Tag Archives: international mystery

Ice Islands (Rake Ozenna Thriller Book 4) by Humphrey Hawksley Review

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

What begins as an attempt to infiltrate a large Japanese crime organization turns into an international nightmare as one man must protect his target and prevent a deadly plot from unfolding in author Humphrey Hawksley’s “Ice Islands”, the fourth book in the Rake Ozenna Thriller series. 

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The Synopsis

Major Rake Ozenna faces dangerous choices and deadly consequences in this rip-roaring political thriller that takes you from the ice islands of Finland to the bustling streets of Tokyo via Russia and the White House . . . Buckle up, this is a thrilling ride!

Major Rake Ozenna’s mission is simple: gain access to the Kato family – Japan’s most dangerous crime empire – and stop the threat to America. But when the secret son of the Russian leader is executed and Rake’s target, Sara Kato, is implicated in the murder, a political crisis between Russia, Japan and the US is set in motion.

It’s a race to protect Sara and earn her trust whilst escaping the inhospitable terrain of the icy Aland island. Meanwhile, Russia wants revenge for the murder, a catastrophic move when it is revealed Japan have been stockpiling nuclear weapons.

As Rake learns the true extent of their deadly plans, he must draw on every ounce of his training to succeed. Because if he fails, it won’t just be his life that will be lost . . . the consequences will be global! 

The Review

This was such a cinematic and captivating international thriller! The author ramps up the narrative of this series greatly by honing in on a mixture of global high-stakes action and intimate and more personal character-driven mysteries. The globe-trotting settings really made this feel like a modern-day Netflix action thriller movie, while the tension and balance of politics with organized crime in the narrative added such depth to the story itself.

Yet it was the rich character growth that the author utilized in this narrative that really made the action and setting pop on the page. The mystery surrounding this Russian President’s son’s murder and the daughter of a Japanese criminal all felt both engaging and yet realistic to the current political and criminal climates our world is facing. However, it was the protagonist’s story that really drew me in as a reader, showcasing his heroism and yet also showing his struggle with learning more about his family’s past and trying to separate himself from any feelings involving his target, making this such a rich and dynamic story to read.

The Verdict

Entertaining, thrilling, and brilliantly written, author Humphrey Hawksley’s “Ice Islands” is a must-read novel and a great addition to the Rake Ozenna series. The mystery and suspense the narrative picks up and the rich character development create a narrative that plays out greatly in the reader’s imagination through imagery and tone that captivates the audience immediately. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Humphrey is an award-winning author and foreign correspondent whose assignments with the BBC have taken him to crises all over the world. His Rake Ozenna series originated when reporting from the US-Russian border during heightened tension

He has been guest lecturer at universities and think tanks such as the RAND Corporation, The Center for Strategic and International Studies and MENSA Cambridge. He moderates the monthly Democracy Forum debates on international issues and is a host on the weekly Goldster Book Club where he discusses books and talks to authors.

The third in Humphrey’s political espionage Rake Ozenna series MAN ON FIRE came out in July 2021. The fourth, ICE ISLANDS, will be published in August 2022.

Rake Ozenna, a native Alaskan from Little Diomede on the Russian border, is fast making his mark as a hard-driving unusual character in thriller Fiction. Tthe great NELSON DE MILLE described Rake as ‘smart and tough, and we’re glad to have him on our side”

In MAN ON FIRE, a tense firefight on the Russian-American border heralds the start of a terrifying high-stakes mission for special forces agent Major Rake Ozenna in this gripping espionage thriller. Instructed to guide in a speed boat crossing from Russia in the Bering Strait, special forces Major Rake Ozenna watches in horror as the operation culminates in a fatal firefight – and the loss of vital intelligence of a deadly new weapon. A weapon of unimaginable power. A weapon that, if it were unleashed, would cripple civilization as we know it. But who sabotaged the mission? Who possesses the weapon – and what is their ultimate goal?

Rake’s search takes him to the remote outpost of Uelen on the Russian coast – and the discovery that he is up against a formidable enemy from his past. As world leaders gather in Bonn for the signing of the new European security treaty, Rake enters a desperate race against time to prevent a catastrophe beyond imagining. This fast-paced, impeccably researched, highly topical thriller is perfect for rreaders of CLIVE CUSSLER, LEE CHILD and ROBERT

LUDLUM.

Humphrey’s Rake Ozenna thrillers have been widely praised.

Library Journal on MAN ON EDGE — ‘A hard-as-nails hero, an out-of-the-ordinary location, and oodles of high-action encounters – everything readers want in a political thriller’

Booklist on MAN ON ICE — ‘Knuckle-whitening suspense, bloody violence, dirty tricks, and plenty of surprising twists make this a gripping, can’t-put-it-down read’ –

‘Authentic settings, non-stop action’, Steve Berry on Man on Ice

An up-to-the-minute, page-turning spy thriller with the atmosphere of a Cold War classic’ – Charles Cumming on Man on Edge

https://www.humphreyhawksley.com/

The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere Review

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

A simple cloth becomes the vocal point for an international mystery involving war crimes, art theft and murder in author Vincent Panettiere’s The Scopas Factor. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

A Hmong “story cloth,” a Revolutionary War battle flag, forged Picassos and a Russian drug dealer—finding the link between these disparate elements is the challenge Mike Hegan faces in The Scopas Factor, the latest mystery from Vincent Panettiere.

After his last investigation ends tragically, Detective Mike Hegan returns to Chicago from St. Kitts, hoping to put everything behind him. But his girlfriend, Diana, has other plans, and although he has no interest in the job opportunity she presents him—in a small northern California town, no less—he wants to please her. Upon his arrival in Weedley, he’s caught up in a kidnapping and two murders. A visit to Diana’s family in San Francisco only serves to deepen the mystery, as her father might be the link to a gang of antiquities thieves that might have something to do with the crimes in Weedley. And when Diana’s father disappears, Hegan takes off for Antibes in southern France, where he discovers that the mystery has only just begun.

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The Review

A whirlwind adventure that explores the horrors of war and the ways in which criminals profit from other’s misery, the story is the third highly acclaimed novel from author Vincent Panettiere. The novel is very character driven, taking readers through the mystery by showcasing everyone involved in great detail, from Detective Heagan and his investigation into the mystery, to the woman who’s mother left a legacy behind that she hopes will reveal the truth, and an art forger who finds himself caught in the midst of a bloody battle. 

The author does a fantastic job of commanding the story fully into the mystery genre. The action of the narrative plays out in a very creative and cinematic way, creating instant images in the readers imagination as they follow the adventure piece by piece. The way the author stretches out the mystery is perfect as well, taking readers in one direction and then completely dropping the floor out from under them, taking the adventure into an entirely unexpected direction. 

The Verdict

This is a wonderful novel, filled to the brim with action, suspense and romance as one lone detective becomes embroiled in a larger than life international mystery. Who can you trust when everyone seems to be connected? And with a feeling of dread hanging over the detective after the loss of his last two relationships, can he find happiness in a new relationship, or are the dangers of the case too overwhelming for his relationship to survive? Find out in this incredible roller coaster mystery by picking up your copy of The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere today!

Rating: 10/10

www.vincentpanettiere.com

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About the Author

Many times imagination develops through loneliness. Left in solitude and quiet the creative process emerges later, dormant until activated by circumstances or maturity.

Vincent was the only boy in a family of six children. Many times he was left to himself and his imagination. As he got older, he started writing short stories.

Vincent tells about the time he submitted a short story to “one of those magazines at the supermarket checkout counters”. He showed this story to his high school English teacher who then became convinced that the teenager was having trouble at home. He wasn’t, but this story earned him his first acknowledgement as a writer – as well as his first rejection slip.

He began his career as a sports reporter for the UPI wire service. While in graduate school at Boston University, he wrote sports for The Boston Herald, a daily newspaper.

Several years later after having reviewed his screenplay submissions a story editor at Columbia Pictures encouraged Vincent to move to the West Coast and keep writing. He wrote and sold several screenplays which – “in the byzantine world of motion pictures” – went unproduced.

It was time for a career change. Panettiere struck out on his own becoming a licensed literary agent representing writers and directors in TV and Film. During this time he became frustrated with the entertainment financing system, and began searching for outside financing for his clients. Some of his experiences are chronicled in his book, The Internet Financing Illusion.

Whether as a literary agent or executive at CBS or Twentieth Century Fox, Panettiere continued to search for ideas and stories to feed his imagination. For him, the seed of a story starts nudging his mind, forming characters and situations. His characters lead the story, and often surprise him with unforeseen twists.

The Scopas Factoris Panettiere’s third novel. His other novels are A Woman to Blameand the award-winning and critically acclaimed These Thy Gifts, which earned 5 stars from Readers’ Favorite,  second place in Literary and  Contemporary Fiction from CIPA, as well as the Reviewers’ Choice Award in General Fiction Novels. He is also the author of The Internet Financing Illusiona nonfiction account of the dark side of the internet.

For Vincent, writing brings several joys. He looks forward to reading the pages he has written a day later. Many times he can’t remember writing the pages. “This is my favorite part of the creation process. Something inside takes over. Something that I know I can rely on indefinitely.”

Most importantly, he says, the best part of the writing process is “having written – having defeated the tyranny of the blank page.”

Vincent Panettiere currently resides on the West Coast.