LAND LORD by Cheryl Colwell ~ a review

Land Lord

There is no end to big surprises in this espionage thriller. The one at the end, I didn’t see coming. In fact, I didn’t see quite a few of them coming. It’s a story about an attempt to overthrow the United States government from within. The reader will have to remember not only the novel’s characters but also their code names. But it’s worth it. So much is not what it seems. So much is clandestine.

Secret Service Agent Dain Ryder is loyal to the president at a precarious time when not all the men sworn to protect POTUS are trustworthy. Dain’s family were missionaries in China where his grandfather was murdered and his father blinded. Thus, he has long lived with bigotry and hatred in his heart toward the Chinese people. So, he’s thrown a curve ball when President Robert Bradley gives him a special assignment to work with a beautiful Chinese spy to find out who is behind the plot to bring down his administration.

Lian Chen is not only gorgeous, she’s a biochemist, a superb classical Chinese dancer, martial arts expert, a crack shot, and proficient with explosives. Dain begins to doubt her loyalty to America and to the president. She could be on the wrong side. She’s hiding something big. As he fights his attraction to her, he fears she may have a secret relationship with Robert Bradley?

This story goes from the Oval Office, to the halls of George Washington University, to the streets of D.C.’s Chinatown and back again. It’s quite a thrilling journey.

 

DIAMONDS ARE FOR EDEN by Felicia Mires ~ a review

Diamonds Are For Eden

The author thrusts the reader into a whirlwind of spies and assassins, all the while delivering a well written romantc suspense novel. Personally, I like my terrorists horrific and frightening as all get out, while the hero and heroine and totally focused on and consumed by the chase. That’s simply my espionage thriller preference and doesn’t at all detract from this writer’s ability to deliver a suspenseful romance.

Natasha Kelly owns a courier service for museums with her African born brother Katir, adopted by her parents when they were missionairies. She has been engaged by the Mossad, Israel’s spy organization, to transport uncut diamonds from South Africa to Israel. However, terrorists are trying to stop all diamond shipments from reaching Israel. Natasha not only has to get the diamonds to Israel, she also has to find out who the terrorists, are and why they’ve targeted South African diamonds.

Brithis screen heartthrob Dirk Sloan happens to sit across the aisle from Natasha on her flight to South Africa. He is also staying at her hotel, and appears out of nowhere to stop an attack upon her in a dark alleyway. At that point he gives her a kiss and she has to wonder if he’s playing foot-loose-and-fancy-free with her. She’s beginning to have an attraction to him she is fighting. He seems to be able to find her at any moment. He could be working with the terrorists seeking to stop her.

David Benjamin, career Mossad agent, has feelings for Natasha. So does Dirk Sloan, and there you have the classic romance novel love-triangle. Natasha is attacked in the middle of the night at a Mossad camp in the desert. The upshot is the two men take turns sleeping on her couch to protect her. Later Natasha and Dirk travel by camel to a desert Christian abbey where they must rescue monks who have been taken hostage by the same  terrorists who have been intercepting the diamonds. This romantic suspense novel has twists and turns, action, plenty of sizzle, with a deep faith element. The story continues in the next novel of the series.

DEADLY ADDITIVE by Donn Taylor ~ a review

Deadly Additive

Billionaire Steve Spinner has been manipulating his daughter Jocelyn since her birth. Now he’s endangered her life by forcing her and journalist Kristin Halvorsen to embark on a dangerous  mission in Columbia. They are posing as bird watchers, in that South American country, when they stumble upon a brutal massacre in the village of Chozadolor and are captured by a group of guerrilla fighters headed by the ruthless and viscous Diego Contreras. Kristen took photos of the massacre which show most of the men massacred in the village were butchered, but some apparently died due to some sort of chemical agent. Contreras’ men smash Kristen’s cameras, but she manages to hide a memory card with photos at the gruesome site.

No amount of money can entice soldier of fortune Jeb Sledge to rescue the young women. The hyper-responsible soldier of fortune who must right the wrongs in this world was the Old Sledge. He is determine to become the more relaxed New Sledge. This idea of the Old Sledge and the New Sledge confronting each other is a theme running through DEADLY ADDITIVE.

When Spinner dangles the name Diego Contreras as bait, Sledge bites. In the not so distant past Contreras and his men killed Alita, a young Colombian woman from a notable family Sledge had fallen in love with. Her entire family was killed in the attack and Sledge was severely wounded. However, in his gut, Sledge knows Spinner, the master manipulator is keeping something from him.

Sledge is assisted by Roger Brinkman, a retired CIA operative, now running his own private ‘information service’ which doesn’t have the constraints of a US government agency. Brinkman puts Sledge onto the quirky Ramirez family who offer their special services.  The entire family speaks in malapropisms which adds a touch of humor in just the right places. Two of my favs are: “It’s time to wake up and smell the coffins” and “That I must take with a fifth of amendments.”

Few male writers can write about the internal drama going on inside a woman who has been sexually threatened or abused. Donn Taylor does this extremely well by not intensely highlighting it (as many authors are inclined to do). He simply states it. We, the reader, understand what the character is going through.

The inspirational element is authentic and organic to the story as Jeb and Kristin, having confronted abject evil,  try to figure out if anything has a greater meaning. This is an edge of your  seat, page turning story.

 

One Night In Tehran by Luana Ehrlich ~ a review

One Night In Tehran

 

I read ONE NIGHT IN TEHRAN by Luana Ehrlich as a judge in the Grace Awards. Right in the first pages, its authenticity  floored me and made me want to keep reading.  The author has such a vast knowledge of CIA protocols, one wonders if she’s had some type of connection to that highly secretive world.

The story begins in Tehran. Titus Ray, an undercover American CIA agent is being hunted by Iranian authorities, but manages to escape the country. Back in the states, he learns he’s been targeted by an Iranian assassin. The CIA gives him a new cover story (a legend) and ships him to Oklahoma for his own safety. The rest of the story plays out on American soil and is a skillful combination of detective novel and spy story.

This book was a finalist in the Action-Adventure/Thriller/Western/Epic Novel category of the Grace Awards 2014 because it’s main character, CIA agent Titus Ray, was deeply affected by the Christian family who gave him shelter while he hid in Tehran. Thus he began a personal, spiritual search and converted to Christianity. The faith element of the novel doesn’t at all intrude on the action-adventure, spy story. It simply gives the main character depth.

The novel is well written, exciting, actually. It kept me fully engaged. My only criticism is that it seems to end abruptly with a major string untied. This is deliberate on the part of the author, a literary choice she made. I recommend this novel and will indeed be reading the sequel.