Tag Archives: political thriller

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/

Hot Moon (Apollo Rising Book One) by Alan Smale Review

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

Set in an alternate historical world, the crew of the latest Apollo mission to the moon in 1979 finds themselves in a battle for the United State’s claim to their portion of the moon as soviet strike teams assault their base, and tensions run high in the height of the Cold War in author Alan Smale’s “Hot Moon”, the first book in the Apollo Rising series. 

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The Synopsis

Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently.

America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We’d have gritted our teeth and doubled down, poured billions into the Apollo program.

HOT MOON is set in 1979 in this alternate world. The US and the Soviets both have permanent moon bases, orbiting space stations, and manned spy satellites supported by frequent rocket launches. Reagan is President and the Cold War is hotter than ever.

The crew of Apollo 32, commanded by Vivian Carter, career astronaut, docks at NASA’s Columbia space station on their way to their main mission: exploring the volcanic Marius Hills region of the Moon. Vivian is caught in the crossfire as four Soviet Soyuz craft appear without warning to assault the orbiting station.

The fight for the Moon has begun!

The Review

This was such an intricate and detailed sci-fi meets historical fiction read. The world-building and tension the author brings to life by utilizing the backdrop of the Cold War was an inspired choice, especially given how integral the space race was to the Cold War. I loved how the author was able to use their background and expertise to delve into the heavier aspects of the sci-fi genre, while also incorporating much of the Cold War era tech and political leanings that would have made up the majority of this book’s cast of characters. The technical aspects of the narrative were felt immediately, with the main character breaking down the technical details of their space suit and how an AK-47 could fire in space. Even the opening of the book has diagrams, blueprints, and maps that relate to the tech that would have been available at that time.

It was the cast of characters that really made this story shine. The author did an amazing job of capturing the POV of both sides of the Cold War through these characters, allowing readers to see events from both the U.S. and Soviet Union sides of the war as the action unfolds. The strength and courage of the protagonist Vivian Carter was inspiring to read about and added a human depth to the sci-fi heavy narrative.

The Verdict

Intriguing, adrenaline-fueled, and engaging, author Alan Smale’s “Hot Moon” is the perfect sci-fi meets political thriller and historical fiction read and the best start to the Apollo Rising series! The imagery and atmosphere that the author built really gave a great cinematic quality to the author’s writing and allowed for the political intrigue and suspense to build quietly as readers delved deeper and deeper into this entertaining world the author built. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan Smale is a professional astronomer, but his writing tastes have always veered more towards alternate and twisted history, fantasy, and horror. His novella of Romans in ancient America, “A Clash of Eagles” in Panverse Two, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and the first book in a trilogy set in the same universe, CLASH OF EAGLES, appeared in 2015 from Del Rey in the US and Titan Books in the UK and Europe. The series continues with EAGLE IN EXILE (March 2016) and will conclude with EAGLE AND EMPIRE (2017). Alan has sold 40 short stories  magazines including Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Abyss & Apex, Paradox, and Scape, and original anthologies Panverse One and Two, Apollo’s Daughters, Book of Dead Things, and Writers of the Future #13.

Alan grew up in England, and has degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford University. He serves as director of an astrophysical archive, and performs research on black hole binaries at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Alan also sings bass with well-known vocal band The Chromatics, and is co-creator of their educational AstroCappella project.

https://www.alansmale.com/

Possessed President by Amo Sulaiman Review

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

Two outsiders must traverse a self-destructive America in order to rescue a Possessed President in author Amo Sulaiman’s “Possessed President”. 

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The Synopsis

Full of thought-provoking symbolism leavened with both crazy antics and danger, Possessed President, Resman—the responsibility man—and his bodyguard Osray.

The pair descend from the celestial city of Atlantis to travel across America, teaching its citizens to take responsibility for not only their own actions, but the effects their actions have on everything around them.

Their goal: confront the president of the United States about the federalist policies that are driving America and Americans to self-destruction.

Resman quickly develops a following, and soon “Resmanism” is sweeping across America and around the world. 

The Review

A truly unique blend of political drama, science fiction, and fantasy, “Possessed President” is a powerful read that explores the divisiveness and lack of responsibility that has plagued the United States for years. Exploring the impact of policies similar to the ones we see being implemented now in the United States, the novel fuses this political unrest with a one-of-a-kind sci-fi epic storyline.

The use of beings from another world as the protagonists and bringing an outsider’s perspective to the situation in the United States was an inspired choice. The inclusion of mythological settings like Atlantis, as well as the unique chemistry and growing relationship between Earl-Dylan and Osray, made the story shine and the pace smooth.

The Verdict

Action-packed, thoughtful and creative, “Possessed President” by Amo Sulaiman is a must-read sci-fi and political drama. The pacing of the novel is lengthy yet engaging throughout and makes for the perfect read for the upcoming U.S. Election looming over us all and the deep, philosophical, and moral questions the narrative poses to the reader. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ignored Tags: $0118, $0119

Born in Guyana and continuing his education in Canada, AmoSulaiman received a B.A. degree in philosophy and psychology at the University of Guelph in Ontario. He then completed his Master s degree in philosophy in Montreal. Shortly after this, he went to Switzerland where he did his Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Bern and a BA in English and American Literature. He has been living in Switzerland ever since.

He is the author of two books on philosophy, one on English literature, and several other novels, including Proud City. This is also followed by Destroyer and El Nobis.

https://www.amoinfo.info/index.html

The Day Lincoln Lost By Charles Rosenberg Review

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

A web of conspiracy and corruption makes it’s way into one of the United States most impactful elections in the historical fiction thriller “The Day Lincoln Lost” by Charles Rosenberg. 

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The Synopsis

An inventive historical thriller that reimagines the tumultuous presidential election of 1860, capturing the people desperately trying to hold the nation together – and those trying to crack it apart.

Abby Kelley Foster arrived in Springfield, Illinois with the fate of the nation on her mind. Her fame as an abolitionist speaker had spread west and she knew that her first speech in the city would make headlines. One of the residents reading those headlines would be none other than the likely next President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln, lawyer and presidential candidate, knew his chances of winning were good. All he had to do was stay above the fray of the slavery debate and appear the voice of compromise until the people cast their votes. The last thing he needed was a fiery abolitionist appearing in town. When her speech sparks violence, leading to her arrest and a high-profile trial, he suspects that his political rivals have conspired against him.

President James Buchanan is one such rival. As his term ends and his political power crumbles, he gathers his advisors at the White House to make one last move that might derail Lincoln’s campaign, steal the election, and throw America into chaos.

A fascinating historical novel and fast-paced political thriller of a nation on the cusp of civil war, The Day Lincoln Lost offers an unexpected window into one of the most consequential elections in our country’s history.

The Review

A truly unique and fascinating story that comes along during a time where our world is facing more injustice and painful experiences in the fight to bring equality and recognition to all people, not just a select few, author Charles Rosenberg’s “The Day Lincoln Lost” is a much needed political thriller with a historical fiction bend. 

The author does a great job of utilizing historical figures into the narrative while also giving ample room for new characters to come along for the narrative and bring about a new depth to the theme of racial equality. The horrors that the Black Community faced during this time period of slavery are showcased greatly within this narrative, and show that although slavery has ended, discrimination and hatred are still very much alive in this day and age, and only by learning from the past can we change. 

The Verdict

A good mixture of meaningful lessons and an intriguing political thriller that highlights the complex fight to end slavery and how the more prominent figures of that time rose to the level people now know them for, the author does an amazing job of introducing enough new material to keep readers invested in the narrative. Fans of the Historical Fiction genre and political thrillers will not be able to put this book down, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author:

Charles Rosenberg is the author of the legal thriller Death on a High Floor and its sequels. The credited legal consultant to the TV shows LA Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, and The Paper Chase, he was also one of two on-air legal analysts for E! Television’s coverage of the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials. He teaches as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School and has also taught at UCLA, Pepperdine and Southwestern law schools. He practices law in the Los Angeles area.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.charlesrosenbergauthor.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/whomdunnit

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whomdunnit/

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Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Day-Lincoln-Lost-Charles-Rosenberg/dp/1335145222

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-day-lincoln-lost-charles-rosenberg/1133354517

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-day-lincoln-lost/9781335145222

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335145222

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9781335145222?AID=10747236&PID=7651142&cjevent=dcfae1e7924811ea828701380a1c0e12

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/the-day-lincoln-lost-1

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-day-lincoln-lost/id1478903595?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Charles_Rosenberg_The_Day_Lincoln_Lost?id=x0CtDwAAQBAJ

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-day-lincoln-lost/9781335145222-item.html?ikwsec=Books&ikwidx=2#algoliaQueryId=0cb52dcdba3b997f62ee33523e57409f

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

Kentucky

Early August, 1860

Lucy Battelle’s birthday was tomorrow. She would be twelve. Or at least that was what her mother told her. Lucy knew the date might not be exact, because Riverview Plantation didn’t keep close track of when slaves were born. Or when they died, for that matter. They came, they worked and they went to their heavenly reward. Unless, of course, they were sold off to somewhere else.

There had been a lot of selling-off of late. The Old Master, her mother told her, had at least known how to run a plantation. And while their food may have been wretched at times, there had always been enough. But the Old Master had died years before Lucy was born. His eldest son, Ezekiel Goshorn, had inherited Riverview.

Ezekiel was cruel, and he had an eye for young black women, although he stayed away from those who had not yet developed. Lucy has seen him looking at her of late, though. She was thin, and very tall for her age—someone had told her she looked like a young tree—and when she looked at herself naked, she could tell that her breasts were beginning to come. “You are pretty,” her mother said, which sent a chill through her.

Whatever his sexual practices, Goshorn had no head for either tobacco farming or business, and Riverview was visibly suffering for it, and not only for a shortage of food. Lucy could see that the big house was in bad need of painting and other repairs, and the dock on the river, which allowed their crop to be sent to market, looked worse and worse every year. By now it was half-falling-down. Slaves could supply the labor to repair things, of course, but apparently Goshorn couldn’t afford the materials.

Last year, a blight had damaged almost half the tobacco crop. Goshorn had begun to sell his slaves south to make ends meet.

In the slave quarter, not a lot was really known about being sold south, except that it was much hotter there, the crop was harder-to-work cotton instead of tobacco and those who went didn’t come back. Ever.

Several months earlier, two of Lucy’s slightly older friends had been sold, and she had watched them manacled and put in the back of a wagon, along with six others. Her friends were sobbing as the wagon moved away. Lucy was dry-eyed because then and there she had decided to escape.

Others had tried to escape before her, of course, but most had been caught and brought back. When they arrived back, usually dragged along in chains by slave catchers, Goshorn—or one of his five sons—had whipped each of them near to death. A few had actually died, but most had been nursed back to at least some semblance of health by the other slaves.

Lucy began to volunteer to help tend to them—to feed them, put grease on their wounds, hold their hands while they moaned and carry away the waste from their bodies. Most of all, though, she had listened to their stories—especially to what had worked and what had failed.

One thing she had learned was that they used hounds to pursue you, and that the hounds smelled any clothes you left behind to track you. One man told her that another man who had buried his one pair of extra pants in the woods before he left—not hard to do because slaves had so little—had not been found by the dogs.

Still another man said a runaway needed to take a blanket because as you went north, it got colder, especially at night, even in the summer. And you needed to find a pair of boots that would fit you. Lucy had tried on her mother’s boots—the ones she used in the winter—and they fit. Her mother would find another pair, she was sure.

The hard thing was the Underground Railroad. They had all heard about it. They had even heard the masters damning it. Lucy had long understood that it wasn’t actually underground and wasn’t even a railroad. It was just people, white and black, who helped you escape—who fed you, hid you in safe houses and moved you, sometimes by night, sometimes under a load of hay or whatever they had that would cover you.

The problem was you couldn’t always tell which ones were real railroaders and which ones were slave catchers posing as railroaders. The slaves who came back weren’t much help about how to tell the difference because most had guessed wrong. Lucy wasn’t too worried about it. She had not only the optimism of youth, but a secret that she thought would surely help her.

Tonight was the night. Over the past few days she had dug a deep hole in the woods where she could bury her tiny stash of things that might carry her smell. For weeks before that, she had foraged and dug for mushrooms in the woods, and so no one seemed to pay much mind to her foraging and digging earlier that day. As she left, she planned to take the now-too-small shift she had secretly saved from last year’s allotment—her only extra piece of clothing—along with her shoes and bury them in the hole. That way the dogs could not take her smell from anything left behind. She would take the blanket she slept in with her.

She had also saved up small pieces of smoked meat so that she had enough—she hoped—to sustain her for a few days until she could locate the Railroad. She dropped the meat into a small cloth bag and hung it from a string tied around her waist, hidden under her shift.

Her mother had long ago fallen asleep, and the moon had set. Even better, it was cloudy and there was no starlight. Lucy put on her mother’s boots, stepped outside the cabin and looked toward the woods.

As she started to move, Ezekiel Goshorn appeared in front of her, seemingly out of nowhere, along with two of his sons and said, “Going somewhere, Lucy?”

“I’m just standing here.”

“Hold out your arms.”

“Why?”

“Hold out your arms!”

She hesitated but finally did as he asked, and one of his sons, the one called Amasa, clamped a pair of manacles around her wrists. “We’ve been watching you dig in the woods,” he said. “Planning a trip perhaps?”

Lucy didn’t answer.

“Well, we have a little trip to St. Louis planned for you instead.”

As Ezekiel pushed her along, she turned to see if her mother had been awakened by the noise. If she had, she hadn’t come out of the cabin. Probably afraid. Lucy had been only four the first time she’d seen Ezekiel Goshorn flog her mother, and that was not the last time she’d been forced to stand there and hear her scream.

The Poseidon Files by Mike Rickett Review

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

A high octane thriller that blends the supernatural with science fiction and political thriller takes center stage in author Mike Rickett’s “The Poseidon Files”. 

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The Synopsis 

This is a story about conspiracies: A top-secret military plot which threatens humanity and another plot to leak the secret to the world. But it all backfires and two women find themselves in the centre of intrigue and menace.

The Streets of Liverpool and the picturesque village of Llanberis in Snowdonia, as well as the mountain itself, also play an atmospheric part in a tale of murder and deceit where the supernatural also plays a part.

A gripping supernatural thriller that will captivate you to the very last page.

The Review

A shocking yet fun genre mashup, author Mike Rickett delivers a stellar story and wonderful cast of characters that fans won’t soon forget. What begins as a government cover-up soon turns into a shocking mystery of death, visions, and a race against time as shadowy figures emerge and put two women brought together seemingly by fate into the crosshairs of a dangerous enemy. 

In a larger than life plot lie this, the author does a fantastic job of keeping the story as grounded as possible with memorable characters who keep the reader engaged. The quick friendship and bond between the protagonists in particular keep the reader invested as the story progresses. 

The Verdict

A one of a kind story that is filled with powerful drama, suspense and heart-pounding thrills, author Mike Rickett’s “The Poseidon Files” is a must-read thriller that never slows down. Entertaining and action-packed, the story’s final arc is an edge of your seat scene that will keep readers’ attention throughout its entirety. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mike Rickett is a career journalist having worked for the London Daily Mail, Reuters and latterly the Liverpool Daily Post on Merseyside in the UK. In a long and varied career, he has worked as a crime reporter, feature writer, business editor and latterly, a senior sub-editor. He has also worked as a PR executive for a major bank and a multi- national electronics company.

His qualifications include a BA (Hons) English, from the University of Liverpool; a BA (Hons) Fine Art and an MA in Creative Practice both from Liverpool Hope University.

He has two children, a son in Tallinn, Estonia and a daughter in Toronto, Canada. He lives in Liverpool in the UK and divides his time between art and writing.

Man on Edge (A Rake Ozenna Thriller Book 2) 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. 

A young woman finds her only means of survival in an enemy state is her former fiancee as the clock races in author Humphrey Hawksley’s “Man on Edge (A Rake Ozenna Thriller Book 2)”. 

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The Synopsis

A tense and twisting espionage thriller involving state secrets, lethal assassins and the threat of a new Cold War.

Trauma surgeon Carrie Walker is taken aback when her estranged uncle makes contact out of the blue. Senior Russian naval officer Artyom Semenov claims to be in possession of an explosive piece of information which he is offering to share with the West. But can he be trusted?

Travelling to Moscow undercover to meet with Semenov, Carrie finds herself stranded when the carefully-planned operation goes catastrophically awry. In grave danger, there’s only one person she can turn to for help: her former fiancé, Major Rake Ozenna of the Alaska National Guard.

Aware how vital it is that he reaches Carrie before others do, Rake knows he’s pitted against a powerful and lethal enemy. But is it a rogue agent – or the Russian state? As preparations gather pace for a high-profile NATO exercise off the Norwegian coast, Rake must act fast if he is to prevent a global catastrophe.

The Review

An action-packed thriller, author Humphrey Hawksley has created a thrill ride of a novel. While I haven’t read the first book in the series, the author does a great job of gleaning into the backstory and history established in the first novel enough to create a clear picture of the major players of the narrative and their roles. 

The buildup of suspense and heart-pounding action is equally matched to witty banter between characters and powerful character growth throughout the novel as well. Playing into the government agent versus the world theme, the author blends the shadowy government operations of a good thriller with the personal ups and downs of protagonist Rake and his on and off romance with Carrie. The backdrop of Russia and the surrounding areas felt relevant to the current political scene in the world, creating a deeper connection to the action of the novel’s plot overall. 

The Verdict

A one of a kind read author Humphrey Hawksley has created a tension-filled, action-packed narrative that is not to be missed. An evenly paced read with steady character arcs and a great flow overall, everyone should grab their copies of “Man on Edge”, the second book in the Rake Ozenna Thriller series, today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Humphrey Hawksley’s brand-new international thriller series begins in paperback in October 2019 with MAN ON ICE a knuckle-whitening drama set on the remote and wild US-Russian border. In early, 2020 comes the nail-biting MAN ON EDGE set on the Norway-Russian border followed in 2021 by MAN ON FIRE whose location is yet to disclosed. Rake Ozenna, a native of Little Diomede island in Alaska is the series hero. Each thriller includes trauma surgeon, Dr Carrie Walker, American intelligence contractor, Harry Lucas, and his ex-wife, British businesswoman and diplomat, Stephanie Lucas.

Humphrey’s thrillers have been widely praised. Steve Berry describes ‘authentic settings, non-stop action’ from MAN ON ICE. Lee Child speaks of SECURITY BREACH as ‘high stakes, high octane’ and Alan Furst as a ‘hard-driving, a good taut thriller’ — right back to the first future history thriller DRAGON STRIKE: THE MILLENNIUM WAR which Steve Coonts hailed as ‘ominous and insightful.’

His recent non-fiction ASIAN WATERS: THE STRUGGLE OVER THE SOUTH CHINA SEA AND THE STRATEGY OF CHINESE EXPANSION has been acclaimed on every continent by those at the heart of global decision-making, such as Indian cabinet minister, Hardeep Puri; the last governor of Hong Kong Baron Lord Patten of Barnes; and Dr Wu Shicun, President of China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies. China’s rise is a fast developing story, and Humphrey is currently working on an updated edition which is due out in June 2020.

Humphrey’s work as a BBC foreign correspondent has taken him all over the world with postings in Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila, Delhi and Colombo. He has contributed to ABC, National Public Radio and other networks in the United States and global publication of his work includes the Financial Times, New York Times, Yale Global, Nikkei Asian Review and others.

http://www.humphreyhawksley.com/

Road To Delano by John DeSimone Review

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

A young man seeking to escape a small town finds his world turned upside down when the truth of his father’s passing leads to more questions than answers, and a tale of corruption that could put him and his friends in the crosshairs of some dangerous individuals in author John DeSimone’s “Road to Delano”. 


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The Synopsis 

Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond―as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.

With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.

While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian―the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez―in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny.

The Review

This was a fantastic read. A truly engaging story that is driven by a wonderful cast of characters that readers will be able to identify with immediately. A young man trying to keep him and his mother out of poverty as he dreams of a life outside of the small town he’s called home finds himself and his friends drawn into a true murder mystery filled with small-town corrupt politics, and the author does a wonderful job of creating realistic characters that bring honesty and reality to the story being told. 

Showcasing the hard life led by farmers and their families in the wake of the depression all the way through the late 60’s and beyond, this story also infuses cultural experiences that Jack and his family had before and after his father’s death. What really stands out however is the author’s ability to draw readers into the narrative with vivid imagery and a voice that speaks of artistic mindsets and viewpoints, making the setting and characters really come to life off the page. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel with breathtaking imagery, engaging characters that really connect the reader to the protagonist’s story and an emotional and heart-pounding finale that will have readers hanging off the edge of their seat, this is a truly entertaining and important tale of small town politics and corruption leading to the death of a father and husband, and the struggle of a son to take back what was rightfully his father’s. If you enjoy good historical fiction and drama, then be sure to grab your copy of Road to Delano by John DeSimone today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

John DeSimone is a published writer, novelist, and teacher. He’s been an adjunct professor and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. His recent co-authored books include Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan (Little A Publishers), and Courage to Say No by Dr. Raana Mahmood, about her struggles against sexual exploitation as a female physician in Karachi. His published novel Leonardo’s Chair published in 2005.

In 2012, he won a prestigious Norman Mailer Fellowship to complete his most recent historical novel, Road to Delano. His novels Leonardo’s Chair and No Ordinary Man have received critical recognition.

He works with select clients to write stories of inspiration and determination and with those who have a vital message to bring to the marketplace of ideas in well-written books.

https://www.johndesimone.com/

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INTERVIEW WITH TIMOTHY JAY SMITH, “THE FOURTH COURIER”

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I wrote my first stage play when I was ten years old. It was set during the Civil War, and one-by-one, a group of slaves, sitting around a bonfire, snuck off into the night while they sang Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.  Two years later, I started my first novel and showed what I’d written to my mother. She told me it was dirty. (A young couple was having a picnic on a blanket in a park when WWII bomber jets flew overhead? Dirty?) I didn’t know what my mother exactly meant, but I knew dirty wasn’t good, and that rather crimped my writing habit for some thirty years.

During that time, I grew up and had an exciting career. I definitely wasn’t a frustrated writer working hated day jobs. Instead, I was traveling all over the world working on projects to help lower income people (through such organizations as USAID, the World Bank, and the UN). My last job before deciding to become a full-time writer was to manage the US Government’s first significant project to help Palestinians following the Oslo Accords and the start of the peace process.

At the end of that contract, I felt that I had done what I set out to accomplish in my career. I was only forty-six years old and had time to do something entirely different. I had observed and experienced the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from multiple perspectives, and I wanted to tell that story. That’s when I wrote my first novel, A Vision of Angels, in which a suicide bomb plot sets into motion events that weave together the lives of an Israeli war hero, Palestinian farmer, American journalist and Arab-Christian grocer.

After writing that first book, I’ve just kept going.

2) What inspired you to write The Fourth Courier?

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and Solidarity won the first free election in Poland in over sixty years. In the same year, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced new cooperative laws in the Soviet Union, which was an area of my expertise. I was invited to the Soviet Union as a consultant, which led to my consulting throughout the former Soviet bloc, eventually living for over two years in Poland.

At the time, there was a lot of smuggling across the border between Russia and Poland, giving rise to fears that nuclear material, too, might be slipping across. While on assignment in Latvia, I met a very unhappy decommissioned Russian general, who completely misunderstood my purpose for being there. When an official meeting concluded, he suggested we go for a walk where we could talk without being overheard.

I followed him deep into a forest. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted. Finally we stopped, and he said, “I can get you anything you want.” I must have looked puzzled because he added, “Atomic.”

Then I understood. In an earlier conversation, there had been some passing remarks about the Soviets’ nuclear arsenal in Latvia, for which he had had some responsibility, and apparently still some access. While my real purpose for being there was to design a volunteer program for business specialists, he assumed that was a front and I was really a spy.

I didn’t take him up on his offer for something atomic, but I did walk away with the seed for a story that germinated years later when I decided to write a novel set during that period in Poland.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I wrote The Fourth Courier wanting to portray what life was like in Poland at the end of the Cold War, which officially ended Christmas Day 1991 when the Soviet Union was legally disbanded. (The Poles had actually managed to cast off communist rule two years earlier, but for plotting purposes I set the story in 1992.) The Poles had lived for forty-five years under Soviet domination, the last few years under a harsh military regime. The country was broken and communism’s inefficiency left them destitute. In the two years that I lived there, I developed a tremendous respect for the Polish people and their struggle for liberty. I hope my readers close the book with a better understanding of what that meant.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I write what I like to read, and that’s relatively fast-paced stories but not all action, which have depth and verge on literary. Suspenseful plotting with good writing and good character development: that defines a literary thriller. I also like my novels to bring some awareness to an issue of social importance. So I take an event or threat and examine what it means through the eyes of the people it involves.

In The Fourth Courier, through a nuclear smuggling operation, I give the reader an insight into how ordinary families in Poland coped with the country’s collective hangover from communism. In A Vision of Angels, I look at how the lives of four families become interwoven by a suicide bomb plot in Jerusalem. Cooper’s Promise is the story of a soldier’s redemption through a tale about human trafficking.

I don’t think another genre would let me entertain and enlighten in the same way.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

It would definitely be Basia Husarska, Director of Poland’s Bureau of Organized Crime. She’s an enigmatic character with hints of a colorful past. I’d like to know the details of her past.

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6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

You’re not a writer unless you write.

Learn the craft.

Write some more.

Share your work, listen to criticism, and don’t be defensive.

Write some more.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have two new novels underway. I’m working on the penultimate edits to Fire on the Island in which an arsonist threatens to burn down a Greek island village, which will put out of commission a Coast Guard station vital in the rescue of refugees crossing a narrow channel from Turkey. To try to prevent that, the FBI sends a Special Agent to investigate, who finds himself in a village wracked by conflicts, some dating back a hundred years, and any one of which might make someone want to destroy the village. I expect to deliver the final draft to my agent in mid-May.

I’m well into a new novel, The Syrian Pietà, set in Istanbul. In it, the CIA recruits a Syrian refugee to go deep undercover to— I’m going to stop myself there because the idea is too good to share until it’s written. I already love this book and character.

I actually have two styles of writing: a story told from many perspectives, or a story told entirely from one character’s perspective in which the reader knows nothing more than the character. People have different names for the two approaches. I know them as an open mystery (the reader knows there’s a bogeyman in the next room but the protagonist does not) and a closed mystery (the bogeyman is revealed only when the protagonist encounters him).

The Syrian Pietà is a closed mystery, as was my novel Cooper’s Promise. It’s an enormous challenge to write a closed mystery because you have only one character to reveal information. Of course, the temptation is to tell instead of show, which is no challenge at all. In the movie world, one of the best examples of a closed mystery is Chinatown. Jack Nicholson is in every scene. In a novel, it’s a great way to get into a character’s head.

About the Author

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a “devil’s barge” for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

These experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of Tim’s work, for which he’s won top honors. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of AngelsKirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His screenplays have won numerous competitions. His first stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. 

Timothy Jay Smith Social Media Accounts 

● Website:

● Facebook:

● Twitter:

● Instagram:

About Arcade Publishing Arcade has been an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing since 2010. We continue doing incredible work discovering, publishing, and promoting new and brilliant voices in literature from around the world. Arcade has published literary giants such as Samuel Beckett, E. M. Cioran, and Leo Tolstoy, alongside new voices such as Ismail Kadar and Andrei Makine. In 2012, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, an exciting achievement for Arcade which had published five of his novels. 

THE FOURTH COURIER by Timothy Jay Smith Arcade * April 3, 2019 * 320 pages * $24.99 ISBN: 978-1948924108 * Hardcover Please visit http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/arcade-publishing 


The Fourth Courier By Timothy Jay Smith Review

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

A hunt for a killer leads to a high octane thriller filled with drugs, power hungry military leaders and a missing atomic weapon that threatens the security of the free world in author Timothy Jay Smith’s The Fourth Courier. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

A Fast Paced Espionage Thriller for Alan Furst Fans Set In Post-Cold War Poland. 

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.

The Review

A powerful espionage thriller, this novel pushes the envelope and brings a balanced mix of action, suspense and fantastic character development that will instantly make readers fall in love with this story. This novel perfectly explored the post-communism era of Poland as families struggle to make a daily living, shops and restaurants fail to gain the daily resources many take for granted, and drugs begin to filter into the city at a much faster rate. 

The duality of the characters reflects the dual nature of the narrative perfectly. An FBI agent who works to balance his case with a possible romance; a power hungry military leader who hides a truth about himself; a cop who finds themselves crossing the line one too many times. All of these characters bring with them heavy pasts and showcase that everyone has secrets, and everyone is fighting to find the balance between those secrets and daily life. Blended with the larger than life drama and action of this murder mystery and missing nuclear device, and the novel plays out like a must read spring thriller that cannot be missed. 

The Verdict

A must read 2019 novel! Perfectly capturing the espionage thriller genre, author Timothy Jay Smith has brought a rarely seen era in post-communism history to life in a perfect way. The writing is so crystal clear and descriptive that the reader instantly pictures the events like a movie in their own mind, and as the twists and turns in the plot continue to play out in this evenly paced novel, the characters find themselves in the race of their lives as all of their lives begin to converge upon one another. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “The Fourth Courier” today! 

Rating: 10/10

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a “devil’s barge” for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail. 

These experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of Tim’s work, for which he’s won top honors. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His screenplays have won numerous competitions. His first stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. 

Timothy Jay Smith Social Media Accounts 

Website:

Facebook:

Twitter:

Instagram:

About Arcade Publishing Arcade has been an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing since 2010. We continue doing incredible work discovering, publishing, and promoting new and brilliant voices in literature from around the world. Arcade has published literary giants such as Samuel Beckett, E. M. Cioran, and Leo Tolstoy, alongside new voices such as Ismail Kadar and Andrei Makine. In 2012, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, an exciting achievement for Arcade which had published five of his novels. 

THE FOURTH COURIER by Timothy Jay Smith Arcade * April 3, 2019 * 320 pages * $24.99 ISBN: 978-1948924108 * Hardcover Please visit http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/arcade-publishing