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The Assassin’s Trail

The Assassin's Trail (Sean Kruger, #2)

Once again we are plunged into the world of Sean Kruger and his particular brand of justice in The Assassin’s Trail by J.C. Fields. While reading the first novel in the series is not necessary, it does provide excellent backstory for those who like to know everything. We follow Kruger once again as he gets pulled into another debacle. While he might groan about it, Kruger is excellent at his job and his reputation precedes him. With such greatness comes great expectations. Can Kruger deliver? Or will the case be his undoing? Hold on tight for a wild ride as we follow our favorite FBI special agent as he hunts down his prey. Fields shows us crime drama at its best: twists, turns and heightened anticipation for the good guy to win. The question then becomes, at what cost?

You can tell this is not Fields’ first time writing a book. A lot of attention and care went into the crafting of this story. A complication that can arise when writing a book in a series is losing track of subtle details and hoping your readers don’t notice. Happily, there is none of that in this installment of the Sean Kruger novels. The way Fields’ crafts the world of Kruger is deliberate and very well done. There is no shortage of action and readers will find themselves glued to the pages in order to find out what happens next. Some true crime stories can lag in the middle or when there is no action present making them almost a chore to read. You won’t find that here and even if crime drama isn’t your thing, this is a hard book to pass up. It’s not filled with useless jargon or procedures and policies only die-hard fans or those who work in the field can understand. This was truly a piece meant for the reader.

What makes a good story in this genre is suspense, action and realism. If the crime is too outlandish or the way the criminal is discovered is too unrealistic it can ruin the entire experience for the reader. Fields understands this and crafts the tale to reflect that. Readers will need to prepare their hearts for the twists and turns in this book as Fields’ expertly dangles disaster in front of us. There are no complaints about this easy to read and equally easy to enjoy story.

There is so much to gain and so little to lose from enjoying The Assassin’s Trail by J.C. Fields. The action is well paced and the story doesn’t suffer for it. The realism makes our main character, Sean Kruger, that much more relatable. While he is a special agent with the FBI he really just wants to enjoy his life. That is something we can all relate to. Kruger doesn’t seem able to catch a break on the work-life balance of things. Things will come to a grinding halt though as Kruger is faced with the greatest decision of his career. Is this the end of Special Agent Sean Kruger? You’ll have to read it to find out! You won’t be disappointed.

Pages: 317 | ASIN: B01JAW1VI8

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A Burning in the Darkness

A Burning in The Darkness

Father Michael Kieh suffered the loss of his family in Liberia as a child. Taken in at a Catholic center for children, he went on to become a priest. Father Michael was stationed at the airport in London, listening to confessions of passing travelers. He became involved with a crime that happened years before involving some of the most powerful people in London, and found himself drawn into a very dangerous situation. Through love, loss, and love again, Father Michael navigates the difficult terrain in which he finds himself, trying to heal his past through his actions in the present and his hopes for the future.

This book ended up being one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in some time. I don’t read a lot of thrillers because I often find myself disappointed with how un-thrilling they turned out to be, but that was not a problem I had with A Burning In The Darkness. I was drawn in from the very first page, finding myself looking for stolen moments to sneak in a few more.

One quirk of the book is that it appears to have been written by a non-native English speaker, which left behind some stilted English. The first time I encountered it in the book I worried it was a bad sign, but on the contrary, I found that the mistakes in English made it quite charming, like listening to someone with an accent telling a story. Though there were some grammatical mistakes in it, on the flip side, much of the language was beautiful and parts of the writing were almost poetic. I found myself, more than once, reflecting on a beautiful turn of phrase.

I felt all of the characters in the book were well developed, and Father Michael was both sympathetic and borderline heroic. I had some strong feelings about nearly every character that appears in the story, and that’s not always an easy task to accomplish. A.P. McGrath did a wonderful job breathing life into each person in the novel, giving them their own personalities and making them deeply likable, or deeply detestable, driving the story forward with strong character development.

If I have one complaint about the story itself, it’s that everyone was perhaps a little too charmed by Father Michael. It seemed that everyone he met fell under his spell right away, and that seems rather too neat for me. I felt as though it was too easy for him to convince the right people to trust him and to help him.

All in all, I found this to be an addictive book. So much so that I was sad to say goodbye to the characters at the end and wish there was a sequel. This is my first exposure to A.P. McGrath’s work, but I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the next novel!

Pages: 253 | ASIN: B06ZYXJ1KL

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Glossolalia

Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 1)

Nancy is like any woman in the prime of her life; active, engaged with hobbies, and busy with a normal day job. But underneath the surface, she is anything but ordinary. Plagued with a strange form of narcolepsy, Nancy can’t help but feel the grip of forces other than her own. With her uncle’s seemingly gracious help coming into question, she is soon exposed to the world of government conspiracy, mind control and espionage. It’s up to her to find out who’s behind it all, but can she get a grip in time to save herself and others?

Tantra Bensko’s Glossolalia is a thrilling and bumpy ride through the mind of a woman who comes off initially as relatively boring and normal. She’s crushing on a co-worker and at the mercy of jokes from her cube mates. She has her hobbies, piano and karate, and a good friendship with a girl named Alyssa. After Nancy’s parents died mysteriously when she was younger, her uncle Geoff took her into his care and provided her with a stable job at his corporation. Plagued with fugue states and narcolepsy her whole life, her uncle has also been giving her a steady supply of pills that she can’t seem to break her addiction to. She starts to question her uncle’s intentions and in an effort to break free from him and the pills, she coincidentally starts to reveal Geoff’s much darker agenda for her.

Initially, I began to question Nancy’s motives and her own sanity. The writing was quite scattered and jumped around enough to make me wonder if Nancy was just in a constant state of a psychotic break. In one moment her mind was scrambling for answers and in the next it was calm and reasonable. It took quite some time to figure out the relationship between Emily, Angela and Nancy, but the slow reveal did add to the suspense. Nancy’s tenacity and constant questioning of her life kept the book moving along at a nice pace. And there is plenty of references to the Nevermind, the CIA, MKULTRA, and other government groups which helps to build the psychological suspense of the novel.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B01I8SLVTY

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The Geek

The Geek5 StarsThe Geek is the tale of an American assassin who is ready to get out. After serving American “unclassified” side of things for the CIA for 20 years, Gary is ready to move on to the next chapter in his life, whatever that is. All he has to do is finish just one more assignment, involving a British mole selling information with international implications. Along the way, Gary meets another operative, (Olia K) a Russian operative, who knows a lot more about The Geek than even the assassin would assume. That encounter was only a preclude to what would happen next. The final assignment did not end as Gary and his handler Juan had hoped. Instead it reveals a dangerous duo from the past, but Gary wants no part of it. When Gary receives news that another respected assassin (although of a slightly differently category) felt that his last job went too far, he really wants out. He plans to live off his savings, in quiet obscurity, no longer indebted to the murky world of patriotic espionage. The first thing Gary does, after a brief relaxation, is return home. The problem is, he’s changed in ways that his family can’t even imagine. When he finds himself unable to stay in the place he thought would be home, he ends up getting trapped back into the world he left.

This book grabbed my attention because it was never what I expected. From the beginning, the character’s codename “The Geek” to the plot twists that happened throughout the book. It was also a little darker than I expected in the beginning. It featured great description, though with just the right amount of detail and insight I needed to understand the characters. The switch to action jolted my attention. The more you read, the more layers are exposed. I especially liked the cat and mouse games that is mirrored between the characters as well between the reader. A good example of this is the Geek’s interaction with Joana. It starts innocent enough, then descends into a cat and mouse game between Gary and the operative. A chapter or two later, that scene shows up as only one layer of a deeper drama that neither Gary nor Joana expected.

The author only provides a few lines of detail to provide the back story, but it’s more than enough to keep readers intrigued. Nowhere was this more pronounced than in the lead character, Gary. The book found an interesting twist to the ‘Army dude who was hired by CIA’ cliche that has been repeated ad nauseam in spy films and books. That twist is especially pronounced midway in the book, when the character makes a key decision that starts a whole new chain of events. The Geek seems to go in one direction, but once a reader thinks they have figured it out the book goes in another. These changes aren’t dramatic, over-the-top plot twists (in most cases), but tiny details (like a death or even a simple gesture) that alters the story’s direction in a way that a reader never saw coming.

The story is a highly engrossing read. Readers can easily find themselves lost in another world filled with spies, secrets, and lies played on a global stage. Despite the exotic locations, the book doesn’t suffer from being too out of the realm of reality. Every character has a history based in a reality that is plausible. The way the author treats each character’s origin as hero or villain (most often both) is what draws readers further into the book. Overall, It’s not just another espionage novel. It’s an incredible story about an assassin and the choices he has to make in a world where evil and good isn’t clear cut. All of the characters add or peel back a layer of depth on the journey. As a result, The Geek is a ride you will never forget. The ending chapters tie everything together in slightly predictable fashion (at first), then ends on a cliffhanger similar to a really good TV series.Buy Now From Amazon.com

Pages: 340 | ASIN: B01540DRAU

 

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