Saturday, October 24, 2020

Killer in the Retroscape Audiobook Released

Killer in the Retroscape
, a dystopian mystery/thriller, has been released as an audiobook. It's currently available on Audible and Amazon, and should appear in iTunes soon.

Give the sample a listen and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Things that Go Bump in the Night Giveaway

Follow and like some amazing authors on social media for your chance to win
4 spooky paperbacks:

Born in Fire by K.F. Breene
Micaela's Big Bad by Tijan
The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb
Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg
Plus some frightening swag
And a (not at all scary) $20 Amazon Gift Card!
The more you follow and like, the more chances you have to win.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Book Review: The Kafir: The Unbeliever by Abigail Rook

 A Web of Secrecy and Bad (Political) Assumptions Keep the Thrill Going

 If you’re looking to get away from talk of viruses (e.g., the coronavirus) for a while, The Kafir will let you escape into a world of international, political intrigue and espionage (although the story revolves around the threat of an epidemic). And if you haven’t had enough about these infective agents, the novel still works. Though I have no background, the medical information in the book feels authoritative, which is further supported by the fact that the author is a doctor. I greatly enjoyed the interplay of life-and-death drama with medical information about viruses, manmade vs. natural. It’s a great combination to keep the pages turning.

Our heroine, Carolin Falkenberg, is a German doctor investigating a virus outbreak in Zimbabwe on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO). Not all is what it seems and eventually, she forms something of an alliance with Nathan Cole, a National Security Agency (NSA) agent. Together, they try to disentangle a web of misinformation and bad assumptions involving secret biological warfare programs, religious groups, and military organizations. The author kept me guessing about the true culprit long into the tale, although at least part of the mystery is maintained by the number of possibilities; there are quite a few characters to keep straight. And along the way, the American military system and intelligence services receive some criticism, as they too frequently opted for political answers over evidence.

There are a few, minor issues that probably came from the translation from German. For example, when a man was described as boarding a plane in Washington DC, he is actually getting off the plane. These confusions, however, are limited and detract little from the tale. More concerning to me was a somewhat inconsistent characterization of our protagonist. At the start of the book, she seems quite uneasy with people, and yet later, she’s described as extremely empathetic, seeing through Coles’ fake identity almost immediately. Perhaps under the circumstances in the tale, her transition is supposed to represent a personality change, but it seemed too abrupt and too extreme. And finally, the event that allowed the epidemic to occur is a bit too convenient. In the context of authoritative medical information on viruses, how the virus was obtained felt contrived.

Overall, if you look beyond the epidemic’s initiating event, the medical information on the virus, the individuals involved in investigating and spreading it, and their motivations make for some captivating reading.

See on Amazon:

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Gigantic Book Fair

Books and prizes? It’s a Win-Win!

With over 50+ free and discounted books and a chance to win a Kindle Fire, a $25 Amazon Gift Card, and a one-month subscription to Owl Crate, you can't miss with this book fair.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Midwest Book Review (preview)

Mind in the Clouds will be featured in the November release from Midwest Book Review and they’ve been kind enough to share a preview with me. Their review highlights the main character’s attempts to understand human and machine intelligence and so, find the factor that will shift the deadly cat-and-mouse game in his favor. “… the buildup will delight readers who value depth and complexity over the facade of fast pace alone.”

Their summary of the book as a whole: “Thriller readers who like more than a casual dose of high tech in their story lines will find Mind in the Clouds just the ticket for an involving, compelling read. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Book Review: Old Bones (Nora Kelly Book 1) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What Do Grave-Robbing and Murder Have in Common?

Grave-robbing and murder. Those two crimes are perhaps not the most common of bedfellows, but they make for some fascinating reading in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s new series, Old Bones. The hero of this new set of tales is familiar—at least for readers of the Pendergast series by the same authors—Nora Kelly, archaeologist. When she is approached by Clive Benton, Stanford-educated historian, to lead an archaeological expedition in search for the “Lost Camp” of the ill-fated Donner Party, a compelling historical setting is added to the story (the Donner Party was believed to have resorted to cannibalism to survive when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847). But to sell the expensive archaeological expedition to Nora’s boss, Benton adds evidence that one of the party was carrying gold, now worth 20 million dollars. That, of course, is sufficient motive for murder, but wait. Two murders occurred before the expedition even started. And both happened in the context of grave-robbing where all that was apparently taken was part of a skeleton. Since when is a skull worth killing for? That question remains until the final pages of the novel.

It is via one of these murders at a grave site that a second, familiar name is added to the tale. Corrie Swanson, an angry, bullied teenager when first introduced in the Pendergast series is now a freshly minted FBI agent. And when one of the grave-robbers is executed on federal land, she is given the case—her first. She finds another similar murder and a disappearance, all connected because they were the descendants of a Donner Party member, Albert Parkin. Convinced that Nora Kelly’s expedition is just a cover for robbing Parkin’s grave, Agent Swanson joins the archaeological team on site. Sparks fly between the women, Swanson believing she is on the trail of a crime, it’s exact nature unknown, while Kelly sees the agent as nothing but a waste of time and money. But then, things start getting deadlier.

Preston and Child are exceptional story-tellers and this novel is no exception. The pace is good, the mystery compelling, the characters developed. There were a few places when relatively minor events were dealt with in greater detail than necessary to advance the plot, but these were rare. About my only concern of any significance is the way the authors linked the quite disparate crimes of stealing a skeleton and killing. To do so required two, quite dissimilar approaches to a single objective. In other words, the twist felt a bit strained.

Overall, Old Bones is a solid start to a new series and I look forward to the next installment. Let’s see what Nora gets herself into next time.

See on Amazon:

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)