I’ve reviewed H. Schussman’s work here before. It was El Tiburon and I gave it 4 stars. You can even read the interview I did with her by clicking here.That was her second book. Now I’ve read her first novel which you can get on Smashwords in any format you like.
Her first book is Counterpart. In this outing we get to meet Schussman’s characters CIA Agent/Travel Agent SEAN MCGEE and Doctor JANET “SPORT” WARRICK. The book starts off with Sport picking up a friend at work in a jewelry store when a robbery takes place. She foils one of the bad guys who doesn’t see her at first. Then the owner shoves a box into her hands and tells her to get it to Sean McGee. A chase ensues by the main bad guy but Sport gets away. I’m not spoiling it for you. If she were caught there wouldn’t be much of a story, now would there?
The story itself is very good. Great pace, if I had started this book during the morning after breakfast I would likely have finished it before bed. There are details about Sacramento that hint at first hand experience. Also other travel experiences that are obviously pulled from the author’s own extensive travel life. Trust me, she knows about the Americas, north, south, and central.
Once Sean and Sport meet up it is one thrill ride after another with CIA agents, FBI agents, Secret Service, and more. Even the California Highway Patrol gets involved. And don’t get me started on the Club Med moments.
My favorite character is Sport. She comes by the name for good reasons, which are revealed in the book, so I won’t tell you here. She isn’t a short girl to mess around with, even though Sean really wants to. Both find there is an unexpected attraction that neither really knows what to do with, what with a CIA agents life style and a young doctor’s not being all that great for starting a relationship. The question is, do both survive the whole thing to make it to a relationship at all?
Fast paced, guns, chases, assassinations, bad guys, Russian doubles, political look-a-likes. This one has it all. Oh, and there is even some kissing involved. I had to mention it for the tough guys reading this. We can’t even get a good shoot ’em up book without kissing thrown in. (Just kidding. I wrote a romance.)
This one is good for all types of readers. Enjoy it. It’s only $1.99 at Smashwords right now. I will say that there are some editing moments that were missed, but they don’t take away from the reading experience. (I edit books so I pick them up.) Get the book, then check out El Tiburon on Amazon.
Click the images to go and check out the books. And follow her on twitter @HSchussman for her latest happenings.
Although I bring you a book review, because the circumstances are a bit special (I’ve translated the book to English and therefore these are my impressions of the book in Spanish, rather than a rigorous review of the book in English) I decided not to follow the usual format, because I’m somewhat involved in the process. But I wanted to bring you the book, because we’ve had the writer as a guest before, and because I’m very excited about this project. I also leave you some information about where to contact me if you’re interested in translating your work to Spanish.
Shiny Bones by Enrique Laso. Translation Olga Núñez Miret
A NEW ETHAN BUSH NOVEL
The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit special agent Ethan Bush must investigate a serial killer in Nebraska… A GRIPPING HEART-STOPPING THRILLER The monster lives in each one of us. We are beasts that have learned, over the centuries, to control ourselves, to restrain our basic instincts and live peacefully in society. We are, after all, fully domesticated and well-trained beasts.
Only on rare occasions, the wild animal that hides deep in our entrails goes on a rampage, giving rise to an insane nightmare… If you enjoyed novels like ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ or TV series as ‘Criminal Minds’ or ‘True Detective’… this is the story that you have been waiting for. FROM THE NOVEL:
The county police had cordoned off the zone less than an hour after the boys’ find. A pathologist established that the remains were human, although a large part of the skeleton was missing. In fact, what was missing was what would have been most helpful in the task of identifying the body: the cranium.
“Do you have any clues as to how long have those bones been here?” the sheriff asked, perplexed. His head was full of the terror that he knew would grab hold of his entire community just a few hours later.
“Not long. And one of the boys has told us that he comes for walks in this area often and they weren’t here a few days ago.”
“But this stiff croaked some years ago, don’t you think?” asked the sheriff, pointing at what looked like a tibia. Never in his life had he seen such a thing, and it perturbed him.
The pathologist looked at the grayish sky, where clouds were growing and thickening threatening to release a good downpour. But that storm would only be a child’s game in comparison with what was hanging over the county where he lived.
“I don’t know,” he replied, laconic.
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” asked the sheriff, who felt he’d got a completely senseless answer. These were the remains of a skeleton; therefore one didn’t need to be an eminence in medicine to deduct that the guy, no matter who the hell he or she was, would have stopped breathing a very long time ago.
“These bones have been thoroughly cleaned. They have been manipulated. Without studying them in detail, right now I can’t tell you if the owner died yesterday or over ten years ago.”
THE BLUE CRIMES review on Amazon: ‘And so proceeds Enrique’s THE BLUE CRIMES and the manner in which he places Ethan Bush and team in the resolution of crime is tense, suspenseful, and at all times involving. This is quality mystery writing by a voice new to most of us – a welcome addition to the thriller genre’ Grady Harp, TOP-100 Reviewer/ Hall of Fame/ Vine Voice
Shiny Bones by Enrique Laso. The second Ethan Bush novel. Translation Olga Núñez Miret. You don’t need to be weird to solve the case, but it helps.
As I had mentioned when I read the first novel in this series, thrillers that purport to follow the investigation of complex crimes usually have two fundamental elements that go almost hand in hand: the crimes and the investigation (which allow the readers to put their wits to the test), and the investigators, individuals or teams, and less often, the criminals.
It is true that if the crimes are highly intriguing or very strange the book might be interesting even when those doing the investigating aren’t gripping individuals. On the other hand, there are times when the personality and the adventures of those doing the detecting are more interesting than the crimes themselves (as is the case in many ‘cozy mysteries’ like many of Agatha Christie’s novels). The best novels of the genre manage to achieve a balance between the two.
Shiny Bones has a bit of everything. The case is extremely convoluted and twisted, clearly the work of a complex and traumatised mind (and no, I’m not taking about the writer), but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to solve, quite the opposite.
And we also have Ethan Bush, an FBI psychologist who comes back, as arrogant, intelligent and annoying as before (in The Blue Crimes). The mature Etan Bush of years later offers us his comments and reflections, not only about the case (where he keeps many things quiet, of course), but also about his own actions, therefore acting as an ersatz reader (or perhaps more accurately, author).
This time Ethan doesn’t have his team at his disposal (that in fact is not “his” team, as his boss keeps reminding him throughout the novel), and he’s obliged to work with the Nebraska State Patrol, the local force, and has to try and reach a compromise with them, although that doesn’t mean he doesn’t try to use all the tricks in the book to get his own way. His intelligence, his skill manipulating people, and even his feelings are put to the test in this case that’s a big challenge for him.
To those of you who enjoy solving the cases whilst you read the novel, I’m afraid I have to tell you that, although you’ll have many suspects, you won’t be able to guess who did it. Even with that it will make you think and question many things.
Personally I am eager to go back to Kansas to discover who murdered Sharon Nichols, a case that’s central to The Blue Crimes but never solved, and I’m waiting anxiously the arrival of Las libélulas azules (The blue dragonflies).
As I mention above I’m happy to disclose that I’ve translated the novel. The book has also undergone professional editing/proof-reading. Due to this circumstance I haven’t shared this review in selling channels, although the original is a review of the Spanish novel, rather than of my own efforts in translation.
Just in case you’d like to know more, I interviewed Enrique for Lit World Interviews, here and I reviewed his first novel in the series The Blue Crimes, here.
Ah, if you think you’d like to know more about getting you books translated, in this page I talk about it (I talk about other things too but, keep reading…). And if you want to see examples of books I’ve translated, you can check here.
Thanks very much to Enrique for this opportunity, thanks to you all for reading, and remember it’s good to like, comment, share, and feel free to click too.
You might remember that a while back I shared an interview with Spanish author Enrique Laso (check here) where we talked, among other things, about his novel The Blue Crimes. Today I wanted to share with you my review, and let you know that I’ll be translating the second novel in the series, so I’ll keep you posted. And if any of you are interested in translations to Spanish, feel free to get in touch with me. And now, the review.
Title: The Blue Crimes Author: Enrique Laso ASIN: B00UQV3BYA Published: 21st March 2015 Pages: 308 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense, Police Procedurals
The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso. An intriguing case and an even more intriguing investigator.
The Blue Crimes is the first book in Enrique Laso’s collection of Ethan Bush Thrillers. Ethan Bush is a young FBI agent, one of the most promising, top of his Psychology class at Stanford and self-assured, or so he seems. He arrives to Jefferson County fresh from solving a serial murder case in Detroit and expectations are running high.
The story is told in first person from the point of view of Bush, and that is one of the most interesting aspects of the novel. If the actual procedural investigation, the process of solving the murders of two young girls that are very similar in details to a murder committed 17 years ago is gripping (and I particularly enjoyed the setting in small town America, with the prejudices and the difficulty understanding and fitting into the mentality of the place that it brings to the big city investigators), I found the insight into Ethan Bush’s mind even more interesting. Why?
Well, he is an intelligent man. He knows it and he’s reminded of that by quite a few of the characters he comes into contact with (sometimes in great contrast with some of the witnesses they come across). His intelligence does not always help him, though. Characters who are far less intelligent than him (the sheriff, local investigators, even his mother…) contribute greatly to the success of his mission. He acknowledges and admires the morality of some people (Jim Worth, a solid character that would make his perfect side-kick and foil, and I hope we’ll come across him again in the series), but he’s not squeaky-clean and has no qualms crossing the line of the ethically correct when he thinks it’s necessary to solve a case (not strictly for his own benefit). He has weaknesses that include his irresistible attraction to Vera, one of the witnesses, but also a suspect. He is somewhat obsessive in his methodology and has to be in control of everything, to the point of preferring keeping handwritten notebooks (in Moleskin, that become his trademark) as he does not like to be dependent on technology that could let him down. And during the book, he becomes as obsessed with running as he is with everything else, to the point of putting off the questioning of suspects to not disturb his running schedule. Running means more to him than the simple exercise, but we only become aware of this later on. (By the way, I am aware that the author is a runner himself and he has written non-fiction books about it so this would add to the interest for those who are keen runners.) Despite Ethan’s constant analysing everything and thinking non-stop (to the point of getting severe headaches although they could well be psychosomatic), he is not the most self-aware of characters, and keeps missing clues and hiding stuff because of his own unresolved issues. But those issues are what make him fascinating.
Ethan Bush is not the most likeable hero and has many flaws, and that is a plus for me. He is a man searching for explanations, about the case and about himself. And he never gives up. He’ll go as far as he has to, whatever that might cost him.
I’m not sure how challenging you’ll find the book if you’re one of these people whose main enjoyment is working out who the guilty party is (I did guess who it was early on, but I kept wondering if I was right) but if you enjoy complex characters, a solid story and interesting dynamics, I think this series could keep us guessing for a long time.
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 4/5 Made Me Think: 4/5 Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5 Readability: 5/5 Recommended: 4.5/5 Overall Rating: 4.5/5