Posted in Book Review, International Thriller, Political Thriller

4*#Review – Robert Hedley- Interlude in Kosovo – @hedley_robert

Dr Claire Peters flees her unfaithful husband, James, to work for The World Health Organisation in post-war Kosovo. Her husband follows, hoping for reconciliation.
Both take lovers, she a French Captain in KFOR (Kosovo Force), part of UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) he a beautiful Kosovar, wife of a senior member of the KLA (Kosova Liberation Army), catapulting both into a mix of Kosovo politics and criminality. 
Intimidation and murder in the mountains and then threats on the life of Claire climax in the capital, Pristina. 

This book is a novel. It is a love story and a mystery. All the characters are fictitious but the description of war-torn Kosovo as seen through their eyes and the background to the events described are true. 
Robert Hedley was recruited by the World Health Organisation as a consultant on medical education and health service development in 2000. For ten years before the war, Albanian Kosovars were treated as second-class citizens, encouraged to emigrate, denied access to the University for Law, Medicine and other careers. In Medicine, a ‘Parallel System’ was established where Albanian Kosovar students were taught Medicine in private houses with no access to the University Medical School. 
WHO fast-tracked a new medical education system, upgrading the training of Kosovar doctors, including medical education techniques to train future doctors, using experienced doctors from across Europe and other parts of the world. A new system of Primary Care was developed with a new curriculum for Family Doctors as well as a new curriculum for some Secondary Care Specialists at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Eventually, several years later, The Royal College of General Practitioners in London recognised the postgraduate training and examination for Family Doctors in Kosovo as equivalent to the diploma of MRCGP INTERNATIONAL. 

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

My Thoughts…

This story scores highly for originality and factual detail. It’s clear from reading this book that the author has first-hand knowledge of the political climate at the time, the setting and the ethos of Kosovo. This is an atmospheric, tense novel with vivid but not overly graphic imagery.

It’s a tale of two doctors, married but estranged through the actions of the husband. When his wife decides to leave the country and make a new start, he follows. His motivations for this are not entirely clear since he professes to love her but starts an affair whilst in Kosovo. Claire is easier to empathise, but neither character’s emotional states and motivation are fully explored.

The story is suspenseful and there are some passionate moments, but this story’s strength is in the authentic, detailed setting, action scenes and realistic plot.

dav
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What I’ve read and reviewed over the last seven days.

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I received a copy of these books from the publishers via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

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Posted in Book Review, International Thriller, Political Thriller

To The Lions- Holly Watt – 3*#Review @BloomsburyRaven @Holly_Watt

A journalist must follow the clues, no matter how far that takes her.

Casey Benedict, star reporter at the Post, has infiltrated the lives and exposed the lies of countless politicians and power players. Using her network of contacts, Casey is always on the search for the next big story, no matter how much danger this might place her in, no matter what cost emotionally. 

Tipped off by an overheard conversation at an exclusive London nightclub, she begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a wealthy young British man, whose death has left his fiancée and family devastated. 

Casey’s hunt for the truth will take her from the glitz of St Tropez to the deserts of Libya and on to the very darkest corners of the human mind

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I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Publishing -Raven Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A young investigative journalist follows a lead that suggests some unscrupulous rich people are hunting the forgotten humans – refugees, for kicks. The trail leads Casey and her fellow journalist Miranda to North Africa, to discover the truth.

This is a high octane, political thriller full of action and violence. The investigative journalist aspect of the story is realistic. The events Casey uncovers are disturbing.

The writing style is factual. The first part of the book is hard to read, but the second half is more dynamic and faster paced.

This story authentically explores the human cost of this tragedy and poses the journalist with believable moral dilemmas.

Posted in Book Review

Run and Hide -5* Review – Alan McDermott

 

There’s only so long you can run for your life.

Eva Driscoll is used to chasing down bad guys, but now the bad guys are chasing her. She knows they won’t stop until she’s dead.

After her brother is killed in a faked suicide, Driscoll teams up with ex-soldier Rees Colback, the one person who can help her find answers. Together they’re determined to uncover why members of his Special Forces squad are dying in mysterious circumstances.

But with every agency in the country in hot pursuit, their only choice is to flee.

The clock is ticking. They can’t run forever. It’s time to make a choice: kill or be killed…

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My Thoughts…

Intense, fast-paced political thriller with the idea of ‘the republic’ as its basis. The power behind the presidency is a popular theme in North American literature and TV currently but this story provides a credible basis for the theory alongside the non-stop action.

Eva Driscoll a CIA operative suddenly finds she is the target rather than the assassin, her tragedy makes her dig into the conspiracy surrounding her change in status and what she discovers destroys her inner self.

Detailed and peppered with graphically described violence and language this thriller is a page-turner, the characters are believable and sophisticated and the action relentless. The ending is well conceived and leaves the story open for more adventures with Eva.

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

Posted in Book Review

The Break Line – 4* Review – James Brabazon

Officially Max Mclean doesn’t exist.

The British government denies all knowledge of the work he does on their behalf to keep us safe. But Max and his masters are losing faith in each other. And they’ve given him one last chance to prove he’s still their man.

Sent to a military research facility to meet a former comrade-in-arms, Max finds the bravest man he ever knew locked up for his own protection. His friend lost his mind during an operation in West Africa. The reason? Absolute mortal terror.

Max is determined to find out why.

Ahead lies a perilous, breathtaking mission into the unknown that will call into question everything that Max once believed in.

Acting alone, without back-up, Max lands in Sierra Leone with his friend’s last words ringing in his ears: ‘They’re coming, Max. They’re coming . . .’

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My Thoughts…

I thought this book would be a military-themed political thriller, in many respects it is. The early part of the story is easy to read, an introduction to Max, the main character, who undertakes the narrator role as it’s written in the first person. The early part of the book disseminates essential clues and facts. The last part of the story, concentrates on Max’s mission, it may be his last if he doesn’t deliver, but the dangers he faces and the horrors he endures and witnesses may take his life, not just his career.

This second half of the story fuses the literary genres. Military thriller merges with paranormal and science- fiction and the resultant prose produces haunting, horrific images in the reader’s mind. Is Max delusional, is this an out of world experience or is this something more sinister? There are no clues here, but if you enjoy your thriller’s twisty with graphic imagery, this one will satisfy your cravings.

Fast-paced and full of action driven, adrenaline-fuelled scenes, this story holds your interest. The secret Max discovers places this novel firmly in the 21st century and takes the concept of biological weaponry to another level. Max is an edgy, driven character with a dark past and family issues, his emotional character undergoes a radical change through the story, and he makes a good anti-hero.

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK, Michael Joseph Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Silent Woman 3* Review – Terry Lynn Thomas

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage, and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

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Set in a fascinating historical period, where Nazi Germany’s nationalistic aims created unspeakable dark times for many. In stark contrast, the British establishment turned a blind eye to the interwar years’ atrocities, until powerful, forward-thinking people forced them to act. The Carlisle family is wealthy and influential, but the glossy exterior hides emotional cruelty, festering anger and secrets that would rock the society they live in.

Easy to read this is an absorbing novel, the historical detail gives depth to a simple plot, but I would have liked more, to let me feel what living at that time was like. The first chapter set in Germany is pivotal and underscored with menace. What follows is well written, but the danger Cat the heroine faces is narrated rather than demonstrated by the protagonist through actions and emotions. Espionage is a dangerous world, but I didn’t feel the threat, just knew that it existed.

The characters lack vibrancy. Much of Cat’s motivation is as a result of her crumbling marriage, and yet the reader knows little about her husband and the two rarely interact. Isobel and Cat’s relationship is toxic; you can feel the anger and envy. The other character interactions also need strong emotional depth to make them believable. 

A good story but for me, it lacks authentic, believable characters.

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

Posted in Book Review

Street Soldier – Andy McNab- 5* Review

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

Sean Harker is good at two things: stealing cars and fighting. One earns him money, the other earns him respect from the gang that he calls family.

A police chase through the city streets is just another rite of passage for Sean . . . as is getting nicked. But a brutal event behind bars convinces him to take charge, and turn his life around.

Now he must put his street skills to the ultimate test: as a soldier in the British Army. And the battlefield is London, where innocent people are being targeted by a new and terrifying enemy.

Undercover, under threat – only Sean Harker can save the streets from all-out war.

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My Review -1

Street Soldier

The story’s vivid imagery draws the reader into the world of London’s street gangs. Sean Harker has many commendable qualities, despite his criminal intentions and is an easy anti- hero to identify with, whatever your age but particularly for the intended late teen, young adult audience.
This is a hard-hitting story. The reality of Sean’s life as a gang member is often sordid but when his luck runs out, the chance to start again beckons but will he survive it? The scene setting of the first few chapters is so important for the rest of the story, as Sean’s new life collides with his old with alarming consequences.
Although Sean makes some questionable choices and friends, these illustrate his naivety, despite his former life as a gang member. The plot is simple to follow but the strong characters make it exciting and page turning and Sean is definitely a character who could have more adventures in future books.
‘Street Soldier’ is great storytelling with a realistic edge. Fast paced action with a true hero and an overriding theme of hope, whatever the challenges.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Street Soldier by Andy McNab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Street Soldier by Andy McNab

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-#JudgeForYourself- 5* Review -John Grisham – The Whistler

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

The most corrupt judge in US history. A young investigator with a secret informant. The electrifying new thriller.

Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida’s one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That’s until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.

Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime. Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation. At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead. Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings. She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels.

No one has a clue what she’s been doing – until now.

Under Florida law, those who help the state recover illegally acquired assets stand to gain a large percentage of them. Myers and his whistle blower friend could make millions.

But first they need Lacy to start an investigation. Is she ready to pit herself against the most corrupt judge in American history, a judge whose associates think nothing of murder?

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Mystery Thriller My Review

The Whistler (Exclusive Early Sampler)

Driving to meet a potential informant Lacy and her partner Hugo argue good naturedly about music and catch up on their respective lives. The closeness in their relationship is deeper than that of colleagues. They are friends and the author wants you to know this from the start. Lacy and Hugo are not the FBI agents I initially thought them to be but part of a federal organisation that investigates judicial corruption.
The informant Greg, is definitely an anti-hero, he is the middle man and in it for the money. We don’t even meet the true antagonist or the potential whistle blower in this four chapter sampler but it’s easy to visualise and have opinions about them and their actions from the thoughts and conversation of Lacy, Hugo and Greg.
The suspense and menacing quality of this story builds from Lacy’s first meeting with Greg. Can she trust him? Does he have a hidden agenda? Is this case worth risking her life over? These are all questions tantalisingly raised in the first few chapters. The reader’s bond with Lacy, single and childless and Hugo, the family man is already strong by this time and you want to know how this case will affect their lives.
The story’s other players are still to be introduced but they form a sinister presence, even before you meet them. Is this a story of good versus evil? Or something less defined, yet more complex? You’ll want to read the whole story to find out.
#JudgeForYourself

I received a four chapter sampler of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Whistler by John Grisham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Whistler (Exclusive Early Sampler) by John Grisham

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3* Review: Tibetan Cross – Mike Bond

23151517Mystery Thriller BlurbAn American climber in the Himalayas stumbles on a shipment of backpack nuclear weapons headed into Tibet for use against China. Pursued by spy agencies and other killers across Asia, North Africa, Europe and the United States, he is captured then rescued by a beautiful young woman with whom he forms a deadly liaison. They escape, are captured and escape again, death always at their heels.

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Mystery Thriller My Review
Tibetan CrossThis is a fast paced, graphic, international thriller. Cohen, the hero of this conspiracy, sees life at its lowest ebb. The plot is simple. The story’s often sordid and violent imagery sometimes overrides the story line. 

Cohen meets a multitude of interesting characters, as he tries to discover the truth, whilst avoiding almost certain death. The reader shares every experience and thought with Cohen. The amount of detail makes the story read rather like a screenplay, every person’s actions are choreographed, translated to a visual medium it would have more impact.
This story gets full marks for imagery and characters.
I received a copy of this book from Mandevilla Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review

Tibetan Cross by Mike Bond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Tibetan Cross by Mike Bond

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3* Review: Saving Paradise – Mike Bond

18892039Mystery Thriller Blurb When a beautiful journalist drowns mysteriously off Waikiki, Hawaii, Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins, now a well-known surfer and international correspondent for surfing magazines, soon gets embroiled in trying to find out why she died. What he quickly learns makes him a target for murder or life in prison as a cabal of powerful corporations, foreign killers and crooked politicians places the blame on him. Haunted by memories of Afghanistan, and determined to protect the Hawaii he loves from dirty politics tied to huge destructive energy developments, Pono turns to Special Forces buddies and his own covert skills to fight his deadly enemies, trying both save himself and find her killers. Alive with the sights, sounds and history of Hawaii, SAVING PARADISE is also a deepy rich portrait of what Pono calls the seamy side of paradise, and an exciting thriller of politics, lies and remorseless murder.

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Mystery Thriller My Review

Mystery, political corruption, sex, suspense and violence, Saving Paradise has them all.

It also has an off -beat hero in Pono, through whose eyes we experience the fast paced action. The environmental activist motivations behind this political thriller are laudable if a little preachy, as the story reveals the unseemly side of Hawaiian paradise.

I like Pono; he is a true hero but he does seem to be everyone’s fall guy because of his guilt from experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. His gullibility at times seems at odds with his special force training and mentality.

Animal lovers beware there is some unpleasant violence inflicted on Pono’s cat and dog, which seems excessive and unnecessary to the main story.

The characters are interesting but although the conclusion tied up the complex plot it was a too convenient for my tastes.

If you like this type of thriller, it’s worth reading if a little drawn out in parts.

I received a copy of this book from Author Buzz, Mandevilla Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Saving Paradise by Mike Bond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Saving Paradise by Mike Bond

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