Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Deep Down Dead – Lori Anderson 1

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

For most of us, 2017 promises to be another busy year and as such, time is a precious and valuable commodity. Finding time in our busy schedules full of meetings, media projects and time at the gym to pick up a book is becoming rarer than finding a good candidate for the US Presidential Elections, and we all know how that’s recently turned out! I’ll probably be blacklisted from his next press conference for that comment but if it’s good enough for CNN then it’s good enough for me!

So when I had the chance to pick up Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb I tentatively opened the book and began reading her debut novel. That’s the thing about debuts, you never know what you’re going to get – a little Forest Gump moment – but I didn’t run, I didn’t eat chocolates,  I just read and read! Safe to say I devoured it!

From the very first chapter Lori had me hooked. It’s always good to find a book with a colourful female lead and Lori is certainly that. A single mother, hard as nails and a protagonist that doesn’t like guns but has a penchant for pepper spray and stun guns, her personality drives the book!

Things become personal when she’s given the job to collect a fugitive she knows better than most and when they pull up to a gas station in the middle of nowhere things begin to go from bad to worse. It becomes a battle of wits, the temptation to jump in with both feet over caution plays on her mind and Steph plays this part out well.

For me the highlight – or lowlight – of the book comes at the theme park – Winter Wonderland – where we begin to discover the terrible things that Emerson and his cronies have been up to. In parts it’s quite an emotional read and one that certainly raised the blood pressure and anger for this reader. Children are at risk and with the protection the big boss enjoys both in and out of the theme park, it’s almost impossible to bring him to justice. It’s an excellent passage in a book that hardly comes up for air.

There was a moment in the book – towards the end – that I wondered whether it would become clichéd or not but fortunately thanks to good writing and great imagination it didn’t. I can’t and won’t say too much here as it would give the game away but suffice to say the author didn’t fall into the trap that so many do.

With an exciting narrative, a fluid read and colourful characters you’ll like and hate in equal measures, Deep Down Dead is a fantastic book. It will certainly be interesting to see where Lori’s next job takes her.

  • Paperback:320 pages
  • Publisher:Orenda (5 Jan. 2017)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1910633550
  • ISBN-13:978-1910633557
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Night School by Lee Child

Night School by Lee Child

In the morning, they gave Reacher a medal. And in the afternoon, they sent him back to school.

It’s just a voice plucked from the air: ‘The American wants a hundred million dollars’.

For what? Who from? It’s 1996, and the Soviets are long gone. But now there’s a new enemy. In an apartment in Hamburg, a group of smartly-dressed young Saudis are planning something big.

Jack Reacher is fresh off a secret mission and a big win. The Army pats him on the back and gives him a medal. And then they send him back to school. It’s a school with only three students: Reacher, an FBI agent, and a CIA analyst. Their assignment? To find that American. And what he’s selling. And to whom. There is serious shit going on, signs of a world gone mad.

Night School takes Reacher back to his army days, but this time he’s not in uniform. With trusted sergeant Frances Neagley at his side, he must carry the fate of the world on his shoulders, in a wired, fiendishly clever new adventure that will make the cold sweat trickle down your spine.

Jack Reacher’s back for his 21st adventure, this time he does things a little differently, this time he’s going back to school – Night School, army style!

I’ve always enjoyed reading the Jack Reacher books and I guess I’d class myself as a fan, the Reacher series is a series I can’t wait to read. It’s not only the character that draws you in with this series; it’s the humour, literary subtlety, action and the storytelling. Who needs Bond or Bourne when you have Reacher to fight your corner?!

On the face of it there’s very little to the books. Reacher gets caught up in a situation at the beginning of the book and you know there’s really only one outcome – he has to put things right by the end. Simples. A, B, C. 1, 2, 3.

But here’s the hook, these aren’t simple books. From scene setting, character development, plotting and enough action to satisfy the most critical fan, these are complex stories written in such a way that make them easy to read and follow. You could say they’re infectious! I just adore the way the author adds complications as he goes along, it’s as if – half way through writing – he decides to make it even tougher for Reacher. Let’s face it Reacher has it easy! Just when you think things are reaching an explosive dénouement the author cranks it up and another sub plot is introduced, destined to make Reacher’s life a little more complicated.

There’s more than enough dry humour to satisfy everyone, the passages really made me smile! And of course Reacher has a dalliance or two – he deserves it, after all he is saving the world! Overall the book has a different feel about in from some of his previous books, I can’t put my finger on it but perhaps it’s the fact that Reacher goes back in time to his army days that has something to do with it. One this is certain, this is another great example of action and thriller writing at its best.

Outstanding.

  • Hardcover:400 pages
  • Publisher:Bantam Press (7 Nov. 2016)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0593073908
  • ISBN-13:978-0593073902
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Bullseye by James Pattereson & Michael Ledwidge

Bullseye by James Pattereson & Michael Ledwidge

As the most powerful men on earth gather in New York for a meeting of the UN, Detective Michael Bennett receives intelligence warning that there will be an assassination attempt on the US president. Even more shocking, the intelligence suggests that the Russian government could be behind the plot.

Tensions between America and Russia are the highest they’ve been since the Cold War, but this would be an escalation no one could have expected.

The details are shadowy, and Bennett finds false leads and unreliable sources at every turn. But he can’t afford to get this wrong. If the plotters succeed, the shockwaves will be felt across the globe.

A joint collaboration between James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, Bullseye is a quick and effortless read. With a heady pace and storyline that develops quicker than a speeding bullet I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was an entertaining read as I struggled through my long indoor bike rides at the gym. Although I’ve read a few James Patterson books in the past I’ve not read any of the Michael Bennett series so it will be interesting to take a look at the earlier novels and compare old and new.

More often than not, any storyline that involves the White House or a standing United States President always piques my interest and I simply can’t resist, Bullseye is no exception and I for one am glad I gave it a shot – excuse the pun!

Characterisation is interesting. I really enjoyed following Michael Bennett’s progress throughout the book, workload and his family troubles – caused mainly by children – I mean anyone with 10 children are going to have a trying day at the best of times! Mary Catherine’s character sounds too good to be true, a nanny turned partner who takes on so many children? Wonderful – I did want to learn more about her in the novel but unfortunately she isn’t in the storyline a huge amount but what there was of her I enjoyed. Similarly Father Seamus who although in a couple of scenes his humour and personality shone through, I’d definitely like to learn more about him and his relationship with the family as a whole!

The storyline itself was good and you never really knew who would end up paying the ultimate sacrifice at the end and who was involved in the plot to kill the US President but everything is tied up nicely in the end. It did get a little complicated in the beginning with a number of arcs running alongside the main storyline and protagonist, it took me a while to distinguish between the two assassins, but maybe that’s my simplified brain at fault!

Would I read another Michael Bennett book? You bet. Enjoyable, entertaining and a very quick read, you can’t ask for much more than that.

  • Hardcover:368 pages
  • Publisher:Century (28 July 2016)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1780892721
  • ISBN-13:978-1780892726
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Burning Angels by Bear Grylls

Burning Angels by Bear Grylls

A prehistoric corpse entombed within an Arctic glacier, crying tears of blood.

A jungle island overrun by rabid primates – escapees from a research laboratory’s Hot Zone.

A massive seaplane hidden beneath a mountain, packed with a Nazi cargo of mind-blowing evil.

A penniless orphan kidnapped from an African slum, holding the key to the world’s survival.

Four terrifying journeys. One impossible path. Only one man to attempt it.

Will Jaeger. The Hunter.

It was about this time last year that I’d had the opportunity to read Ghost Flight (Will Jeager #1) by Bear Grylls and I remember the book fondly. The book was entertaining, thrilling and the action non-stop from start to finish – Burning Angels is more of the same. If you like your action heroes knowledgeable, tough and determined then read on, Burning Angels is for you!

The book follows on immediately after Ghost Flight and although this can be read as a standalone I would advise you to pick up the first book in the series to get a flavour for the series and its main protagonist. Burning Angels does standalone well but upon reading I was certainly glad that I already knew a lot of the backstory. Bear imparts this information well throughout and it never felt like repetition but to get the most out of this adventure you should go back to Ghost Flight, I don’t think you’ll be sorry!

Will Jeager is back with a vengeance, back with a bang and still on the hunt for his missing wife and son. Following pictorial evidence there is no longer any doubt that they are still alive, it’s more a matter of what condition he’ll find them in and if they can be found. Held captive somewhere in Africa we follow Will’s desperate adventure to save his family and save the world from a Nazi hell-bent on changing the world forever, killing thousands and thousands of innocent people with a super virus and following Hitler’s own vision for the future.

When I reviewed Ghost Flight last year I remember writing :

Held captive on a remote island in one of the world’s worst prisons, renowned for its brutality and an authority determined to inflict severe torture on enemies of the state, Will Jaeger is facing certain death. But let’s face facts, we know he’ll escape or there wouldn’t be a story but the opening chapters are so engaging that I had a vested interested in the protagonist.

And to be honest as soon as I picked up Burning Angels I was immediately transported into Will’s world, he’s such a likeable character. The same can be said about his team in this book, although we don’t spend a great deal of time with the rest of the gang, it’s mainly Jeager and Narov this time around and one thing I did like was the way Grylls had softened Narov ever so slightly. Adding a new dimension to her personality has worked well and has made her a little more endearing! I still wouldn’t cross her mind, she’s one tough cookie who stands for little or no nonsense but her back story is filled out well and certainly made their relationship that more enjoyable.

With a combination of high octane adventures, Bear’s own unique experiences and characters you’d end up wanting to fight alongside – even if only fictionally – Bear has another hit on his hands with Burning Angels. Incredibly quick to read with a flowing narrative, I can’t wait for the next in the series. There’s bound to be another one isn’t there?!

  • Hardcover:416 pages
  • Publisher:Orion (2 Jun. 2016)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1409156850
  • ISBN-13:978-1409156857
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Ben Hope lives on the edge. A former élite member of the SAS, Ben is tortured by a tragedy from his past and now devotes his life to finding kidnapped children.

When Ben is recruited to locate an ancient manuscript which could save a dying child, he embarks on the deadliest quest of his life.

The Alchemist's Secret

The Alchemist’s Secret

The document is alleged to contain the formula for the elixir of life, discovered by the brilliant alchemist Fulcanelli decades before. But it soon becomes apparent that others are hunting this most precious of treasures – for far more evil ends.

When the secrets of alchemy hidden within the pages remain impenetrable, Ben teams up with beautiful American scientist Dr Roberta Ryder to crack the code.

It seems that everyone – from the Nazis during WW2 and powerful Catholic organisation Gladius Domini – wants to unearth the secrets of immortality.

The trail leads Ben and Roberta from Paris to the ancient Cathar strongholds of the Languedoc, where an astonishing secret has lain hidden for centuries…

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Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe R Lansdale

Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe R Lansdale

Hap and Leonard are not your typical private eyes. But what they lack in experience they make up with perseverance.

Hap, a former 60s activist and self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard, a tough black, gay Vietnam vet, have finally decided to make their detective work official. Their first client: a mean old woman looking for her missing granddaughter.

The girl used to work for a car dealership in town… but it seems like cars weren’t the only things on offer. The mystery thickens to include blackmail, revenge, and an inbred family of hillbilly assassins who eliminate any threats to the operation.

Only Hap and Leonard could turn a simple missing person case into a life-threatening showdown, and only Joe Lansdale could tell this story. Filled with hilarious dialogue, relentless pacing, and unorthodox characters, Honky Tonk Samurai is a rambunctious thrill ride by one hell of a writer.

I can’t remember laughing so much in the first thirty pages of a book for quite some time, if ever, the humorous dialogue and enigmatic characters help move the book along at a formidable rate of chuckle knots! The humour remains throughout the book, the snide comments, the put me downs, the micky taking and the hilarity, even during the awkward and poignant moments it’s there to help lighten the mood for the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the approach and Hap and Leonard’s personalities shone like a beacon from start to end.

Honky Tonk Samurai isn’t your typical book, good thing I guess that both Hap and Leonard aren’t your typical private eyes as the book blurb – above – informs us.

While on a routine surveillance operation the ageing pair discovers their boss has just become the chief of police and Hap and Leonard are faced with the news that they have to start a new private eye business – Enter Hap’s girlfriend BETH? I guess she’s the glue that helps bind the two characters together and keeps them on the straight and narrow – as far as that is possible!

Although the book reads well from the outset there was a distinct change of gear and emotion for me when the author introduces a new character – Chance. I’m not going to give anything away so the review remains spoiler free but when Chance enters the frame it just gives the story a new dynamic, nothing too drastic but for me it was noticeable and rounded off a very good plot. Hopefully you’ll know what I mean when you read the book, unless it was just my imagination getting the better of me, because it definitely adds a little something extra to an already gripping storyline.

Hap and Leonard are a tour de force and utterly irresistible, you won’t want to miss this one!

  • Hardcover:352 pages
  • Publisher:Mulholland Books (2 Feb. 2016)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0316329401
  • ISBN-13:978-0316329408
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The Prisoner's Gold

The Prisoner’s Gold

THE HUNTERS
If you seek, they will find…

The travels of Marco Polo are known throughout the world.

But what if his story isn’t complete?

What if his greatest adventure has yet to be discovered?

Guided by a journal believed to have been dictated by Polo himself,
the Hunters set out in search of his final legacy:
the mythical treasure gathered during Polo’s lifetime of exploration.

But as every ancient clue brings them closer to the truth,
each new step puts them in increasing danger….

Damn you Kuzneski, why do you write adventure stories that are impossible to put down? I mean, it would be nice to have a breather every once in a while but with gripping storylines, amazing characters and the obligatory twists and turns, The Prisoner’s Gold is another prime example of superb construction and terrific writing that is frankly impossible to resist!

Incredible stuff, an author who continues to push the boundaries and enhance the action thriller genre, Kuzneski is one of my dependable authors, a man who delivers time and time again and long may it continue.

Characterisation is impressive with Jack Cobb once again leading the merry band of misfits! A motley crew, they act as one, one for all and all for one if you like – now where have I heard that before?! Dependable, highly skilled and determined to find the treasure, very little is allowed to stand in their way but as with all adventures things don’t always go to plan. Forced to think on their feet the crew, now sporting a new member – historian and linguist Maggie – meticulously plan for all eventualities but as this adventures is anything but A to B, things tend to go awry and Cobb shows the leadership skills that are crucial for its success.

With every good guy comes a bad guy, a bit of Ying for your Yang, and in Feng He, the leader of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists, a secret organisation, we have a despicable bad guy! He is ruthless and violent. He sports a determination to keep all Chinese treasures in the country and a hatred of all things Western. There’s one particular scene where he enters a room and hands out – you’ll get that pun once you’ve read the book – his own punishment and boy is it severe. Feng and his second in command are great characters and if it is possible to like a bad guy then he’s your man!

Another character I really enjoy is Josh McNutt – sniper – and his attitude, comedy and one lines are a breath of fresh air. He does have a tendency to be rather uncouth at times but I enjoy him more every time he pushes the boundaries and makes people squirm.

The Hunters is a great series and here’s hoping it goes from strength to strength. Great dynamics, superb writing and intriguing storylines I can’t wait to see what Kuzneski comes up with next. If you’re a fan of Scott Mariani’s then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. Do read them in order to get the most out of the series but each one stands alone for those who don’t have the time to explore the back catalogue – but if you do you’ll definitely be rewarded!

  • Hardcover:384 pages
  • Publisher:Headline (8 Oct. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0755386590
  • ISBN-13:978-0755386598
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The Devil's Anvil by Matt Hilton

The Devil’s Anvil by Matt Hilton

Accepting the task of protecting Billie Womack is a no-brainer for ex-counterterrorist soldier Joe Hunter, but it comes with its own set of complications.

Billie’s husband, Richard, stole thirty million dollars from some violent people. He apparently died in a car crash with Billie’s daughter, Nicola, during a desperate attempt to elude his pursuers. But his enemies don’t believe him dead. They think he escaped the plunge into the icy river that killed Nicola and has now decided to come back for the money. If he’s alive, they believe he’ll contact Billie.

It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to arrive at her remote farmhouse. Soon she and Joe are fugitives. Dead or alive, Richard’s fate means nothing to Hunter, but he promises to do everything in his power to protect the grieving mother. Even if it means taking a bullet for her, it’s a price he’ll pay.

It’s a pledge he will come to regret, as he learns that killers are forged on the Devil’s anvil.

When you pick up a Matt Hilton book you know exactly what to expect, it’s as simple as that. A high octane action thriller, a few dead bodies, a good storyline and entertaining characters full of personality. The Devil’s Anvil is no exception. Fast paced, entertaining and very readable the story moves along at a frenetic pace and at one point even Hunter’s life is on the line but we have a fair idea he’s going to survive – but then where would we be without our hero?!!

The book is formulaic – as is expected – but having just read it now the weather has become distinctly autumnal the book wraps around you like a favourite winter blanket, all that’s missing is a cup of hot chocolate! It may be stormy outside but there’s no fear of a cold chill while reading Hunter’s latest predicament. The boy can certainly find himself in an infinite number of scrapes, more than enough for one man!

The storyline is good and there are a couple of turns that were slightly unexpected and Matt deals with the twists well. Characterisation is again strong with enough emphasis given to the leading man, the supporting femme fatale and the obligatory bad guys.

The only man missing is Joe Hunter’s partner in crime and fellow hero Rink. Ok so Rink does make an appearance but for me, not enough! Having read all of Hilton’s books I have grown to love Rink and Hunter’s connection, they both go hand in hand with each other. The series is a boys own kind of read, it’s a club and without the full membership it does lose a little something. Don’t get me wrong, Hunter carries the book effortlessly but when you add Rink it becomes fuller flavoured. Think cooking, adding a little seasoning always helps with the flavour, for me Rink is the seasoning, and I’d like to see more of him.

You’ll never satisfy everyone and it’s all about getting that right balance. The Hunter series is full of action, camaraderie and gripping situations. You can get this in most books but this series does have that certain something that makes me want to return time and time again to see what predicament the boys find themselves in next. Keep going Matt, another great read.

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton (4 Jun. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1473610036
  • ISBN-13:978-1473610033
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Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz - Book Review

Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz – Book Review

It’s 1957 and James Bond (agent 007) has only just survived his showdown with Auric Goldfinger at Fort Knox. By his side is Pussy Galore, who was with him at the end.

Unknown to either of them, the USSR and the West are in a deadly struggle for technological superiority. And SMERSH is back.

The Soviet counter-intelligence agency plans to sabotage a Grand Prix race at the most dangerous track in Europe. But it’s Bond who finds himself in the driving seat and events take an unexpected turn when he observes a suspicious meeting between SMERSH’s driver and a sinister Korean millionaire, Jai Seong Sin.

Soon Bond is pitched into an entirely different race with implications that could change the world. Thrown together with American agent, Jeopardy Lane, Bond uncovers a plan that will bring the West to its knees in a heart-stopping climax.

If you’re looking for a book that features a charismatic leading man, strong female characters and an evil villain, somewhat crazed villain I may add, then look no further than the latest James Bond to hit the shelves. Trigger Mortis, a sequel to Fleming’s Goldfinger, by Anthony Horowitz.

Apart from the title, I’m afraid I’m not a fan; the book is a great adventure. It reads at a frenetic pace, even during the scene setting moments. The idea for Trigger Mortis came from an original television manuscript written by Flemming to which Horowitz had the opportunity to read and run with. Set in the world of motor racing Horowitz immediately set about changing characters and adapting it to the storyline. Of all the chapters the racing at Nürburgring – south of Cologne in Germany – and the castle retreat were by far my favourite sections of the book. Totally immersive I really felt part of the adventure.

Bond isn’t Bond if he doesn’t have an evil counterpart and Trigger Mortis is no exception; enter Korean Jai Seung Sin otherwise known as Jason Sin. He really is an evil character and takes great delight in dishing out his very special brand of death utilising his personal playing cards. He doesn’t take failure well and reprimands are a thing of the past, someone fails him, they end up dead. He is a little unhinged and slightly unstable but I loved this about him!

Strong women are a feature of this book and Trigger Mortis introduces us to a new Bond girl in Jeopardy Lane and the return of the fabulous Pussy Galore. Both play their part well but Galore’s role is far to brief for my liking. Jeopardy on the other hand plays quite a hefty role and is instrumental to the outcome of the book, I’ll let you discover how when you read it!

Let’s face it, waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee, you walk into the kitchen to find the wonderful Pussy Galore waiting for you, how can you not like that vision?! I for one hope the Fleming estate will be asking Horowitz to pen another Bond adventure in the future, he seems to have hit the mark running.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409159132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409159131

 

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Foretold by Thunder by EM DaveyWhen journalist Jake Wolsey stumbles upon a declassified file showing Winston Churchill’s interest in the ancient Etruscan civilisation his curiosity brings peril in its wake. He soon attracts the unlikely attention of alluring archaeologist Florence Chung – and that of MI6. As the two are pursued across Europe and Africa in search of the Etruscans’ sacred text, danger closes in and more questions than answers arise. Are there powers in the sky modern science has yet to understand? Could the ancients predict the future? And what really explains the rise of Rome, that of Nazi Germany, the ebb and flow of history itself? In a thrilling race against time and enemies known and unknown, Wolsey fears the very survival of the West may depend on his ability to stay one step ahead of his adversaries.

An enjoyable and entertaining read, this satisfies on most levels. If you’re looking for a little adventure, some action and a little Dan Brown thrown in for good measure then look no further than Foretold by Thunder, EM Davey’s debut novel.

The book moves along at a decent pace but I did find some of the Etruscan history hard to follow, and there’s quite a lot of it to follow, but then I know nothing about the religion, not that it’s necessary at all to enjoy this tale.

Jake Wolsey is an intriguing character and the main protagonist. I have to admit I found him a little wet at the beginning but by the end he’d won me over with a change in personality and attitude that wasn’t there at the beginning. Quite clever in fact, most protagonists stay the same throughout a novel but Wolsey definitely changed. He grew stronger, more confident, cut down on his alcohol intake and became a force to be reckoned with. He imparts his knowledge as the story progresses and by the end of the first book he appears to be somewhat of an expert in things Etruscan.

Although an entertaining storyline Jake’s character building is my favourite part of the book. He’s one of those characters you struggle to like or have a positive opinion on in the beginning but the author does a fantastic job of making his personality as important as the story itself.

There are a few twists and turns along the way and enough baddies to balance good and evil. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this story goes next. Great characterisation, an entertaining storyline and a book that’s very easy to read. A great debut.

  • Paperback:320 pages
  • Publisher:Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (2 July 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0715649930
  • ISBN-13:978-0715649930
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Solomon Creed

Solomon Creed

Evoking memories of Sanctus with underground tunnels, religious themes, sinister characters and a dark and unknown presence, Solomon Creed is another example of an author at the top of his game; the break has certainly done him good! Solomon Creed is a book that is both imaginative and entertaining on many levels, one of the elements that helps make this book work so well is the fact that you never truly know who Solomon Creed is. Is he good or bad? Is he hero or villain? So many questions remain, just as they did in the Sanctus trilogy and although the book ties up all the loose ends in this first adventure, it leaves the door open for the next book and certainly left me wanting more!

Simon Toyne gives us an insight into Creed’s personality, his past and the possibilities for his future (if he has a future) but we never truly understand what makes the man tick. The thing is, Solomon Creed doesn’t know who he is either and it’s his memory recall that makes him such a fascinating read. I’m not quite sure what it is about Solomon Creed but he’s such a likeable character, someone you’d expect to help those in need. He won’t take any messing mind and doesn’t suffer fools gladly but I could well imagine that if you needed him, he’d be there to help in any way possible.

Solomon knows about guns, he knows about detection and he has a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge on all manner of topics. One thing is for sure, Solomon Creed is an intelligent man and even though he doesn’t know what makes him tick, he unknowingly knows what makes others function and how to control most situations. As each hour passes Solomon Creed unravels a little more information locked away in his brain. It’s how he does it and how the information unravels that I enjoyed more than anything.

Solomon, according to the Hebrew Bible, built the first temple in Jerusalem and not only is he ascribed an infinite wisdom, born out in this novel, it is a remarkable coincidence, or maybe it’s not, that in this first book we are introduced to Jack Cassidy who built the first church in the middle of the desert in a town called Redemption.

The foundation of the story is the Cassidy clan and their hold on Redemption. Generations come and go and with the line in danger of eroding all hell breaks loose when a plane crashes out the outskirts of the town. Underhanded deals made to ensure the future of Redemption come to light and a power struggle ensues, a struggle that inevitably leads to murder and corruption. There’s very little downtime in the book and the read is both rapid and entertaining.

Characterisation is impressive and although Solomon’s personality and actions carry the book for the greater part there are a number of strong supporting characters that make the book that little bit stronger and balanced. In many ways Creed reminded me of Jack Reacher and his ability to help strangers and his ability to fix the seemingly impossible and that’s never a bad thing! There’s a good balance between good and bad and the character development is well paced and incredibly satisfying.

Dark, Super and Natural – to paraphrase Aristotle Creed is greater than the sum of his parts, and long may that continue!

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (10 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007551355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007551354

 

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The Defence

The Defence

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy.

Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

Lose this case and he loses everything.

I have to admit that I was curious to see where the author would take this book – The Defence by Steve Cavanagh – given the narrow confines of the story. Eddie Flynn, the protagonist, wakes up to find a bomb strapped to his person, he’s given two days to achieve a favourable result in court or his world ends, literally.

That’s all well and good if you’re allowed the freedom to research, investigate and call in favours but Eddie, under close scrutiny from the Russian mob, can’t make a single phone call or contact the police or feds for fear of retribution. I felt claustrophobic before I began reading and although the feeling does alleviate somewhat it’s a great feeling to have when you begin reading a new book. That feeling of “how the hell is he going to get out of this” more or less sums it up because when you think about it initially you can’t see a way out, it’s a hopeless case!

It’s impossible to go into too much depth with this review due to the nature of the story but what I will say is that I was entertained from the turn of the first page until its frenetic ending. It was never a case of will he or won’t he succeed it was how. It’s the strength of this how that makes the book so engaging and clever.

The narrative affords a rapid read, as does the storyline and supporting characters. I really felt for Eddie and loved him as a character and as a father, determined to succeed against all odds you find yourself rooting for him even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to!

Cavanagh clearly knows his stuff and the court scenes were as entertaining and realistic as any I’ve read before. Of all the chapters, one stood out which highlights his skill as a writer and a lawyer, the cross examination of the exotic dancer. Clever, sharp and relentless the observations and the turn around blew me away. Simple but oh so very effective!

So there we have it, a fast paced courtroom thriller that is so much more than a prosecutor, a defence lawyer and a ruthless defendant. This is one book I’d love to see made into a film.

  • Paperback:320 pages
  • Publisher:Orion (12 Mar. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1409152308
  • ISBN-13:978-1409152309
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The Escape - John Puller Series 3

The Escape – John Puller Series 3

Military CID investigator John Puller has returned from his latest case to learn that his brother, Robert, once a major in the United States Air Force and an expert in nuclear weaponry and cyber-security, has escaped from the Army’s most secure prison. Preliminary investigations show that Robert – convicted of treason – may have had help in his breakout. Now he’s on the run, and he’s the military’s number one target.

John Puller has a dilemma. Which comes first: loyalty to his country, or to his brother? Blood is thicker than water, but Robert has state secrets which certain people will kill for. John does not know for sure the true nature of Robert’s crimes, nor if he’s even guilty. It quickly becomes clear, however, that his brother’s responsibilities were powerful and far-reaching.

With the help of US intelligence officer Veronica Knox, both brothers move closer to the truth from their opposing directions. As the case begins to force John Puller into a place he thought he’d never be – on the other side of the law – even his skills as an investigator, and his strength as a warrior, might not be enough to save him. Or his brother.

I’ve always enjoyed reading David Baldacci’s novels holding both the author and the books in high regard but with The Escape, I think the author has cranked up the gears and delivered a highly polished and energetic thriller. It’s probably my favourite of his books and even though it serves as my introduction to John Puller not once did I feel a distance with him after missing his previous adventures. What it did do was peak my interest and I now want to read the two earlier Puller novels.

Sure there’s a backstory and history involved and although it would have probably made this book a more enjoyable one had I known more about Puller’s history it never detracted from what is a brilliant thriller.

With spellbinding characters – I didn’t want to put the book down once – and a narrative that is so typically Baldacci the book flows effortlessly from start to finish. Puller is a wonderful character and Baldacci really gives his protagonist the air time to suck the reader into his world. I felt for him, his brother and his father, something I hadn’t anticipated when I picked up the book. His nemesis is highly intelligent and is a very worthy opponent, the author doing a splendid job of making me dislike the character immensely!

With enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent of critic – seriously you never know what’s coming around the corner – and an emotionally charged ending, I admit to having a lump or two in my throat, this books satisfies on so many levels. Give it a go, you won’t be sorry and if this is the first time you’ve picked up a David Baldacci novel then one thing I can assure you, you’re in for a treat.

Wonderful writing, superb characters and  a plot that keeps on giving, The Escape is one book not to be missed in this or any other year! I can’t recommend this highly enough.

  • Hardcover:400 pages
  • Publisher:Macmillan (20 Nov 2014)
  • Language:Unknown
  • ISBN-10:1447225317
  • ISBN-13:978-1447225317
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 3.9 x 23.4 cm
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The Samurai InheritanceApril 1943 – A Mitsubishi transport plane plunges from the sky over the island of Bougainville. On board is Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In a document case chained to his wrist is the greatest secret of the Second World War – a revelation with the potential to change the world if it is ever revealed.

December 2011 – Art recovery expert Jamie Saintclair celebrates the return of a Vermeer painting to its rightful owner, and the day turns even better when he’s offered a lucrative commission. Not much can surprise Jamie, but he blinks when mining tycoon Keith Devlin reveals the object he wants him to find. How did the preserved head of a Solomon Island warrior end up in a German museum? And how is he supposed to discover what happened to it in 1945?

The search takes Jamie from Berlin to Tokyo and with every turn the significance of the Bougainville skull becomes ever greater. Soon he realizes he’s become involved in something much more important than finding a lost piece of history. Three thousand miles away, the answer lies in airless jungles that have already swallowed up one terrible conflict and are now being torn by a war the world isn’t meant to know about . . .

Konnichiwa readers! I absolutely loved this book, loved it! Great characters, wonderful locations and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, if you’re like me then you’ll struggle to put this down even for a nanosecond.

I’ve always been a sucker for Japanese history, especially in the 1940’s, and although we only get a snippet of the historic events that occurred, James Douglas has blended fact and fiction incredibly well in the latest Jamie Saintclair adventure. I’ve not had chance to read any of his other books but on the strength of this one alone I have no doubt I will read his back catalogue.

The Island of Bougainville comes alive in so many ways and if you’re looking for a holiday destination that includes dense jungles, shark infested coastlines and idyllic beaches then look no further. I should also add that there are a number of armed men waiting to kill at a moment’s notice and an island full of snakes – surely that’s enough to make you want to go? If not, you can read about the island and her inhabitants from the safety of an armchair and avoid the pitfalls the island offers!

Saintclair is a terrific character and a protagonist you’d happily spend countless hours down the pub listening to his adventures and his knowledge. There’s nothing better than a protagonist that knows who he is and what’s important to him and his family. He’s strong, opinionated and his determination to succeed unrivalled. Add to the mix a vivacious and attractive partner and you have all the bases covered.

That’s about all I’m going to say about The Samurai Inheritance, an adventure this good really doesn’t need any publicity! Brilliant. 鮮やかな

A review can also be found on For Winter Nights Blog.

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (28 Aug 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552167932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552167932
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