free book Giveaway : VEILED by Cyana Gaffney

free book Giveaway : VEILED by Cyana Gaffney

free book Giveaway : VEILED

by Cyana Gaffney

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Genre:

Christian Fiction , thriller

Blurb:

Devastated by events in her life, Haily Pearson decides to leave early to surprise a friend in Saudi Arabia. But by not telling anyone she’s changed her plans… no one knows that everything has gone horribly wrong. Weeks later, when Ryan Foster calls to check in on her, he is terrified to learn that Hailey never arrived. If she’s not with Anna, then where is she? Hailey’s story will pull you in. Gripping each page for more details, you will wonder if hope can be found. In her story, and in ours, light, sometimes, may only be found in the darkest places.

Author’s message:

I can’t wait for you all to read VEILED. It is a timely story filled with suspense and intrigue – you’ll have a hard time putting it down. Be sure to check out the sequel on my website!

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Book Review – Final Notice by Van Fleisher

Book Review – Final Notice by Van Fleisher

by Rodney Strong 0 Comments

Book Review – Final Notice

by Van Fleisher

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A Solidly Written Book that Just wasn’t Thrilling enough for me

“A new smart watch has the ability to predict how long someone has to live, sending them a “Final Notice” to get their affairs in order.  Everyone reacts differently, but in some cases, getting their affairs in order means picking up a gun and killing other people, or themselves.

Final Notice is billed as a political thriller, which is the biggest issue I had with the story.  When I hear the description “thriller” I assume edge of the seat, lots of action and suspense.  Unfortunately Final Notice didn’t have any of those things.  It was a solidly written book, but in my opinion definitely not a thriller. Making the company manufacturing the watches, cooperative and the good guys really took away a prime opportunity for conflict.

There were some nicely written passages, and I particularly liked the relationship between Vince and Trudi, and really liked the nice little twist from Trudi at the end.  However there were too many characters introduced, and most of them were superfluous to the story, even the FBI agent seemed to have little to do, and didn’t add any tension to the plot at all.

The author fell right into the trap of telling rather than showing readers, and there was quite a bit of over writing in places. Also the author took readers out of the story at times by adding little notes from the author into the text, which were distracting and unnecessary.


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To Whatever Genre it May Fit, “Final Notice” is a Grand Book

Wow!, Just Wow! That was my first thought when I finished this book. Normally I would write a synopsis first but I found this difficult to do, so bear with me.

The main story follows the testing stage of the VT2, a new sport watch- and I use the term loosely – which monitors your body and blood to the extent that it can accurately predict (within 30 days) when you will die. The watch sends out a Final Notice giving the wearer the number of days they have left. So what would you do if you knew you only had X number of days to live? Would you make sure your affairs were in order and say your goodbyes or would you settle a grievance with a gun, knowing that you would never have to pay for your crime?

This book follows the stories of several Final Notice recipients who did just that. The FBI becomes involved when it’s realised there is a link between some recent, and perhaps strange, murders and the VT2.

But there is also the story of Vince (70) and his wife Trudi who rail against the easy availability of guns until an incident that leaves them feeling the frailty of their age. They are truly conflicted.

This book is set in the near future and powerfully highlights the political influence of the NRA, but other social issues such as the indifference and lack of respect spot wards the ageing and the growing hatred of foreigners, especially Muslims, are also approached within the story.

It took me a few pages to understand how this story was put together, but once I did, I was fully engrossed in all of it. It is a complex tale of serious topics but it is tempered by moments of humour and the odd step out of the story by the author. I loved that. It made it quite personal, in effect giving you a kind of relationship with the author as well as the main characters. Very brave, Mr Fleisher.

The main characters are well developed and the book moves at a rollicking pace. I’m not sure where it fits in; it’s touted a s thriller and mildly sci fi, but I’m not sure it fits either of those well. Social commentary perhaps, but wherever it fits, it’s a grand book and I look forward to the next one


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 

 

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Thought-Provoking Novel, but Not Much ‘Thrill’.

“What would you do if you knew- for certain- that you had one week to live?” -the very first question Van Fleisher raises at the start of “Final Notice” jolts the readers. While we keep pondering over this, a high-tech company is shown to introduce a health-monitoring watch that can accurately predict the user’s death within a time limit of a week. With this knowledge of impending death, some people use the remaining time putting their affairs in order or standing up for their ideals one last time; while others kill people they had issues with, thus settling the score once and for all.
The author plunges into an intricate account of US society and introduces a plethora of characters: Vince and Trudy Fuller, an elderly couple; Vijay Patel, the inventor of VitalTech; Quasim and Rasha Melho, an immigrant couple; Zoe Brouet, a Special Agent of FBI; Senator John McAdam- to name a few.
Several other questions gradually come into focus: by encouraging possession and use of guns, will NRA help to counter violence, or rather increase it? Will arming the school teachers and common people help them prevent mass shooting at schools and other acts of crime, or will that prove to be a disaster just waiting to happen? How does ‘NRA Senior Discount’ on guns affect the judgement of the elderly people, who often have to suffer humiliation and disrespect from younger generation? How do the immigrants in USA feel when racist comments are directed towards them?
Described as a ‘political thriller’, the story has a definite political undertone, but does not elicit much thrill. The pace, at least in the first few chapters, is too slow for my choice. The narration is frequently interspersed with side notes from the author and musings of the characters, without which the story could have been more compact. Background details of many characters are given, which seems unnecessary. Also, the dialogues sometimes sound like staged monologues, not real conversations.

In spite of those shortcomings, I feel the story-line is perfectly relevant in today’s society, as it addresses several crucial questions and makes the reader think and re-think their answers. The main characters show bravery, goodwill and compassion for their fellow humans; their actions often implore us to rise over petty vengeance or personal grudges and to be kind.
The last twist is unexpected, and while it reflects good intent from Trudy’s part, I leave it to the readers to decide whether it is justified or not. Finally, the end of the story holds a beacon of hope for a better future.

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Book Review: Cold Comfort by Larry Darter

Book Review: Cold Comfort by Larry Darter

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Free Book : Cold Comfort

(The Malone Mystery Novels, Volume 3)

by Larry Darter

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1 Blogger Review

Dianne James Book Blogger
Kathryn Moody 
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Reviewed by
Kathryn Moody

A super intriguing PI story that keeps you entertained and guessing!

I was totally intrigued by the whole story which is in the heart of Cold Comfort by Larry Darter. The story-line captivated me from start to finish, and I look forward to reading more about Private Investigator Ben Malone and his adventures.

Ben Malone is an ex-LAPD Homicide detective, with plenty of street smarts, quick wit and carries his gun at all times as an accessory during his investigations. This character’s introduction was the initial reason that kept me reading.
An attorney, Liz Harper, hires Ben when she has a client arrested for the murder of his wife. His prints are all over the murder weapon, and he lives in a house on his wife’s property, but Liz really believes he is innocent.
The story follows as Ben investigates just what happened to Ms. Sutherland, using an ex-partner Reyes, who is still on duty in the LAPD, for assistance with some info. As the case goes on Malone is followed, shot at, and gains a new associate TJ, an athletic, beautiful female who is one hell of a shot.

I enjoyed all the quick short-showing background details as well as the romance this novel holds.
This is a great suspense story with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.  Even though this is a stand-alone novel, this being the third in the series I am now going to be looking for the first two and awaiting the fourth!!

I received a copy of this book from BookGobbler, to which I had given my honest review.


 

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James

A Good, Gutsy Crime Story

I have not had so much fun reading a book for a very long time. It took me back to the days of reading Phillip Marlowe stories and the style is similar.

The characterisation told by Larry Darter is great with, P.I. Malone being the quintessential tough guy – unemotional and slightly cocky. The other characters’ featured were a perfect fit, adding depth and humour to round out the story.

Cold Comfort is pacy, it has lots of action and plenty of interesting twists and turns. I loved every second of it so much that I had to go back and buy the first two in the series.

If you love a good, gutsy crime story, don’t miss this one!


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 

 
Book Review – Chasing Symmetry (Riley’s Peak #1)  by Tempeste Blake

Book Review – Chasing Symmetry (Riley’s Peak #1) by Tempeste Blake

by Brittany 0 Comments

Book Review – Chasing Symmetry

(Riley’s Peak #1)

by Tempeste Blake

Average rating (all reviews) :

 

2 Review

 
 Brittany, Top Reviewer
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  Julia Wilson
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Britanny's Pages Book Review by Brittany

A Murder Thriller with a Shocking Twist!

Bianca James thinks she has her life together. She teaches art at the local college, dotes on her car Picasso, and she has a wonderful best friend. But when Bianca discovers a murdered woman in the school’s storage closet, things become a bit more complicated.

Finn Tierny has returned to Riley’s Peak to help take care of his father. He joins the police force and is part of the crew that responds to the murder scene. He is surprised to see Bianca, his former art teacher and his older brother’s ex-girlfriend.

Soon after the murder, Bianca begins to receive threats  and Finn does all he can to keep her safe. The two begin to fall for each other, even with Finn’s brother Dylan trying win Bianca back. Everything comes crashing down and Bianca’s life is put in danger in a clever twist of an ending.

Chasing Symmetry started off really strong, I flew through the first few chapters with the murder investigation and then it started to slow down. I had to put it down and come back to it later.
The novel stands as both a murder mystery and a love story. Police are trying to find the murderer and Finn is in love with Bianca, and wants to keep her safe.

As a love story, it wasn’t believable enough for me. Bianca is caught in two interconnecting love triangles. One with brothers Dylan and Finn, the other with Dylan and his now girlfriend Jewel. On Finn’s side, the narrative is that he comes back to town and immediately becomes protective of Bianca (obviously he’s already in love with her). And to be honest, he’s in love with a person he barely knows. The attraction seems to be all physical and that, for me, is a shallow base for a love story. Not to mention that she was his art teacher AND it’s his brother’s ex-girlfriend.

The murder mystery was a little on the slow end in the middle (hence my original 3 star rating), but the clever twist at the end upped my rating. The author introduces several characters that have the potential to be the murderer. It kept me guessing through the whole book and the ending totally blew me away.

If you are a murder mystery fan, definitely give this book a try and see if you can figure out the ending better than I can!

Chasing Symmetry gets 3.5 stars.


Originally Posted on Britanny’s Pages

 


Reviewed by Julia Wilson

Lies, Secrets And Shattered Lives

Chasing Symmetry by Tempeste Blake is a marvellous nail-biting contemporary murder mystery that intrigues from the start. Lives are easily shattered. The novel explores how a traumatic event can have far reaching effects. “He couldn’t stop blaming himself.” Unable to face the future except by looking through the bottom of a glass. Trauma changes lives.

Mothers are important. When mothers leave – either through choice or death – families are changed. Children need their mothers. Husbands need their wives. A mother is the glue that holds the family together.
Life can be cruel. Cancer robs us of our loved ones. Sometimes even before death as their personalities change. It is hard to watch as they slowly slip away.
The world sees one face but people are different behind closed doors. “The world was full of people hiding their true identities.” Many people are nursing secrets. There is power in prayer. “If you pray… pray. If you don’t, you might want to start.” Many turn to prayer in a crisis. For others it is a default setting.

Chasing Symmetry’s plotline was well thought out and cleverly constructed. The ending was jaw dropping. I did not see it coming but was totally brilliant. I was engrossed and guessing throughout. The characters were well drawn and realistic with their unique strengths and weaknesses. The main characters were very likable.

Chasing Symmetry is a brilliant read. It would translate perfectly into a movie. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic

 

 
Book Review – Who the F*ck Am I? by Stephen Bentley

Book Review – Who the F*ck Am I? by Stephen Bentley

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Book Review – Who the F*ck Am I?

by Stephen Bentley

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A Good Novella Which Gives You a Taste for More

“Who the F*ck Am I?” is a novella by Stephen Bentley (more about him later), which can only be described as borderline non-fiction crime-thriller genre. 

Steve Regan is an undercover cop, who is trying to infiltrate a US-driven drug ring in late 70s Britain. He comes across Bill Morris, a Canadian international who is trying to establish this drug ring, and they immediately set off on a collision course. While Regan is the ultimate conflicted good boy, Bill is the absolute devil: murder, rape, and outright violence is his bread and butter, while he is in bed with the dangerous Bolivian cartel. Will Steve stop him or will he succumb to the thrill and glamorous life of an international drug dealer and go rogue?

As a novella, which sets the scene to a trilogy, “Who the F*ck Am I?” is a very good read. Stephen Bentley’s writing is precise, well edited and weaved with high English as well as punchy Cockney slang. Stephen Bentley has been an undercover cop himself, active in “operation July” which is one of the biggest international drug busts in modern history. Bentley had managed a variety of jobs, including a barrister, and his intimate knowledge of the crime world oozes from the pages. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book is inspired by real events, even though the author is trying to undermine this in his foreword.

The critical aspect of this review has to do with the Characters – Regan was a bit underdeveloped for my taste, and I would have loved to understand what he was doing undercover for two years, He is too “perfect” and I didn’t buy for a second his “going rogue” thoughts. My second critical point has to do with the ending. Without giving out any details, I think the entire episodes after the climax of the Regan-Bill confrontation were unnecessary. instead I would have preferred a more elaborated account of Bill’s affairs in the US and Regan’s past. The book ends in a very American-movie manner and too many things fit into their right place…

“Who the F*ck Am I?”‘s plot is plausible and believable, however I would have loved to see it develop more: A bit more about the cartel, Bill and Regan’s life would have made me much more content. Compelled to write this, I must concede that this novel is well succinct and is a page turner on its own merit. The book will give you a glimpse of the undercover life and if you like crime thrillers you would love to enter this 70s world of no mobile phones, no advance tech and old school British-gangster-violence.


 

Book Review by Rodney Strong User Sign Up

A Solid Start for Bentley

Who the F*ck am I? centers on British undercover cop Steve Regan as he navigates the murky world of drugs in the 1970s.  He’s been under for so long he begins to question who he is and whether he should succumb to the temptations of easy money to help save his mother.

First off I need to say I love the title.  Not only is it abrupt and in your face, it matches the speech and thought patterns of the main character Steve Regan.  This promised to be a gritty, no holds barred, view of undercover work in the 70s.  And for the most part it delivers.  The language is believable, and although some of the characters are a little cliched, for the most part they are well drawn.

This is a novella, and the story is quite short, which means it is a little frustrating that the story bounces between characters.  There are long periods where it’s told from Bill or Caroline, and Regan isn’t even in the picture.  This means you never really get into his mind and follow the struggle he has about whether to turn rogue.

The author has a tendency to interrupt tense scenes with long expositions.  At one point Regan is meeting the drug cartel for the first time, which should be fraught with danger, but instead we get two pages of back story on Regan and how he got there.

Even though it’s a novella and intended to be short, it actually could have been shorter.  There was a natural conclusion point, but things dragged on a little while the author set up the next book.  The last ten or so pages could easily have shown up as the beginning of the next book and not impacted on this book at all.

This was a solid start for Bentley, and I’ll be interested to see where he goes from here. 3/5 stars.


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Book Review – The Key of All Unknown by K. A. Hitchens

Book Review – The Key of All Unknown by K. A. Hitchens

by Dale E. Lehman 1 Comment

Book Review – The Key of All Unknown 

by K. A. Hitchens

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Dale E. Lehman 
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 Rose Elliot
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Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman User Sign Up

This Novel is Among the Best I’ve Read in Recent Times

Dr. Matilda Moss is moving toward a bright future. A top British stem cell researcher, she’s on the verge of a breakthrough that promises cures for a variety of ailments. But then a fall from a balcony leaves her brilliant mind trapped in a useless body slipping inexorably toward death. Unable to move or speak or even blink her eyes, she is powerless to explain what happened to her. Was it a failed suicide? Attempted murder? She can only listen to the speculations swirling about her, collect hints from those who visit her hospital room, and sift through her own memories in an effort to find the meaning behind her life and impending death.

“The Key of All Unknown” floored me. Told in first person through Matilda’s eyes and mind, it is full of heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the tale rounds a new bend and everything changes, not just once, not just twice, but time after time. Beneath it all runs a current of philosophical and moral questing touching on the deepest questions of life and death, and critiquing society’s mad rush to devalue its own humanity.

Emotional, topical, and beautifully told, this novel is among the best I’ve read in recent times. I can’t find a thing to complain about, except a very occasional quibble over an excessively ornate description, and that may just be a matter of taste. The ending so unequivocal that you’ll either be deeply moved by it or you’ll hate it, but either way it’s worth the reading. Five stars for story, five stars for the writing, five stars hands down. Brava, Ms. Hitchens!

The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death” 

This review will feature in his blog www.DaleELehman.com

 


Reviewed by Julia Wilson User Sign Up

Unbelievably Beautiful

The Key Of All Unknown by K.A. Hitchins is a beautiful contemporary novel that I read in just one sitting. I was unable to put it down.

Trapped in her body, Tilda hears everything that is going on. Bit by bit as her memories play out she longs for her body to respond. The words “If you look at me again, you’ll see I’m here” just break the reader’s heart. How many of us are locked inside our bodies, just longing for the world to see the real us?

The book is written in the first person so the reader ‘experiences’ all that Tilda does. We ‘feel’ her frustrations and her pain as she is manhandled by those supposed to care. “I’m a medical condition to be analysed, not a person to be comforted.” Conflicting opinions reign as Tilda fights for her life. Whose side are you on?

The reader senses the raw emotion of her father. “My love isn’t enough. It can’t reach her.” Sometimes our love is not enough to nurse our loved ones back to health. The hopelessness and helplessness are painful to witness.

There are crimes to be solved. The reader tries to piece together what has happened. Even in the darkness, there can be hope for new life if we just hold on and do not give up.

The Key Of All Unknown was beautiful. I hung on to every word that K.A. Hitchins wrote. There were moments when my jaw literally dropped and radiance and love filled my soul.
Why don’t you read The Key Of All Unknown and experience the peace that passes all understanding, as you read this work of great beauty.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic

 

Reviewed by Rose Elliot User Sign Up

An Incredibly Well-written, Highly Unexpected Story

Like I mentioned in the introductory post for this month’s book club pick, The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchens, I was excited to pick up a thriller for the first time in a while. And thrilling this book was! The entire book takes place from the perspective of Tilda Moss, a brilliant scientific researcher who appears to be in a vegetative state, but is actually suffering from locked-in syndrome, as she fights to remember why she landed in the hospital in the first place and figure out how to signal someone that she is, in fact, sentient.

The book takes place almost entirely in Tilda’s head, save the moments when she is able to listen in on the conversations that take place in her hospital. Between those conversations and her fleeting memories, Tilda realizes there is much, much more at stake than just her own life. With incredible and surprising twists and turns, Hitchens manages to weave a story that is suspenseful, enticing, and moving. The reader gets a front row seat to Tilda’s struggles as she fights to survive, fights to be recognized as awake and aware, and fights to remember. As she lays in her hospital bed, piecing together memories and listening to doctors, nurses, and family members discuss her fate, Tilda is left to contend with her life up to that point, faith, and what happens next.

Hitchens does an excellent job of drawing her readers in and keeping them reading. Just when you think the story is slowing down or dragging, another twist or shocking piece of information appears and you have to keep reading. I was deeply moved by this book as a whole, but especially the last third or so. I will often feel emotional at the end of a book, but rarely do I cry real tears, much less sob as I read an ending. The Key of All Unknown brought me tears. I was sobbing by the end, and had to take a second before I could finish reading.

The Key of All Unknown is an incredibly well-written, highly unexpected story. As I read the story, I imagined all sorts of possible outcomes. But the outcome that happened was both completely unexpected and absolutely perfect. I look forward to reading more books by Hitchins in the future.

The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchins gets 5/5 stars.


Originally posted on “Finding Land” Blog

 

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The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchins

The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchins

free book Giveaway : The Key of All Unknown

by K. A. Hitchins

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Genre:

Christian Fiction , thriller

Blurb:

Brilliant scientific researcher, Tilda Moss, wakes up in hospital unable to speak or move and with no recollection of what happened to her. Determined to find answers and prove she is not in a persistent vegetative state, she travels back through her fractured memories looking for clues. Could someone really have tried to kill her? An indulged younger brother, an obsessive flatmate, jealous colleagues and a missing lover. Everyone has a motive.

On the edge of death, and questioning the value of her life, Tilda’s only hope is to unlock the key of all unknown.

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Book Review – Ice on The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

Book Review – Ice on The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

by Julia Wilson 0 Comments

book review – Ice on The Bay

by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

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Reviewed by Julia Wilson

Gripping

Ice On The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman is a marvellous contemporary murder suspense. It is the third book in the Howard County Mystery series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Once again the reader is in for a gripping ride in this compulsive read. The police officers work together to get the job done. They remind me of the three musketeers with their dedication and their loyalty to each other.

A cold case collides with present day crimes of murder, blackmail, arson and burglary. The cases run side by side as the reader tries to guess the connection, if any. Literally a jaw dropping ending that had me hooked and reading with heart racing.

Not only is there great action but the reader really gets to know the characters – their back stories and their families. They are not just flat characters in a book but well developed 3D characters that leap out and engage the reader.

Meeting up with familiar characters gave an air of consistency and a feeling of catching up with old friends. The police officers are very personable, the reader cares about what happens to them. The ‘baddies’ are well drawn too, eliciting feelings of dislike from the reader. For some, we recognise they are caught in a spiral of crime due to circumstances of their upbringing. For others we see the result of poor choices.

These Howard County Mysteries are cracking detective novels. I think they would make a marvellous television mini-series. I am hoping there are many more books to come.

Absolutely compulsive and nail biting reading.

I received this book for free from The Book Gobbler. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic

 

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James

A Cracking Crime Novel with Enough Twists and Turns to Make a Belly Dancer Faint

Howard County PD; three separate police investigations – a murder, an arson and a two year old missing persons case. All unrelated – or are they?
Detectives Montufar, Dumas And Peller try to make sense of their respective cases and as they follow the leads they have – slim as some may be – a darker, more complicated story starts to emerge. It is a complex tale of drugs, deception, blackmail and murder and contains all the elements one might expect from a good crime suspense novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The characters are well developed and realistic and it moves at a good pace to build the suspense. The more I read, the less I wanted to put it down – to do mundane everyday things. In the end, mundane things lost and I read this in one sitting.

It is a cracking crime suspense novel with enough twists and turns to make a belly dancer faint.
Definitely recommended.

I got this book free from Bookgobbler and was not paid to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 


Reviewed by Joni Dee

A Good Howard County Sequel

I liked Dale E Lehman’s debut novel “The Fibonacci Murders”. For some reason though, I did not read the second book of the series “True Death” but went straight the task of reading and reviewing the newly written sequel, in collaboration with his wife Kathleen.

I believe that good sequels are measured if they manage to stand-alone as a book on their own. It’s a big issue in my view, if reading the first book is mandatory in order to understand the next. Albeit a hard task for an author no doubt, would you imagine needing to read nine of Agatha Christies’ superb Poirot novels before reaching the famous “Murder on the Orient Express” ? Not likely. I am pleased to report that in that aspect, the Lehman’s did not fall into a trap that many “sequeling” authors do. The book can be read as a stand-alone, and details from book II were easily filled. I did however thought that if someone read the book as a stand-alone he would have found Lieutenant Det. Rick Peller a bit timid, and over-fatherly. However, I’ll attribute it to him (Peller) simply playing a smaller role in this novel, and maybe just getting older, like most of us.

As always with Howard Country, there are few cases which seems at first not-connected, but interlink as the story draws near its end. Peller is working on an old two-year old case of a missing person; Detective Sgt. Montufar, now engaged in a hot & heavy relationship with Detective Sgt. Dumas, is trying to figure out a copycat arson event; and Dumas – who’s undeniably the main protagonist, is investigating a stone-cold murder of a hustler.
There are also subplots of Montufar’s father dying in the hospital and Peller getting involved with a socialite, both which I found completely redundant and not contributing to the plot (Dale Lehman would have to excuse me on this, as the hospital scenes are probably taken from some personal experience which he wanted to set-free).

The writing is precise as always, but sometimes too precise. It’s humouristic when the boys make wise-cracks for using high vocabulary words, but when the villains use them or an immigrant family, it somewhat hurts the overall flow.
I especially liked The Lehmans’ flirtation with the cold weather, reminding me a lot of my descriptive writing style which, on numerous occasions, was blamed to be throwing the reader off the main subject. I liked it, it gave the story a body.

My main criticism involves the story:
It is a similar problem to that which Mr Lehman had when he wrote solo “The Fibonacci Murders”. Basically, a lot of the details are revealed but the story kind of solves itself before they can serve as clues. The reader doesn’t really have a chance to reach any conclusion on his own, and one witness who could have easily given the story to begin with, if enough pressure had been applied, sings at the end, after we have already speculated what had accord. For me, it was a good story, portraying mundane police work, with likeable characters, but it lacked sophistication. The Howard County detectives came across as too naïve, and too trustworthy, but I liked them.

Another point is that I wasn’t quite sold on how the stories interlink, nor do I think that Peller and Montufar had contributed much to the cracking of the case.

The story redeems itself with a nice twist right at the end, although the way it was discovered and the entire charade seemed a bit messy. I’m not going to reveal anything here, but just as you think the novel reaches its end, The Lehmans’ give us a much-needed climax with a bursting action scene.

“Ice on the Bay” is a precise written novel, which shows the hard task of police detective work. The characters are likeable, the imagery is a pleasant surprise – but the story which is crucial, is somewhat lacking, for this die-hard crime thriller fan

 

 
Book Review – Desert Jade by C. J. Shane

Book Review – Desert Jade by C. J. Shane

by Rodney Strong 1 Comment

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