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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Into the Silence - a review

The sub-title to this tome is The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, all three complex subjects that could be described in separate volumes but that Davis has combined a 580 page story that reads like a fantastic yarn of British school-boy adventures.

We are treated to a history of England’s elite young men, the poets and dreamers of the public-school variety as they interact in Britain’s schools, until they are called up and led away to the slaughter of World War I; the best and brightest left dead and dying in the mud of the battlefields in France and Germany defending their hearth and home. The great detail that Davis delves into on the dreadful spectacle of battle in the trenches shoes his aptitude for history, a  s does the fact finding he went to in procuring the intricate backgrounds of the climbers that where sent on the mission to be the first to conquer Everest.

In 1921 this elite group of men joined forces in India and trekked through the country, sometimes on foot, horse or yak and led a British unit of climbers assembled on a mission not just to climb Everest but to explore, chart the geography of unknown regions of the world and to explore and bring back samples of fauna and flora from the entire region on behalf of the Royal Geographic Society.

As we read we ravel with this noble group as they discover and describe the complications of a trek of this nature and learn the pitfalls that will befall this and any subsequent mission. Mallory the lead climber, who ultimately perishes upon the slopes of the grand giant of a mountain he helps popularize for the world, is a complex character unto himself and thanks be to all the historical notes and letters he and his fellow climbers on the expedition wrote we can find out now all the intrepid adventures and people they discovered on the way to the world’s greatest adventure.

A fine story told in a masterfully readable way Into the Silence shows how the British were the backbone of the world during the time of the Empire.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Outsourced - A review

The modern day scourge of the middle-aged man is being laid-off and replaced by younger hires, willing to work for less money. To top of the humiliation when the company sends those same jobs overseas and outsources them to workers in Asia or Central America then the felling on worthlessness is complete. In fact it makes you want to do something to stick it to the man!

Dan was luckier than most. At least he had managed to scrape together a three-month contract building a security system for a local bank but was summarily dismissed when an Indian firm was given the chance to implement his system. When a mistake closed the security window from twenty-eight seconds to twenty-eight minutes each day Dan didn’t point it out to the bank‘s president. Stick it to the man. In fact when he was unable to find another job in the tech industry he decided to take advantage of that twenty eight minute daily window and with another laid-off tech buddy, Shrini, devised an unstoppable plan to rob the bank.
Enrolling two other laid-off over-the hill geeks, one with a penchant for guns, the other for women they went about their plan. Nothing could go wrong. When the group emerged from the bank, no longer ‘thicker-than –thieves’ the plan starts to unravel. Not only are the police now involved because they shot a bank customer, but the safety deposit boxes they hit where the property of local Russian mafia big shot Petrenko.
With the merry band disappearing one by one, a harpy of a wife chapping his ass, the Russians and the police closing in and his failing eyesight threatening to make him completely blind, Dan has to make his move, one that will surprise you.
Although the story took its time unwinding the twists it takes at every opportunity leads for a fine well-plotted story and an unforgettable finale.

Traitor's Emblem - A Review

Gomez-Jurado brings us a ripping good yarn that thrusts in the streets of Munich as Hitler and the Nazis come to power. Lines are drawn and crossed, not just by tradesmen and racial divisions, but in families and lies their feuds uncover.

We are introduced to a less familiar field than many have discovered previously. As well documented as the crimes of terror imposed on Jews, homosexuals and the mentally impaired, less was known, or at least to me anyway, about the Nazi’s pursuits of the Free Masons.

The emblem that is in the title of this spell-binding thriller is a Masonic one, and it is the one connection that fifteen-year-old Paul Reiner has with the father he never knew. Was he the traitor he had been led to believe sold out the Masons to Hitler?

The night Paul’s war-wounded, veteran cousin commits suicide, the secret of what really happened to Paul’s father is revealed and Paul and his mother find themselves cast out from the nobility that have known to become street urchins on the run from the wrath of the family that never quite accepted them in the first place.

As war in Europe threatens again, Paul grows in to a young man in the school of hard-knocks. He strikes back at his reluctant family to avenge both his parents' death, impersonates an SS officer in a bold move to release his true love, Alys, from the clutches of Dachau and as he reunites with the family he never knew he had, he faces the inevitable conclusion that he has spent his whole adult life searching for his father’s real murderer and the reason he was killed, a map detailing the treasure that awaits them in the Dark Continent.

With Nazis at their heels they must get out of pre-war Germany and to a neutral country such as Portugal. Perhaps they can survive but as the war reaches South Africa and touches them they will need more than good luck to survive, they’ll need diamonds.

Love Lies Bleeding - A review

Trying to recuperate from a major head injury she received after a mugging, Samantha finds herself installed in a house out in the country far away for her job as an advertising executive at her father s firm in the city. Her parents’ life doesn’t give them time to be embarrassed by her accident—they can’t call it an attack—Sam feels shuffled out of the way and unable to decide what is good for her, held at the mercy of her surgeon fiancĂ© Jackson and parents.
Determined to take her life back she fights tooth and nail at every decision they make on her behalf until she realizes that she has an ally in the physical therapist her father hired, Anne, a local, single mom. Stuck out in a small country town far from Minneapolis, Sam finds that not only does she have to fight the family’s desires, but the small town crowd.
Someone wants her out of the cottage, or so it seems, but is it pranks by local youths or is she haunted by the ghostly visions she sees at night, that of the missing Blanche who used to live in the same home? Are the headaches she gets causing her to have nightmares and is she being slowly driven crazy by those closest to her and for what reason?
McConkey weaves a family drama, allowing her readers to learn the truths at the same time as Sam. Along with her new found friends, Sam peels back the layers from the buried past as the truth unravels, threatening her engagement and past life as she knew it. The story reminded me of a similarly titled debut novel, “When Dreams Bleed” by Robin Cain, an apt comparison in the vein of self-solving mystery romance, female protagonist genre. Part thriller, part ghost story “Love Lies Bleeding” unearths just what lengths some people will go to keep the past buried.

In Malice, Quite Close - A review

In a modern day scenario lifted straight from Nabakov’s “Lolita,” we are transported to New England where Frenchman Tristan Mouralt has installed his new love, Gisele, a fifteen-year old teenager with stars in her eyes and adventure in her heart. As in the afore mentioned novel a young girl is seduced and plied with sexual favors, had her name changed and poses as the daughter rather than the lover of a man much too old for her amorous attention.

Not an original plot line and one that Europeans are supposed to take as matter-of-fact, as they are deemed to be more opened-minded their counterparts in the States. It is however here that Ryder—in her debut novel—takes us down new found paths in this uniquely told, if somewhat awkwardly titled, mystery.

Settling into the new town, making friends in the art world, one that is familiar to Tristan who is rumored to have a world-renowned collection of impressionist masterpieces, the two make a life for themselves for the next fifteen years. Tristan is surrounded by artists and flim-flam men, rogues and curators and he foists a husband on to Gisele, formerly Karen Miller of San Francisco, an aspiring artist Luke who helps keep up appearances, especially now that Gisele has a daughter of her own, Nicola.

The plan seems to work until Luke has an extra-marital fling while on the West coast on business, with Amanda, a young blonde student. When she follows him, after he tried to break-up, and discovers his real wife is the sister she thought was dead years ago, the drama is ratcheted up a notch as Ryder takes us on a closely contained edgy ride atop a powder keg. When Gisele’s body is discovered you decide if this is a murder or a suicide and which of the culprits just lit the match. BANG!

Before I Go To Sleep A review

Christine wakes in a strange bed, doesn’t recognize the room or the man snoring next to her. He has grey-flecked hair and she surmises she must have had a one-night stand with an older man. When she makes it down the corridor to the bathroom and looks in the mirror she has no recollection of ever seeing the middle-aged woman reflected back at hair.

In answer to her screams her husband Ben shows up and tells her, as he does every day, who she is and how she has amnesia. The photographs surrounding the bathroom mirror show her each day a history of her life so far, and as she relaxes into the day all is well. She just knows that as soon as she goes to sleep tonight it will all start over again.

After ben has left for his teaching job the phone rings and a Dr. Nash reminds her to look I the shoebox in her closet. Apparently she has a journal that she writes in every day that she keep hidden from her husband. The first note in the journal is DON’T TRUST BEN! As the novel progresses day by day and we get used to her routine Christine’s life unfolds to us and to her. Gradually her memory increases until she no longer needs a daily reminder of the hidden journal and as Dr. Nash takes her to places she lived and worked previously she begins to have flash backs of her prior life. When she confronts Ben as to why he never told her of the novel she published or the son she bore his answers are not glib, they make sense in order to protect her daily fragility.

When her flash backs are of a man in her bed with a beard and a scarred face – definitely not Ben - and memories of a brutal assault, not of the automobile accident she has been told caused her head injuries Christine begins to question Ben’s trust again and by the time she wakens in the very room she was assaulted in you can just hear the shrieking music of the sound track of her life. Nothing is as it appears and as the reader you should question everything you see and then never go to sleep again!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Who’s abducting children from 911 emergency scenes?

Today I have the pleasure of introducing two two fine authors C K Webb and D J Weaver, a mother and daughter team, who have written the chilling debut thriller series 'the Innocents' and who are stopping by my blog today  promoting the release of the second novel in the series 'Collecting Innocents'.

'Highway travel can be lonely and treacherous. Broken down vehicles litter the Emergency Lane like corpses on a battlefield. What if you were alone with no one to call when you found yourself stranded? Your only companion; your small child sleeping in the back seat. What would you do?               
On I-10 in Louisiana the answer is simple… you use the Emergency Call Box. But, while you sigh a breath of relief in the knowledge that help is on its way, a much more sinister listener has heard your 911 call.
Calls for help are coming in from Emergency Call Boxes along I-10 in Louisiana. But, when the State Trooper or wrecker service arrives to assist, there is no sign of the vehicle. Days later, the driver is found savagely murdered with no trace of their tiny passenger in sight.
When a police officer, formerly of the Aberdeen Police Department sees a twisted pattern of murder and child abduction arising from 911 calls, he contacts Sloanne Kelly, now known for her work with child abduction cases. Together, Sloanne, Shawn Tyler and Mac Mackenzie, with the help of reporter Birney Sullivan, go on the hunt for a killer and the innocent children he is collecting.'

This book grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go till the very last word of the last page. A terrific read by two authors who know their way around a story."
--Shane Gericke, Torn Apart

 "...harrowing, edge of your seat thriller, the frightening premise sucks you in, while the twists and turns will keep you guessing to the last breathtaking word.”
Richard Doetsch, Half-Past Dawn

Cruelty to Innocents, the first book in the series reads like a parents worst nightmare.

'What if you were in your car alone with your small child and you came upon an emergency scene? Would you stop to help? What if, while you are trying to assist a victim of an accident or mugging, you left your young child alone in the car, thinking he or she would be safe. What if, instead of help, the call to 911 brought a terrifying, sinister result?
Someone’s abducting children from 911 emergency scenes in Aberdeen Maryland, while their parents call for help and lend aid to accident victims. Someone who’s also listening in, is a monster and vicious child abductor. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of the scene, that monster slips in and steals the innocent children leaving behind no trace for authorities.
Sloanne Kelly is unprepared for what awaits in her hometown as she travels back to Maryland. Her goddaughter is one of the victims and the clock is ticking. Together with her best friend and a local fireman, Shawn Tyler, Sloanne will face the most insidious of criminals and fight to recover the children before there is anymore.'
"...This is a poignant, big-hearted novel that finds good in the midst of evil, hope in the midst of despair. Cruelty will touch your heart and  give you plenty to think about after the last page has been turned." John Locke, Saving Rachel

"The 911 Abductions is a heart wrenching, emotional roller coaster readers won’t soon forget." Tasha Alexander, Dangerous to Know.

Watch their website for Avenging Innocents: the Final Chapter soon!

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