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Review of ‘Track Down Iraq’

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When a former comrade is captured and put on display by an ISIS terrorist group, Brad Jacobs and his old marine vets set out to rescue him. Working against the odds, and against US Government inaction and, in some cases, perfidy, they save the day.

Track Down Iraq by Scott Conrad is pure escapist reading, primarily for action junkies who like the good guys to be super good—and, guys is the operative word here, since the female characters seem to be primarily arm candy—and the bad guys to be totally irredeemable. A lot of snide side comments about anything that’s not in uniform, and a bit of uninformed speculation about the civilian agencies of government.

If you like your action uncomplicated, it’s probably a read you’d enjoy. I found occasional snippets of entertainment in it. I give it three stars.

Review of ‘Deadly Coast’

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During WWII, the Japanese provided a horrible bio-weapon to the Nazis during the closing days of the conflict. The German U-boat transporting the weapon was sunk in the Gulf of Aden, sending the dangerous cargo to the bottom. When a group associated with al-Qaida, using Somali pirate raids as cover, mounts an operation to salvage this doomsday device, marine engineer Tom Dugan is once again caught in the middle of a deadly scheme.

Dugan and his partner Alex Kairouz are trying to negotiate the release of one of their crews taken by the pirates. When a link is seen between the pirates and terrorists, governments halt ransom negotiations, and the pirates began executing hostages. When one of his crew is murdered before his eyes, Dugan takes it personally, and mounts his own rescue operation. With a ragtag group of Texas roughs and Russian mercenaries, Dugan soon becomes the only thing standing between the world and Armageddon.

Deadly Coast by R. E. McDermott is another spine-chilling thriller in the Tom Dugan series, featuring the rough and ready Tom Dugan battling bad guys and bureaucrats to save his friends—and, in this case, the world. A stellar cast of characters and enough plot twists to set your head spinning and your heart racing to the stunning finale.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.

I give McDermott five stars for this one.

Review of ‘The Emerald Quest’

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Thirteen-year-old Noah Winter has been diving with his parents since he was ten. During a dive on the wreck of the San Isabel, a passenger liner, he finds a strange piece of porcelain. His parents found an old spy glass which is the key to the location of the De La Rosa emerald, which the descendant of the original owner has hired them to find. A ruthless competitor, however, is determined to beat the Winters to the missing jewel, and is willing to go to any lengths to do it.

The Emerald Quest by Renee Pawlish is a young adult action adventure novel that follows Noah as he tries to stay one step ahead of the villains, while at the same time save his parents who have been kidnapped. Even though this book was written for young adult readers, it will appeal to older action fans as well. Young Noah is not a cardboard teen action junkie, but a true-to-life character who is skillfully portrayed. The action scenes, though a bit fanciful in places, keep the pulse racing as you read.

The author seems to know her way around boats and diving. All in all, an outstanding adventure read.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Prince Charming Must Die’

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On the eve of her 18th birthday, a talking rabbit hops into Alice Goodenough’s life. He tells her that the bad characters from the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales are real, and they’re bringing evil into the world unless they’re found and destroyed.

In Prince Charming Must Die by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky we’re treated to Alice and the rabbit’s search for the bad guys, with the main bad guy being Prince Charming. Prince Charming’s identity comes as a shock to Alice, and she has to choose—love or the fate of the world.

Funny in places and scary as the dickens in others, this is a charming tale that you will thoroughly enjoy. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Dark Legion’

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Prince Saul Baz Sharmin, an Ubrain, has been a slave assigned duties as an apprentice executioner for a decade, until he meets Marcus, a Prylean, leader of a group of revolutionaries against the evil empire of King Solas. When Saul kills his master, the chief executioner Angus, and he and Marcus escape, instead of freedom, they find their troubles only beginning.

In the port town of Sagemont, in search of the Crown of Ubrain that will help him restore his brother to the throne and free his people from Solas’ clutches, Saul finds himself alternating between using the healing skills from his former life as a physician and having to apply his executioner’s talents on more than one occasion. To further complicate his life, he gets caught up with an enigmatic and angry young magician and ensnared by the demi-god, Malakai, who has his own agenda.

As complication piles atop complication, Saul finds himself fighting as much just to stay alive as to free his people.

I received a free copy of Dark Legion, book one in the Blood of Blood series by Paul Kleynhans, in exchange for my review.

The author masterfully keeps the action moving at an almost breakneck pace, while interspersing bits of rip-roaring humor. While the use of modern slang and profanity in the book is a bit strange at first, as you get to know the characters, it seems to be . . . well, in character. This left me looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I give it four stars.

Review of “Thomas Clayton” by Randy J. Harvey, PhD

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When 15-year-old Thomas Clayton Gurley’s parents and sister are killed in an auto crash in Florida, he is sent to live with his father’s half-brother, Boats, in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Thomas and Boats take an instant dislike to each other, and the boy is sent to live with Buck Hagen, a foreman at the oil rigging company that Boats owns. It is while living with Hagen and his family that Thomas begins to regain a sense of family – and self.

It is also here that his troubles truly begin. In a new high school, he has to prove himself to Boats and to a murderous rival for the affections of Mar, the first girl he’s ever had a relationship with. As Thomas matures, he finds himself in a fight literally for his life, and the lives of those he has come to love, when the questionable relationships Boats has forged with shady politicians and business people comes to light.

Thomas Clayton, by Randy J. Harvey, PhD, is a story that grew out of a few dozen handwritten pages begun by Harvey’s father, Jay L. Harvey, and is dedicated to the story tellers of the Harvey clan, who ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story.’ Though the author’s disclaimer says that this is a work of fiction, and in no way represents real people, this tightly woven tale of greed, jealousy, and murder could very well have been ripped from the headlines of any daily newspaper. Gripping, realistic dialogue and intricate descriptions of places, events, and people; some told from the first-person viewpoint of young Thomas, and others in the third person, as characters and events sweep past in a torrent of emotion, will have you believing that it is a documentary, rather than what it is – a grand tale told in a masterful style.

The truth, in this book, doesn’t get in the way of a good story, but, by gum, you’ll close it after the last page and swear you just read the God’s honest truth. I read a copy which was provided to me for review, but by jingies, I’d be more than willing to plunk down some hard-earned money for a chance to read it, and I, for one, hope this won’t be Randy Harvey’s last offering.

I’m usually reluctant to give a five-star rating to a book, but this was the easiest five stars I’ve handed out in a long time.

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