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Siciliana

What would you do if you were born into a world where you had no control over your future? Aetna Vespiri, a young Sicilian woman living in French-controlled Sicily in the 1200’s, defies her own fate in answering this question.

Carlo Treviso’s Siciliana weaves a legendary tale, recounting Aetna’s journey as she struggles to bring Sicilians together in rebellion against their French conquerors, the Angevins. Aside from the overarching national struggle, Aetna, along with dynamic side characters like Fra’Diavulu, a formidable man in a devil mask who wields a flaming sword, and Don Rapaci, a great knight who fights with the help of an eagle, also face familial and identity struggles to form a very thrilling conclusion.

Treviso creates a captivating and realistic depiction of rebellion, as he describes both the awe-inspiring nationalistic moments, such as the creation of a new flag, as well as the less rosy-colored moments that happen in the shadows, such as a mob’s bloodthirstiness against the abusive Angevins. The author, the son of a Sicilian immigrant, uses this book to capture the heart of a Sicilian identity, describing the culture, food (he includes little recipes at the back of the book!), architecture, and strong connection to family (cosca). These descriptions help justify why Sicilians wanted to create a national identity for themselves, as well as how they all managed to band together despite a high risk of death.

I heartily enjoyed this rousing historical thriller, but I felt that some of the side characters were not as developed as other characters. While Treviso creates some interesting and unique characters to read about, others felt dull in comparison to the main characters.

I recommend Siciliana to readers who are interested in Sicilian culture or engrossing historical fiction. While the book feels lengthy at times, watching Aetna overcome one impossible situation after another is engaging, and all the elements of Sicilian culture sprinkled in speak to Treviso’s immense heart and personal connection with this story.

Pages: 483 | ASIN: B09TQ5R61R

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Disorder

Disorder by Antim Strauss is a riveting story about the most infamous US presidential election in recent times. This fictional narrative is based on actual events and explores the actions of a mysterious figure known as The Fixer. The reader is hooked from the start as the story begins with a message by The Fixer himself, addressing the reader. Individual chapters are dedicated to the thoughts and words of The Fixer, whose poetic lines are pretty gripping. As the story progresses, we realize how the actions of The Fixer are about to cause a catastrophe. An unstable, and disgraceful candidate becomes the frontrunner of the GOP, and a massive disinformation campaign is afoot to ensure his victory. Tipped off by a former president, journalist Geoffrey Wines along with fellow journalist, hacker, and Superman enthusiast Jimmy Olsen, discovers a much deeper conspiracy. One that threatens the very essence of American Democracy.

Disorder opens in a slow-burn style giving readers the background leading up to the election and introducing The Fixer. The words of The Fixer, nicknamed Elvis, add freshness to the narrative and gives readers a unique perspective. Similarly, the author has done an excellent job of conveying the thoughts of his characters within the text.

While the novel is a political thriller, readers are not inundated with suspenseful events. The story is well written and the narrative techniques used by the author are commendable. As a technothriller, there is a lot of technical jargon and computer-related stuff to appeal to the tech-savvy crowd. The best part about this story is the investigation by Geoffrey and Jimmy, along with other members of their team. The way the investigation is conducted and clues are connected are quite intriguing and will appeal to fans of compelling mysteries.

Disorder is a political fiction novel that parallels closely to recent events. Appealing to readers of mystery novels, political, techno, and psychological thrillers, this suspenseful and riveting novel has something for readers of all types.

Pages: 363 | ASIN : B09SBRYNHJ

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Driven By His Intellectual Curiosity

Ethan T. Burroughs Author Interview

Writ Reveal follows a diplomat that heads to assignment in Kuwait, where he discovers ancient Islamic writings and is thrown into a conspiracy that puts his life in danger. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for Writ Reveal essentially started with my research of reports of 1972 findings by German scientists of palimpsests, re-purposed Quranic writings, purported to pre-date the life of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, an ‘incendiary’ discovery, if true. I found these reports to be a fascinating overlay to another historic event, that of the 1258 razing of the great city of Baghdad by the Mongols. I connected them to real exhumations of Iraqi war dead from the 1990 Iraqi invasion of and subsequent expulsion from Kuwait. All this provided a convenient and terrifying backdrop for protagonist Clayton Haley, fresh off his survival of plots, conspiracies, and terror in prequel Messianic Reveal!

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I intentionally keep my protagonist credible, not heroic. He does not seek conflict, yet responds to it with the best of his ability when he faces it. He’s driven by his intellectual curiosity and his concern for his colleagues and friends, which gives him the courage to face the growing threats he encounters. He resents being characterized as a ‘glory hound’ yet is compelled to keep pulling threads of mystery and conspiracy as the hunt for his primary antagonist comes into focus.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

It’s essential that Writ Reveal, like its prequel Messianic Reveal, seems plausible. I love it when readers ask if these stories are true! Most incredible aspects in both books are indeed either true, or widely believed in the Middle East. I also like to explore how religions of good people are often exploited or manipulated by power hungry individuals. I expose much of this exploitation in my books while ensuring faiths and the people themselves are not denigrated.

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

I’m very pleased to note that Babylon Reveal is in production and will soon be edited. I anticipate a release in early 2023, followed by Prophecy Reveal in 2024! Both will continue Clayton Haley’s journey into historical intrigue, clash of belief systems, and terror.

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Writ Reveal continues Clayton Haley’s journey into Middle Eastern intrigue and conspiracy, picking up where prequel Messianic Reveal ended.
Haley restarts his diplomatic career, this time in Kuwait, where still-present trauma from the 1990 Iraqi invasion haunts local denizens. Haley’s exhumation of mortal remains ferries him figuratively and historically upriver to both modern and ancient Baghdad. He finds himself on course to salvage ancient writings, including Quranic palimpsests, manuscripts that potentially pre-date Islamic Prophet Mohammed’s visions, a truly epic reveal if realized.

As in the prequel’s Messianic Reveal, Haley stumbles into the combustible mix of religion and politics, resulting in rare scrutiny of one of the world’s largest religions. Re-joining the story are his Green Beret and intelligence friends, as well as a spectral, wealthy Bin Laden scion and his henchmen eager to eliminate Haley’s meddling, as all parties race to the reveal of the ancient writs secreted away during the 1258 razing of Baghdad by Mongols. Writ Reveal further develops Haley’s complex character and introduces new companions to help him in his discovery of the religious divides in the Middle East, and why they matter to and how they shape U.S. political ends. Writ Reveal offers bold introspection into how cruelly religious interpretation distorts and exploits the faith of the masses.

Writ Reveal

Writ Reveal is the second book in the Clayton Haley series written by Ethan T Burroughs and is the follow-up to Messianic Reveal.

Writ Reveal picks up not long after Messianic Reveal left off. Knowledge of the first book is helpful but not essential; Writ Reveal is easy to jump into. Following the fallout from Messianic Reveal, Haley is restarting his diplomatic career in Kuwait, a country haunted by the 1990 Iraqi invasion and bloodshed. Haley’s new role leads to the exhumation of human remains that soon drags him to Baghdad.

Haley is no good at staying out of trouble, and soon his curiosity gets the better of him again, and he is engulfed by a new conspiracy. During his trip to Baghdad, he finds himself on track to salvage ancient Islamic writings that predate the Prophet Mohammad’s visions.

This discovery threatens to upheave the middle eastern status quo and bring centuries of Islamic teachings into question. Unsurprisingly, this makes Haley an unpopular man, and soon all sides are gunning for him. Thankfully he still has his old green beret friends and intelligence colleagues for backup.

Reading Writ Reveal feels very much like reading a mixture of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Much like Brown, Burroughs is adept at taking historical fact and blending it with modern-day fiction. However, unlike in The Da Vinci Code, the conspiracies in Writ Reveal are far less outlandish and far more believable. Nevertheless, Haley’s character will remind readers of Ryan, and much of Writ Reveal’s contemporary political story would fit nicely into a Clancy novel.

However, Burroughs sets himself apart from Clancy and Brown in how he writes. Burroughs knowledge of and respect for the Middle East and Islam is evident in every line of Writ Reveal. Even when he is challenging Middle Eastern governments and their religious ideologies.

Burroughs deftly teaches his audience about this religious, historical, and political boiling pot without his prose ever becoming too dry. Writ Reveal is still as full of the gunfights and chases as we would expect from a book of this genre.

Writ Reveal is an excellent blend of historical and political thriller. This riveting novel will have readers of suspense and thriller novels on the edge of their seats.

Pages: 300 | ASIN : B09NV8QFLR

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The Truth Is More Sinister

Chris Kelsey
Chris Kelsey Author Interview

Ain’t Nothin’ Personal follows a suspended police chief who is pulled into an old unsolved case that turns into a murder investigation with ties to powerful people. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In a somewhat oblique way, the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre inspired this one. I grew up in Oklahoma in the 1970s, a time when explicit racism in the south (and I consider Oklahoma part of the deep south) was a way of life. I was in my 40s before I ever heard of the Tulsa massacre. Can you imagine something like that being covered up for so long? The coverup in Ain’t Nothin’ Personal is similar. The only African-American family in town has their house burned down. They disappear and people think they just moved away. No one talks about if for years, until an old racist makes a death bed confession and everyone realizes the truth is more sinister.

Emmett Hardy is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Emmett’s a mixture of crime fiction/film archetypes: the plain-spoken dispenser of frontier justice in the tradition of Will Kane in High Noon or the title character in Shane; the enigmatic, emotionally tortured detective in Phillip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels; the socially conscious righter of wrongs that you find on Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowell’s Beck mysteries. I should also mention Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn in Tony and Anne Hillerman’s books, Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire, as well as all the classic hard drinkers in noir literature, from Sam Spade to Phillip Marlowe to the twisted misfits found in every Jim Thompson story. What they all have in common (with the exception of Thompson’s creations), is their drive to do what they think is the right thing, regardless of the consequences to themselves.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Do the right thing. Love each other, love yourself. Greed is not good. Power corrupts. Be kind; we’re all in this together.

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

My next one is the fourth Emmett Hardy mystery, Junker Blues. It’s in the hands of my beta readers as we speak. It fast-forwards from where Ain’t Nothin’ Personal ends in the late ‘60s to the day Richard Nixon resigns the presidency in 1974. The OPEC oil embargo has rejuvenated the oil industry. Emmett’s Burr, Oklahoma is now a boom town. With the boom come ingredients for the inevitable bust, however—not least, an illegal drug problem and attendant violence the small rural community is ill-equipped to deal with. It’s scheduled to be released in June 2022 by Black Rose Writing.

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After a kidnap-for-hire plot results in the death of a young boy, Burr police chief Emmett Hardy blames himself and has an alcohol-fueled breakdown. His life at a crossroads, Hardy checks into the hospital for treatment, only to discover upon his release that he’s been suspended from duty. When a dying prisoner contacts him about a long-forgotten unsolved case, Emmett-temporarily at loose ends-begins an informal investigation.

Soon he becomes a target of violence himself, as his investigation becomes a murder probe implicating the most powerful men in town. Hardy is forced to relive one of the most traumatic events of his childhood, and faces the possibility that members of his own family may have been involved in the crime.

Ultimately, with Emmett’s tenuous grasp on sobriety slipping and his moral foundation shifting beneath his feet, the answer to the question, “Who do I trust?” becomes a matter of life and death.

Wars Are Ugly, Bloody, And Vicious

Rox Burkey
Rox Burkey Author Interview

Out of Poland is a historical thriller following a group of Polish citizens who band together to fight Hitler’s forces. What was the inspiration for the idea behind your story?

We have long held that the three founders of the Enigma Series escaped Poland in 1939 during the German invasion. These heroes stole a copy of the Enigma Machine and put it on the last British plane out of the country. But they were shrewd enough to make a copy of it. Taking refuge in Switzerland the three broke the code and started their information brokering business to help victims of WWII recover and protect their wealth under the cover of the R-Group. Their children and grandchildren make up the cyber heroes of the Enigma Series.

We wanted to tell the harrowing tale of how they accomplished their deceptions and the risks are taken. Heroes born of the circumstances, especially under fire, sacrificing for what is morally right, for us, is a compelling story. We wanted to bring the realism of the war to our readers. We feel we accomplished this in our novella. We also created a screenplay which we have submitted for consideration with a few groups.

Was writing a historical fiction story a challenge or a nice change from writing technology thrillers?

Writing historical fiction, much like our novels in the series, requires accurate details. Breakfield has studied World War II for years. He has read hundreds of books of the battles, places, and people from English, American, German, and Russian authors. The details of the war in this novella are accurate, it is the circumstances of our heroes that are embellished to protect the unsung heroes of the travesty of overrunning Poland. Hitler was driven and we are grateful he was stopped.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

We wanted to convey the struggles of the people faced by war from a maniac who demanded harsh domination. Wars are ugly, bloody, and vicious filled with victims from all economic strata. We also highlight the racial prejudices that the invaders brought with them. No one is immune to the evils of war. Our German military is portrayed as a machine overrunning a proud country with passionate people.

We wanted to focus on the trials of the Polish people and the lengths they went to keep their beliefs alive. Without a properly equipped army or the support of the allies, escape was their best option. Illustrating that was key as was the part Russia played in the loss of Poland.

This is a novella-length story. Was that intentional or incidental to telling the story you wanted to tell?

The length of this story, like all our stories was a result of what we wanted to convey to readers. We are storytellers who are passionate about telling a great story. The drama, passion, tragedy, sorrow, triumph, and hope captured in our stories dictate the length. We believe this is a fabulous foundational story that created the basis of our current day technology thrillers of the Enigma Series. That focus is realized for us in this story. We want readers to gain that insight into our award-winning R-Group. We invite your readers to view the book trailer https://youtu.be/VnQOxg1rMgU of this story.

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Out of Poland: Novella by [Charles Breakfield, Rox Burkey]

Beneath the storm clouds of a deadly war, three men are poised to unlock the secrets to redeem the world.

The setting is Poland 1939, Germans are marching toward Warsaw running their armor, and devastating swarms of armed soldiers, along with their cavalry. Fighting against the Nazi military machine is a death wish realized all too clearly.

The path of the invaders is paved with death, destructions, pillage, and woman brutalized at the hands of soldiers with no honor. As much as the citizens of Poland pray for a different outcome, everything they have known, loved, and grown up with is devastated.

Three young men are tasked with finding and extracting the German military communications device, Baby, that is kept under heavy guard. Polish patriots die to aid the three in getting the information and then fleeing with the prize. The race is on as the Germans try to match wits with the clever patriots who risk detection at every turn.

The Ambassador Ferdek Watcowski, insists that his son Ferdek along with Wolfgang and Tavius, take their families and flee while there is still time to reach a border. The goal of their journey is to escape with Baby intact.

Poland’s military is so outclassed by Hitler’s forces that survival is key to fighting another day. Facing great peril and odds against their survival, the men resolve to make a difference so that those who died helping them would not have sacrificed in vain. They vow to undertake a lifetime of fighting tyranny.

Successful survivors must look ahead.

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Out of Poland: Novella

Out of Poland: Novella by [Charles Breakfield, Rox Burkey]

Out of Poland, by Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey, is the action-packed story of a group of Polish citizens who band together to fight against Hitler and the German army. In this historical thriller an ambassador, soldiers, and a family of Gypsies all come together to save Poland.

Ferdek Watcowski is the Polish ambassador and father of the main character, Ferdek. Younger Ferdek, a former lieutenant in the Polish military, devises a plan to undermine the German forces. Two of his comrades, along with a family of gypsies, travel to Gdansk to obtain a device known as “Baby”. I feel giving this device such a soft name allows for the authors to put the reader at ease, as well as introduces humor in calling a dangerous device “baby”. The plot of the story propels forward as these characters risk their lives to obtain a device that could change the war rising in Poland, and possibly save their country from the grasp of the Germans.

Breakfield and Burkey have a writing style that is simple yet intriguing. They move the plot along quickly and engage the reader throughout the entire story. The action throughout the story, as well as the suspense, leaves the reader at the edge of their seat. Throughout the entire story, you are wondering if these characters will make it out alive and achieve their goal of saving Poland.

This story is short but still captivating, but I would have loved to delve deeper into the characters and their backstories as they were so compelling, and what’s given leaves me wanting more. The heart the characters have for their country, along with their fighting spirit leaves you rooting for them, and relating to them, throughout their suspenseful journey.

Out of Poland is a fast paced historical thriller that is relentlessly moving forward and accurately portrays a perilous time in history. The authors skill with words is on full display. Any reader who enjoys historical fiction that gets the details right, and a story that knows how to setup compelling characters, will have plenty to enjoy in this gripping novel by Breakfield and Burkey.

Pages: 102 | ASIN: B096WQ77C8

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Jack Sterling and the Spear of Destiny

Jack Sterling and the Spear of Destiny by [Ray Griggs]

Jack Sterling and the Spear of Destiny is the first installment in a suspenseful adventure series by author Ray Griggs. The story follows marine archaeologist Jack Spears. Tormented by his fathers mysterious disappearance and following the lead of a gold coin that proved the existence of an undocumented nazi U-boat allegedly containing Hitlers Spear of Destiny; a powerful artifact that according to legend, whoever weilds it holds the power to rule the world. Unfortunately for Sterling, he’s not the only one after the Spear, as there are powerful people willing to do anything to get their hands on it. Desperate to avoid the artifact from falling into the wrong hands, and to protect his friends and family, Sterling embarks on an underwater journey to retrieve the U-boat and its contents. He faces dangerous obstacles and uncovers dark secrets that may change everything. Will Sterling be able to pull through and do what’s right, or will he fall victim to the strong pull of the ocean’s secrets?

First time author Ray Griggs really got creative on this one, a washed-up archaeologist, a magical artifact, and a dangerous foe, all blend to make quite a thrilling historical fiction novel. The incredibly original plot is filled with cliffhangers and plot-twists that always kept me guessing. While I enjoyed this story overall I felt that there was some style choices, coupled with some grammatical errors, that slowed this story down a bit.

Jack Sterling is a well defined character that is intriguing and was a character I desperately wanted to learn more about. Sterling’s long-lost childhood friend Dymitry, offered the story a great relief, but the story remains focused on our protagonist’s development through this dramatic adventure. Jack was a character whos motivations were clear and the story is definitely one that thrives with a strong protagonist. The author leaves readers with a dramatic cliffhanger that perfectly sets up a series of novels that is sure to follow in the vein of campy theatrical adventures like Indiana Jones or The Librarians. Jack Sterling and the Spear of Destiny is an ambitions historical thriller that will take readers on a unique adventure.

Pages: 275 | ASIN: B08NTWC2NW

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