Slow Burn With A Bang. This is one of those slow burn mysteries that doesn’t seem like the stakes are *overly* high… until you find yourself in a situation with guns drawn in broad daylight in the streets of Boston. (Yes, a touch of a spoiler, but a very minor one given the lack of other details. :D) Overall you’ve got three primary perspectives, two in third person and one in first, and everyone is hiding things from everyone for varying reasons and no one really knows who to trust at all, including some of the non-perspective characters. So on that point, this tale works well – if, again, a bit slow and seemingly low-stake. But it is compelling enough to have you want to follow along and see what exactly happens, particularly once we begin to get the third perspective (which doesn’t happen until around the 25-33% of the book, IIRC). Overall an inventive tale that plays with some well worn tropes and spins them a bit in a new-ish way, and for this it is very much recommended.
This week we’re looking at a mystery/ action book that evokes Mitch Rapp, Henry McCord, and John Rambo and is set in the same Smoky Mountain region as Deliverance. This week we’re looking at A Fire In The Night by Christopher Swann.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Mitch Rapp Meets Henry McCord With A Dash of John Rambo. If you’re a fan of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp or the CBS drama Madam Secretary, you’re going to like this tale. If you’re not… you should still give this one a try, as it is a fun action tale set in the wilds of the lower Appalachian Mountains in the Carolinas featuring a former “history professor” who has a few skills history professors normally don’t. And the way Nick Anthony *uses* his skills in this book… well, when the action starts up you might start getting flashes of one of America’s action icons. 😉
I happen to be a fan of all of those things named above (well, the earlier Rapp books anyway – which were some of my very first Kindle reads as I began making the transition to my now eReader Era), and for me as a native of the foothills of the region in question, this was truly great. This is the same general region I’ve gone to many vacations into over the years, and in fact is the same general region that Deliverance was filmed in. And for this Southern boy, finding novels set here that don’t disparage our people and are kick-ass to boot… well, that’s just awesome.
This book is set up primarily as a standalone, but with these characters and with at least one or two things dangling by the end, it could easily be seen as the beginning of a series that could potentially be as good or better than the Rapp series, so this reader in particular certainly urges the author to at least consider the possibilities. Very much recommended.
Interesting Use Of Second Person Perspective. This book uses second person perspective for most of the narrative, which is interesting enough in its scarcity that the review needs to be based around that simple fact. And I gotta admit, it was the only real issue I had with this book – yet it was fairly significant. To the tune that I could easily see others reducing stars over this issue alone.
Still, as a story, this one was compelling. You had all the right elements for a solid missing person thriller, including a tragic backstory for our primary narrator. You had the major reveals spaced well and a plotline that never felt overly lagging. For fans of this type of story, this one was perfectly within the usual wheelhouse there, and you’re likely going to enjoy this one.
If you can get beyond the second perspective storytelling, which was so jarring that I truly feel the need to bookend the review with noting its presence. Very much recommended.
This week we’re doing another blog tour for a the Featured spot, and this time I’m actually making a fairly novel recommendation that you simply take my word that you *need* to read this book. For reasons I’ll get into below. This week we’re looking at The Liar Next Door by Nicola Marsh.
Excellent “Who Is It?”. This is one of those books I’m going to recommend you approach the same way I did – I knew title and author, that was it. Didn’t even look at the description at all until I was over halfway into the book. I’ve read several books from this author over the past year in particular, and no matter if she is writing romantic comedy (July 2021’s The Man Ban) or suspense/ drama (this book), she never fails to give a great story within the bounds of the genre of the particular book.
And y’all, if you approach this book in this particular manner… you’re not going to have any dang clue who the titular “Liar” is. If you read the description before the book, you’ll know immediately as the description is specifically from the perspective of one of 3 main perspectives (among 7 primary players), though one of the perspectives does get a now/ then timeline split emphasizing that particular storyline more. (This is the perspective from the description.) But *all seven* main characters, and in particular all three main perspectives, are lying about something to someone, and unravelling all the various lies and how they stack up is one wild ride. Even when certain things begin to be resolved, Marsh manages to have the book end on yet another final bang within the last few sentences. (So a word of caution to those who generally read the last page of a book before reading the rest of the book: DO NOT DO THAT HERE.)
Yet again, with such a dichotomy of books releasing just a month apart, Marsh shows just how talented a storyteller she really is. Very much recommended.
Below the jump, the “publisher details”, including the book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: The Liar Next Door by Nicola Marsh”
Solid Mystery, Could Have Used Better Time Notations. This is one that is intriguing, yet also a bit slow up front – and sometimes hard to keep track of who/ when we are in any given section. There are four main perspectives – the survivor of a horrific car crash, her daughter, a lawyer, and a new neighbor of the survivor and her daughter – with several others also thrown in at different times – the lawyer’s client and the neighbor’s wife being the main two of these. All interweave at various points all the way through the ending, and indeed the epilogue is almost Fallout style in giving updates on what happens from each character’s perspective. The only real issue I had with the book was specifically the editing, and specifically that it could have used a “Present” header the same way it often used a “3 months ago” header when shifting perspectives. Usually the chapter after the “3 months ago” chapter is from the same character perspective, but now we’re back in the present… except this is only really noted via context clues. Still, truly an excellent book that is much more that it appears at first, with a bit of a thriller at the back of the book in an epic conclusion. Very much recommended.
But A Reliable Author. This was my first time reading this author, which makes me a bit different from most of the other ARC reviewers on Goodreads just under three weeks before publication. And I can tell you without hesitation that this is a perfectly fine first-for-you book, so long as you don’t mind coming into a world where at least some of the characters have already had other adventures with each other. (Though the way this one reads, one presumes even the first book was written such that the reader is coming in to already-established relationships.) The crime at the heart of this one is particularly grisly, and worthy of a capital trial (for those that believe murdering a murderer is something anyone, let alone a government, should be allowed to do). The personal dramas among the lawyers are compelling. The courtroom drama as the lawyers fight with and against each other is at least as compelling as any other factor. And the outcomes are satisfying within the realms of the world and particular story – though that in no way gives you any hint as to what they actually are. 😀 Basically, if you like courtroom dramas, you’re likely going to like this one. If you like compelling mysteries, you’re likely to like this one. If you like just good stories period, you’re likely to like this one. So if you’re open to any of the above at all, you should read this book. 😉 Very much recommended.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at one hell of a creepy murder mystery that is semi-deep in a series and contains near immediate spoilers for the previous book. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Crying House by BR Spangler.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
You’ll Never Look At Ye Olden Ways The Same Again. This was my first book from Spangler, and is the 4th book in this particular series. It picks up seemingly some period of time after the events of Book 3, and immediately spoils some of the ending there. So if you have particular cares about such… start at Book 1 here and work your way here. As a police procedural / murder mystery of the book type series, this one actually works quite well and features a technique (used in a variety of ways) that will both creep you out and cause you to think twice about certain olden ways of doing certain things. What were y’all *really* up to, humanity of old???? Several different deaths drive the action here, and there is indeed quite a bit of action along with the mystery, including a pulse pounding race to… well, not quite the finale, but the effective end (+ some exposition) of that particular thread. And then another bit of action to resolve the other main thread before ending on a series explosion big enough that you’re going to want the next book in your hands immediately. Very much recommended.
Below the jump, the various publisher details of the book, including a description, author bio, and links to social media and to buy the book. 🙂
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Crying House by BR Spangler”
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
More Twisted Than The London River It Takes Place On. This is one of those hyper-twisted books where for much of the tale, you think you’re getting one thing… only for it to flip, then flip again, then again and again and again. Told mostly in two eras, the days immediately after a particular person goes missing and the year prior to that event, this is a tale of intrigue and, let’s be quite honest, quite deplorable characters. Seriously, if you are the type that has to “like” the characters or at least one of them… well, there really isn’t much of that to go around here. These characters are all horrible in some way or another, though hey, perhaps that is life. Overall a compelling story with an ending you won’t believe. Very much recommended.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Solid Action Thriller. If you haven’t been reading John Ryder… you need to be. This is just the second time I’ve read a book from him, and he has clearly established a pattern of solid action thrillers with heroes who are conflicted and yet have solid and even innovative ideas on how to do their jobs. The house scene early was truly brilliant in what Ryder has Roche do to prepare the scene, and a few other actions late were nearly as good – if a *touch* more typical.
Indeed, the one flaw – which again I’m chalking up to “maybe British people don’t know their way around guns as well as Americans do” and even “most Americans also think this, but it is a myth” – is one point where even as Ryder uses the correct terminology – “suppressor” rather than “silencer” – he still gets the actual effects more Hollywood than real-world. Without giving a whole hell of a lot away, Roche is across the street when a suppressed shot goes off inside a building. *Roche doesn’t hear the shot.* In *reality*… everyone within at least a quarter mile is hearing that shot, even with it occurring indoors and even if they are indoors themselves.
Still, this was the only actual flaw in the writing and story here, with everything else being more “no one is perfect and this actually makes the story seem even more real” level. Truly an excellent action thriller, and one you won’t want to miss. Hell, even as this book is (currently?) listed as a standalone… let me say right here right now that I for one would like to come back to this world. 😀 Very much recommended.
And below the jump, the “publisher information” including the official description of the book, an author bio, social media links, and a link to buy the book!:)
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Witness by John Ryder”
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. 🙂
Continue reading “#BlogTour: False Allegiance by Nick Thacker”