Over 550 book reviews with full author links

31 December 2012

Jennifer Baccia: Whisper Her Name

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Shout Her Name
Jennifer Bacia's books written in Sydney Sheldon style have so many twists in the plot to keep you turning the pages until the end. Every book features strong women with their own special histories and secrets that unravel unexpectedly and explosively and page by page.

Noella de Bartez is the high spirited and passionate younger daughter of a President of a Central American country.  Her father is so committed to improving his country and fighting corruption that he ignores his  younger daughter. After a personal tragedy she is forced into a loveless marriage and to gain her freedom Noella moves across the world from success to despair. She never loses her love of her father and her country and returns as a mature woman with a secret personal history to try to complete the job her father started a long time ago.

I highly recommend Jennifer Bacia's books if you want an easy, enjoyable and page turning read.

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Great ride on the Baldacci Camel
This is the third and arguably the best of the David Baldacci's highly imaginative and successful Camel Club series. To understand the series you should know a bit about the bizarre collection of members of the Camel Club:

* Oliver Stone - an alias for a retired clandestine CIA operative who maintains a church cemetery in Washington and lives in the caretaker's cottage in the cemetery grounds.

* Rheuben Rhodes - a former DIA worker and marksman who now works unloading trucks.

* Caleb Shaw -  a twin PhD who works in the rare book Wing of the Library of Congress and has a penchant for wearing 19th Century fashion.

* Milton Farb - an obsessive-compulsive prodigy with an eidetic memory who can remember cards and numbers and can win extremely large amounts of money at Casinos.

* Alex Ford - (occasional member) a Secret Service agent who is a member of the President's security squad.

*Annabelle Conroy - (new member) a compulsive thief who runs scams on people and Casinos to steal large amounts of money.
In this adventure Annabelle has conned vicious Casino king Jerry Bagger out of millions. Stone and his colleagues Reuben, Milton, and Caleb marshal all their resources to protect Annabelle.

At the same time someone is slowly killing members of Stone's old clandestine squad one by one and is zeroing on Stone, who has to revert to his old trade to save his life and some of his old colleagues.

As usual Baldacci weaves a devious tale of how this mostly amateur group deal with a range of dangerous happenings, revenge, conspiracy and murder which are the core of all of the great Camel Club series.

30 December 2012

Michael Robotham: Shatter

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You will jump when I tell you to!
Michael Robotham is IMHO the UK's best author of psychological criminal thrillers - and this is one of his best if not his most bizarre story.

Professor Joe O'Loughlin, a local University clinical psychologist is called to help Bristol police with a potential jumper from the Clifton Suspension Bridge (a suicides' magnet). What is unusual is that the jumper is a naked female, in high heels, talking intensively to someone on her mobile phone making her immune from outside contact. The person on the line is a a psychopath who knows how to bend minds by frightening them so much that he can control what they will do.

This first disastrous encounter foreshadows future similar incidents that will challenge Joes' ability to cope, both professionally and personally. Joe is also battling Parkinson's Disease which could impair his ability to cope with and prevent these challenging psychological situations.

Robotham piles on the suspense with great writing and characters. I will certainly be following more of his books, just as I am following the UK's best police procedural writer, Peter Robinson, with his DCI Banks' series.

Daniel Silva: Portrait of a Spy

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The Accidental Assassin
I have read all of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series and this is one of the best. What makes Gabriel Allon such an interesting character is that he is both a cold-blooded Mossad assassin and also a very sensitive and skilful art restorer. At the start of this book Gabriel is formally retired from his Mossad career and living quietly and happily with his wife Chiara in a small fishing village in Cornwall in the UK working as an art restorer.

One day he visits London with his wife Chiara (also ex-Mossad) to arrange his next art restoration. After discussing the restoration, Gabriel and Chiara are taking a quiet stroll through Convent Garden when Gabriel's instincts spot the tell-tale signs of a potential suicide bomber.  Only days before suicide bombers had cut deadly swathes through crowds in Paris and Copenhagen.

Gabriel's almost accidental actions on that day propel him back into his old clandestine world, tracking the source of the suicide missions with the help of his old team from Mossad and his "friends" in intelligence agencies throughout the world, especially the USA and the UK.

Silva weaves yet another skilful, page-turning and exciting adventure before Allon can start to consider working on his latest art restoration. The problem with rating this review is because so many of the characters and situations in each book in the series are similar so it is hard to give it a full 5 star rating.

Nevertheless I look forward to and know that I will enjoy every new book in this series. With the world as it is, Danel Silva will never be lacking a source for another Gabriel Allon adventure.

Michael Connelly: The Drop

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Bosch never "Drops" the ball
Once again Michael Connelly has shown that he is a consummate author of LA police procedurals and that Harry Bosch is still at the top of his form.

After a short retirement from the LAPD, Harry Bosch is back to top form as a skilled, and very clever detective. He is still a very independent operator who frequently has problems with the police politics of some of his superiors.

After a short retirement, Harry is now back working under a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP - Title 1) which gives him just over 3 years until he is forced to retire permanently. He is keen to clear as many cases as possible before the drawbridge is raised. Bosch is now working in the Open-Unsolved Unit and is given a case over 20 years old about the sexual assault and murder of a child where an apparently botched DNA match has been made that links the murder to a convicted rapist who was only 8 years old at the time.

Before he can really get going on this puzzling case, his superiors ask him to take on a current and potentially politically sensitive case where the son of councilman Irving has fallen to his death from a balcony of a tall hotel (Drop Title 2) and suicide is suspected. What is really bizarre is that Irving, who was once Harry's boss and extremely bitter opponent, has asked specifically for Harry to take the case personally because he claims that Harry has the skills and integrity to find out what really happened.

Apart from the clever title, Michael Connelly shows that he can keep the Bosch storyline fresh and exciting and tells us that he plans to do so until Bosch retires. I am sure that even when that happens we will not see Bosch riding into the sunset to a happy and uneventful retirement.

29 December 2012

Lee Child: The Affair: (Jack Reacher 16)

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Vintage Major Jack Reacher MP
The last few Jack Reacher books seemed to me to be running out of steam because they were becoming a bit repetitive. Many authors who have written several books with the same character try to spice things up by writing a prequel or revisiting an earlier time in the character's career and mostly they fail to achieve their objective. In "The Affair" Lee Child not only succeeds but IMHO serves up one of the best of the Jack Reacher series.

The reason this book works so well is that Child has never really fully explored the background to Reacher leaving the Army and becoming a drifter. This book is very good because it is great vintage Reacher and goes back to the time when he was at the top of his game as a military policeman. Reacher displays all of his great investigative skills, an unbelievable ability defend himself against overwhelming odds and a tenacity to close a case even if it goes against orders by his superiors.

In this book we are introduced to Elizabeth Devereaux, the Sheriff of small town in Mississippi close to a large US Special Forces Base. Devereaux is a stunningly beautiful woman who has recently returned to her home town after several years with the military police of the Marines. She is investigating a brutal murder of a beautiful woman she suspects may have been committed by someone from the Base. Because of the potential impact on the Base, Reacher is sent there undercover, but with her military police background Devereaux soon spots Reacher and they start to look at the case together. As they progress their investigations they become more closely involved.

Lee Child has written a Jack Reacher book with a bit of everything - a murder mystery, military cover-ups, hired militia, corruption at the highest political level and some romance. This is all set against the strange background of a huge freight train that shakes and deafens the small town every midnight.

While it is clear that his superiors are not happy with him, we learn the actual reason why Reacher leaves the Army and becomes a drifter - and it really is something of a surprise.

28 December 2012

Lexi Revellian: Replica

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Enjoyable double trouble
I was surprised how enjoyable I found this unusual science fiction/MI5 adventure. It defied the genres and the plot kept me on edge to the very end.

The science fiction part is pretty straightforward if not a bit unusual. A research laboratory attached to MI5 is working on replicating animals and humans where the replica is under the command of the original - a really great idea because you can send a replica soldier into battle and the original is never killed. An absent minded Professor has successfully tested this kind of replication on animals and believes he is ready for a human test. Being impatient he asks his Secretary, Beth, to be the first human experiment. Things go wrong when the Beth's replica is a complete independent replica/clone (same genes, same fingerprints and same memories), who is not under the control of the original. When MI5 find this out they want to terminate the replica but Beth 2 realises this and goes on the run.

The story is cleverly written as it moves from Beth 1 (the original, written in the third person) to Beth 2 (the replica, written in the first person). While they remain identical, Beth 2's character develops differently because she has to endure great hardship and becomes extremely self-sufficient to survive. Beth 1 is protected by the security service and unbelievably starts a relationship with her MI5 protector.

These are great ingredients for an enjoyable, if somewhat unbelievable romp of a story. Well done Lexi Revellian, I will certainly read more of your books.

26 December 2012

Russell Blake: Angel with Fur

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A tear jerker by a thriller writer
Russell Blake writes over-the-top adventure thrillers and it was surprising to read a totally different book about his personal adventures with the life of his dog Lobo and his extreme love for this unusual mutt.

All of us who have owned a dog will associate with some of Lobo's idiosyncrasies. Lobo was different because he always did things at the extreme level especially in his truly destructive days. I was puzzled how Russell still loved a dog that could cause such mayhem at the drop of a hat.

Any of us who have nursed a dog through illness will identify with Lobo's tenacious  fight for his life. His long term survival against extreme odds was miraculous.

All of us who have outlived our animals will identify with the grief when we lose them. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs buried in our back garden and we still think of them every day and thank them for the friendship, love and loyalty they gave to us. I am sure that Russell would say that Lobo was a star compared to our animals.

25 December 2012

Jessica Sorensen: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden

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An improbable coincidence
I think the best thing about this book is the title - the coincidence that Callie saw Kayden being physically abused by his father and the slow coincidence of 2 abused young people who get together as they realise that they have common bonds because they have both been abused.

The word improbable is used in my review title because it is improbable to me that Kayden, who despite his history of physical abuse is an American Football hunk who would able to attract almost any attractive girl he meets, can become attracted to Callie, a withdrawn and timid mouse who really isn't that attractive even when she slowly comes out of her shell. The other improbable factor is that the withdrawn Callie can only share her secrets and get support from Seth because she knows that he is gay.

I finished the book because so many enthusiastic reviews said it was great, so I had some hope that it would get better as the principals got closer to one another. Unfortunately this didn't happen for me. The action became even more improbable at the conclusion, which wasn't a conclusion because this is only #1 of the Callie and Kayden saga.

The book is fairly well written and definitely targeted at an young adult audience and only has slightly steamy relationships. I read it as light relief after some pretty heavy thrillers but, probably because I am much older than the target audience I would only give it 2.5 stars. Because I know that I am looking at it with different eyes to most readers I have given it an OK (3 stars).

Others may have liked it more because it was so popular that the book is no longer self-published and the link goes to another edition now published by Hatchette.

23 December 2012

Nelson DeMille: Word of Honor

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Best DeMille, Best Vietnam novel
I have been a Nelson DeMille fan for ages and for a long time this book has been my favourite. I read it when it was released and then chased it down in a second-hand book-store because I needed to refresh my memory of a book that I found difficult to forget. Some time soon I hope to find a Kindle version at a mark-down price that allows me to add it to my Kindle Classics collection of my most memorable books.

This book described the Vietnam war and the military and moral challenges faced more realistically and understandingly than any other Vietnam novel I have read. It showed the dangers and moral challenges US and Allied soldiers had to address daily and how long term exposure to the brutality and the hidden and unknown enemy could change moral and human values in an instant. It exposed these things through the eyes of a character who tried to do his duty honourably but was put into a position by his platoon where he had to live with his decisions for the rest of his life.

Ben Tyson was a good man, and led a good life after Vietnam. But what happened sixteen years ago when Ben Tyson was a lieutenant in Vietnam and the men under his command committed a atrocity - and together swore never to tell the world what they had done - eventually came back to haunt him.

I tried to avoid reading novels about the Vietnam War but read this one because it was written by Nelson DeMille. The book left me emotionally scarred by what Tyson faced, both in Vietnam and in later life when the incident unfolds in court and you had to try to understand what really happened that day and how Tyson and his men reacted. It was a long book of nearly 800 pages and towards the end I was so engrossed I decided to read it on a bus ride to work (normally a recipe for travel sickness). I can still remember how I teared up duirng the finale and hoped that my fellow passengers didn't notice my reactions.

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A Vietnam nightmare continues
Nelson DeMille has written a very short but complete chilling novella about an infantry patrol in Vietnam that went frighteningly wrong when they were targeted, one-by-one by a very clever sniper. The sniper is so clever that not only were both radio operators the first kills, but the second shots hit the exact spot to render the radios useless so they could not call for backup.

The really chilling part of the story is that the platoon leader finds out that the sniper is a woman, who is able to kill whoever she chooses, leaving the platoon leader for last.

Nelson DeMille saw combat in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader and this comes through clearly in this short novella. DeMille is one of my favourite authors, who wrote "Word of Honor" which IMHO is the best novel about the Vietnam War (and is still my choice as his best novel).

Only today I read this quote about war in a newspaper - "The horror of it, the pain of it, the suffering of it. People just don't understand unless they've been through it." DeMille has been through it, has never forgotten his experience and this shows through in this short story.

22 December 2012

Mary-Rose MacColl: In Falling Snow

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Wonderful emotionally gripping tale
This is a wonderful book about love, achievement, sorrows and secrets, focusing on the lives of some very strong women, both in the past and the present. It was an emotional roller-coaster which left me drained but uplifted.

Australian author Mary-Rose MacColl weaves a compelling story of love, achievement, danger, friendship, family and memories from WWI France  to contemporary Australia. Iris Crane is now in her late 80's and her life is filled with memories of her early times, especially of her brother Tom and her time as a nurse at a hospital in France during WWI.  Her current life centres on Grace, her granddaughter, who Iris brought up when her mother Rose died in childbirth. Grace is an Obstetrician with a hectic life balancing the needs of a family of 3 small children with the demands of her profession.

In 1914 Iris travelled to France  to find her 15 year old brother who had lied about his age and enlisted in the Australian army. Already trained as a nurse, in order to find Tom she volunteers to work in a hospital in France. On her way, 21 year old Iris meets charismatic Frances Ivens, a doctor who is setting up a field hospital to be run by women in the old abbey of Royaumont, north of Paris.  Under the spell of Frances, Iris decides to work at Royaumont where she comes of age in an environment of loving companionship, hardship and the horrors of war which test her capabilities and strengths to the limit.

At Royaumont she meets the vivacious and outgoing Violet and their friendship and relationship decide the rest of Iris's life.  In the present, one day Iris receives a letter from Violet, now in her 90's, to come to Royaumont again for a final reunion. This once again triggers her memories of the past and makes her face up once again to the secrets of her relationship with Violet and her brother Tom.

MacColl's well researched descriptions of life at Royaumont during the Great War are insightful and atmospheric. By moving from memories and descriptions of the past to the present day she builds a personal and family drama of almost epic proportions. It is not really a book with strong feminist messages, but it firmly addresses the challenges that women face both at the beginning of the century and in the present day.

This book has immediately gone into my list of best reads of 2012.  Mary-Rose MacColl also joins my list of talented Australian authors.

19 December 2012

Diana Hockley: Christmas with Snoz

My prize for most unusual Christmas short story
This short story is probably the most unusual short story about Christmas that you will find anywhere. SNOZ is a pet rat that gets out of his cage at Christmas and plays havoc throughout the household especially with the Christmas Dinner.

SNOZ said "The first intimation that my day's activities were not going down well was when I climbed onto the table just as dinner was about to be served and hid under the meat tray with the Turkey......"

You will see from Diana Hockley's author profile that before she retired she toured Queensland with a mouse circus, which I guess also featured a few pet rats.

18 December 2012

Abbi Glines: Fallen too far

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Disappointing after a good start
The book started pretty well with Blaire going back to her estranged Father's home because she had nowhere else to go after losing her Mother to cancer and selling her home to pay medical bills. When she gets there her father is away and her step-brother Rush (not a blood relative) is in the middle of an orgy of a party but offers her temporary shelter in miniscule servant's quarters until she can get a place of her own.

Blaire is a mature, very attractive but virginal 19 year old who is able to easily get and hold down a demanding job and start to save for her independence. Rush, is a sex addicted, tattooed, body-pierced and very rich playboy. Amazingly Blaire is immediately attracted to him and just as amazingly Rush becomes addicted to Blaire and for the first time in his life starts to care about someone other than himself (although is is almost incapable of telling her). Rush has family secrets that affect Blaire but doesn't have the guts to tell her about them.

It all sounds a bit stupid doesn't it - but that's how the plot turns out. I don't understand why in these kind of stories the guy always needs to a bad boy (especially the tatoos and the body piercing) and the girl gets attracted by that. There are a lot of side characters, both goodies and baddies, who are mostly unforgettable or unbelievable, to make the story a bit more interesting than just a build up to a steamy relationship.

The ending is quick and the dark secrets verge on the ridiculous and are almost impossible to comprehend. It also has a sting in the tail/tale as there is more of the story to come. After the book seemed started so well and the writing was pretty good I kept on reading but I put it down at the end and said "Oh dear!!" and yawned.

16 December 2012

Nancy Hendrickson: How the California Gold Rush Changed the Face of America

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A very short history of the Californian Gold Rush
I am a history junkie, especially about the Gold Rushes in the US and Australia. So I had great expectations that this book would add to my knowledge base - but unfortunately it didn't add as much as some historical adventure novels I have read in the same setting. This book was really no more than a long University essay but did sum up a few essential facts about the Californian Gold Rush:

* Most went to the gold fields to get rich and go home and not to settle in California.
* Many never made it to California because the trip from the Eastern States was monumental and fraught with dangers, on a wagon train (with disease, hunger and Indians), round the treacherous Cape Horn or by sea and land across the jungles of the Panama isthmus.
* More people became rich supplying the miners than the miners themselves.
* About 1 in 5 miners died within 6 months of getting to the gold fields from accidents, disease and malnutrition.
* The Gold Rush was the trigger and the financial base for the construction of a trans-continental railway that eventually brought settlers in great numbers to the rich resources of California.

15 December 2012

Nelson DeMille: The Book Case

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A morning with John Corey NYPD
You need to be a skilled author to write a good Novella or Kindle single. With "Book Case" DeMille has shown his skills in writing a short detective novella that comfortably completes an accident/murder investigation in less than 50 pages.

We meet John Corey again in his days in NYPD when he is called from his breakfast coffee to investigate whether the death of a bookseller when a bookcase falls on top of him is accidental or murder. During the investigation Corey still has time for some of the dark wisecracking humour of his latter life (especially recently in The Panther):

* "The New York Times would say ...'Killed by the books he loved".
* "Can your driver get me a ham and egg on a roll?" "Sure, do you want a Lipitor with that?"
* "My wife thought that cooking and ....ing were two cities in China."

I found this short book very satisfying because DeMille didn't rush things but seemed to cover every base and John Corey wrapped up everything before lunchtime.

14 December 2012

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes

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The original master of the detective novel
Any serious Kindler who reads detective novels should have a copy of the classic works of one of the originators and master of the genre in their library - especially as it is currently free. If a collection of such classic out-of-copyright books is available free in the US it should also be available free in other countries.

In my original review (now edited and almost completely changed) I used the catchphrase: "Elementary, my dear Watson" and was surprised that I got some down-votes. Nobody helped me by commenting that this phrase was never actually uttered by Holmes in any of Conan Doyle's books. I think we owe our familiarity with the phrase to Edith Meiser's scripts for "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" radio series, broadcast from 1939 to 1947.

Diana Galbaldon: A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows

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Too much story for a novella
It takes a good author to write a really good novella. IMHO Diana Galbaldon writes well but she tried to fit too much into the format of the novella. The main action happened towards the end of the book and too many things were not given enough space or left unexplained.

I like to read novellas as an introduction to a new author. I enjoy reality or thriller escapism so the fantasy/time change themes didn't grab me. Others who like this genre might have rated it higher.

Stephen Cody: Soulless

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Well written but unbelievable
I read this book because I enjoyed "Lying in State". In contrast, while I found no problems with the writing and editing (which must have been fixed after poor reviews) I found the plot unbelievable and, to be honest, pretty stupid.

I should have been warned in Chapter One set in 2032 at an installation in the US providing organic oil to the Defence Department because oil supplies had dried up around the World. Saudi Arabia had reverted to a desert kingdom without oil and the riches of other major oil producers had disappeared. With the vast oil resources of the Middle East and more oil discovered offshore as prices increase the likelihood of this scenario in only a few years is ludicrous.

The plot then becomes even more ludicrous with government sponsored cloning, and a Catholic Saint and religious extremists coming together for an unbelievable climax at New Year's Eve, purportedly the end of the world. Steven Cody showed promise with "Lying in State" but hasn't kept this promise with this book.

12 December 2012

Mark Giminez: The Common Lawyer

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Another Great Gimenez
I am a fan of Mark Gimenez because he writes something different and meaningful every time. The only things that stay the same are his loving portrayals of Texas, warts and all, and in this book his love of Austen, especially the cosmopolitan SoCo district, shines through brightly.

Andy Prescott is an under-achieving C grade lawyer who puts his lifestyle ahead of a high powered career. He is an adrenalin junkie with a taste for the thrills of high speed mountain biking. His law business is in a shoebox office above a tattoo parlour in SoCo and he barely survives by helping people to skip out on speeding tickets.

The theme of this book is really "Money makes good men do bad things." Out of the blue, Andy is approached by a local billionaire, Russell Reeves, who wants his help to get the SoCo locals to support his redevelopment of run-down buildings into much needed low rent homes. Andy gets caught up in the thrill of earning more money than he has ever had in his life by the time Russell tells him the real reason - he wants Andy to go to any length to find people who might help save his son who is dying of a rare form of cancer.

As things unfold, Andy finds himself caught in a legal and ethical dilemma - should he help a loving father who is prepared to do anything to help his son survive, and has the money to make this happen. When discussing his dilemma with his father (who is dying of Cirrhosis of the liver) his father tells him "Life isn't fair. Sometimes that works for you and against someone else and against you. But life is always unfair to someone."

The gripping part of this book is how Andy faces up to this dilemma, and decide what he can do to make things right. This is a thoughtful, exciting and well written  book and well worth reading.

10 December 2012

Russell Blake: Jet #4 Reckoning

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Does this Jet need 4 or more engines?
Russell Blake runs one of the most productive and imaginative escapist thriller-factories on the planet. "Reckoning" is #4 in the successful Jet series about a kick-ass over-the-top former Mossad female assassin who is fighting to live a normal life with her daughter, Hannah.

Following the end of "Vengeance" (#3) Jet returns to Uruguay hoping to be peacefully re-united with Hannah. Alan (Hannah's Uncle and a Mossad trained operator) plans to join them separately and takes a ferry takes from Argentina to Uruguay.  He miraculously escapes when the ferry is destroyed by a fertiliser bomb stowed in an on-board truck. Was he the target of the bomb which killed more than 300 people? When he nears the Condo where Hannah lives he quickly spots that it is under surveillance and Jet and Hannah are no longer safe.

This book has all the normal Jet features - having to leave her daughter Hannah at a "safe" place while she tracks down and eliminates dangerous, unscrupulous and powerful people who threaten her peaceful retirement.

At the end of each of the previous books there was a chance that Jet had achieved her objectives - but her dangers never seem to be over. It is clear at the end of the book that there is at least one more book to come in the Jet series.

You may judge from the title of my review that my personal feeling is that there may now be enough books in the Jet series. The plot and action of "Reckoning" matched that of the previous Jet books, but IMHO the series may be running out of steam for me because the action is getting a bit repetitious, and also because Blake had to recycle some goodies and baddies to keep the plot moving.

I am sure that most of Blake's followers will love this new serving of Jet's adventures.  With my reservations I would personally give the book a 3.5 star rating, but having regard to the audience who will read this review I have rated it at 4 stars.

08 December 2012

J M Madden: A Needful Heart

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Surprisingly successful sorbet
I read this kind of book as a sorbet between courses of pretty heavy thrillers. Normally the sorbet melts away quickly with poor quality plots and writing. This was a real surprise as the sorbet stayed fresh to the very end.

This is a caring book about Gina who comes from a loving family but has yet to find her soul-mate, and Matt, a powerful and somewhat frightening but basically shy man whose childhood was marked by abuse. Matt believes that any relationship will finish up like those he experienced when he was growing up.

Matt has admired Gina for years as she is a nurse at the hospital where he regularly takes an old friend for treatment.  He is too shy and lacking in personal confidence to approach her, but when they accidentally collide and Matt helps Gina when she is injured, a slow and tender relationship begins between people from different worlds.

There are steamy scenes but they are caring and loving. The scenes when Gina looks after the young boy next door who is suffering from the same kind of abuse that Matt experienced are well written and very apt.

Now the sorbet is finished I am off to another thriller, refreshed by a well written and sensitive sorbet.

07 December 2012

Bernard Cornwell: Honour, Regiment, Siege Bundle

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A great Richard Sharpe bundle
This was my first experience of Bernard Cornwell's prolific series about the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier and military adventurer in the wars at the early years of the 19th Century - and I loved every minute of his adventures.

Sharpe is not your standard military hero and his adventures are addictive.  He joined up in the ranks and became an officer through sheer military brilliance and leadership. Sharpe isn't rich and mostly sleeps in the open with his men and leads by example not authority. With some exceptions he is intolerant of his other officers who come from rich aristocratic backgrounds. He is also a consummate lady's man.

While Cornwell must have taken some historical licence, his descriptions of military life are an insight into armies at that time and their followers, including the women, and how military campaigns were fought. Cornwell gives us great insights into the hardships of battle at that time, especially hand-to-hand fighting.

Unfortunately with this book bundle I have started the series at Book 16 in the series so I don't know Sharpe's early history. I plan to slowly read through the series over the next year or so and follow Sharpe's adventures from the years from the beginning. I am fortunate to be able to take advantage of the several 3 book economy bundles available in Australia and the UK which are not released in the US.

Bernard Cornwell: Sharpe's Honour

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A great historical military adventure
I loved every minute of this great historical military adventure. This was my first experience of Bernard Cornwell's prolific series about the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier and military adventurer in the European wars of the early years of the 19th Century - and I am already an addict.

Major Richard Sharpe finds himself in a world of political intrigue far outside his military expertise when he gets caught up with a plot by a French spy to destroy the fragile alliance between Britain and Spain that is diverting French military efforts away from their conquest of the rest of Europe.  When Sharpe is hunted by both sides, a lovely spy, La Marquesa (with whom he has had a passionate relationship in the past) takes a hand in the game.

In the end Sharpe overcomes this intrigue in the only way he knows well - taking the battle to the enemy and chasing the French out of Spain.

Sharpe is not your standard military hero - he joined the army to escape jail and became an officer through sheer military brilliance and leadership. Sharpe isn't rich and mostly sleeps in the open with his men and leads by example not authority. He is intolerant of the competence of most other officers who come from rich aristocratic backgrounds. He is also a consummate ladies man.

While Cornwell must have taken some historical licence, his descriptions of military life give a fascinating insight into how military campaigns were fought at that time, and the hardships of battle, especially hand-to-hand combat

This review will not show up as an Amazon verified purchase because I read this particular story as part of a 3 book economy Kindle bundle, which is available in Australia and the UK but not in the US. This is Book 16 in the Sharpe series so I plan to slowly read through the series in order, bundle by bundle.

Bernard Cornwell: Sharpe's Regiment

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Sharpe finds the missing Regiment
I loved every minute of yet another great historical military adventure. This was my second experience of Bernard Cornwell's prolific series about the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier and military adventurer in the European wars of the early years of the 19th Century - and I am now really an addict.

Major Richard Sharpe finds that, while his regiment is running out of supplies and replacements, army records say that there is a full regiment and stores in England ready to help. Sharpe goes back to England to find out what has happened to the missing regiment. Finding the regiment is not too hard but overcoming the influence of the highly placed traitors who are selling (crimping) the regiment's resources to the highest bidder for other regiments is much harder.  Getting the replacements to Spain is even harder still.

Sharpe is not your standard military hero - he joined the army to escape jail and became an officer through sheer military brilliance and leadership. Sharpe isn't rich and mostly sleeps in the open with his men and leads by example not authority. He is intolerant of the competence of most other officers who come from rich aristocratic backgrounds. He is also a consummate ladies man.

While Cornwell must have taken some historical licence, his descriptions of military life give a fascinating insight into how military campaigns were fought at that time, and the hardships of battle, especially hand-to-hand combat

This review will not show up as an Amazon verified purchase because I read this particular story as part of one of several 3 book economy Kindle bundles of the Richard Sharpe series which are available in Australia and the UK but regrettably not in the US. This is Book 17 in the Sharpe series and now I am addicted I now plan to read through the series in order, bundle by bundle.

05 December 2012

Murray McDonald: Scion

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Fast action sometimes unbelievable escapism
This is an over-the-top fast-action global and political conspiracy with scores of assassins on the side of the goodies and the baddies. If you like such escapism then this is a great page-turner for you. If you like a bit of a reality check then this may be too far fetched for you.

Scott (no surname, no passport) is wrongly arrested in the UK for rape. Scott grew up as a shipwrecked orphan on a small island near Borneo, not knowing the identity of both of his parents.  He is now nearly 25 years old (a key age in the plot) and has become a highly connected and dangerous undercover international government assassin.  What he doesn't realise is that his whole life is closely connected to one of the biggest power grabbing conspiracies on the globe.

I enjoyed "Divide and Conquer" and "Critical Error" but felt that the plot in this book was not only a bit over-the-top but there were so many different characters (especially on the baddie side) that it was hard to keep track of them. The action was frequently too unreal with the baddies being able to do so many things and influence so many people at the drop of a hat. On the other hand when the goodies got stuck into the baddies, less than half a dozen of them were able to take down dozens of well organised and highly dangerous baddies. Probably one of the best parts of the plot was the twist in the tale right at the end that I didn't anticipate.

This is one of the hardest books to rate. My head says that it should be 2.5 stars, my heart says that it should be 3.5 stars, and I know that thriller junkies would give it 4+ stars. On balance I settled on 3 stars.