thriller

The Five Lions of the Volta

The Five Lions of the Volta
Published: May 29, 2016
Allan Sinclair, 40-year-old owner of his biotech firm that desperately needs to develop new drugs, thinks he may have found a cure for Alzheimer’s using the chemical properties of the native West African Nutmeg. A fascinating story of what happens when Western business meets the reality of African society and politics—with a taste of Cold War machinations thrown in for good measure.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

4 Stars

Lisa,employed by a venture capital firm, is romantically linked to Allan, owner of a biotech firm. When Allan tells her he is working on a way to augment the medicinal properties of nutmeg which could be a potential cure for Alzheimer's disease, she shares the information with her business partner, Scott, whose mother suffers from the disease.

This simple act of kindness on Lisa's part sets in motion a chain of events that will change all their lives forever. Once he learns of the potential of nutmeg,Scott goes to his old college friend, John, who has been working on a similar project, and makes him a business offer he can't refuse.This takes them to Ghana, where they encounter Richard Akroma, an anti-government rebel who is seeking an amnesty and a chance to return to the life of an ordinary Ghanaian citizen.

A fascinating story of what happens when Western business meets the reality of African society and politics--with a taste of Cold War machinations thrown in for good measure, as Akroma's Cold War association with the KGB come back to haunt him. While there is a bit more telling than absolutely necessary to move the plot along, much of it does at least help the reader understand the back ground and motivation of the characters. Some, however, is merely interesting historical or technical information that does not move the story forward. The author tells the story from several points of view,but thankfully, the transitions from one character to another are done smoothly, so it is not confusing.

The Five Lions of the Volta by Larry Shields is a story of a culture little understood by most Westerners, told in a way that does not transform the African characters into caricatures, and which portrays the landscape and society in a credible way. Like Blood Diamonds, this would make a good movie,and with a little more showing rather than telling would be a five-star book. I give it four-stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thrall

Thrall
Published: June 1, 2012
Author's Twitter: @jennq
When 16-year old Braedyn learns she’s a descendent of Lilith–the mother of all demons—she is swept into an ancient war with no easy answers.   Welcome to Braedyn Murphy’s life. She’s a typical—if shy—sophomore navigating the slings and arrows of high school life with her two best friends, Royal and Cassie. Then a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door, and Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time. But Braedyn’s normal life comes crashing down around her ears when she learns she’s a descendent of Lilith, the mother of all demons – and that she might play a critical role in an ancient war between the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Lilith. Turns out the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how you choose to act. Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flank Street

Flank Street
Author:
Published: May 15, 2015
Author's Twitter: @ajsendall
A man with a buried past. A woman with a compulsion for danger. Together, can they con the Sydney underworld and get away with cold-blooded murder?   Flank Street is written from the distorted reality of Micky DeWitt, a shiftless career criminal and world sailor. Micky arrives in Sydney, Australia on his rundown boat, broke and on the lookout for opportunity. He takes a job as barman in Sydney’s red light district, where eventually he’s approached by a woman who needs something stolen from a lawyer’s safe. Nothing is what it seems, as Micky falls into a honey trap that spins his life out of control and pushes him to the edge of insanity.

Reviewed by S M Spencer

5 Stars

Well, well, well … What a read! I decided to read this book because it was recently given a 5 star review by Awesome Indies, which is a pretty good recommendation. That, and it’s set in Australia. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed! This book has intrigue, romance, mystery – and it all takes place in the famous Kings Cross district in the heart of Sydney. The main character and narrator, Micky Dewitt, is the most likeable thug I’ve ever encountered, and his story kept me engaged from start to finish. Well written in every respect.

Well, well, well … What a read! I decided to read this book because it was recently given a 5 star review by Awesome Indies, which is a pretty good recommendation. That, and it’s set in Australia. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed! This book has intrigue, romance, mystery – and it all takes place in the famous Kings Cross district in the heart of Sydney. The main character and narrator, Micky Dewitt, is the most likeable thug I’ve ever encountered, and his story kept me engaged from start to finish. Well written in every respect.

 

Come on Home Children

Come on Home Children
Published: July 5, 2014
Author's Twitter: @Entlover28
In the year 2042, when an unlicensed pregnancy is a felony, Willa’s little daughter Katy has been confiscated by the ruthless Bureau of Population Management. Unless Willa can rescue her she faces a life of stigma, toil and despair. With the help of some unlikely allies, Willa devises an audacious scheme to hide in plain sight and free Katy, but it will only work if she can find the courage to reinvent herself. When no one is what they seem, the truth can be a dangerous luxury. Come on Home Children, Book Two of Children in Hiding, is a dystopian thriller that tests whether love can outwit bureaucratic greed, and whether Willa can tread the treacherous path between reality and illusion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get on Board Little Children

Get on Board Little Children
Published: January 13, 2014
Author's Twitter: @Entlover27
In a future marked by high-tech surveillance, an unlicensed pregnancy is a felony. It can lead to loss of the child as well as devastating fines and imprisonment. Targeted by the corrupt population-control police, Sophie must make a painful decision. She can submit to the state’s harsh demands. Or she can go on the run, relying on the conductors of the revived Underground Railway. Confronted with deception and violence, she must learn to trust her instincts. If she hesitates she risks the loss of everything she values most. Fast-paced dystopian thriller, GET ON BOARD LITTLE CHILDREN takes the heroine from the drone-watched streets of Seattle to the dangerous Tijuana border, while exploring a future that may be closer than we imagine.

Review by Awesome Indies

A damn fine story that is extremely well-told

 

When greedy, unscrupulous politicians with ideological agendas and little compassion for their fellow man start to sneak laws into our system to advance that agenda – we’d better beware. Citizens who pay no attention to what politicians do can easily wake up and find themselves under the yoke of a police state and creeping totalitarianism.

IGet on Board Little Children by Victoria Randall, we’re immersed head first in just such a state. The United States has enacted strict population control measures and left it to the states to implement them. Each state has its own views, and some, like the state of Washington, have adopted draconian procedures, up to and including a Bureau of Population Management. In order to legally have children, people must obtain a permit – an expensive and time consuming process – or risk fines and imprisonment, forced abortion, or if the child is born without permit, having it consigned to a labor camp. In order to enforce this, a police state of sorts has been created, complete with officious bureaucrats and scheming politicians drunk on the power they possess.

Sophie Cortez and her husband Joshua find themselves caught up in this byzantine situation when she becomes pregnant with twins. When Sophie and Joshua make the decision to run, they’re taken under the wings of BirthAid, an organization that runs a 21st century version of the Underground Railroad that takes immense risks to get them to safety.

Randall has created a compelling cast of characters – many that readers will recognize and identify with, or hate. The beleaguered citizen fighting to maintain a sense of dignity and self-worth: Sophie and Joshua; the uncaring bureaucrat concerned with exercising power and maintaining position: the Bureau of Population Management officials; and those who, when they see someone in need, are willing to step up and be counted.

It’s hard to decide if this is science fiction or thriller, so I just settled with calling it a damn fine story that is extremely well-told. It starts slow, with rising tension that comes to a gentle landing that is satisfying.

This is a book that, like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, addresses an important social issue – in this case, individual freedom in the face of efforts at state control – and could like Stowe’s masterpiece become the symbol of this century’s most important struggle.

 

 

 

The Car Bomb

The Car Bomb
Publisher:
Published: May 7, 2013
Detroit’s top TV anchor Frank DeFauw hunts down the story of a judge who may be corrupt—and is one of his best friends. Booze, drugs, womanizing and a passion for the news are all part of what makes this brilliant, erratic newsman a major player in this deeply troubled city. Finally, Frank is forced to decide if digging out the truth about his pal the judge is worth risking his own career, family and skin. With supple prose, brilliant dialogue, sharply-drawn characters and a surprising plot, this is a gripping tale of betrayal, murder and redemption.

Reviewed 

A Noir Mystery With A Slight Twist

3 Stars

The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero opens on the streets of a dying Detroit that’s trying desperately to survive. A young mother and her two children are incinerated in a fiery explosion as witnesses watch in horror. It’s up to an aging, hard-drinking, womanizing news anchor to come to grips with his life and solve the crime which may involve his best friend. The tale builds to an edgy crescendo of action that you won’t want to miss.

Although the story is well-told, there are still some aspects that could have used work, and became impossible to ignore. The first half of the book is slow, concentrating on the character of a conceited, adulterous newscaster, Frank DeFauw. However, I missed the motivation that drives him to rise above his depravity in order to righteously go after his best friend who was only vaguely suspected of illegal activities.

The story is told to the reader which doesn’t give us much opportunity to get involved inside the plot or imagine ourselves as part of the drama. I wanted to feel what it was like to be in Detroit’s ghetto, hear the cries of those society has cast aside, smell the gas fumes rising above the sidewalks, see a poet’s graffiti scribbled across a rundown cityscape, and taste the merchandise dealers were pushing on the street corner.

In spite of its faults, it’s worth a read. The Car Bomb is a noir mystery with a slight twist. The lascivious characters are found in the lap of suburbia while the moral prize-winners emerge from the bleak, sleazy side of town. This book should appeal to fans of old-fashioned crime fiction.

3 Stars.

Worlds Within Worlds

Worlds Within Worlds
Imagine living in a multi-layered reality of separate but complimentary worlds—physical, mental, spiritual and technological—when a bully you thought safely tucked away in the cyberworld suddenly appears in your physical world looking suspiciously like your worst nightmare. Can you stuff him back into your computer? And if not, can the Magan Lord’s daughter from the fantasy book you’re editing, your dreams of a rabid beast, your visions of a Tibetan Yogi and your reawakened memories help you maintain your sanity and survive the darkest night of your life? Find out in the double award-winning metaphysical thriller Worlds Within Worlds when all this happens to author, editor and reviewer Prunella Smith. This inspirational, transrealist work—a mix of psychological thriller, fantasy and romance—has been awarded the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence and a BRAG Medallion of Excellence in Independent Fiction. Worlds Within Worlds has a unique perspective on the nature of creativity. Its touch is light, its humour distinctive but it reaches deep into the nature of human experience.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

December 12, 2014

5 Stars

I received a free copy of Tahlia Newland’s Prunella Smith: Worlds within Worlds for review, and I have to say up front – this is a book that is long overdue. It addresses cyber bullying, especially as it pertains to writers and reviewers, but does so in a chilling way that will live you looking over your shoulder with every word you write.

Prunella Smith is a freelance editor and author who is up against a deadline on an editing job – a fantasy story about an adventurous woman, Kelee, who is having an affair with a young groomsman on her estate. Ella, as she is known, is also a book reviewer, and a recent review of a not-so-good novel has provoked the author, Dita, to begin a campaign of on-line stalking and bullying. Dita’s cyber bullying begins to take its toll, interfering with Ella’s ability to objectively edit Kelee’s story, and things only get worse when she discovers that she has a physical stalker as well.

Newland’s tale kept me interested from page one – and the little surprise she threw in near the end, well -2 I didn’t see that one coming. A thoroughly entertaining story. An easy five stars here.

Reviewed by Frank Kusy (aka Wussyboy)

5 Stars

This is a very topical book, a very well written one too. Thirty something Ella Smith lives in a remote log cabin in the Australian bush, cut off from most of humanity but connected through her mind and imagination (and her internet) to a multitude of worlds: at times she is a writer/editor in the real world, at others she is a wise old Yogi in the prelude to the 1959 Chinese invasion of Tibet, or Kelee, the fictional warrior princess with whom she comes to identify strongly through the book she is editing. Not to mention her alter ego as Electra, an ‘after dark’ dancer in a local strip joint. The topicality of the book comes when Ella responds to a request of an ‘honest’ review from an arrogant (and unbalanced) author on his new novel and gives him just that… a two-star review on a social media website (Amazon) which he deeply resents. At this point, we enter Stephen King territory – the demented author Dita shouting “Take it down!” much as the main protagonist of King’s ‘Thinner’ shouts ‘Take it off!’ to the gypsy who has laid a curse him. When she doesn’t, the author turns cyber troll and begins invading her virtual world with increasingly nasty abuse and threats, along with one-star reviewing her own recently published book. As the bullying author penetrates even her dream world (he’s a dark, human shaped blob in a hoodie!) her other identities as Kelee, Electra and the Yogi also run into crisis, and she struggles, through her Buddhist practice, to elevate her mind above the worldly concern of being unliked by 20 Facebook friends overnight. ‘Sometimes it’s hard being a Buddhist,’ she observes when not just one but two stalkers get on her case – the fight is on, in her own mind, to see all obstacles as opportunities, to see Dita, The Creep and even the evil Beak as fuel to fire her own journey to enlightenment. This is riveting stuff, part magical realism dreamscape, part taut psychological thriller, and I was literally on the edge of my seat when the final twist – and what a twist it is – came around. Phew, what a ride!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an ‘honest’ review of my own. Well done, Ms Newland, I can honestly say this is the best book have read this year.

~~~~~~~~

Reviewed by Amy Spahn

5 Stars

 

Worlds Within Worlds tackles the problem of identity in the age of technological anonymity. Ella Smith is an independent author and editor whose online life crashes into reality with disturbing implications. The book questions how much of one’s true self can – and should – be broadcast to the world.

The story also delves into the nature of authorship when anyone with a computer can publish themselves instantly. What determines the value of a writer? Their career success? Their contributions to other authors, appreciated or not? What about when their readers disagree with their interpretations of their work? Who is the final authority when everyone has an opinion?

This book will make you think. Considering the deluge of new works streaming from authors these days, that may be the highest praise a novel can receive.

~~~~~~~~

Reviewed by Robyn Gregory

4 Stars

World Within Worlds was an interesting read. There was a mixture of Buddhism, magical realism and present-day problems of a 30-something writer/editor. She has chosen career over a family and children. She seems fairly content with the decision. During the time she is editing another author’s book she is bullied online by an author who she gave a bad review to. My only issue with it was that there were too many storylines running at the same time and I was having a little bit of trouble following along with them. I think it would have been better if they had her story alongside Kelee’s story (the one she was editing). But, otherwise, it was able to keep my interest. I received this book free from Awesome Indies Books in return for an honest review.

~~~~~~~~

Reviewed by Justin Spahn

5 Stars

My wife recommended this book to me, and I absolutely loved it. I do not normally review, well, anything on Amazon, but I decided it was time to start, having read something which inspired me to respond. Its multiple layers were very compelling, and the author struck just the right balance of keeping the various strands and plot threads and titular worlds separated as well as intertwined.

I love how thoughtful this book was. It asked many questions about reality, imagination, and how perception and intent shape the world and vice versa. It gripped my attention and fascinated me, and I found that I couldn’t put it down. The main character is in her own world, experiencing the worlds of others through meditation, social media, dreams, and real-life clashes. In addition, the entire book is a world of its own within the author’s mind, and I myself, as the reader, am yet another world into which her worlds are introduced and experienced. Is the book I finished reading the same book that the author wrote? Did I perceive and experience it the way it was intended, or did I myself change the book simply by observing it, like a quantum physics experiment? Not since “If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Calvino have I felt so intellectually stimulated by a novel!

Finally, I find that I’ve bonded with the main character, which is quite a feat as I personally share virtually nothing in common with her, and yet I miss her terribly. I eagerly look forward to the release of the sequel!

One Last Lie

One Last Lie
Author:
Published: December 30, 2014
Author's Twitter: @RobKaufmanCT
Angela is beautiful and charismatic on the outside. But on the inside, a demon rages, determined to get anyone and anything she wants. And now with her biological clock ticking, she seduces her old friend Philip, and his partner Jonathan, into having a child with her through artificial insemination. From the moment the parenting agreement is signed, Angela’s mask of deceit slips away and she leads the fathers-to-be on a relentless, agonizing journey filled with lies, anguish and finally tragedy that forever changes the lives of everyone involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shattered Blue

Shattered Blue
Published: March 12, 2013
Shane MacKinnon thought she could escape her dark past by running away, changing her name. She thought the monster of her childhood was dead. She was wrong… Hounded by scandal and haunted by a shameful secret, Shannon Malone fled Manhattan for the mountains of New Mexico, a new name and a new life. Five years later, her new neighbor, wealthy architect Matthew Brennan, is teaching her the meaning of sexual healing. But when her dark past rises from the shadows and threatens to shatter her new life, Shane must find the courage to face her worst fear, or face death.

Reviewed 

4 Stars

Shattered Blue is a classic romantic suspense story, and if you like that combination of genres, then you’ll probably like this because it has all the necessary elements – an attractive woman, a hot guy and a psychopathic would-be rapist killer. Just when said hot guy and attractive woman get together, the psychopath enters and threatens to rip their happiness from beneath them.

The tension builds through memories, dreams, clever foreshadowing and a series of suspicious events that culminate in a life threatening situation for both lovers. The pacing is good, it keeps you reading but still allows time for character development, and the plot, though nothing new, is solid.

The characters are well-drawn and complex. Shane is an artist with a history she is hiding from, and Matt is an architect in the process of selling his business to his hard nosed ex-wife. Despite many reasons not to, they fall in love pretty much instantaneously. It surprises them both, but they’re old enough to know not to fight it. Cynical reviewers may find this a little twee, but it’s perfect for the genre. I got to know Shane very quickly, fell in love with Matt before she did and cared about them both enough to really not want the bad guy to screw it all up, but fiction requires drama and that’s what we got. I won’t tell you what happened in the end, except to say that I thought it well done. Aspects of it were somewhat predictable, but that’s a hallmark of the romance genre, so it’s not a problem as far as I’m concerned.

The book has a couple of underlying themes worth noting: the affect of childhood abuse on adults and the healing power of love. Love as healing is a theme that always leaves you warm and fuzzy, even without the steamy sex, and in this case it balances the evil very nicely.

4 stars.