SMOKE & MIRRORS – Angus McLean

smoke and mirrorsEx-SAS soldier, Craig Archer, in the employ of The Service, starts pursuing links to international terrorism across the world after a planned snatch goes wrong. Soon, he finds he can trust nobody when it becomes evident that the British, the Americans and the Saudis all have their own targets and agendas.

A dynamic action tale of tense action; very readable and pretty believable. Keep going, Angus McLean.

Thank you for this Instafreebie offering. Please, all you readers out there, especially those who benefit from the free reading pleasure of Prolific Works and similar free offerings, place a review, however brief, on GOODREADS or AMAZON. It can make the difference between success and throwing in the towel…

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BECOMING QUINN – Brett Battles

becoming quinnA thriller of note. A cleaner is a person who removes bodies, and other evidence from a crime scene in such a way as to turn a homicide into an accident, or a suicide. My introduction to a cleaner named Jonathan Quinn is this sequel. Jake Oliver is a rookie cop with an overblown sense of curiosity and an eagle eye for detail that disturbs the comfort of the cleaner who has arranged a scene in a burning barn that satisfies the local PD. Drug-buy-gone-wrong, is what they deduce when a body, shot in the face, is found in the ashes.

The cleaner, who under extreme duress has hastily set the scene, is concerned when Officer Oliver keeps probing. His superior orders Oliver’s demise, but the cleaner is reluctant to waste such promising talent, and thus begins the transformation in profession from cop to cleaner.

brett battles

Brett Battles – author

Highly recommended, if you like a nail-biting thriller series. The great thing, for my part, is the thought that there is a whole lot of unread Quinn out there waiting for me. Bravo, Mr Battles. Thanks for the freebie; Book Postmortem does not buy books, but I’ll review all you send me.

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THE ANNA BURGIN SERIES – David Bradwell

InTheFrameThe Prequel – IN THE FRAME, (Anna Burgin #3)

This tale was a welcome e-freebie which introduces us to budding photography student Anna, accused of stealing two expensive cameras from the stores. A chance meeting with another student, Danny, gives her the only friend who professes to believe in her as she battles to clear her name and understand the skulduggery behind the frame-up. It is a fun piece, although labelled #3, giving the background to the peculiar friendship that develops between the two characters that become fondly, and frustratingly, friends of the reader.

 

Cold PressThen COLD PRESS, Anna Burgin #1 Reviewed 20/10/2018.

https://bookpostmortem.wordpress.com/…/cold-press-anna-burgin-1-david-bradwell/

OutOfTheRedfollowed by OUT OF THE RED (Anna Burgin #2)

The enigmatic Clare Woodbrook reappears in the lives of Danny and Anna, to the latter’s resentment as it is evident that Danny has always been smitten with his ex-boss, whose position in the investigation unit of the Echo newspaper he now holds.

DCI Graham March is alive and well and reinstated in the Metropolitan Police where he can manipulate evidence to suit his own agendas, with his fingers very much into all sorts of illegal pies including people trafficking. His determination to exact revenge on Danny is matched only by Danny’s pursuit of the bent copper, except that, without Clare’s help and dubious resources, Danny would not have a prayer against the ruthless cop with friends in high places.

FadeToSilence.jpgThe series completed, presumably, by FADE TO SILENCE. (Anna Burgin #4) although I would not place money on it.

Clare Woodbrook, the mysterious manipulator of millionaire gangsters, semi-good and mega-bad alike. Walks a tightrope in her negotiations with several forces from the Balkans and Germany, and their go between, DCI Graham March, who smugly plays one of them against the other. And, once again, Danny and Anna are caught in the middle.

When a banker is murdered, March quickly arrests the widow, but Danny is not convinced. Hounded by his Echo editor to leave his vendetta against March alone and bring in copy for other investigations, he and Anna try following the cop to find out what he is really doing. He in turn employs some pitiless killers to get rid of the pair.

And in the meanwhile, a huge shipment of weapons is heading for Britain…

Frustratingly, and almost beyond belief, Danny is still unaware that Anna is madly in love with him, convinced the relationship is strictly platonic. In desperation, Anna dates a seemingly accidentally-met man who has orders to get rid of her. (A spoiler, I suppose, but, come on! Who wouldn’t guess?) Still, the whole series is riddled (haha) with twists, so who knows?

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The BAD SHEPHERD – Dale Nelson

The Bad ShepherdIf there is any scenario that has my heart rate doing double time, it is treachery and betrayal, especially when the characters have wormed their way under my skin. Tight as a drum, this is the tale of two LAPD undercover narcotics detectives; fast friends until an incident fractures their mutual trust. One takes the fall and gets dismissed from the service, but he can’t let go of his obsession to take the drug gang down. He can’t do it alone and needs his ex-friend to make it happen. The suspicion and tension between the two men is brilliantly handled as they edge towards the explosive finale.

Some place a higher value on the David & Jonathan scenario than others. Mr Nelson appears to be one such, and the emotional impact of a friendship under threat is very well explored here. His talent is on the threshold of great impact in the world of thriller fiction.

Dale M. Nelson

Dale M. Nelson

This was an Instafreebie gift, so thanks to them and the huge contribution they make to us thriller junkies. We authors appreciate reviews immensely. They can make a world of difference to make or break success in our chosen passion. Book Postmortem does not buy books, but crime authors needing a review may request one and send the material. If the tale impresses, it will find its way here.

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PAST TENSE (Jack Reacher #23.) – Lee Child

Not as good as The Midnight Line, but I did enjoy this Reacher tale more than a few previous which I felt were just a tab flat.

Past TenseTwo story lines eventually collide; but actually the non-Reacher thread was more gripping that that of our super hero.

A Canadian couple heading for a new start in California in a semi wreck of a car, grind to a halt at a motel in the forests on New Hampshire. The owner and his three helpers assess the couple and decide that they are perfect for their purposes. Young and sturdy and fairly resourceful, they slowly realise that they, the only guests there, are not going to be allowed to leave.

Lee Child builds these two characters beautifully as we get to know and like the solid Shorty and the brighter Patty. Their love and loyalty for each other becomes apparent as their efforts to escape are thwarted one by one. Then other guests begin to arrive, and the reason for their incarceration comes into focus with horrifying detail.

Who? Oh, yes, Reacher.

Well, the big dangerous hero is in the nearest small town, trying, out of curiosity, to find out more about his father, Stan Reacher, who, now dead for thirty years, was believed to have come from there. His research leads him, via some more interesting characters, to an overgrown tin mill where Stan’s father had been a foreman in the 1930s. He has a run-in with some guy, molesting a woman near his room in the middle of the night. This guy gets the Reacher treatment and some broken bones, which attracts the attention of some Boston hoodlums as well as the local police who want him to leave town before more trouble starts.

Lee Child 1

Lee Child – author

I liked the interaction between Reacher and a female cop, an ex military policeman like Reacher himself, as well as the local lawyer, the helpful file clerk, and the elderly census specialist whose loyal assistance goes well beyond the call of duty.

Eventually, looking for a place to spend the night, Reacher is directed to the same motel, in time to affect the outcome, of course…

Sadly, a contradiction or two spoil a good story just a little, but far be it for me to spoil that for the reader. See if you can spot them?

Thank you, Penguin Random House, South Africa, for this ARC.

ISBN 9780593078204

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REVENGE – James Patterson & Andrew Holmes.

It seems that BOOK POSTMORTEM is not the only one to have a teeter-totter relationship with the James Patterson factory output, seemingly so variable in the choice of co-author.

REVENGEHowever, this liaison is a great one! Supposedly a stand-alone thriller, except for a novella introducing ex-SAS officer David Shelley, it does tick all the boxes. Reader-protagonist empathy, action, tension, surprises and twists, treachery and pay-back, and the destructive power of revenge.

The present is linked to a fourteen year-old past when Shelley is asked by the grieving parents of a young woman suicide, a victim of drugs and cam porn, to track the gang behind her death. As a child, Emma had been protected by, and had in turn befriended, Shelley; a child who had left a permanent mark on the tough, and at the required times, ruthless soldier.

However, it is with great reluctance that Shelley agrees, regretting that decision strongly when it becomes evident that the millionaire father is obsessed by revenge on the gang behind his daughter’s death. The gang are the British branch of a Chechen network that has become linked to a ruthless British gang-boss and his daughter who has a score to settle with both the millionaire and his wife, and with Shelley himself.

Andrew Holmes

Andrew Holmes – co-author

Not only is the protagonist character well developed, but the antagonists, and other, seemingly lesser players, have acceptably real depth in both convincing backstory and motive.

Five stars, Andrew Holmes & JP.

Thank you, Penguin Random House, South Africa, for this ARC. Herewith, as usual, an honest review.

ISBN 9781780899169.

www.jamespatterson.co.uk

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COLD PRESS (Anna Burgin #1) – David Bradwell

Talk about twists!

Cold PressThis was a great read involving a fashion photographer, Anna Burgin, whose flat-mate and friend, Danny, an investigative journalist’s researcher is searching for his boss. He had an appointment to meet up with her, leading British tabloid’s Clare Woodbrook, but she is a no-show and her car is found abandoned. The police investigation into her disappearance is headed by DCI Graham March, the very person whose corrupt doings were being investigated by Claire.

Assisted by Anna, Danny tries to find Claire and avoid the ever bullying March at the same time. Danny seems totally unaware that Anna is in love with him, which, told from Anna’s POV, makes for a very funny situation, especially when they are forced to share the same bed, several times.

David Bradwell

David Bradwell – author

The characters are lively and convincing. The plot is a squash ball of surprises; you don’t know which wall it will next hit. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

I chose this free tale from BOOKFUNNEL with no regrets. Thank you, David Bradwell. Keep going.

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SHADOW TYRANTS – Clive Cussler & Boyd Morrison.

(The Oregon Files #13)

Shadow Tyrants.jpgThe Boyd Morrison/Clive Cussler combo had me worried when I reviewed TYPHOON FURY, #12 in the Oregon Files Series, a while ago when I found it to be just too much to swallow, exciting as it was. Shadow Tyrants is, for me, a much more believable plot. It, of course, also involves the past butting brutally into the present; in this case when an Eastern Emperor avoids an assignation attempt and entrusts the nine scrolls of wisdom to nine trusted families, known as The Nine Unknown Men, who carry the knowledge faithfully for hundreds of years to the present day where the wheels fall off. Some of the Nine want the ultimate power that will be unleashed by combining the scrolls once again and eliminating the opposition.

Boyd Morrison

Boyd Morrison

clive-cussler

Clive Cussler

Knife edge stuff, of course, and it’s up to Juan Cabrillo and the crew of the Oregon to thwart the threat to the world. The characters we know and love, as well as the baddies, are well sketched, the action is so tight, it’s almost a relief to know that Juan and his crew will make it through with just a few bumps and scrapes to fight again – and entertain us! – another day. Er, volume.

Thank you to Penguin Random House, South Africa for this ARC. ISBN: 978-0-241-34953-3.

A Penguin/Michael Joseph Imprint. www.penguin.co.uk

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Tom Clancy’s LINE OF SIGHT – Mike Maden

A one-night stand between a historic tour of the Balkans and a Jack Ryan Jr thriller. Roughly shared half and half, the 460-page tome could have made a good 300 page Tom Clancy gripper. Mike Maden is one of three authors in the Tom Clancy fine fiction factory.

Line of Sight.jpgHowever, as interesting and involved as the Serb-Croat-Bosnian entanglement is, the tourist trip of wonderful scene and cuisine would also certainly have encouraged a lot of potential new visitors.

On a personal mission for his mother who met, as her eye-surgery patient, a captivating child in Sarajevo years before, Jack meets Aida and falls under her spell. By luck and agent trade-craft awareness, Jack escapes attempts on his life, but does not connect them to his mother’s request. His own team of fellow agents try to track him but always seem to remain a step behind. He is strangely naive, convinced that Aida is surrounded by ill-intentioned men hell-bent on kidnapping her. Of course the truth comes at a cost.

MikeMaden

Mike Maden – author

Mike Maden writes well; the flow is good and if you can live with the travelogue, it is an enjoyable read. If it’s a tightly-knit breath-robbing thriller you’re after, this is not it. Slightly disappointing, after I read Grant Blackwood’s Duty and Honour, which I enjoyed more.

Nevertheless, thanks to Penguin Random House, SA for this ARC, for which, as always, an honest review.

A Penguin/Michael Joseph imprint from Penguin Random House, UK. ISBN: 978-0-718-18930-3.

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FOUR KINDS of RAIN – Robert Ward

A JIM NESBITT REVIEW:

In Four Kinds of Rain, Robert Ward spins a classic noir tale that is both riveting and relentless in its portrayal of a desperate middle-aged loser who has stubbornly kept the faith of his idealistic 60s youth while the world passed him by and turns to crime to bankroll one last shot at love with a much younger woman.

FOURKINDSOFRAIN

Ward’s main character, Baltimore psychologist Bobby Wells, is known as ‘the people’s shrink,” a threadbare title that feeds his self-loathing as his tie-dyed faith sours and curdles. He’s lost his wife to a glib Dr. Phil-like character and his savings to an unseemly gambling addiction. He’s struggling to make ends meet and barely has enough patients to keep his practice afloat.

Even his best friend, a journalist and fellow traveler of 60s idealism who reveres Dr. Bobby as a tattered saint of the down and out, feeds Wells’ deepening depression about his wasted life and his stubborn pursuit of ideals his contemporaries abandoned decades ago.

Although Ward’s book is full of shocking twists and turns, with action that keeps the narrative fast and taut, he is at his best describing Wells’ harrowing descent into increasingly manic and psychopathic behavior that he fails to recognize in himself and the thrill and delusional sense of entitlement he feels as his criminal acts escalate from ripping off a patient to murder.

Not even the love of a younger woman can turn him from his chosen path — instead, it seems to heighten his desperation, mania and money lust.

robertward1

Robert Ward – author

This is Jim Thompson territory and Ward walks it like he owns it, delivering a stark reminder that we all have a killer inside us.

Ward, born and raised in Baltimore, also shines when effortlessly capturing the unique and particular grittiness of Charm City. There’s a keen sense of place in this book that too many writers fail to create. Ward does so with a deft touch that avoids both caricature and the trappings of a local color piece.

The book’s title is a sly and bloody-minded play off the four meteorological categories of rainfall, ending with the monsoon. In the case of Dr. Bobby, the torrent is betrayal, blood and a bad end of the kind that happens to the protagonist in a classic noir tale.

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