"Action junkies will be more than satisfied by this thriller."– Kirkus Reviews
Young love is overtaken by the excitement of the drug trade in this joint effort by the pseudonymous Holy Ghost Writer and Barrameda (9/11: Terrorists’ Descent into Jahannam, 2015, etc.).
When Sarah and Davey meet as 11-year-olds in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, it seems as if the two paintings there—Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie (1794) and Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy (1779)—serve as an allegory for their own lives: two people, worlds apart yet meant to be together. Indeed, Sarah and Davey spend years circling each other without actually meeting again. Davey (now “David”) becomes a charismatic, thrill-seeking college student with a love for pranks, and Sarah tackles a writing career. Discouraged by her failures as a novelist, she turns to nonfiction and goes undercover as a marijuana dealer in order to write an article. To her surprise, she finds more success as a criminal than she ever has as a writer. Her operation is growing by the minute, and she ends up unwittingly using David to launder her money. In Mexico, they finally find each other again, but dire circumstances may cut their reunion short. Readers will get caught up in the anticipation of Sarah and David’s eventual meeting and each close call they have. However, much of the charm of the novel’s first half gets lost after the topic of marijuana is introduced. The epic romance seems to transform into a parable about marijuana’s virtues, the evils of the drug war, and the confining nature of a non-bohemian lifestyle. The authors devote paragraphs to discussing the benefits of marijuana and the evils of the pharmaceutical industry, bemoaning the “drudgery of well-paid, steady work,” and portraying the international legal system as a web of intrigue and bribery. Even readers who support marijuana legalization may find it hard to sympathize with the characters, and their journeys into crime come off as unrealistic; Sarah’s transition from frustrated novelist to top-tier drug dealer is lightning-fast, and David becomes an expert at money laundering seemingly instantly.
An unpredictable, improbable exploration of the trials and tribulations of marijuana trafficking.
A Kurdish warrior and an American soldier take on Islamic terrorists threatening massive Ebola attacks in Barrameda’s debut adventure novella.
When members of the terrorist group Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham (aka the Islamic State group, ISIL, or ISIS) massacre a village, it turns out that they have a hidden agenda: retrieval of some Ebola samples and their corresponding research. Soon they create weapons armed with the virus—a new strain that rapidly infects and kills its victims. U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Thomas initiates a personal mission of vengeance after the terrorist group bombs his base, and he commandeers a helicopter to rescue several captured women from the radicals. One of those women is Ren, a trained warrior who already has her own vendetta against the terrorists, who are responsible for the deaths of her father and brother. Mark and Ren form a two-person army and set their sights on the terrorist leader, Askari. This novella is a quick read that gets the action started almost immediately. The story speeds through much of its plot; a helicopter in flight, for example, is sure to be on the ground by the very next page. Barrameda’s prose is compact and precise, and she packs her novella with continuous gunfire and endless explosions. She also allows Ren to stand out, as her weapon of choice is a knife—an abundance of knives, actually, which she deftly throws at her enemies. Amazingly, the author still leaves room to develop her two main characters, and they convincingly build mutual trust by repeatedly saving each other from certain death. Their inevitable romantic relationship, on the other hand, is a little harder to believe; they fall in love too quickly and easily, and the scenes of the two in each other’s arms are considerably less engaging than the ones in which they battle extremists. The story manages a surprisingly understated ending that offers both resolution and the possibility of a sequel.
Action junkies will be more than satisfied by this thriller.