Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dark Waters

Dark Water

David Haviland (publicist) provided an e-copy of Dark Water by Simon Thould for review.

Dark Water, an eerie sounding title to be sure, actually refers to the town the story is set in. The activities taking place in this small community on the edge of the Forest (the Wikipedia function on my ereader explained this location well) are also quite dark. Rafter, our hero or anti-hero, you choose, is the hard drinking ex-military sniper whose code of ethics draws him into a missing person case.

We have; sex, drugs, rock'n roll. Human trafficking, drug-dealing, Albanians, Hell's Angels, Foreign Legionnaires, promiscuity, extreme partying and plenty of local secrets. Brutal and graphic violence. The sex would be called a tease; lots of promise but little to no follow through. I guess hearkening back to the idea that you can't have graphic sex and violence in the same story.

Good action sequences, but the story did lag a bit for me between those sequences. A lot of hurry up and wait; kind of like the real military. This added to the feel for me that the book was longer than it actually was. In the end, not a lot of really likable characters. Gabriel and Li Li (new friends of Rafter) were probably the only ones for me. The rest are so flawed, and unabashedly so that it becomes difficult to sympathize with them, or root for them. Our hero, unrivaled killing machine that he is (and really, isn't that what we all want in a good action story?), is the hardest drinking character I think I have ever encountered. The amount of vodka he consumed through out the story, which chronologically is only a few days, is staggering, and he should have been by the end of the story (pun intended).

My biggest and most lingering question? Does anyone (beyond the author) know what a "Wolf" vehicle is? I Googled it, and all I got were auto dealers, no reference to any actual vehicle. Made me a bit crazy. 

I did like Dark Water by Simon Thould. It did make good on its' claim to be good action story. Enjoy!


Friday, June 15, 2018

Zero is the Key

Zero Is The Key by [Guerrera, Robert]

I won a print copy of Zero is the Key by Robert J Guerrera in a Goodreads giveaway.

Zero is the Key is a fun middle grade adventure that made me a little bit nostalgic for the books I read as a middle grader. There was a series called The Happy Hollisters that Zero is the Key strongly brings to mind. The kids are smart, but so are the parents. Everyone is respectful and the adventure is just a lot of fun. Perhaps a bit unrealistic when the family travels all over the world at the drop of a clue. But that is a part of the charm for me, not letting real life logic dictate the flow of the story.  

The action is quite good and the suspense is maintained throughout. Age appropriate violence and danger. A travelogue to some of the more mysterious locations on the planet. Giorgio Tsoukalos would probably love it. Zero is the Key also crosses over to the ancient alien theory and fits in quite well.

A fun thing to notice that isn't a spoiler. Most of the main characters have the family names of famous scientists. The main characters are the Salk's, you can pick out the rest. Zero is the Key by Robert J Guerrera is a fun middle grade adventure even if no longer a middle grade reader. Enjoy!




I received an e-copy of Woodcutter  by Shaun Baines for review.

A dark, grisly, intricate tale of a mafia-type family. Full of action, violence, brutality, familial intrigue and peripheral sex. Pretty much what a reader expects from this genre. Not to say it is predictable or mundane. It is able to still be full of surprising twists and turns.

The problem for me? No body was sympathetic! The main character Daniel tries but just can't pull off likability.  Every character had such unforgivable flaws that it was difficult to root for any. Just when you are ready to sympathize with a character, they participate in something that destroys their humanity and connect-ability. After finishing Woodcutter I decided, "I don't like any of these people". But that is okay because the story is interesting and engaging and well written. It held my interest and kept me guessing (wrongly as usual).

If you like good ol' shoot'em up violence, extreme brutality, mafia-esque honor and loyalty, all inflicted by unlikable characters, Woodcutter is the ticket. It wasn't a problem that it was set in England rather than a more mafia style location like New York or Chicago. A good read all around by Shaun Baines. Enjoy!


Friday, June 1, 2018


Icarus (The Noble Trilogy Book 1) by [Hulegaard, David K.]

I won a print copy of Icarus the first book in The Noble Trilogy by David K. Hulegaard in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Icarus is a great start to an ongoing story of mystery, murder, noir detective, with overtones of political/military/alien subversive activity. This first entry leaves a lot of unanswered questions; the most intriguing being who the bad guys actually are.

Not predictable at all for me. (Mini spoiler) I was shocked by the demise of who I thought were main characters. This just tells me there are a lot of twists and turns to come.

Set in the late 40's, we have a not-very-hard-boiled detective (Miller Brinkman) caught up in a colossal world shattering secret operation. By the end of this first book we are not sure of who is actually in control of the sinister agenda. 

A lot of character development in the form of flashbacks. A lot of story yet to be developed. Perhaps a bit slow in the beginning (not enough to make me want to stop reading), I was thoroughly hooked before long.   

Icarus does employ the ever vilified cliffhanger ending, although given the flow of the story I have a hard time seeing how it could have been avoided. Author Hulegaard has an engaging style, keeping the reader interested in the story, while building the suspense and terror (oh yes, there's terror). I really liked Icarus, Book 1 of The Noble Trilogy by David K. Hulegaard and am looking forward to continuing on Miller Brinkman's investigation. Enjoy!


Demons of Eden

Demons of Eden #37 in the Deathlands Series by house name James Axler was part of a Christmas present this past December (thanks Wil & Jenn).

This series is my own guilty pleasure. I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I don't much care how it happened, I just like to read the survival stories. As an early entry in the series, Demons of Eden fills the bill nicely. 

Our band of companions meet up with a character from earlier adventures and enter the world of native-american mysticism. As often is the case, they encounter what could be a paradise only to uncover the hidden sickness.

The characters are true to their continuing depictions. We have the usual shoot-em up violence, life threatening danger and even some tenderness. Nice blend. Light on the evil mutations they often encounter. In short, pretty much a believable story line. At 346 pages, a bit longer than the usual 316. 

In my opinion, one of the better series entries. Enjoy!