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The Cold Trail

The Cold Trail (The Sean Kruger Series Book 4) by [Fields, J.C.]

J.C. Fields has brought back our favorite FBI special agent Sean Kruger in The Cold Trail. Without missing a beat, we pick up where we left off: Kruger is retired, teaching at a university and things are moving along for him. However, when an incident that reminds him of an unsolved set of cases from his past pops up, Kruger goes back to where he’s most comfortable: to the FBI. Kruger is truly in his prime as he works to apprehend a malicious murderer who has haunted him all these years. It’s an emotional roller coaster that involves international intrigue and understanding of the human soul. Fields does not disappoint in this installment in the saga that is Sean Kruger’s life.

There’s no denying that Kruger’s retirement from the FBI in the last installment of the series may have left fans wanting more. Whether it was planned or not, Fields has given us more time with Kruger. The chilling case that Kruger couldn’t solve in the nineties has come back in full force as he attempts to settle in at the university. We know Kruger isn’t made for this and he soon returns to the FBI, hot on the trail of the elusive perpetrator of heinous acts. The emotion is raw as Fields uses his skill to describe a very disturbing chain of events that left several college athletes missing. The best part about a book by Fields is that while it is not lacking in action and intrigue, there is also compassion and an excellent unveiling of the human heart and mind.

There are moments when the reader will hold their breath, waiting in anticipation of what will happen next. Fields keeps all of us guessing who the true criminal is while pulling out all the stops along the way. Characters we know and love from earlier installments in the series make their appearance and Fields has clearly crafted a spectacular world. Characters don’t suddenly act contrary to how they were portrayed in earlier books which can be hard to do when you’ve been spanning four full length novels. While it might seem unrealistic to develop four full novels in less than five years, Fields does it and he does it well.

The best part about reading a Fields book, aside from wonderfully crafted characters, is the fact that he makes his genres easy to read for those who may not be familiar with them. Mysteries and thrillers set in a law enforcement atmosphere run the risk of inundating readers with terminology and actions that will be alien to them unless they have worked in that field or have been aggressively reading books in that setting for a long time. Fields knows this and uses just enough vernacular to make it believable while also catering to all types of readers.

Anyone who is looking for an excellent read about the human condition and what we are all capable of needs to pick up a copy of J.C. Fields’ The Cold Trail as soon as possible. Readers will no doubt come to love Sean Kruger and his band of merry agents as they traverse the country in their quest to quell the darkness of the human soul.

Pages: 357 | ASIN: B07DTJN5X2

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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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Obsessive Quest

Russ Melrose Author Interview

Russ Melrose Author Interview

Finding AJ follows FBI Agent Jules as she searches for a serial killer through a zombie apocalypse. What were some themes you wanted to carry over from book 1 and what was a new direction you wanted to take in book 2?

The themes were quite different in Jacob’s Odyssey and Finding AJ. While the main theme in Jacob’s Odyssey was centered around Jake’s internal journey, the main theme in Finding AJ was Jules’ obsessive quest to find the serial killer known as the Calligrapher. However there is a common theme that runs through both novels, and that has to do with the incredible beauty of nature that surrounds us, yet the human race seems bent on self-destruction. At one point in Jacob’s Odyssey, Jake comments on how he’s always thought of the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley as being as “eden-like” as any place on earth. There are beautiful descriptions of nature in both novels.

The town of Gideon is one of the last remaining towns in the apocalypse. How did you imagine a town would come together and survive in a time like this?

The only way the people of Gideon, or any other post-apocalyptic setting, could survive is by working together to solve any problems that came up. “Working together” is the key. Gideon had good leaders and the people there were willing to do their part in order to survive.

Jules is a determined FBI agent, but faces some tough decisions. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to her characters development?

The personal obstacles Jules needed to overcome had to do with her tendency toward being a self-reliant lone wolf. She generally doesn’t connect with or open herself up to others. She has difficulty giving her trust. She doesn’t let anyone in. It isn’t easy for her, but eventually she opens herself up and begins to connect with others. And she has to “trust” someone if she’s going to find the serial killer, and toward the end she finally does.

Will there be a book 3 in the Apocalypse Journeys series and where will that take readers?

There may be a 3rd novel. I’m not sure yet. It depends on how well Finding AJ does. Simple as that. If there is a third novel, it will combine characters from the first two novels. They will be at the underground government complex that is mentioned in Jacob’s Odyssey. This is the same complex where the virus was developed, and there are still experiments going on there. The conspiracy will be revealed, and virtually everyone (Jake, Sarah, Becky, Jules, Caleb, and others) will be in danger. Lukas Melzer will, of course, be there, as well as the new president of the United States. And deep in the complex are a host of grays (zombies), including the alpha called Eve. And don’t be terribly surprised if the Swimmer from Jacob’s Odyssey makes a return. He’s the baddest alpha around. Can’t leave him out.

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Finding AJ (Apocalypse Journeys Book 2) by [Melrose, Russ]The world has fallen apart, the FBI gone, but former Agent Jules Vandevelde won’t stop. She can’t. She’s driven to find the psychopathic serial killer known as the Calligrapher.

Her search leads her to Gideon, Utah, a small town in the southern part of the state. There, amongst the 116 survivors, a serial killer hides in plain sight. There’s only one clue to his identity. Using a scalpel, he inscribes the letters AJ into the abdominal area of his victims–postmortem–in an ancient Chinese text called Tsao, the lettering precise and artistic.

Jules knows the key to finding the Calligrapher lies in discovering the identity of AJ. If she can find AJ, she can find the Calligrapher. But the Calligrapher knows who Jules is. Jules must survive the infected and find the Calligrapher before she becomes his latest victim.

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Yellow River Pledge Book Trailer

Dr. Jordan Chamberlain is a successful, beautiful, young medical examiner with the perfect husband, the perfect life, and perfect friends. Somewhat of a whiz, kid, she’s younger than most Medical Examiners and enjoys a bit of glamour whenever her forensic data is sent to trial. To an outside observer, Jordan has it all, until that is, her husband, Jason, announces without warning that he doesn’t want to be married anymore and Jordan’s perfect life crashes and burns around her.

Jordan buries herself even deeper in her work, temporarily embarking on a career consulting with the FBI’s Violet Crimes Division under the careful eye of college friends turned colleagues, who support her during her as she tries to rebuild her life.

Her future, however, is about to be compromised once more when she becomes the target of the serial killer she’s been pursuing.

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Finding AJ: Apocalypse Journeys 2

Finding AJ (Apocalypse Journeys Book 2) by [Melrose, Russ]We meet the protagonist of Russ Melrose’s Finding A.J.: Apocalypse Journeys 2 as she sits on the side of a gravel road in the Mojave Desert, head in her hands. Jules is not the crying kind, but that’s exactly what she’s doing. The tough FBI agent pulls it together despite the crumbling world around her to work on a case that she can’t let go. A tough case for this tough agent is made tougher by the apocalyptic state the world is now in. The dead, also known as “grays” or the “infected”, walk the streets hunting for their next meal while Jules goes from town to town hunting for a serial killer whose case she hasn’t been able to solve.

Finding A.J. stands alone as a book even though it is part of a series. You do not need to know anything more than this book provides to understand the plot of this book. (But, I’d like to go back and read part 1 now!)

Jules is an independent, no-nonsense kind of girl. She is more than self-sufficient. She seems like she could be a loner and wouldn’t mind keeping it that way. However, she doesn’t stay alone for long. She finds a teenage girl in desperate need of her help and rescues her from her captor. Addy, the girl she rescues, then becomes sort of a foster daughter to Jules despite Jules’s objections. Addy would likely have been a loner too, but with the world falling apart and her recent captivity and abuse she needs to cling to someone. She needs someone to trust. That someone will be Jules.

Jules and Addy make an eventful trek to the town of Gideon. That is where most of the story plays out. Gideon is a town that is still hanging on, even if by a thread. There is still a mayor and policemen, which is more than can be said for many post-apocalyptic towns. A large chunk of the population has been infected and died, but anarchy hasn’t quite reached Gideon yet. The townspeople cling to any semblance of normalcy they can even while they are uprooted. Readers will get to know many of the people in the town. They will also be suspicious of everyone they meet. The townspeople all have jobs and duties to perform for the sake of self-preservation. The dead are walking, there is a killer among them, and all they have is each other.

Parts of the book reminded me of scenes from The Walking Dead. Tasks as simple as grocery shopping become major undertakings with the “grays” wandering around. Supply runs put many characters in danger. Every seemingly menial task becomes exceedingly difficult. You will breathe sighs of relief as plans come together, and hold your breath when they don’t.

The book is very well written. It is not hard to follow, and the plot flows well. Characters are well developed and enough backstory is given to assist with that development. As the events of the story play out, you will question each character.  No one can be trusted. You will hang onto the edge of your seat waiting to find out who the serial killer is and if Jules can catch them.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B07CZ4VS2R

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A u 7 9: A Tracker Novel

A Texas ATF agent, Stuart Dyson, has disappeared. When the local investigation stalls, FBI Tracker Adrian Dillard arrives in Laredo to find out why. He’s not greeted with open arms.

Plagued by the resentment from the local agents, his every lead dead ends—literally. As the body count rises, Adrian’s uncanny intuition kicks into high gear. Who knows more than they are telling? Is the missing agent an unwitting victim, or a deadly mastermind? And who is staying a step ahead of him?

Dyson’s fiancée, Homicide Detective Tracy Harlowe, may have the answers, but she’s not talking. The secrets the impetuous detective is hiding could very well get her killed.

A chilling discovery that links the two largest Texas Universities puts Homeland Security on high alert. Pressure mounts as the President demands answers. When Tracy disappears, Adrian knows he’s running out of time. There’s only one question left. Who dies next?

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A Strange Combination

David K. Hulegaard Author Interview

David K. Hulegaard Author Interview

Icarus details the captivating account of P.I. Brinkman’s investigation into the disappearance of young Jane Emmett. What was your inspiration behind this story?

I’ve suffered from night terrors since I was a child, and sometimes the dreams can get pretty intense. Over time, I’ve learned how to use this to my advantage, and I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand to scribble down as much as I can remember. The first seeds of Icarus began there, and then I started to fill in the rest over the next couple of months. I’d say the concept is a hybrid of influences: the TV series Lost, the video game series BioShock, and the movie Battle Royale. It’s a strange combination of things that really shouldn’t fit together, but I still somehow felt they could.

This story is set in West Virginia in 1947. Why did you choose this time and place as the backdrop?

I wanted the story to take place in a fictitious location, but still feel believable. I love it when people tell me they’ve googled Ashley Falls trying to find it on a map. 😊 I guess I’ve always been drawn to small towns. I love the sense of community, and the whole “everyone knows everybody” atmosphere. Ashley Falls is a sleepy little town nestled away in the woods, but close enough to big cities so that it’s not completely cut off from the rest of the world. I ultimately chose West Virginia because of its proximity to key places I thought would make for a great setting.

As for the decade, it was the perfect fit for what I was trying to accomplish. I’m fascinated with urban legends and conspiracy theories, and some of my favorites are from the ‘50s and ‘60s. I thought it would be fun to pull some of that mid-century paranoia into a post-WWII world and see what it might’ve looked like. I mean, if people reported seeing men in black in the ‘60s, how much earlier were they in existence before they were actually noticed?

One thing I found exceptional in this novel was the characters, especially Miller Brinkman. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating his character?

Thank you! I really appreciate that. What I ultimately wanted for Miller was to be relatable. When you look at some of the most famous detectives in literature, you start to see a lot of the same characteristics. I wanted to create a character who was different. He’s not a big city P.I., and he doesn’t have much experience dealing with things like kidnapping and murder. Although he’s a logical and capable sleuth, Miller’s still sort of getting his feet wet and learning on the job. I wanted readers to come along on his journey and hopefully be invested in his growth.

It was also important to me to find the right balance in his character. He’s not Superman, but he’s not bumbling either. No answer comes to him easily. I wanted him to work hard for every inch he advances in the case.

Icarus is the first book in the Noble Trilogy. What can readers expect from book 2 in the series, The Invisible War?

The Invisible War is a bit of a departure from Icarus. It had to be. Miller couldn’t have gone through the events of the first book and come out the same man, so I really wanted to explore his mental state, and what that meant for his future. He made some powerful allies in Icarus, and those relationships open the door for him to explore a new opportunity working with the F.B.I.

In Icarus, we see Miller working somewhat in a silo. In The Invisible War, he’s handed a rather sinister case that’s going to require more help, and he’s put in charge of a special task force. Miller’s never had to lead before, so this is an opportunity for him to evolve even further.

However, something else is changing inside Miller at the same time. He’s becoming stronger. Faster. Bloodthirsty. Something dormant inside of him is beginning to bloom.

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It’s the winter of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, and a teenage girl has gone missing. Local private detective Miller Brinkman takes the case, quickly uncovering a string of bizarre clues. A hidden diary, cryptic riddles, and buried secrets all pique Miller’s interest, but one key detail gives him pause: the girl’s parents haven’t reported her disappearance to the authorities. As the case deepens, Miller’s investigation begins to poke holes in the idyllic picture of his beloved hometown. No longer certain whether anyone in his community can be trusted, Miller dives headfirst into a desperate search for the truth that extends far beyond the borders of Ashley Falls. He soon discovers that his missing persons case is not an isolated incident, but part of an otherworldly mystery—one that, if confronted, may threaten the very future of humanity.

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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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Shadow of the Moon

Shadow of the Moon: A Fantasy of Love, Murder and Werewolves by [Griffeth, Kwen]

Shadow of the Moon, written by Kwen Griffeth, follows Special Agent Adaline “Andee” Trakes and Detective Gerald Meeker who are sent to a shocking crime scene in Central Park. Here, a faceless man sparks the beginning of a thrilling investigation into the life and death of a diplomat’s son.

Together they work on the case where they uncover an unusual aspect of the murder. Werewolves, or more importantly, a werewolf executioner, seems to be on the loose. Baffled by the case, Trakes is sent to meet with a history professor, Alwyn Lloyd, who specializes in myths and legends. Andee Trakes will soon learn that there may be some truth behind the notion of werewolves as she delves deep into a world of hierarchy and crime. Who is the killer behind these gruesome attacks?

Shadow of the Moon is a crime novel with a dash of supernatural mystery that will have you fixed to the edge of your seat. Prepare to be taken on a wild ride as you uncover gruesome secrets involving werewolves, FBI agents, and killers. There’s a taste of everything in this novel, from crime to romance, to action and mystery.

The first scene is gruesome, with a man who has been shot with what appears to be a canon to his face. Even the tracker dogs are avoiding the scene like the plague, leaving the agents baffled by the scene. Andee Trakes takes on the case, determined to get the bottom of the killer’s intentions, even if she stumbles across more than what she bargained for. Arthur Hubbard, the Special Agent in Charge of the case, is wary of her and how much she has been shifted around. Trakes takes it in her stride and proves that she is more than just a pretty face. She’s confident, smart and understands the motives of killers better than most.

One of my favorite characters was Professor Alwyn Lloyd. Lloyd is smooth, sexy and claims to be an Alpha werewolf. When Trakes goes to meet Lloyd for information, there is an instant attraction between the pair. However, there is more to Lloyd then meets the eye and Trake’s must divide her attention between her attraction to the Professor and government business. Lloyd provides deep intel into the history of werewolves, leaving the reader with the impression that they could potentially be a very real and alive.

Shadow of the Moon takes readers on a journey where they are able to visit the parks, city, and homes of the people who live in the great city of New York. Kwen Griffeth paints a picture of a busy city life and provides a stark imagery contrasted with Trakes visits to the countryside. Griffeth, as usual, provides a literary masterpiece that will capture the reader’s attention with its clever plot line and intriguing characters.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys being kept on their toes as they delve into crime, romance, and supernatural beings.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B075XCD516

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