Run to Win
Windrew Haynes has finished his last year at college. After getting second place in the Cross-Country Nationals, he has decided to pursue a career in teaching. His Honor, Judge Haynes, would rather see his son become an upstanding lawyer, but Windrew is determined to help teach underprivileged African American kids from Douglas High School. Douglas High School is an educationally deprived institution. To the people running the show, all that matters is if you can play basketball. Basketball is what has kept this school open for years. So, when Windrew marches in, looking to invoke change, the principal and athletics department are unhappy. Windrew has to dodge conspiracy after conspiracy to keep his job intact and not be railroaded by those with hidden agendas.
In Run to Win, by author Eric Johnson tells the story of what it means to have a dependable adult helping nurture young kids to be more than what they are, what they could be, and not letting where they come from define their future. This story touches on many significant societal issues like race, sexuality, and socialism. Windrew’s background is interesting. Being from a mixed family, he feels like he doesn’t belong entirely to either culture. He feels he has to prove something to his family and himself by working with underprivileged children in an economically challenged neighborhood. This societal conflict is highly relatable for this demographic, and I would have liked for it to be explored more throughout the book.
The chapters are long at times, but this is necessary for building the plotline. Johnson adds context to the main character’s internal conflicts through his story building, imparting the heavyweight of the expectation he feels from others. The author uses strong tension and suspense to engage the reader and keep the story interesting.
There are multiple points of view in the novel, allowing readers to experience the action from different vantage points and gain further insight into the situations. The author’s use of profanity is mild initially, but as the story’s action ramps up, the students’ and teachers’ profanity increases. Profanity can add to the character’s relatability and be used to give readers a feel for the environment and setting. Given the amount of profanity used by the author in this novel, I think it is appropriate for mature audiences.
Run To Win is a riveting sports fiction novel about a teacher’s efforts to enact positive change in the lives of underprivileged children. Focusing on many societal issues, this is a relatable story for many.
Pages: 252 | ISBN : 1499021828
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, crime drama, ebook, Eric Johnson, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Run to Win, sports fiction, story, writer, writing
Murder at Macbeth
A crime has been committed at a theater in the middle of a Shakespeare themed play, embedded in secrets, lies, betrayal, friendship and work, every cast is on the suspect list. How far will they go to hide these secrets? Like a blockbuster crime thriller Samantha Goodwin leads us through a winding mystery of what happened to the lead actress Nicki. Her friends, the cast, all have a dark secret they are not willing to tell. The investigating officers will stop at nothing until they get justice for the victims.
This creative murder mystery that fuels this curiously compelling read is great in a way that every chapter answers one question and leaves you with the next one you have to get an answer for. I appreciated the slow build of the mystery throughout the story. It’s not dramatic, but in it’s down to earth quality it reels you in, and once the twists come their rarely expected and always surprising. Samantha Goodwin has a way of making the whole play inside a play work with ease. Murder At Macbeth is a creative detective mystery that is punctuated with provocative characters. Friends betraying friends, love, jealousy, betrayal and secrets. Each characters life unfolds in new chapters. Reality dawns on each of the cast members, they can no longer protect each other, a life has been lost. Despite going through challenges himself, Detective Inspector Finley Robson with his partner Detective Nadia Zahra are on a mission to crack this case open.
Having friends who have your back, is the best thing to ever happen to anyone, you trust your friends with secrets, you have a past that only your friends and you share but one day your very best friend is too jealous to the extent of plotting harm against you. Reading this is better than imagining how you’d feel, this book will take you right to the center of that drama, it makes you feel part of the cast which is a feeling you only get from a good book. Murder at Macbeth is an emotionally haunting and provocative thriller.
Pages: 375 | ASIN: B07QXGR13V
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, crime drama, crime fanatasy, crime fiction, detective, drama, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder, Murder at Macbeth, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Samantha Goodwin, sleuth, story, women fiction, writer, writing
Time’s Up: She’s Breaking the Ice
Craig Steele’s Time’s Up: She’s Breaking the Ice is a mile-a-minute crime mystery drama. Aussie Matilda is new in town and new to the force. She is teamed up with Jacqueline and makes fast friends with her. The two, along with their team, are investigating a string of murders with odd similarities. Dead and drained bodies are popping up with unexplainable circular wounds. Simultaneously, they are investigating street drug, Ice, and its effects. They want to know if they are connected. Storylines intertwine to connect the dots as they discover something more sinister than they could have imagined is afoot.
I enjoyed the relationship and humor between characters Matilda and Jacqueline. It’s nice to see the silly side of two highly trained and adept women. It makes the otherwise tough characters relatable. It shows their duality. They can have fun and joke and play around. They can also be independent and self-reliant and handle a weapon. I think readers, especially female readers, will appreciate that the women aren’t one-dimensional. Steele did a great job in developing the major characters.
Steele’s writing is very descriptive. This helped me picture the creatures in the sewer before I actually knew what they were. It also helped me picture the victims. This was not a read for those with weak stomachs. That being said, the gnarly details were relevant to the story. They were necessary in filling in details of the mysterious crimes.
The Ice storyline really hits home. It borrows from the front pages of newspapers and doesn’t paint over the ugly parts. Steele pulls in similarities to the current opioid crisis in America while tying it to Nazi-led drug experimentation of the past. The characters’ altered state while on Ice is scary, but an important cautionary tale. It serves as a warning of what could be, and readers will see similarities to our current climate.
I’ll admit the sight of 76 chapters and 600+ pages felt daunting. I’m afraid other readers may feel the same way, but I read the book over a week and it didn’t feel long and the plot flowed well. There are several instances where incorrect homophones are used, some sentence fragments due to misplaced periods, and some plural vs. possessive mistakes. But this does not detract from the overall entertaining story.
Craig Steele’s Time’s Up: She’s Breaking the Ice is well written and the characters are intriguing and deftly developed. The main characters were likeable, and the villains were easy to hate. I’d like to read more work by this author.
Pages: 333 | ASIN: B07F5X4782
Posted in Book Reviews
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, craig steele, creatures, crime, crime drama, crime fantasy, crime fiction, detective, drama, drug, drug addiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nazi, nook, novel, opioid, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, She's Breaking the Ice, shelfari, smashwords, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, Time's Up, writer, writer community, writing
The Tenth Nail
Nate knelt beside the dead girl. This wasn’t his first homicide, it wasn’t even the first dead prostitute he’d investigated. It wasn’t the first strangling death he’d been assigned to. But, this one bothered him.
Maybe it was her youth, she appeared to be in her early twenties. Maybe it was her looks, as death had yet to rob her of her beauty. Maybe she reminded him of his own daughter, Lizzie, who was only a few years younger. Maybe it was something else entirely.
The big detective looked over the body, careful not to touch or disturb her. He had one of the best crime scene technicians, Winston Rawls, and he did not want to make his job harder.
“Look at her fingernails,” Rawls observed from the other side of the body.
“What about them?”
“Most of them are broken and some are torn free of the quick. Some are missing.”
Nate slowed his visual scanning of the girl and focused on her hands. Rawls was right, the nails were ragged, broken, and torn. Some of her fingers ended with just the bloody fingertips.
It made his injured finger hurt. Maybe this was why this murder haunted him from the start.
The girl’s hands were bagged in plastic to preserve evidence that hopefully was there. Gently, Nate lifted a hand, holding it on his open palm. He looked at the girls eyes, that looked down and away from him.
“I don’t know what happened that led you to this place. I don’t know why you chose to live the life you did. But you deserved better than this.”
Rawls looked at Nate with an expression that asked, “What are you doing?”
Nate glanced at the technician and then focused again on the girl’s hand.
“I promise you, I give you my word, I will find who ever did this to you and I will bring him to justice. I will hold him accountable for this. Rest assured.”
Gently, as if he didn’t want to wake her, Nate lowered the girl’s hand to the pavement. He stood and Rawls stood with him.
“Do you want to tell me what that was all about?”
Nate studied the bearded tech, “I made her a promise.”
“Nate, you and I both know solving the death of a streetwalker is one of the hardest crimes to solve. Unless she was killed by her pimp, or another girl jealous of her, the doer is a complete stranger. There’s just not enough to tie the two people together.”
Rawls shook his head, “You’ve worked more of these than I have. You know how difficult this is going to be.”
Nate looked at Rawls, placed a hand on the technician’s shoulder, “I made her a promise.”
He turned and walked from the alley, giving the technician a controlled wave, “See you at the morgue.”
The Tenth Nail is the story of a homicide detective obsessed in finding the killer of a streetwalker. It is fast paced, with well developed characters and a twist at the end most will not see coming.
Posted in book trailer
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The Assassin’s Trail
Once again we are plunged into the world of Sean Kruger and his particular brand of justice in The Assassin’s Trail by J.C. Fields. While reading the first novel in the series is not necessary, it does provide excellent backstory for those who like to know everything. We follow Kruger once again as he gets pulled into another debacle. While he might groan about it, Kruger is excellent at his job and his reputation precedes him. With such greatness comes great expectations. Can Kruger deliver? Or will the case be his undoing? Hold on tight for a wild ride as we follow our favorite FBI special agent as he hunts down his prey. Fields shows us crime drama at its best: twists, turns and heightened anticipation for the good guy to win. The question then becomes, at what cost?
You can tell this is not Fields’ first time writing a book. A lot of attention and care went into the crafting of this story. A complication that can arise when writing a book in a series is losing track of subtle details and hoping your readers don’t notice. Happily, there is none of that in this installment of the Sean Kruger novels. The way Fields’ crafts the world of Kruger is deliberate and very well done. There is no shortage of action and readers will find themselves glued to the pages in order to find out what happens next. Some true crime stories can lag in the middle or when there is no action present making them almost a chore to read. You won’t find that here and even if crime drama isn’t your thing, this is a hard book to pass up. It’s not filled with useless jargon or procedures and policies only die-hard fans or those who work in the field can understand. This was truly a piece meant for the reader.
What makes a good story in this genre is suspense, action and realism. If the crime is too outlandish or the way the criminal is discovered is too unrealistic it can ruin the entire experience for the reader. Fields understands this and crafts the tale to reflect that. Readers will need to prepare their hearts for the twists and turns in this book as Fields’ expertly dangles disaster in front of us. There are no complaints about this easy to read and equally easy to enjoy story.
There is so much to gain and so little to lose from enjoying The Assassin’s Trail by J.C. Fields. The action is well paced and the story doesn’t suffer for it. The realism makes our main character, Sean Kruger, that much more relatable. While he is a special agent with the FBI he really just wants to enjoy his life. That is something we can all relate to. Kruger doesn’t seem able to catch a break on the work-life balance of things. Things will come to a grinding halt though as Kruger is faced with the greatest decision of his career. Is this the end of Special Agent Sean Kruger? You’ll have to read it to find out! You won’t be disappointed.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B01JAW1VI8
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, assassination, author, book, book review, books, crime, crime book, crime drama, crime fiction, crime novel, detective, detective fantasy, detective fiction, drama, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, FBI, fbi story, fiction, goodreads, jc fields, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, mystery, mystery book, novel, police, political thriller, politices, publishing, reading, review, reviews, sean kruger, spies, spy, stories, suspense, the assassins trail, thriller, urban fantasy, writing
The Testimony of a Villain
The Testimony of a Villain by Aaron Harrell is a dark, slick ride into the gritty alleys of the inner city. The book is not your typical crime thriller but one with a social lens that can only be given substance by one who has lived it. The reader follows Manuel Doggett, a boy who lost everything to be formed by the streets and remade in its’ dark image. He is out for retribution not redemption when an opportunity arises to have his vengeance on one of the murderers of his family.
Harrell provides a fresh and new take to the “true crime” thriller. His style is so firmly set in the bitingly grime reality of the inner city that the reader could even give this novel a new sub-genre of socio-economic thriller. The new threads do not stop there either, because the plot of the book itself is almost like a hero’s journey in reverse. Manuel is the classic anti-hero and one that does not once look to the audience for sympathy. Instead, there is only apathy towards almost everything, except towards the memories of his past.
The weaving of the inner city struggle and the complex inner life of Manuel makes this novel a stand out for readers of not only crime thrillers, but also those who wish to delve into the dark, broken mind of a man walking the line between light and shadow. The writing is fraught with graphic images of both violence and sex and is not for the weak-hearted.
I found myself enjoying the book from the start, because of the quick and realistic dialogue and the meta conversation about corruption, justice and social strata. There are a lot of binaries at play here, between the poor and wealthy, justice and injustice, and morality and immorality. Harrell does a fantastic job with surveying these issues, touching on them just enough without becoming too explicit. I can only guess at what Harrell’s personal experience has been with the inner city, but I very much appreciated the taste of authenticity that he lends to the narrative.
I find Manuel to be a compelling character. Most readers may find something akin to the backstory of Batman here, but there is a real human struggle that Harrell puts on display often.
Overall, I do believe that The Testimony of a Villain stands up to the best the crime thriller genre has to offer. It makes for a pleasurable read for any fans of such novels!
Pages; 489 | ASIN: B06XG6FYVH
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: aaron harrell, action, african american, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, batman, black fantasy, black fiction, book, book review, books, corruption, crime drama, crime fiction, crime novel, crime thriller, dark fantasy, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, inner city, justice, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, novel, organized crime, publishing, reading, review, reviews, sex, social, stories, struggle, the testimony of a villain, thriller, true crime, urban decay, urban fantasy, villain, violence, writing
The Fugitive’s Trail
Suspense, intrigue and subterfuge. An agent chasing a fugitive who knows more than is healthy for him. What begins as a cat-and-mouse game evolves into a spectacle that is sure to entertain all readers. The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields appears to be the first book in a series centering on the skills of Special FBI Agent Sean Kruger. His son now off to college we meet Kruger as he sells his home and moves into a condo where he hopes to just relax and quietly move about his business. Relaxation is not so easily found for our agent. No sooner does Kruger make a romantic connection with his attractive neighbor than he is pulled into a man-hunt. Will Kruger catch this so-called fugitive and bring him to justice? Or is the thought of justice much more subjective than previously thought?
For a debut novel this is a fantastic piece of work. Any reader can tell that a lot of time and effort went into crafting this adventure. Fields has done his research in this area of crime fiction and it all feels quite realistic. Understanding how major organizations like the FBI, CIA or even the local police department work can be a daunting task for a new writer. Fields is clearly comfortable with this topic and has either studied or done enough research to become so. What’s unsettling with this genre is the matter of how loose-lipped certain agents can be when they are in the comfort of their home with their significant other.
Fields does a great job describing the scenery, particular points of interest and characters in general. The main characters in this particular book have their back stories fleshed out under the pretense of first-dates. Instead of feeling forced, this is a natural stage for such information to be shared. A clever trick indeed.
If there are any drawbacks it would be when Fields describes the race of a character. Using such phrases as ‘the black guy’, ‘the white guy’, or the ‘girl of Asian descent’ seems rather bland in comparison to how he describes other aspects of the book. Opportunities to describe a characters skin tone with more grace are missed here and it grates hard to read such a stereotypical and flat profile. Other parts of the character are described with more elegance which is what makes this particular aspect stand out.
If you are looking for an adventurous crime-drama where the elements of surprise and intrigue hide around the corner then The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields is a must-read. Quick-paced with easy to digest chapters and interesting characters you can’t go wrong by adding this to your collection. Besides, aren’t you curious to see just what happens when Kruger does catch the fugitive? The delectable twist shouldn’t be missed.
Pages: 307 | ASIN: B00WS00FW8
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, agent, amazon, amazon book, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, CIA, crime drama, crime fiction, detective, detective fantasy, detective fiction, drama, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, FBI, fiction, goodreads, jc fields, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, man hunt, mystery, novel, police, police drama, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, stories, suspense, the fugitives trail, thriller, urban fantasy, writing