Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A dark, perilous story that explores one man’s struggle to balance the horrors of war, family and the hunt for justice in an unjust world, author Brandon Dragan’s short story Cast No Shadow is a gripping tale that packs a punch in just a short amount of time. Here’s the synopsis:

Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

The story was incredibly engaging. It showcased the struggle many veterans face coming home from war and seeing the horrors the nation they fought so hard to protect are enduring on their own front doors. In a unique twist that kind of blends stories like Breaking Bad with The Punisher, we see Beau take on criminals while still profiting from his vigilante work, and how the danger he comes into contact with slowly begins to infect his daily life at home.

It also does a great job of exploring the impact we have on our children as a whole, and the way profiling and judgement can lead to trouble no one would ever expect. The writing was incredibly powerful and captured the essence of the story perfectly. The setting and imagery was incredibly vivid, and by story’s end you were left wanting more of Beau and his story, hoping to delve deeper into this amazing character and his backstory more.

Overall I thought this short story was brilliant. It was an evenly paced short tale of intrigue, action, and heart-pounding thrills that very few short stories manage to capture. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan today!

Rating: 10/10

About Brandon

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Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature, to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status-quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

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brandondragan.com

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On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel Story by J. David Core Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman on a mission of vengeance becomes the savior of the underworld in author J. David Core’s On the Side of the Angel. Part of the A Bartering Angel series, this story explores a mystery woman’s role as a fixer and the complicated tale she weaves to save various criminals. Here’s the synopsis:

Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.
Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.
Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

What I really found interesting when jumping into this story was that it is the first in a series written by various authors. It’s all centered around Angel, or the Bartering Angel. Each author writes in their own unique voice, but focuses on this singular character and her journey. It’s a unique premise that led me into this gripping tale. Each novel can stand on it’s own, and this novel by J. David Core delivers a fantastic thriller. A mix between the films True Romance and Goodfellas (with a Bourne Identity element for good measure), this story is incredibly powerful and fueled by fantastic characters. The story is fast paced and action packed in it’s delivery, and the hints at Angel and her backstory led the reader into wanting more and more of this incredibly complex character and her story. The story delivers a satisfying ending while leaving the reader not only wanting more, but giving them a reason to go out and get the next author’s book in this series. It does a great job of creating an emotional pull to characters that are often billed as villains with no redeeming qualities. It proves that everyone is complex in their own right, and the line between good and evil are easily blurred.

Overall this is a must read tale. Every fan of thrillers and action packed stories will be able to pick this novel up with ease, and will be left wanting to jump head first into this adventurous new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel novel by J. David Core today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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With a profound interest in religion, liberal politics and humor, J. David Core began writing in High School and has not given up on it since. His first professional writing jobs came while attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when he was hired to create political cartoons forThe Pitt News and to write humor pieces for Smile Magazine.

Dave has worked in the newspaper industry as a photographer, in the online publishing industry as a weekly contributor to Streetmail.com, and was a contributing writer to the Buzz On series of informational books and to the Western online anthology, Elbow Creek. Dave’s science fiction novel, Synthetic Blood and Mixed Emotions, is available from writewordsinc.com. Dave currently resides in his childhood home in Toronto, OH with his beautiful girlfriend and his teenage daughter.

He enjoys participating in local community events and visiting with his two adult children and his grandkids.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lupaschwartzmysteries/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gamutman

Website: ThrillsandMystery.com

Read On the Side of the Angel: https://books2read.com/u/mV7yWr

Mailing list: bit.ly/JDCsignup

Intricate Deceptions (Intricate, #1) by Jennifer Rayes Review

A young woman is forced into a dangerous world in author Jennifer Rayes book, Intricate Deceptions. The first in the Intricate book series, the book follows a woman who wakes up in a cell in a horrible situation, and ends up in a complicated world filled with Kings and Queens, Pirates and never ending treachery. Here is the synopsis:

Waking up in a desolate cell, Gaia realizes that she has been kidnapped by a human trafficking organization, doomed to be sold to the highest bidder and unable to remember anything before her capture.
An opportune rescue by Raoul, the Prince of Kayamato, saves Gaia from a gruesome future, and she is thrown into a world of luxury and privilege. As she struggles to regain her memory, Gaia learns that her rescue was no accident and finds herself in even more danger, hunted by a powerful drug lord, targeted by a thrill seeking pirate, and betrayed by those she thought closest to her.
Fighting for sanity and survival, she works to unravel the truth behind her capture, each revelation more shocking than the last. The intricate web of deceptions spun around her family will shatter her world, leaving her unsure if she will ever trust again.
Through it all, she must survive to save a friend before it’s too late…

This was a wonderfully written book. The important detail and attention showed to a very serious subject like human trafficking and the horrors people experience was expertly done. It brings a new light to the subject and helps build a dialogue and conversation that will hopefully lead to some real changes being made in real life. The book’s narrative was original and unique, and the characters became the bright spot as readers were left trying to figure out who to trust in this never ending game of cat and mouse. With Gaia stuck in the middle trying to figure out which side to be on and who is really her ally, the mystery of who she is and what her connection is to those around her will leave readers shocked. With a major twist ending that will leave readers clamoring for the next book in the series, this was a phenomenal adventure/thriller/mystery book that you will not want to put down.

Overall this was a fantastic read. The story was evenly paced, and the setting was able to paint a vivid picture in my mind. The narrative seemed to conjure up and take elements from several different genres and time periods as the author explored these new kingdoms, and it became a wonderful genre-smash read that I couldn’t get enough of. If you enjoy political intrigue, powerful and well rounded female protagonists and an engaging plot, then be sure to pick up author Jennifer Rayes book Intricate Deceptions today!

Rating: 10/10

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Intricate-Deceptions-Jennifer-Rayes-ebook/dp/B00GRILZXK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1384994989&sr=8-1

Author Website: http://jenniferrayes.wixsite.com/intricatedeceptions

Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption by Patrick Norton

An international race against time explodes onto the pages of an original illustrated thriller in author Patrick Norton’s book, Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption. Here’s the official synopsis:

A thrilling story with an underlying humanistic message

In times past, the kings exercised power and dominion over their people. Thus, absolute monarchy controlled the destinies of the world for many centuries. At present, although there are still a few Royal Houses, the real power is exercised by the moguls, owners of the largest transnational companies, whose wealth exceeds any estimate. While the world is increasingly threatened by economic crises, terrorism, war, hunger, unemployment and poverty, they, unofficially, control the governments, because they are owners of almost everything, in all areas of the world economy. In Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption, develops a tale of intrigue, suspense, action and adventure. A series of murders in different parts of the world has bewildered the authorities. No one knows what is happening, but someone is murdering magnates-billionaires. This series of crimes has led to a destabilization in the world economy, while the authorities still have no leads, and the murders continue to occur despite the high level of protection of the victims.

John Garrett, the only son of the first tycoon murdered, has in his possession “the key,” a high-tech electronic device that must be delivered in Paris, according to instructions that his father gave him before he died. The delivery is frustrated and he reaches an impasse. Motivated by the murder of his father, he decides to launch his own investigation. Who killed him? Why? What is this “key” for? ¿Why is it so important? To find the answers, he will have to go on a long and dangerous journey that will take him to many places in the world: Paris, Roussillon, Rome, New Orleans, Seattle, French Polynesia and Sweden, among others. Along this way, he will get to know Laura Koffmann, a daughter of one of the victims. The two will join forces to get the answers, even at the risk of their own lives. They will find many unexpected things and understand that nothing is what it seems; and that the future of the world will depend on their decisions, as well as the success of their actions.

This novel is profusely illustrated with 1,254 original illustrations in high quality 3D digital art that recreate the settings, characters and events narrated in the story. To show the full-screen images, the book is published in the format of a fixed-layout KF8, with vertical text and horizontal illustrations.

The novel is an incredible action thriller, filled with a unique story about secret organizations, murder and a race against the clock to change the world before it’s too late. Filled with action, romance and espionage, this was a fun read. Don’t let the page count fool you, the story was fast paced and flowed quickly, and featured an incredibly unique story telling device with the inclusion of original animated illustrations. The story was powerful and truly original to the genre, and a lot of fun to see flow off the pages.

The only small critique I have is the dialogue sometimes doesn’t flow organically at certain points, and I’d encourage the author to read through the exchanges between characters and make sure the conversations flow smoothly. Otherwise the story was well written and the international espionage world built by the author was incredibly rich and held vivid imagery that readers will not soon forget.

Overall this was a fun read that fans of the thriller genre will thoroughly enjoy. Filled with fully developed and complex characters, shocking twists and a complicated world where no one can be trusted, this was a great read that I highly recommend readers try out for themselves. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption by Patrick Norton today!

 

COVER+ILLUSTRATIONS+PAGES

Rating: 7/10

Author’s website: http://www.patricknortonbooks.com

Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/9nRPu4