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 

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Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. Review

An emotionally and politically charged thriller like no other, author N. Lombardi Jr. is set to release one of the most relevant and headline grabbing novels of the year with his upcoming release, Justice Gone.

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

An emotionally and politically charged thriller like no other, author N. Lombardi Jr. is set to release one of the most relevant and headline grabbing novels of the year with his upcoming release, Justice Gone. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars.

The Review

My first reaction to this novel was simply…wow. Between the relatable and attention grabbing characters to the heartbreaking and straight from the headlines story and the vivid imagery, this novel truly came to life in ways few novels are ever really able to get to. The issues discussed through the character’s struggles, from homelessness and racism to police brutality and neglecting the needs of those suffering from mental health struggles (most notably in this novel war veterans), made this novel feel not only gripping and engrossing, but important.

The complex issue of right and wrong takes center stage as readers have to not only see the horrible crimes the police are able to commit against citizens, but the tragic cycle of violence that occurs when these issues are left unchecked. I recently saw an interview in which a student remarked that what’s moral and ethical is not always what’s legal, and this novel really brings this sentiment to life. At what point do we start standing up to immoral acts that are protected by technically legal tactics? Do we as a society share any responsibility for crimes committed due to these injustices or the lack of care for those suffering through traumatic mental health struggles? That’s what this novel delves into as the mystery behind the brutal killings of three cops slowly but surely get untangled throughout the book.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019! Full of edge of your seat twists and turns and a story that touches on the pulse of our current society, this novel excels in every way, delivering a story full of heart and emotion that doesn’t always pair with a good thriller, but in this case it does and then some. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy of Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr (or grab your copy if you’re reading this after February 22nd, 2019), today! 

Rating: 10/10

Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr. Tessa Thorpe.

Publication Date
February 22, 2019

GOODREADS LINK:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40398725-justice-gone

NETGALLEY:

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/152931

Amazon link – 

Author Bio


Author Nick Lombardi Jr. has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and he speaks five languages. An event in California in 2011 in which a homeless man was beaten to death lead Nick to write his newest novel, Justice Gone. Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 
Online: FacebookAuthor Website

Previous Titles from this author
Journey Towards a Falling Sun (9781782794943), Roundfire, 2014. 

The Plain of Jars (9781780996707), Roundfire, 2013.

Categories
FICTION (General)(FIC031030) -> Thrillers (General)(FIC031030) -> Legal(FIC031030)
FICTION (General)(FIC022040) -> Mystery & Detective (General)(FIC022040) -> Women Sleuths(FIC022040)
FICTION (General)(FIC031010) -> Thrillers (General)(FIC031010) -> Crime(FIC031010)

roundfire-books.com

The Bagman’s Buddies by Josh Holliday Review

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

Corrupt politicians and a massive FBI operation bring author Josh Holliday’s novel The Bagman’s Buddies to life in a thrilling investigation like no other. Here is the synopsis:

This book recounts the likely events and explosive encounters that happened in the nightime as well as the day time during a ‘Sting’ Operation against Tennessee legislators and Senators.

Some plead guilty and some took it to trial and were found guilty. Most of them squirmed trying to get out of it before it went down.

Complete with many Color Images to portray the events.

The investigation and subsequent book written here delves into the realm of political thriller and crime drama, showing the corruption and power struggle within the Tennessee government. The book starts off with a literal bang, showing the dark depths these government officials are willing to go to in order to cover up their deceptions, and by book’s end readers will see who cooperated, who tried to slink away and who stayed to fight to bring this corruption to light. Based on true stories of an actual sting operation in the area, the author does a great job exploring the various aspects of the investigation and those involved, from the undercover agents working as the infamous “bagmen” to the surveillance crew, the victims who found themselves double crossed and the Senators themselves.

The only advice or criticism I would offer for the author would be separating dialogue from the other paragraphs and implementing quotations. This addition can help the story flow more freely and naturally. Other than that the book was well written and told the story well. The use of visuals highlighted the investigation perfectly, creating a natural flow to the story that doesn’t always translate in other books.

Overall this was an amazing read. Filled with humor, relatable characters and a fascinating political thriller that will have readers eager to dive into the case this novel is based on. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Josh Holliday’s The Bagman’s Buddies today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bagmans-buddies-josh-holliday/1129597519?ean=2940156096831

Interview with Author Philip Bencel

Check out my latest #authorinterview with Philip Bencel, author of Freedom City, a dystopian novel set in a world way too similar to our own… #interview #bookblog

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

I’ve been a private investigator in Washington, D.C. for almost twenty years. I’ve written stories since I was a kid, but I didn’t publish my first books until I was in my mid-thirties: Introduction to Conducting Private Investigations and Principles of Investigative Documentation. I returned to writing fiction last year, when I took a sabbatical from my investigations company to write a novel.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The book I aspired to write last year was called Order of Damaged Souls, set around the 14th century Flemish peasant revolt. I finished that book, but I ultimately decided it was too dark for mainstream consumption. While bemoaning all the time that I “wasted” on Damaged Souls, I had an epiphany about just how demoralized I was about the American disaster marked by Donald Trump’s presidency. This soul-searching led me to re-read The Monkey Wrench Gang, a campy novel written by Edward Abbey about a band of misfits who sabotage stuff to protect the environment. I thought, ‘I should write something like that, but set in post-Trump America!’ Thus inspired, I wrote Freedom City in about three months, rushing to get it out before Trump’s impeachment. [Laughter].

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

I don’t know if I can curse on your blog—but fucking hell, what we’re living through right now is the resurgence of fascism, plain and simple. I know the left is often too loose with the word ‘fascist,’ and that’s regrettable, but there is nothing else to call attacks on the press, on the judiciary, and outright distain for the rule of law by the so-called President of the United States. So, Freedom City is a serious book about a very serious topic, but I really tried to bring it down to a level where I’m not just screaming incoherently out the window. The thing is that, when you take a deep breath, Trump and his enablers are evil in an almost inept-comic-book-villain sort of way, so there is actually a lot to laugh about in the situation. The one thing I hope people get from my book is that we must kill them with laughter. That’s their biggest weakness, which is why the right has been so up in arms the past few days about Michelle Wolf’s scathing comedy routine at the WHCD.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Well, my first novel was historical fiction, which is what I often like to read. Freedom City, I suppose, is contemporary literary fiction, but I’ve really struggled with whether to call it satire or dystopian fiction. It’s a little of both, actually, more like a tragicomedy. Like I said, I didn’t really set out to write it, but as a longtime private detective who lives in D.C.—I can literally see the fucking U.S. Capitol out of my window—I was probably the person best situated to write a novel like Freedom City.

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

I admit that I struggled a bit with Clare Swan, the main female protagonist. Some female readers have pointed out her promiscuity, and that’s certainly a fair critique. But while my book might not pass the Bechdel test, nobody (so far) has accused me of being anti-feminist. Actually, I’m a diehard feminist. It’s just that I have an active imagination, so when I write female characters I sometimes imagine ways I might sleep with them. [Laugher]. Ultimately, I think Clare turned out to be a delightfully complex human being and a righteous warrior. But if I could talk to her I’d ask if she feels I did her justice.

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

That’s a great question. I had already developed this public persona as a private investigator, and by far the biggest platforms for that are LinkedIn and Twitter. Because of that professional following I already had from my non-fiction books, I’ve gotten the most traction so far from those sites. However, I’m super excited about Instagram—which I confess I wasn’t even on until a few months ago. As I’m someone who loves readings and events, it really gives me a chance to chronicle the “buzz” around my book and hopefully help it, one day, take off.

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

So much of the advice aspiring writers get is to clichéd. I mean, I could say ‘don’t be afraid to suck’ or ‘join a writing group’—both sage pieces of advice—but instead I’ll say this: Write about the things buried deep in your soul that you think might scare your friends to know about you. Just do it. They won’t scare, and you’ll be writing honest shit.

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

I’ve got a couple irons in the fire, including a continuation (sort of) of Freedom City. Lately, however, I’m back to doing investigations, so I don’t have all the time to write I had last year. That’s okay though, because now that I recognize impeachment isn’t happening anytime soon I can take the time to make the next book longer and even more snarky.

 

freedom

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Freedom City by Philip A. Becnel IV Review

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

A near future that could easily mirror our own world comes to visceral life in author Philip A. Becnel IV’s Freedom City. Here’s the synopsis:

FREEDOM CITY hilariously ridicules the current kakistocracy (government run by the worst people) in a gripping satire that pays homage to The Monkey Wrench Gang. 

After President Trump unceremoniously dies from natural causes, four misfits from Washington, D.C. who call themselves the Fearless Vampire Killers sever the heads of Confederate statues and wage a comedic guerrilla war on post-Trump America. When President Pence enlists droves of fascist volunteers to crush the “alt-left” uprising, the rebels must risk their lives to run the fascists out of D.C. 

What follows is not only a battle for survival—but a desperate search for remnants of what once made America great.

This book is both humorous and touches on the scary reality of the Trump era United States. Those of you who know me on this blog know I am more liberal than anything else, and although I don’t agree with everything the democrats do, this book does resonate with me greatly. You see while it may appear to be an anti-Republican novel, this is actually just an anti-Trump, anti-racism and anti-bigoted book. It strikes at the heart of a corrupt government and the abuse of power that comes with it. It showcases how quickly personal freedoms are stripped away and those who don’t fit the government’s perfect mold are persecuted fiercely.

In this comical yet politically driven novel, it showcases how lost ordinary people are when they’re put in the middle of political rivalries between parties, and how it’s the average person’s duty not to blindly follow our leaders, but to question them and remind them that they were elected to represent us, not themselves. The characters are all relatable, each coming from a vastly different background than the other, and yet all brought together with the common goal of reestablishing the freedom that the United States was built upon. While each is damaged or comes with their own baggage, they find a closeness and family none of them knew they needed, all driven by a desire to fight for what’s truly right in the world.

The imagery was great in this novel, depicting a very real possible future that is both terrifying and hopeful. Terrifying in that one never wants to live in such a violent, chaotic and fear driven society, but hopeful in that it feels like there are more people out there willing to stand up for what’s right, despite the outpouring of negativity in the media and online. Overall I loved this novel, as it spoke to me as a liberal minded person without getting to heavy into the specific political views of each character, approaching it from a moral and human standpoint rather than a political one. This is a truly unique and one of a kind novel, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-City-Philip-Becnel-ebook/dp/B078YCZ4KW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1524562638&sr=8-2&keywords=freedom+city

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

11/22/63 by Stephen King Review:

The master of horror and suspense has done it again, bringing a unique and epic look back at American history in his novel, 11/22/63. The story
follows Jake Epping, a high-school English teacher who is thrust into a world-changing adventure when his friend and local diner owner Al shows
him a ripple in time residing in his diner’s pantry. Al, who a day ago was living and thriving, is now much older and dying, and wants Jake’s
help in stopping Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating John F. Kennedy. When he learns that each time he steps into the past, he goes back to
the exact same day, in 1958, he first goes back in time to help another friend of his, Harry Dunning, whom was brain damaged after his father
murdered his family and left him for dead. After a mildly successful trip to the past and stopping the murder, he realizes he has the power to
rewrite history, but will face life and death situations when the timeline tries to stop him from meddling. Soon he returns to the past, and
spends years there, investigating and following the life of Lee Oswald in order to determine if he was the sole assassin. However life gets
complicated when he meets Sadie, and falls in love. Juggling a desire to stay in the past and continue his mission to save Kennedy, Jake must
face the complications of living a double life, fighting the timeline’s attempts to stop him and saving the woman he loves from the dangers of
her past.

The book is a phenomenal read, and showcases that Stephen King is still at the top of his game. Getting a very real sense of what life was like
back in the late 50’s and early 60’s, this novel showcases the vast difference in societal views, exploring themes of racial tensions, religious
over-saturation and the global political scene as a whole. It actual has a lot of bearing on the current political landscape in our world, and
manages to bridge the gap between the past and the present. It also is a thrilling adventure, that explores the age old question, are things
meant to happen the way they do, or can they be changed? 11/22/63 is a must read novel that demonstrates to new readers why Stephen King is still
a master of his craft, while longtime fans will enjoy the nods to Stephen King’s established universe and the larger than life questions he always
asks through the themes of his novels. If you haven’t yet, you should read this book today!