Monday, June 25, 2012

Interview with author Ben Coes (The Last Refuge)

Ben Coes next book, The Last Refuge is available for Pre-order on  It goes live on July 3rd.  It would be a great 4th of July read if you enjoy political thrillers.

1.  Tell us about yourself and your new book.

I'm the author of two international political thrillers - POWER DOWN and COUP D'ETAT, both USA Today Bestsellers. My third book, THE LAST REFUGE, arrives July 3, 2012. COUP is also available throughout the UK, India, Australia, and New Zealand - THE LAST REFUGE will be as well.

I worked at the White House under President Ronald Reagan and was a White House-appointed speechwriter to the U.S. Secretary of Energy at the height of the Gulf War. I was campaign manager for Mitt Romney’s successful run for Governor of Massachusetts and was a Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. I graduated from Columbia College, where I won the Bennett Cerf Memorial Prize for Fiction. I live in the Boston area with my wife and four children.

My third book, THE LAST REFUGE, is rooted in current events – in this case the intriguing, interconnecting relationships between Iran, Israel and America.  The book is an expression of my support for Israel, and uses our close bond with that country to form the dramatic backdrop of the story.  It continues the story of the main hero in all my books, Dewey Andreas. Dewey is a former U.S. Army Ranger and Delta who is willing to sacrifice everything for what he believes in.  He’s not someone you would want to mess with. 
In REFUGE, Dewey learns that Iran has completed its first nuclear weapon and intends to detonate it in Tel Aviv.  Working with Israel and two ex-CIA operatives, Dewey must figure out how to stop Iran before it’s too late.

2.  When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

When I was in junior high school – I won an award for a short story I had written.  It was a fiction award normally given to adults but I won anyway.  I can still remember the very special feeling I had, knowing that my words impacted people in such a powerful way.

3.  Do you have a favorite character you have written so far or in this particular book?

Yes, my main character, Dewey Andreas, is my favorite character.  When I started writing my first book five years ago, it was a very rough portrait of Dewey that I sketched out.  He was standing alone, on the deck of an offshore oil platform, at night.  In him, I sought to create an individual who embodies the qualities I aspire to.  He’s flawed, sometimes irritable, takes too many risks, but he fights for what he believes in, and he’s willing to risk everything for his country and his friends.  The most rewarding aspect of writing, for me at least, has been the growth of this character; he’s become a part of me and sometimes, as I write, I feel as if I’m taking dictation as he goes out and tackles the world.  It’s a great feeling – an incomparable feeling.

4.  Are there any minor characters you have written that you would like to flesh out more in perhaps another novel?

Yes, Hector Calibrisi, the director of the CIA.  Kohl Meir, an Israeli special forces soldier who saves Dewey’s life.

5.  Have you discovered some interesting information in research that influenced the direction of a novel?

For THE LAST REFUGE, I spent a great deal of time in Israel.  I learned a lot of confidential details about the state of the Iranian nuclear weapon development effort, as well as how Israel and America are penetrating sovereign Iran with operatives.  This highly sensitive information was then used to inform key parts of the book.  I think readers will enjoy the authenticity.

6.  What authors or types of books do you like to read when you're not writing?

I like to read other thriller writers.  I really enjoy Vince Flynn, Michael Connolly, Brad Thor, Mark Greaney, and Nelson Demille.  I also enjoy reading American literary fiction from Hemingway and J.D. Salinger.

7.  What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

Whenever anyone asks me if I have advice for aspiring writers, this is what I tell them: write every day, inspired or uninspired.  What I started writing that first morning ended up being chapter one of POWER DOWN, my first book, a USA Today bestseller published by St. Martin’s Press about an attack by terrorists against a U.S. energy company.  I kept on plugging away and soon enough I’d finished the second in the series, COUP d’ETAT, about Pakistan and India.

8.  Tell us something most people would not know about you.

I put up a somewhat tough image but the truth is my six year old daughter, Esme, has me wrapped around her finger and can push me around with ease.

9.  What are you working on for your next novel?

“Year of the Scorpion,” my fourth novel in the Dewey Andreas series, pits Dewey against China’s powerful Ministry of State Security, which wants him dead.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Greco's Game, by James Houston Turner

In this fourth book by Turner we find Alex Talanov facing a set of circumstances that will either end his life or reignite his desire to live life and live it fully.  Talanov's wife Andrea is dead, killed by a sniper round that was meant for Alex or was it?

But for Alex life has come to a crushing end.  He is in complete despair and doesn't really care what happens.  He is drinking himself into oblivion at club after club.  Our story starts with him in a hotel room with a hooker named Tash who has drugged him and is now robbing him blind.

Alex wakes up, much sooner than he should, mainly because of his physical condition and professional background.  He goes back to the clubs and finds Tash, confronts her about his wallet, all he wants is his wife's picture.  But in the process two bouncers get in the way and Alex is beaten badly.

But Tash, whose real name is Larissa is overcome with compassion for Alex.  She tracks him down, brings back his wallet and enters his life in a way that only one other person has before and that person was Andrea who is now dead.

Through many mishaps it appears that everyone wants a piece of Alex, from the LAPD to the FBI to ICE and finally the CIA.  So who will win out and get his attention. 

As it turns out Larissa is being used by the Russian Mafia to get close to Talanov, but instead she falls in love with him.  The FBI and LAPD just want Talanov deported and sent out of the country.

But the CIA wants him on their side.  They want the former KGB operative to help them run to ground the Russian Mafia and end their hold on crime in Los Angeles.

Enter Bill Wilcox, Talanov's former CIA handler.  He and Alex will work for the next few days to save the life of Larissa, save the life of a CIA agent, save the life of a U.S. Congresswoman and do their best to bring to the end a Russian Mafia crime ring that has been devastating Los Angeles.  Can they do all this?  That's the story line of the book.

Unlike many other spy / crime / mystery / war / political thrillers that take you all over the world Janes Houston Turner does a fantastic job of building his story completely around the city if Los Angeles and has it all wrapped up in just a few days time.

At first the story seems a bit slow in developing because there is a lot of time given to the new relationship between Alex and Larissa.  But it is all necessary to build on the characters, build on the story line and bring the action to a head.  I say a bit slow, but that is only because most thrillers have lots of action.  The beginning has lots of relationship.

But I was so intrigued by Turner's writing style and the character development that it keep me turning pages.  Just when I went to set the book down so I could do some chores he ends a chapter with a cliff hanger comment from the CIA to Alex about his new love Larissa.  So, instead of setting the book down I had to keep reading.

That's how the whole book goes, just when you think you might take a break someone new and exciting or intriguing pops up and you keep reading.  I finished the book in just two sittings.  That's unusual for me as I usually stop several times and do other things. 

But the writing and the story were so captivating that I just kept turning the pages.

How will it turn out?  Well, maybe good maybe not?  Will everyone survive the final chase scene and gun battle?  Maybe, maybe not.  When all is said and done is the story over?  Maybe, maybe not.  Turner ends the book with a hook that will make you anxious for the sequel that will be coming in 2013.  But trust me, after reading this you will want to mark your calendar so that you don't forget to order the sequel when it comes out.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Jericho 3, by Paul McKellips

Paul McKellips brings us a great read in his second novel. WIth this novel comes the return of Navy Captain Seabury Campbell, a medical doctor and former Navy Seal. "Camp" Campbell is going to be in for the fight of his life as he struggles to stop a bio-terroist attack that could spur Armageddon. Camp teams up with Lt. Col. Leslie Raines, former FBI agent Billy Finn and General Ferguson to work together to figure out what the Iranians are up to and whether they truly intend to bring Israel to it's knees with a biological attack.

As the story unfolds Camp is educated by an Iranian Intelligence officer regarding the 8 minutes and 53 seconds of terror that Iran believes will bring the devastation of Israel and usher in the Twelfth Imam who will bring peace to the World and a ruling elite of Muslims to oversee everything. This Iranian operative has to help Camp understand that the West does not have a clear picture of what motivates Muslims and why they are willing to face mutual destruction to achieve what they feel is a higher religious value.

Camp learns his lessons well, but is still locked into fighting terrorism through the methods and values that he has been taught and grown up with. He also has to help the Israeli's come to terms with what the mutual destruction theory might do to their country as well as the Middle East.

McKellips does a great job of bringing the political, military and religious world views together to develop a great novel that will keep you turning the pages until you get to the end. I was fascinated by his use of scripture to point out the subtle aspects of Armageddon and the Valley of Jezrel that has an important role both historically and for the future in accordance with Biblical End Times Theology.

Camp will work to bring a Mossad Agent together with the Iranian Military Agent so that they can discuss the issues of what is likely to be the final all out battle for the Middle East. Omid, the Iranian, although he is a devout Muslim is the portrait of the majority of Muslims who desire peace but desire to obtain it through peaceful means and not militaristic means. He is giving information to the American's and the Israeli's to try and stop what the radical "Twelver's" want to do to destroy Israel.

Will Camp and his friends succeed? Will they stop the destruction of Israel and the deaths of millions through a biological attack?

The story is well written and has many sub-plots that you will almost forget about until McKellips weaves them back in to bring new light on the issue of the battle that is being faced.

I was intrigued by how well McKellips developed his characters, developed his story, told us some history, gave us an education into Bio-warfare and also had a bit of romance thrown in to keep everyone guessing as to what was going to happen.

The ending will surprise you and will also leave the window open for future books to look further into the world of clandestine and military operations.

Thanks Paul for a great read.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interview with new Author Reyna Hawk

I was approached by Reyna Hawks who asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her new book, "Looking Through Blind Eyes."  I agreed to add it to my stack of books to read and have been very happy with that decision.

So, much so that even though I posted a book review earlier (on this blog: see the side bar) I thought that I would do a BLOG interview with Reyna Hawks to introduce her to you so that you might better understand her and her new found desire to write books.

You will find my book review out on Amazon.Com or her on this Blog under an earlier posting date.

Here is the publishers book description:  All Janie and Daniel wanted was a better life and growing up in small town Louisiana did not give them that opportunity. So the sister and brother headed to Los Angeles, California to make the most of their lives. However, their hopes begin to diminish when Daniel's work in organized crime lead them down dangerous and deadly roads. After Daniel's mysterious disappearance and death, Janie plunges headlong into grief and love for the assistant to the "boss". The couple seems to have everything going for them except for Rico's job that takes him away for days on end sometimes. Janie's suspicions and worries over Rico's possible infidelity reveals information she never imagined would come to light. Her undying love for this man leads to secrets, lies, and murder. Soon Janie finds herself on the wrong side of the gun hanging off a cliff deep in the woods of North Carolina.

You can find the book at this link:

The following is the interview with Reyna Hawk:

1. Tell us about yourself and your new book.
First I’ll start with me. I’m a 44 yr old mother of one son and proud grandmother to one beautiful 3 yr old little girl. I’m the youngest of 5 kids. My family comes from the TN and NC area; however I was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. I love to travel and to take photographs of nature.

As for my book, this idea came to me actually back in about 1996. But due to work schedules and life in general it got put on the back burner. Also, back then the internet and methods of self-publishing were not what they are today. One thing that hasn’t changed is how hard it is to get a good agent. This more or less discouraged me and I figured these stories of mine would forever be in my head. Anyway, about a year ago I decided after doing a Google search on book publishing that self-publishing was the way for me.

Looking Through Blind Eyes is about Janie Valentine and her attempts of living a simple normal life. However, after a family tragedy and falling in love with a Mob Boss’s Assistant, her life is anything but simple and normal. This book follows her through the chaos, secrets, lies, and murders of being connected to the Mob.

I got the name due to an old saying I use to hear my mother say; turn a blind eye. Essentially that is what Janie does; she ignores all the warning signs and knowledge she has, in the hopes of a better life.

2. When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I would have to say I knew in high school I wanted to be an author. I loved to tell and make up stories for my friends. Many times I would make them up on the spot. I remember telling my mother years later and she persuaded to pursue writing on a deeper level.

3. Do you have a favorite character you have written so far or in this particular book?

Well I am kind of partial to Janie, just because she has been running around in my head for years. However, I also like Daniel, Rico, and Malachi. There is something about each one that I am fond of. Janie is my favorite and then next comes Rico. I feel connected to them more than any of the other characters.

4. Are there any minor characters you have written that you would like to flesh out more in perhaps another novel?

I really would like to touch more on Scott. He had such a small yet major part in this book. I actually have a bit of a twist concerning him in the third book of this series (tentatively titled Shattered Visions Haunted Memories). I am thinking of possibly discussing him more due to this twist.  

Pastor Dan asks, "my favorite sub-character is Malachi, do you have future plans for him in your other books?

Thank you for your question and actually quite a few people's favorite character is Malachi;  and yes I do have future plans for him.  In books two and three he will have a significant part.  Of course, there will be more revealed about him personally and I think many will be surprised by the information that is brought forth about him.

5. Have you discovered some interesting information in research that influenced the direction of a novel?

Wow, the number of hours I did research online and watching documentaries is incredible. I did discover the level of secretiveness and violence that is attributed to those in organized crime. Many movies and books do not do it justice. It really is a scary world and way of living.

I did get an idea for another book on some of the research information. I discovered back in the 30’s to the 60’s there was quite a bit of Mob activity in the Cincinnati, Newport KY and Covington KY area; with connections to Mob men such as Lucky Luciano. Many Cincinnatians don’t realize just how heavy it was in that time.

6. What authors or types of books do you like to read when you're not writing?

I like to read books of a variety of genres. I am not one to rush to the store to buy the latest book that is being raved about. I will read books that grab my interest from the cover image and description on the back. I do like many of Stephen King’s books, along with Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson, and Patricia Cornwell. The genres I seemed to gravitate toward are suspense, crime, drama, and romance. I do not like books that are nothing but romance though. I like for there to be twists, turns, and action to the storyline. I’m not one that gets into the Sci-Fi or Westerns either. There have been a few I read, but usually I steer clear of them.

7. What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

Well I actually have three little tidbits of advice. The first is proofread, proofread, and then proofread some more. I went over this book numerous times and even had others proofread; and yet I still found a couple of minor mistakes in the final product. 

When there are numerous errors or if the sentences don’t flow very well then it makes for a difficult reading experience. The second would be to do research on the area, culture, and activities involved in the storyline. If an author is writing about the Rocky Mountains, it needs to be realistic. Those living or that have visited that area know it well. I research every town, people in the area, housing, etc. for each book. Research is very important; one cannot simply go off what they have seen on TV or heard by word of mouth. 

The third bit of advice is NEVER give up. Even if the first book doesn’t do so well, what is to say the next book won’t skyrocket to the top of the Best Seller’s List? I know a couple of authors that because their first book flopped, they hung their hats up. It’s sad because it is such a tough world to get into and see results. There are many great Indie authors out there if the bigger publishing houses would just give us a chance.

This thought is from Pastor Dan.  I agree with Reyna, NEVER give up.  My wife was discouraged after her first book and had to fight through the disappointment of not doing well.  Now, seven books later her sales continue to climb.  She has five self-published books and two books that were picked up by Sourcebooks and published for her.

8. Where do you do most of your writing and under what conditions do you prefer? (music, silence, being alone, etc.)

I generally do my best writing late at night while it’s quiet. I have done some writing in the busiest part of the day; however it’s not quite the same. I prefer writing when I am alone and when it is quiet. I get many of my ideas for plots or books while I am listening to music. I will begin by a thought and then daydream a whole creation of a book idea. Music has always helped me to bring about some great story lines and twists to the books.

9. Tell us something most people would not know about you.

Ok this is a hard one because I’m so open and upfront. I recently did a Top Ten Random List of Facts about myself for a blog site, so I’m trying to think of one not on that list. I’d have to say most people do not realize I have an obsession with tanning and an addiction toward Diet Pepsi. I know tanning is not good for my skin but I really enjoy it and it makes me feel good. I have tried the spray tans, but it’s just not the same. In my opinion spray tans gave me the unnatural dark and orange or dirty looking tans. I’m not as bad as I use to be, but I still go quite frequently. Beings I have a natural olive skin tone my skin tans very easy. So I don’t need to be in the tanning bed every day.

As for the Diet Pepsi, I drink a large quantity of it. Instead of coffee in the morning I drink Diet Pepsi. If I go to a store and they are out, oh look out. I will drive for miles in order to get one. My mother use to say she could always tell what part of town I was living in because the sales of Diet Pepsi went up dramatically.

10. What are you working on for your next novel?

The novel I am currently working on is the second book of the Valentine series. This one is called The Reflection of Secrets. It follows Janie into what has happened since the ending of Looking Through Blind Eyes. I got the name for the book because the life she is now living is a reflection of secrets that have and will be brought into the forefront. 

I want to thank Reyna Hawk for granting this interview for my BLOG site.  I trust that you the reader have found this informative.  Earlier in the post we gave you the link for purchasing her book on Amazon.  It would be well worth your time to read, it is an enjoyable diversion for the summer time blues.

You can also visit Reyna at her web site at


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Last Refuge, by Ben Coe


This is the first Ben Coe book that I have read.  There are two other books out in this series, “Power Down” and “Coup D ‘Etat.”  After reading The Last Refuge I can’t wait to get my hands on the other two books.

Ben’s writing is superb.  He writes on the same level as Tom Clancy or Joel Rosenberg.  His characters are crisp, well defined, easy to understand, yet difficult to understand, does that make sense?  They are easy to understand because Ben does a great job in describing them to us, but they are difficult to understand because they have a depth of character that you will have to sit and ponder a bit to fully understand who they are.  Even then you will be left thinking there is more yet deep within them that I have to get to know.

The plot of the book is real.  It is so real that it reminds me of Joel Rosenberg’s books that almost read as though they are taken from today’s headlines.

The main plot is held up by several underlying sub-plots and do not detract, but add to the over all suspense and thrill of the hunt.  There are times when I might have wanted a bit more action, but maybe I have just become an ‘action’ junkie that wants more.

Ben shows not just a good writing skill, but he shows a keen understanding of today’s politics, national security issues and the need for clandestine agencies to protect the interest of our country and that of our allies.

His characters will kindle in your heart the desire to be loyal to your friends.  Loyal to your country and loyal to those living in your country whom you might not even know.

Having worked with a local police agency and learning about camaraderie I found the characters in Ben’s work extremely likeable and real.  They care for each other and will go to any end to protect each other, even if that means holding back a bit of information.

After having barely survived his last assignment, Dewey Andreas wants to just have some time off and unwind.  He wants to regroup and just enjoy life a bit.

He gets a phone call from a friend, Kohl Meir, that he can’t ignore.  He has to respond.  You see, Kohl lead a group of Israeli commando’s who rescued Dewey from his last assignment.  Not only did they rescue him, but six out of the eight men gave their lives so that Dewey could live.

Before Dewey can meet up with Kohl the unthinkable happens.  Kohl Meir is abducted by the Iranian secret police off of a street in New York City and taken back to Iran to be put on trial for war crimes.  The certain outcome will be his death.

Dewey can not just sit back and wait for that to happen.  He must intervene.  But how?  Kohl is in the most secure prison in all of Iran.  There is no possibility of a rescue attempt being successful.  Oh, and to add to the tension, the CIA and the President forbid any action being taken to try and free Kohl from Iran.

On top of all this the Iranians have finished their first Nuclear Bomb and are planning on detonating it in Israel.

How does all this tie together?  Well, Dewey can’t leave Kohl where he is, he must act.  Iran can’t be allowed to explode a nuclear weapon, but supposedly no one is suppose to know that it exists.  Oh, and American and Israel can not step in to rescue Kohl without major political fallout.

So, Dewey will go ‘offline’ to do what has to be done.  His task, rescue Kohl.  But can he also stop a nuclear disaster in the process?

That’s the basis of the story.  Along the way the American President dies of a stroke and the Vice-President has to take over and gives the CIA and NSA direct orders not to interfere in Iran.

Dewey’s friends, The Director of the CIA and the National Security Advisor to the President have to decide what they will do to help, or will they help.

Ben Coe writes a gripping story that will hold you spellbound as you watch Dewey Andreas (just a normal everyday guy who happens to work as a CIA operative) do what a friend has to do to save his friends life, be loyal to his country, be loyal to his fellow Military brothers and yet go against every rule that he has sworn to live by and uphold.

Will he succeed?  Better question, Will you agree with how he attempts to succeed?  Would this be the type of person you want working for you and your country in a time of crisis?  How would you respond to the other characters in the book and their actions?

This is real life written as a novel.  It’s not my real life, but it is the real life of people who have vowed to protect and serve our country and me even though they don’t know me.

You are going to enjoy this book (oh yes, there is some violence and foul language) and it should cause you to stop and ask yourself how you feel about our Foreign policies and how far we let our government agencies intervene in other countries activities.


28 Pages, by Allen Mitchum

I was sent a copy of 28 pages by the author asking if I would read it and review it.  I was happy to agree to do that.

For a first book this was very well done.  I believe that Allen took a plot and developed it well.  He followed a good story line through the book, weaving in a couple of sub plots that added to and did not detract from what he was trying to accomplish.

His development of "driftwood" who turns out to be Fadi Kahlum is well done.  You don't want to like this character because he is an assassin, but then as the story unfolds you want to really like him, but then his old habits keep coming up.  So, you end up conflicted on whether you like him as the hero or you dislike him because of the life's vocation that he has been living.

The other main character, Heather Grahl, is a lawyer who is defending a young woman in a case of sexual abuse against the Ambassador to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia.  This is a no win situation as the Ambassador has diplomatic immunity, but can Heather draw a bead on him and shame the consulate and the U.S. government into deporting the Ambassador?

There are some political overtones (or might you say undertones) that work their way through the novel.  Mitchum is not a fan of Saudi Arabia or of terrorist or of our rules for Diplomats.  At least the writing would leave you with that assumption.

You will want to stop and think while you read, but then again you will be so caught up in the story that you will just want to plow your way through to the end to know how things turn out.

I enjoyed Mitchum's book and believe you will as well, below is my review that I posted on for their book reading clientele.  I hope you enjoy the review and the book.

Now for the actual book review;

Allen Mitchum's book is a great read. The story line is well conceived and well plotted out and keeps you turning pages wanting to know how things will end. It is not your typical everything turns out well at the end and all pieces are tied up nicely, which can be a breath of fresh air. There are a couple of things that are left hanging, such as was the death of a certain police official accidental or a murder, and does it matter? Is a certain romance going to blossom or not, and does it matter?

The book introduces a term, Islamophobia and leaves me wondering if the book was a political statement or just a well crafted novel that uses Saudia Arabia as the fall nation for the plot line? But because our antagonist / hero, Fadi, is Muslim and is in the long run the Good Guy, then the Islamic Phobia should be able to be put to rest. But is it?

The title 28 pages deals with the concept that there are 28 pages missing from the 911 Report that was delivered to Congress by the commission charged with looking into the events of the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York, the Pentagon and what most likely was the white house or Capital building.

Those missing pages would most likely implicate Saudi Arabia in the crime as co-conspirators with Osama Bin Laden and his merry band of terrorist. If not Saudi Arabia at least with the Saudi Royal family.

The story brings Heather Grahl, an American lawyer with Ancile Cole, a former U.S. Military officer and now Islamic expert and with Fadi, a Saudi Arabian Assassin. How do they all fit together? Well they are all working from different ends to try and wake up the American People to the fact that Saudi Arabian government is trying to wage a quiet Jihad with America but infiltrating our country and culture with disinformation and sleeper cells or at least deep plant spies who will cause major turmoil in America and lead it be become, dare we say, an Islamic state?

The book is well crafted, the characters well developed and the tension will keep you turning pages to find out the solutions to the different plots that our main characters (hero's) are trying to achieve.

I found the writing crisp and clean and enjoyed every minute of the book. Not everything turned out the way I would like. Not every theme was to my general liking, but it did entertain and give me reason to pause and think about our World's government structures and how we allow certain activities to go on with "Diplomatic Immunity" from prosecution.

If you love Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn style writing you will love this book.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Looking Through Blind Eyes, by Reyna Hawk

When I was approached to read and write a review for this new author I wasn't sure what to expect. Usually I am blessed or disappointed with new writers. This time I was definitely blessed. Reyna Hawk has crisp clean writing skills. She develops characters well and develops plot lines extremely well. The book is about half the length of most novels now a days but that was not a drawback. As a matter of fact the plot was so well developed that the only disappointment in shortness was that the story was over and I wanted more. But she has another installment coming later this fall, so not to long to wait.

Now for the book review;

Daniel and Janie are brother and sister and are facing life together and alone. Their parents died in a house fire that appeared to be mysterious. The local townspeople are a bit afraid of Janie because she has the ability to see visions of the future or see into someones soul by just touching their hands. Now it is not with everyone, just with some. But enough so that people think she is a witch and maybe had something to do with her parents death.

Daniel lands a new job that is going to pay lots of money, but they have to move to California. So, they move. Daniel sets Janie up in a new home that is modest but very comfortable. He helps her to get a job (at a local bar even though she is not yet 21). The owner of the bar is connected with Daniel's new boss.

Janie meets Scott, a musical celebrity who falls for her. The problem is he is abusive. Daniel then introduces Janie to three of his friends, his boss and two associates. Janie is nervous around them because it appears they are not nice people. But one of them, Rico, thinks Janie is beautiful and wants to get to know her better. But what about Scott?

Worse than Scott is that Rico and friends are part of the Italian Mafia from New York. This makes things tense. If Rico wants to be with Janie then Scott might want to look elsewhere for love so that he may maintain his health.

During this time Daniel is murdered. He dies in a burning car. Why? It appears to be a mob hit. Janie is left now without any family and without the one person who cares for her. Janie finds a note from Daniel, it tells her that something might happen to him and if it does to stay close to Rico because he is the only one that Daniel trusts and secondarily Rico loves Janie. Really, stay close to the mob guy? Hmmmm.

Back to Scott. Scott eventually goes ballistic and kidnaps Janie. Enter Rico and Anthony and friends to save the day, OK, they save Janie but it costs Scott big time. Rico takes Janie with him back to New York and now she has to live with the mafia while maintaining their secret about what happened to Scott.

To make things short, good goes to bad and Janie becomes a liability. Anthony wants Rico to end Janie's life. Can he do it? Will he do it? What will happen when he tries to do it? Will Janie survive and bring done an Italian Mafia family?

Those art the questions and the story does a wonderful job of making you want to know what is going to happen. Part of the plot is predictable but then out of left field a surprise comes along that really helps with the plot.

The ending is good and will give you the desire to know more about what is going to come next.

I'm sure you will enjoy this new writer and her work as much as I did.

One disclaimer for my church readers. There is a bit of steamy sex in the book, not bad, not over the top too much. But it is there. If you know my drill, just skip those few paragraphs and it won't distract from the overall story. Remember this is a crime family and their morals are not necessarily the same as yours :)


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Storm, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Clive Cussler and Graham Brown have hit a home run with this new adventure / thriller from the cases of N.U.M.A. Three different events come in to play. The first is in 1943 when a merchant ship is fleeing a convoy of Allied ships while the Japanese try and capture it. The second is a home invasion in the desert of Yemen in 1967 when a young boy watches his mother and brothers be executed by bandits. The final is a N.U.M.A. vessel that is overcome by a plague of some type that kills the three crew men and leaves a mystery that N.U.M.A. will have to solve.

The dilemma is this, the worlds oceans are changing temperatures and thus weather patterns are changing. Countries that have desert are now getting rain and able to grow crops. Then other countries that are flush with crops, due to good weather, are now facing dry conditions that may turn them into a desert. How has this happened?

Enter Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala and Paul and Gamay Trout. They come together to try and piece together what happened to the NUMA vessel that was overrun. In the midst of this they stumble across a terrorist organization that rivals the worst of all groups / scenarios.

The thrill ride is one that reminds me of the earlier Clive Cussler novels. This book brings back the best of writing that I was use to with Cussler and was starting to miss. Something else that this book brings is a new technology to light that many of us know very little about. That technology is Micro robots and Nanotechnology. How do you build robot's that are microscopic and can change the world for the good (hmmm or for the worse). These little robots are so small that there have to be 100's of thousands of them for you to know they are present. But what they can do is amazing.

Austin, Zavala and the Trouts are going to have to come to terms with how to bring these robot's under control or disarm them so that they can no longer accept the programming codes from their evil owners and bring havoc on the oceans of the world and thus the weather patterns of the world.

If you are a Clive Cussler fan you will love this book. If you are new to Clive Cussler you will also love this book and the bonus is that you will not need to read other books to get to know the players before reading this one. Cussler and Brown do a great job of building the characters, both good guys and bad guys, and giving you enough background to help you understand who is who and their strengths and weaknesses (hmmmm, do Kurt and Joe have any weaknesses?).

The book is about the right length. That had become some of the problems lately, Cussler books had gotten a bit bloated, although I always enjoyed finishing them. But this one is just about the right length.

Oh, and did I mention that there will be some near impossible scenario's that will make you think, no way could someone pull that off! Well, you would be right, except that these men and women of N.U.M.A. are exceptional people and they can do the near impossible. If you stop and pick apart the impossible scenario's the thing that is amazing is that you will find that Cussler has done his research and all these things are possible to do, given the right circumstances and the right people to do them.

I miss Dirk Pitt, but Kurt Austin has become the next generation American Hero that we all will love to follow. Thanks Clive and Graham for a great summer read.