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Transference

Transference by [Keaton, B.T.]

In B. T. Keaton’s Transference, sci-fi and technology take center stage as the reader is led through a thrilling story with incredible characters. The reader is introduced to Barrabas, whose words and actions confirm that he is among the most impressive character to follow. Barrabas is confident. He introduces himself with contentment and boasts of his actions. I like how the author created this particular character as it was difficult to predict what his next step would be. He takes pride in being the most infamous thief to grace the earth since Jesse James, compares himself to Robin of Locksley and talks about his prowess. It is comical that even though Barrabas appears a braggart that’s full of himself, I still found him exciting. He is one of those characters I’m glad the author created.

I like the time travel concept in the book. The author takes us to the year 2102. The people living in that era are lucky, as man has come up with a way that makes them live forever. ‘Transference’ is the process through which one can experience eternal life. Thanks to technology, this method involves moving a soul from one person to another. I enjoyed reading about the transference process and the author’s creativity really shines in these moments.

One reason I liked Barrabas was his tenacity. His character was solid and aggressive when necessary, but also cunning and knew when to trick people to his advantage. Reminding me of Malcolm Reynolds in the show Firefly.  Barrabas was no stranger to controversy, he rubbed people the wrong way and was unfortunately exiled to a mining colony far away from home. Even while in deportation, Barrabas never ceased to amaze me. Jovian was another fantastic character that I liked. The man commanded the masses through his dominion and controlled every part of the colony. His relationship with Barrabas made them a great pair in the story.

The suspense in this novel is something that is constantly building due to the mix of mystery and ever present anticipation of danger. Transference seamlessly incorporates action and drama with satire and excellent narration to make a story that is persistently compelling. Transference is an electrifying sci-fi thriller that uses interesting characters to drive a story that is ultimately, I think, about  the purpose of life. We see the extent people go to avoid suffering and how humans innovate for survival. This is an exceptional story that I would recommended to readers who enjoy gritty dystopian fiction.

Pages: 404 | ASIN: B082WPHTHH

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Mastermind Criminals

Michael Gerhartz Author Interview

Michael Gerhartz Author Interview

Dark Times follows Natascha as she’s caught up in a deadly plot orchestrated by dangerous mastermind criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

I wanted to create a plot that has its roots in many corners of the world. A plot created by mastermind criminals, who all have their own different agendas work together towards their greater common goal. I also wanted to show that normal people like you and I can stand up against injustice, even on a global scale, and that anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself.

Natascha is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that you wanted to explore with her character?

Natascha is just an “average” person. It is easy to identify with her character: a loving wife, mother of a child, working two jobs to make enough money, for example, at one point she is even worrying about the cost for new tires for her car. She is not a trained killing machine without feelings and unlimited access to weapons and money. She is very emotional and draws her strength from the love for her family, but she also knows that she has to rely on herself in order to survive. She is struggling emotionally from all the horrible things she had experienced before and is not immune to PTSD. All those attributes make her a more “likeable” character, and people find it easy to identify with her.

What draws you to the action adventure genre and makes it easy for you to write in this space?

I am a fan of the action adventure genre, but I find many stories belong more in the world of Fiction. I can not identify with a “one man army” with unlimited access to different resources, such as weapons, intelligence and money who does not suffer emotionally after a mission. My personal background and experience allows me to create realistic characters.

Dark Times is a novel in your EuroSec Corporation series. What can readers expect in the other book in your series, Thin Ice?

THIN ICE was actually the first book in the series, published in 2012. In THIN ICE, we meet Natascha for the first time and learn how she and Nick came together on board a research vessel in the North West Passage, where they are being framed as terrorists in a plot orchestrated by greedy politicians and mercenaries.

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Dark Times (EuroSec Corporation) by [Gerhartz, Michael]

Relieved for no longer being framed as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Natascha has only one wish – to live a normal life with her former bodyguard Nick and their daughter, but her daily routine as part time Marine Biologist for the London aquarium and secretary for an elite security company takes a lethal turn when she takes part in another scientific expedition.

This time, her discoveries do not only lead her into a flooded mine underneath a century old abbey, but also to a decades old secret the clerics don’t want unravelled.

Just when Natascha thinks she is a step ahead of her enemies, she realises that the abbey’s secret is only a small piece in a puzzle orchestrated by criminal masterminds – and that her past has caught up with her.

Determined, Nick and his friends from EuroSec follow her trail from London to the Aegean Sea back to Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea. To rescue Natascha, they have to solve the puzzle fast, or dark times will be ahead of them.

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Designed to Frighten

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?

The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.

I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.

I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?

I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.

This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?

I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.

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

NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.

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Not Dead by [Dickason, Anita]

A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.

Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.

When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.

As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.

This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.

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Dark Times

Dark Times (EuroSec Corporation) by [Gerhartz, Michael]

In Dark Times Michael Gerhartz explores the delicate yet sadly relevant organ trade problem. In this fascinating novel readers get a glance into the complicated and cruel organ trade business. The narrative is constantly changing its perspective, from the lucky recipient to the doomed donor while following the incredible adventures of the engrossing main character, Natascha.

Michael Gerhartz creates a globe-trotting and energetic crime drama that is full of unexpected twists and deadlt turns. I felt that there was a focus on painting the bigger picture while discounting the details. The overall plot was engaging and stimulating, but at times I felt like the characters were acting against their own principles because a certain act was required to propel the plot. While Natascha was a stand out character to me, she was so well constructed that other characters felt underdeveloped in comparison. The personality that is exhibited by the characters is exceptional and authentic but I wanted to see more of it. This story reminds me of Pulp Fiction, where many smaller plots and character stories all interweave to make one complex story. Although this keeps the tension high and kept me flipping pages, it could be hard to follow at times. I enjoyed the way in which the author portrays security companies and the human face he gives to people working in Masad.

I can confidently say that I had a great time reading Dark Times by Michael gerhartz. The story is perfect for readers who like to follow clues to solve intriguing mysteries. Dark Times reminds me of Tom Clany’s Jack Ryan where agents embark on clandestine and deadly missions to overcome a terror menacing the world. Perfect for readers who embrace a bit of romance in their action adventure stories.

Pages: 738 | ASIN: B07MTQ9YWC

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The Wrath of Leviathan

The Wrath of Leviathan (The BetterWorld Trilogy Book 2) by [Weber, T.C.]

The Wrath of Leviathan is the second book in the BetterWorld Trilogy. In this book, the T.C. Weber artistically creates characters that are both enchanting and entertaining. The reader follows through the trials and tribulations of characters who, despite the evil of the world, fight to make things right. One is taken through insane and sometimes creepy locations that require the characters to be intelligent, keen on their surroundings and witty to survive. The Wrath of Leviathan covers various themes that are relevant in the real world. Political wars, state prisoners, cyber-crime, government relations, family and freedom are some of the major themes in the book. The pros and cons of technology unfold in the story as we follow characters who use their power to manipulate situations.

The reader experiences the turmoil and chaos created by individuals whose greed only gets crushed by people who have a conscience. Waylee Freid is in custody for acts the U.S government considers crimes. The good lady is charged with conspiracy, fraud, theft, assault, trespassing, and cyber crimes among many other offenses. I like how the author developed Waylee. Even with the alleged crimes, Waylee came out as a character whose aggression was necessary for her survival. Waylee was imprisoned in Sao Paolo, Brazil by the U.S government, something that bothered her sister Kiyoko. I liked Kiyoko as a character because of how passionate she was about the causes she cared about. Miranda Rossi’s character was too real, I could not picture her in any other role other than the Sao Paulo Bureau Chief, Department for Human Rights and Social Affairs. She understood her job and tried to be courteous every time.

The Wrath of Leviathan is packed with blustering adventure. Kiyoko and her squad were my favorite. Their dedication to fighting evil, and exposing and destroying MediaCorp’s plan to take over the world made the group easy to empathize with and root for. MediaCorp is almost the cliched villainous corporation with dangerous intentions and malign motivations. The yin and yang between MediaCorp and Kiyoko’s team is starkly drawn and I appreciated how easily it was to align with these characters.

I was thoroughly entertained following this inviting tale that engagingly handles trade agreements among countries, political affiliations, government operations, the lives of activists and hackers, and rebellion. T.C. Weber makes every piece of the story exhilarating as he pits well developed characters against well developed gambits. One constant thing throughout the book was the continuous action that was smartly placed to keep the story moving. Every new chapter unveils something new about the characters and a new twist to the story. I recommend The Wrath of Leviathan to readers who enjoy thrillers, cyberpunk science fiction and adventure books.

Pages: 288 | ASIN:  B07GJVHMQS

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Duty and Betrayal

Duty and Betrayal: The SS Brotherhood and the NASA Connection by [Oliver, Toby]

Duty and Betrayal: The SS Brotherhood and the NASA Connection by Toby Oliver is a smart novel that takes place in the early 1960s, following various members of the intelligence communities of the United States and Great Britain. After the end of World War II, the Western powers sought to capture/recruit former Third Reich scientists to advance their own technologies, essentially beginning the Cold War. One of these men, Bernard Zimmerman, has caught the attention of Spencer Hall of MI5 for a very personal reason. Jack Stein of the CIA is brought in to help, and the two get to work. Is the SS still active, even after World War II? Will Spencer be able to act logically and safely in his quest to uncover these men? Then, of course, there’s Joyce and all of the emotions connected to Spencer’s past relationship with her making things even more thrilling.

I really appreciated the dialogue in this novel, which was consistently sharp and nimble. With any historical fiction novel that focuses on intelligence and spying, there is quite a bit of dialogue. Oliver does well to make the dialogue both interesting and logical. The characters are well crafted that each line they speak and each choice they make, I found myself thinking, ‘Yes, of course that’s what he would do.’ It’s so well-written, I would believe the author if he told me that all of these events actually happened.

If there is any weak point in the story, I felt it would be in the first couple of chapters which are heavy on some of the characters’ back stories, but almost all of the information provided in these areas is relevant and useful in understanding who these characters are, making this a very minor issue.

This book reads exactly the way an old school spy movie would play out. No big flashes from explosions or high-tech gadgetry like we get from these stories now. Just operatives using their investigative and deductive logic skills to investigate, interrogate, and do what they can to capture the individuals they need.

This is an exceptionally well written book that is persistently entertaining and compelling.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B01N1JLYRC

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The Haunting of Smock Hill

The Haunting of Smock Hill by [Zimcosky, Steve]

The Haunting of Smock Hill by Steve Zimcosky is a short but fast-paced thriller about the peculiar ongoings in the town of Smock, Pennsylvania. Ed Zielinski our protagonist is from Smock Hill. He is informed that The Dark Energy has returned for the first time since 1961. The Dark Energy is allegedly a daunting black cloud with red eyes and massive arms that shows up to stare at miners a few moments before their death. Having enlisted a paranormal investigator, Ed visits the town, and, with the help of a few friends, finds out that a deeper and more nefarious plot is at play. Their investigation is met with various complications, from Russian meddling to movie production crews. The story takes plenty of wild turns and ends on a climactic but satisfying note.

Although the plot is a simplistic mystery story, Scooby-Doo style, it is written in a gripping and engaging manner. I polished it off in one sitting, which is probably what it is intended for. The story is realistic and logical, and easy to follow. I felt that the characters were two-dimensional, with some having more depth than others, but this is in service of delivering a quick and satisfying story.

The book is also interspersed with a lot of spooky pictures and illustrations, which can make this a pretty fun read for children. Smock Hill is great for a weekend or holiday read, when you need an engaging story to brighten up your day without signing up for a hefty literary commitment.

Pages: 90 | ASIN: B081BG5YH9

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Kill Crime

Kill Crime: A Jeff Case Novel-Stunning crime thriller full of twists with an unpredictable ending. Book 1 by [Slavin, Mike]

Mike Slavin has written a roller-coaster of a novel in Kill Crime. The story goes from 0 to 100 when Jeff Case, an oil company businessman from Texas, finally catches a pedophile that he’d been chasing ever since his niece had been victimized. Jeff finds himself getting closer to becoming a vigilante, as criminals hurt his friends and the people he loves. The choices only get tougher, and the villains he chases only get more dangerous. Will he survive?

Kill Crime is an exceptionally thrilling novel. The book starts with the main character catching a man about to molest a young child, I thought this was pretty extreme for the first 30 pages, but things only escalate for Jeff Case. This acceleration, and the realism with which it happens, is where Slavin’s writing excels. He makes Jeff’s decisions seem probable and reasonable through his amazing descriptions of grief, pain and anger.

There are many times in the book when I felt angry alongside Jeff, almost to the point of being blinded by it. Some will want him to exact his revenge and go for the kill, but maybe some will be begging him to move on. It’s a thrilling read from cover to cover because of this struggle that the reader faces with the main character, and it will keep the pages turning. If the internal conflict doesn’t entice readers, then the action sequences certainly will. The tense, violent moments are written excellently and play out like some of the best big screen movies.

If there is one weakness in the story, it’s that some of the elements border on cliché, such as Case jamming out to “Danger Zone” on his way home from work. However, Slavin only flirts with this line and never seriously crosses it, which he manages by keeping the story believable and emotionally raw.

The language that Slavin utilizes is fantastic. His writing is never boring, and the sentences he composes are fluid and natural, which makes for a smooth read. He may have gone a little overboard with the text breaks, but it doesn’t hamper the writing. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next installment. This is especially true, thanks to the couple of nice little hints at where the Jeff Case story might be heading in the sequel.

Pages: 358 | ASIN: B07WQNQWXR

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