Near Future Examination Of Toxic Femininity. Did I grab you with that title? Well, as it turns out, one of the more interesting lasting features of this book is, in fact, its look at feminism and how even here, noble ideals can be perverted. But the setup to get to that particular moment – and its resultant *need* for Book 2 of this nascent series – is at least as compelling, showing two women from such divergent cultures – one “enlightened” Western, the other “repressed” Muslim – and how women truly live in each, for worse – and for better – and with all of the resultant struggles within each system. The action is intense and at times literally explosive, and the chase for the almost Osama Bin Laden type terrorist looming in the background is easily reminiscent of many of the Vince Flynn written Mitch Rapp thrillers. Overall a pretty solidly written tale that brings enough “new”/ “different” to the genre to be refreshing, without deviating so much from genre standards as to be alienating. Very much recommended.
This review of The Syndicate Spy by Brittany Butler was originally written on March 21, 2023.
Some Heroes Have Half-Lives. Honestly, I didn’t even realize while reading this book that it was Book 1 of a new series – though with the way things end, I could certainly allow for that possibility. Here, Borgos manages to capture a lingering effect of the Cold War not often seen by those of us living on the East Coast – well away from all Cold War era nuclear test sites, including the Nevada deserts pictured here and the New Mexico deserts featured in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which will be releasing around the same time as this book. We also get a dual timeline yet linked spy thriller (in the past)/ murder mystery (in the present), and in neither case is all as it seems. Borgos manages the pacing of each quite well, and the ultimate integration of the two quite seamlessly. Ultimately this is absolutely a world and storytelling style I’d love to come back to, so I’m glad there will be at least one more book forthcoming here. Very much recommended.
This review of The Bitter Past by Bruce Borgos was originally written on January 1, 2023.
The True Successor To Vince Flynn. That’s basically what this entire review is going to boil down to – if you liked Vince Flynn (and particularly if you object to someone else using his name on their books after his death) and have been searching for an author who can tell that type of tale at least as good as Flynn ever did… welcome to Steven James and Broker of Lies. One huge difference here is that while Mitch Rapp almost tends into superhero/ super-soldier status, our heroes here are very skilled… yet also very flawed in their own ways. Ways that enemies can exploit, if they are known. Ways that enemies do exploit here, because our heroes are not as hidden as they would like to think they are. So yes, we get a lot of different (yet fairly plausible) tech – including some fairly scary, yet known for over a decade now, ways to exploit any body scan security -, several car chases, several fight scenes of various forms from extremely up close and personal to more building level, a lot of cat and mouse, and one heck of an explosive revelation at the end that pretty easily sets up at least one more book here. This isn’t a short book, clocking in at nearly 420 pages, but that last 20% or so in particular… you’re not going to want to put this book down through that stretch at minimum. Very much recommended.
This review of Broker Of Lies by Steven James was originally written on December 9, 2022.
Explosive Spy / Revenge Thriller. When we catch up with our heroine of the series in this book, she is hiding and hurting – but still righting wrongs where she sees them, in badass and brutally effective fashion. And shortly thereafter, she gets roped into yet another mission that turns out to not be as it seems, which leads to even more action which tends to also be brutally effective at times. Yet again Sneeden does an excellent job of providing a seemingly shortish (no official page count as I type this review, but it *felt* like it was in the sub-300 page area) bit of pure escapism, this time highlighting various areas of Europe in the process. Perfect for fans of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher or J.M. LeDuc’s Sinclair O’Malley, or (sadly now late) Matthew Mather’s Delta Devlin. Very much recommended.
This review of Collateral Damage by John Sneeden was originally written on October 1, 2022.
For this blog tour we’re looking at a tense and visceral spy thriller set in an oft-overlooked area of WWII. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Secret Keeper by Siobahn Curham.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Tense Spy Thriller In Oft-Overlooked Area Of WWII. This tale was exactly what I said in the title of the review – a tense spy thriller based in the OSS days of the CIA during WWII and apparently based on the experiences of a real-life actress-turned-spy. Here, we see theoretically neutral Spain (under dictator Francisco Franco, in the early part of his reign) as a hotbed for spying by both sides and the tense and sometimes deadly stakes that arise from any spy story. But we also get a much more intimate and personal look at issues involving trust and betrayal, and throughout the text the reader is kept wondering as much as the protagonist is: just who *can* you trust? One of the more interesting features of this particular tale was the series of letters the protagonist’s grandmother writes – knowing she’ll never be able to send them – describing her ordeals in Paris as France falls and during the war. Overall an excellent tale well told, and very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details”, including the book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Secret Keeper by Siobahn Curham”
This week we’re looking at the second book in Daniel Pyne’s Aubrey Sentro series of spy action thrillers. This week we’re looking at Vital Lies by Daniel Pyne.
Fast Paced Action Thriller. This is a spy thriller for those who like more of the pacing of a Jeremy Robinson / Matthew Reilly / James Rollins action thriller. It isn’t *quite* so action packed / always-on-the-move as those guys, but it is a solid blend of their style of insane and unexpected action combined with a more Robert Ludlum (Bourne series) level complex spy game.
Whereas the first book focused to a certain degree on Sentro’s older child, here the focus is more with her younger child as Sentro continues to try to repair their broken relationships… while getting drug into the very life she is trying to leave.
There are elements here that will give some pause – including a fairly brutal yet also passing/ flash-in-the-pan rape scene that works within the context of the story being told – but overall this is a great read for those who like a *touch* of thinking with their action… without having to be a Stephen Hawking level intellect to keep track of everything. Truly a great read, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Pyne takes this next. Very much recommended.
One Of The More Inventive Kill Shots I’ve Seen. It was the final fight, killing the final bad guy, so I can’t really go into details here because spoilers, but man, that one was fun. As to the rest of the tale, I don’t get all the hate on Goodreads for this book. I’ve read a lot of books across a lot of genres, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this one. Hell, the only thing that confused me about it is because I thought (from months old memories) that according to the description, I was jumping into a woman waking up on a cargo ship under attack with no memory of who she was or how she got there, but that turned out to be exactly the kind of badass that can – and does – save the day. Instead, while we still got the badass that can and does save the day, we also got a much more nuanced bad ass, with a lot of elements here – hello, sudden lesbian shower sex scene, child kidnapping, stay-at-home-dad, and assassin-with-kids, among others – not usually seen in these types of action tales. The setting, once the book got outside the US around the quarter or so mark, was mostly “Third World Sh*thole” ala most any Far Cry video game, and it actually worked quite well. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes, and I’ll be starting Book 2 soon (as an ARC). Very much recommended.
This review of Water Memory by Daniel Pyne was originally written on October 31, 2021.