Category Archives: Thriller

Book Feature: White Rogue by Dr. David Fett, Stephen Langford and Connie Malcolm

White Rogue 7Cold War era biological experiments are resurrected and after Boston experiences a seemingly inexplicable bio-terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control’s Dr. Davie Richards and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Paula Mushari once again join forces to uncover who is behind it. An obscure reference to a Dresden project found amid crash site evidence marks them both for execution. Paula and Dave are forced to leave Boston in the middle of the night and head to Washington, D.C.,where they soon find that anyone they contact also becomes the target of assassins. When the daughter of the CDC’s director is taken hostage, Dave and Paula come face to face with an evil that forces them to question the very nature of duty and service to country. With the help of one man, they learn the true meaning of dark operatives while they desperately try to stop another bio-attack from happening.

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First Chapter:

There was a chill in the morning air. A marine layer had moved into the Bay Area of San Francisco, creating a soft mist off in the distance as Anna looked up the street. Anna Wheat was late to her job at one of the downtown branches of Bank of America. She so wanted to be on time that she wished she could just jog the rest of the way, but her three-inch heels made that idea more comical than practical. She had been a teller for the last two years and had been in line for a promotion, but like most things in the last few days, it had stalled. Anna knew it wasn’t just her bosses were who preoccupied. It seemed as though everyone in the country was distracted with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Coworkers chatted about the evening news instead of last weekend’s football games. Married friends told her of their concerns for their kids. And she too felt on edge from the constant news bulletins that came across the radio and filled the morning and evening TV news reports. Anna just wanted to concentrate on her work, start her new job, and be preoccupied with something positive.

She knew the bank’s human resources division in Los Angeles was waiting for the paperwork to expedite the change in her employee status from Grade 1 to Grade 3. Anna had done an amazing job that she jumped a pay grade, something that barely had been achieved in the bank’s history and even more rarely by a woman. The bank’s manager, John Kiley, often cited Annie’s accomplishments to other employees, saying that hard work made anything possible and they should all reach for the stars. He was fascinated with the NASA astronauts, and the Space Race with the Soviet Union inspired his language. He would remind any employee that would listen that Americans didn’t like settling for anything, and setting goals was the surest way to focus a nation’s, or a company’s, energies. President John F. Kennedy had set a goal for the country back in 1961, he would remind his staffers, and soon after, on May 5th, Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. The Soviets beat us there, but we were catching up, Mr. Kiley would say.

Mr. Kiley’s cheerleading and holding up Anna’s promotion as an example didn’t go over well with other employees, especially other women. Anna was very young, attractive, and ambitious. And while she liked the attention she earned for her work, she hated the unpleasant glances from the other young tellers and the ashen-haired head teller with the droopy eyelids. Some of the young women would whisper despairingly behind her back, lewd suggestions on how she had moved up the corporate ladder. Anna tried to ignore them and do her job. She wasn’t going to let them have the satisfaction of knowing they upset her.

That morning, as she walked along the street, Anna passed a newsstand that featured papers emblazoned with warnings about the Cuban Missile Crisis. There was a palpable fear in the fear in the city and across the country that the missiles placed in Cuba by the Soviet Union and now aimed at the United States would lead to nuclear war, if not by intent, by some accident or miscommunication. Anna’s sister in Virginia was so panicked about it that she packed up her kids and drove across the country to Monterrey, California, in order to live with their mother and father until the crisis ended. Anna’s personality was the opposite of her sister’s. In fact, it was her cool demeanor that made her a perfect fit for the banking world. She always managed to stay calm no matter how upset a customer was.

She passed a TV store as she headed up to California: one of San Francisco’s steeply inclined streets. The brisk morning walks kept her quite fit, but this morning, she didn’t seem to have the same vigor she usually had. It had been difficult to get out of bed, and she had to skip breakfast because she was running late. No food, no coffee—that was the problem, Anna thought. She really wanted to push past the fatigue and be on time for work. She believed punctuality was important, especially if she wanted the men she worked with to take her seriously.

Anna was determined to be the first woman to become bank manager at her branch. She wasn’t like all her high school friends, who also were working, but whose long-term goals were marriage, a house, and kids. She wanted those things too, but she knew she wanted something more.

Anna looked in at an appliance store window as she passed by, and all the TV screens displayed news coverage of President Kennedy in a press conference. The president looked tired and unusually grim. She had been a Richard Nixon supporter and felt he would have been better at handling such a dangerous confrontation with the Soviet Union. Anna continued walking, reached the top of the street, and had to stop to catch her breath. That’s unusual, she thought, and then noticed her hands trembling. She remembered there was a donut shop near the bank, and she planned to stop in there and get a coffee and something to eat.

She stopped again. There was something more ominous going on than low blood sugar. She wiped her forehead. Her breathing was rapid and shallow. She was perspiring. She tried to catch her breath but started coughing up thick, bloody mucous. A passerby showed concern. She held up her hand to signal that she was fine.

Anna straightened up and made her way another half a block to her Bank of America branch. She reached for the door, but severe vertigo prevented her from grasping the handle. Her legs became wobbly, and she fell in a heap in the doorway.

Mr. Kiley came running out to her. “Anna. Anna. Can you hear me?”

She didn’t answer.

Mr. Kiley asked the other employees who had gathered around to stay with Anna as he rushed back into the bank to phone for an ambulance. Anna just lay on the sidewalk, semiconscious, vision blurred.

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New Book for Review: Black Widow and the Sandman by L.L. Reaper

Black Widow and the SandmanLL Reaper is touring in June, July and August 2011 with her thriller suspense novel, Black Widow and the Sandman.

Children in Cuba are suffering an agonizing death. The cause, a toxin released by a terrorist organization hell bent on genocide. The scientific community is at a loss, and the Cuban government can no longer hide the truth from its citizens. Cuba’s only chance lies in the capable hands of a reclusive scientist from the country they believe is behind this terrorist attack, the United States of America. Roman “The Sandman ” Tate is the most sought after mercenary in the world. When he is ordered to protect scientist Jeanette “Black Widow ” Mason, he finds she is much more than scientific equations. The two join forces to create an antidote and stop those responsible for the mysterious illness before more children die and Cuba follows through on its promise to retaliate.

282 pages

You can visit her website at www.llreaper.com.

If you would like to review Black Widow and the Sandman, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end June 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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New Book for Review: ‘To Speak for the Dead’ by Paul Levine

To Speak for the Dead KindlePaul Levine is touring in June with his thriller novel, To Speak for the Dead. A doctor in love with his patient’s wife…A fatal mistake during surgery…Accident? Malpractice? Or murder?

Defending a surgeon in a malpractice case, Jake Lassiter begins to suspect that his client is innocent of negligence…but guilty of murder. Add a sexy widow, a deadly drug, and a grave robbery to the stew and you have the setting for Miami’s trial of the century. “To Speak for the Dead” introduced the world to Lassiter, the linebacker-turned-lawyer with a hard bark and a tender heart. An international bestseller, Paul Levine’s debut novel was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best mysteries of the year. The 20th Anniversary e-book edition of “To Speak for the Dead” is offered at the introductory price of $2.99. All author proceeds go to Penn State’s Hershey Children’s Hospital for cancer treatment and research.

282 pages

You can visit Paul’s website at www.paul-levine.com.

NOTE: THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVELY EBOOK TOUR. ALL COPIES TO REVIEWERS WILL BE SENT IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT.

If you would like to review To Speak for the Dead, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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New Book for Review: N.H.I. by Ray Ellis

No Humans InvolvedRay Ellis is touring in June with his thriller novel, N.H.I.: No Humans Involved. Half of Treasure City is controlled by a violent street gang. The other half is controlled by fear. A rookie detective, Nate Richards, is thrust between the two. Abyss, a mysterious street gang moves into the valley and people have started dying. Nate’s girlfriend suddenly disappears and the gang is being targeted as the cause. With his partner fighting for her life – the result of a vigilante’s bullet, political pressure from above, and time running out to find his missing girlfriend, Nate has to overcome the darkness that has taken over the city and threatening to consume his soul. Forced to fight to stay on the case, he has to work against his command and the elements of the streets while trying to hold on to his faith that seems to make less and less sense as details unfold. With darkness growing and evil seeming to swell, will Nate have enough time to solve the murder and discover the identity of the new gang leader before his girlfriend becomes the latest victim in the growing violent total? Will he succumb to get the job done by any means necessary, or will he become part of the problem and prove that there are No Humans Involved?

Book Excerpt:

Chapter One
The body of the teenage boy lay face down in the gutter, his bandana, his colors, still clenched in his fist, floated in the water beside him. Blood mixed with rain raced in a gurgling stream down the drain splashing noisily as it made its way to the river.
What had it gained him? What had he proved? These were a few of the questions that flashed through Detective Nate Richards’ mind as he studied the crime scene. Summer rain washed over Richards’ lean frame, soaking his loose brown curls to the scalp. Flexing a muscle in his jaw, he lifted a hand to wipe water from his face. The street light reflected off of his cocoa-colored skin twinkling in the early morning darkness. “Who’s calling the scene?” Nate asked the group of four uniformed officers standing near a row of patrol cars, their overhead lights casting a rainbow effect on the wet pavement.
Three of the four uniformed men walked toward Nate. He looked between the men, and finding the corporal stripes directed his comments to them. “What d’ya’ got, Benson?” he asked, reading the name tag that went along with them.
“Another one down. One less to worry about shooting me in the back,” Corporal Chad Benson muttered under his breath while using his hand to squeegee rainwater from his short blond hair. He chuckled to himself as he walked past the body headed for his patrol unit. He glanced at Nate as he passed.
“Does the phrase crime scene integrity mean anything to you, Benson?” Nate said.
“What’s your problem?” Benson said in a harsh whisper. “It’s not like it means anything. They breed like rats down here. Who cares if they kill each other off? We’ll have two more by week’s end. Mark my word. And it won’t even make a difference.”
The two uniformed officers with Benson smiled at their team commander’s remarks. One of the men stared at Nate, holding his gaze for an extra heart beat longer than necessary before turning away. Nate made a mental note to remember the men’s names.
“Stow it. Now.” Nate cut his gaze to a woman sitting on the curb rocking and hugging herself. The dead teen’s mother. Grabbing Benson by the shoulder, Nate pulled him off to the side. “You can’t see?”
Benson snatched his arm from Nate. “What?”
“You okay, Bens?” one of the other officers called and stepped toward Nate.
“Johnson, right?” Nate asked, making sure he had the man’s name correct. “Is this the way you run a crime scene?” Nate had directed the question to Benson.
Looking down the desolate street, Nate pointed to the nearest intersection. “Block that off and get some cones out in the street to keep paramedics and everyone else from driving through my crime scene.”
Johnson looked at Nate but didn’t move.
“You got a problem with that, Patrolman?” Nate asked.
“Go ‘head,” Benson said, stepping between the two men. “Look, Detective, we do just fine. You take care of your stuff and I’ll take care of mine.”
Without responding Nate turned away from the officer and approached the woman, hoping she hadn’t overheard Benson’s comments or noticed the patrolmen’s cavalier attitudes.
Shielding his notepad from the rain with his arm, he checked the comments he’d recorded there. He cleared his throat. “Mrs. Fuentes? I’m Detective Nate Richards, Treasure Valley Metro Police Department. I need to ask you a few questions.”
The woman raised her dark eyes, like dead pools, lifeless and cold, to meet Nate’s expectant gaze. “What does it matter? We breed like rats anyway, right?” She pulled her jacket collar tight around her neck and turned away from him.
So much for her not having heard, Nate thought. He stooped to meet the woman’s gaze. “Mrs. Fuentes…”
“Miss. I’m not married. But, I guess that’s okay when you’re only a Cricetomys emini, huh?”
Struck by the woman’s beauty, Nate thought she didn’t look much older than a teen herself. “Miss Fuentes,” he began again, “A what?”
“A pregnant rat,” she said, anger coloring her voice.
Nate broke eye contact for the briefest of moments, but watched her, gauging her movements. “I apologize for the officer’s crudeness. There’s no excuse for his behavior. I also assure you that his is not the general attitude of the police department.” Nate was sincere in his response, but knew avoiding an officer complaint was a good idea as well.
The woman stood abruptly. She looked again at her son lying dead in the street, took a breath and seemed to gather herself. “Can I take him now?”
“I’m sorry Mrs.—Miss Fuentes, but the body can’t be released until the coroner has been called and finishes his examination.”
“You gonna cut up my baby? You gonna cut him open and play around inside him? For what? We know what killed him. The bullets killed him. Just let me take him and put him to rest.”
Nate looked over the woman’s shoulder at Officer Benson sitting in his patrol unit out of the rain and wished that it was Benson standing in the rain having to explain the bad behavior instead of him. Benson sat leaning back in the passenger’s seat stuffing the last of something into his mouth.
“Miss Fuentes, I’m sorry, but certain things have to be done and then—”
“I don’t care. You want to assure me you don’t see my son as some kind of second class citizen? You find the man who killed him and you make him pay.” She walked away, her shoulders heaving as she struggled against the sobs shaking her entire body. Stopping a short distance away, she leaned against the wall and stood there absorbed by the shadows.
Nate stormed over to the patrol car and pulled open the door. “Benson, you’re a pig.”
Benson looked up, a smear of mayonnaise stuck in the corner of his mouth. “What? What’d I do?”
Nate looked in the direction the woman had disappeared. “You couldn’t see the mother sitting not fifteen feet from you? What were you thinking?”
“NHI, man. Why should I get all bothered over nothing?”
Nate clenched and then relaxed his fist. He inhaled and blew out his breath in one explosive sigh, water vapor springing from around his lips. Without speaking he turned and walked away. Kneeling beside the body, he began his investigation while fighting to control his anger at Benson’s callous behavior.

308 pages

You can visit his website at www.rayellis-author.com.

NOTE: THIS BOOK IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT.

If you would like to review N.H.I., No Humans Involved, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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Chemical Cowboys: : The DEA’s Secret Mission to Hunt Down a Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin

chemicalCowboys_jacket

Chemical Cowboys: The DEA’s Secret Mission to Hunt Down a Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin
Author: Lisa Sweetingham
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Rating:  + half
Reviewed by:  Gary Mack

 

Two chapters into Lisa Sweetingham’s narrative, Chemical Cowboys, it’s clear that the former Columbia School of Journalism student’s strength is in how to sniff out sources, chronicle historical fact, and disseminate information important to the case. Her work is exhaustingly detailed, well documented, and credible in every sense from the perspective of an investigative reporter.

 
Where Ms. Sweetingham’s work falls flat is in her ability to tell a compelling story through a minimum of characters. Her sweeping approach on the DEA’s struggle with “kiddie dope”, the Ecstasy Wars of the 90’s, skips around haphazardly, introducing so many agents, drug lords, Israeli mobsters, mules and grifters, she clogs up your information pipe line to where you are overwhelmed and disinterested. You sort of just want to stop and clean up the mess.

 
Non-fiction must move along like fiction. Stories are usually easy to follow when you know whom the good guys and bad guys are. In this instance, it’s clear the agents Germanowski and Gagne are the two protagonists we want to follow. Certainly we understand there were other players during their tenure but it’s the G-boys we want more of, want to know, want to be with in their daily struggles against the antagonistic, Oded “The Fat Man” Tuito.

 
The basis of the story lies amongst these 3 players yet we drift in and out of their lives as we struggle mightily through the introductions and background of one character after another. In many cases, even with the most minor of players, you can bet on two to three paragraphs of family history, criminal history, and who’s the subjects favorite teacher from his or her eighth grade Junior High School class. Though I hyperbolize, it’s all too much.

 

In the expose’s most grotesque moment, Sweetingham finds it necessary, even though it’s complete conjecture, to let us know that one of the Club Kids, the heroin induced Michael Alig, may have swallowed the testicles of his murdered roommate. This revelation hardly adds to the story and is only mentioned so the author can be provocative.

 
It’s a real shame. Sweetingham had a great opportunity to open our eyes on a part of the drug war still unknown to us. If she would have fashioned Germanowski and Gagne to their undercover brethren, “Popeye” Doyle and “Cloudy” Russo, she would have created a more stirring and memorable account. In my opinion, Chemical Cowboys is a disappointment. The pace is swift, yet the over stuffed content drugs you up as a reader with information and forces you to struggle turning the pages. Three-quarters in you are fighting the story and you’re tempted to jump chapters just so you can get it all over with.

 

Next time around, let’s hope the talented and well schooled Lisa Sweetingham decides to do much more – with much, much less.

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Honor Due – Review

Honor Due
Author: D.H. Brown
Publisher: Big River Press
Rating: 
Reviewed by: Lamees Siddiqui

Honor Due is a gripping story of an ex- Special Forces vet who retires from the life of politically orchestrated killings and retreats to a life of peaceful solitude in the Pacific Northwest…..until, hunted by ex-colleagues from Special Operations and Homeland Security, the Major, our protagonist, finds the gruesome memories coming to life, from his war shattered past.

 

The instinct for survival takes precedence and soon a mysterious plot bridging the past to the present, starts to unravel. The Major’s new assignment is to ensure his own as well his Rhade family’s survival while giving the fallen Warriors, the ‘honor due’.

 

It is a well written thriller, the mere tone of which is enough to raise the hair on your back. The casual narration of repugnant killings, gives the book an eerie quality. The electronic wizardry, the web of security firewalls and high tech computer jargon are enough to make Mr. Bond cringe with envy. The graphic descriptions are vivid engaging all the six senses, definitely tickling the taste buds and fanning one’s appetite; however, in some parts of the narrative, the repetitive details of routine chores, tend to drag somewhat.

 

Apart from telling a great story, the book also makes a serious and decisive statement about the ethics and the code of honor of a true Soldier; about the ‘War on Terror’ and how it is manipulated as a pretense for mysterious political contract killings on domestic soil.

 

 

 

 

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