Book Review: Zero Day (John Puller #1) by David Baldacci

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John Puller #1

 

From David Baldacci–the modern master of the thriller and #1 worldwide bestselling novelist-comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation.

And Zero Day is where it all begins….

John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

Now, Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia coal country far from any military outpost. Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered. The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation. As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he’s seen in this small town, and no one in it, are what they seem. Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force.

David Baldacci is one of the world’s favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 110 million copies in print. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America.

 

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Private military contractor PMC

 

 

Classic Baldacci. Nobody does character and plot quite like him. Audiobook narrators Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy are some of my favorite narrators. They were absolutely flawless.

John Puller is similar to Will Robie in that they both work for the government, yet in different roles. Robie, is a government assassin working behind the scenes. John Puller also works for the government as a member of the criminal investigative division (CID). It’s hard to say which is more lethal, but I might give the edge to Robie. However Puller definitely wins in the “detective” department although Will Robie can hold his own. I found Puller to be very perceptive, intuitive, bold with the military background to back it up. Both are exceptional characters and a pleasure to read.

 

 

 

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Coming Soon: Long Road To Mercy by David Baldacci

 

 

David Baldacci has written some of my favorite characters and series. Can’t wait to meet FBI Special Agent Atlee Pine this fall! 

 

 

 

Long Road to Mercy Baldacci

 

 

Introducing a remarkable new character from #1 New York Times bestselling writer David Baldacci: Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat . . . and an old nightmare.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe.

It’s seared into Atlee Pine’s memory: the kidnapper’s chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken. Atlee was spared.

She never saw Mercy again.

Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She’s the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.

So when one of the Grand Canyon’s mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she’s abruptly called off the case.

If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it…

 

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David Baldacci talks about his experience in a secret government agency

 

 

 

 

Davidbaldacci.com | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

Interviews:

Northern Virginia Summer Spotlight: David Baldacci

David Baldacci’s 6 favorite books with an element of mystery

 

 

 

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Book Recommendations by Book Beast Laura Rash

We Recommend

 

 

Books on the Radar with Book Beast Laura Rash

 

The Last Time I lied

 

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In the latest thriller from the bestselling author of Final Girls, a young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there fifteen years ago.

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees.

Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera–the only one on the property–pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

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“A twisting, heart-wrenching journey into a marriage, a gripping thriller…Reardon grabs his readers on page one, then deftly ratchets the suspense until the breathless ending.”—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author

Julia Swann, mother of two young boys, is on the phone with her husband, Michael, when the call abruptly cuts out. It isn’t until later in the evening when she discovers that something terrible has happened at Penn Station, where Michael was waiting for a train home.

Julia races to New York City to look for Michael, her panicked searching interwoven with memories of meeting and falling in love with the husband she’s now desperate to find. When someone finds a flier she’s posted and tells her they may have seen her husband, her prays seem to be answered. Yet as she tries to find him, her calls go unanswered. Did Michael survive? If so, why hasn’t he contacted her? Was he—or is he still—the man she fell in love with?

Part family drama, part tragic love story, The Real Michael Swann is a deftly plotted suspense novel with an unflinching portrait of a marriage at its heart, challenging us to confront the unthinkable–both in our country and in our own homes.

“Reardon masterfully delivers an intimate, heartbreaking portrayal of a family whose love, trust, and loyalty for each other is put to the ultimate test.”—Rhiannon Navin, author of Only Child.

 

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“A tense and gripping read that plumbs the depths of grief and longing. Leave No Trace is as thrilling as a whitewater rapid and as dark as the Minnesotan wilderness itself.” —Amy Gentry, internationally bestselling author of Good as Gone

“Dark and atmospheric, with palpably vivid details and complex characters harboring plenty of secrets, Leave No Trace is the perfect combination of gorgeous prose and edge-of-your-seat storytelling.” —Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of The Marriage Lie

“This novel deserves the top-spot on your reading list!”—Hannah Mary McKinnon, author of The Neighbors

From the author of the “compelling” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be, a riveting and suspenseful thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

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The next novel of psychological suspense and obsession from the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Praise for The Wife Between Us:

“A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller” —New York Times Book Review

“[A] seamless thriller that will keep readers on their toes to the very end…Readers will enjoy the dizzying back-and-forth as they attempt to figure out just who to root for and as the suspense ratchets up to one hell of a conclusion.” —Booklist

 

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After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with teacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong. Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

The Puppet Show image

 

 

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

One of the most anticipated reads is now available.

 

 

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New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger delivers yet another “punch-to-the-gut blend of detective story and investigative fiction” (Booklist, starred review) as Cork O’Connor and his son Stephen work together to uncover the truth behind the tragic plane crash of a senator on Desolation Mountain and the mysterious disappearances of several first responders. This is a heart-pounding and devastating mystery the scope and consequences of which go far beyond what father or son could ever have imagined.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

To Stephen O’Connor, Hamlet’s dour observation is more than just words. All his life, he has had visions of tragedies to come. When he experiences the vision of a great bird shot from the sky, he knows something terrible is about to happen. The crash of a private plane on Desolation Mountain in a remote part of the Iron Lake Reservation, which kills a United States senator and most of her family, confirms Stephen’s worst fears.

Stephen joins his father, Cork O’Connor and a few Ojibwe men from the nearby Iron Lake reservation to sift through the smoldering wreckage when the FBI arrives and quickly assumes control of the situation. What seems like the end of the O’Connors’ involvement is, however, only the beginning of a harrowing journey to understand the truth behind the Senator’s death. As he initiates his own probe, Cork O’Connor stumbles upon a familiar face in Bo Thorson, a private security consultant whose unnamed clients have hired him to look quietly into the cause of the crash. The men agree to join forces in their investigation, but soon Cork begins to wonder if Thorson’s loyalties lie elsewhere.

In that far north Minnesota County, which is overrun with agents of the FBI, NTSB, DoD, and even members of a rightwing militia, all of whom have their own agendas, Cork, Stephen, and Bo attempt to navigate a perilous course. Roadblocked by lies from the highest levels of government, uncertain who to trust, and facing growing threats the deeper they dig for answers, the three men finally understand that to get to the truth, they will have to face the great menace, a beast of true evil lurking in the woods—a beast with a murderous intent of unimaginable scale.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

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Book Review: Bloody Sunday by Ben Coes

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*The best thriller of 2018*

 

 

“Ben Coes’ Bloody Sunday is a propulsive read with enough plot hooks, twists, and action to fill five thrillers. Fans of Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, and Tom Clancy will tear throughBloody Sunday and close the book counting the days till Dewey’s next adventure.” —Mark Greaney, New York Timesbestselling author of Agent in Place

The latest in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dewey Andreas series.

North Korea, increasingly isolated from most of the rest of the world, is led by an absolute dictator and a madman with a major goal—he’s determined to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. While they have built, and continue to successfully test nuclear bombs, North Korea has yet to develop a ballistic missile with the range necessary to attack America. But their missiles are improving, reaching a point where the U.S. absolutely must respond.

What the U.S. doesn’t know is that North Korea has made a deal with Iran. In exchange for effective missiles from Iran, they will trade nuclear triggers and fissionable material. An exchange, if it goes through, that will create two new nuclear powers, both with dangerous plans.

Dewey Andreas, still reeling from recent revelations about his own past, is ready to retire from the CIA. But he’s the only available agent with the skills to carry out the CIA’s plan to stop North Korea. The plan is to inject a singular designer poison into the head of the North Korean military and in exchange for the nuclear plans, provide him with the one existing dose of the antidote. But it goes awry when Dewey manages to inject a small amount of the poison into himself. Now, to survive, Dewey must get into North Korea and access the antidote and, while there, thwart the nuclear ambitions of both North Korea and Iran. And he has less than 24 hours to do so—in the latest thriller from Ben Coes.

 

 

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The best thriller of 2018 so far. Absolutely phenomenal!  A complete slam dunk by author Ben Coes.  Narrator Jay Synder even made it more exceptional with a stellar performance in the audiobook, so I highly recommend it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this won a few awards. Dewey Andreas is back on the scene with one startling realization; his wife’s death was no accident. Bloody Sunday begins with the non-stop impulse of revenge on those responsible for her murder, but this is hardly the beginning.

The North Korean regime is bent on unleashing nuclear catastrophe on the United States–even without much consideration of the cost. An ailing leader. A loyal soldier. A definite promise of destruction. There’s only one man who’s capable of pulling off an exponentially impossible mission, but there’s only one problem. He’s not up to the task. His mindset is no condition for yet another mission. Dewey Andreas is absolutely sensational in every sense of the word. The stakes couldn’t be higher for the United States, the CIA, North Korea; or even more personal for long time agent Andreas. An explosive, extraordinary plot that’ll blow your socks right off.

 

 

Five Gold Stars

 

 

 

www.bencoes.com

 

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Ben Coes is the New York Times bestselling author of international political and espionage thrillers. He graduated from Columbia College, where he won the Bennett Cerf Memorial Prize for Fiction. He worked at the White House under Presidents Reagan and Bush and was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

 

 

 

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ThrillerFest 2018 part 3 with Mark Dawson – SPF

retro tv

 

 

 

Prepare to be thrilled….

 

 

 

 

Highlight summary

In the final part of our three-part series of interviews from ThrillerFest 2018, James talks to prolific hybrid romance author Lexi Blake, Rambo’s father David Morrell, USA Today best-selling author Alan Jacobson, and, last but not least, megastar thriller author Lee Child.

 

 

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Lexi Blake

 

 

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David Morrell

 

 

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Alan Jacobson

 

 

 

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Lee Child

 

International Thriller Writers

ThrillerFest

 

 

Bloody Hand

 

 

ThrillerFest 2018 Part 2 via Mark Dawson

News

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights per Mark Dawson:

Mike Lewis on building relationships at conferences, Jon Land on picking up the Murder She Wrote franchise — Bringing Jessica Fletcher into the present day, The advantages to readers when authors have choices about how to publish, Lynda La Plante on doing research for her novels, The inspirational female police officer behind Prime Suspect, The luck and skill involved in Lynda’s writing career, Resources mentioned in this episode: Karen’s marketing book for authors of children’s books.

 

Sneak Peek of ThrillerFest 2018 via Mark Dawson

Thrillerwriters.org

ITW Facebook Organization

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peak of ThrillerFest 2018 via Mark Dawson

SNEAK PEEK word written under torn paper.

 

 

 

Sneak Peek into ThrillerFest 2018 with Mark Dawson

 

 

 

 

 

See which books won big in the ITW 2018 Awards via TheRealbookspy.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: FIELD OF VALOR by Matthew Betley

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Set in the aftermath of Betley’s “machine-gun pace” (BooklistOath of Honor and the discovery of a deadly global conspiracy, the president requests Logan West to form a covert task force with the mission to dismantle a nameless enemy.

With the full resources of the Justice Department, Intelligence Community, and the military (not to mention presidential pardons pre-signed), Logan must battle a secret organization with the connections and funding to rival many first-world nations. The goal of this organization is both singular and sinister—to pit the United States against China in a bid to dismantle the world’s security and economy. Back on US soil, Logan and his task force pursue the elusive foe from the woods of northern Virginia to the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, from suburban Maryland across the urban sprawl of Washington DC. The stakes have never been higher for Logan or America itself…

 

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VALOR IS FREEDOM

 

 

 

 

“Betley has quietly become an important new voice in the covert-thriller genre.” (Booklist)

“The action in Betley’s superb thrillers can come from every direction at the pace of a firefight, sweeping you from Iraq to Mexico to Africa to the corridors of power in DC. A former Marine, Betley writes with the authority of an insider who understands this world intimately, just as he knows his compelling and troubled hero, Logan West. A welcome new star!” (Peter Heller, New York Times bestselling author of THE DOG STARS)

“Suspenseful, inventive, and relentless, FIELD OF VALOR unfolds at lightning pace. The action rings with authenticity. The story brims with twists, intrigue, and secrets that will keep readers turning pages.”  (Meg Gardiner, New York Times bestselling author of INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE )

“In Field of Valor, make sure you strap in tight! Like the best rides in a theme park, this one starts FAST, and while your heart rate may occasionally approach ‘normal,’ it never truly does…and you’ll love it! Betley’s pacing, language, and presentation of situations sing the true, real notes of one who has been there. Logan West uses his considerable intelligence and fortitude to conquer the challenges presented. If you haven’t discovered Matthew Betley before, congratulate yourself for doing so now!” (Charles Davis, Fox Sports NFL Sunday Announcer & Analyst, John Madden Video Game Announcer )

“Fast, hard-hitting, and impossible to put down, FIELD OF VALOR is hands-down one of the best action thrillers hitting bookstores in 2018.” (The Real Book Spy )

 

 

 

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Better, than expected.

 

I admit this was my first tap into Matthew Betley’s blockbuster series with Field of Valor. It was definitely better than I expected it too be. I’m not sure what I expected, but exceeded whatever was in my brain! Excellent. The crafting of the scenes, including the fighting, settings, and action were off the charts. All I could say was, DAMN, that was good. It’s that kind of thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves you full when you’re done. The plot to stop a global conspiracy with the lethality, resources, and resolve that rival our own military make this a homerun. In fact, it seems like the conspiracy gets deeper and deeper as the book goes along. I jumped into this series with Field of Valor, so have to go back and devour the first two books. Overwatch and Oath of Honor. So I’ll be ready for book 4 when it comes out early next year!

 

 

 

Five Gold Stars

 

 

 

 

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Matthew Betley grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, which he considers home after his family moved there from New Jersey, where he was born and which also explains his affinity for the New York Yankees. He attended St. Xavier High School and then Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he graduated with a B.A. in psychology and minors in political science and sociology. He also spent the first semester of senior year investigating felony murder cases as an intern investigator in Washington, D.C., for the Public Defender’s Office, a formative experience that provided countless stories that could fill the pages of a non-fiction book. Upon graduation, he worked in corporate America for five years in Cincinnati before joining the Marine Corps in 1999.

Matt spent ten years as a Marine officer and was trained as a scout sniper platoon commander, an infantry officer, and a ground intelligence officer. His experiences include deployments to Djibouti after 9/11, and Fallujah, Iraq, prior to the surge, both in staff officer support billets.

Finally, and most importantly, Matt is a recovering alcoholic with nearly eight years of sobriety. He credits the Marine Corps with providing a foundation in discipline and personal accountability for his desire to initially seek help. Matt is open and direct about it and has spoken in front of large groups of people with one clear message – if he can get sober, so can anyone. He credits his recovery with providing the authenticity for Logan West’s struggle with his inner demons.

 

 

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Brad Thor’s SPYMASTER and Interesting Factoid

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The newest thriller in the #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and #1 Publishers Weekly bestselling series!

Across Europe, a secret organization has begun attacking diplomats. Back in the United States, a foreign ally demands the identity of a highly placed covert asset. In the balance hang the ingredients for all-out war.

With his mentor out of the game, counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath must take on the role he has spent his career avoiding. But, as with everything else he does, he intends to rewrite the rules—all of them.

In Spymaster, Scot Harvath is more cunning, more dangerous, and deadlier than ever before.

If you have never read a Brad Thor novel, this is the place to start!

 

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See my book review  of Spymaster on one of my new sites – Harvathians.com where you’ll find all things Brad Thor.

Whenever you read a book by Brad Thor it’s always global in scope. This book is no different. The opening scene takes place in Sor-Trondelag, Norway deep in the forest.

 

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The breadth of the plot is well, pretty broad in its scope. Harvath is racing the clock to prevent an article 5 catastrophe involving the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He and a small counter-terrorism unit, Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) with other military operatives, discover a terrorist cell and try to shut it down. This breathtaking scene kicks off a hunt to stop a foreign adversary from advancing their agenda in Eastern Europe.

 

Interesting Factoid 

*The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) is Norway’s version of the F.B.I. *

PST is Norway’s national police security service, and its responsibilities include collecting and analyzing information and implementing countermeasures against matters that threaten national security. The service is organized as a special police service parallel to the regular police, and the service reports directly to the Ministry of Justice.

Check out their website: The Norwegian Police Security Service

 

For the rest of the plot you’ll just have to read the book! I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

Awesome Word Rubber Stamp 3D Rating Review Feedback

 

 

 

 

 

Book Release: Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl

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Looking for a serial killer thriller you won’t be able to put down? Then discover Portraits Of The Dead, by #1 best-selling author John Nicholl, today.

Emma didn’t know how long he hid in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered between the two heavy oak doors, and watched, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself faced with a difficult case when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

Can Gravel find the girl and stop the murderer?

He will learn that the greater the evil, the deadlier the game… 

 

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Trust me, this is an author you don’t want to miss. John Nicholl is the real deal. When I listened to the audiobook format of this title I was literally in awe. Having worked in law enforcement as a police officer, John Nicholl fully brings to life the true nature of crime fiction. You’ll get to know well DI Gravel, a young student named Emma, and the sadistic mind of a killer. Don’t miss it!

 

 

Business, Technology, Internet and network concept. Young busine

 

 

 

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John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller.

John has publishing deals with Bloodhound Books, W.F. Howes, and Hungarian publisher – Konyvmolykepzo. He is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media and can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com.