Monthly Archives: October 2012

Book Review – False Impressions

False Impressions – Just When You Thought You Knew Who To Trust…

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Sandra Nikolai
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Megan Scott and her husband Tom seem to have it all, their future bright.  Working as an editor at Bradford publishing, Megan excels working with different clients in various fields keeping her energized notwithstanding the office politics.  Her husband Tom’s work selling multimedia software lands him promotion after promotion increasing their income substantially. Unfortunately, his work takes him frequently away from home and the couple struggle to conceive their first child.  Enter Michael Elliot – a handsome true crime investigator and writer who years ago Megan had a crush on during their school days together; Bradford is publishing his latest book and Megan is assigned to work with him.  Immediately attracted to him, Megan struggles with her feelings wishing their time together to both continue and end.  But when Megan’s husband and best friend are found murdered in a lover’s affair, Megan’s world is shaken to its core and Megan learns her life and those around her are not as she once thought.  Trusting the wrong person could have disastrous consequences.

False Impressions, by Sandra Nikolai, is a well-crafted mystery.  Told from Megan’s first person narrative, one is quickly enveloped into her world while at the same time, due to Nikolai’s highly honed writing, the other characters are just as richly expressed.

Two key elements to me in any mystery novel are pace and misdirection.  The first is key in making a story and its characters full and believable.  In this regard, Nikolai is spot on – the pace, especially at the beginning is perfect – allowing Megan’s relationship with Michael to evolve while slowly amping up the action once the murders are discovered.  Misdirection is also handled well, especially in the novel’s middle section where Nikolai keeps all of the options open as to ‘who done’ it giving Megan that feeling of being lost, alone, and helpless an iconic staple of any good thriller. The end of this story loses this misdirection a little as the ‘obvious’ answer is set up as a little too obvious but readers will enjoy this none-the-less.

False Impressions is one of Megan Scott/Michael Elliott mystery novels and I look to future offerings in the series.

Note: A complimentary copy of this novel was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – This Honest Man

This Honest Man – Blade Runner meets Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Robert J. Sullivan
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Sam Dane looked across at his client and wondered if she truly knew what she was asking from him given what he thought the resulting investigation would uncover.  Isla Beauchesne was not an attractive woman, not necessarily unattractive but given her murdered husband was quite the looker, Sam figured the answer to who and why he was killed would not be one Isla would want to hear.  None-the-less, he took the case, and soon found a story more complex than he imagined.  Off-world megalomaniac drug cartel lords, playboy rich sons of greed, a beach party vacation town for the rich and famous, and political and alien race relations nightmares, are just some of the troubles Sam finds himself in the middle of.  Will he find the killer before everyone involved ends up dead, even Mrs. Beauchesne?

“This Honest Man”, is a unique fusion of science fiction and police procedural/detective genres.  If you are thinking Blade Runner, you’d be a little off – this is a detective story based in the future with future technologies, travel between, planets, some AI here and there, but even with the various alien races this is less about the science fiction and more about a murder investigation.  In fact, this type of story could very well take place in modern day, it just so happens it all takes place in the future.  One risk in this type of genre twist is that the sci/fi portions could distract but in fact they are woven well into the story and it is fairly easy to be drawn in to the everyday world in which Sam Dane operates.  Uncovering who the murderer was and why it happened is plotted and paced well and there are enough turns and action in the story to keep things moving.  Sullivan’s protagonist – Dane – is a flawed character and a bit of a loner, but he does know how to have a good time and take advantage of a situation and turn it to his favor which I find refreshing and ‘real’.

For those looking for hard core sci/fi, look elsewhere.  But if you enjoy a good detective story and want something a little different, give the Sam Dane series a try.  “This Honest Man”, is the second in the series.

Note: A complimentary copy of this novel was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Amped

Amped – Another Thought Provoking Pure Fun Adrenaline Ride – I Love This Series!

Rating: 5 of 5 (RMBOA Recommended)
Author: Douglas E. Richards
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Determined to fight for a greater humanity but knowing the megalomanic side effects her IQ boosting technology can create, Kira Miller and her husband David Desh, along with their colleagues, set up a hidden organization to create their breakthroughs.  Aptly named Icarus, after the Greek god who flew too close to the sun due to his hubris, Kira is careful to the point of paranoia in allowing only those who meet the strictess criteria for selflessness to become a part of their plans.  So strict are her rules, that none of the original founding members including herself or David would even meet them.  And when their organization is suddenly found and they are hunted once more, the only explanation is someone with enhanced intelligence is behind the plot to destroy them.  But Kira knows that is impossible as she has accounted for every IQ pill there is, unless the one betraying them is from within, perhaps even an enhanced versions of one of themselves whose hapless everyday self is unaware they are the betrayer?

I have to admit, I loved “Wired” and after reading it wrote that I had no idea how one could write an effective sequel but Richards has gone way beyond what I could have imagined.  Amped picks up where Wired left off and this volume is jam packed full of twists and turns, action, betrayal and plenty of philosophical head scratchers that I found myself up late at night thinking through their implications.  It is these nuggets of intellectual insight that I love best about this book.  One of my favorite examples, and one that still haunts me, involves a man who dies, goes to the afterlife and can pursue his wildest dreams for all eternity – but eternity can be a long time and the end of this tale is chilling.  This anecdote is just one of many that are well woven and infused into Amped whose plot is rich but implications are far reaching.  Some reviewers note they figured out the end, and I admit I did as well, but it wasn’t until I was well into the book and at the end of the day, so what!  This was a great read and one I’ll be revisiting and talking about with friends and family for some time.

Great stuff.  Bring on this next one!