PARTY OF TWO by Jasmine Guillory

August 15, 2020

PARTY OF TWO by Alexis Daria. Berkley (June 23, 2020). ISBN 978-0593100820. 352 pages.

Kindle

Audible

Hardcover


THE MOSSAD JOB by Menahem Misgav

August 14, 2020

CLICK TO PURCHASE

From the publisher:

Back in the old days they used to do it for a living.

Now, they are looking for a revenge.

Rotem is a retired Mossad agent, a proud grandfather and a man who enjoys life to the fullest. One day while on a trip to Europe with his wife, he listens to an interview on local radio that utterly infuriates him.

The interviewee, Meshulam Muller, is a Dutch Jew who immigrated to Israel, was recruited into the ranks of the Mossad, and was subsequently fired from the organization while still in training. Ever since, he has been busy dealing in expensive works of art and most of all, tarnishing the reputation of the organization in every possible forum.

With the same focus and determination of his best days in action, Rotem decides to gather some friends who served with him in the Mossad. After so many years of Muller bad mouthing the organization that is so sacred to them, they decided to run a sting operation on Muller. This brilliant and precise scam will scare and embarrass him.

However, the members of the team, who were so used to being at the cutting edge, realize that times have changed. Situations they had never known in their operative past upset their reality through and through and with it, their entire operation…


A fascinating look into the Israeli Mossad the top tier of the Israeli clandestine spy organizations. The author apparently did not serve in the Mossad, but his insights into the organization seem to be founded on some inside information. The novel has an interesting plot, a cast of characters that are depicted as having served with the Mossad and are currently retired, and the villain of the piece who briefly served with the Mossad but was let go by them as being unfit for duty.

Meshulam Muller is a Dutch Jew that emigrated to Israel, joined the Mossad but was found unfit for the group and let go. Since his departure from the spy organization he has been dealing in expensive works of art and at the same time making sure that he continuously works at tarnishing the reputation of his short-term employer. Rotem is an honorably retired member of the Mossad; a proud grandfather and living with the love of his life. While on a trip to Europe with his wife he hears a radio broadcast by Muller the content of which infuriates him. He decides to exact revenge and does so in true Mossad fashion. He assembles a team, draws up an operation plan, and paying attention to the details proceeds to set up a scam on Muller. This is not to kill him but to get the man to give them a sum of money approximately equal to the funds he gained via utilizing the attacks on the Mossad. The aim is to get the money, donate it to charity and make Muller aware that he has been scammed.

The operation is described with the various retired Mossad agents playing the parts that approximate what they did while active. The novel is a short one and lends itself quite neatly to starting and finishing it in one comfortable read. It is also a reason to look for Misgav’s next book.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE MOSSAD JOB by Menahem Misgav. Independently published (May 7, 2020). ISBN: 979-8643989912. 172 pages.

Kindle


AN HEIRESS TO REMEMBER by Maya Rodale

August 13, 2020

8/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

AN HEIRESS TO REMEMBER by Maya Rodale. Avon; Reissue edition (March 31, 2020). ISBN 978-0062838841. 368 pages.

Kindle

Audible

Hardcover


THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR by Ellen Marie Wiseman

August 12, 2020

CLICK TO PURCHASE

A Heroic Novel of Survival During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

From the publisher:

From the internationally bestselling author of What She Left Behind comes a gripping and powerful tale of upheaval—a heartbreaking saga of resilience and hope perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams and Kristin Hannah—set in Philadelphia during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak—the deadly pandemic that went on to infect one-third of the world’s population…

In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded slums and the anti-immigrant sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army. But as her city celebrates the end of war, an even more urgent threat arrives: the Spanish flu. Funeral crepe and quarantine signs appear on doors as victims drop dead in the streets and desperate survivors wear white masks to ward off illness. When food runs out in the cramped tenement she calls home, Pia must venture alone into the quarantined city in search of supplies, leaving her baby brothers behind.

Bernice Groves has become lost in grief and bitterness since her baby died from the Spanish flu. Watching Pia leave her brothers alone, Bernice makes a shocking, life-altering decision. It becomes her sinister mission to tear families apart when they’re at their most vulnerable, planning to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are “true Americans.”

Waking in a makeshift hospital days after collapsing in the street, Pia is frantic to return home. Instead, she is taken to St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum – the first step in a long and arduous journey. As Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost in the months and years that follow, Pia must confront her own shame and fear, risking everything to see justice – and love – triumph at last. Powerful, harrowing, and ultimately exultant, The Orphan Collector is a story of love, resilience, and the lengths we will go to protect those who need us most.


Ellen Marie Wiseman presents her readers with the most hard-hitting and well-researched novel that it has been my pleasure to read. It provides a microcosmic view of a worldwide pandemic that devastated the world right on the heels of the First World War. The Spanish Flu, as it was termed, actually surpassed the deaths of the combatants in its mortality rate. Beginning in 1918 as the war was winding down towards its end, the first “wave” of the disease began and continued in two additional waves before it had run its course.

Wiseman uses two women living in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area during the period of the outbreak and spread of the flu as the principal characters of the novel. The first is a young girl of 13 who is faced with the most horrible situation that any human can encounter. Pia Lange is the daughter of a family that emigrated from Germany before the war began. In order to convince people that he was not a traitor Pia’s father enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to France and life in the trenches. Pia’s mother was forced to handle the family’s problems, tending to Pia and two twin baby brothers. There was very little social network support in those days and her mother was destroyed by both her work in the apartment they lived in as well as having to bring in money. When the lady died from being run down and contracting the flu, Pia had to take her place. Wiseman’s descriptions of Pia’s struggles and problems are heartbreaking when she is used as an example of how orphans were treated in the past.

Bernice Groves is the other woman involved in the story. She has just had her baby pass away due to the disease and is understandably devastated by it. Bernice sees Pia leaving her building one day and makes a decision that will affect both women and the near future course of their lives. The decision and its consequences are the gist of the story and the means of writing about the effect the flu has on everyone living at the time of the event. Wiseman is extremely effective in fleshing out the characters that take part in the novel and the personal agonies that they suffer in trying to survive a disease that seems to have no end in sight.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR by Ellen Marie Wiseman. Kensington (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-1496715869. 304 pages.

Kindle

Audible


YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria

August 11, 2020

YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria. Avon (August 4, 2020). ISBN 978-0062959928. 384 pages.

Kindle

Audible


THE SILENT WIFE by Karin Slaughter

August 10, 2020

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Will Trent, Book 10

From the publisher:

He watches. He waits. He takes. Who will be next . . .

THE SILENT WIFE

The New York Times bestselling author of Pieces of Her and The Last Widow returns with another electrifying thriller.

Investigating the killing of a prisoner during a riot inside a state penitentiary, GBI investigator Will Trent is confronted with disturbing information. One of the inmates claims that he is innocent of a brutal attack for which he has always been the prime suspect. The man insists that he was framed by a corrupt law enforcement team led by Jeffrey Tolliver and that the real culprit is still out there—a serial killer who has systematically been preying on women across the state for years. If Will reopens the investigation and implicates the dead police officer with a hero’s reputation of wrongdoing, the opportunistic convict is willing to provide the information GBI needs about the riot murder.

Only days ago, another young woman was viciously murdered in a state park in northern Georgia. Is it a fluke, or could there be a serial killer on the loose?

As Will Trent digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the cold case in order to find the answer. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear, and lies to become truth. But Will can’t crack either mystery without the help of the one person he doesn’t want involved: his girlfriend and Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, medical examiner Sara Linton.

When the past and present begin to collide, Will realizes that everything he values is at stake . . .


A brilliantly conceived story about a psychopath and one that is a complete one. A fiend that preys upon young women, capturing them, torturing them, and then raping their bodies after he has killed them. The author has used Will Trent, a detective with a police department in The Atlanta Georgia area, and his girlfriend Doctor Sara Linton, who is the medical examiner for the same police force. This is the 10th book featuring the two in the series, and I must comment that I like Slaughter’s treatment of them. They are normal police personnel, not super-beings pulling solutions miraculously out of the air. Both are dedicated to solving cases and bringing criminals to justice by slowly, but surely obtaining evidence in solving the crime.

In the book’s opening, Will is visiting a prison to interview a prisoner when he is pulled into talking to another man that claims he is innocent of a murder of a young woman and should not be jailed. Will, in thinking over what the second man told him, brings the situation to his department head and they decide to look into the matter. Their investigations unearth a series of murders in an area around Atlanta going back several years.

Karin Slaughter describes what has happened to the girls in great detail and it is not light reading. The descriptions describe the torture inflicted on them and the reader needs to understand that it is not gratuitous horror but the author’s need to bring out what women can go through when sick men decide to “punish” them. In an afterward, Slaughter does indicate that it was one of her intentions to bring out this situation.

Will and Sara’s group begin unearthing similar crimes that occurred in areas to the north of Atlanta and judicious study uncovers similar physical damages to the women inflicted by the murderer and which betray a knowledge of anatomy. Sara rereads accounts of the previous murders and skillfully sets up a profile of the killer. In two cases the victim has survived but will never completely recover mentally.

Slaughter describes the attempts to interview them, with both Will and Sara devastated by the accounts. The book is absolutely one that must be finished in one mesmerizing period after which some relaxation is necessary and time out awaiting the author’s next novel.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE SILENT WIFE by Karin Slaughter. William Morrow (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-0062858108. 496 pages.

Kindle

Audible


THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery

August 9, 2020

THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery. HQN; Original edition (August 4, 2020). ISBN 978-1335136961. 384 pages.

Kindle

Audible


THE HOLLOW ONES by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

August 8, 2020

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Blackwood Tapes, Book 1

From the publisher:

A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, and an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named Hugo Blackwood, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best and only defense against unspeakable evil.

From the authors who brought you The Strain Trilogy comes a strange, terrifying, and darkly wondrous world of suspense, mystery, and literary horror. The Hollow Ones is a chilling, spell-binding tale, a hauntingly original new fable from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and bestselling author Chuck Hogan featuring their most fascinating character yet.


A novel diving deeply into an occult scenario and immersing the reader into various intellectual exercises throughout the book. The story involves two leading individuals; the first is Odessa Hardwicke a new FBI agent and the other is John Silence a man that comes when he is called upon for help. The calling upon him for help must be done by leaving a letter for him in a mailbox that doesn’t exist in a building in Manhattan, New York. How the mailbox is found is only if someone tells you about it.

The action begins when Odessa shoots her partner to death due to his becoming inexplicably violent and presenting a danger to her. Upon shooting him she sees an emanation leaving his body which is not explainable. Odessa is placed on Desk leave by her department while the shooting is investigated and to keep her busy is given the assignment to clean out a retiring agent’s effects. This brings her to learning about John via information in Agent Solomon’s (the retiree) belongings and eventually sending for him to help her.

We are taken to three different time zones and places by the authors during the course of the story. The first, of course, Newark, New Jersey the scene of the shooting by Odessa, back many years to the southern United States where Earl Solomon as a new FBI agent is investigating the lynching of a white man and also 450 years ago when John Silence, happily married runs into the evil that requires his presence through the centuries while losing his wife to the Hollow people. The Hollow Ones is the title of the book and are entities that are the epitome of evil and best left to the authors to explain during the course of the novel.

The writing stays on the dark side throughout the book and remains an adventure into the occult for the reader. My own feeling is that it strains the patience of the author’s fans and does become more than a little over-intellectualized. Nothing should stop their fans from picking up their next book but this one leaves something to be desired and is, in my opinion, not their normal five-star novel.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE HOLLOW ONES by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan. Grand Central Publishing (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538761748. 336 pages

Kindle

Audible


TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert

August 7, 2020

TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert. Berkley (July 7, 2020). ISBN 978-1984804044. 320 pages.

Kindle

Audible


THE PANDORA PRESCRIPTION by James Sheridan

August 5, 2020

CLICK TO PURCHASE

From the publisher:

The pharmaceutical giants have a big skeleton in their closet and will fight tooth and nail to keep it there. Author Dan Travis, notorious unsolved mystery specialist, is on another book tour when a cryptic message from a desperate stranger blows his life apart. He is sucked into a silent war which hinges on an incriminating data file. Finding it is Travis’s only hope for surviving a deadly chase across America. But to find its location, Travis must discover the link between the biggest medical cover-up in history and the greatest assassination conspiracy of the twentieth century. The key lies within a secret underground of doctors sworn to an ancient oath. When the solution is the problem, which side will YOU be on? The facts behind the fiction will blow you away.


James Sheridan’s book is a fascinating look at certain scenarios existing in the world at the current time. The dialog he utilizes supports underlying beliefs that (a) the assassination of ex U.S. president John Kennedy involved an international conspiracy, not the approach that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, and (b) the Pharmaceutical industry is rife with schemes to prevent known cures for diseases like cancer to become accredited. The industry promotes the sale of medicines that might even harm the patient in place of cures solely in the interest of making more money than a cure might bring in.

Dan Travis, an expert on several unsolved mysteries, is on a book promotion tour when a message unexpectedly received moves him into a secret war based upon a data file. He knows the person sending him the message and is also immediately galvanized into action when he is met by a lady purporting to be that man’s sister. She tells him that she is a government agent and will help him get the file and publicize it.

The action immediately accelerates with a man named Mr. Green, an agent of the U.S. government, and backed by many of his own people, begins to chase Dan and the girl now working with him. While moving forward in their search for the data file Dan learns about the reality of both the killing of John F Kennedy and the truth about big Pharma’s conspiracy to crush many cures in order to continue to rake in money. The key to the plot by the Pharmaceutical companies lies with another secret organization this time with doctors sworn to bring out the truth.

Whether Sheridan is exposing extremely high-level conspiracies or not does not detract from the sheer force of the author’s descriptions. The book quickly mesmerizes the reader and does not allow it to be put down until finished. Moreover, readers of the novel will not only be looking for future works by the author but also spending some time on the internet in attempts to ascertain the possibility or not of the conspiracies described being rooted in fact. I did spend some time searching for the possibility or not of the book is correct in its allegations but I leave my findings for readers to investigate on their own.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE PANDORA PRESCRIPTION by James Sheridan. Sterling & Ross, Cambridge House Press; 1stedition (September 28, 2007). ISBN: 978-0978721350. 432 pages.

Kindle