Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Review: Dead Money – Steve O’Brien

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Paperback: 315 pages
Publisher: A&N Publishing (January 10, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988184303
ISBN-13: 978-0988184305
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Dan Morgan – Lawyer
Lennie Davis – Handicapper and Horse Racing Expert
Beth DeCarlo – Aspiring Horse Trainer


You Can’t Stop It.

The stranger’s menacing, dismissive laughter echoed in attorney Dan Morgan’s head.

In the heart of thoroughbred country—Churchill Downs—a major con was about to be pulled. Despite Dan’s efforts, his filly, Aly Dancer, was somehow part of the scheme.

You Can’t Stop It.

Dan’s dream as a thoroughbred owner was to run in a Grade I race—a televised stakes race. That opportunity had finally appeared.

So far it had only resulted in threats, violence and death.

You Can’t Stop It.

What was the scam? Who was involved? Who could he turn to?
Post time was nearing.
The man’s sinister voice would not leave him.

You Can’t Stop It.


A followup to Bullet Work, this finds Dan considering selling Aly’s Dancer. Unknown to him though, the buyer is willing to stop at nothing to obtain the horse. It seems some Russian mobsters have a plan on how to get rich in horse racing. What is that plan? You’ll have to read Dead Money to find out.

Like the previous novel, I found it interesting to get an inside look at the sport of horse racing. I learned some about the sport from the first, and learned a little more from this one. The information is well researched, and it’s obvious that Mr. O’Brien did his job in learning about the subject.

The characters are very interesting, and true to life. The trainer you manage to really feel her connection to the horse and her concerns on race day. You also get an inside look at one of the big races.

I can’t say there was anything I disliked about this book. It was a good thriller, and I’d recommend it. I’d say read Bullet Work first so you you don’t spoil it. There is some strong situations and for that I’d give it a PG-13. Overall a very enjoyable thriller that I think you’ll like. Give it a shot, and be sure to drop by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Steve O’Brien is the author of Elijah’s Coin, Bullet Work and Redemption Day.

Elijah’s Coin has been added to the reading curriculum in multiple secondary schools throughout the US and has been incorporated in a university ethics course.

The e-book version of Redemption Day was an Bestseller.

Steve is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Washington University Law School. He lives in Washington, DC.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Back From the Dead – Peter Leonard

Monday, April 15th, 2013
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Story Plant, The; Reprint edition (January 22, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: ISBN-10: 1611880637
ISBN-13: 978-ISBN-13: 978-1611880632
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Ernst Hess – Former Nazi, Mass Killer.
Harry Levi – Holocaust Survivor.


Peter Leonard’s jaw-dropping VOICES OF THE DEAD introduced us to two mortal enemies: Holocaust survivor Harry Levin and Nazi death angel Ernst Hess. Now, their struggle reaches its dramatic conclusion in BACK FROM THE DEAD.

Bahamas, 1971. Ernst Hess, missing and presumed dead, regains consciousness to find himself stuck in a hospital bed on a strange ward in a foreign country. He must do what he needs to do to get his life back and to finish the job he has been doing for decades.

Harry believes he has already stopped Hess. When he finds out that the war criminal has somehow survived, Harry must do the only thing he can do – kill Hess again – even if it means crossing continents and putting his life and the lives of those that matter to him on the line.

Action-packed and darkly humorous, BACK FROM THE DEAD is the unforgettable conclusion to a story that launches Peter Leonard into the pantheon of great suspense novelists.


A Great Followup to Voices From the Dead. Previously we’d seen Harry Levin dumping the body of Nazi Killer Ernst Hess in the ocean. However, it seems Mr. Hess did not die from his injuries. Now he’s back, leaving more bodies in his path.

I found the book to be well written. The characters were realistic, and Hess had the darkness you’d expect of someone with his background. The majority of the book seems to focus on Hess, with a subplot involving him selling art stolen by the Nazi’s. The murders are brutal, and we get to see his brutality without the author getting too graphic in detail.

One issue is if you haven’t read Voices from the Dead you may feel a little lost in who all the characters are. This definitely picks up at the exact point that Voices left off. I’d recommend reading the first one, before diving into this one, just for a more enjoyable experience.

There is strong language and situations, and it is rated PG-13 for older teens adults. One thing that bothered me in the last book, but seemed like maybe I accepted more in this one, knowing the timeline, was the use of racial epithets. The last time around they just felt out of place, or just struck me harshly, but this time around, if they were used, it didn’t seem to smack me in the face.

Overall a very good thriller with a good plot, and interesting characters. Grab it if you get the chance, and when you read it, stop back by and let us know what you thought.


Harry pulled in the driveway, parked and went in the side door. He expected to see Colette in the kitchen, starting dinner. She was going to make sauerbraten, potato dumplings and red cabbage, an authentic German meal. He’d been thinking about it all day and he was hungry. Colette was a terrific cook, and that was another benefit of living with her. He threw his keys on the counter, hit the message button on the answering machine. Another one from Galina.

“Harry, you going to call me one of these days?”

No, he said to himself. Walked into the foyer, glanced in the den and moved into the living room. Someone was sitting in his leather chair, legs crossed on the ottoman. The man had dark shoulder-length hair and wore black jeans, a white shirt and a black leather jacket.

“I don’t think you’re a burglar,” Harry said, “or you’d be looking for the silver, so tell me what you’re doing in my house?”

“I stopped by your office. We could have handled it there, but you were too busy to see me,” he said with an accent that sounded like he was from Berlin.

“You buying or selling?”

“I am trading.”

“For what?” Although Harry had a pretty good idea.

“Where is Ernst Hess?”

“I’d try his estate in Schleissheim or his apartment in Munich. Maybe start by talking to his family and business associates?”

“I know he came here to see you.”

“Where’s Colette?”

“Safe for now. Tell me about Herr Hess.”

Harry pulled the Colt from under his shirt and aimed it at him. “I’ll tell you what. You want to trade, I’ll trade Colette for you. We can start there, see how it goes.”

“Put the gun away. You are not going to shoot me or you will never find her.”
The guy got up and came toward him. He was tall, six two, six three, and looked like he was in shape. Harry pulled the hammer back with his thumb. “First one’s going to blow out your knee cap. You better hope there isn’t a second one.” That seemed to persuade him. The German froze.

“I’m going to give you another chance. Where’s Colette?”

“Not far from here.”

“Let’s go see how she’s doing.”

“I have to call, tell them we are coming.”

“How many are there?”


“We’re going to surprise them,” Harry said. “And if they’ve done anything to Colette, you’re the first one I’m going to shoot. Believe that if you believe anything. Take off your coat, throw it over here and turn around.” He did and Harry checked the two outside pockets of the jacket, found a parking receipt, and a pair of handcuffs. There was also a piece of notepaper that had an address on Crooks Road in Troy and a phone number. “This where they have Colette?”

In the other pocket he found car keys and a small semi-automatic. He ejected the magazine and put it in his pocket. The German had his back to Harry, looking over his shoulder.

“Take off your clothes. I want to see what else you’ve got.”

The German stripped down to his briefs and tossed everything on the floor at Harry’s feet. Harry picked up the man’s pants and checked the pockets, found the key to the handcuffs and his wallet. Opened it, name Albin Zeller from Munich on the driver’s license.

“You a Nazi, too, Albin?” Harry said.

Zeller, with his back to him, didn’t say anything. He was less threatening now in his underwear, thin legs, pale skin that had never been in the sun.

“Why are you looking for Hess?” He didn’t respond.

“You break in, say you want to talk, but you don’t say anything.” Hess was a wealthy man and a member of the Christian Social Union, an important political figure in Germany. Harry could understand why there were people who wanted him found. Hess must have told someone his plans. Otherwise how would Zeller have been able to follow his trail to Detroit? Harry threw him the handcuffs. “Put them on.”

Zeller turned, caught them, clamped them on his wrists. “Where’s your car?”

“On the street.”

That wasn’t going to work, walking a handcuffed Nazi in his undies out to the car at gunpoint. “All right, let’s go. We’ll take mine.”

“They are expecting a phone call.”

“Well they’re going to be surprised then, aren’t they?”

“What about my clothes?”

“You’re not going to need them.”

“You drive up to the house they will kill her,” Zeller said.

“Then we won’t drive up to the house.”

Harry was parked in the driveway by the side door. It was 5:30 and almost dark. He led Zeller out, popped the trunk, took his eye off the German for a second and Zeller took off, hurdled the neighbor’s fence like a track star and disappeared. Harry started after him and stopped. Went back to the car, closed the trunk and drove to Troy to find Colette.

About the Author

Peter Leonard’s jaw-dropping VOICES OF THE DEAD introduced us to two mortal enemies: Holocaust survivor Harry Levin and Nazi death angel Ernst Hess. Now, their struggle reaches its dramatic conclusion in BACK FROM THE DEAD.

Bahamas, 1971. Ernst Hess, missing and presumed dead, regains consciousness to find himself stuck in a hospital bed on a strange ward in a foreign country. He must do what he needs to do to get his life back and to finish the job he has been doing for decades.

Harry believes he has already stopped Hess. When he finds out that the war criminal has somehow survived, Harry must do the only thing he can do – kill Hess again – even if it means crossing continents and putting his life and the lives of those that matter to him on the line.

Action-packed and darkly humorous, BACK FROM THE DEAD is the unforgettable conclusion to a story that launches Peter Leonard into the pantheon of great suspense novelists.

Visit Peter on his website:  or on facebook here

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Plague – H. W. “Buzz” Bernard

Thursday, February 21st, 2013
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (September 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611941768
ISBN-13: 978-1611941760
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Richard Wainwright – Temporary CEO of a Biological Development Company.
Dr. Dwight Butler – Scientist studying Viruses.


Deep in the secret recesses of a Cold War lab, the Russians created tons of deadly bio-weapons. Now, decades later, a protege of that Russian research is about to release weaponized Ebola into the heart of the South’s most iconic city: Atlanta, where the symbols of American “decadence” range from a happily diverse population to the Coca-Cola museum and CNN headquarters.

A preliminary test of the horrifying virus demonstrates the unspeakable suffering of its victims–and alerts the Centers for Disease Control that a terrible pandemic is in the making. CDC Virologist Dr. Dwight Butler begins a frantic effort to track down the source of the virus before it’s too late.

For new BioDawn CEO Richard Wainwright, it quickly becomes clear that the “accidental” plane crash that killed the pharmaceutical company’s entire executive hierarchy may have some connection to the evolving threat. Suddenly, Richard is being stalked by a hit woman. He and Butler join forces to find the lone terrorist at the center of a plan that could unleash the Black Plague of the 21st century.


When this book was offered to me, it immediately caught my attention. I’d always liked books like The Andromeda Strain and Next by Michael Crichton. This was in a similar vein. A terrorist threatens to unleash a biological weapon on a city. The reader almost never knew where the bad guy was going to strike, or what was going to happen. You are able to really get into the mind of Richard and see his fears. You also get to see things somewhat from the terrorists point of view. The reader really does get the sense that this terrorist draws no lines in what he’s willing to do. People die, some due to their own involvement, some merely got in the way.

If you like bio terror type books, then grab a copy of Plague. I think you’ll really enjoy it. If I were to give it a rating, I’d say older teens and adults due to the content and subject matter. The author seemed to leave things open for a follow up novel, so I hope he does do a followup, as I’d be eager to read it.

About the Author

H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is the author of EYEWALL and PLAGUE. EYEWALL, his debut novel, became a number-one Kindle best seller. PLAGUE was released in September 2012.

Buzz is a veteran meteorologist having spent 13 years as a senior meteorologist with The Weather Channel, and 33 years as a weather officer in the U. S. Air Force.

His background as a meteorologist informs EYEWALL. He’s had first-hand experience with hurricanes, having penetrated the eyewall of Hurricane Felix in 1995 with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters. The mission he went on wasn’t nearly as exciting–or as terrifying–as the one described in EYEWALL, but he did get an up-close and personal look at how the job is done. At The Weather Channel, he worked closely with some of the most highly regarded hurricane forecasters in the business.

Besides his trip with the Hurricane Hunters, he’s flown air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and was a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135). Additionally, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope and served two tours in Vietnam. Various other jobs, both civilian and military, took him to Germany, Saudi Arabia and Panama.

He stepped away from a weather-themed book to write PLAGUE, mainly, he says, because the subject terrified him.

Buzz is a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a degree in atmospheric science and studied creative writing. He’s currently vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association.

After leaving active duty with the Air Force, he spent twenty years in New England, but now lives in Roswell, Georgia, near Atlanta, with his wife, Christina, and overly active Shih Tzu, Stormy. Buzz is at work on his third novel now, another weather-related drama, SUPERCELL.

His Website can be found at

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotions for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Pandora’s Temple – Jon Land

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Paperback: 412 pages
Publisher: Open Road E-riginal (November 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: ISBN-10: 1453224653
ISBN-13: 978-ISBN-13: 978-1453224656
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Katie DeMarco – Environment Activist
Sebastian Roy – Energy Corporation Mogul
Shinzo Asahara – A man bent on revenge for the death of his father
Johnny Wareagle – Partner to Blaine McCracken
Blaine McCracken – DHS Agent


What if Pandora’s box was real. That’s the question facing Former Special Forces commando and rogue agent Blaine McCracken who returns from a 15-year absence from the page in his tenth adventure.

McCracken has never been shy about answering the call, and this time it comes in the aftermath of deepwater oilrig disaster that claims the life of a one-time mem-ber of his commando unit. The remnants of the rig and its missing crew lead him to the inescapable conclusion that one of the most mysterious and deadly forces in the Universe is to blame—dark matter, both a limitless source of potential energy and a weapon with unimaginable destructive capabilities.

Joining forces again with his trusty sidekick Johnny Wareagle, McCracken races to stop both an all-powerful energy magnate and the leader of a Japanese dooms-day cult from finding the dark matter they seek for entirely different, yet equally dangerous, reasons. Ultimately, that race will take him not only across the world, but also across time and history to the birth of an ancient legend that may not have been a legend at all. The truth lies 4,000 years in the past and the construction of the greatest structure known to man at the time:

Pandora’s Temple, built to safeguard the most powerful weapon man would ever know.

Now, with that very weapon having resurfaced, McCracken’s only hope to save the world is to find the temple, the very existence of which is shrouded in mystery and long lost to myth. Along the way, he and Johnny Wareagle find themselves up against Mexican drug gangs, killer robots, an army of professional assassins, and a legendary sea monster before reaching a mountaintop fortress where the fi-nal battle to preserve mankind will be fought.

The hero of nine previous bestselling thrillers, McCracken is used to the odds be-ing stacked against him, but this time the stakes have never been higher.


Parts of this book reminded me of Jurassic Park. Not in the sense of dinosaurs run amuck, but there were a lot of similarities. There was the greedy corporate executive bent on controlling a new technology. There was the person who knew the danger that technology presented. There were those whose purpose was to discover and stop this technology from being released on the world.

This was my first time reading one of Mr. Lands novels, but it really had me hooked into the story. I love techno thrillers and this one kept a good pace throughout the story. Just when it started to slow down a bit, an event would happen and just ramp up the action even more.

If you like Crichton’s novels or like techno thrillers, then you should definitely pick up a copy of Pandora’s Temple. I’d rate it PG-13, while there doesn’t seem to be any strong language, there is a lot of shooting and other violent acts. It’s definitely recommended, and I’m almost certain I’ll go back and check out the rest of the books in Mr. Lands Blaine McCracken series. If you give it a read, stop back by and let us know what you thought. Also be sure to enter our giveaway for a copy of Omega Command.


The Mediterranean Sea, 2008

“It would help, sir, if I knew what we were looking for,” Captain John J. Hightower of the Aurora said to the stranger he’d picked up on the island of Crete.

The stranger remained poised by the research ship’s deck rail, gazing out into the turbulent seas beyond. His long gray hair, dangling well past his shoulders in tangles and ringlets, was damp with sea spray, left to the whims of the wind.

“Sir?” Hightower prodded again.

The stranger finally turned, chuckling. “You called me sir. That’s funny.”

“I was told you were a captain,” said Hightower

“In name only, my friend.”

“If I’m your friend,” Hightower said, “you should be able to tell me what’s so important that our current mission was scrapped to pick you up.”

Beyond them, the residue of a storm from the previous night kept the seas choppy with occasional frothy swells that rocked the Aurora even as she battled the stiff winds to keep her speed steady. Gray-black clouds swept across the sky, colored silver at the tips where the sun pushed itself forward enough to break through the thinner patches. Before long, Hightower could tell, those rays would win the battle to leave the day clear and bright with the seas growing calm. But that was hardly the case now.

“I like your name,” came the stranger’s airy response. Beneath the orange life jacket, he wore a Grateful Dead tie dye t-shirt and old leather vest that was fraying at the edges and missing all three of its buttons. So faded that the sun made it look gray in some patches and white in others. His eyes, a bit sleepy and almost drunken, had a playful glint about them. “I like anything with the word ‘high.’ You should rethink your policy about no smoking aboard the ship, if it’s for medicinal purposes only.”

“I will, if you explain what we’re looking for out here.”

“Out here” was the Mediterranean Sea where it looped around Greece’s ancient, rocky southern coastline. For four straight days now, the Aurora had been mapping the sea floor in detailed grids in search of something of unknown size, composition and origin; or, at least, known only by the man Hightower had mistakenly thought was a captain by rank. Hightower’s ship was a hydrographic survey vessel. At nearly thirty meters in length with a top speed of just under twenty-five knots, the Aurora had been commissioned just the previous year to fashion nautical charts to ensure safe navigation by military and civilian shipping, tasked with conducting seismic surveys of the seabed and underlying geology. A few times since her commission, the Aurora and her eight-person crew had been re-tasked for other forms of oceanographic research, but her high tech air cannons, capable of generating high-pressure shock waves to map the strata of the seabed, made her much more fit for more traditional assignments.

“How about I give you a hint?” the stranger said to Hightower. “It’s big.”

“How about I venture a guess?”

“Take your best shot, dude.”

“I know a military mission when I see one. I think you’re looking for a weapon.”


“Something stuck in a ship or submarine. Maybe even a sunken wreck from years, even centuries ago.”

“Cold,” the man Hightower knew only as “Captain” told him. “Well, except for the centuries ago part. That’s blazing hot.”

Hightower pursed his lips, frustration getting the better of him. “So are we looking for a weapon or not?”

“Another hint, Captain High: only the most powerful ever known to man,” the stranger said with a wink. “A game changer of epic proportions for whoever finds it. Gotta make sure the bad guys don’t manage that before we do. Hey, did you know marijuana’s been approved to treat motion sickness?”

Hightower could only shake his head. “Look, I might not know exactly you’re looking for, but whatever it is, it’s not here. You’ve got us retracing our own steps, running hydrographs in areas we’ve already covered. Nothing ‘big,’ as you describe it, is down there.”

“I beg to differ, el Capitan.”

“Our depth sounders have picked up nothing, the underwater cameras we launched have picked up nothing, the ROVS have picked up nothing.”

“It’s there,” the stranger said with strange assurance, holding his thumb and index finger together against his lips as if smoking an imaginary joint.


“We’re missing something, el Capitan. When I figure out what it is, I’ll let you know.”

Before Hightower could respond, the seas shook violently. On deck it felt as if something had tried to suck the ship underwater, only to spit it up again. Then a rumbling continued, thrashing the Aurora from side to side like a toy boat in a bathtub. Hightower finally recovered his breath just as the rumbling ceased, leaving an eerie calm over the sea suddenly devoid of waves and wind for the first time that morning.

“This can’t be good,” said the stranger, tightening the straps on his life vest.

* * *

The ship’s pilot, a young, thick-haired Greek named Papadopoulos, looked up from the nest of LED readouts and computer-operated controls on the panel before him, as Hightower entered the bridge.

“Captain,” he said wide-eyed, his voice high and almost screeching, “seismic centers in Ankara, Cairo and Athens are all reporting a sub-sea earthquake measuring just over six on the scale.”

“What’s the epi?”

“Forty miles northeast of Crete and thirty from our current position,” Papadopoulos said anxiously, a patch of hair dropping over his forehead.

“Jesus Christ,” muttered Hightower.

“Tsunami warning is high,” Papadopoulos continued, even as Hightower formed the thought himself.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, we are in for the ride of our lives!” blared the stranger, pulling on the tabs that inflated his life vest with a soft popping sound. “If I sound excited it’s ‘cause I’m terrified, dudes!”

“Bring us about,” the captain ordered. “Hard back to the Port of Piraeus at all the speed you can muster.”

“Yes, sir!”

Suddenly the bank of screens depicting the seafloor in a quarter mile radius directly beneath them sprang to life. Readings flew across accompanying monitors, orientations and graphic depictions of whatever the Aurora’s hydrographic equipment and underwater cameras had located appearing in real time before Hightower’s already wide eyes.

“What the hell is—“

“Found it!” said the stranger before the ship’s captain could finish.

“Found what?” followed Hightower immediately. “This is impossible. We’ve already been over this area. There was nothing down there.”

“Earthquake must’ve changed that in a big way, el Capitan. I hope you’re recording all this.”

“There’s nothing to record. It’s a blip, an echo, a mistake.”

“Or exactly what I came out here to find. Big as life to prove all the doubters wrong.”


“Of the impossible.”

“That’s what you brought us out here for, a fool’s errand?”

“Not anymore.”

The stranger watched as a central screen mounted beneath the others continued to form a shape massive in scale, an animated depiction extrapolated from all the data being processed in real time.

“Wait a minute, is that a . . . It looks like— My God, it’s some kind of structure!“

“You bet!”

“Intact at that depth? Impossible! No, this is all wrong.”

“Hardly, el Capitan.”

“Check the readouts, sir. According to the depth gauge, your structure’s located five hundred feet beneath the seafloor. Where I come from, they call that impos—“

Hightower’s thought ended when the Aurora seemed to buckle, as if it had hit a roller coaster-like dip in the sea. The sensation was eerily akin to floating, the entire ship in the midst of an out-of-body experience, leaving Hightower feeling weightless and light-headed.

“Better fasten your seatbelts, dudes,” said the stranger, eyes fastened through the bridge windows at something that looked like a waterfall pluming on the ship’s aft side.

Hightower had been at sea often and long enough to know this to be a gentle illusion belying something much more vast and terrible: in this case, a giant wave of froth that gained height as it crystallized in shape. It was accompanied by a thrashing sound that shook the Aurora as it built in volume and pitch, felt by the bridge’s occupants at their very cores like needles digging into their spines.

“Hard about!” Hightower ordered Papadopoulos. “Steer us into it!”

It was, he knew, the ship’s only chance for survival, or would have been, had the next moments not shown the great wave turning the world dark as it reared up before them. The Aurora suddenly seemed to lift into the air, climbing halfway up the height of the monster wave from a calm sea that had begun to churn mercilessly in an instant. A vast black shadow enveloped the ship in the same moment intense pressure pinned the occupants of the bridge to their chairs or left them feeling as if their feet were glued to the floor. Then there was nothing but an airless abyss dragging darkness behind it.

“Far out, man!” Hightower heard the stranger blare in the last moment before the void claimed him.

About The Author

Jon Land is the critically acclaimed author of 32 books, including the bestselling series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong that includes STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE, STRONG JUSTICE, STRONG AT THE BREAK, STRONG VENGEANCE (July 2012) and STRONG RAIN FALLING (August 2013).

He has more recently brought his long-time series hero Blaine McCracken back to the page in PANDORA’S TEMPLE (November 2012). He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners In Crime Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Giveaway: Jon Land – The Omega Command

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours and Mr. Land I’m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this e-book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 2/19/2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

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Review: Sasha Plotkin’s Deceit – Vaughn Sherman

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Paperback: 320 pages
Camel Press; 1st edition (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1603818111
ISBN-13: 978-1603818117
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


Sasha Plotkin – KGB Agent wanting to defect.
Chris Holbeck – A CIA agent working to help Sasha defect.
Lisa Holbeck – Chris’ wife who is drawn into the political web.


The setting is the late 60s early 1970s. Chris Holbeck is a CIA agent who happens to meet his counterpart in the KGB, Sasha Plotkin. The two men develop a friendship. During the course of this friendship, Chris learns that Sasha wants to defect. They set plans in place, and Sasha never shows up. A few years later, Chris receives news that they’ve once again made contact, and Sasha wants to work only with Chris.


The plot for this is in some ways reminiscent of The Spy who came in from the cold, for that is exactly what Sasha is wanting to do. There are multiple conflicts the character run into, from Chris’ family resenting his career, to trust issues with Sasha.

The author takes you on a lot of twists and turns, not only with the relationship between Sasha and Chris, but also between Chris and his family. You are able to see the toll that being an agent can have on one’s family.

I really liked the book, and felt the ending was wrapped up rather nicely. The author, himself a CIA agent, pulled from some of his own experiences in crafting the story. This added a great depth of realism to the story.

If you are interested in the spy novels along the lines of James Bond, you won’t find that here. But if you are interested in spy novels set in reality, with the way a real spy would handle his job, I think this should suit you greatly.

It was a very good reading experience, and I’d look forward to more stories about Chris Holbeck and his family. If I were going to rate it, I’d rate it PG-13 just due to the content.

Pick it up, give it a read, and drop back by to let us know what you thought.


Friday dawned much like the day of his last meeting with Plotkin, cold and clear with new snow. Such a pretty day that this time he  resolved not to return to the Embassy after signaling Plotkin at NK that the meeting was on. After the safety signal at ten o’clock, he’d go directly home, maybe have a chance to chat with Lisa before lunch.

Upon leaving the Embassy, he noted that the sun hadn’t warmed the air at all. The squeaking snow under his feet confirmed how cold it was as he walked toward his car. The shadows from the trees along Strandvägen weren’t quite as long as they had been last week at this time. Stockholm was on the downhill ride toward spring. In the scant hour he’d been at the Embassy the car had cooled off completely. He let it warm up before driving downtown to wait the few minutes at NK for Plotkin’s safety signal. No policeman this time, and no Plotkin visible in the park. But then he hadn’t seen Plotkin last time, either.

Next he headed west from the city, toward home. Chris enjoyed the drive and was feeling good as he slid to a stop in front of his house. Lisa didn’t reply to his cheery “Hello” when he let himself in through the front door. Now what? Her actions were so strange these days he was afraid she might have taken off without preparing the lunch for Plotkin. A walk through the dining room to the kitchen put his mind at ease. The table was set, and soup was simmering on the stove. She must have walked down to the shopping square for some last minute items. It wasn’t yet ten thirty, and she had no reason to expect him. He went back to the front windows to look down the  street, on the chance that he might see her walking back. No Lisa, only a skier heading toward Drottningholm. This castle was located not much more than a mile from their home across Drottningholm Bridge. It was a favorite residence of the royal family and surrounded by a park open to the public.

He and Lisa had skied there several times with the children during the Christmas holidays. An idea struck. Chris went quickly to his bedroom to change into long johns and ski pants, then to the front hall for his ski parka, hat and mittens. Next he went to the garage for his skis. He’d ski down to the square to pick up Lisa and come back with her. Outside the garage door, he slapped his skis down on the new snow and fastened the cable bindings. Out on the street Chris looked in the direction of the square. Still no Lisa. Nobody, in fact, on the street. In the other direction the skier had long since disappeared. An hour skiing at Drottningholm would probably do  him more good than trying to talk with Lisa. Few people were outdoors on this work and school day. It was terribly cold, but the atmosphere brought some needed peace to Chris. He felt good. The  children in their neighborhood were on skis most every afternoon. As he used his poles to push himself along and keep his balance, he thought about how Missy and her friends skied merrily along with no poles. Ah, to be young again!

There was a knoll off the beaten path in the park where somebody had built a small ski jump, maybe a couple of feet high. Probably some of the older boys who lived nearby. Chris thought about trying it.   He’d do it. Climbing the knoll took more out of him than he’d expected.

Wheezing at the top, he made his weekly resolve to start an exercise program. The knoll wasn’t high, but looking down the run to the jump, it appeared a lot more impressive than from the bottom. Well, he had been a pretty good skier during college days. There wasn’t anybody in sight to embarrass him if he botched the little jump. He poled hard and headed downhill. Two things surprised Chris. First, his skis were much faster than expected. When he started out he almost lost his balance backwards. Then, when he dug  in the poles and launched himself on the jump, he went much higher than he thought he would. In the few seconds he was in the air he realized that he had overcompensated for the first mistake. Now he was leaning too far forward. He tried to bring up the tips of his skis and failed, hitting the snow with the tip of one ski. He somersaulted, bounced on his shoulders, made a half-roll and came to a stop with his right ski buried in the snow.

His leg must be badly twisted, he thought. He moved to untangle himself and came close to fainting. It was more than a twist, for sure. The pain was awful when he tried to move.

Chris lay back, chilled, and felt the panic start. Nobody was in sight.

About the Author

Vaughn Sherman was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, where he attended Roosevelt High School. After an active duty Navy tour late in World War II, he attended and graduated from the University of Washington, working in Alaska for the Fish and Wildlife Service during summer vacations.

The Alaska experience led Vaughn into the career of a fisheries biologist, working for the Washington State Department of Fisheries. That career was cut short when he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. He served long assignments in the Far East and Europe before doing a short tour in Vietnam 1973-74. That assignment ended when his wife became ill and he was needed at home to care for her and three school-age children.

After taking early retirement Vaughn’s community activities have mostly involved the governance of non-profit agencies and community colleges. This work includes presentations and retreat leadership all over the country. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Edmonds Community College, as president of Washington State’s Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC), and as president of the national Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).

Vaughn studied creative writing at the University of Washington, an interest that has resulted in several publications. In addition to Sasha’s Plotkin’s Deceit, he wrote the memoir of a northwest mariner titled An Uncommon Life (1988). Two small books dealing with the management of community college boards of trustees have been published by ACCT. Essentials of Good Board/CEO Relations was released in 1999 and is now in its second edition. The Board Chair: A Guide for Leading Community Colleges, a collaboration with his colleague Dr. Cindra Smith, was published in 2002. A third book will be released in early 2012: Walking the Board Walk—Secrets of an Enjoyable Nonprofit Board Experience. This guide shares Vaughn’s thirty years of experience both as a member and trainer of nonprofit boards.

A certified mediator, Vaughn is a volunteer with the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish, Island and Skagit Counties.

After the passing of his first wife, Vaughn married Jan Lind-Sherman, a teacher who brought her own children into the marriage. Their extended family includes eight children, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and assorted siblings, nieces, nephews and daughters-in-law.

Tour Schedule

October 22nd:  Review & Giveaway~Teena In Toronto
October 24th:  Review & Giveaway~Beauty In Ruins
October 26th: Review & Giveaway~The Book Connection
October 31st:  Review & Giveaway~Impressions In Ink
November 1st:  Review, Guest Post & Giveaway~JeanBookNerd
November 3rd: Review, Guest Post & Giveaway~Electronic Scrapbook
November 5th:  Showcase Spotlight~Omnimystery News
November 8th:  Review & Giveaway~ Two Weeks From Everywhere
November 12th:  Review, Guest Post & Giveaway~The Top Shelf
November 15th:  Showcase Spotlight~Read 2 Review
Nvember 19th:  Review & Giveaway~The Stuff of Success
November 20th:  Review & Giveaway~Rhodes Review
November 26th:  Review, Interview & Giveaway~Reviews By Molly

See our giveaway for 1 electronic copy of this by going here.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Cheryl at Partners in Crime Tour for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Shadow Man – Mark Murphy

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Paperback: 348 pages
Langdon Street Press (a division of Hillcrest Publishing Group, Inc.) (July 20, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1938296036
ISBN-13: 978-1938296031
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Malcolm King – Surgeon


A string of mysterious deaths is plaguing Malcolm King. Each death is someone tied to him, and appears to be someone, such as himself, who is very skilled at surgery. Not only does he have to contend with this, but there are two mysterious strangers out there that he keeps seeing. Who are they, and what is their connections to the murders?


This was a fast paced thriller, with a very interesting antagonist, and a ton of twists along the way. The writing style kept me involved, the characters were well developed, and the situations, for what they are are realistic.

One possible drawback is that due to forshadowing, it’s possible as a reader to figure out the killer’s connection before Malcolm does. That however doesn’t ruin the fun of the story, because you are still provided with seeing Malcolm’s reactions to the events.

I’d say this is geared toward thriller and mystery fans, and if given a rating I’d give it a PG-13 due to the language and content. Pick it up for a fun weekend read, or with the Halloween season, it’d be a good story to replace all of those “see that before” horror movies being shown on TV.

About the Author

 A physician currently living in Savannah, Georgia, Mark Murphy is also a lifelong award-winning writer. In the midst of a busy medical career which included several academic publications, Dr. Murphy’s decision to attend the Iowa Summer Writing Festival led to the inclusion of a short story, “The Funeral,” in a 2004 collection of works entitled O! Georgia! A well-received regular newspaper column in the Savannah Morning News followed. The Shadow Man is his first novel.

Tour Schedule

October 1 – Dad of Divas and Every Free Chance Book Reviews

October 2 – Live to Read

October 3 – BlogCritics and Colorimetry

October 4 – Crazed Mind

October 5 – Murder by 4

October 8 –

October 9 – Kritters Ramblings

October 10 – Celtic Lady’s Reviews and Lissette E. Manning

October 11 – The Busy Mom’s Daily

October 12 – The Bibliophilic Book Blog

October 15 – Tic Toc

October 16 – Mom in Love with Fiction

October 17 – Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews and Simple Wyrdings

October 18 – Books-n-Kisses

October 19 – Reading Challenged

October 20 – Gina’s Library

October 22 – The Top Shelf and Novel d’Tales

October 23 – The Wormhole

October 24 – Mama Knows Books

October 29 – My Life in Not So Many Words and Literary R&R

October 30 – Rhodes Review

October 31 – Silver’s Reviews and The Bookworm

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Books for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Primal – D. A. Serra

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
Paperback: 222 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 10, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1478198036
ISBN-13: 978-1478198031
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Alison Kraft – A woman dealing with the fact that she’s killed another human being.
Hank Kraft – Audio Equipment store owner.
Jimmy Kraft – Nine year old son of Alison and Hank.
Ben Burne – One of four psychopathic brothers.


What measures would you go to protect your family. Would you kill for them? How would it alter your character if you did? That situation is what Alison Kraft must confront when she finds herself having to deal with the Burne Brothers.


I had mixed feelings on this book for various reasons. The characters were well written, and the emotional trauma that Alison is facing is very aptly written and very emotionally fulfilling. The areas where I had problems is that at times Alison’s behavior or what her family perceived as going on, brought back some rough memories from my childhood when my own mother suffered from emotional problems. The characters, some of the ways they handled it, and some of the things said brought me back to those years that I’d tried to put behind me. However, I’ll consider that as a talent of the author, not a drawback.

The situations I found very realistc, I found it raising perplexing philosophical questions and I’d have to stop reading from time to time and reflect. By the end I was very satisfied with the conclusion, and it fit with everything that occurred previously in the book. If you like psychological thrillers, and a look into the human mind, and enjoy really psychopathic bad guys, then pick this up. I think you’ll enjoy it. Be sure and stop back in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Deborah has been a writer for twenty years, initially in television and film, and now novels. Her screenplays have been produced by Showtime, CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Sony and others. She has worked on staff, and as a freelancer, for producers, directors, and actors, including: James Cameron, Meg Ryan, Beau Bridges, and Robert Cort. She has written on assignment eleven TV films and numerous episodes.

When time permits Deborah teaches screenwriting at the University of California, and at workshops nationwide. Born and raised on the East Coast, Deborah now lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.

Please check her website for details:

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Teddy at Virtual Authors Book Tour for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: You Came Back – Christopher Coake

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Hardcover: 432 pages
Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (June 12, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1455506702
ISBN-13: 978-1455506705
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Mark Fife – A web designer, recovering from the death of his young son.
Allison Daniel – Mark”s new girfriend.
Chloe – Mark’s Ex-Wife and mother to their son Brandon.
Connie Pelham – Owns Mark and Chloe’s old house.  She’s the ignition point for this story.


It’s been a few years since the death of Mark and Chloe’s son Brandon. They’ve divorced and both have moved on with their lives. But Mark still holds a lot of guilt within him for Brandon’s death. Things start to spin out of control when a woman named Connie Pelham enters the picture. She lives in Mark and Chloe’s old house, and she came to tell Mark that Brendan is still there looking for him.


This book was set in and around the area I live in, Columbus Ohio. So it was a real treat to see the fictional characters journey around the city and recognize all the places he went to. It’s strange but to me this made that part of the book fun. When he went to a certain park, I’d been to the park.

Outside that, I found the story very gripping. I originally pictured more of a ghost story, but it turned out to be more about the story of a family dealing with their grief, and how that grief can alter the lives of those involved. The characters were well developed, the locations were well described so even not knowing them, I could picture them. And the plot fit.

If I were to rate it, I’d say due to some language/events that it would be rated PG-13. If you like psychological books, and going into the minds of people to see what makes them tick, then pick this up. I think you might enjoy it. And be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Christopher Coake is the author of YOU CAME BACK (Grand Central Publishing, out June 2012) as well as the collection of short stories WE’RE IN TROUBLE (Harcourt 2005), which won the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. In addition, Coake was listed among “Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists” in 2007. His stories have been published in several literary journals, and anthologized in BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2004 and THE BEST AMERICAN NOIR OF THE CENTURY. A native Hoosier, he received his M.F.A. in fiction from Ohio State University. He and his wife Stephanie Lauer live in Reno, where Coake is a professor of English at the University of Nevada.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: The 13th Tribe – Robert Liparulo

Thursday, July 5th, 2012
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595541691
ISBN-13: 978-1595541697
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Neveah – A member of the lost tribe.
Jagger Baird – Head of Security for an Arhaeological Excavation.


A group of people representing the 13th lost tribe of Israel is set on a plot of terror. Jagger Baird is pulled into this plot, and he must stop them before millions of innocents die.


I really enjoyed the political and the religious settings for this book. When the author addressed the biblical aspects within the context of the story, for example, when a character was having a religious debate, I found it very interesting. At other times such as the archaeologist Leo and Jagger’s wife, their religious views seem to come out of nowhere, and feel a little heavy handed or preachy.

When the author avoids this heavy handedness, it’s a really tight, religious drama based on biblical history and is a very fascinating storyline. However for some readers, I feel the push of too much religion may go over the top and be a turn off for them.

There is some strong adult events and violent imagery, so it’s not geared towards the younger reader. Definitely for older teens and adults. As a political thriller, I think it was well done. As a religious thriller, I think it may appeal more to the more fundamentalist readers, while the more moderate ones may find some of the rhetoric over the top.

Bottom line, if you want an interesting thriller taken from biblical history, then you might possibly enjoy this. Pick it up and give it a shot. I know I’d definitely give any followups a read.
About the Author

Best-selling novelist Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first two critically acclaimed thrillers—Comes a Horseman and Germ—were optioned by Hollywood producers.

Bestselling author Michael Palmer calls Deadfall, released in November, 2007, “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” Liparulo’s young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted in May 2008, with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods.

He is currently working with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) on the novel and screenplay of a political thriller. New York Times best-selling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” Liparulo lives in Colorado with his family.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Booksneeze at Thomas Nelson for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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