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John R. Monteith "Author of Rogue Defender, latest of the Rogue Submarine thrillers" RSS Feed (Farmington Hills, MI United States)

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The Gods of War
The Gods of War
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Science Fiction Military Novel..., August 19, 2014
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This review is from: The Gods of War (Kindle Edition)
I’m honored to share insights into the work of an author duo with the talent and accomplishments of Graham Brown and Spencer Anderson. This is a page-turner I finished in two days, and it’s an excellent science fiction military novel. I waffled between four and five stars, settling on four because the bar is high for this duo.

Good stuff:
The main character, James Collins, has admirable qualities such as heroism, combat skill, leadership, compassion, humility, but he also has an underdeveloped sense of self and purpose. He must answer the question of who he is while overcoming impossible odds to save not one planet, but two. There’s also a political murkiness about who will support whom throughout the story, including Collins’ father and his fellow soldiers, and the uncertainty helps to isolate him and stack obstacles against him. This is a great setup for a protagonist to drive a powerful story.

The story speeds along with strong bursts of action, as evidenced by short chapters, slowing just enough at critical points to establish intrigue and understand the characters. Using simple words to describe vivid settings and intense action, the authors avoid distracting highbrow language and respect the economy of words to help drive the adventure’s fast pace.

The authors also steered shy of technobabble, injecting a perfect amount of convincing technical detail to draw me into the scenery and the action. I think that readers of sci fi or military genres would agree that the authors hit the mark on detail in describing combat hardware and tactics. And though I can’t picture life on a terraformed Mars beyond what the authors showed me, I believed in their presentation of the newly habitable planet and enjoyed how they applied its unique features to their plot twists.

There’s even philosophical stimulation sprinkled throughout the story. Faced with dire circumstances and minimal hope, the hero and his supporters wrestle with purpose, spurring thought and giving insight into humanity’s ultimate deserved fate. And with the stakes being huge – mankind’s destiny – the good guys need to get it right to have a chance. Experiencing their struggle to identify their goals and muster the boldness to achieve them is an upside of reading this book.

Questionable stuff:
Although the hero drives plenty of resolution, he gets lucky one too many times for my tastes. There were also a lot of good guys and bad guys, lessening the development of secondary characters, including a fully fleshed out detestable villain.

Overall, I’d give this excellent novel 4.5 stars if allowed. I thought it was brilliant and enjoyable.

Disclaimer - I am a fellow author published under the Stealth Books imprint.


The Collaborator (The Sokolov Saga Book 2)
The Collaborator (The Sokolov Saga Book 2)
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, well written thriller, June 1, 2014
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Another page-turning story of intrigue and espionage by Ian Kharitonov. The Solokov brothers return from The Russian Renaissance to avenge crimes committed against their family and loved ones. A deep dive into Russian history frames the setting for blackmail and corruption among the nation’s controllers. Caught in the crossfire between power brokers, the Solokov brothers rely upon their wits, hand-to-hand combat skill, and their loyal rescue-trained companions to take on the bad guys. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys complex, fast-paced action thrillers.


REMO
REMO
Price: $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-Bending Military Sci-Fi Stories, May 31, 2014
This review is from: REMO (Kindle Edition)
The decades-long delays and separation of deep space travel, the blurry definition of sentient life and self-awareness, the efficacy and morality of augmenting - or altering - a living creature's nature by artificial intelligence. Tom Mays explores these themes with peppery and memorable characters that drive fast-paced action in life and death military and policing environments. Written with the gifted skill seen in Mays' debut novel, A Sword Into Darkness, these stories promise to delight military and sci-fi fans.

Disclaimer - I am a fellow author published under the Stealth Books imprint, and I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book.


A Sword Into Darkness
A Sword Into Darkness
Price: $3.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Science Fiction, February 1, 2014
A Sword Into Darkness is a brilliant page-turner. Tom Mays hits the concept of alien invasion in its sweet spot, right at the blurry boundary between science fiction and fact. Of course, readers must suspend belief about the existence of an alien race, but everything beyond that necessity lands in the realm of plausible fiction, including the technology, the psychology, the tactics, the politics, and the romance.

What stands out most to me is that Mays gives two decades of story time for the human race to respond to ambiguous evidence of an invasion. Are bad guys coming, or aren’t they? If so, what’s their agenda? Given their possible agenda, what do we do? Mays gives his main characters, which are complex and well developed over years, and all of humanity years to ponder the possibilities, seek more evidence, and prepare. Given the story’s time span, readers can accept that propulsion, weapon, and material technologies that exist on the fringe of science today become reality by the plot’s climax.

I found myself dreaming about how I would save the world if I were the main character, and step after step, Mays weaves a tight, consistent, and crafty plot. It’s an amazing novel.

There are far fewer rough edges than seen in most first novels, but I withheld the fifth star for those few passages where I noticed the author’s voice on the page instead of the voices of his characters.

Disclaimer – I am a fellow author published under the Stealth Books imprint, and I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book.


Dome City Blues
Dome City Blues
by Jeff Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.69
25 used & new from $6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than His Sea Warrior Series, September 15, 2013
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This review is from: Dome City Blues (Paperback)
Jeff Edwards may be known for his Sea Warrior series where he crafts exciting naval adventures built upon his career as a destroyer-based chief petty officer. However, if the word gets out, he'll be known for futuristic mystery thrillers. Dome City Blues is a masterpiece, and he's working on a sequel that will jump to the top of my reading list.

Why is Dome City Blues better than Sea of Shadows, The Seventh Angel, and Sword of Shiva? First, a detective story highlights Edwards' ability to build intrigue, and he proves himself a master in weaving this plot. Second, its science fiction setting lets the author exercise his powerful imagination on philosophical issues such as medically-enhanced immortality, the fate of the human soul, and the competition of man vs. machine in evolution. Third, the crime story pace supports his writing style because it is perfect for his natural balance of pace vs. description. Finally, he gambled and won when he wrote the story in the first person. This is risky since using just one point of view character can limit perspectives for unfolding a story, but Edwards rolls out this plot so tightly that his main character, David Stalin, carries it effortlessly. As a result, we get a deeper connection and stronger empathy with Stalin, and we are urging for him to succeed well before the final chapters.

If you like mystery thrillers you'll enjoy this. If you like science fiction where the technology is central to the story, you'll enjoy this. If you've enjoyed anything else you've read by Edwards, I recommend getting your hands on Dome City Blues.

Note: I am a fellow Stealth Books author.Rogue Defender


Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
by Kyle Idleman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
272 used & new from $3.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Vital Christian Reading, August 12, 2013
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Every Christian needs to reflect upon the primary message of this book, which is to verify that you are following Christ as your #1 priority instead of just cheering Him on. This book is easy to read, supported by Bible verses, and colored with real world stories. The downsides are that it is redundant and opinionated.

Sticklers for style may be tempted to put down this book when the author uses paragraphs to explain what could be said in sentences. But if you read the book over several days, the redundancy has the upside of embedding the message into your mind.

The opinions revolve around the author's interpretation of other people's relationship with Christ. You could call that presumptuous or alarmist, but presuming that the alarm needs to be sounded for people's weak following of Christ is the author's point. So you have to allow that you're digesting an author's opinions when you pick up the book.

Overall, a profound book with life-altering possibilities.


Urban Hunters Collection (3 Books)
Urban Hunters Collection (3 Books)
by Gary Taaffe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66
10 used & new from $11.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Big Fan of Billy the Aborigine!, August 8, 2013
This is a coming of age story about an Australian Aborigine, which is outside my preferred reading genre, but it drew me in. I finished the first three books (Four Small Stones, Tribal Scarring, Walkabout) in one round trip air flight and even found myself wondering what I would do if I met Billy on his Walkabout.

Billy's story is entertaining, consistent, and creative, and the writing is vivid with specifics about the challenges and resources available to the hero, a young boy named Billy. The pace is fast enough while giving time for descriptions and character development, and the writing flows.

I can't attest to the accuracy of the research, but the abundance of detail suggests that the author dedicated a strong research effort to construct his setting.

I withheld the 5th star because I wanted more closure at the end of each book. Billy's story is captivating and continues into later books, but each book needs to stand on its own and resolve a major conflict established early in the book.
Overall, this is excellent, and I recommend it for young adults.


The Unbeliever
The Unbeliever
Price: $4.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent military-supernatural story and first novel, April 29, 2013
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This review is from: The Unbeliever (Kindle Edition)
The author made me care about the main character by giving an otherwise invulnerable killing machine the complex disadvantages of a missing leg, an addiction to whiskey and pain killers, and a gaping hole where he used to have purpose as a U.S. Marine. He adds to this a curious mix of characters, such as a busybody centenarian, a PhD voodoo priestess, and a young fire-haired vixen stuck somewhere between human and undead.

He uses diligent research to buffet his scene descriptions and to lend credence to the story's supernatural foundation. This slows the plot in exchange for giving the novel meat, but it's acceptable since the pace is adequate.

The book has the excusable rough edges of a first novel and good dose of profanity, but I read the book in a day because it was a good story that drew me in, and I had to finish it. This is an excellent first novel.
Rogue Defender


The Russian Renaissance (The Sokolov Saga Book 1)
The Russian Renaissance (The Sokolov Saga Book 1)
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and Educational Thriller, April 7, 2013
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Although this is a thriller with the conflict, action, and pace required of such an adventure, this novel also serves as an education in the history and present plight of the former Soviet Union. I don't normally laud over thrillers for their author's research, but Kharitonov deserves praise for writing with authority about martial arts, small arms, chemical warfare, rescue/recovery diving, flying, high-speed driving, electronic surveillance, paratrooper infiltration, and, of course, espionage. No single person understands all these areas firsthand, but the young author convinced me he had done his homework before writing the Russian Renaissance.

He also proved that he studied the craft of writing. Each character is developed and born to the story with a proper motivation fitting his or her actions. The vocabulary, especially the varied array of action verbs, spices up the narrative. The conflict evolves on many fronts as a complex web, the intrigue builds throughout the story, and the characters keep the plot moving forward with a respectable pace.

The few shortcomings are a small percentage of sentences written in passive voice and just a few too many adverbs (a pet peeve of mine). Also, there are some points which I identify as a matter of taste. Kharitonov sprinkled glimpses of history throughout the book which slowed the pace and brought his personal skew onto events, but this also offered an understanding of the former Soviet Union that most readers won't gain elsewhere. Another point of taste was the plot intricacy. I admit to losing sight of some of the story branches - most likely due to my laziness as a reader - but the ending answered my questions. But this is the sort of complexity readers need if they want to enjoy the challenge of predicting the characters' next moves.

All in all a great first novel worthy of attention.
Rogue Defender


Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot
Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot
by Phil Keith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.49
111 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched, Vivid Account of History, March 24, 2013
My immediate reaction to Black-Horse Riders is that its research is complete. The author captures the full scope of who these heroes were, how they joined together, how they overcame adversity, and how they earned their final recognition. Also, the writing is vivid, bringing the reader back to the terrifying wilderness of wartime Viet Nam. The vivid writing combined with the full-circle viewpoints reconstructed from the testimony of a multitude of people paint a valuable and memorable piece of history.

This is the best combat story I've read in a long time. It made me feel the fear, the pain, the determination, and the hope that these brave warriors felt. It also invited me to consider the tactical and leadership challenges that Army officers and NCOs face, giving me the best picture of mechanized land combat I've had. There were moments where these soldiers needed to be silent, where they needed to slug it out with weapons on full automatic, and moments where they had to stop for second, reflect, and outthink their enemy.

This is a story that needed to be told, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Viet Nam War or the broader subject of American combat heroism.

Rogue Defender


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