Thursday, 15 December 2016

Yucatán Dead - DV Berkom

You know, Kate Jones has been running from her dangerous drug-lord ex boyfriend for five books now. You’ve got to admire her grit and the sheer bloodymindedness of her resolution to elude him. I suppose you’ve got to acknowledge his persistence, too. He’s very, very keen to make her suffer for leaving him and taking a good bit of his cash with her.

Just when she thought she was perhaps succeeding in outwitting him, and very nearly daring to think she might be able to settle down with her handsome police boyfriend, she’s rudely reminded she has a debt to pay. And this time, it seems she might have run out of luck. Oh, but wait…this is no-BS-ing Kate. The Kate who means business, whatever the price. She’s got this far, dammit…

The usual suspense, tension, explosiveness (in all senses of the word!) and gutsiness are packed tightly into this sixth Jones novel and all with the usual quality and excellency of this author. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath, and quite honestly, I’d have given up on Kate’s behalf way, way back. But thankfully, she’s not a quitter (or there’d be no more books). 

Berkom has created a character whose sassiness and gumption you can’t help but admire, and respect for her is sandwiched by a certain amount of sympathy. Her pursuit by a dangerous man has meant tragic losses for Kate. In this book of the series, she has to decide whether she can continue eluding death…or face the evil that desires it. 

Cracking stuff.

See also:

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Paradise Prison by Faith Mortimer

Hold on to your hats, Mortimer fans. You’ll be blown away by this one. 

This author never disappoints, but Paradise Prison is, in my view, jostling for position as one of her best.

Gillian flees the UK after a serious altercation with her abusive boyfriend ends very badly. Stopping over in Portugal, she manages to secure herself a passage to the Caribbean on a yacht owned by Harry. A wealthy man who passes his time cruising round the Caribbean ocean in not-so-legal activities, but he reckons a cook and crew will jolly up his travels. It all starts smoothly enough, and he suggests Gill stay on his little ‘one-man’ island looking after his house…just until she feels confident enough to rejoin civilisation and face the consequences of an argument gone wrong. At least, that’s what he tells her. But when history starts to repeat itself, Gillian realises that she has to escape the island and from Harry as soon as she can.

You couldn’t have two more opposite characters. And that’s what makes this story so very powerful. Harry is an insidiously loathsome vile character. Any uncertainty about Gill being a slightly downtrodden, nervous victim soon changes as she becomes resourceful, confident, focussed and determined. Her transformation is amazing.

Cruising for Death by DV Berkom


Despite trying hard to keep up with hurricane Kate in the Kate Jones Series books 1-4, I was eager for more. Cue Cruising for Death. 

Constantly on the move to keep one step ahead of her dangerous drug-lord ex-boyfriend, Kate seems to have found some tranquillity in Arizona, living with hunky policeman Cole. Tranquillity and enough confidence to go on a short break with him: a romantic cruise in the Caribbean. All goes well until a passenger has a heart attack and the vessel is taken over by a group of men…one of them a bit too familiar for Kate’s liking. Of course, she’s off again, with her past catching up with her, escaping death, outwitting people from her past, trying to save herself and others.

Needless to say, the adventure is just as nail-biting, action-packed and full of tension and will-she/won’t-she (survive) moments. As usual, you’re holding your breath, thinking, no way is she going to get out of this one, but it is Kate Jones we’re talking about. By this number of books, it’s more or less a given she’s going extricate herself from all manner of tricky (understatement) situations…but it’s the how that really keeps you glued and on the edge of your seat.

Totally incapable of disappointing, Berkom provides yet another excellent, enthralling read.

See also:
A Killing Truth
Bad Spirits
Bad Traffick
Kate Jones Thriller Series Vol 1
Serial Date
The Body Market

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Kate Jones Thriller Series Vol. 1 by DV Berkom

Having read the first of this little collection as a separate novella (see here), I was able to dive in at no. 2. The first (Bad Spirits) sees Kate running away from a ruthless ex-boyfriend. He’s particularly keen to find her because she happens to have rather a lot of his money. 

In Dead of Winter, Kate sincerely hopes that the depths of a cold and unforgiving little town in Alaska will keep her well hidden, but when she witnesses a murder, she fears she’s been discovered. Hunky officer Sam is assigned to protect her…read exactly what you need into ‘hunky’! Unfortunately, to keep HIM safe, Kate has to flee Alaska to quite a different climate: Hawaii. 

Death Rites sees her reunited with old friends, who she hopes will keep her safe. But Hawaiian spirits have other ideas, it seems. She shakes them off by surrounding herself with the Arizona desert in Touring for Death, where she manages to keep herself undetected for five years. But when you’ve had an entourage of drugs, money and guns, life eventually gets complicated and she’s fighting for survival yet again.

Four novellas, by the end of which you’re gasping for breath! For heaven’s sake, Kate, go and work in a library, your life isn’t good for my constitution. I’m a huge, huge fan of Berkom’s writing and especially her hard-nosed, determined, no-nonsense heroines who still have a core of passion, sensitivity and judging by the men they chose, good taste!

A roller-coaster read and I can’t wait to helter-skelter into books 5 and 6.

See Also:

Friday, 2 December 2016

Which Half David by Mark W. Sasse


A compelling story of a man who falls off his good-missionary pedestal. Correction: an utterly compelling story. Tobin Matthews and his wife, Jane, live in Sulu, an island (fictitious) in southeast Asia. Revered for his actions when he plays an instrumental part in closing down a dreadful band of human traffickers and for defending the rights of a group of Sulu tribesmen, he is the man of the island, a man who can do no wrong. But when his ex-lover, Kendra, turns up, this saint, this saviour, falls under her evil seductress ways. Far from turning the other cheek, Tobin’s actions rock his marriage, his beliefs and strength of character.

The story is a modern-day version of the biblical King David. A bit lost on me…I’m not religious, or a Christian and haven’t read the Bible. This didn’t matter, as it was still a page-turner as you accompany Tobin in his struggles to fight temptation in his will-he/won’t-he battle. Tobin, despite wobbling off his pedestal, and Kendra (bitch is too nice a word for her) are both very strong characters in their own way, but beautifully balanced by the soft, gentle, patient, perhaps even a little flaky, Jane and Kendra’s almost puppy-dog-like, ineffective, bumbling, slightly wimpish husband. But, pay very special attention to both of these…

And excellent story, written with Sasse’s usual flair, that's intense, passionate and peppered with some I-never-expected-that little surprises.

See also:
Beauty Rising
If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story
Love Story for a Nation
The Reach of the Banyan Tree 
The Recluse Storyteller

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Man in the Black Hat by Melissa Bowersock


Ah, the enjoyment-sure experience, courtesy of Ms Bowersock, who always manages to put a glint in your eye for her leading man, somehow. It's Clay Bauer this time, an actor who doesn’t have a pretty enough face to get good-guy roles. But, he has bills to pay, so villains it is. After the final shoot at the end of yet another B-rated movie in Sedona, Arizona, he wanders off on his ‘stage’ horse to find the vortices he's heard so much about. He finds himself passing through a vortex to a Sedona a hundred years earlier. 

Having not long read Bowersock’s Being Travis, another time-travel novel, I was having a bit of déjà vu. But I should have known that the very talented Ms B would have something up her sleeve. And she did. But I’m not telling, I’m afraid.

Clay’s become a bit Hollywood-superficial, but his experiences in early-twentieth-century Sedona and a certain Ella reveal a warm, caring, decent man, who ultimately makes a decision that turns his life around dramatically. And by ‘around’, I mean…no, sorry, shan’t. Read this and find out. Wonderful.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Black Pomegranate by David W. Cowles


The plot of this book lacks the same sophistication as its cover, which doesn't scream 'read me', alas. 

And that's a bit of a shame, because the actual writing isn't at all bad. It's rather good, in fact. It’s articulate, fluid, expressive…which I think is what helped me limp along to the end of the book.

Thankfully, though, the plot doesn’t take itself too seriously… the reader shouldn’t either, and you can just about do that until about halfway, at which point, it really gets a little bit silly.

A beautiful, Hispanic student persuades a geeky, nerdy, lanky, unkempt computer lecturer to help her with her studies so that she can save her little South American republic, Granada Negra (Black Pomegranate), from the rebels seeking political power. They make a rather unlikely couple…but well, Beauty and the Beast made a pretty good story, I suppose. But then the detail overstretches the imagination somewhat and what could have been a quirky, albeit totally unlikely, little tale just gets rather ridiculous.

However, I can’t deny that I enjoyed the style of the writer and I was über, über impressed by the impeccable editing. And I don’t get to say that often about the books I read. I certainly won’t rule out another book by this author.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Tree of Everlasting Nolfi by Christine Nolfi


I didn’t go past ‘Go’ when I selected this book. I just went straight to my TBR. I didn’t remind myself what it was about…I relied on my judgement that if it was on my list, there was a very good reason for it. And I’m pleased to say I can still rely on my judgement. This was an excellent book.

However…I’m totally and utterly confused. In slightly reverse order, having  read and enjoyed the book, I was a little curious to see what the ‘blurb’ said. And therein I find there’s a character I haven’t even heard of. I really thought, well, that’s it. I’ve finally qualified for men-in-white-coats-ville. Further confusion reigned when I realise the other characters and…more importantly the plot…are identical. In short, my main character—Ourania—morphed into ‘Rennie’. What on earth?

Anyway…confusion aside (and at least the character didn’t change name during the story) this was a Very Good Book.

Secrets can change lives. They changed Ourania’s, a competent electrician…and fosterparent…they changed Troy’s, the eldest son of a rich and powerful family and the strain of keeping secrets change the lives of two young children. Secrets that are held by a magnificent old oak tree.

This is a powerful drama with strong, solid characters in a robust plot. There are twists and turns, and although I guessed the major twist fairly early on, Nolfi writes with such passion and compassion, intelligently and articulately, and the story builds to such a dramatic climax, it really didn’t matter.

I will certainly be checking out more books by this author, and I really wouldn’t mind catching up with Ourania (Rennie, whatever she’s supposed to be called) and Troy.