Toni

The way I see it

"Zeb Carter", by Ty Patterson

Zeb Carter - Ty Patterson

Book #1, in the Zeb Carter series

This is a new series by Mr. Patterson that is quite promising. Although it may seem weird for those who are fans of the author’s main series to go back in time when Zeb Carter was a young man and not yet the head of his Warriors Enterprise, this spin off brings us deeper into Zeb’s character and straight into more suspense. Our protagonist in this return to the start is an ex- military who takes a secret rescue missing in Afghanistan and he does that single handed. Extracting three US soldiers from the hands of the Taliban alone is not an easy task. But this kind of challenge is what Zeb does best.

Reading how Zeb, the strategist, and how he goes about doing his task is a hectic read to say the least. This operative is not afraid to die and when he sets out to flush a Taliban warlord off the hills of a very hostile country there is not a minute of inaction. All hell breaks loose and there is a lot of violence as you can imagine. Fast-paced and tension laced ride we are in for from start to finish and the action never stops….who is going to be killed next….

This story may be your typical thriller where we have a mix of action, conspiracies, betrayals and lots of killing but how Mr. Patterson spins his tale is what set this story apart from all the others. “Zeb Carter” is definitely an edge-of-the seat read hard to put down. What a roller coaster ride Zeb gives us through the harsh terrains looking for the missing men while dodging the Taliban but the saga doesn’t end with the death of the insurgents there are those who conspired against him and knew of his covert mission to content with…..

Quite entertaining

"Zeb Carter", by Ty Patterson

Zeb Carter - Ty Patterson

Book #1, in the Zeb Carter series

This is a new series by Mr. Patterson that is quite promising. Although it may seem weird for those who are fans of the author’s main series to go back in time when Zeb Carter was a young man and not yet the head of his Warriors Enterprise, this spin off brings us deeper into Zeb’s character and straight into more suspense. Our protagonist in this return to the start is an ex- military who takes a secret rescue missing in Afghanistan and he does that single handed. Extracting three US soldiers from the hands of the Taliban alone is not an easy task. But this kind of challenge is what Zeb does best.

Reading how Zeb, the strategist, and how he goes about doing his task is a hectic read to say the least. This operative is not afraid to die and when he sets out to flush a Taliban warlord off the hills of a very hostile country there is not a minute of inaction. All hell breaks loose and there is a lot of violence as you can imagine. Fast-paced and tension laced ride we are in for from start to finish and the action never stops….who is going to be killed next….

This story may be your typical thriller where we have a mix of action, conspiracies, betrayals and lots of killing but how Mr. Patterson spins his tale is what set this story apart from all the others. “Zeb Carter” is definitely an edge-of-the seat read hard to put down. What a roller coaster ride Zeb gives us through the harsh terrains looking for the missing men while dodging the Taliban but the saga doesn’t end with the death of the insurgents there are those who conspired against him and knew of his covert mission to content with…..

Quite entertaining

"I Am Missing", by Ty Patterson

I Am Missing - Ty Patterson

Book #3, in the Gemini series

We are following twin sisters Meghan and Beth into one captivating tale full of twists and turns as they bring us deep into the jungle of Vietnam looking into the disappearance of a man who exists and yet doesn’t. Cole Pattern is the client and says he is missing and wants the twins to find him….

Entertaining read as always. The story goes back and forth in time between the present and during the Vietnam War as the twins try to get to the bottom and find out what may have happened to their client. Fast-paced, full of action, betrayal and lies and two protagonists that can’t stay out of trouble what more can we ask. I am grateful the author always includes some background regarding his characters without overwhelming us with too many details so we can situate ourselves or pick up the series at this point. 

This adventure is thrilling and one hard to put aside. Once into it I just zipped through it in no time totally immersed not only with the twins’ saga but with the descriptions of Vietnam during the conflict. Tunnel rats at work and what they had to endure made for a fantastic read. Well-written thriller, populated with exciting and warm characters and an exciting plot.

Well done Mr. Patterson thank you for providing a copy of this book

"The Assassin", by Mark Dawson

The Assassin - Mark  Dawson

Book # 4, in the Isabella Rose series

This latest is one fascinating story where we are plunged into constant action and are overloaded with visual details. Mr. Dawson knows how to draw his readers into a plot filled with excitement and enticed them with charismatic players. Isabella and Maia are kick-ass characters that take center stage and entertain us from the opening page till we reach the slam-bang finale.

Both are assassins have been together for a year now it is time to put their dangerous plan to action……cunning, wit and everything comes out in this thrilling story. Although it is a fascinating one it quite stretches credibility but is fun to read. Mr. Dawson pushes his plot at a hectic pace through a world of unsavory characters and delivers a gripping page turner. 

This story is all action and very violent at times, definitely not for the faint-hearted. To match the mood we find a dialogue that can be quite colourful at times…. We have loads of supporting characters some recurring and some new players to treat us. But don’t worry if you pick up at this point this latest story stands well by itself. 

Mr. Dawson provides maximum excitement in all his series. I am a fan for many years now and have enjoyed all of his series. He is quite a storyteller.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Thomas & Mercer via NetGalleys

"Remember Tokyo", by Nick Wilkshire

Remember Tokyo - Nick Wilkshire
Book #3, in A Foreign Affairs Mystery

“A Foreign Affairs Mystery” is quite a different type of mystery; it gives us a very Canadian twist to immerse ourselves into and one charismatic main player, Charlie Hillier, to follow. I love to see how he manages to jump the multiple hurdles he has to face in order to do his diplomatic job.

After leaving Russia on his last posting as consular Charlie is sent to immerse himself in a truly foreign culture….Tokyo …watch out ….Charlie is not your ordinary consular.

After his misadventures both in Havana (book#1) and Moscow (book#2) Charlie wants to play low key but he is soon drawn into a case of a young man who winds up in a coma after a car accident….or maybe it wasn’t an accident after all?...Charlie is definitely a magnet for trouble and in “Remember Tokyo” he finds more than can be imagined. Along the way in this fast-paced mystery we have colourful details of life in the city: crowded metro system, food and the polite culture and custom…. including the corruption that is lurking at every corner.

This series is one of my favourite. Charlie may be a consular but he has great investigative skills and a strong and loveable personality. The protagonist not only faces ruthless criminals in his day to day job he also goes beyond all means helping expatriates in distress. Trying to shift truth from deceit and get to the bottom of what happened without causing an international incident is a feat in itself for Charlie…..but of course things rarely turns out the way he plans….what a thrill we have following him through another wonderful journey. And as in the previous novels, to help with his case is a beautiful woman to be smitten of and… to eventually leave behind once he is reassigned to another post….or recalled home…sometime in disgrace.

I agree with those saying this is a well-plotted travel-crime novel with great characterization and I love how diplomatic rules are not one he complies with rigidly….well-done.

I received this ARC from the publisher Dundurn Press via NetGalleys for my thoughts
 
 

"Black Diamond Death", by Cheryl Bradshaw

Black Diamond Death - Cheryl Bradshaw
Book #1, in the Sloane Monreo Mystery

This is a refreshing and original mystery that has a good balance between action and detective work. The theme of this novel surrounds the real estate business and most of the players are one way or the other involved in the business or are in law enforcement. The main character, Sloane Monroe, is a private investigator and we follow her through this simple but captivating case as she pokes her nose into other people’s business…

I was captivated by this easy and fast moving saga where Sloane is hired to find who may have wanted Charlotte Halliwell dead. The investigators deemed her death accidental, one of the many accidents seen on the slopes of a ski resort. But Charlotte’s sister says otherwise and wants Sloane to get to the bottom and find the killer.

This mystery kept me guessing till the end where the truth was uncovered. This story is not taxing. The language is simple yet well done and to the point. I enjoyed passing time reading how Sloane did her investigating. Nothing is what it seemed and with the twists that kept derailing her at every turn, determined Sloane kept going. She is one feisty P.I. that will get her man or woman….. and along the way will give us hours of entertainment. 

Ms. Bradshaw spins a good story with good characterization. Enjoy.
 
 

 

"A Cold dark Place", by Toni Anderson

A Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice) (Volume 1) Paperback - April 1, 2014 - Toni Anderson
Book #1, in the Cold Justice series

This is a mix of suspense with a strong romantic undertone. My first experience reading this author was quite enjoyable although I am not too keen on being overloaded with sex scenes, in “A Cold Dark Place” we do find quite a bit. 

One of the main players is FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney who is searching for a serial killer and happens to stumble on evidence of a vigilante at work and Alex Parker, a security consultant, who plays the part of an assassin hired to eliminate serial killers and pedophiles. The two meet and risk everything when they fall in love……awe….

Although this is mostly a suspense driving story, the sizzling romance just spices the enjoyment. Time your reading well and this dark and intriguing plot will have you turning pages to see what comes next. The entire story is dark and edgy and is written to emotionally engage us. As it progresses at a steady tempo, we have some twists and turns along the way to keep us on our toes. This mystery flows well and the style is not taxing. Good characterization: Mallory and Alex are perfect for each other….awe….

A very entertaining story…….
 
 

 

"Blood Reckoning", by Glenn Trust

Blood Reckoning (The Hunters #4) - Glenn Trust

Book#4, in The Hunters series

This 4th edition has an interesting plot, populated with vivid characters and a story that is nicely written to give us all thrills needed to keep us on our toes and flipping pages. The author does a good job with the descriptions of the locale and has created enough suspense in his story for us to stay involved in the nail biting action once it started.

This is not your classic mystery it is more a psychological thriller where two sides are constantly butting heads. The story skips back and forth between the main players: George Mackey, the law enforcer and Roy Budroe , the sadistic megalomaniac. Budroe wants control of the criminal activities including the sheriff position and he especially wants retaliation against George, for being forced to flee the country. With one thing in mind, Mackey will stays on Budroe’s tail ….till he eliminates him…….and the cat and mouse game is on….

Now that the war against the law has started in Pickham County, evil and crime culminate in a clash of good versus evil and tension is felt throughout the pages. As the story moves along at a slow but steady pace, Mackey along the way faces his personal demons but by the end only one will be left standing……. I will leave the rest of this drama for you to discover and enjoy.

Although it may have been some time since I read the previous book I never felt I had missed too much. The author doesn’t linger on the pass, he just says enough to situate us, no more. I always suggest reading series in sequence, no fear installment #4 can be read on its own if you decide to pick the Hunter series here. 

"The Rain Watcher", by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Rain Watcher: A Novel - Tatiana de Rosnay

Set in Paris during a stunning natural disaster “The Rain Watcher is a drama that slowly unfolds the Malegarde’s family secrets. Paul and Lauren Malegarde are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and Paul 70th birthday with their two adult children but unfortunately the reunion doesn’t go as planned. The streets of Paris are waterlogged and the Seine is still rising at a rapid pace amongst the chaos sickness is at the family door…..

The atmosphere in Paris is dark: electricity is out, it is cold: no one has heat and everything is wet: water is still rising and flooding basements: one catastrophe after the other is at everyone’s door. While everything is going haywire in the city of lights, Linden, the Malegarde youngest son analyses and critics his relationships with each member of his family in a very moving tone. His narration is the heart of this story.

This is a story of love and redemption where everyone has withheld something. Secrets… sounds intriguing but what a letdown, as it moves along in an snail pace, the story soon goes in random directions and becomes repetitive. There are a lot of dots to connect but don’t try to do so, you will be questioning yourself wondering if you missed a point... Most of the book is about the flood but I failed to match this with the family saga. Was this story about the hardship of the flood or the family reunion gone badly?

Finally, this family with a dysfunctional background slowly reveals their secrets: memories trigger a deluge of emotions in its members….and bonds finally tightens but is it too late…..

More thoughts:

Although the writing is fluid and all the descriptions of Paris in the rain are wonderful, unfortunately, despite Ms. De Rosnay great writing skills and beautiful descriptions, I never really got into this book; I found it long and devoid of suspense. The story is bland, the characters without consistency, I was bored and had trouble finishing the book.... in short, a colorless novel, odorless and tasteless….Not Ms. De Rosnay best….

I received this ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalleys for my thoughts

"Look for Me Under the Rainbow", by Bernard Jan

Look for Me Under the Rainbow - Bernard Jan

This is a very touching novella about a pup seal name Danny who spends his days playing with his brother and learning life skills from his mother. It also brings out those with big heart and a desire to save animals: the environmentalists. Helen is a young activist and a crew member of the Rainbow Warriors and will lead the way in the last part of this very emotional journey.

This powerful story invokes all sorts of emotions and focuses on the many dangers Danny faces from birth on. The narration and dialogue are elegant and poetic, the presentation extremely graphic although not gruesome in anyways, definitely no need for pictures. No doubt, the author took a lot of care with this story to drive his points across. 

Of course to shock us…..this story brings out some of the dangers Danny will encounter, such as: facing humans during the annual seal hunt, being covered in oil spills during the migratory season north, fighting for his life caught in derelict fishnets left behind by trawlers. The author does not mention the sea of plastic that also roam our oceans. Here come Helen, the saviour, she does her best to safe the young colony from the hunters and Danny from drowning but there is so much to do and little time to do it. 

In the last chapters, Mr. Jan does his pitch on activism and has a strong voice about his believes although he abstains from being too preachy….. This is well written story for all ages. 

I received a copy for review from the author these are my honest thoughts

"The Shadow Woman", by Ake Edwardson

The Shadow Woman - Åke Edwardson

Book # 2, in Inspector Erik Winter series and book #5 in the English version

The order in which this series is translated in English is quite bizarre but don’t let this concern you this is a decent police procedural, intricately constructed and stuffed with details of crime investigations (way too much in my books). Most of all, this mystery stands on its own, no worries if you start here.

In a prose that is bleak, Mr. Edwardson takes as its backdrop the Biker War in Sweden in the mid-1990 however he only mentions this in the opening pages. As the tradition imposes the story opens with the discovery of a woman’s body and the following pages are taken up with Winter and his colleagues investigation into her identity and solving the murder. Their efforts are slow, excruciating slow, minutia details, pages after pages of boring discussions, interrogations, etc.…. As the story plods along there are talks about illegal immigrants, relations between Swedes and Danes and some personal anecdotes. We need persistence to be rewarded. Mr. Edwardson does come through in his own time but far too late for my enjoyment. With its stilted dialogue, choppy narrative, plot twists that are hard to follow and a story without charismatic characters, I would describe “The Shadow Woman” as a lackluster installment to this series and by far not my preferred.

Having said this, I will nevertheless see what “Sail of Stone” has in store for me….one day…

"The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye", by David Lagercrantz

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye - George Goulding, David Lagercrantz
Book # 5, in the Millennium series

In this second contribution in the Millennium series by Mr. Lagercrantz we will find Lisbeth Salanger on a quest into her origins and a lot of talk of stolen babies. 

The novel starts with our heroine serving a sentence in a maximum-security women’s prison where she will butt heads with the dagger wielding Benito and manages to put her hacking skills to good use. While the narrative moves on, Mr. Lagercrants succeeds in diving further into Lisbeth’s heartbreaking backstory and fleshing out her father-daughter relationship with her former guardian Holger Palmgren, those passages are very moving.

This very complex story brings topics that are timely: first, we have a lot of disinformation in which lies are used to create chaos. Second, it centers on the Islamic radicalization and how women are treated. Third, it focuses on racism and those attracted to racial biology. All those plot lines eventually connect as the action unfolds. Many political and philosophical issues are brought to the forefront. There is a lot going on, it is easy to lose track of everything.

What we will read in a few words:

Is a mashup plot of evil bureaucracy separating twins at birth for long-term studies. We will have a heroine avenging a Muslim girl and finally a drama surrounding the separation and reunion of musically gifted male twins. 

Further thoughts:

I liked the story but I was rather disappointed with the lack of time the plot spends with Blomkvist and Salanger. They really took backseat roles here and I dearly missed how they interact, none of it in this latest. The story also failed to give good twists and you can see things coming way before they arrive, very little tension is felt. The pacing is hard to follow, with a leisurely tone the scenes swiftly shift back and forth to a year and a half earlier and back to the present; the alternating timeline is confusing and frustrating. I am sure, this novel is the tipping point in which Mr. Lagercrantz will be giving his own spin in the future…..time will tell. 
 
 

 

"No Safe House", by Linwood Barclay

No Safe House - Linwood Barclay

No Time for Goodbye #2

This novel is a darkly and definitely a creepy thriller that brings rebellious 14 year old Grace Archer agreeing to joyride with her bad boy friend Stuart who happens to be the son of a man who works for underworld figure Vince Fleming. This evening prank turns out into something very dangerous bringing her whole family embroiled in Vince world….

Mr. Barclay’s fast-paced plot revolves around a competing gang of ruthless criminals who seem hell-bent on recovering a mysterious object that was in Fleming’s possession and will stop at nothing to get it. It is evident from the get-go serious crimes are at work, it opens with an elderly couple being killed during a home invasion. The plot continues and plays out with directness and ease from then on and never let go. Each character is slowly introduced with motives but Vince is by far the more complex who vastly outplays the other characters. 

This straightforward crime thriller is told from the perspective of Terry, Grace’s father. He is very chatty individual only interrupted by occasion burst of action. We also find some tough-guy dialogue manifesting itself from time to time to give a better effect. Yes the plot is tense and a little far-fetched. Some chapters end in a cliff hanger just so we have to carry on. It is indeed a page-turner. 

Some say read “No Time for Goodbyes” first, others say not necessary. I wasn’t lost not having read book 1 but this story piqued my curiosity to get it thought…

Good story

"The Cat Bagger's Apprentice", by C.J. West

The Cat Bagger's Apprentice (Marking Time) - CJ West

Making Time book #2

Mr. West is great at tricking his readers’ imagination by leading us in one direction knowing full well that it was a ruse all along. Mid-way some of us will surely think we have figured out where the story was leading but hold tight you are in for a surprise, at the last moment he always pulls a curve and the results are far from what we may have presumed…..

Since it is a recurring theme that follows “The End of Making Time” although preferable, I really do not think it is a must to read it first. Re-education of the criminal justice system has revolutionized America: where once caught, you are arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced all in one day. In book #2 we have the story of computer hacker, Jordan Voss and what happens to him once he is moved to a special apartment where everything he does is monitored.

Change perspective and you will enjoy this story. The premise has its own merits, is quite original and gripping most of the time. It is one drama that does not reveal itself until the very last chapter, great twist. The best part in this story is how we are pulled into the characters psyche, bad and evil they will make you think….

Of course this book has a weird concept of the justice system but seen through the eyes of an author with great imagination is something to think about although I really do not think it would ever happen….well I hope so.

"Death Club", by Ty Patterson

Death Club - Ty Patterson

Book #9, in the Warriors series

Another good read for fans of Mr. Patterson and those who like action thrillers. Although this may be part of a series, the story stands well on its own. We do have some backstory in order to situate us and understand the characters but it is neither over bearing nor boring.

The plot is good with plenty of action. When Zeb came across a body in the high desert of Oregon he called the authorities who took over the investigation. When he met the dead man’s daughter he couldn’t leave things to others and decided it was time to find those behind the killing…..At the time Zeb didn’t know of the Death Club and who was behind this illusive club…..he soon found out and things started to be exciting and we are plunged once again into one of those captivating story.

Action packed from start to finish this is a page turner. The plot is one of those easy and simple one to follow although there is a lot of stretching reality but put that aside and enjoy this nail biting adventure. I need to mention in this series we find the toughest men and women who have all the tools at their disposal. They always find themselves in unusual situations and they always offer the readers a hell of a ride….

Fun series

"The Cab Driver", by Ty Patterson

The Cab Driver - Ty Patterson

Book # 7, in the Warriors Shorts

“The Cab Drive”, the best in this series is a thrill to get into. From the opening page till the very end I was totally immersed in this fast paced drama of only 87 or so pages. This is a very addictive mini-series.

The cab driver which true identity is only reveal in the last page follows his code of ethic of helping others. This time in get involved in the personal lives of two women passengers and by doing so becomes a target….

Of course this is a fast read filled with suspense and packed with intriguing action sequence. What a page-tuner and an exciting plot this one is. I loved them all but this one is my preferred. The main players are great characters of course the cab driver is one of the primary cast member in the main series and the two women play perfectly their roles in this thriller….Awesome series….

This is a perfect mini story to read on your phone while waiting for someone….Hopefully Mr. Patterson will in the future write more of them.

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