Private investigator Roberta Sniff hunts her fiance’s killer while trying to get a sports star out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit in this thriller/erotic fantasy by Ginn (Clover Fields, 2011).
Roberta is a piece of work, a violent, hyper-sexual woman who doesn’t let the death of her fiance, Greg Woo, keep her from sleeping with every other eligible male around, including her former partner on the police force. She makes a deal with a closeted gay politician, Burley Grimes, to find his former lover Julius Quick, who has sex videos of the two. Roberta exacts a promise from Grimes that he won’t assassinate Quick if she finds him and is not surprised when that promise is broken several months later. Meanwhile, basketball phenom Steve Morelli, convicted of murdering his fiancee, golf star Penelope Corker, is writing his tale of obsessive love and sports stardom in jail, with only a cat named Yardley for company. The novel makes dizzying leaps of chronology, from Morelli’s tale in the clink to Roberta’s search for a drug kingpin and his hired hit man and, later in the book, to the life of a murderous, homophobic Southern farmer. The women in Ginn’s world are all aching for sex and seem to have no problem dressing provocatively and even stripping during their workdays. These women also spend an unrealistic amount of time placating and talking about the desirability of their men. This constant focus on sex stalls the plot, which becomes more repugnant than seductive as the story moves on. The jargon-heavy sports scenes alternate with the sexual scenes for most of the book, and Wall Street con men also make an appearance to further muddy the waters of this patchwork narrative. The stuttering prose has a number of spelling mistakes and grammatical blunders.
An unbelievable, testosterone-fueled tale of promiscuous women and violent men.
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.
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.