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A Noble Cause [Kindle Edition]

J. Gregory Smith
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mark Noble plans a surprise proposal to his beautiful girlfriend during a romantic Caribbean vacation. But before he can pop the question, his girlfriend disappears, and his father--a world famous celebrity doctor who seems to have perfected mind-control--is killed in a mysterious fire back home in Pennsylvania.

When Mark investigates both his girlfriend's disappearance and his father's death, he realizes that the two events are connected. He attempts to unravel the mystery with the help of his eccentric grandmother and the courageous crew--one a former Navy SEAL--of her luxury yacht, putting all of their lives in danger as Mark faces a rich and powerful foe determined to pry from Mark a secret he doesn't even know he possesses.

Breakneck pacing and taut plotting mark Greg Smith's sophomore effort, a top-notch thriller with keen intelligence and shocking twists that create a brooding, vice-like compression that leaves little room to breathe.

Editorial Reviews Review

A Q&A with J. Gregory Smith

Question: Hypnosis and mind control play a large role in A Noble Cause. What sparked that idea? Have you ever tried being hypnotized?

J. Gregory Smith: Hypnosis has always fascinated me, though I've never tried it myself. With my imagination, it would either work too well or I wouldn't give in for fear of losing control. That said, I've always heard the subjects really can't be made to do anything they really wouldn't do normally--but I couldn't let it go at that, so I came up with a sort of superhypnosis combined with a mysterious concoction that allows access to the deepest reaches of a subject's subconscious. Now we're talking power. Our hero is caught in the middle of a struggle for what such power could offer.

Q: Which character in the book was your favorite to develop?

JGS: That's a tough question for the right reasons. One of the things that was so much fun for me about this book is that the characters fell into place right along with the story. Mark, the central character, is the most "normal," and he's at the epicenter of a storm of "What would you do?" situations, so I loved seeing him forced to rise to the occasion.

Lukasz, the Navy SEAL, might be my favorite not just for his tough-guy abilities but because he has his own code of ethics--foremost loyalty--and he's willing to do anything for a friend. On the flip side, he's about the worst enemy anyone could have. What he's willing to do for Mark says a great deal about what he sees in his friend, even if Mark can't see it in himself.

Q: Your last book, Final Price, was more of a straightforward mystery. What made you decide to write a thriller? Will your Detective Paul Chang fans get to see more of him?

JGS: This book just fell into place and worked better as a fast-paced action tale. I wanted to keep the lead character reeling from one blow after another until he is forced to battle back. The characters aren't cops, but I took the craziest situation I could come up with and tossed them into it. Yes, Detective Chang and his very unconventional sidekick, Nelson, will be back in The Legacy of the Dragon [coming in March 2012], and I'm hard at work on a third installment with Chang, tentatively called Send in the Clowns.

Q: You have also published some short fiction. Do you prefer to write short stories or novels?

JGS: I prefer novels but love writing short stories. Short stories are such a different animal, but I love the way they demand an economy of thought while providing an opportunity to play with cool ideas that don't have the legs for a whole book. I have a story coming out early this year in a twisted anthology, Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad.

Q: What are you reading right now?

JGS: Dove Season by Johnny Shaw.

Q: Which books have influenced you and your writing the most?

JGS: I'll skip craft books except Stephen King's On Writing, because I get at least as much inspiration as technique from it. If you want to be a writer, read that book. Then read it again. I try--emphasis on "try"--to write the kinds of books I like to read: King, Koontz, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Tolkien, Thomas Harris, etc. I appreciate good writing of any stripe, but I personally like stuff to happen in a story. Preferably right away.

About the Author

Prior to writing fiction full-time, Greg Smith worked in public relations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Delaware. He has an MBA from the College of William & Mary and a BA in English from Skidmore College. His first novel, Final Price, won first place in the Delaware Press Association's 2010 Communication Contest for fiction. Originally self-published, Final Price was signed by AmazonEncore and released in November 2010. He currently lives in Wilmington with his wife and son.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1439 KB
  • Print Length: 363 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612181538
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0053TI9ZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,578 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simply Entertaining November 28, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's nothing particularly subtle or intricate about J. Gregory Smith's competent new novel, "A Noble Cause." It's a straightforward modern thriller, unburdened by complexity. With the exception of one secondary character, all of the principals and secondaries who toil in Smith's story are either plainly good, or plainly bad, and none of them are very deep. Smith's settings won't take readers anywhere they've not visited before courtesy of dozens of other novelists in scores of other novels. Still, Smith writes fairly snappy and realistic dialogue, his points of view are consistent, and he paces this novel well enough to keep the pages turning. It's a solid thriller, written with skill sufficient to hold readers' attention and keep them entertained.

In the aftermath of his girlfriend's Antiguan disappearance and the murders of his parents in Pennsylvania, Mark Noble battles to uncover the reasons and people behind the mysterious kidnapping and deaths. The plot rushes along a track centered around clandestine mind control experiments conducted on unwitting subjects via pharmaceutically-enhanced hypnosis. Accordingly, the back-cover copy of Smith's book likens "A Noble Cause" to Richard Condon's famous 1959 novel, "The Manchurian Candidate." In that the latter was as much socio-political Cold War commentary as thriller, while Smith's work has no such grand political or philosophical ambitions, the comparison is at best a stretch. Nonetheless, "A Noble cause" is a rewarding read, and a good way to while away a few hours.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A Noble Cause is my first exposure to J. Gregory Smith. I was pleasantly surprised by the 348-page easy to follow, quick read featuring non-stop action from beginning to end.

Although there was little depth in character development, the storyline was an intriguing one day read for me.

Unlike his famous father, Ian Noble, Mark enrolled in medical school because he did not want to disappoint his father; however, he was not interested in the medical field and dropped out after one year.

A deckhand on his grandmother, Frances's Miami based yacht; he plans his proposal during vacation in the Caribbean Island of Antigua to his girl friend, Vanessa.

While on the Island, at the request from Mark to pick up jewelry for him from Andre Varre's Green Envy Emeralds jewelers, Vanessa is kidnapped by mysterious unknown assailants.

Though he and his father are not close, after apprising his father of the situation, Mark's father told him to immediately leave the Island. Shortly thereafter, Ian and Mrs. Noble are killed in a fire in his home in Pennsylvania where Mark grew up. Only the Doctor's office survived the fire.

In the mean time, Doctor Darrin Culpepper, in spite of his well-known lifelong fear of snakes, in a trance-like state, scales the fence of a cobra pit at a zoo in Miami where he publically agitates the large venomous creature without regard to his safety. Following that incident, Culpeper's' sister, Meg hires former cop and bad private detective, Tucker "Saint" Bernard to find out what happened.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good second book November 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In quick succession, some odd things happen. A man ventures into a king cobra's pit in Miami, and is fatally bit. Mark Nobel's girlfriend disappears in Antigua. Mark's father and mother die in a fire in Pennsylvania. And some heavy-duty bad guys are after Mark.

Seems improbable that these events could all be related, but they are. And Mark and his allies will be challenged to the max as they put together the plot that is afoot and the villains behind it and then prepare to counterattack.

"A Noble Cause" offers a taut, vivid narrative with plenty of twists and turns that will have you turning the pages to see what happens next. On the other hand, there is nothing particularly profound about the story - it's simply entertaining.

I also read Smith's first effort, "Final Price," which was set in Delaware. There are some similarities, especially a talent for portraying the dark side of human nature, but this book is better crafted and more suspenseful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Non-spoiler - Fun read, flawed thriller December 9, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Noble Cause was an entertaining read, and I enjoyed myself, but I wouldn't call it a "must read."

Just before Mark Noble, med school drop-out, is about to ask his girlfriend to marry him, she vanishes on a routine errand in a tropical paradise. Shaken up, he calls his psychiatrist father, who encourages him to get off the island. That same night, Mark's father is killed in his home in Pennsylvania. How these events are linked and how Mark tries to resolve the mystery drive the story from here on.

Pro: The story is well told and readable, and zips the reader along. The author keeps the reader interested, and the premise behind the story is an interesting one. You won't be bored while reading this.

Con: The characters in the story are for the most part, two-dimensional at best. While Mark relies on family and friends as close as family, the reader doesn't feel connected to anyone other than Mark. You can tell that the author wants readers to know this is a very close band of people, but you never feel it. Also, two of the characters feel like obvious pieces of a standard thriller, the ex-military superman and the cantankerous medic. I understand these characters are commonly used, but the author fails to breathe life into them, and they feel very much like the author realized the average med school drop out can't fight off trained killers, so let's have a former Navy SEAL work as a deck hand on grandma's boat, which is apparently big enough for at least 5 people to live on full-time in Miami harbor. It feels cliché.

Having said that, I found myself wanting read on, and I did enjoy it. I just won't likely read it again or go out of my way to encourage others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More than the title suggests
Your fiancée is goes missing; your parents are killed in a fire. Definitely a bad day for our hero. But, who would think that a crazy rich guy is behind it all? Read more
Published 4 days ago by T. Lukas
3.0 out of 5 stars good story line
The story lie was good, but rather jumpy at times. Many little details were not tied up, so loose ends are throughout the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Donna Luna
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good reading
Published 4 months ago by FreeMind
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Manufactured suspense!!!
Published 4 months ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars A good action novel
The action never stopped. It rivals Clive Clussler's novels. Once you start reading it it is hard to put done.Looking forward to his next one.
Published 4 months ago by Katie
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative
I chose this book by the reviews. I did enjoy reading it. I thought I knew what would happen but I was wrong!
Published 4 months ago by CALMLILAC
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting mystery adventure story.
A excellent read. Good characters, well-developed and interesting. Technology is well used but not over done. A good read, fairly hard to set down.
Published 4 months ago by Daniel E. Mccoy
4.0 out of 5 stars New Reader to Greg
Very interesting well paced read. Interesting style leaves open a lot of room for readers imagination. Would read more without a doubt
Published 4 months ago by Timothy J Alexander
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Saw the story coming a mile away. Stopped in the middle of it
Published 5 months ago by Raedq
4.0 out of 5 stars I love all the kindle books
I love all the kindle books, I read nightly and enjoy a quick escape. Thank you for getting me back into books! Read more
Published 5 months ago by ally
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More About the Author


Greg Smith is the bestselling author of the thrillers, A Noble Cause and the Flamekeepers as well as the Paul Chang Mystery series including Final Price, Legacy of the Dragon and Send in the Clowns all published by Thomas & Mercer.

Prior to writing fiction full time, Greg worked in public relations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. He has an MBA from the College of William & Mary and a BA in English from Skidmore College.

His debut novel, Final Price, was first released as a self-published work before being signed to Thomas & Mercer and re-released. Greg is now working on new thrillers as well as a YA fantasy series.

Greg currently lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife, son and dog.

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