Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Romance, Travel

Confessions of an Italian Marriage Dani Collins 4*#Review @DaniCollinsBook @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #Romance #Spy #BookReview

He’s back to reclaim her…

But where has he been?

What do you do when your husband goes missing? Flush him out by pretending to marry again! Billionaire Giovanni’s dramatic return forces Freja to confront the deep hurt she felt at his desertion…and the sparks that continue to fly between them…

Giovanni had to go into hiding to protect his new bride, but he’s shocked by the consequences his mysterious past had on Freja. Now he’ll have to let her closer than he’s allowed anyone before, if he’s to save the whirlwind marriage he’s suddenly so compelled to fight for!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a sizzling second-chance romance with notable originality. Giovanni is not what he appears to be, and this secret means that Freja and Giovanni’s marriage seems doom to fail. Giovanni and Freja’s attraction is immediate and sensual but has tragic results. Freja is intelligent, and senses not everything is at it seems, taking action to confirm her suspicions.

The storyline has exciting uniqueness. The conflicted romance keeps you turning the pages, and the ending is worth the angst.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, International Thriller, Political Thriller

The Englishman David Gilman 5*#Review @davidgilmanuk @HoZ_Books #Raglan #TheEnglishman @midaspr @amberchoudhary @SophMidas #BookReview #BlogTour #Thriller #Spy #Political #Military

A clandestine war on the desert border of Mali and Algeria; murder and kidnap on the suburban streets of West London; a Moscow CID police inspector investigating the assassination of four of her fellow officers by the Russian mafia; a young MI6 officer facing the possibility that a long-running operation has been fatally compromised: connecting them all is the Englishman – Dan Raglan, outsider, exile, one-time member of the French Foreign Legion, fully trained killer. Raglan’s quest for answers will become a quest for vengeance. It will lead him to the winter-ravaged wasteland of the Sverdlovskaya Oblast and Penal Code #74, a place that holds Russia’s most brutal murderers. A place of death and retribution.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Englishman is a nail-biting fusion of action and intrigue. Raglan, the protagonist, has lived so many lives and seen too much. Orphan, French legionnaire and master of the deniable operation Raglan is dragged out of retirement by a series of violent attacks and a persuasive messenger.

This international thriller spans the globe and has an engaging sense of place which draws the reader into the story with its sensual imagery. Intricate plotting reveals some of Raglan’s past and secrets. The action is uncompromising with collateral damage that is both realistic and unsettling.

The climactic mission into the depths of Russia is authentic and gritty. Here again, the use of sensual imagery is notable and makes the action and the setting easy to imagine, even if you’d rather not.

If you like your escapism raw and relentless, this is the perfect book for you.

David Gilman

David Gilman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. David enjoyed many careers – including firefighter, paratrooper and photographer – before turning to writing full time in 1986.  He has written many radio and television scripts including several years of A Touch of Frost. In 2007 his Danger Zone trilogy for YA was sold in 15 countries

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Political Thriller, Thriller

Ride or Die Khurrum Rahman #JayQasim 4*#Review @KhurrumRahman @HQStories #political #thriller #international #Spy #RideorDie #BlogTour #BookReview #pubicationday

JAY QASIM is finally out of the game and trying to lay low. But then he gets news that rocks his world and drags up everything that he thought he’d left behind. Jay must break his vow never to work with MI5 again and turn to the person who sold him out. But this time he’s determined to do it on his terms.

IMRAN SIDDIQUI once tried to kill Jay but now they have a common adversary. The one thing worse than death is watching the people closest to you die. And after the happiest day of Imran’s life becomes the most tragic, he will stop at nothing to take revenge on the people that have taken away his family.

But when everyone has their own agenda, who can you really trust?
Your most deadly enemy is about to become your closest ally.

Ride or Die is an edge-of-your-seat thriller featuring MI5 most reluctant spy Jay Qasim.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Jay Qasim series, but the first one I’ve read. There’s a quick catch up of events and character details but read the earlier books first if you can. The writing style is informal and urban and draws you into Jay’s world quickly. There are action, hatred and violence but also love, reflection and selflessness in this thriller.

Jay and his nemesis Imy are both conflicted but likeable. They have the arrogance of youth but tempered by what they’ve done lost and seen. This book views the world through their eyes, and it’s a disturbing place to be. The themes are current, but the interpretation is literary. This is an adrenaline-fueled dangerous adventure which keeps the reader invested and on the edge of their seats.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, International Thriller, Political Thriller, Thriller

The Circle-A-Killings Sean Heary 5*#Review @Sean_Heary @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Thriller #Political #Spy #ConspiracyTheory #International #BlogTour #BookReview

Returning from Moscow, Lorenzo Rossi finds himself forced to quit his job as head of the Vatican police. And to make matters worse, his fiancée, CIA Agent Cathy Doherty, calls off their wedding. Just as Rossi is settling into his new life as a visiting academic at Cambridge University, the CIA persuades him to rejoin Cathy in catching the killer of three American billionaires. Barely on speaking terms, the two devise a plan to befriend the CIA’s main suspect.

As they get closer to the suspect and his coterie of friends, Rossi and Cathy realise that they’re being played for fools. But why? Everything points to an international conspiracy. As friends and foes drop dead around them, they arrive at the truth. But to prove it they need to set a trap. A trap that turns them from hunter to prey. Will they survive to tell their tale?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a story with fast-paced crime thrills in an ethos of conspiracy, global politics and espionage. Rossi and Cathy first appeared in ‘The Concordat’, but if you accept they have history, this reads well as a standalone.

The plot is multilayered, and it keeps you guessing. It works on many levels, crime investigation, political intrigue and the noir activities of the intelligence services. Discerning the killer is hard to do.

Rossi and Cathy add an emotional side to the story. They have a romantic history, and this shows in their interactions. The dynamic between them is intriguing. The story has an addictive quality with action, camaraderie, conspiracy and violence.

Sean Henry

Sean travelled the world for thirty years as a mining company executive, living for many years only a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. No wonder he likes to write political thrillers. He also worked for several years in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he picked up a taste for Central Asian cuisine and met his wife. Born and raised in Australia, Sean now makes Germany his home.

Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, International Thriller, Political Thriller, Suspense

Double Agent Tom Bradby 5* #Review @TransworldBooks @tombradby #Espionage #SpyThriller #International #Suspense #politicalthriller #DoubleAgent #SecretService

It was supposed to be a quiet family weekend away. But for Senior MI6 officer Kate Henderson, nothing is ever that simple…

Kidnapped in Venice by a Russian defector, Kate knows she’s in trouble. But all is not as it seems. The spy offers her conclusive evidence that the British Prime Minister is a live agent working for Moscow. Kate’s holiday quickly becomes the start of her next mission.

With proof of the PM involved in a sordid scandal and a financial paper trail that undeniably links him to the Russians, the evidence seems bulletproof. But the motives of the defector are anything but clear. And, more worryingly, it seems that there are key people at the heart of the British Establishment who refuse to acknowledge the reality in front of them.

Kate can trust no one, and this mission will push her dangerously close to the edge… but is that the price to pay for the truth?

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK- Transworld Publishers in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Betrayal, deceit, political manoeuvring and danger are found in this sequel to Secret Service. Kate suffers from anxiety, but a fast-moving political secret means time off is not an option. Kate’s family life is challenging and entangled with the operation with devastating results.

Authentic characters and a fast-paced convoluted plot make this addictive. It’s claustrophobic and immersive. Kate is a likeable character flawed but on the side of justice. Her internal battles threaten her professional effectiveness. The team dynamic and interagency interaction is complex and gives the story added depth.

The edge of your seat last few chapters give way to an unexpected ending. Realistic but with many loose ends. You understand Kate’s motivation but significant anomalies and questions remain.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller

The Lazarus Charter Tony Bassett 4*#Review @tonybassett1 @rararesources #Spy #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #TheConradPress #RachelsRandomResources #WednesdayThoughts

Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?

​This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne.  They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of Smile Of The Stowaway.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story combines sound investigation with an edgy political spy thriller. Schoolteachers Bob and Anne find themselves involved in political crime-solving. This puts them in danger from several sources, some surprising and some not.

This pacy thriller keeps you hooked with its contemporary theme and believable plot. Authentically crafted characters and a twisty storyline make this an addictive read. The main protagonists are ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations, which makes the story engaging and relatable.
The second book in the series, it reads as a standalone too.

Tony Bassett

Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years.  He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren.  He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Mystery, Political Thriller, Suspense

The Coldest Warrior Paul Vidich 4* #Review @paulvidich @noexitpress #conspiracy #RandomThingsTours #SpyThriller #mystery #PoliticalThriller #International #ColdWar #TheColdestWarrior #BlogTour #BookReview #SundayThoughts #SundayMorning @annecater

The new novel by acclaimed espionage author Paul Vidich explores the dark side of intelligence, when a CIA officer delves into a cold case from the 1950s-with fatal consequences.

In 1953, Dr. Charles Wilson, a government scientist, died when he ‘jumped or fell’ from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of the incident remain buried for twenty-two years.

With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, the Wilson case suddenly becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the public are demanding answers, especially as some come to suspect the CIA of foul play, and agents in the CIA, FBI, and White House will do anything to make sure the truth doesn’t get out.

Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more his entire family is at risk.

Following in the footsteps of spy fiction greats like Graham Green, John Le Carré, and Alan Furst, Paul Vidich presents a tale – based on the unbelievable true story told in Netflix’s Wormwood – that doesn’t shy away from the true darkness in the shadows of espionage.

I received a copy of the book from No Exit Press in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A well-crafted conspiracy style political thriller, which has an additional poignancy because it is inspired by a true tragedy that happened in 1953, to a family member of the author. The story begins with the tragic event, seen from the tragedy instigator’s point of view. Its execution is the substance of many spy stories, but this one resonates because of the real-life personal connection.

A subsequent investigation in the mid-seventies provokes an internal investigation by the CIA, headed by an operative close to retirement, who is friendly with the victim’s family. The investigation throws up more questions than answers in the beginning, as those involved push-back. A turning-point is an unnamed source, who has the requisite information but won’t be identified.

There is a building intensity and menace, as the investigation progresses, implied rather than overt, but there. As the story gains momentum, the threat is implicit and Gabriel, the investigator realises his family is in danger because of his actions. The ending reinforces everything that has come before.

This thriller is written in a detailed, character-driven style that works well with conspiracy thrillers. The pacing is geared more to the absorption of events, rather than action. It is atmospheric and intense and portrays the paranoia in the intelligence world of 1950s USA believably. It is immersive and disturbing reading,

Paul Vidich

PAUL VIDICH is the acclaimed author of The Coldest Warrior (2020), An Honorable Man (2016) and The Good Assassin (2017), and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, LitHub, CrimeReads, Fugue, The Nation, Narrative Magazine, and others. He lives in New York.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Noir, Political Thriller, Suspense

The Vault Mark Dawson 5* #Review @pbackwriter #RandomThingsTours @angelaontour @annecater #Spy #Thriller #PoliticalThriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #BerlinWall #1989 #TheVault

#TheVault

When Harry Mackintosh is called upon to exfiltrate a valuable asset from East to West Berlin, what could have been an intelligence coup becomes an international embarrassment. Mackintosh’s men and his lover are killed by the East German secret police in a brutal crossfire and he barely escapes with his life. He flees to the West and promises himself that he will have vengeance.

Mackintosh is the head of Berlin Station but he doesn’t have the staff to compete with the Stasi. He returns to London to plead for the resources to fight back. But instead of the seasoned operatives that he needs, Mackintosh is given a single man: Jimmy Walker, a petty criminal with a record for robbing banks.

Mackintosh takes Walker to Berlin and sets in train an audacious plan that will see them both on the other side of the Wall. Mackintosh and Walker face off against Karl-Heinz Sommer, the Stasi general known as die Spinne – the Spider – a man known for his brutality and ruthlessness.

The plan is already a longshot, and then Walker learns of the riches that Sommer stole from displaced Berliners in the days after the Wall was constructed. Will Walker follow orders or will he find the prospect of the Stasi gold in Sommer’s secret vault too tempting to ignore? Will Mackintosh have his revenge or will he become another fly caught in the Spider’s web?

With ambiguous loyalties, clashing agendas and danger beyond measure, these two men will struggle to form a team. But in a battle as unequal as this, the unexpected might be the best strategy that they have.

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#RandomThingsTours

THE BERLIN WALL 9 November 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the 20th Century’s most notorious structures. Built-in 1961 to divide East and West Germany, by the late 80s it was 156 km long with a 15m ‘death strip’ guarded by 11,500 border guards under shoot-to-kill orders. At least 140 people lost their lives at the Wall. The last in 1989 just months before it fell.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An atmospheric spy thriller set in Berlin, in the months preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A failed mission leaves Harry Mackintosh, damaged emotionally and professionally. He wants revenge, but will his bosses see the political expediency of his plan?

Jimmy Walker has more to recommend him, than his career as a safe breaker, but is he the man Mackintosh needs for this dangerous off the book’s mission?

The men form an unwilling partnership, in a deniable operation, which is both personal and professional for Mackintosh. The cast of characters are realistic, but there are no deep characterisations, perhaps reflecting the secret service operatives, lack of personal lives outside their career.

Fast-paced, this spy thriller effortlessly combines plot threads and delivers a believable, suspenseful story, that reflects the political tension at the time in Berlin. The plot has many layers, which are revealed by the main characters in different timescales.

The ending is well written and ties up the loose ends, whilst leaving avenues open for exploration, in further stories.

Absorbing, addictive and adrenaline-fueled, this story has authentic characters and an atmospheric historical setting.

#MarkDawson

Mark Dawson is an award-nominated, USA Today bestseller, with more than 20 books published and over 2 million books downloaded in multiple countries and languages. Mark was born in Lowestoft, in the UK. He has worked as a DJ, a door-to-door ice-cream seller, factory hand and club promoter. He eventually trained as a lawyer and worked for ten years in the City of London and Soho, firstly pursuing money launderers and then acting for A-list celebrities suing newspapers for libel.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Family Drama, Parenting and Famlies, Thriller

The Nursery Asia Mackay 5*#Review #Spy #Thriller #FamilyDrama #Parenting #Humour #BookReview @bonnierbooks_uk @ZaffreBooks @abmackster

Lex Tyler is trying to have it all.

But being a working mother is so much more difficult when you’re a secret agent for an underground branch of the security services.

Platform Eight have been tasked with tracking down and eliminating the traitor in MI6 who has been selling information to the highest bidder through a headhunting website for the criminal underworld that connects intelligence operatives with all manner of bad people with a simple right swipe. Deals get made. Secrets get sold. Missions fail, and agents die.

Lex’s own home life is not much easier. With a husband who rings her in the middle of a gunfight to complain she’s yet again forgotten to pick up his dry-cleaning, and a two-year-old daughter who has a newfound love of biting, surviving both the Terrible Twos and a traitor might just be too much for one exhausted mother to handle.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bonnier via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Review

More adventures, or misadventures of Lex and Platform eight. She’s tasked with finding a double agent in the secret services, and action and danger surround her.

Her home life is arguably more challenging. The mother of a two-year-old, she faces the terrible twos on a daily basis. Combining motherhood and being a spy leads to lots of drama and many humorous moments.

The plot is fast-paced and well written with twists, danger and delightful comic moments. The characters are vividly created but believable, and it’s easy to like Lex, the main protagonist.

Perfect escapism. A delightful mix of laughs and thrills, and parenting moments that are relatable for any parent.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Friendship, Humour, Indie, Mystery, Novella, Romance, Travel

The Louise Fawley Symphony Rikki Evans 3*#Review @RikkiAuthor @SilverWoodBooks @rararesources #humour #eroticromance #Espionage #Novella #BookReview #BlogTour #LFS

#LFS

Meet Louise Fawley – the newest, sassiest and sleaziest agent in Her Majesty’s Secret Service. 

Follow Louise as she burgles and bungles at Melusine Plastics, gets flirtatious and salacious in Vetchley Castle, grows amorous and glamorous in Sainte-Modeste, and finally, hooks and sinks her villainess on the superyacht Bonquonne.

In this delicious, light-hearted, randy romp, can Louise solve the arcane mystery of La Ligne? 

he Louise Fawley Symphony contains material of a sexually-explicit nature, so will not be to the taste of every adult reader.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The blurb enticed me to read this book, The glamour, giggles and gratuitous sexual encounters I anticipated, but the frenetic pace was a surprise. I enjoy fast-paced fiction but at times this was too much.

Told from Louise’s point of view, she is a curious mix of reality superstar and an emotionally damaged adult who didn’t receive enough nurturing in childhood. Winning money, gave her a status that she never aspired to, even though she tenaciously worked her way up the corporate ladder. Self-esteem issues deny her insight into her true worth. I like her, and her perchance for crazy schemes, danger and scandal make her the perfect protagonist for a story of this type.

The plot is imaginative and quirky. Full of humour and sexy moments. The vivid imagery gives you a good sense of the settings, but the characters are not so well described.

Irreverent, original and steamy, try this if you are looking for something different.

After more than twenty-five years in accountancy, Rikki quit the profession to care for a parent whose health had deteriorated and to give more time to those interests and hobbies which had helped render accountancy almost bearable.

 Rikki’s interests include all things historical, from castles to candlesticks, music of many genres, from Gregorian Chant to Brit Pop, and above all, like HE Bates, is happiest when working and whiling in a garden.

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