Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez is a very fast-paced thriller, mystery, and spy novel. It was, and possibly still is, on sale on Amazon’s website for USD 0.00. This was the best giveaway novel I have read of all promotional items I have downloaded in this genre. I had finished one novel and was looking for my next read. The cover looked good and the excerpt sounded good so I planned to begin the 400-page novel and read it over the next few of days. The pace was so fast that after I began reading I didn’t stop (take a breath) until the 40% point. The novel is stand-alone, it has an ending that will satisfy some readers …or not. There is a sequel but readers can walk away without guilt feelings of not reading subsequent novels.
Hat Check by David F. Berens is an eye-opening funny but not quite hilarious romp through a field of dysfunctional characters. They are not maliciously dysfunctional, there is no intention to cheat and defraud others; it is that they act weird in response to events as they occur. Characters don’t seem to plan anything. Stuff just happens. I got the impression that the author created a bunch of characters, put them in a bunch of ridiculous situations then threw the book in the corner for a while. After some indeterminate period, Berens retrieved the novel and wrote transition events so that the characters all had some connected role in the final product. This is just my impression and I really liked the final product. I was amused and chuckled most of the way through the novel.
Hit The Road Jack by Willow Rose is first in a series of “Jack Ryder” books. The novel is divided into three parts. All of it is interesting and an entertaining read but it is in Part III that the action explodes. It was worth reading the first two parts to get there. The end has a series of surprises; two of them are huge in the sense of “no way I could have seen that coming.”
I have read four of Willow Rose’s novels in the past so I was not surprised that this one would be about a serial killer. Rose is always interesting with the variations she introduces. This novel starts out with a killer who takes on the name Snakecharmer. Whether he personally likes snakes or not is immaterial; he uses them to gain entrance into the home of his intended victims. Once he alerts the intended victim to the danger, he offers to help by removing or killing the snake. Of course, the snakes are harmless and he recycles them at the home of his next kill.
Jack Ryder is a detective in the small tourist town of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Nothing much happened there and he had been a detective in a larger and more active force. But when his wife, Arianna, had left him with young twin children plus a third teenager Jack had “adopted, Jack decided to join the smaller force. His mom and dad operated a small motel in the town so they would be available to help with the kids, Jack had a condo near the motel and near the most important thing in Jack’s life, a beach where he could surf. Several times in the novel I thought Jack’s addiction to surfing was going to replace his active homicide investigations.
A further subplot involves a popular country singer, Shannon, who has lived through fifteen years of spousal abuse until she decides to run away from hubby with her daughter, Angela. One huge problem for her is that she is so easily recognizable. She runs away to Cocoa Beach. She stays in the motel run by Jack’s parents. Can anyone see what is coming here? That is OK, the lack of surprise in this subplot does not interfere with the much larger issues going on.
The Snakecharmer is busy. He is on a mission to deliver a final solution to a certain type of woman. The entire police force relies on Jack’s imported experience as a detective to find out what motives are in play. Jack can find no connections. As a reader, I couldn’t find any credible motives. The Snakecharmer does reveal his loathing for a certain type of woman but I could not figure out what event had precipitated the hatred.
This is a fun read for fans of crime fiction. Willow Rose has delivered some interesting twists. I gave this a four-star Amazon rating. It is a Kindle Unlimited (KU) book so I could have read it for free. Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans But I purchased the novel for USD 0.99. It stays in my library that way and I show it to students as an example of the type of writing I like.
Look Fast or Die Slow by David Six is the second book in the Bruno & Salvanian series. The first one, In the Time It Takes to Blink impressed me so much that I decided not to read this one right away. The pace of the first book was so fast and dense with action that I wanted to put some space between books one and two. It is a bit like not wanting to read a book of jokes from beginning to end, the edge is just not there; as a reader I become jaded. Coming back to this novel after a breather was good. In my opinion, this book is just as great as the first one. There is one huge coincidence which I will not describe that I am sure will annoy some readers as being too much of a … coincidence. I had no problem with it. This is one of the few novels to which I give five Amazon stars.
Little Dramas by Glenn McGoldrick is a collection of eight very short stories. They are short enough to be called flash fiction. As I read through each one, I jotted down by one-line takes as I read. There is a twist to each one. The twists are not necessarily grotesque or totally out of the realm of reality but some of them are a bit difficult to detect. I think writing them must have been pleasant for McGoldrick. As a reader, I enjoyed them, and I would give each of them an Amazon star rating. Some were fours, and some were threes; all were interesting. As a collection, they come in at 3.5 stars. I don’t believe the Amazon system allows me to give partial stars.
Death on Lake Michigan by Steve Arnett is a 225-page 13-chapter mystery novel published in 2015. On the one hand I found it to be a good example of linear interesting storytelling and on the other hand, I felt uncomfortable with characters popping up just because the story needed a character to supply a small bit of needed information. I felt there were too many unneeded characters in the story.
The Wrong House to Burgle was offered to me by the author through a website. It is a short story published in 2017 that serves as a preview of the author’s writing style. If I liked this story, I would probably download some of the author’s longer works.