Book Review: Assassin’s Code Joe Ledger #4 by Jonathan Maberry



In ASSASSIN’S CODE, the fourth book in New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, Joe Ledger and the DMS go on a relentless chase to stop an ancient order of killers from plunging the entire world into Holy War.

When Joe Ledger and Echo Team rescue a group of American college kids held hostage in Iran,the Iranian government then asks them to help find six nuclear bombs planted in the Mideast oil fields. These stolen WMDs will lead Joe and Echo Team into hidden vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, betrayal, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered killers with a thirst for blood.

Accompanied by the beautiful assassin called Violin, Joe follows a series of clues to find the Book of Shadows, which contains a horrifying truth that threatens to shatter his entire worldview.

They say the truth will set you free…
Not this time.

The secrets of the Assassin’s Code will set the world ablaze.

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Book Review

An ancient holy war. A hostage rescue in Iran. Vampires with weapons of mass destruction. Genetically engineered assassin’s. An undeciphered age old text with all the answers. Sound pretty wacky? You bet! Unless you’re Jonathan Maberry. It sounds really off the wall, but once the story unravels it’s not only plausible, IT’S COMPELLING. You combine Maberry’s writing style and add narrator Ray Porter into the mix….and you have a masterpiece! An absolute masterpiece. Captain Joe Ledger and the Echo Team from the Department of Military Sciences (DMS) are one of my favorites!! There’s simply nothing else like it. 

ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE.


JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuts in 2018.

His thrillers include The Joe Ledger Thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; EXTINCTION MACHINE, (2013; now in development for TV by SONY); PREDATOR ONE, and others. His first middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY, was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015, with a sequel, VAULT OF SHADOWS debuting this year from Simon & Schuster. His standalone teen science fiction novel, MARS ONE, is in development for film by Zucker Productions and Lone Tree Entertainment. His upcoming standalone suspense novel, GLIMPSE, has gotten advance praise from Clive Barker, Scott Smith, James Rollins, Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris.

 

www.JonathanMaberry.com

Book Review: Hard Target by J.B. Turner

 

 

Hard Target book image

 

A threat inside the government. A whistleblower’s life on the line. It’s up to Jon Reznick to bring justice.

When hacker Trevelle Williams discovers documents that threaten national security and put his life in jeopardy, there’s only one person he can turn to—Jon Reznick. Williams has learned that Rosalind Dyer, a key congressional witness, is about to be killed in order to stop her testimony. She has stumbled into the middle of a cover-up that goes deep into the United States government. Dyer knows her days are numbered, but that won’t stop her from doing what she has to do.

Trevelle Williams has helped Jon out of many a scrape in the past. Now, Jon is the only person he can turn to for help saving Rosalind’s life, as well as his own, and protecting national security in the process.

With enemies on all sides, including within the United States government, can Jon and Trevelle get to Rosalind in time? They’re her only hope to escape her pursuers and bring these secrets to light.

 

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Big Number One

 

 

~Hard Target is #1 in Assassination & Terrorism Thrillers ~

 

HARD TARGET

 

  • Jon Reznick Thriller Book 8
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542014433
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 21, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 21, 2020
  • Available in all formats

 

An Explosive Thriller!

I love this series and Hard Target is the best one yet. Can’t recommend it enough. What a blazing page turner! Full of action, tension, conflict; and dilemmas, OH DILEMMAS galore. That’s the normal world for ex-special forces hard nose Jon Reznick. Usually it’s Jon, that enlists the help of ex-NSA hacker specialist Trevelle Williams; but the tables are turned in this one. Now it’s Trevelle, who needs immediate protection from some very powerful people. Like, Pentagon type big-wigs with resources at their disposal. One hallmark with J.B. Turner books is the always the ticking clock. That, with the pacing, running for your life narrative makes his books dynamic thrillers. Don’t miss this one!

 

 

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JB Turner Author photo

 

J.B. Turner – a former journalist – is an Amazon #1 bestselling thriller writer. He is best known for the Jon Reznick® series. His latest book, HARD TARGET (Thomas & Mercer), was published on 21 May 2020.

His influences and favorite authors include: Lee Child, Richard Stark, Hunter S. Thompson, James Ellroy, James Lee Burke, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, Henry James, Harlan Coben, Thomas H. Cook, John Grisham, James Patterson, John Buchan, and Michael Connelly. He wrote the American Ghost® series of action thrillers. The series features protagonist Nathan Stone, a former CIA covert operative who had been critically wounded, and everyone thought was dead. But behind closed doors, he was rehabilitated by a highly secretive government organization known as the Commission, given a new identity and appearance, and remoulded into a lethal assassin. His brief: to execute kill orders drawn up by the Commission, all in the name of national security. The Commission owns him, but Stone knows one wrong move could turn him from loyal asset to hunted man. He also wrote the Jon Reznick novella, Gone Bad (No Way Back Press), and the Deborah Jones® crime thrillers, Miami Requiem (No Way Back Press) and Dark Waters (No Way Back Press). His books have conspiratorial elements and themes throughout them. His work can often be described as thrillers; his books cover sub-genre categories including assassination thriller, suspense thriller, political thriller, crime fiction, military thriller, and, in the case of the Deborah Jones books, mysteries.

He has a keen interest in geo-politics. He loves music. He occasionally blogs. He listens to everything from Beethoven to The Beatles, The Cure to Bach. And everything in between. Occasionally writes. Loves films. Well, good ones. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Heat, The Godfather, The Offence, The French Connection, Payback, It’s a Wonderful Life, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hell or High Water, Sideways, The Fighter, Ladybird, As Good As It Gets, Wonder Boys, The Deer Hunter, All the President’s Men, Joker, Babette’s Feast, and a personal fave, Animal House (what’s not to like?).

He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is married with two children.

Literary Agent: Mitch Hoffman, The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency, New York.

Film/TV Rights: Rich Green, The Gotham Group, West Hollywood, California.

www.JBTurnerauthor.com

 

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Check out my new site for Sci-fi lovers! The SciFi Blend

 

 

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Book Review: One Minute Out by Mark Greaney

 

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While on a mission to Croatia, Court Gentry uncovers a human trafficking operation. The trail leads from the Balkans all the way back to Hollywood.

Court is determined to shut it down, but his CIA handlers have other plans. The criminal ringleader has actionable intelligence about a potentially devastating terrorist attack on the US. The CIA won’t move until they have that intel. It’s a moral balancing act with Court at the pivot point.

 

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There’s military, or assassination thrillers and then….there’s Mark Greaney’s Gray Man. His latest, One Minute Out is absolutely the cream of the crop. It has everything you’d ask for in a thriller. Depth of character, riveting plot, break-neck action, killer suspense, and a international criminal organization. From the Balkans, Italian mafia, to L.A. this one has it all. Told from first person narrative you get a good look into Court Gentry’s mindset. Very entertaining and hilarious.

One of the things that surprises me the most; is the personal sacrifice that Gentry is willing to endure to stop a global human trafficking ring. Like a dog with a bone–He won’t let go until the mission is completed. Sacrifice, after sacrifice, after sacrifice. I’m thrilled to have all the books and can’t wait to read them before the next Gray man comes out. RELENTLESS ( Gray Man Book 10) Feb. 16, 2021. Don’t miss it.

 

 

Android robot with five stars

 

 

“I LOVE THE GRAY MAN.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

“BOURNE FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM.”—New York Times bestselling author James Rollins

PRAISE FOR ONE MINUTE OUT

“[One Minute Out] cements Mark Greaney’s status as a preeminent storyteller whose thrillers continue to resound on multiple levels…Court Gentry is this generation’s James Bond, and his latest adventure is not to be missed.”—Providence Journal

 

 

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Mark Greaney has a degree in International Relations and Political Science. In researching The Gray Man series he traveled to ten countries and trained extensively in the use of firearms, battlefield medicine, and close range combative tactics.

Learn more at MARKGREANEYBOOKS.COM

 

 

 

A Sneak Peak of Kidnapped On Safari by Peter Riva

 

 

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Out Jan. 21st, available for pre-order now: Kidnapped On Safari

 

The third book in the Mbuno & Pero series pulls terror from headlines to create a gripping international thriller for readers of John le Carré, Daniel Silva, and Iris Johansen.

Expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar are filming on Lake Rudolf in Northern Kenya, East Africa, when they receive news that Mbuno’s son, himself an expert guide, has been kidnapped while on a safari five hundred miles away in Tanzania. After gathering the clues and resources needed to trek through the wilderness, they trace the kidnappers back to an illegal logging operation clear-cutting national park forests, manned by sinister Boko Haram mercenaries. There, they find not only Mbuno’s son but also a shocking revelation that has terrifying and far-reaching consequences.

Relying on Mbuno’s legendary bush skills, the pair must overcome the danger both from inside and outside the camp to bring Mbuno’s son out alive. In doing so, Mbuno and Pero discover that kidnapping and deforestation are only the beginning of the terrorist group’s aspirations, and they realize a threat that would herald an even more dangerous outcome for Tanzania—a coup. A rescue might just risk the entire stability of the region.

Exciting and expertly plotted using facts ripped from news’ headlines, Kidnapped on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in deepest, darkest, Machiavellian, East Africa.

 

 

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An Excerpt 

 

KIDNAPPED ON SAFARI – CHAPTER 3

 

Mamba Kisiwa na Simu ya Dharura—Crocodile Island and an Emergency Call

 

Excerpted from Kidnapped on Safari by Peter Riva. Copyright © 2020 by Peter Riva. All rights reserved. Published by Skyhorse Publishing.

 

The emergency call came in at breakfast. They could hear Wolfie’s shortwave radio belting out his call sign, repeatedly declaring, “Come in 5Z4WD, most urgent call for Pero Baltazar.” Pero got up and made his way to Wolfie’s office, asking Amal, their waiter, to get Wolfie. “Kwenda kupata bwana Wolfgang haraka, tafadhali, Amal.” (Go get boss Wolfgang quickly, please, Amal.)

Pero knew better than to touch Wolfgang’s sole means of communication with the outside world. Besides, Wolfgang had once allowed him to use the radio transmitter set, commonly called an RT set, to reach out to Pero’s old contacts at the CIA and State Department in Washington. Pero had been a runner for them, collecting papers and making note of fellow passengers at airports when asked, fortunately infrequently—nothing dangerous, nothing remotely exciting. Then two events had caused Pero to get deeper into the world of anti-terrorism than he ever wanted. Unable to cope alone those two times, he had involved his friends, including Heep, Mary, Susanna, and, of course, Mbuno, who were once again on location with him, this time along the shore of Lake Rudolf. Pero desperately hoped this emergency call had nothing to do with his old Washington contacts. 

He had quit after the Berlin package incident, after he had nearly died, mainly because he had married for the second time in his life as soon as he had left the hospital and recovered. Susanna was a brilliant sound engineer, as devoted to Pero as he was to her. The name of Pero’s first wife, Addiena, who had died in the Lockerbie disaster, was tattooed on the underside of his right forearm. He used to sleep with it across his heart so he would not forget her after she perished. Her tragic death was the reason he had offered his minor services to the CIA in the first place, wanting to do something to thwart terrorism. It was heartwarming for Pero that his new wife, Susanna, now insisted she drift off to sleep lying to his right, making him put out his arm for her to use Addiena’s name as a pillow. “She loved you and you, her. It is how I can remember her, thank her, for teaching you how to love, you dummer Mann.” 

Susanna’s native German expression of “dumb man” had been a scolding term for him originally deployed during the Berlin dangers, which was when she had revealed she cared for Pero deeply. Since then, it had become a term of endearment between them, their bond cemented by past events.

Adrenaline pumping because of the radio call, Pero weaved his way past tightly packed breakfast tables, careful not to allow his large, six-foot frame to disturb fellow guests. He heard Amal calling out to Wolfgang. By the time Pero got to the radio office, he could hear Wolfgang replying, “I am coming, I am coming.” The RT set was almost a living thing to Wolfgang, and Pero was used to hearing the man talk to it as a father would his child. Pero, waiting at the door, opened it for Wolfgang, who entered, sat, and flicked the on switch all in one practiced movement. He keyed the mike, gave his call sign 5Z4WD in answer, and said, “What is the message?”

The voice faded suddenly, coming in faintly, and Wolfgang gently turned the tuning dial. “Okay, Nairobi, I read you now, the sun’s up here so this may break up.” A woman’s voice came on the radio, asked if Baltazar was available, and Wolfie told her he was present and standing by.

“Message from Flamingo Tours, for Pero Baltazar, urgent, Mwana Wambuno, on safari, Moyowosi Game Reserve, missing for over ten hours. Safari clients being flown back to Nairobi. No trace of Ube. Over.” Ube was the nickname of Mbuno’s nephew, Mwana Wambuno. Pero immediately knew Mbuno would take the news of his favorite nephew hard.

Pero asked, “Wolfie, may I speak directly to her?” Wolfgang nodded and indicated the mike button. “Pero here, who’s that? Sheila Ndelle? Over.” Sheila, the backbone of Flamingo Tours, was also the sister of the UN security police chief and totally reliable. 

Ndiyo, over.” Yes, came the reply.

“Hi Sheila, give me all the details you have, and also, where’s Tone? Over.” Anthony Bowman was the owner of Flamingo Tours, known to everyone over the decades as simply Tone. An ex–white hunter, Tone ran the best safari outfitters anywhere—expedition tents, private toilets, dinner with white table linens, client’s wishes always fulfilled.

“Hi Pero, Mr. Anthony is down at the Tanzanian Embassy trying to find out more information, if there is any known terrorist or poaching problems in the area. There wasn’t any when we sent the clients there. All we know is that Ube took three clients out on a walking safari yesterday morning, camera clients”—by which she meant not hunters—“and they took leopard images in the tall grass, a kill of a bushbuck, treeing the carcass, you know the drill.” Pero did. Leopard was one of Africa’s big five—lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and cape buffalo. Originally a hunting list, these animals still presented a challenge for the lens hunter. “On the plane’s HF radio, briefly, the clients have reported that suddenly as they were heading back to camp, Ube told our two bearers to make the clients crawl back to the Land Rover and fly back to Nairobi without stopping or talking to anyone. They said Ube told them to do this quietly if they valued their lives. They did as they were told. They have no idea what Ube did or where he went.” Sheila paused. “But, Pero, they said they heard a shot. Over.”

Pero’s producer instincts kicked in. “You say the clients are en route for Wilson Airport? Over.” Wilson Airport was on the western side of Nairobi and the jumping off small airport for most safaris and the Flying Doctor air services. Wolfgang glanced at Pero, clearly wondering why Pero should be interested in the clients since he knew Ube’s disappearance would be of paramount importance to Mbuno and, therefore, presumably to Pero.

Sheila’s tone also had an edge. “Yes, yes, they are inbound but had to wait for Tanzanian air traffic control for permission to depart. We had a plane waiting, in case, for medical reasons on the client’s instructions. They will be back in about two hours. But it is Ube we are worried about, and we need to tell Mbuno. Over.”

Pero nodded. “Agreed, I’ll take care of that. But Sheila, listen to me, please, I need you to go immediately to the airport, see Sheryl at Mara Airways, arrange for a Cessna 414 for us here immediately, plane and pilots—note, I said pilots—on loan, indefinite period. Over.” Sheila gave her confirmation. “Good, then call the Langata police station and ask for Sergeant Gibson Nabana. He’s the one I shot during that terrorist attack two years ago, remember? Over.” Sheila laughed and said she remembered it well. It had made the front page of the Daily Standard paper. At the time Pero had needed to gain control of a difficult confusion of authority at Wilson Airport and had only slightly wounded the sergeant. They subsequently became good allies and, since then, drinking buddies. “Okay, Sheila, tell Gibson to stop your clients and confiscate every piece of camera equipment they have. Tell him that I will be in Nairobi as soon as possible. Look, we need to review every shot to see if those camera-happy clients caught anything that can help us figure out what has happened to Ube. Once Mbuno and I see what is there, or not, we will reboard the Mara Cessna and proceed to . . . where was the landing strip? Remember that Sheryl at Mara Airways will need to have that information while you are at Wilson Airport, okay? Over.”

Sheila understood the flight would have to leave Kenya and land in Tanzania, an everyday occurrence as long as the paperwork was filled in properly with Customs and Excise on both sides of the border. “The Moyowosi Airport we used for the clients was actually at Mgwesi at the southwestern end of the Lake Nyagamoma, and then there is a three-hour slow drive into the game reserve. Should I lay on transport? Our drivers are still there, packing up the tents. I have not given them instruction to drive back to base. Over.”

“Yes, Sheila, hold your people in place, reestablish the camp, but move it at least a mile or more away. We’ll use it, and we’ll pay the fare. And one more thing, your clients will get back to Wilson before we do, so you have to make sure to tell them, before they land, that if Ube had reason to get your clients out secretly, whatever his reasons were, it is serious and if they value their lives they will not, I repeat, not talk with anyone. And keep them at the airport. Over.” Sheila said she understood and signed off. 

Wolfgang looked over at Pero and simply said, “I guess you’ll be leaving then. The pool is full; I was thinking about draining it, but you might as well use it before you go while you wait for transport.” It was as friendly a gesture Pero had ever heard the owner of the Oasis make.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Peter Riva is the author of Kidnapped on Safari. He has spent many months over thirty years traveling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books, including the previous two titles in the Mbuno and Pero Adventures series, Murder on Safari and The Berlin Package. He lives in Gila, New Mexico. For more information, please visit https://peterriva.com 

 

 

 

 

The Don of Siracusa Blog Tour: By Sean Rea

 

 

Don of Siracusa

 

 

Stefano Caruso always does things the right way. With a grandfather who was forced to flee the venal Sicilian mafia and start life anew in America, Stefano now heads the corporation his father and grandfather built. Handsome and successful, he’s on top of the world…until one day he has an unexpected visitor and gets shocking news. Stefano is being cheated and lied to, and the company his family built from the ground up is in mortal jeopardy. That’s when Benito Cuggi, the face of the modern-day mafia, comes into his life. Cuggi appears to live by a strict code of morals that the laws of Western society cannot enforce. Loyalty and trust are rewarded, while betrayal is punished. Now Stefano faces a difficult choice. Can he ally himself with what he’s been taught to hate and fear? Or should he let what generations of his family built be stolen out from under him?

Fraught with moral complexity, Siracusa is a fast-paced, exciting crime thriller that pits good against evil and righteousness versus deception, while asking whether good men should sometimes do bad things to punish evil….

 

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The Don of Siracusa Book Trailer

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Sean Rea author

 

Sean Rea studied at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, majoring in communications and minoring in management. He has travelled much of America and nearly all of Italy. Like his protagonist, Stefano, from a young age Sean was exposed to the world of big business through his father and nonno, and he drew on much of this in crafting the business aspects of Siracusa. Sean is a long-time fan of the crime-fiction genre and all things mafia-related. THE DON OF SIRACUSA is his first novel. ​

 

 

 

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Q&A Mystery Thriller Week

Author: Sean Rea

Title: “The Don of Siracusa”

 

 

 

  • What was it like writing your first book?

 

Challenging, rewarding, infuriating, and fun. I started writing “The Don of Siracusa” when I was right in the middle of pursuing my degree, so I didn’t have too much time to devote to writing. When I finally did get a “finished” manuscript together the first thing I did was ask friends and family what they thought, and they confirmed what I basically already knew – the book was a mess!

 

Back to the drawing board I went, and when I had actually completed university, I decided that enough was enough. I poured everything I had into fixing the scattered manuscript and after much trial and error, and some help from a few close friends that edited and made suggestions, I had something I was proud of.

I learned so much in the process of writing this first one, and although it was infuriating sometimes, I can’t wait to get to work on my second novel. Whether that will be “The Don of Siracusa 2” or another idea I’m fleshing out is yet to be seen.

 

 

“Stay faithful to the stories in your head” – Paula Hawkins 

 

 

 

  • What was the most challenging aspect of writing?

 

Many writers complain about lacking motivation to write, or hitting a writer’s block, but I rarely seemed to run into that issue. Something I’ve always been good at is pouring my thoughts onto a page relatively unrestricted and incredibly quick. Unfortunately for me, that style of writing is what creates the challenge for me. I abhor editing my own work, though I realize the importance of it. For me, my often “planless” writing leads me down roads I don’t know my way back from. This results in a ton of deleted content, and plenty of hours trying to piece together scenes, dialogues, or plot points that don’t quite make sense.

The other challenge for me is being such a heavy critic of myself. There are times when I may feel like the quality of my writing isn’t quite up to snuff. I always want to be improving as a writer, and critiquing my own work so harshly allows me to improve, but it can also hold me back. It’s about finding a balance between not getting complacent when writing, but also not criticizing yourself into a standstill.

 

 

 

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  • What was the most rewarding? 

 

The most rewarding aspect of writing, to follow up on the previous question, is when it all comes together. I am definitely quite hard on myself when it comes to my writing, but that’s not to say there aren’t times where I go, “Damn, maybe I’m actually pretty good at this thing.”

I really love the English language and writing in general. I have such an appreciation for when words come together to make you feel something, and I’m always looking for the best way to put words together. So, when I craft a great monologue, or write a scene that gets your heart to race or ache – that is what it’s all about.

As for the most rewarding moment, walking into Chapters and seeing my book on a shelf… that was a pretty insane experience. 

 

 

 

Rewards Green Road Sign Against Clouds and Sunburst.

 

 

 

  • What elements make a good crime thriller?

 

This may be a somewhat subjective answer, but for me a great read has to be visceral. I want to feel what the character feels, I want to be emotionally invested in characters, and of course I want to be engaged in the journey they’re on. 

Dialogue, to me, is something that many writers struggle with, and clunky or non-realistic dialogue is an immediate immersion breaker for me.

I think characters are always at the heart of a novel, because I’ve read some great books with mediocre or seemingly uninteresting plots, but never a great book with poorly written characters. 

Everything else comes about as a result of a great character, because once the reader cares, they’ll follow that character down whatever path you take them. The same goes for me when I read a book – what really gets me to fly through the pages is when I need to know what happens to a character. 

And it never hurts to sprinkle in a generous serving of sex, violence, and depravity to keep a reader interested…

 

 

 

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  • Who are your favorite crime writers?

 

I love both true and fictional crime stories, and I’ll read most any crime story out there. 

My obvious favorite crime writers would be Mario Puzo and Nicholas Pileggi. Mafia fiction, in both book and film form, is my favourite genre. But I also happen to really enjoy John Grisham, Dan Brown’s earlier novels, and I’ve recently begun, and fallen in love with, Truman Capote’s works. And of course, I used to be obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and the Hardy Boys, perhaps that’s where this all started!

However, the obsession doesn’t stop at reading… when I’m not reading or writing I’m usually watching some true crime documentary, or some crime thriller film/tv series. Most recently I binge watched the entirety of the Mindhunter Netflix series on serial killers, promptly ordering and binge-reading the novel written by the main character’s real-life counterpart.

As for me, I would love to attempt writing something Grisham or Baldacci-esque, although I am also tempted to stray from the crime fiction niche and try my hand at something more classic. Regardless, the world of crime fiction has been very good to me, and I take so much inspiration from all the writers listed above.

 

www.seanrea.com

 

 

 

 

Book Review: All Out War by Sean Parnell

 

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“Eric Steele and author Sean Parnell are the real deal.”— Lee Child

Special operative Eric Steele, introduced in Man of War, is on the hunt for a formidable Russian terrorist in this high-intensity tale of international intrigue from the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Outlaw Platoon.

Badly injured while stopping a rogue agent from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, elite warrior Eric Steele is drawn back into service before he’s ready when unknown assailants break into his home near Pittsburgh, injuring his mother and stealing his father’s pistol.

An Alpha—an elite soldier under the direct command of the president of the United States—Steele is hell-bent on finding the attackers and bringing them to justice. While tracking his foe, Steele discovers he’s become entangled in a far more sinister plan that’s already been set in motion.

A terrorist named Zakayev, once locked away in a maximum-security prison in Russia, has escaped and joined forces with Hassan Sitta, a man who’s shown his prowess and ingenuity with a spectacular bomb planted somewhere in the Middle East that hasn’t been ignited—and no one can find. But that is only the beginning of a horrifying plan that, if it succeeds, will shatter international alliances and bring the world to the brink of war.

Now, the hunted must turn the tables on the hunter—Steele must find a way to stay alive and stop Zakayev before innocent lives are lost.

 

Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

 

 

 

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This is one of the best new series on the market. Eric Steele and the covert Alpha system is awesome. As an Alpha, highly skilled operative Eric Steele has direct access to the president of the United States, as well as unique resources that make this series a joy to read. There’s also what I call an “entertainment factor” revealed in Steele’s character and overall tone of writing. Wonderful.

 

 

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About the Author

 

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Sean Parnell is the author of the bestselling memoir Outlaw Platoon. He is a retired Army Infantry captain who served in some of the heaviest combat of the Afghan War. He recounts those battles in vivid detail during his leadership presentations for the nation’s most successful teams and corporations. He is also the Co-Founder of the American Warrior Initiative, a charity that honors and empowers our nation’s veterans. Sean lives with his three children near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Website | Twitter | Amazon

 

 

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Book Review: Crusader One by Andrews & Wilson

 

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Tier One Thrillers Book #3

Nothing stops former Navy SEAL and Tier One operator John Dempsey from answering the call of duty—including a mission with the highest stakes he’s ever faced. When one of the most brazen and lethal acts of terrorism rocks American and Israeli intelligence forces at the highest levels, Dempsey’s ultracovert antiterror unit, Ember, mobilizes.

But this operation isn’t just a retaliatory strike by Ember; it’s a mission of vengeance for Dempsey—against the Iranian terrorist mastermind who slaughtered Dempsey’s Tier One comrades. Racing from Tel Aviv to Tehran, the elite American warrior and his formidable Israeli counterpart must forsake their backup in a capture-or-kill gambit that could turn into a suicide run.

But with missiles flying across the Middle East, Dempsey’s do-or-die quest must succeed. If it doesn’t, it’s a short countdown to World War III.

 

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Book review

 

 

 

Finding this series has been one of the best discoveries this year! I’ve been absolutely devouring each and every book. I started out with book #4 American Operator, then went backwards to War Shadows, and now, Crusader One. Having thoroughly enjoyed this series I’m going to re-read American Operator, because that’s just how I roll, well that, and it’s amazing book. Next up on the menu will be book #5 Red Specter which you can pre-order right away.

To say Crusader One is good would be a serious understatement. There are many Black Ops, off the books, covert military thrillers out there—And there’s Team Ember starring ex Tier One Operator John Dempsey. The combination of plotting a realistic military thriller, 3-D characters, high stakes, and covert operations, makes this one hard to beat. I mean, it completely blew me away. And it was the same with every book in the Tier One series. It’s that good. Highly recommended—NO, it’s mandatory for all fans of military or counter terrorism thrillers.

 

Don’t forget to pre-order Red Specter

 

 

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It’s strike—and counterstrike—as John Dempsey takes the fight to the Russians in a riveting Tier One Thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of American Operator.

When shadow warrior and former Tier One Navy SEAL John Dempsey goes undercover to meet with a Vory arms dealer, he thinks he’s laying the groundwork to penetrate the Russian criminal underground. Instead, he walks into a trap orchestrated by Zeta, the secret Russian task force behind a recent assassination attempt on the US President. For Dempsey and his team, the only way out is to lay waste to the Russians, putting a target on Ember’s back.

With Ember pitted against Zeta, a dangerous game of strike and counterstrike ensues—sanctioned in the halls of the Kremlin and the White House but disavowed to the world. As the line between espionage, counterterrorism, and spec op blurs, Ember is ordered to eliminate their ultimate adversary, which means taking the fight against Zeta to Russian soil. But like a phoenix risen from the Cold War embers, Zeta is more capable than anyone imagines, and the Russians retaliate with an operation that will find Dempsey and task force Ember battling for survival.

 

 

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Interview with Paco Chierici author of Lions of the Sky

 

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Interview with Paco Chierici author of Lions of the Sky

 

What motivated you to write a novel? 

I have always aspired to write a novel, ever since I was a child.  As a first timer I had a sense of how difficult it would be, and still I underestimated by a lot.  Lions of the Sky was motivated by my desire to share the inherent drama of naval aviation while telling a thrilling story.  It’s such a fantastic world, filled with wildly interesting people and daily craziness. And when you add the peril of actual military action to the mix, it elevates the stakes even further.

 

 

In learning how to write fiction what helped you the most?

I love reading fiction.  I’m a voracious consumer of books.  I took note of how my favorite authors crafted their stories and did my best to write with purpose.  I love characters, so I took great care to create fully developed, real people who would react in a natural manner to the circumstances I threw them into.  I also love the details of flying jets from aircraft carriers and wanted to share the intricacies with the reader in a manner that pulled them into the cockpit as a participant without overwhelming them with minutia.  Lastly, I have always enjoyed explaining how the high level global maneuvering of governments affect the individuals at the pointy end of the spear. When you read the news about “The Chinese” aggressively building up their military presence in the South China Sea, and “The Americans” sending ships to sail through the islands asserting freedom of navigation, there are actual humans representing those nations who are put at risk.  I tell stories where the global tensions build on a macro scale, but the reader gets to focus on how those tensions affect the individuals at the points of contact.

 

 

How did you come up with the title Lions of the Sky?

I must say that coming up with a good title was almost as challenging as writing the book itself.  I was in the Blacklions squadron myself, so I am partial to that squadron name. My characters end up in the Blacklions as well, once the trials of their training are complete, and are then sent to face the threat in the South China Sea.  I liked the simplicity and allusion of Lions of the Sky.  

 

 

How competitive are fighter pilots?

The short answer is, massively competitive.  Every aspect of being a fighter pilot is a competition.  From the moment we decide we aspire to be fighter pilots we are put into a pool of applicants that far exceeds the number required.  I don’t know the exact numbers, but say thousands per year for just a couple hundred slots at the far end of the funnel. Every academic test, every flight, every physical fitness test, every medical exam, is an opportunity to fail and be removed.  Over the course of our 18 months of flight training we fly hundreds of flights, each graded. If one fails too many flights, you are washed out. Once we finish flight school and get to the Fleet the competition changes gears. Each aircraft carrier landing is graded and all the grades are posted in each squadron’s Ready Room for all to see.  

It is such a competitive environment that when we dogfight against each other, before each flight we recite the Training Rules in an almost religious manner.  They are strict guidelines designed to reign in our natural desire to win every fight so that we preserve a measure of safety while practicing aerial combat.  

So yes, fighter pilots are extremely competitive.

 

 

As the instructor what role does Sam Richardson play in shaping the younger pilots?

Sam’s role is to make sure that the students he greets at their arrival to the F/A-18 training squadron are transformed from excited young bucks eager to play with their new toy into men and women who are prepared to go into combat the day after they graduate nine months later.  He sets the tone with his example and experience but he’s also approachable in that he’s only four years older than his students.  

 

 

What drives Keely Silvers to achieve her lifelong dream? 

Keely is driven by the belief that the cockpit of a fighter is absolutely where she belongs. She is surprised at first that there would be any opposition to her becoming a fighter pilot based on her gender, then annoyed, then angry at constantly having to defend herself.  Her crisis of confidence is especially powerful because it seems to validate the external beliefs she has been battling. And its resolution is particularly poignant as well, not to give away too much. 

 

 

Does Lions of the Sky employ any themes?

Lions explores a number of classic themes including love, war, death, survival, prejudice, and in a manner particular to being a fighter pilot, coming of age. 

 

 

Who are your favorite authors?

My current favorites are Daniel Silva (Gabriel Allon series) and Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch series).  They both write character-centric thrillers and are masters at building tension while still writing beautifully. I aspire to their level of craftsmanship. 

I have always loved Hemingway, Le Carré, and Elmore Leonard for much the same reason. They have the ability to tell beautiful stories that have a tremendous amount of tension and fantastic, rich characters. 

 

Are you excited about the new Top Gun movie?

I am.  The first was such a cultural event that has had amazing staying power.  I have some friends still in the Navy that worked on the new film as liaisons and they assure me it’s going to be a good movie.  I’m hopeful that the new movie will be just as fun and fix some of the cheesier parts.  

 

What’s next for you?

I’m four chapters into the sequel to Lions, titled The Dragon.  We join Slammer Richardson on his next adventure, which is completely different from Lions.  It’s Slammer, this time, who is in crisis.  Shot down, stuck behind enemy lines, rescued and captured.  He’s got to find a way to make it back to the carrier so he can save the woman who helped him and stop an imminent war based on false pretenses. 

 

 

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In the world of fighter pilots, the most alpha of the alpha, competition is everything and the stakes are impossibly high. A Top Gun for the new millennium, LIONS OF THE SKY propels us into a realm in which friendship, loyalty, and skill are tested, battles won and lost in an instant, and lives irrevocably changed in the time it takes to plug in your afterburners.

 

AmazonGoodreads | Website

 

 

 

Fighter Jet Head-On View

 

 

 

About the Author

 

During his active duty career in the U.S. Navy, Francesco “Paco” Chierici flew A-6E Intruders and F-14A Tomcats, deployed to conflict zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz and Kitty Hawk. Unable to give up dogfighting, he flew the F-5 Tiger II for a further ten years as a Bandit. Throughout his military career, Paco accumulated 3,000 tactical hours, 400 carrier landings, a Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star and three Strike/Flight Air Medals.

Prior to writing Lions in the Sky, Paco published extensively in Aviation Classics Magazine, AOPA Magazine, and Fighter Sweep, as well as creating and producing the award winning naval aviation documentary Speed and Angels.

Currently a 737 captain, Paco can often be found in the skies above California flying a Yak-50 with a group of likeminded G-hounds to get his dogfighting fix. A graduate of Boston University, Paco lives in Northern California with his wife Hillary, and two children.

 

www.lionsofthesky.com

 

 

 

 

Audiobook Blog Tour Series: Brass In Pocket Inspector Drake #1 by Stephen Puleston

 

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Brass in Pocket Puleston audio

 

 

About Audiobook #1

Author: Stephen Puleston

Narrator: Richard Elfyn

Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Publisher: Stephen Puleston⎮2018

Genre: Modern Detective

Series: Inspector Drake Mysteries, Book 1

Release date: Oct. 26, 2018

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: It is the middle of the night….

The road is deserted….

A killer is waiting….

Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a number four. The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages, or is there some hidden meaning in them? Does it all mean more killings are likely? 

When a politician is killed, Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths, but with numbers dominating the case, Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions. Finally, when the killer threatens Drake and his family, he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.

 

Audible | Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

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If you read a book by Stephen Puleston you’re going to get a solid story. Brass in Pocket is a traditional detective mystery, and excellent British crime thriller starring Inspector Ian Drake. I haven’t digested a British crime book in a while, so this was quite refreshing. The audiobook production, sound quality, narration by Richard Elfyn were nothing less than spectacular. Now I’m on to book #2! WORSE THAN DEAD.

 

 

Five stars in the dark. Customer experience and satisfaction concept.

 

 

 

 

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*What do you enjoy most about writing crime fiction?

As I write a series involving Inspector Drake I enjoy developing his character and family life alongside the hurdles he faces day to day with the challenging and changing world of fighting crime. Crime fiction also gives me the opportunity to develop current themes faced in society today.

 

 

*What were your inspirations for creating Detective Ian Drake?

I’ve read a lot of the years and there isn’t one thing that inspired me other than a love of crime/mystery fiction and a desire to write a good story. I have a background in the law so I draw a lot on my work in the criminal courts and doing divorce work for inspiration. My home country Wales also gives me great inspiration for the background and setting of the books. 

 

 

*Who are your favorite detectives?

I enjoy a wide ranging and varied writers. Philip Marlowe must rank as one of the great fictional creations as the classic hard-boiled detective. I am a great fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch too. In the UK I would have to say that John Rebus by Ian Rankin is one of my favourites – grumpy and irascible but determined too. And for great detective drama I think Spiral from France and Craith/Hidden from Wales are top class.

 

 

*What was the best feedback you’ve received from readers?

The feedback I most enjoyed was from a reader in the outback of Australia who lives in a remote location and loved being able to learn about Wales from reading my books.

 

 

*What was it like preparing for an audiobook production? 

Great fun! I enjoyed preparing the spreadsheet of characters with various accents for the narrator and coordinating all the arrangements for the production with the studio.

 

 

*What do you think about experiencing audiobooks as a different medium than paperbacks, or ebooks?

In many ways audiobooks complement ebooks – using Amazon’s whisper sync technology allows you to move from ebook to audiobook without loosing your place. And that should encourage reading, which can only be a good thing. And audio books are a performance in themselves which make them a different sort of experience altogether.

 

 

Author Stephen Puleston

 

 

 

About the Author: Stephen Puleston

I write crime fiction based in Wales and about Wales. The rural landscape of north Wales provides the backdrop to the Inspector Drake novels. And Cardiff, the capital of Wales, provides the setting for the Inspector Marco novels set in a modern urban environment.

I love the novels of Raymond Chandler, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Henning Mankell, Val McDermid – the list could go on! And I enjoy watching detective series on the television the recent Hinterland series based near Aberystwyth in Wales was great. One of my favourites is the French series Spiral but The Bridge and Broadchurch and the Rebus series with Ken Stott and Kenneth Branagh in Wallander are great too.

I was born in Anglesey an island off the north Wales coast and after leaving school in Holyhead I went to University in London before training as a solicitor/lawyer. I practised in a small family business doing criminal work in the magistrates and crown courts, divorce and family work.

I still live on Anglesey, North Wales near the beach and the mountains of Snowdonia.

 

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

 

 

 

 

Narrator Richard E

 

 

About the Narrator: Richard Elfyn

Richard Elfyn is a hugely experienced and talented actor with film credits including APOSTLE, MARIAH MUNDI AND THE MIDAS BOX, THE KILLER ELITE and THE DARK. TV credits include THE CROWN, KEEPING FAITH, HINTERLAND, EMMERDALE and STELLA and numerous leading regular roles for S4C including political drama BYW CELWYDD. Richard is regularly heard on BBC Radio 4 dramas and is a highly skilled voice over artist. He has re-voiced many Welsh language versions of popular animations including FIREMAN SAM, BEN 10 and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Evolution and Development of the Jonathan Quinn Series with Author Brett Battles

 

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Jonathan Quinn is the best at what he does: making bodies disappear. Within the espionage world, his reputation is impeccable.

There was a time, though, when that reputation was still being built under his mentor, Durrie. A time when the very man who had taught Quinn all he knew could have derailed the young cleaner’s future.

Fifteen years ago, Quinn was offered a job. On the surface, a straightforward mission to stop a terrorist. But the client gave Quinn the additional task of taking on Durrie as his number two, as a last chance for the veteran agent to be rehabilitated.

Durrie had been on a downward spiral, going from being a highly respected operative to an unreliable has-been. These changes threatened to destroy everything—not only in Quinn’s life, but Orlando’s, too. She was Durrie’s girlfriend, and Quinn’s best friend.

Both she and Quinn were desperate to help Durrie return to the person he once was.
They hoped this job would be the answer.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

 

 

Interview with microphone

 

 

 

Discuss the evolution of freelance operative and professional “cleaner,” Jonathan Quinn.

When Quinn shows up in The Cleaner, the first book of the series, he’s been in the business for, I think, just under fifteen years. His first five years were spent as an apprentice, then, after being on his own, he becomes one of the best body removal specialist in the espionage world. To be clear, he’s not an assassin, though if he needs to act, he will. He’s the guy you hire to “clean” the scene of an operation so that it looks like nothing happened. This includes making whatever bodies have been left behind disappear forever. With the exception of his apprentice, Nate, from the first time we see Quinn, he’s basically a loner. But, over the course of the series (twelve novels, several short stories and a novella, so far), he reunites with Orlando, the woman he has secretly loved for years. With her and Nate, they become a team that only gets better and better at what they do. 

 

 

 

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How did the relationship between Quinn and Orlando originate?

Quinn and Orlando started off as apprentices at the same time, for mentors where friends. So, they often worked together. Quinn found himself drawn to her from the very start. But his mentor, Durrie, made the first move, beginning a relationship with Orlando that left Quinn out in the cold. Five years later, after a tragedy that threatened to divide Quinn and Orlando forever, Quinn has little choice but to go to her for help. From that moment, their relationship begins to mend until it becomes something even more than Quinn could have ever hoped.

 

 

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Who are the members of Quinn’s team?

Orlando, of course, who is both a badass in the field and pretty handy with computers. Nate, who is Quinn’s apprentice in the first several books, and partner in those that come after. Daeng, a former Thai monk who is pretty chill even in highly stressful situations. And, most recently, Jar, (my current favorite character) a young Thai woman who is on the autism spectrum, and is even better at all things cyber than Orlando. She’s also getting better at working in the field, too. There are other operatives who make occasional appearances, but these are the core members of the team.

 

 

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Discuss the development of the series featuring Nate in Night Man.

It wasn’t too long into the Quinn series that I began to think about featuring his apprentice Nate in his own stories. The problem was coming up with an angle that would set his books apart from Quinn’s. A few novels ago, an event happened in the Quinn novels that opened up an avenue I hadn’t even considered before. And from that came Night Man. I’ve also been able to set up up so that these “personal missions” of Nates come between jobs he does with Quinn, allowing him to continue on in the Quinn books, too. I’d tell you more but, you know…spoilers.

 

 

 

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Did anything stand out in your writing process during Night Man?

A few things. The Night Man books—well, book at the moment—will all be more crime based thrillers as opposed to spy thrillers like Quinn. This have given me a whole new area to dive into, which is exciting. I love that Nate is driven to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves by…let’s just call it…a voice in his head that he can’t say no to. The stories are also told in first person by Nate, which is different than the Quinn books, too. I absolutely love writing in first person. Finally, Night Man was a blast to write.  I’m not saying my other novels weren’t fun, too. It’s just that Night Man was enjoyable from beginning to end.

 

“Stay faithful to the stories in your head” – Paula Hawkins

 

 

In addition to the recently released NIGHT MAN, Battles has just published THE DAMAGED, another novel in his Jonathan Quinn spy thriller series. This time the story takes place fifteen years ago, when Quinn was still establishing himself as a cleaner—the person who makes bodies disappear—and centers around his deteriorating relationship with his mentor, who may or may not be going mad. A dangerous thing in a world full of guns and secrets and death.

 

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Brett Battles is a Barry Award-winning author of over thirty novels, including Rewinder, the Jonathan Quinn series, the Logan Harper series, and the Project Eden series. He’s also the coauthor, with Robert Gregory Browne, of the Alexandra Poe series. You can learn more at his website:

BrettBattles.com