him to contact you again.” He glanced up when he heard her stifle a groan.

Hollis grinned sheepishly. “I just dread the thought of getting another one of these messages.”

Silva paused, assessing her. “Unfortunately, unless you do, or until we discover a victim, there is little more we can do here. This whole thing could be something completely innocent.”

She shrugged. “All right then, I guess I won’t take up any more of your time.”

“At this point all we can do is wait.”

“Great.” Hollis stood by the door and looked at him glumly. “Wait for a murder.”

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