#BlogTour: False Allegiance by Nick Thacker

For this blog tour, we’re looking at an explosive action/ mystery that looks into an oft-neglected global topic. For this blog tour, we’re looking at False Allegiance by Nick Thacker.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

False Promise? Let me be extremely clear: As far as “facing constant threat of death from mysterious operators” plot lines go, this one was solid. After what has become a usual opening chapter establishing Jake Parker just trying to live his life, we pretty well immediately go into “constantly running from the bad guys while trying to solve a global mystery” mode, and in this part Thacker is excellent. We even get a bit of real-world discussion on yet another oft-neglected topic, in this case … well, revealing that is a bit of a spoiler. But an interesting one, for sure.

But no, the “False Promise?” question from the title more has to do with the ending of Book 2 and my own expectations for this book based on that. I was expecting a lot more direct involvement from Parker’s dad, leading up to a direct confrontation between father and son where guns would be blazing both directions. That… doesn’t happen here. Though Parker’s dad *does* play a role in most of the tale and there *is* (eventually) a confrontation and even a resolution. It just wasn’t the all encompassing explosive type I for some reason was expecting/ hoping for.

But Thacker does in fact do an excellent job of telling yet another globe trotting Jake Parker tale and both wraps up this current version while allowing for new possibilities down the road. This reader, for one, hopes we eventually get to explore some of those. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, the publisher information, including a book description and buy links. ๐Ÿ™‚
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#BookReview: The House With The Blue Front Door by Elizabeth Bromke

Interconnected and Interweaving. Bromke executes on an interconnected and interweaving style here better than many other attempts I’ve seen at such an approach. Told via half a dozen or so perspectives – mostly the various ladies who live in a particular neighborhood – this book has its own central mystery while also revealing bits and pieces of a larger mythos. A mythos that will leave the reader with bated breath desperate for the next book… where it is possible Bromke will continue to tease out this particular larger, seemingly darker, mystery. If you are a reader that can have *no possible spoilers* when reading a book, you’re going to want to start with Book 1 of this series. I personally started with Book 2 and had no real problems following the story (thanks in part to Bromke putting a summary of each character and where they are at the start of the tale), but I generally have no issues doing this and back reading the original stories. This is one of those women’s fiction tales that might come close to the cozy mystery label, perhaps – I’ve never read a book knowing it was labeled as a “cozy mystery”, but knowing how friends speak of what that genre entails, this book certainly gets close to that feeling. Ultimately a fun, compelling, and short-ish (just over 200 page?) read that truly will have you coming back to this series. Very much recommended.

This review of The House With The Blue Front Door by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on April 24, 2021.

#BookReview: Dead Secret by Noelle Holten

Intriguing Mystery. Explosive Ending. This was my first book from Holten, and thus obviously I hadn’t read the prior three books in this series. And yet this book totally works. Yes, there are references to prior events, but they are explained enough to keep the current story going without overburdening the current story with prior details. If you’ve ever started in the middle of a military technothriller series ala Tom Clancy or Dale Brown – similar feel here.

Overall, the world is interesting in that you get a typical-yet-not detective and an entire cast of well developed characters all working together almost in an ensemble fashion that works so well in so many mediums. Holten shows herself adept at the technique of using the final sentences of a chapter to hook the reader into reading the next, and indeed uses the final chapter of the overall book to similar effect – the reader is left almost breathless in desperate need for the next book.

If you’re open to police procedurals at all, particularly those set in the UK, you’re going to enjoy this book. Even if you’re not, you should really give this book a chance – the characters are that strong. Very much recommended.

This review of Dead Secret by Noelle Holten was originally written on March 10, 2021.

#BookReview: The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone

Slow Burn Family Mystery With Explosive Twist. Let’s get a common criticism dealt with up front: No, this is NOT a Jane Doe novel. That dispensed with, this *IS* a great example of Stone’s ability to tell more than one type of story in more than one way. What we get here is a compelling slow burn family mystery involving killers, rapists, mistresses, and one confused kid. Told in dual timelines from the modern era and the 80s, we see mom and daughter explore their situations and come to startling revelations – though neither is quite prepared for the explosive revelation at the end of the tale. This picks up some of the creepier elements of Christopher Rice’s Blood Music while spinning an engrossing gothic – in the classic sense of the word, involving a foreboding building – mystery all its own. Very much recommended.

This review of The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone was originally written on October 25, 2020.

#BookReview: Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia

Raise Me Up. In some ways, this is your stereotypical whodunit, straight down to most of the action happening in some remarkable-yet-unremarkable Midwestern town with a coda in the Caribbean. In others, it takes some fun risks, even if most of them are off screen. All in all, this is arguably to CPAs what John Grisham’s books – particularly his earlier ones- are to lawyers. And considering that Grisham’s early books were perennially best selling books of the year through the 90s and even early 00s… I’m pretty sure Mejia won’t exactly mind the comparison. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had the ultimate culprit pegged somewhere between 50 and 66% through, though the endgame was a bit shocking and the epilogue even moreso. Excellent book, again, particularly for Grisham fans, and very much recommended.

This review of Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia was originally written on April 12, 2020.

Featured New Release of the Week: Letters to a Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado, Translated by Jennie Erikson

This week we’re looking at what is quite possibly the first modern book I’ve ever read that was originally written in another language. This week we’re looking at Letters To A Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado, translated by Jennie Erikson.

This was an interesting read. The mystery is solid and compelling, and the writing is excellent (at least in the English, and presumably in the Spanish – though I barely read or write Spanish and thus read the English version). But the book itself is all about loss, and that depressive state pervades this book almost from the first words to the last. (Though to be fair, the last words are a bit cliche, a slight mar to the finish of an otherwise outstanding work.) So as I note below, you’re almost going to be begging for a zany and hilarious romantic comedy as a palate cleanser after this one.

But there *is* a love story embedded within the loss, as well as a pair of redemptive arcs that play out on different time scales. These provide just enough levity to allow the gravitas of the loss to settle without being overbearing, and these show just how adept at her craft Maldonado is. This seems to be the first of Maldonado’s works to be translated into English, but this reader for one is hoping that more follow – I’m not quite so desperate to read more of her work that I would learn Spanish just to be able to do so, but I would indeed like to see more. Very much recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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Featured New Release of The Week: Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

This week we look at a twisted tale reminiscent of Gone Girl. This week, we look at Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle.

Structurally, this book is told from three perspectives – a woman on the run, a husband she is running from, and a cop investigating the disappearance. And this structure very much works for this tale to keep the reader guessing until the point the author wants to begin to clue the reader in on what is really going on.

The tale itself is a tad too similar to Gone Girl up front, with a missing wife and the husband being targeted by police and media. And honestly, through this section I was looking at a 4 star review based on that. But instead of the mind-warping shift at the middle of the book presented in Gone Girl, instead here we get a more gradual revelation of what is really going on – and that is very much appreciated by at least this reader. And what is actually happening is enough to get the book its 5th star – truly great work. While it does have its issues along the “content warning” level, I don’t really do those and to my mind revealing what they are would go into spoiler territory in this particular tale.

At the end of the day, if you enjoyed Gone Girl or at least didn’t have particularly strong feelings against it, you’re probably going to enjoy this book. If you hated Gone Girl, you’re probably not going to like this one much either. If you’ve never heard of Gone Girl… what rock have you been living under for the last several years? ๐Ÿ™‚

This was my first book from this author, and it won’t be my last. Very much recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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#HypeTrain: White Peak by Ronan Frost

White Peak is a book from “debut author” (at least under this pseudonym) Ronan Frost that starts out with a literal bang and becomes an adventure race across much of the northern hemisphere. As of this post, it releases in just a couple of days, on May 21, and can be preordered from any of several outlets via this link.

My Goodreads/ Amazon review shows a few of my thoughts on this book:

Who Knew A Fictional Character Could Write This Well? In this debut work by fictional character Ronan Frost, we get a solid action/ adventure tale of a man haunted by being on the other end of the phone when his wife is killed in a mass shooting being recruited to find a mysterious map for one of the world’s wealthiest men. The action is taut, the mystery is compelling, and the locations include some rarely if ever used in novels before. Truly an outstanding work. Particularly for a fictional character.

Here’s hoping we get a sequel from this new author far faster than we got the sequel he appears in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes, Ronan is fictional and a pseudonym for a real-life long time friend. Ronan is actually one of the primary characters in a book that has been reviewed on this very blog last year, though for now I’m still playing into the mystery and choosing not to reveal him (even though it isn’t an actual secret). All will be revealed on Weds, May 22, when I post a Q and A #HypeTrain post about this same book with the real life friend… that we conducted through St. Martin’s Press’s official channels, as said official channels are actually where I was invited to this blog tour from. ๐Ÿ™‚

For now, how about I let you check out the explosive first chapter of the book that I describe in the review above?
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Featured New Release Of the Week: Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve

This week we look at a book chat continues to build its world while using a legendary tale in a modern setting to ask questions about the modern world. This week, we’re looking at Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve.

It is difficult to speak about this book without spoilers, particularly since the biggest thing that resonated with me was the biggest spoiler of the entire book. But I’m not going to do that. I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible on this site, and I’m not going to start spoiling books now. So all I’ll say about what I really want to talk about is that there is a singular book I’ve read more than twice in my eReader exclusive era of the past 7 yrs or so. I love this particular book and what it stands for so much that I literally have a version of the heading of one of the parts of this book tattooed on my left wrist. And this particular book’s take on the spoiler subject of Perfectly Good Crime is pretty well diametrically opposed to the presentation Ms. Meserve gives the topic. Which is not to say that her presentation isn’t stellar, it is. And if you subscribe to the dominant beliefs of our era, Ms. Meserve actually presents this topic in a very balanced fashion and brings out some very interesting points about it in the process. But my own feelings there are simply… atypical may be a gentle way of putting it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All of that said, this is a great crime/ reporter mystery that continues with solid world building and tells an excellent tale of a reporter struggling to find just what she wants for herself. The personal aspects of Kate Bradshaw’s life are interwoven with the professional in a very satisfying manner and continue to show local journalists even in large markets such as LA as the true professionals yet also “normal people” they are. Truly an excellent work, and I look forward to more from this author and this series.

As always, we end with the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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#BookReview: Flight by K’Anne Meinel

Take Flight. This was a very interesting character driven book centered on Jessica Penn. We follow Jess over the course of nearly a decade as she is awoken to the news that her wife has died in some form of plane crash and we follow her through all that is revealed in the aftermath. The story has a major swerve about 50% in, as the narrative of the first half changes and a new villain emerges – with direct ties to the original. Great story excellently written.

This review of Flight by K’Anne Meinel was originally published on April 5, 2019.