Friday, December 9, 2016

The Red Queen Rules (Red Solaris Mysteries)

Author:  Bourne Morris
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense

Hardcover; Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #" 9781635111248; 9781635111217
Henery Press
$31.95; $15.95; $4.99 Amazon
December 6, 2016


Free speech or hate?  When a white supremacist schedules an event on campus, Red Solaris must confront her own feelings about an issue that challenges the very core of American education: campus safety versus freedom of speech.  Amidst escalating tension, Red meets with the editor of the student newspaper -- who also confides in Red that her young cousin is missing, probably a victim of local sex traffickers.

Agreeing to rescue the girl, Red solicits help from her beloved Detective Joe Morgan.  But when Joe goes undercover into the dangerous world of human trafficking, he disappears without a trace.  Red must balance her fears for Joe with her worries that a campus riot may soon break out.


Meredith 'Red' Solaris is Dean of Journalism at Mountain West University in northern Nevada.  One morning she overhears an argument and, following the sound, arrives at the campus home of a group of white supremacists known as The Purists.  When she arrives she sees the editor of the university's newspaper Rosie Jenkins on the ground with several of the group surrounding her.  After diffusing the situation she is greeted by a woman who identifies herself as Danica Boerum, a renowned racist.  It seems she is giving a speech on campus, and although Red would like to keep it from ever happening she is the Dean of Journalism and as such, believes in free speech even when it differs from her own views and opinions.

Rosie, who escaped the sex trade when she was younger is now trying to free her young cousin Cathy from the same fate she suffered.  With this end in mind she asks for Red's help along with that of Detective Joe Morgan, who is also the love of Red's life.  When Joe decides to go deep undercover in the search for Cathy, Red still needs to deal with the problem of Danica's speech and the resulting fallout from Mountain West's staff and students.  The stakes are driven higher when Rosie has a run-in with Danica and later is attacked in her apartment and nearly killed; Joe disappears; and Red discovers something that sends her into an emotional tailspin as she tries to run her school, find Joe, and keep Rosie safe...

In this third novel in the Red Solaris mysteries, Bourne Morris writes a book that touches upon several controversial subjects, and she does a nice job of dealing with the sex trade/trafficking, hate groups, and if students really need safe spaces (even though this last was only touched upon) and I thought it was quite intriguing.

When Rosie is sure that Danica is someone from her past it causes the attack that sends her to the hospital.  While she is recovering from her wounds with a police guard at her door Red is worried for her but more than worried for Joe, whom no one has heard from for awhile and it sends her on a mission to find him accompanied by their friend and retired cop Wynan, who isn't happy about Red's actions but agrees to go.  Little does she know that a chance encounter with an old enemy will help her in her quest.  

She must also meet with students who are not happy about Danica's appearance being nothing but hate speech and want it cancelled, but as she explains to them her thoughts she also manages to encourage them to find a way to rebel against it without causing any violence.  I thought this was dealt with nicely, and enjoyed the fact that there are some new developments for a couple of characters from previous and current books, as well as changes that are coming for Red in her own life.  We also learn more about Red's father and his past in this latest installment of the series, which helps Red with her own past.

Although I did feel that this is less a mystery than a discourse on free speech and the consequences were we to censor people from their right to it; and those that may be if we don't, it was still very good; it grabbed my interest and held it throughout.  (There is a fine line there and I have no intention of walking it).  A satisfying read and highly recommended.

More on Bourne Morris' Books:

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