The Moroccan Girl @CharlesCumming

I had a bit of “ooops” moment yesterday apparently. For whatever reason, this was supposed to have posted on its pub day and it did not. However, after visiting Amazon, they also are having a “glitch” with the book so it is just as well. I promise that my review did not cause the glitch despite the fact that my family is convinced that I can break all things electronically related. It’s a myth – really. It is.

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At its heart, The Moroccan Girl is more fiction/romance than spy thriller despite what you will be told otherwise. I used to read espionage books like they were going out of style. This borders on spy thriller but it is more “espionage wannabe” than the actual fact.

Kit Carradine – not to be confused at all with Keith Carradine the real-life actor – is a spy thriller writer with international fame. He is approached by MI6 to deliver a “package” to someone when he travels to Morocco for a writer’s conference. Carradine is ecstatic! He finally has an opportunity to actually do so spy work rather than just write about it. He soon realizes, though, that he has been manipulated (duh moment here) and that the request has far deeper implications than he realizes. The woman, Lara Bartok aka the Moroccan Girl, whom he is supposed to be on the look out for, is missing. She is part of a subversive, revolutionary group called “The Resurrection” who is targeting alt-right groups across the globe. As the search for Bartok continues, Carradine is unsure who and what to believe. I can’t really blame him. 

The Moroccan Girl was an extremely interesting, very fast paced thriller. It is, quite literally, ripped from today’s headlines. The part that actually involved Carradine was bit contrived – I’m not sure MI6 would involve an author in this manner – but the CIA has done stranger things than this recently so what do I know. Cumming has masterfully crafted a intriguing set of characters that are both relatable and secretive, just as good subversives should be. In all, it is a riveting spy/romance tale that will keep you thoroughly engrossed from beginning to end.

 

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The American #NadiaDalbuono

The American is a complex, intricate tale of international espionage and intrigue that weaves through Italy, the US and the walls of the Vatican. It is the follow-up to Nadia  Dalbuono’s stunning debut, The Few, featuring her flawed protagonist, Leone Scamarcio, who is back in The American. 

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Detective Scamarcio is called to the scene of an apparent suicide, one who appears to be an American businessman. But Scamarcio is suspicious when he discovers plaster in the man’s pockets. The set-up is reminiscent of a decades old murder of “God’s Banker,” the Vatican’s treasurer. When a Cardinal with links to the church’s bank is killed and the US government sends in “agents” to threaten Scamarcio, he knows he is onto to something big – and something dangerous. He’s right. As the investigation continues, there are links to every dirty war, conspiracy, “hit” job throughout the past few decades and Scamarcio becomes the target of mobs, governments and the church who all have something to hide and do whatever is necessary to keep their secrets hidden.

The American is an expertly written, fabulously researched and an intensely laid out thriller. There have been times when I’ve read international authors where I became a bit “lost in translation,” but that never was the case with The American. It is a fast paced, edge-of-your-seat story that will hold your attention throughout. If ever a series should be put on the screen, it is this one! The intrigue and suspense is palpable throughout.

I did read The Few, the first book in this series, and I like how Scamarcio is evolving as a character. There are times when a flawed protagonist gets worse or their bad behavior becomes piggish, that is not the case with Scamarcio. He is handled very deftly. Because this is the second in the series, I would strongly suggest that you begin with The Few. While this could be read as a stand alone, I wouldn’t recommend it. I do, however, absolutely recommend both books to anyone who likes thrillers, suspense, international intrigue or well written fiction!

Thank you #Netgalley, and #ScribeUS for my copy of this terrific thriller

 

Judgement #JosephFinder

Once there was a time when I only read legal, political and espionage thrillers. I cut my teeth on the sharp edges of the race against time, twist backs and back stabbing plot lines. I had to stop because the reality of these book was, in fact, too real. I begin seeing crooks and spies and murderers behind every tree and in every shadow. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still love a really well written thriller now and again. Joseph Finder is one of the best writers of the genre and his latest, Judgement, a legal thriller had me captivated from the first sentence to the last.

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In a departure from his long running series, Finder sets this novel primarily in the legal arena. Juliana Brody is a judge who rotates between civil and criminal cases. Currently, while dealing with a very heavy docket, the case taking up a majority of her time and attention is one dealing with a new start-up company, an employee who has been fired and who, in turn, has filed a sexual harassment case against the company. While the case is going through motions, Brody runs into a problem. This straight-laced, never does anything wrong judge has a one night stand and that one night stand miraculously becomes the newest lawyer for the very same start-up company over which Brody is presiding. Admittedly at this point I was a little incredulous but, you know, we have to have a plot and the rest of the storyline is amazing. So read on…. We soon learn that the one night stand black mailer is just a tiny pinpoint of the problems waiting for Brody if she doesn’t throw this case – and that is something she is not willing to do. As the stakes get higher, so do the threats and the thrills. Brody makes mistake after mistake that could very well cost her life and her career. Her allies are few and her enemies are mounting. It’s a race to see who will come out on top in the end – and with Finder, you never really know who what will be!

Finder is great at creating characters that are deep, flawed, realistic and relatable and he has done another fantastic job with those in Judgement. The plot, with the one exception that I mentioned, is so incredibly timely and realistic that I found myself reading between the lines in the newspaper and wondering who this story really was about. You just know it has happened or will happen! It’s too real not to be true. There is some courtroom drama if you like that in your legal thrillers, but not so much to bore you if you don’t. This is more of a cat and mouse, keep you on the run thriller with legal overtones than an actual “court room” legal tome.

If you like action packed, character driven, ripped from the headlines, heart pounding thrillers then this is the book for you!

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #DuttonBooks and #PenguinPublishingGroup for my copy of this thriller

The View From Our Window @authorljryan

Every now and again a book sneaks up on me and grabs my attention and my heart. The View From our Window is exactly one of those books! A sweeping family drama that travels from Ireland to France, dips down to Columbia and back again, The View From Our Window is part romance, espionage thriller, and domestic noir all in one book!

SaturdayI love a great fiction story whether it is historical fiction, women’s lit, the classics or a family drama; fiction has so much to offer when it is written well. The View From Our Window, a family drama, revolves around three people, ironically born on the same day at nearly the same time, whose lives continue to intersect with one another. Laurel, our heroine, is a newly widowed mother of two who is trying to escape her family and their treachery, as well as the mounting problems her deceased husband has left behind. Paul, her childhood friend, is a rising star in Irish politics and has just been named Minister of Justice. Unfortunately that means he will be in charge of the investigation into Laurel’s husband. And David, a French movie star – which is not as trite as it sounds – who is recovering from a very nasty divorce that has cost him visitation with his children. Their lives will converge with very dramatic, life threatening results.

cover151262-medium I admit that in the beginning of the book I was lost and confused as the details and backstory, the births, of these three were laid out for us. However, the writing was so expertly done and the story so compelling that I knew if I continued I would be rewarded – and I was! There is, quite literally, not one genre into which this book belongs. There is romance between Laurel and David but it grows out of a very beautiful friendship that she began with his family who befriended her when she moved to the French countryside. There is international politics and intrigue as we follow Paul through the machinations of Irish politics that is fraught with complications within the EU. There is espionage, drug runners and white collar crime that crosses all borders and familial lines. In all, it is a non-stop intense thrill ride from beginning to end! There is something for everyone within this book! I laughed, I cried, I got angry and still was left wanting more! I want a sequel!! All the stars and accolades for The View From Our Window and L J Ryan, I cannot recommend this highly enough!

Heaps of thanks to #Netgalley, @BooksGoSocial and #LJRyan for my copy of this amazing book!

Seconds to Midnight

Philip Donlay has given us a fast-paced, action packed spy thriller that hooks you from the first paragraph and doesn’t let go – long after you’ve finished the book!

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When I selected Seconds to Midnight, I knew nothing of Philip Donlay, his primary protagonist – Donovan Nash – nor did I realize that it was an espionage thriller. How fortuitous that I was unaware of these things or I might not have read this incredible thriller.

Seconds to Midnight is the latest in a series of spy thrillers by Donlay. However, despite my knowing nothing of the primary characters, their history and relationships, this book could easily have been read as a stand-alone. Donlay does an excellent job filling in the characters’ backstory as the main character, Donovan Nash, catches up with others in the book.

Nash works for an NGO, “Eco-Watch” and uses this to “solve” world-wide incidents. In the beginning of Seconds To Midnight, the crew discover a mysterious woman who either was escaping from some very nasty fellows, or she was part of the group and the only survivor. She cannot remember and has left no clues to her identity. As the tale twists and turns, we are introduced to a myriad of spies, thugs, heroes and mercenaries and, often, it is difficult to distinguish between any of them. As their machinations unfold, we are  us thrust down the path toward a very climactic conclusion.

As with any spy thriller, there is a massive amount of violence, near misses with death and, to some extent, a pass on believability. However, Donlay has woven together an exciting, well-written novel full of action and suspense. If espionage is your thing, you will find this one to be very satisfying. If you are fan of Tom Clancy’s older novels or James Rollins’ Sigma Force series, then you will love Seconds to Midnight.

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #PhilipDonlay and Oceanview Publishing for this thriller.