Category Archives: Reviews

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Book Review – Unprotected Love

Unprotected Love – Murder on the docks of Manhattan

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author: John F. Rooney
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Late night on the docks of Manhattan, they find him, carefully laid out, hands crossed, peaceful, and very dead.  A close examination of the body finds something usual hidden in his mouth – a condom.  Unfortunately, this is not the first victim to be found this way.  All are male hustlers and all have the same condom calling card.  A serial killer has been born.  NYPD special ops is called in and Denny Delany, one of the city’s best is put in charge of the case.  He reaches out to sex crimes but intra-department politics start to hamper Denny’s progress.  As he battles his own alcoholic demons, the bodies pile up and Denny wonders if his lack of progress is by design.  Could the perpetrators be within and if so, how can protect his career as well as his life?

Unprotected Love was my first read of Rooney’s Delany series.  Rooney has a knack for storytelling.  His characterization, settings and plot all work together to create strong hooks keeping the reader engaged.  His style and voice are a little different than the average read which took me a chapter or two to tune my ear to.  As with most mysteries, the fun is taking the clues provided and trying to jump ahead and solve who the murderer is.  Rooney does a good job at throwing a couple of red herrings in the mix hear and there and had me guessing then second guessing most of the way.

I also found the details of how the relationship between “John’s” and “Hustlers” interesting from a psychological perspective.  This detail and the backstory of Denny and Molly gave the work a real and edgy feel.  More mystery then thriller, Unprotected Love is an entertaining read.

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Book Review – The Road to Grafenwohr

The Road to Grafenwohr – One of my favorite Patterson Novels

Rating: 5 of 5 stars, TMBOA Recommended!

Author: Edward C. Patterson
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Traveling to his unit in post war Germany, Quincy Summerson finds the locals, their heritage, language, architecture, and culture fascinating.  They too, find him of great interest given the unique birthmark displayed prominently on his cheek which legend portends it to be a harbinger for both great evil and good.  Quincy’s journey takes him further and further into heart of Bavaria as visions begin to plague him.  As they increase in frequency and violence Quincy learns he has been called not just to serve the United States but an even higher purpose.

Readers may be initially turned off by the title of Patterson’s latest work.  But I must say, this was one of my favorites from him.  Patterson takes his expert prose and characterization skills and infuses them into an intriguing setting of a young man stationed in Germany during the height of the cold war with an eclectic group of roommates where everyone prays to avoid reassignment to Vietnam—except for one man.  Sprinkle in some fantasy elements and Patterson has created a genre I’ve not previously experienced but very much enjoyed.

The plot is very tight and the storyline moves.  If you already are a Patterson fan, I think you will definitely enjoy The Road to Grafenwohr.  If you’ve never read him and you are looking for something different, give this one a try – you won’t be disappointed.

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Book Review – In The Shadow Of Swords

In the Shadow of Swords – Arabian Fantasy

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author: Val Gunn
Format: Hardcover

Pursued by an assassin, Hiril Altair races to stay alive long enough to reach sanctuary and deliver the evidence – evidence that will prove the world and their Sultan are not what they had believed.  Steps from success he encounters the half-jinn kingslayer Ciris Sarn whose blade quickly ends Altair’s life as well as any chance for the truth to be known.

Val Gunn’s In the Shadow of Swords starts fast immediately grabbing the readers’ attention.  The Arabian setting is engaging, the mystery involving their world unsettling and the motivations of a cursed assassin drive the plot forward.  The mysticism, exotic local, and fast paced passages are the strengths of this novel.

Gunn’s chapters are quick snippets of action and jump from one character to the next.  At times, it feels a bit like changing television channels after only getting a short piece of the story.  During the first half of the book, it was a little difficult to follow what was happening and with each chapter and character I found myself wondering who I should be cheering for as they all seemed like bad guys hunting one another for a purpose that was not clear.  Fortunately, at the half way point in the novel, these motivations and independent threads start to come together and the action builds to its ultimate climax and resolution.

Gunn builds and interesting and complex world and while this story in itself is complete, its ending leaves the door open for future adventures.

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Book Review – The Device

The Device – Captivating!

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author: Patrick Skelton
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Tormented by guilt after the death of fiancé, John Timmons lives life in a fog retreating to his mountain cabin after work comforted only by his dog Spencer.  While out hiking, a reflection catches his eye and he spots a small object sitting on a log in a nearby river.  After a torturous journey down a ravine, he retrieves the object.  It is mostly unremarkable but is engraved with the strange phrase “Project Daf Yasfhat”.  From this moment forward, John’s life and those around him are never the same.

Patrick Skelton’s “The Device” is a gripping tale that captivates readers with very subtle science fiction elements.  Like all good directors or story tellers, it is what Skelton doesn’t tell you in the narrative that keeps the reader guessing where it is all leading.  Who is the mysterious man that appears throughout all of John’s life like a guardian angel?  What really happened to John’s biological parents?  What is the unnatural affliction to sound John has?  Most of all, what is the device?

“The Device” takes place in the near future and Skelton extrapolates from today’s government actions what might be the resulting healthcare and environmental regulations and their impact on our lives and personal freedoms.  The results are written so matter of fact that this makes them even more chilling.  This a fast moving and entertaining read especially given the kindle price.  I look forward to more from this author.

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Book Review – Bad Spirits

Bad Spirits (1-5) – Nonstop Action!

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author: DV Berkom
Format: Kindle

Waking to find herself on the dirt floor of a corrugated steel building, Kate Jones grabs her backpack full of money intent on finding her way back to the United States.  Unfortunately, a Mexican drug lord named Salazar is just as intent on finding her, retrieving his stolen money, and making her pay for ever having left him.   Is there anyone she can trust?

DV Berkom’s Bad Spirits is a fast paced action packed novella which reads like a nonstop high octane movie.  Each chapter moves at breakneck speed.  The heroine, Kate, barely has time to take a breather before finding herself in another impossible situation and back on the run.

While there was the occasional deus ex machina moment, I didn’t care.  I finished it in one sitting and felt exhausted when I did!  This was a fun read and I look forward to more from Berkom.

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Book Review – Darlin’ Druid

Darlin’ Druid Title aside – this is a great book!!

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author: Lyn Horner
Format: Kindle

After surviving the great Chicago fire, Jessie Delvin is haunted by visions of her future—a future she is compelled to find forcing her to leave home and join her brother’s journey west to find her destiny.  But the Wild West turns out to be just that and Jessie’s sharp tongue and fine feminine figure attract the attention of far too many brutish men.  Fortunately, Captain David Taylor, a Texan cattle rancher turned soldier saves Jessie from the clutches of a particularly unsavory character.  Immediately Jessie and David are passionately attracted to one another, but neither is what they other really wants—or so they think…

I’ll admit I was completely thrown by the title of this book.  If for some reason you are as well, “fuhgeddaboudit”!  This is an engaging, page turning, can’t put it down, don’t know where the time went, read.  In fact, when I received Horner’s book I had already started Steig Larsson’s “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”; having finished the first two books in Larsson’s series I was anxious to complete the third.  But I picked up Horner’s book and frankly the pace was so much faster and the book more engaging that I put best selling Hornet aside in favor of finishing Horner’s book.

The characters, love triangle and compelling plot line compete with the best in this genre.  This is a full force romance novel with some unique twists that readers are sure to enjoy.  I encourage readers to give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed!

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Book Review – The People’s Treasure

The People’s Treasure – Ushering in World’s End

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author: Edward C. Patterson
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Having believed Nick Battle to be lost forever in The Dragon’s Pool, the china hands from Italy, China, New York and San Francisco find themselves inextricably brought together after experiencing separate supernatural events.  Is it possible to repair Nick’s fractured chi and bring him back to the mortal world or will their actions instead usher in the end of the world?  Conflicting warrants and logic versus loyalty battle it out in this fourth installment in Edward Patterson’s epic Jade Owl series.

In The People’s Treasure Patterson’s engaging style and unique voice once more entertains readers with this fantasy series.  Weaving together important questions of the human condition – learning to live with loss, doing what feels right versus what might seem logical, putting family first, following a higher calling –  along with an epic fantasy involving supernatural relics, this tome moves along quickly holding the readers interest.

Parallel stories between Rowden Gray’s American team and the Chen family’s fall from grace in China eventually converge.  The concluding battle for the future of the world and Nick’s soul sets up the final installment in the series Under Her Hem.  Fans of the Jade Owl Legacy will find this a must read.

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