Tag Archives: Thriller

“Blood Runs Cold” ~ From the Author of “The Murder of Manny Grimes”

I’ve recently submitted my second novel to my publisher at ThomasMax Publishing. With it being my second book, I’m both excited and extremely nervous! My debut, The Murder of Manny Grimes, was released last year, mid-September. I’ve spent seven years sweating over my manuscript, wondering if I’d ever get it published. Finally, it happened, and my “baby” is now available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble for paperback/e-book. It has had some amazing reviews so far. I hope they keep on comin’!

Sometimes, you live with a group of characters for so long, they become a part of you.

A few readers asked me about a sequel, and I thought, “Why not?” Initially, I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel. However, I was curious as to how my protagonist, Lieutenant Jim DeLong would handle his job and home life. If you’ve read Manny Grimes, you already know that circumstances threatened DeLong’s very existence. Did he overcome his temptations? Well, if you haven’t read the book, I’m not telling! Shhhhh!

And now, Blood Runs Cold is born.

This next case DeLong will be involved with will be the most difficult of his career. It’s full of mystery, intrigue, new characters, as well as old. We’ll learn even more about DeLong–more than he wants us to know. But sometimes, secrets have a way of coming out! No one knows this like our beloved protagonist.

My publisher is working on preparing the book for publication. I don’t know the exact date it’ll be released. My hope is by the end of May or early June. You’ll be kept updated for sure! If you would like to pre-order a signed copy of Blood Runs Cold (or even The Murder of Manny Grimes), I will be selling them for $14–shipping included. If you’d like to order both, I’m offering them for $20! Again, shipping is included.

A New Case. An Old Memory.

A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark secrets he’s longed to forget. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability on whether he’s able to remain objective.

Check out my video for The Murder of Manny Grimes.
Check out my video for Blood Runs Cold.

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Biography

Angela Kay

Equipped with a professional writing degree from Augusta State University, Angela Kay is a southern lady who spends her days and nights dreaming up new ways to solve dark murders of normal people.

Angela Kay was one of 23 across the United States to win a 2009 playwright contest for her one-act entitled “Digging Deeper.” Because of this, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta at the Horizon Theater Company.

She lives in Augusta, Georgia with her crazy calico, Maggie.

#BookReview of Forbidden by F. Stone.

Forbidden Book Cover Image4_stars_goldBook Description

Captain Sharif’s police compound has been breached. Fifteen Americans murdered. CIA agent Frank Hutchinson has proof the cop is lying and has him in his crosshairs, eager to exact revenge. Captain Sharif must please his corrupt superiors; and yet see justice served, and abide by the Koran. He’s in hell, with no way to escape – either be buried alive or suffer Allah’s wrath. In the balance hangs the life of Eliza MacKay, witness to the massacre. He’s drawn to her courage and discovers her ‘take no shit’ personality warrants respect. Even so, her struggle with PTSD may get both of them killed. Desperate, Sharif initiates an act more forbidden and fatal.

Forbidden Banner Image

Book Review

One thing about Forbidden by F. Stone you need to know is that it’s set in the year 2047 and the Muslim countries in the Middle East with a few exceptions have formed into one large nation. I think of it like the old Soviet Union. Iraq is the center of power and that’s where this story takes place.

You quickly forget about the future setting because everything in the story is still very much present day except for the political setting, which doesn’t play a huge part in the story.

I really liked the book. There were definite elements that needed to be handled well, especially with CAPTAIN SHARIF’S faith. The author has obviously done her homework and that shows up primarily around how Sharif handles his interactions with ELIZA MACKAY.

But enough about that. This book is action from the beginning to end. A great who is doing what to whom. I’m pretty good at figuring things out but was surprised in the end about who was not involved in the murdering of the 15 Americans.

The writing is fast paced and I read it in a day because of not wanting to put it down. Throw in the romance elements and you have a well balanced story that gives you a chance to breathe between the action moments. The romance part isn’t overplayed and doesn’t detract from the story at all.

MacKay’s traumatic history and PTSD are used to great effect in the relationship between her and Sharif. Some of it is a little unexpected but overall I think it was exactly the way it should have been.

I recommend the book for thrill seekers and action junkies.

Book Review by Ronovan.

Get FORBIDDEN on AMAZON by clicking HERE.

Reviews Needed For My Debut Novel!

My debut novel, The Murder of Manny Grimes, came out September 20, 2016. As you can expect, as someone who wanted to be an author ever since she could hold a pen, I was exhilarated.

I’m currently working on the sequel to Manny Grimes and plan on sending it to my publisher within the next few months. I’m also in the process of completing a few more works. Writing certainly keeps me busy! Happily, so.

Anyway, Manny Grimes has nine reviews on Amazon (two 4 stars and seven 5 stars). I’m in the search for some more honest reviews. So, if you’re interested in reviewing my debut novel, feel free to contact me at angelakaysbooks @ gmail .com. For the FIRST TEN inquirers, I will send you a free pdf copy.

Here is the synopsis of my suspense/thriller:

When three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s8-the-murder-of-manny-grimes-cover life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body.

But were the boys telling the truth?

With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.

Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome.

Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?

A few notes of the contents: It’s clean writing, meaning no sex or bad language…it’s at the most hinted.  There is a touch of paranormal to the story, but not overly so.

Thanks and happy reading! I would also appreciate it very much if you’d support me by liking my FB page and/or following me on Twitter! The links are down below.

Angela Kay

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Hell Holes: Demon on the Dalton #BookReview

  • Title: Hell Holes: Demons on the DaltonHell Holes: Demons on the Dalton by [Firesmith, Donald]
  • Author: Donald Firesmith
  • Print Length: 202
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction

From the Author:

When huge holes mysteriously formed in Alaska’s North Slope, a research team went to discover their cause. But when an army of invading demons erupted out of these hell holes, only two scientists and Aileen, the team’s secretive photographer, survived. Now in this exciting second book in the Hell Holes series, they must flee south along 350 miles of the Dalton Highway, one of the world’s most treacherous roads. Aileen, a member of an ancient order charged with defending humanity from Hell, must save the two scientists, but who will save her?

My Review:

Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton is volume two of What Lurks Below. It’s another action/adventure written by Donald Firesmith. This time, we’re in Dr. Angela Menendez’s (Dr. Jack Oswald’s wife) point of view. She picks up where we left off in volume one. Oswald and his team are desperately trying to escape the demons that are set on pursuing them.

The character development was a bit lacking. There were not a whole lot of conflict as I’d imagined there would be. After all, stress and fear make even the nicest person a tiny bit snippy, and I saw none of that in the story. However, I was eager enough to see what would happen next to not worry about the lack of character conflicts. There was enough nail biting and plenty of surprises to keep me wholly satisfied as I read. The ending was left as though a continuation could come into play. Or possibly it’s left for our imagination to work out. We’ll see what Firesmith has in store for us next.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

Donald G. Firesmith

Biography

Donald Firesmith is an ACM Distinguished Engineer who works at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), where he helps the United States Military and other Governmental Agencies acquire large and complex software-reliant systems. He has 34 years of experience in both commercial and governmental software and systems development in numerous application domains that range from software applications and management information systems to embedded aviation and space systems. His primary areas of expertise include requirements engineering, system and software architecture engineering, object-oriented development, testing, quality engineering, and process improvement including situational method engineering.
Donald Firesmith has published dozens of technical articles, spoken at numerous international conferences, and has been the program chair or on the program committee of multiple conferences and workshops. He has taught several hundred courses in industry and numerous tutorials at conferences. These articles, presentations, and conference papers can be downloaded from his personal website. He is the developer of the OPEN Process Framework (OPF) Repository, the world’s largest free open-source website documenting over 1,100 reusable system/software development method components.To relax, he writes fantasy and science fiction books and crafts magical wands as a hobby.LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1955172
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Firesmith
OPFRO website: http://www.opfro.org
Personal website: http://donald.firesmith.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/don.firesmith
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonFiresmith
Feuerschmied’s Wand Shoppe: http://magicalwandshoppe.com

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Hell Holes: What Lurks Below #BookReview

  • Title: Hell Holes: What Lurks BelowHell Holes: What Lurks Below by [Firesmith, Donald]
  • Author: Donald Firesmith
  • Print Length: 191
  • Publication Date: August 5, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction

From the Author:

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

My Review:

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below is a quick, enjoyable novella. Donald Firesmith shows his talent in mixing real science with fiction.

We are looking into Dr. Jack Oswald’s point of view for this narrative. Once the premise of the story gets started, it moves at a fast pace and I was able to finish it the same day I started. The book is shorter than you’re lead to believe. After the major cliffhanger at the ending, we’re fed information about the characters, author bio and what volume two is about.

Despite the typos and run-on sentences, I quite enjoyed reading the story. However, if you really cannot stand major cliffhangers, I’d recommend against reading this story, because it is a whopper. Some people enjoy the urge to continue the plot, others don’t. Fear not, though: volume 2 is already out and waiting for you to pick up and continue the story. After all, it was a fun page-turner, leaving you enticed for more.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

Donald G. Firesmith

Biography

Donald Firesmith is an ACM Distinguished Engineer who works at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), where he helps the United States Military and other Governmental Agencies acquire large and complex software-reliant systems. He has 34 years of experience in both commercial and governmental software and systems development in numerous application domains that range from software applications and management information systems to embedded aviation and space systems. His primary areas of expertise include requirements engineering, system and software architecture engineering, object-oriented development, testing, quality engineering, and process improvement including situational method engineering.
Donald Firesmith has published dozens of technical articles, spoken at numerous international conferences, and has been the program chair or on the program committee of multiple conferences and workshops. He has taught several hundred courses in industry and numerous tutorials at conferences. These articles, presentations, and conference papers can be downloaded from his personal website. He is the developer of the OPEN Process Framework (OPF) Repository, the world’s largest free open-source website documenting over 1,100 reusable system/software development method components.To relax, he writes fantasy and science fiction books and crafts magical wands as a hobby.LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1955172
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Firesmith
OPFRO website: http://www.opfro.org
Personal website: http://donald.firesmith.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/don.firesmith
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonFiresmith
Feuerschmied’s Wand Shoppe: http://magicalwandshoppe.com

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Altar of Resistance by Samuel Marquis.

Altar of Resistance Book Coverfive gold stars image

 

Altar of Resistance

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Historical Thriller/Suspense/Espionage. 368 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (January 24, 2017)

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP-Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as an iconoclastic spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He also has a deep and abiding interest in military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, and the current War on Terror.

Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer said, “Blind Thrust kept me up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row. I could not put it down. An intriguing mystery that intertwined geology, fracking, and places in Colorado that I know well. Great fun.” Kirkus Reviews proclaimed The Coalition an “entertaining thriller” and declared that “Marquis has written a tight plot with genuine suspense.” James Patterson compared The Coalition to The Day After Tomorrow, the classic thriller by Allan Folsom; and Donald Maas, author of Writing 21st Century Fiction and two novels, compared The Coalition to the classic political assassination thriller The Day of the Jackal.

Book Review

Espionage, intrigue, romance, battle, and more. Altar of Resistance has a difficult time finding one genre to fall into.

To start off with I see myself reading this one again. And I don’t read books more than once very often these days. This is the second of Sam Marquis’ WWII Trilogy, all standalone books, and it’s going to be hard to beat. That third one is going to have to be something else to surpass this one.

Altar of Resistance by Sam Marquis is about the Occupation and Liberation of Rome in 1943-44 Italy. The story is told through the viewpoints of four main characters: Pope Pius XII (sometimes called Hitler’s Pope), SS Colonel Wilhelm Hollman (a character based on fact), US Army Special Services member John Bridger, and Roman Resistance fighter Teresa Di Domenico. The last two are fictional characters, but in the book share a secret with the SS Colonel.

Having been a World History teacher and taken a semester of Nazi/Fascism class I know a little bit about WWII and what happened in Italy. Marquis uses factual events to give his story life or maybe he adds fiction to the facts to make it easier to handle. You read and decide which. Either way you look at it, he brings the subject to life.

We don’t get just a superficial story from Marquis to create a thrilling read. He gives us layers to add dimensions to each character, even the minor ones. He even has you like the Nazi torturer/interrogator at one point. I think Marquis’s fiction elements actually make sense in context of history. We see the Pope silent against atrocities not only throughout Europe but in his own city. Marquis gives us reasons why. SS Colonel Hollmann is based on fact as far as his existence but how he is used and his complexity is believable. He is perhaps my favorite character in the book. John Bridger is a tough Army commando who kills without hesitation but tries to keep his humanity. And Teresa is her father’s daughter, but which father does this good Catholic girl take after?

We see the war and the battle for Rome from every possible level and realize not one could achieve success without the other. We see how a girl leads to the success of the Allies in Italy, not a farfetched idea. We see how love exists and even sprouts during great turmoil, and how it doesn’t die regardless of tragedy.

There are no bogged down moments during this read. I didn’t find myself having a difficult time making my way through a passage to get to the next. The only parts that even remotely slowed me down were later chapters involving the Pope, but that is in part due to the success of the author in the character’s portrayal. Got to love a Pope but man can he be frustrating at times.

The only bad thing about the book is not knowing the future of all the characters. Sam Marquis does give us details of the factual characters and what happens to them, but the fictitious ones perhaps are left unknown because we may seem them some other time?

I’ve read all but one of Sam Marquis’ books. This is his best one yet. If you’ve never read historical fiction, this is a way to start. So far this is my book of the year and I’ve read four so far. It’s going to be difficult to top this one. It had all the elements to keep me engaged.

 

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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#Book #Review Illusions of Magic by J. B. Rivard.

illusions-of-magic-cover4_stars_gold

 

Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago

by J. B. Rivard

Fiction: Historical/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. 233 Pages Print. Gray Dog Press (April 17, 2016)

Author Biography

J.B. RIVARD: As a young child, J.B. Rivard began drawing by copying newspaper comics. In his teens, he drew illustrations for his high school’s award-winning yearbook. He attended the Chicagojb-rivard Academy of Fine Arts and his artworks have appeared in more than fifty juried exhibitions, earning many prizes and awards. He’s an artist-member of the Salmagundi Club of New York City. The author draws on wide experience—he served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and on the engineering staff of a U.S. National Laboratory where he wrote and co-authored many technical reports. His broad background supports an array of significant publications, from short stories to song lyrics, from essays to novels.  Learn More @ http://www.illusionsofmagic.com/. (The author has a special limited time offer on his home page you need to check out.)

Book Review

Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago by J.B. Rivard is a historical novel with the assassination attempt on then President-elect Franklin Roosevelt’s life as one aspect. NICK ZETNER is a magician who finds himself working among the criminal elements of 1933 Chicago to make money as the Depression and the film industry make the need for a magician act less desirable. Little does he realize that a romance from 20 years ago will play an important role in the dangerous mess he finds himself in or that the errant bullet that missed Roosevelt and hit the mayor of Chicago instead would bring him even more danger.

Illusions of Magic is a fast paced read. If you start it in the morning on a weekend, you’ll likely finish it in one day. The style is 1930s gangster movie with a touch of romance, and some historical reveals and glimpses into how politics and crime worked, sometimes hand in hand, in 1930s Chicago. You’ll even imagine yourself seeing images flash across a movie screen in black and white as you read the book. It helps that the author also includes an occasional illustration to let you know what certain characters look like or the atmosphere of a scene is. I really enjoyed the clothing styles and the cars.

Instead of a one dimensional crime drama we have the inclusion of a romance with mystery attached to it from the main character, Nick Zetner’s, past. All things are connected in the book, which you don’t realize at first and might only notice after the fact. But everything from the discovery of an old bicycle bell to the assassination of the mayor of Chicago has significance. At first the book seems like a lot lighter fare but turns into something with more layers to it than expected.

I was expecting a little more to do with magic, because of the title, but you won’t find it in this book. Perhaps a sequel could have Zetner again delving into the underworld of Chicago and using magic to trick his way out of bad situations. But you don’t miss the magic here once into the story. I only mention it now so you don’t go into the book expecting to find tricks galore.

I recommend this book for history lovers or old movie buffs who want that nostalgic feeling in an enjoyable and fast paced format.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

Get Illusions of Magic @:

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Visit Author and Artist J. B. Rivard @: http://illusionsofmagic.com/

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Murder on the Strike of Five #BookReview

  • Title:  Murder on the Strike of Five
  • Author: MP Peacock
  • Print Length: 324
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication Date: August 22, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Crime

Synopsis:

Moscow, Russia, February 1917. As the tinder-box of Revolution ignites, Inspector Vladimir Lesnoy gets a vital lead in an investigation he has been working on for years – the case of a brutal serial killer. Aboard the Trans-Siberian Express, Lesnoy is intrigued by his fellow passengers who all seem to have secrets to hide. While the train rumbles through the cold, bleak Siberian landscape, tensions start to simmer and romance blossoms. When murder strikes, all the first-class passengers come under suspicion and it soon becomes clear that each one of them had the motive to kill, as well as the means and the opportunity. A classic whodunnit set in a time of social upheaval, which will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie.

My Review:

The serial murders are told mainly as a back story, through various letters over the course of several years, as well as brief scenes with Inspector Lesnoy hunting for his killer. The Potato Sack Killer had been striking throughout Russia for at least ten years, leaving Lesnoy and his people perplexed.

During the aging years, we walk through time, learning about Sophia’s friendship and devotion to Countess Tatiana. When Sophia and Tatiana’s father realizes that the countess is in danger, the young girls are sent away to board the train out of Moscow. However, their troubles don’t end there. A murder is committed aboard the train and each of the first-class passengers has the means and opportunity, as well as a motive.

I found that the plot moved steadily and was intriguing. The storytelling was tightly written, ending quite well. It really does give you an Agatha Christie feel. The characters were very well-developed, their conversations interesting. The narrative painted a beautiful picture to make it seem as though you were being swept away in the story. I could almost hear the locomotion in my mind’s eye. My favorite narrative scene was the beginning of chapter fifteen where we get the first sense of the train moving along the Siberian landscape.

If you are a fan of dark crime and enjoy Agatha Christie, I highly recommend that you add Murder on the Strike of Five to your reading queue.

Overall rating: 5 of 5 stars

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#Bookreview EILEEN by Ottessa Moshfegh. A Marmite kind of novel

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Title:   Eileen
Author:   Ottessa Moshfegh
ISBN13:  978-0143128755
ASIN:  B01BYMRLEA
Published:  Penguin Books
Pages:  272
Genre:  
Thriller: Crime and suspense, literary

Description:

Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and chosen by David Sedaris as his recommended book for his Fall 2016 tour. 

So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes—a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to use his name for such a place feels appropriate. In a week, I would run away from home and never go back.

This is the story of how I disappeared.

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buff prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes. When the bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at Moorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.

Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England in the days leading up to Christmas, young Eileen’s story is told from the gimlet-eyed perspective of the now much older narrator. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimely funny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Editorial Reviews

Review

Eileen is a remarkable piece of writing, always dark and surprising, sometimes ugly and occasionally hilarious. Its first-person narrator is one of the strangest, most messed-up, most pathetic—and yet, in her own inimitable way, endearing—misfits I’ve encountered in fiction. Trust me, you have never read anything remotely like Eileen.” —Washington Post

“What makes Moshfegh an important writer—and I’d even say crucial—is that she is unlike any other author (male, female, Iranian, American, etc.). And this sui generis quality is cemented by the singular savage suburban noir of Eileen. . . . Here is art that manages to reject artifice and yet be something wholly new and itself in sheer artistry.” —The Los Angeles Times

Eileen is anything but generic. Eileen is as vivid and human as they come . . . Moshfegh . . . writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind — playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything . . . There is that wonderful tension between wanting to slow down and bathe in the language and imagery, and the impulse to race to see what happens, how it happens.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The great power of this book, which won the PEN/Hemingway debut fiction award last month, is that Eileen is never simply a literary gargoyle; she is painfully alive and human, and Ottessa Moshfegh writes her with a bravura wildness that allows flights of expressionistic fantasy to alternate with deadpan matter of factness…As an evocation of physical and psychological squalor, Eileen is original, courageous and masterful.” —The Guardian

 

Body of review:

Thanks to NetGalley and to Random House UK, Vintage Publishing, Jonathan Cape, for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I have freely chosen to review.

I confess that I did look at some of the reviews on this novel before writing mine and they are very evenly divided. Some people love it and others can’t stand it. Yes, I guess it’s a Marmite kind of novel. Why? Having checked the novel in several online stores I noticed that it is classified under mystery novels, and if lovers of the genre of mystery read this novel I suspect many of them are bound to feel cheated or disappointed. Literary fiction, which is another one of the categories it is classified under, perhaps is a better fit.

The story is an in-depth look at a character, the Eileen of the title, who is narrating an episode of her own life, in the first person. It is not strictly written as a memoir. As I observed recently when reviewing a novel also told from the point of view of the older character looking back and reflecting at her young self (in that case it was Anne Boleyn), these kinds of books have the added interest for the reader of trying to work out how much of what is being told is filtered by the wishes of the older person to provide a positive portrayal of their young selves. In this case, what is quite shocking is that either that younger Eileen had no endearing features, or the older Eileen is trying to make herself feel better and reassure herself that she’s come a very long way, indeed.

Eileen is a lonely young woman (twenty-four at the time of the episode she describes), whose mother died years back, who has a very superficial relationship with her only sister (who no longer lives at home and who seems to be very different), and who lives with her father, a retired policeman, an alcoholic and paranoid man, who sees hoodlums and conspiracies everywhere. From the mentions she makes of her mother and her past experiences, her childhood was also sad and the opposite of nurturing, with both parents drinking heavily, and neither of them having any interest in family life (and even less in Eileen, as her sister seemed to be the favourite). She lives in a derelict house, drives an old car with exhaust problems, works at a young boy’s prison, and has no friends or hobbies, other than shoplifting and looking at National Geographic magazines. She lives in a world of fantasy, and even her physiological functions are bizarre.

In some ways, the novel reminded me of Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller because of the narrator, who was also very self-absorbed and had no empathy for anybody, although in that case, it wasn’t evident from the star. Here, Eileen sees and observes things carefully as if cataloguing everything that happens, but has nothing good to say about anybody, apart from the people she gets crushes on (however undeserving they might be).

The novel, full of details which can be seen as sad, shocking, or bizarre but humane depending on our point of view, hints from the beginning at something momentous that is going to happen and has influenced the choice of the point at which the story starts. A couple of new employees come to work at the prison and Rebecca, a young and glamorous woman (at least from Eileen’s point of view) becomes Eileen’s new obsession. She tries her best to deserve this woman’s attention and that gets her in some trouble that I guess it the mystery part (and I won’t discuss to avoid spoilers, even though as I said I don’t think the novel fits in that genre easily, although perhaps it shares similarities with some classics of the genre, and I’ve seen mentions of Patricia Highsmith. Ripley, perhaps?). From the reviews, I saw that some readers were disappointed by the ending, although it fits in well with the rest of the book. (And from the point of view of the character, at least, it feels positive.)

The novel is beautifully written (although the content itself is not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination), detailed and fantastically observed, and it works as an impressive psychological study, that had me wondering about all kinds of personality disorder types of diagnosis (although the whole family are depicted as very dysfunctional). It is difficult to empathise with such a character, although she seems to be an extreme representation of somebody with low self-esteem and completely self-obsessed (and at a lesser level, even if we might not feel comfortable acknowledging it, most of us have contemplated some of her thoughts or feelings at some point). She is relentless in her dislike for almost everybody and everything, but even her older self remains unapologetic (and well, it takes guts to just not care at all). I could not help but wonder how much better she is now, despite her words, as her comments indicate that she hasn’t changed an iota. If anything, she’s come into herself. But I guess self-acceptance is a big change for her.

I found it a fascinating novel, a case study of the weird and disturbed, pretty noir, but not a read I would recommend everybody. (After all, I’m a psychiatrist…) It is not a feel-good or a nice novel to read but it might be for you if you like weirdly compelling characters and are happy to go with a narrator who is not sympathetic at all. I don’t think I’ll forget Eileen or its author in a hurry.

eileen3

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 3.5/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $9.52 (https://www.amazon.com/Eileen-Novel-Ottessa-Moshfegh/dp/0143128752/

Kindle: $6.19 (https://www.amazon.com/Eileen-Shortlisted-Booker-Prize-2016-ebook/dp/B01BYMRLEA/

Hardback: $17.64 (https://www.amazon.com/Eileen-Novel-Ottessa-Moshfegh/dp/1594206627/

Audiobook: $23.59 (https://www.amazon.com/Eileen/dp/B01K7U9GFW/

 

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The Navigators #BookReview @savvystories

  • Title: The NavigatorsThe Navigators by [Alatorre, Dan]
  • Author: Dan Alatorre
  • File Size: 4505KB
  • Print Length: 252
  • Publication Date: July 1, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Sci-Fi Thriller

Picture coming across an old machine during a dig. Then picture taking home the machine, trying to figure out exactly what it was and what it does. A group of paleontology students that came across this machine just after a freak landslide will find out exactly what the machine does.

The Navigators isn’t your typical time traveling story because we don’t really see a whole lot of time traveling, except toward the ending. That made it a more refreshing and original read. I loved reading it the more I swiped the page. If I could have, I would have spent an entire day reading this story. That was how engrossing I was.

At first, I was put off at the beginning, because I felt like the novel was opening in the start of chapter two or three. However, I quickly decided that the way the story opened only provided more uniqueness. We were introduced to our main characters and the way they interacted with each other.

The story is very fast paced. Our characters spend the gist of the novel eluding authorities and the enemies they’ve gained, while everyone raced against time to get to the machine and lay claim. The main character, Tomas Pequant (Peeky) and his friends tend to get their hands dirty while trying to figure out what secrets this mystery machine held. While some reviewers seem to not think it’s very realistic, I believe that if I happened to come within a few feet of a possible time machine, there’s no limit to what I may do. But that’s just the adventurer in me.

The Navigators is told in first person (Peeky’s POV), but we also see inside the heads of his friends and their various enemies. I believe writing the story this way only added to the speed of the chase. About halfway through, I was blindsided by a twist that I should have guessed coming, but that only goes to show what a great plot this was, now doesn’t it?

If you like suspense, try it out. If you like action, try it out. If you like stories of time traveling, try it out. If you like reading…try it out.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Sideways b

Dan Alatorre is author of numerous best sellers, host of the YouTube video show Writers Off Task With Friends, blogger… and father to a hilarious and precocious daughter, “Savvy” of the bestselling book series Savvy Stories. His novels, short stories, illustrated children’s books and cookbooks have been translated into 12 different languages and are enjoyed around the world.

Dan and his family live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. (If it’s Friday, he’s making pizza, including making the dough and sauce from scratch. Who does that?)

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#Interview with author @ProfKellyOliver.

Kelly Oliver ImageToday’s interview is with the author of a book I reviewed not long ago called WOLF. I won’t say too much about it as she discusses it a bit in the interview, and you can read the review by clicking here. Now on to the interview.

You are very eclectic in your writings over the years. What lead you to writing fiction?

Since I discovered writing, I’ve relied on it to give my life meaning. I live to write.

As a philosopher, in my nonfiction, I write about ethics and ways to make the world a better place.

But, with fiction, I realized I could create a world. I could create a world and then live in it for a few months or years. I could create a world where women and girls come out on top.

How did Jessica James, a cowgirl, come to life? I understand the philosopher part, but I’m trying to get the cowgirl part.

Usually, it’s the other way around.  Folks get the cowgirl part, but scratch their heads at the philosophy part.

Some of Jessica’s story is based on my own experience, a working-class girl who grew up in Montana, Idaho and Washington, going to the big city for the first time to study philosophy, a mongrel amongst pedigreed Ivy Leaguers.

But, there’s a kind of funny story about how I came up with “cowgirl philosophy.” A few years ago, there was a move in the philosophy department to create a “Vanderbilt brand” so everyone would associate the Vanderbilt philosophy department with a special type graduate. I imagined taking a hot iron and branding our students as we handed them their diplomas. I got a bunch of the women philosophers together and joked that our brand should be cowgirl philosophy. One of my students made a logo for us with a really cute blonde long-haired Scottish cow that said “cowgirl philosophy.”  I still have that cowgirl philosophy sticker on my office door.

You have two stories running simultaneously in WOLF, how WOLF cover imagedifficult was it to keep things straight as you went along? By the way, you did a great job. I never got confused, even once.

Jessica James and Dmitry Durchenko are very different. In some ways, the brooding Russian janitor is more of a philosopher than the party-girl philosophy graduate student. So, it was easy to keep their stories straight. The harder part was bringing them together organically. I wanted the stories to become more intertwined as the novel progresses, so they’re intimately connected by the end of the book.

When I was sending out various drafts of the novel to get feedback from other writers, some loved Jessica and others loved Dmitry. At one point, when the Dmitry lovers were ahead in the polls, I had started and ended the novel with his perspective. But, in the end, I realized that the ongoing story is really Jessica’s, so I started and ended the novel with her. It just never felt quite right to start with Dmitry, even though he is an important, and hopefully compelling, character. And, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him!

How much of Jessica’s adventures pulled from actual events you’re aware of?

As I said, some of Jessica’s adventures are based on my own experience in graduate school.  But I plead the fifth on what parts.  I like how you asked about events that I’m “aware of”…maybe not being aware could get me off the hook for some of the more incriminating parts of the story. Jessica’s not the only one who drank too much whisky in graduate school.

You have Russian characters in your book, some are very important to the entire storyline. How did you go about getting the language just right? It was a very smooth transition from English to Russian. I thought it seemed very natural and not intruding at all when I was reading.

Thanks. I did a lot research on Russian sayings, culture, food, and drink, and, of course, the Russian mafia. And, I had a native Russian speaker check my use of Russian words and phrases. It was important to make it authentic.

Just before I started writing WOLF there was a huge FBI sting involving Russian mafia in New York that took in over 30 people on charges of illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion. Some of my characters are inspired by people pinched in that operation, including a beautiful woman running a high stakes poker game for Hollywood movie stars, and the playboy son of a billionaire art dealer. I also learned that the Russian mafia is alive and well, not only in Russia, but in the U.S.. You don’t want to mess with those guys, so I don’t dare say more about my real-life mafia role models.

You discuss the date rape culture that is so prevalent on college campuses. I’m not sure how much goes on at Vanderbilt but I know cases happen where I’m from. So many even go unreported. What made you think of including that in your book? Did you do any particular research into it with victims? I mean you don’t go too much into details but there are some instances where research seems evident.

As I was writing WOLF, a high profile Vanderbilt rape case was making national headlines. It involved a woman who may have been drugged by something slipped into her blue cocktail, taken back to a dorm room, and then gang raped by a group of football players, instigated by her boyfriend. Because she was unconscious, she didn’t know she’d been raped until the police showed her video recordings the perpetrators had taken “for fun” and sent off to their friends. This case was so stunning, so mind-boggling, and so egregious, I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to find out something like that about yourself from a video.

That lead me to write my latest nonfiction book, HUNTING GIRLS: SEXUAL VIOLENCE FROM THE HUNGER GAMES TO CAMPUS RAPE. I was writing that book at the same time as WOLF. It was important to include the issue of party rape in the novel since it has become an epidemic on campus.

You did a great job of hiding in plain sight who the killer of the titular character was. Which is always the way with a great mystery. There were so many possibilities that when it was finally revealed, there was a bit of surprise, unless you were really following all closely. Writing a mystery, do you worry about revealing too much? How do you balance the hidden and the revealed?

Thanks. Yeah, it was a bit like Jessica who had the evidence proving the identity of the killer all along in the bottom of her backpack. The killer is there all the way through, and signs point to him, too. But, he’s not your usual sort of killer.

I was actually surprised to find out from some of my friends and COYOTE book imagereaders who they suspected. I was floored that lots of them suspected Jessica’s love interest, since I never intended him to be a suspect.  So, that was cool.

In my second Jessica James Mystery, COYOTE (out in August), the mystery is not so much who are the killers, but what happened in a highway accident eleven years ago that binds all of the main characters together in mysterious ways.

How important are beta readers or test readers for a book like yours? Do you have a target reader who reads your book and you ask, “How soon do you figure things out?”

I have an amazing developmental editor, Lisa Walsh, who reads everything and gives me very detailed feedback. I also have a trusted group of friends whose opinions I trust, and if they tell me something’s gotta go, it’s gone.

A lot of my friends are actually professional literary critics, so they are a tough crowd!

What’s been the reaction of your peers who’ve read the book? Are any of them worried they are the model for WOLF?

Hmmmm….given the continued headlines about sexual harassment by male professors, I don’t think there is too much danger of finding that needle in this haystack.

So far, all of my academic friends who’ve read WOLF tell me they love it!  Of course, they get the inside jokes.

How does Tennessee differ from having been a native of Washington State? I’ve been in the South my entire life so all I know is the laid back life.

As I mentioned, I grew up in the Northwest. I go back as often as I can. I miss the mountains. So, I usually spend part of the summer in Idaho near my folks, who live in Sandpoint. And, every winter, I make an x-country ski trip with my brother and sister-in-law to Glacier Park, Montana. Actually, my second novel, COYOTE, is set in Glacier Park. I love it there, especially in the winter when the park is deserted.

To me, the West is dusty brown, with wispy clouds racing across a Robin’s egg blue sky. It’s that sunburnt blister on my nose when I was a teenager dancing til dark at the street dance on the fourth of July. It’s huckleberry milkshakes and stopping in your tracks for a giant moose.

The South is sticky green, with thunderheads sending me into my moldy basement looking for flashlight batteries. It’s soggy turnip greens, deep fried pies, and painting chigger bites with nail polish. It’s the thickening of my waistline, my corneas, and my resume. And, now it’s home.

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Portraits of the Dead #BookReview

  • Title: Portraits of the DeadPortraits of the Dead: A gripping serial killer thriller by [Nicholl, John]
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Format:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Psychological Thriller

I love reading books where you find yourself in the minds of the characters, whether they are the protagonist or the antagonist. So far, John Nicholl’s first two novels do just that, and now Portraits of the Dead is no exception.

When the story opens, we witness the kidnapping of nineteen-year-old Emma. She’s taken to a place where time has no meaning and she has only the voice of her captor to keep her company. Emma’s captor sees everything that she does. He rejoices in her pain, her fears. He makes her do certain things that delight him. To her, his name is Master. To him, Emma’s new name is Venus 6.

Emma wants to give up and die so that her misery is over with, however, her will to survive is too strong to allow her. Her captor has already eliminated five girls that look like Emma and wonders if she is finally the one he’s been searching for.

Portraits of the Dead is a dark psychological thriller that throws twists and turns at you at every corner. The characters are very well-rounded and believable in what they do and how they speak. The interactions the main detectives (Grav and Rankin) had with their suspects or witnesses were fun and entertaining to read. It was easy to imagine watching their exchanges rather than simply reading, which is one quality I require in a great book.

My only issue would be that the point of view would switch in a single paragraph, which at times threw me off; however, the storytelling was tight, so I paid little attention to the POV shifts as I moved through the plot line.

The ending has a twist that left my jaw clenched and my eyes raced across each line to see what would happen next…that’s as far as I am willing to go without giving anything away. I could not put this book down. it was fast-paced, riveting, dark, creepy, tense. Everything I love in a book.

Over the past few months, I’ve been reading several serial killer thrillers as a kind of research for my own work in progress, and I have to say that Portraits of the Dead is one of my favorites. As always, I look forward to more of Mr. Nicholls’ brilliant writing and recommend him for fans of psychological thrillers that grips you with no intention of letting go.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

John Nicholl

John Nicholl’s debut novel: White is the coldest colour, a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller, draws on the author’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker. The novel entered the Amazon UK top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and became one of the 25 most read books on Kindle, reaching # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. It also reached # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological Thrillers in France, # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological & Suspense in Spain, and # 1 in British Detectives and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, where it reached # 10 of all books in the Kindle store. The gripping sequel: When evil calls your name, was published on the 31st of December 2015, and quickly reached # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Women in the UK, # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Criminals and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, and # 1 in Violence in Society in the USA. Portraits of the dead, a gripping serial killer thriller, is available for pre-order from the 14, August 2016, with a 1st of September release date.

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#BookReview of Cluster of Lies by @SamMarquisBooks

cluster-of-liesCluster of Lies

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Thriller/Suspense/Environmental/Action. 326 Pages (PRINT). Mount Sopris Publishing (September 15, 2016)

five gold stars image

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP–Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as a spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He holds a Master of Science degree in Geology, is a Registered Professional Geologist in eleven states, and is a recognized expert in groundwater contaminant hydrogeology, having served as a hydrogeologic expert witness in several class-action litigation cases.

Book Description

In this second thriller in the Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, mysterious deaths are taking place in the Rocky Mountain region outside Denver, Colorado. Joe Higheagle–a full-blooded Cheyenne geologist who has recently become an overnight celebrity for bringing down a billionaire corporate polluter–is hired to investigate Dakota Ranch, where four boys have recently died from a rare form of brain cancer, and Silverado Knolls, a glitzy soon-to-be-built development. He quickly finds himself entangled in an environmental cancer cluster investigation as well as a murderous conspiracy in which friend and foe are indistinguishable and a series of seemingly impenetrable roadblocks are thrown in his path.

Book Review

Cluster of Lies is a well plotted, fast paced, story of conscious versus greed. Marquis brings back Environmental Geologist Joseph Higheagle in what seems to be a simple case of reading reports and giving a high paying client his professional opinion, but if it were that simple, I wouldn’t be talking about it. Higheagle has to deal with some deep moments during the book that involve a lot of people. Keep quiet, go public, threaten, what should he do? The problems he faces involves a woman he’s falling for and her son that has developed cancer, most likely due to illegal dumping on the planned community they live in. Another problem is the man apparently responsible for it is the woman’s ex-lover.

Marquis gives us a great supporting cast with the telling of five main stories all linked together through Higheagle and the illegal waste dumping.

I liked Higheagles romantic interest and her son. It was a well used plot tool to discuss issues that one would want to know about while reading the book.

The antagonist of the book is more complex and disturbed than you think at first. Marquis surprised me with this one.

I read this one in about a day. It’s that fast paced and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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Curse #BookReview @readstevenjames

  • Title: Curse
  • File Size: 2355 KB
  • Print Length: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape
  • Publication Date: May 24, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017TVZO5S
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Genres: Young adult

From the Author

When I started Curse, I had no idea it would be as intricate and complex as it became. The story developed in a way that introduced more fascinating characters who each had their own unique storyline to develop.

Watching this occur, and seeing where each character’s special interests and skills led them, deeply intrigued me and helped carry me through some of the most intense editing months of my life.

As I mention in the author biography at the end of Curse, I have never owned a turtle named Snookums or a basketball named Alfie (you’ll have to read the story to fully appreciate that). But while researching the book, I did see the synchronous fireflies. And they are quite remarkable.

Review

The Blur trilogy (Blur, Fury, and Curse) is James’ first young adult series. It is the story of Daniel Byers who has had what doctors think are hallucinations, but in truth, the dead are trying to tell him how to solve the crimes. In Curse, Daniel begins preparing to attend a basketball camp when the terrifying blurs return to haunt him. As he tries to figure out the meaning behind his most recent blurs, Daniel finds himself teamed up with two other teens that are just as extraordinary. They race against time in order to save a young woman who was abducted by a scientist with distorted views of justice.

James’ degree is known as a master storyteller, and let me tell you something:  it is no joke. The thing I love most about any of his work is that he has a way of making you feel as though you are a part of the story. Curse was no different. The images given of Daniel’s blurs were so vivid and real, it was as though I was watching it happen.

Curse was written in first-person view and in the present tense (when we’re seeing Daniel’s perspective), and also in third person view for the other characters’ perspectives. The first two novels of the series were written all in third person, so when I began reading Daniel’s point-of-view, I was thrown off track for a second, but thankfully I got used to it quickly enough.

As always, I enjoyed the roller coaster ride of twists and turns, and I had no clue how it would end. With this particular story, I was quite mad at myself that I didn’t figure it out, but proud that James managed to trick me, so to speak.

Curse was very fast-paced. I ended up loving the finality of this trilogy. James has been my favorite author ever since I picked up The Rook, book two of his Patrick Bowers FBI series. I fell in love with his writing, and will buy every book that he writes. I recommend him to friends, and I anxiously wait for a new novel to be produced. Although Curse is marketed as “young adult,” anyone would enjoy it. I highly recommend this trilogy, as well as every other novel he printed.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Steven James

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

 

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#BookReview of Outsourced by Eric J. Gates.

Outsourced by Eric J. Gates cover imageOutsourced

by Eric J. Gates

Fiction: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Conspiracy. 364 Pages (Print). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 18, 2014)

4_stars_gold

Author Biography

Eric J. Gates has had a curious life filled with the stuff of thriller novels. Writing Operating Systems for Supercomputers, cracking cryptographic codes under extreme pressure using only paper and pen and teaching cyberwarfare to spies are just a few of the Eric J. Gates imagemoments he’s willing to recall. He is an ex-International Consultant who has travelled extensively worldwide, speaks several languages, and has had articles and papers published in technical magazines in six different countries, as well as radio and TV spots. His specialty, Information Technology Security, has brought him into contact with the Military and Intelligence communities on numerous occasions. He is also an expert martial artist, holding 14 black belt degrees in distinct disciplines. He has taught his skills to Police and Military personnel, as well as to the public. He now writes thriller novels, drawing on his experiences with the confidential and secret worlds that surround us.

Book Description

Outsourced is a Thriller based in New York City encompassing the storylines of four primary characters, two competing thriller novelists, an Intelligence Agent, and an Assassin as they all try to gain control of ‘the device’.

Book Review

Nic Stiles and Phil Beasley are two writers who are publicly at war with each other in the world of thriller novels. The truth of their relationship unfolds as the story plays out. One thing they have in common is ‘the device’, an object that can make things happen for the owner. It sounds too good to be true and it is. Nic and Phil use their writer talents to face off against the US government and the assassin who owned the device before they did. The problem is, nothing turns out quite the way either intends for it to. Nic and Phil just want to be rid of the thing. The assassin wants revenge and the device back. The government wants it to use against another world power.

Gates weaves all the stories together in a fast paced read that is easy to follow. The only thing that may pull you out of the story and remind you that you are reading is the British spellings of words in the American setting. Normally I go through a book without it bothering me but there are a few times where I am definitely taken out of the world the author has created and reminded I’m reading a book. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, but if you have a problem with that sort of thing, like some British readers don’t like it when American writers don’t use British spellings in British settings, then just know there are some cases you’ll notice.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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#BookReview of Blind Thrust by @SamMarquisBooks

Blind Thrust by Samuel Marquis Cover imageBlind Thrust

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Thriller/Suspense/Environmental/Action. 307 Pages (PRINT). Mount Sopris Publishing (October 1, 2015)

five gold stars image

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP–Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as a spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He holds a Master of Science degree in Geology, is a Registered Professional Geologist in eleven states, and is a recognized expert in groundwater contaminant hydrogeology, having served as a hydrogeologic expert witness in several class-action litigation cases.

Book Description

Blind Thrust by Samuel Marquis is a suspense/thriller set in Colorado that paints a picture of what could happen when greed overrides common sense. That’s a simple way of saying it. But then, I’m a simple speaking kind of guy. Environmental Geologist Joseph Higheagle has a problem, keep his mouth shut and keep a nice paying job, or go with his conscience and do what’s right for thousands of people.

The choice might sound easy but when you factor in a billionaire bad guy, corrupt senators, evil security bad boys and a hired assassin sent to shut you up, you might think twice, at least.

Book Review

In this first Joseph Higheagle adventure Sam Marquis does a great job introducing the core of the main character, as well as his grandfather/father figure Chief John Higheagle, a retired lawyer who now lives with him and acts as his sounding board when the young Higheagle is faced with moral forks in the road.

Combine that with some great supporting characters like the EPA agent Nina Curry, a romantic interest for HIgheagle, the younger one, not the old chief, and the USGS director Nickerson and you have a great story that’s well developed and fast paced.

You might not think an environmental thriller would be very thrilling, but Marquis puts his years of experience as a geologist to work and it is very apparent in the technical speak that’s in the book. Sometimes that sort of becomes a bit heavy and repetitive but I see it as being legitimate to the conversations occurring.

One thing I like about the antagonists in a Marquis novel is that they are not one dimensional. You almost see the humanity side of them and in Blind Thrust it’s very apparent. Charles Quantrill is a powerful man that ends up in a situation that he never saw coming, but that doesn’t make it any better nor does it make him any less guilty.

I read this one in about two days. It’s that fast paced and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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#BookReview of WOLF by @ProfKellyOliver.

WOLF cover imageWOLF

by Kelly Oliver

Fiction: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Women Sleuths/New Adult. 316 Pages Print. Kaos Press (June 21, 2016)

 

 

 

4_stars_gold

Author Biography

Kelly Oliver was born on July 28, 1958 in Spokane Washington. She graduated from Gonzaga University with honors in 1979 with a double major in philosophy and communications. She earned her Kelly Oliver ImagePh.D. from Northwestern University in philosophy in 1987. She has held teaching positions at various Universities, including George Washington University, University of Texas at Austin, and Stony Brook University. Currently, she is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.
She has published books on topics ranging from family, love, war, and violence to affirmative action, Hollywood films, and animal rights.
She is the author of THE JESSICA JAMES COWGIRL PHILOSOPHER MYSTERY novels, including COYOTE and WOLF.

Book Review

WOLF is a new adult, mystery, thriller set on the campus of Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, with cowgirl philosopher Jessica James leading the ensemble cast of characters into the reasons for the death of her Philosophy Advisor, the theft of two masterpiece Russian impressionist paintings, and the source of date rape drugs on campus. Jessica must find her way through the twists and turns of her meager existence living in the attic of the philosophy department and falling for a billionaire professor in order to keep her dreams alive to get her degree and most of all to stay alive as someone is out to kill her.

WOLF, the first book in the Jessica James Mysteries series has a great cast of characters. The book has two stories in one, linked together as the book progresses. There is the series main character’s quest to continue her PhD program in Philosophy after the murder of her advisor, and then there is the life and death situation for Dmitry Durchenko, the Philosophy departments janitor who also happens to be the son of Russia’s most powerful mob boss. The two stories overlap through the Titular character, Wolf’s death and missing paintings hidden in his office.

You have everything from the cowgirl Jessica who wants to show the world that she can be a philosopher to Lolita Durchenko who looks like super model, rides a Harley and runs a high stakes poker game. Then you have the local Russian mob leader The Pope and the billionaire professor who comes to the rescue of Jessica after she’s been given a date rape drug. And there is a whole lot more. You cheer for Jessica to overcome the obstacles and her own knack for falling into bad situations. She has to be one of the most awkward young ladies around. She shouldn’t wear heels. Oliver balances the humorous moments of Jessica with the more serious story of Dmitry and his need to find his paintings or suffer the consequences at the hands of The Pope. Somehow through it all it comes together in the end. There are times you wonder how this whole thing is going to work out but ultimately it does.

WOLF is a fast paced and entertaining read. The first chapter was a bit slow for me, but once past that the author settled into the meat of the story and off you go on a joy ride. She handles a serious issue such as college campus date rape in a good manner and just how you would want it to be done. For someone so smart, Jessica can really be a bit out there at times under pressure. But I think that may add a bit of realism to it. Things happen. If you like fast paced and fun reads, this is for you. If you like mysteries and a good cast of characters, you’ve got it here.

By: Ronovan Hester

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#BookReview of Waterkill by Mark Donovan.

WaterkillWaterkill

By Mark Donovan

Fiction: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Technothriller/Terrorism. 302 Pages Print. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

4_stars_gold

Author Biography

Mark Donovan is the author of the thriller novels “Nano Surveillance” and “Waterkill”. He has also authored 32 eBooks and 2,000+ articles on a wide variety of home improvement topics through his website HomeAdditionPlus.com. Many of his articles are nationally syndicated. He currently resides in New Hampshire, where he has spent his career working in various high tech engineering and marketing positions. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, and holds a private pilot’s license, and seven U.S. patents associated with sensor and communication technologies.

BookReview

Waterkill is the second book in the Dave Henson series and a Terroristic TechnoThriller by Mark Donovan, author of Nano Surveillance, book 1 in the series. In Waterkill, we have Dave Henson going head to head with the Al-Qaeda terrorist Aref Zarin, a techno savvy villain with a new form of terror weapon that makes nuclear weapons obsolete. Along the way Henson runs into an old friend with a new mission and travels from Germany to Iran and around the world. All in an attempt to stop the deaths of over a million innocent people.

When Mark offered the book for review I couldn’t say no. It’s a paperback, not an ecopy and a thriller. How could I say no? The first chapters were a bit slow and hard for me to get into at first. So I stopped. I don’t force myself to read a book or it’ll be a bad review. Then I decided it was time to read and emailed Mark I was getting ready. He told me he had hired a professional editor who spent over a month editing the book and that thrilled me. I read the book, then looked at the edits and I have to say, it was money well spent and Mark has done his work justice.

The story is fast paced after the initial chapters setting up the story. You have the terrorists, the special forces teams, tech gadgets, the beautiful but not helpless damsel in distress. Did I mention gadgets? Mark brings some serious tech knowhow to the storyline. If these things exist, and I am not doubting some do, there is some seriously cool stuff going on in the world. Mark also does a good job of creating a sense of urgency in the story and an ending that just makes sense. He takes the hot topics of today and handles them very carefully and does a great job not overly sensationalizing them to get a cheap punch for his story. You learn a little about people in this book that may help open your eyes just a little bit.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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@FTThum #BookReview ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr

This is a Christmas gift which took me three months to read (yep, been extremely busy) and another four months to review…

all the light

Title:          All the Light We Cannot See
Author:          Anthony Doerr
Publishers:     Scribner, Simon & Schuster (2014)
Format:          Hardback
Website:         www.anthonydoerr.com
Pages:             530
Genre:            Literary fiction; Thriller

What’s it about?

This is a story of morality – of doing and not doing, of being and non-being – and science set in Germany and France during WWII. It tells of how the two protagonists’ lives intersect in the lead up to the German occupation of France.

I was introduced to Werner a 7-year old German boy gifted in science who lived in an orphanage with his sister, Jutta. Marie-Laure was 6 years, blind and much loved by her father, a locksmith and the keeper of keys at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. And there in the museum was hidden an accursed gem, which would be the thread running through both Werner and Marie-Laure’s lives.

From 7 to 18 years old where the story ends, Werner knew he had a calling, to repair and build radios. This brought him to the attention of the Nazis and subsequently sent to a school that produced elite cadre for the Third Reich. There, Werner’s friendship with his best friend Frederick was tested repeatedly as he experienced the conflict between his love for science and his love for his friend. Jutta’s voice rang as his conscience until he chose not to listen. Ultimately Werner’s fate was tied to the accursed gem, with which his commanding officer was obsessed.

During these years, Marie-Laure had a happy life deciphering puzzles her father built, and learning about her sightless world through the delightful miniatures her father had constructed. It was because of them that she managed to survive when she was brought to live with her great-uncle’s home in the town of Saint Malo, on the coast of Brittany after escaping Paris when her father was entrusted with the accursed gem. Her great-uncle, Etienne, a former soldier suffering from psychological distress, had been using his radio transmitter for the Resistance.

How do all these lives intersect? I suppose you can see the obvious connection, however there are many more. I will leave you to discover what they are.

For me, the only character that seems to be predominantly two dimensional is von Rumpel, Werner’s commanding officer. The  book’s approach to Nazism fell short of the realism that was conveyed throughout other parts of the book. The other secondary characters were fascinating and I almost wished they had their own words for their experiences.

Would I recommend it?

‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is thriller and literary fiction, rolled into one. A delightful book with detailed descriptions of the towns and well-presented characters – Marie-Laure more believable than Werner, nevertheless entirely absorbing.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think:                   3.5/5
Overall enjoyment:               4/5
Readability:                           4/5
Recommended:                     4/5
Overall Rating:                  4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 11.30
  Hardback USD 16.39
Booktopia Paperback AUD 39.25
Bookdepository Paperback £8.87

 

~ FlorenceT

florence-2

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2016 LitWorldInterviews

Making Dreams Come True

As most of you know, I’ve been working toward publishing my book. As I said in my last post, I’m starting with independent publishing. Here is a tidbit of my debut novel, The Murder of Manny Grimes:

The Murder of Manny Grimes CoverWhen three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s  life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body.

But were the boys telling the truth?

With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun,  DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own marriage is falling apart.

Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome.

Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?

I’m excited to be talking to a publisher already. However, I’m trying to raise money to offset the costs of publishing my book. As of right now, it’s a major risk for me because I’m unemployed and haven’t been able to find a job. At the same time, I want to start shooting for my dreams. During this difficult jobless time, the thought of my dream beginning to come true is what’s keeping me going.

You may not know me, but I would like to ask for your help in making this as easy and worry-free as possible. Any amount of a donation helps. Beginning at $25, you get a copy of my book (I know, I know…$25 is a lot, but it’s for a good cause!). I also have other giveaways, depending on how much you pledge. When you click the link below you will see all of them!

I have a goal, which includes some funds for marketing for my debut novel, but I hope to earn at least $2000 as soon as possible to get what needs to be done now. My publisher is a trusted indie publisher a personal friend has known for years and is involved in the Southeastern Writer’s Association.

Ronovan can vouch for my authenticity, for those of you who are unsure of giving to a complete stranger. You may contact me for more information (and if you’d like, ‘like’ my FB page, Angela Kay’s Books.) Thank you for your support!

Angela Kay

Click Here: The Murder of Manny Grimes Fundraiser

© Copyright-All rights reserved by Angela Kay 2016