Mini-Reviews of Books #27…

Under the High Ground. Scott Michaels, author. In spite of its faults, this novel is entertaining. There’s a thirty-year-old conspiracy in Washington D.C. that started with the death of the main character’s father and ended with the death of his brother, who is president of the United States. That premise gets your attention, but the reason for the conspiracy will leave you saying, “Huh?” It also comes out of nowhere—no real hints—so in that sense this is more a mystery than a thriller. The characters aren’t well-developed and many aren’t believable, especially the main character, who does a Mr. Hyde/Dr. Jekyll flip from frail and needy sot to Rambo-like hero. The main character’s love interest adds unnecessary international flavor and is too enamored with psycho-babble. The best character is the assassin, a one-man wrecking crew, but you’ll learn little about him too. He’s a clone of the Jackal. Maybe the author was trying to do too much?

Serenity. Craig Hart, author (Y, …) Not a bad tale, but it leaves too many things dangling, creating a diffuse novel with multiple cliffs remaining for the reader to hang over. Too much is left unresolved. There’s not enough back story about the main character, his ex-cop buddy comes out of nowhere and then returns to nowhere, and the premise is a bit absurd: turf wars between drug pushers in the Michigan woods? The main character’s daughter is a whiny irritant all through the story too. Like the book above, this novel still is entertaining, though. Just skip through the whininess of the daughter and you’ll be fine, but don’t have high expectations. The best character? The sixty-year-old main character’s thirty-year-old girlfriend. The two have a modernized Marshall Dillon and Kitty relationship.

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Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder. Detective Chen is framed for the murder of a U.S. senator. As her partner Castilblanco moves to prove her innocence, they uncover a complex plot involving the underbelly of NYC as well as the overbelly corresponding to the rich and powerful. #3 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series,” this book is now on sale at Smashwords and is available in all ebook formats. Use coupon code XW55G. Coming soon this spring from Penmore Press: Rembrandt’s Angel, an international tour de force involving a Scotland Yard expert on art heists and an Interpol agent. Chasing down some dealers in stolen artworks suddenly becomes very dangerous!

In libris libertas…

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