Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

The Intern’s Handbook-Shane Kuhn

April 11, 2014

The Intern’s Handbook
Shane Kuhn
Simon & Schuster, Apr 8 2014, $25.00
ISBN: 9781476733807

Human Resources Inc. recruited seventeen year old John Lago to join their company as he fit the profile of hiring only emotionally damaged teenage orphans. Like other young assassins employed by HR, Lago uses the cover of an insignificant intern floating through various companies requiring a hit by a professional killer working from the inside.

As he nears mandatory retirement age of twenty-five, Bob assigns Lago his last murder to perform inside prestigious Manhattan law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke. BML caters to a special who’s who clientele known for a propensity for disappearing inside the Federal Witness Protection Program. At the same time Lago writes his Intern’s Handbook rules and values such as never forget you are the bad guy with no moral compunctions for his replacement to use or die young. After joining the law firm, Lago tries to determine who of the three legal partners is selling WPP names at “auctions”; as that individual will meet the same fate of his sales’ “products”. At the same time Lago thinks the Feds are closing in on him and the associate he loves Alice who may be the person fingering him to the FBI.

With a nod to Grosse Pointe Blank especially an affinity with John Cusak’s Martin Q. Blank character, Lago’s actions, wry commentary, and rules and their explanations are poignantly amusing. The amoral protagonist holds the engaging jocular though violent storyline focused while surprisingly looking deep into the child is the adult; but in this case the children are expendable orphans filed away by society similar to expendable interns filed away by companies. Readers will relish this dark humorous twisting caper.

Harriet Klausner


Deadly Echoes-Philip Donlay

April 5, 2014

Deadly Echoes
Philip Donlay
Oceanview, Apr 1 2014, $26.95
ISBN 9781608091096

A diabolically brilliant psychopath viciously murders targeted people while placing the homicides on YouTube to insure the world believes that the environmental protection and research activist group Eco-Watch has turned to terrorism. Eco-Watch founder Donovan Nash knows his organization is not behind the lethal brutal assaults and that most likely his militant ecological enemy from three decades ago Garrick Pearce is.

The violent Pearce holds Nash culpable for the death of his beloved Meredith Barnes. With no regard for collateral damage to people or the planet, his plan for avenge attacks Eco-Watch and his despicable foe’s loved ones; but will climax that with the environmental disaster of the century in Nash’s name. Erica offers the beleaguered Donovan with information he needs to prevent Pearce’s scheme while assassins, Feds and Eco-Watch pursue him as he is considered deranged and dangerous. Donovan takes a last stand in Alaska to stop Garrick from an ecological-devastation whose biblical scope has not happened since dinosaur times.

The fourth Donovan Nash saga (see Category Five, Code Black and Zero Separation) is an exciting action-packed thriller that never allows Nash (or readers) a moment of respite. Although the lead antagonists come across as typical genre casting of a beleaguered hero and an insane villain, the secondary characters bring freshness to a fast-paced running out of time to save the world tale.

Harriet Klausner

Warriors-Ted Bell

April 1, 2014

Ted Bell
Morrow, Apr 1 2014, $27.95
ISBN: 9780062279385

Since the abductions in 2009 in Georgetown, Chinese General Sun-Yat Moon has kept American Nobel laureate Dr. William Lincoln Chase, Jr. incarcerated on Xinbu Island while at the same time the kidnapped man’s family resides in a North Korean death camp. The brutal Chinese officer demands the scientist’s cooperation on developing a stronger Chinese version of the Centurion Submariner he created for America in which an unmanned sub can launch multiple long-range missiles. Failure means his family will be slowly tortured to death.

In Cambridge, England the murder of a professor by ancient Chinese torture techniques sends MI6 operative Alex Hawke to investigate; New Scotland Yard Inspector Ambrose Congreve also makes an inquiry. As American President McCloskey fears for his people from the realistic Chinese threat, Hawke learns that his real mission is to rescue Chase and his family before tension between the two powers escalates to the use of the nuclear option.

The eighth Alex Hawke espionage thriller (see Phantom) is an exciting action-packed tale as the superspy understands he and his team must extract the scientist from an impenetrable fortress and the family from a confining death camp before the rival superpowers use the nuclear option. Adrenalin-pumping from start to finish, readers will appreciate the fast-paced save the world albeit over the top novel.

Harriet Klausner

Whirlwind-Rick Mofina

March 30, 2014

Rick Mofina
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778316091

In Wildhorse Heights, Texas, Jenna Cooper, accompanied by her four-year-old daughter Cassie and her five-month-old son Caleb, shop at the Old Southern Glory Flea Market for children’s clothing since money is tight. A terrible twister hits the area knocking Jenna out. When she regains consciousness she finds Cassie with her but Caleb missing. Franticly searching for her infant, hysterical Jenna knows she must act now without the support of her husband Blake who currently works in Alaska for a moving firm.

Though her job title is intern, Kate Page knows she competes with two others for a permanent position at Newslead in Dallas. Her rivals are Texans with experience while she is from Canton where she left her six year old daughter Grace in Ohio with friends. Kate interviews Jenna who tells her that a Good Samaritan helped her and her two children to safety just before she blacked out, but that person has also vanished. At the same time Kate investigates the apparent abduction, the FBI also works the case.

This is an exciting action-packed thriller made intense by the realistic hysteria of the mom and daughter, and kept anchored by insight into instant journalism and the reporter dealing with a prejudicial boss who believes her Lone Star blood is superior to Buckeye DNA. Gripping from the opening tornado and snatch, readers will appreciate Rick Mofina’s tense heart-wrenching Whirlwind.

Harriet Klausner

Safe Keeping-Barbara Taylor Sissel

March 29, 2014

Safe Keeping
Barbara Taylor Sissel
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $14.95
ISBN 9780778316169

The murdered corpse of Miranda Quick shakes up the residents of the small town. Many suspect her high school sweetheart, thirty-four years old loser Tucker Lebay killed her. While his mother Emily defends him, his Vietnam War veteran father Roy, who suffers from PTSD, wants to cut all ties with his son. The local police question Tucker, but soon release him.

Not long after the Miranda murder, the dead body of Jessica Sweet is found near the same location as the previous homicide. The police believe Tucker killed both females. A desperate Emily believes in the innocence of her adult child so, with help from her married daughter Lissa, she seeks to prove her Tucker killed no one. Meanwhile, Roy demands they kick Tucker out of their lives.

Safe Keeping is an intriguing family suspense in which relationships going back three decades impact the present as the child becomes the adult. The murder mystery storyline goes as expected to include a late twist. On the other hand, the effect of Tucker named by cops as a person of interest on his parents, sister and brother-in-law, and the high degree of misinformation that ironically remains accepted as Gospel even after being debunked as false make for an engaging thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Resistant-Michael Palmer

March 27, 2014

Michael Palmer
St. Martin’s, May 20 2014, $27.99
ISBN: 9781250030924

In an angry reaction to the New Deal, a clandestine cabal the One Hundred Neighbors formed with the mission to save United States from the Nanny State entitlements that they strongly believe only lead the country to inevitable financial ruin from unpayable debt and moral collapse. Over the decades this group insisting they are patriots secretly attack the nation from within in order to cause the people to lose confidence in the government.

Two weeks ago Becca Seabury shattered her elbow in a championship game. She was rushed to Boston’s White Memorial Hospital for surgery where she remains dying from an infection caused by an unknown microbe. At the same time Dr. Lou Welcome and his best friend Cap Duncan are in Atlanta. While Lou attends a conference, Cap injures his leg while jogging. Surgeons save the leg, but an infection identical to that of Becca sets in. The microbe resists all efforts to stop its spread. An unknown adversary abducts the CDC Antibiotic Resistance Unit lead scientist on this strain Dr. Kazimi after killing an associate and a security guard. Desperate to save Cap’s life and prevent a pandemic, Dr. Lou Welcome joins the inquiry as the One Hundred Neighbors threaten to destroy the U.S.A. if the social safety network is not destroyed instead.

This exciting medical thriller grips the audience with plenty of action; albeit over the top of the Bank of America Plaza. Fast-paced, readers who can suspend their plausibility especially the behavior of several cast members including the cutting off their nose to spite their face illogical villains will enjoy the late Michael Palmer’s newest Dr. Lou tale (see Path of Office and Political Suicide).

Harriet Klausner

Cloak Of The Light-Chuck Black

March 22, 2014

Cloak Of The Light
Chuck Black
Multnomah, Mar 18 2014, $11.99
ISBN 9781601425027

Twelve years old Drew Carter and his mom Kathryn attend the funeral of his father and her husband Ryan, a Special Forces war hero who died in combat. His dad’s BFF Jake Blanchard pays his respect to his fallen comrade. The grieving pair move to Columbia to live with Drew’s maternal grandmother. Over the next few years Jake became a surrogate father to Drew. In high school, Drew plays football. When his grandma dies and Kathryn loses her teaching position, she and Drew move to Rivercrest, Kansas where she obtained a job.

Drew makes the football team as a starting fullback, but alienates several players when he becomes friends with wannabe physicist Benjamin Berg who has a nutty theory about aliens living among us. He also is attracted to devout Christian Sydney Carlyle, who cannot go out with him as a non-believer. During a laser experiment conducted by Ben, an accident leaves Drew temporarily blind. When he recovers his sight, Drew finds he sees things outside the range of humanity; but what he observes makes him fear for his sanity as he swears feral otherworldly adversaries are in Kansas.

The first Wars of the Realm middle school age Christian thriller is an engaging tale due to a strong fully developed cast especially the three heroic teens and the brutal aliens. The storyline starts slow as readers meet Drew, but once they reach Kansas begins to accelerate until about a third of the way into the tale turns hyperspeed. Though Drew’s skepticism towards Jesus is mishandled especially his out of character mocking of Sydney, readers will appreciate the opening act of Chuck Black’s new saga (see The Kingdom and The Knights of Arrethtrae).

Harriet Klausner

Apocalypse-Dean Crawford

March 21, 2014

Dean Crawford
Touchstone, Mar 18 2014, $24.99
ISBN 9781451659498

In Miami, witnesses saw former NASA physicist Charles Purcell fleeing from his house where someone murdered his family. Employed by billionaire philanthropist and CEO of International Rescue and Infrastructure Support Joaquin Abell to study the time-space continuum, Purcell contacts MPD Captain Kyle Sears insisting he is innocent; demanding they test the bullets for Rubidium-82; and to get Ethan Warner involved; before he hangs up Purcell predicts the immediate future including his death. At about the same time of the Purcell homicides, a plane filled with scientists working for Abell crashes in the Bermuda Triangle.

As the scientist’s predictions prove uncannily accurate, Defense Intelligence Agency Agent Douglas Jarvis enlists the help of private investigator Warner and his partner Nicola Lopez to find Purcell before he dies. When a major earthquake devastates Puerto Rico, Abell begins relief efforts immediately as he was unbelievably prepared for the disaster.

The third Warner-Lopez collaboration (see Covenant and Immortal) is a faster than the speed of light, but stratospherically over the top of Cerro Punta thriller in spite of being anchored by the physics of time; as the villain fails to seem real. Action fans ignoring their plausibility meter will enjoy Apocalypse as the diabolical felon has all the time in the world to perform nefarious deeds while his pursuers have run out of time before they even begin their chase to prevent his deployment.

Harriet Klausner

Citadel-Kate Mosse

March 19, 2014

Kate Mosse
Morrow, Mar 18 2014, $26.99
ISBN: 9780062281258

In 1942 in Carcassonne, France, her sister Marieta warns her younger teenage sibling Sandrine to stay off the bridge over the River Aude. Though heeding the warning, Sandrine finds a battered man who did not drown in the river. As he lies dying, he pleads with her no police or doctor, but instead tell Audric Baillard that a sea of glass, of fire is real. Ignoring the man’s plea, Sandrine informs the local authorities. Like Marieta, Sandrine soon joins the all-female Citadel Resistance. However, the Deuxième Bureau continues to stalk her every movement since she reported about the man at the Aude. She flees from Carcassonne reaching Rennes-les-Baines. There she meets Audric Baillard who enlists her help in his quest for the ancient Christian Codex.

In 342 AD, Arinius the monk knows he must leave as his haven is no more. Taking with him his treasured papyrus, he heads to Carcaso where Gnostics and Christians live in peace as he prays to the Lord to allow him to complete his project before calling him.

The final Languedoc entry is an exciting thriller that compares the beginning of the end of the Nazis (and Vichy France) with the fall of the Roman Empire. The insightful storyline contains much less paranormal than its predecessors (see Labyrinth and Sepulchre); while providing a fascinating look at the history of France (especially as a trilogy). Fans of the epic saga will appreciate the Citadel as Kate Mosse completes her saga with a strong historical.

Harriet Klausner

Watching You-Michael Robotham

March 16, 2014

Watching You
Michael Robotham
Mulholland Books/Little Brown, Mar 11 2014, $26.00
ISBN: 9780316252003

In London over a year ago, Daniel vanished leaving behind his grieving financially strapped wife Marnie and their two children. Depressed and forced to work as an escort to put food on the table, Marnie turns to her neighbor psychologist Dr. Joe O’Loughlin as a patient of his; particularly since she insists she is not paranoid while claiming someone follows her.

Marnie finds an incomplete scrapbook and accompanying DVD that Daniel worked on as a birthday present for his wife. The DVD contains interviews he conducted and images he took of people who knew Marnie. Almost all of those he spoke with feared her as a terrible monster and many of them wish she would drop dead. Marnie is stunned by the revelatory reactions. She asks Joe what is going on; in turn he persuades his friend former cop Vincent Ruiz to investigate especially when a person she recently contacted and met is murdered with Marnie being the last known individual seen with the victim.

The latest O’Loughlin-Ruiz case (see Say You’re Sorry) is a great psychological investigative thriller; as the protagonists wonder whether their client is a dangerous psychopath or a victim of an insidious adversary with both heavily leaning towards her being a lethal lunatic. Although the premise seems improbable, Michael Robotham convinces his audience that it is genuinely happening.

Harriet Klausner