Comic Book Justice. In this epic conclusion (?) to Suzie Falkner’s story, Swann manages to keep the tension tight even when filling in backstory – and showing that the characters have lived through the year ish since the publication of Never Go Home in near real-time with the rest of us. Except that for Suzie, that year has been spent being tormented by the fallout from Never Go Home. (In other words, read that book first in this particular case.) We spend most of the book with the Big Bad more a menacing presence in the shadows (ala the opening sequence) or the general background (most of the book) while showing off Suzie’s own skills ever more prominently, including several other tie-ins to Never Go Home. (Seriously, read that book first.) And then, in the last third of the book or so, Swann gets into Suzie’s toughest tests yet – and into some of the most creepy and traumatizing events of these books. Getting into the specifics would be spoilery, but one does need to be generally referenced in case the reader is particularly sensitive to this issue: there *is* a school shooting in this book, and yes, people die in it. Given the realities of the world today, that caution needed to be mentioned. Along those lines, Swann has a line or two where his personal politics tinge the page – but they tend to be throwaway lines that are not pervasive and are quickly moved past, and therefore don’t warrant a star deduction so much as a mention of their presence. Overall truly a breathtaking book that you won’t want to put down for even a second. Very much recommended.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a solid new entrant deep in a series and this new entrant happens to be set in the tranquil and beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan.
Solid Mystery Deep In Series. While this is only book 3 in the series, as heavily as the first two are referenced it actually feels much deeper in. So up front, my recommendation is actually to go back to the beginning of this series and start there, if you haven’t already. But once you get here… this is a solid mystery with a lot going on both within the mystery and town it is placed in – this band of FBI cops travels the country, and this particular mystery is set in Washington’s San Juan Islands, familiar to many from Discovery Channel’s long running Island Life show (which I watched – for months, over meals – on Discovery+, for those that may have missed it and want to get a feel for the real islands here). Both the islanders and the FBI team prove interesting characters, but the series depth *really* shows through in the interactions between the FBI team. The choice to almost go Disaster Movie-esque and show the victims of the murder first was actually quite bold and refreshing, and overall this book simply worked so much better than Brennan’s previous effort I reviewed, The Sorority Murder – which worked well enough for what it was and had some unique things going for it, this was simply a better executed story here to my own mind. Overall a great story, and perfect for any fans of long running police procedurals. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan”
I Just Want To Watch The World Burn. I’m of two minds on this book, so I’ll write both reviews here. 😉
Every Airplane Action Movie You’ve Ever Seen – And That Is Why It Works. Briefly looking through the other Goodreads reviews (as I do before writing my own reviews), I saw a few criticisms along the lines of “you can pretty well imagine any airplane action movie you’ve ever seen, and that is what you have here” – and, yes, that is actually valid. But need I remind readers of this review that many of those movies have made *millions* of dollars at the box office, and at least a few others have achieved a cult following over the years? There are *reasons* these movies work, and it is for these same reasons that this book works as well. Another, much more valid, reviewer noted that the opening scene – featuring a hole in the side of a falling aircraft – had absolutely nothing to do with the book, and in fact (my own point here) was immediately retconned at the beginning of Chapter 1. This, along with the visual of the cover that makes the reader think that this will be about a falling aircraft, *almost* smacks of deceptive advertising – which a careful examination of the cover shows is *barely* averted by the fact that if you remove the title and flip the image into a 3D (mathematical) plane such that one end of the cover is closer to you than the other, it is clear that the actual image is *not* of a plane *falling*, but *flying*. Which is actually the action tale we get – a man forced into a Job-esque (or perhaps Solomon-esque?) decision of watching his family be murdered… or he can murder 150 people while committing suicide. Along the way, the FBI gets involved and we get a compelling ground story, though the bit at *Yankee* Stadium (not Dodger Stadium as another reviewer noted) during the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series is in fact contrived yet cool. Ultimately even with these issues, this is still a 5* book – though yet again, I do not understand why *this* book gets all the hype and publicity while other books that are at least as good languish in obscurity.
And from the other side…
“That was then. Now I Just Want You To Burn.” Ok, so that title is a bit spoilery, as it is in fact a line that occurs late in the book. Though out of context, it is just cool. 😀 This is one action-packed book that has a few cliches – hello, ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series- yet still manages to keep the reader glued to the page, desperate to see what happens next. Like some (yet far from most) other airplane action tales, this one has a strong ground game (even the dang World Series scene turns out cool, if contrived) mostly featuring an FBI agent regularly frustrated by FBI bureaucracy and seemingly as immune to damage as Halo’s Master Chief. (Seriously, I think this dude absorbs more critical wounds than I’ve ever seen in any other action movie.) If you’re looking for a straight up “don’t think too much and just enjoy the action” type of tale, this one really is pretty dang good, up there with most any Die Hard *movie* (the books the first two Die Hard movies were based on actually had a *bit* more thinking involved, and yes, I’ve read them both – about three years ago, IIRC). While I still don’t understand the *massive* hype and publicity of this book – I’ve seen as-good-or-better tales languish in obscurity *this year* simply because they don’t have the strength of a Mega publisher behind them – again, for what it is, this book is truly solid and a really fun time.
As you can see from both lines of thinking, this book is still, even with its issues and even with my questions re: strength of publisher, very much recommended.
Solid, But With A Glaring Error Early. As a romance between an amnesiac assassin and an undercover FBI agent, this story works great. As a continuation of this new Richter series (which is apparently a spinoff from the First Wives series, though I did not know that until perusing the reviews on Goodreads for this book), this works quite well. As a forced-proximity romance, this is actually fairly inventive, as the leading couple is not alone in the house… *and* there are cameras and sensors (almost) everywhere to boot!
But there is one *blinding* in its glaringness issue that needs to be mentioned, even though it isn’t objectively strong enough to remove a star over (though I know some who would likely 1* the book on this issue alone). And that issue is the very moment the assassin becomes an amnesiac. When she is shot on a crowded Las Vegas street in a drive by shooting with a “silenced” weapon. That nobody hears.
Why is this so glaring?
Because I know from both handling firearms and speaking/ listening to others who do that suppressors – they aren’t actually called “silencers”, for one – don’t actually silence a weapon, unlike what happens so often in Hollywood. Depending on several factors such as barrel length of the gun (usually shorter, in drive by situations), temperature, humidity, etc – all of which would be known and factored by professional hitmen/ security / assassin types – a suppressor *at best* takes a gun shot from sounding like you’re standing beside the speakers at a rock concert to sounding like your is using a chainsaw to cut down a tree on the other side of the fence you are standing beside.
In other words, for the shot not to be heard by *everyone* nearby – inside or outside – is so implausible that it brings the reader out of the story if they know the realities of these devices *at all*.
And since Bybee herself noted during the discussion of her Canyon Creek series that she knows her way around a shotgun, it is implausible that the author is not aware of these issues directly. Which makes them being written this way even worse. Though again, because it was a singular point in the book and not a recurring problem, it isn’t a star-deduction level error.
Ultimately, this is a quite solid book for what it actually is, and I’m still very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes from here. (And I’ll need to go back and read the book this series spins off from, since I bought it years ago and have yet to read it. :D) Very much recommended.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Assassin On Assassin Action. In Las Vegas. This is a semi-weird (in a good way) mashup of a police procedural and a straight up shoot-em-up action thriller. On the police procedural side, one half of the “problem solving” team is an FBI agent with the usual FBI agent problems, plus at least a hint of a personal life. On the shoot-em-up action thriller side, the other half of the “problem solving” team is a former Royal Marine turned mercenary turned private assassin. Now, this team is tasked with tracking down and assassinating an assassin who has been let loose on the Las Vegas strip – and whoever is paying them. It is an intriguing premise in that it hasn’t been covered a thousand times in a thousand variations of the exact same thing, and when this British author is focusing on things *other* than guns in his action, it is at minimum plausible and seemingly realistic. But his British blind spots shine through in his repeated – pretty much every time – use of “clip” when he should be using “magazine” to denote where in the gun the bullets are stored and what is replaced when you need more bullets. This is where having an American fan, particularly of the “uses guns semi-actively” sort, would come in handy in the proofreading process – a technique I’ve known even American authors who are still less familiar with guns to use to polish their texts before publication. And this *is* an ARC, so there is at least the possibility that this can be corrected in the month or so before publication – in the Kindle variant, at minimum. Still, a truly strong story such that other than this particular point, all other British to American linguistic differences are easily explained away as the one lead character being British himself. Very much recommended.
Update exclusive to BookAnon.com: I’m told that the “clip” v “magazine” issue did in fact get resolved pre-publication. 🙂
Below the jump, the various publisher details including book description and author bio. 🙂
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Third Kill by John Ryder”
Excellent Action Story. This is the re-published edition of a book that has been around for several years, but with most/ all proofreading mistakes caught and with a new cover. And I’ve had this book for most of the time it existed – and only chose to read it now, with the third book in this series releasing this week. Man, I should have read this book years ago. Truly an awesome action story with a richly developed world and a bad-ass, take-no-prisoners type heroine. The former cover of the book had me thinking it was *vastly* different in style than it turned out to be, and the new cover (with the orange background and standing female figure) is much more indicative of the near frenetic action you get with this tale. It cannot be said enough: If you like Jack Reacher type action tales but with a bit less brooding and a bit more knives in throats… you’re going to love this book. Very much recommended.
Ronan Faces His Toughest Challenges Yet. In this latest chapter of Pandora Pine’s long running police procedural MM romance series, we find one of her main characters facing some of his toughest battles to date. All because five kids get kidnapped and 2 adults decide to have a shootout with the FBI… in the first two chapters of the book. Pine yet again does a superb job of going with the overarcing story without putting too much emphasis on having the reader already know about things lest they be lost. Thus, virtually any book in this series – this among them – can work as entry points so long as the reader doesn’t mind going back and discovering how the various personal relationships got to the point they are here in this book. The one minor complaint I have with this particular one is that Pine could have potentially allowed some late revelations in this book to play out over several – perhaps dozens, if she wanted to be particularly creative – other books. But instead she plays into the episodic nature of the police procedural, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – several best selling authors more well known than her have achieved their fame almost specifically *because* they play into that trope. Still, a very much recommended book, one long time fans of Pine are likely already reading but are certain to enjoy – and again, a good entry point for any potential new fans.