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Book Review – Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter – Bad Spirits in the Alaskan Wilderness

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: D.V. Berkom
Format: Kindle

Hiking alone in the wintery Alaskan wilderness, Kate Jones witnesses an execution style murder.  It is then she realizes that the life she had escaped five years earlier had caught up to her.  Running out and stealing money from her south-of-the-border drug-lord boyfriend had turned into a life sentence of constant moving and looking over her back.  How he had found her she didn’t know, but what she did know is that to stay alive she would once more have to stay one step ahead of her fate.  But can she save those around her as well as herself?

D.V Berkom’s Dead of Winter is the first book in the second series of books that pick up where the Bad Spirits series left off.  Berkom’s writing is crisp and fast paced.  Her descriptions are so refined and precise I could almost fell the chill and tension Kate experienced each step of the way.  Action packed with a heart pounding rate, this brief novel is like a episode of 24 and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

I enjoyed this series even more than the first as Berkom has added to the action by introducing some depth through a romantic interest.  The pacing is balanced well with no hint of the dues ex machina elements that were occasionally found in the first series of books.  The Kindle price is an unbelievable value.  You won’t be disappointed if you check out this series.

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

Book Review – Deadly Departed

Deadly Departed Sometimes Life after Death can be a Killer!

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author: Tom Ryan
Format: Kindle

The newly appointed constable of Port Isle was understandably anxious as he approached the lumber mill.  After all, this was his first death investigation.  As he and the mill supervisor walked into the expansive and dangerous lumber yard, the supervisor explained his shock and dismay at the gruesome accidental death of a young female office worker crushed under a stacked log pile that had given way.  In an attempt to uncover and positively identify the body, the constable finds evidence clearly showing that the log pile did not give way by accident and that the tragic death was in fact murder.  While the mystery of who committed such a crime plagued the constable, and even more and perhaps greater mystery filled his mind –how was it that one could be murdered in the land of those already dead?

Tom Ryan’s “Deadly Departed” is definitely not your run of the mill (pun intended!) murder mystery and that is its strength.  If you can imagine a cross between David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” and Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” then you might be somewhere in the ballpark of what “Deadly Departed” is like.  “Departed” is an imaginative and clever romp into a unique “purgatory-esque” afterlife.  Ryan creates such a unique and at times bizarre world that it is almost impossible to guess how the plot will resolve and unfold.  None-the-less, it all works resulting in a very entertaining read.

Ryan’s writing is spot on – good pace, great descriptions, impressive world building, engaging characters and fun turns of phrase.  I have no idea if Ryan intends this to be a series, but with a world so unique one could see how this could really blossom into a multi-novel offering.  If you like standard fare and mainstream reads, this may not be for you.  If however, you enjoy something very different that will likely be something you remember for quite some time to come, you won’t be disappointed in “Deadly Departed.”

Book Review – Sudden Death

Sudden Death – “Tee Anyone?”

Rating: 4 of 5

Author: Michael Balkind
Available: Paperback, Kindle

Reid Clark is at the top of his game.After fulfilling his lifelong dream of wining the Masters Tournament in Augusta Georgia, he lands a huge multi-million dollar product endorsement deal.But everything is not quite right for Reid.Having led a fairly carefree yet successful life, Reid is prone to temper tantrums which has lead the media to coin him as golf’s “Bad Boy”, and while Reid supports philanthropic endeavors, not everyone is as happy with Reid as he is with himself.Players on the tour resent his success and frequent arrogance, ex-girlfriends are legion as he is just as much a “player” off the green as on, and ex-caddies and business associates are frustrated with his juvenile outbursts.

Its no surprise Reid receives a death threat.The rules for staying alive – never win another golf tournament.Impossible for Reid.The threats do, however, cause him to take stock of his life and attitudes.He sets out to spend more time with his family, appreciate those around him, and perhaps even find the girl of his dreams.But it’s hard to turn around your life on a dime, and Reid finds himself frequently agitated by the press and those hired to protect him.

Will Reid back off and retire from golf while at the top of his game?Or will he risk everything and take on the thugs threatening him?

I enjoyed “Sudden Death”.Michael Balkind takes you into the clubhouse, the mind, and the life of a professional golfer – the stress, the deals, the parties, the game, the fans, the agents, you name it.

My one issue is that I found it hard to connect with and like Reid Clark.Though he tries to re-evaluate his life after receiving multiple threats, connecting with family and his budding relationship are all centered around buying them high priced gifts and taking them on shopping sprees.There’s no real emotional connection.This is certainly consistent with his persona, but does make it difficult to really route for him as the novel’s main character.

None-the-less, “Sudden Death” is a very enjoyable read.If you like golf and a good mystery, “Sudden Death” is for you!