A fine thriller with intriguing locations, intricate plot twists and a complex heroine.

The Geneva Decision


A fast-paced, globe-trotting debut thriller featuring a former Olympian with something to prove.

When Pia Sabel’s adoptive father puts her in charge of his security firm, she knows the transition won’t be easy. Neither the firm’s employees nor its clients welcome the idea of a 25-year-old former soccer player at the helm. Pia doesn’t make things easier when she ignores her father’s request that she work in the front office, opting to work in the field instead. She goes to Geneva, Switzerland, where a team of Sabel Security agents is scheduled to meet with a wealthy banker. But the day before the meeting, an assassin murders the banker in Pia’s presence. She manages to capture the killer, but he escapes soon after he’s turned over to the Geneva police. He leaves behind a matchbook bearing the name of a ship that pirates recently commandeered off the coast of Cameroon. Four other bankers are killed in short order, and a hit man even attempts to take Pia’s life. Despite this, Pia promises the client’s widow that she and her team will figure out why he was killed. As Pia unravels multiple mysteries, she also confronts shadows from her past. From the first scene, James demonstrates his command of action and description; for example, the doomed banker doesn’t fall, he “collapse[s] on the ground like a dropped cloth.” James also manages to organically introduce Pia’s many quirks, from insomnia to stubbornness. At times, the pace slows due to awkward exposition, and some dialogue may strike readers as implausible, as when a Sabel Security agent calls Pia a “rich bitch” during their first conversation. These are small lapses, however, in an otherwise remarkable debut.

A fine thriller with intriguing locations, intricate plot twists and a complex heroine.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988699625

Page Count: 282

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

Did you like this book?

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?