Killer Thriller

Killer thriller

Author: Lee Goldberg

Series: Ian Ludlow #2

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When an author’s own work comes to life making him the star of his own story, things take an interesting and thrilling turn. Killer Thriller is not to be missed.

 Ian Ludlow has become an international bestseller with his latest thriller. Everyone loves his stories, but what everyone might not know is his fiction has a way of becoming reality. Ian finds himself in Hong Kong with his assistant Margo French to promote his book being made into a movie and uses the time to research his newest story idea. While he is there, he uncovers a conspiracy by Chinese intelligence connected to those in power in the United States and puts himself in the crosshairs when the Chinese learn what he is researching. Without meaning to, he has stumbled upon this plot and must find a way to keep the whole thing from blowing up in his face. Now Ian finds himself trapped in his own thriller, on the run from assassins and trying to prevent an epic disaster using his imagination to solve the craziest of problems even he couldn’t write.

 This was my first Lee Goldberg novel to read and I must say I am disappointed I didn’t find this series sooner as I loved it very much. Even though this was the second in the series, I enjoyed it greatly as a standalone. The characters were fun, witty, and flawed enough to make them believable in everything they did. Ian and Margo, the main characters, are a perfect pair. She is sarcastic, and he has a dry sense of humor but is able to inject humor into his writing that bleeds off the page and into his own life. There is action, adventure, suspense, romance (kind of) and enough humor to keep it lighthearted at just the right moments.

 There is a fair bit of language and adult content in the book making it unsuitable for a younger audience. With that said, it is exactly right for its intended older audience. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, but it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite authors, Robert Dugoni and his writing style: sharp, tight and full of adventure. I highly recommend this for those that love adventure and a very well written thriller.

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

Forget You Know Me

Forget you know meAuthor: Jessica Strawser

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A wonderfully thought out story full of characters that develop beautifully and show us the importance of being there for each other in the good times and the bad.

It is rare to find a friend you can stay close to through thick and thin. Molly and Liza have always thought their relationship could withstand anything. After Molly married Daniel, Liza became an honorary member of the family with no one thinking twice about it. When Liza moved, the relationship became more awkward and strained than either of them wanted to admit. Their friendship may not be able to withstand all they thought, and Molly and Daniel’s marriage may not be as rock solid either. Trying to hang on to the last strands of their relationship, Molly and Liza plan a video chat to reconnect. Just when things are starting to warm up between them, Molly must leave the room to attend to a crying child. Liza waits for her to return, leading to the moment things change forever. Liza sees something on the camera that scares her for her friend. She calls the police and then gets in the car and drives all night to be where she thinks she is needed. When she arrives, she is turned away by an icy Molly, and left wondering what she actually saw and what has come over her friend.  None of them can pretend things are ok and they might never be again.

Forget You Know Me starts with a bang and doesn’t slow down until the last page is turned and the last question left is answered. Strawser did an amazing job of creating characters that are flawed but still clinging to that small hope that all they have done wrongs that can be righted and find their way back to that safe place they once knew and held dear. I had trouble following Molly’s motives at first, but as things play out it becomes clear why she is acting the way she is and by the last chapter we see the characters grow and develop in a way I didn’t really think possible at the beginning. I loved watching them learn what was happening and connect the dots to the bigger picture that was being played out. Molly, Liza, and Daniel are the main characters but even the secondary characters have enough material to flesh them out in a way I really started to care about them as if they were more involved than they were. Max may have been one of my favorite characters to be honest. This is the type of book that takes close concentration to see all that is happening and be able to connect all pieces, there was no skimming or skipping ahead to see what was going to happen and I loved that because I was engaged with the characters and didn’t want to miss anything that was going to happen. Molly might have had a lot going on in her life and felt no way out at times, which is something a lot of us probably feel in some form or fashion at some point in our lives, making her a very relatable character. I recommend this book to those that enjoy a great contemporary read with lots of mystery and a very satisfying conclusion. There is a bit of language making it more suitable for a mature reader.

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

The Killer Collective

thekillercollective

Author: Barry Eisler

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: February 1, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A deep thriller with ties that span the globe and a group willing to do anything to stop a horrible group of people before more are hurt.

 After Seattle Police officer Livia Lone finds evidence of a child pornography ring involving high officials in the government, she becomes a target. Livia and her boss believe the FBI is behind the attack and reach out to a former marine Dox. They quickly assemble a group to keep them safe and take down the threat. One of the main members of the group is John Rain, a retired specialist initially contacted to neutralize Livia. Also in the group are black ops soldiers Ben Treven, Daniel Larison and Colonel Scot Horton. Going across the country, the group fights to keep others safe and bring down the threat, even if it is at the highest levels of the government.

 Let me start this by saying it was a good read. The story matter was intense, and the characters were very well driven in their pursuit of stopping the villains to save the children being hurt. That being said, one thing about this book is there is A LOT going on. Not only in the number of characters to keep up with but also with the number of places they go and all that they must do to bring about some justice. I found it hard at times to keep up with who all was on what team and what exactly their role was. Aside from keeping up with that, the story was great. I enjoyed the way Livia’s background played into her passion for what she was doing and the fact that anyone helping her didn’t hesitate once they knew her mission and what she was fighting for. I found the relationships throughout very believable. These are characters that are thrown into difficult and stressful situations and have to have someone to rely on and have their back.

 One of the absolute best aspects of the book were the action scenes, especially towards the beginning with Livia and her Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo moves she used in self-defense. Those scenes played out extremely well and I enjoyed reading them and felt as if I was there in the moment. I love when a scene plays out that way and really puts me in the room with the characters. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good thriller with a heart at the center of the story and a lot of good versus evil. Readers need to be aware of some very harsh language throughout, so I wouldn’t recommend for a younger audience

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

The Line Between

the line betweenAuthor: Tosca Lee

Publisher: Howard Books

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

In one of the most intense and believable thrillers I have ever read, Tosca Lee takes readers on a journey they will never forget in a story they will beg for more before the last page is turned!

After spending most of her life in a doomsday cult called New Earth, Wynter Roth is cast out with nowhere to turn. An old family friend takes her in and she learns how to deal in the real world. Pretty soon, all of the cults predictions of the horrible things destined to happen in the world start to come true. Wynter tries to figure out how much of this they knew about and how much of it might be because of New Earth and its leader, Magnus. One night, Wynter’s sister shows up and gives her medical samples that are a key to understanding the sickness ravaging the country. Power across the country is starting to go out spreading panic with every passing hour. Wynter must get the samples to Colorado to a lab ready to help. In a world going mad it is hard to know who to trust.  With hesitation, she receives help from a former military man, Chase Miller. At first, she doesn’t understand his motivation to help her but embraces the only help she has before time runs out.

In all the years I’ve been reading, I don’t know that I have ever been able to pinpoint my number one book for the year this early. Now something could come along later to snag that spot, but it would have to be out of this world good. I have always been a fan of Tosca Lee but this one right here is by far the best I have read, (and that’s saying a lot because her last two books The Progeny and First Born were my top books of their release years) I didn’t think anything would top Progeny, and it is still one of my favorite reads. The Line Between just has something about it that pulled me in and refused to let go until the final page, and now I’m chomping at the bit waiting for the sequel to come out. The characters, especially Wynter, were so believable and well fleshed out that I pictured each scene as though I was right there with them. Although it isn’t very conventional, I found the back and forth timeline to work very well for this story.  Seeing what happened to Wynter during the time she was with the cult and how that has affected her now with how she sees the world and everyone in it worked this way. If it had been a straight timeline, I think some of the story would have been lost and not connected well. The fact that everything talked about in this book could actually happen is a little scary and shows how well Lee did her research and poured her heart into this book. If you have never read anything by Tosca Lee you are sorely missing out.  She is solidified herself as one of my very favorite authors and I can’t wait to see what comes next. I recommend this book to fans of Dystopian thrillers that are ready for a thrill ride they won’t soon forget.

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

Factor Man

factor manAuthor: Matt Ginsberg

Publisher: Zowie Press

Release Date: March 20, 2018

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman

Factor Man is about to change the world. He hopes for the better, but with the way people are reacting, he is not overly sure.  To combat that, he has set up a “coming out” of sorts.  A brilliant mind who claims to have developed a new algorithm that can literally break the internet has surfaced with a plan.  Right now he is anonymous, but shortly he will reveal himself as he periodically reveals what his algorithm can do.  I cannot do the explanation justice, but basically, he can factor numbers to a higher degree than ever possible before, with the results being that encryption used for credit cards, internet security, and the internet itself will be more secure and better than ever.  Of course, that means people will be after him for his development, so he hides behind the name Factor Man.  He sets up a website and every so often takes requests for numbers to be factored.  He sets a date that the technology will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and creates a foolproof method of keeping it out of the wrong hands or from being shared.  Factor Man has all his bases covered, yet he is still wanted by the Chinese.  And the Chinese have several people whose lives depend on getting his product before it is auctioned.

As I mentioned, this new technology is difficult to explain and to understand; Ginsberg does a good job of explaining it, but most of it is still over my head.  Fortunately, this is just a small part of the story, and the rest of it is more than enough to keep readers interested.  It’s a whirlwind chase around the world as Chinese government employees try to figure out who Factor Man is while trying to hunt him down before he goes public.  It’s a race to the finish to see if the woman assigned to the job will find him or not.  Rest assured, there are lots of good tricks and ploys along the way.  This story is anything but boring.  I especially enjoyed excerpts from his website, in which he asks the public for numbers to factor.  Every time he requests a number a few more digits larger than the previous one.  Ginsberg adds the fun twist of using requests from people famous today to make Factor Man seem more human instead of some secretive technological mastermind.

Ginsberg takes a novel approach to the typical thriller.  Yes, there is some special formula or code or technology that someone doesn’t want to get out to the public, but his concept is new and exciting.  He applies a modern twist and uses fun, snappy language to tell the story at a good pace.  Readers, after the initial explanation of the algorithm, are not too bogged down by details about the product that they can’t enjoy the story itself.  The “bad guy,” despite being on the wrong side of things, is smart, creative, and tough; one can’t help but be fascinated by her, which of course helps develop the story.  The people set up to help Factor Man make his big debut are also savvy, fun, and interesting.  They follow the rules but just on the right side of them, so we get a quick tempo with all kinds of interesting developments.  It is clear from reading the book that Ginsberg is either incredibly smart or really good at research, probably a bit of both (but more smart than anything else).  I enjoyed this book immensely and am sure that readers of technological thrillers will, too.

I admit that I was not sure about this book before I started it, because I am not usually one to enjoy a technological thriller, but it really was a good one.  I enjoyed the characters, the slick smartness of it all, the quick dialogue, and the clear thought put into it.  I hope Factor Man develops some other technology so I can find out how he goes about getting that one put into society.

This book contained profanity and violence; therefore, I recommend it for mature readers.

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

Top Suspense/Thriller

Our last genre category for the year is for suspense/thrillers!  If you’ve enjoyed checking out our top picks in each category, check back tomorrow for our top overall selections.

Every Wicked Man1. Every Wicked Man by Steven James

The final book in the Bowers files leaves us sad to see the series end.  James has created one of the best series out there an fans will love the way things come to an end.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Steep price

2. A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni

The newest Tracy Crosswhite book is a must read!  Tracy and her crew are back and ready to tackle their toughest case yet, which hits too close to home for Tracy.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirst of Steel3. Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

As the final book in the Tox Files concludes, readers will have their emotions taken on a roller coaster ride.  Ronie Kendig brings one of the best novels of the year.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not that I could tell4. Not that I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

DO NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!  Read until the final chapter to see the right way a suspense novel should be played out!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I live5. If I Live by Terri Blackstock

One of the best conclusions to a series that we’ve read in a long time!  Blackstock never disappoints!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The escape artist6. The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer

Who is Nola Brown and why is she supposed to be dead?  Throughout this book, readers will be left stunned and salivating for answers for these two questions in addition to many, many more!

Read the full review here.

 

 

The Color of Lies

the color of liesAuthor: CJ Lyons

Publisher: Blink YA Books

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A great YA thriller with heart!

Ella Cleary has never been like everyone else. She has grown up with a special medical condition called synesthesia, a scrambling of the senses that gives Ella the ability to see colors that show people’s true emotions. Others have it affect other senses. This ability has always helped her when judging and reacting to others until she meets a guy she can’t read. Alec comes into her life unexpectedly and drops a bombshell in her lap telling her the truth about her parents’ deaths. She had always thought they died in an accidental fire, but it turns out it was no accident at all and the real truth of what happened has never been discovered. Finding out this truth makes Ella wonder whom she can trust and if everything she has believed has been a lie. The only way that Ella can discover the truth about her past and what really happened to her parents is to find a killer.

The Color of Lies is such a new and unique book to me that I couldn’t put it down.  I loved the characters and the story arc. Ella and Alec have a great chemistry that leads the story down just the right path.  There is a little bit of back and forth in the story between the present time and what happened over a decade ago to Ella’s parents. Also, readers need to be aware of the flipping of point of views between Ella and Alec, they are at the top of each chapter to distinguish who’s point of view it is in so that greatly helps. For readers who have trouble following the switch, they may want to pay extra attention to follow along. For me this was a great way to move the story along and give the readers the most information to be fully involved in the story. One thing that surprised me was the fact that this book has much more prose than dialogue, something that usually slows a story down for me, not here, I was too intrigued with what was going to happen and didn’t really need the dialogue to speed things along. All of the supporting characters were significant to the story and added to it without taking away from the main characters and what they were trying to accomplish. Overall I would say this was a very enjoyable read and will recommend to both YA and adult readers who love a good mystery.

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