Category Archives: Review Requests

Thursday at Noon by William F. Brown

Thursday at Noon by William F. Brown

Amazon Product Description

A Mideast thriller novel set in Cairo in 1962. Richard Thomson was already having a very bad day when someone left a corpse lying on the rear steps of his hotel. Its head had been lopped off like a ripe melon and had been posed so it could look back down at its own body. A message? In this mystery thriller, there’s no doubt about it. Thomson is a burned-out CIA Agent and the body belongs to Mahmoud Yussuf, a fat petty thief and some-time spy who is selling photographs of a long-abandoned RAF base in the Egyptian desert. What the photos have to do with a dead Israeli Mossad agent, Nazi rocket scientists, the fanatical Moslem Brotherhood, and two missing Egyptian tank regiments could start the next Arab-Israeli War or stop it. Alone and on the run, no one believes Thomson’s story — not the CIA, the US Ambassador, and most assuredly not Captain Hassan Saleh, Chief of the Homicide Bureau of the Cairo Police, who wants to hang Thomson for murder. Like Night of the Generals, this is a murder mystery wrapped inside a CIA spy thriller and historic fiction. The slums of Cairo are a tinder box of discontent and the first faint whiffs of a military coup against the shaky, new government of Abdel Gamal Nasser are in the air. Tick Toc, Tick Toc! In this CIA action adventure and suspense thriller, if he doesn’t solve the mystery, something is about to blow up in Thomson’s face at Noon on Thursday.

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by | January 26, 2014 · 10:50 pm

It’s Nothing Personal by Kate O’Reilley/Sherry Gorman MD

It's Nothing PersonalProduct Description

On a chilly January morning, anesthesiologist Dr. Jenna Reiner made her daily drive to St. Augustine Hospital, completely unaware that her life was about to change forever. One of the surgical technicians has been stealing syringes and infecting patients with hepatitis C. The battle against the thieving surgical technician was only the beginning. Jenna Reiner was about to begin the fight of her life — the fight for her reputation, her pride, and her sanity. Beautifully composed, and inspired by true events, “It’s Nothing Personal” is a riveting, suspenseful, and emotional thriller which chronicles the story of faith and fortitude when an innocent woman finds herself surrounded by corruption and greed.

I received a copy of It’s Nothing Personal from the author, in exchange for my review of her book. It’s Nothing Personal is a fictionalisation of a situation that the author went through herself. As a quick aside, I am not sure which is the nom du plume & which is the author’s real name – I corresponded with Kate O’Reilley & my copy of It’s Nothing Personal has Kate O’Reilley as the author, but on Amazon.co.uk (as pictured above), it’s listed that Sherry Gorman MD is the author – not that it really makes a blind bit of difference, just thought it might be confusing as I have put both names on the title of this post & I will probably refer to the author as Kate O’Reilly.

Anyway, I started reading It’s Nothing Personal about 3 weeks ago & straight away I was drawn in to the story. Admittedly there were things about the author’s writing style that drove me crazy, but I quickly got past them. Overall the biggest things that drove me crazy about the book was O’Reilley’s repetition of a character’s name when talking about them & the very short sentences. It’s Nothing Personal is written in 3rd person point of view, but there are often times where O’Reilly uses the character’s name 4 or more times in the same paragraph, in a paragraph where it was quite clear who the narrator was talking about & there are a lot of sentences which are six words or shorter. For example, the following paragraph:

For several minutes, both Hillary and Jenna quietly went about their respective tasks. The silence made Jenna uneasy. She barely knew Hillary, who was relatively new to St. Augustine. They had worked together only a few times.     ……Hillary had bleach-blonde hair with black roots, brown eyes encircled with heavy eyeliner and mascara and an excess of tattoos and facial piercings. However, her impression was based upon more than Hillary’s physical appearance. Hillary’s manners were unrefined. She pictured Hillary more as a bartender in a seedy watering hole than as a healthcare professional. If Jenna had to choose two words to describe the scrub tech, they would be “dark” and “scrappy”. Hillary had the air of someone who had lived a hard life.

There was another really good example of the same thing, when Jenna is in a meeting with the head of Anesthesiology, Dr. Rob Somethingorother, but I can’t find it right now. In my head I kept combining sentences, where 2 short ones were together, or I substituted the character’s names for he or she or some other pronoun & it became a bit of a game to see how many variations I could come up with, without resorting to using a character’s name, which did detract from the book a bit.

However, please don’t let that stop you from reading It’s Nothing Personal as it really is a very good book! As I said, I was gripped from early on & I couldn’t wait to get back to reading. I loved the way O’Reilly paced the book, leaving months between scenes, but you never felt like you had missed anything that had happened. I thought O’Reilly wrote some very strong characters, but I do wish she had developed Jenna’s husband more & that she had shown the impact more of the case on Jenna & her family.

Overall I thought that It’s Nothing Personal was a brilliant book – especially for a first time author & I think that O’Reilly can and will only get better. I understand she has written a second book which has also been published & I think I shall add it to my list of books to read.

4 Stars

 

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by | April 28, 2013 · 10:23 pm

Fleeting Glance (An Enescu Fleet Mystery) by Sherban Young

Fleeting Glance by Sherban YoungFleeting Glance is the second in the Enescu Fleet series of books that I have read. Both have been sent to me by the author, Sherban Young, in exchange for my reviews. I would have gladly paid both times!

John Hathaway just wanted a quiet weekend alone with his fiancée. Instead, he receives a cryptic postcard from a man he’s never met, gets wrapped up in an elaborate art heist and finds himself framed for murder. And what’s worse, his future in-laws are in town! The palette is certainly thickening here, and there might be only one person who can rally the muses in time to string it all together: the Master himself, Enescu Fleet, retired private eye.

Fleeting Glance finds us at the home of John Hathaway, where he is busily preparing for the arrival of his soon-to-be in-laws, when he receives a mysterious postcard in the mail, from a man he doesn’t know. With the help of his friend, Hutton, Hath decides to try and decipher the hidden meaning in the postcard, but not before heading over to the borrowed house where his fiancée, Lesley waits for him.

Soon Hath & Hutton find themselves embroiled in an old fashioned mystery, with Hutton mixed up in a Tahoma Maneuver crossed with a Desdemona Gambit, Lesley & her family staying in the house of purported gangster John “Fishes” Herring; Hath, Hutton & Fleet caught up in the mystery of the post card, an isolated artist’s retreat full of weird artists & a model who likes to run around a museum in the nude.

Hutton, Hathaway & Fleet will keep you chuckling all the while you try to figure out where Young has got you headed. Like Fleeting Memory, Fleeting Glance is full of sub plots, missteps by Hathaway, Fleet et al, crazy twists & turns & intelligent humour. It is a book you won’t want to put down until it’s all done, then you’ll wish you hadn’t finished it yet!

4 Stars

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by | March 24, 2013 · 10:03 pm

An Untimely Love by Tendai Huchu

An Untimely Love by Tendai Huchu

Love can find us in the most unusual of circumstances. This is what happens to Khalid Patel, a terrorist, when he falls in love with Smokey, a feisty and independent young woman who was to be Britain’s first female suicide bomber. On what is meant to be his day of martyrdom, his violent worldview is thrown into turmoil. We share his thoughts as Death and Duty become irrevocably and movingly entwined with Love and Life.

I received a copy of An Untimely Love from the author in exchange for my review & I have to admit that initially I was quite excited to read it. Sadly, that didn’t last. The sentence structure in An Untimely Love had me pulling out my hair, it was that bad & the book was riddled with typos, formatting errors & hyphens in places where hyphens didn’t belong. I appreciate that I was sent a Galley copy, which could account for the typing & formatting errors, but I have read a lot of Galley copies of books & none of them were as bad as this one! As an example, the title of the book was randomly inserted into the middle of pages where it didn’t belong – all of the way through the book. So, I would be reading a sentence, like this one: (and this is an EXACT quote from the book)

“The ceiling in my room is 2

An Untimely Love

lower than it was last night.”

That, as I said is exactly as it is in my copy of the book & this happens all the way through the book, making it very difficult to read. Another thing with the formatting which drove me crazy is that almost all words in the book which have 2 L’s are missing the 2nd L, so will is wil, all is al, filling is fil ing, pulls is pul s, etc. Again, this makes the book very hard to read – especially with the words that have 2 L’s in the middle of them.

Then there’s the hyphens. Apparently Emirates is spelled Emi-rates, scrotum is scro-tum, packing became pack-ing & on & on it went. Obviously this could be expected if any of the above words were at the edge of the page, thereby necessitating the use of a hyphen, but they weren’t.

As for the sentence structure – here is an example of what I am talking about. The below is a direct copy from An Untimely Love.

Chapter 6

The ticking clock on my wall is unrelenting. It won’t slow down if only for a moment. Soon it wil be time for Sa-lat. I can hear movement in the other bedrooms. I must hurry so that I can use the bathroom. My final ablutions must be perfect. I take my green towel and razor blade and head to the bathroom. The first thing I do is use the air freshener. Tariq has been in here again.

The sound of the water running sooths my aching head.

The temperature is just right as I sit down and begin my ritual cleansing. I take my razor and shave all the hair from my scro-tum and down my thighs. I also shave my armpits  and the rest of my body until I am as smooth as a baby. My beard I leave intact. I feel pure and reborn. I could just float over the red roofs into paradise. I wear fresh clean clothes and the broken wristwatch my dad gave me on my thirteenth birthday.

I go down to the kitchen and I see Tony sitting there, a cuppa in hand, reading the Telegraph. He gets up and we embrace.

16

An Untimely Love

“Would you like a cup of tea?” he says.

“I haven’t prayed yet.”

“Very good, we’l wait for the rest of them.” His mobile rings. He answers it and grunts something then hangs up. I don’t feel like making light conversation. I need to meditate.

That , by the way, is the entire chapter.

I did make myself read most of An Untimely Love – I got about 2/3 the way through & was so fed up that I skipped to the end to see what was going to happen. I shouldn’t really have bothered. It is a shame as there is real promise in the idea of this story – beyond the bombers fall in love plot, because there are actually 3 plots in this book. The 2nd & 3rd plots are not given away by the book description, so I won’t give them away here, just in case any of you are tempted to buy the book to judge it for yourself.

The last plot is a great idea & would have made for a great book, but it’s just a shame that it was so poorly written.

 

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Fleeting Memory (an Enescu Fleet Mystery) by Sherban Young

Fleeting Memory by Sherban YoungI received a complimentary copy of Fleeting Memory from the author, in exchange for a review on this blog, but I have to say, I would gladly pay the author for this book – it was well worth it!

Product Description

The answer lies with Keats… With these cryptic last words, the man sprawled out on the floor of the rustic cabin expires – murdered.  What could he have meant?  Why Keats?  Which answer?  (For that matter, what was the question?)

All this and more passes through the mind of the young householder who discovers the body.  If only he knew the guy’s name.  Or anybody’s name.  Including his own…

From here, our hero is hurtled along a path of self-discovery. With the help of Enescu Fleet, retired private detective and (according to some) the world’s most fascinating man, he will delve into an exciting new game show called Deadly Allusions, where trivia and murder compete for top billing. Along the way, he will attempt to figure out the dead man’s clue – and quite possibly nab a murderer who is too smart for his own good.

I have had this little gem tucked away on my kindle for a very long time (sorry about that Mr. Young!). Truth be told, I have read some real stinkers in the not so distant past, which had been given to me in exchange for reviews, books which I have had to go back to the author & say, “look, I’m not going to be able to say anything nice about this book, so are you really sure you want me to review it?” Unexpectedly, the answer has always been “Thanks, but no thanks!” – so, I had been a little put off about reading review books for a while, which is such a shame, as this is such a fab book!

I recently read a review on amazon, where the reviewer said that it “was hard to go a page without finding something to snicker about.” I heartily agree. Many a morning & afternoon I was sat on the bus snickering to myself over some witty comment, or situation that the crazy cast of characters in Fleeting Memory found themselves embroiled in. There were points where I laughed out loud at something Enescu said or did – much to the amusement of my fellow passengers, I am sure!

Growing up, my father religiously watched Columbo & Perry Mason and Diagnosis: Murder, & my mother liked to torture us with Murder, She Wrote. Enescu Fleet reminds me of a modern Columbo – with the same smart mind, cutting wit & quick attention to detail, with a little bit of (shudder) Jessica Fletcher and Dr. Mark Sloan thrown in the mix. So, having grown up in a house where these kind of characters were a constant presence, I found myself drawn to Enescu Fleet and his methods.

Young has a real gift for making the reading of Fleeting Memory seem like you are a witness to a play, or television show, but at the same time, I could easily imagine Enescu Fleet and his merry cast of crazy followers being the cast & characters on an old Radio Serial – Fleeting Memory is an interesting & funny mix of the old world style story, with a modern twist.

I know that I have not told you anything about the book, but that is a very deliberate decision on my part – I think that the Product description above tells you all you need to know – anything else I might say would just serve to ruin the story for you. Just let me leave you with this: If you are looking for a lighthearted, funny, quick paced delightful read – well, I just found you your next book!

And Mr. Young? I can’t wait to read the follow up you tell me you are currently writing!

 

 

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