Category Archives: Thriller

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead by Owen Mullen (@OwenMullen6 ) – Review

Title – Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Author – Owen Mullen
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 272 Pages (Paperback)
Publication – 21st March 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Gavin Law was a whistleblower.
Now he’s missing.
Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined.
Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands?
Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place.
Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty.
With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes.
If that means murder, then so be it.
Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale.
He may not be so lucky a second time.

Review

This is the third novel in the Charlie Cameron P.I. series. I loved the previous two books in the series so jumped at the chance to read this one. If you’ve not manged to read them yet you can see my reviews by clicking the images below.

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I honestly didn’t think Owen Mullen could top the previous book but he certainly did and it was lovely to be back with Charlie and the loveable rogue Pat.

Once again Charlie gets drawn into two cases while also handling his personal life.. which is never easy.

I think it’s this work life balance that makes Charlie the likable and believable character he is. His private life is more complicated in this tale when an old flame shows up which brings Charlie’s emotions to the foreground.

I’d recommend reading the books in order if I’m honest but it would work as a standalone too as the author explains the background well enough, I just think you’d be missing out on the character development that’s built up.

So you’ll want to know about the cases our P.I gets sucked into. Well first off Gavin Law has went missing and his overbearing sister is out for answers. There’s not much to go on at first and it takes Charlie a while to be able to piece the dark and disturbing case together with some twists in the tale that really knock you for six.

The other case involves Sean Rafferty a gangster we’ve met before. I won’t give the game away with this one but when a gangster is involved you know there’s bound to be a body or two.

I’ve always loved Charlie but in this tale his Police friend Andrew Geddes shined and developed so well for me. I can’t wait to see what’s next and hope Geddes gets more page time.

The plot is dark and gritty, twists come from nowhere and you really are kept on your toes. It’s another brilliant tale from Mullen. What I really enjoy is that he manages to give us two tales weaved into one and at no point did it get confusing, With so many characters it would be easy to get lost but not with Mullen’s tales..everything is so clear to follow.

What I really need to love a book is to feel like the characters are real and with Charlie I get just that. I couldn’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Somewhere in the Shallow Sea by Dennis Macaraeg – Review

Title – Somewhere in the Shallow Sea: A Novel of Suspense
Author – Dennis Macaraeg
Genre – Thriller
Length – 229 Pages
Publication – Oct 2015
My Rating –3/5 Stars

Synopsis

To save the life of his friend, a marine biologist must deliver the scientific compound he invented to kidnappers hiding deep within the jungles of the Philippines. Unexpectedly paired with his ex-lover for the mission, it’s a bit more than he signed up for.

Review

So what is the book about I hear you ask?

Well the book follows Danny a scientist, his friend Blake has been kidnapped and he has the compound the kidnappers are after. Danny, with the help of some friends and an ex-lover sets out to save  Blake.

The plot was good with a few twists thrown in although I did feel events happened a little too easy at times.. just when Danny thinks all hope is gone an acquaintance of a friend can help. Nothing so bad as to ruin the plot but I would have enjoyed seeing Danny struggle a bit more for leads.

The writing was good, fast paced and easy to follow with a great amount of knowledge added by the author to set the scene. This really did help me imagine the locations described which sound lovely but at the same time dangerous.

Towards the end of the tale the plot picks up a notch and I really enjoyed the ending.

I liked the characters although with such an action packed tale it was hard to get to know them. The romance in this book didn’t feel forced, which suits my tastes. There was a natural progression to it which made it more believable and if you’ve read my reviews you’ll know I don’t do romance ha

Overall this is a good book, think spy thriller without the good guy having any skills or tech support.

The author shows great imagination with his plot and it was really great to see how well this story mixed with the descriptive text of the tale. I definitely think there has to be more to come from this author so I’ll keep an eye out for what’s next!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Promotion by Christopher K. Michael (@ckmichaelauthor)- Review

Title – The Promotion
Author – Christopher K. Michael
Genre – Paranormal Thriller
Length –  122 Pages
Publication – January 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

What if you got exactly what you wanted and it was the biggest mistake of your life?

It’s 1965 in New York City as Arthur Chadwik climbs the corporate ladder, obsessed with landing the promotion of his life. One day, after an encounter with a vagabond gypsy, his dream finally seems to come true, but only by way of a curse. Soon after, Arthur confidently rules his company until the unexpected domino effect of her black magic begins to crumble before him. He is so shaken to see those around him placed in jeopardy as a result of his desires, that he must find a way to undo the curse before all of their lives are changed forever.

Review

Oh now this tale I enjoyed. Arthur Chadwick is a man many would say is lucky, he’s mister big shot and he gets his wish to be the most important man in the office.

The issue is there’s always a downside to these things. He climbs the ladder way too quickly for the board and clients to trust him. He’s also got Billy son of the man he replaced after him..his father wouldn’t have given up his company so easily and he wants to know why. I didn’t really like Billy, I felt he went from 1 – 100 quickly but it did show how much Arthur’s rise to power had changed things.

It reminds me of the story the gingerbread man. Arthur is in over his head running away just like the gingerbread man does with people chasing after him. Will the fox get his gingerbread man? You’ll have to read it and find out.

The plot of this tale was good, I liked how Arthur gets his wish from the mysterious gypsy. I particularly liked that Arthur’s wish was open to interpretation..I don’t think he wanted to be the big boss at that time..he just wanted to be important, he wanted to feel his worth..his career is his life. This meant things quickly spiraled out of control when he figured out just how hard it would be to be the boss.

I felt the author managed to put a good tale together in 122 pages..The tale develops quickly, it’s well written and it’s interesting from the start.

Development is my biggest need in a book and in such a short space of time I think the author did well to bring depth to the main character, showing his motivations and ultimately showing us he’s not just a money hungry executive.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Stoner Stories – Volume 1 by Frank Westworth -Review

Title – The Stoner Stories: The Stoner Stories 1-5
Author – Frank Westworth
Genre – Thriller
Length – 196 Pages
Publication – Nov 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

An action-packed anthology featuring covert operative JJ Stoner, who uses sharp blades, blunt instruments and his innate persuasiveness to discreetly resolve tricky situations for the British government

This collection contains the first five JJ Stoner short stories plus an all-new, previously unpublished stand-alone quick thriller and other bonus material

Please note that the JJ Stoner stories are intended for an adult audience and contain explicit scenes of a sexual and/or violent nature

FIRST CONTRACT: JJ Stoner was a soldier who killed people for a living and made no bones about it. On a scorching day in the Iraqi desert, when British blood stained the sand, he over-stepped the mark. Faced with a dishonourable discharge and accusations of murder, Stoner accepted an offer from a stranger who represented an intelligence agency, and found himself about to execute his first private contract…

TWO WRONGS starts with great sex and ends in sudden death. US Navy SEAL Stretch McCann believes he’s met the girl of his dreams. Trouble is, she’s married to someone else; another military man not inclined to suffer rivals lightly. Enter JJ Stoner, who offers Stretch an opportunity for action…

THIRD PERSON: A target is being stalked through rain-soaked city streets. Someone seeks JJ Stoner, covert investigator and occasional contract killer. Caution is advised: with Stoner you often get more than you bargain for and this is Ireland, not so very long after the Good Friday agreement. Someone plans to put a cat among the peace process pigeons…

FOUR CORNERED: Stoner needs to prove to his boss that he’s more than a one-trick pony whose only skill is delivering an abrupt ending. But when a static stake-out abruptly escalates into live fire, JJ is distracted by two killer women. What should have been a ‘routine conversation’ with a disenchanted weapons inspector veers into violence with fatal consequences…

FIFTH COLUMNIST: A bent copper is compromising national security and needs to be rapidly neutralised, but none of the evidence will stand up in court. That’s exactly why men like Stoner operate in the shadows, ready to terminate the target once an identity is confirmed…

SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP: When Stoner returns to the USA he’s treading on sensitive territory. No Englishman is exactly welcome in Louisiana so soon after the international oil rig disaster. Stoner claims he’s visiting New Orleans for the annual jazzfest, but the agents sent to intercept him have a hard time believing this…

This anthology introduces the central characters from the JJ Stoner / Killing Sisters series in six complete, stand-alone stories. You don’t need to read the longer novels first: you can start right here if you like

Review

Last year I read the first 5 shorts in the Stoner series by Frank Westworth. I was very kindly gifted the first book but I happily purchased the rest in the series I enjoyed the first that much. I was lucky enough to be offered the chance of a copy of the anthology containing the shorts I’d already reviewed but with the added advantage of an extra tale for me to enjoy!

If you’d like to see what I thought of the original 5 shorts click the images below to open up the reviews I’ve previosuly posted.

 

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Looking at the Stoner Stories collection as a whole.. what does it offer you over the purchasing the single stories?? Well to be quite honest the anthology offers value for money. It’s currently £1.99 on kindle which is a steal.

As I also mentioned you get an extra story in this anthology too, SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP. This short builds nicely on the series as Stoner becomes more established and it was a treat to see Stretch in this one as he’s one of my favourites in the series.

I’m not going to spoil the tales for you. What I will tell you is Frank likes to keep you guessing right until the end..you really don’t know where the tale will take you or what will happen to Stoner next.

I enjoyed reading all the stories individually last year but the collection is so much stronger together. Short tales for me are easy to forget sometimes..not that they don’t stick with you but you’ve got to work hard in 50 pages to hook a reader in..this collection perfectly keeps you hooked as you can go from one story to the next and really helps me as a reader enjoy the characters.

The Stoner Collection is full of twists with intriguing characters. Frank Westworth leaves you wanting more and with a short tale that’s never a bad thing in my book..you want to feel like you get value for money (which you certainly do) but you want to know there’s more to come and that the author is hooking you in for future tales.

This collection is highly recommend for anyone who likes shorts like myself, like a bit of a thriller but don’t want the word count or if you just want to try something new.

Great book for a bargain price! Check it out.

My thanks go to the author and also Rowena at Murder Mayhem for the chance to read/review the collection.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Aurelia by Alison Morton – Review

Title – Aurelia (Roma Nova #4)
Author – Alison Morton
Genre – Fiction, Crime, Thriller
Length – 270 Pages
Publication – May 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Late 1960s Roma Nova, the last Roman colony that has survived into the 20th century Aurelia Mitela is alone – her partner gone, her child sickly and her mother dead – and forced to give up her beloved career as a Praetorian officer. But her country needs her unique skills. Somebody is smuggling silver – Roma Nova’s lifeblood – on an industrial scale. Sent to Berlin to investigate, she encounters the mysterious and attractive Miklós who knows too much and Caius Tellus, a Roma Novan she has despised and feared since childhood. Barely escaping a trap set by a gang boss intent on terminating her, she discovers that her old enemy is at the heart of all her troubles and pursues him back home to Roma Nova…

Review

Aurelia is book 4 in the Roma Nova series by Alison Morton. The good thing is if like me you’ve come to this series late you don’t need to have read the first 3 books to enjoy this one as the book is a prequel.

I loved the pace of this book, it’s so fast paced and easy flowing that you can’t help but sucked in.

The character Aurelia was well-developed. She has a military background and is very motivated and driven by her need to show just how much a woman can do without the need of a man. She’s strong and while a lot of people respect a woman in a powerful position some still believe a woman beneath them..and she’s loves to wind these people up..some hold grudges.

When we first meet Aurelia we learn of her military background but after some family misfortune she must leave the profession behind..family come first.

She’s soon recruited to be a spy of sorts, with her background and position in power she’s the perfect agent.

Silver is being smuggled and Aurelia soon stumbles upon the person responsible.. but she’s can’t prove it yet.

What happens after that is that we are treated to some very interesting twists. We have great characters such as a potential love interest who helps Aurelia..but he’s got his own secrets. There’s the jealous suitor who Aurelia despises and the biggest treat for me was the military contacts she makes throughout the book in her previous military role and her new role. Each very clearly defined, straight-laced but each intriguing in their own right.

As I’ve said the book is fast paced but the plot was great, I didn’t think anything was missing and it worked well. I particularly liked the historical edge to the tale, bringing the idea of Praetorian’s and such to a modern-day tale, It really gave it the unique feel.

I’m certainly going to pick up the previous 3 books and the series and look forward to more from the author. Her writing style is energetic and purposeful, the characters are always on the move and I loved how things played out.

This is a mystery with a historical edge, twists come out of nowhere.

I really fell for Aurelia..she has so much to deal with but she’s strong, she will persevere.

Most of all I loved how the author managed to make this mystery fun and serious at the same time, at times it’s light hearted at others very poignant. Loved it.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read and review their work in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Code Breaker by A.J. Trevors – Review

Title –  Code Breaker: An Alexander Hastings Novella
Author – A.J. Trevors
Genre – Short Stories, Crime, Thriller
Length – 26 pages 
Publication – Dec 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

‘So, can you hack it, my friend?’

‘Give me three seconds and a good connection. I can hack into anything’

Cyber-sleuth Alexander Hastings is a hacker extraordinaire

With the help of his phone, he can hack into anything and everything connected to the Australian Central System, also known as the AuCS, making the futuristic city of Melbourne his veritable playing ground.

However, when his past resurfaces, Alex will need to be at the top of his game in order to uncover the shadowy plans of the techno-terrorist organisation Black Binary, their leader and ex-mentor Roman Caster

Follow Alex as he races against the clock to uncover their plans and prevent them from coming to pass.

Before it’s too late.

Review

The last time I read the work of A.J. Trevors I used the word potential and I think this short story shows how well his work is progressing. Yes it’s a short story but the plot felt tighter.

Alexander Hastings is a hacker but he’s not always been on the side of good. In this tale he’s ask to help the police by looking into his ex-mentor.

There’s a really good twist in this story and I really enjoyed the technical side of the tale since these days anything can be controlled/hacked with enough knowledge and time.

This is a good short tale, detailed enough for s short and fun with it and the bang at the ending worked perfectly.

If you want something quick to read then give it a go.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

Fifth Columnist by Frank Westworth – Review

Title – Fifth Columnist: A JJ Stoner short story (The Stoner Series Book 5)
Author – Frank Westworth
Genre – Thriller
Publication – Sept 2016
Pages – 50 Pages
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

An action-packed quick thriller featuring covert operative JJ Stoner, who uses sharp blades and blunt instruments to discreetly solve problems for the UK government. In Fifth Columnist, a bent copper is compromising national security but none of the evidence will stand up in court. That’s exactly why men like Stoner operate in the shadows, ready to terminate the target once an identity is confirmed…

Fifth Columnist is a quick thriller, an hour’s intrigue and entertainment. It features characters from the JJ Stoner / Killing Sisters series. You don’t need to have read any of the other stories in the series: you can start right here if you like.

As well as a complete, stand-alone short story, Fifth Columnist includes an excerpt from The Redemption Of Charm (to be published in March 2017).
Please note that FIFITH COLUMNIST is intended for an adult audience and contains explicit scenes of a sexual and/or violent nature.

Review

I actually read  Fifth Columnist last year not long after it was released but I’ve been waiting to review it until I had the time to read it again as part of The Stoner Stories collection. Look out for that review soon :).

Fifth columnist is the fifth tale in the JJ Stoner short stories. The author has also wrote two full length novels that feature some of the characters but I’ve not had a chance to read them yet and can confirm it didn’t affect how much I enjoyed or understood these short stories.

Once again Frank Westworth has given us a super short, informative and intriguing tale.

What Frank does well for me is that he gives you just enough information to follow the action but not enough so to give you the full picture. For me this works perfectly. As someone who is yet to read the full length novels it hooks me in.. makes me want to know more about the characters. I can quite imagine also that if I had read the longer novels then these shorts would build nicely onto the series.

Focusing on Fifth columnist itself I have to say I enjoyed it..there’s quite a build up with this one then BANG.. twist..and I was left rereading the page so I could fully take in what had just happened..It was the wow moment I was looking for at just the right time.

I enjoy short stories like this, it’s a great way to see how an author writes before committing to larger works.

Overall this is another great short from Frank which builds nicely onto the foundations set in the previous shorts. I highly recommend you read the shorts as a collection as I feel you get more from it that way. I’ll certainly be making time to fit more of Frank’s work into my reading schedule this year.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.
If you want to know more about The Stoner Stories collection my review will be posted next week but in the meantime you can find out more on Goodreads or Amazon.