A fast-paced thriller, high on adrenaline and abundant in bio-chemistry, Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero has it all!

I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero

When researcher Jawad Khattib gasps his last breath on the Massachusetts General Hospital floor, the Department of Homeland Security wants answers—especially after a preliminary autopsy suggests he died of radiation poisoning. What exactly was Khattib working on? And who was he working for? DHS Agent Lee Jansen is rushed to Boston and paired with expert toxicologist Dr. Emma Hess to crack the case. All evidence points to the creation of a dirty bomb, but the clues seem too clean, too obvious. During the course of their investigation, they discover the horrible truth. This new weapon is far more deadly than anyone had expected. It isn’t just capable of killing hundreds—it’s capable of killing hundreds of thousands. Can they stop what’s been set in motion by a madman with a dangerous secret before it’s too late?

About the Author:

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Michael Shusko, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACOEM, was raised in Long Branch, NJ. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1985 after graduating high school.

Dr. Shusko cut his teeth in the military in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. As his first assignment, he attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA, where he studied Arabic. Upon completing his language training, he worked on intelligence and medical missions across the globe. He spent time in Liberia, served as a Marine during the first Gulf War, and worked for several years with the Defense Attaché’s office at the US Embassy in Kuwait.

After returning to the States in 1995, Dr. Shusko focused his attention on earning his bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from Rutgers University while studying Persian-Farsi at Princeton. He then transferred to the Navy Medical Corps and enrolled in medical school at Wake Forest University, obtaining his Medical Degree in 2002. He also studied at Harvard University, earning his Master’s of Public Health degree in 2013.

Dr. Shusko is a family medicine physician, an occupational medicine physician, and a preventive medicine physician. His Middle Eastern experience and language skills coupled with his background in special operations and intelligence keep him busy deploying around the world. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and has been awarded the Bronze Star twice for service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He currently lives in Japan with his wife and 17-year-old triplet sons.

My Thoughts:

Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero is a compelling fast-paced thriller that deals with the idea of a bio-chemical weapon that can end the life of hundreds of people easily. The plot is well thought out and right from the beginning, the foundation is set for an entertaining read. The reader is drawn into a web of secrets and deceit without ever knowing who is really involved and who isn’t.

Starting with the suspicious death of researcher Jawad Khattib, to the meeting of some brilliant minds, the author has created some wonderful characters with whom we can relate. Each one has their own story that has shaped who they turn out to be. The experience and expertise of the author in this genre and area are clearly distinguishable through his writing. The author has included a lot of technical information, be it medical, bio-chemical or even military but it is easy for the reader to understand this.

The protagonist is a strong character, though he has been dealt some serious blows in life and is trying to deal with it. Dr. Emma Hess on the other hand was a winner for me, along with Dr Sue. They are women with in-depth knowledge of their field of work and among the foremost. It was a pleasure to read about them and their role in this story.

This book has all the elements for a good action-packed entertainer and will certainly ensure that the reader gets pulled in for the ride. Who can be trusted and who cannot is one part of the major plot with some serious twists at the end, giving us a hint that there is more to this story.

The Good Dictator I – The Rise of an Empire free on Amazon and Smashwords on 12th April 2017

The Good Dictator I – The Rise of an Empire by Gonçalo JN Dias will be available for free download from amazon and smashwords on 12.04.2017

Synopsis:

The Good Dictator I: The Birth of an Empire by [Dias, Gonçalo JN]

There’s an object parked on the moon, but curiously, the unfolding of the story does not take place in New York, but rather, in Lisbon suburbs and in a small village between Portugal and Spain.

The main character, Gustavo, does not get along well with his parents-in-law, and his wife does not like Gustavo’s friends.

A genre-busting book that includes adventure, thriller, dystopia or utopia and an exciting love story.

Book download links:

amazon

smashwords

Author Connect:

author’s official blog.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33014831-the-good-dictator

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01A77NFNO

In Conversation with Dane Cobain

Here at redpillows, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with author and poet, Dane Cobain.

Dane Cobain

His work is quite diverse and spans fiction, non-fiction and poetry. His first work No Rest for the Wicked was released in the summer of 2015.

Read on to know what Dane would like to share!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Dane! I’m a British writer who works across all sorts of genres, from horror and literary fiction to non-fiction and poetry. You can check out my work over here: www.danecobain.com/amazon

  1. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I suppose it all started when I was six or seven years old, singing parodies of popular songs with my own lyrics. When I was a teenager, I started to take it a lot more seriously, and the rest if history (and sweat, a lot of that too).

  1. You write such diverse things, novels and poetry, how do you manage that?

Honestly, I just don’t stop. I constantly work on finding ways to optimise my time and to cram as much productivity in as possible. I write a poem a day during the week, and I work on them while on cigarette breaks. Because my poems aren’t too long, I usually also get to spend a little time outlining stories, novels, marketing plans and other things that are stuck in my head. I write longer form things at the computer, while switching between other activities in a ridiculously specific routine I call ‘The Schedule’.

  1. Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?

Life, mainly. But my poetry is unique in that I only include maybe 5% of the poems that I write in the published collections. Sometimes, there isn’t much inspiration, but I still write poems – I just don’t share them.

  1. What are your favourite genres and your favourite books?

I like to read modern classics and ‘alternative’ books, as well as plenty of indie books and new releases thanks to my book blog (SocialBookshelves.com). Some of my favourite writers include Graham Greene, Charles Bukowski, Phillip Pullman, Terry Pratchett and, lately, Stephen King.

  1. Which kind of writing (genre) do you prefer?

They all have their pros and cons and, to be honest, when I’m writing, I don’t usually have a genre in mind. That comes when I get to the marketing stage. I don’t think I can answer this – sorry!

  1. Tell us a little about your research process while working on a novel.

It totally depends upon the novel, but I’m trying to carry out quite a lot for a current project. Unfortunately, the project itself is a bit of a secret, but it involves interviewing subject matter specialists from charities, reading books and documentaries and spending a hell of a lot of time looking at photos and videos that I’d much rather not look at.

  1. Who is your favourite character among those you have created and why?

Hmmm. It’s a tough one to call, but it’s probably Maile O’Hara from my upcoming series of detective novels. She’s basically me, if I was a woman and had specialised in computer stuff instead of writing.

  1. Describe a perfect writing day for you.

I wake up whenever I wake up and stay at home, working until I go to sleep while watching Netflix and chillin’ with my girlfriend. She’s only able to put up with me because she’ll quite happily play Skyrim while I’m working and we both have good taste in documentaries.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

Getting started during the planning stage. The more you plan, the more it all starts to come together, but the early days can be overwhelming. Once you’ve got a plan in place, it just becomes a case of endurance. You just need to stick with it.

  1. What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

There are no rules. It’s just you and a blank piece of paper. It’s liberating, but it’s also terrifying – especially if you’re like me and you hate rhyming poetry

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel/poetry?

You just need to be prepared for heartbreak, do your best and stick at it. And you’d better make sure that you work with a decent editor if you want your book to be at its best.

Connect with the author:

Goodreads, Twitter

Author Website

Book Review: Granjy’s Eyes by Matt McAvoy

About the Book:

Granjy's Eyes

Meet Ollie.
Well-educated and spoilt – a rich kid, fun-loving party-goer and brutal sociopath. Ruthlessly arrogant Ollie takes what he wants, when he wants it. But Ollie’s going to learn, the hard way, that for every action there’s a consequence, and for every bounty a price.

Because living with Granjy isn’t the bed of roses he thought it was going to be; the blind old lady sees everything – sees him – and most of all sees the monster he is becoming. It was she that made him rotten-to-the-core, and now his payment is due – Ollie will tear apart his own dark soul, and Granjy will teach him new meaning of the word ‘remorse’.

My Thoughts:

I come away with mixed feelings after reading this book. At the end, I just gave a sigh of relief that it is over. Some parts of the book had me cringing in horror and wonder at the kind of things the protagonist gets up to. More than that, it amazed me to read about his justification and rationalization of various events.

Our protagonist lives with his grandmother for a good number of years after being kicked out of his parents house. The dynamics between Ollie and his grandmother is weird enough to raise eyebrows, but is well portrayed in the book. However, it is sad that even though Granjy knew everything about Ollie, she didn’t have the mental strength to stand up to him and put him right, and in the end it cost her dearly.

Ollie is a self-absorbed, money minded and materialistic human being, used to getting his own way and not being accountable for anything he did. This is re-enforced when his grandmother always stands up for him and seems to always see the good in him. This particular relationship and Ollie’s ideas will be severely tested later on in the story. The author’s style of writing is quite different and it took me some time to get into the book. It feels abrupt and there seems to be a lack of flow between chapters. This isn’t that much of a problem since the plot seems to flow on in a clear direction.

The characters are interesting and developed to some extent, though there could have been some more depth given to Ollie. There are many incidents that are not even described enough but are mentioned quite extensively, seemingly to make the reader imagine additional details by themselves. The author maintains the pace of the story and the atmosphere quite well. The story moves at a steady pace, the destination becoming clearer and clearer as we progress, with a climactic ending that I am sure no-one will see coming.

A decent pick-me up for those who enjoy psychological thrillers which also touch upon horror.

Inkitt – app launch for Android

I was asked by the Inkitt team to promote the app on it’s release date (which is today!) and spread the word. Read further to know all about it!

 inkitt

THE INKITT APP BRINGS THOUSANDS OF NOVELS BY INDIE AUTHORS TO ANDROID

Inkitt empowers readers and publishers to discover world’s next best sellers

BERLIN, JANUARY 7, 2017: Inkitt, the world’s first readers and data-driven book publishing house is introducing an Android app for phones and tablets, globally available from today.

Inkitt’s iOS app became available back in November and was well received by users: The app was not only featured on the US App Store but also on numerous other App Stores around the world, as well as on the front page of Product Hunt, ranking in the top 10 in Tech.

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Inkitt for iOS featured as a top Books app in the US App Store

Following the warm welcome by the iOS community, and in order to meet the demand of their own fast growing user base, Inkitt is now bringing their digital library with thousands of novels by emerging authors to Android devices.

“It was a great reward to see Inkitt featured as a top app in numerous App Stores around the world and receive such great feedback from users” says Inkitt’s Founder and CEO, Ali Albazaz. “Readers were really excited about the iOS app but kept asking when we’re launching on Android too. We heard them, worked really hard and today we’re bringing Inkitt to Android devices. All readers will now be able to discover tomorrow’s bestsellers on the go and read great novels by upcoming authors wherever they are.”

Inkitt for Android – 4 key features:

  • Access to thousands of novels from all fiction genres: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, horror, romance, drama, action, adventure, YA and more
  • Personalized reading suggestions: hand-picked novels based on a reader’s favorite fiction genres

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  • Customizable look to match user preferences (e.g. font size, color combinations)

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  • Online/Offline: readers can save novels to their offline library to access them anytime

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Beyond being a platform connecting aspiring authors with book lovers, Inkitt’s mission is to become the world’s fairest publishing house: Its in-house developed algorithm analyzes reading behavior to determine the potential of a novel to become the next bestseller. Using this unique data-driven approach, Inkitt wants to ensure that great works by new and talented writers never again stay in the dark.

Since July, Inkitt has published 7 novels: Catalyst Moon: Incursion by Lauren L. Garcia (Fantasy), Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan (YA Romance), I Was A Bitch by Emily Ruben (YA Romance Mystery), Esper Files by Egan Brass (SciFi) and Caged by Onaiza Khan (Psychological Thriller),  King’s Lament by Lilia Blanc (Fantasy Romance) and Three Fat Singletons by J.M. Bartholomew (Humor Romance), six of which became bestsellers on Amazon.

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Inkitt for Android will be available to download on Google Play from the 7th of January 2017

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About Inkitt

On the surface, Inkitt (www.inkitt.com) is a platform where aspiring writers can share their novels and inquisitive readers can unearth fresh content. But under the hood, we are democratizing publishing: The Inkitt algorithm analyzes reading behavior to predict future bestsellers. In other words: if readers love it, Inkitt publishes it.

MEDIA CONTACT

marvin@inkitt.com

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

About the Book:

The Girl on the Train

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My Thoughts:

Wow. This is a mind blowing, brilliantly written psychological thriller that is literally a train ride! Written in the POV’s of three of the characters, with interchanging and different dates, the author weaves a tale that slowly brings all of them together.

At first, I kept losing track of the dates mentioned at the beginning of each chapter and hence ended up rather confused about the happenings. Rachel, the main protagonist, takes the train everyday and as she passes a particular station, she sees a house and it’s occupants everyday, to the extent that she had even given them imaginary names. Her husband, Tom left her to marry Anna and this did not sit well with her. The fact that they had a little daughter only made things worse. Rachel could not stop her growing dependency on alcohol nor the many times she called or emailed her ex-husband. She also lost her job and ends up constantly lying to the lady whose apartment she shares. Little does she know that she would see something rather shocking and then their lives would eventually meet and their paths would become extremely tangled.

The thoughts run deep, the psych playing a major role. Alcoholism coupled with anger makes Rachel behave rather unconventionally. The author slowly brings out the story behind each of the three women in the story and shows us exactly how deep the hurt goes. They are broken and seeking solace and trying to find themselves in any way that they can. When Megan goes missing, Rachel tries to figure out what happened, going back in her mind to the night when all the three women were supposed to have been in the same area. The police contact her when Anna, her ex-husbands wife sees a chance to throw her name out there and thus follows the rest of the plot.

The author emphasizes a lot on the train journey too and develops the story based on this spanning a number of days. She also describes, with intricate details, the events from the past that affected the psyche of her characters. With Megan, it is always dates in the past when compared to Rachel’s timeline. Though a little confusing, the author consistently maintains this trend and this lends some more intrigue to the plot. We are also treated to a dose of domesticity and how relationships are tested when things don’t go the way we expect them to. Can you trust your eyes and the things you saw? Is it possible to imagine a whole existence and life? These are just a few of the questions that reading this book will raise in the readers mind.

An overall thrilling and compelling read, this is another book in the style of Gone Girl that will have the reader hooked until the very end with an ending to shock. The starting may seem strange, the finish line stranger and in the middle, the reader is sure to get lost on the never ending journey of life much like that of the train.

Click the link below to get the book on Amazon.

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Book Review: The Black Witch of Mexico by Colin Falconer

About the Book:

The Black Witch of Mexico

Would you sell your soul to have anything you wanted?

Adam Prescott has everything; he’s earning big money as an emergency specialist at one of Boston’s biggest hospitals, he has a fancy apartment in Beacon Hill, everything is working out fine.

But when his girlfriend dumps him, it hits him harder than he expected, and he lets himself spiral. On the advice of his boss he takes a sabbatical in rural Mexico – a place where they still believe in magic – and in witches.

A mysterious figure called the Black Crow tells him he can cast a spell and give him anything – anything – he wants … and though he doesn’t really believe in any of it, Adam is tempted.

Anything at all?

Okay, he says. Okay get me my girlfriend back.

And that’s when the nightmare starts.

From the witch markets of Mexico City to the ancient valleys along the Guatemalan border, places still haunted by the statues and ruins of the Olmecs, he is drawn deeper into a world he doesn’t understand and comes to question everything he once believed.

Are witches just superstitious nonsense? Or is there such a thing as real evil in the world?

The Black Witch of Mexico is a chilling psychological thriller where nothing is quite what it seems.

So be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.

My Thoughts:

“Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.”

That’s how the synopsis of the story ends and this is an apt way to describe the plot of this book.

The protagonist, an emergency specialist at one of Boston’s biggest hospitals spirals down after his girlfriend dumps him. On the advice of his boss, he takes a sabbatical and moves to Mexico. Here he lives in a village where the people still believe in magic and the existence of witches. What follows is a series of events that form the entirety of the plot.

When the doctor encounters a witch, who offers to give him anything he wants, he asks for his girlfriend back. Thus all hell breaks lose and leads to the beginning of a series of nightmares. Playing on the psyche of the character, the author has written an interesting book. The author’s style of writing is captivating and will ensure that the reader is hooked.

The story is well written and is quite different from most books I have read. However I must say that I did not understand the ending and I feel a little let down by that. The story was built up really well up until that point, but the ending confused me. In spite of this, I thought that this was a good read and would still like to recommend it even though it left me a little confused.

Conversations Among Ruins by Matthew Peters

About the Book:

Conversations Among Ruins

CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS is a portrait of a descent into madness, and the potential of finding salvation there.

While in detox, Daniel Stavros, a young, dual diagnosed* professor meets and falls in love with the cryptic Mimi Dexter. But Mimi has secrets and, strangely, a tattoo identical to a pendant Daniel’s mother gave him right before she died.

Drawn together by broken pasts, they pursue a twisted, tempestuous romance. When it ends, a deteriorating Stavros seeks refuge at a mountain cabin where a series of surreal experiences brings him face to face with something he’s avoided all his life: himself.

Though miles away, Mimi’s actions run oddly parallel to Daniel’s. Will either be redeemed, or will both careen toward self-destruction?

*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.

My thoughts:

A raw, deep, emotional book, this will give the reader an insight into a troubled soul and the mind of a person dual diagnosed. The author seeks to bring out the troubles of a young professor who wants to avoid confronting his inner demons. When he meets Mimi while in rehab, he falls in love and we are drawn into a world of love, secrets and some amount of mystic is thrown in. Mimi has her own share of secrets and they are forced to decide how to proceed with their lives.

Written beautifully, the author pulls us into Daniel’s world of confusion and inebriation. Between the two, we are as confused as Daniel and ultimately imagination and reality seem to merge and the line between them disappears. As with the author’s style of writing, all the plot lines in this book are important and come together very well by the end of the story.

We are shown the importance of life along with the necessity and ways of dealing with alcoholism and mental illness. The descriptions are vivid and conversations are thought provoking and the question of whether our characters attain salvation will encourage the reader to finish the book. There is a message to this book and I am sure many can relate to some of the topics raised in this story. For the style of writing and the concept, I strongly recommend this book which I enjoyed immensely.

Book Review: Rule Number One by Rory Goodwin

About the Book:

Rule Number One (An Oswald Metzger Novella Series Book 1)

Set in Brisbane Australia, a disgraced Australian Football League Star is found dead on the day of his sentencing at the Brisbane District Courts in an apparent suicide.
Detective Baxter knows things aren’t always as they seem and decides to follow a hunch one last time before he retires. But before he can do that he also has one more score to settle.
Family man, Oswald ‘Ozzy’ Metzger is a regular bloke, loving father and committed husband driven by duty, love and honour. Following his heart and driven by what he believes in, being vegan, he doesn’t believe in violence but does believe in justice for the innocent.
Monica runs a crisis centre for women and children, when Detective Baxter comes asking questions she is faced with the confronting reality that all may not be as it seems.

My Thoughts:

This story is a novella, short and fast paced. When a Football player is found dead in the bathrooms of the courthouse, the day of his sentencing, an investigation is opened into the same. Speculation on whether it is a suicide or a murder are rife and in the midst of it all is Detective Baxter, whose aim is to wrap up this one last case before he retires.

In the course of the same, we meet Monica, who runs a crisis centre to help women and who knew the football player’s ex-girlfriend. What happens when you set out to investigate one thing, but while asking questions, you discover something more? The same happens as Detective Baxter follows up on a hunch. In parallel, we are introduced to Oswald, Monica’s husband. As a series of events unfold, the reader is taken on a journey with our very own serial killer with a conscience.

The story ends in quite a different way and this is one of the things that I enjoyed immensely about the book. The author went ahead with an unusual end. Of course some parts of the climax are cliche and expected, but for the most of it, the end was a good turn of events, making it worth the read.

As all the ends come together, the author gives us enough bait to keep us hooked on and waiting in the hopes that there may be another novella or novel to tell us what happens to Ozzy and Monica. The novella is good for a quick read and for those who enjoy the genre!