ULTIMATE POWER by Stephen Frey

February 13, 2018
Stephen Frey’s creation of Red Cell 7 is combined with a young newly elected  partner in the largest financial company in the U.S. and probably the world.  Red Cell 7 is a group of individuals that tackle the mission impossible type of tasks that the regular groups of agents and the military cannot handle. If  you know about them or to whom they report they have to kill you. So there, be warned.

Andrew Falcon Jr. (A.J.) is the youngest hedge fund manager ever elected to partner at a huge Wall Street investment firm.  His financial future is secured and all he has to do is continue making money for the company which of course will also mean for himself.

Suddenly his niece, Claire, is kidnapped and A.J. drops everything to rescue her. Now we find that the kidnapping is tied to national politics at the very top and a task that the kidnappers want A.J. to do for them in order to get his niece back alive.

The first woman president of the United States has come out with a policy that she feels will remake the country into a better place. She lowers the amounts given to the military to operate and vows to begin taking down the evil people that operate with impunity via Wall Street to prevent the lower and middle class from assuming their proper place in the scheme of things. Obviously there is opposition to her plans with both the bad people in command positions of the military and heads of the the huge financial companies take part in.

The plot thickens and action follows action with the completely militarily untrained A.J. being allowed to participate with Red Cell personnel on raids to right the wrongs being perpetrated. Hmmm, will he survive? A minor detail is brought up when A.J. is talking to his mentor after being made partner. He is not married and needs to get a wife in order to more fully fit in to the image he needs to really succeed. So much to do – so little time to do it. What price glory? Stay tuned to find out how everything is worked out.

If the reader accepts every premise laid out in the novel it will become a quickly read adventure story. If not tune into the next book by Frey to see who is around and what their positions are.

2/18 Paul Lane

ULTIMATE POWER by Stephen Frey. Thomas & Mercer (February 13, 2018).  ISBN 978-1503954083. 304p.


February 9, 2018

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In years of reading books, there are those that are fine for the short time with them, those that prove good enough to remain with you for a longer time. But every once in a while a novel appears that is so beautiful that it becomes a memory that it will stay with you for a long time. Such a book is Matt Haig’s “How to stop Time.”

Tom Hazard appears like any other 40 year old male. But he is certainly far from that; he is actually more than 400 years of age. Due to a rare shift in his genetic makeup, he ages very slowly and also doesn’t suffer from many illnesses. He was born during the Elizabethan period in England and actually met and talked to William Shakespeare.

Over the years, he discovers that there are others like him and eventually a group is formed as a means of self protection. Why self protection? Simply put, there is a great deal of mistrust on the part of ordinary people that notice when someone does not age over time. Tom actually witnessed his mother being drowned as a witch when it was discovered that she had a son that did not grow older.

Instead of being the blessing that centuries of life could convey, the lack of aging causes those that are affected by it have to constantly change locations in order to remain unnoticed by ordinary people. Tom himself meets and falls in love with a girl in his own time and has a daughter with her. He remains happy and content with their life together until the stares of other people make him realize that in the age he was born in he is a danger to his wife and daughter. He decides to leave them and begins centuries of hiding.

Haig describes the emotions that fill Tom’s mind as he literally runs away from the joys and sorrows of life as normal people experience them. The author is adept at presenting the facts and circumstances present in all the ages Tom lives through. We see him taking part in events that occurred, meeting the people that became famous in each period and experiencing a normal longing for a love that has predeceased him by centuries. A book to savor and think about for a long time to come.

HOW TO STOP TIME by Matt Haig. Viking (February 6, 2018).  ISBN 978-0525522874. 336p.

THE BOOKWORM by Mitch Silver

February 8, 2018

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The novel opens during early World War II. A man dressed as a monk is seen entering a monastery which is not his own located in Germany. He is carrying a book and actually doing his best to sneak it in, hiding it from the monks that live there. He finds a place in which religious tomes are kept and proceeds to place it with the others, clearly in a section designed to allow for the discovery of the item when required.

The plot of the novel starts to unfold with the appearance of people famous during the period under discussion. These include Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward and the infamous Adolf Hitler. A scheme is hatched by Noel Coward to prevent the Nazis from launching an invasion of England. Interestingly enough, the plan relies on something written in the book left in the monastery.

The book shifts to Moscow, Russia after the end of the war with Larissa Mendelova Klint, a college professor doing research instead of going on summer vacation like most of her colleagues and students. She comes across references to the book hidden during WWII unearthing an outline of the scheme hatched by Noel Coward. Fascinated she launches a full scale search for the book and enters full force into that task.

Silvers novel flows smoothly bringing the reader from the mysterious placement of the book through the initiation of the plot and termination of those events. The ending of the novel terminates with a trip to Moscow by the President of the United States. And in a very neat way, events provide a logical setup for another book with Larissa M Klint. A very well done novel indeed.

2/18 Paul Lane

THE BOOKWORM by Mitch Silver. Pegasus Books (February 6, 2018).  ISBN 978-1681776415. 352p.

THE DECEIVERS by Alex Berenson

February 6, 2018

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A John Wells Novel, Book 12

In 2007, Alex Berenson published his first novel featuring John Wells. The concept behind this warrior was incredible. He was working for the CIA and somehow had infiltrated a field unit of the terror group Al Quada remaining with them for three years. He learned their language, learned their methods, and thought highly enough of their religion to become a convert. His return to the CIA was forced by having to openly turn on the group he was with in order to forestall an attack on the west.

In this book, Vinnie Duto, former head of the CIA, is now the president of the United States. He calls John into his office after an attack by terrorists occurs in Dallas, Texas. It is the most horrific attack ever and John is positive that he would be assigned to go after the perpetrators. Somewhat to his surprise the president does not want him to investigate Dallas but to travel to Columbia to pick up information from an old asset living there and deliver it to headquarters. However, the trip turns out to be one of the deadliest assignments John has been assigned to. It brings him into a world of sleeper cells, sniper teams and double agents high up in the United States government.

The information obtained also seems to point out a plot by the Russian government to initiate a coup to take over the American government. And the attack on Dallas is found to be related to the scheme.

Berenson’s John Wells novels are all punctuated by constant action and “The Deceivers” is no exception. A turn in the enemy Wells faces seems to be broadcast by the possibility of the Russian government being involved in planning a coup. The author slightly plays down the possibility of radical Islamists being the cause of world wide terrorism by introducing several Muslims who are against these actions. But whoever the real enemy is John Wells being a part of US anti-terrorism activities will remain in the fight supplying the reader with one engrossing book after another.

2/18 Paul Lane

THE DECEIVERS by Alex Berenson. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (February 6, 2018).  ISBN 978-0399176166. 448p.

TRAITOR by Jonathan de Shalit

February 3, 2018

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A very tightly written and  plotted novel about a young man working for the Israeli government.  For personal reasons he makes the decision to approach the American government via their embassy and offer to provide them with information about secret Israeli activities.  The offer is snapped up by the agent that he talked with and Alon  the young man  is interviewed and accepted as a contracted mole.  In a completely unexpected turn of events the man accepting Alon is actually a mole in his own right working for the Soviet government.

Alon rises up in the ranks of the Israeli government and becomes a key adviser to the Prime Minister.  All the while he has been feeding information to his handler thinking it is going to the Americans when it is actually being  sent to Moscow.  Suddenly a hint that a spy is entrenched within the high ranks of the Israeli government causes a team to be assembled to catch him and if possible his handler as well. The chase takes the team from Tel Aviv and Moscow into the United States.

The pursuit of the spy by the team’s members is extremely well depicted with reactions of all involved ringing true in the settings of the novel. De Shalit has another book coming out shortly and due to his previous real life position as a high ranking official in the Israeli intelligence community it is a safe bet that that novel will be equally as mesmerizing as “Traitor.”

2/18 Paul Lane

TRAITOR by Jonathan de Shalit. Atria/Emily Bestler Books (January 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-1501170485. 320p.


January 30, 2018
Killer Choice by Tom Hunt

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Killer Choice is Hunt’s first book and certainly highlights the entrance into the literary world of a very promising author. The plot is indicative of a fascinating story about ordinary people caught in a horrible situation and their reactions to their quandary.
Gary Foster and his wife, Beth, have been trying for many years to get pregnant, then when Beth finds that she is pregnant, that news makes a happy marriage even better.
Suddenly their joy is destroyed when it is found that Beth has an inoperable brain tumor with only a short time to live.  The couple are devastated with the news and Gary is horrified to think of having to live the remainder of his life without his love.  They do not have an estimated $200,000.00 to try the only possible solution that may help  Beth.  That is, a new treatment being tested by a company in Germany which has proven  helpful in some cases.  The Fosters receive gifts from many kind people but the funds received do not even come close to the amount needed.
Enter an offer made by someone to Gary.  The money will be given to him; but only with the condition that he has to kill someone. Gary’s anguish on facing a normally total unacceptable choice is well described here. The actions and reactions of all the characters in the novel are well delineated and make a good book much better.
A very well done novel about normal people caught in an abnormal situation not of their doing.

1/18 Paul Lane

KILLER CHOICE by Tom Hunt. Berkley (January 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-0399586408. 352p.

SNOW by Mike Bond

January 29, 2018

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Snow is a typical novel by the very prolific Mike Bond.  It has bad guys and good guys set against each other in an environment, to say the least, hostile for all involved. And that environment is definitely snow and lots of it.

Zack, a former NFL star and currently renowned sportscaster and his friend Steve a successful wall street broker meet every year in Montana with their guide and friend Curt to have a boy’s time out and go hunting for elk.  This year each has a money problem – that is a lack of it, and a need for it sooner than later.

Introduced is the discovery of a crashed private plane with a cargo of two coffins.  The coffins filled with high grade cocaine multi millions of dollars worth even at low end street pricing.

The three individuals each have thoughts about what selling the drugs will do to get them out of their monetary problems. They find that someone survived the crash and walked out of the area certainly to get help in transporting the cocaine to a place where it could begin its normal journey into the hands of the people addicted to it and desperate to get it.

Diego is the name of  the individual tasked with taking care of bringing the drug to Maria Christina the lady that is in charge of the cartel’s operations in the US. Diego has a crush on her and imagines that if he is successful in handling the tasks given to him by Maria she will someday decide that he is worth her devotion and marry him.  These five people are the main players in the novel and Bond does a good job in fleshing them out a process also including those that love them.

The book is not overly complicated and the reactions of all those involved are easy to follow. The ending is a predictable one for those taking part in the story and provides a more than satisfactory ending. Well done and certainly continuing to enhance Bond’s reputation as an author of captivating novels making his next works eagerly waited for.

1/18 Paul Lane

SNOW by Mike Bond. Mandevilla Press; First Publication ed. edition (October 1, 2017).  ISBN 978-1627040372. 268p.

NEED TO KNOW by Karen Cleveland

January 25, 2018

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There is a notation on the description page of this book indicating that the screen rights have already been sold.  Reading the book I must say that it would be a big surprise if it wasn’t destined for screening. I finished the novel in one mesmerized sitting and my opinion is that it will not be possible to leave it once started for anyone picking it up. Karen Cleveland spent nine years working for the CIA and is certainly expert in presenting a book with the lead character working for the agency.
Vivian Miller is a CIA analyst who has been assigned to uncovering the leaders of Russian sleeper cells operating in the United States.  She has developed a system that has made her very effective in the work she does.  Much to her surprise, when discovering photos of one sleeper leader’s agents, she comes across a person well known to her. Her oath stresses the need to protect the US against all enemies both foreign and domestic but she is placed in a terrible quandary.  Can she go ahead and expose what she has found or protect someone very close to her?
To make a bad situation worse, her family is threatened if she doesn’t do what she is told to do by the leader of the cell she has found.  Death threats are issued if Vivian does not allow the Russians access to CIA files with her husband and children being singled out.
Cleveland utilizes a very effective literary style with the novel gaining velocity as it moves towards the ending. And the ending is one very well appropriate and logical climax for the book. I certainly feel that any reader of “Need to Know” will join me in waiting for her next book with bated breath.

1/18 Paul Lane


NEED TO KNOW by Karen Cleveland. Ballantine Books (January 23, 2018).  ISBN 978-1524797027. 304p.


January 24, 2018

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Alice Campbell and her husband Todd have moved to the well to do section of north Palm Beach county in Florida.  Todd is an architect and has found  a position in the area.  Alice was a professor of logic at the university level forced to give up her job in the move to Florida.

Unable to connect to another teaching job, Alice spends time going around the area to various functions trying to develop a social life.  She meets Katherine (Kat) Grant, and the two women quickly form a strong friendship meeting for lunches and get-togethers. Kat is the daughter of a very wealthy family and every bit the socialite with Alice a woman involved with her husband in the suburban routine of trying to make ends meet.  Kat is quick to invite Alice to lunches and even short getaways indicating that she is doing this because she enjoys the rapport she has with her and has enough money to do so.

Kat confides to Alice that her marriage to Howard, a financier, is a horror. Howard is a drunk, a bully,  a philanderer and proves himself a wife beater. Than while Kat is away on a trip to England, Howard falls to his death from the second floor of their mansion.  Looks like a freak accident, but the police,  out of the blue, arrest Alice on a murder charge. Was the fall a murder? Wouldn’t Kat be a more logical suspect if it were?  The relationship between Alice and Kat becomes distant with doubts about what is going on.

Hunt expertly takes the story to an ending that is logical but not readily foreseen, and gives us a novel that is mesmerizing as well as skillfully keeping the reader guessing and glued to the book.


1/18 Paul Lane

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Margot Hunt. MIRA (January 23, 2018).  ISBN 978-0778331131. 336p.


January 22, 2018

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Set sometime in the  future, T.S. Nichols’ novel imagines an fascinating development in the lives of mankind. It is the scientific transfer of memories from one person to another. Based on this achievement the book touches upon two recipients of memories. One is by police detective Cole who has been able to get memories from murdered individuals and with this as an aid catch the killer. He is the Memory Detective of the novel’s title.

The other is someone with the money that can afford to receive memories of say, great athletes, those individuals that have traveled and seen the world, and others whose backgrounds would interest him to get their memories.

The persona of Detective Cole is a well thought out study of a person who has literally been murdered many times with all the trauma that would be part of those crimes.  His skill has cost him dearly since he mixes memories with people he loves and finds that they cannot tolerate a relationship with him.  This certainly is the case with his girlfriend of several years who finds that there is no closeness due to memories of others intruding on their relationship.

The one murder that is paramount in this novel is one suffered by a young girl from Kansas that has been thrown out of her home by her father and  migrates to New York the locale of the book. Cole sees her coming to the city, her hopes, her dreams and her meeting a person that she falls in love with.  He also sees the killing which was the battering to death by the murderer with a hammer.  Based on the memories that are present allow the police to interview several suspects in working the case.

The description of the second individual includes memories from a  surfer who has enjoyed the sport at most of the world’s great surfing sites.  The person now wants to buy other memories in order to enhance his experiences.  Is there a connection between the millionaire enjoying great adventure vicariously and the case of murder being investigated by Cole?  In addition to memory transfer  being a concept well described T.S. Nichols has the definite ability to present a very tightly woven tale.  The ending is logical and stems from what we learn about the individuals described.  A very well done novel and of course, one that will keep the reader up all night thinking about the fascinating theme and the drama that stems from it.

1/18 Paul Lane

THE MEMORY DETECTIVE by T.S. Nichols. Alibi (January 23, 2018).  ASIN B072L4LKT1. 285p.