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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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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
30 used & new from $9.75

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: $8.46
262 used & new from $3.84

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
15 used & new from $10.91

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: $8.99

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 #1)
The Russian Renaissance (The Sokolov Saga #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
104 used & new from $0.95

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

The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ
The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ
by Lee Strobel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.33
138 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary Book for People Working through Doubts, January 20, 2013
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Lee Strobel takes on the objections to Christianity that plague many people who are on the path towards belief. Since he tries to be comprehensive, he presents rebuttals to objections that some readers may find laborious. For example, if you're comfortable with the concept that Christ's tomb was empty after the first Easter Sunday, then there's a chunk of narrative you may want to skip. However, you would probably appreciate that this books provides a reference for you in case a doubt about the tomb's emptiness springs up in your mind.

I thought the book became stronger and gained momentum toward the end where the latter chapters dealt with modern issues. For example, why do Jews reject Christ as their savior, why do people believe the evidence but minimize the meaning, and why do people in western cultures create their own religions with individualized blends of mysticism, Gnosticism, Buddhism, and liberal interpretations of Christ?

This isn't an introductory text for people learning about Christ, but it's a necessary book for people who have taken a few steps down the road toward understanding.


Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem
Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem
by Simon Singh
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.28
195 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and True Story about Math, January 13, 2013
I never realized how complex, consuming, and fascinating the effort could be for a mathematician to prove something so seemingly simple about a tiny equation (x^n + y^n = z^n has no whole number solutions for n > 2). I have studied math through engineering, but the proof was well outside my ability to understand. However, the real-life human drama of the hero's drive to work through adversity, fail in early attempts, and try new routes to solve the problem was inspiring without having to understand the math. But the profundity of math's truth stuck with me. Once proven, a mathematical truth is true forever and cannot be challenged. That's a beautiful and striking concept versus the philosophical and scientific theories that run our lives but which are subject to being overturned at the next discovery. This story, in essence, is a man's zealous and triumphant quest for an absolute truth, and that's inspiring.

Sword of Shiva
Sword of Shiva
by Jeff Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.49
25 used & new from $9.50

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Third Novel in the Sea Warrior Series, December 26, 2012
This review is from: Sword of Shiva (Paperback)
The concept of jamming the United States between a warring China and India is a brilliant setting for strategic naval conflict, and Jeff Edwards nails it.

Tibetan activists lash out at Chinese occupiers, find haven in the Indian Himalayas, and kick off incremental escalations that place India, China, and the entire planet on the precipice of global ruin. Enter the United States to calm the conflict, but stabilization turns into deadly exchanges and the risk of all out warfare. With technical authority and narrative skill worthy of the third installment of the Sea Warrior series, Edwards forges a masterful monument of epic intrigue.

Fans of Edwards will note that Sword of Shiva involves the widest web of intrigue he's cast, and he calls on more heroes to drive the story than he used in Sea of Shadows and The Seventh Angel. Since he respected the art of brevity and didn't extend the novel's length, each hero by default picks up a smaller percentage of responsibility for the outcome. This provides a good canvas to introduce a new main character, Commander Kat Silva, in the natural ebb and flow in the story.

The Seventh Angel had an amazing plot, and Sword of Shiva is equal to it in intricacy. However, it provides a plot that feels more plausible in today's geopolitical reality, which makes it more terrifying and riveting.

Disclosure: Please note that I am a fellow Stealth Books writer, author of Rogue Defender, and colleague of Jeff Edwards.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2012 5:54 AM PST

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