Book Review: The Saboteur by Andrew Gross

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

THE SABOTEUR by Andrew Gross is an intense historical fiction based on the true life stories of the Norwegian Freedom Fighters assigned the seemingly impossible task of destroying the Nazis’ supply of heavy water before it could be used to produce an atomic bomb.

Kurt Nordstrum was an engineering student in Oslo in 1940 when the Nazis invaded. His whole life changes as he fights with his friends in the Norwegian resistance. The friendships, bravery and strength of these men and women is highlighted in this story.

Dieter Lund is a Captain in the Quisling, which is an arm of the Gestapo made up of Norwegian collaborators. Kurt and Dieter attended school together in their small hometown. With the murder of another Quisling onboard a ferry, the long resentment and envy that Dieter feels towards Kurt manifests itself and the chase is on. Good versus evil, protagonist versus antagonist.

In 1943, Kurt and his highly trained fellow Norwegian teammates are parachuted back into Norway from England for the specific purpose of destroying a heavily fortified hydro plant’s capability of producing heavy water and destroying any already produced. They must also stop any from leaving Norway and making it to Germany.

Between the seemingly impossible missions that this team takes on and the continual chase of the Quisling it was hard to put this book down.  The tragedies and triumphs of ordinary people during a horrific world war are highlighted in this book. As the author notes in the end, this story is based on real people, which makes it all the more amazing.

*(I want to make one personal comment on this book and other reviews I have read. I agree with everyone that this author’s previous book “The One Man” was an exceptional historical thriller. I feel that any comparisons to this book though short changes this book. This book is based on true people and is a historical fiction novel. Yes, it has thrills and suspense throughout, but there is a difference between the two types of books. I did not compare the two when I rated my review.)

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC.

Book Review: Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

PERILOUS TRUST (Off the Grid: FBI Trilogy #1) by Barbara Freethy is an exciting start to a new romantic suspense series. This is a fast paced story loaded with action, suspense and romance. Each book features one of five friends who formed a secret group while in Quantico with the promise to always help the others.

Sophie Parker is an archeology instructor at NYU, who receives the devastating news that her father was killed in a car crash. Her father was the head of the Organized Crime Unit in the NY FBI field office. When she gets a chance to check her phone, she listens to her father’s last frantic and cryptic messages with instructions she must follow and to not trust anyone including his fellow FBI agents.

FBI agent Damon Wolfe cannot believe what he is hearing. His mentor and reason for being in the NY FBI office is dead and his daughter is missing. Four years ago, Damon and Sophie came together for one night of solace and life-affirming passion over the death of a mutual friend. They never contacted each other again, but now Damon knows he has to find Sophie and help her.

Sophie does not know if she can trust Damon, but as the bullets start flying, they flee together to follow Sophie’s father’s clues and hopefully solve his murder and eliminate the threat to Sophie’s life.

The plot is an intricate puzzle and has a lot of players that need to be kept straight. Besides Damon and Sophie, you are introduced to Bree and Wyatt, who are members of the five from Quantico. Sophie’s father had a lifetime group of friends from Yale that may be involved in his death and his job as head of the Organized Crime Unit also brought in several players. Keeping everyone straight was my only problem while reading this book. Other than that, it was a surprise for me when all the pieces where discovered.

Damon and Sophie’s chemistry was intense and pretty much instantaneous from their one-night-stand four years ago. While on the run, they get to know more about each other’s pasts and families. It brings them closer and their relationship builds from there. The sex is hot, but not explicit and well balanced with the feelings of loss and fear during other parts of the story.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series and getting to know more about the other friends from Quantico.

Book Review: A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Paul Cleave is now on my MUST READ list and I feel he should be on every fan of thrillers book shelves, too!

I read “Trust No One” and loved it, so I was very happy to get this ARC of his new book. Now I can add A KILLER HARVEST to this year’s list of my favorite books. I am in love with this author’s writing, plotting and pacing. When you think you are at the climax or you have everything figured out Mr. Cleave continually throws another plot twist, big or small, into the mix which makes you even more anxious and desperate to continue reading.

Joshua Logan believes he is cursed. He was born blind and lost his biological parents at a young age. He was taken in by his uncle and aunt, who he now calls mom and dad, but he can never take his happiness for granted.

While investigating a suspect believed to be a serial killer, Joshua’s detective father is killed. His partner kills the killer, but the curse has struck again. Joshua’s dad left a specific request in his will. If he was ever killed, his eyes would go to Joshua for a transplant and a chance at sight. As the donated eyes are transported to Joshua’s operating room, there is a mishap and Joshua receives one of his father’s eyes and one of the serial killer’s eyes which were also taken for donation.

After the surgery, Joshua begins to have strange and disturbing dreams. Sometimes he feels like he is seeing his father’s death from his father’s perspective and sometimes from the killer’s. He is also able to identify people that he has never seen before. As Joshua tries to deal with all the changes in his life, the serial killer’s accomplice is out to avenge his friend’s death. Joshua and all those close to him are in danger.

You may believe that you know how this will end from the brief summary above and past thriller plots, but in the hands of this author, you are so wrong! I could not stop thinking about this book when I had to put it down and could not wait to get back to it. Mr. Cleave knows how to masterfully take the reader on a journey that makes the unbelievable possible. I definitely need to start working my way through this author’s past catalogue. I highly recommend this book to all and especially those who love older Dean Koontz and Stephen King works that take a normal situation and twist it.

Thank you so much to Atria Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure!

Book Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

I was a huge fan of B.A. Paris’ “Behind Closed Doors” and was anxious to read her next release.

THE BREAKDOWN was a letdown for me. I did finish reading it and was pleasantly surprised by a tiny plot twist in the ending, but the main character’s overall responses and reactions to what was happening to her were repetitive and wore very thin by halfway through the book. I believe I would have enjoyed it more if it had been a tighter plot and novella length.

The story is told by Cass, who returns home on stormy night via a road through the woods. She almost wrecks avoiding a car pulled to the side. She stops, but when the driver doesn’t come to her car, she continues home and forgets about it. She is later horrified to realize the woman in the car was a new friend that was murdered sometime later that night in her car. She is wracked with guilt and tells no one, not her husband or best friend, who worked with the murdered woman.

The reader also learns that Cass has been forgetting small things and is worried that she may be experiencing early onset dementia like her mother. This makes Cass a possible unreliable narrator. As she becomes more afraid and paranoid some of her reactions are just not believable. This is when I would have liked less Cass and fewer pages.

I finished to see if my assumptions were correct and they were. There are not that many characters in the story, so it is not hard to figure out, especially if you read a lot of this type of book. As stated earlier, there is a small plot twist at the end that did surprise me, but there is a lot of emotional drama to get through for the surprise. This was just an average thriller for me.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

I was excited and surprised to see WIRED (Buchanan-Renard, #13) by Julie Garwood made available by Net Galley. I enjoy this series, but I have not read the more recent books until I requested this one. It was an O.K. romantic suspense, but not my favorite in the series. The suspense plot was well integrated and interesting with several subplots, but I had some problems with the H/h’s romance.

Allison Trent has a brilliant mind that can solve complex puzzles and problems. When she discovers computers, there is no program she cannot fix or hack. This is her escape from an aunt and uncle who have raised her sister and her after their parent’s death. She is also beautiful and is a model for a local designer part-time. Allison’s main fault is complying with people who take advantage of her rather than confronting them.

Liam Scott is a hot shot FBI fixer. His missions are all secret and he travels the world. He does not believe he will ever be willing or able to settle down in one town with one woman. He is assigned to recruit Allison for her super computer skills.

As in any romantic suspense, this would begin the back and forth romance dance, but Liam comes into Allison’s life and then disappears repeatedly. Allison keeps letting him back in and then regretting it when he is gone. He reappears to solve a problem or save Allison from bad guys and starts to realize he cannot stay away from her, but they never share their feelings until the end of the story. This is just not the type of relationship I hope for when reading this type of book.

For me, this is book was not up to my expectations from previous books in this series. The way Allison thinks was interesting, as was the suspense plot. The romance was lacking for me.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Smokescreen by Khaled Talib

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

SMOKESCREEN by Khaled Talib is a fast-paced political espionage thriller set on the beautiful island of Singapore that has you second guessing every characters’ motives and actions as you race to the climax and conclusion. Smokescreen is also an apt title for this debut novel.

Jethro Westrope, also known as Jet West, is a feature writer for Singapore’s leading lifestyle magazine, Society. He leads a very public and pampered life which makes him an easy scapegoat in a high stakes political assassination plot. The Israelis and Palestinians are brokering for a permanent peace in Singapore and Jet is to be used as a pawn and framed as the assassin of the Israeli Prime Minister. The plot has major worldwide political ramifications that not only effect the two major players, but also the U.S. and Singapore.

Jet is pulled into the twisted plot when he is framed for the murder of a beautiful woman who tried to warn him of what was planned. As he tries to clear his name and find out who is responsible, Jet seeks the help of Nicole Wong, a senior prosecutor on the island and also a friend of the murdered girl. Neither knows who they can believe or completely trust as they weave through a twisted web of spies, double agents, and patriots to get to the truth and clear Jet’s name.

This thriller was tightly plotted with action, several dead bodies, revelations of deceit and twists that I can’t reveal due to spoilers throughout. You have to keep close tabs on all the players and their motives. The politics are thought provoking and the author handles the information sparingly with no preaching or information dump. Jet is an interesting and sympathetic lead character. The other characters are all well fleshed out and intriguing as you try to figure out if they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

This is a debut thriller that delivers and will have you coming back for more from this author!