Category Archives: Action Thriller

A Review of Cascadia by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard

Cascadia

by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard

Do you like blockbuster disaster movies? Do you ever read a typical “beach book”? If you say yes to either one of these questions, then Cascadia by Buzz Bernard is the perfect summer read for you.

As I was reading Cascadia, I kept saying to myself, “This could make a perfect movie script without any changes at all.” I could picture all my favorite stars in the main roles, and even as some of the minor comic relief characters. This would be a lot of fun. I hope it actually does happen, because this disaster could happen at any time, and the general population should know about the potential danger.

Mr. Bernard has done his research. There is a real danger to the people in the Pacific Northwest, and Cascadia is a warning. He shows what could possibly happen in our lifetime. Maybe it won’t happen this year or next, but sometime within the forseeable future, a major earthquake will happen just offshore and result in a tsunami. This will cause massive damage and kill many people. Is there any way to predict when that will happen? Science can’t, at this time, but maybe there is something else that can send that warning. That is what happens in Cascadia.

I really enjoyed reading Cascadia. It felt a bit formulaic, but so what, most disaster movies are too, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. Like any good action book, it starts off slowly, and then it ramps up exponentially as you approach the climax. The characters are likable, if somewhat predictable. But I liked them, and didn’t want any of them to die in the tsunami. Overall, a perfect summer beach book.

I give Cascadia 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up.

I received an Advance Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Cascadia-home-cvrAccording to ancient legend, when Thunderbird is sated, he is harmless.  But he always grows hungry again…

Rob Elwood knows what the thin layer of sand buried in tidal marsh mud is telling him: it’s been a little over 300 years since the Northwest coast was mangled by a megaquake and the tsunami that followed. As a geologist, Rob knows that all the evidence suggests that it will happen again, though he doesn’t know when. And his academic training can’t help him decide what to do with an irrational premonition that a modern megaquake will hit on the 4th of July.

Neahkhanie Johnny doesn’t need science to tell him what he knows in his bones. For more than a decade, he has regularly returned to the same section of the coastal mountains, driven by an unshakeable faith that their legendary buried treasure is more than legend. He is indifferent to the bears, unstable scree, and the people who take his conviction for lunacy. Nothing can shake him from the hunt, except the very ground beneath his feet.

Through the entwined stories of a visionary scientist and his son, a quixotic veteran, a lovely but mysterious anthropologist, and a retired fighter pilot with amends to make to a former lover, Cascadia tells a story about faith and conviction in the face of an unimaginable reality.

Book Details

Release: July 11, 2016
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
ISBN: 978-1-61194-679-6
Price: $15.95
Kindle Price:  $7.55
Pages: 234
Distribution: Amazon/Ingram
eBook Distribution: Kindle, Nook
Publicity Contact: MindBuck Media

About the Author

BERNARDH.W. “Buzz” Bernard has written four previous suspense stories, which have risen to number one in the Kindle store and won multiple Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition awards. Before becoming a novelist, Buzz worked at The Weather Channel as a senior meteorologist for 13 years.  Prior to that, he served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of colonel. He is a proud recipient of the US Legion of Merit.

A Review of Titanborn by Rhett C. Bruno

Titanborn

by Rhett C. Bruno

What happens when mankind is nearly wiped out after a large meteor hits the Earth? Mr. Bruno shows us one possibility. In Titanborn, mankind refuses to give up, and won’t let something like that ever happen again. Before the meteor struck, some of the brightest scientists were able to escape in a gigantic ship and set up a base on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. They escaped the hundreds of years of mass destruction and human suffering that happened on Earth. They learned to mine Saturn, and its rings and moons. They prospered.

This book takes place 300 years after the meteor struck. Mankind survived. People are going to the stars, so that no one single event can wipe humanity out. Companies compete for the resources that can be extracted from the planets and moons of this solar system. But this isn’t Utopia. There are criminals, terrorists, revolutionaries, and other undesirable people who disrupt life. Some of those need to be brought to justice, sometimes they may be killed, but, oh well, that can’t be helped. Malcolm Graves does the collecting.

Titanborn is an excellently written science based thriller. This world could happen. But this isn’t just an action-thriller. Mr. Bruno brings Malcolm Graves and his new partner, Zhaff, to life. They are well-developed. You connect with them. They discover that there is more going on than they were told. The companies need to be brought under control. But what can Malcolm do? What does he want to do?

I give Titanborn 5 Stars out of 5 and Two Big Thumbs Up! This is one of the most complete, authentic,  and well thought out future scenarios that I have ever read. If you like any type of science fiction novels, you will not be able to put this book down, and when you get to the end, you will want more. Does Mr. Bruno plan on writing more books set in this world? I think that he needs to.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Titanborn by Rhett C. BrunoIn this gritty and innovative science fiction thriller in the vein of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, turmoil on one of Saturn’s moons rattles Earth’s most powerful citizens–and draws one planet-hopping rogue into a fight he never saw coming.

Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a Collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else–especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders.

But his latest mission doesn’t afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm’s paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who’s more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth.

Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.

Book Details

File Size: 1599 KB
Print Length: 209 pages
Publisher: Hydra (June 21, 2016)
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B018CHA2RI
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

About the Author

cropped-rhett-picture-sliderI’m a Sci-fi/Fantasy author currently living in White Plains, New York. I’ve been writing since I can remember, scribbling down what I thought were epic short stories when I was young to show to my friends and family. When I reached high school I decided to take that a step further and write my first novel. After the encouragement of my favorite English teacher I decided to self-publish the “Isinda Trilogy” so that the people closest to me could enjoy my early work.

While studying architecture at Syracuse University I continued to write as much as I could, but finding the time during the brutal curriculum proved difficult. It wasn’t until I was a senior that I decided to finally pursue my passion for Science Fiction. After rededicating myself to reading works of the Science Fiction author’s I always loved, (Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, Heinlein, etc.) I began writing “The Circuit: Executor Rising”, The first part of what I hope will be a successful Adult Science Fiction Series.

Since then I’ve been hired by an Architecture firm in Mount Kisco, NY. But that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to work on all of the countless stories bouncing around in my head. I’m also taking classes at the New School in NYC in order to earn a Certificate in Screenwriting, in the hopes of one day writing for TV or Video Games.

A Review of Blood Flag by Steve Martini

Blood Flag (Paul Madriani #14)

by Steve Martini

Steve Martini departed a bit from his normal type of story when he wrote Blood Flag. Most of his stories concentrate on the court and law. He finds ways to prove that his client is innocent. In Blood Flag much of the plot centers around an international group of people who are intent on owning Hitler’s Blood Flag.

“The Blutfahne (pronounced [bluːtˈfaːnə]), or Blood Flag, is the Nazi German Swastika flag that was used in the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Germany on 9 November 1923, during which it became soaked in the blood of one of the SA members who died. It subsequently became one of the most revered objects of the Nazi Party. It was used in ceremonies in which new flags for party organisations were consecrated by the Blood Flag when touched by it.” (From Wikipedia)

This flag was then prominently displayed throughout Hitler’s reign. It was thought to have been destroyed, but maybe not.

This is the fourteenth book in the series, but can be read as a standalone book. The characterization will come across as rather two-dimensional, but you won’t get lost. Even though Paul Madriani does have a client that is under suspicion of murder, much of the action is centered around the hunt for the killer of Paul’s assistant, Sofia, and search for the Blood Flag. There are some plot twists and unexpected events along with a few suspenseful sequences to keep you on your toes. I was completely surprised by the ending. Mr. Martini wrote one chapter so masterfully that I was totally fooled. I thought that one thing had happened, but it really was just the opposite. After rereading that chapter, I can see how I was deceived.

On the whole, this was an enjoyable book. I was engaged and interested in what was happening and I wanted to continue reading, even when I should have stopped. This book broke me out of my stupor. I hadn’t been able to get interested in most books recently. So I give a big thanks to Mr. Martini for that.

I give Blood Flag 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up! I recommend it to anyone who likes their legal thrillers with a historic and international flavor.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Blood Flag by Steve MartiniDefending a client accused of killing her father, attorney Paul Madriani is drawn into a treacherous conspiracy dating to World War II in this enthralling installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

Paul Madriani and Harry Hinds have a new client: Emma Brauer, a woman accused in the “mercy killing” of her aged father, Robert Brauer. Insisting she’s innocent, Emma tells Paul about a package sent to her father shortly before he entered the hospital. Bequeathed to him by a member of his unit from World War II, the box contains a key and a slip of paper. Emma fears that this package is connected to her father’s death.

When Paul’s young assistant Sofia is murdered, Madriani is blindsided by the realization that Emma’s fears are well-grounded.

Digging into Robert’s military history, Madriani discovers that other members of the Army unit Robert served with have recently died—under similarly suspicious circumstances. When he finds that the box sent to Brauer relates to a mysterious talisman that went missing at the end of the war—a feared Nazi relic known as the “Blood Flag”—Madriani and Hinds realize they are in for the fight of their lives.

With Emma’s life on the line and their own safety in jeopardy, Madriani must uncover the truth before the evil of the Blood Flag is allowed to spin a new web.

Book Details

Series: Paul Madriani (Book 14)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 17, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062328964
ISBN-13: 978-0062328960
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

About the Author

Photo by Brian Smale
Photo by Brian Smale

Steve Martini is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including The Enemy Inside, Trader of Secrets, The Rule of Nine, Guardian of Lies, Shadow of Power, Double Tap, and others featuring defense attorney Paul Madriani. Martini has practiced law in California in both state and federal courts and has served as an administrative law judge and supervising hearing officer. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

A Review of Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters by Lida Sideris

Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

by Lida Sideris

I enjoyed reading Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters. It was fast paced and interesting. Sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed. There just was so much going on that my brain couldn’t keep it all straight. The Complex, the building that housed Keith-Ameripictures, lives up to its name. It seems that there are so many intertwined lives in that office that nobody can really know the truth about what is going on there. All the men are hitting on someone and all the women are trying to capture someone else. Some people have hidden agendas. It is a madhouse. A funny place, but a madhouse all the same.

Corrie Locke is hired as an attorney, and on her first day on the job in The Complex, discovers that nearly everyone is going to be gone the next day. They will all be at a funeral for Claire. But this isn’t the only death in the past couple months. Druby, the assistant head of security at Keith-Ameripictures, also died six weeks ago. His death was ruled a suicide, but some people don’t believe it. AND they want Corrie to figure out what really happened.

Corrie had assisted her Dad on a few high profile cases, so she had been in the news, She had a reputation as someone who could see the stuff that the cops missed. Billy Soto, chief of security, wants her to use her talents to find out who killed Druby, and he has something on Corrie. She doesn’t want to lose her job, so she starts to look into it. Then the trouble begins.

The basic story was pretty good. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and most of them are a bit nuts. You are never quite sure who is doing what with whom and why. Then there are a couple of other little mysteries that Corrie has to figure out. Those are like little side plots, and I’m not sure that they were really necessary. They were kind of funny, but didn’t really add much, and they just added something more to keep track of.

I liked Corrie and Michael. They were old friends, and maybe something more. The rest of the people in the book were anywhere from somewhat annoying to downright obnoxious.

I give Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. It was entertaining and a good start to a new series.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher via Great Escapes Book Tours.

Book Description

Murder & Other Unnatural DisastersWatch out Southern California! There’s a new entertainment attorney in town and she’s got game. Only problem is, it’s not the one she should be playing. Corrie Locke belongs behind a desk, not behind a Glock. She should be taking VIP calls, not nosing around a questionable suicide. Instead, she’s hot on the trail of a murderer.

Luckily, she’s the daughter of a late, great private eye and she’s inherited his love of sleuthing…and illegal weaponry. It doesn’t help matters that her gene for caution is a recessive one. Corrie finds herself in the center of a murder case, unearthing suspects in shocking places. With a cold-blooded killer on the loose, Corrie will have to up her game, or die trying.

Book Details

Paperback: 408 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (September 11, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1509202404
ISBN-13: 978-1509202409
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

lida-sideris4Like her heroine, Corrie Locke, Lida Sideris worked as an entertainment attorney for a film studio. Unlike her heroine, she did not get blackmailed into investigating the suspicious death of a co-worker. Lida resides in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, their rescue shepherds, and a flock of uppity chickens. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America scholarship for mystery writing.

Author Links

WEBSITE:   http://www.lidasideris.com/
BLOG:     http://www.lidasideris.com/blog/
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/lidasideris

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A Review of Forty Thieves by Thomas Perry

Forty Thieves

by Thomas Perry

4,0

I’ve read quite a few of Mr. Perry’s books. Most of them were from the Jane Whitefield series. I like the originality of his works. He usually comes up with a new idea, and bases his book on that. I like his creativity, and I also like his unusual characters. The people who you meet in this book are totally unique.

First thing, I love a husband and wife team. If an author can pull this off successfully, you get a team where both members know each other intimately, therefore they know exactly what the other is capable of doing, but also they know what can get under their skin. The back-and-forth banter is always fun. Mr. Perry serves up a double dose of goodness in Forty Thieves. He has a team of private investigators, Sid and Ronnie Abel, along with a team of hired assassins, Ed and Nicole Hoyt. They both end up on the same case, The Abels have been hired to find out who killed James Ballantine, while the Hoyts have been hired to cover up the same murder. Both couples are the best at their jobs, so something has to give.

This was an entertaining book that could possibly be the start to a new series. (I hope so!) It really is more of a thriller, but could be called a mystery. There are enough humorous situations that it never gets too intense. I enjoyed reading Forty Thieves. I needed a well-written, engaging book after the December that I had. Thanks.

I give Forty Thieves 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you have read any of Mr. Perry’s earlier works, I’m sure that you will like this book. If you haven’t, this would be a great starter book.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Forty ThievesFrom Thomas Perry, the New York Times bestselling author of the Jane Whitefield series, comes a whip-smart and lethally paced standalone novel, Forty Thieves.

Sid and Ronnie Abel are a first-rate husband-and-wife detective team, both retirees of the LAPD. Ed and Nicole Hoyt are married assassins-for-hire living in the San Fernando Valley. Except for deadly aim with a handgun, the two couples have little in common—until they are both hired to do damage control on the same murder case. The previous spring, after days of torrential rain, a body was recovered from one of the city’s overwhelmed storm sewers. The victim was identified as James Ballantine, a middle-aged African-American who worked as a research scientist for a prestigious company and was well liked by his colleagues. But two bullets to the back of the head looked like nothing if not foul play. Now, with the case turning cold, Ballantine’s former employers bring in the Abels to succeed where the police have failed, while the Hoyts’ mysterious contractors want to make sure that the facts about Ballantine’s death stay hidden. As the book races toward a high-octane climax, the Abels must fend for their own lives as they circle ever closer to the truth.

Book Details

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Mysterious Press (January 8, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802124526
ISBN-13: 978-0802124524
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Thomas PerryThomas Perry was born in Tonawanda, New York in 1947. He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester in 1974. He has worked as a park maintenance man, factory laborer, commercial fisherman, university administrator and teacher, and a writer and producer of prime time network television shows.  He lives in Southern California.

Perry is the author of 23 novels including the Jane Whitefield series (Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face Changers, Blood MoneyRunner, Poison Flower, and String of Beads), Death Benefits,and Pursuit, the first recipient of the Gumshoe Award for best novel.

He won the Edgar for The Butcher’s Boy, and Metzger’s Dog was a New York Times Notable Book. The Independent Mystery Booksellers’ Association included Vanishing Act in its “100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century,” and Nightlife was a New York Times bestseller.

Metzger’s Dog was voted one of NPR’s 100 Killer Thrillers–Best Thrillers Ever. Strip was chosen as a  New York Times Notable Crime Book for 2010, and The Informant was a New York Times Notable Crime Book for 2011 and won the Barry Award for Best Thriller, 2011. Poison Flower was chosen among Booklist’s Best Crime Novels of 2013.

A Review of Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

Ashley Bell: A Novel

by Dean Koontz

4,0

I’ve read a few books by Mr. Koontz over the years. Some of them have been great, others have left me feeling unfulfilled. He certainly knows how to write. His descriptions often make me just stop reading and let the picture that he is painting settle into my brain. His characters often feel so real that you are sure that you really know them.

Ashley Bell begins like one of his best works. I was immediately drawn into the story. Bibi Blair’s character was alive and strong. She was someone who I really wanted to get to know. She was driven and nothing was going to stop her. Not cancer, or anything else.

As the book progresses, you learn more about Bibi. She is an author. One of the ideas that comes up, during a section about writing, is that some authors write a book in a well structured manner. They outline their book, laying out the plot before they even start to write. Other authors jump right in. They develop a main character, and then that character has a life of its own. The character takes the story wherever it ends up going. Bibi is that type of an author, and maybe Dean Koontz subscribes to this philosophy also. That may be why so many of his books have such great characters and the scenes are so realistic. His characters are alive inside of his mind. That also may be why some of his books seem to wander around trying to come up with a satisfying conclusion.

On the whole, Ashley Bell was a captivating book. The story was engaging. I liked Bibi Blair, but the rest of the characters were not that fascinating. I was a little disappointed with some of the story development, but it worked. I think most readers will find it an exciting book and enjoy the multiple storylines.

I give Ashley Bell 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up. If you are a fan, then you probably will like this book. If you have never read Dean Koontz before, this would be a good starting point.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Ashley-Bell-CoverTHE MUST-READ THRILLER OF THE YEAR: Featuring the most exhilarating heroine in memory and a sophisticated, endlessly ingenious, brilliantly paced narrative through dark territory and deep mystery, this is a new milestone in literary suspense and a major new breakout book from the long acclaimed master.

At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.

Unprecedented in scope, infinite in heart, Ashley Bell is a magnificent achievement that will capture lovers of dark psychological suspense, literary thrillers, and modern classics of mystery and adventure. Beautifully written, at once lyrical and as fast as a bullet, here is the most irresistible novel of the decade.

Book Details

Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 8, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345545966
ISBN-13: 978-0345545961
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds

About the Author

dean_photo_1When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages and he has sold over 450 million copies to date.

Fourteen of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From HeavenFrom the Corner of His EyeMidnightCold FireThe Bad PlaceHideawayDragon TearsIntensitySole SurvivorThe HusbandOdd HoursRelentlessWhat the Night Knows, and 77 Shadow Street), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Sixteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.

Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.