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michael a. draper "Amazon reviewer and author of "Splattered Blood" and "Strike Three You're Dead" retired after over 30 years working as a financial advisor" RSS Feed (Guilford, CT)

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The Forsaken (A Quinn Colson Novel)
The Forsaken (A Quinn Colson Novel)
by Ace Atkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.11
103 used & new from $5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do not forsake me oh my darlin', November 17, 2014
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In a novel that takes place in Jericho, Mississippi, there were occasions when I felt that I was reading a John Grisham story.

Ace Atkins has talent for dialogue and description that goes together to give his readers a real feel for the action evolving before us. I've enjoyed his Robert B. Parker novels and was highly entertained with his new novel.

A shootout takes place before the action of the story gets underway and Sheriff Quinn Carlson and his chief deputy are under investigation for their roles in it.

The central story involves a teenage girl, Diane Tull, who is raped - along with her teenage girlfriend. Then the rapist, a black man, shot both girls, killing Diane's friend. Men from the community became enraged and searched for the criminal. Then, they took the law into their own hands.

However, a number of weeks later, Diane saw the real rapist in town. When she tried to let others know, they didn't want to listen.

Now, thirty-seven-years later, Diane tells Quinn what she knows and asks him to reopen the case.

We've all read stories where the wrong man was accused and made to pay for another's crime. The manner in which Ace Atkins writes makes the reader see how this could happen and wonder if it could be resolved.

Very entertaining story with good characters and a fine plot.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2014 1:14 PM PST

Blood and Ashes
Blood and Ashes
by Matt Hilton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $9.64
88 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ashes, ashes, we all fall down, November 11, 2014
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If "Blood and Ashes" was a cold cereal, it would be called snap, crackle and pop, pop, pop.

Ex-soldier, Joe Hunter, is asked for help from a former colleague, Don Griffiths who worked with Hunter in the past. They had taken down terrorist groups and stopped domestic terrorists before they could execute their schemes.

No sooner does Hunter arrive at the Griffiths' home then the action begins. He's forced to use close combat ability to dispose of two men who were watching Griffiths' home and decide to challenge him.

Later, Griffiths' family is attacked by a Neo-Nazi group who were supporters of a terrorist believed to be dead. Griffiths was instrumental in the trial and jailing of the leader of this group.

After a Rambo type display, Hunter rescues Griffiths' family. Afterwards, a new saga begins where Hunter must help stop a plot by the survivors of the Neo-Nazi group. They plan an action against Manhattan.

We learn little of the background of Hunter. He had been a member of a clandestine group and now, the groups part in the plot begins to come clear.

I would have liked the story to end sooner than it did. Also, instead of giving background of Hunter in the story, the author provides a description of him in a postscript to the novel.

I enjoyed the story but expected more.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2014 7:12 AM PST

I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel
I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel
by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.40
59 used & new from $6.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Civil War through the eyes of a female soldier, October 30, 2014
In Flat Creek, New York, feelings of patriotism filled the land in 1862.

Young Rosetta Edwards falls in love with Jeremy Wakefield. They discuss his enlisting in the army as a way to save for their own farm. Being a younger son, he knows that the family farm will go to the eldest son.

Once Jeremy enlists and leaves for military training, Rosetta feels alone. Her love for Jeremy is intense and when she learns that she has even been replaced in her own family, she makes a decision. She used to milk the cows and help at her parent's farm but her father hired someone to help with the farm after her marriage.

With this rejection, brave and impetuous Rosetta, cuts her hair, binds her chest and dresses as a man. Then she follows Jeremy to Utica, New York and enlists as Ross Stone. She claims to be Jeremy's cousin so they are placed in the same company.

Jeremy is torn in what to do and wants to keep his wife from danger but Rosetta shows her courage and disagrees with him. Then she travels to war with Jeremy and the other soldiers.

In a letter to her parents she uses a Bible verse to state that as they say in the Bible, a wife should cling to her husband.

It is heart wrenching to see the love between the two and what they must do to avoid detection. Of course, some of Jeremy's friends knew Rosetta at home but they form a protective band around her.

Problems arise and some are handled with humor such as when the soldiers decide to go for an impromptu swim. They undress to their skivvies and jump in the water. Rosetta must think of a reason why she isn't joining the fun.

The story is told from Rosetta's point of view and becomes more intense when she visits a military hospital and sees what war can do to the severely wounded men. She also had to deal with men in battle when some of Jeremy's old friends thought she was a distraction.

This was a well told story, good characters and vivid descriptions of the scenes. It was still a bit hard to see Rosetta/Ross fooling so many people, many who were gruff and supporting beards.

3 1/2 stars moving up to 4 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2014 4:42 PM PST

An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford Mysteries)
An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford Mysteries)
by Charles Todd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.93
98 used & new from $6.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unwilling Accomplice in WWI, October 29, 2014
The novel opens with battlefield nurse Bess Crawford summoned to the war department in London. She is ordered to escort a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace to be decorated by King George.

A day after the ceremony, the soldier, Sgt. Jason Wilkins disappears. Bess is questioned about his disappearance and accused of dereliction of duty in permitting him to go AWOL.

What follows is Bess's efforts along with her friend, Simon Brandon, to search the English countryside and locate the missing soldier and thus, to clear Bess's name.

Through the eyes of Bess, we view the English landscape and observe many of the victims of WWI, both military and civilian.

One of Bess's friends sums up the true cost of the war. "I think the greatest cost of the war is in lost friends...All the young men I've danced with...played tennis with and dallied with, are gone."

In the midst of the story Bess and Simon come upon a town where a wealthy woman is caring for a wounded officer. Thinking that it might turn out to be Sgt. Wilkins, they question the woman. In this case there is a head wound. It isn't Wilkins but we observe another casualty. The soldier has a head wound that causes moments of irrational behavior.

This was an easy read where I could imagine the countryside and what Bess and Simon were going through. I was a bit confused with the conclusion but overall enjoyed the story.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2014 4:43 PM PST

Fear Nothing: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel
Fear Nothing: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel
by Lisa Gardner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.93
307 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware of this serial killer, October 25, 2014
In this psychological thriller, the Rose Killer is imitating the murders that were committed by a prior killer 30 years ago. The killer not only murders their victims but slices parts of their skin to take as souvenirs.

Detective D.D. Warren is investigating along with her partner Phil and her husband, criminalist, Alex.

The killer who is being imitated is Shand Day who has been jailed in a Massachusetts Criminal facility for thirty years.

Dr. Adeline Glen is Shana's sister. Adeline has a rare genetic condition that makes her unable to feel pain. She is a psychiatrist and becomes D.D.'s pain therapist after D.D. is pushed down a flight of stairs by a criminal she didn't see.

The story is told from the point of view of D.D. and that of Adeline. With every other chapter told by the other character.

The characters are intense and through a maze of twists and surprises Adeline, Shana and D.D. communicate. The reader is swept up with the suspense. Shana is the leading suspect but how could she commit crimes while locked up? Is there a copycat killer?

This edge of seat novel will have the reader gasping for breath as the suspense mounts in an explosive conclusion.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2014 8:14 PM PST

To Hell and Gone in Texas
To Hell and Gone in Texas
by Russ Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.53
9 used & new from $8.52

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Texas in my rear view mirror, October 23, 2014
"To Hell and Gone in Texas" opens with a bang. Texas law officials are viewing the bodies of three men who were murdered and decapitated. They suspect drug gang activity.

Al Quinn has retired from his detective work in Travis County, near Austin. His philosophy changed after his partner was killed during a call where he and Al felt that a woman's life was in danger so they couldn't wait for the SWAT team and the deranged man killed Al's partner.

Al has a home by the water and enjoys fishing but gets a call from one of his friends on the job. Al's brother is in the hospital, someone tried to kill him.

Al and his brother haven't spoken in years but Al goes to the hospital and soon learns that his brother, Maury, could be the target of a drug gang seemingly at war to eliminate the competition.

ICE, Immigration Customs Enforcement, is pitted against a drug cartel and Maury is in the middle of the conflict.

Although there is a split between the brothers, Al continues to investigate. There's lots of action but I would have preferred it if the story ended sooner than it did. Everything worked out too easily and there is one segment when multiple characters are thought to have been killed, only to come back into the story.

The author is a good story teller and the novel was a quick and easy read but I enjoy more depth in characters.

A Wasteland of Strangers
A Wasteland of Strangers
Price: $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take my hand, I'm a stranger is Paradise" song lyrics, October 20, 2014
Bill Pronzini is an entertainer. Through the entire book, "A Wasteland of Strangers," I had a smile and warm feelings that I was experiencing the lives of a group of characters who had a tale to tell. The book made me think of a modern Peyton Place mixed with a TV soap opera.

A large, brutal looking man arrives at a lakeside village in Northern California. His arrival unleashes the prejudices and sexual fantasies of many of the locals.

John Faith is a quiet man, just looking for a place to be accepted and that he can call home.

Women solicit him, some men challenge him in order to prove their manhood and a slim few-accept him for what he is.

He's accused of murder, almost accused of being a pedophile and is actually a kind hearted, lonesome man.

I found the story unique and totally engrossing. It is cleverly plotted and the characters are well developed and interesting.

In the Morning I'll Be Gone: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel (The Troubles Trilogy)
In the Morning I'll Be Gone: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel (The Troubles Trilogy)
by Adrian McKinty
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.58
64 used & new from $7.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Lavender blue, dilly dilly." Song lyrics, October 17, 2014
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Get out your shillelagh, sprinkle four leaf clovers around your easy chair and get ready for a dramatic ride to Belfast in the 1980s.

Sean Duffy is a Catholic in the Protestant RCY (Royal Ulster Constabulary). After being forced out of his job because he crossed the wrong people, he's visited by the M 15.

Dermot McCann is an IRZ master bomber and has just escaped from Maze Prison. M 15 believe that since Duffy knew McCann from their school days, he's the best chance they have of catching McCann before he begins his bombing attacks.

As a police officer, Duffy isn't welcome in Belfast but then meets a woman who strikes a deal. She'll give up McCann in return for Duffy's reopening the case to find the killer of the woman's daughter. The daughter died in a questionable manner inside a locked put. Police claim an accident but the woman knows it was murder.

Duffy investigates and we witness poverty stricken Belfast and and police anxiety at what McCann is up to. Time is running short and a major event is approaching. There is to be a Conservative Party Conference in Brighton and Mrs. Thatcher is scheduled to be a speaker. This would be an ideal target for McCann.

The descriptions of life in Northern Ireland is a treat. A locked room mystery and a clock running down as suspense builds is just what the doctor ordered for mystery fans.

Night Drop (A Blake Sanders Thriller) (Volume 3)
Night Drop (A Blake Sanders Thriller) (Volume 3)
by Michael W. Sherer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.59
12 used & new from $8.20

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrorists active in Seattle, October 14, 2014
As the story opens, Blake Sanders is recovering from the suicide of his son, Cole, and Blake is working as a volunteer in a suicide prevention center.

Later, he receives a call from his ex-wife, Molly, about remembering to water her plants while she's away. Then she stops the conversation to answer the door. Blake listens as her voice grew to a scream and the call suddenly ended.

He goes to Molly's law firm and learns that they are putting a crisis team together to handle Molly's kidnapping. Blake wonders why she would be the one abducted since she's only a junior partner in a high level firm.

In a side story, former Navy SEAL, Trip Macready is forced to work with a group of terrorists who have kidnapped Molly and are using her to persuade Trip's assistance. He has trained a number of dolphins and the terrorists want Trip to get them to retrieve some cannisters from the sea.

At Molly's firm, the kidnappers call and want Blake to be the person to handle the money drop and he begins to feel that the kidnapping is something personal but he can't think of a reason why.

The author creates a puzzle that has various pieces, we have Blake's involvement with his former wife, Macready's actions with his dolphins, the terrorists and a young soccer player who Blake represented. The young man went overseas and was killed.

The action moves swiftly bouncing from the terrorists to Blake to Macready. Unfortunately we never get to hear what Molly is going through so it is difficult to see Blake's reaction to the kidnappers. He also has a new woman in his life, a Naval intelligence officer.

I enjoyed the book but never developed an emotional connection to the characters. The sympathy a reader should have, just wasn't there for me. I haven't read the author's two prior adventures with Blake Sanders and feel that there was probably more of a connection there. In starting with the third book in the Blake Sanders' series, I must have missed some of the connections.”
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2014 8:17 PM PST

Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel
Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel
by James Lee Burke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.08
117 used & new from $4.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I am a poor, wayfaring stranger while traveling through this world of woe." Song Lyrics, October 11, 2014
In a departure from his Dave Robicheau detective series, James Lee Burke brings his readers a riveting historical novel. Weldon Holland's life is described in a manner that parallels many important events of the last century.

As a teenager during the depression, Weldon lived at his grandfather's ranch. There, he encountered Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow who felt the backroad of the ranch would be a good place to lie low. Although they were ordered off the ranch, Weldon developed a lifelong fantasy about Bonnie and her radiant red hair.

WWII found Weldon as a college graduate and new second lieutenant in action in front of the U.S. lines. His unit comes into attack from German tanks with heavy casualties. Weldon is able to rescue his sergeant, Hershel Pine who was buried under by a passing tank. As Weldon is digging Hershel out, the reader feels the drama of the unexpected enemy tanks on raw recruits.

During this segment of the story, Weldon gets his first taste of anti semitism. We see what one man can achieve by taking a stance against this view and his manner in attempting to change another person's narrow view.

Later, Weldon and Hershel rescue Rosita Lowenstein from underneath a number of dead bodies, killed by Germans who abandoned a concentration camp as the allied soldiers approached. Rosita and Weldon form a love that carries them for the remainder of the story.

Back home, Weldon and Hershel go into business and feel the disappointment of dry oil wells and then the ecstasy when their wells begin to deliver oil. Wealth accumulates but Rosita is the daughter of a well known Communist woman in Spain and we see the manner in which communism was treated at the end of WWII.

The story continues with Hershel and his wife dealing with new wealth and with his wife, Linda Gail following her dream of becoming a Hollywood actress.

Burke has many themes in the story, from prejudice, to bravery and friendship. Weldon and Rosita are memorable characters, vividly portrayed and very sympathetic. Weldon is heroic in his approach as he stands alone for the things he believes and his love for Rosita.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2014 8:22 PM PST

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