Bodies in the Tiber

Author: Vincent B. Davis II

Series: Sertoris Scrolls #3

Publisher: Thirteenth Press

Release Date: May 15, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: Jessica Higgins

Davis moves the series from the battlefield to the battle of the senate.  Who knew that today’s politics so mimicked Rome’s over two thousand years ago?

Quintus Sertoris has just returned from the northern battle against the Cimbri to secure Rome’s borders.  Hailed as Hero of the North, Quintus is uncomfortable with all the public attention.  He only wants to find his family and start to rebuild his relationship.  He soon learns that his wife has perished by her own hand and is reunited with his servant, his nephew who is also is adopted son, and his true love Arrea.  But he has changed and so has everyone else.  Quintus soon learns that Marius wants Quintus to become a senator to show support for his consulship and elected party.  Quintus left the noble party years ago because of the corruption of politics and has misgivings but finally decides that maybe he can do some good in the world.  What he discovers is that while Rome may be secure at her borders, the Republic is on the brink of collapse within!

I’ve enjoyed all the Sertoris Scrolls, but this one was enjoyable as a political thriller.  What was interesting was how the political parties spend more time trying to stay in power than they actually do for the good of the Republic.  Sound familiar?  Like maybe it could be written in today’s world?  As always, Davis did a great job on his research for the time period and cast of characters.  I’m a huge fan of Ancient Roman history, so I’ve already done a tremendous amount of research on the time period before I read these books and I’m always pleased to see how accurate they are. 

Quintus continues to grow as a noble character, even though he had a bit of a stumble throughout this book with his drinking and depression.  However, I’m glad to see that he was able to overcome and continue to do what he thinks is right even when wrongs continue to confront him.  I’m not going to divulge much, but I’m extremely happy about an event in this book that previously frustrated me in the second.  I think those that read through the book will understand once they read it.

There is quite a bit of harsh language and violence throughout the book, so I recommend that only mature audiences select this title.  Lovers of the time period will surely enjoy this!  I hope to see this series continue!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Just the Truth

Just the truthAuthor: Gen LaGreca

Publisher: Winged Victory Press

Release Date: May 16, 2020

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A good premise hitting a lot of hard topics that are very heavy in the world right now.

In the near future, the battle between journalism and the truth is at an all-time high. Laura Taninger has taken over running her family’s news empire after her grandfather, news mogul Julius Taninger, passes away. The rest of her family heads up the other branches of the Taninger empire. Laura’s prize is her show “Just The Truth,” where she tackles the hardest topics that sometimes get her in trouble. When she uncovers a plot to rig the voting for the next presidential election, she vows to do whatever it takes to bring the Truth to light. There are those in power that are willing to do anything to keep Laura from bringing the truth to light. Murder, kidnapping, threats to her family’s company and more threaten all that the Taninger family hold dear. Will the truth come out? Or will they be silenced for good?

Just the Truth has a really good premise but fell short for me. First of all, and this isn’t the authors fault, but the print is too small and bunched together making it hard to read. That is more of a publishing issue, but since this is a self-published book a different printing style would have helped the reader. Also, this book was very repetitive, first we are given a piece of information and then it is repeated more than once through the different media outlets in the story. Granted, this really does mimic todays media outlets!

I had trouble relating to the characters and several of them just didn’t act as I would have expected them to and their behavior seemed unrealistic. However, the story was interesting with bits here and there that pulled me in to keep the story flowing. I wasn’t always dying to know what would happen next, but there were some points of suspense. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy political thrillers.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

State of Lies

State of Lies.jpgAuthor: Siri Mitchell

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Filled with international espionage, domestic terrorism, and danger coming from every page, readers will not want to miss a page of State of Lies!

Georgie Brennan has had months to deal with the death of her husband after a hit and run accident and still aches from the loss. When Georgie discovers that Sean lied about where he was going the day he was killed, she starts digging deeper into the man she thought she knew best and realizes maybe she didn’t know him as well as she thought she did. She finds a missing notebook with cryptic messages; strange noises around the house worry her with each passing day and her job as a physicist is in jeopardy as she continues to dig into her husband and what actually happened to him. During her struggles she relies on her family, her son is struggling to deal with the death of his father and her own father, a four-star general is being considered for secretary of defense. Her life is threatened more than once, along with everyone she cares about and she is running out of people to trust.

With danger around every corner, this was a great read that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. This was the first book I have read by Siri Mitchell but will for sure not be the last. The story was fast paced and solid throughout with a storyline that was riveting and engaging throughout. So many aspects of this story were spot on for me; the characters, each and every one, even the minor characters reacted exactly as I felt they should making the story exceedingly enjoyable. Those minor characters had some of the best scenes for me, not something you see in every book. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the way Mitchell tastefully addressed the subject of sex within marriage. So many times, especially in a book from a Christian publisher, sex is a topic not even touched. It was refreshing to see this addressed in this way that would keep me from wanting to read or recommend to anyone. One other point to me is even though this was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing house, not much at all was mentioned or even hinted at to make a reader aware of that fact. I know many readers don’t want to be preached at but even a hint would have been nice. I have to say though this story was good enough that even that didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story. It was obvious the author had real knowledge of military and DoD that flowed throughout the story and deep within the bones of the characters. Overall this was a great read that I highly recommend to fans of political thrillers and wanting a fun, fast-paced, and all in all great read.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Crisis Shot

Crisis Shot.jpgAuthor: Janice Cantore

Series: Line of Duty #1

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Janice Cantore is back in full force with one of her best novels yet. I’ve been waiting for her to write this book for a long time.

Tess O’Rourke’s dream of becoming the first female police chief in Long Beach, California comes to a screeching halt when an unfortunate shooting leaves a fourteen-year-old boy victim and Tess as the shooter. Tess is cleared of any wrongdoing but, that doesn’t stop the public, especially an obnoxious blogger from trying to crucify her in the court of public opinion.  Tess decides her best option is to move away and start new somewhere else.  She takes a job as police chief of a small town in Oregon. Even though it is a long way from Long Beach, the residents of Rogue Hollow have still heard of what happened and are hesitant to give Tess a chance to prove what she can do.  She is able to make a few close friends, but things take a turn for the worst when her best friend turns up missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot dead.  Tess must rely on the help of sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan who has been an asset since she moved to town and she quickly finds herself becoming attracted to him.  Together, they work together to solve the first murder the town has seen and worry about mixing business with pleasure.

Janice Cantore has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but after the last series I felt a little underwhelmed. It just wasn’t the great work I had come to expect from her.  With Crisis Shot, I am happy to say my faith in her work has been restored.  This was a great read.  The characters were just right in all aspects of the story.  Tess is a strong female lead that even though she is going through a tough situation, she handles it with dignity and is able to be logical and not let her emotions get the best of her.  Steve was brought in but his presence wasn’t overwhelming.  I really liked how the members of the force were very standoffish when Tess arrived, but after seeing how capable she was of handling the situations they were faced with, their attitudes changed quickly. With all the changes that Tess went through, she was still able to handle it well, I think it helped that she didn’t have family holding her in one place so she was able to go somewhere else and start a new life for herself.  The fact that Cantore is a former officer gives credibility and authenticity to the writing that is missing from many police procedurals.  I recommend this book to anyone who has read Cantore as well as to new readers looking for a great romantic suspense that won’t disappoint.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Presidents’ Man

Presidents dayAuthor: Seth Margolis

Publisher: Diversion Publishing

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A quick hitting political thriller with one man doing all he can to control the race for president.

Julian Mellow is one of the richest men in the world and has made a few enemies on his way to the top. He has also sacrificed more than he wanted.  However, all the money he has amassed isn’t enough to make him happy, so he decides to pick a man and make sure he becomes the next president of the United States.  His one goal in getting his pick for president in the white house all ties back to his son being killed in Africa.  Mellow wants revenge on those responsible for taking the life of his only son and is willing to stop at nothing to make sure everyone pays the price.

Seth Margolis has taken a political thriller that spans the globe and written a story that is good, but left me feeling a little overwhelmed with the number of characters to follow and the intricate plot line. I liked the story and think Margolis did a great job with keeping the tension up for most of the book, but at times found myself having trouble keeping up with the multitude of characters.  I can see the merit of having most of them but felt the story could have been tighter if some could have been tied into others to bring the number of secondary characters down slightly.  With all that being said, I enjoyed the way this one man was able to manipulate so many others and the lengths he was willing to go to in order to achieve his goal.  This a man driven by pure hate towards those that wronged him and anyone that gets in his way better watch out.  I enjoy a good political thriller and am pleased with the way this one turned out and will recommend it to readers that are looking for a good thriller with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.