Book Review of “By Any Means”

“By Any Means” will be published in 2014 (May) and was written by Chris Culver. This is Mr. Culver’s fifth novel to be published in his mystery series following the character of Ash Rashid. The book is available through Amazon .

Indianapolis Detective Ash Rashid is currently working community relations. He has had that detail for the last eight months following his encounter and subsequent shooting death of a young man with a gun. He was cleared in the shooting, but still has not been returned to his status as a detective. The fact that Rashid is a Muslim is woven through the story, but really does not enter into the mystery.

He encounters what appears to be an auto accident on his way home one afternoon that thrusts him back into the role of detective. What appears to be an accident, quickly develops into a homicide. To complicate matters, a good samaritan stopping to help has been kidnapped.

Because of the urgency of the situation and the fact that he started the investigation, Rashid is somewhat reluctantly placed in charge by his superiors. As the investigation progresses, the crime seems to be somehow tied to human trafficking and prostitution.

An underworld contact of Rashid’s, the Russian Kostya (a character from earlier books in the series), is somehow involved. While he provides Rashid with information, he also has his own agenda.

I enjoyed this book and give it a 4 out of 5. The characters were well developed, and the story engaging. Given the opportunity I would read other books by this author.

Book Review of “Half a King”

“Half a King” will be published in 2014 (July) and was written by Joe Abercrombie (http://www.joeabercrombie.com/). This is the first volume of the planned Half a King trilogy and is Mr. Abercrombie’s seventh novel. This novel is available on Amazon.

Yarvi is a boy with a misshapen hand who is studying for the ministry – a combination of advisor, priest, chemist and healer. Because of his deformed hand he has never been much of a warrior and has been an embarrassment at his father’s court.

He is suddenly thrust into the role of king when his father and older brother are killed. As soon as he is crowned king, he leads a raid against the land he believes was responsible for the death of his father and brother. While on the raid he is betrayed and an attempt is made to assassinate him. While he escapes his assassins, he is left behind, captured and made a slave.

He is bought and becomes an oreslave on a dilapadated merchant ship. He makes a few friends as well as a few enemies with members of the crew. Yarvi plans an escape and hopes to take his few friends with him, but it will be a long journey home.

At this point he only lives to return to Gettland and fulfill the oath he made to avenge his father and brother.

The story covers several months as the ship voyages around the Shattered Sea, and Yarvi is finally able to flee from it. A great deal happens, but telling more would give spoilers.

I found this to be a very enjoyable story (rated 5 out of 5). The only complaint that I have is that it could easily have been stretched well beyond it’s 352 pages. I look forward to the next two books in the trilogy.

Review of “Apprehended”

“Apprehended” was published in 2014 and was written by Jan Burke (http://www.janburke.com). Ms. Burke has published 10 novels and many short stories. “Apprehended” is a collection of four of her short stories. This book is available on Amazon.

While these would be considered mysteries, they are more straight forward in their explanation of the respective crimes than you would normally expect of a mystery. Each describes a crime, why and how it was committed, without the investigative discovery that you would normally expect of a mystery.

Ms. Burke did a good job of developing her characters and creating short engaging stories. I personally would have preferred more mystery to the stories. I am not a big fan of short stories, still I do recommend this collection with a 4 out of 5 rating.

Book Review “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August”

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” was published in 2014 and is the first book published under the pseudonym of Claire North. This book is best considered Science Fiction and is available on Amazon.

This book follows Harry August, who was born on New Year’s Eve in 1918. His mother was unwed and gave birth to him in the ladies washroom of the train station in Newcastle, England. For the most part, Harry’s life was pretty uneventful, and he died in 1989.

But then, Harry was born again. Again on New Year’s Eve 1918, and he remembered his prior life. Harry finds that he never really dies. Every time his body dies, he is then reborn on that same December 31 of 1918. During his fourth life he discovers that he is not the only one who repeats their life, and in fact there is a world wide discrete network in the form of the Chronus Club of others with his condition. It only happens rarely, and no one knows why or how it happens, but out of every million or so born a couple will start repeating their lives.

With the Chronos Club to help him, he lives several comfortable lives. Then in his eleventh life as he lays on his death bed he is visited by a little girl. She is another of his kind and gives him a message to carry back to the Chronos Club when he is reborn in his twelfth life – “The World is Ending”.

Harry begins in his twelfth life a quest to find out what is going on and who is behind the changes that are bringing about a premature end to the world as we know it. The only explanation is that one of his fellows is acting contrary to the Chronos Club’s strict rules and is tampering with the normal chain of events.

This story is a very different take on time travel. I found the book well written and very engaging. I recommend it with a 5 out of 5.

Book Review “13:24”

“13:24” was published in 2014 and is the first book by author M. Dolon Hickmon (http://1324book.com). This book is available on Amazon.

Chris is an abused and troubled teenager who finally reaches his breaking point. Many attribute his crime spree at first to the dark music he listens to. By chance his favorite band, Rehoboam, is in town for a concert.

William Hursel is the detective that is called in to the resulting crime scene. He sees the result of a teenage boy gone crazy, but believes that there is more to the case. The more he digs, the more he uncovers.

Josh is the lead singer of the popular band Rehoboam. Josh comes from a hidden past where he was abused. Now a teenager who has reached out to him is involved in a crime spree. Because of the abuse they have both lived through he wants to help but it is bringing back the nightmares of the trauma of his own youth.

The novel takes the reader through a world of child punishment and those who are willing to pay to watch it as Chris rebels and Detective Hursel pursues him.

I found the writing and character development excellent. The story was very engaging and I recommend this book (5 out of 5).

Book Review “Far Gone”

“Far Gone” was published in 2014 and is the latest book by author Laura Griffin (http://www.lauragriffin.com). This book is available on Amazon. Ms. Griffin has published over a dozen books.

Andrea Finch is a young detective with the Austin, Texas police department. Her career is on hold after the shooting death of a young man. While she is on administrative leave, her younger brother, Gavin, contacts her asking for help. Gavin is evasive as to why he needs money, causing Andrea to travel to west Texas to investigate what he is involved in.

Jon North is an FBI agent investigating a man, Shay Hardin, who he thinks is responsible for domestic terrorism. Hardin has a large ranch in west Texas, which is where Gavin Finch is living.

As Jon and Andrea continue their investigations they cross paths. Jon wants Andrea to help him get Gavin to provide information as to what is going on at the ranch. Meanwhile Andrea is torn between her oath to uphold the law, and her concern for protecting her little brother. Adding to this conflict is a spark of romance between them.

I think that this book was well written and I related well with the characters. It was a good thriller/mystery, that has the added appeal of being set partially in central Texas where I live. I do recommend (give it a 4 out of 5) this book.

Review of “Holy War”

“Holy War” is a fiction novel published in 2014, and was written by Mike Bond (http://mikebondbooks.com). This is his fourth novel and this ebook is available on Amazon.

This is the contemporary story of four people in Beirut, Lebanon. Neil is an American working for a British newspaper. He has spent many years in Beirut and the middle east. He is somewhat of an alcoholic, with a failing marriage. He takes the assignment back to Beirut to interview Mohammad in the hope of getting back on his feet, and perhaps seeing his former lover, Layla who is now Mohammad’s wife.

Andre is a frenchman who is heading to Beirut to avenge his younger brother who was killed in a car bombing attack. In his mind’s eye he sees Mohammad as being responsible for the bombing, and therefore his target.

Rosa is a young Palestinian woman who will do anything to see her people returned to their rightful lands. In her mind all is black and white, there is no middle ground in the struggle to return Palestine to her people. Rosa is one of the close followers of Mohammad.

Mohammad has been at war a long time, and is starting to believe that guns and bombs alone may not be the answer.

The story follows these four as their lives come together and become intertwined with hate, love, loss and lust.

I found the book well written with a good picture of a bleak and devastated Beirut painted by the authors words. He developed the characters well and I felt like I knew them.

While there was a little excitement as the story developed, on the whole I found the story depressing. This is not the kind of novel I would normally seek out, so it is not one I would recommend.

Review of “The Spider Inside”

“The Spider Inside” is a fiction novel published in 2012, and was written by Elias Anderson. The book is available on Amazon .

I downloaded this book for free from BookBub (https://www.bookbub.com) relying on the categorization of “Thriller”. I found it to be far from that. This is the story of Jim and four of his friends (Cherry, Soup, Two Step and Nik) who are caught up in the drug scene of Los Angeles. The book chronicles their habit and how they all become controlled by it.

The writing is good and the characters engaging, though I personally found the story to be depressing. Because of that, this is not a novel I would recommend to anyone.