June 30, 2020

6/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ALL THE BROKEN PEOPLE by Leah Konen. Grand Central Publishing (June 2, 2020). ISBN 978-1538726983. 368p.


SPECIAL MEANS by Andrew Ceroni

June 14, 2020


From the publisher:

CIA agents must play catch-up in time to stop powerful men in Homeland Security and the Defense Department from staging the overthrow of the President and his administration!

Riveting! Escalating gang violence in Denver, Colorado, and in other large cities in the nation captures the attention of the first term President. He wants a solution, and he wants it NOW. Legislation would take years. The Director of Homeland Security suggests that the remedy to the deteriorating situation may be a highly classified program deep within the charter of the Federal Emergency Management Agency-FEMA, known as Annex K. This deep-black program, nicknamed STARDUST, would be executed beneath the heaviest cloak of utmost secrecy and without the knowledge or informed consent of Congress.

When the CIA sends Agent Dave McClure to Denver to investigate inexplicable lethal violence being waged with advanced military weaponry against organized street gangs, McClure discovers that what has been unleashed is a sinister solution far worse than the problem. He unearths a nightmarish plot to do much more than eliminate gangs in America – rather, an attempt to seize the military district of Washington and overthrow the federal government. McClure’s own life is now at especially high risk. The CIA must act quickly and with overwhelming force. The clock is ticking!

Remembering the series of motion pictures starring Charles Bronson about a self-appointed vigilante hunting criminals and executing them will provide a bit of background about Andrew Ceroni’s latest novel. The United States has reached a point at which criminal gangsters and gangs are running wild with no apparent means of controlling them.

A newly elected president calls a meeting of carefully selected advisors and has a group formed composed of highly skilled military. Their mission would be to hunt down and summarily execute gangs. No arrest, no trial, no hearings. When the group is activated, functioning crime does go down in certain areas of the country. The population is ecstatic about what is going on as it is apparent that this vigilante group is doing what the police cannot come to grips with due to the many regulations hindering their work.

Dave McClure, an agent with the CIA who has appeared in prior novels by Ceroni, is sent to investigate. He finds clues to a group of skilled warriors that are plotting to stage a coup and take over the U.S. government. He alerts his supervisors who begin to mobilize forces to go after them. McClure and his fellow agents begin work to find out where the group is hiding and what their plans include. The leadership of the rogue warriors includes a four-star U.S. Army general and does involve highly trained people. Yes, you guessed it, the group formed by the seemingly benevolent actions of the president has changed their course of action to now want to take over the country with them as the leadership.

McClure finds out where the rogue group is, and what they are planning and the CIA sets up a task force to thwart their plans. Along the way, McClure’s wife is threatened with kidnapping and being held to keep her husband from continuing with his plans.

The novel is easy to read, nothing strenuous to grasp, and a feel-good work for the readers. It’s an all-nighter due to the continuous action outlined and the interest of the reader to keep abreast of things. It would be easy to continue to look for and read future books by Ceroni and that is my recommendation after finishing this one.

NOTE: The main character in Special Means works for the CIA. He does domestic assignments. The CIA only handles overseas stuff. I know – but that’s where the author put him. Thanks for reading, Paul.

6/2020 Paul Lane

SPECIAL MEANS by Andrew Ceroni. Outskirts Press (April 18, 2020). ISBN: 978-1977225764. 342 pages.


SEA OF SPIES by Alex Gerlis

June 12, 2020


The Richard Prince Thrillers, Book 2

From the publisher:

A nest of espionage. A break for the border. A race to survive.

The Allies are desperate to stop neutral Turkey supplying vital materials to the Nazis – materials which could help them win the war. But then a British agent makes a fatal mistake, and disappears in Istanbul.

In England, detective turned spy Richard Prince – back from a clandestine mission in Nazi-occupied Europe – is hunting for his lost son. Before long he is drawn into a dangerous follow-up operation, posing as a journalist in Turkey.

The mission soon goes wrong. Out of touch with London and stranded hundreds of miles behind enemy lines, Prince will have to find evidence of the Turks secret trade with the Nazis, as well as a way out.

Chances of survival? Low. Chance of completing his mission? Prince will do whatever it takes.

An astounding WWII espionage thriller from a modern master of the genre, Sea of Spies is a triumph, perfect for fans of Alan Furst, John le Carré and Robert Harris.

The second book about the WWII adventures of Richard Prince, a successful police detective in England transformed into a spy by MI6. In book one, he was dropped behind the lines in Europe and completes a dangerous mission awaiting the next assignment.

Gerlis’s second book simply increases the level of excitement to a pitch that forces the reader to read as quickly as possible and gasping, finally lay the novel down knowing that it will be difficult to patiently await book three.

The story involves Richard being sent to Istanbul charged with finding the source of shipping the metal chromium to Nazi Germany. This material is used in the manufacture of stainless steel and important in the production of tanks and many other military weapons. Turkey remains neutral during the early period of the war but does ship chromium to Germany and hides the fact from England in order to disguise their lack of neutrality. Prince is charged with finding the source of these shipments and obtaining evidence of them which when presented to the Turkish foreign minister should cause a halt to the export.

The novel brings Richard into Turkey and from there into Greece and Munich in Germany, as well as neutral Switzerland as he develops proof of the exports and fights to bring the information back to his handlers in London. There it will be used as a tool to coerce Turkey into stopping their shipments to Germany.

The adventures are depicted with a great deal of insight into the manner that could very well have been an actuality of such a trip during wartime conditions. Richard, if caught by the Nazis, will be executed and knowingly faces this every step of the way. Gerlis does not bring in any superhuman ability of his protagonist, but has him painstakingly and cautiously planning and executing every move in his assignment and his trips through a world in the midst of war.

6/2020 Paul Lane

SEA OF SPIES by Alex Gerlis. Canelo Action (June 11, 2020). ISBN: 978-1542094030. 301 p.

THE HOUSE GUEST by Mark Edwards

June 7, 2020


From the publisher:

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

The House Guest is the chilling new psychological thriller from the three million copy bestselling author of Here to Stay and Follow You Home.

Ruth and Adam are a young British couple living in New York on a temporary basis. Ruth is an actress and has had the luck to find a role in a play being done in New York. She also has starred in a short film which got her rave reviews and a good reputation as an up and coming actress.

Adam is a playwright but he hasn’t had any luck in selling a play so far. He is going to try his luck in New York writing during the time that Ruth is busy with her show and making contacts while doing so.

The couple took advantage of coming over to New York from London on a transatlantic cruise. On board, they had a tremendous piece of good luck when they met Jack and Mona, a couple about a generation older than they are and quite financially successful. Jack and Mona are not staying in New York but are immediately leaving for a retreat in New Mexico. The couple own a house in New York City and after striking up a rapport with Ruth and Adam, ask them to house sit while they are away. A fabulous deal for the British couple and they jump to it with gratitude.

On the first Monday that they are in the house, and in the midst of a very rainy day, a young lady knocks at the door indicating that she is very friendly with Jack and Mona and that she has come to stay at their house. She says that they have offered to allow her to stay at their home whenever she is in New York. When Eden, the arrival, seems to know everything about Jack and Mona and appearing that she is what she says she is, Ruth and Adam decide that they have to let her stay. The worst part is that since Jack and Mona are at a retreat, they cannot be contacted to get their okay with Eden staying at the house. The situation seems like Eden has told the truth and she would readily have been accepted by Jack and Mona.

The situation crashes when Ruth disappears one morning along with Eden and there is no word from her for three days. Adam calls the police but is advised that they will do nothing since many people do walk away from bad relationships with no notice.

Edwards takes us through the search for Ruth and while doing so, Adam meets a man who wants to help him. That individual claims that Eden is also involved with the disappearance of his daughter and if Adam joins him in the search for both Ruth and his child, it may be easier and allow two to work on any clues that the duo comes up with.

The presentation of the characters is well done and as events unfold the reader will definitely stay glued to the book and make a note to get future novels by Mark Edwards. Certainly, a five-star story with a well thought out plot.

6/2020 Paul Lane

THE HOUSE GUEST by Mark Edwards. Thomas & Mercer (June 3, 2020). ISBN: 978-1542094030. 301 p.

NOTE: This book is published by an Amazon imprint. They refuse to sell ebooks to libraries.


THE VOTER FILE by David Pepper

June 5, 2020


Jack Sharpe Series, Book 3

From the publisher:

“Pepper comes through again with this clever tale of how cyber sabotage of elections, coupled with highly concentrated ownership of traditional media operations, can undermine American democracy.”–President Bill Clinton

A twisty, one-step-ahead-of-the-headlines political thriller featuring a rogue reporter who investigates election meddling of epic proportions written by the ultimate insider.

Investigative reporter Jack Sharpe is down to his last chance. Fired from his high-profile gig with a national news channel, his only lead is a phone full of messages from a grad student named Tori Justice, who swears she’s observed an impossible result in a local election. Sharpe is sure she’s mistaken…but what if she isn’t?

Sharpe learns that the most important tool in any election is the voter file: the database that keeps track of all voters in a district, and shapes a campaign’s game plan for victory. If one person were to gain control of an entire party’s voter file, they could manipulate the outcome of virtually every election in America. Sharpe discovers this has happened–and that the person behind the hack is determined to turn American politics upside down.

The more he digs, the more Sharpe is forced to question the values–and viability–of the country he loves and a president he admired. And soon it becomes clear that not just his career is in jeopardy…so is his life.

The concept of fixing elections is probably as old as the election process itself where a majority of votes for a candidate or a solution will cause that person or solution to become the winning result. David Pepper has come up with a method that he ties in with scientific study of each and every person voting in a district, working to bring in voters probably voting as the study demands and allowing those opposed to fade away. Pepper’s explanation of the method he describes does apparently have the possibility to turn an election by working to make sure that voters in favor of their desires do come into the casting of votes.

Jack Sharpe was an ace reporter who has lost his job when he apparently violated his newspaper’s policies of political correctness. He has been blackballed by his former employers and cannot find another job due to the stigma he is under. Out of the blue, he is contacted by Tori Justice, a graduate student who swears she has evidence of an election being fixed. Jack agrees to meet her, studies the data that Tori has gathered, and finds that the impossible has happened when a man elected was not even expected to come close.

Tori explains that the most important tool in any election is the “Voter File.” Via computer analysis, habits of every person eligible to vote are cataloged and able to be analyzed for probable voting habits. While involved in getting more information, a long term plot is described which involves massive interference by foreign interests in order to set lucrative deals for themselves by bringing in their own selected candidates. These candidates are obviously bought and paid for and stand to gain much more money when they take office.

A very mesmerizing novel that could be a real wake up call if the methods described by Pepper prove feasible. The book ends at a point that illustrates the probability of further novels involving Jack and Tori. In the meanwhile “The Voter File” is a mark of literary excellence.

6/2020 Paul Lane

THE VOTER FILE by David Pepper. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (June 2, 2020). ISBN: 978-0593083932. 432 pages.



CRASH by David Hagberg & Lawrence Light

May 6, 2020


From the publisher:

The second Great Depression is coming. The world’s economies are groaning under too much debt. If one thing goes wrong, the entire rickety system collapses. Now, acclaimed award-winning New York Times bestselling novelist David Hagberg and renowned financial reporter Lawrence Light have combined forces to dramatize―hour by hour―how this all-too-real catastrophe could go down in Crash.

With debt-burdened governments and businesses worldwide about to go bust, a cabal of Wall Street big shots plot to destroy the globe’s stock exchanges. To provide that one thing that goes wrong. In 24 hours, a powerful computer worm will smash the exchanges and spark an international panic, pushing a debt-laden world into the abyss. The Wall Street gang’s investment bank will be the last one standing, able to make a killing amid the ruins.

But one person, who works for their bank as a computer expert, spots the worm embedded deep in its network. Cassy Levin invents a program to destroy the cyber-intruder. Angered by Cassy’s discovery, her bosses order her kidnapping.

Her boyfriend, a former Navy SEAL, is alarmed at Cassy’s disappearance and unravels the plot. Ben Whalen only has until the next morning to save the woman he loves and prevent the economic apocalypse.

This story is based on the genuine threat posed by towering debt, which will make the 2008 financial crisis look puny.

An interesting, well-written novel and also a warning about the possibility of a major worldwide financial crisis due to the outrageous amounts of debt currently held by nations, companies, and individuals.

A group of Wall Street executives has entered into a plot to wreak havoc in worldwide financial markets by the introduction of a worm into companies’ web sites which will destroy the exchanges and cause panic around the world. Their idea will allow one huge company to escape the devastation of the worm and rake in fortunes buying at the depressed prices which will become available, and then selling at huge premiums over purchase price. Everything seems to be moving towards the fiscal Armageddon planned when one brilliant analyst working for that company comes up with an apparent fix for the worm. Her position is, of course, to advise management and expect that they will jump at the chance to prevent catastrophe. Unfortunately for Cassy Levin, the analyst finding the fix, it is the management that she advises that is setting up the project and to protect themselves, order her kidnapping and killing.

But there is an unknown ace in Cassy’s hand. Her fiancee is an ex-Navy Seal with the fighting skills that this group has. In looking for his love he finds that she has been kidnapped and employs all methods to find her and rescue her.

The story by itself is engrossing with action aplenty and there are lessons in quite a bit of the high finance that is necessary to do what is being planned. As already stated, the authors do make a strong case for a reexamination of the financial freedom that is too easily available. Events occurring in 2008 in the U.S. are brought up in which banks and financial institutions had to be bailed out by the government due to them being overextended. The overreaching by these financial institutions is blamed on the attitude of the Federal Reserve bank itself which in setting rediscount rates for banks regulates the number of loans that can be granted. The loose policies allowed loans freely granted to people and companies that by any analysis could not afford to service them, laying the groundwork for a probable financial collapse only forestalled by a government bailout.

5/2020 Paul Lane

CRASH by David Hagberg & Lawrence Light. Forge Books (April 28, 2020). ISBN: 978-1250249890. 320p.


Audio Book

EMPIRE CITY by Matt Gallagher

May 4, 2020


From the publisher:

The author of the “urgent and deeply moving” (The New York TimesYoungblood returns with this bold and provocative novel following a group of super-powered soldiers and civilians as they navigate an imperial America on the precipice of a major upheaval—for fans of The Fortress of Solitude and The Plot Against America.

Thirty years after its great triumph in Vietnam, the United States has again become mired in an endless foreign war overseas. Stories of super soldiers known as the Volunteers tuck in little American boys and girls every night. Yet domestic politics are aflame. Violent protests erupt throughout the nation; an ex-military watchdog group clashes with police while radical terrorists threaten to expose government experiments within the veteran rehabilitation colonies.

Halfway between war and peace, the Volunteers find themselves waiting for orders in the vast American city-state, Empire City. There they encounter a small group of civilians who know the truth about their powers, including Sebastian Rios, a young bureaucrat wrestling with survivor guilt, and Mia Tucker, a wounded army pilot-turned-Wall Street banker. Meanwhile, Jean-Jacques Saint-Preux, a Haitian-American Volunteer from the International Legion, decides he’ll do whatever it takes to return to the front lines.

Through it all, a controversial retired general emerges as a frontrunner in the presidential campaign, promising to save the country from itself. Her election would mean unprecedented military control over the country, with promises of security and stability—but at what cost?

Featuring Gallagher’s “vital” (The Washington Post), “evocative” (The Wall Street Journal) prose, Empire City is a rousing vision of an alternate—yet all too familiar—America on the brink.

Matt Gallagher takes up the task of writing about the aftermath of war – the feelings and actions of those veterans that have fought in the war and returned home. There are those that have war-related wounds, both physical and mental, and how they deal with these in a world that is no longer involved with combat.

Thirty years after a victory in Vietnam, the United States has become mired in the morass of another conflict overseas and one that looks to be without an end in sight. Moral imperatives designed to attract people into the military appear everywhere with stories of the heroics of the military spread all over the country. These also include the appearance of a group of “super soldiers” that have been modified to be able to do things such as become invisible, fly, run, at very rapid speeds traits that would make the U.S. military almost invincible.

Gallagher has taken an excellent idea to a stage that turns the novel into a chore to read. There are descriptions of feelings, actions, events that simply run one into the other. I found myself taxed to get into the gist of the book and ended up finishing it wondering what was going on. The actions and feelings of the principal characters became muddled and mixed with others in the story.

5/2020 Paul Lane

EMPIRE CITY by Matt Gallagher. Atria Books (April 28, 2020). ISBN: 978-1501177798. 368p.




May 2, 2020


A Detective Varg Novel, Book 2

From the publisher:

Perfect for fans of Brad Taylor, Lee Child, and Brad Thor who are looking for their next adventure—UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE has all their exhilarating action but with a twist—Linskey is taking readers back to history’s darkest hours….

A secret assassin. An impossible mission. Failure is not an option. 

1943. With Nazi Germany facing defeat, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring has authorized mass production of the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, a jet-propulsion engine aircraft faster than any plane in the Allies’ arsenal. But British Intelligence has discovered that the Komet is unstable and German scientist Professor Gaerte has been tasked to fix the plane’s flaw. To prevent the Komets from getting airborne, an undercover task force must infiltrate Nazi-occupied France and assassinate Gaerte.

Captain Harry Walsh is one of Britain’s most effective, ruthless, and unorthodox Special Operations Executive agents. Allied with an American OSS and Free French operatives, Harry leads his squad behind enemy lines where he’s reunited with fellow SOE operative—and former lover—Emma Stirling. But as the team proceeds with their mission, an SS officer from Harry’s past pursues the Englishman on a very personal mission of revenge . . .

Well done story of all-out war and how it really affects the people involved in it. Captain Harry Walsh is a member of the British SOE (Special Operations Executive.) His experiences include several cover-up visits to Vichy, France during the Nazi occupation of that country during World War II. He takes the waging of war as something very serious with no quarter asked nor given. In his mind, there can be no gallantry nor any rules other than to win.

He is married to a beautiful woman who stays at home in England during Harry’s visits overseas and is only concerned with acting as she thinks a woman should act. Harry realized shortly after the wedding that it was a mistake but stays on because that is just the thing to do. He is comforted by an affair with Emma Stirling who is also an SOE operator and has clandestine visits to occupied France under her belt.

The story takes place in 1943 during a period when it appears that Germany was beginning to lose the war and Hitler was searching for a way to forestall that taking place. One of the most promising ideas is the development of a jet-propelled plane, which if placed into mass production, would make the German air force almost invincible. Its use against aircraft capable of speeds only half of what the Jet can do would negate all enemy planes making them useless as weapons. Fortunately for the allies, the German jet has design problems which must be corrected before any mass production can take place. But Germany has an engineer who would probably be able to find the problems, fix them and get the new airplane ready for mass production and use against allied aircraft.

The SOE believes that the only solution in this instance is to kill the engineer with that action pushing mass production back several months or longer. Harry Walsh is assigned to go into France where the German engineer will be working and kill him. He will be aided by an American who is a member of the OSS (the precursor of the CIA) and a Frenchman who had worked with the French underground and knows their systems and placements. In addition, Emma Stirling insinuates herself into the group and is included in the event that a woman could be useful in arranging the murder planned.

Linskey has done his research and the conditions described are certainly those that prevailed during the period covered. The Nazis are depicted as cruel conquerors freely executing people in order to prove their points and maintaining complete fear-based control over the conquered population. In addition, he brings up two individuals that were active during the war. The first is Ian Fleming the later author of the James Bond novels whom Linskey indicates probably got his inspiration for the weapons used by Bond from an actual department that served agents of the SOE. The other is Kim Philby, who later in his life is an infamous undercover agent for the Soviet

The members of the French underground are drawn realistically. They are fearful for both themselves and their families all subject to execution if caught in activities against the conquerors There is no trace of false bravado only the fear that must be conquered if they are to win their country back. The novel ends with the war still on and the invasion of Europe on the horizon. It is also a certainty that further novels are planned around the participation of Harry Walsh and his fellow members of the SOE doing their part in the winning of the war in Europe. And that is definitely not a bad thing.

5/2020 Paul Lane

UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE by Howard Linskey. Pinnacle (April 28, 2020). ISBN: 978-0786046881. 368p.



THE TALENTED MR. VARG by Alexander McCall Smith

April 29, 2020


A Detective Varg Novel, Book 2

From the publisher:

In the second installment in the best-selling Detective Varg series, Ulf and his team investigate a notorious philanderer—a wolf of a man whose bad reputation may be all bark and no bite.
The Department of Sensitive Crimes, renowned for taking on the most obscure and irrelevant cases is always prepared to dive into an investigation, no matter how complex. So when the girlfriend of an infamous author who insists her bad-boy beau is being blackmailed approaches Ulf Varg, the department’s lead detective, Ulf is determined to help. It’s rather difficult to determine what skeletons hide in the hard-living lothario’s closet, though. And while Swedes are notoriously tolerant . . . well, there are limits. Even for the Swedish.

The case requires Ulf’s total concentration, but he finds himself distracted by his ongoing attraction to his co-worker, Anna, whose own fears about her husband’s fidelity are causing a strain on her marriage. When Ulf is also tasked with looking into a group of dealers exporting wolves that seem more canis familiaris than canis lupus, it will require all of his team’s investigative instincts and dogged persistence to put these matters to bed.

This is the second book in a series revolving around a Swedish police squad termed the Department of Sensitive Crimes; an agency that takes on cases that are irrelevant and nonsensible. They then work on them, running them into the ground and arriving at conclusions that fit the crime and provide a good amount of humor for the reader.

In this book, Ulf Varg (the name consists of two words both meaning wolf in Swedish) works on situations that involve the illegal sale of dogs as wolves to zoos and other buyers. He handles a case in which a lady indicates that her boyfriend (a noted second rate author) is being blackmailed, and provides information to a fellow police officer, a lady that he has a crush on about her suspicions that her husband is having an affair.

The cases are worked on by Varg and other members of his department, all of whom are misfits and obviously not indicative of real-life police officers. Conclusions are arrived at after a good deal of tongue in cheek banter by all concerned and a good time by the reader. McCall Smith’s book is not meant to be a deeply engrossing work but a well-done parody and a good time for all. There should be a separate category for this type of book other than a star rating since it is not meant as anything but a good comedy. Still, it is a novel that can be quite enjoyed by those readers interested in a departure and a captivating read.

4/2020 Paul Lane

THE TALENTED MR. VARG by Alexander McCall Smith. Pantheon (April 28, 2020). ISBN: 978-1524748968. 240p.



THE SPLIT by Sharon Bolton

April 27, 2020

From the publisher:

Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, The Split is an explosive new stand-alone thriller from Sharon Bolton about a woman on the run.

No matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

The remote Antarctic island of South Georgia is about to send off its last boat of the summer – which signifies safety to resident glaciologist Felicity Lloyd.

Felicity lives in fear – fear that her ex-husband Freddie will find her, even out here. She took a job on this isolated island to hide from him, but now that he’s out of prison, having served a term for murder, she knows he won’t give up until he finds her.

But a doctor delving into the background of Felicity and Freddie’s relationship, back in Cambridge, learns that Felicity has been on the edge for a long time. Heading to South Georgia himself to try and get to her first is the only way he can think of to help her.

The author presents a very well done story of the results of a split personality. That is the inhabiting of one body by two or more separate identities that may not be aware of the existence of the others. The setting for the novel includes the Antarctic island of South Georgia, among the most remote and lonely places on the earth.

Felicity is a young woman living a complicated life which has just become more complex when she learns that her ex-husband has just been released from prison where he was incarcerated for murder. She is under the belief that he is coming to kill her and lives in terror that he will find her and do just that.

Felicity works for an agency that administers details involved in working for an island located in Antarctica and has been consulting with a psychiatrist due to the many fears that she confronts. Among these is the possibility that she has killed two people that were inhabitants of a homeless group living on the streets. By coincidence Joe, her psychiatrist, does pro bono work with homeless people trying to get them back into a normal routine.

In spite of the many constraints involved in the doctor-patient relationship between Felicity and Joe, each is beginning to develop feelings for the other. But a separation between the two comes up when Felicity, in order to escape her ex-husband lands a position working on South Georgia for two years.

The second half of the novel involves her ex-husband taking a cruise to Antarctica in order to find her. Felicity, now working on South Georgia, keeps her eyes on cruise ship passenger manifests and when she spots her ex-husband’s name on one docking shortly runs away from her South Georgia base towards an outlying camp about 60 miles out from it.

Bolton has obviously done a great deal of research on glaciers and glacial movements in setting up one of the most exciting final sequences for this book that one will find. The ending is a surprise as indicated in the publisher’s description of the novel’s events, but it is logical coupled with the remainder of the book. And yes, it is certainly an exciting all-nighter and another reason to continue to search for Sharon Bolton’s books.

4/2020 Paul Lane

THE SPLIT by Sharon Bolton. Minotaur Books (April 28, 2020). ISBN: 978-1250300058. 400p.