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Urban ISIS – Trailer

Raised on the deadly streets of New Orleans, James Johnson is displeased and disheartened by the drug game and the sickness it’s inflicting on his race. Unexpectedly, James met and has befriended, America’s most wanted and deadliest fugitive, Osama Bin Laden. Now he and Osama have joined forces in an effort to eliminate the nations drug trade.

Recently inspired by the rapid growth of ISIS; James, a legendary figure and underworld boss, has amassed enormous wealth, acquired a Harvard education, and is now poised to revolutionize the entire nation.

However, the stakes are high and many powerful people will lose fortunes if James prevails. Foreign assassins are pouring into the United States to wage war in what will become the bloodiest international war ever fought in an effort to strengthen a race.

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Bizarre Coincidences

Jardine Henry Hart Author Interview

Jardine Henry Hart Author Interview

Rogue Genes follows Tommy who is dealing with the trauma of the military while seeking revenge for the death of his mother. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I woke one morning from a disturbing dream, and told my wife I was going to write a novel. The fact that the dream had no bearing on the eventual story line didn’t matter, at least it got the ball rolling. For the next two years I literally lived two lives, completely involved with every emotion of the characters I had created. A real labor of love.

I always knew that one day I would write a book or two, and for that reason I was never an avid reader. I simply didn’t want to have someone else’s story buried in my subconscious, to one day be revealed unintentionally, as my own. Originality was the key. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the enormity of the task (100000 words with two fingers) until I had committed myself, but by then it was tool late. I was hooked. The truth is I had absolutely no idea where the story was going from one day to the next, and this continued pretty well for 2 years. I think it would be accurate to say the book wrote me. I put a lot of thought into the characters, hoping to bring them to life,and from the feedback I have received I seem to have achieved that. Hopefully, one day the book might be a movie.

I guess the story does seem a little unbelievable at times, and I tried to counter that by making it obvious in the characters conversations that “you are never going to believe this, are you kidding me” or “unbelievable, you are going to have to write a book about this.” The funny thing is, you would probably never believe the number of those bizarre coincidences, or similar events, that I have actually encountered personally or indirectly in my life!

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Well I would love to do a sequel, but self publishing is no easy task, I guess the sales will dictate that.

From the moment nurse Marge McConichee laid eyes on the one-day old baby boy, abandoned at the hospital where she worked, she knew he was meant to be hers. Marge and her husband Joe had been hoping to adopt a child, and, after pulling a few strings, the baby was put in their care. They named him Tommy in honour of Joe’s father. Following Joe’s untimely death, Marge was forced to raise the rebellious Tommy on her own. A couple of stints in a boy’s detention centre are followed by a term in the army, where after graduating to the Special Service, Tommy finally returns home a somewhat damaged and reluctant hero. Eventually meeting the girl of his dreams, Tommy’s life is then shattered by the death of his beloved Marge; an event that sets him on a path to find his biological mother. His journey is littered with bizarre coincidences, and acts of evil, which leave Tommy determined to avenge the sins of the past. Some families have a member with a Rogue Gene, but in this family, it was part of their DNA.

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The Moving Blade

The Moving Blade by [Pronko , Michael ]

This book made it to my favorites list before I even finished reading it. I am a sucker for a good mystery and The Moving Blade provides suspense and intrigue from the very first chapter. In fact, the first chapter is what kept me going through the next several chapters which do get a bit dry as far as action goes. However, I love the authors style of writing which is very descriptive without being overly wordy and this keeps the reader interested even when nothing spectacularly interesting is happening.

The characters are effortlessly interesting which I think is pretty hard to accomplish, so kudos to the author there as well. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Shibata, who was an old friend of Jamie’s recently deceased father. Shibata is eager to meet with Jamie after her father’s (Bernard Mattson)  funeral and while his demeanor is calm and kind and heartwarming you can tell there is something more to him than he lets on to. It’s also clear early on that Jamie is in for more than she bargained for and that staying in Tokyo to settle her father’s affairs will not be as simple as expected.

The main intrigue of the story surrounds Bernard Mattson’s writings, which are unpublished but well sought after at the time of his death. In fact, Jamie immediately finds herself bombarded by those who wish to obtain them. The detectives on the case of Mattson’s murder are unsure that his death was politically motivated, but it quickly unfolds that the missing manuscript was probably the driving factor behind his death.

The book is a good mix of drama between its many likeable characters and the action that can be expected from a murder mystery. I love the imagery that the author invokes with his good use of descriptions. For instance, reading about the book shop owned by the Endo brothers (maybe because I love books!) gave me such a great image of the shop. I find that in a lot of newer books that I pick up these types of small details are left out and they really make or break a book in my opinion. I also loved the description of Shibata’s home. When Jamie mentioned that she somewhat remembered his house, he told her that it was actually a completely different house and only looked the same on the inside. These little details are a great addition to the literary quality of the book and I found them throughout the story.

These are the types of things that really stand out to me and give the author distinction as a great writer. Some books you read because they’re quick and fun, but like I said, this one ended up on my favorite’s list because of the great writing.

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B07GCYRY61

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A u 7 9: A Tracker Novel

A u 7 9: A Tracker Novel by [Dickason, Anita]

Stuart Dyson of the Laredo ATF is missing, and his girlfriend, Tracy, an officer with the Laredo police department, just may know more than she is willing to share with the men and women dedicated to finding Stuart. When the FBI Trackers are assigned Stuart’s case, Tracy cooperates while running her own investigation on the side. The Trackers are a specialized unit within in the FBI and have a stunning track record of successes. They are Stuart’s best hope, but they can barely do their job for keeping Tracy in check. When the entire investigation hinges on determining the significance of a note scrap reading “27.43 pounds”, the Trackers find themselves fighting against the clock to rescue not only Stuart but Tracy as well.

Anita Dickason’s A u 7 9 is a unique brand of thriller. The FBI Trackers embody all of the mind-blowing aspects of the FBI, and Nicki Allison stands out among the members of the team. Her dedication to each investigation knows no boundaries, including sleep. Dickason paints a vivid picture of Nicki as she manipulates her way through staggering amounts of data to pinpoint needed evidence. She is a character to be admired.

Eddie Owens, the young reporter receiving anonymous tips as to Stuart’s possible involvement in his own disappearance, plays a key role throughout the book. Not one of the characters readers might put a lot of stock in at the outset of the book, Eddie becomes more and more colorful as the chapters pass. Eddie easily stands as my favorite character from A u 7 9.

I appreciate the way Dickason stretches out each discovery and keeps readers guessing regarding the meaning of the “27.43 pounds.” As each character ponders the meaning and subsequent research is conducted by the Trackers, the reader becomes increasingly invested in finding out how something so seemingly insignificant could impact Stuart and the fight to find him before his time runs out.

I am not sure I can remember the last thriller I read that has such a satisfying way of slowly revealing the connection between the title and the book’s plot. I kept trying to guess the significance of A u 7 9 to the sequence of events and was pleasantly surprised at the ultimate reveal. Dickason pulls together the plot and title in a unique and refreshing way.

Dickason’s writing is engaging to say the least. Many times, books of this genre can be heavy on narrative. Dickason, however, provides the perfect blend of dialogue and narrative adding to the overall depth of her characters.

As far as crime thrillers go, Dickason has hit it out of the park. The team of Trackers who serve as her main characters do not disappoint, consistently provide suspense, drama, and humor. Any fan of crime dramas/mysteries will be drawn to both the writing style and the engaging plot of A u 7 9. Dickason’s own background in law enforcement plays heavily into her writing and makes for a book no fan of crime thrillers will be able to forget.

Pages: 315 | ASIN: B07CWG4DD5

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YEGman

YEGman by [Lavery, Konn]

YEGman by Konn Lavery is a dark thrilling romp through the back allies and underworld of Edmonton, Canada. Michael Bradford, our hero, is a vigilante, who struggles with violence. His issues aren’t going to get better as he investigates the most notorious gang in Edmonton, the Crystal moths. His methods are caught on film and uploaded online to become viral sensations and are labeled with the hashtag, YEGman. The videos fascinate a rebellious journalist, who wishes to cover the story of this mysterious hero.

This novel is an unexpectedly gritty trip through the Canadian crime scene that I don’t find too often in literature. Most of what comes to mind may be cozy mysteries, not ultra-violent vigilantes dealing with criminals. The novel takes a fun turn with the involvement of the student, Lola and how she gives a better and deeper inside look of the gang culture. In some ways, the trope is rather familiar with an attractive journalist in training along with the brooding vigilante in Bradford. It kind of brings to mind a mix of Batman, Spiderman, and Lois Lane. It’s an affirmation of Lavery’s skill to synthesize all of this together to make a novel that engages the reader and doesn’t let up until the end.

Lavery’s style leans on description, which helps to develop the world of this noir thriller, but I felt that the characters sometimes overly explain things. The prose is decent and kept me involved, but the pacing sometimes slows because of the over explanation which left me often wandering from the story. With an action packed story like this, putting the brakes on to go into detailed explanations lowers the tension on an otherwise exciting story.

This novel is plenty gritty, with a dark narrative and the definite feel that danger lurks within every shadow. With a consistently murky tone and treacherous atmosphere to the novel I was able to sink my teeth into the dark underworld set in an alternative Edmonton. For Canadian readers and noir thriller aficionados alike this novel would be a fun read, even people who enjoy a little bit of mystery and can tolerate the violence, this is recommended reading. Overall, an exciting addition to Lavery’s body of work.

Pages: 461 | ASIN: B07B3N5S92

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Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by [Anastasiou, Mel]

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, by Mel Anastasiou, is a series of dramatic detective mysteries. The novel contains four different detective stories, each of which are interconnected yet independent. In addition to the stories, the opening of the book contains an interesting philosophical and logical argument. It also gives a hint to some of the content of the book. Anastasiou does an excellent job of providing depth to not only the characters and their actions and motivations, but also in the general style of her writing.

The novel practically seems to drip with British style. So much so, that without careful reading and generous knowledge of Canadian and American culture and institutions, most readers will probably assume that it is set somewhere in Britain instead of actually being set in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Having read her, Stella Ryman engenders the same feelings as most Dorothy Sayers detective stories. However, there are some subtle differences between the style of Stella Ryman and the British detective novels of the 19th and early 20th century. Those old stories tended to deal with a static, aristocratic society, police forces that were not corrupt, but were certainly not in any position to solve the case, and a lack of emotion among the affected cast of characters. Stella Ryman is similar and brings in other classic mystery themes: a senior care home provides a rather static environment (even though the residents may invariably change from time to time), the managers of the care home are bumbling but not corrupt, there are no supernatural causes in the story, there is a secret passageway, and Stella has a tendency to honestly declare her thoughts, intuitions, and deductions.

There are also significant tie-ins to American pulp detective novels as well, primarily in the commonality of the characters (there are almost no aristocrats and most people are average and middle-class) and the feeling of inevitability—that truth will out and that justice will be done. Overall, Stella Ryman seems to fit roughly a quarter of the way between British and American writing styles—perfect for Canada.

Stella Ryman, as a character, is quintessentially heroic — in the classic sense. At points throughout the book, it appears that Anastasiou is reading Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces as she is writing her own book. In the beginning, Stella refuses the call to adventure (being a detective), is completely content with her own mortality, and is merely waiting to die. Eventually, she realizes that there is a third option—something besides life and death. As a side note, herein lies a common theme within the novel, the breaking of logical fallacies—ad hominem, false dichotomies, circular arguments, causal fallacies, and hasty generalizations being the most common. Stella, after making her third choice, is confronted with supernatural assistance (Mad Cassandra, whom is herself rife with mythological allusions). Stella runs across a few other mentors along the way, makes a deep, personal transformation, and returns with a gift for her fellow residents: the ability to make life worth living again.

Overall, this book is an excellent read, full of colorful characters. Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, is appropriate for teenage and adult readers. Although younger demographics may have difficulty with some of the allusions and references that are peppered throughout the book. Younger readers may also have difficulty relating to an octogenarian, but Stella’s tenacity is something certainly worth emulating. There is no obvious sexual content (there are hints, however) or illicit drug use, there is some personal violence, and a lot of discussion of heavy, emotional and existential topics.

Pages: 151 | ASIN: B06XTG2GWJ

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Serial K Returns

Serial K Returns by [Gallagher, Brian]

If you were waiting to find out what happened to Craig Breedlove, then look no further. Brian Gallagher returns to the mind of Breedlove and his unnatural obsessions in Serial K Returns. Once again, we find ourselves in the mind of a serial killer: we witness the world from his point of view and become intimately aware of what exactly drives him. It’s unclear how much time has passed since the first book and the second, but Breedlove appears to be a bit older than he was the first time he tangoed with the FBI. Ryan O’Callahan and Lea Pucci also make their return in this continuation of Serial K. Their relationship has progressed but how far these two will get in their renewed chase with Breedlove awaits us in this book.

Gallagher is good at making his characters seem like real human beings. Perhaps that is why there is so much profanity when they speak. While there is a certain level of profanity expected from a crime-thriller for adults, and we know from experience that Breedlove doesn’t have the largest vocabulary, it does detract from the tale when reading about FBI agents discussing a case and they are prone to swear every five seconds.

If that’s not something that makes you put down a book, then you won’t be disappointed with what’s left within the pages of this novel. While not perfect, the core of this story is very entertaining. This is not Gallagher’s first novel and his experience shows. The story flows better than the first one. He also cleverly intersects two different characters from two different books into the same world. This is exciting for those who enjoy reading stories that take place in the same universe. It shows a careful sense of world-building to have these two different stories connect on such a base level without feeling forced or contrived.

I felt that there was some unreal character development on behalf of Breedlove in the last few chapters. Breakthroughs in his own perception of the world and how he comes to view the people who are chasing him happen quickly. There is no concrete resolution on what will happen to Breedlove by the end of the novel, this may be Gallagher setting the stage for a third installment of the series, however. So, there might be something to look forward to in the end.

If you like reading edgy stories that push the boundaries than you will enjoy this second piece to the story of Craig Breedlove in Serial K Returns by Brian Gallagher. It’s a gritty diamond in the rough that would have benefited from another edit, but is otherwise very entertaining. The thought process behind Serial K Returns is just as forward-thinking as it was the first time in Serial K. Getting into the mind-space of a serial killer; identifying what drives them and what moves them to kill is not an easy task. This where I believe Brian Gallagher shines, and where Serial K Returns stands out from the rest. This will have you wondering how much of Breedlove do you see in yourself.

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B06Y3JNCSZ

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The Felony Lane Gang

A wave of crime grasped center stage at the beginning of the volcanic summer. The often abused by police, misused by society, shunned, and stereotyped patrons of the “hood” decided that their reparations would no longer be paid by the normal “Smash and grab”. Gun laws had changed. Stiffer penalties and mandatory time was a constant reminder whenever, The Felony Lane Gang clocked in. Blue collar crime was now at an all time low. White collar crime was their new way of life. Three siblings stormed into a world of destruction when the youngest known as Crackaboi decided to part ways with his modest upbringing. For the love of her baby brother Glory unknowingly stepped into a web of drugs and exotic entertainment. Tjohnnie, the oldest and the coldest felt a need to protect his siblings. After losing their parents to unfortunate circumstances, TJohnnie secretly led two lives. A college football player by day. A counterfeiter and money launderer for the Infamous Seminole Indian Tribe by night. Tired of the gruesome torture for hire jobs, Crackaboi teams up with a longtime friend and brutal killer Lil Turk. Together they mastermind the greatest heist in United States history. Surpassing Al Capone and Jon Gotti, the ruthless duo targeted every financial institution that was federally insured. Their lavish lifestyle enticed other potential members. Dodging the Feds, ducking the local authorities and slaughtering anyone who wandered down their path, they notoriously became known as, ” The Felony Lane Gang”. With crooked cops on their trail, the street rogues decide to take on one last heist. Crackaboi and Lil Turk burglarize a  century  old abandoned warehouse, in search of a quarter of million dollars supposedly stashed inside an old safe. They embark on a journey that leads to their beloved Glory, on life support fighting to stay alive. A bloody street-war against the Mexican Cartel Assassins and a trail of bodies that lead down a sea of destruction. With ties to the Illuminati and a billionaire oil tycoon, the double steel door safe tightly held secrets that would send chills through a psychopath’s spine.

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The “Urban Explorer” Subculture

Gordon MacKinney Author Interview

Gordon MacKinney Author Interview

Follow Me Down is a thrilling novel that follows Lucas as he seeks justice for his family while uncovering corruption in the city’s largest real estate development company. What was your inspiration for this novel and the setup to the story?

The never-used subway beneath Cincinnati is real—built during the Depression but abandoned and sealed up. I lived for years near Cincinnati, both scared and intrigued by ghosts beneath my feet. When I later learned about the “urban explorer” subculture, I HAD to write the story.

One thing I really appreciated in this story was the authenticity of the relationships. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?

Observant readers will notice one consistent theme for the four main characters: the plight of the underdog. Lucas, suppressed by corporate corruption. Alfred Blumenfeld, put down by cruel social mores, and Tricia Blumenfeld too, unwilling to play the part of the “good girl.” And Reuben, victimized for being short and Jewish. These characters deserved a voice and a shot at justice.

Lucas explores Cincinnati’s underground in this novel and the scenes were detailed and well developed. Why did you choose this setting for the novel?

In the story, protagonist Lucas reflects on a childhood experience descending voluntarily into a well on his grandfather’s farm. That scene resembles my own childhood “adventure.” What urban explorers do is just damn cool, risking capture and physical dangers in very cool places. Also, the noblest among these modern-day adventurers respect and revere the places they infiltrate. I admire them.

I find a problem in well-written novels, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?

Thank you! While I’m finished with Lucas for now, two new stories are underway. The first fictionalizes a true 1980’s battle between an auto manufacturer and an underdog labor union. The second, set in small-town USA, explores the plight of another underdog, a young woman unjustly blamed for a deadly accident.

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Follow Me Down by [MacKinney, Gordon]

Urban explorer Lucas Tremaine should buckle down and complete his Masters in Architecture, but the past torments him. Six years earlier, Drax Enterprises’ negligence killed his father and left his mother strung out on Valium. Lucas longs to punish the corrupt behemoth of Cincinnati real estate development, but what can one man do?

“Plenty,” says old Mr. Blumenfeld, Lucas’s boss and a former photojournalist with too many secrets. Evidence to bury Drax exists, he claims, but to find it, Lucas must breach the city’s welded-shut subway system. Lucas takes the plunge, aided by his best friend and moral compass, Reuben Klein.

The deeper the duo infiltrates the dangerous underground, the further back they turn the clock. They learn that Drax’s corruption intertwined with fascism’s rise in Germany. That campfire tales of a subway crypt were true. That no one can be trusted, not even Lucas’s boss.

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Point of Return and Vanquished

Point of Return and Vanquished

Point of Return by Lloyd Tosoff is an action thriller set in Great Britain. The story centers on a struggling, naive accountant Ian MacLeod and his entanglement with a murder conspiracy concocted by the Glaswegian underworld. He doesn’t become involved by choice because it is his friends who choose to mess with the Glasgow mob and their violent ways. He left the city, but after becoming an accountant, being in a loveless marriage, and losing his job, he ends up going back. He meets an old friend and a stranger when he arrives, and the mystery and conflict begin to envelop him as he realizes he has to fight for his life or lose it.

This novel is part of a “double novel” series, but Point of Return stands on its own as a snappy thriller that follows Ian Fleming’s Bond series. The first chapter begins with MacLeod still in Glasgow and his decision to leave the city, and then we jump eleven years into the future to when the real action starts, and the story picks up from there.

In many ways, Tosoff follows the regular beats for the unsuspecting hero to be swept up into a conspiracy and for a thriller, this trope is not a particularly unusual one. The real grit of Tosoff is how he chooses to have MacLeod deal with his past and personal connection to Glasgow instead. A victim of abuse at the hands of a violent stepfather, his inner demons come through in small bits and shapes his character. The reader is gradually introduced to these pieces of MacLeod’s past, and for the reader, it helps invest more of themselves in the narrative and our precarious hero.

The atmosphere and pacing do wonders for this book, which is critical for a thriller and Tosoff manages all of these elements quite well. The few times that the novel does become predictable it’s uniquely colored by MacLeod’s past struggles and how he faces them. I hope that his past conflicts come to a better resolution in the sequel, Vanquished, which takes place immediately following this novel, because I can’t wait to see what happens.

This novel is a perfect fit for fans of crime and spy thrillers, and fans of Ian Fleming may find a welcome new home among Tosoff’s pages.

Pages: 560 | ASIN: 1505533090

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