Ex-army guys getting shuffled in between Mexican Drug Cartel, DEA and CIA and FBI is a story told many times. Ochoco Reach, however, has a triple layer of awesomeness to it. What is so special about this book?

Well, take an action story with ex-army guys in their 40s, add into the mix some pretty awesome elements of Native American spirituality, a super-intelligent dog, a wonderfully playful relationship in between brothers and a bit of love. You just can’t go wrong.

There is so much emotion in this book, it’s heartwarming and not at all overwhelming. Jim Stewart has a way with words, a unique way of describing the feels. A unique way of showing the reader the dynamics in between two living beings.

If I had to pick my favorite relationship out of this book it would either be in between Mike and Bucket (his superstar dog) or in between Mike and his brother from another mother, Daniel. I had so many moments of “Awh, this is so lovely” to “I wish I had a dog like that” to “Maybe I should have become special ops”.

Mike Ironwood has been to the Nam, tried to be a cop afterwards which didn’t work out because of PTSD and unwillingness to follow orders, because he knows best himself, or rather the sounds in his head know best..! yes.. what? Sounds?  He is either crazy or touched by a spirit- you’ll figure it out yourself as you read. I’d like to think he is possibly both. His brother Daniel is special ops as well and together they make a mighty team.

Enter Willimina aka Willy… I know, I did a childish chuckle every time I read “Willy”.. anyway… she is a ranch owner and through some pretty crazy circumstances ends up being the damsel in distress, which she hates, because she is, after all, a strong independent woman.

Let’s talk about the cover… You might think- drug cartel explosive action is illustrated by a desert, a fox and a mountain? Dude, you wouldn’t even begin to comprehend how accurate this cover is to the whole earthy story. Treat the aspects of the cover as clues of what is to come in the story, how everything mixes together in Mike Ironwood’s voice-filled brain and spills into his life.

I am rating this book with 5 shining, utterly awesome stars based on the fact that I admired how  the author wrote about emotions, that there was a good dose of wittiness, playfulness mixed with the seriousness and action.

With thanks to author Jim Stewart and Jessica Hardesty from Mindbuck Media for sending me a copy!