Month: July 2018

Review of ‘Courage Lost’

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Retired college professor turned PI Ray Courage is hired by an attorney to find the son of a billionaire couple who’s been missing for twenty years. As he begins to dig, and eventually discovers that the missing heir is dead, Ray unearths an even murkier mystery, one that, if he’s not careful could end up with him being dead.

Courage Lost by R. Scott Mackey is yet another offering in the Ray Courage mystery series, and it’s just as good, if not better than the previous stories. Follow Ray as he burrows into a devious plot that twists and turns from central California to Honduras and back, and he has to deal with skeptical cops, murderous street gangs, and greedy grifters—all the while trying to make sense of his arid love life. This one’s a page-turner that you won’t want to miss.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. It’s a five-star one for sure.

Review of ‘Dark Application: ONE’

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While working at a DOD research facility, college student, Luke Jeffers, downloads some games from the facility’s servers to his phone. Unknown to him, the Defense Application for Remote Kinetics (DARK) is also installed on his phone, and he can’t delete it. It’s not long before DARK has taken control of Luke’s life and set him on a path of self-destruction.

Dark Application: ONE by Brian Krogstad and Lindsey Waterman is a chilling techno-thriller. Well plotted and well-written. The cliff-hanger ending, though a bit of a cheat, does set the interested reader up nicely for a sequel as DARK continues to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world. My main complaint about the book, though, is that the prologue and the ending don’t match up. I won’t spoil the book by stating why, but there was clearly a situation set up in the prologue that needed resolving, and it never was.

I give the authors three and a half stars for a valiant effort, and a mostly enjoyable read.

Review of ‘Meltdown’

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Trace Crane, one of four control-room supervisors at the Bear Mountain Nuclear Energy Center in Buchanan, NY, just miles from NYC, is an overweight office drone who is daydreaming about an upcoming vacation with his wife, Avi, and daughter, Brooklyn, when the proverbial ‘it’ hits the fan. A massive earthquake disrupts a nearby fault line, causing a potential meltdown at the center. Trace is then faced with a choice, do all that he can to save the reactor, or get out and find his family. In the meantime, Avi, caught shopping when the quake hits, begins a frantic search for her daughter.

Meltdown by GP James is a riveting story of what happens when things get out of control at a nuclear power plant, threatening the environment and lives for miles around. The author doesn’t walk the reader through events, but runs at a break-neck pace, switching back and forth between Trace and Avi as he explores human reactions to a cataclysmic event.

This is a book that you won’t be able to put down once you start reading, and at the end, you’ll sigh, not from relief, but exhaustion. It has the technical details expertly woven in with the human dimension and will leave you wondering just how close to disaster we really are.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and honestly, I give it five stars for the sheer chutzpah.

Review of ‘Succubus

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An international thriller works when real events are seamlessly woven into the fictional narrative. In Succubus, former diplomatic security service agent Regis P. Sheehan does that.

Michael Medved, code name ‘Bear’, is tasked by the Org to exfiltrate a nuclear scientist who wants to defect out of North Korea. He teams up with a mixed force of South Korean agents and other specialists from the Org for what is an almost impossible task. All of this takes place in the tense post-9/11 atmosphere and the invasion of Iraq which resulted in the toppling and subsequent execution of Saddam Hussein, the machinations of North Korean diplomats in the smuggling of ‘super notes,’ exquisitely crafted counterfeit US one-hundred-dollar notes, and the cumbersome Washington bureaucracy.

Swiftly moving back and forth in time, and crossing two oceans, the story follows the team and its supporters as the dangerous mission unfolds.

A chilling story that reads like it was ripped from the day’s headlines, it is, in short, the kind of page-turner that international thriller fans will love. I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I give it four stars for a darned good first novel.

Review of ‘Twenty-One Steps of Courage’

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Rod Strong enlisted in the army with the objective of becoming a member of the Old Guard Sentinels, the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. With war raging in the Middle East, though, he’s required to do his deployment. An injury makes it seemingly impossible for him to fulfill his dream, but Rod is determined to live up to his surname.

Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates is the story of courage and determination that follows Rod through war, recovery, and the intensely hard work of trying to achieve an impossible dream. The author has done a fairly good job of showing aspects of a soldier’s life that seldom make it into popular media, or even the mass media.

A well-written story that will stay with you long after you stop reading. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Death at Coombe Farm’

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The view was idyllic, but with a body that’s been trampled by horses, DI Keith Tremayne is not appreciating it. There’s more in the village of Coombe than meets the eye, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it. Death at Coombe Farm by Phillip Strang is another offering in the DI Tremayne series that will keep you thrilled from the very first page. The author has an amazing ability to pack tons of procedural details and background information into the story in a way that’s interesting rather than boring, and keeps the reader guessing until Tremayne eventually stumbles—plods—into the truth.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Jack Reacher Series: Best Reading Order’

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Some people like to read the end of a book before the beginning, and some people absolutely hate reading series books out of order. Lee Child, who writes the Best Reading Order series, writes for the latter. In his book Jack Reacher Series: Best Reading Order, he lists all the Reacher series books up to the 2017 publication date, with a synopsis and commentary.

You really don’t need this. If you’re not a read from the top type, you won’t care, and if you already are, well, you don’t need to be told. But, at 99 cents, what have you got to lose? If you haven’t read the books, this is a good way to get a sneak look at the ones you’ve yet to read.

Not a total waste. I give it four stars. It was technically well done, and I did find a nugget or two of useful information. I received a free copy of this book.