Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Crush, by Heather Heyford

Again, another excellent novel incorporating wine country with a romance. The story line this time is really nice in having an Army Reserve Officer involved who happens to be a building expert. The short story lines of his humanitarian projects as well as the rebuilding projects from the military side are a good addition.

The fact that our Army Officer has a bit of a problem with commitment is very realistic and explains a problem that many career military families face. Lt. Santos loves the lifestyle that the military has afforded. He gets to travel the world and see many different places and provide helping hands to those in need through his construction project. He does not like to make a commitment that will cause him to put down roots, so he has had shallow relationships with women and no real ties to any one place.

On the other hand we have Juniper who grew up with a military father and was grateful when he finally retired and settled down in one place and allowed her to establish roots. She had been frustrated with having to move all the time and not really have established friendships and/or a place to call home.

So, when the two lifestyles clash a bit at their initial meeting you know that sparks will fly on several levels.

There are subtle sub-plots running throughout the novel and that makes it enjoyable and unique. It gives you things to think about and a good study in relationship building.

Overall for a Romantic Novel this has some very good plot structures that will allow you to think through how people build relationships and then how they finally can come to see their need for roots.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Scorched Earth, by George Caldorisi

I have been a fan of the Op-Center series of books that Tom Clancy originated. So, upon his death I wondered how they would fare. They had been written by others most of the time, but without Clancy's influence would they drop in quality.

I think this latest addition to the series answers the question, the quality has not dropped off it remains the same and presents an exciting read for Clancy fans of Op-Center.

After an act of terrorism POTUS approves an air strike against the leader of ISIS and the compound in which he is believed to be with his top advisors. The air strike doesn't kill the leader, instead it kills his first born son.

This drives the leader of ISIS to put together a plan to bring the war of terrorism onto U.S. soil and to exact revenge against the American President and the American People in an effort to demoralize them and take the fight out of them.

It is decided to kidnap the Navy Commander who orchestrated the attack on ISIS. This man is now back stateside and working at the Pentagon. Thus ISIS comes to the U.S., takes his captive, and works to get him exfiltrated out of the U.S. and back to the Middle East where they can behead him on camera.

When conventional methods of law enforcement can't track down the kidnap victim and bring him home the President turns to Op-Center and gives them the green light to try to find and rescue the victim.

There are many small twists and turns that will surprise the reader. There are political statements made in the story regarding how we should go about fighting terrorism and whether or not certain agencies should be given broader powers to operate both in country and outside of the country.

It is an excellent read and one that I am sure you will enjoy.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Deal Master, by Adam Gittim

This is my first time reading a novel / mystery / suspense that comes from the direction of a Real Estate Developer and the lifestyle such a person would lead.

I enjoyed learning a bit about Real Estate, but more importantly I found this a great study in Character Analysis. Our Deal Master has made a fortune in the Real Estate Development marketplace of New York City. But life has not been without it's ups and downs.

Having been out of the country for nine years Jonah Gray is back and ready to get back into the swing of things. He has done just that. The past is behind him and now he wants to make even more money.

But a sinister figure from his time away contacts him and wants him to work his magic to acquire three properties. The problem is that this man is a crime figure and Jonah doesn't want to get into business  with him, BUT, the man did Jonah some huge favors and he owes him.

The mystery is this, why does this man want these three locations and what does he want to do with them?

When Jonah hesitates things escalate and people get hurt.

Will Jonah be able to handle the issues without going to jail? Will he come out of all of this alive and with his loved ones alive?

All kinds of questions. The story will grab you and keep you reading until the conclusion.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Manhattan Lockdown, by Paul Baptista

In this modern day thriller we find the city of New York, specifically Manhattan, under attack by terrorist. The action starts out with a several bombs being detonated and many people dying as well as property being destroyed.

Among those caught in the bombings is the Mayor of New York, Roland Fortune, and many well know famous people. Mayor Fortune while injured by the explosions finds himself needing to stay involved so as to bring hope and comfort to the citizens of New York.

Police Commissioner Gina Carbone puts into action the emergency plan titled “Fort Apache.” This plan locksdown Manhattan by closing all the bridges, all the subways, all trains and all helicopter and boat traffic to the island. In essence the Island of Manhattan becomes a large prison for the millions who live there and those who just happened to be visiting.

The first set of bombings is not the last. There are more attacks that take place.

One of the first responders to the first attack is an off duty Emergency Room doctor, Gabriel Hauser, who gets dubbed the Angel of Life as many video feeds capture him going from victim to victim at the first bombing site.

What is interesting is to work our way through the story and follow the actions of the Mayor, the Police Commissioner, the NYPD as well as The President of the United States.

But what caught me more about the story, although it is very well written and exciting, was the fact that I felt it was more a political statement about Gay rights, Police over reach and profiling and how politicians often are looking out for themselves than for those they are sworn to serve.

While it seems as those there is some preaching going on during the story I found that it really didn’t detract from the story, nor did it offend my sensibilities, even though I am a retired Police Chaplain.

I loved the tension. I love the interplay of the characters. I loved the development of the characters. I think that Paul Baptista did a great job with this story and I look forward to many more.

Friday, April 15, 2016

On Edge, by Albert Ashforth

This book is a historical fiction about the collapse and failure of the Bank of Kabul in Afghanistan. At the time of the banks failure almost a billion dollars went missing. Twenty-two individuals were put on trial by the Afgahn courts and found guilty of theft.

At a time of the U.S. Military being in country is it possible that the influx of U.S. Dollars into the economy lead to the greed and theft of these millions of dollars.

At the same time Green on Blue killing was taking place, where Afghan workers were found to turn on and murder their American counterparts.

This is the situation that Alex Klear enters when his former handler asks him to go to Afghanistan and investigate the murder of his friend Colonel Hansen who was investigating the collapse of the bank and missing U.S. Funds.

The story is well written and documents well the issues of the war in Afghanistan and how the U.S. Government sends millions of dollars into a war zone without a whole lot of oversight.

The author was "in country" at the time of these events. While the characters are fiction and the story line is not part of history it weaves itself well through the issues of that time in Afghanistan (2013) when the bank failed and people were going on trial.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Cold Barrel Zero, By Matthew Quirk

When a Special Forces Black Team becomes expendable it becomes quite a problem to eliminate them, especially since they are very good at what they do.

The other issue is that they should not have had a “kill order” placed on them in the first place. They did nothing wrong, although one particular military officer has convinced the Pentagon and the White House that they have gone rogue.

The novel is fast paced, good on details about how a Special Forces Team would work together and gives you a thrill of a ride as you join them and two “outsiders” who are thrown together to try and clear the names of the operators as well as stop major terrorist threats inside the United States.

You will find that you are unsure of which side to cheer for at first, but then as things become a bit more clear you find that you are wanting the truth to come out and for corrupt individuals to eventually pay for their crimes.

But trust me, just when you think you have things figured out another twist comes into play and the most evil characters will surprise you.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Playing the Part, by Jen Turano

When her stepfather loses at poker his marker that he tries to cash in is his lovely stepdaughter. Lucretta Plum is an actress, but not just any actress, she is one of the most gifted actresses of her time. Many a man would love to have her on his arm and build a relationship with her. The only problem is that she doesn't want to have a relationship with any man.

Not only that but the man her Stepfather has lost her to in poker is the worse of the worse and she wants nothing to do with him. So, what does any good self respecting young woman do? She runs away.

But that's what makes the story interesting. Lucretia runs away with her Landlord and her body guard. Where do they run to? Well, of all things a castle! But not just any castle, this one is owned by the grandson of her Landlady.

It's the late 1800's in New York and Lucetta is just trying to get far away and out of sight. But what she doesn't expect is to run into Bram, the grandson, who has an infatuation with Miss Plum. Not to mention the fact that he is handsome beyond belief. But still, she wants nothing to do with any man.

In a very Pride and Prejudice way of writing (only the roles of Darcy and Elizabeth are reversed) we find that Bram and Lucetta have a love/hate relationship or at best a love/tolerating relationship.

The writing style is very good and the story line is well conceived and developed. There are enough charcacters to make any reader happy and they are all developed well.

Enjoy this fun frolick through a Castle that has everything from a moat to a cannon to a knight in shining armor.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Noble Man, by William Miller

I first of all want to thank William Miller for contacting me directly and asking me to review his new book. I was very impressed with his writing and very interested in the real world issue of "Sex Slave" trade that he wrote about. Following is my review of the book.

This was truly a good read provided by a new author. It takes the work of a CIA clandestine operator and gives us an insight into a not so new world problem but one that has been lost in the mix of terrorism and drugs and crime syndicates. The problem is the "sex slave" trade. We all know that slavery was done away with in most countries, including the United States, but the sex slave trade is growing and is not just on other continents but it is also in the United States.

William Miller weaves a story around the thriller aspect of a clandestine operator who has the task of breaking down the sex slave trade. The problem, Jacob Noble does too good a job and when someone dies in one of his operations that embarrasses our government they look for a fall guy and it's Noble.

But then when another diplomat we work with has his daughter kidnapped because she operates a rescue center for women caught in the sex slave business, where does the CIA turn? Well, they come to Noble because they want her rescued, but they don't want it tied back to them or to our government if things go wrong.

The rest of the story weaves through the underbelly of society and those who kidnap and sell young women and children into the sex slave business. To complicate matters Bati Ramos is a diabetic and they only took one insulin syringe when they kidnapped her. That sets the clock ticking and Noble has just a couple of days to travel the world, search out where she is being held and then rescue her.

To Complicate things there are others out there looking for her as well and they don't particularly want Noble to find her. So, they are doing their best to eliminate him while looking for the girl.

William Miller gives us much to think about as we read. He highlights the real problems of this issue and points out how many young women and children disappear every year into this business and are forgotten.

Once you read the novel (which is fantastic) you need to go to the web site he suggests and learn more about this political / moral / society problem and see what you can do to bring it to light and help fight against it.

Thanks William for giving us a great look at a terrible problem.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Undaunted Hope, by Jody Hedlund

First of all I want to thank Net Galley and the Publisher for making an advance review copy of this book available to me for review. You may pre-order the book on Amazon or at your favorite book distributor. It will be released in a month or so.

In this third book of the series we have Tessa moving to a new location to be a school teacher. She has left behind her sister and brother-in-law and the lighthouse where she grew up. She hates lighthouses and wants nothing to do with them since they were the cause of her mother's death, her father's death and where her younger sister died from illness. She is done with lighthouse work and light keepers.

She has come to Eagle Harbor as the new school teacher. It is a copper mining town that is cut off from the rest of the world during the winter because Lake Superior freezes over.

When she arrives she is accosted by a deck hand from her boat who tries to seduce her. She resists and falls off the pier and into the water. A man who had been fishing comes to her rescue.

He is handsome, strong, rugged, etc. the only problem is, he is the assistant Light Keeper for the local Lighthouse. So, Tessa wants nothing to do with him. Alex Bjorklund though might have other ideas, because frankly, Tessa Taylor is beautiful.

To complicate things the town was expecting a male teacher. Mr. Updegraff the town boss doesn't want a female teacher, he wants a male teacher. He will make Tessa's life harsh all winter.

So the scene is set and the novel that follows is well developed, has several themes running through it from grief and loss to judgmental and prejudicial people to sexual misconduct, etc.

The story is going to keep your interest and give me much to think about. How will Tessa fare? How will the children do under her teaching spell? How will Mr. Updegraff handle the situation? And finally how will Alex be able to win Tessa's heart, or will he?

I'm sure you will enjoy the story.