Book Reviews

Book Review: Sick, By Brett Battles

sickSick is book one in the Project Eden series, and after reading it I can’t wait to dig into book #2.  Though this book is a lunching point for a series that currently features four novels, thankfully it’s a fully fleshed out and complete story in its own right.  Packed with action and unending suspense, the book starts with a scare and the wild ride only continues from there.

The book centers around the character of Daniel Ash, an officer in the Army who has recently taken his family and transferred to a base that has just been taken out of mothballs.  As the story opens, he wakes in the middle of the night to tragedy and finds himself in the center of a fantastic conspiracy.  As the story unfolds, Ash fights for his life and the lives of those he cares for.
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Pandora’s Temple by Jon Land

pandora_temple_90pixAs McCracken contemplates some of his past experiences, the reader gets a hint at the history this character has experienced throughout the series. But Land doesn’t dwell on McCracken’s back story. He drops just enough references to make things fun for fans of the series. And his references have me thoroughly hooked. I can’t wait to start the series from the beginning. Land’s writing is just that that engaging and his McCracken character is so richly nuanced that I want to experience the series from the start.

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If you are a fan of the series, you have to read this book. If you haven’t read any of the McCracken books, this is a fantastic place to start. It was my first exposure to the series and I am nothing short of impressed!

You can find Pandora’s Temple in Kindle format as well as paperback here.  Plus, Jon Land has a great blog available at and you can find him on Facebook here.

Cursed Blessing by J.M. Leduc

cursed_blessing_90pixThe Endowment, a responsibility passed down through time to protect what we known as the fountain of youth.  This was a very good book with a great plot, suspense, and action.  But I offer a word of warning.  The book goes on something of a Jesus bender starting at about the 33% mark.  All of a sudden nearly all of the characters start talking or thinking about their savior and praying a lot.

So, this would be the kind of thriller ideal for a church book club or a reader of very similar faith.  For others, the shifting of gears might be a little jaring.
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ThillerCast Episode #61: The Challenges of Writing a Series

The latest episode of ThillerCast (Episode #61) features a discussion centering on the challenges of writing an ongoing series of novels.  For all of the fun the books might be for the reader, that running story arc presents some significant challenges for the author.  Particularly when the writer is working on other content between books.  David and Alan discuss how difficult it can be to pick up a previous project and continue a year later.  Aspiring writers in particular will want to consider their comments and suggested workarounds.

The episode also features  an interview with Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer.  Chuck had written books such as Blackbirds, Hunter: The Vigil, Double Dead, and Mockingbird.

Subscribe to ThrillerCast via iTunes, or download episode #61 directly.

Resurrect, by Kane Gilmour

resurect_kgIn the 1850s, a powerful Chinese warlord proclaims himself the Son of God, brother of Jesus Christ, and raises an army with the strength to take over half of China.  More than fifteen hundred years later, his descendant and legions of fanatic followers set a plan it motion that could effect the entire world.  The key to stopping a potential holly war may be hidden in the lost final discovery of an infamous Swedish explorer from 1952.  But when a team of three archaeologists unearth something that threatens the plans of the extremist religious cult, no one is safe.

When members of the cult try to kill the archeology team, they come to the attention of Jason Quinn and his alpine research team from ARGO: Alpine Research and Geographic Observation.  ARGO, created by Teddy Roosevelt in 1902, was founded to deal with all manner of studies pertaining to alpine climates, volcanology, and glaciology.  The attempt on the archaeological team threatens disaster for Quinn’s expedition and provides him an increased personal stake in stopping the Chinese madman and his terror troop.
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Indisputable Proof by Gary Williams and Vicky Knerly

indisuptable-proof-iconEvery once in a while a reader is lucky enough to find a book that grabs them out of nowhere.  It maybe subject matter that is not normally in the readers wheelhouse or it might be a writer that one has simply never heard of.  Taking a chance on a book, you give it a go and when finished, there is no way to imagine you were unfamiliar with the author or ever had any reservations concerning the subject matter.  For a reader to find a book that strikes an almost magical cord by bringing together plot and character elements that make for a riveting read is the most rewarding of experiences.  Each of these was the case when I read Indisputable Proof by Gary Williams and Vicky Knerly.

Indisputable Proof starts with the theft of the Sudarium of Oviedo, the cloth that covered the face of Jesus while upon the cross.  The Sudarium’s theft is initially hidden from the public by the Church and the Spanish Government at the advisement of the CIA.  But time is running out.  The Feast of the Cross is only days away, a time honored tradition when the Sudarium is displayed to the pias masses.  Now CIA agent Samuel Tolen, Spanish Inspector Pascal Diaz, and British archaeologist Dr. Jade Mollur are in a race against time to locate and return the Sudarium to the church before the start of the Feast of the Cross.  Should they fail, a religious extremist group has vowed revenge against the CIA and the United States as a whole.

What results is a fast paced, beautifully crafted thrill-ride for the reader.  The details of the story and the evolving plot are crafted with precision.  The characters and credible and believable adding to the suspense as the reader becomes more invested in the key players over time.  And through all of this, the creative twists that take place throughout make the book incredibly difficult to put down.
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The Roswell Conspiracy, by Boyd Morrison

roswell-conspiracy-100Boyd Morrison’s latest book, The Roswell Conspiracy was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year.  Release number three in the Tyler Locke series, this may be the best book yet.  The story opens with Dr. Tyler Locke and Grant Westfield visiting New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds to put a new top secret hybrid test car through a series of cold weather tests.  But while in New Zealand, Dr. Locke takes a side trip to visit a seventy-five year old woman claiming to have a piece of wreckage from infamous Roswell crash.  Tyler’s firm, Gordian Engineering is the foremost airline crash investigation specialist in the United States.  This makes Tyler the most logical consultant to help identify the wreckage the old woman has held in secret since 1947.

Right out of the gate, the book launches into a rocket propelled thrill-ride as Tyler struggles to uncover the secrets of the Roswell crash.  But even the mysteries of crashed alien spacecraft are not enough for a storyteller like Mr. Morrison.  Complications quickly arise as secrets long buried by the Russians start coming to light and drawing attention to a rouge SVR agent who attempts to steal the Roswell artifacts.  This draws a tangled web of international intrigue that grows to involve the FBI as well as the NSA, international drug-runners and arms dealers.
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SecondWorld by Jeremy Robinson

2ndworldThis was one of the best books that I have read in some time, and there is quite a bit of competition for that claim. SecondWorld was an amazing combination of action, suspense, historical fiction, and science fiction. I was a little reluctant to start reading because I was concerned that it would be another apocalyptic tale. I enjoyed the Strain Trilogy but it really ended on such a down note that it was depressing. SecondWorld is not a story of doom a gloom, but rather a fantastic adventure with a plot the took one interesting turn after another.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you are looking for a fun summer read that is full of action, adventure, and is unlike anything you have read before, this is the book to pick up. I found myself hoping that it would not end.

United Moon Colonies By Tom Merritt

12456933-198x300This was a fun work of fiction from Tom Merritt, popular web personality and current host of Tech News Today on the TWiT network.  Those who recognize the name will remember Tom from his work at Cnet and as a long time host of the Buzz Out Loud podcast.  With United Moon Colonies, Tom crafted a fun future fiction narrative where the earth has just concluded a “Worlds War” in which the entire population of the planet has squared off against all forms of radicalized religious fundamentalists united under one regime.  The story takes place very shortly after the fall of the radical superpower and begins with the United Moon Colonies, a nation unto itself, taking a larger role in global politics.

The premise of the book is interesting and continues to evolve as the story progresses.  The story grows to encompass a variety of politically motivated twists and characters take on greater depth and find new motivation.  Those familiar with Merritt’s podcast work will likely be familiar with his intricate level of political and historical knowledge.  That proficiency shines in his writing as this book explores the dynamics of the world politics in a time of crisis.
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Helm by Steven Gould

help-iconA friend talked me into reading this book. I have read several other novels by Steven Gould, including the Jumper series, and Wildside.  Each of them a fantastic read in their own right.  But after reading the summary of this book online, I just couldn’t get interesting enough to pick up a copy.  But, after some cajoling, I was finally ready to give it a shot.  I’m really glad I took the time.

Put aside some of the other summaries of the book you might have read.  This book has a very interesting premise, and it plays out with an exciting cast of characters.  I’m a big fan of the characters when I read.  If I don’t care about the folks in to book, how can the story really be that engaging?  So, my trick here is to describe the book without giving too much away.

Consider Earth in the distant future.  The planet has been devastated and the last remnants of civilization escape to an interplanetary staging area on the moon.  The staging area was originally configured for a deep space expedition sending a crew to checkout a recently discovered planet in deep space that has been going through an atmosphere terraforming procedure.  But now that Earth has hit the fan, the project has to be reconfigured to send all surviving citizens to colonize the remote Earth like planet.
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