Battling Isis – The Road to Mosul

Battling Isis – The Road to Mosul, is a thriller with considerable erotica in an e-book by Ernie Marier.

Plot: Michael Roundtree is a Half-breed American Indian whose great grandfather had established the Rogue River Trading Post. The business gradually developed into a highly successful enterprise that owned a large section of the state and had a net worth in the millions. Under Michael’s direction, success continued and his personal direction was additionally directed to survival tactics for which he established a survival school of sorts. He could survive under almost any conditions, was a master marksman, and could cover miles of ground at a steady rate of six minutes/mile. His older brother, Vince was a missionary working in a Syrian refugee camp. He was captured by Isis and beheaded. Michael witnessed the act on television. He decides to take revenge and the story evolves following his resulting journeys and activities. The action includes help from Kurdish, Egyptian and Israeli characters as well as some help from the CIA. The other characters, except for his beautiful paramour Avalina, an Israeli Army Corporal, and Willie, a Kurdish governmental agent, only incidentally participate in the story and are only slightly characterized.

Discussion: The author has an intriguing plot and has the ability to generate periods of tension throughout. Regrettably, the mood is fractured repeatedly by a number of faults. Shifts constantly occur from the first to the third person; present to past tense occurs; there is repetition of entire sections (e.g. location 638 repeats 627, again in location 938, others); words are omitted and/or repeated; there is constant repetition, with little to no change in verbalization of Michael’s activity as he proceeds to attack the enemy; similarly, the author provides pages of explicit descriptions of sexual activity only to repeat these in ensuing sections of the book. It is granted that graphically depicted sexual acts undoubtedly have a strong appeal for many readers and thus are not criticized per se. It would seem, however, that a knowledgeable editor could devise some greater variation in description of the activity, as well as for scenes of his enemy attacks. A good proof reading at the very least is necessary to ‘clean up’ some of the detritus that interferes with what could be an interesting story.

3* at best. Basically intriguing thriller/erotica plot; monumental need for editing/proof reading


SERENITY, A Shelby Alexander Thriller, Sweatshoppe Publications, an e-book by Craig A. Hart.

Plot/Characters: Shelby, a sixty-year-old former highly ranked professional boxer is living alone in the small northern Michigan town of Serenity. Long divorced and the father of Leslie who, now grown, finally no longer hates him, but rather is attempting, through frequent calls, to get him back together with her mother. His presence in the small town is from a desire to get away from the life he had devised after losing his last championship fight. He was ‘a fixer’, best defined perhaps as a sort of PI who did not always stay on the side of the law in his ministrations. One evening he looks out of his kitchen window and sees a figure in the snow. He investigates and discovers Jenny Ellis, a mentally challenged but friendly woman known by everyone. She is comatose, he brings her into the house and calls emergency but she dies before an ambulance arrives. Upon inquiry from Deputy Stevens, he learns that she had been struck on the head while in the woods but managed to regain sufficiently to make it as far as his house before collapsing. She is part of a family infamous for years as drug dealers, killers and more. Harper, the leader of the Elis clan offers Shel $10,000 to find the person responsible and from this seemingly simple beginning the reader is immersed in a tale of drugs, murder and some suspenseful activity involving a number of unusual characters; Ellis family members – Shepherd, the oldest, Gannon, the hulking, mentally slow and viciously mean youngest, and Ma, also mentally challenged; Norman Evans, an unusual, very nervous individual with surprising activities; Sheriff Wilkes, new, obnoxious and of questionable ability and agenda; Carly, beautiful and raunchy bar owner/attendant who is closely involved with Shel; Jerry McIntyre (Mack), retired Detroit police officer now PI and longtime Shelby friend. The story’s end was somewhat unexpected by this reader although hints had been there to observe.

Discussion: After a somewhat slow and uncertain (fortunately short) beginning, the author has set forth a thriller that moves well and includes activity well-described as appropriate to the characters. There perhaps is a sense that the character may not as yet have reached his ultimate characterization and portions may not be quite as smooth as desired. However, this is understandable as the first of a proposed series and no doubt will be rectified as it continues.

4* First of a purported thriller series.