With the tone of a vintage crime caper, this could be the first novel in a series starring Mize; there’s no chance of the...

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THE PATSY

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

What could be worse than being convicted of a crime you didn’t commit? The hero of Silva’s novel finds out almost the minute he ventures outside prison walls for the first time in seven years.

J.D. Mize isn’t what you’d call a lucky guy. When the son of a California state senator dies as the result of a barroom brawl in which he was involved, Mize finds himself in prison for seven long years. Now a parolee, he reports to the tough Delilah Jones every week. It doesn’t take him long to get into trouble, thanks to his ex-wife’s careless comments to the wrong people. Who could be a more perfect patsy than Mize when Michael Sirocco, a crooked businessman, wants Sen. Thackery dead? Just to make sure he’ll see things their way, Sirocco’s stooges kidnap Mize’s sister, Verna, and beat up the boss of his new love interest, Terry—and when that doesn’t do the trick, they frame him for Thackery’s murder. But they haven’t reckoned that a surprisingly resourceful Mize will do whatever it takes to rescue Verna. Mize is an endearing hero, whether he’s charming his hard-as-nails parole officer by getting her teenage son out of trouble, trying to warn the senator or turning the tables on Sirocco and his band of killers. Silva’s characters intrigue, and events move deftly from the prison to a hotel to Sirocco’s yacht and beyond. The book’s biggest drawback is the lack of believability of some plot points; in particular, the police seem no smarter than Keystone Kops in their pursuit of Mize. Silva doesn’t trust his readers enough not to continually remind them who Verna and Jones are, and lines like, “I have to go along while they’re holding Verna, my sister,” spoken to Mize’s ex-wife, no less, is just one example of the often-awkward dialogue. The short chapters often don’t work well; this isn’t a James Patterson page turner, so there’s rarely a good enough reason to break things up so often, particularly not in the middle of a scene.

With the tone of a vintage crime caper, this could be the first novel in a series starring Mize; there’s no chance of the poor guy staying out of trouble for long.

Pub Date: May 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468089431

Page Count: 302

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the...

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.

Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?

With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984991808

Page Count: 389

Publisher: First Snow Publishing House

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

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