Rise of the Dark Angel by Carol Brearley

rise_of_the_dark_angel_iconA few years back, a series of books made an international splash.  The central thread of the trilogy was a young woman who was mistreated and abused in a horrific fashion.  And throughout the three book series, the central character ultimately had her revenge.  That series was ultimately known as the Millennium Trilogy and was written by Stieg Larsson.  Many know the series better by the title of the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It was an international smash hit and, at its core, it dealt with a woman who had been horribly wronged.

Fans of the Millennium Trilogy are likely to appreciate the visceral drama at the heart of Rise of the Dark Angel.  Only where Stieg Larsson literally spent hundreds of pages slowly spinning his tale and taking lengthy side trips, Carol Brearley tells a tale that is much more on point while equally gritty and engaging.  It’s the story of Aingeal, a young woman living in New York City.  The story opens strong and hits the reader hard as we experience how Aingeal is wronged first hand, through her eyes.

In many ways, this is one of the things that makes this story so powerful.  It’s told in the first person.  The reader experiences everything through the character’s eyes.  The fear, the pain, the need to heal, and ultimately the thirst for revenge.  The author, Carol Brearley, puts the reader there, front row for the roller coaster ride that is both Aingeal’s pain and her road to recovery.
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Review: Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson

island_731_iconJeremy Robinson comes through again with another great action/thriller. While the chilling danger faced by the characters of this novel is fiction, shockingly it is grounded in fact. The infamous Unit 731 was obviously the inspiration which fueled this novel. And while the book shines a light on many outrageous atrocities, few readers are likely to realize how many historic references are factual.

Island 731 is a chilling thriller and a troubling cautionary tail warning of what might happen scientific advancement is put ahead of human decency and morality.

Looking for more information on Jeremy Robinson?  Find it on his web site, at You can also find him on Facebook as well as Twitter.

The Curse of One-Eyed Jack by J. Kent Holloway

one-eye-jack-iconWhat happens when Boone Creek Kentucky suffers a rash of unexplained disappearances and murders?  The superstitious town folk believe it’s The Curse of One-Eyed Jack.  Suspicion and dark secrets come easy to people with more than a little experience with the magic of the Appalachian foothills.  But none of it matters to Kili Brennan when her brother goes missing while leading an archeological dig in the nearby hollows.  Has he become a victim of One-Eyed Jack?

While Kili tries to solve the mystery of her brothers disappearance, the towns people are more concerned with protecting themselves from One-Eyed Jack.  And when Kili enlists the help of local mountain man, Ezekiel Crane, it’s impossible to tell if the odds of finding her brother have gotten better or worse.

From beginning to end, The Curse of One-Eyed Jack is a great mystery with supernatural undertones and twists that keep us guessing.  The story has a fantastic “grown up’s version of Scooby Doo” vibe to it.  The plot takes a series of fantastic turns, each leading closer to something ominous.  The stakes continue to rise and the mystery builds.  And, the entire time, there is a sense as if there’s something in the distant bushes watching, pulling strings and orchestrating events…  Maybe something supernatural, maybe not.
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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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An Author’s Interaction with Fans at the Holidays

The holidays are here again and Christmas cards are being traded.  Among the cards that have arrived this year was on from the best selling author, Joseph Finder.  As in years past, Joe sends out cards to those who subscribe to his newsletter.  I think this is an example of an author going above and beyond to make a special connection with his reading audience.  Certainly any author worth his salt has a mailing list that can be used to alert fans to the release of a new book or the schedule of an upcoming book signing.  But how many authors take the time (or go to the expense) of sending out holiday cards?  Talk about going the extra mile!

A special note in this years card described how Joe had the good fortune of taking part in Operation Thriller, now in its third year.  Operation Thriller III was a USO tour of the Middle East with best selling authors including Kathleen Antrim, Michael Connelly, Brad Meltzer, Andy Harp, and Joseph Finder.  Read more about the tour here.
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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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