#BookReviewWednesday – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The book-a-week challenge continues with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

guernseyThere are wonderful things that happen when you fall in love with a novel. You read words as if they were meant only for you. If you must stop reading, you cannot wait for the moment you can return. Once finished, a hole opens inside you only the book can fill. You cannot wait to begin reading the novel again, and you treasure the notion that you now belong to a secret society that also treasures the novel, and you are certain of your admission to the society. Its members will see that you care for the novel as much as they do.

This doesn’t happen often for me. Then I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. This is an epistolary novel, mostly comprised of letters written in the aftermath of the second world war by a cast of British characters who, beginning with a curiosity about the British author Charles Lamb, and the retelling of a plot to foil Germans on the occupied island of Guernsey, find their lives unknowingly intertwined. New friendships formed, old friendships are deepened, and the horror of war is revealed with grit and directness.

Much like the novel’s heroine, Juliet Ashton, Mary Ann Shaffer was somewhat at a loss for a writing project when the German occupation of the Channel Island of Guernsey came to the fore. For Shaffer, it was the story of the five-year occupation from 1940 to 1945 and the hardship endured by the island’s inhabitants. For Shaffer’s main character Ashton, it was how a book of hers came to be in Guernsey. She receives a letter from a man who would rather live with the thought of writing to stranger than live with the thought of not knowing more about Charles Lamb.

This is the stuff that makes book lovers lock the doors, draw the curtains, unplug the phone, and settle in for a long read.

And if a reader cares a whit about reading a novel about that war, history, the island’s occupation, brave inhabitants surviving the atrocities, of concentration camps, random cruelties and deliberate acts of bravery, a long read won’t be long enough. The characters become your friends. Their lives become a keen interest. You wonder about them beyond the scope of anything revealed on the printed page. You wonder how you got along without them for so long, and what they may be up to when you are not visiting them. They become friends, and when you’ve finished, you know the novel has now become a treasure to revisit often.

Shaffer crafted a winning story that is brilliantly revealed by letter, telegram, and all manner of written word. Her health prevented her from completing the project, but she was fortunate in having a talented writer for a niece in Annie Barrows to see the novel through to publication. Shaffer did not live long enough to witness this. But is seems to me her novel is one long letter she left behind for others to discover, enjoy, and share, much like the events sparked by a book once owned by Juliet Ashton, which surfaced in a Guernsey farmer’s home.

How I enjoy thinking this is so.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

5 stars out of 5.

Available in all formats everywhere.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. And click here for your copy of The Gangster’s Son, The Thief’s Mistake, Traitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow at a special discount you’ll find only at this site. To get the latest Shig Sato news and previews, check out Shig’s Readers Club — you’ll get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son. No obligation. Shig insists.

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#BookReviewWednesday – Charlie Robot

The book-a-week challenge continues with Charlie Robot, by Benedict Martin.

Charlie is something of a sad sack. He is even asked to pretend to be a robot. This does not sit well with Charlie.

charlierobotHe works with a team experimenting with Artificial Intelligence and building robots as a means to test it. Reluctantly, Charlie agrees to the crazy scheme. It’s meant to raise money to continue funding the research they’re conducting in AI. And the robots they’ve created: well, they are so advanced that the technology, if not the robot itself, is being stolen. And on occasion, a robot runs away. Or so Charlie is told by his friend and colleague Doug, a brilliant but obnoxious genius desperate for funding to keep his AI laboratory solvent. The third member of the team, a mixed-martial-arts Iraq war veteran name Naomi, whose skill at creating prosthetic limbs is surpassed only by her talent as an artist, goes along with the deception. She says little but when she speaks, it counts. And it’s always at a critical time.

As each day passes Charlie plays his part as the robot. What was once a life that for him was familiar — and frankly, dull but unconventional — things change in ways that confound him. The ruse is allowed to continue to the point where Charlie begins to have an existential crisis. People want him to be the robot he insists he’s not. He eats, drinks, sleeps, even vomits like a human. At one point, it takes Doug’s million-dollar bribe to keep the ruse going.

Charlie Robot is a story about a lie that might be a lie, or might not. There may be lies to keep the original lie going, and then those lies could justify the secondary lies that prop up the original lie. Or not. As it is, Charlie Robot is an interesting tale of what is supposed to be true, only to be challenged and then doubted — a painful conundrum inside Charlie’s head, with memory, reality, what is taken for granted, all of it challenged. And it’s not so very far-fetched. The idea behind Benedict Martin’s Charlie Robot is interesting. But as it is, written in first person with Charlie telling his own story, I found myself wondering when the moment was going to happen. The moment. The confrontation. The good vs. evil. The last stand. The fight to the end.

I had to wait a long time.

In general, I am not a fan of science fiction, artificial intelligence, or robots. But in what I have read over the years, one thing is certain. It doesn’t take so very long in the story for something to happen. I read Charlie Robot a few years ago as something different from my usual fare. I reread it this past weekend thinking I misremembered something in the story. I didn’t misremember. In Charlie Robot, instead of a buildup there’s an unravelling. The eventual confrontation occurs among the trio itself, but it comes so late in the story that it’s anticlimactic. Each one has been locked into their role throughout the novel. There’s no deviation. There is no real surprise.

The book is clever, however. It’s easy to keep turning the pages just to find out the next thing that’s going to happen to poor Charlie. That mild sensation of anticipation is not without merit.

If a reader can get through 80 percent of the book to reach that point of drama, then they might feel rewarded by learning how things end for Doug, Naomi, and Charlie. But endeavor to do so with a favorite beverage, or a snack. Or while traveling a long distance, with plenty of time to fill, or kill. The payoff in Charlie Robot is a long time coming.

Charlie Robot, by Benedict Martin.

3.5 stars out of 5.

Available as ebook at Amazon and in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. And click here for your copy of The Gangster’s Son, The Thief’s Mistake, Traitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow at a special discount you’ll find only at this site. To get the latest Shig Sato news and previews, check out Shig’s Readers Club — you’ll get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son. No obligation. Shig insists.

#BookReviewWednesday – The Coelho Medallion

The book-a-week challenge continues with  The Coelho Medallion, by Kevin Tumlinson.

coelhoIf there’s one thing an archaeologist likes it’s a good dig. The promise of hidden treasure or a historical find that spurs them on. Some do it to satisfy their insatiable thirst for knowledge. Some, for monetary gain. Others, for fame.

But what about terror?

The Coelho Medallion was discovered at a Pueblo research site and is revered as a link to a discovery that has captured the nation’s imagination: the Vikings’ arrival in North America long before Columbus, and that somehow they trekked far inland, where they built a city of gold.

But now the medallion has been stolen. A linguist has been kidnapped. And a sinister terrorist plot has been set in motion.

Dan Kotler, an independent researcher well-connected in the archaeology community, makes it his business to find his kidnapped friend. But before he takes a step he has to deal with the FBI, terrorists, an egomaniacal billionaire, and danger that comes in many forms: all of this before he discovers a plot that may kill thousands, if not millions, and the comes to realize the real city of gold. Kotler is a hero who is easy to like, a James Bond-type who lives by his wits and isn’t afraid to put himself in harm’s way. He’s smart and quick and convincing: handy attributes for a hero. Tumlinson has a winner here. Now with five books in the Dan Kotler series, I’m sure his fans agree.

The Coelho Medallion is an action/thriller with elements of history, archeology and real-world geopolitical consequences. It’s easy to believe this story could happen. It could be happening right now.

And it’s easy to tell from his writing that Kevin Tumlinson loves his subject. And he keeps the action coming. The plot twists are timely and surprising and will keep the reader turning the page. Tumlinson is a thorough writer — at times a bit too thorough — in laying out what’s happening, what the character is thinking, the ins and outs and possibilities of what’s to come, or might come. Tumlinson has a lot of threads to keep track of in this story and he does a good job of keeping track of them all. The Coelho Medallion is a smart tale and a clever one, and it’s easy to understand the appeal to readers who like historic/action-adventure thrillers.

The Coelho Medallion, by Kevin Tumlinson. Book 1 in the Dan Kotler Archaeological Thriller Series.

4 stars out of 5

Available at Amazon as ebook, paperback, and audiobook, and at Barnes and Noble as a paperback.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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#BookReviewWednesday – Death Comes for the Archbishop

The book-a-week challenge continues with  Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.

DCFTAThere are some books that hover around the edges of one’s good intentions — well-meaning notions of finally starting or finishing a novel, even if decades account for the interim.

Family trips at a young age introduced me to the American Southwest. After growing up in Ohio my family moved to Kansas. It took years for me to appreciate the prairie, the Plains, and the West, unexplored by me until a much later age. Interest in novels set in such places eventually took hold.

I think readers discover some authors because of a shared link. For me, I learned of and read about Willa Cather partly because of her life on the Nebraska prairie, but also her life in journalism before turning her full attention to writing. One book that intrigued me was Death Comes for the Archbishop; I was curious how Cather could fictionalize a bit of history lost in the sweep of the American experience.

In the novel, one consequence of the Mexican-American War was the newly acquired territories became reorganized, and the responsibility of ministering to the Catholic faithful fell to the Church in the United States. Diocesan maps were drawn reflecting the change. One such change was the creation of a vicarage of Santa Fe in the New Mexico territory. Death Comes for the Archbishop is the story of a missionary priest who takes on the burden of traveling to Santa Fe to guide the faithful in the deserts and mountains throughout New Mexico and Arizona.

In this engrossing tale, our archbishop, Father Latour is joined by his fellow Frenchman, priest, and friend, Joseph Vaillant as they seek to fulfill their duty as missionaries in an inhospitable land. Latour’s is a questioning heart, wondering if he is up to the task of saving souls and building a church in a vast country only biblical heroes might recognize. His story unfolds bit by bit, and what a magnificent story it is.

Cather’s narrative is at once ecclesiastical, historical, anthropological. It is an amazing feat of describing a world that was, and no longer exists. Published in 1927, Death Comes to the Archbishop is a look back to a time that would have ended when Cather herself was a small pioneer child on the Nebraska Plains. In the present day, it is as if the novel has become more than fiction. It is a time capsule and a treasure.

A reader can embrace this novel for no other reason than to learn of the Hopi, the Navajo, the Mexicans who scrape out a living in such a harsh land. Cather’s characters are memorable: Mexican priests who refuse to acknowledge Latour’s authority as bishop, devout families respectful of churchmen, and proud indigenous peoples who show Latour and Vaillant their customs and ways and exhibit a grace and generosity the men come to respect.

Cather’s literary gifts include a mastery of pace and tempo, regular as a heartbeat, and a use of a language so full in description one can almost feel the heat, the rain, the dust, the wind, and witness the Old World clashing with the New. But key is the story of how change rules the novel. It runs like a current through time. From the remnants of the conquistadors to the American presence, the soldiers, traders, fortune seekers, and outlaws, to the natives who see their way of life diminish generation after generation. There is change, but there also is what remains: devout people who express their gratitude in ways that make everyday life bearable, existing day to day, enduring hardships, and exulting in small gifts life, and faith, occasionally deliver.

Death Comes for the Archbishop (Annotated Edition) by Willa Cather.

5 stars out of 5

Available in all formats everywhere.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. And click here for your copy of The Gangster’s Son, The Thief’s Mistake, Traitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow at a special discount you’ll find only at this site. To get the latest Shig Sato news and previews, check out Shig’s Readers Club — you’ll get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son. No obligation. Shig insists.

#BookReviewWednesday – Return to Hiroshima

The book-a-week challenge continues with  Return to Hiroshima, by Bob Van Laerhoven.

 

“Memory is a monstrous thing.”

 

HiroshimacoverIt is the memory of events real or imagined that accelerates Bob Van Laerhoven’s grisly Return to Hiroshima to the first rank of macabre noir. Return to Hiroshima could stand alone as a work of horror. Or post-apocalyptic dystopia. Hiroshima since August 6, 1945, certainly qualifies.

Van Laerhoven’s mastery of his subject and his flawless maneuvering through Japan’s unique past make one forget the depth of his narrative. There are many layers to Return to Hiroshima, and Van Laerhoven’s gift is crafting many intriguing subplots to create an energetic whole. But ‘layered’ is not quite right. Like an iceberg, a predictable part of Japan is visible for anyone to see. But beneath the surface lies mortal danger. And Van Laerhoven bravely plumbs those depths, for what’s underneath is a separate universe. What’s unsaid. What’s unaccounted for. Secrets no one admits to. Furious, revengeful rages hide beneath cool facades. Unspoken but understood conspiracies feed quests to right ultimate wrongs.

But whose catastrophe? Which people? Ultimately, Return to Hiroshima is a thriller, set in motion by a tormented woman determined to escape her past, explaining away her grotesqueness by being a daughter of hibakusha – survivors of the atom bombing. By a Belgian man who returns to Japan to come to grips with the death of his sister. By a Japanese son of privilege bent on sadistic pleasure. By a tortured half-Dutch, half-Japanese police inspector who cannot reconcile his past. By a criminal overlord determined to resurrect Japan’s past glories. And what propels Van Laerhoven’s narrative are the winds of Nationalism. Militarism. Nihilism. Anti-modernism. Mysticism. Myth.

“In the train to Hiroshima, I leaf through the old diaries I have taken with me from Hashima Island. On May 8th, 1988, I’d written: ‘Rokurobei hunts at night. Do not underestimate the demon’s power. When his victims hear his footsteps and see his long neck, it’s too late. He seduces if he can, kills if he must. Although his gentle nickname for me as a child was Aonyobo, a singing female spirit that haunts abandoned imperial palaces, it would be a mistake to overlook the Serpent Neck’s true nature, his capacity for violence.’”

There are times when myth and monsters are the only way to explain the inhumane in us all. And at the heart of Return to Hiroshima, longing turns violent, dreams morph into their own violent realities, and memories prove to be unworthy of trust. Yet the desire to return endures. To return. And return again. Memory is a monstrous thing, indeed.

Return to Hiroshima, by Bob Van Laerhoven, Crime Wave Press.

Five stars out of five.

Available at Amazon as ebook and paperback, at Barns & Noble as a paperback.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s MistakeTraitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow. And check out Shig’s Readers Club to get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son.

#BookReviewWednesday – Jukebox

The book-a-week challenge continues with  Jukebox, by Saira Viola.

JukenboxcoverThe midnight characters that populate Saira Viola’s stunning Jukebox are a nasty sort. The daytime characters aren’t much better. Nick is a fresh new lawyer who wants to run his own record label. Mel is a dodgy entrepreneur with one foot firmly planted on either side of the law. Avery is a junior reporter with embryonic savvy looking for the story that will make her name. These three collide in the boardrooms and backrooms and clubs and streets where London hustles. It is an engaging, stylish romp.

“He was hush puppy sweet, unaccustomed to speaking to such a copacetic crowd.”

“He fretted, his wiry locks had shot up in a wiry frizz all over his temple making him look like a frazzled cartoon loon.”

“As far as he knew, Faces was a Hoddeson dive playing wall-to-wall smoove groove rammed with toilet chic babes hooked on Malibu and Pineapple, prinked up on Primark not Prada.”

Viola has in Jukebox an imaginative, blisteringly quick ride through London above ground and below. Memorable characters even more memorably described: morals tucked in hip pockets, their con on for all to see, and they don’t care. Her storytelling is pure and made better by a literary technique she calls sonic soundscript. In an interview with Mark Ramsden she explains: ” Sonic soundscript is a literary idea I came up with as a poet that points to sound and rhythm: She was a wiggle and a giggle chick with a slut bomb bounce.” One-two-three one-two three bam bam bam. Words and sentences shaped by tempo and percussion. It’s seductive.

But style does not trump substance in Jukebox: Viola’s sharp eye misses few details but they’re not thrown away for the reader’s amusement. Each sentence pushes her narrative around twists and bends through England and elsewhere. How dear a price is Nick willing to pay for his dreams? Where is Mel’s heart in all his darkness? How badly does Avery want to escape her bottom-dweller status to capture the big headlines of the day? What will be revealed when all of Viola’s seductive darkness turns to light?

Those that have read some of my reviews know that reading a novel a second time is a high honor in my reading life. Jukebox is on that list of repeat must-reads. I can see a time when it’s read again and again.

I posted a review of Jukebox on Amazon last year. It said, “Grab on to Saira Viola’s Jukebox with a tight grip – her explosive, captivating imagination will draw you into a tale of greed and ambition written at such a twisting, breakneck pace you won’t catch your breath until the last page. Her cast of characters is original and unforgettable. Grit, greed, drugs, sex, gangsters, lawyers, reporters all combine for a cautionary tale in Viola’s inimitable prose – dark and dangerous, light and comedic, deft and stylish. This is the stuff of a debut novel, and I want more. Highest recommendation.”

To that I can only add: get your copy now. You won’t regret it.

 

Jukebox, by Saira Viola.

5 stars out of 5.

Available as an ebook and a paperback at Amazon.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s MistakeTraitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow. And check out Shig’s Readers Club to get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son.

#BookReviewWednesday – The 9th Hour

The book-a-week challenge continues with The 9th Hour (A Detective Temeke Crime Series Book 1) by Claire Stibbe.

9thHourAlbuquerque cops thought they had seen it all, but there was nothing like their serial killer aiming for teen girls. And the cops at the Northwest Area Command had seen nothing like Detective David Temeke. British, Ethiopian descent, Temeke immigrated to the U.S. to escape cold, wet England. Bald, muscular, handsome, skin darker than tar, Temeke is all business. Problems with colleagues at Homicide sent him to Northwest. It went unsaid that seven dead teen girls was also part of the reason why.

So begins Claire Stibbe’s The 9th Hour. It is a police procedural par excellence, a serial killer tale quite gruesome in detail but thoroughly compelling. If it wasn’t so well written, so captivatingly smart and imaginative, it could have been a bloody mess. It’s not. Stibbe’s sentences have a life of their own. Attention to detail is what makes a novelist a cut above, and makes or breaks a good crime story. It is the details, after all, that lead to the story’s conclusion, especially in a deadly cat-and-mouse, serial killer vs. police game. Stibbe’s attention to detail jumps off the pages. The 9th Hour has fine writing, intriguing characters, a clever criminal, and a detective who misses very little. It’s a winning combination.

Readers will discover that Temeke is up to the challenge, and is pleased that his new partner, Malin Santiago, is too. Neither are perfect, and from their imperfection comes the trust they need to work together to catch a demented killer. What Stibbe has created is a genuine, believable crime-fighting partnership.

And this is a serial killer worthy of the name. Stibbe’s unwinding of the twisted reasons for killing adds layer upon layer of intrigue. The 9th Hour has  a relentless pace, excellent plot twists, no wasted scenes, and two compelling characters in Temeke and Santiago — and Albuquerque as the novel’s setting is a character unto itself, and adds a bit of luster. Buy this book. Read it. Then read it again. The second helping will taste better. And then you’ll want to read more Detective Temeke crime novels. Believe me.

The 9th Hour (A Detective Temeke Crime Series Book 1) by Claire Stibbe.

5 stars out of 5.

Available at Amazon as email and paperback, ebook at Kobo, paperback at Nook.

#BookReviewWednesday – The Dawn’s Early Light

The book-a-week challenge continues with The Dawn’s Early Light: A Mike Elliot Thriller Book 1, Revised Edition, by Lee F Duffy.

DawnsEarlyLightMajor Mike Elliot had drawn what seemed to be good duty, if one considers embassy duty in Tunisia good duty. At least he wasn’t a Special Forces operative anymore. He had enough of that, at too dear a cost.

Elliot had no way of knowing that organizing an evacuation of embassy personnel would lead to security breaches, dead Marines, a hijacking, and Elliot confronted with saving his wife, with him in Tunisia and now a hostage on the plane, while he remained bound and under the watchful eye of terrorists. He knows he has to act. But how?

Duffy places half the action is in Beirut at a time when it was the epicenter of worldwide terror watch, the other half in Cyprus, where he writes a nail-biting narrative too real to not be easily envisioned unfolding on cable news. He leaves no stone unturned: readers get a full dose of special ops, the chain of command, inter-service cooperation, international diplomacy, and the desperate, vengeful, hate-driven acts of terror that are a fact of life in our modern world.

Duffy is a former Army Green Beret and Ranger, and it shows. His attention to detail is extraordinary for any writer, but it’s what you’d expect from someone who wore the uniform and lived to tell tales. The Dawn’s Early Light grips your throat, shakes your attention, and doesn’t let go. Duffy provides enough military for the enthusiasts, enough tension for the thriller fans, and enough what’s-gonna-happen-next for anyone trying to outguess what Duffy has in store. Good luck with that.

The Dawn’s Early Light is the first book in the Mike Elliot Thriller series. Duffy has created a vivid character for our times. I can’t wait to read Book 2, Bombs Bursting in Air. I have to confess: I’ve had this ebook for almost two years in my reader. Everyone has lots to read and no time to read everything, but still. Shame on me for waiting so long. If you like military thrillers or want to take a chance on a new genre, read The Dawn’s Early Light. Don’t wait.

5 stars out of 5.

Available at Amazon  and Smashwords. You can find Duffy’s Amazon page here.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s MistakeTraitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow. And check out Shig’s Readers Club to get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son.

#BookReviewWednesday – Cold East

The book-a-week challenge continues with Cold East – An Aiden Snow Thriller by Alex Shaw.

ThisColdEastThere I was, reading a story by a Brit about an MI6 operative and everything is going along predictably with Problem No. 1, set in Ukraine. Next thing I know, I’m in New Jersey at a shopping center and some guys are up to no good and BAM! the story catches my interest and takes off of ways that kept my interest to the very last page.

That was when I knew that I was in for a do-not-get-complacent globe-trotting thriller. I should have expected it since it’s the Aiden Snow Thriller series by Alex Shaw, but, I’m just a guy out to discover new books to read and what did I know?

Now I know. Cold East is Book 3 in the Adan Snow SAS Thriller series. And starting with the third volume did not diminish my reading enjoyment. I didn’t have to time consider it. Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russian, America, England, there and back and wait! There’s more! Aiden Snow, his compatriots, and his villains are fully drawn characters that captured my imagination. I could see the story unfold me.

Make no mistake. Shaw writes tight, imaginative prose at a pace any racehorse trainer would envy. It’s almost unstoppable. Any fan of Baldacci or Clancy will add Shaw to their library. Aiden Snow is a spy’s spy, and Shaw’s cast of characters are on equal footing. It’s easy to take them as they come and keep reading. I wanted to know what Shaw and Snow were up to next. Which is why I’ll be reading Cold Blood and Cold Black. Tom Clancy and David Baldacci, move over. Make room for Alex Shaw.

5 stars out of 5.

Available at Amazon. Visit Alex Shaw’s Amazon page for all of his novels, collaborations, and short stories.

 

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s MistakeTraitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow. And check out Shig’s Readers Club to get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son.

#BookReviewWednesday – Stolen Gypsy

The book-a-week challenge continues with  Stolen Gypsy by Elizabeth Horton-Newton.

stolengypsyTerza Blackstone never lived in on place long enough to make friends. Her parents never gave a second thought to uprooting her whenever they felt the need. Alone and friendless is never good, especially when being called to the principal’s office to be told your parents died in a crash while eluding police.

The authorities have lots of questions for 17-year-old Terza, but she has more. So it begins in Stolen Gypsy by Elizabeth Horton-Newton. The cops want to know if Terza knows anything about her parents’ activities. She wants to know just who were these people who raised her and why were they running from the law. When the feds step in to try to take charge of what seems to be a local crime, Terza becomes even more suspicious of what is happening, and although she escapes their grasp, she is forced to rely on strangers to help her find her answers.

Horton-Newton weaves a compelling thriller: Terza’s strength is her determination to get answers about her past, to find out who she is, and to make sense of the traumatic events that litter her young life. Equally determined are the two men who risk everything to keep her from harm, a county sheriff’s detective and charming Irishman with a penchant for saving girls in trouble. Terza discovers their help just might be what she needs to get her answers and her revenge. Terza’s parents were involved with serious, dangerous men. High stakes action, life-and-death consequences — this book has it all.

I have read Horton-Newton’s short fiction in Twisted Tales and Crooked Tales, anthologies published by Readers Circle of Avenue Park, and I am a fan. She has the gift of telling a good story, compelling a reader to keep turning the page, and just when you think you have it figured out — well, you don’t.  So you keep turning the page.

What more can a reader ask?

Stolen Gypsy, by Elizabeth Horton-Newton.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Available at Amazon.

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Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com.

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Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s MistakeTraitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow. And check out Shig’s Readers Club to get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son.