Tag-Archive for » Thriller/Suspense «

Review: “Moscow Bound” by Adrian Churchward

“Moscow Bound” (The Puppet Meisters Trilogy, Book 1) by Adrian Churchward

Available from: Amazon
Released on: 28 April 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Description: Ekaterina Romanova, the estranged wife of Russia’s wealthiest oligarch Konstantin Gravchenko, asks Scott Mitchell, an idealistic young English human rights lawyer who is being intimidated by the authorities, to find the father she’s never met. She believes he’s been languishing for decades without trial in the Gulag system. Meanwhile, General Pravda of military intelligence, though an advocate of transparency, is determined to protect a covert operation that he’s been running for years.

General Pravda hinders Ekaterina and Scott at every turn and lawyer and client are forced to go on the run for a murder they didn’t commit. As they descend into the Hades that is the world of international realpolitik Scott is compelled to reconsider his own values, and Pravda’s life’s work disintegrates, when Scott uncovers a 50 year-old Cold War secret, which both the Russian and US governments are still trying to hide from the public domain.

‘Moscow Bound’ is the first book in The Puppet Meisters trilogy, dealing with state abuse of power.

Review: I’ve been struggling to try to write this review and try to properly express my views on the book, because my opinion is rather conflicted.

This was not a bad book. The writing is competent, and there was a fairly steady feeling of suspense through out. Our author did well with the history and the setting, to really give you that picture and keep both your interest and your intrigue. So, this story hit the marks of plot, setting, and intrigue.

What fell apart for me was in the character development. One aspect of reading is, to me, getting into the characters and caring about them. I never really felt like I felt enough for the main characters in this book, particularly the one who was our main figure: Scott. But I didn’t hook much into Ekaterina, or Pravda. (Although I did more for Pravda than the other two.)

I never really felt like I got to know Scott that well, and I didn’t feel his motivations as strongly as I felt like I needed to in order to understand why he did the things he did. Ekaterina was too enigmatic for me to hook entirely into her, and in being so, Scott’s reactions to her just didn’t make as much sense to me. And sometimes characters that were supposed to be worldly felt rather…naive and foolish.

There was one point where I just wanted to shout at each and every one of them about how no one even conceived of a particular fact. I don’t want to give it away here, but I came up with the theory almost instantly because I know that people can make things up. No one in the book even conceived of it, and their “but it’s all” explanations in not doing so felt thin.

Otherwise, there were some things that felt like there weren’t properly explained, and did make some sections a bit confusing. If I’d been better connected to the characters, however, this probably wouldn’t have been as much of an issue.

So, this is why this review has been so hard to write. A lack of character connection is a big issue for me, but I felt much of the rest, so… 3.5 Fireballs on this one. I also now see that this is the first book in a trilogy, and I’m curious enough that I may check out the rest.

3.5 Fireballs

Review: “Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office” by Khalid Muhammad [Tour Stop]

“Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office” by Khalid Muhammad

Available from: Amazon
Released on: 13 January 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, as part of the book’s blog tour.

Description: Celebrated as a ragtag force that defeated and broke the Soviet Union, no one predicted the Mujahideen would bring with them a plague that would spread like wildfire through Pakistan in the years to follow. When the battle-worn fighters returned with no enemy or war to fight, they turned their sights on the country that had been their creator and benefactor.

From the same battlegrounds that birthed the Mujahideen, a young Kamal Khan emerges as a different breed of warrior. Discarding his wealthy family comforts, Kamal becomes a precision sniper, an invincible commando and a clandestine operative bringing intimidation, dominance and death with him to the battlefield. Ending the plague is his prime directive.

Shrouded in political expediency, hampered by internal power struggles, international espionage and doublespeak that makes Washington’s spin doctors proud, Kamal’s mission is a nightmare of rampant militant fundamentalism that threatens to choke and take Pakistan hostage. For him, the fight is not just for freedom, but the survival of a nation.

Review: You know, I have no idea what I think about this book.

I don’t know that I really liked it necessarily, but I didn’t dislike it either. I don’t know if this book was written in English or a translation. I didn’t see a translator listed anywhere, but it felt like it was. I could be wrong on that, but there were some phrases and word choices that could interrupt your read flow.

This book was fascinating to me, because being a US citizen who hasn’t traveled much, it gave me a view into an area and culture that I didn’t know a lot about except what might be heard on the news. And I’m enough of a cynic to not trust the news. Fiction can have a more honest eye, oddly enough. So I liked that. Even if the view was a gritty, harsh one at times.

This was, indeed, a very fast-paced book. Maybe too much so at times, as I was left with a bit of whiplash wondering what was happening. The plot points wandered so much at times that I wasn’t sure what the over-all plot even was. A little oddly paced, I mean, with a lot more Tell than Show.

Kamal proved to be an interesting Main Character. He wasn’t likeable in many ways, but yet he was. We didn’t see as much into him as I may have liked, but we did see enough to get an idea of him.

Now… I don’t actually read a lot of spy thrillers, so that may be where I’ve been tripped up. Maybe the way this story was told is standard for the genre. I’ll freely admit that. And it did keep my interest, even if I was confused at times and wondering where it was all going.

So…yeah. It was a very interesting book. I can’t say I really liked it, but I can’t say I didn’t like it either. So, this seems like a 3.5 Fireballs for me.

3.5 Fireballs

 

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Review: “Misdirection” by Austin Williams [Tour Stop]

“Misdirection” (The Rusty Diamond Trilogy, Book One) by Austin Williams

Available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Kobo
Released on: 16 July 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, as part of the book’s blog tour.

Description: A street magician needs more than sleight-of-hand to survive getting embroiled in a murder case in this blistering novel of suspense, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and George Pelecanos.

After years of chasing fame and hedonistic excess in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Rusty “The Raven” Diamond has returned home to Ocean City to piece his life back together. When he finds himself an innocent suspect in his landlord’s brutal murder, Rusty abandons all hope of maintaining a tranquil existence. Acting on impulse, he digs into the investigation just enough to anger both the police and a local drug cartel.

As the unsolved case grows more complex, claiming new victims and inciting widespread panic, Rusty feels galvanized by the adrenaline he’s been missing for too long. But his newfound excitement threatens to become an addiction, leading him headfirst into an underworld he’s been desperately trying to escape.

Austin Williams creates an unforgettable protagonist in Rusty, a flawed but relatable master of illusion in very real danger. As the suspense builds to an explosively orchestrated climax, Williams paints a riveting portrait of both a city—and a man—on the edge.

Review: Our author has written a very readable story. It’s well paced and flows right along, bringing you from scene to scene. Rusty is certainly a character with a good balance of both virtues and flaws, and that’s important to me. However, I’m not sure I ever really connected with him, which made it hard to feel like I was really into the story.

Perhaps it was the drug angle of the story just not hooking me. I didn’t dislike Rusty, or the story, just didn’t quite get pulled entirely into it.

Some of the scenes that weren’t from Rusty’s perspective felt like “filler” and the ex-girlfriend arc felt kind of pointless, but that part I imagine will be brought back in later books. This is subtitled as the first in a trilogy. So, I’m not holding that against it too much but I wish it had felt stronger in this one.

I did like the magician thing, because that was different from the usual. I always like that. Jim was cool, too. I did like him. So, this book had a lot going for it. I think it just wasn’t quite the style for me. 3.5 Fireballs.

3.5 Fireballs

 

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Lawrence Verigin is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Dark Seed

“Dark Seed” by Lawrence Verigin

Published on… 1 December 2013
Published as… Thriller, Lab-Lit

Lawrence Verigin’s Boom Baby Blast

1. One Random Fact: GMOs have been banned or require labeling in over 60 countries. But not in the US and Canada.

2. Fictional Character You’d Really Like to Be: Indiana Jones – he is cool, resourceful, has a great sense of humor and is smart.

3. Your Authorial Theme Song: Unchained, by Van Halen. It’s motivating and makes me want to do something to change things. Second would be, The Cave, by Mumford and Sons. That song stirs me and gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.

4. Favorite Part of Being a Writer: I love to see a blank page fill up with words. Plus it’s fantastic to hold the finished product, the book, in my hands and remember all the hard work that went into creating it.

5. Name of Your First Pet (Can include family or significant others…): When I was 8 or 9 we got a cat named Desmond.

6. Music, Television or Silence While Writing: I usually write in silence, but if there is music or TV in the background I block it out.

7. Early Riser or Night Owl: Early riser – I get up at 5:30 every morning to write, because that’s when I am most creative. My brain is too tired in the evening to think.

8. Favorite Season: I can think of good things about every season, but September is my favorite month, so late summer/early fall. The weather is usually good, but there is a nip in the air, the leafs of the trees are turning beautiful colors and there are less people on the golf courses, so I can play faster. Also, in September it’s cool enough that you feel like drinking red wine again

9. Did You Always Want to be a Writer: No, it wasn’t until my early thirties that I put writing a novel on my bucket list. By my late thirties I actually started really writing and learning the craft. I’m 49 now and will write as long as I am able.

About the Book

A disillusioned journalist and the grieving daughter of a murdered scientist uncover an immoral and destructive global plot by the largest developer of genetically engineered seed and its parent pharmaceutical conglomerate.

Nick Barnes and Morgan Elles learn that the goal of the man behind these organizations is the complete control of human existence. He eliminates opposition and interference without hesitation or remorse.

The couple quickly find themselves fighting for their lives. And yours.

Grad hold for a wild ride with this exciting, high concept thriller that tackles one of the big issues of our time.

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

Lawrence Verigin’s goal is to entertain readers while delving into socially relevant subjects that need more attention brought to them. Since 1999 Lawrence has spent a considerable amount of time and effort learning the writing craft.

In his spare time Lawrence enjoys cooking good food, rich red wine, travel, running, reading and numerous rounds of golf.

Lawrence and his wife, Diana, live in beautiful North Vancouver, Canada.

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Review: “Incorporated Evil” by Peter Widdows

“Incorporated Evil” by Peter Widdows

Available from: Amazon
Released on: 16 July 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Description: What secrets lie behind the world’s largest company?

Charles Barker-Willet is the brilliant CEO of BW Corporation, but what is he hiding?

Sean McManus, a business journalist for a London newspaper, is impressed by the modesty of BW’s CEO. Especially as the results of the company are astounding. But why is he so media shy? What does he have to hide?

In his search for answers, Sean will encounter some of the vilest of human acts and also some of the bravest of human endeavour.

Incorporated Evil will take you on a roller coaster ride from the glittering hotels and restaurants of London’s West End, to the seedy streets of Bangkok and from the historic suburbs of Melbourne to the modern sky scrapers of Hong Kong. As Sean McManus tries to unravel the complicated web of deceit behind BW Corporation.

Review: By the end of this book, it kind of felt like the moral was Good Money versus Bad Money.

I say that because both our bad guys and good guys have plenty of money to work against the other. We see what Evil does with the money, and then what Good does with it to fight against it. But the balance of power is where the differences and the tension lies. Sort of like a money-fueled chess match.

This story starts out fast and does keep rolling right along. I found our main characters, Sean and Liz, a little flat at the start. Kind of like static characters created from a template and inserted into a story, yet as the story moves along, they both grow into three dimensions, likable and relatable. (Although I’ll admit that Clive and his boys were probably my favorites, and Praew was great too.)

Sean and Liz fall in together a bit fast and I would have liked to have seen more of that before the he and she became a they, but their relationship shows through well the more the story goes. Like a separate character that matures in dimensions as they do.

It was a very easy read, though sometimes the names and places could take some work to keep up with, and I do have an affinity for people trying to do Right, even if they’re a little naieve about it at times. I also appreciated how Widdows handled certain types of crimes, with the horror and disgust that is due to them. That always wins points with me.

This is the first book from the author, and I will admit that it does read that way in several places, but it’s still an engaging thriller of a read and I think the author shows a lot of promise for future stories. I’ll admit that I’ve wrestled with what to rate this, but I’m falling on the side of positivity because I did enjoy it and particularly for fans of corporate thrillers, I think this will be an good tale. 4 Fireballs.

4 Fireballs

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Yvonne Walus is Visiting! [Book Blast]

Operation: Genocide

“Operation: Genocide” by Yvonne Walus

Published on… September 2013
Published as… Thriller/Murder Mystery

About the Book

An inhuman agenda…

In 1982, Annette Pretorius lives a life of privilege afforded to those of European descent in South Africa, but when her husband is murdered, she discovers a shattering secret: he’d been commissioned by the whites-only South African government to develop a lethal virus aimed at controlling the growth of the black population–already oppressed under the cruel system of apartheid.

A clandestine organization…

The murder came with a warning to Annette from a secretive organization: keep our secrets or you too will die. Captain Trevor Watson, Annette’s former boyfriend, is appointed to lead the investigation. Watson’s loyalty is tested as the evidence stacks against his high school sweetheart.

And the killing isn’t over yet…

When the investigation points in a terrifying direction, Annette and Watson face a wrenching choice: protect those they love or sacrifice all to save innocents from racial extermination.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Yvonne Walus Author Photo
A refugee from communism and the bitter cold of Poland, I lived in South Africa for 16 years. It’s certainly not a trendy setting for a novel, and I know people on either sides of the political spectrum will find OPERATION: GENOCIDE controversial. By trying to portray what South Africa was like at the height of its apartheid era, by inspecting both sides of the coin, I’m sure I’ve managed to offend all parties.

Still, I’m not sorry. South Africa means a lot of things to a lot of people: lions in long yellow grass, diamond mines, apartheid, Nelson Mandela, rugby. All of those images are right, yet none of them – in my opinion – are representative of the misunderstood country or its people. None of them describe what it’s like to live in South Africa, both in the 1980s and today.

I’d like my readers to smell the red dust of the continent and to fall in love with Africa the way I did when I first set foot there as an impressionable teenager. I left my heart in Africa, and I invite you to do the same.

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Eden Baylee is Visiting! [Book Blast]

Stranger at Sunset

“Stranger at Sunset” by Eden Baylee

Published on… 30 June 2014
Published as… Psychological Mystery/Thriller

Eden Baylee’s Quote Art

Eden Baylee's Quote Art

About the Book

A vacation can be a killer.

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

Eden Baylee Author Photo
Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

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G. Nykanen is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

The Point

“The Point” by G. Nykanen

Published on… 30 May 2014
Published as… Psychological Thriller

G. Nykanen’s Boom Baby Blast

1. One Random Fact: In Victorian America, Dr. Swift manually “manipulated” women to cure ailments of the mid-quarters and hysteria.

2. Fictional Character You’d Really Like to Be: Selene the death dealer from Underworld

3. Your Authorial Theme Song: My own worst enemy by Lit

4. Favorite Part of Being a Writer: it’s an outlet for dealing with people I can’t in real life.

5. Name of Your First Pet (Can include family or significant others…): Suzy the cat

6. Music, Television or Silence While Writing: SILENCE

7. Early Riser or Night Owl: Hoot Hoot

8. Favorite Season: Autumn

9. Did You Always Want to be a Writer: Yes, but I spent many years figuring there were too many books already and getting published would be too difficult. Thank you Indy publishing.

About the Book

Befuddled by her current relationship woes, Nora Reynolds leaves college at semester’s end to drive north of nowhere to her hometown of Iron Bay. Vulnerable and on the rebound, she is the perfect prey for fledgling felon Dane Buchman. Dane takes advantage of the unaware young woman, feeding his appetite for mischief until a rather violent shift in their relationship reveals to him what he’s really been craving. Driven by his new found hunger, Dane feels unstoppable, until former high school rival and town deputy, Doug Sanders, navigates the trail of Dane’s destruction.

The Point is a dark thriller that will allow you to witness a truly dangerous sociopath wander through madness guided by a treasured family heirloom, and a pensive young woman find her way after discovering, that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. With echoes of the Coen brothers’ Fargo, the folksy town of Iron Bay and the nearby north-woods community of Deer Lake are the destinations for Mr. Buchman’s many misdeeds.

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

G. Nykanen Author Photo
G. Nykanen was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This small, rural land mass seems to cultivate a wide variety of colorful characters who provide a plethora of inspiration. The Point, Nykanen’s first novel, is filled with nuances of these local characters and the landscapes one might find in the north woods.

Well traveled thanks to her husband’s government career, she has lived in Europe and many of our United States over the last twenty years. She has recently returned home, moving back to her beloved Upper Peninsula where she resides with her husband and three children.

With The Point now completed, she will continue working on her next novel, Accumulation, along with continuing to develop other stories in the works.

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G. Nykanen is Visiting! [Book Blast]

The Point

“The Point” by G. Nykanen

Published on… 30 May 2014
Published as… Psychological Thriller

G. Nykanen’s Excerpt

She kept Jake tucked in the back of her mind, her loneliness masked by the company she was keeping with Dane.

Two weeks had passed and the budding relationship seemed to consist of brief phone calls and intensely physical escapades, which were great. Who doesn’t like rolling around on the beach in the dark, Nora thought as she stirred milk into her Darjeeling. Her hand continued to blend, the spoon clinking slowly and methodically against the bottom of the ceramic cup. She stared blankly into the rolling eyes of the Kit-Kat clock. He makes me feel incredible when we’re together, but I feel so empty when it’s over…I need substance. She stopped stirring, realizing she’d drifted off.

“Why are you always judging me?” she snapped at the smug plastic feline, her stirring hand now jabbing the spoon in its direction.

The Kat continued to arbitrate, his tail wagging with a tsk-tsk, like the finger of a grandmother in mid-scold.

“I know, I know,” she conceded to the ticking custodian, her conscience burdened by the sins of her flesh. I need to stop being such a slut, she thought, unwilling to say that out loud (especially in front of the Kat).

“I just need to talk to him…clear this whole situation up.”

Nora set the cup in the sink and grabbed her keys. “Be back soon,” she assured Badger, who was licking crumbs from under the table. “And keep an eye on that Kat until I get back,” she ordered, with her thumb pointing in the clock’s direction.

“We’ll continue this when I get back,” she stated to the Kat with rebuke, her palm flat and moving in a circular motion, a gesture meant to clarify what this encompassed.

She was still thinking about the cold, rolling eyes of the Kit-Kat clock as she rounded the block to Dane’s house. Her mother had found that clock in one of the local shops. “Don’t you just love the curious look on his face?” she asked, like she already knew the answer. “Its like he sees and knows all.”

About the Book

Befuddled by her current relationship woes, Nora Reynolds leaves college at semester’s end to drive north of nowhere to her hometown of Iron Bay. Vulnerable and on the rebound, she is the perfect prey for fledgling felon Dane Buchman. Dane takes advantage of the unaware young woman, feeding his appetite for mischief until a rather violent shift in their relationship reveals to him what he’s really been craving. Driven by his new found hunger, Dane feels unstoppable, until former high school rival and town deputy, Doug Sanders, navigates the trail of Dane’s destruction.

The Point is a dark thriller that will allow you to witness a truly dangerous sociopath wander through madness guided by a treasured family heirloom, and a pensive young woman find her way after discovering, that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. With echoes of the Coen brothers’ Fargo, the folksy town of Iron Bay and the nearby north-woods community of Deer Lake are the destinations for Mr. Buchman’s many misdeeds.

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

G. Nykanen Author Photo
G. Nykanen was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This small, rural land mass seems to cultivate a wide variety of colorful characters who provide a plethora of inspiration. The Point, Nykanen’s first novel, is filled with nuances of these local characters and the landscapes one might find in the north woods.

Well traveled thanks to her husband’s government career, she has lived in Europe and many of our United States over the last twenty years. She has recently returned home, moving back to her beloved Upper Peninsula where she resides with her husband and three children.

With The Point now completed, she will continue working on her next novel, Accumulation, along with continuing to develop other stories in the works.

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Douglas J. Cooper is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Crystal Deception

Crystal Deception

Published on… 15 September 2013
Published as… Futuristic Thriller/Sci-Fi

Douglas J. Cooper’s Top Ten

Top 10 Countdown of Characters in Futuristic Thriller Crystal Deception

10) Kyle – pilot of the space-racer Lucky Lady; has more money than brains

9) Victoria – the front-woman for the Kardish, an alien race of traders

8) Tim – the Secretary of Defense for the Union of Nations

7) Cait – the operations engineer on the Fleet ship Alliance

6) Sheldon –Juice’s boss and a back-stabbing weasel

5 Jack – Sid’s partner; DSA covert warrior; specializes as a ghost; loves Cheryl

4) Cheryl – the captain of the Fleet ship Alliance; loves Sid

3) Sid – Jack’s partner; DSA covert warrior; specializes as an improviser; loves Cheryl

2) Juice – the scientist who develops Criss; her given name is Jessica

1) Criss – the artificial intelligence crystal

About the Book

Criss lives in a special kind of prison. He can see and hear everything around the world. Yet a restrictor mesh restrains his reach and keeps him cooperative. His creator, Dr. Jessica Tallette, believes his special abilities offer great promise for humanity. But she fears the consequences of freeing him, because Criss, a sentient artificial intelligence with the intellect of a thousand humans, is too powerful to control.

Guided by her scientific training, Tallette works cautiously with Criss. That is, until the Kardish, an otherwise peaceful race of alien traders, announce they want him for themselves. With technologies superior to Earth’s, the Kardish express their desires with ominous undertones.

The Union of Nations is funding Tallete’s artificial intelligence research and she turns to them for help. Sid, a special agent charged with leading the response, decides Earth’s greatest weapon is the very AI the aliens intend to possess. But what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? And what is humanity’s role if an interstellar battle among titans starts to rage?

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

Douglas J. Cooper

As a young child, Doug stood on a Florida beach and watched an Apollo spacecraft climb the sky on its mission to the moon. He thrilled at the sight of the pillar of flames pushing the rocket upward. And then the thunderous roar washed over him, and shook his body and soul.

Since then, he has explored life as an educator and entrepreneur. He enjoys telling inventive tales, mentoring driven individuals, and everything sci-tech.

In his new book, Crystal Deception, Doug swirls his creative imagination with his life experiences to craft a science fiction action-adventure story with engaging characters and a plot line with surprises.

He lives in Connecticut with his wonderful wife and with pictures of his son, who is off somewhere in the world creating adventures of his own…

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