Tokyo Express

Tokyo Express USS Bull Shark Naval Thriller Series, Book 4 assumed published copyright and written by Scott W. Cook.

This 4th book in the seemingly popular suspense thriller series by this author again follows the activities of the brilliantly aggressive Captain Art Turner of the somewhat unusually designed USS Bull Shark submarine as it operates in the Pacific Ocean from August 15, 1942 through August 24th, 1942 and sometime beyond through an Epilogue. Most of the main action described takes place in the waters surrounding Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and especially those of New Georgia where the Sealark Channel, popularly called “The Slot” provided a straight supply line from the Japanese Holdings at Rabaul and Bougainville. Once the U.S. had established their base on Guadalcanal and completed Henderson Airfield, their air superiority gave them control of this area during the day. This provides the base for this fact based novel.

To overcome the problem of supplying Japanese troops in these areas, Admiral Yamamoto developed a plan of running the fast destroyers down the slot at night when air power did not operate with any degree of success and destroyers were specially equipped to fight submarine attacks if attempted. The Americans immediately named it the Tokyo Express. Along with these naval engagements, Several Marine-Japanese hand to hand engagements are included with men serving on the subs as well as with the Marines included. A couple of naval battles – Solomon Islands, Savage Islands and individual Carrier-Enemy Aircraft engagements also are included.

Discussion: The author’s knowledge of his subject appears to be quite extensive as his description of pertinent minutia with respect to submarine working parts, movement, maneuverability and the results of attacks described, as well as the effects of bombs received by surface craft. His descriptions of hand-to-hand combat as well as other land battle scenes and their aftermath also are graphically set forth and thus, just as horrifying to the uninitiated as those of the results of a ship’s receipt of bombs from the air as described. The author’s understanding of the psychological aspects, pertinent perhaps more particularly to submarine warfare, appear to be quite accurate, as well. This is the second of the series I have read, and highly recommend as a WW II thriller.

5* Highly recommended war thriller.

 

The Uquiet Genius

The UNQUIET GENIUS ISBN: 9780999117378 TMR Press, LLC by Glenn Dyer.

In this Conor Thorn (Book 3) the author again has provided his readers with a rapidly moving thriller taking place in the European theatre during WWII. This time it is as a result of Mussolini, and the Vatican wanting to retain a brilliant nuclear scientist, while the Germans, Russians and Americans’ all wish to convince him of the need they have for him to join them in their final movement toward building an atomic missile. The scientist also is an ordained man-of-the church who had successfully faked his demise and for four years successfully hidden in a monastery high in the Italian mountains. Deciding what he has done to his family was an unbearable action, he writes them a letter. A copy lands in ‘unfriendly hands’ and the secret is divulged, thus creating the involvement of the groups mentioned.

Discussion: The author has set forth an action-packed suspense/thriller/romance complete with Nazi cruelty as well as displays of betrayal, deceit, treachery and deception involving quite a large cast of characters who are sufficiently under-developed to result in fundamentally a plot-based tale. Enough empathy is developed among enough characters, however, to provide interest for those who enjoy other than plot –based stories. A particularly interesting note from this reader’s perspective is the inclusion of thought relative to the horrific results from atomic fission – a subject beginning to be addressed more frequently in the scientific community as time passes and circumstances change, but not previously noted so prominently in fiction.

5* Largely plot-based suspense/thriller/romance with interesting aside.

Cameleon: The Poacher’s Enemy

Chameleon: The Poacher’s Enemy: ISBN: 9781801284127, published, copyright and written by Brandon Kimbrough.

The author has written this story to heighten awareness of the high level of illegal poaching imposed upon the beautiful animals of the world and inspire people to aid in saving them from their rapidly approaching extinction. Reviewing this completed apparently first volume in an anticipated series will require a somewhat difficult procedure to do justice to his goal as well as his manner of presentation.

Plot: To accomplish his goal, he has chosen a young, seemingly oversensitive boy raised in a loving and supportive extended family including a Veterinarian father, doting mother, grandparents and siblings and subjecting him to a heart-rending experience at a very young age. Ben’s first discovery that all ‘bad’ activities cannot be overcome and conquered by ‘good’, and certainly not by immediate direct action when he was reprimanded for fighting with another grade school child “because he had hurt  a friend, the groundskeeper’s dog”. His loving and understanding father attempted to enlighten the child with perhaps a modicum of success and life went on in a somewhat curtailed manner. Somewhat later, the father arranged to take Ben and the family on an African Safari where they were able to witness these magnificent animals living in all their glory. The trip was progressing beautifully until they were observing a male Lion sitting regally surrounded by his pride on the open plain when the animal was struck in the head by a high power rifle round from a distant stand of trees that literally destroyed the magnificent animal’s head. The young boy experienced a traumatic psychological shock of almost inexplicable magnitude hat required extensive treatment. Ultimately he recovered and became a highly understanding and successful Veterinarian, but with a burning hatred for all poachers and especially a gradually developing desire to destroy the particular killer he had witnessed. His post-kill life provides the basic plot of this book- his desire to wreak havoc on all poachers and especially the one who had killed the lion.

Discussion: The author has made an exceedingly good effort to present a case against poachers for the totally uninformed reader and has employed several characters with nicely explained flaws to aid in this endeavor. There are Dylan, a lifelong childhood friend who has provided Ben with much of the social familiarity he exhibits; Jill, his well-positioned, beautifully adept at many functions office manager, Dana Harper, the well-trained investigative journalist with additional talents and Stan with his group of somewhat unusual animal activists. The overall attempt has been a well-worthwhile endeavor that hopefully will increase interest in this important subject. Most regrettably however, from the perspective of what this reviewer hopefully would believe to be the more generally knowledgeable individual, the level of approach would appear to be positioned toward the less knowledgeable and/or young adult.  Too many occurrences depend upon chance and facts per se are totally distorted or missing. The description of ‘poaching’  largely, is distorted, jungles really are not that close in appearance as the ‘woods or forests’ he appears to indicate, transport to the United States of animals to be ‘poached’ is not a usual operation, and most ‘poaching’ per se, is done by a different breed of individuals, although financed, no doubt by wealthy individuals. The ‘fight scene’ descriptions are obviously put together by individuals unacquainted with such activity. And as a pertinent aside, Krav Maga, a prominent attack/defense developed I believe in the 1940’s and reportedly used effectively by the Israeli is not a sport that is ‘picked up in one’s spare time’. As with all martial arts, time and constant practice are required to acquire and maintain any level of competence. Also, the shot destroying the lion’s head that Ben witnessed as a child, probably was a ‘miss’. A prize of the type described would not be one to destroy, rather a trophy to be retained. Thus a killing shot but non-destructive of tissue would have been more likely.

In Summary: Chameleon is a book that provides many interesting features, especially of the effects life’s vicissitudes will force upon one’s psyche, and ‘en toto’, an interesting indoctrination for the uninformed on animal ‘poaching’. As such, it is a well-worthwhile read. It is hoped that the author will acquire more familiarity with some of the other subject matter he discusses.

5* important message for the uninformed; – 2* or more for oyhers.

Awful Reckoning

   Awful Reckoning. A Cade Chase and Simon Pack Novel by John M. Vermillion.

Seemingly, the author is beginning a new series based upon his successful run of the Pack series and a character, Cade Chase introduced in the last of the Pack series. Here Cade again is presented in a Preface as a non-West Point graduate who finished as a heavily decorated four star general now residing in a small Appalachian town because he hated the type of crime that is steadily growing in this country and was trying to do something about it. Following is a list/description of the principal characters The story itself is to retrieve the Stanford Univ. student daughter of a highly successful multibillionaire entrepreneur who has been kidnapped by members of Antifa with threats of dire action if any investigative authorities are notified. Cade receives a call from the father who calls in a long standing mutually reciprocal assistance in desperate circumstances agreement. Cade accepts, gathers his small but highly efficient team and proceeds to devise a brilliant plan that is carried out without a hitch leaving the Antifa Head almost without funds, how it happened and any even vague ideas of who was involved.

Discussion: For readers who like well written action, presented by an eminently qualified author and loaded with suspense and activities that are totally credible this definitely is a book for you. One particularly noteworthy feature is that the plan as devised and executed does not leave any weak spots that can provide the one feature that causes the ‘last minute appearance of some factor that allows for an unexpected ‘hiccup’ that provides for a last minute introduction of ‘surprise’ activity. However, there is even more for the ‘thinking’ reader, especially if adverse to vigilante activity. A fact the author briefly addresses.

Summary: Generally speaking this is a book that will be thoroughly enjoyed from the perspective of the action/suspense aficionado as well as from that of the more cerebrally inclined individual.

5* Enjoyable thriller/suspense on many levels.

The Andean Cross

The ANDEAN CROSS ISBN: 9781648038372 Westwood Books copyright and written by Lawrence Clayton.

The story begins by ushering the reader into the world of mystery, cruelty and intrigue heralded by the Conquistadores and their invasion and mutilation of the culture and peoples on the New World under the guise of Christianity. Mathew Weston, a relatively young Texas History Professor, is on a summer break and joins a group looking for the wreck of a Spanish Galleon lost on its trip back to Spain with treasure. The unusual Andean Cross purportedly was included among the gold and silver that was lost during its journey to Spain from the Land of the Incas in 1544. The expedition make positive discoveries and he is fortunate to obtain funding to establish a dive team to investigate further the supposedly exact spot where the vessel was sunk in the Bay of Panama. But even before his obtaining this grant, the story initiates leads with respect to this particular shipment. It appears that the description of all of the items is not to be divulged. The nature of this secrecy and the underlying reasons provide the fundamentals upon which the author has constructed this unique historical, religious, suspenseful mystery with a large component of romance. Clair Snowden, an expert on one phase of history pertinent to some of the artifacts also is a member of the team and she and Weston gradually attain a level of understanding that reaches new heights for them both as the story continues to provide further information about the long rumored extent of the early dissemination of Christianity by its apostles.

Discussion: The author appears to be well known for his scholarly approach to the early rise of the Christian religion. The sites have been well researched as well as the material and the entire package is relatively well-assembled. Fundamentally, this is a plot driven tale in which a large group of characters are gathered together, and although somewhat vaguely presented as to exact positions within the story occasionally, function well. Regrettably for this reviewer, occasional character activities appropriate to the story are difficult to accept when assembled within the picture the author’s earlier descriptions have provided to build a mental picture of a person; e.g., Mathew is presented as a well-trained, knowledgeable diver who can qualify to gain a grant for money sizeable enough to run a dive team, yet he can almost pass out in a simple faint when thoughts occur to him about possible repercussions about his possession of the Andean Cross illegally, ‘because it provides a needed advancement for the overall forward motion of the plot’. Unfortunately, attributing such an action to a certified Deep Sea Diver will be unacceptable to most even slightly knowledgeable individuals and impossible for anyone with any information of the rigors of the required training alone. However, for the average historical fantasy, thriller, mystery, romance devotee this is a story that will satisfy in all areas. For the more casual reader, following the plot as it develops still will provide an interesting story and possibly new thoughts with respect to some aspects of the origins of Christianity.

4* 5* multi-genre plot-driven tale for many readers; at least 4* for most.

HOPE

HOPE published by Dandelion Books Ltd., copyright and written by Julian Papadia.

Sub-titled He wanted to give her freedom, she wanted her daughter back, the story opens in Rickmansworth – Hertfordshire, a coastal small town on the outskirts of London. The protagonist is raging over the telephone. From this early point in the book, the reader is confronted with a quite confusing, constantly twisting tale that involves his once idyllic life with an adored wife and loving young son and daughter. There were difficulties because he, Paul, was a prominent detective in this small English town, and she the same in a Paris, France Police Department. The death of his young daughter, through a situation that both felt was his fault further complicates the story as do the cause of his telephone explosion because the matter about which he is complaining is the unacceptable early release of a prominent Mafia-type Boss’s son after his being the main accuser sending him to prison for a lengthy term. Adding still another problem is his acquisition of a teen age escapee from a religious cult compound who admits killing her mother and father within. The story now begins shifting between Paul’s home town, which is the area within which the compound is situated, and Paris where a brilliant woman surgeon has been taken under the protective wing of his ex-wife in the search for her missing husband who probably is dead and her beloved daughter, missing but possibly still alive after a terrorist attack blew up a visitor’s center in Paris, where her husband and she were going with the child on a vacation. Her delay was the result of having to operate on an enormously wealthy British Legend. After much activity on both situations a final solution is reached.

Discussion/Summary: Spoiler Alert (?) To reiterate, this is a tale with several greatly convoluted plots where the large number of twists and turns are confusing but simultaneously intriguing. Even more confusing is the manner in which the story is presented. Much of the pertinent information is withheld until late in the book. Additionally, a considerable amount of the action, both by the story-teller English detective Paul, and by the surgeon looking for her daughter, seems quite below the age and intelligence level required to reach their levels of accomplishment. So in summary, this reviewer has been left to dichotomize. The suspense/thriller devotee most probably will be intrigued at a high level. The more pragmatic reader, although probably discovering the seeds of an interesting plot(s?) no doubt will be disappointed in the need for good editing.

3*at best. 5 for suspense/thriller devotees; 3 or less, general readership.

Good and Dead

Good and Dead is a book copyright and written by E. L. Pini. It has been published by Producer & International eBook Publishing and sub-titled (An Avner Ehrlich Thriller Book 2) The translation from Hebrew is by Tal Keren.

The story begins in a manner well described to set the tenor for the entire story, or stories. It unfolds in an old rusted building situated in a seedy park outside of Moscow where a no-holds-barred wrestling match is in progress. The end of each match is declared when the ‘referee’ declares the loser “Good and Dead”. A young well-muscled Yuri Rasputin enters the ring shortly after the last loser has been removed and meets the huge reigning champion whom he cleverly eliminates by using a well-hidden blade. The reader does not again meet Yuri until about halfway into the book where he again appears as a major character in the deadly political chess game being waged and a dedicated enemy of our main protagonist, Avner Ehrlich. Avner, although in his thirties and with the physical results of many combative encounters in the field, once again has been sent on a mission. This time to Tehran to eliminate an Iranian nuclear scientist. This elimination is considered crucial to survival for Israel and possibly part of the rest of this section of the world. Complications develop and he is ordered to abandon the mission but in his usual manner ignores the order. Finally working his way into position for a direct sure shot at Hamdani when the man’s young son comes running into the line of fire. He does not take the shot, returning home through a dangerously tortuous series of maneuvers. Ehrlich takes responsibility for the debacle and is dismissed from duty and placed on leave for disobeying orders.

Because his intuitive abilities make him almost indispensable, he is called back quite quickly because Hamdani reportedly now is involved with Colonel Yuri Rasputin of the Russian Military in naval activity where a stealth submarine has been armed with a mega nitrogen bomb that although purportedly headed for Syria, actually is believed as being designated for Israel. Obviously it is imperative to destroy the bomb or Israel will cease to exist.

Discussion: This Book 2 of what is developing as a quite fascinating series appears to delve deeply into the games played by the many minds involved in this international political maneuvering, as well as providing details of the steps an organization such as Mossad must take to counter and survive. The one feature that may be open to question by the more pragmatic reader is his physical ability to react in the manner he does with the number of severe injuries he has suffered, e.g.; three slipped discs, plus possibly the frequency with which a man in Ehrlich’s position  must be saved from death by activity of others. However, the author has introduced a psychological element into Ehrlich’s physical/mental emotional composition that is compelling and quite unique to discover in persons involved in this line of work. So generally speaking, the true devotee of well-written thrillers will find this book as intriguing and enjoyable as any, and probably better than most, presentations in this genre.

5*Well-paced, beautifully written thriller highly recommended.

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is first of a new series, published, copyright and written by Larry Richardson and is a truly entertaining story delivered in the time-honored manner of all of the good ‘story tellers’ of old. It begins with the killing of the wife of Vincent Marshall by the prominent and formerly untouchable Mafia Boss, Santino Giovani’ A spectacular court scene describes the face-off between the two men with subsequent assignment of Giovani to Federal Prison and necessitates Vincent’s assignment to the Witness Protection Program. Meanwhile,  Phil Branson, a rapidly rising General Manager in one of the largest Retirement Living Organizations is offered to leave his highly successful position in Orlando to take over the similar, but foundering organization, in Billings, Montana with the firing of their manager. From this moment a steady mystery thriller begins to develop and expand with a side of possible rising romantic attachment for this man who lost the love of his life shortly after an idyllic relation with this wife. The sub-plots are many and beautifully intermingled as this Retirement Home the Sanctuary had been selected as the scene of the Witness Protection Program; an assassin ‘who never failed had been hired by the Giovani family was closing in on Vincent; pieces of evidence against the former Sanctuary General Manager was playing with the CEO of the General Organization: a dedicated cop was working diligently with Phil in his attempting to gain the required evidence; and the one girl who seemed ready to replace Phil’s lost love suddenly was offered a career choice that would fulfil the dreams of her childhood.

Discussion: The author has set forth a mystery, thriller romance that should appeal to every aficionado of any of these genres as well as those readers who, as stated earlier, enjoy a well-paced, well-characterized, and intermingling of interesting and well-designed plots.

5* Highly recommended

Mailstrom: Part II (Ryan Cunningham Book 2) by Rip Converseip

Maelstrom: Part II (Ryan Cunningham Book 2) Kindle Edition  by Rip Converse.

 The first book in this series was quite well-written. The characters are credible, even in highly dramatic scenes of being involved in a believably violent storm in the middle of the ocean. When the protagonist’s relatively small but seaworthy sail boat housing him and his adopted family is attacked by a large modern ocean going power boat seemingly owned by a South American cartel member, admittedly the reader may become a little ‘uneasy’. The story continues in this first part of the trilogy with the owner continuing to battle the elements and simultaneously the drug/alcohol saturated power boater as well. Part I  ends when the protagonist is rescued after losing  his boat, money and one of his adopted family and is  returned to his port of origin to be aided by close friends. This transition occurs for the reader by provision of 2 chapters of Part II, as the conclusion of Part I. The plot for this second portion of the story develops when the cartel member actually turns the situation into a personal vendetta against the former sailboat owner, now living ashore with what is left of his adopted family, the adult female of which having been again returned to her drug/alcohol habit. He meets a State Trooper who has had similar experiences with drug dealers and convinces the returned land dweller to accompany him in an effort to deal with this unrelenting miscreant. Part II again ends by introducing the reader to chapters of the next book in the series

Discussion: This time, for this reader, there did not seem to be sufficient credibility or interest in the story to purchase the next volume. It was regrettable, but the ‘uneasy feeling’ developed earlier in reading the first book continued its gradual decline of credibility in the tale. It really was quite disappointing because the original plot proceeded with so many possibilities including knowledgeable descriptions of sail boats, the seas and psychological possibilities underlying the entire project. Much beautifully described activity based upon genuinely believable details of boating and psychological attitudes and reactions was sufficient to lead to purchase of the second book but disappointingly, this particular reader did not believe there was sufficient hope for a return to the author’s basic knowledgeable early plot to progress further.

2* regrettably at best for this individual reader, as described.

Maelstrom Part I

MAELSTROM Part I [(Ryan Cunningham Book 1) KIndle  Edition] : ISBN: 9781646692484 assumed published, copyright and written by Rip Converse.

Part I of a proposed trilogy and including the first two chapters of the second offering at the end of this portion. It is the fictional story of a 37-year-old Ryan who is “in love with love” but never makes the declaration to anyone because he doesn’t want to ‘cheapen’ its meaning. Terrified of ending up alone, he continued to search for ‘the right person but unfortunately, his idea of the ideal mate kept shifting monthly, weekly and even daily. He also is a recovered alcohol and drug addict after having spaced out. He lived in the small Cape Cod village of Sippican with its somewhat staid mores and decided to sell his house, live on his 65-year-old but well designed and cared for 42’ full keel sailboat Parthenia, with thoughts of leaving the homey town with his huge black Labrador Clifton and sailing south. He had sold his home, bought the boat and moved on to it 6 years ago. It was a sturdy, well designed wood 42 foot full keel, mahogany bronze strapped dark oak frames, edge-glued by master ship builders built 65 years before. It was a well-cared for craft that was capable of many more years of blue water sailing.

He meets a young woman, also a recovering alcohol/heroin addict at an AA meeting and in a relatively short time they become mutually attracted. She has a young daughter and a several years younger son, both of whom become quickly attached to Ryan as a true father figure, a position he cherishes. He decides to include them when setting sail for Bermuda. The story evolves into a series of close disasters as they encounter a rogue Atlantic storm with many changes evolving in each individual under the duress of the continuing storm. The two chapters introducing the second book in the series build upon a chance meeting during the stay in Bermuda that begins to develop into what appears to be another developing storm of a different type.

Discussion: the author demonstrates an intimate knowledge of sailing ships and problems that can be encountered anytime sailing in large bodies of water. The story line is believable. The characters are believable and the action is non-stop. The two chapters of Part II provide a strong hint of continued thriller activity introducing a different element. This is a credible plot with believable characters and almost non-stop action

5* Recommended, as described.