Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tough Justice Exposed, Part 1 of 8, by Carla Cassidy

In this short first part of the eight part series of Tough Justice we find our heroine, an FBI agent, Lara Grant, embroiled in a plot that is intended to draw her out of her year long stay in protective custody so that the crime family that she put in prison from her undercover sting can bring pain, death and destruction to her life.

It starts innocently enough with Lara being called to the scene of a man threatening to jump off a window ledge and plunge to his death. The issue is why is an FBI agent being called to deal with this? Normally the local police would handle it. But she was asked for by name. That should have raised red flags.

As this drama unfolds it becomes apparent to Lara that it was just a way to get her to surface long enough for the media to catch her face on film and make it public information for everyone.

As that unfolds the real danger starts. Lara's life is put in danger and so are the lives of those she cares about, although she doesn't have many she cares about.

In this first of the eight part series we are introduced to Lara and her new partner and given background information about her previous undercover work and why she is in the place she is now.

The story is well written, it draws you in quickly and sets the stage for a great crime novel to follow. And as any good series of short stories it leaves you hanging at a point where you want more, no wait, not want, you NEED more.

But you will have to wait for the release of the next portion of the story.

This is a different way to read a novel, but it is a bit of a compelling way to catch your attention and hold it for a period of time.

I hope you will enjoy this first part and like me be waiting somewhat impatiently for the second part to be released in January.


Monday, November 30, 2015

The Saudi Strategy, by Ethan Jones

Justin Hall is again the center of attention as a crisis faces the nation of Canada. But most people don't know that there is a crisis. At the present time Justin is working on tracking down the terrorist responsible for attacks that happened in Book #7 of the series. In that book people close to Justin were killed and he wants to track down the terrorist and make sure that they can't hurt anybody else.

The question is this, is he tracking them down because of a sense of revenge or a sense of honor or a sense of duty to rid the world of terrorist? If he is tracking them down from a sense of revenge he needs to be careful. Revenge usually happens with a mind that is not totally focused on the best way to proceed and many operatives die because they get sloppy and make mistakes when acting out of revenge.

Justin and his partner Carrie are going to come under fire from not just one group of operatives but from at least two groups and maybe even more. The issue is that all these people get trigger happy and people other than those they are targeting get killed or wounded.

Can Justin and Carrie find those responsible for the terrorist work in Canada? Can Carrie find what she needs from the Russians in regards to the death / disappearance of her father? Will Justin step over the line and be booted from the Canadian Intelligence service?

Lots of questions, lots of action and as usual we find that Ethan Jones develops a story that is fast paced, heart stopping and also can add new characters to the plots that are happening.

Thanks Ethan for another great novel.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Back Blast, by Mark Greaney

First of all I would like to thank Net Galley and the publisher for making a review copy of this book available to me in exchange for an unbiased review. The book will become available on February 16, 2016. You can pre-order it on Amazon or at iBooks or Barnes and Noble.

Court Gentry is one of the most deadly assets that the CIA has ever had. He has never failed to complete a mission that they have sent him on. Usually he worked from within a team of six operatives. Sometimes they would work with all six, some times with just two, but always with another member of the team.

But there was one time when the Director of the Clandestine services division approached the team and gave the other five men a leave of absence but asked Court to remain behind. He then assigned him to a solo mission. This was unusual but Court knew he could handle things on his own.

He did and the mission was again a success. But soon after a terminate order was put out on Court and the whole agency, plus others, wanted him dead and they went to great lengths to make it happen.

After five years of running from those after him Court decides to go back to America and get to the bottom of the terminate order and set the record straight.

Mark Greaney does an excellent job of weaving a story that is not only plausible but just down right frightening.

Court is good at his job and bodies start to pile up. But Court isn’t the one piling up the bodies as most people thing, OK so he does kill a few, but he only kills those that are not innocent. Those that are following orders he goes well out of his way to keep them alive.

Will Court get to the bottom of the issue? Will he terminate those that need to be terminated and save himself? Will he be brought back into the agency?

Those are questions that will get answered as you read.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Last Codex, by Alan Jacobson

First of all I want to thank the publisher and Net Galley for making a review copy of this book available to me for an honest review.

I gave the book only three stars out of five.

I was a bit disappointed with this novel. It rambled on for way to long with too many detours to the real event, which was to find the Lost Codex from the Dead Sea Scrolls that would indicate that the historic Jesus was really a myth, something made up by the countless intellectuals of their day.

A team of operatives from several agencies are tasked with tracking down the Codex as well as tracking down some terrorist that are bent on bringing mayhem to the world. They must traverse through many countries, especially ones that they aren't welcome in because of past incidents. One of those countries being England of all places. Since when does England have a problem with America running operations on their soil, as long as we are partnering for the same thing?

The characters are very well developed and there is a concern about a Muslim Operative among the group that maybe is not all that he seems to be. The Jewish operative is nervous about him and wondering if they have made a mistake in bringing him along. He keeps disappearing and then the team comes under fire. Is this operative orchestrating the attacks on the team to disrupt their work? That is a big question.

The operatives end up splitting up to try and finish the task, but what team would really do that?

Finally, there seems no cognitive resolution to the situation. We are left a bit hanging as to what the final outcome truly is.

I was disappointed in the novel, although I liked the many scenes and situations that the operatives found themselves in. I just couldn't find a good hero or heroine to really latch on to.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Nature of the Beast, by Louise Penny

Again a book I highly recommend, and another one that I paid money for, it was not free, so that should tell you how much I like Louise Penny's writing.  Enjoy

Inspector Armand Gamache has retired to the little village of Three Pines. He and his wife are there to recover, regain strength and just enjoy the quiet comfort of a small village, good friends and quiet solitude.

One of the villages is a nine year old boy who loves to pretend that he is fighting off alien invaders, enemy combatants or criminals of all stripes to save and protect the village. He can be a nuisance some times running into town and yelling about an invasion, kind of like the boy who cries wolf so many times that people quit listening. But Armand loves the little guy and usually listens to him. But this time Laurent Lepage is trying to tell everyone about a gigantic gun hidden in the forest along with a monster. No one believes him, not even Armand.

The next day the boy goes missing. The following day he is found dead. Was it an accident or murder? Armand thinks it was murder but the police think accident. He calls his old friends up and asks them to take another look and convinces them that it was murder.

That sets the stage for the strangest of all discoveries and a case that is not just police jurisdiction but also has implications for National Security. They find Laurent's large gun and it is the biggest "Super Gun" anyone has ever seen. But what is it doing in the forest under camouflage that has been in place for most likely decades?

Then a second murder takes place and everyone is scrambling to determine who, what, why and how these murders are happening. So much for retirement. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is back on the case and helping and watching his associates (his disciples) do their job and bring to justice the criminals involved, or do they?

Louise Penny takes a small village with little in the way of value and turns it into a scene of international importance. Her writing is first rate and has an edge to it that keeps you involved, keeps you guessing and makes you sit down and "Think," which is what Armand Gamache would do.

I love this series and this is just another great book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Target Utopia, by Dale Brown

For those of you who think all I read are "free" advance copy books that I get I want to let you know that I purchased this book. Why you ask? Because I have grown to appreciate Dale Brown's writing.

Dale Brown gives us another good military novel. This time he tackles the art of fighting via drones, but not just the slow drones that fly high and drop ordinance from the sky to take out terrorist. This time it is drones that are fast, highly maneuverable and capable of fighting in pairs or groups in air to air combat that will drive most pilots to land and never go up again.

The artificial intelligence capability of a drone in comparison to the human brain seems to be no contest. The AI can process faster, deliver more options and well, learn. Then put into place a drone without a pilot that can pull an enormous amount of G-Forces in sudden turns, dives, flips, etc. and you have a weapon that can't be beat. A human pilot would black out from the G-force of the turns of the drone. Thus while blacked out he is shot out of the sky.

Brown brings his own flying with the military to bear on this novel and knows what he is talking about. With a rogue agent doing his best to build and fly his own drone air force we have an enemy that may be beyond our ability to take out. Thus the President of the United States must turn to it's clandestine group of elite technicians, computer developers and military personnel to find and destroy this rogue operation.

All the while they are having to do this while not starting a war with China who is not happy with the USA for being in their backyard and flying what appears to be military operations that could endanger the Chinese.

The book is well written, the technology is well documented, the air to air fighting tactics are fabulous. All in all if you love Military Novels you will find this most enjoyable.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Cardinal's Sin, by Robert Lane

Have you ever stopped and wondered about the morals of a man who has been trained to kill by his government? Does he have thoughts about it being right or wrong? Does the right of ending the life of a terrorist trump the thoughts of the wrong of ending another humans life?

So, now imagine that the professional killer is given a task to kill a man and discovers that he has actually ended the life of the wrong person. How would he feel about his action? How will he come to terms with his action? Especially how will he respond when he discovers that the man he killed is a Cardinal of the Catholic Church? Even though the Cardinal was not an innocent person, he did have sin in his life (don't we all?) was it still right or wrong for this man to end the Cardinal's life?

The quest for truth and the quest to end the life of the true target will take Jake Travis on a wild adventure of discovering hidden truths and hidden lies that will effect the lives of many people. The most important person, to Jake Travis, that this will effect is the love of his life, Kathleen. That is because he has lied to her about what he does, he has driven her away by belittling her and the profession that she has chosen. He has made her feel small.

Will he win her love back? Will he find the answers to why the Cardinal had to die? Will he learn the truth of the Cardinal's sin? Will he eventually find the true target and fulfill his task?

All these questions are woven into a story that is intriguing and filled with genuine life issues. Robert Lane does a good job of developing his characters, developing his plot and keeping the secrets hidden just below the surface for the length of the book. I'm sure you will fully enjoy the novel as you run toward the finish line waiting to find out the answers to all the questions.


Friday, August 28, 2015

The Congregation by Desiree Bombenon

I would first like to thank Net Galley and the Publisher for making an Advance Reader Copy of this book available to me for a review.

Jake and Amanda Bannon are in for another adventure. They are at home in Canada resting after their recent adventure in Hawaii when Amanda decides that they should go to Rome. She just wants a vacation. But in Rome Cardinal Roland asks them to deliver a religious artifact to a Priest in Chicago, Father Kristofferson.

They agree and make plans to travel to Chicago, where Jake just happens to also have a couple of meetings lined up. But being the inquisitive people that they are they decide to take the Religious Relic to a local Professor who specializes in the items. Professor Orloff is special, he works part-time for the CIA as well as studying ancient history. But his analysis of the relic leads him to state there is nothing special about it and nothing old about it. That puts things in a quandary.

It turns out the "relic" is just a message for Father Kristofferson to stop what he is planning. That plan is to cause great pain and agony for the organized Catholic Church that Father Kristofferson believes has hurt more people than helped. He has sought out young people who have been hurt by the church and hurt by dysfunctional families.

This group, The Gathering has an "Inner Circle" of young people who are planning a major terrorist event across the United States. Things have been put into place to cause major destruction and bring attention to the Catholic Church and to Christ as being fake, or at least a tool for abusing power and people.

Jake, Amanda and Professor Orloff need to figure out what is happening, when it is happening and how to stop it.

The character development of the book is awesome. The different plot lines are all well developed and come together to form one major plot that is the gist of the story. You will follow the Bannon's as well as a dysfunctional Chicago family, the Priest, his special assistant and then Cardinal Roland as they all converge to a stunning conclusion.

Well written, fun to read and also sad in a way.


Monday, August 24, 2015

A Taste of Sake, by Heather Hayford

Have you ever had a book that once you started reading it you lost sense of everything else around you? All you wanted to do was keep reading? Usually that happens to me with a Police Detective / Crime Novel or Spy / Action novel. But I found that it happened with this wonderful book.

First of all I would like to thank Net Galley and the publisher for making an Advance Reader Copy of this book available to me for review. This is book four in a Series titled, "The Napa Wine Heiresses."

Sake is the youngest daughter of Xavier St. Pierre, a winery owner in the Napa Valley. The problem is that she grew up poor because her mother and Xavier had an adulterous relationship. He had three daughters with his wife, not with Sake’s mother.

But Sake’s life was not that of a rich, wealthy, socialite like her half sisters. She lived with a mother who moved often, used drugs, drank and was out of touch with reality most of the time. Sake actually went up to a year at times without knowing where her mother was.

But at the age of 22 her father found her and brought her home. How will a mixed race young woman who was raised on the tough streets of San Francisco fit in with her wealthy half siblings and a father whom she really doesn’t know that well at all.

The book is well crafted and the characters are well developed. You come to know the main characters well, learn their secrets, their mindsets and what really helps them cope with a world that is not as simple as it might first appear.

Sake will learn quickly that the rich have problems just like ‘normal’ people. She will also find that she is more welcome than she thought, but that takes time.

There is another character in the book, real estate broker, Bill Diamond. He somewhat comes to Sake’s rescue during an unfortunate accident at the wedding of Sake’s oldest half sibling. This brings Bill into Sake’s life. But Bill has his own issues. He wants to be successful, he wants to have the golden ring of success and he wants a wife to share in life with him, but a wife who fits the Napa Valley mold.

What will he do with Sake, a young woman who has quite a different flavor for language, dress and lifestyle than anyone he has ever known? Will Bill finalize a relationship with Deb, his doctor friend, or will he discover that love comes bundled in a strange package at times.

This entire book caught my attention and I couldn’t wait to get to the end. Now the only problem is I want more.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scents and Sensibility, by Spencer Quinn

Some people say you should never write a book from an animals point of view, but I disagree, I kind of like it. Chet the Jet is Bernie's dog and as much of a Private Investigator as Bernie is. The two form a team that is unbeatable.

In this particular novel they have come home from a visit to Washington D.C. and have found a couple of issues. One is that the safe in Bernie's house has been pried out of the wall and stolen. In that safe is his grandfathers watch, a timepiece that is priceless. Bernie goes next door and discovers that his neighbor has a new Saguaro Cactus in his front yard. Now, a Saguaro is not suppose to be dug up and moved from one location to another, that is against the law. But that isn't the main problem. Bernie wants to ask about his house and if anyone stole the key that the Parson's had to his home.

The key can't be found and it turns out that the Parsons son Billy is the most likely candidate. But before we can go there Ellie Neuberg shows up and wants to question the Parson's on where they got the Saguaro. She is the conservation officer tasked when hunting down people who steal the cactus. This one happens to have had a chip implanted in it and has informed her that it has been dug up and moved.

So, now the hunt is on, where is Billy and did he steal the safe as well as the Cactus?

Death and mayhem soon follow. Bernie and Chet the Jet are drawn into the fray. Who will win? Who will prove to be the thief? Who will prove to be the murderer? And what will happen with Bernie and Chet as they rush into danger.

The novel is well developed, well written and fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Murderer's Daughter, by Jonathan Kellerman

First I would like to thank the Publisher and Net Galley for making a review copy of this book available to me in exchange for a review. This book will be released in mid August and can be preordered on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

This intriguing story is written in two time periods. One time period is the growing up phase of Grace Blades life where things were anything but normal. The second time period is Dr. Grace Blades life as a Psychologist.

Grace Blades was born to a family of dysfunction. Her dad drank way to much and abused his wife and daughter at times, her mother was an escapist who tried to stay out of her husbands way. Grace was left to fend for herself most of time. Due to a tragic circumstance both parents die and Grace is placed in the Foster Care system where she goes from home to home until a final destination secures her destiny.

Grace is brilliant, a genius, and learns by just reading and absorbing. At her last stop in the Foster care system she is introduced to Malcolm who is a Psychologist specializing in children and he feeds Grace’s appetite for learning.

While in her last Foster Home Grace observes a set of three children who come in and appear as totally dysfunctional. A death happens, then another and Grace is left on her own.

But Malcolm and his wife Sophie come through and bring Grace home to their mansion and raise her as their own.

Grace using her intelligence to the max graduates from Universities with a PHD in Psychology and sets up practice.

She then comes in contact with a young man who eventually is murdered. This sets off a mystery that Grace is bound to solve and solve it in a way that no one would imagine. As the daughter of a Murderer does she have a part of her father in her that leads her to harsh judgment and action?

Well, read and find out. It is very interesting. I think at times it slows down a bit too much and has too much detail that is unnecessary, but all in all it is a fun read.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Homeland, A Justin Hall novel, by Ethan Jones

Canadian's most successful operative, Justin Hall, is loose again and gunning for Terrorist from Saudi Arabia to Yemen to Russia and back to Canada. His target this time is ISIS and a top leader in the Islamic group. The reason, well, the terrorist are planning attacks in Canada and Justin's intel tells him that it will be bad.

In this seventh book in the series we have the luxury of already knowing Justin Hall, Carrie O'Connor and many of the other characters in the book. That makes it easy to jump quickly into the fight and into the gathering of intelligence. The story starts quickly and picks up speed throughout. While Justin is traveling through Europe, Russia and the Middle East his real focus is on Canada. There is a plot at hand to target a major metropolitan area and Justin needs to find out who, what, when, where and how.

But to make things interesting he is also trying to find a person looking into the background of the Russian Oligarch, Romanov, whom Justin has a relationship with. Romanov has asked Justin to find out who the person is so that he can eliminate him. That adds some issues for Justin as he tries to do his job and pay back a favor to the Russian.

To make things work Justin and the Canadian Intelligence Service will have to accept some help from a few Terrorist themselves, men who want to eliminate some of their own so that they can consolidate their leadership of the ISIS groups. But the question is, do you want to get involved with a Terrorist even if it will help your side prevent a major event in your home country? Can you get their help but still not have to return any favors to them?

Ethan Jones has done a great job in developing this series and this story just builds upon all that he has written in the past. He will further develop his characters and in the process actually address current events in our world today. While this is taking place with a Canadian Operative when most of us think that the U.S. and the CIA are the only ones doing anything, you will find that the Canadians have as much skin in the game as anyone else. So, with the help of the U.S., England, Yemen and others you are in for a wild ride as Justin and Carrie do their best to thwart any terrorist attacks on Canadian soil.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Kill Box, by Nichole Christoff

This is the third book in the Jaime Sinclair, Private Investigator, series. I think each of the books has gotten better as the series progresses.

I want to thank the publisher and Net Galley for making a review copy of the book available to me. The book will be published on October 20, 2015. You can pre-order it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In this case we start with Jaime Sinclair and Lt. Colonel Adam Barrett at her home in the Washington D.C. area. Lt. Colonel Barrett is still recovering from a broken leg that he sustained in the last book. Jaime has been taking care of him. Their relationship, well, it’s still complicated. They care for each other, but they have not yet plunged into the sexual side of things, for which I give the author great credit for keeping their relationship away from that entanglement at this time.

With just a couple of days to go before Adam gets the cast off his leg an old friend of his from home, Vance McCabe, shows up. His entrance is a bit different in that he comes holding Jaime’s housekeeper hostage with a gun to her head until Adam agrees to go with him back to their hometown to save a friend, Eric Wentz, from committing suicide.

Adam leaves and Jaime has no idea what is happening. Then Adams grandmother calls to ask Jaime to come to Fallowfield to bail Adam out of jail and make sure he is doing OK.

This starts a chain of events that will lead to old secrets, old loves, old hatreds and a murder to come to the surface. In all of this Adam doesn’t look too good. Especially when Jaime finds that he has been drinking and brawling and even punched out his old friend Luke who is now the town Sheriff.

Now as Jaime shows up things really start to unravel. First there are a couple of hikers found dead. Then Adam’s friend Eric commits suicide, or is it murder. Then more death and rumors of drug trafficking start to surface. Then Marc Sandoval, the DEA agent from Jaime’s last adventure shows up in town, undercover.

So, what is going on? Who is on a killing spree? Why does it seem that Adam is at the center of it all? And further, why is Adam telling Jaime that they should call it quits and she should leave town?

Through 260 pages of thrills, mystery, death, drugs and old history you will find that you are constantly wanting more, constantly second guessing everything and then you find yourself believing that you have it all figured out, when low and behold, nope, it was totally different that you thought, or at least sufficiently different that you can’t believe how the story ends.

This truly was a great piece of writing and one that I totally loved. Now I can’t wait for the next Jaime Sinclair novel.