Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

Sunday Book Review : Esquelle and Marie

As a regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. While on Goodreads and Amazon, I give books a star rating, I don’t do stars here. I just say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.

Apparently my reading this week was all about government secrets, espionage mixed with science fiction  with a kickbutt female title character.  That is where the similarities end. I enjoyed them both, but for different reasons.

51x-xe5tnjl-_ss300_Joe Dacy’s Esquelle is a book that Ihad been meaning to get to for awhile. An enjoyable techno-based thriller filled with smart characters, action and adventure.

While there is a lot of technology in the novel, the plot didn’t get bogged down. Dacy’s prose is detailed enough that you feel like its coming from a place of authority. It read very much like a Dan Brown’s book when the characters are discussing art or Tom Clancy discussing the ins and outs of submarines.

My only negative was the romantic subplot. I saw it coming when Dacy started mentioning what pajamas the two leads wore. It just seemed rather pointless. Or rather that “this is the spot where a sex scene goes.”  (But I admit, I find most romantic subplots pointless.)
Otherwise this is a awesome book.

People who enjoy books about computer technology or hard science fiction would love this novel.

511-11zherlMarie (Teumessian Trilogy Book 1)  by Ana Elise Meyer

Though it starts a little slow, once it gets going the action sequences are excellent and the pace quickens. And the climatic scenes is written wonderfully. This book is Jason Borne mixed with Kill Bill.

The title character Marie goes on a murdering rampage after the death of her husband and son, but she was so sympathetic (and kind to children) that I was cheering for her.

Marie is a great first book, but it has a few “first book” issues. As I said above it took awhile to get going. Since the first 100 pages was dedicated to the experiment to create super soldiers, I wished there was more science, but that was glossed over and instead we were shown how cold and calculating the scientists were. The book is well written and nothing pulled me out of the story, but the prose was blah specifically because the author used expositional dialogue. (Used in television and film this is dialogue  that no one would really say, but tells the audiences something. But books can use a little exposition) For example: There is a scene when the experiments are teenagers that is specifically to introduce their traits, but it was slow and plodding specifically because all the descriptions of each person was in the dialogue. “You are the X”  It didn’t need to be there.

However, if you like revenge books with secret government programs check out Marie.


Yep, it’s time for another reading rampage: review of Chemical Attraction, Breed, and Dead Heart!

Well a few things have been going on this week 1) 48Fourteen has released three new books and 2) on our anniversary Dennis and I stopped at Barnes&Noble after our steak dinner. So everyone should figure out that means I am going back on a reading rampage! (FYI: I purchase every book I review.)
What was strange about all three books is they are all suspenseful books that deal in someway with medicines. I did not plan that at all, its just what happened.

The first book on my to read list was Chemical Attraction by Christina Thompson published by 48Fourteen currently available in e-book. I throughly enjoyed this book–in fact more than I expected to– while this book is categorized as a romance, under Amazon, it’s really a thriller with strong romantic subplots as well as a strong science-fictiony component to fulfill the geek in me.

The descriptions of a small midwest town were excellent. Thompson enveloped me into the world she created and her pacing was excellent. I loved the opening scenes as they moved between all the characters and showed how they were interconnected.

Dr. Madeline Pierce and FBI Agent Joe Roberts have great chemistry as does the other couple Police officer Matt and his wife Eva (who is also Joe’s sister.) My only real criticism about the love aspect to the story is I got more emotionally involved in the relationship between Matt and Eva better then the one between the protagonists. In a way, their romance seemed more real.

Still, its a great book and I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who wants a romantic thriller.

The 2nd Book I read this weekend was Breed by Chase Novak published by Mulholland Books available in hardback.

This book was very interesting it felt a bit more science fiction than horror. I did not find it necessarily terrifying, but it had great pacing and lots of suspense. Alex and Leslie are happy except they cannot seem to have a child. They try one infertility treatment after another and the want of a child turns into obsession–especially for Alex. As a last-ditch attempt to make his dream of a child but especially a male heir come true, he takes Leslie into Slovenia to meet Dr. Kris, where they submit to a painful procedure that finally works but has awful consequences to them and their offspring: the twins Adam and Alice

Without giving too much away, most of the book revolves around the twins when they are ten and they are trying to work out what is happening to them and other kids born from Dr. Kris’s procedure. Their parents are both the protagonists and antagonists of the story which I LOVED! The other thing which was really interesting was the book was in presence tense. It gave such a panicked feel to the pacing which really worked for this type of novel.


The 3rd Book I read is Dead Heart by RL King published by 48Fourteen and avialble on e-book.

Now I admit, it almost turned me off on the first chapter, guys are talking guy talk and I wondered to myself if educated men really act like such idiots when they are alone together, but then I wouldn’t know and more importantly I got more and more swept up by the story between Paul and his sister Rhea as well as Paul and his companion ghosts.

For a debut author, King has the gift of understanding in horror books one must beat on the protagonist and allow them to suffer. I do not want to give any spoilers so I will just say, I was so engaged with Paul and what he was going through, I read the book in one sitting.

Wonderful book!

Special Guest Michael Cargill Author of Underneath

Michael Cargill is an author from Surrey, England. I loved his book Underneath. His descriptions are so detailed without overpowering the narrative that his writing transports you right into the story/ I was glad he was interested in doing an interview!

Michael’s other titles include:  Shades of Gray, Slaughter in Barnaby CloseShelter from Thunder, and Diary of a Dork. You can also get a good sense of his humor by reading his blog at

Alright, here comes the questions!
Who is your favorite character in Underneath?
Tricky one, this.  Robert would probably be an obvious choice, but I rather liked Clare.  She is smart, organized, and likes a laugh.  She has empathy for those who need her help, and plenty of guts to take down any criminals.
Which character was the most fun to write?
Probably Robert.  As I was writing some of his lines, I was chuckling to myself as the thoughts popped into my head.  I was able to have some fun with him.
By the way, I laughed at some of his lines too.
What have you learned as a writer?
That the editing process is suicide inducing.  I never realised just how soul destroying reading your own work, over, and over again, could be.
I reckon that in the future, professional editors will offer a suicide assistance package.  They’ll make a killing.
Ha, Ha, I agree!
What was some of your inspiration/sources?
Nothing in particular for this story, really.  I popped onto Wikipedia for five minutes, to research what sociopaths were like.  I also know some people who are in the police force, so I was able to use some of the things they have talked about when it came to cop-shop stuff.
What are you reading right now?
I’m having a trip back into the world of non-fiction at the moment, reading a book on the Holocaust.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Stephen King by far, followed by honourable mentions for Michael Crichton, and John Grisham.
Stephen King is my favorite author too!
How much reading do you do within your chosen genre of thriller?
A fair bit, actually!  I never realised it until fairly recently, but I seem to write what I read.
What is your next project?
I’m actually working on a story at the moment.  It’s about antelopes galloping through a shopping centre, and they get told off for making a mess in the women’s toilets.
Nah, not really.  It’s set in a school, but I am still in the early stages really.  Ideas are bouncing around my head like a mad ‘un.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Practice, and don’t panic.  You really need to be aware of how much work goes into just one book – proof reading is a big part of it.  No-one can write a bestseller in one go.  If you write something, then feel embarrassed by it a few days later, then that’s good!  It means you see what needs to changed, which is how all authors work.
Thanks Michael!

Review of Underneath by Michael Cargill

Underneath was brought to my attention after Michael Cargill and I both did the 7500 word Challenge.

All I can say is wow! I wish I read this book two weeks ago before I did that Villains panel at Westercon. I would have told everyone who wants to see a realistic non-sympathectic socio-path to read Cargill’s novella.

Cargill  deftly creates the setting: a major city in modern Britain is so detail oriented that it made me remember my trip to the United Kingdom when he was describing the parks, the ticket machines, etc. I could visualize everything. Also by not naming the city, he gives the “this could happen anywhere” vibe to the story.

Hugh starts in a park describing the people around him while at first glance he is an “every man who likes squirrels” himself, he quickly gets bored and angry.  He leaves the park and gets on a train becoming more and more irritated by most things and people he sees–except a young woman named Abigail. Once off the train, he breaks open a car window, steals a coat and then gets infuriated because “it is a cheap copy bought from a no-mark,no-lable and sh**** shop, that sold nothing but cheap s*** for slugs who had no idea what good stuff was.” Then he trashes the car.

The two police officers, Clare and Robert, both feel realistic. They have their own issues. Robert eats constantly and Clares has aspirations of promotion, as they cross paths with Hugh’s rising violent acts. They investigate the car whose owner promptly begins blaming Polish illegal immigrants. Robert and Clare’s reactions are perfect. And remain perfect as they move through the story faced with the violence and prejudice of their lives as police officers.

Cargill keeps the tension up masterfully from the first page up until the end. However, the plotting and pacing felt off. It ended rather abruptly just as the action was about to start. It was rushed. I felt as if he had slowed down during the final scenes it would have even been even stronger. 

Finally this book is for ADULTS. The sociopath Hugh has the most lines and Cargill does not pander to the audience. While the sexual activity is implied, as an British author, Cargill assumes the reader understands their standards for appropriate behavior.  Eurotrip was right! The English swear at a whole other level than Americans.

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