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.
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.
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.
A Predator & A Psychopath ISBN: 9781543976397 assumed published, copyright and written by Jay Kerk.
Subtitled A Dark and Twisted Psychological Thriller, the story begins with Part 1 following the activities of Jason Stankovic, a brilliant CFO for a large and successful corporation. He has an apparently idyllic life with his lovely wife Lisa, equally beautiful daughter Lea and young son Mathew until it suddenly dissipates. He is found in a completely confused state in a bloodied room with both Lisa and Lea dead from gunshot wounds. He is brought to trial but released into custody after being diagnosed as having suffered from a disassociated identity disorder. He is brought under the care of an excellent psychiatrist and his life and activities continue here and in Parts 3 and 5. Part 2 introduces the reader to Jerry who describes himself as “a human being. A superior one to the flock of the worthless…. a hypersexual being… belonging to the elite hunters… We all are hunters and gatherers, but we descended from a diverse genetic pool. I belong to the elite hunters. Today they have no use for us …. (but) we have a massive lust, we’re hungry to mate and multiply, thirsty for blood …. How do I live with my nature? I seek pleasure in the dark.” The activities of this psychotic predator continue to be described here and continue at length in Part 4 and are referred to in the last section of the book.
Discussion: The author’s mind set in publishing this book is interesting. In his ‘Note’ following conclusion of this volume he states: “This is my first novel, but it is not the first one I publish… along the years I have written for myself. I have written my imagination; now I matured to write for your entertainment.” He further admonishes that word count, paper or money generated are unimportant. “What I want is that you reach out to me and tell me what was good and where you felt most. I hope the next time, I’ll have something this animated and thrilling.” There is no doubt he has provided a certain degree of ‘animation’. But ‘thrill’ and written “for your entertainment? The story entails quite realistic descriptions of the activities in which psychotic individuals suffering from two of the various patterns in which psychotic behavior is manifest can engage. It is not a pleasant picture and from this reader’s perspective would seem to have been presented more as a vehicle for instruction rather than enjoyment. However, once again a reader is made aware of the vast differences that may exist in individual taste.
Summary: This is a somewhat instructive description of depraved activity in which sufferers of two different forms of psychoses can engage. It no doubt will appeal to certain readers for its suspense.
3* 4*Relatively adept description of psychotic behavior; -1 at very least for enjoyment.
Find the Needle, Part 1: Diary of a Digital Outlaw. Copyright by 514 Entertainment, Inc. written by Frank Perrotto.
The protagonist is an AI video game character functioning in California as an Estonian immigrant member of an Eastern Mob, the leader of which is his former immigrant buddie. The story evolves with Dmitry suffering from increasing frustrations heaped upon underlying but vaguely unformed thoughts on morality, a vaguely remembered life-threatening childhood event, his mother’s development of cancer that requires extensive and expensive therapy, and an ununderstood dissatisfaction with his life in general. The fast paced tale moves rapidly toward a finale that prepares the reader for Part II.
Discussion: The author has set forth a well-written description of an AI character set in California as a human with acquired street-wise intelligence and little education who is attempting to exist within a life situation that he finds to be totally confusing. For this reader it is difficult to discern whether the supportive characters of his sister, as well as his mother, girlfriend and his boss and associates, each with his/her own unpleasant and interrelated life situations are of similar origin. In the author’s preface he explains that this most unusual story is in itself of an experimental nature and is the first in a projected series of three following the life of Dmitry, who is the subject of an A.I. video game living in a digital environment. As a reader totally unfamiliar with video games but aware of AI, its present limitations and attempts at further development, I am sure I have missed some significant aspects of this novel. However, as a fast-paced thriller centered in a seamier part of society, the story explores interesting aspects of individuals with the described deficiencies who might be caught in similar circumstances. As such, at least to this reader, the tale explores the thought processes of humans of lesser intelligence with minimal education and the vagaries of thought and frustrations they constantly must endure. Thus from this perspective, the author’s experiment appears to be highly successful. A caveat is required in that more sensitive readers should be aware that the language employed often is explicitly raw but typical for the level of individuals described.
5* Interesting thriller as the author’s ‘experiment’ appears successful.
The Croxton Project: j293 an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Ian D. Wright,
Sub-titled “A Blueprint for Deception”, the story line follows newly-married and highly successful investigative reporters Steve and Emily as Joe Jefferies, former Special Forces officer and now private security company owner, requests their aid. They are indebted to Joe on several levels and happy to help in an involved security assignment. It seems that Lomax Technologies recently had added David Croxton, a brilliant young engineer, to their staff. David had developed a workable prototype of a weapon that offered tremendous possibilities. The government contacted Lomax who assured them that all necessary security features were in order and issued the contract. Unfortunately, until acquisition of David, Lomax Technologies had quite literally been a Mom & Pop organization developing gadgets. John Lomax was the CEO, his wife Margaret was the fiscal officer and son Brian head of marketing and sales. All was rather sloppily run and security spotty, at best. Government agents were due to perform a routine inspection within a couple of weeks. Joe was called in because even Lomax suddenly realized numerous holes existed in his security coverage. The problem is further complicated when David suddenly disappears following thoughtless activity with a Karl Zeigler after meeting and being introduced by his beautiful associate. Other characters of importance are Peter Bridge, Lomax’s personnel manager and Jarvis, David’s immediate supervisor who is prone to taking credit for David’s accomplishments, even though any malfunction in the prototype could be rectified only by Croxton. Steve and Emily, together with Joe and his task force, pursue a course of intrigue and deception that leads to an ultimate conclusion.
Discussion: The author has provided a tale set in England during the cold war era that relives the frenzy among nations to gain the most devastating weaponry. As such, it encompasses various aspects of the espionage, deceit, paranoia and frequently thoughtless activity that led often to unfortunate results. The tale is fast paced and moves forward quite directly for the most part to a termination, part of which in this reader’s perspective, should have been accomplished more efficiently as set in motion by the author. But then, this is a personal opinion of an action that each prospective reader must judge for him/her self.
4* 5* Interesting Cold War Era tale; -1 reviewer’s personal perspective.