Tag Archives: Thriller

The Enigma Beyond, The Enigma Series Book 11 by Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey

The R-Group much like the rest of the world has been making new strides with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and technology.  Now, the tables have turned, and the R-Group is up against their most deadliest and advanced adversaries and they are NOT human!

This story takes place fifteen years after Wolfgang passes.  The youngest generation of the R-Group is becoming involved in the business and are now young adults.  ICABOD plays an integral role in the schooling and training of the newest generation as well as helping to define who the MAG group is and their ultimate goal.

Realistic dialog is one of Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey’s amazing gifts.  The storyline draws the listener in and keeps them riveted; history is full of charismatic figures known for their deadly manipulation skills and it is this that makes the story even more realistic and scarier.

This is one of those books that everyone should hear.  It is an edge of your seat, mind-blowing, realistic and far-reaching thriller that will leave you with nightmares.  These are the monsters one cannot see, but they are there, nonetheless.

Derek Shoales, the narrator, performs the book expertly.  He has become each and every character; I cannot imagine anyone else being Jacob, Juan, or Julie or ICABOD … well anyone else.  He has the right momentum to move the story ahead and has a connection to each character that shines through with each word he delivers.  He is a truly skilled and talented narrator.

This is a series that I love.  I am a huge fan of being frightened but this book is just a peep into what can and may happen and is terrifying!

5 Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Modern Sorcery: The First Jonathan Shade Novel by Gary Jonas

Jonathan Shade is a private investigator with a twist – he gets the cases with a paranormal twist to them.  Why?  He’s good at it, he’s the son of a powerful wizard family and while he does not have any magical powers of his own, he knows enough about it to solve mysteries.   When a husband enters a Colorado grocery store and hacks up his wife – both of whom are parents to his ex-fiancé – well, Jonathan has no choice but to get involved.

Naomi, his ex-fiancé hires him to prove his father’s innocence (the proof is in the camera evidence – he did it!).  Thus begins his involvement and near misses with death with members of the Dragon Gate Industry; owned and ran by wizards and other magical members of society Dragon Gate Industry. A long-dead and legendary sorcerer appears to be back and is hunting Shade – Shade has that effect on people.

Shade has connections too – like Charon, the ferryman of the underworld now known as Sharon the librarian; Kelly, a genetically produced mystical assassin/warrior; Esther the ghost and more.

Shade is a laid back, smart mouth man who takes sarcasm to new levels; his friend Kelly is a butt-kicking assassin/warrior who begs to kill; Esther his own personal ghost swoops in and helps save the day more than once!  Together this team of private investigators is top-notch, action-packed, and fun!

Gary Jonas creatively weaves a supernatural story that captures his audience with realistic dialog and action.  His characters are well-developed as is the plot.  He skillfully weaves a supernatural story around the myths of old intertwining the two and placing them in today’s society.

I enjoyed reading Jonathan Shade and look forward to the next in the series.  I am positive that the next book(s) will not disappoint!  I laughed out loud and earned several questioning looks, but it was worth it!

Joe Hempel did a superb job of narrating.  He took the character Jonathan and made it his own. As the listener I could not help but be swept away into the story as Hempel took control and became Shade. This is not something that is done easily but Hempel succeeds where others fail.

There were no issues with production.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Hell Divers (The Hell Divers Series Book 1) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

The earth as we know and loved it has been nearly destroyed by humans.  Floating above the clouds and well above the radiation levels, two airships – Ares and The Hive contain the only living humans.  All others are gone, fallen to the earth in crashes leaving no survivors.  All too often, the airships need supplies that only the war-ravaged and nearly destroyed earth can provide – parts to maintain the ships.

The ships are self-sufficient, crowded and depending on who you are – life can be pleasant or hellish.  Not only does The Hive have to attempt a rescue mission over Hades (a particularly deadly area of the world) but their ship is falling into ruin.  Hell divers are the men and women who dive from the airships and fall to the earth to scavenge what the ship needs to stay afloat.  X is one of the best but he carries so much baggage that one wonders if he still has it in him.

Action-packed, X and his crew must find the necessary parts to keep their ship afloat while the captain faces her own difficulties.  Residents are recruited younger and younger to be engineers, hell divers and more – there is no childhood anymore!  Diving to the planet from the airship is dangerous given the electrical storms and other conditions that mother nature throws their way.  While on the planet, X not only loses his best friend and becomes a surrogate father but he comes face to face with deadly vicious monsters that have mutated into unspeakable horrors that enjoy human flesh.  The Hive must fly, X must return with the needed supplies and the human race must survive – but is it too late?

Nicholas Sansbury Smith brings the injustices of society, mistakes, and fallacies of humans to the forefront and mixes in unimaginable monsters with razor-sharp nails and teeth.

I thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s Extinction series so I was looking forward to this series with anticipation and excitement.  Smith did not fail to deliver – Hell Divers is an exciting action-packed book that is well written and developed fully.  Rich in detail, the characters are fully developed along with the plot.  Everything moves together – in a fluid-like manner leaving no questions or holes.

Smith is a rare and unique story-teller; one that can grow a story into a very skillful piece of writing capturing the audience’s attention and interest.

R.C. Bray, the narrator, performs this oral narration perfectly.  He captures the roughness and personality of each person; he plays his voice as if it were a musical instrument – concise and with the correct tone inflections and emotion.  He embraces the book and allows the book and its characters to shine.

If you enjoy action and well-written stories of the apocalypse, then don’t miss out on this one.  It is riveting!

There were no issues with the audio production or quality.

 

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Ancient Echoes (Ancient Secrets Series Book 1) by Joanne Pence

Lots of secrets.  Deadly secrets!  Covert missions in the past with Lewis and Clark combined with the same type of covert missions with men in black, domestic and international all seeking the same place, the same mysterious pillars in Idaho – yes, Idaho!  Mix in some college students and renowned archaeologists, an Egyptian princess and the secret of alchemy and you have one attention holding, an edge of your seat thriller!

Slightly over 12 hours, this audiobook is enthralling and intriguing!  Combining the past with the present and everything in between would be confusing and distracting, however, Joanne Pence writes eloquently and thoroughly leaving nothing confusing, distracting or incomplete.  Vivid descriptions along with solidly built characters and a well-executed storyline, listeners will NOT be able to shut it off.

Pence allows her readers to believe everything is going smoothly, they expect an outcome then she gives them a major twist that will leave the listener wanting more.  Yes, there are some parts that are repetitive, but they are so for a reason – to drive home the point that things are not normal, and each character must experience it to come to that conclusion themselves.  It also helps to add to the terror of what is really going on.

The supernatural piece of this book was well done and blended well into the past and present happenings.  I have to say, she writes evil well!  There was no question at all who or when the evil was present!

The narrator, Tim Paige, performed the audiobook with a smooth, flowing style. Paige gave the listener a solid reading that was captivating and easy to follow.  He did not do voices which I think could have taken away from the story and lost some of the depth to the story. For a first time narrator, I give him a 5-star rating!  Hope to hear more from him.

The production and quality of the audiobook were good, however, there was some electronic noise about halfway through the book when a new chapter began.  It didn’t hurt the book or my enjoyment, but it was annoying.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection Books 1-3 by Barbara Venkataraman

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection is the first three books in the series.  Jamie is grieving, is continuing with a successful family law practice and finds herself thrust into mystery and intrigue.  All the while, her emotional turmoil plays a significant and sometimes entertaining role in the stories.

Barbara Venkataraman does an excellent job of building Jamie’s character along with other characters who are not only pivotal but just as interesting.  Duke Broussard is key to all three books although Venkataraman brings him in slowly in the first book.  From a murdered rock star, a divorce case turned murder, and murder in the park system – while they are out of Jamie’s league, her friends step up and help her solve the cases.

Venkataraman takes her time building the characters and story plot.  The dialog is well done and realistic.  In each book, there are moments of hilarity yet also seriousness.  One cannot help but love Jamie – she is a small part residing within each of us.

The narrator, Carrie Lee Martz performed the book very well.  She spoke clearly and added the emotions needed to further the story and engage the listener.  My only issue was Duke did not sound like he was described in the book; I had trouble reconciling his looks to his sound.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and intrigue.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Heaven, Hell, or Houston by Thom Erb

WARNING:  Explicit violence and rape of women and young girls as well as foul language.

Some people have all the luck and then there are guys like the volatile, alcoholic Texas Ranger, Jay McCutcheon.  From a long line of Texas Rangers and alcoholics, McCutcheon just wants to dump the stupid drunk perverted Governor’s security detail and get home to his wife and baby girl.  A year of living apart, McCutcheon wants to save his marriage and change.  He was well on his way until the yellow rain fell raising the dead to walk and eat. Oh, then there was Stacy-Jo a runaway who won his heart and whom he protected as much as possible from the uncanny situations she often found herself thrust into.

Toss in the evil Isandro Dianira, who recently escaped from prison and decided to rape and pillage everyone and thing in sight, and McCutcheon’s night just got worse since he’s the one who was responsible for Isandro’s prison term.  Isandro was the leader of a gang and one who had a special friend living in his head who told him to do “things.”  Such as slicing animals and … well torturing and murdering anything that has a pulse since he was old enough to walk!

If one can get past the violence, it is an authentically written book with the dialect, words and everything written in a very realistic manner.  Thom Erb has written an excellent book (violence aside) that captures what everyone fears but doesn’t realize  – who is the person entering the convenience store?  What are they likely to do?  What sets them off?

Vivid imagery, Erb paints a picture with his words.  Listeners can see the tired, angry Texas Ranger vividly as well as the evil Isandro.  Zombies do make an appearance but it is the evil Isandro and McCutcheon that are the center of the drama.  A strong plot and well-developed characters.

Doug Miller did an excellent Texas Ranger voice for McCutcheon, he was a little weak for Stacy-Jo’s New York accent but overall, he did an excellent job.  Not only could I feel his energy through his reading, but I could also feel the oozy slimy gunk flowing from the evil Isandro and the pervert on the bus by his talented reading by tone and voices.  His enunciation was perfect.

I enjoyed the book and was sorry to hear it end.  I would recommend this book to adults only given some of the content.

There were no issues with the production of this audiobook.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Struck by Rachel Langley

Imagine being in love with your soul mate and everyone in your world knows it.  Then waking up the next morning only to discover your world is no more; everything has changed; everyone is … just gone.  Laney and her twin, Leela, travel to a distant place to try to set things right and rescue their friends/family but to do so means traveling in the light, a powerful and dangerous journey with a most uncertain outcome!  The girls are faced with serious consequences as they move forward with their plan, it becomes clear that not everyone will be coming home.

Rachel Langley, the author, weaves a delicate story of love and compassion, intrigue and betrayal, and morality.  The dialog, action, emotions are all genuinely young adult and realistic.   Langley builds each character slowly with detail both physically and emotionally.  There were a few twists that made the story more moving and exciting.  The story, the characters all flowed smoothly.  I liked the way in which we heard from both of the twins – seeing their perspective was satisfying.

The narrator, Jelyne Helms performed the audiobook wonderfully.  Her voices were realistic and comforting – just the perfect pitch and tone for each character.  She read the book comfortably and seemed very familiar with it.  Her tone and inflection gave weight to her characters sounding appropriate ages.  Plus she captured the personality of Leela and Laney perfectly.

There was only one small minor glitch in the publication.  Otherwise, the production quality of this audiobook was top-notch.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Struck.  I hope to hear the second part of this series.  I want to see how things play out.  The cliffhanger was perfectly timed and presented.

 

Star Rating:  * * * * ½

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Extinction Ashes (Extinction Cycle: Dark Age Book 3) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony Melchiorri

The latest book in the Extinction Series continues to deliver a powerful and action-packed ten hours of suspense.  It is truly up to Timothy, Fitz, Team Ghost, Kate, Beckham, and Horn to defeat the “new gods” and crack the purpose of the variant webbing.    There is not a moment in which anyone is at peace, it is a consuming war in which trust is valuable and not easily given but life can be snuffed out in an instant.  So many different pieces to the story are moving at once but the authors, Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony J. Melchiorri keep everything flowing and consistent.

I would have to echo what many others have said about this series; the characters are so well developed that they are like one of the family.  As a listener one cannot help but groan out loud when Timothy, Fitz, Beckham or Horn are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Smith and Melchiorri have a talent for connecting the listeners to the characters in the book – there are some you can’t help but love and others … you hope Karma comes around in the form of a variant or bullet and takes care of the right ones!

This was an intense book, it took me several days to get through it only because I was so involved in the book.   I would find myself experiencing a wide range of emotions – relief, anger, fear, OMG moments and then the strong feelings of patriotism, dedication, and duty.  Those real feelings that not many of us experience throughout lives now except vicariously through books and movies but they are accurate feelings that I have seen throughout my family members who have served in Korea, Vietnam, WWII and more.  Smith and Melchiorri are very perceptive and talented storytellers to be able to invoke those feelings with words along.  Their words reveal the passion and dedication very strongly.

RC Bray, as a narrator, is the best!  His ability to speak in different tones and inflections helps move the book along as well as cement that connection to the characters for the listener.  His distinctive voices are strong and well-executed.  I cannot imagine listening to the Extinction Series without him present – he has become the voice of the characters!

There were no issues with the production quality of this book.

Star Rating:    * * * * *

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Dirty Deeds #1 by Armand Rosamilia

Dirty Deeds by Armand Rosamilia and narrated by Jack de Golia is a well-crafted book. It keeps the listener’s interest with fully developed characters with a unique plot. Most listeners will be hooked from the first few lines and want to go on this adventure with James Gaffney to see what happens next.

The main character is James Gaffney; a man who will take care of your problems for you. If you have a mistress and have a kid with her and you don’t want to pay child support he will make the kid disappear. That’s right he is paid large sums of money to kill kids to solve people’s problems. But he has a secret, using a one-way network he will take the kid and get him to a loving family who will raise him. Nothing’s ever as easy as it sounds. There is also an FBI Agent Keen who has been chasing him for years.

Running his sports card memorabilia side business James spends most of trying to appear above-board with the help of his long-suffering assistant Marissa. His assistant Marissa handles his day-to-day activities, online activity, and keeping Mr. Gaffney afloat in this technological age. James is what Marissa calls a dinosaur when it comes to anything electronic. All is well until one of his early cases, the son of one of a New Jersey Mob Boss Chenzo appears to have come back ‘from the dead’ and to the attention of the FBI.

This story does a great job of holding the listener’s attention with the great cast of characters. The plot moves at a good pace, and the dialogue is really great between these interesting characters. At times you don’t know if you should love or hate some of the characters with that changing as the chapters advance as the story evolves. The author had crafted a fun world. It a great place to get lost for an afternoon.

The narration is provided by Jack de Golia. Mr. de Golia does a stellar job narrating this audiobook. This is the fourth time I have heard a performance from Mr. de Golia and he always delivers an outstanding performance. The characters are diverse and each unique in this audiobook. The production value is of high quality. The book was clear and crisp throughout the entire program.

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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The Enigma Source Book 10 from the Enigma Series by Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey

Breakfield and Burkey take topics from today’s headlines and show the terrifying side of it.  Through their magnificent storytelling abilities and their knack to take often misunderstood or unknown financial and technology-based possibilities and create a captivating tale involving the R-Group.  Combining past and present, Breakfield and Burkey creatively develop the storyline that will leave their listeners on the edge of their chairs as the R-Group attempts to foil the evildoers.

The past plays a heavy hand in this book as we see how Master Po’s unbreakable cryptocurrency code affects her life now as well as Wolfgang’s role in the establishment of the R-Group in the beginning.

Not only did this book put the fear of technology deep into my head but it left me in tears.  There were several moments that made my eyes water and my heart heavy but there were just as many moments where I pumped my fist in the air.   Comeuppance can be such a delightful thing to hear!

Derek Shoales performed the audiobook realistically and with a passion that one felt the emotional pain of Jacob, Frank and Su Lin.  Shoales has a solid voice and a talent that takes the listener further into the story.  One can visualize the characters much easier through Shoales.  I enjoy listening to him perform.

There were no issues with the publication or quality of this audiobook.

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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