Out of Crisis by Richard Caldwell – #BookReview – #politicalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Out of Crisis by Richard CaldwellIn the not-too-distant future, a radical new movement is poised to disrupt the corrupt two-party political system that has held power in the United States since the 1800s. Politically left of conservative and right of liberal, the new Centrist Party pins its hope for a better future on presidential candidate David Stakley, the former US secretary of state. As David assumes center stage with determination, intelligence, and humility, another kind of disruption rumbles deep below the earth’s surface.

In Yellowstone National Park, one of the world’s two supervolcanoes awakens with an explosive roar from a fitful 640,000-year sleep.

Through the eyes of several different players, author Richard Caldwell weaves a political/natural-disaster thriller around the collision of events that will reshape the physical and sociopolitical landscapes of the United States and North America forever.

His Review:

Envision the next eruption of a super volcano such as Yellowstone. This book looks at three potential crises enveloping the United States at once. The end result is a complete change in the fabric of life on planet earth. Sub-plots are developed to add drama and authenticity to the narrative.

Out of Crisis by Richard CaldwellThere is a group who feel the Constitution has holes in it which need to be amended. The problem is that there has to be a Constitutional Congress to amend the document and this will require ratification by at least 33 states. That task alone is herculean in its’ scope. Chief among the tenets of the proposal is to revise the second amendment and establish procedures for citizenship.

Bubbling under the surface of Eastern Idaho, Southern Montana, and Western Montana is a weak spot in the mantle of the earth. After nearly 640,000 years the volcano at Yellowstone is awakening. Evidence on the surface of the earth shows lava has flowed from near Boise in Idaho east well into Wyoming. Ash fallout is tracked through the states of Colorado and Nebraska.

A group of entitled individuals get together to change the very fabric of the American electoral process and rights of citizens. They are highly educated, affluent and privileged. They begin to groom a candidate to represent them and ostensibly the majority of Americans. Their chief goal is to rewrite some of the basics of the American Constitution. They begin to design a change to the fabric of the United States.

This book is very entertaining if not frightening. Growing up in Southern Idaho I saw the extent of the lava flow from Yellowstone. The area affected and magnitude of volcanic flows cannot be overstated. Many canyons in southern Idaho including the Snake River Canyon are over 400 feet deep and the walls are made of volcanic basalt.

I found parts of the tale a bit redundant and therefore tedious. Along the way the various plots are intertwined and become a bit aggravating because some of the threads are left hanging. The novel, however, is entertaining. 4 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Political Thrillers & Suspense, Espionage Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Indigo River Publishing

  • ASIN : B08Z3CS2PR

Print Length: 280 pages
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Out of Crisis

Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads

The Author: Mr. Caldwell retired as an Army officer after twenty years service which included combat tours in Vietnam with 2nd Field Forces and D-71st. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with three battle stars, Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Airborne Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge, and various overseas service awards.

Following his military service, Mr. Caldwell worked for twenty-four years in several hospital administration positions until he retired as COO in 2014. His education credentials include a B.S. in Computer Science, an MBA, and a postgraduate fellowship in Healthcare Administration. Additionally, he is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo, and is an experienced SCUBA diver. He enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson, kayaking, fishing, camping and is a voracious reader.

He and his wife Patricia have lived literally all over the planet but currently reside in Pike Road, AL.

©2021 – CE Williams – V Williams

Deadly Editions: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton – #BookReview – #mystery

Book Blurb:

A treasure hunt through Edinburgh gives way to a search for a villain terrorizing the city in the sixth Scottish Bookshop Mystery.

Deadly Editions by Paige SheltonIt’s a quiet, snowy morning at The Cracked Spine bookshop, when bookseller Delaney Nichols receives a mysterious visitor, a messenger. He presents her with a perplexing note: an invitation to a meeting with eccentric socialite Shelagh O’Conner, who requests Delaney’s participation in an exclusive treasure hunt. Delaney is intrigued, but also cautious: Shelagh, while charming in person, has a reputation for her hijinks as a wealthy young woman in the ’70s. She was even once suspected for the murder of a former boyfriend, though ultimately cleared of all charges.

But Delaney is enticed by the grand prize at the end of the treasure hunt: a highly valuable first edition copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. The winner is also to receive the contents of Shelagh’s vast library, and all participants will earn a large sum of cash.

The night after the first meeting of the treasure hunters, however, several homes in Edinburgh are robbed in a manner reminiscent of Shelagh’s old tricks. And when a man connected to Shelagh is killed, suspicion builds. Except Shelagh herself has disappeared from her home, seemingly kidnapped by the villain.


Terror mounts throughout the city as Delaney attempts to solve the mystery, while trying to evade the killer’s clutches. But it’s hard to know who to trust when around every corner, a new monster could be lurking.

His Review:

Could this be a very rich woman playing with her fellow Scots? Shelagh O’Conner has set up a contest and the winner gets to have her very valuable book collection. Yes, this is a Scottish bookstore mystery!

Deadly Editions by Paige SheltonIncluded in the prize is a very valuable copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The pubs around Edinburgh are the scene for the drama and clues are set up in each pub. The rules are fairly simple: follow the clues and the one who solves the puzzle gets the entire book collection.

The contestants are literally tripping over each other to get to the pubs and the clues. The rules state each must thoroughly investigate each clue before looking into the next clue. Sounds fairly simple until some of the contestants seem to be throwing monkey wrenches into the task.

A murder is added to the scene causing everyone to try to help the police solve the murder. The protagonist, Delaney Nichols, is an amateur sleuth. As she follows the clues to solve the mystery and win the prize she is confounded by the disappearance of Ms. O’Conner. The issue becomes completion of the riddle/contest and helping to find Ms. O’Conner. Will she be found dead or alive and will the books actually go to the winner?

clydeThis book had many interesting diversions and the conclusion was satisfying. I recommend this book to those who have the time to enjoy a good mystery. 4 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from publisher through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Booksellers & Bookselling, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN : 1250203902
ASIN : B08BYDZJ33
Print Length: 298 Pages
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Deadly Editions [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Paige Shelton - authorThe Author: Paige Shelton is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market, Country Cooking School, Dangerous Type, and Scottish Bookshop mysteries. She’s lived lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com

⇓———→→→⇒⇒⇒⇓

#comingsoon

I will be posting reviews for the CE soon as scheduled below as long as I can get through the block editor:

April 9 – Out of Crisis

April 16- Judgment at Alcatraz

April 23- The Manhattan Job

April 25- Bone Rattle

Wish me luck! 😉

© CE Williams – V Williams me

This Land is No Stranger: A Nordic Mystery Thriller by Sarah Hollister and Gil Reavill – A #BookReview – #nordicnoir

Book Blurb:

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillWith a career that is spiraling out of control and a nasty drug habit that has taken her to rock bottom, NYC detective Veronika Brand is looking for a way out. When a call from Sweden interrupts her personal chaos, the foreign tongue of her distant Swedish relatives pulls her across the Atlantic with the lure of adventure and escape. But what she finds is far from the idyllic picture her grandmother painted. Instead of long languid summers basking in the midnight sun, she unearths secrets long since buried in the frozen ground.

In Krister Hammar, a local Sami land rights lawyer, she thinks she has found a kindred spirit. But when they stumble upon a brutal murder scene in a manor house owned by the rivals of her family, she starts questioning his truth. She finds herself being moved like a chess piece between the desolate region of Härjedalen in the north and the steely-cold streets of Stockholm, scrambling to find the links between her family history, a trail of missing Roma girls, and a series of vicious murders. In unfamiliar territory on the wrong side of the law, Veronika has her sights set only on the beast that preys on the wicked. Will she be able to see past the lure of the northern lights to the dark secrets that threaten to destroy her?

[Note: I chose this novel as my maternal grandmother was 100% Swedish having immigrated to Minnesota, one of the many “sons.” I thought I’d give some time to the Swedish side as I always seem to favor the Irish side, i.e. Reading Ireland Month—March, coming up. Hubby found the ebook first, however, and got a bit of culture shock. It is, after all, described as Nordic noir or Scanoir and does tend to run dark. As Donna Moreau (author of Waiting Wives mentioned), “it is an intriguing family saga intertwined with the …mysterious Roma people.” Aware of the impact of the Irish Travelers in Ireland, the Romani people are not  genetically related and represent a much larger population in Sweden*. A surprising revelation.]

His Review:

Revenge is a dish best served cold! Can an eighty year old crime between families continue to this day? The tale of the Hatfields and McCoys compares closely with the ongoing animosity between the Dalgren and Voss families. Veronika Brand is the granddaughter of the Dalgren family and is invited back to Sweden to attend a family reunion for her 95 year old relative.

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillIn 1940 when the Nazi’s occupied Sweden, her ancestors began printing pro-Nazi propaganda after the country is occupied. A splinter group led by the family Voss decides to stop the paper by burning down the printing establishment. They are not aware that some of the Dalgrens are asleep in the apartment over the printing shop. The death of the Dalgrens in the fire starts the feud between the Dalgrens and Voss’.

The Voss family is very wealthy, ruthless and are involved in many nefarious endeavors including prostitution and slavery. They have the power. A vengeful Dalgren family is hardly a problem. The Voss family also owns and operates the largest trucking firm in Europe. Young Romani girls are kidnapped or otherwise drawn into a world of sex slavery and poor diets. They finally die from poor nutrition and continual sexual brutality from customers who use them in total depravity.

The inter-familial war of revenge is continual and brutal. Veronika Brand is a former New York detective who becomes embroiled in the conflict. Brutal murders and lack of any social responsibility drove me to the conclusion that this may not be a future vacation destination. Cruelty and death are portrayed as an integral part of the psyche of the northern Swedish families. There seemed to be no division between the young and old regarding a more innocent mind set.

CE WilliamsThe narrative is well written although exhausting to read. Continual brutal murder and total disregard for human life with wicked visuals of red snow were excessive. The ending, however, was satisfying and surprising! I kept wondering why a well-trained New York detective would stay in such a toxic environment! The conclusion explained a lot.  4 stars-CE Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from publisher through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: LYS
Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: March 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: This Land is No Stranger [Amazon]
Also find the book at this locations:
Barnes and Noble 

Add to Goodreads

 

Sarah Hollister - authorThe Authors: Sarah Hollister is an American writer and playwright, living the Scandinavian reality on one of the 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. Her plays Sisters’ Dance and Relevant Truth have been produced in New York City, and she is a member of the Dramatikerförbund (Sweden’s drama guild), which awarded her residences at the Henning Mankell House in northern Sweden. She is a founding member of the Stockholm Writers Festival.

Gil Reavill - authorA New York-based author, screenwriter and journalist, Gil Reavill often writes about crime, both in fiction, with the 13 series of thrillers (13 Hollywood Apes, 13 Stolen Girls, 13 Under the Wire) and non-fiction, with Mafia Summit and Aftermath, Inc. Reavill also co-wrote the screenplay for the corrupt-cop feature film, Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. While growing up in Wisconsin, in the American Upper Midwest, I was surrounded with Nordic immigrant culture, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish communities. Later on, I discovered Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, and, especially, Peter Hoeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow. I was interested in the cross-fertilization of American and Scandinavian crime fiction, the trans-Atlantic influences flowing both ways. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

*Swedish Romani info obtained from Wikipedia.

Murder at an Irish Christmas (An Irish Village Mystery Book 6) by Carlene O’Connor

“She only speaks music.”

Book Blurb:

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor

Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan’s holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies . . .
 
This December in Kilbane, if you’re planning to warm up with a cuppa tea at Naomi’s Bistro, you may have a bit of a wait—the entire O’Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James’s fiancée Elise’s family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. Siobhán is so happy for James and Elise but also quietly disappointed that she must put her own wedding to fellow garda Macdara Flannery on hold. Mac will have to join them later, so he can spend part of the holidays with his mam.
 
When the O’Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern—until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a ninety-pound harp in a local concert hall.
 
With the extended family—including Enda’s much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist—suspected in his murder, it’s up to Siobhán to ensure the guilty party faces the music. But as a snowstorm strands both families in a lavish farmhouse on a cliff, Siobhán had better pick up the tempo—before the killer orchestrates another untimely demise . . .

Book Review:

Oh my stars is this novel packed with characters! Normally, that overwhelms me, but not this time—these are large families—but not like we’ll get to know them all.

In this entry to the series, protagonist and Guarda Siobhán O’Sullivan is out of her element as well as district when she puts her own wedding aside to join brother James and his fiancé Elise at her family’s estate in West Cork for the Christmas holiday celebration.It’s not just a full house, but the cottages as well as they begin the task of creating their own Christmas decorations while they join with Elise in her family’s Christmas traditions, which includes a “secret Santa” style of gift-giving. Her extended family includes her grandfather, a famous orchestral conductor as well as his much young wife. His orchestra is poised to present an outstanding concert and all the members are present. Unfortunately, it is he who is picked off shortly after the O’Sullivans get settled.

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene 'Connor

I enjoy this series, the female Guarda O’Sullivan, even if she is tall, red-haired, and pretty. Her own fiancé, Macdara Flannery, is no slouch. Despite trying to stay out of the murder investigation, you know that won’t happen and sooner or later Dara joins her. Then it’s a long list of suspects between the family drama, the mystery, and the orchestra members.

I always enjoy the immersion into Irish culture, lore, food, unpronounceable names…and descriptions of the countryside. (If you missed my review of Book 4, read it here, Book 5 here.) The well-plotted narrative is an easy pace and often punctuated with that great Irish sense of humor I’ve come to expect from the author and the enlivening and perceptive dialogue. There are an abundance of red herrings and twists, and the conclusion may surprise the reader. It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to Book 7.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars

4 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Kensington Books

ASIN : B085LT73HG

Print Length: 252 pages

Publication Date: to be released October 27, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Links:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Carlene O'Connor - author

The Author: Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

http://www.carleneoconnor.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Last Agent (Charles Jenkins Book 2) by Robert Dugoni – a #Book Review – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

(A shared review with the CE–my Vicarious Blogger.)

Book Blurb:

An Amazon Charts, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

The Last Agent by Robert DugoniAn American operative in Russia is on the run for his life in a thriller of heart-stopping betrayal and international intrigue by the New York Times bestselling author of The Eighth Sister.

Betrayed by his own country and tried for treason, former spy Charles Jenkins survived an undercover Russian operation gone wrong. Exonerated, bitter, and safe, the retired family man is through with duplicitous spy games. Then he learns of a woman isolated in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison.

If it’s Paulina Ponomayova, the agent who sacrificed her life to save his, Jenkins can’t leave her behind. But there’s no guarantee it’s her. Or proof Paulina is still alive. To find out, Jenkins must return to Russia. Next move: blackmail Viktor Federov, a former Russian officer with his own ax to grind, into helping him infiltrate Lefortovo. The enemy who once pursued Jenkins across three continents is now the only man Jenkins can trust.

Every step of the way—from Moscow to Scandinavia to the open ocean—they’re hunted by a brutal Russian agent on a killer quest of his own. Out of loyalty to Paulina—dead or alive—Jenkins is putting everyone’s life on the line for a new mission that could be his last.

My Review:

No one–NO one–can do an espionage spy thriller like Dugoni. I read The Eighth Sister and thought it his best and my favorite (I’ve also read his Tracy Crosswhite series), but this one…

This one catches you up quickly and then proceeds to become more pulse-pounding with each page that flies by. Put it down? NOPE! The Last Agent is absolutely riveting from mesmerizing beginning to jaw-dropping conclusion. Brilliant!

Moscow in winter. Mercy! (Is that like Siberia with buildings? Worse than Chicago?) Beyond brutal.

The Last Agent by Robert DugoniCharles Jenkins, retired and living with his much younger wife, son, and baby daughter gets the information that Paulina Ponomayova, the woman who he thought had sacrificed her life so that he could return to his family, may be alive, and if scuttlebutt is to be believed in heinous Lefortovo prison. Beyond hell on earth, if she’s there it’s to extract the remaining four names of the Seven Sisters. He barely escaped home that former undercover operation and was then brought up on charges of treason by his own government. Exonerated. He’s done with the CIA for good. The man is in his sixties–leave him alone. But, Paulina–the thought of her at the mercy of those vicious Russian interrogators tear at his heart. He can’t ignore the fact that he would never have seen his family again, were it not for her.

Upon returning to Russia, Charles will contact Viktor Federov, the agent treated as badly as Charles by his own country, his fault for letting Jenkins escape. Viktor is driven by two motives; one is money and Charles knows just how to push that button. He’ll enlist Viktor’s help in penetrating the prison. Each holds a grudging respect for the other as well as a modicum of mistrust.

Paulina, an empathetic character from Book 1 as well as Viktor, both formidably strong support characters. The antagonist in Book 2 is wickedly intuitive and whether a step ahead or behind, raises the apprehension, missing by inches regardless the teeth-chattering cold, the protagonist’s terror palpable. You don’t get to relax or take a breath. The chase is on, the stakes are high, and there are myriad agents coordinating and pushing to the next checkpoint. Can they survive the frigid conditions with FSB ranking Efimov desperate to capture not only Paulina, but now Charles and Viktor?

The well-plotted suspense thriller brings each heart-stopping scene to within a hair’s breadth and then the author throws another curve, another red herring, another spine-tingling twist. Will Charles live to see his baby girl again? Unique storyline, electrifying narrative never lets the tension sag.

While you might attain more insight into the main characters brought forward from Book 1, you could very well enjoy this book as a standalone. There are certainly references back to previous character interactions, relationships, and motives. We received this digital uncorrected proof by the publisher and NetGalley and SOOO appreciate the opportunity for the read and review. Totally recommended!

Book Hangover

His thoughts:

Working for “The Agency” is not for the weak of heart. Being a spy has a daily danger and death is always close. Dugoni’s hero, Charles Jenkins’ is living that life. He escapes from Russia with the help of an operative named Paulina Ponomayova.

Misinformation is woven masterfully through this thriller. The life of a spy in Russia is only assured if they are successful in catching the enemy. Putin has no use for people on his payroll who do not produce and capture enemies of the state.

Paulina has spent months in one of Russia’s most infamous prisons. She has remained silent and been subjected to countless painful interrogations. Her assistance in helping Charles escape is a thorn in the side of the former KGB now the FSB. The Kremlin is certain that she has intimate knowledge of those who helped set up the escape network.

Charles feels he must go back in to assist getting her out of the prison and out of Russia. The agent tasked with capturing Charles is disavowed by the FSB and barely escapes being shot. The CIA wants to rescue Paulina if at all possible for the valuable intel and can’t take the chance she might, if alive, keep her secrets.

CE WilliamsThe capability of Russia’s intelligence community along with their ruthless procedures makes for a very engaging read. They are everywhere inside and outside of Russia. The training for agents must be intensive as they doggedly pursue Charles and Paulina. I suppose death for failure is a prime motivator of the agents of the Russian Secret Service (FSB). By choosing this book you are forfeiting any opportunity for a good night’s sleep. Enjoy! 5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Legal Thrillers, Crime Action and Adventure
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

  • ISBN-10:1542014972
  • ISBN-13:978-1542014977
  • ASIN: B07P9QFQH4

Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Last Agent

Add to Goodreads 

Robert Dugoni - authorThe Author: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police detective series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 5 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, and the David Sloane legal thriller series.

His stand-alone novels include The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series.

Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and the two-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a two-time finalist for the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Visit his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com, and follow him on twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Privateers by Charlie Newton – a #BookReview

Book Blurb:

Three fierce women. A ghost ship’s treasure. And a bone-chilling Caribbean warlord.

Privateers by Charlie NewtonWorld War I rages. US marines storm Haiti’s Banque Nationale, loot $26 million in gold, then vanish. A century later, clues surface during the demolition of a Chicago racetrack, pointing to the Corazón Santo—the notorious triangle of Havana, Kingston, and Port-au-Prince. Three fierce, vibrant women reunite to hunt the treasure, hoping it will buy their survival from a long-buried, catastrophic misjudgment. They conscript a streetwise Chicago horseplayer’s help, then risk a return into the Caribbean’s mangrove jungles and mountains that have tried to kill them before. The uneasy partners are quickly swallowed in a terrifying labyrinth of shadow government and modern-day piracy where a final choice will be forced upon them: gold, survival, or redemption?

My Review:

This is one of those blurbs that caught my eye and heaven knows I’ve certainly read my share of privateer, buccaneer, rastamon type novels, particularly with one of my favorite authors bent on finding a long-buried treasure. Right up my alley, you say? Maybe not.

Privateers by Charlie NewtonThere is the usual cadre of beautiful but savage women, all with a deadly history and somewhat shadowy history of CIA activities, as is the protagonist. The treasure is an old one, tied to an Al Capone legend. The protagonist, Bill Owens, owes money. Well, maybe not Bill Owens, but a partner, whose debt with the devil gets passed to him. He loves to bet on the ponies, but no matter the inside scoop or how he’s tried to study the sheets, just can’t seem to win. So yeah, there is that desperation for money.

Owens’ POV tends to bounce from current to 1986, recounting some history of how or why he got here. The narrative also switches POV to one or the other of the women (in first person). From the beginning it was obvious this was going to be a dark, gritty, crime noir reminiscent of some of the old radio shows (and that was the voice that kept speaking to me). While that might have been fun for us older generation, it became obvious very quickly that current day street language was going to be peppered heavily throughout. I’ve read plenty of books that bounced timelines before and don’t generally have a problem with them, but for some reason, these confused me.

The plot is a deep-dive into the murky and treacherous world of the Caribbean underbelly, particularly Haiti with political unrest and one despot overthrowing the previous landing the island into deadly bouts of disease and poverty as well as the wholesale gruesome death of inhabitants. And, as seems to happen in that area of the world, a hurricane. “Hide from the wind, run from the water.”

The treasure hunt begins with the discovery of a clue to the treasure’s location, but always written in such obscure language it would have taken more than a horserace champion or Rhodes scholar to puzzle it out. I did enjoy references to the different Caribbean islands (many of which were mentioned in said books by the other author). What I didn’t enjoy were the graphic descriptions of torture and mutilation.

The characters, including the antagonist, are not fully developed and I lost sense of them more than once as the women blended into one and the narrative veered from one clue to the next, each one resulting in a situation worse than the one before. It takes awhile to get into and at some point, wondered why anyone would think this was worth the effort, escaping one death-defying moment to tromp directly into the next. Seems the clues weren’t ever really going to lead to the treasure and I’m thinking, “Come on, already, find it or give it up.” Difficult for me to become engaged and no character with which I could invest. The conclusion remains dark and serves up the themes of loss, murder, gambling, rebellions, and inhumanity.

I was given this digital download by the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. My first experience with the author. There will be readers who find it a fast-paced adventure thriller but it just didn’t work for me.

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Vigilante Justice
Publisher: Black Type Press

  • ISBN-10:1734436808
  • ISBN-13:978-1734436808
  • ASIN: B084T5KM8V

Print Length: 391 pages
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Privateers

+Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing: Three of Five Stars 3-stars

Charlie Newton - authorThe Author: Charlie Newton is a Chicago native, a writer known for a global life on the road and extended MIA absences. When he does publish, Newton’s heart-pounding, gritty, and witty realism has been a starred-review favorite of the critics and a finalist for the Edgar, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, the Macavity, and the International Thriller Writers awards. Newton is the author of Calumet City (Simon & Schuster, 2008), Start Shooting (Doubleday, 2012), and Traitor’s Gate (Thomas & Mercer, 2015).

©2020 V Williams V Williams

A Blind Eye: The Adam Kaminski Mystery Series Book 1 by Jane Gorman – a #BookReview

The Vicarious Blogger Reviews an Old One on #TBT

Book Blurb:

A Blind Eye by Jane GormanIn this darkly atmospheric suspense, a Philadelphia police detective visiting Poland gets involved when murder is suspected, and the local police turn away. Adam Kaminski, with a delegation to Philadelphia’s sister city, is meant to be a polite observer only. But a good man doesn’t walk away when he sees wrong being done, and he’s not about to start now.

Visiting his family’s homeland, Adam’s been warned by his superiors to be on his best behavior. In a country that has known centuries of wars and occupation, politics are complex and layered with old prejudices and loyalties impossible for foreigners to understand. But when Adam meets a Polish cousin in Warsaw who believes his daughter was murdered, Adam is troubled by the indifference of the police… and by the strange behavior of the delegation’s Polish liaison.

Adam begins uncovering clues that point to the killer, clues that lead him inexorably into an investigation of the intricate web of Polish politics and the legacy of the Secret Police. But the past isn’t always black and white, as Adam is forced to accept as he learns more about the killer and about his own family legacy. Will looking into the murder only beget more murder?

His Review:

A Blind Eye by Jane GormanThe plane touches down at the airport outside of Warsaw, Poland and a trade delegation from Philadelphia debarks. Meanwhile, a beautiful young woman is found floating in a Warsaw river. Adam Kaminski is a last-minute addition to the delegation representing the Philadelphia police department.

Poland experienced a very turbulent 20th century with two world wars and being swept into the Communist Block of countries. The capital was almost totally destroyed in the second world war and every citizen fought the Nazi attack and occupation and subsequent Moscow rule. Surviving in this meat grinder of personal identities required strong personal fortitude and cleverness. The people who survived learned to get ahead any way possible. Tomek Malak is one of those who appear to be rising to become President of the country.

Adam meets a distant cousin, Lukasz Kaminski, as he is drawn to investigate the death of the young lady. Her demise is adjudged a suicide but Adam is skeptical. The investigation is coordinated by Adam and his cousin while being thwarted by local authorities. Aiding in the investigation is Sylvia Stanko, a pretty blue-eyed beauty assigned by Mr. Malak. She assists Adam in getting access to records and government documents not generally available to the public.

His police chief in Philadelphia would rather Adam stick to the trade delegation duties and not try to solve a mystery in a country in which he has no police powers.  Student protests and demonstrations hinder the investigation. Sub-plots abound as the killers thwart the investigation and confound the two investigators. The twists are engaging and encourage reading late into the night.

CE WilliamsThe beauty of the city and the inhabitants is graphically displayed along with the attractiveness of the ladies. Personal attraction makes Adam very concerned about Sylvia’s safety. I appreciated the mental acumen of the writer and her ability to engage the sexual tension between Adam and Sylvia. The seemingly exhaustive attempts of the average citizen to get ahead would leave a less robust peoples grief-stricken and forlorn.

Dive into this tale and shiver with the cold fall in Poland. Marvel at the resilience and ingenuity of the people of this historic country. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Literature and Fiction, Political Thrillers and Suspense
Publisher: Blue Eagles Press
ASIN: B012IVZFXU
Print Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: Free from BookBub
Title Link: A Blind Eye

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 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Jane Gorman - authorThe Author: Jane Gorman is the author of the Adam Kaminski mystery series. Having worked as an anthropologist, a diplomat and a park ranger, Gorman turned to mysteries as yet another way to visit new worlds and meet new people.

Gorman’s books are informed by her international experiences, both as an anthropologist and through her work with the U.S. State Department. She has previously published in the field of political anthropology, negotiated international instruments on behalf of the U.S. government, and appeared on national television through her efforts to support our nation’s cultural heritage. Her books are each set in a different city or town around the world, building on her eye for detailed settings, appreciation of complex characters, and love of place-based mystery.

She lives in Cherry Hill, NJ, with her husband, who loves traveling even more than she does and has a voracious appetite for life, two cats who are very picky eaters, and a Pointer-Hound mix who wants nothing more out of life than to eat the cats.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams