Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review: THE LAST SACRIFICE, by James A. Moore

James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books, 2017
317 pages
Dark Fantasy

"The gods would be appeased, or there would be nothing left of the world."

THE LAST SACRIFICE is smooth, dark fantasy. What I mean when I say "smooth" is that the tale just flows. There is just enough meat in the descriptions to not bog down the narrative, or slow the pace. Moore doesn't waste words, and keeps it simple and . . . smooth. I was just turning pages as fast as my eyes could devour the words.

Brogan McTyre is returning home with his men, and is anxious to see his wife and three children. When riders greet Brogan on the path, a knot twists in his gut. He doesn't realize what is wrong until he reaches the door to his home and sees the feared four coins on the front step.

The Undying collect four people a month from across the Five Kingdoms. Those chosen are sacrificed to the gods by the Grakhul people. Never have the Undying taken a man's entire family before. The Undying do the will of the gods, but just this one time may have made the biggest mistake of their evil existence.

With a band of loyal friends, and followers, Brogan sets out with hopes of saving his family from the gods before it is too late! The situation quickly goes from dangerous to detrimental, and Brogan and his men take unlawful matters into their own hands.

The end of the world may be coming, but who can fight gods and expect to win in order to save the Five Kingdoms? A new sacrifice might be the only way to end the war, but it may already be too late for even that!

I am embarrassed admitting THE LAST SACRIFICE is the first James A. Moore novel I've read. The man has a list of publications a a page long. Blame falls directly on my shoulders. The only way to rectify a wrong, is to make it right. As a new fan of Moore's work I will be doing my best to read the rest of his works. He's a gifted storyteller, so why wouldn't I?

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Review: AN HONORABLE MAN, by Paul Vidich

Paul Vidich
Atria / Emily Bestler Books, 2016
288 pages
Spy / Thriller

AN HONORABLE MAN takes place during the early 1950s. America is in panic mode. Anything Russian, Communist-related, or homosexual is bad. Knee-jerk decisions, and chaos propel the government. In the middle of it all, and at the end of his rope is C.I.A. Agent George Mueller.

Operatives in the field, and confidential information is being leaked to the Russians. They seem constantly one step ahead. They know every turn before the US makes it. The only conclusion is a mole exists inside the agency, a traitor, a ... double agent. The C.I.A. has a name for the unknown traitor. They call him Protocol.

Mueller wants out. He's had enough. Too many people who became collateral damage haunt him. The things he's done, seen, it is more than he can take. However, the director needs his help. One last time. They must root out the mole, and expose the double agent. The safety of so many depend on the revelation!

Working within a group known as The Council, a list of likely suspects has been comprised: screw-ups, drunks, overspenders, those who held grudges against the agency. Mueller's connections can get him in close with Colonel Yuri Vasilenko. Mueller's peer, and somewhat of a friend, becomes his go-to guy in a time when trust is meaningless, and true identities are masks worn over masks.

Unexpected romance keeps Mueller off-balance. Handling feelings he otherwise kept concealed, and locked, and stored far from his heart, he finds his own mission compromised. Figuring out who is on the right side, and who is on the wrong side is not as easy as black and white. As the Council closes in on the identity of Protocol, Mueller realizes swift, and not-so-easy actions must be taken . . . It is the only way he can get out of the C.I.A. in one piece, it is the only way he can retire and live out his life as close to a normal person as possible.

In a taut cat and mouse game between governments, and dangerous politicians, AN HONORABLE MAN comes out the winner. What I first find most interesting is that this is Paul Vidich's first novel. Vidich has crafted a simple spy novel that is well written, tight, and kept me turning pages. He made me care about the characters. I had to find out what happened next. When an author can do that, the author has done their job. And Paul Vidich has done it well. I do hope he has more tales in the works. I will be anxiously following his literary career!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: THE NIGHTMARE PLACE, by Steve Mosby

Steve Mosby
Pegasus Books, 2014
328 pages
Detective / Thriller

THE NIGHTMARE PLACE was my first ever Steve Mosby book. And right off the bat, the one thing that threw me off balance in this crime novel, this thriller, was that the police detectives do not carry guns. Or own them. Maybe it is because I am American, or have seen too many movies, and cop shows, whatever the reason I was stunned a bit by this. I even googled it, and with the exception of Northern Ireland, in the United Kingdom, only specially trained firearms officers carry a gun. It was at the beginning of the book when the main character, Detective Inspector Zoe Dolan had hidden hammers, and knives throughout her home. And not one handgun. Hmmm What do ya know? Learned something new.

Anywho . . . THE NIGHTMARE PLACE was the kind of thriller I knocked off in a sitting. A serial rapist is on the loose. He has a distinct calling card. He manages to get into houses without a trace, and after his brutal attacks, he tends to flee through a, now, wide open first floor window.

Police have five victims, and no leads. Things are looking bleak. The rapist has a type. The women are mid-twenties. Uniquely beautiful. And live alone.

Detective Inspectors Zoe Dolan and Chris Sands notice a growing trend. Each victim has been beaten after the rape. Only thing is, the beatings are progressively worse each time. How long before the rapist takes things to far and actually murders one of his victims?

Unfortunately, the officers don't have to wait too long before that question is answered.

When Jane started a volunteer position with a telephone helpline, she understood the rules. All calls were confidential. If they weren't, no one would ever call. The confidentiality made people feel safe about reaching out for help. The organization, Mayday, has helped many people over the years because of this rule. However, Jane realizes keeping calls confidential might go against her every fiber when the serial rapist starts calling Mayday and confessing his crimes to her. Torn, she isn't sure if she should honor the rules of her position, or take the information she has and share it with the police.

THE NIGHTMARE PLACE is a fast, and gripping thriller. I enjoyed Mosby's writing style, and character development. Spliced into the action-packed narrative, we learn so much about Zoe, her youth, and her fears, that she became more of a person, and less of a fictional character. Mosby managed to give this personification to most of the central characters, as well. I was engaged from the opening page, until I set the book down hours later. I do look forward to more by Steve Mosby . . . now where is my Amazon card? Ah--there it is! Excuse me. I've orders to make.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of The Severed Empire Series, and
The Vaccination Trilogy