August 29, 2019
$3.99 ebook $14.95 Trade Paper
Overview ꟾ Reviews
Reviews for M-9
Strange circumstances throw together a detective duo in this riveting, complex tale -- Kirkus Reviews
Two unlikely partners find themselves in the crosshairs of a ruthless international gang in this thriller.
Veteran author Wolf has created an intriguing odd couple in this first volume of his new series. Wily detective Rudy Chelmin joined the Army Criminal Investigation Division after losing his leg in action in 1991. Rudy discovers a new partner in recruit Will Spaulding, who finds a woman’s naked body in a boxcar full of Army boots.
Will enlisted in the Army after getting run out of Barstow, California, after daring to arrest a guilty but privileged scion. The two pair up to solve the murder of Kendra Farrell, the naked woman who died from hypothermia. But their efforts attract the attention of M-9, a dangerous Salvadoran gang, which blows up Will’s Camaro with an RPG. Kendra worked at a base that was the Marine equivalent of Amazon.com, handling orders for all sorts of items. So first the investigators have to determine whether Kendra was involved in or stumbled onto something shady. Next, they have to figure out which of the police with whom they have been working may be in league with M-9, striving to block their investigation. Finally, Rudy disappears and Will has to locate him before he ends up exactly like Kendra. Wolf, who was an Army combat photographer in Vietnam, draws on his experiences to lend authenticity to his descriptions of the military and its infrastructure. But he also shines at research, painting a vivid picture of M-9 and its associates. Between his knowledge and his inquiries, the author has fashioned a well-woven tapestry that Rudy and Will must unravel in order to solve their case. The well-drawn Rudy and Will are the winning foundation on which this intricate thriller is built. Rudy is set in his ways, drawing on his instincts as an investigator. He’s a widower who lost his wife in a suspicious tank accident but starts to find love again in this story. Will is more of an inexperienced plodder but he still manages to intellectually challenge Rudy. They are an enjoyable team that readers will want to visit with again.
Strange circumstances throw together a detective duo in this riveting, complex tale.
It begins with a woman's body in a boxcar full of military clothing. In the next 100 pages you have a sniper attack, one RPG assault that ends with a shootout at a bank robbery, a second RPG attack on a courthouse that ends with two “near miraculous” head shots at 198 yards, a multi-jurisdictional testosterone dispute that confuses every aspect of the case, drug smuggling, money laundering, some cartel red herrings, and a few other bodies along the way. By the time you get to the obligatory but not formulaic partner rescue, the clues are all there, but the junior partner is a touch inexperienced to connect the dots as quickly as one would like.
The partners are well balanced between youthful enthusiasm and cynical experience, both with interesting back stories. Chelmin, the senior partner is a wounded vet with nearly 30 years in CID, a widower whose wife's death is questionable and unresolved. His foray into a relationship with his former sister-in-law is cautious, almost reticent but touching. Spaulding is the young, noble, honest cop who ruined his career by arresting the wrong rich entitled local and has joined the army because he has no other law enforcement options, and he has three generations of Army Airman family he is measuring himself against. It drives him to a level of character that is almost too good. People like that exist, but they are rare. To be honest, Spaulding is the kind of young, handsome, honest, heroic hot chopper pilot that women would stalk in cooperative pairs if not in coordinated packs. A knight errant would make him less Galahad, perhaps to detriment.
This is obvious when in the foreshadowing of the Black Hat reveal, he gets played in a way that is clear he is being played but not exactly why—by whom is what adds to the tension.
After a story that leads to Costa Rica and Belize, the ending has lead villains that you never see coming, a couple of support villains that make perfect sense in hindsight, and a few minor characters that get what they deserve in a moment of warm and comforting schadenfreude that will elicit hearty laughter. Enjoy it. I did.
And, then, you turn that last page, and raise your eyes from the page with a wistful, "Please sir, may I have some more?" Luckily, there is more, The Zombie Deception. M-9 is the first of what I hope will be a long literary series and, with the right casting and a director who would deviate not one single iota from the source material, a major movie franchise. These two guys are just that good.
The formatting of the pages will be a bit odd for some readers, as paragraphs are short and widely spaced. And the chapter breaks can feel like a scene cut, more of a movie script than a story. Some will find this easier to read than a more conventional format. It makes for an easily read, fast-paced story where you almost cannot turn pages fast enough.
Review by John Russell (April 2021), for Military Writers Society of America
Fun Read From Cover to Cover
This book has everything! There are complex characters, exciting action, thoughtful moments, and a great ending that I never foresaw. I read a lot of procedural novels, and this one is up there with the greats. The author's descriptions draw a picture in my mind, so I can see the action happening. I couldn't put the book down!
MHT, Amazon 5 star review
Wanting more in the series!
John Le Carré said that an accomplished writer must be able to play all the instruments in the orchestra. Marvin J. Wolf demonstrated those talents in his Rabbi Ben mystery-thriller series, of which I’m on record as a devoted fan. Now he’s conducting at maestro level in M9 as he creates a redoubtable duo of hard-headed, relentless sleuths in Special Agent Rudy Chelmin and his protégé, young ex-cop Will Spaulding. As agents for the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Chelmin and Spaulding unravel a mind-twisting snarl of nefarious, intertwined networks, requiring the unlikely coordination of Army, FBI, Homeland Security, and local police to link murders and terrorist plots between some greedy, traitorous citizens and M9, the infamous Salvadorian drug cartel. Wolf’s military background combined with his impressive body of work in true-crime investigative journalism infuse M9 with behind-the-scenes credibility and tantalizing suspense. I zipped through M9, and I can’t wait for the next Chelmin and Spaulding adventure!
Gerald Everett Jones, Amazon 5 Star Review
Two Thumbs Up!
I’m a huge fan of author Marvin Wolf. I’ve enjoyed his “Rabbi Ben” books and really enjoyed “M-9.” It had intrigue, mystery and a little romance. It caught my attention and kept me turning the page. It is a book that both women and men will enjoy. I give it a 2-thumbs up!
Carol Felixson, 5 Star Amazon Review
M-9 is "dead on." A good book, read it! Roger B. Hawkins 5 star Amazon Review
Sit author Marvin Wolf down in front of a computer for any length of time and he will start to write a detective story. The Beretta M9 is the official side arm of the US Military and is carried not only by soldiers but also by Agents of the Army's CID (Criminal Investigative Division) and is thus the title of Mr Wolf's latest novel...read more below.
Will Spalding, former police officer, son of a Barstow California Police chief and now an Army recruit in training trips over a naked (and dead) woman in the course of unloading a military supply train. Agent Rudy Chelmin of the CID is assigned the case and impressed with Spaulding's background and experience is able to shanghai Will from his training platoon and appoint him as a temporary CID agent. And the chase is on.
Murder is often linked to money. In this case a lot of money, and solving the case will involve a number of Jurisdictions like Army CID, NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), the FBI, and the Barstow PD. A favorite FBI rule of thumb is "follow the money" and while Spaulding and Chelmin follow a train of clues from Central California to Orange County (Where author Wolf used to hang his hat) the money will also lead them to information in Costa Rica and Belize.
When "push comes to shove" Agent Chelmin will be put on ice (at least temporarily) before Spaulding can come to his rescue. And, there will be a lot of explosive action before you, the reader, can say, "case closed."
Author Marvin Wolf served as an Army photographer and officer in Korea and Vietnam and judging by the detail in his books has spent a lot of time at the bar. (Not the legal bar but the one where detectives and special agents hang out to reminisce) picking up authentic and colorful detail.
M9, "dead on" and available on Kindle. A good book, read it!