Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

City of the Sun-Juliana Maio

March 15, 2014

City of the Sun
Juliana Maio
Greenleaf Book Group, Mar 11 2014, $24.95
http://www.greenleafbookgroup.com/home
ISBN 9781626340510

In 1941 Egyptians fear for their lives and what appears to be coming to their kingdom as General Rommel leads a desert blitzkrieg speeding towards Cairo. King Farouk struggles to rule under the thumb of the British Protectorate while the new rebellious Muslim Brotherhood demands these arrogant foreigners leave or face their wrath. Neither the weak puppet monarch nor the pompous British rulers are aware that the Nazis and the Brotherhood are negotiating a deal to rid Egypt of its feeble ruler and its overbearing overlords.

Feeling fortunate to be alive while coming from the Libyan Desert to Cairo along with thousands of fleeing refugees, American reporter Mickey Connolly saw first-hand the power of Rommel’s forces that threaten to take all of North Africa. Meanwhile American Chief Spymaster “Wild Bill” Donovan persuades Connolly to help find German Jewish physicist Erik Blumenthal, who probably hides in the Jewish sector. At the same time German espionage agent Heinrich Kesner also pursues Blumenthal. Mickey allies with Jewish refugee Maya Levi in his effort to locate the hiding nuclear scientist.

City of the Sun is a strong historical thriller that uses real persona and events to anchor a powerful storyline. Readers will feel they are in 1941 Cairo as Juliana Maio provides her audience with a taste of a divided, frightened, yet angry city expecting war. The romantic subplot adds hope and passion in the midst of strife. However, readers will relish the profound look at the early days of the Middle East dispute (interwoven into a superb drama) that still haunts the region and world decades after the end of WWII.

Harriet Klausner

Retribution-Anderson Harp

March 13, 2014

Retribution
Anderson Harp
Pinnacle, Feb 25 2014, $9.99
ISBN: 9780786034215

At the United States Embassy in Doha, Qatar, CIA case worker Maggie O’Donald receives an email from a top level source in the House of Saud. Almost immediately, a small bomb explodes at the embassy gate. Realizing a bigger bomb will follow, Maggie manages to download her data onto a thumb drive and conceal it. From the second blast Maggie suffers a brain trauma leaving her comatose.

Knowing why the Korean event (see A Northern Thunder) was successful, CIA Agent James Scott visits William Parker to ask for his help on a new dangerous mission. At a time the House of Saud Bay’Ah Council prepares to vote on the heir to the King, Scott explains to Parker that his country needs him to prevent charismatic Yousef al-Qadi from creating a new fundamentalist Islamic state constructed from the Jihad murdering of millions. He further explains this man is behind the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that left Parker’s parents dead. They put together a team and deploy a plan beginning with Parker masquerading as Zabara the Muslim reporter who has a scheduled interview with Yousef. CDC provides the means for the assassination with a vial of deadly Neisseria Meningitis, but there is only one delivery method.

Rotating perspective mostly between Parker and Yousef, aptly titled Retribution is a hard to put down thriller because the superb storyline deftly builds tension leading to the anticipated High Noon confrontation between two kick butt adversaries with revenge fueling both of them. Mr. Harp’s talent is obvious as he takes his time setting up the chess board, but still keeps his exciting plot at hyperspeed to the delight of readers.

Harriet Klausner

The Second Letter-Robert Lane

March 12, 2014

The Second Letter
Robert Lane
Mason Alley Publishing, Mar 4 2014, $14.95
http://www.forewordreviews.com
ISBN: 9780615841885

Jim and Dorothy Harrison left DC for the Long Key section of St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. Not long after their relocation, Jim mysteriously dies while away on business. In 1961, under four months after she became a widow, Jim’s associate at the CIA Theodore Sullivan visits Dorothy. He asks her to keep a sealed envelope with a letter inside safe as the agency prefers it stored outside of DC. Dorothy and her gardener Angelo conceal the unopened letter in her home.

Decades later, Dorothy’s home has been converted into the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum. However, a few days ago, vandals tore into the place. Concerned Colonel Janssen orders former Special Forces soldiers Jake Travis and Garrett to find the letter left in Dorothy’s care many years ago. Tampa strip joint owner, mob-connected Raydel Escobar insists he possesses the letter; which he will exchange if the seven million dollars the IRS claims he owes the government is considered paid in full. The two veterans, Jake’s girlfriend Kathleen Rowe nee Cunningham formerly of the Outfit, Morgan the neighbor, and others work the retrieval.

The incredible cast makes for a fantastic Florida crime caper as all the key players, secondary characters and even some tertiary participants appear real yet their development is smoothly interwoven with no deceleration (even with some unrelated criminal activity) of the thrilling plot. Fast-paced, fans will appreciate this entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Gemini-Carol Cassella

March 11, 2014

Gemini
Carol Cassella
Simon & Schuster, Mar 4 2012, $25.99
ISBN 9781451627930

The local doctor performed emergency surgery on the victim of a rural Washington State road hit and run. However while still in the ER undergoing life-saving techniques, Jane Doe lapsed into a coma. The patient is airlifted to Seattle ICU where Dr. Charlotte Reese takes charge of saving the life of the still unidentified victim while fearing the woman suffered irreversible brain damage.

Single mom of Jake who has an undiagnosed congenital neurological condition, Raney thinks back to her teen years in Quentin where she met Bo when his parents exiled him to his aunt while they divorced. At the same time Charlotte’s boyfriend Eric obtains a contract to write a series of science books. Meanwhile Charlotte searches for who Jane is and what happened to her that led to her residing in an unconscious state in a Seattle ICU.

Most readers will connect the three seemingly separate subplots rather quickly before Carol Cassella actually does for us in the author’s exciting third medical thriller (see Oxygen and Healer). The profound storyline pulls no punches as the protagonist condemns society for the impact of poverty and the lack of education on health care decisions especially when these choices (or lack of) effect vulnerable dependents. Although Charlotte’s non-medical and non-Doe inquiry asides feel distractingly unnecessary, readers (except for politicians refusing to expand Medicaid) will appreciate this exhilarating drama.

Harriet Klausner

Lip Reading-Harry Kraus

March 6, 2014

Lip Reading
Harry Kraus
David C. Cook, Mar 1 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9780781405348

The lawyer media commercials remind Dr. Rebecca Jackson that her firm Jackson Pharmaceutical is in deep trouble after the FDA pulled off the market their drug Camplex. She knows how much the major repercussions will be because the company hid some negative data. Thus the pharmaceutical research chemist is in Nairobi emphasizing the firm’s support to combat AIDs when Dr. Jacob Opondo kidnaps her so she can see firsthand what her drugs are doing to Africans before freeing her.

Bradshaw Pharmaceutical CEO Greg Thatcher explains to his top researcher Noah Linebrink that he read Rebecca’s autobiography Pusher and looked up her work on creating artificial human blood motivated by a car accident two decades ago. Greg believes Noah and Rebecca need to combine their efforts, but Noah points out he is the ex-boyfriend she mentions in her book without divulging his name. In the Harrisonburg, Virginia bookstore where she signs her book, he arrives to make his pitch that they should combine their efforts to develop artificial human blood; but her past continues to haunt her and her present leaves her life’s work in peril.

Lip Reading is an exciting medical thriller that grips the reader from the moment Noey and Becca reconnect and never releases that hold until the final stunning climax. Noah is a wonderful dedicated scientist, but Rebecca owns Dr. Harry Kraus’ latest fabulous novel (see A Heartbeat Away).

Harriet Klausner

House of Glass-Sophie Littlefield

March 3, 2014

House of Glass
Sophie Littlefield
Mira, Feb 25 2014, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778314783

In Minnesota, Jen Glass believed she was Cinderella when she married Ted; as she escaped poverty and her recently deceased abusive father. However, her idyllic life proves far from perfect especially since Ted lost his good-paying finance position but continues his affair; while their teenage daughter Livvy treats her with scorn and their four year old son Teddy for the most part never speaks.

Two armed men (Dan and Ryan) invade the Glass suburban home. They lock the family of four in the basement. Jen prays they just rob and leave them unharmed, but also she wonders how these thugs know so much about her and her family, and why they assaulted her perfect home. However her prayers are unanswered when the Glass quartet become hostages so like any mama protecting her cubs, Jen vows to keep her kids safe.

House of Glass is a thrilling suspenseful family drama with a solid character core engaging the audience even as we know what is coming next. Fast-paced from the moment the house invasion begins, readers will believe they are locked in the basement with the frightened Glass family.

Harriet Klausner

Where Evil Waits-Kate Brady

February 26, 2014

Where Evil Waits
Kate Brady
Forever, Feb 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN 9781455502066

The hit man is an elitist killer; perhaps the best there is. In Atlanta, this predator targets Prosecutor Kara Chandler by going after her family and friends while stalking her. She especially fears for the life of her son Louie so she takes a desperate gambit by turning to a man she has tried unsuccessfully to place behind bars several times as she believes she must fight fire with fire.

Kara pleads with cartel hit man Luke Varon to help her. Though he knows if he comes to her aid he risks exposing himself to danger and jeopardizes his mission even if he can explain the mother and son hits to his boss. Still Luke agrees to fake murdering her and her son. Even more precarious to his safety, he offers to assist her in finding her adversary who he believes has ties to Kara’s felonious late husband.

The latest Mann Family romantic suspense (see Where Angels Rest) is an exciting twisting cat and mouse thriller as readers anticipate a High Noon showdown with a predatory pro. Fast-paced, in the frightened mind (more for her son than herself) of a prosecutor in peril Where Evil Waits is around every corner in metro Atlanta.

Harriet Klausner

The Hit-David Baldacci

February 24, 2014

The Hit
David Baldacci
Grand Central, Feb 18 2014, $9.00
ISBN: 9781455521302

U.S. government assassin Will Robie knows the current kill will be his hardest as the hit is on another top level cold-blooded federal killer Jessica Reel. Not caring why she was chosen to die as she is just another job although Robie accepts that this is a High Noon showdown between two elite gunslingers with only one walking away; and he intends that to be him. The CIA Blue Man and his superior claims she went rogue so they give Robie confidential information on his subject that gives him the edge.

A trained killer all her life Reel knows she is the agency’s target and that Robie is her personal killer. Instead of waiting for him, Reel contacts Robie leaving him with a puzzle to decipher. She also informs the Blue Man that she is working on a pyramid of kills with her closing in on the top to include him.

The latest Robie assassin thriller (see The Innocent) is an exhilarating non-stop action tale as the top gun CIA assassin meets his equal in a killer vs. killer lethal match that initially will remind readers of a superhero battling a supervillain. Filled with twists, double crosses and Julie the kid humanizing both assassins, readers will enjoy this over the top of Langley showdown.

Harriet Klausner

The Hit-David Baldacci

February 24, 2014

The Hit
David Baldacci
Grand Central, Feb 18 2014, $9.00
ISBN: 9781455521302

U.S. government assassin Will Robie knows the current kill will be his hardest as the hit is on another top level cold-blooded federal killer Jessica Reel. Not caring why she was chosen to die as she is just another job although Robie accepts that this is a High Noon showdown between two elite gunslingers with only one walking away; and he intends that to be him. The CIA Blue Man and his superior claims she went rogue so they give Robie confidential information on his subject that gives him the edge.

A trained killer all her life Reel knows she is the agency’s target and that Robie is her personal killer. Instead of waiting for him, Reel contacts Robie leaving him with a puzzle to decipher. She also informs the Blue Man that she is working on a pyramid of kills with her closing in on the top to include him.

The latest Robie assassin thriller (see The Innocent) is an exhilarating non-stop action tale as the top gun CIA assassin meets his equal in a killer vs. killer lethal match that initially will remind readers of a superhero battling a supervillain. Filled with twists, double crosses and Julie the kid humanizing both assassins, readers will enjoy this over the top of Langley showdown.

Harriet Klausner

Troubled Water-John DeDakis

February 22, 2014

Troubled Water
John DeDakis
Strategic Media Books, Feb 15 2014, $18.95
http://www.Strategic Media Books.com
ISBN: 9781939521071

At the urging of her mentor Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lionel Stone, Lark Chadwick leaves his Wisconsin newspaper the Pine Bluff Standard to accept a job as the Cops and Courts reporter for the Columbia Sun-Gazette in Western Georgia. Driving from her home, she is in Georgia desperately needing to take a leak. Lark leaves the highway and takes an isolated back road when a speeding vehicle forces her onto the dirt shoulder. After stopping in a spot with no one around, Lark feels euphoric following her flooding the ground until she steps on a corpse. She calls 911, but the cops place her in the back seat of their car where she calls in the story to welcoming Columbia Sun-Gazette employee Marcie Peck. Columbia County Sheriff’s Department Detective Benson arrives at the scene, questions Lark and sends her on her way.

Accompanied by photographer Doug Mitchell, Lark continues to follow the story questioning the lead detective, and friends and family of the fifteen years old victim Rae Donovan. Meanwhile as a second murder occurs, the ambitious Governor pressures law enforcement to solve the homicide and the journalist she replaced fumes on his blog and at Lark at being unjustly fired.

Troubled Water is a fabulous journalistic investigative thriller due to the strong lead protagonist on her first job away from her Wisconsin home (see Bluff and Fast Track). The whodunit is super, but it is fascinating realistic relationships between Lark and others; such as her with Lionel, Benson, Doug and others on the paper and the local residents; that make for a terrific mystery.

Harriet Klausner