Posted in Reviews

Review: How It Happened by Michael Koryta

How It HappenedHow It Happened by Michael Koryta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You might think that a book which starts out with a confession and explanation would be devoid of mystery and suspense, but in this case – you’d be so wrong! This book begins with a double murder confession, but manages to keep you guessing until the very end.

Kimberly Crepeaux is a local ne’er-do-well, but when she confesses to the double murder of two local “golden children,” FBI agent Rob Barrett believes her. However, when parts of her story begin to unravel, like the bodies being found 200 miles away from where she swore they were located, Barrett loses control of the case and is ostracized for screwing up majorly. But he can’t let the case go, and he continues to search for the truth, no matter what he has to do to find it.

Like I said, the book is chock full of suspense, even though the first chapter reveals the confession. Koryta weaves a story that works backwards and manages to keep you guessing as he slowly reveals pieces of the puzzle which build back to that main picture. It’s really quite a suspenseful tale.

The setting is also really great, because Koryta manages to perfectly capture the essence of life in a small town and how things work when everyone knows everyone’s business – or at least, they think they do. Being from a small town, I totally related to a lot of those things.

The ending was a little convoluted, though. I’m still trying to piece it together in my mind. But I guess it couldn’t be too straightforward, or the story would be too simple.

Overall, this was a great high-suspense tale, with plenty of action. Fans of police procedurals will really enjoy it.

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Posted in Reviews

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

The Secrets She KeepsThe Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile now since I’ve been so wrapped up in a novel that I have to take a peek at the ending. If I don’t, I can’t just relax and read the book – I’m just racing to the ending, needing to know how it all works out. “The Secrets She Keeps” made me peek.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it all unfolds beautifully as you get further into the novel. But, generally, the book alternates between two women’s point of view: Agatha and Meghan, both of whom are expecting babies. Meghan is a mommy blogger who leads a life that looks perfect from the outside, but is fractured from within. Agatha works at a supermarket and from the beginning, you can tell something about her is….off. Her story unfolds as the novel goes on.

This novel isn’t about suspense, since most people can guess what’s going on early on, but it’s more about the thrill – how the heck is this going to work out?! I was absolutely glued to the pages. Both stories are fascinating and it’s hard to say which woman I enjoyed reading about more. In different ways, both were fascinating and captivated me.

The ending was as satisfying as it could be, and left me with both sadness and hope. It really shows how good a book this was in that it made me feel so many emotions; from happiness to extreme sadness.

Highly recommended.

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Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Justin W.M. Roberts

34122259I’m thrilled to be able to talk with another author about work and their craft. Justin W.M. Roberts, author of the action-packed “The Policewoman,” took some time to share his thoughts on his characters and his experiences as a writer.

– Where did the idea for this novel come from?

Drug trafficking is a problem faced by every country. It’s big business and it’s a matter of time drug cartels will try to take over a country.


– This novel not only had action, but a lot of emotion too – laughter, romance, etc. How did you balance that in your writing?

Well, the life a real police officer is not one action sequence to the next. In fact, 99% of it is boring. This book is art imitating the life of a police officer, albeit an extraordinary life.

– Why did you choose a female protagonist? 

Good question! This book is more of a military action thriller than a crime fiction novel. Since there aren’t any female officers in the UK’s Special Air Service, I need the main protagonist to be a female so there can be a romance element in the book.

– What authors do you enjoy reading in your spare time?

I enjoy reading Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, Andy McNab, and Chris Ryan

– What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Just write! Send your work to a lot of people so they can send their feedback.

– What are you working on next?

The Policewoman is book one of a series. I’m currently writing the sequel.

About the Author

Justin W.M. Roberts was born in London, son of a British Army General, and grew up in Hong Kong, Germany, and England. After graduating from Hull university with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology, he continued traveling and living Europe, Africa, and Asia.

He currently lives in Indonesia where he is an analyst of political affairs and an active promoter of secular humanism.

Authors of military thrillers are welcome to PM him (on Goodreads) for book reviews.

Posted in Reviews

Wrong Number by Carys Jones

Wrong Number (Wrong Number #1)Wrong Number by Carys Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m conflicted about this one.

On the one hand, I really liked it. It kept my attention and kept we wondering how it was all going to turn out. On the other, it wasn’t very suspenseful, as implied in the description, and it was a cliffhanger ending. I hate cliffhanger endings.

If you do too, this book is not for you.

Basically, the story is about a woman – a former darknet hacker – who has settled down into married life and thinks everything is going great, until one day she was a weird phone call asking for someone she’s never heard of. The next morning, her husband is gone. With the help of her ex-boyfriend, a homicide detective, and her hacking skills, she discovers that her husband is hiding some very dark secrets.

Like I said, this novel is actually pretty light on suspense, since it’s not too hard to figure out what has happened, but I did enjoy reading along to see how everything turned out. There’s a love triangle – of course – and I actually really liked that part. It was very interesting to see what Amanda chooses to do and where her feelings lie.

That love triangle was actually the most interesting part to me and I was weirdly invested in it (Team Shane!).

But then there’s the ending, which as I said earlier, is a bit of a cliffhanger. It resolves some things, but leaves a huge, wide door open. I understand that this is supposed to be the start of a series, but I would have liked a little more closure here. I mean, it truly felt like the ending of an episode of “Scandal,” but now we have to wait until the next book comes out, which can be a long time in book world.

But I guess the big question is would I pick up the next in the series. And the answer is yes, I would. As I said before, it’s not a bad story, and I am interested to see where it goes.

So I mildly recommend this one. Fans of action books and love triangles will enjoy this book; if you’re looking for a mystery/thriller, skip it.

Maybe if the next one is a little more developed, it will veer into the thriller genre. The author certainly has the potential to write a very good, suspenseful novel.

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Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Elias Zanbaka

29740508Sydney-based author Eias Zanbaka has published his first short story, “Environmentally Friendly,” an action-packed thriller, which, according to its description, “centres around a highly unstable army veteran who is hell-bent on waging his own personal war against Mother Nature. He is the number one target being hunted by the LAPD as he rampages through the city in an attempt to provoke such a powerful and overwhelming force as Mother Nature into a highly personal battle.”

Fans of high-action thrill rides will love this fun read, which draws the reader in immediately.

“Environmentally Friendly” is available on Amazon, Smashwords and Zanbaka is on Goodreads. Below, Zanbaka talks about his story, influences and his writing process.

The story really starts off right in the middle of the action. How did you decide to have readers dive right in like that?

As soon as the entire story had laid itself out in front of me, I knew I had to start it in a place that would make the reader feel as if a hand had just suddenly dropped them without warning, plunging them straight into the action and chaos from the get go. It was more of a gut feeling than anything else. It just felt right to me. If I’ve done my job right, then hopefully I’d have also evoked an immediate response to [the character Sgt.] Schaefer by putting the reader right into his shoes, making them feel as if they were ones ablaze and frantically trying to douse themselves. I wanted the story to then take off like a bullet from there. A part of it was me trying to see if I could write something that was fast and always moving, never sitting still for a second right until it crossed the finish line.

You’ve created some really interesting characters; will you be expanding this story in the future to include more background on their stories?

I’m really glad you found them interesting. Both Sgt. Schaefer and Sgt. Major Bushell were a lot of fun to write! I wasn’t expecting the unique relationship that ended up developing between the two as the story went on despite them being total strangers to one another.

To be quite honest, I had no idea what I had until I’d finished the short story and put it out there. To me, it was an interesting little story that I thought others might enjoy. After a few months, I began getting a lot of emails from people asking if I’d be planning on expanding it further – either into a full novel or a series. I hadn’t really thought about it but I knew there was some potential there, particularly in some of the things that are presented in the latter half of the story. It wasn’t until a month ago where I began to give it some thought, which then turned into a lot of thought and from there I’d managed to come up with a very detailed outline of what a continuation would be although I’m not sure when or if I’d turn it into an actual novel as I have other stories/ideas I’m working on.

Continue reading “Author Q&A: Elias Zanbaka”