Elysium Protocol by C.A. MacLean is the third book in the Architects of the Illusion science fiction series. Following a species-diverse team known as the “Fireseeds,” Elysium Protocol picks up the shattered pieces left over from the devastating war in book two, The Great Scourge. In a time of interstellar conflict, multiple factions, some seen, some working from the shadows, are vying for power, control, and sometimes, just plain survival. Set in a distant future, the last remnants of humanity are part of an intergalactic organization known as “The Convergence,” an alliance consisting of “quintillions” of citizens.
The Fireseeds are pitted against a vast alien force known as the “hiven,” an insect-like species bent on zealous destruction and domination. Several science fiction tropes appear here, but they are executed skillfully; which ensures longtime fans of science fiction will find something familiar yet still intriguing. There are multiple alien races present: humanoid bird-persons (Arkerians), crystal people (Altaran), bug people (hiven), and more. The story is rife with many planet names and systems, such as Everan, Serrona, Vraunlith-3, etc. I feel this might make it difficult to follow at times but adds to the depth of a world that seems full of possbilites and begs to be explored further. I would have loved to have seen a map of systems in the book to look back on because this story reaches epic fantasy levels where readers will be completely immersed in a large world.
This is a robust novel, almost as long as the two previous entries combined. There is a lot of action going on with all of the characters and races. Readers have to be fully engaged in this story to keep up with who is who and what species is what; reminding me of the breadth of George R.R. Martin novels. However, the author effectively handles the task of keeping things straight, with the central characters being well developed with strong individual personalities. The Arkerian Engami sisters, Eva and Ashy, the tragic Altaran, Caleb Braze, the modest human, Daniel Byre, and many more fill this impressive work with relatable characters and a compelling story. Despite some massive decisions, the memorable characters and gripping action bring a universe of primordial planets, advanced spacecraft, and futuristic cities to life.
Architects Of The Illusion, Part III: Elysium Protocol is an action-filled science fiction space opera with memorable characters and planets. Readers will be able to escape into the world that has been created and feel like they are in the action.
Pages: 777 | ASIN : B09NPPJL1Q
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
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Terrifying and Frustrating
The Obsession is a thrilling crime novel that follows Jackie as she finds that she’s being stalked by a serial killer. What were some ideas that drove the development of this story?
Many of the stalker scenes really happened to me. It seems surreal at this point in my life, but it was terrifying and frustrating at the time. Thankfully, the murders were not true.
Jackie is a missilier in the Air Force. Why did you choose this profession as Jackie’s career?
I was one of the first female missiliers. At the time, it was the only combat role a woman could hold. The Air Force has come a long way since then. Many writers start by writing what they know. This experience was very close to home.
There is a lot of good red herrings in the book and it makes you see everyone as a suspect. Was this planned or did this happen organically while writing?
A little of both. In real life, figuring out the stalker did take a while. There were many options, and technology simply wasn’t as it is today. A phone trace was extremely complicated. There was no caller id. Some of the red herrings were added in after I got the initial draft on paper.
This is book one in the Jackie Austin Mysteries series. Where will book two find Jackie and when will it be available?
Wind the Clock is out now. In it, Jackie goes to Germany where she is working for the inspector general’s office. There is a plane crash, and the situation looks very similar to a scenario she wrote for an exercise so she gets blamed for it. She has to figure out the real culprit to get OSI off her back. (The books do not have to be read in order.)
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At first, Jackie Austin tried ignoring the phone calls in the dead of the night. Fresh out of Air Force missile training and no stranger to harassment, she shrugged them off as a prank. But when the calls didn’t stop, unsigned love letters started arriving, and things in her house seemed out of place, Jackie started to worry. Were the men on base playing a trick on her or did they not realize that she wasn’t interested? And just how far would this harasser go?
In the neighboring town of Sedalia, a more ominous situation was brewing. Yet another young, single woman had been mysteriously killed in an ongoing series of grim murders. With the police on alert but without any leads, it was only a matter of time before the killer found his next victim.
Could Jackie be his next target?
Posted in Interviews
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“Powderfinger” is a present-day scary horror story set mainly on the decrepit, abandoned but soon to be redeveloped, bank of an old canal between two towns. It centres on an old tar works known as Raven’s Gate. Nick Swann is a world weary mid-forties widower and Assistant Probation Warden at St Joseph’s Hostel for young male criminals, situated overlooking the canal and Raven’s Gate. A woman is brutally killed on the bank opposite the Hostel on a night when Nick is on duty. Nick believes his lads had nothing to do with it, though consequently Nick is suspended for issuing too many late passes at once. Then another woman is killed and Nick becomes drawn into discovering the culprit. He works with DCI Findlay and DS Deacon as the murder toll rises. Together with help from his old friends Alan and Hugo, Nick’s research uncovers a long series of similar murders in the same area, stretching back through the centuries. “Powderfinger” as the killer is dubbed, appears to be some kind of ancient mellifluous, malevolent, murderous being that attacks anyone it considers to be disturbing its peace and quiet. Eventually, as the story climaxes, Findlay, Deacon, Nick and Alan set a trap to lure “Powderfinger” to his doom and rid the area of this beast once and for all. Yet, traps can swing both ways.
Posted in book trailer
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Karma Will Prevail
Raven and the Panther follows ‘Raven’ as she relentlessly pursues her uncle’s killers. What served as your inspiration for this thrilling novel?
The inspiration for this book is my wife’s family. The Myth, Bill was a real person. (He’s no longer with us) Barbara Ann (AKA Raven) is actually my wife. I’ve embellished her personality, to fit the character. The inspiration for this series is only limited by my imagination. I was ten years old when I saw my first James Bond Movie, been hooked since.
Raven is an interesting character that I enjoyed watching develop throughout the novel. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
I wanted the reader to know she wasn’t a bad person, she loved her uncle Bill so much, she was willing to become who she was to seek out and terminate his killer. As the story developed, I knew she would succeed, not because I’m the author, she is just as determined in real life. Both my wife Barbara Ann and I have a firm conviction if you stick to your principles, treat everyone the same, be honest in life and help those who deserve it, Karma will prevail and it has, we have lived a blessed life. I focus more on this in the books that follow Raven and the Panther.
I really enjoyed how this novel was action packed and filled with interesting characters. What was your favorite scene to write?
The last chapter, when Raven walked out on the Foundation at her cabin. She knew who ordered her uncles kill, but the Foundation wouldn’t let her terminate him, so she did what I know the REAL Raven would have done-walked. Also, it set up the next book.. Raven Gone Rogue. Barbara Ann is somewhat like the character Raven, dedicated to a cause, focused when needed, but loving, kind and generous. My wife is truly a copy of Raven, just not to the extreme as the character is portrayed.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book is Raven Gone Rogue available now.
Raven Anderson, top female agent for The Foundation, has gone rogue. Her longtime lover, Naci Vacara, a direct decedent of the Foundation’s matriarch, desperately tried to convince Raven not to leave the ranks of the agency. His loyalty to The Foundation forced him to put her in his sites. Raven, now the hunted, teamed up with Morgan, one of the most feared agents in the world. Together they developed an unusual relationship, faced one challenge after another until Raven discovered something in her past.
Raven Gone Rogue takes readers on another wild ride, filled with action, adventure, devastation, mystery, romance and wealth. Raven Anderson, a woman who gets what she wants, is on top of her game. A game, the reader secretly would like to imitate.
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Raven Anderson was raised by her Grandmother and Uncle where she enjoyed the slow-paced country lifestyle until one event changed everything. Her beloved Uncle, a father figure, was unexpectedly and brutally murdered. On her journey to seek revenge, Raven discovered her uncle’s secret life, a world she didn’t even know existed.
Raven’s journey and relentless desire to hunt down her Uncle’s killer put her in the cross-hairs of an organization whose members included people she had known her whole life. Raven and the Panther takes the reader on a wild ride filled with action and adventure, erotic romance and revenge.
Posted in Interviews
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A Stake in Murder – Trailer
Sebastian Hemlock had once been a respected reporter. “Mister News” is what they used to call him. If there was a story to be found out, he usually was the one who uncovered it. That was until Phoenix, Arizona.
In 1991 the police were working on a series of murders. The victims were all drained of blood, the officials were not talking, and Hemlock soon discovered why. The killer was a vampire! With only his FBI friend to assist, the reporter went ahead, investigated, and tracked down the killer to destroy it.
Captain Darren Matheson, of the L.A.P.D.Homicide Division, was a pleasant enough fellow. But when the FBI uses him to track down news reporter Sebastian Hemlock as a “special investigator,” he understandably is curious. Hemlock, learning that he had failed with his first killing of an undead creature, seeks a chance to redeem his integrity as well as gaining back the woman he had once loved. Captain Matheson thought the whole case as nothing but a waste of time.He had a murderer to catch!
Now…the vampire has returned!
We tell our children that there are no such things as monsters. We comfort them with the knowledge that we will always be there to protect them. What happens when we are proven wrong?
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Further Down the Rabbit Hole
Spare No One is a thrilling mystery novel that details a bloody trail leading to a ruthless killer. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
I came up with the initial idea for Spare No One after my criminal law class in which we learned about one’s duty to act (or lack thereof). I’d always wanted to write a murder-mystery, and I felt what l learned in my class was a great way to start the story. I also wanted to write a tale of revenge, which came naturally after I wrote the first chapter. Idea after idea kept popping up as I wrote, and further down the rabbit hole we went. I definitely had a lot of fun writing this story!
What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?
Selfishness is a big theme. Taking someone else’s life is one of the most selfish things someone can do. Unfortunately, as in real life, a lot of the unselfish characters suffer in the story.
Love is another theme, and what it means to truly love someone. What would you do for them? How far would you go? Do we sometimes create an illusion of love in our minds?
I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists develop organically writing?
After I wrote the first chapter, I had a general idea of how I wanted it to end. Right away I thought of one of the bigger twists, which happens toward the end of the story, so I knew where I wanted to go but not exactly how I’d get there. The middle of the book had the most planning and brainstorming. After that, everything came together.
Will this novel be the start of a series or are you working on a different story?
I have ideas for a few different stories that involve some of the surviving characters from Spare No One. I’ve started writing one of those ideas, but it’s lower on my list of priorities behind a sequel to Stalker, My Love, a legal thriller/romance, and a young adult survival story. I would love to write another book in the Spare No One universe. I’ll get there eventually!
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On her way home from studying for college finals, hardworking Ashley Mercer is attacked and killed outside her apartment complex. Thirteen witnesses to the murder do nothing to save her. Days later, one of the witnesses is found dead .
Detectives Alex Mercer and Samantha Stoll search for the truth behind the witness’s death. However, Alex is Ashley’s brother, and his personal struggles may jeopardize the investigation, while Samantha’s own demons plague her.
As the body count rises, the detectives travel down a path of violence and betrayal, leading them to a killer who will spare no one.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, betrayal, 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, crime, detective, ebook, facebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, killer, kindle, kobo, literature, murder, mystery, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, spare no one, story, suspense, thriller, twitter, violence, writer, writer community, writing, zack scott
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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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.
Posted in Interviews
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Spare No One
Ashley Mercer, a college student in San Dino, is brutally murdered in the middle of the night, outside her apartment. Alex, her homicide detective brother, and his partner, Stoll, follow a web of death and deceit to find her killer unofficially. An underground cult starts to show its face, taking justice into their own hands, murdering all the people who did not help Ashely the night she was murdered outside her apartment building.
Rose, a new homicide detective takes over Ashley`s case, but what the department does not know is that he is more involved in the case than anyone could have ever imagined. Not only was Rose involved with Ashley but also has close ties with the cult that is involved with all the murders surrounding Ashley`s death. Trying to avenge the fact that no one helped his love, things in San Dino get messy, complicated, and no one knows who to trust or who to work with.
Spare No One is a psychological thriller that captures you from the beginning. From beginning to end the story takes so many twists and turns that at times you think you have it all figured out, and then a new event, perspective, or character is tossed into the story and it completely debunks what you thought you had figured out. The list of characters at the beginning of the book helped as a clarification as to what character fits where in the story. Over all the intricacy of the characters stories was well written and it was clear what role each character played in the story. The end was my favorite part especially because I did not see the story turning out the way that it did. How the past and the present were written together was well executed with little confusion when the switch happened.
There are very few things I would change about this story. Even though the switches in time periods throughout the story were over all well executed I would have liked if the title of the chapters were a little more distinct. There were times where I was so engrossed in the story and then a change in the time line would happen and I would have to pause and go back. The other thing was I would have liked a little more of was why the tenants of Ashley`s building didn’t help her. What was a little more of their back story the night Ashley was murdered.
Over all it was a great story that captivates the reader from the beginning and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire book. I would advise anyone who likes psychological thrillers, dramas, and books of the like to read this. It will be worth your time.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07CYNN4NZ
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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, crime, cult, detective, ebook, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, killer, kindle, kobo, literature, murder, mystery, nook, novel, psychological, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, spare no one, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writer community, writing, zack scott