‘At What Cost’ explores the risks taken to save a life

By From page B3 | April 04, 2017

“At What Cost” by Jim L’Etoile, published December 2016 by Crooked Lane Books – hardback, paperback and ebook versions, 304 pages.

Serial killers, organ transplants, gangs and revenge set the stage for “At What Cost,” the action-packed mystery thriller by Cameron Park resident James L’Etoile. Lay in a stockpile of snacks and beverages and pray for a rainy day because you will not want to put this book down once you’ve started reading.

When West Sacramento Det. John Penley begins investigating a series of grisly murders targeting gang members, he has no idea how personal the case will become. With his new partner, Paula Newberry, Penley begins connecting the dots between the case and suspicious anomalies within the organ transplant system. As he struggles to meet the demands of the increasingly twisted case and the needs of his 9-year-old son, who is awaiting a kidney transplant, the action becomes personal when Penley realizes that his son appears to be the target of a killer who is always a step or three ahead.

“At What Cost” is the first in L’Etoile’s new mystery-thriller series featuring Det. John Penley.

“I have already completed the second book and it’s out for editing,” he said. “It will bring out more about Penley’s partner, Paula Newberry, as an old Internal Affairs case comes back to haunt her.”

L’Etoile is currently working on the third book.

Set in the Sacramento area, “At What Cost” weaves skillfully between Raley Field and the Sacramento River and is given veracity by L’Etoile’s knowledge of both the area and his own 30-year career in criminal justice — as an associate warden in a maximum security prison, director of adult parole, hostage negotiator, probation officer and as a national consultant on prison-based rehabilitation programs.

“An unsophisticated drug dealer and the stone-cold serial killer share one thing in common — the next big score. The way they get there is where I come in, with stories told through my unique filters,” said L’Etoile.

“The idea for ‘At What Cost’ came from an Aryan Brotherhood gang member being shot during a fight with another inmate at the prison where I worked. He died in the hospital and then we found out his organs were being donated. He was a drug user and a horrible person and we wondered why anybody would want his organs,” said L’Etoile.

About the same time as this experience, a son of one of L’Etoile’s colleagues needed a bone marrow transplant and L’Etoile found himself wondering what lengths a parent would go to save the life of their child.

Although L’Etoile has another book, “Little River,” published in 2013, it’s still a thrill for him to see his books in print. “I snuck down to the new Barnes & Noble in Folsom just to see if it was on the shelves … and it was!”

“At What Cost” is available in hardback, paperback and ebook on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, BooksaMillion and at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Boulevard in El Dorado Hills. James L’Etoile can be found on Facebook, Twitter and his website, jamesletoile.com.

Wendy Schultz


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