Title – Along the Guadalquivir Author – Joseph R. Costa Genre – Historical Fiction Word Count - 79,500 Rating – Four stars out of Five No. 15 - 2021 Posted April 10,2021
My Impressions: Excellent action in late sixteenth century Spain. Main Characters: Mateo – Army Lieutenant aboard a Spanish galleon. Guillermo – Mateo’s true childhood friend. Mencia – A date who rejects Mateo, then becomes a true friend of Mateo and Guillemo. Luisa – Mateo’s Juliet to his Romeo.
Mateo is serving as a naval lieutenant on a late sixteenth century Spanish galleon escorting a fleet of ships carrying gold from the Indies to Spain. When the fleet is attacked by British ships, he experiences the horrors of brutal battle. The scene shifts to Mateo at home with friends and family and reunification with his best friend Guillemo. Mateo is under pressure from his parents to marry and sire their grandchildren. His several arranged dates with prospective mates are comical and unproductive. Finally he meets Mencia, who flat out rejects him and all arrogant, self-centered males. He is enthralled with this outspoken girl who is a knife thrower, archer, and sword fighting tomboy. Mateo, Guillermo and Mencia quickly become best friends and much of the story revolves around their friendships and exciting adventures. During his time in the Indies, Mateo gathered seeds for red peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, and seed potatoes. A portion of the story deals with these new crops from the Americas as the Spaniards learn to grow them and acquire a taste for them. The story is action packed as the trio of friends stand up to various rouges and show them “The Wrath of God”.
If the editing was as well done as the plot and storytelling this would rate a five star review. The sentence structure is well done. Character Development is good for the main characters and important support characters. Details are abundant but come across as if a stage manager is behind the curtains yelling information to the actors. Thorough and detailed research is apparent. The plot is fresh and unusual.
The story does not contain any cursing or intimate sexual scenes but does have violence and murder. I strongly recommend this story in spite of the flaws.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – The Gambit Author – Brad Carlson Genre – Military, Political, Suspense, Thriller 316 Amazon Pages Rating 4 stars out of 5 No.14 – 2021 Posted 4/2/2021
My impressions: thought provoking, possible, scary, terrorists. Main Characters: Colonel Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson – special forces - CIA Danielle 'Dani' Yaniv – Mossad agent and nuclear engineer.
There are many characters in The Gambit', but only Stonewall and Dani impact the plot throughout. The story moves between Israel, Iran and the United States with characters from the armies and intelligence agencies of all three world powers. It's hard to describe the story with out including spoilers, but I'll try to limit them. Israeli intelligence learns Iran is only weeks from fielding an atomic bomb. Air strikes by Israel with support from US aircraft carrier battle groups decimate Iran's nuclear facilities. But Iran has anticipated these attacks that will slow their nuclear ambition for several years; conversely, they have been preparing to implement a bold plan that will bring the Great Satan, as thy call the US, to their knees for decades The story switches to characters from all three countries as Iran moves to implement their attack and to Israeli and US agencies trying to uncover the plot and determine its scope and timeline. The plot is thrilling, suspenseful and fast paced.
Now the bad news. I actually wanted to rate The Gambit six stars out of five, but I can't justify more than a four.
The editing is good but with word related exceptions. Sentence structure and character development are fine. Details and research are evident in the depth of information provided pertaining to the various military units and equipment. The plot is fast paced, scary and intense. The writing style is where the story breaks down. It is extremely wordy with weak words like pretty, about and some being so abundant they make statements weak and ambiguous. And the writing is so repetitive with the same words and phrases being used multiple times in the same sentence or paragraph. Negative words like can't and haven't are used where can and have make more sense than the negatives implied. Many scenes run together without a blank line to warn the reader of scene changes.
In spite of the above errors, I strongly recommend The Gambit for a thrilling read of a very possible world struggle.
This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Moonshiner's Justice Author – Jeremy Perry Genre – Action/Adventure 147 Amazon Pages (about 45,000 words) Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 13 - 2021 Posted 3/27/2021 This is a novella length story set in 1923 in eastern Kentucky.
My impressions: loving caring family members, self-sufficient, hard independent people, vigilante justice. Main Characters: Frank Jamison – bootlegger. Raymond Jamison – Frank’s 13 year old son. Ansel Jamison – Frank’s father. Clyde Brown – Frank’s good friend.
Moonshiner’s Justice is an excellent story of greed, betrayal, and revenge. Frank is identified to the Federal Infernal Revenue officers as an illegal whiskey producer. He is known and respected throughout the rural area where his family lives for producing the best white lightening ever sold in a quart jar. But his fame and notoriety has drawn the attention of greedy folks who want his business. Two Internal Revenue agents confront Frank as they are destroying his still and arrest him. He is charged, convicted, and sent to prison. The matriarch of this close family arrives to watch over his son’s family. This is when the main action of the story begins to occur. But the crime plot is only one part of this tale. In the midst of this proud, loving family is Raymond’s coming of age journey as he deals with loss, betrayal, and the responsibility of manhood.
I can proudly highly recommend this heartfelt story.
The editing is excellent, almost perfect. Sentence structure is above the norm also. Character Development is good, especially for novella length story. Details are adequate for a tale told mainly in the forest. The plot is simple but endearing. Much emphasis is placed on the Jamison family’s relationships and principles. The writing style is simple but crisp.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – The Sovereignty File Author – Elizabeth Smith Genre – Suspense Mystery Word Count - 79,290 Rating – 5 Stars out of 5 No. 12 - 2021 Posted 3/19/2021
My Impressions: murder, blackmail, racism, revenge, prejudice Main Characters: Jonathan Burke - Reporter Garrett Sloan – U.S. Senator running for the U.S. presidency. Henry Clarkson – Mississippi Supreme Court Justice retired. Franklin Carter – U.S. Representative retired, Sloan’s father-in-law, Allison’s father. Lacey Pritchard – Burke’s ex-wife, psychotic. Allison Sloan – Sloan’s wife, Carter’s daughter. Dr. Peyton St. Clair – (Honey) history professor @ Mississippi Coast College.
The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission existed from 1956 to 1977; a secret, state-sponsored government agency that used spying, jury tampering, false imprisonment, and murder to crush the civil rights movement and preserve Mississippi’s racially segregated status.
Jonathan Burke was asked by ex-wife Lacey to interview Senator Garrett Sloan who seeks the presidency. He interviewed Sloan and judged him to be full of darkness, hate, and pure evil under his mask of dark good looks, style, and charisma. Garrett’s wife, Allison, had provided Jonathan with a question about the Sovereignty Commission to be asked at the end of his interview. Later she told him a page from the Sovereignty File had been found in their hotel room that morning causing Garret and her father to become enraged. Apparently someone had information that could ruin Garrett’s chance of attaining the presidency and also put many prominent, old power brokers in prison and destroy their family names. Jonathan’s investigation led him to the murder of a ten-year-old Negro girl who was abducted many years ago. She proved to be a key to bringing the commission members to justice. During his search for information, Jonathan teamed up with Honey St. Clair, a history professor in charge of the Sovereignty File stored at her college. She joined Jonathan in his quest because she was intrigued by his mission (and with Jonathan). The rest of the story is complex and full of twist and turns. The action is suspenseful and deadly.
The editing and sentence structure are far better than normal, but not perfect. Character development is good and paints pictures of people ranging from outstanding to crooked to evil. Details are in depth and show the amount of research done to flesh out the story. The plot is fresh and complex and makes the reader want more to the end. The writing style is fast paced and captures the essence of the southern coastal region.
I highly recommend this story of past racial prejudice and the forces that prolonged it’s demise. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Cape Abigail Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Hard Boiled Word Count 97,000 Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 11– 2021 Posted 3/13/2021
My impressions: framed, violence, rape, intimidation, romantic triangle, vigilante justice. Main Characters: Carter A. Johnson – vigilante investigator. Kate Menke – vigilante investigator. Mattie Boker – Carter’s girlfriend in Oregon. Sharon Collins – Cape Abigail, Maine Police officer attracted to Carter. Steve Snowe – Cape Abigail, Maine Police Sergeant. Lynn Lancaster – both of her parents were convicted of committing three murders. Frank Lehnen – husband of murder victim. Fidel Elizondo – drug cartel assassin. Fiona Wiesmann – exotic dancer and more.
The fictional seaside town of Cape Abigail, Maine is the setting for Cape Abigail in current times.
Carter Johnson is assigned by his vigilante group handler to look into the conviction of a husband and wife imprisoned for the premeditated murder of three people in the quaint, peaceful town. Before leaving Oregon he and his current girlfriend Mattie have a serious discussion about their future relationship. Carter is not pleased with the direction they’re headed. In Cape Abigail, he comes to the aid of Police Officer Collins and then on the rebound from Mattie starts an affair with Collins. The daughter of the convicted murders, Lynn Lancaster is adamant her parents are innocent until she suddenly becomes sullen and withdrawn and changes her position to accept their guilt. Carter asked for another investigator, preferably female, to get next to Lynn and learn what is troubling her. Kate Menke is sent to assist him and Carter finds himself dealing with three women he is attracted to. As the investigation gets closer to the person actually behind the murders, Carter is attacked and then he and Kate are attacked. The action scenes are well orchestrated and believable. They pulled me into the story with the detailed accounts leading up to the scene’s conclusions. The final attack on Carter was cold and calculating and he barely escaped with all his parts. The assassins portrayed were well conceived and truly evil, each in their own way. Through many twist and turns in the plot, the vigilantes eventually learned the identity of the antagonist and brought him to justice.
Both the editing and sentence structure are excellent. The character development is thorough and detailed for all the main characters. The plot is complex with more danger and turns than a coiled rattlesnake. The writing style is to the point without a lot of extraneous detail that constitutes filler. Thorough research is evident throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot's fast, action filled pace plus Carter’s resolute handling of his feelings for each of his three love interests.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Solomon Bull Author – Clayton Lindemuth Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 312 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 No.10 – 2021 Posted 3/7/2021.
My impressions: intelligent, idealistic, unwavering, high principles, tenacious. Main Characters: Solomon Bull – Rebel, embraces challenges, proud of his Blackfoot heritage. Cal Barrett – mysterious catalyst for Federal Government change.
What starts out as a bet between friends to lower the poll standing of a US Congressman turns into a passion to destroy his career publicly. When Solomon learns the man is a pedophile brutalizing a young Blackfoot boy, his original stunt becomes a full-blown passion. At the same time, Solomon has been training for weeks to win Desert Dog; a brutal one day endurance race in the 110 + degree Arizona desert. In addition to the fit male competitors, he faces a team of five Amazons who will inflict pain and injuries on anyone who tries to keep them out of first place. One of Solomon’s reasons for entering the race is to learn what happens to previous winners who have all disappeared from public view. The mysterious and enigmatic Cal Barrett sponsors the once yearly race from his compound in the desert. Finally, Solomon learns Barrett’s goal and how he plans to return government’s power back to the state level.
The editing is not bad, but there are errors. Sentence structure is good and character development is good for the two main characters plus several sub characters to a lesser degree. Research is evident in the details relating to endurance racing and the history of the defeat of the American Indian Nations by despicable white men. The plot is fresh and complex in spite of the pages spent on Solomon’s self-introspection and American Indian history. The writing style is wordy and preachy. There are many characters in the story but only two of them really impact the plot and the ending.
I recommend Solomon Bull to readers who enjoy action adventure and detailed accounts of endurance training and other physical activities.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – A Chosen Path Author – Ben Carlyle Genre – Thriller Word Count - 111,527 Rating – Five stars out of five No.9 - 2021 Posted 2/27/2021
My Impressions: An intriguing story of conflict between British intelligence, the Russian Mafia, and a fifth column organization deep within Russia since the Bolshevik revolution. A Chosen Path is a continuation of The Roads Chosen and is the second book in a series.
Main Characters: Sam Mitchell – world traveler, spy Rebecca Liscombe – Sam’s girlfriend and member of an extremely wealthy family. Edward Liscombe – Rebecca’s wealthy father with deep ties to the British Government. Andrew Levenson-Phillips - Director-Support Services in the intelligence wing of the British government.
In The Roads Chosen, Sam Mitchel spent six years walking the Silk Roads of Asia. He uncovered Russian Mafia corruption and set out to expose the deeply rooted ex-members of the Russian KGB secret service who retained powerful positions in the criminal world. To punish Sam, the criminals assassinated his parents. Book two, A Chosen Path covers Sam’s quest to avenge his parents’ deaths and bring the people who ordered it to justice. Not to arrest and conviction, but to justice. The fifth column purveyors of justice he contacts prove their power by safely escorting Sam and his entourage into Russia and then back out. The primary driving purpose of the underground group is to salvage broken and damaged citizens, often military conscripts, and escort them to safety. Along the way the story reveals a wonderful and intriguing host of characters working together to the detriment of the ex-KGB criminal leaders.
The editing and sentence structure are professional grade. Character Development is detailed for the main characters and many support characters. Details and research carry the story and create a vivid image. The plot is complex and involves many support characters. The writing style involves the reader in deeply emotional dialog and actions. I highly recommend this exciting tale of conflict but pay close attention or you’ll miss the subtle clues hidden along the way.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Dire Covenants Author – M. D. Ironz Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Police Procedural 310 Amazon Pages No. 8 - 2021 Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 2/20/2021
My impressions: Good partner interaction, complex plot with lots of surprises, lots of coffee drinking and smoking, brutal but original murder techniques.
Main Characters: Det. Sgt. Donald Dombrowski, tough, old school detective. Det. Katie Callahan, good three year detective with personal baggage. Lt. Waters, the detective’s smoking addicted boss.
The main players in Dire Covenants have a strong working relationship. The two lead detectives, Dombrowski and Callahan have a strong rapport and trade good natured jabs at every opportunity. The detective’s case begins when several officials of a residential Home Owners Association die after suffering strokes, and two other deaths are staged as suicides. When the medical examiner determines the strokes were induced and the deaths were murder the action takes off. Add in another official being tortured to death and the complexity ratchets up even more. Then throw in the off and on disappearance of the daughter of a central figure and the mysteries compound.
The editing is very good with only a few minor errors. Sentence structure is also good. Character development of the main players is detailed. There are too many sub characters for that level of detail with them. The plot is complex, and action is abundant.
A few failings: in a basement scene when the lights go out, too many complex moves are made by Callahan in the dark while action is taking place around her. Also, specialized equipment was anticipated to be needed in that scene and that seemed much too convenient and made the scene appear contrived. Then there is the mother of the kidnap victim staying with her rat of a husband after his abysmal actions are exposed. Finally, under research, the procedure for a so-called Columbian Necktie is a myth, as it is physically impossible to be performed at the throat, says Wikipedia. Overall, I give a hearty recommendation to Dire Covenants.
My Impressions: Professional writing, interesting, believable characters who interact well, intricate and complex plot. Main Characters: Lt. Detective Nick Larson – Struggling with internal demons after ex-wife committed suicide. Detective Vic Sacco – Nick’s close friend and partner. Ramos – Member of the investigative team Laura Howard – Nick’s current girlfriend with her own deadly personal baggage. Sandra Ward – Laura’s sister who wants to destroy her.
There are three story lines here. Nick is fighting personal demons after his ex-wife committed suicide while on the phone with him begging him to take her back. A second story line is his girlfriend’s psychopath sister who wants to destroy her and is in a psych ward. But even locked up the nutcase manages to corrupt Laura’s life. The main plot is a string of hangings deaths originally judged to be suicides. Nick isn’t buying the suicides; he and his investigative team chase leads to no avail and the deaths keep piling up. The interaction among his team members adds greatly to the story, Many people they interview are nutcases in their own right. Then the case is solved by a witness who just drops in their laps.
Laura’s demented sister is not resolved. Is she left hanging for a sequel? I hope so.
The editing and sentence structure are well done and just short of perfect. Character Development is good for all important characters. Research is evident in the story’s complex details. The plot is complex, intense, and fast paced.
I enjoyed Hanging Softly in the Night and highly recommend it.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Day of the Tiger Author Dallas Gorham Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 313 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 5 - 2021 Posted 2/6/2021
My impressions: violence, drugs, prostitutes, human trafficking, kidnapping, good cop, diabolical criminals. Main Characters: Carlos McCrary – ex detective, P.I. Thomas “Tank” Tyler – retired football player, CPA, multi-millionaire. Al Rice – destitute gambler, disgraced football player, irresponsible bum. Doraleen Rice, Al’s mother. Montgomery “Monster” Moffett – violent criminal
Al Rice is a drunken, drug addicted misfit with a past that haunts him and pushes him into escapism. In a stupid move, he swore on his mother’s life to repay a two hundred thousand dollar gambling debt he had no means of paying. The bad buy, Monster Moffett took Al at his word and set about collecting the money he was owed. Day of the Tiger is a wild and dangerous ride into the world of drugs, forced prostitution, and strippers as Carlos and his friend Tank attempt to extricate Al from a sadistic criminal. Some of the actions have to be read as tongue in cheek as the good guys would never get away with them in real life. They’d be caught and prosecuted the same as the crooks they chase. But it makes a fun, exciting read. There is little cursing and no graphic sexual content. I enjoyed reading Day of the Tiger and recommend it for fans of crime stories.
The editing and sentence structure are excellent, professional grade. Character Development was in depth for the main characters. The plot is intense, full of conflict and compelling. The writing style is laid back and dwells a lot on friendships.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – The Only Gold Author – Ethan Luke Genre – Thriller 221 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 06 – 2021 Posted 1/30/2021
My impressions: gory, violent, excessive, loving relationship, redemption. The main characters: Atilius – a low-life thief with goodness buried deep within him. Diana – an angelic female on earth to show Atilius the way to true love. Braxes – evil incarnate, wealthy merchant and owner of slaves he feeds to the fighting pits for profit.
Early in the story Atilius steals from Braxes, is beaten nearly to death and left in a muddy alley to die. Diana finds him, nurses him back to health and they slowly fall in love. Then after a devastating personal loss the story goes into overdrive when Atilius sells himself to Braxes to be a slave and fight in the pits. Is he only seeking death, or does he aspire to absolution? For over a year he fights and wins in one bloody, brutal match after another as he learns to care for and defend a small circle of fellow slave gladiators. Even as he survives the brutality of the fighting pits to provide entertainment to the repulsive spectators who encourage the beastly acts inflicted on the armed combatants, he manages to incur the wrath of Braxes.
I recommend this story except for those who can't stomach the thought of hacking, stabbing, burning and other acts to maim or kill human beings.
The book's editing and sentence structure are very good. Character development in The Only Gold is insightful and gritty. Details and research are thorough and reflect the times of gladiators perfectly. The plot is intense and convoluted and keeps the reader guessing as to what could possibly happen next. The writing style is intense and carries the reader from despair to exhilaration and down again in a continuous circle.
The only failing I found was the identical scars inflicted on both Atilius and Diana when they were very young; it was never explained how that came to be or the connection between them.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Unnatural Author – Deven Green Genre – Medical Thriller, Romance Word Count - 85900 Rating – Four stars out of Five No. 04 - 2021 Posted 1/22/2021
My Impressions: Foreign intrigue, conflict, frequent action, romance.
Main Characters: Erica Rosen M.D. – pediatrician. Daisy Wong – Friend of Erica and co-conspirator. Ms. Ting Chen – Chinese national with three children Wang Shu, Tang, Mingyu). Lim Chen – Ting’s brother and a rebel against gene modification. Ebba Lindgren – Friend and enabler of Ting Chen.
Dr. Erica Rosen treats Ting Chen’s daughter, Wang Shu, and notices the child has blue eyes. She assumes the child’s father is Caucasian. Later Ting’s three-year-old son, Tang is brought in after being hit by a car. Tests reveal he has abnormal hemoglobin levels. Ting insist Chinese assassins attacked the boy to murder him. No one believes her until a Chinese man posing as a doctor tries to get close to the boy. Ting pulls a gun on him and he runs off with a hostage. Later they learn the doctor whose I.D. badge the assassin stole was murdered. Erica learns horrible details about what the Chinese government is doing to dominate the Olympics in the future. Their goal is to create super athletes to dominate all major sports categories. During the discussions, Erica learns Ting has a third child who is four-months-old and is still held in China. Ting was impregnated against her will with sperm from the head of the gene modification program for all three of her children. Erica and Daisy plot to sneak into China, meet Lim, steal Ting’s second son, and record evidence of the illegal medical program. From there the conflict is intense and the action frequent. Along the way Erica and Lim become lovers and the story ends on a cliff hanger that will lead into book two. During long dissertation of genes, DNA, and RNA, I skipped ahead because I found the details too technical and boring. The story has an abundance of evil communist party members, assassins, and even pirates.
The editing and sentence structure are subpar and need help. Character Development is thorough Details are plentiful and research of gene sequencing and modification is evident. The plot is fresh and horrifying. The writing style is a bit slow with a lot of hand ringing and gnashing of teeth. I enjoyed Unnatural in spite of the negatives listed.
My Impressions: Sometimes you don’t really know the people you think you know.
Main Characters: Dan Williams – ranch laborer and runs a machine shop in town. Wally Williams – Dan’s uncle and shop helper. Samantha Cheswick – Runs a bar up in the hills. Syd the wonder dog – Dan’s dog. Spinelli – Sherriff’s deputy and butt of many jokes. Chase – Young man who lives in a shack with his grandfather. Vernon – Chases grandfather. Tony – A hoodlum from the East Coast. Sal – Tony’s help to locate a woman wanted by and East Coast mobster.
After Samantha (Sam) is seen rushing away from the bar she owns, the neighbors mount a search for her. No one suspects she is in danger or that a pair of thugs have been sent to capture her and transport her to the East Coast. Then Chase and his grandfather enter the melee before Vernon has a heart attack and is taken away in a medevac helicopter. Chase is confused and afraid without Vern there to guide and reassure him. Sam is being hidden by friends at an observatory in the mountains and Chase makes his way there and charms the ladies as young boys can. Dan and Wally see the thugs parked near the observatory where Sam’s yellow Jeep was seen. They stick out like beacons among the close knit rural people. Wally harasses the thugs by telling them dangerous bears roam the mountain’s at night and they may be attacked. The thugs are incompetent but finally attack the cabin where Sam is hiding. After a showdown with the thugs, Dan and Wally and Chase get the upper hand and Spinelli arrest the culprits. Only then do the people helping Sam learn the reason she was in danger.
The editing and sentence structure are excellent. Character development is good for all the major players. Research or a close personal knowledge of the story’s details is evident. The plot is exciting and intense at times while not being overly grim. The writing style brings out the closeness and feelings of the hill people for each other.
I highly recommend Death and the Devil’s Henchmen.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – A Burning in the Darkness Author – A P McGrath Genre – Crime, Mystery, Thriller 360 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 2 – 2021 Posted 1/8/2021
My impressions: intrigue, deeply emotional, brutal murders, Main Characters: Father Michael Kieh – Catholic Priest, from Africa Leonie Urey/Jenkins– Childhood friend from Africa. Joan Macintosh -married woman who has a crush on Michael. Dan Peterson – Friend of Michael’s Detective Mason Lenislake – Good cop Detective Dewi Blank – Corrupt cop.
A Burning in the Darkness is an intense and unusual story involving a Catholic Priest who vacillates between being God’s disciple and being a normal man with sexual and emotional needs. Michael Kieh was born in Liberia, Africa during a time of civil war. He witnessed his entire family being raped and butchered by his uncle and a group of child soldiers. His escape and ordeal to becoming a priest was fraught with danger and betrayal. The abrupt leaving to achieve his personal goal of becoming a priest caused heartbreak in a close friend that would later come back to haunt him. Michael presided over a small non-denominal church in a busy English airport and that is where the current story takes place. He is embroiled in controversy over the right of a priest to withhold evidence based on the Seal of Confession, believing that information given during confession is private between the priest and confessor. That belief drags Michael into criminal court on charges against him in a murder trial. He is at a distinct disadvantage in a snake pit of intrigue, murder and betrayal because of corrupt law enforcement officers and his own adherence to his belief in his chosen religion. The story is full of conflict and delves deeply into Father Kieh’s personal beliefs and character.
The editing and sentence structure of A Burning in the Darkness is excellent. Research is good. The writing style is strong and tightly focused. The dialog attributed to the African immigrants is slightly difficult to read because of missing words and usage.
In the last five percent of the book I felt the author skipped ahead at breakneck speed and some important details were omitted. This did not impact the overall ending severely but made it a bit murky. This is a great story and I highly recommend it.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Outnumbered volumes 1-6 Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Action/Adventure, Zombie Apocalypse 131,400 Words Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 01 - 2021 Posted 1/1/21
My impressions: betrayal, rogue killers, zombie horror, internal enemies, new take on zombies. Main Characters: Tom Jacobs – leader of a group of zombie apocalypse survivors in Iowa Kira Schafer – widow of Carl Schafer who was killed by zombies. Paige Schafer – Kira’s daughter.
I found Outnumbered Volumes 1-6 a refreshing look at the zombie apocalypse genre. The relentless zombies are present only to serve as a catalyst to drive the real story of the human survivors. Surviving in the devastated world they’ve been left with would be difficult enough without their own internal betrayals plus treacherous acts by other groups of vicious survivors. The interactions between the main and support characters was realistic. In this version of the zombie apocalypse, even the zombies slowly change over the years. I won’t say how, but their evolvement was totally fresh and unexpected. Each step of these changes presented new challenges to the humans. Tom Jacobs and his best friend Shane were Army Delta Force snipers. The other support characters have varied backgrounds from a Navy SEAL weapons expert to a veterinarian who serves as their doctor. Kira Schafer’s deceased special forces husband recognized from the get-go the devastation the zombie onslaught would cause and prepared his family for survival. Against her early upbringing, the will to protect and defend herself and Paige caused her to evolve into a determined kick butt warrior. There are some gruesome scenes and minor cursing.
The editing and sentence structure are good to excellent, and character development is detailed considering the number of characters who revolve in and out of the scenes. Details are explicit and research is good, but with the zombies it’s, of course, mostly conjecture. The plot gives a fresh look at the zombie genre and the accompanying decline of the human race. The author’s writing style is fast paced with in depth insights into the human behavior under threat of worldwide annihilation. The action scenes are intense and well-choreographed.
I enjoyed the story and highly recommend it for fans of the action adventure and zombie apocalypse genres.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Tropical Deception Author – David Myles Robinson Genre – Legal thriller Word Count 256 pages Rating: Four stars out of Five No. 47 - 2020 Posted 12/26/2020
My Impressions: Good characterization, intense plot, good writing. Main Characters: Pancho McMartin – Criminal Defense Lawyer. Padma Dasari – Pancho’s girlfriend. Drew Tulafono – Criminal investigator Wayson Takei – Defendant in a murder case. Harry Chang – Hawaiian prosecutor. Joe Malen – Rich entrepreneur from Las Vegas. Tim Derricks – Assistant to Joe Malen. And several more additional subcharacters.
When Peter Roosevelt was murdered, all the evidence pointed to Wayson Takei. His estranged wife, Lei, was in an affair with Peter, his gun was used to shoot the man, and his gate pass was used to enter the guarded enclave where the three lived. A lot of money was involved in the creation of a large residential development in Hawaii, and Peter had just successfully gotten an injunction levied to stop the project. As Drew gathered evidence, he learned one of the investors from Las Vegas, Nevada, was an ex-highly placed Russian who had changed his name when he came to the US. Three other Las Vegas investors were mafia members of dubious character. Pancho went into court with a weak defense and a huge personal problem. He father had a stroke and was hospitalized. Then the father died after suffering a following major stroke. Pancho was off his game and floundering with his court presentation. He knew he was on the right track when Drew and another investigator were attacked while asking questions in Las Vegas.
The editing and sentence structure are not in terrible shape but definitely need help. Character Development is good for all main characters Details are good and research is apparent in covering the various disciplines involved. The plot is involved and complex and ran to a surprise ending. The writing style is crisp and fast paced for a legal drama.
I recommend Tropical Deception especially for mystery/thriller fans. The story contains minor cursing and sexual descriptions.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – The Boy in the Gutter Author – John Triplych Genre – Hard Boiled Detective Word Count - 83,500 Rating – Four Stars out of Five No. 46 - 2020 Posted 12/18/2020
My Impressions: Excellent story set in L.A’s Chinatown in 1947.
Main Characters: Thomas ‘Dapper’ Luoo, - Student, amateur detective. Herbert Wong – Dapper’s best friend. Frances Byner – Independent reporter. Disung ‘Harry’ Lee – Head of Chinatown’s Benevolent Association. Det. Sgt. Woodrow Tyrus – Crooked L.A. cop. And many support characters.
Dapper Luoo is upset when the mutilated body a young, naked Asian boy is found in the alley behind his parents’ restaurant. He always had a bent toward being a detective, so he starts a one man investigation to learn the boy’s identity and the identity of the boy’s killer. Along the way Dapper enlist the help of his best friend, Herbert Wong and an independent reporter named Frances Byner. The trio plunges into the depths of the child sex trade searching for a clue to the dead child’s identity. Blocking their progress are criminals and the police in the figure of Detective Sergeant Woodrow Tyrus. Even Dapper’s parents order him to pull away from searching for the killer and let the police do their job. But the police are racist and have little zeal to find the killer of a child from Chinatown. Dapper’s investigation leads him to one of the countries most prominent and wealthy families as his primary suspects. The ending is intense and highly emotional as Dapper and Frances confront the child’s killer and expose the hidden secrets of an illicit affair.
The editing and sentence structure are fair but pull an otherwise fine story down. Character Development is good for the main characters and adequate for support characters. Details are richly painted in and out of Chinatown. Research is apparent in the past history of the late forty’s era. The plot is complex and intense. The writing style is fast and intense as the investigating trio close in on the groups resisting them. In spite of its listed faults, I highly recommend “The Boy in the Gutter’
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – To Catch a Spy and Traitor Author – Toby Oliver Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller Word Count - 68,000 Rating - Four stars out of Five No.45A - 2020 Posted 12/12/2020
Main Characters: Joyce Leader – M15 intelligence agent. Alexei Ivanov – Russian KGB double agent. Sir Spencer Hall – Director General of M15 Intelligence.
The story is set in 1962 as British spy masters struggle with Soviet double agents in their ranks. So much so that it is rightly called Londongrad. Alexei is a Russian KGB officer working with British M15 intelligence. When his British government handler is assassinated, the M15 Director General, Sir Spenser Hall, has to deal with a spy in his intelligence organization who outed Alexei’s direct contact. Joyce Leader is a senior British spy and is in love with Spenser Hall. As a Russian Assassin squad targets Alexei, the action ratchets up until the high ranking traitor is caught and dealt with by Joyce.
The action scenes are vague and bland and lack credibility.
The editing and sentence structure are subpar and need professional help. Character Development is good for the main characters. Details and research are adequate to carry the plot. The plot is interesting but lacks depth.
The story was interesting and held my attention.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Too Murders Too Many Author – Bluette Matthey Genre – Mystery Word Count - 45,800 Rating – Four stars out of five No. 44- 2020 Posted 12/6/2020
My Impressions: A large cast of whacko characters in Shannon, Ohio, in 1956. Main Characters: Charlie Simmons – Policeman Otto Hilty – Mail carrier Hiram Mohler – Farmer whose wife goes missing. Tom & Clyde Gratz – Farmers whose barns are burned.
Shannon, Ohio, has an inordinate number of mentally handicapped people caused by past decades of inbreeding. Their conditions range from mild to severe. Most lead nearly normal productive if quirky lives. The ‘normal’ folks of Shannon look after and protect them. Policeman Charlie Simmons is thrust into covering for the police chief before two barns are burned. This is big news in a farming community, and everyone wonders who the dastardly criminal is. Then Hiram Mohler reports his younger wife has disappeared. Shortly afterward and during a town celebration, postman Otto Hilty is murdered in a very gruesome manner. Charlie wonders why until his investigation discovers a steady stream of small amounts of money deposited to Otto’s bank account every month. Charlie tracks down the people being blackmailed but doesn’t feel any are barn burners or murderers. But then Charlie has a brain fart (that’s an epiphany to the upper crust) and thinks he knows where Katie Mohler is. In the end, Charlie catches the killer and sends him to the Ohio State Mental Hospital.
The editing and sentence structure are poorly done and need help to eliminate the many frequent errors. Character Development is good, but most are a bunch of whackos. Details and research are adequate. The plot is unusual but entertaining. The writing style portrays mostly downhome rednecks who don’t take easily to outsiders.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – Treasure Fever Author – James McPike Genre – Action Adventure Word Count 68,800 Rating Four stars out of Five No.42 - 2020 Posted 11/27/2020
My Impressions: In addition to Action Adventure I judge this story to be Satire with Science Fiction. Max Finley reminded me of Maxwell Smart of the old Get Smart TV series. Main Characters: Max Finley – Bumbling NSA agent. Lexa Tantaros – Beautiful thief. Dean Spader – NSA agent who hates Max.
The story opens at the Royal Madrid Library in Spain. Lexa illegally copies an old manuscript giving details to the location of the fabled Inca treasure of El Dorado in South America. She’s caught red handed but somehow escapes the authorities there. Max Findley is sent to capture her and return her to the US. Instead he assists her in escaping the police in Caracas, Venezuela, and goes on the run with her to Quito, Ecuador. There they find a jungle guide who will take them to The Sacred Valley of the Incas at The Mountain of the Gods. Once again there is a huge shootout as they evade the police. As they enter the valley, they are captured by natives. Max is given a potent drug and has visions of where the treasure is located. Then Dean Spader catches up to them with a military team and murders most of the natives. The rest of the story involves science fiction as some mysterious force causes stone slab doors to open and stone bridge parts to rise and connect. Strictly tongue in cheek stuff. Think Indiana Jones. The only way I could justify a four star rating is to judge this as Satire and Sci-fi. It would get a lower rating as a serious Action Adventure tale.
The editing and sentence structure are very poor. Character Development is barely adequate. Details depend on science fiction in some aspects and are totally unreal. Under research, I find no evidence that the Glock 22 is made in the US and they use magazines, not clips. The plot reminds me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The writing style is fast paced and full of tongue in cheek action
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
Title – A Deadly Miracle Author – Bob Laurie Genre – Thriller, Coming of age, fantasy, religious Word Count - 92,000 Rating – Four stars out of five No.40 - 2020 Posted 11/22/2020
My Impressions: Togue in cheek tale of an assassin and a naive young man raised by extremely emotional parents. Main Characters: Jace Hunter – Eighteen-year-old suffering growing pains. Sage Petrov – Jace’s slutty girlfriend. Capt. Ivan ‘Bull’ Volkov – Retired member of Russia’s Spetsnaz special forces team. Anya – Bull’s fiancée. Major Yuri Petrov – A Spetsnaz special forces team who has stolen a miracle drug. Finn Hunter – Jace’s hardheaded, egotistical father.
Young Jace Hunter is going through his rebellious late teen years picking fights with his dad, Finn. But Finn is too stubborn and hardheaded to back off. His attitude is ‘my way or the highway’. After Bull’s retirement ceremony his is told to find Major Yuri Petrov and bring two hundred boxes of a ‘miracle drug’ back to Russia. Bull refuses, but a general has Bull’s fiancée kidnapped to force Bull to find and kill his old buddy Yuri and return the two hundred doses of drugs that are worth thirty million dollars each. Sage’s uncle Yuri offers to pay Sage and Jace twenty-five hundred dollars to deliver the drugs to a contact in New York. But Bull is waiting for them when they return (they stole his van to make the trip). Bull is a ruthless killer with a heart of gold. So he kills Sage, her dad, and her uncle Yuri. Then he forces Jace to drive him back to where the drug delivery was made where he kills nine more bad guys. Of course, to add to the conflict Jace’s dad is diagnosed with brain cancer and only has six months to live. He needs a dose of the miracle drug that cures a myriad of diseases. But if Bull returns to Russia without all two hundred doses he and Anya will be punished. It’s a fast and entertaining read. The poor editing and sentence structure drag the story down significantly. Character Development is tongue in cheek. Details and research are poor. The plot is standard action hero and a teenager who gets dragged into deadly circumstances.
Note! A word to writers about firearms. Learn about them before making a fool of yourself by writing stupid comments. The Glock company sells magazines for their semiautomatic handguns. Not clips. Professional killers like Bull and Yuri do not wait until they’re ready to shoot to ‘cock’ the gun. Glocks are designed to be carried ‘HOT’ ready to fire by pulling the trigger. There is no safety switch. There are no firearm ‘silencers’. They are suppressors; they will knock the blast down, but it still sounds like a loud gunshot.
There is minimal cursing and no sexual situations. The story is interesting but doesn’t rise to the thriller level. It relies on a fantasy drug and is a coming of age tale for Jace with a heavy dose of religion thrown in.