Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Extraction by Steven F. Freeman



I am using the author’s own precis. It is not only a good summary of the story line, it is also a good indication of the suspense the reader can expect and how well Freeman writes in this style.

An anonymous note launches ex-FBI criminal profiler Decimus Farr into a nightmare. His fiancée has been kidnapped, and Farr is given only twenty-four hours to follow and solve a trail of ten hidden clues, or she dies.

Identifying the abductor could provide Farr with a vital shortcut for locating his fiancée. But with each new clue connected to a different criminal from his past cases, which offender should he pursue?

With the window closing fast, Farr must race the clock to rescue his love…or be consumed by the madness and violence he had thought left behind.


If you enjoy shows about criminal profilers like Criminal Minds then you are sure to enjoy The Extraction.

The author doesn’t dawdle getting into the story with the opening line: Your fiancé dies in twenty-four hours reads the note.”  

Farr hasn’t used his profiling skills for three years but his former FBI profiling partner helps him solve the riddles.
Nothing is left for the reader to imagine. The scenery, actions and emotions are highly descriptive and have the reader spellbound.

The characters are well developed and likeable (well the goodies are).

The Extraction is an enthralling mystery thriller, full of suspense that has you guessing a new outcome with every chapter, but you will never guess the ending.

I have read several books by Steven F Freeman, all good but this is one of his best to date.

A very definite 5* rating from me

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Hannah's Moon (American Journey #5) by John A. Heldt



Wow! This is John A. Heldt at his best. (There are still two of his 11 books from other series I am yet to read so it may be nudged from its number 1 rating).

The story begins with heartbreak when, following a miscarriage and years of trying to conceive, Claire Rasmussen and her husband, Ron, enquire about adoption. 

After learning the waiting time is six years, and extremely expensive, it seems like their longing to become parents may remain a dream. That is, until Claire’s uncle, Professor Bell, provides a solution.

Having experienced this trauma myself, I can honestly say the author has an outstanding understanding of what couples go through in this situation. He describes their heartbreak and yearning accurately with emotion and sensitivity.  


Along with Claire’s brother, David, they travel back to 1945 when adoption was faster and more simplified. Their experiences during this time, the final months of world War II, prove to be not so easy. Their lives become a whirlwind of romance, danger, suspense and uncertainty. 

Yes, it is a time travel story but rather than being science fiction it is drama, emotions, danger, history and suspense. In other words, it is a darn good read.

Regular readers of my blog (www.pam.id.au) and reviews will know I am a staunch John A Heldt fan. Hannah’s Moon is the fifth, final and best of his American Journey series. This is a very special story that is a must read.

Heldt is an amazing story teller. His skills have produced an engaging story that flows consistently with likeable characters and reality; one that will have the reader misty eyed, laughing and biting their nails. 

The characters are well developed and believable. As it is told through the perspective of each of them, I felt I was living their experiences alongside them. One little touch I loved was when even the brilliant Professor and his wife had some difficulties with time travel.

Hannah’s Moon is a wonderful conclusion to the series – or is it? At the end of the story the characters from the other books are brought together and, if you have read these, it tells how his previous adventurers have fared. If you haven’t there is enough explanation not to feel you have missed something and, I believe, enough to have you going back to read them. The final part concerning the Professor and his family also opens the door for yet more of this amazing man.

As always, my only complaint about all of John A Heldt’s books are that they are not in print – I would love to have them all on my bookshelf.

If, or should I say, when, you read Hannah’s Moon be sure to include the acknowledgements. They show the author’s commitment to accuracy of his time periods and history through research and consultation.

I received a copy of Hannah’s Moon from the author with a personal option on reviewing the book.

My rating? To date, I have rated all of Mr Heldt’s books 4 or 5 stars and this is definitely a 5*. I just wish I could give it more.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Three Weeks Dead: A DC Sally Poynter Novella (DI Hannah Robbins Prequel Novella) by Rebecca Bradley



Precis


How far would you go if someone took your wife? Especially, if you buried her a week ago. When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences. Can young get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget? A prequel novella, set before Shallow Waters, the first in the DI Hannah Robbins series.

My review


I am always looking for a good detective story or, better still, a good series. I chose this novella as an introduction to DI Hannah Robbins who features in the Detective Hannah Robbins Crime Series. (Shallow Waters and Made to be Broken)

I don’t read other reviews (except for scanning the ratings) before selecting/agreeing to a book for review. I did not realise that this story, although a prequel to the series, is about DC Sally Poynter not DI Hannah Robbins. Initially, this was a disappointment to me. After drafting up my review then reading other reviews, I realised that Sally Poynter, as a member of Robbins team, is a character in the two books of the series. Yes, I need to pay more attention in the future.

Having said that, while I didn’t get a strong impression of the main character of the series, I did get an insight into the quality of Ms Bradley’s writing and very much liked what I read. She certainly has imagination and her experience as a police officer brings reality to her story.

The story starts immediately with an unusual crime and moves smoothly and consistently; essential for a novella. It is an absorbing and interesting story line, well-paced, with short chapters and building tension at the end.

The characters are well developed and demonstrate not only good detecting skills but very much life as a police officer.

DC Sally Poynter is the newest team member and wants to show she can do a good job. She has the support of her boss and the other team members with one exception who is a misogynistic bully. She is capable but insecure with a willingness to try hard and learn while trying to balance her marriage.

I felt for Jason Wells, the young man who has recently lost his wife and now finds her body has been stolen. To get her back he has to commit a crime.

My heart went out to Lewis, who was Jason’s wife devoted dog. He is a totally loveable, if four-legged, character in the story. I kept hoping nothing would happen to him. One point that amused me was when Jason explained to Sally why he was named Lewis. He was named after the offsider of Morse from the television series. Sally explains that she doesn’t watch police crime shows because they are not realistic “they never do any paperwork.” It made me smile and wonder if this was a personal view of Ms Bradley’s.

My rating 3*. I will certainly be getting copies of the other two book in the series.