Solid Adventure Story. This is yet another of the scifi-creature/ adventure stories that are so common, and yet Thacker blends several elements here that aren’t always as common to create a tale that seems like it would satisfy long time readers – while leaving new readers with only (seemingly) minimal effort to get caught up after the fact here. Indeed, it reads more like Book 2 of a series than Book 14, but I say this as someone who owns several prior books in this series… but has only read this one. For all I know, a few of the characters come from books further back in the series – and yet the main thrust of this particular narrative, of Harvey Bennett having to stop his evil scientist brother’s most recent plan, seems like a near-immediate follow-up to presumably book 13 from this series? (Of course, this also means that for those who can *never know any details of any prior books no matter what*… you’re going to want to read the series in order. From what I’ve seen here, you’re going to like doing that anyway.) Overall truly a solid work of its type, one that invites readers to both go back and catch up on what they’ve missed to this point (if anything) and to come back to see what happens next. Very much recommended.
This review of The Cerberus Protocol by Nick Thacker was originally written on March 3, 2023.
For this blog tour we’re looking at another solid entry in a lengthening police procedural series… that happens to have one of the most explosive final few pages of any book in its series to date. For this blog tour we’re looking at Their Resting Place by B.R. Spangler.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Another Solid Entry In Series. This is one of those police procedural, deep in series, books where you don’t *have* to read earlier books first – enough of the backstory is explained to be able to follow here – but if you’re a “NO SPOILERS EVER!!!!” type… read the series from Book 1. Seriously, there are references and explanations all the way back that far in this one. For the rest of us, this is a great entry into the series, yet again another with a particularly grisly murder mechanism and with equally solid relationship based drama. Spangler does well to keep every book in the series well grounded on both sides of the formula, and it continues to work well for him. This one in particular is another where there is a surprise reveal at the end such that you’re going to want the next book *immediately* – I know I already do. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details”, including book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Their Resting Place by B.R. Spangler”
Hot Chicks. Cool Gulf Breeze. Fast Cars. Compelling Mystery. What’s Not To Like? Another reviewer 2*’d this book citing the line herein about men never progressing beyond the maturity of a 14yo – and noting that the book was entirely written for said 14yo and that this was a *bad* thing.
Um, no. This book is written for *adults*, with quite a bit of four letter words (and not “four” or “word”) and sex… well, anywhere Jake and Nicole can find a few minutes alone. Even on a stakeout. There is also a decently high body count, including a few particularly grisly murders and at least a tease of a rape threat (that, to be clear, never *really* develops – a bit of a spoiler, perhaps, but a needed one, for some).
So this is written for adults, but adults who enjoy a more laid back approach. Not every mystery tale has to be Big City Something or some frenetic John Wick / Jeremy Robinson / Matthew Reilly balls to the wall action with guns blazing and other weapons flying all over the place all the time.
This tale is written for those who enjoy the more laid back vibes of the Gulf shores of the US or the general Caribbean region, who want their murders with their margaritas as they sit by the pool on a cruise ship (exactly what I was doing while reading part of this book, fwiw). And as the first book in what I now know to be a decently long running series (I’ve now worked books 5 and 6 – or is it 4 and 5? – as Advance Reader Copies over the last couple of years before now coming back to the books I missed), this one sets up everything I already knew I loved from the series. Indeed, Jake and Nicole’s meeting is both abrupt and quite hilarious, and I love how both prove themselves capable in their own ways in this very first outing.
Truly a great, fun, relaxed book perfect for those pool side drinking days – or any other place you may find yourself reading it. Very much recommended.
This review of Deep Six by D. P. Lyle was originally written on January 31, 2023.
LONG – And Still Only Tells One Part Of The Story. The biggest thing I was left with at the end of this book was whether I was satisfied with the tale here – and thus the book should get the full 5* rating- or whether I thought it was a cash-grab that only told one part of the story and demands money to get the rest of the story (which I’ve seen in other books and written about in other reviews, though I note here that neither of these refer to books from this author) and thus should get a star deduction. Obviously, I ultimately sided with it being a complete tale *so far as it goes*, and I personally would love a sequel that picks up moments after this book leaves off.
As to the tale itself, think “Dead Space” or maybe a touch of the Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2 or any number of other movies / tv shows / games / book / etc where our main characters wake up already in a survival situation… and things only get more horrific from there. Here though, we also get almost disaster movie type setup with a bit of the “normal life” of each of our crew members before they are sent on this particular mission, and this both helps ground the characters and serves as a touch of foreshadowing of how the tale plays out. The horror is real and visceral, but of a type that if you have your internal “blood filters” set, you may envision at least somewhat less carnage than others who envision the more complete “Mortal Kombat experience”. And as horrific as the physical horror is, the psychological horror here could be said to be even worse – yes, this book goes *that* deep. Ultimately, if you like any of the franchises I’ve named here – and I’ll even drop in the original, space based, Aliens movies here – you’re likely going to enjoy this book. If you like visceral survival / horror type space tales, you’re going to like this book. Again, I truly do want a sequel here, so I’m hoping either Wellington is already planning that or sales/ outcry is enough that we get one. Very much recommended.
This review of Paradise-1 by David Wellington was originally written on January 30, 2023.
If We Don’t Get A Sequel, We Riot! Or we at least start jokingly pestering McKinnon until she finally caves and gives us the sequel this story demands. And I in particular have a history with more than one author of eventually getting my way in these matters – through nothing more than constant begging. 😀 Read this book, and join my campaign!
Seriously though y’all, this book starts out a touch slow ish – Frankie is in anger management and meets a guy. But as things start to pick up, they *really* start to pick up. Then, it appears that McKinnon has shot her shot a touch early and we get into almost a Return of The King situation (where the ending begins to feel long and drawn out for no obvious reason)… except those last few pages. That is where you’re going to join my campaign to demand a sequel from McKinnon, and we will eventually win this battle and get our sequel.
One of McKinnon’s better books – which is saying quite a bit in and of itself, as McKinnon really is a masterful storyteller across all the books I’ve read from her – and I do believe the first I’ve ever demanded a sequel from. Yes, the story and particular its ending are that compelling. Very much recommended.
This review of The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon was originally written on January 13, 2023.
Propulsive And Explosive. This is one of those books where every challenge only leads to a more difficult challenge – and the challenges don’t start easy for our hardened and capable yet flawed hero. As the stakes rise ever higher, attacking everyone Koa Kane loves, can he save… anyone? Even himself? Well, this is an action book seemingly in the middle of an already successful series. So he’s going to save people, that’s what heroes do in these types of books. But McCaw grounds these books in a fair amount of realism as well, and therefore… well, some may die. Or may not. You’ll have to read the tale to see what happens. 😀 But that ending, setting up an explosive confrontation with a foe Kane thought conclusively dealt with… yeeah… I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing where McCaw takes this series next. Very much recommended.
This review of Retribution by Robert McCaw was originally written on January 1, 2023.
WTF – Welcome To Florida. This is one of those sprawling South Florida/ Everglades “Florida Man” stories that are so extremely entertaining even in the real life versions, and here comedic story master Dave Barry pulls no punches. Similar in tone and style to Jimmy Buffet’s A Salty Piece Of Land, there *is* some social/ societal commentary here – but it is buried in a tale that is so “unrealistically real” (as another reviewer noted) that it is one of those “jokes with a point” that are freaking hilarious – yet also perhaps a touch too real. Specifically, much of the commentary in this particular tale revolves around social media and “fame”/ “celebrity”, and Barry’s observations here – baked into the overall narrative of the tale – are quite biting. And yet… the over the top insanity humor is never far away, and is ultimately the driving force of the tale. If you’ve been experiencing too much seriousness in your “real” life or in your reading and you need a break from all the death, drama, and destruction… this is the perfect getaway, no matter where you may physically be or what time of year it may be where you are. Very much recommended.
This review of Swamp Story by Dave Barry was originally written on December 31, 2022.
Interesting Blend Of Real-World Physics And Paranormal Into Top-Notch Action Thriller. Sexton… you’re doing it again. You just said this book was a “top notch action thriller”, yet it is set in the *midwest*. What are you smoking, and can I get some? Why yes, yes I did say that – and I mean it. The tale opens with an all-consuming fire… in the middle of a torrential rain. As we get the perspectives of about a half dozen or so different characters, we find that one of them somehow has psychic abilities. When the scientist and the psychic meet… things get rather interesting and the tale becomes rather twisty yet also very down to earth and relatable. The ending itself is almost Christopher Nolan-esque in how mind-bending it is, and some of the scenes getting us there are edge of your seat thrill rides. Overall an intriguing series starter, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Mejia takes this. Very much recommended.
This review of To Catch A Storm by Mindy Mejia was originally written on December 31, 2022.
Innovative Use Of Multi-Perspective. This is one of those tales that repeats itself a decent amount – something like 50-60% or so of the text is the same events through two different perspectives, each providing their own wrinkles. It is within the back third that the overall tale really begins to take off, and is quite explosive in its own right. Quite a few twists and turns – some even bigger than the ones we’ve already experienced to this point – occur through this section, and indeed at times it feels like we may be going a much darker direction (of a couple of different variants) than we ultimately do. Indeed, the ending itself is quite reminiscent of a particular 90s era movie, but revealing which movie would likely be a significant spoiler, so I’ll just point the reader of the review in that direction and allow them to figure it out for themselves. Ultimately a fun book that raises some challenging points without ever being preachy about them. Very much recommended.
This review of The Drowning Woman by Robyn Harding was originally written on December 23, 2022.
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.