Book Review – Desert Jade by C. J. Shane

Book Review – Desert Jade by C. J. Shane

Book Review – Desert Jade

by C. J. Shane

Average rating (all reviews) :


Book Review by Rodney Strong

I’d be happy to read anything from the author in future!

Desert Jade starts in the desert with the desperate struggle of an illegal immigrant, and over the course of the book takes in murders, Chinese triads, and rather surprisingly, love.

C.J Shane has written a solid thriller, with some particularly descriptive passages of the desert, and of Tucson. The characters are well drawn, and although there are a lot of them, the author mostly manages to juggle them successfully. A minor quibble here is that Shane spends quite a bit of time on characters that aren’t seen for most of the book, which distracts from the main story.  For example the entire first section is about a Mexican woman being rescued from the desert, and then we don’t see her again until the very end of the book.

Letty is a likeable character, and it was nice to have a private investigator that wasn’t hard-boiled, or burnt out.  She has her demons, like everyone, but they help round out her character rather than dominating her actions.

There is a little too much exposition in places, which slows the action down. In several spots the characters relate story aspects to other characters, that the reader already knows, so there’s a sense of repetition.  Also some of the dialogue is a bit stilted.

Tightening up these areas could have turned a good book into a great book.  Having said that I’d be happy to read anything from the author in future.

4 stars out of 5

The Reviewer is the Author of Troy’s Possibilities

Book Review – The Master by Dora Ilieva

Book Review – The Master by Dora Ilieva

Book Review – The Master

by Dora Ilieva

Average rating (all reviews) :


Book Review by Rodney Strong

Bored with working at Starbucks – The Master is a solid book but not spectacular

The Master, by Dora Ilieva sees Kossara Kirilova being offered a job.  A chance to track down a long missing book.  Bored with working at Starbucks, and keen to utilise her brain once more she accepts the challenge, and soon finds her way from Canada to Europe, where she must keep her wits about her at all times if she’s going to survive.

There are some nice descriptive passages throughout the book, especially where it comes to locations in Europe, and the Bogomils.  Some of the dialogue is stilted, but it mostly flows well, and there is a clear sense of relationship between Kossara, Ben, and Sam.

The Master is billed as a thriller but for me there was a distinct lack of tension in the book.  There’s no sense that they are actually getting close to finding the book, and although the villian’s make several threats, Kossara and her friends are never aware of them.  Most of the deaths that occure could have been natural causes, so there’s no sense of fear from the protagonists.

Aside from an intriguing prologue there is no understanding of what’s so important about the book that people would kill for it, so the reader doesn’t know what the stakes are, and neither do the protagonists.  As far as they know they are just looking for a historical book.  The other thing that stood out was the number of coincidences that happened to push the story along.  It was almost as if the author hit a wall in the story so put in a family on a metro to provide an important clue, for example.

While Kossara is mostly well written, she is an inconsistent character.  She’s suspicious of the job offer, but completely oblivious to the coincidences of Pedro following her around.  In one scene she’s a strong, independent woman, in the next she’s indecisive and relying on her friends.

The book ends rather abruptly, which makes me wonder if there is a sequel planned, but there is no real resolution for any of the characters which is a little frustrating.

Dora Ilieva has some good plot ideas and executes some of them well.  Unfortunately there is too much repetition.  There is a descriptive passage used as a clue to the book’s hiding place, which is repeated three or four times in full.

For me, this was a solid book without being spectacular.

3 stars out of 5