The LIon’s Prey

The Lion’s Prey, a thriller/mystery assumed published, copyright and written by Cameron Mays.

Cole Cameron, a special ops type of individual, works for CIA on a covert project attempting to eliminate a former lieutenant to the former Muslim leader whose main thrust is to throw the U. S. into disarray by losing cyber-attacks to affect the main business activities. Cole is quite a brilliant tactician and with his smoothly functioning team constantly is being sent to areas where Intel indicates the Muslim chief reportedly has been seen. His desire to find this man is strengthened by the fact that his daughter, Jess, had been attacked and almost killed by him. This now college attending daughter’s reaction had been to apply for, and begin training to join the FBI. Added to Cole’s problems is his love for FBI agent Hannah and the interference in its progression because of their constantly conflicting work schedules. The characters provided for the reader are quite numerous and besides the main protagonists, include Jess’s friend, Hannah’s parents, an ill-intentioned congressman and his cohorts, and several Muslims, a couple of beautiful spies and a number of upper echelon members of the government. The finale provides a quite presentable entree to a no-doubt following volume to this second in the Cole Cameron saga

Discussion: The plot of this story in many ways is quite similar to others in this genre. The management however is well done by an author with knowledge of his subject, providing interesting characters, periods of high tension activity and a romance that makes a reader hope eventually will terminate successfully.

4* Well done thriller with a touch of mystery and of romance.

The Protectorate Wars: Born Hero

The Protectorate Wars: Born Hero. Assumed published, copyright and written by S. A. Shaffer, Esq.

This is the story that takes place in a mythical land “of vast wealth and power, towering mountains and lush plains ….a bastion of hope between sweltering deserts and the raging ocean.” Within this land are individual countries that have been peaceful for a number of years but now unrest again is arising both within the countries and among them producing further tensions. The protagonist, David Ike, is a very young man who is the son and grandson of heroic pilots who are legends as saviors of the country in which he lives. Presently, his circumstances are rather dire. His father was killed heroically saving the boy and his mother in a disastrous air crash and his illustrious grandfather passed away shortly thereafter. He lost an arm in the crash and the bionic replacement, although quite adequate, precludes continuing his air cadet training. Responsible for his mother’s care, an invalid unable even to speak, he is her caretaker and ekes out a meager living until by routine mandatory public testing, it is discovered that he is of superior intelligence and is hired by one of the major representatives in the country’s parliament. Unfortunately, David is a quite naive, sincere individual with a strong work ethic and a strong belief in principles. As a result, from this initiating step, he is poorly fitted to be involved in the political arena replete with maneuvering that involves deceit, distrust, betrayal, treachery and even murder. The story continues until somewhat unexpected activity produces a conclusion that leaves little closure and only begs for further action.

Discussion: A somewhat unusual book with an interesting plot, set in a mythical world of the future with many sci-fi features, some mystery and a hint of romance. The characters are well portrayed and the plot provides several surprises. As such the reader will enjoy, but must be aware of a rather slow beginning consisting of largely unbroken prose with few conversational or other breaks – a tendency that persists throughout much of the ensuing material.

4* 5*Interesting multi-generic plot; -1 with questionable feature for some.

Broken Monarch

Broken Monarch ISBN: 9781090260742. Assumed self-published, copyright and written by Tom Schneider.

This short book opens after an introductory statement: “All places, secret programs and some events were real.” The entire story extends from August 19, 1979 through sometime in September, seemingly in the same year, although the injuries suffered by the protagonist would make the following year more probable. The story opens with a man and woman discussing an upcoming apparently clandestine operation in which the man seems to be the manipulator and the woman the subject’s ‘handler’. The next chapter follows the activities of another person named Glenn walking away from a just exploded vessel docked in a marina. From these somewhat confusing, but definitely dark opening activities, the story evolves into a sinister tale of a shadowy group of individuals who are initiating a series of activities by which they intend to control the world. The MKUltra project, now referred to as Monarch, is a procedure initiated somewhere in the CIA or other such weird-thinking organization to experiment with controlling minds with a sub-project referred to as Spellbinder. The objective was to create sleeper assassins that could be activated by a trigger word, phrase or even a symbol who could then act with no subsequent memory of the activity. Congressional hearings shut down the project, but unfortunately a shadowy group of powerful ‘insiders’ simply moved it into a hidden agenda and continued. The plot evolves by following Glenn as pieces of his memory begin to reappear, strengthened by meeting and becoming emotionally involved with his ‘handler’, and the plot moves quickly through subsequent violent activity. The ending fully prepares the reader for the following installment.

Discussion: The basic plot is somewhat reminiscent of a theme of the motion picture “The Manchurian Candidate”. Here it perhaps is somewhat more involved with both sides being visited and more details of the procedures revealed. It is a short, quickly evolving tale that additionally provides an emotional relationship between the subject and his handler with perhaps unexpected results that provide a basis for the next episode. The story’s initial phase is somewhat indeterminate but builds well and with a few hiccups provides a fast pace of violent activity that many thriller devotes will thoroughly enjoy.

5* A short, quickly accelerating action tale for dark thriller devotees.

Master of the World

Master of the World Book Two of the Chelandra Trilogy, Rocanadron Press, copyright and written by Karina McRoberts.

This second book in the Chelandra series continues to follow the travels of Galla as she continues throughout her world on the only dirigible that has been built and, as explained in book one, has been given to her. Her world still is suffering from numerous devastating earthquakes and still encountering periods of plague-like disease that some finally are associating with their principle mining product ‘rockscar’ that contributes to the city/states’ wealth. She meets numerous new individuals and associates again with old acquaintances; is forced to spend time in a Muslim-like culture that appears in some ways to be even more like the old Caliph era where men’s’ and women’s quarters were separate entities with eunuchs providing security for these latter; problems of what was being done with immigrants; another war with the Qudasi again attacking Gaklari; attempting not to have anyone killed for any reason whatsoever until faced with the question when the act might be mandatory in order to save individuals important to her; suffers heartbreak and resulting despair; descends into loneliness and self-loathing and feels like a child with no one to whom she can turn until suddenly a figure appears to offer her help. The person is Vrenfru, the brilliant leader from book one who gradually deteriorated mentally until passing away. When questioned, he convinces her that although physically dead, he “just is” and will always answer her call if needed. Meanwhile, her companions Masandi and her uncle are conducting their own crusade with some not quite expected results that lead to the appearance of the first firearm with again resultant speculation about their use; and finally bittersweet termination of this volume to lead into the final book in the trilogy.

Discussion: The author has introduced an occult figure that furthers the fanciful thrust of this trilogy. No doubt this addition, as well as the rest of the story’s rambling content, will continue to have great appeal to those who enjoy pure fantasy. Galla is as headstrong as in the first volume and makes as many rash decisions, but now without the restraining influence by her uncle, so the described reactions result. Her acquaintances similarly continue in their expected paths and new villainous characters arise. The author, obviously most knowledgeable of world conditions as well as historical facts, introduces many controversial subjects that are most relevant to today’s situation throughout much of the world. She also demonstrates a thoughtful sensitivity by explaining the derivation of tunes included in the body of the work that provide sensations in accord with the music. Regrettably  therefore and with apologies to the author, this reviewer finds Galla’s continued activity as a ‘spoiled child’ in addition to the continued rambling character of the tale leading to introduction of the elements prevalent in today’s societal activity, detract from this otherwise completely fanciful tale. It also is strongly suggested that a prospective reader become acquainted with the contents of volume one before continuing with this trilogy.

3* 5* Well-written, fanciful tale; -2 for reasons provided.

Chelandra

Chelandra ISBN: 9780994596512 published by Recanadon Press, copyright with and created by Karina McRoberts.

This is Book one of the Chelandra Trilogy that opens in the area of Blya in a fantasy “world of two suns, fabulous ecologies and geologic chaos”. The reader finds young Prince Shirau Ajaner, accompanied by his 2nd in command/mentor and his small band or soldiers attempting to gain help for another war that is imminent. They are exhausted having travelled many leagues, often under attack, when they arrive at their destination. Regrettably, the inhabitants of this city/state are unfriendly because of actions in past relationships and treat them badly. During this time and the ensuing period the reader discovers that the city has become immensely wealthy from mining but are neglecting gathering the crops necessary to sustain them during the winter’s impossible times. The town’s inhabitants, the structure of government, the ruling figures and numerous others also are introduced. At this particular time, the city is experiencing a virtual take-over of governance by a brilliant man who unfortunately is experiencing a mental deterioration. Added to their problems is the fact that they are experiencing some type of strange illness that they are afraid might be some variation of a dreaded plague as well as the occurrence of some massive earthquakes. Numerous other characters are introduced with the story focused eventually on young Blyan teenager Galla Jenker, her well-travelled uncle Obronder and a strangely talented young dark-skinned Masande as they travel extensively. War does come with considerable damage to the young prince’s city/state bringing closure seemingly to this part of the trilogy while involving Galla, her uncle and Masande in a part of the unfortunate episode. The tale ends as these latter three prepare to journey on to the next episode.

Discussion: The author, who this reviewer understands participates in quite varied activities, has provided readers with a story of interesting and empathetic characters as they appear to ramble almost leisurely, but dangerously, through a land of pure fantasy where even the well-described and often referred to, seasons have unusual names – Rahber (winter), Remi (spring), Vahlande (summer), VaRemi (autumn). This is a tale replete with interesting characters, and even an animal and bird of fantasy that aficionados of the genre will find difficult to put down.

5* Fantasy aficionados should love this book.

NONDisclosure

NONDISCLOSURE ISBN: 9781733771405 published, copyright and written by Geoffrey M. Cooper.

Brad Parker is a highly successful scientific investigator who, like numerous such individuals are coerced into assuming a position of curtailing his investigative activities to assume a position of department chair at one of the prestigious universities in Boston. His administrative assistant comes to him with a problem of not being able to discover the reason for a $20,000 shortage in their budgetary allotment at the same time his top grant money recipient Mike Singer comes to him reporting an even graver problem. He believes another prominent staff investigator has just raped one of the graduate students working with them. He reports the situation to the dean and the president and one of the members of university’s police force, Karen Richmond, is sent to investigate. She insists that Brad work with her because of his obviously extensive knowledge of the individuals involved. Further details would be a disservice to potential readers. Suffice it to say, that although a fictional tale, the convoluted story gradually evolves to expose an involved set of actions that most readily could be factual. It is a fascinating look at a prominent, long existent problem particularly associated with the student-mentor relationship in the university ‘publish or perish’ milieu that exists in such institutions. Another item examined is the rivalry among investigators.

Discussion: Sub titled “A Medical Thriller”, this book also is a tale of mystery and romance. Its setting is academia. Its theme is modern day research and problems that not infrequently can arise when fertile minds produce important interdisciplinary results. It places a spotlight on universities finally facing the long ignored problem of sexual harassment on all levels, but seemingly more prevalent within the academic sciences where, as described above, a situation exists from which the misuse of authority so readily could arise. It also demonstrates a situation that has grown to ridiculous proportions within the last few years. The almost uncontrollable competitive situation among pharmaceutical houses to spend huge amounts of monies to aid in the discovery of significant results and for the originator to acquire some degree of compensatory gratification. As an individual once immersed in academia, this reader highly recommends this author’s presentation as a thoroughly enjoyable novel based on matters about which he demonstrates an intimate knowledge.

5* Well done novel by knowledgeable author.