Tag Archives: Thriller

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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The Enigma Broker by Breakfield and Burkey

Another outstanding book by Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey! The R-Group is faced with puzzling out the unexplainable drops in the commodities markets which, if continued unchecked, will create chaos and havoc financially around the world. Petra and Jacob join forces once again to determine the culprit. While Petra and Jacob are busy, Breakfield and Burkey keep us on the edge of our chairs with Juan, Carlos and Quip’s adventures!

Breakfield and Burkey have built a winning team of characters that keep their readers entertained and hooked! This 8th book in the series has pushed the characters into different roles and given even more background into the growth of the R-Group and how Quip came to be a major player.

With many series, after several books the author(s) fall into a comfort zone and do not take chances in their storylines; not so for Breakfield and Burkey – they push their storyline to the max and make their listeners realize they are intense, fully committed authors with mad writing skills!

This is an audiobook (and series) that is amazing! I would not have seen myself as a “techno-thriller” listener but with this set of authors and series, I am undoubtedly hooked!

The narrator, Derek Shoales is AMAZING! He has the skill level to keep the voices consistent throughout the series and recognizable! He helps the story move along with his tone and inflection; truly a narrator virtuoso!

There were no issues with the quality of this production. The audiobook was clear and crisp.  

Highly recommend this series!

Star Rating:  *****

Click to purchase: The Engima Broker from Audible.com