Tag Archives: thriller

Hero Haters by Ken MacQueen Review

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

After becoming the prime suspect in the disappearance of the finalists for the nation’s highest medal of valor for civilians, one man must put himself on the line to find and save these heroes from the sinister web they’ve been ensnared within author Ken MacQueen’s “Hero Haters”.

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The Synopsis

Jake Ockham had a dream job, vetting nominees for the Sedgewick Medallion—the nation’s highest civilian award for heroism. His own scarred hands are an indelible reminder of the single mother he failed to pull from a raging house fire; her face haunts him still. Obligations drag him back to his hometown to edit the family newspaper but attempts to embrace small-town life, and the hot new doctor, are thwarted by unknown forces. The heroes Jake vetted go missing and he becomes the prime suspect in the disappearances. Aided by resourceful friends, Jake follows a twisted trail to the Dark Web, where a shadowy group is forcing the kidnapped medalists to perform deadly acts of valor to amuse twisted subscribers to its website. To save his heroes, Jake must swallow his fears and become one himself…or die in the attempt. 

The Review

This brand-new thriller from a brand new author and seasoned journalist was absolutely fantastic. The author immediately showcased the strength of finding the right balance between character growth and suspense building. The atmosphere and tension really elevated the narrative here, capturing the shocking nature of the crimes and the fight for survival that takes place. The focus on “heroes”, and how we treat our heroes in the world is a great central theme to play into this thriller and did a great job of showcasing the humanity within our heroes.

The brilliant character development and escalating suspense were so well delivered. The chemistry between Tina and Jake as the story develops adds a hint of romance into the narrative, but the complexity of the protagonist’s struggle with his brush with heroism and the blend of guilt for those that couldn’t be saved, as well as the human faults all heroes still have in their daily lives that are often ignored in the wake of their heroism, made their development so mesmerizing to read about.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, atmospheric, and entertaining, author Ken MacQueen’s “Hero Haters” is a must-read suspense thriller of 2022. The gripping blend of haunting dark web crime and the balance of morality with heroism as a whole made this such a rich and dynamic story to dive head first into, and readers will be hard-pressed to put this novel down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy or preorder by October 5th, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Before turning to fiction, Ken MacQueen spent 15 years as Vancouver bureau chief for Maclean’s, Canada’s newsmagazine, winning multiple National Magazine Awards and nominations. He travelled the world writing features and breaking news for the magazine, and previously for two national news agencies.

He has written extensively on crime, politics, disasters, both natural and man-made—and, being Canadian, on the shifting fortunes of Queen Elizabeth II and her clan. All of this is potential fodder for future fiction, though the Queen as action hero seems unlikely.

Hero Haters, set in the Pacific Northwest and rural Pennsylvania, is his debut thriller.

MacQueen covered nine Olympic Games and drew the athletic prowess of Jake Ockham, his protagonist, from tracking elite rowers in training and on podiums in Athens, Beijing and London.

He and his wife divide their time between North Vancouver and British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

kenmacqueen.com

Only Lies Remain (An Aoife Walsh Thriller Book 2) by Val Collins Review

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

The discovery of a body leads to old family secrets being unearthed, and a hunt for a killer who could very well be amongst Aoife Walsh’s family takes center stage in author Val Collins’s “Only Lies Remain”, the second book in the Aoife Walsh thriller series. 

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The Synopsis

Everyone thought Danny Walsh deserted his family when his sons were young. But when Danny’s body turns up fifteen years later and his wife, Maura, is implicated in his murder, accusations and old rumours surface.

Aoife rushes in to clear her mother-in-law’s name. But why is it that Maura’s story surrounding Danny’s disappearance doesn’t quite add up?

Aoife’s investigation uncovers old secrets, long-held jealousies, and lies upon lies. With every new revelation, Aoife realises she doesn’t know her family at all. Now her new boss is acting strangely, her best friend is more and more distant and her husband is no help at all.

With her support network crumbling and her family threatened, Aoife must race to keep one step ahead of danger before more innocent lives are lost. But how will she uncover the truth when only lies remain?

The Review

This was a captivating and thought-provoking thriller. As a newcomer to the series, I was immediately enthralled with the expansive cast of characters. Protagonist Aoife is such a brilliant presence in the narrative, providing both the determination and strength a thriller’s heroine is meant to have and yet infusing the vulnerability and emotional components that make her character feel well-rounded. The balance of everyday developments in her life, from her tumultuous relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband and her desire to help her former mother-in-law, to her growing relationship with the lead investigator and the close friendship she has with Orla.

Yet it was the twisted narrative and haunting atmosphere the author built into this story that made the novel so captivating. The rich world-building and stark settings were brought to life brilliantly using powerful imagery and made it feel very cinematic in nature as if it could be turned into the newest BBC murder mystery and thriller series that takes the world by storm much like The Fall or Broadchurch. The chilling nature of the case and the personal connection the protagonist has to it allow the reader to feel the desperation and need to solve the case that drives this story forward.

The Verdict

Brilliantly written, complex yet inviting, and thoroughly entertaining, author Val Collins’s “Only Lies Remains” is a must-read murder mystery thriller. The twists and turns the narrative takes, as well as the shocking reveal of the killer and his or her motives, will have readers hanging off the edge of their seats, and the author’s skills and powerful command over the genre make her future in this industry something that cannot be ignored.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and the No. 1 international bestsellers ONLY LIES REMAIN, THE SILENT SPEAK and WHERE LOYALTIES LIE. All four books are stand-alone thrillers and they can be read in any order.

Val has lived in Ireland her entire life, and graduated from University College Dublin. She enjoys chocolate, going for long walks in the countryside, seeing as much of the world as possible, meeting friends, writing, and reading. In fact, she devours books at the rate of one per week, and her favourite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0816S7588/ref=x_gr_e_spons_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F48734117-only-lies-remain%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DY6SD1tWlNK%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_e_spons_sin-20#customerReviews

The Enigma Factor (The Enigma Series Book One) by Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey Review

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

A cyber security tester and genius looking to find solace in his work after the loss of his mother finds his world turned upside down when he is targeted by cybercriminals in authors Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey’s “The Enigma Factor”, the first book in The Enigma Series. 

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The Synopsis

Jacob Michaels, computer network security-tester extraordinaire, tries to settle into a quiet life of work to polish his technology skills after the death of his mother.

Cyber-criminals are hunting for new victims when they target the brilliant programmer to try to seduce into joining their cause. More people are hunting him than just the Russian cyber kingpin.

As Jacob sets off to find those who target him, he discovers other technologists’ views which puts him in direct contact with previously unknown global experts.

Buzz, when looking for the easy way inadvertently crosses the line to the dark side then begs his best friend Jacob for help. Jacob, brilliant as he is may not have enough experience to win this on his own. Of course, having your identity erased makes helping anybody else secondary to your problems.

Jacob battles against global cyber masterminds using his knowledge of programming, identity theft, and hacking, but learns more about security and encryption when he connects with the distractingly beautiful encryptionist Petra.

Jacob’s challenge is how to keep ahead of the criminals and identify who to trust.

In their debut TechnoThriller, The Enigma Factor, award-winning authors Breakfield and Burkey weave a complex tale of danger, intrigue, and international cyber combat. They use a relevant technology foundation, then layer on travel, romance, humor and mystery

Like rust, the cat and mouse game of the new cyber warfare age never sleeps.

The Review

This was a tense and adrenaline-fueled cyber-thriller! The authors did an incredible job of making the narrative and characters feel alive and vibrant on the page. The amount of detail and experience the authors have in the world they have created feels truly authentic, due in large part to their own work in the world of cyber security and high tech. This authenticity helped elevate the narrative and keep readers invested with every twist and turn. 

I was immediately enthralled with the character development in this book. The shocking loss early on for the protagonist leads to so many different questions that keep the reader invested, from who his unknown family truly is to who the shadowy organization is that is hunting him down. The way the authors are able to infuse so much humanity and emotion into a tech-heavy narrative and keep the reader invested in the protagonist’s journey helped make the mystery of this book that much more engaging. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and action-packed, authors Breakfield and Burkey’s “The Enigma Factor” is a must-read cyber-thriller. The tension and atmosphere the authors create and the rich world-building the story takes on make this story truly one of a kind. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Breakfield is a 25+ year technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. He’s also a fan of wine tastings, winemaking, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking. 

Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments. She works with customers all over the world focusing on optimized customer experiences. Rox writes white papers and documentation, but found she has a marked preference for writing fiction. 

Together these Texas authors create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, as well as young and experienced adults. They bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today in exciting stories. Visit their website for more information and free stuff. 

Interview with Author Steve Malik Swayne 

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

I am Steve Malik Swayne. I was born in Ogden, Utah and raised in Salt Lake City, UT and Las Vegas, NV. I became fascinated with words in elementary school, where I began writing short stories and poems. This eventually led to me writing music and fictional novels.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Traitor was inspired by actual events. Traitor gave me the chance to express how I felt during my first few years of incarceration on a poetically creative level. The story was a release for me – the transformation of darkness into light, if you will.

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

In this specific piece, I would like for the reader to recognize the in-depth expression of what can dwell inside of each one of us when driven or pushed by betrayal. Secondly, I would like the reader to be dazzled by poetry and comparison to life and recognize we all have some kind of monster inside of us, rather it be negative or positive. Finally, I would like the readers to enjoy the various plots, twists, and craftiness of mental perception that Traitor delivers.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I am a complex thinker. Psychology was one of my favorite classes in college, not to mention, I am a major fan of thriller and suspense. I honestly put myself to the test with this one; I wanted to see if I truly had an understanding of what it is to create suspenseful dissimulation in the context of an urban thriller.

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

This is a difficult one, I mean, I am essentially the creator of their thoughts. So, there isn’t an answer they’d provide that I wouldn’t know. I guess if anyone, I would sit down with Xavier. Many times throughout the book, Xavier vowed he would never go back to prison. I would ask Xavier if he was nervous, worried, or concerned he could possibly be found connected to the downfall of his former friend, Tyson, causing him to go back to prison.

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

I would have to say Facebook thus far, although we have barely begun adventuring into our social media campaigns.

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

Just let the ideas flow. What begins as a simple thought may very well snowball into something monumental. As long as you believe in yourself, there is nothing you can’t accomplish, for creativity has no bounds.

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

I have three new projects that I have recently finished, all in different genres written from an urban perspective, delivering a unique message within each of them. I believe it’s invaluable to be able to deliver a relevant message through artful composure while still entertaining people. My ultimate goal is to bring my works to life on the big screen so that I may furnish people with entertainment on a broader platform.

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About the Author 

What’s up everybody! I am Steve Malik Swayne. I was born in Ogden, Utah and raised in Salt Lake City / Las Vegas, NV. I became fascinated with words in elementary school where I began writing short stories and poems which eventually led to me writing music. After years of pursing a music career, I began running the streets, headed down the wrong path eventually leading to my incarceration. While incarcerated, (a father of three) I decided I wouldn’t become a statistic. I enrolled in college classes where I obtained two associate degrees, one in Liberal Arts and the other in General Business Administration. Still passionate about writing, I began writing fictional novels, calling home to my wife, where she would record my writings, then take the hours of recordings and type them into her laptop. From there, we pursued publication and now those publications are being introduced to the world.

Social Media:

Instagram @stevemalikswayne_theauthor

Facebook @SteveMalikeSwayne

Twitter @Malik_theAuthor

Website traitorthenovel.com

Available on Amazon & Barnes&Noble

Interview with Author Dana Hammer

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

I’m not sure how I got into writing. I’ve always written. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t write.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Drugs, haha. Basically, I wanted to write a satire about the way we treat addicts in our society. On the one hand, we treat them as criminals for something that pretty much everyone agrees is a disease, and that’s messed up.  On the other hand, addicts often do horrible things because of their addictions, and we can’t ignore that, and act like it’s not a problem. To my way of thinking, the solution to addiction isn’t to punish addicts. The solution is to come up with a cure for addiction. I’m not a scientist, so I can’t do that. But I can write a book about it. 

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

This book has a lot of themes in it, and I’m reluctant to tell people what to take away from it. I just hope that something resonates with them. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I love horror comedy and dystopian fiction. Both genres are always asking the question “what if?” And I think that’s the basis of all really good storytelling.

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

I’d like to hang out with Esteban Zappa, of course! I want him to take me out to a fancy restaurant and introduce me to exotic dishes and I’d ask him to tell me stories about his globetrotting adventures.

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

The only social media site I really use is Facebook. I technically have an Instagram account, but I hate taking pictures, so it’s not really for me. Twitter seems like it’s just people being really mean, really fast. Maybe I’ll try TikTok someday. I don’t know.

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

Marry someone who will support you financially so you have the time and space to write. Alternately, be independently wealthy. I’m mostly kidding, but not entirely.

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

Yesterday I finished a new draft of my first middle-grade novel, My Best Friend Athena. It’s about an eleven-year-old girl whose best friend is the reincarnation of the Greek goddess, Athena. When Athena accidentally turns the school bully into a cockroach, the girls have to work together to find him and turn him back into a boy. 

We will see if I can get it published. 

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About the Author

Dana Hammer is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, and screenwriter living in Anaheim, California.

https://www.danahammer.com/

https://a.co/3x08ftf

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/

Delta by Tom Starita Review

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

Tensions mount in one man’s life when he discovers a young girl locked in his basement soon after the loss of his daughter, claiming to in fact be his daughter, and he must decide if fate has brought his daughter back to him or if he is slowly losing his grip on reality in author Tom Starita’s “Delta”.

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The Synopsis

Jason Carico is a grieving father, desperately trying to come to grips with the loss of his eight-year-old stepdaughter, Delta, who drowned two months ago.

But if she’s dead, then why is there a little girl claiming to be Delta locked up in his basement?

Desperately wanting to believe her, Jason attempts to live a normal life while hiding his nightmare below. His anxiety explodes when his late wife’s sister appears on his doorstep. Can he trust her? Would she believe him? And what will the police think if they ever find out the only African American man in town has a white girl trapped in his basement?

The haunting motto of Mother’s death cult tolls throughout the book, “The Universe has a plan, independent from the wants of man.” 

The Review

This was such a chilling and haunting read. The tension and heart-pounding suspense the novel’s narrative brings to life was the perfect way to marry both the horror and thriller genres that this story needed. The pacing the author set up perfectly allowed readers to develop this compulsive need to understand the circumstances surrounding this strange and troubling situation, as one minute readers see a tale of a man who has captured a young girl in his basement, and in the next a disturbing cult has set their sights on the same girl, and in the next a powerful force of nature threatens to converge on everyone at once.

This book’s narrative was definitely character-driven, and the characters really elevated the tension and atmosphere of this gritty suspense thriller meet horror read. The emotional pull of these characters, from Jason’s fractured psyche and desire to “protect” Delta, to Colleen’s struggle to right a grievous wrong and stop the madness she suspects is happening, really kept me invested in the narrative. 

The Verdict

Haunting, engaging, and thrilling, author Tom Starita’s “Delta” is a must-read horror suspense read of 2022. The chilling atmosphere the author’s use of imagery creates and the shocking twists and turns that leave readers on the edge of their seats, eager for a second book, made this story shine so brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tom Starita is the author of three novels, “Two Ways to Sunday,” “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated,” and his latest “Delta.” When asked for her thoughts about him, Oprah Winfrey said, “Who?” Tom Hanks refused to respond to an email asking for a quote, and former Mets great Mookie Wilson once waved to him from a passing taxi.

Originally from Staten Island, NY, Starita has now found a home in Connecticut with his amazing wife Shannon, their beautiful daughter Chloe and their potato of a dog Lola. But, most importantly, he loves the New York Mets.

https://goppygots.com/

Traitor by Steve Malik Swayne Review

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

A man who lost years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit seeks revenge against the one man he considered a friend, who rejected his pleas for help during his trial, in author Steve Malik Swayne’s “Traitor”.

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The Synopsis

Traitor is an intensely deranged mental excursion, full of poetically expressed vengeance and a mischievous plot for revenge.

The main character, Xavier Ruffin, has just been released from prison after serving a 12-year sentence for a murder he did not commit. He is hell-bent on getting back at his former friend, Tyson Carter – who is now employed by the state – for rejecting his impassioned plea for help during the preliminary stages of his case.

Taunted by an inner demon, Xavier vows to make Tyson pay for every moment of freedom that he feels was stripped away from him, considering Tyson a traitor.

The Review

This was definitely a gritty and hard-hitting story of vengeance. A much more modern take on classic revenge stories like The Count of Monte Cristo or True Grit, the reader is instantly brought into a heartbreaking yet brilliant narrative that highlights the injustice that exists within our modern justice system and the impact of the prison system can have on a person. The imagery and atmosphere the author brings to life in this novel elevates the narrative and brings a vivid image of these characters in an almost cinematic way. 

What really drove the narrative was the incredible character development that the author built. The resentment, determination, and heart that protagonist Xavier brought to the story and the shocking development that Tyson has early on made this story instantly click for readers. The tension that was built as the protagonist’s mission for vengeance built and grew over the course of the narrative kept me as a reader hanging off of the author’s every word.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thought-provoking, author Steve Malik Swayne’s “Traitor” is a must-read modern-day revenge tale like no other. The heart and passion that the author writes with perfectly mirrors the gritty setting and engaging twists and turns that the story takes as this protagonist dives further and further into his need for revenge. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

What’s up everybody! I am Steve Malik Swayne. I was born in Ogden, Utah and raised in Salt Lake City / Las Vegas, NV. I became fascinated with words in elementary school where I began writing short stories and poems which eventually led to me writing music. After years of pursing a music career, I began running the streets, headed down the wrong path eventually leading to my incarceration. While incarcerated, (a father of three) I decided I wouldn’t become a statistic. I enrolled in college classes where I obtained two associate degrees, one in Liberal Arts and the other in General Business Administration. Still passionate about writing, I began writing fictional novels, calling home to my wife, where she would record my writings, then take the hours of recordings and type them into her laptop. From there, we pursued publication and now those publications are being introduced to the world.

The Cannibal’s Guide To Fasting by Dana Hammer Review

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

After being infected by a disease that turns people into cannibals, a former scientist turned bodybuilder living in a government rehabilitation facility for cannibals must stop a powerful cannibals rights group that his recently infected brother has joined in author Dana Hammer’s “The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting”. 

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The Synopsis

Igor Fenenko, a former research scientist, is a scary, scary man. Not only is he a massive bodybuilder with a spider tattooed on his face, but he has also been infected with Pestis Manducans — viral cannibalism. Igor tried to resist indulging, but his research specimens smelled so delicious. Who did it hurt, really, to nibble a corpse?

Caught, disgraced, and sent to a ‘rehabilitation’ center, Igor is now forced to live in a government-mandated Containment Center. He spends his days pressing wildflowers, growing blueberries, and doing his best to avoid human meat. More than anything, he wants a cure for the virus that has ruined his life.

Igor’s brother, Karl, is also infected with Pestis. But unlike Igor, he does not live in a Containment Center. He lives down by the river, where he runs a cannibal rights group. At first, the group seems harmless enough, if a bit creepy and overzealous. But when Igor discovers their evil practices, he is forced to intervene.

Aided and opposed by rich eccentrics who have their own agendas, Igor must use his brains and muscles to find a cure while fighting the urge to turn brains and muscles into a delicious lunch.

The Review

I absolutely loved this novel. The author did an incredible job of crafting a narrative that felt alive on the page. The character growth and dialogue felt very natural and captivating, albeit a little bit fantastic given the nature of the narrative. The atmosphere and imagery used to bring this story to life were so vivid in their delivery that readers instantly felt transported as if Igor was standing right there in the room with them.

Yet it was the themes the author explored that really allowed the plot to shine through. The use of themes that explore humanity’s propensity for judging and alienating an entire group of people based on preconceived notions about who they are and what they are capable of was felt heavily in this read, and it played so naturally with the very horror-centric idea of a cannibal virus. The way the author mirrors the world’s mistrust of cannibals both past and present with the way even Igor is perceived by others because of his appearance and his insecurities, as a result, to be viewed in a certain light really did a great job of reflecting this thought-provoking story device.

The Verdict

Haunting, impactful, and engaging, author Dana Hammer’s “The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting” is a must-read bio-horror meets literary fiction read. The authors writing style allowed for a good balance of humor and wit with the more serious and macabre aspects of the cannibal storyline, while also showcasing a very human and emotional narrative of the power of judging others and how it impacts the world as a whole. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy today or pick up your copy on September 6th, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dana Hammer is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, and screenwriter living in Anaheim, California.

https://www.danahammer.com/