Former Navy SEAL Ben Blackshaw lurks in solitude aboard the shoaled wreck of the American Mariner in the Chesapeake Bay. He is awakened one stormy spring night when a drifting dinghy slams into the old ship’s hull. Blackshaw investigates, and discovers there is only one occupant in the sinking boat, a naked young woman lying unconscious in the bilge.
Against his better judgment, and risking his own undercover operation, Blackshaw gives shelter to Tally, the terrified refugee. He soon learns Tally has escaped a calculating crew of sociopaths who are about to launch an internet site called L’Abattoir, on which hostages will be tortured, and then executed. Tally was able to free herself, but she now she must return to the dreaded dungeon with help to rescue her little sister, and to free twenty other victims-in-waiting.
Blackshaw’s wife, LuAnna, arrives at the old ship on a resupply mission, and upon hearing Tally’s story, encourages Blackshaw to return home to Smith Island, and enlist his friend Knocker Ellis to help. Ellis suggests inviting other Smith Islander’s to join the mission. Blackshaw and Ellis are both shocked that their friends and neighbors will not lend a hand. The two men return to the American Mariner to find that LuAnna’s crab skiff has been sunk and that LuAnna and Tally have both disappeared.
With help from weather-wizard Michael Craig, Blackshaw back-tracks the most likely meandering course that Tally’s boat drifted the night before. But when Blackshaw and Ellis arrive at the dinghy’s starting place at the pier of a waterfront home on the Chesapeake, they find two FBI agents already investigating the double-homicide of an elderly couple, and the kidnapping of the couple’s grandchildren; five-year-old twins. To Blackshaw and Ellis, this mayhem bears the bloody signature of Maynard Chalk, their old nemesis.
Blackshaw races the FBI to discover the lair where the ghoulish L’Abattoir is to take place; he is terrified that LuAnna herself has been dragged there for slaughter. What he learns about the depths of human depravity shatters not only his faith, but the foundations of his sanity.
Praise for Tap Rack Bang
- Cyrus Webb, Host of Conversations LIVE, Editor in Chief, Conversations Magazine
Readers of author Robert Blake Whitehill’s Ben Blackshaw series have definitely seen him go through his share of hair-raising adventures since DEADRISE. With the third book TAP RACK BANG we are able to see a more layered view of his hero—a hero that doesn’t want to be in that position at all.
Something sinister is going on around Blackshaw. When he tries to offer assistance to a stranger he is swept into another perilous situation that not only threatens the lives of the innocent but his as well. A talk with his good friend Ellis (whom we’ve gotten to know quite well) reminds him that he is who he is, meaning that if there is injustice in the air Ben won’t stop until he does everything he can to make it right.
It becomes more complicated than that, however, as Ben realizes that the evil that drives some may know no bounds. It is that time that Ben wrestles with his own nature to do good and the realization that this life—which is all he knows—is definitely worth fighting for.
Ben Blackshaw might not want to be a savior, but his desire to see the innocent free (especially children) brings out the best in him (the Dick Blackshaw in him), and he won’t stop until he’s done his part to bring about justice.
Brimming with intrigue, mystery and the type of steady action that will keep any reader alert, TAP RACK BANG draws you in and holds you captive with every page.
- Stephanie Bell, Producer, HatLine Productions
TAP RACK BANG throws Whitehill’s hero, Ben Blackshaw, headfirst into a terrifying new journey through one of the darkest secrets of our time – human trafficking. If you thought Blackshaw’s previous adversaries were evil, just wait until you meet his newest nemesis. Whitehill weaves together intricate story lines that will leave you reeling – another brilliant Ben Blackshaw adventure that HatLine Productions can’t wait to bring to the big screen!
- Brinda Glatczak, Editor in Chief, WiLove Books
Whitehill does it again with non-stop action, nail-biting suspense, nightmare-inducing villains, and high-caliber weapons. Ben Blackshaw is still in hiding when he stumbles into a human trafficking ring, which he addresses for his own reasons and with his own brand of justice. Blackshaw is the kind of hero who has morals, but is willing to do whatever it takes for those he cares about, and who earns the respect and trust of his friends. Unfortunately there is a high body count on this mission, and not all of the good guys make it through. A gripping read that I couldn’t put down. The best Blackshaw book to date.
- Trey Shinault, Smith Island Crab Skiff Association
Robert Blake Whitehill writes about the Chesapeake Bay in the same style that Jimmy Buffet writes about the Caribbean. Writers are encouraged to write what you know and Whitehill knows the Bay. Smith Island is in dire need of support. Just as Ben Blackshaw tries to save Smith Island from extinction with gold, Mr. Whitehill tries to do the same with the publishing of his stories. He makes Chesapeake Bay maritime history relevant as well as exciting. If his previous books were a thrill ride, Tap Rack Bang is the ultimate extreme roller coaster ride with several extreme stomach-dropping falls. The ending of his two previous books made the readers wonder “what is going to happen next?” This book will make you wonder “what just happened?”
- Leslie Lakes
Incredible! Robert Blake Whitehill does it again! In his third Ben Blackshaw mystery series, Whitehill does not just tap you on the shoulder for attention, but from the very opening page, manages to rack you upon tenter hooks, to pull you into a web of intrigue as he bangs out another winning thriller! A masculine writer….and by that I mean if Whitehill wasn’t an author he’d be a boxer; rigorously conserving his energy to make every word give weight and a knockout punch to the amazement of his readers. So better be prepared to be flattened out when you open the pages to follow the story of Ben Blackshaw – former SEAL whose search for fortune and gold has cost him plenty. But, who knew! To me, Whitehill’s writing style is like a Master’s painting where brushstroke and color and texture is applied in just the right places to create a composition tantamount to…a poetic genius!
- David Wertheimer
Robert Blake Whitehill and Ben Blackshaw have done it again. Fans of the first two books will stay glued to the pages of Tap Rack Bang until the closing sentence. Whitehill not only continues the non-stop action and mayhem that our hero seems to attract like a magnet, but he takes us deeper into the quirky characters of Smith Island as he weaves a yarn that keeps us on the edges of our seats. For readers who enjoy a good story that combines fast-paced action and adventure with not a little bloodshed, humor and savvy political commentary, Tap Rack Bang will not disappoint!
- Lowell Wilder
Twisted? Stirred? How do you take your Ben Blackshaw? Fan(atics) of Ben Blackshaw’s earlier exploits will need to come to grips with the grittier, darker depths of sexual murdering predation in the liminal Tap Rack Bang, Whitehill’s third deployment of his charmed protagonist. Blackshaw’s mojo is tested by the captivatingly maniacal poster-child-for-evil Maynard Chalk — a pervy writing tour-de-force. Newbies as well as devoted readers will get much satisfaction from the Blackshaw/Knocker Ellis bro-mance as they try to balance greedy self-interest with the growing understanding of Chalk’s depredation. A canny writer, Whitehill takes risks that are rewarded by testing reader loyalty when he introduces new characters into the midst of his always luscious Chesapeake Bay muck, blood, and explosions, as well as by saying sayonara to others. More complex, more disturbing than Deadrise and Nitro Express, Tap Rack Bang is a twisted but stirringly satisfying read.
- Walter Whitehill, The Ice Man
What can I say about Whitehill’s latest novel, Tap Rack Bang???? Let’s start with WOW, followed with AWESOME and finishing with BEST WORK TO DATE! This book shows how Whitehill has grown as a writer on so many different levels. First is his creation of a new litany of vermin (yes vermin, as in the lowest of the low) that will have you seething with a desire to see them all get their just rewards. Second you will find yourself cheering as each meets their demise, in sometimes surprising ways, even though the price will be high. A word of warning though. Do not plan on eating, drinking or being aware of the outside world once you start the final 80 pages or so. You will become totally immersed and completely helpless to put the book down until the final page. Speaking of which, the final half page will hit you square in the gut and leave you weak. This is a must-read and Whitehill’s finest work yet.
- John J. Francone
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Tap Rack Bang: I loved it. Would have finished it in four hours, however, I went with my wife to drop our daughter off in Philly, and then went to dinner. Got to page three hundred twenty-nine in three hours. Loved the Havokker. It was another one-day read of an excellent book. Great writing.
- Dave Pettit
From the very start of Tap Rack Bang, the third entry in the Ben Blackshaw thriller series, threads from the previous two novels continue to wind together. When a new thread – the intrusion of a seemingly dead outsider into Ben’s temporary hideout – is added, the forced isolation of our main character, along with the growing paranoia of his Smith Island neighbors and co-conspirators, and the burgeoning madness of their collective enemies, threaten the safety of the isolated Chesapeake community. When his beloved LuAnna goes missing, Ben is pulled into a new scheme drawn up by a grotesque character whose appearance and bloodlust conjure images of Jabba the Hutt. As Ben races to recover his wife, he discovers more details about the plot involving the intruder and stages a classic showdown between good and evil. Tap Rack Bang is a worthy successor to Deadrise and Nitro Express, and the action from all directions moves along quickly. As usual, the narrative is helped along by clever turns of phrase and an encyclopedic knowledge of ballistics, boating, and artillery. When the smoke finally clears, Ben may wish he hadn’t followed the new thread – as it may have cost him that which he holds most dear.