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The Crowning Circle

A Mystery Thriller

by J.R. Lankford

The Crowning Circle by J.R. Lankford X
The Crowning Circle by J.R. Lankford
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  • Paperback:
    Feb 2001, 385 pages

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There are currently 7 reader reviews for The Crowning Circle
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Natasha Johnson

It was like i was living out the novel.
It started great and it just captures you, you feel as if you are actually one of the characters in this book. It was just a great find loved it would highly recommend this book.

Bong D. Fabe, Deputy Bureau Chief, The Manila Times Visayas Bureau, Philippines
Jamie Rhines Lankford's third book and first published novel, The Crowning Circle, is a thriller of a friendship and relationship gone sour but saved by the most unexpected and life-threatening circumstance. From its opening tale of death, Ms Lankford has woven a tale of a compassionate, intellectual and mystery thriller that showcases man's inner struggle to find his bearings in a very simple world made complex by the pursuit of happiness.
An explosive original in the caliber only Ms. Lankford could pull off, The Crowning Circle is a story about two very different and great guys--an African-American intuitive forensic psychologist Dr. John "Skeet" Cullum, a Vietnam veteran, and a white American logical inventor-engineer, Jake Morrison, owner and CEO of Solutions, Inc.--whose bond is Aaron Neville's "Down Into Muddy Waters" and their guitars. The two are the most unlikely detectives I've encountered so far. And I'd like to meet them again. Set in the imaginary Ohio town of Chatsford, Skeet and Jake's friendship, as well as Skeet's relationship with Shirley, his girlfriend of seven years who's ostracized by the Vietnamese community for being a "bui doi" (mixed blood being an African-American-Vietnamese), were put to the severest test as Skeet lost his job at the police department for helping Jake helped solve his cases with him.
This unusual mix is what makes this story tick. Its thesis that different culture and social status can indeed work together in love and harmony to solve this world's ills and give happiness where it is needed is explored to the hilt, carried on by compelling prose and unhindered dialogue, building up to an explosive climax that any reader of the thriller genre would be compelled to shout "hurrah!" and clap at the end.
At the center of it all is love. This is primarily a love story so tragic and compelling that it gives the antagonist/murderer a human face and explained why he was driven to kill. All in all, The Crowning Circle is mixed bag of a love story, a murder, a friendship story, a psychological drama, etc. that may be the reason why no publisher had published it, prompting her to self-published it. But isn't human life a big mixed bag? I highly recommend this book to all who love thriller. And I want to meet Skeet, Jake, Shirley and Gabrielle again in the near future. To Jamie, congratulations! Keep pushing that pen.

Chuck Schwager, a reader from Sudbury, MA USA
"How many murder mysteries are at their core a meditation on love? In my experience, not many. But in Lankford's novel, we are treated to an intellectual thriller with the most unusual cast of characters in the genre. Skeet is a black PhD psychologist with a ton of secrets from his time in Nam. His music buddy, Jake, is an eccentric white software genius. Skeet's girlfriend, Shirely, is a black/Vietnamese beauty who is not accepted by the Vietnamese community. The unusual mixture works perfectly due to the clear and concise writing and the compelling narrative drive. We are most vulnerable in how we love and this vulnerability is explored in depth in both the bad guy and the good guys. Any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to check out this book, and encourage this first time author to continue writing. But understand that once you start, be prepared to read it whole."

Sandi von Pier, a 39-year old MOM from New Jersey.
"I loved the characters, especially Jake, because I just love how quiet and shy he is. But I love Skeet too. He's an endearing man, but closed up like so many men I know. I loved how the author had the characters be introspective - it made me think too. My life doesn't give me the time to just sit and read cover to cover. Basically it is a little here and a little there. I found that with this author's style of writing I didn't lose it if I had to leave for a few hours,even though I didn't want to. J.R. Lankford is definitely on my list of authors to watch!"

Evans Munyemesha, a reader from Phoenix, AZ
"Lankford wants us to know that original creativity is still alive. In this work, the author masterfully lures us into the maze of mystery by dangling before us the simple yet complex feelings of fear, and love. She wins us over in one terrorific moment!
The writing is easy, and laid back, the characters identifiable with weaknesses that makes us relate, the storyline relentlessly gripping and believable. This is a winner! The only reason I didn't cry is because I am too macho!! Great piece. Write on---"

Richard Bray, a reader from Yokohama, Japan
"It was as if 'In the Heat of the Night' had been updated to 2001, and moved from Mississippi to Ohio. The book is full of small town atmosphere, the characters are flesh and blood, and you feel for them as they move through the streets, alleys and small company workshops, trying to solve the crimes as they become enmeshed in a web of deceit, going back longer than any of them could imagine. JR Lankford is one of the few authors who has successfully handled the multiethnic character, without being condescending or stereotyped, reminding me a lot of Trevanian's Shibumi, still one of the great novels, and coincidentally featuring a Basque theme..... I just could not put it down, and though the ending was a little hurried, I closed the page and thought, 'That was a beautiful book!' JR Lankford has made this first novel so good, she will have her work cut out to ensure number two is to the same high standard, but I am sure she will. All readers will want to read more of Skeet and Jake, Shirley and Gabrielle. I do!"

N.B. Leake a reader from Fort Lauderdale, FL
"J.R. Lankford has something for every reader, from strong well-developed characters with deep cultural backgrounds, intricate plot lines with multiple subplots, twists and turns with psychological undertones, to enduring friendship, and love at first site. A psychodrama that surprises with every new page. Readers will be stalking the bookstores in the hope of the return of Skeet, Jake and their women, Shirley and Gabrielle."
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by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

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