Book Review: Cyberspace by Matthew Mather

 

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In this long-awaited sequel to the massive bestseller CyberStorm, Mike and his family are caught up in a new disaster as the Kessler Syndrome unfolds and all satellites in orbit are suddenly destroyed.

“Couldn’t put it down…CyberStorm series is not only a great thriller, but a wake up call.” Brent Watkins, FBI Cyber Investigations, Special Agent (retired)

Six years after the events of CyberStorm, Mike Mitchel is reunited with his old friends Damon Indigo and Chuck Mumford on a boys’ fishing trip in New Orleans. His brings his son Luke, now eight years old, while his wife Lauren attends a business meeting in Hong Kong.

As soon as they arrive, simmering tensions in Kashmir explode. India launches a weapon that destroys a Pakistani satellite. They retaliate and hit an Indian satellite. Russia and China threaten America not to intervene.

Suddenly, GPS signal goes out.

A debris field from dozens of shattered satellites spreads in orbit, destroying everything in its path. One by one, weather and communications and military satellites go offline. The Russian and American and Chinese armed forces are blinded, their armies and navies losing connections to each other. The world’s networks shut down. The United States ratchets up to global DEFON 2, threatening the brink of imminent war.

As America closes its borders, Mike discovers that his wife Lauren took an overnight flight from Hong Kong to Washington that morning. She is now somewhere over the Russian arctic. With satellites falling from the skies, mobile communications cut off, rolling power blackouts sweeping across the country and martial law declared, Mike and Chuck must race across America once again in a desperate race against the clock to save their families…

 

AmazonGoodreads | Audible

 

 

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When author Matthew Mather penned the first book, Cyberstorm in 2013 it was memorable, like the food that sticks to your ribs on Thanksgiving Day. Now the story continues in the much anticipated follow up, Cyberspace.  The story centers around Mike Mitchell’s family and friends as they witness the destruction of global communications networks. Consistent with things in the “cyber” realm, nothing is as it seems building suspense as the book moves along towards the climax. The ending leaves you panting for more, dripping with anticipation for the next in the series, Cyberwar.

 

 

Cyberwar Matthew Mather

 

 

The thrilling conclusion to the series, where the mysteries of CyberStorm will finally be revealed.

Terrorists unleashed an attack that destroy everything in orbit, but they’ve finally been stopped. Or have they?

Mike saves the life of his father-in-law Senator Seymour in Washington, when a wave of autonomous killer drones are unleashed in the capital. They flee the city with a secret service detail attached to the Vice-President, and peel off once they get into the countryside–but discover that the machines seem to be following them. Worse, the terrorists have kidnapped Chuck’s wife and children and are barricaded in his cottage in the hilltops of the Shenandoah mountains.

Mike and Lauren make a desperate decision to help their friend before escaping into the Kentucky foothills, chased by a mysterious military unit. With American armed forces almost completely disabled, police and emergency services gone and Washington burning…can Mike find a way to overcome the deadly intelligent machines hunting them, to save both his family and his country?

 

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Guest Post: By Robert B. McCaw Author of Fire and Vengeance

 

 

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(Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery #3)

 

Having killed his father’s nemesis and gotten away with it, Hilo, Hawai`i Chief Detective Koa Kane, is not your ordinary cop. Estranged from his younger brother who has been convicted of multiple crimes, he is not from a typical law enforcement family. Yet, Koa’s secret demons fuel his unwavering drive to pursue justice. Never has Koa’s motivation been greater than when he learns that an elementary school was placed atop a volcanic vent, which has now exploded. The subsequent murders of the school’s contractor and architect only add urgency to his search for the truth. As Koa’s investigation heats up, his brother collapses in jail from a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. Using his connections, Koa devises a risky plan to win his brother’s freedom. As Koa gradually unravels the obscure connections between multiple suspects, he uncovers a 40 year-old conspiracy. When he is about to apprehend the perpetrators, his investigation suddenly becomes entwined with his brother’s future, forcing Koa to choose between justice for the victims and his brother’s freedom.

 

AmazonGoodreads | Audible

 

 

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Guest  Post

By Robert B. McCaw

Themes of Fire and Vengeance

 

Fire and Vengeance is a murder mystery. First and foremost, I hope readers find it entertaining, especially in this coronavirus era, when we all need relief from the grim realities of life. This novel, like the others in the Koa Kāne mystery series, plays with several of my favorite literary themes. While they are not unique, I’ve woven these themes into my narratives and hope this blog post provides some insight into the development of the Koa Kāne mysteries.

One theme is that of place as character. The Big Island is a powerful force in the story, and its unique geology and weather take on anthropomorphic roles. The Island is a place of creation and destruction, often embodied in the myth of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fires. The opening pages of Fire and Vengeance feature the destructive powers of the Island as a volcanic vent, flooded with rainwater, explodes beneath an elementary school on Hualalai Mountain.

The earlier books in the series—Death of a Messenger and Off the Grid—similarly explore the unique volcanic powers that created and continue to shape the Big Island. Death of a Messenger takes the reader deep underground into Pele’s lava tubes. Off the Grid features the volcanic destruction of the Royal Gardens community on the slopes of Kīlauea. The explosive events in Fire and Vengeance continue to build on this premise.

The place-as-character theme is not limited to geologic forces but also extends to the history, culture, and language of the Island. Descriptions of the landscape, often employing Hawaiian words for places or features, like pu’us for cinder cones, help convey the island setting’s personality. The way the human characters in Fire and Vengeance interact with Hawaii’s geography helps define them, giving them depth within their unique island environment. For instance, the park service ceremony honoring Nālani for her public safety work in the wake of the May 2018 Kīlauea eruption and Koa’s control of the crowd around the disintegrating school building are windows into their lives as well as the world they inhabit.

Physicists like to say that for every action there is a reaction. That is also true in human behavior with one startling difference. Physicists can usually predict a precise reaction while life is rife with unintended consequences. Take Koa’s personal history, for example. What were the likely consequences of his reckless killing of his father’s nemesis? Maybe flight, maybe jail, but not that he should become a cop devoted to finding justice for murder victims.

The human compulsion to cover up one’s misdeeds only adds to our inability to predict consequences. Lawyers frequently warn that the cover-up is worse than the crime, and that is often true. Suppression prolongs the day of reckoning, sometimes for years or even decades, permitting unforeseen events to ensue that can impact the ultimate outcome. For example, a man who sexually harassed women in the 1990s had little expectation of dealing with the blowback arising from the #MeToo era. Readers will find unintended consequences throughout the Koa Kāne mystery series. It is one of my favorite themes.

The relationship between the past and present in the development of character fascinates me. I wonder whether we can ever truly escape our past. On the surface, the answer, of course, is yes. While traumatic events may leave scars, people have escaped poverty and abusive relationships. People do change. Redemption is a core theme in many religions, and there are legions of hypocritical politicians who have seen the light and renounced their various indiscretions. Our prison and parole systems rely in part on the belief in the rehabilitation. The blessing of forgiveness covers many sins, both large and small.

On a deeper level, however, the answer is not so obvious, especially when the past involves heinous acts like murder. Can Koa ever escape the fact that he killed a man? It haunts his days and invades his dreams. It drives his compulsion to seek justice and makes him good at his job. He seeks redemption, but can he ever find it? If not, at least his efforts result in some measure of personal catharsis and public service. Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case.

Fire and Vengeance features another set of relationships between past misdeeds and present actions. In this case, the participants acted in concert but then followed dramatically diverse paths. Their collective history governs their later lives in radically different ways. Because they joined together in criminal conduct, these players affect each other, if only because each knows that the others are aware of the sins they share. Adding to the drama, the passage of time alters their interactions as each one necessarily grows and changes. Can any of them escape what they have done? Is there a path to redemption? How do these relationships play out over time?

The passage of time obscures consciousness, a theme often captured in the admonition that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. There is no more vivid example than the current coronavirus plague. Humanity has suffered many pandemics, starting at least as early as 430 BC. The world nevertheless remained unprepared for COVID-19 because its leaders ignored the inevitability of another global health crisis. The Japanese built the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant where their ancestors had previously warned of massive tsunamis. Italians populate the slopes of Vesuvius, which is sure to erupt in the future. Collective obscured consciousness is a favorite theme with virtually unlimited potential.

The imagined tragedy at the heart of Fire and Vengeance happened only because the story’s fictional characters—like many modern-day Hawaiians—remain oblivious to the fact that Hualalai Mountain is an active volcano. The passage of more than 200 years since its last eruption should offer little solace that Hualalai will not erupt again. Yet, thousands live within its shadow, flying in and out from nearby Keāhole airport built on its flows, with little or no thought of the inherent risks. These residents are mostly indifferent to warnings by expert volcanologists and disregard the Hawaiian legends of past volcanic tragedies on the mountain.

For me, these themes make creative writing fun.

 

 

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Robert McCaw is the author of Fire and Vengeance, Off the Grid, and Death of a Messenger. McCaw grew up in a military family, traveling the world. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, served as a U.S. Army lieutenant, and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. He was a partner in a major international law firm in Washington, D.C. and New York City, representing major Wall Street clients in complex civil and criminal cases. Having lived on the Big Island of Hawaii, McCaw imbues his writing of the Islands with his more than 2-year love affair with this Pacific paradise. He now lives in New York City with his wife, Calli.

 

 

 

Book Review: Texas Ranger by James Patterson & Andrew Bourelle

 

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  • Rory Yates Book 1
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1538713802
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (August 13, 2018)
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2018
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group

 

Officer Rory Yates is called home to settle deadly scores.

Rory Yates’s skill and commitment to the badge have seen him rise through the ranks in the Texas Ranger division, but it came at a cost – his marriage.

When he receives a worrying phone call from his ex-wife, Anne, Rory speeds to what used to be their marital home. He arrives to a horrifying crime scene and a scathing accusation: he is named a suspect in Anne’s murder.

Rory’s only choice is to find the killer himself. He risks his job, his pride, his reputation among everyone he loves to pursue the truth.

Yates follows the Ranger creed – never to surrender. That code just might bring him out alive.

AmazonGoodreads | B&NAudible

 

 

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This was the best Patterson book yet. I’m totally loving the Texas Ranger Rory Yates in his gun-blazing glory. It has that old wild, wild, west flavor to it. And, if you take the audiobook route, narrator Christopher Ryan Grant does an excellent job ushering you into the full Texas experience. LOVED IT. Felt like I was in the old south. Ranger Rory Yates is drawn back into his hometown where he finds his ex-wife brutally murdered. What’s even worse, he’d been on the phone with her while going to her—but found out she was dead on arrival. In the most horrific way. That’s the hook and premise for the entire story. He has to deal with much more than just the murder investigation though. Family turmoil, past relationships, and conflict with law enforcement just to name a few. Wonderful beginning to a promising series. The follow up Texas Outlaw just came out and I’m looking forward to diving in headfirst.

 

 

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Texas Ranger

Series: Rory Yates, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins

 

“An effective mystery . . . Patterson and Bourelle’s rapid-fire chapters squeeze in plenty of dishy small-town drama on top of the murder case [and] the story is picking up speed like a semi barreling down the Interstate.” -Houston Chronicle

 

 

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Texas Outlaw

Series: Rory Yates, Book 2
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins

A Texas Ranger is justice. Until he sidesteps the law.

Texas Ranger Rory Yates is not keen for hero status. But it’s unavoidable once his girlfriend, country singer Willow Dawes, writes a song about his bravery. Rory escapes his newfound fame when he’s sent to the remote West Texas town of Rio Lobo, a municipality with two stoplights. And now, according to the Chief of Police, it has one too many Texas Rangers. 

Rio Lobo Detective Ariana Delgado is the one who requested Rory, and the only person who believes a local councilwoman’s seemingly accidental death is a murder. Then Rory begins to uncover a tangle of small-town secrets, favors, and lies as crooked as Texas law is straight.

To get to the truth before more people die, Rory is forced to take liberties with the investigation. The next ballad of Rory Yates may not be about a hero, but rather an outlaw song.

©2020 James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle (P)2020 Little, Brown & Company

Book Review: Hard Target by J.B. Turner

 

 

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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: Instinct Chess Team Adventure Book #2

 

Instinct Chess Team Adventure book 2

 

The high adventure of James Rollins combines with the gripping suspense of Scott Sigler in this second installment in the Jack Sigler Thriller 

A genetic disease known as Brugada Syndrome kills its victims without warning, without symptom. When the President of the United States falls victim to a weaponized and contagious strain of the disease, the Chess Team?King, Queen, Rook, Knight and Bishop?are assigned to protect Sara Fogg, a CDC detective, as she journeys to the source of the new strain: the Annamite Mountains in Vietnam. Surrounded by Vietnam War era landmines, harsh terrain and more than one military force not happy about the return of American boots to the Ho Chi Minh trail, the fight for survival becomes a grueling battle in the humid jungle.Pursued by VPLA Death Volunteers, Vietnam?s Special Forces unit, the team?s flight through a maze of archaic ruins reveals an ancient secret…a primal secret that may stop the disease from sweeping the globe?even as it threatens both the mission and their lives.

 

AmazonAudible

 

 

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What an adventure! This was an absolute roller coaster of a read, but with MORE twists and turns. A genuine definition of a true thriller that never disappoints, and Never, EVER has a dull moment. Superb. I can’t recommend this series enough. It blends all of the topics I love together. Military, covert operations, science, coupled with action and adventure. And I have to say, a book like this, only could’ve come out of the mind of author Jeremy Robinson. It’s the right kind of weird that explores the wildest side of the imagination. But it’s written in such a skillful way that keeps you burning through the pages. I kept asking myself, how in the hell are they going to get out of this one! The suspense is about a mile thick with a very satisfying ending. I’m on to book #3 Threshold!

 

 

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

 

 

 

Instinct Book Trailer

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Robinson image

 

Jeremy Robinson is the international bestselling author of sixty novels and novellas, including Apocalypse Machine, Island 731, and SecondWorld, as well as the Jack Sigler thriller series and Project Nemesis, the highest selling, original (non-licensed) kaiju novel of all time. He’s known for mixing elements of science, history and mythology, which has earned him the #1 spot in Science Fiction and Action-Adventure, and secured him as the top creature feature author. Many of his novels have been adapted into comic books, optioned for film and TV, and translated into thirteen languages. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and three children.

 

Visit him at www.bewareofmonsters.com.

 

 

 

Detective Kay Hunter Blog Tour: Cradle To Grave by Rachel Amphlett

 

 

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Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

 

 

Cradle to Grave Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 7 hours 56 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2019

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 8

Release date: Oct. 15, 2019

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

Cradle to Grave is the eighth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series by USA Today best-selling author Rachel Amphlett and perfect for listeners who love fast-paced murder mysteries.

 

Buy Links

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Four star review rating

 

 

Coming back to book #8 in the Kay Hunter series was like meeting up again with old time friends. I always enjoy a good crime thriller, or police procedural, especially one based in the UK.  Author Rachel Amphlett writes a tight plot that’ll keep you guessing until the very end.

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsInstagram

 

 

Alison Campbell narrator Cradle to grave

 

About the Narrator: Allison Campbell

Alison Campbell is an actress based in Bristol, U.K. She has lent her voice to 50+ audiobooks, cartoons, documentaries and dramas. She can be found treading the boards across the country, in everything from Shakespeare to hip hop kids adventures. On screen she has appeared in dramas and science documentaries, her most recent co star was a CGI elephant. She can also be found performing the Natural Theatre Company’s award-winning surreal brand of interactive comedy around the globe.

 

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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. ​

 

 

 

Word Q AND A made with wood building blocks

 

 

 

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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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

 

 

 

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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 Series Blog Tour: Against The Tide by Stephen Puleston

 

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About Audiobook #3

Author: Stephen Puleston

Narrator: Richard Elfyn

Length: 10 hours 1 minute

Publisher: Stephen Puleston⎮2019

Genre: Modern Detective

Series: Inspector Drake Mysteries, Book 3

Release date: May 29, 2019

 

Synopsis: A small village is shocked when a fisherman is impaled by his own fork. And when a young girl is killed, Inspector Drake has to find what connects them.

The small rural community of the villages of the island of Anglesey have a secret to protect. The dead man owns land connected to the development of a nuclear power station, so somebody wants him dead very badly.

Is the young girl’s death connected to the fisherman’s murder? 

Is it simply money at stake? Or are there more complex motives involved? And with the proposed nuclear power station causing massive controversy, the local community is reluctant to share its secrets. 

And how far will people go to protect their way of life and language?

Grab your copy of Against the Tide today because we all love a fast-paced mystery.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

Buy on Audible

 

 

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The crimes that Inspector Drake has to solve in this series are utterly complex and leaves me scratching my head every time. Crime writer Stephen Puleston weaves a tight plot in every book for the reader’s journey. I was secretly hoping that Drake’s marriage would be salvaged at some point, but to no avail. I could feel the deep seated tension between the two. Good book.

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.