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The Subway by Dustin Stevens

Reviewed by Allen Hott

An interesting book although a bit long, especially in places, due to number of characters. Also lots of words lost in description as author builds places and things for happening. The story is totally believable especially in today’s world.

Tim Scarberry is in Government Witness Protection because he had given witness against a gangster, Eric Bannister, then during the trial and later his incarceration Bannister and his brother with two accomplices worked on a plan to get ahold of Scarberry for retaliation.

A female police officer, Talula Davis, found the body of Scarberry’s uncle where he had been brutally murdered by the Bannister group. She was fairly new on the job and was having a tough time with her supervisor who it appears did not want any women in his crew. Strangely enough at about the same time Scarberry was being checked on by his officer in charge of him, Deputy Marshal Abby Lipski. One major difference is that Scarberry and Lipski were in Washington where he had been sent to live in the Protection Program while his dad and Officer Davis were in Georgia. Read the rest of this entry »

The Offspring by Bill Pinnell

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Offering a read that simultaneously compels, repels, and excites, author Bill Pinnell’s The Offspring, peers into the dark side of human nature via family relationships, secrets, and racism, shown through a multi-layered, multigenerational, multi-perspective lens bringing together a set of characters whose lives intersect in interesting and at times intense ways.

First, the curiosity is piqued by an intriguing prologue which fundamentally sets the tone of this complex character-driven story, as a vivid memory quickly turns from pleasure to horror, within the mind of a character seemingly beguiled by scenes from the past. Next focus moves to the backstory of the romance between Lemuel Decker and Irene Baxter. Both are students at Logan High School during the 1940s in rural Nebraska. Set apart by an age gap and personality the two almost seem to be polar opposites while Lemuel is a shy athletic farm boy, Irene is pretty, popular, and outgoing. Because of the difference in age in school their paths rarely directly cross. However, once they do each makes an impression on the other not soon to be forgotten. Shy farm boy Lemuel holds a soft spot for the pretty and friendly Irene, but his timid demeanor continues to keep him seemingly hopelessly infatuated and at a distance. Read the rest of this entry »

My Sister’s Grave (Tracy Crosswhite Book 1) by Robert Dugoni

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Two very close sisters compete in everything with the younger one, Sarah, usually losing. However after a shooting competition twenty years ago that Tracy lost to Sarah, Sarah went one way and Tracy the other. Sarah however was never seen again until now when her remains were found in a partial grave.

It has bothered Tracy for all these years because Sarah, though she won the contest, had given the first prize to Tracy to make her feel good. What she didn’t realize is that not only did the gesture hurt Tracy’s feelings but then the next day Sarah would not be found.

Tracy had left the small town and was working as a detective in Seattle. When the news gets to her that some of Sarah’s body had been found Tracy heads back to the small town to see if somehow she can be of assistance in solving the mystery. She is doing it more for herself than for the people of the small town. Read the rest of this entry »

In the Heart of the Fire (Nameless Book 1) by Dean Koontz

Reviewed by Allen Hott

One interesting, but short, story by Koontz with a lot of his typical writing. He seems to always kind of write about the super natural or else spooky kind of scary stories that hold your attention and leave you wondering!

In the Heart of the Fire a guy who has some sort of amnesia is working for some type of organization that is run by the Ace of Diamonds. Although the amnesiac calls himself Ben Shepherd, the Ace has got him booked on transportation and in hotels as Alex Hurkos. (Throughout the book no revelation is made as to what caused his amnesia and why is he working for the Ace, who is also unknown throughout).

After arriving in a little town in Texas he checks into his hotel and retrieves information, money, and a revolver that he puts into his pocket. He has dinner and settles in for the evening wondering what all is going to happen tomorrow. During the night he receives several text messages with two names and three addresses. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheater’s Game (Jake Lassiter Legal Thrillers) by Paul Levine

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Getting into your dream college can be tough. You have to have the right grades, the right extra-curricular activities and the right score on the SAT. But what if someone could take the SAT for you, for a price? Jake Lassiter, former NFL star turned lawyer, has a nephew offering exactly that service. For the right price, Kip will guarantee a score within the range needed for admission. This service is exactly what gets him in deep water when his “partner” turns him in exchange for leniency. Read the rest of this entry »

State of Betrayal (Detective Virgil Jones Mystery Thriller Series) by Thomas Scott

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very interesting, although somewhat complex, read about Virgil Jones who is and has been a state cop for many years. The story begins actually twenty years ago when Jones, in the line of duty, has to shoot and kill a man. The man was beating another man to death with a piece of steel in the back of a pickup. At the time Virgil didn’t realize it nor would it have mattered but the two children of the man he shot to death were sitting in the front seat of the pickup.

And though it doesn’t come out immediately those two youngsters will show up again in the story some twenty years later and they will in fact have dealings with Virgil Jones.

What turns out is that Nicholas Pope, who was in fact the five year old son in the truck, becomes a highly skilled computer technician. Because of his great skills a coder he works his way up into a pretty good position in the state’s lottery program. He is one of those who have to keep track of the numbers and insure that they are definitely “mixed” well before each lottery drawing. And his twin sister, Nichole, is also involved in his latest operation which they both believe will help pay back in a monetary way the loss of their dad many years ago. The state lottery is a giant pot for them to shoot for and especially if they can pull it off using Nicholas’ skills. Read the rest of this entry »

The Devil’s Teardrop by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

One more great one by Deaver! In this one he has so many bad guys that even the cops (the good ones) have a hard time trying to figure out just who is the real bad guy. And they do it by using not only FBI agents but one retiree who is specialized in analyzing handwriting. His presence and abilities are needed because a killer (or killers) is shooting up D.C. and leaving notes telling where ransom moneys should be left or more killings will occur.

The handwriting agent is Parker Kinkaid who is separated from his wife and trying to raise two youngsters with the help of an older lady who doesn’t live in their home but is in and out. Parker and his ex-wife are still battling over the children and he is in constant fear that something in his previous line of work will cause him to lose custody of them. The somewhat lead agent of the FBI team is a woman named Margaret Lukas. The FBI wants Parker to come back and assist them because of the notes that are being left and the scheduled shoots. Just as a note “the devil’s teardrop” pertains to a type of writing.

The shooter’s notes say that he will be doing his mass shootings on a four hour schedule for the present. They will be held in heavily traveled places and he somewhat gives them clues as to where they will be held. Finally Parker agrees to try to help but on a limited basis and he will be able to leave whenever he feels his kids are in any danger. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Friend by Shalini Boland

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

The Best Friend is a real psychological thriller that held my attention from the very first page. There are so many twists and turns taking place at the same time. Just when you think you have everything figured out — you do not!

When you meet someone for the very first time and they appear overly friendly, watch out! That is what Louisa experienced when she met Darcy. Darcy had everything – a beautiful house, money and a husband who had a very successful business. Louisa, on the other hand, did not have all of these things. At first, she was very impressed with Darcy but as time went on, her new best friend turned out to be the complete opposite – a person full of revenge. What secret is Darcy hiding in her past? Read the rest of this entry »

August Origins (An Action Mystery (Mackenzie August series) Book 1)by Alan Lee

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Mackenzie August has just moved back to his old hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. He is settling into a private practice as an investigator and is now living with his dad and Kix, Mackenzie’s son.
He is somewhat startled when the sheriff and a police officer come into his office. The sheriff quickly tells Mackenzie his entire life’s history and then offers him a job. He is really not interested and turns down the offer.

However on their next meeting and with further discussion he takes her offer to work as an undercover agent for her while he begins teaching at the high school. The reason he took the job is that he has heard a lot about the gangs that are now ruling the schools and actually have even killed several girls.

During his first week of teaching he goes to the local gym to work out and ends up in a ring with Nate Silva who is ranked as one of the top fighters not only in Roanoke but all of Virginia. Mackenzie has done a lot of fighting while he lived and worked as a cop in Los Angeles so he is prepared. Though Silva comes on strong and showy the end result is that Mackenzie wins 2 out of 3 rounds and the match. He also quickly builds quite a reputation around town with his ability. Read the rest of this entry »

Hush, Hush: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by Niki Danforth

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Hush, Hush is an exciting and fast-paced cozy mystery with an intriguing opening, mushrooming tension, imaginative red herrings, scintillating dialogue, brilliant character arcs, a jaw-dropping climax, and an amazing and satisfying twist ending. With a hint of political subterfuge, power struggles among law enforcement agencies, and a tenacious private investigator with martial arts skills, Hush, Hush is a teeth-chattering mystery that keeps readers’ eyes glued to every single word with anticipation.

Hush, Hush is told from the perspective of the main character, Ronnie Lake, a newly licensed private investigator. Ronnie takes on the case of a missing female college student, and her strong and brave German Shepherd, Warrior, participates in the investigation. Even though Ronnie has past experience using her private investigator skills, this case is proving challenging. Ronnie runs into roadblocks, both external and internal, in her search for the missing student. Is the young woman a runaway or a kidnap victim? Is she dead or alive? As the days go by, the investigation into the unexplained disappearance of a seemly happy individual leads to far more sinister ramifications. Will Ronnie solve the case before life-threatening dangers escalate out of control? Read the rest of this entry »