A Valiant Deceit (An Olive Bright Mystery Book 2) by Stephanie Graves – #BookReview – #historicalmysteries

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A Valiant Deceit by Stephanie GravesYoung pigeoneer Olive Bright has been conscripted, with her racing birds, to aid the fight against the Nazis. It’s not the daring role she’d envisioned for herself, but her quiet little English village is not nearly as sheltered as she imagined . . .

Returning to Pipley following her FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) training, Olive is eager to step up her involvement in the war effort. Her pigeons are being conscripted to aid the Belgian resistance, and it’s up to Olive to choose the best birds for the mission. To protect the secrecy of their work, she must also continue the ruse of being romantically involved with her superior, Captain Jameson Aldridge, a task made more challenging by the fact that she really does have feelings for the gruff Irish intelligence officer.

But perhaps the greatest challenge of all comes when an instructor at Station XVII, the top-secret training school housed at Brickendonbury Manor, is found dead in Balls Wood by a troop of Girl Guides. The police quickly rule Lieutenant Jeremy Beckett’s death an accident, but based on clues she finds at the scene, Olive begins to suspect he might have been a spy.  Involving the reluctant Jamie, she is determined to solve the murder and possibly stop a threat to their intelligence efforts which could put the Belgians—not to mention her pigeons—in grave danger.

His Review:

Bullets and bombs were not the only weapons in use during WW II. During war, information is extremely valuable. Troop movements, weapons deployment, and stockpiles are viable targets of value. The distance between the British Isles and the European mainland is very small in some locations.

Olive has been using and training pigeons for racing and sport. Small packets of information attached to a pigeon’s legs are usually undetectable. The birds were often dropped into enemy territory with spies. Vital troop movements and concentrations could then be sent back to England via these birds. Olive was very proud of her flock and their accomplishments.

A Valiant Deceit by Stephanie GravesShe became very attached to her aviary friends and gave each of them a name. As they were shuttled into Belgium and France, she would look for them to return to their cages. Attached to their legs were usually a 2 1/2 to 3 inch canister with a coded message inserted. The messages helped to win the war and protect some of the inserted spies and combatants.

Stephanie Graves has added a valuable piece of war history and memorabilia in this entertaining tale. Her character, Olive, is a Nancy Drew want to be who has solved some crimes in her day. Her commanding officer is Jameson Aldridge. He is skeptical of the entire mission and continually questions she and her birds’ abilities to help in the war effort.

CE WilliamsGrudgingly he admits to her accomplishments, but keeps a close rein on her activities, as she tends to get herself into trouble with her constant delving into other people’s affairs. The story is fun and imaginative. I really enjoyed the author and her repartee between the characters. Overall, a very fun and engaging read. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B093XVNDBH
Print Length: 329 pages
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): A Valiant Deceit [Amazon] 
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Stephanie Graves - authorThe Author: STEPHANIE GRAVES has recently turned from happily-ever-afters to murder. The author of four published novels under the pseudonym Alyssa Goodnight, she transitioned to writing under her real name with her debut historical mystery, OLIVE BRIGHT, PIGEONEER. Her books have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, First for Women and Woman’s World. She lives with her family and two rescue pups in Houston.

Visit her at msstephgraves.com to subscribe to her newsletter or find her on FB, Twitter, Instagram or BookBub.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi Vohra – #BookReview – Coming of Age Fiction

Book Blurb:

Raghav is an ordinary seven-year-old growing up on the ‘good’ side of Colaba in Bombay. His is a safe, protected world and he is kept well away from the ‘other’, darker side of Colaba, which nevertheless, holds a deep fascination for him with its colorful, busy alleys bustling with activity, people and mystery – the ‘real’ world as far he is concerned.

Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi VohrBut life has other plans and Raghav’s entire world comes crashing down one day. In the space of a few crucial hours, his childish innocence is ripped away brutally, and he also loses the one person who may have made his world right again – his mother. That fateful day alters the course of his life and the ‘other’ side is the only place he can escape his now truly miserable home life and his bitter father who he resents more and more each day. He never tells even his closest friends about the horrific abuse he suffered the day his mother died, the day a fierce, burning anger took root in his very soul.

Now, 20 years later, all his peers and friends are settling down into jobs and the business of growing up. But Raghav is still trapped between his now suffocating relationship with his father, his own inability to find a job and make a life for himself and the painful memories of his childhood ordeal that still haunt him. And this is when he meets Rani one day, an orphan beggar girl who knows life on the streets of Mumbai, but not in the way Raghav does. He wants to ‘save’ Rani from the beggar mafia and give her a chance at a better life. His strong need to stand up for something, to truly help someone is fueled by the recent Nirbhaya gang rape case in New Delhi, that evokes painful memories of his own past trauma.

Set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, and inspired by true events, Diary of an Angry Young Man is a coming-of-age urban drama that explores the complex layers of humanity. And the city that engenders them. [Goodreads]

His Review:

Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi VohraGrowing up in India might as well have been on another planet. Now in 2012, Raghav is a little old to be living at home with his sister and father. Father is angry at him because he does not have a job even though he has a university degree! Raghav’s days are spent messing around with four friends.

Economic status is very important. Raghav is not among the poorest but he certainly seems to be borderline. He stays away from home all day because he does not want to be continually harassed by his father. The problem is that he has no motivation to do anything but hang out with his companions.

This story is very enlightening regarding life in India. The inter-relationships have some parallels to my own childhood. There is an establishing of hierarchy as in most societies and there are bullies and have-nots. The worst situation is that of orphans and street people.

CE WilliamsRaghav has a very big problem though and one which he’ll tackle for himself as much as the other. He is worried about a young girl and her employment as a street beggar. Her plight brings back bitter memories of his own shattered childhood. His compassion opposes those who exploit other people. Rather than beg for their own benefit, they must beg so that a street thug can get rich while they have a bare subsistence life. The book points out a general lack of compassion as well as abuse and poverty; many of the same desperate conditions experienced elsewhere as well as redemption. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book following a request from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Crime Fiction
ASIN: B09CQ1QRVN
Print Length: 174 pages
Publication Date: August 15, 2021
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Diary of an Angry Young Man [Amazon]

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Rishi Vohra - authorThe Author: A Green MBA and Wine Specialist, Rishi Vohra has authored three novels, ‘I am M-M-Mumbai,’ ‘HiFi in Bollywood’ and ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai.’ His short story, The Mysterious Couple, was featured in Sudha Murty’s anthology – Something Happened on the Way to Heaven, and another short story, Kaala Baba, in Neil D’Silva’s urban horror anthology – City of Screams. His other short stories include The Saas-Bahu Conflict which was published in the HBB Horror Microfiction Anthology and In Your Eyes in Tell Me Your Story’s LGBTQ anthology Pride, Not Prejudice : Decriminalising Love.

To get in touch with him or for more information, please visit http://www.rishivohra.com.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Head Shot (The Marko Zorn Series Book 2) by Otho Eskin – #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Most Elusive Assassin in the World Versus D.C. Homicide Detective Marko Zorn

Head Shot by Otho EskinWashington, D.C. homicide detective Marko Zorn is investigating the murder of an actress—an old love—when he is assigned to protect the visiting prime minister of Montenegro, the beautiful Nina Voychek.

Political enemies are planning her assassination—this, he knows—but now it’s apparent that he, too, is a target. As he foils the initial attempts on his life, he pulls out all stops—deploying his sometimes nefarious resources—to hunt whoever is targeting him and prevent an international tragedy on American soil.

Decoded messages, Supermax prisoner interviews, mafia lawyers, and an ancient Black Mountain curse swirl among the icons of D.C. Marko and his young partner, Lucy, face down what may be multiple assassins with diverging agendas. Or are they facing one assassin—the deadliest and most elusive on the international stage?

Perfect for fans of David Baldacci and Daniel Silva

His Review:

Marko Zorn is not a popular Washington Metropolitan police detective. This novel starts out with a rifle bullet barely missing him as he bends down to pick up his newspaper. His abrasive attitude and demeanor have caused most people to keep him at arms-length. His superiors put him on details that keep him out of the office and away from his fellow officers.

Head Shot by Otho EskinWhen a popular actress from Montenegro is sent death threats, he and his partner Lucy are assigned to protect the lady. The ambassador of Montenegro is not happy but bows to pressure from both the U.S. government and the government of Montenegro. Nina Voychek is involved in a stage presentation whose main actress is killed during a performance. Zorn is chosen as a bodyguard during Nina’s time in America.  Having recently been a target, Zorn would prefer to be on the down-low. Instead, he is a bodyguard to a theatre group who would prefer he disappear.

Otho Eskin has written a realistic-designed hero in Marko Zorn. He is not the usual tall and dark James Bond type but rather overweight and short. His reputation among law enforcement has been tarnished by service in Chicago. It became endearing to engage with a hero that is less than perfect. His investigations are at time bumbling–bringing to mind Columbo. However, his successful record speaks for itself.

CE WilliamsThe climax is intriguing and very innovative. I particularly appreciated the outcome because of the continual pressure placed upon Ms. Voychek by her country’s ambassador and entourage. I suggest anyone who desires a good escapist tale buy the book. 5 stars – CE Williams

Book 2 but can be read as a standalone. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Espionage Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
ASIN: B08S4646SJ
Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: December 14, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Head Shot [Amazon] 
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Otho Eskin - authorThe Author: Otho Eskin published his first thriller, The Reflecting Pool, to great reviews and book club interest in 2020. It was selected as an Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller and Suspense. The Reflecting Pool follows Marko Zorn- a Washington D.C. homicide detective who has a strong ethical compass but refuses to play by the rules. The sequel, Head Shot, also featuring Marko Zorn will be released in December, 2021.

Before he turned to writing fiction, Otho Eskin served in the U.S. Army and in the United States Foreign Service in Washington and in Syria, Yugoslavia, Iceland and Berlin (then the capital of the German Democratic Republic) as a lawyer and diplomat. He was Vice-Chairman of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, participated in the negotiations on the International Space Station, was principal U.S. negotiator of several international agreements on seabed mining and was the U.S. representative to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. He speaks French, German, and Serbo-Croatian. He was a frequent speaker at conferences and has testified before the U.S. Congress and commissions.

Otho’s career in the Foreign Service unknowingly prepared him for thriller writing later in life as he witnessed political corruption at every strata of society. While stationed in East Berlin during the cold war, the East German intelligence service (Stasi) operating on behalf of their Soviet masters, published a book entitled “Who’s who in CIA (correct title), translated into several languages and with wide distribution. This propaganda effort listed Otho and was intended to claim that he was a U.S. spy. (He was not). This was part of East German and ultimately Soviet, disinformation campaign to make the work of U.S. Foreign Service officers serving abroad more difficult.

Otho Eskin has also written plays including: Act of God, Murder as a Fine Art, Duet, Julie, Final Analysis, Season in Hell, among others, which have been professionally produced in Washington, New York and in Europe.

Otho is married to writer Therese Keane and lives in Washington, D.C.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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