The Double Agent: A Novel by William Christie – #BookReview – #historicalthrillers

The Double Agent by William Christie

Book Blurb:

From a modern master of the classic espionage novel comes William Christie’s The Double Agent, featuring Alexsi Smirnoff – a Russian/German double agent loyal only to himself – in a desperate bid to protect himself, again becomes a double agent, this time for the English.

The Double Agent by William ChristieAlexsi Smirnoff – a Russian orphan – was trained as an agent by the Russian Secret Service and inserted into Nazi Germany, where he rose to a position in German intelligence services. As the war grinds on, trapped between two brutal dictatorships, Alexsi betrays both sides in a desperate ploy that succeeds…and fails. His false identities burned, his life at risk, Alexsi attempts to disappear in the hills – but is caught by the British.

Recruited by the SIS, and by “C” himself, Alexsi is once again a double agent. Initially betrayed by a Soviet agent inside the SIS (Kim Philby), Alexsi is sent beyond the reach of the Soviets, into Italy with a new identity as a sergeant in the German army. Settled into the headquarters of Field Marshall Albert Kesselring, Alexsi finds himself at the nexus at a critical point in World War II, balancing between the various forces vying for control in the Vatican, the Italian resistance, and the brutal German Army determined to maintain control of Northern Italy. And Alexsi, finally forced to choose sides over his own survival.

Sequel to the well-regarded A Single Spy, The Double Agent is a fast-paced, compelling novel of espionage in the most momentous and dangerous of times.

His Review:

Alexsi Ivanovich Smirnov was a deeply embedded agent in MI 6. He reported both to London and Moscow. Neither country knew that he worked for the other. His life was a tightrope with knives at both ends. The Nazis would shoot immediately if they knew that he reported to both sides. First, however, he could expect to be hanging from a meat hook in the basement of Gestapo headquarters.

The Double Agent by William ChristieThe problem with being a dual agent is keeping both agencies satisfied. One slip and he would never see the light of day again. Their mutual enemy needed to be defeated by both countries. This book explores the problems faced by someone who is a slave to two masters. Information needs to be fed to the agencies without actually giving away something that could harm the other.

CE WilliamsWell-paced and engaging. Empathetic MC. This well-written novel will entertain you and keep you in suspense. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN:  B09Q1Y9T1F
Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: November 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Double Agent (Amazon)
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Williams Christie - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] WILLIAM CHRISTIE is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a former Marine Corps infantry officer who commanded a number of units and served around the world. In addition to A Single Spy, he has written several other novels, published either under his own name or that of F.J. Chase.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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The Iron Way (The Sarmatian Trilogy Book 2) by Tim Leach – #BookReview – #ancienthistoricalfiction

The Iron Way by Tim Leach

Book Blurb:

The Iron Way by Tim LeachAD 175, Vindolanda, Britannia. After their cavalry was broken by the legions on the frozen waters of the Danube, Sarmatian warrior Kai bought his people’s lives with a pledge to serve Rome. Bound to the will of the Emperor, the Sarmatians are ready to fight and eager to die – death in battle is the only escape from the dishonour of their defeat.

Exiled from their home lands, they are ordered to take the Iron Way to the far north and the very edge of the Empire. Here, a great wall of stone cuts across the land as straight as the stroke of a sword. On one side, Rome’s dominion; on the other, mist and rumours – stories of men closer to giants, of warriors who fight without fear or restraint.

For a people who knew no borders, who were promised war, garrison duty is cruel punishment. But as insurrection stirs on both sides of the wall, Kai will discover that every barrier has its weaknesses – and he will have his chance to fight, perhaps to die.

His Review:

The Romans had the perfect solution to protect their part of the British Island. Build a wall to keep the “northern hoards” and rabble out. Hadrian’s Wall is a constant reminder that isolationism and border walls do not work.

The Iron Way by Tim LeachThe northern part of the British Isles has been an area of contention for many centuries. The Romans invading the island did nothing to change that. Therefore, they built a very impressive border wall with guard towers every mile to dissuade foreign invaders from attacking and occupying the region.

Thousands of invaders approached the wall carefully. Surely an attack was imminent! Remarkably no defense was supported on the wall and the army just pushed through on their journey to London. The invaders could not believe the arrogance of the people on the other side of the wall.

A Roman Centurion was the leader of the defense brigade. He considered this posting to be punishment for his inability to control the population. The prefect hated his job and could not wait to retire. His greatest concern was that he would not be invited to return to Rome or its environs, but would instead retire on a small parcel in England. This was one of his greatest nightmares.

This story exemplifies the schism that was the British Isles during the first one thousand years of the current epoch. Being the representative of Rome in such a backward area was tantamount to total ostracizing. The invaders heading toward England simply went to the hole in the wall and advanced on toward London.

This story is a very interesting look at the calamity that befell various nomadic tribes which colonized those islands at the time. The Roman’s promise was that 25 years in the Roman Legions would result in freedom to go home and live a retirement of ease. The Romans knew that this would never happen. Twenty-five years at that time was almost surely a death sentence.

CE WilliamsThis book is well written and certainly has poetic license at its core because there is no written history of many of these tribes. Read and enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. These are my unbiased opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Ancient Historical Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: Head of Zeus—an Aries Book
ASIN: B09GZR81KT
Publication Date: August 4, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Iron Way [Amazon]
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Tim Leach - author
Tim Leach – author

The Author: [Goodreads] Writer, climber, whisky drinker, chess dabbler and general purpose layabout. London exile currently encamped in the North and loving it. I’ve studied and taught creative writing at the University of Warwick and worked in bookshops in London and Greece.

If you’d like to know any more about me or my books, just ping me a message. Thanks for stopping by!

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Tom Clancy Zero Hour (A Jack Ryan Jr Novel Book 9 by Don Bentley – #BookReview – #warfiction

Tom Clancy Zero Hour by Don Bentley

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

#1 New Release in Military Thrillers 

Book Blurb:

Tom Clancy Zero Hour by Don BentleyJack Ryan, Jr. is the one man who can prevent a second Korean War in the latest thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

When the leader of North Korea is catastrophically injured, his incapacitation inadvertently triggers a “dead-man’s switch,” activating an army of sleeper agents in South Korea and precipitating a struggle for succession.

Jack Ryan, Jr. is in Seoul to interview a potential addition to the Campus.  But his benign trip takes a deadly turn when a wave of violence perpetrated by North Korean operatives grips South Korea’s capital.  A mysterious voice from North Korea offers Jack a way to stop the peninsula’s rush to war, but her price may be more than he can afford to pay.

His Review:

North Korea has a cadre of renegade operatives working to overthrow the South Korean regime. Explosions are felt in Seoul as large crowds begin to crowd the capital. Escape is very difficult with the people frantically searching for places of safety. Meanwhile, the North Korean insurgents continue to plant many more bombs.

Tom Clancy Zero Hour by Don BentleyThe ”Supreme Leader” has been missing for a number of days and the suspicion of a successful coup is rampant. The renegades are intent on initiating a war between the South and American advisors. They gather a detachment of soldiers intent on exacerbating the chaos.

A leading medical advisor to the “Supreme Leader” has him placed in a safe bunker near the border between the North and the South. The bunker is also a top-secret research facility for developing a new and very deadly chemical weapon to destroy the South Korean army and thousands of its’ people.

Jack Ryan Jr. joins up with a group of U.S. Navy Seals to attempt to thwart the potential of WW III. The Seals and Jack have a healthy disdainful respect for each other. Jack believes the Seals are effective but not very eloquent in the execution of plans. The give and take between the two is humorous. Can the plans of the radicals in the North Korean military succeed in starting WWIII?

Don Bentley writes a very convincing saga of cold war tensions and events. The Supreme Leader is only incapacitated for a week which appears long enough to start WWIII. The insurgents hope to eliminate the leader of North Korea and put themselves in power.

CE WilliamsThere is not a dull moment in this novel, it’s fast-paced and filled with action. The protagonist is self-confident, independent, and efficient. The narrative is gripping and the conclusion satisfying. 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 the CE’s review. These are his honest opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Military Thrillers, War Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: G P Putnam’s Sons
ASIN: B09FNW2FV4
Print Length: 492 pages
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Tom Clancy Zero Hour [Amazon]
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Don Bentley - authorThe Author: Don Bentley is the NYT bestselling author of the HOSTILE INTENT and Tom Clancy ZERO HOUR. Don is a former FBI Special Agent, SWAT Team member, and Army Apache helicopter pilot. Learn more at http://www.donbentleybooks.com

 

 

 

 

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Somewhere in the South Pacific (The Todd Ingram Series Book 7) by John J Gobbell – #BookReview – #historicalthrillers

Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J Gobbell

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J GobbellInspired by the true story of John F. Kennedy’s daring naval mission at the height of World War II, this historical thriller brings the unanswered question of the past to life with fast-paced action and vivid detail.

After surviving a near suicidal mission on Mondo Mondo Island, Lieutenant Commander Todd Ingram is sent back to the States on a thirty-day leave—but the war waits for no one, and trouble is already rippling through the Pacific Theater.

Fresh from Stateside training, Lieutenant JG John Kennedy takes command of the PT 109, a torpedo boat in desperate need of repairs, for the upcoming mission to retake the Western Solomon Islands. But the war isn’t the only thing on Kennedy’s mind: he’s torn between his family’s expectations and his forbidden love for Inga Arvad, a beautiful Danish columnist who narrowly escaped Nazi occupied Germany.

When a disastrous attempt to interrupt Japanese supply lines slices Kennedy’s PT 109 in half, Ingram and his six destroyers must pick up where Kennedy left off. Can Ingram save Kennedy and his stranded men while defeating the Japanese? Ingram is prepared to fight to the end, but victory comes at a steep price behind enemy lines…

His Review:

Nineteen hundred forty-three is a major turning point in the war in the Pacific. John Gobbell writes a very interesting account of the PT boats which attacked and harassed Japanese shipping around the Solomon Islands. This narrative focuses on the cadre of officers and men who executed this part of the war. They were in wooden ships approximately 30 feet at beam and 80 feet long. With a complement of thirteen men, they had to be mostly self-sufficient.

Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J GobbellAmong these was a young Lieutenant Junior Grade named John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This account of his service cast an entirely new light on President Kennedy and his actions in the South Pacific! He was a bit of a rounder and a rascal taking care of his boat and shipmates with the actions of a scrounger.

Being assigned to the PT 109 was being assigned to a boat that was dry-docked with holes in the hull and many operational issues. Thirty-plus days were required to get her sea-worthy. Lt. J.G. Kennedy replaced the boats’ three Packard 1600 engines with those pilfered in shipping crates at the naval repair docs. Nothing seemed to be nailed down where Kennedy was concerned. He took care of his craft and crew like a jealous mother-in-law took care of her daughters.

Jack Kennedy was rather irascible in the treatment of others. He finally had his tail feathers clipped when a senior officer informed him that he was headed to the brig if any further ordinance or supplies were purloined from the supply area. By this time the PT 109 was one of the best equipped of the PT boats. This served him and his crew admirably in the months to come.

The function of the PT boats was to harass and attempt to sink Japanese shipping going through the slot in the Solomon Islands. This sea corridor was a major route for the Japanese supplying their troops in the Pacific theatre and sinking Allied Ships. Many islands in this island chain had thousands of Japanese entrenched in the hills and mountains through this passage.

CE WilliamsThe author has painted John F. Kennedy as a very likable commander and a champion for his men. He was also a very tenacious practical joker. The Japanese found him a worthy foe. The book is fun to read and shows another side of our very famous 35th president. I could not put it down. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Book Details:

Genre: Sea Adventures Fiction, Historical Thrillers, War Fiction
Publisher: Severn River Publishing
ASIN: B09KMHG4MS
Print Length: 404 pages
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Somewhere in the South Pacific [Amazon]

 

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John J Gobbell - authorThe Author: JOHN J. GOBBELL is a former Navy Lieutenant who saw duty as a destroyer weapons officer. His ship served in the South China Sea, granting him membership in the exclusive ATonkin Gulf Yacht Club.@ As an executive recruiter, his clients include military/commercial aerospace companies giving him insight into character development under a historical thriller format. A Code For Tomorrow is the second of four stand-alone novels in the Todd Ingram series. Altogether, he has written six novels involving U.S. Navy action and is currently at work on his seventh. He and his wife Janine live in Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at john@johnjgobbell.com

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

The Berlin Exchange: A Novel by Joseph Kanon – #BookReview – #historicalthrillers

Book Blurb:

From “master of the genre” (The Washington Post) Joseph Kanon, an espionage thriller set at the height of the Cold War, when a captured American who has spied for the KGB is swapped by the British and returns to East Berlin needing to know who arranged his release and what they want from him.

The Berlin Exchange by Joseph KanonBerlin. 1963. The height of the Cold War. An early morning spy swap, not at the familiar setting for such exchanges, or at Checkpoint Charlie, where international visitors cross into the East, but at a more discreet border crossing, usually reserved for East German VIPs. The Communists are trading two American students caught helping people to escape over the wall and an aging MI6 operative. On the other side of the trade: Martin Keller, a physicist who once made headlines, but who then disappeared into the English prison system. Keller’s most critical possession: his American passport. Keller’s most ardent desire: to see his ex-wife Sabine and their young son.

The exchange is made with the formality characteristic of these swaps. But Martin has other questions: who asked for him? Who negotiated the deal? The KGB? He has worked for the service long enough to know that nothing happens by chance. They want him for something. Not physics—his expertise is out of date. Something else, which he cannot learn until he arrives in East Berlin, when suddenly the game is afoot.

Filled with intriguing characters, atmospheric detail, and plenty of action Kanon’s latest espionage thriller is one you won’t soon forget.

His Review:

Early in the cold war, it was almost impossible to go from East Germany to West Germany. A wall divided the country into four zones. People trying to get from the east to the west were often shot by the border guards. The thinking was that they were taking vital state secrets from the east to the west.

The Berlin Exchange by Joseph KanonThis story centers on a man who was going from the west to the east. He was a nuclear scientist who helped on the Manhattan Project. These people were closely monitored by their governments. The secrets of the atomic bomb were being taken to Russia to “help balance out the world powers.”

The protagonist fell in love with and married a woman in the east and had a son. His objective was to get his wife and son out of the eastern block and ultimately into the west, but being caught crossing the border could result in instant execution. The wife thought they could be happy living in East Germany. However, she is suffering from bad health and her husband wants to get her to hospitals in the west.

This novel reminded me of the era of the cold war and the tension felt by everyone on both sides of the Berlin wall. As a child in grammar school, I can remember being taught how to “duck and cover.” Knowing now the power of the atomic bombs realize this exercise was absolutely worthless.

CE WilliamsRead the book and observe the arguments between the characters as they discuss the problems with getting the family across the border. It should be enlightening for those who did not live through the era! 4.0 – 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. Released on 2-22-22

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 1982158654
ASIN: B08VJLQFQC
Print Length: 316 pages
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): The Berlin Exchange [Amazon]
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Joseph Kanon - authorThe Author: Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of Leaving Berlin, Istanbul Passage, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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Red Burning Sky: A WWIINovel Inspired by the Greatest Aviation Rescue in History by Tom Young – #BookReview – #HistoricalFiction

Book Blurb:

From the author of Silver Wings, Iron Cross comes a suspenseful and thrilling saga based on the true story of one of World War II’s most daring and successful rescue missions.

Red Burning Sky by Tom YoungSummer 1944: Yugoslavia is locked in a war within a war. In addition to fighting the German occupation, warring factions battle each other. Hundreds of Allied airmen have been shot down over this volatile region, among them American lieutenant Bill Bogdonavich. Though grateful to the locals who are risking their lives to shelter and protect him from German troops, Bogdonavich dreams of the impossible: escape.

With three failed air missions behind him, Lieutenant Drew Carlton is desperate for redemption. From a Texas airbase he volunteers for a secretive and dangerous assignment, codenamed Operation Halyard, that will bring together American special operations officers, airmen, and local guerilla fighters in Yugoslavia’s green hills. This daring plan—to evacuate hundreds of stranded airmen while avoiding detection by the Germans—faces overwhelming odds. What follows is one of the greatest stories of World War II heroism, an elaborate rescue that required astonishing courage, sacrifice, and resilience.

Red Burning Sky is a riveting and ultimately triumphant military thriller based on true events, all the more remarkable for being so little known—until now.

His Review:

Yugoslavia is between Italy and Romania and Romania is the source of oil for fuel for the Nazi’s. The “Miss Carolina’s” mission is to disrupt the oil field and production of fuel for the Nazi’s. The mission is never easy and the flight path is over Yugoslavia where they are in the midst of a civil war between the Partisans led by Marshal Tito and the Chetniks.

Red Burning Sky by Tom YoungThe B-24 has taken heavy fire and many of the crew are dead. The order must be given to bail out as the plane is no longer able to be controlled. Bogdonavich is the gunner in the nose compartment. He sees nearly eight Messerschmitt BF109’s attacking the plane. The plane shudders and reports of burning wings and engines cause the pilot to order the evacuation of the plane.

Bogdonavich leaves the plane and his parachute opens before he gets whipped by the trees approaching the ground. He wonders how many men were able to exit the aircraft. Cutting his parachute cords he approaches a tree-line and sees three people approaching him; a young boy, an old man, and a pretty young lady. They take him to a farmhouse but make no effort to hide him. The young boy is part of the Chetnik group that is aiding downed allied aircrew. A bullet in the head is their reward if they are caught.

Nearly 500 US and allied airmen are rescued by these freedom fighters! The one rescuing Bogdonavich is a 17-year-old named Vasa the Wolf. The people of Yugoslavia are assisting downed pilots from being captured by the Germans. They supply hiding places, food, and medical assistance to the airmen at the peril of instant death.

This saga is about a mission in WWII that was classified top secret during the war. The final reward for the rescue of the pilots was silence and deniability by the war department. No air medals nor ribbons for bravery were ever awarded. This is the first exposure of this small part of the war. That 500 airmen could have been rescued by the Chetniks and never recognized seems unthinkable particularly because the Partisans under Marshall Tito wound up the ruling faction after the war and the Chetniks were considered the enemy.

CE WilliamsI recommend this book as a means of understanding the sacrifices for anyone who is a war buff. The writing will help to understand some of the unsung heroes of WWII. 4.5 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.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B0964FXLFS
Print Length: 300 pages
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Red Burning Sky [Amazon] 
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The Author: Thomas W. Young has logged nearly 5,000 hours as a flight engineer for the Air National Guard in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere, including Latin America, the Horn of Africa, and the Far East. Military honors include three Air Medals, three Aerial Achievement Medals, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. He retired from the military as a Senior Master Sergeant.

He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and studied writing there and at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, among other places. He is also the author of the oral history The SpeedFour  of Heat: An Airlift Wing at War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and contributed to the anthology Operation Homecoming, edited by Andrew Carroll.

 More information about Tom Young and his work can be found online at TomYoungBooks.com.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

 

 

 

Big Lies in a Small Town: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

North Carolina, 2018:

Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold – until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy Southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940:

Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and in great need of work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin’s Press.

My Review:

WOW!

Just… WOW!

I listened to approximately 45 audiobooks in 2021 (four per month) and if I’d finished this one in time, it would definitely have been included in my favorites list for the year—audiobook or print.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane ChamberlainTold from two POVs, in 2018, Morgan Christopher and 1940 Anna Dale. Morgan is sprung from the North Carolina Correctional Facility on a conditional release—the promise to restore a mural that was to have been installed in the Edenton Post Office in 1940. Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey won a national contest out from under the town artist—considered the shoo-in. From New Jersey! An abomination! What did she know about the south or the town that the mural was to represent? The south is an alien world to Anna and Edenton not exactly thrilled to welcome a northerner.

Morgan’s benefactor, however, is a famous artist, Jesse Jameson, who dedicated himself to young artists with a history. Morgan knew his work and seriously loved it. She dabbled—loved painting—but restoring a mural was something she knew NOTHING about.

Jesse was within months of completing and opening an art gallery at the time of his passing and Morgan’s time frame was two months but when she initially saw the mural, very old, flaking, dusty; she thought impossible.

Completing the mural will keep her out of prison AND she’ll be paid for her work. It’s seriously important. She finds an ally in the project manager and though he’s not an artist can provide some basic start-up instruction in art restoration.

We begin to get filtered narration by Anna, an enormously engaging and sympathetic character, young and naïve, definitely out of her element but very serious about providing the town with the best representation of the area she can. Then as the mural is gradually restored, painstakingly inch by inch, Morgan begins to uncover some disturbing and bizarre inclusions into an otherwise masterful mural. What happened to Anna? Did she go mad?

Anna’s story is mesmerizing, one you can’t tear yourself away from. I loved her philosophy, her openness, and the two boys she took in to help with the work on the mural; especially Jesse. He’s an enigma, a brilliant natural artist, obviously enormously talented. Coming from a “colored” family, however, holds no hope of an artistic career. His family needs his help on the farm and only his aunt encourages and supports his work with Anna. It’s 1940; in the south. And Anna is a white northerner.

What happens next is shocking. A quick intake of breath, a sharp refusal that this is how Anna’s story will end. What happens to Jesse? The mural?

Undeniably the greatest hold is Anna’s story. But Morgan keeps digging and now her heart and soul are in uncovering Anna’s story along with restoration of the mural.

The characters are extremely well developed, the heart goes out to Anna and Jesse, truly the force in this amazing narrative. Storytelling at its finest! From heart-thudding moments to anger, revulsion, and back again to tearful hope. Totally invested in Anna, Jesse, and to a lesser extent Morgan.

Themes of poverty, racism, violence, and rape. Easy to switch back and forth between the POVs, each advancing the tension, the questions swirling maddingly around the mind. How can this be resolved? Or CAN it?

And the conclusion: beautiful.

I read five final nominees in the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2020 and this was not even listed. If I have a problem with a book, I check to see if or why I’m off base in my assessment, pursuing both low and high reviews. It looks as if I’m in agreement with most reviews this time. So, what happened?

This is a truly immersive read from beginning to amazing end. Strong, individual and believable characters. The mural, during the restoration process, took shape and color in my mind becoming both awesomely jaw-dropping and then bewildering, confusing.

Brilliant! Did you read or listen to the audiobook? What was your reaction?

Book Details:

Genre: Family Life Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Historical Thrillers
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07T8C3RT3
Listening Length: 13 hrs 19 mins
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Big Lies in a Small Town [Amazon]

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Diane Chamberlain - authorThe Author: Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.

More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.

Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.

Please visit Diane’s website at http://www.dianechamberlain.com for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.

Susan Bennett- narratorThe Narrator:  [NOTE: I think this is the correct Susan Bennett. If it is not, please let me know and I’ll correct immediately.] Susan Alice Bennett is an American voice actress and a former backup singer for Roy Orbison and Burt Bacharach. She is best known as the female American voice of Apple’s Siri personal assistant, since the service was introduced on the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011. Wikipedia

©2021 V Williams

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