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Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

The Extraditionalist (A Benn Bluestone Thriller) by Todd Merer

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The ExtraditionalistMeet Benn Bluestone, lawyer to the criminal and infamous. His particular field of expertise is extradition, as in when the Government wants to extradite someone back to the U.S. Bluestone has become quite wealthy catering to wealthy criminals, most of whom come from south of the border. When he is approached by 3 potential clients simultaneously, all promising large fees, Bluestone believes that he may finally be able to retire. It is only when the cases began to intertwine that he realizes he may have gotten in over his head. He knows a lot of secrets, some of which his clients will do anything to protect. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Don't Let GoLots of suspense, and even more emotion, as Detective Napoleon (Nap) Dumas struggles with the strange and untimely death of his twin brother. The death occurred about 15 years ago but it not only was it very strange then but now there are even more happenings that do not really make sense.

Leo, Nap’s brother, and Leo’s girlfriend, Diana, were found dead on the railroad tracks outside of town and appeared to have been hit by a train. The bodies were so badly torn up that very little could be done in the way of an autopsy. The two of them, however, were members of a special club called The Conspiracy Gang which was composed of a group of high school students. These students had been somewhat taken aback when the area of the woods where they hung out to drink, smoke a little pot, and make out got somewhat disturbed by a government base that appeared to be deserted or little used.

Nap, now fifteen years later and a detective gets called in on a case where a cop was shot by a guy who had been picked up in a bar by a woman. It turns out the cop was a member of the Conspiracy Gang as was the woman who made the pickup. The woman, Maura, also happened to be Nap’s girlfriend fifteen years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Strong to the Bone (A Caitlin Strong Novel) by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong to the Bone“You may be able to walk on water, Ranger, but quicksand’s a whole other thing,” a character advised Caitlin Strong early on in Strong to the Bone.

And quicksand is pretty much what Caitlin finds herself mired in here in the superb ninth book to feature the stalwart Texas Ranger who’s as close to a female Jack Reacher as it gets. No, she doesn’t use her fists with the aplomb of Lee Child’s seminal series hero, but she more than makes up for that with her prowess as a gunman (or, more accurately, gunwoman), a skill she gets to use with typical frequency in her latest adventure.

But Strong to the Bone serves up a new kind of target in the form of the man who sexually assaulted Caitlin eighteen years before while she was a collegiate undergraduate. We’ve barely started flipping the pages before she rescues a woman from a bar basement who’s been similarly assaulted and barely taken a breath before learning that it was the same man who raped Caitlin all those years ago. And I haven’t even mentioned the book’s primary villain in the form of a neo-Nazi gang that’s appropriated a Texas ghost town as headquarters for the massive drug dealing operation their leader, Armand Fisker, has taken international.

Fisker, a man so prone to violent impulses that one scene finds himself dousing his own son with gasoline and flicking on a lighter before the terrified boy’s eyes, is somehow connected to a killer Caitlin’s grandfather Earl Strong hunted in the waning days of World War II. Did you know that Texas was home to over 100,000 Nazi prisoners of war in camps scattered throughout the state? Neither did I. In the flashback thread that’s become a staple of this sterling series, though, Earl Strong finds himself on the trail of one of them who escaped his camp after killing his three bunkmates. Why? What did they know? And what’s none other than J. Edgar Hoover himself doing on the scene?

Strong to the Bone, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, unfolds frantically and frenetically, serving up a smorgasbord of emotionally wrought angst garnished with characters of both misplaced and misconstrued morality. Fisker, for example, isn’t planning to unleash a catastrophic weapon upon the world when the book opens; that intention unfolds organically, lending Strong to the Bone a stunning spontaneity featuring characters who are truly in charge of the action.

Heading up that roster as always is Caitlin herself, whose own personal quest to at long last find her dragon lends the book a visceral quality to go with the visuals Land has always excelled at framing. But what’s truly special is her doubts about whether she really wants to kill that dragon, lest she lose the edge that has long defined her, as Land deftly stirs a pot that features the perfect blend of emotion and action.

The Caitlin Strong series is much deserved of the praise it has attained and many awards it’s won. But Strong to the Bone takes what’s always worked to a whole new level. A terrific, tumultuous tale of rare depth and prowess certain to solidify Caitlin’s place as the most polished and proficient female hero in thriller fiction today. Maybe that’s why none of Jack Reacher’s travels have taken him to Texas. Even he doesn’t want to risk messing with Caitlin Strong.

Hidden Sea by Miles Arceneaux

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Hidden SeaProffering a literate jolt to the senses, miles Arceneaux’s Hidden Sea gives readers food for thought with its rich and captivating narrative of human trafficking in the Gulf of Mexico. Albeit this is a work of fiction, the story is based on the reality of sea-faring enslavement, which occurs within the South Sea of China. Readers will find this entertaining story stocked with a bevy of colorful characters artfully immersed in a briny mix of adventure, humor, political corruption and pirates, set in the Gulf of Mexico. Written by a trio of well-honed authors, known as Miles Arceneaux, writing as one voice, this makes the fifth addition in their series of Gulf Coast thrillers. Read the rest of this entry »

Camino Island: A Novel by John Grisham

Camino IslandReviewed by Allen HottCamino Island is a very interesting story by one of the top story tellers of the day. John Grisham writes about law in some fashion or another but the real fashion of his writing is just plain good writing. He gets your interest and keeps it throughout by using great description, good dialogue, and little if any sex or profanity.

Five bad guys steal some priceless original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. The originals are worth many, many big bucks and these five not only carry off the crime but know who and where to put the manuscripts to keep them safe for a period but also to make their value go even higher.

However they, like most criminals, are not perfect and make several big mistakes which cause them big problems. But they have done the job well enough that no one knows where the papers are so that is in their favor. Read the rest of this entry »

The Missing Factor: A Jim Factor Novel by Daniel C. Lorti

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

The Missing FactorArms dealer Jim Factor has a great life, a thriving business, a loving wife, and an affluent lifestyle. The one time engineer has always run a legitimate arms business, until he is approached at a convention in Europe with a steal of a deal. Carlos Sengretti would like him to act as a moderator in negotiations with a client and will make him a large sum of money. After some discussion, Jim agrees to assist Sengretti with his deal and they decide on a payment amount. Jim believes he will just be a consultant and once the deal is finished, his services will no longer be needed.

Unfortunately, he is mistaken. Soon after the business is completed, Jim receives a phone call warning him of potential danger. The illegal deal has gone sour, and now he is suspected of leaking the deal to the United States Customs Service. His life is at risk and Jim must immediately leave the country without a trace. He cannot even tell his wife anything about the deal gone wrong, nor can he tell her where he is going. He quickly gathers cash and some clothing and leaves his housen eventually ending up at the bus terminal where he makes his escape to another city. Read the rest of this entry »

When They Come for You (Harper McDaniel) by James W. Hall

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

When They Come for YouThis novel really has it all. It starts quickly with the main character’s husband and newborn being brutally murdered by a mysterious villain watching the family from afar. Instead of folding and succumbing to her grief the heroine, Harper McDaniel decides to get even.

She quickly unlocks the potential mystery of why her husband was murdered and chases his story across the world. Harper quickly gets involved researching in the high stakes world of chocolate and child labor, and enlists the help of her brother and mafia boss grandfather. Read the rest of this entry »

Paradise Valley: A Novel (Highway Quartet) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Paradise ValleyVery interesting story of an investigator, Cassie Dewell, of the Sheriff’s Department in Bakken County, North Dakota, who is chasing down a real killer. The killer ,known as the Lizard King, is an independent truck driver, and Cassie first came across him earlier when he had somehow beaten a possible conviction on a technicality. She receives word that he is back out and moving.

Cassie decides the only way to catch him is to set a trap and have him somehow get scheduled to make a pickup in her local area. She feels certain that if and when she does he will have a prostitute stashed away in his truck. This is what he has always done. He frequents truck stops and picks up the lizards (prostitutes) who work the stops. The prostitute is later found dead.

With the help of the Sheriff they get everything arranged and when his truck pulls in to make the pickup they are there and ready to get him. However they quickly discover he has another talent which is working with explosives! As they get closer to the truck it blows apart in a monstrous devastating explosion. The cab and most of the truck is demolished. Because of the damages the FBI and a local County Attorney became involved and immediately began to question Cassie’s maneuver. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag (Review #2)

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Bitter Season
Tami Hoag writes great murder mysteries but believe that she almost outperformed herself on this one! Not quite sure what the title means but the story line is enough to make one’s mind turn to a slightly Bitter Season!

It really is a great read but it is also very twisted and re-twisted. It all begins with Nikki Laska, a Minneapolis detective, who is working on her first cold case which she has requested believing that it will give her more free time at night to be with her two sons.

At the same time Sam Kovac, her longtime detective partner, has just been assigned a murder case where an older couple were attacked and killed by someone using ceremonial Japanese weapons including a Samurai sword which was very valuable. The man who was killed had been a college professor who was in the midst of a possible promotion in East Asian studies at the university where he taught. Strangely enough he was battling another professor for that promotion and also strangely enough that other professor was very much involved it seems with the murdered professor’s daughter. And that mix-up is just one of the many weird coincidents that begin occurring in this story. Read the rest of this entry »

Unsub: A Novel by Meg Gardiner

Reviewed by Allen Hott

UnsubThis is a very interesting, almost nerve-racking, story about a young female detective as she tries to learn about, find, and corral a demented man.
The man called the Unsub has returned to the San Francisco Bay area after a hiatus of 20 some years. On his first appearance he had terrorized the Bay area with his cryptic messages and killings. He also basically ruined a police officer both physically and mentally. This new young female detective, Caitlin Hendrix, is the daughter of that retired and fairly disabled police officer, Mack Hendrix.

Caitlyn basically grew up in a broken home as her mother was unable to cope with Mack’s mental condition after his encounter with the Unsub also known as the Prophet. Caitlyn however decided she wanted to be a police officer and worked her way onto the county’s Narcotics Force. One night while she was at home with her ATF policeman/boyfriend she got a call to report at once to a crime scene. Read the rest of this entry »