Tag Archives: thrillers

The Unraveling: A Jade & Sage Thriller Series Book One by Joanna Vander Vlugt Review

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

After the client she successfully defended is murdered, a lawyer must rely on her sister’s motorbike club to help defend her from a secret justice society and their assassins when they come after her next in author Joanna Vander Vlugt’s “The Unraveling”, the first book in A Jade & Sage Thriller Series.

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The Synopsis

Jade Thyme celebrates successfully defending Jules Cranbury on a murder charge. Her celebration is short-lived when she finds Jules murdered. Jade investigates and uncovers a secret justice society whose members hide behind white tabs and black robes while delivering their own vigilante justice. Jade locates a once prominent and respected lawyer, now known as Noxzema Man, homeless and panhandling in Fan Tan Alley. He warns Jade. Judges, lawyers and police make up the Society. Trust no one. The MotoCityDolls, her sister’s all-female motorcycle gang, save Jade from a Society assassin. Forced to take a leave of absence, Jade packs up her office, but not before coming face-to-face with another assassin–Jules’s murderer.

The Review

This was such a compelling and chilling crime meets legal thriller. The haunting nature of the conspiracy that unravels throughout this narrative and the frightful tone that the dangers facing the protagonist emit help drive the narrative forward and keep the reader on the edge of their seats as one after the other the dominoes in the character’s lives begin to unravel. The rich setting and adrenaline-fueled blend of mystery and suspense (with a hint of supernatural storytelling elements) made this a completely engaging read.

The character growth and interactions really highlighted the growing mystery and dread that the dangers presented to the cast of characters. Jade is such a strong and inviting protagonist, and her bond with both her sister and Osmond was definitely a compelling element of her story. Yet it was the unraveling of the conspirators and the society that comes after her, as well as the haunting nature of the supernatural twist that affects her journey, that kept me invested in the overall narrative.

The Verdict

Chilling, entertaining, and thrilling, author Joanna Vander Vlugt’s “The Unraveling” is a must-read crime thriller that meets paranormal suspense and mysteries. The brilliant start to the Jade & Sage Thriller series, the rich dynamics between the characters and the haunting nature of the crimes, and even the connection between Jade and the first victim of the crime spree, will keep readers on their toes as these twists and turns up the ante of this narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Joanna Vander Vlugt is an indie author and illustrator. She hosts a podcast called JCVArtStudio from the Dressing Room which provides authors and artists an opportunity to tell their story–a dress rehearsal before taking their book launch or art show on the road.

Her legal thriller Dealer’s Child is a 2021 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist and The Unravelling, the first novel in her paranormal thriller series, was a 2019 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist. Her previous publications include her short essay No Beatles Reunion for the Dropped Threads 3 anthology, Beyond the Small Circle; Egyptian Queen for the Dead in the Water mystery anthology and The Parrot and Wild Mushroom Stuffing for the Blood on the Holly mystery anthology.

Joanna’s art can be viewed on Instagram @jcvartstudio

https://www.jcvartstudio.net/

Girl Targeted (An Aoife Walsh Thriller Book One) 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.

A newlywed wife who takes an office job whilst awaiting the birth of her daughter witnesses a horrific accident that just may point to a cold-blooded killer, and everyone in her life, including her own husband, may not be able to be trusted in author Val Collins’s “Girl Targeted”, the first book in An Aoife Walsh Thriller series. 

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The Synopsis

Office jobs can be stressful. Aoife’s may be lethal.

Aoife’s life is finally on track. She’s happily married, pregnant with her first child and has the world’s best mother-in-law. But when Aoife accepts a job as an office temp, her entire life begins to unravel.

Is one of Aoife’s colleagues a murderer? Is Aoife the next target? Why is her husband unconcerned?

Can office politics lead to murder? 

The Review

I love how the author immediately draws the reader in with their relatable character development and subtle buildup of tension that allows for those explosive moments to really shock the reader and stay with them long after the scene has ended. The rich setting and captivating mystery that surrounds the setting itself give the reader an equally magnetized pull that draws them into the mystery the same as the protagonist, who takes on this investigative role.

The character development really drove the story home for the reader. The determination and curiosity that Aoife displays are so relatable to true crime enthusiasts and journalists alike, and how she balances this with her life as a wife and mother is great world-building in my opinion. Balance this with the twisted relationship that reveals itself over time with her husband, who displays rudeness and abruptness that so many people will recognize from their own past relationships and informs the reader on how far Aoife’s narrative journey takes her over time.

The Verdict

Captivating, thoughtful, and entertaining, author Val Collins’s “Girl Targeted” is a brilliant story and a great first entry into the Aoife Walsh Thriller series. The twists this mystery takes and the dangers that Aoife comes into contact with are a great foundation for building a new heroine to tackle the mysteries and criminal dangers facing her small corner of the world. 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.

Join Val online at valcollinsbooks.com, and on social media @valcollinsbooks.

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Dealer’s Child (A Jade & Sage Thriller Series) by Joanna Vander Vlugt Review

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

A woman’s search for answers regarding her father’s death paints a target on her back as she seeks to uncover generations of drug dealers and ruthless criminals seeking vengeance in author Joanna Vander Vlugt’s “Dealers Child”, the latest book in the Jade & Sage Thriller Series. 

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The Synopsis

“First I will destroy you, then I will hurt the ones you love, then you’ll beg me for mercy.”

Jade Thyme delves into her mother’s free-spirited past to prove her father was murdered and hadn’t died from a cocaine overdose.

Legislative Clerk Adam Younghusband drops on Jade’s desk damning evidence regarding the island’s once feared drug dealer Oscar Cooper. Jade and Sage are targets as they uncover generations of dealers, while hiding from an arsonist determined to destroy them. From her mother’s ghost appearing on the picnic table, to a possessed typewriter tapping a warning,1968 clashes with the present as Jade uncovers a deadly secret while staying one step ahead of a murderer hellbent on revenge.

The Review

I absolutely loved this read. The author did an incredible job of finding the right balance between a crime thriller and a hint of paranormal influence and delved into the occult. The world-building of this dynamic sister duo and the investigations into their past were terrific to see come to life on the page, while the suspenseful atmosphere the author created kept readers invested in this mystery that felt like the perfect blend of real-world crime issues such as drug use and violence with more supernatural elements.

The heart of this narrative was the character development and the small yet meaningful detail the author put into the imagery of this book’s writing style. The raw and powerful themes of this narrative touch upon real-world issues that ace so many, from the violence and desperation that comes from the drug trade and addiction to the deep-seated bond the sisters share as they delve both into the modern-day mystery of their father’s death and the mystery surrounding their late mother in the past and her relationship with a gangster, made this story shine brightly. The intricate details of the imagery really made the story pop into the reader’s mind, as if watching a film come to life.

The Verdict

Harrowing, emotional, and thrilling, author Joanna Vander Vlugt’s “Dealer’s Child” is a must-read novel and a great addition to the Jade & Sage Thriller Series! The twists and turns in the narrative and the depth of the character’s journey as they evolve and grow will have readers engaged with this story immensely. The imagery and atmosphere brought the best elements of both the crime thriller and occult horror genres and found a happy medium that kept the story alive on the page. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Joanna Vander Vlugt is an indie author and illustrator. She hosts a podcast called JCVArtStudio from the Dressing Room which provides authors and artists an opportunity to tell their story–a dress rehearsal before taking their book launch or art show on the road.

Her legal thriller Dealer’s Child is a 2021 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist and The Unravelling, the first novel in her paranormal thriller series, was a 2019 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist. Her previous publications include her short essay No Beatles Reunion for the Dropped Threads 3 anthology, Beyond the Small Circle; Egyptian Queen for the Dead in the Water mystery anthology and The Parrot and Wild Mushroom Stuffing for the Blood on the Holly mystery anthology.

Joanna’s art can be viewed on Instagram @jcvartstudio

https://www.jcvartstudio.net/

https://www.tiktok.com/@joannavandervlugt_author

https://www.instagram.com/joannavandervlugt_author_art/

Little Miss Fortune by Sans Emmert Review

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

The line between reality and fiction blurs for a writer as the dark inspiration for a new screenplay brings old enemies and danger to his doorstep, and triggers darkness within himself at the same time, in author Sans Emmert’s “Little Miss Fortune”.

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The Synopsis

“Echoes of the JonBenét murder mystery permeate this exceptionally well executed, sinfully clever, and deeply absorbing psychological drama.” —Author David Aretha

‘Presumed Innocent’ meets ‘Sea of Love’ in this JonBenét Murder Whydunit

To escape the dark family secret that wrecked his childhood, aspiring screenwriter Damon loses himself in a movie world, becoming one with each character in his imagined plots. But that strength pales against the obsessive love he finds in his beautiful, can-do-no-wrong, Savannah spouse and their new son.

Haunting visions of her prior fling with an older married millionaire—who’d stolen her teenage virginity and corrupted her with dreams of the champagne life—kindle a brilliant revenge screenplay that could make Damon a millionaire.

But does the rich goliath still lurk? Damon’s paranoia redlines when the same dark secret suddenly seems to strike at his son. The eye-for-an-eye plot turns more sinister—and more real—as Damon rewrites the script to hurt his nemesis where it hurts most by stalking his pageant princess daughter. Will looking into her innocent eyes snap Damon from his deathly delusion?

“Dark and filled with a gritty tension that will leave readers feeling raw, Sans Emmert’s Little Miss Fortune is a twisted tale of love, deception, and the blurring of lines between reality and make-believe…. Sans Emmert has created an atmosphere that draws readers in, almost holding our breath as we fall deeper into the mind and perceptions of Damon’s world and his writing.

Razor taut throughout, readers will balance precariously on the edge of their seats waiting for that final shoe to fall…. Not for the faint of heart, this is a true test of the nature of man versus the nurturing of the soul. Highly recommended reading that is both chilling and haunting long after that final page.” —Tome Tender Book Blog

The Review

If I could sum up this psychological thriller and dark crime/horror read in one word, it would be chilling. Readers should first off be aware of some scenes implying acts of violence, including physical, psychological, and sexual in nature, all of which play an important role in the development of this main character. The haunting imagery of the narrative showcases the dark undertones this story hints at, and the rich development of these characters.

To me, the story excels due to the dynamic development of the main character and the essential themes the author touches upon. The horrifying backstory of the main character’s childhood and how it would impact his development and mindset overall was shocking and heartbreaking. The reason this character is so unique is that the story brings him into the role of both protagonist and antagonist at the same time, as he becomes his own worst enemy over time and the psychological impact of his past plays a role in the dark road he goes on. The themes of toxic masculinity, the impact violence, and toxic relationships can have on a child’s mind, and how young men need to be taught how to shed the mindsets that lead to those violent and dark sexual tones in their minds are all felt heavily in this narrative.

The Verdict

Captivating, haunting, and shocking, author Sans Emmert’s “Little Miss Fortune” is a must-read dark psychological thriller and horror novel. The way the story mirrors some of our own world’s true crimes will give the reader an equal amount of chills, as the author explores the cycle of violence and horror that often occurs in life, and how violence often begets violence. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Sans Emmert is a former cancer researcher and biomedical product developer with a PhD in Molecular Medicine and a passion for Spanish guitar and beach volleyball. Little Miss Fortune is his debut novel.

https://www.facebook.com/LittleMissFortunebySansEmmert/

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Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder by Steve S. Saroff Review

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

A young computer hacker hoping to get away from the men forcing him to engage in this criminal enterprise meets and falls in love with a young artist from Japan, and soon discovers she has dark secrets of her own in author Steve S. Saroff’s “Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder”.

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The Synopsis

A drifter bails an artist out of jail. Then everything goes wrong.

Part Montana wilderness, part crime, ‘Paper Targets’ is a novel that simmers with questions about love and greed and then boils over at the collision of good and bad.

Enzi, a drop-out and runaway, becomes a criminal computer hacker who falls in love with Kaori, an artist from Tokyo. When Kaori confesses through her drawings to a double murder, Enzi questions everything he has ever done. But as Enzi tries to extricate himself from the men he has become indebted to, he is violently pressured to keep “pounding code.” While Enzi plans his escape, he is forced to look for answers about his past.

The Review

This was a brilliant blend of a noir thriller and artistic expression. The captivating setting, Big Sky country, provided the best juxtaposition of nature’s serene beauty clashing with mankind’s never-ending chaos and destruction. The atmospheric nature of the author’s writing style and the imagery it conjures up really fully brought the reader into the narrative.

One thing that always stands out to me as a reader is when an author is able to make the characters come to life in such a way that they feel like they could be standing in the room with you. That s what the author crafted here, doing an excellent job of highlighting their character development so that not only does the narrative shine, but the journey these two undergo is both complex and emotional, as well as dangerous and exhilarating. The troubled pasts they are both running away from hold answers to the clues of who they are and what their purpose is.

The Verdict

Thrilling, entertaining, and captivating, author Steve Saroff’s “Paper Targets” is a must-read noir thriller of 2022. The iconic and breathtaking imagery in the author’s writing style brought the Montana skies to life wonderfully, and the rich dynamics and balance of solid themes and exhilarating action made this one book I didn’t want to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Steve Saroff is the host of the podcast Montana Voice, and the author of over 30 traditionally published short stories printed in Redbook and other national magazines. His available books include Paper Targets; The Long Line of Elk; and the forthcoming Mixed Drinks.

https://www.montanavoice.com/

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Allow Me To Ruin Your Christmas by Freddy Cruz Review

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

A man descends into rage and vengeance after he discovers the man dating his mother may be involved in the death of his father in author Freddy Cruz’s revenge thriller and suspense holiday novel, “Allow Me To Ruin Your Christmas”.

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The Synopsis

He just discovered why his dad died. Now ‘tis the season for a rampage of revenge…

Beckett needs his eyes bleached. Catching his mom and his favorite podcaster doing things that will get them on Santa’s naked and naughty list is enough to turn his stomach. And after he agrees to officially meet the new boyfriend, his slightly nauseous Yuletide cheer devolves into rage when he learns the guy was involved in his father’s death.

Driven by the need for vengeance, the incensed son sets out to stuff the home-wrecking grinch’s stocking with burning coal—by going after the loser’s wife and daughter. But as Beckett’s gore-trimmed plan descends into chaos, another ghastly secret could send him into murderous overdrive.

Is he about to unwrap a no-holds-barred retribution spree?

Allow Me to Ruin Your Christmas is a perfectly gruesome revenge thriller. If you like characters pushed over the edge, dark acts, and family drama, then you’ll love Freddy Cruz’s bloodstained holiday treat.

Buy Allow Me to Ruin Your Christmas to put the “x” in X-mas today!

The Review

This was a chilling and haunting revenge thriller. The fast-paced and atmospheric nature of the narrative played well into the imagery and tone that the author established in his writing. The shock and awe the author used in the story elevated the mystery of this novel, as the protagonists fought to not only reveal the truth behind their past but wrestle with the growing rage inside them. These themes of rage, vengeance, and family were felt heavily throughout this narrative and kept me invested in these characters.

Yet it was the character development that felt the most gripping and shocking to read, as the author played well into the grating relationship developed between Beckett and Lex, the twisted journey of revenge Beckett went on, and the harsh truths that made his mission flip on its head with a greater impact than he could have ever imagined. The rich dynamics and intensity of the narrative were a great juxtaposition to the holiday settings, keeping readers intrigued as the narrative unfolded before them.

The Verdict

It is often said that when seeking vengeance, be sure to dig two graves. In this twisted, captivating, and entertaining read, that has never been more true. In author Freddy Cruz’s “Allow Me To Ruin Your Christmas”, readers will be shocked and invested in this haunting journey of revenge that gets more and more insane as the story plays out. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy or preorder your book today, as the book releases this November!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Freddy Cruz is a Houston area author and host of Freddy’s Huge ASK Podcast. He’s obsessed with music, books, running, and coffee, and not necessarily in that order.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5Y9GWN6/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61492132-allow-me-to-ruin-your-christmas%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D0lkFMg74eZ%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

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

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

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/