Mystery/Thriller

Rigged - Book One of the Second American Civil War by James Rosone and Miranda Watson

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Author's Synopsis

For the last hundred years, the world has operated on a set of rules and social norms that largely benefited the few at the expense of the many. Then the unthinkable happened. A revolt took place, and order was broken. When a new American President bucked the status quo, it set into motion a series of events meant to return the country to the control of the few. Secluded in the small Alpine town of St. Moritz, Switzerland, a rebuttal was crafted. A secret cabal of wealthy and influential men and women gathered to plot the most audacious plan since the formation of America. Cloaked in secrecy and blind loyalty to their leader, these masters of manipulation will embark upon a journey that will change the future of humanity. As the next presidential election approaches in the United States, the general populace is unaware of the plot that has been hatched underneath the surface. Will this election be free and fair, or will it be rigged? If you like political intrigue coupled with hair-raising action, geopolitical chess, and cutting-edge technology, you’ll love Rosone and Watson’s opening installment of the Second American Civil War. Grab your copy today!

ISBN/ASIN: B07NSHGYWT
Book Format(s): Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 378 

Borderline Decision by Hugh Simpson

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

 BORDERLINE DECISION by Hugh D. Simpson Synopsis Deadly alliances between Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel, Black Stone and their mysterious Middle Eastern collaborators spill across the US/MX border leaving an unknown American brutally assassinated followed by an ambush of a US Marine Observation Post, and leading to the capture of LtCol Hap Stoner’s Commanding Officer, LtCol Chuck Warden. With a stubborn streak that’s as big as his heart and as strong as his loyalty to country, family, and his fellow Marines, LTCOL HAP “KANG” STONER leads his squadron of Marine Aviators on an unauthorized mission into Mexico to bring Warden home. US Marine LTCOL “TUNA MAN” WARDEN is a high-value prisoner, an American warrior infidel - whose head will bring a high price for a certain American Senator and the Black Stone cartel. Disgusted by the US Administration’s inaction and recriminations of Tuna Man, Hap leads the Nomads to save his CO’s life while barely staying ahead of his nemesis, Group Commander COLONEL TED SHANK. A Careerist, Shank will do anything, step on anyone to get a star. Colonel Shank works with a corrupt Senator, who chairs the Armed Forces Service Committee. Without US approval, Hap reaches out to his longtime friend, THOMAS “BLAD” LEFFLER and Will Kellogg. Blad, retired from the USMC, has joined forces with the mysterious founder of SHADOW SERVICES INTERNATIONAL, a privately held global intelligence network. Will Kellogg is a former Recon Marine, CIA Operative, former business partner, and casino owner in the Caribbean island of San Andres Columbia. In their initial phone conversation, Hap and Blad realize their missions overlap as Blad discloses that he is missing an agent, SHADOW 28, who was tracking cartel activity along the border - specifically human trafficking. Recently, six teenaged girls disappeared from Phoenix Arizona and now it appears that they and Shadow 28 are victims of a Cartel kidnapping. He and LtCol Warden are being held in a secret jihadist compound deep in the cartel’s territory, a location unknown to those ready to launch the rescue mission. Still entrenched in his CIA roots, Will Kellogg contracts out to various countries and companies around the world. Meanwhile, Marine Corps Commandant, GENERAL RUSS VERBIE testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee defending the actions of LtCol’s Warden and Stoner. However, Col Shank counters Verbie’s testimony under orders from corrupt SENATOR SCOTTY JOURDAN, head of the SAS Committee, who has been making a fortune for himself by conducting illegal business with the head of the drug cartel, known as the “SCORPION.” With help from a number of former combat vets, Hap and the NOMADS elude the feds and embark on a rescue mission to bring back the missing girls, Shadow 28, and LtCol Warden. The action rises during an air attack on Scorpion’s remote cartel ranch, also a training camp for jihadist recruits. Although casualties on both sides are high, the Marines are successful: high-level captives are in custody and the severely wounded are jammed onto one overloaded helicopter for a treacherous emergency transport back to a U.S. hospital. To capture Scorpion, Hap, Blad, Will Kellogg, and their team move in for a dangerous night insertion into Mexico, where they meet up with Blad’s tough female operative ZAIDA, aka Shadow 86. They breach the cartel leader’s posh Mexican resort with Zaida’s invaluable intel and aid. While an ongoing firefight ensues, Hap angrily confronts traitorous Senator Jourdan, a guest in Scorpion’s private penthouse suite, elicits, and secretly records his confession on his phone. After a perilous rooftop battle, a wounded Hap and his battered Marine squadron, who barely escaped with their lives, now must head for home to face the wrath of US officials. CARLA MCCREERY, Hap’s smart, feisty live-in attorney girlfriend, and a top legal team, along with Hap’s very persuasive recording of the Senator’s confession, implicating both Col Shank and Jourdan; turn the tide for the Marine Aviators. Combined, it is a strong enough incentive package for Shank to release and honorably discharge the NOMAD Marines from Marine Corps service. At Hap’s ranch in Texas, Carla nurses Hap as he recovers from his injuries sustained in the firefight at the resort. It’s a well-earned vacation until a mysterious visit with a message from Blad, followed by a phone call from Will Kellogg sets up Hap and the now-discharged NOMAD Marine Aviators, along with Shadow operatives for their next adventure.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-692-08298-0 (Soft Cover),978-1-949393-02-6(Hardcover),978-1-949393-00-2 (eBook)
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 415

The Right to Know by Michael Byars Lewis

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

Ripped from the headlines, the adventures of America's favorite pilot continue in the series labeled "The House of Cards meets Top Gun"! It’s not always easy being a student in the United States Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training program. It can be more difficult if your father is a U.S. senator who was running for president. In the aftermath of the vicious assassination attempt on his father in San Antonio, a malicious reporter accuses Lieutenant Jason Conrad of a heinous crime. But when the reporter goes too far, Jason—haunted by the death of a friend, hated by the police, and hunted by the mob—finds himself and his parents in the crosshairs of a Russian assassin. In a race against the clock—and the odds—can he save his family as well as himself? In the pulse-pounding sequel to SURLY BONDS, Michael Byars Lewis delivers with THE RIGHT TO KNOW. While best read as part of the Jason Conrad USAF Thriller Series, THE RIGHT TO KNOW can be read as a stand-alone story as well.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0991476466, B07MH62RMY
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 338

Raven's Run: A Cybertech Thriller by John Trudel

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Author's Synopsis

Creative story telling at its best

In "Raven's Run," John Trudel weaves an global story of intrigue, murder, and paranormal spying into a fast hard-hitting, action thriller. The novel opens with parallel stories - one in present time that includes the murder of an Iranian harbor master and the other covers early exploration in Antarctica and the 1963 murder of an aviation pioneer with ties to President's Kennedy and Johnson.

The two main characters are Raven — a veteran but ousted CIA counter-terrorist operative — and Josie — a paranormal gifted with an exceptional talent for out-of-body viewing anywhere in the world and at different times now or in the past. The two personalities and backgrounds make an unlikely team for a highly secretive government agency tasked with tracking down where Iran is getting an untraceable supply of uranium.

Using characters well defined and back stories well researched, Trudel logically meshes together the many elements of "Raven's Run." Josie and Raven must solve a 55-year-old murder before solving the current time mystery of Iran's super-secret adventure in the frozen continent. Raven's skills with weapons and espionage run contrary to Josie's strong abhorrence to violence. But when she is on an out-of-body mission, Raven becomes frustrated because he can't protect her when she is on a viewing session. Her ventures often cause her to become emotionally drained and physically disabled after witnessing extreme violence, thereby creating emotional conflicts between her and Raven.

The story picks up speed as it progresses and multifaceted situations converge, putting Raven and Josie's lives in jeopardy during a nail-biting conclusion. 

"Raven's Run" is a well-written and entertaining read.

Reviewed by Joe Epley, MWSA Reviewer

Audiobook Information 

Flamingo Audiobooks, a division of Flamingo Road Studios, LLC, presents John D. Trudel's award-winning "Raven's Run: A Cybertech Thriller."

“A 'cowboy' CIA agent is kicked out with extreme prejudice but immediately finds himself sheep-dipped into a deep-black-op and running the nation’s most unusual, prized and sexy asset. Before the two can attack their objective, they must unravel a historical mystery that reveals an ugly part of American history.”

The leader of the spy-thriller genre, Brad Thor, says of narrator Victoria Taft, "Victoria is an incredibly skilled, captivating narrator who keeps you hanging on every word. Give her two minutes and you will become a fan for life!"

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-7337437-0-9
Review Genre:  Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Book Format(s): Audiobook


The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

There are 25 elite kidnap negotiators who travel the world's hotspots to bring hostages home. Only one is a woman, and she is the best in the business. Thea Paris faces the most challenging case of her career--for a very special client. Her father.

ISBN/ASIN: 1543601286, 1681443104,
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 377

Raven's Resurrection: A Cybertech Thriller by John Trudel

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MWSA Review

In Raven's Resurrection, author John D. Trudel once again brings us into the thrilling world of his characters Raven and Josie. In a fictional setting where the United States is more divided than ever, and with Middle East terrorists active and based in the United States,  the world is in need of Josie's special, psychic skills now more than ever. Raven is allowed to take the gloves off, and the result is an action-packed thriller. The book makes full use of a variety of military weaponry. Any reader who enjoys para military thrillers would enjoy this book.

Review by Bob Doerr (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

"Raven slung his rifle. He walked over and stood behind them, his Sig leveled, finger on the trigger."

In the author’s latest thriller, America is not as secure as its average citizen might think. Radical Islam poses a serious threat to the nation, but only a few understand just how extensive the reach is of its practitioners. Raven has experienced firsthand how dangerous the nation’s enemies can be, but many of them, in turn, will learn what a deadly adversary he can be.

Raven’s primary task—a job that is both professional and personal to him—is to protect someone who is, quite possibly, America’s greatest defensive asset: a remote viewer named Josie. She is able to see future events—such as coming attacks or the movements of dangerous individuals—and pass this information on to those who can make a difference. Keeping Josie safe will propel Raven into both defensive and offensive roles. With Iranian Quds secretly on American soil and high-profile players calling the shots, he will need to strengthen his existing network of allies and even use the Russians to eliminate a mutual enemy. But will his efforts be enough?

Trudel deftly mixes politics, espionage, and violence with a sprinkling of the paranormal in this new addition to his riveting series. His choice to set his novel slightly in the future allows him to comment on current affairs and contemporary politicians while giving him the freedom to populate his narrative with fictional leaders, as well. And comment he does, pointing out perceived flaws in liberal policies while championing the more conservative stances. Yet his novel should not be seen as simply a voice for the Right. Rather, it is an entertaining and gripping story of patriots operating in the shadows who are desperately trying to protect the nation from those who would destroy it.

Chief among these heroes is Raven, a complicated character who becomes more likable with each new novel. Clever, resourceful, and highly trained, he has no qualms about taking extreme measures to achieve his objectives—even if this means stalking and killing his enemy in cold blood. Josie, on the other hand, struggles with the need for violence. Psychically fragile, she has even gone catatonic in the past when things have gotten too rough. The Beauty-and-the-Beast relationship between these two principal protagonists is part of what makes the series so appealing. A hero of a different stripe is the aging Doctor Goldfarb. As a new Ad-hoc member to the President’s National Security Council, he fights on the political front while coordinating with Raven in the shadows. Former Marine General Mike Mickelson is a new ally for Raven but a familiar figure to those who have read Trudel’s Soft Target. He adds some strong, no-nonsense accountability to Raven’s expanding team. The author does an excellent job in developing all of these characters, revealing new layers to their personalities as the book progresses.

Stylistically, Trudel’s use of point of view is intriguing. The switch from the third person into the first and then back again is initially a bit disconcerting, bouncing the reader’s attention momentarily away from the action like a literary speed bump. Once you get used to these changes, the story rolls along smoothly, building in tension as the author pulls you deeper into the plot. Carefully crafted yet more cerebral in some ways than similar thrillers, Trudel’s continuation of Raven’s adventures is not to be missed.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0997805291, 978-0999630501, 978-0-9978052-8-4, B0798XFYPH
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 348

Karl's Last Flight by Basil Sands

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

Karl Alexander’s day started with taking the most obnoxious Hollywood star on a low-orbit space tour. By lunchtime, he inadvertently triggered a world war. Then things got really bad. Karl, a former USMC Harrier pilot, NASA astronaut, and Space Tourism pilot had always been an adrenaline junky, but he quickly finds himself in over his head. He’s swept up in an insane secret operation—the work of American CIA and British MI-6 agents—being helped by a family of resistance fighters and led by an Iranian-born deep-cover agent that he doesn't begin to trust. Soon he's trapped in an all-out chase to stop a squad of kamikazes armed with nukes who are rushing to drop their deadly payload onto U.S. troops and Israeli citizens. Throughout the harrowing adventure, Karl is haunted by the memory of his first combat mission as a Marine Harrier pilot. Somehow, he knows what he learned twenty years ago just might save the world today.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1682615270
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 288

Faithful Warrior by Basil Sands

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

 God forgives when we ask sincerely. Men, not so much. Self, even less. And the Dead....never. Pastor Mike loves his family, and loves his flock. Life is good, but to get there he had to traverse a trail of blood. The faces that haunt his nightmares are no longer just specters, and a long thought dead enemy is about to unleash a very real hell.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1682616970
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 355

Ice Hammer: Insurgent by Basil Sands

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MWSA Review

Basil Sands’ Ice Hammer: Insurgent picks up where Ice Hammer: Invasion leaves off and is full of solid characters, gritty action, and patriots doing their best at the impossible.

Over a year ago, the combined forces of the Chinese and the Russians invaded the United States, including Alaska, home to former Force Recon Marine Brad Stone. The entire world seems turned upside down, and while fleeing to the Alaskan interior, Brad becomes famous when he kills two Chinese soldiers with an ice hammer. When the incident was caught on a drone, his reputation went viral, and now he is the face of the Alaskan resistance, like it or not.

Book two finds Brad bogged down with trying to keep his ever-growing group of refugees safe and not starving, while his sons, on a Boy Scout camping trip the day the war began, have formed their own resistance group and are learning the rigors of combat at a young age. Brad’s wife, thought dead, is actually leading a very prominent life among the enemy, and at all times seems to be a collaborator, an angel of mercy, and a spy.

 That’s a lot of elements for one book, but Sands pulls it off admirably. The action is raw, the dialogue and characters believable, and the twists and turns entertaining. I especially liked how the characters of Karzai and Gunnar get further developed, and also the tie in with Marcus Johnson, another former Marine, from the author’s book 65 Below. If you liked either Ice Hammer: Invasion or 65 Below, then you will love this installment. Sands’ writing, especially when describing combat, is as real as Dale Brown, the great Tom Clancy, or Jeff Edwards.

Review by Rob Ballister (April 2019)

MWSA's evaluation of this book found a number of technical problems—including some combination of misspellings, grammar, punctuation, or capitalization errors—which indicate that further editing would lead to a much-improved final product.


Author's Synopsis

 Following the invasion of a year earlier Brad Stone has become the figure head of the Alaska resistance movement, and head of the largest militia in the former state, including the Chiknik Rangers, making him enemy number one to the Chinese leadership based in Anchorage. At the same time his sons, Ben and Ian find themselves waging a bloody guerilla operation against Russian troops in the east. Unknown to any of them, Youngmi, whose mangled, dead body haunts Brad’s dreams, has become the mistress of General Zhang, head of the Chinese forces in Alaska…and a major player in the resistance movement, passing on information that could mean her real death if she is caught.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1682616925
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 340

Red Sky by Chris Goff

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MWSA Review

Chris Goff begins Red Sky at a fast pace and doesn’t slow down until the last page is turned. A passenger plane from China goes down in Ukraine, carrying a U.S. diplomatic agent with a top-secret letter and a prisoner masquerading as someone else to their deaths. Raisa Jordan, a Diplomatic Security Service agent, is deviated from routine escort duty to retrieve the American agent’s body. Thus begins the story of a terrifying new weapon sold by a Chinese criminal gang to Russian terrorists. It is a novel of betrayal, ambushes, gunfights, and edge-of-your-seat chases. Once you get into it, you will not want to put the book down. It twists and turns with unexpected intrigue and excitement.

Along the way, Jordan picks up an American journalist and a Chinese computer whiz teenager. The kid was supposed to be on the plane, but a switch was made with his cousin at the last minute. A love-hate relationship with both men evolves as they work to infiltrate the Guangdong Triad—one of the largest criminal gangs in China—and a major steel manufacturing plant that produced the secret weapon. It continues when they return to Ukraine and then Poland where, with the help of Polish Special Forces, they track the gun and its Russian handlers, bent on using the weapon to destroy a meeting of top European leaders.

For an enjoyable read with great characters, strong research that doesn’t become tedious, location, and action, I recommend Chris Goff’s Red Sky.

Review by Joe Epley (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 When People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern Ukraine with a U.S. diplomatic agent onboard, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is sent to investigate. The agent was escorting a prisoner home from Guangzhou, China, along with sensitive documents, and it quickly becomes apparent that the plane was intentionally downed. Was it to silence the two Americans onboard? To avoid a diplomatic incident, Jordan must discover what the Americans knew that was worth killing hundreds to cover up. With Russia deeply entangled in the Ukraine and the possibility that China could be hiding reasons to bring down its own plane, tensions are high. As international relations and even more lives hang in the balance, Jordan races to stop a new Cold War. Red Sky, Chris Goff's pulse-pounding follow-up to Dark Waters, is yet another white-knuckle joyride for fans of Gayle Lynds.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-13: 978-1683311263 HC, ASIN: B01NCNJB8S
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 320

Dark Waters by Chris Goff

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MWSA Review

Dark Waters by Chris Goff is an intricate thriller which keeps the reader guessing to the very end. Set in Israel and the West Bank, the action keeps us moving as Diplomatic Security Services Agent Raisa Jordan works to protect her American charges while unraveling a terrorist plot scheduled to coincide with peace talks in the region. Arrayed against her are a boss concerned mainly with his own career, a coworker who despises her, Israeli Shin Bet agents, Palestinians, ultra-conservative Jews, and terrorists bent on disrupting the region. Add a Russian spy, a traitor among the Israeli police, and the U.S. Marines and we have the makings of a read that will keep you turning pages.

Goff’s setting in Israel provides the reader with fresh vistas and colorful descriptions as the characters race from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to Bethlehem to Tiberias and finally to the Sea of Galilee. The complex plot is woven around a wealth of information regarding the political, cultural, and religious turmoil that seems to constantly fester in the region. A strong, smart, and capable female cast add to the fun of the twisty plot and evolving relationships as Raisa finds support in unexpected places.

Review by Betsy Beard (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Raisa “Rae” Jordan, an agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, isn't in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is killed in a Tel Aviv square. Assigned to investigate the assassination of one of her own, she must also protect Judge Ben Taylor and his teenage daughter. They may be the sniper's next target and are most certainly being threatened by a desperate cadre of terrorists with their sights set on the Secretary of State's upcoming visit. But is an attack on the Secretary of State all that they have planned or is that just the beginning? There are no protocols for this kind of a situation, and following the rules is exactly the kind of thing that could get the Taylors killed. To subvert an attack that could crush the fledgling peace in the Middle East, Jordan must trust her instincts and bring together a contentious team of agents from Israel, the U.S., and the Palestinian territories to uncover a conspiracy years in the making. With millions of lives hanging in the balance, Dark Waters, Chris Goff's explosive new thriller, is a series debut that mirrors global headlines and will have you frantically turning pages.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-13: 978-1629531922 HC, ISBN-13: 978-1629533728 TP, ASIN: B011IZPUTQ, ISBN-13: 978-1504644655 Audio
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 352

Borderline by Joseph Badal

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MWSA Review

Sometimes an author you enjoy ventures into new territory. I’ve been a fan of every Joseph Badal thriller I’ve read. Now I’m a fan of his new mystery series featuring Detectives Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez.

In Borderline, the two detectives tackle a murder case involving a much-despised woman and the many people who wanted her dead. Badal knows how to develop believable characters. Both Barbara and Susan have plenty of moxie when it comes to their work, but on the home front problems plague them.

Badal lets us inside the heads of his characters as he spins a complex yarn. The story takes us to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Beautiful Victoria Comstock left few mourners when her killer hacked her up with a spear. Lassiter and Martinez find it difficult to nail the perpetrator when everyone they question has strong feelings about the victim and, in most cases, a stronger motive.

Politics, police work, revenge, and sex. Borderline has it all. The plot works and you never know what is coming until you turn the page. 

Review by Pat Avery (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

BORDERLINE is a 74,300-word mystery. The story is inspired by actual events.

Two homicide detectives, Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez, are assigned a case where the female victim, a narcissistic borderline personality, has made a lifetime game of destroying people’s lives. The murder case becomes more complicated as the list of possible perpetrators grows.

Barbara Lassiter, a thirty-four-year-old homicide detective, is mourning the recent death of her husband. She poorly deals with the daily harassment meted out by a male co-worker, has found refuge in alcohol, and fights weight and depression problems. Her partner, Susan Martinez, a thirty-two-year-old world-class beauty with brains, guts, and an irreverent sense of humor, has marital problems.

The detectives must put aside their personal issues to try to solve the brutal murder of the wife of one of New Mexico’s richest and most powerful men. The victim, Victoria Comstock, had a narcissistic borderline personality disorder and collected enemies like most people collect coins. The detectives find themselves enmeshed in a helix of suspects with opportunity, means, and motive—and question giving their best efforts to solve the case the more they learn about the victim’s hideous character.

Their job gets tougher when Victoria’s psychiatrist, Nathan Stein, is murdered, and videotapes turn up that show the doctor had serial sexual relationships with a large number of his female patients, including Victoria Comstock and Connie Albans, the daughter of Marge Stanley. Marge had been Victoria’s best friend until she discovered Victoria in bed with Marge’s husband. Marge divorced her husband, who subsequently committed suicide. Victoria not only destroyed Marge’s marriage and contributed to Marge’s husband’s death by suicide, but she also had interfered with Marge’s relationship with her daughter.

A private detective, Shawn Navarro, who investigated Victoria Comstock on behalf of Marge Stanley, volunteers to share information with the detectives. Barbara develops feelings for Navarro and is motivated to stop drinking alcohol and embarks on a fitness program. For the first time since her husband’s death, she has a positive outlook about her future.

Victoria Comstock’s husband pulls political strings and gets Barbara and Susan taken off his wife’s case. But the detectives disobey orders and work the case on the side, convinced they are close to identifying Victoria’s killer. When Susan’s estranged husband critically wounds her, Barbara must continue alone. She is convinced Marge Stanley, the prime suspect, is not the murderer. But the path to the killer appears to go through Marge and her daughter, Connie. Both murder victims, Victoria Comstock and Nathan Stein, had given Marge plenty of reason for her to hate them, but Barbara is sure Marge is innocent. She comes to believe that someone who loves both Marge and her daughter, Connie, is responsible for the murders. She zeroes in on Marge’s father.

But things are not as they seem. It turns out that Navarro was in a long-term relationship with Marge Stanley. He is playing Barbara in order to learn about her progress with the case and to try to steer her away from Marge, because he believes that Marge actually murdered Victoria. Navarro also believes, based on what Marge has told him, that he is Connie’s father.

Barbara, with Susan’s help from her hospital bed, proves Navarro actually murdered Stein and Marge’s mother murdered Victoria.

Susan recovers from her wounds and returns to work. Barbara, whose heart has been broken by Navarro, realizes that, in actuality, he has helped her get her life back on the right track. Barbara and Susan’s success in solving the crimes earns them promotions.

The story offers an interesting cast of characters, two heroic female detective-protagonists, a diabolical villain, plenty of suspense, and an ending that will surprise and shock the reader.

ISBN/ASIN: B00YZSAHI8
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 298

A Special Breed of Warrior by Joseph Mujwit

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MWSA Review

Unexpected. Heartwarming. Brutal. These are only three of the many adjectives I would use to describe A Special Breed of Warrior. The author, Joseph Mujwit, has done a fantastic job at writing this fiction book, which stars an unexpected character, Zip, a Belgian Malinois-German Shepard mix military dog who is deployed to Afghanistan along with his trainer and best friend, Petty Officer Todd Mitchell. The story, which is masterfully told, presents many different layers and involves readers' senses from the very beginning, with the Prologue opening on the familiar notes of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." However, as readers can't help themselves but start humming the melodic song, they are quickly shocked out of their comfort zone when the author brings in incessant noise of riots and the constant thundering of the helicopters, thus creating a sharp juxtaposition of sounds that trap readers into the story and only let them go when the end comes.

Although the brutality of war fights to take center stage, it is powerfully overcome by the heartwarming relationship between a dog with a silly name and his best friend, who soon find themselves fighting for their lives, with a beautiful image of Zip trying to protect Todd till the very end.

The story is so well told it is hard to believe it is a fictionalized tale. Unfortunately, there are noticeable editing errors, and the book would have profited from a stringent line edit.

So, to conclude, well done to the incredibly talented author. While he thanks military personnel and military working dogs for inspiring the story, we thank him for writing this beautiful tale and for reminding us that there are indeed many who belong to a special breed of warrior.

Review by Brunella Costagliola (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Zip is a military working dog destined to serve in the U.S. Special Operations Forces. Uniquely trained, he joins a SEAL Team and is deployed in Afghanistan's dangerous Korengal Valley with his partner and best friend, Petty Officer Todd Mitchell. Todd, the team, and their new K9 have their skills continually tested by the sinister influence of the Taliban leader dwelling in the mountains. As they battle the insurgents, the team defuse IEDs, uncover caches of weapons and withstand harassing enemy attacks. Eventually, they face dire circumstances when pursued and ultimately trapped where they make a desperate attempt to escape. The circumstances of the ensuing battle and extraction cause the team leader, Lieutenant John Kelly, to make an agonizing decision that tears at Todd's dedication to duty and his devotion to his K9 partner and friend. Can Todd and the team carry out their orders knowing that it will probably cost their most beloved member his life? Elements of Tom Clancy and Jack London come together as A SPECIAL BREED OF WARRIOR chronicles Zip’s training from his time as a pup and the special people who shape him into a highly skilled military working dog; to the orientation with his SEAL Team and their trying ordeal while deployed in Afghanistan. The novel is a tribute to the dedication of those that serve our country under the most extreme circumstances and the astonishing attributes of their K9 partners.

ISBN/ASIN: B01M0YI6SQ
Book Format(s): Kindle, paperback
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 175

Deliberate Deception by Joe Porrazzo

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MWSA Review

“Wow, I never saw that coming.” Just when I thought I was figuring things out, a plot twist hit me – not once, but over and over. Deliberate Deception is an apt title.

Joe Porrazzo knows how to draw the reader into the story and never let go until the last page. Even then, questions arise to pique one’s interest for the forthcoming third book in the Alex Porter Trilogy.

The author stirs politics, crime, greed, and love into the pot and delivers a good read. Good versus evil seems a clear concept until it becomes muddied. Porrazzo gives us an outstanding portrayal of one man’s reaction to morality, immorality, and amorality. Can the lines really blur, or is a clear-cut answer always the right one?

Can love flourish amid deception? Can the sins of the past be forgiven? Alex Porter wrestles with these questions as he races against the clock to stop an unknown killer from an unspecified crime.

The action in Deliberate Deception is non-stop, the dialogue is crisp, and the characters are realistic. It’s the kind of story that leaves the reader wondering what he would have done.

Review by Pat Avery (February 2019)


Author's Synopsis

***** BOOK CRITIC ACCLAIM *****

“Readers looking for a thriller that grabs hold and doesn't let go will find Deliberate Deception just the ticket for a superior and satisfying blend of psychological detail and suspense.” - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“…excellent story…fast paced, action packed…adrenaline pumping and heart-pounding…”

- The International Review of Books

“Politics, terrorism, and greed together create a story that is filled with unexpected twists and turns…a fast pace and engrossing plot. Once begun, it's nearly impossible to put down.”

- D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“The narrative voice is clean, making the story easy to read and follow. Excellent word choices and visual pros made for an amazing read like I was really there in the midst of the action.” - The International Review of Books

“Joe Porrazzo's attention to detail flushes out Alex's personality, motivations, and conundrums to create not just compelling action scenes, but a character who is completely realistic and likeable.” - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Description:

Following the award-winning mystery thriller, SOLEMNLY SWEAR...Alex Porter is back…and the stakes just got higher!

Things are heating up in Tucson, Arizona. A greedy corporation rigs a multi-million dollar raffle creating false hopes for ticket buyers. They're not winning, they’re dying! What comes next will shock the world!

DELIBERATE DECEPTION heralds the return of Alex Porter; retired United States Air Force OSI agent turned private investigator, in another heart-pounding Joe Porrazzo suspense thriller.

Seven months after leaving New England, Alex, still grieving the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, gets a call from his friend Joe Prater. Prater’s old army buddy has gone missing from his home in Tucson, and Joe wants Alex to check it out.

HEADLINE NEWS: Tragedy in Tucson

While investigating, Alex gets too close to the truth and finds himself caught in the deadly crosshairs. He finds himself teamed with the very person hired to kill him as they race against the clock to prevent a mysterious group from striking in Tucson and shocking the world.

Don’t miss the nonstop action. The deception is deliberate. The results are deadly.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-13: 978-0578422626 ASIN: 057842262X (Kindle ebook ASIN: B07KPV4L46)
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 408

Land of Wolves: The Return of Lincoln's Bodyguard by Tj Turner

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

T.J. Turner’s Land of Wolves is in some ways alternative history. In his first book of this series, Lincoln’s Bodyguard, Abraham Lincoln does not die at the hands of an assassin at Ford’s Theater. Instead, his half-Indian bodyguard, Joseph Foster, manages to kill John Wilkes Booth. Then Joseph and Lincoln team up to stop a Consortium of industrial magnates who are trying to seize control of the U.S. government to benefit their own financial goals. Land of Wolves jumps forward in time to the 1870s, only to find that the forces of the evil Consortium still pursue Joseph and the “Old Man,” Lincoln. Now their evil designs also threaten to steal the Great Plains from the Native American tribes who live there.

The storyline of the book is in every sense a “thriller.” Without too much emphasis on characterization or settings, the author relies on non-stop action—bloodshed, violence, torture, rape, brutality, and revenge dominate the pages. One life-threatening event follows another until the reader must surely believe all is lost. Plot twists change the outcomes with dizzying frequency. The same lost and stolen knife keeps cropping up whenever the hero needs it. A child faces serial kidnappings and emerges bravely from each one, scarred but unbowed. The faithful woman saves the day—again and again. This is the stuff movies are made of. 

Review by Carolyn Schriber (Aug 2018)


Author's Synopsis

Land of Wolves finds Joseph Foster with Molly as they settle into a new-found life in the hills of Tennessee. But Abraham Lincoln’s former bodyguard, the man who saved the President’s life, cannot escape the Consortium as they come roaring back, killing his mother, abducting his daughter—all to coerce his Congressional testimony on their behalf.

Instead, Joseph and Molly strike the Consortium in their own safe haven of New York City. In a Bonnie and Clyde-like twist, they rob from the Consortium to draw out their leader—General Dorsey. But the hidden plan reveals more than they counted on, exposing the true intention to steal the Black Hills and the gold underneath from the Lakota Sioux. Land of Wolves traverses the American landscape, where only a full reconciliation with Joseph’s native heritage and a cast of characters ripped from history—including Lincoln—can bring true peace and stop General Dorsey and the evil Industrial Consortium.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-60809-202-4
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 336
 

Into a Dark Frontier by John Mangan

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

If you're a person who loves reading a thriller where the main character often enjoys near-superhuman powers—where the "bad guys" are unbelievably bad, and the "good guys" tend to be a bit shady—you'll probably want to give John Mangan's Into a Dark Frontier a try.  Mangan takes the reader on a dangerous journey, filled with nonstop intrigue—and plenty of action and violence.

In the book's early chapters, its main character, ex-Navy SEAL Slade Crawford, is forced to confront enemies who used to be his friends and brothers-in-arms.  He quickly jumps out of the American pan and into the African fire—where civilizational norms have broken down to the point of pure evil and savagery.  Slade's journey will prove to be an exciting and page-turning experience for the reader… as long as he or she is not too squeamish.

Review by John Cathcart (August 2018)


Author's Synopsis

In the near future, Africa collapses into an enormous failed state, leaving the continent lawless and severely depopulated. For most, the breakdown brings horror, but for others—the outcast, the desperate, the criminal, and the insane—it allows unparalleled opportunity: a new frontier of danger and unlimited possibility. 

In America, ex-Navy SEAL Slade Crawford, emotionally crippled after twenty years of frontline combat, the dissolution of his marriage, and the accidental death of his son, is falsely accused of terrorism. Slade flees to Africa to build a new life and escape his past, but he is captured by an enigmatic American colonel, Gary Kraven, and blackmailed into tracking down a blood cult that is rampaging across the sub-Sahara. Struggling to stay alive and to free himself from Kraven’s grasp, Slade pursues the cult across the lawless African frontier. He soon learns that nothing is as it seems and that he is standing at the epicenter of a global struggle that will determine the course of history. Slade must decide whether to fight for his life or his honor—he can’t have both.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-60809-261-1
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 356
 

The Consultant by Tj O'Connor

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

The Consultant by Tj O'Connor introduces us to a consultant for the CIA who likes to work alone and to do things his way.  His superior believes in sharing information on a need-to-know basis and knows his rogue agent well.  Information about Hunter's professional and personal lives are shared with the reader as the story evolves; both are complicated.  He arrives home in Virginia in response to a message from his older brother only to witness his brother's dying words.  He learns of his brother's family as he struggles with relating to various law enforcers.  It's unclear who can be trusted.  As he searches for his brother's murderer, he stumbles into much bigger problems as terrorist attacks on civilians escalate and the country seems to be drifting toward another Middle East conflict.  At times Hunter uses self-deprecating humor that endears the character to readers.  His humor makes the "consultant" more likable in spite of his history of doing horrific things in his line of work.  A timely story worth reading.

Review by Nancy Kauffman (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

When a rogue CIA consultant goes AWOL from his Middle Eastern post in response to his brother’s plea for help, he arrives just in time to witness his brother’s murder. For years, Jonathan Hunter and his brother Kevin Mallory had not spoken—until Kevin’s final words, “… Khalifah … Not Them … Maya.” Pursuing his brother’s killer, Hunter stumbles into a nest of horrifying terrorist activity by Middle Eastern refugees, which sparks a backlash across America. In the shadows, Hunter’s mentor, the omnipotent Oscar LaRue, is playing a dangerous game with Russian Intelligence. Neither Hunter nor LaRue realizes that a new threat—the Iranian threat—has entered the game. Stakes rise as two shadowy players are one step ahead of Hunter and LaRue—Khalifah, a terrorist mastermind, and Caine, a nomadic assassin who dances with the highest bidder. As attacks escalate and the country drifts toward another Middle East conflict, innocent refugees become trapped between the terrorists and the terrorized. Prejudice, hate, and fear vent everywhere. Is this who we’ve become? Before the country explodes, Hunter must find Khalifah, learn the next terror target, and pray he’s in time to stop further annihilation.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-60809-283-3
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 432
 

Homeland Burning by Brinn Colenda

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Tom Callahan, along with family and friends—and their determined and lethal foes—are at it again.  The good guys are brave, cultured, quick-witted and lethal… and so are the women.

Brinn Collenda’s second novel in the Callahan series, Homeland Burning, is a terrifyingly believable thriller.  Taking over where the last installment ended, the main players in this saga have moved away from South America, but they haven’t moved away from danger.    Seemingly grabbed right out of current news headlines, the deadly scenario that unfolds in the course of this novel isn’t a stretch—especially given the still-raging battle to control various wildfires in America’s west.  The life-and-death struggle facing all those who battle a raging fire is deftly conveyed in Collenda’s exciting yarn.  

This fast-paced, exciting story will have you begging for more... and the book’s ending leaves no doubt that there’ll be plenty of work for the Callahans in the future! 

Review by John Cathcart (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

Spring of 2000: Wildfires destroy mountain watersheds and municipal water systems, breached dams release tidal waves of water to obliterate farms and towns, and stone-cold shooters target helpless civilians. USAF Colonel Tom Callahan struggles to convince a skeptical U.S. intelligence community that enemy attacks on American soil are not only possible, but inevitable.

Kurt Wallerein, the world’s foremost terrorist-for-hire, feared, hated and hunted by every intelligence service in the West, has unleashed a terrifying campaign against the American Heartland to undermine the legitimacy of the United States government.

Callahan has to rally support to stop the attacks, but his political enemies in Washington conspire to distract the President and ridicule evidence. He’ll need all the help he can get from aviators of the New Mexico National Guard, the Civil Air Patrol and the Ninety-Nines.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 1596161035 ISBN-13: 978-1596161030
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 300
 

Settling Up by Phil Keith

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Author's Synopsis

A Vietnam Veteran, poisoned by Agent Orange, has decided that, with the time he has left, he is going to wage a one-man war on those who must "settle up" for the misdeeds they committed during the war. As the bodies pile up, he leaves, at each scene, a particular calling card, which every Vietnam Veteran will understand. The FBI is finally assigned to the case, and one particular Agent figures it out: will she bring her target to justice? Does she really want to?

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN: B074P9SWMD ISBN: 978-1974333417
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 447

Rescue from Innocence by Joseph Flint

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

In Rescue from Innocence, author Joseph Flint gives us a hard-to-put-down, action-packed, riveting mystery/thriller based on actual events. The main character, Walter Judge, finds himself embroiled in a web of deceit with money-hungry politicians, brutal thugs, third-world dictators, and investigative reporters trying to get to the bottom of a cauldron of corruption. Judge, a former Army Ranger and Vietnam chopper pilot works for a private helicopter outfit, testing experimental aircraft. Finding himself questioning the motives and legalities of his boss's dealings with a company in Chile, Judge becomes more involved in an effort to stop the activities of greedy men while realizing that he's become an expendable pawn in an intricate international plot. Judge has to outwit forces of evil wanting to destroy him and the love he has found in the midst of all the violence. I recommend this book but buckle up, you are in for a ride. 

MWSA Review by Nancy Panko (June 2018)


Author's Synopsis

Rescue from Innocence is a historical fiction adventure novel inspired by true events. Walter Judge thought he had put the dark days of Southeast Asia behind him. He tries a comfortable life testing aircraft for a small Texas firm when a mysterious call from an old friend hints at trouble. He arranges to meet after her return from an overseas assignment, but she never arrives. His attempt to solve the riddle nearly costs him his life and thrusts him into being the key player in a clandestine project to supply Saddam Hussein with American gunship helicopters. A chance to sidestep disaster in favor of a life-altering love affair is ruined when kidnapping and murder force his continued involvement until he formulates a plan to foil the conspiracy and find the men behind it.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 1479799068 ISBN-13: 978-1479799060  ;ISBN-10: 147979905X ISBN-13: 978-1479799053         ;ASIN: B00BN5QZCI
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Romance
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 341