February 21, 2018
Contract Pending: A New York Mafia Crime Family Novel is the first in the Frankie Fiore books written by Al Marsiglia.
Louie Marsiglia is a shoe repair shop owner in Brooklyn and his son, Frankie, works for him. Young and impressionable, Frankie Fiore is easily recruited by the local mob boss to do collections. Mentored by an experienced ‘made’ man, Frankie finds himself in the boss’s good side in just a short period of time. Soon, he and his new partner are given their own contracts as they continue to prove themselves capable of doing the job. Then, his partner takes it upon himself to ‘touch’ the boss’s money and Frank finds himself on the run leaving his family exposed and vulnerable.
This is an exciting crime thriller with a touch of romance. More than the life of a mobster, the book highlights family values focusing on the things people are willing to do for their family and for the people they care about. The romance part lightens up an otherwise violent story. The author creates well-developed characters taking time to supply sufficient backstories to make the characters relatable. There are many likable characters in this story including Louie Fiore and Peggy, but I find Biff, Frankie’s mentor, my favorite. He is tough, strict and reliable. But most importantly, compared with other mobsters he still has a sense of right and wrong.
However, since the Mafia has been used as subject of so many popular novels already like The Godfather by Mario Puzo and The Firm by John Grisham, some readers may find this book somehow cliché. Moreover, though I sincerely like the plot especially the ending, other readers may find it somehow predictable.
Still, I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend it to crime and thriller fans. Violent and gory scenes, however, may not be suitable for your readers.
February 17, 2018
The Bridge in the Fog is the exciting third installment in the Magora Series created by Marc Remus.
Holly, together with her friends Brian, Rufus and Amanda, is back in Cliffony Academy of the Arts in the fantastical land of Magora. Her return is fired by her burning desire to learn more about her Grandpa Nikolas and her gripping fear that she might be the rumored daughter of the Duke of Cuspidor. Her search for information about her grandfather leads her to the mythical and enchanted bridge said to be closed forever and is hidden behind an eternal fog by its creator, the Wise Man himself, her Grandpa Nikolas.
This third book in the series, though not as suspenseful as the second book is, I can say, much more eventful and therefore just as intriguing and exciting. The search for the Woodspeople and the Land of the Ledesmas through the Bridge in the Fog, the rumors about Cuspidor’s daughter; and a photograph of a library from another world are among the things that the readers will look forward to in this installment. Moreover, the author introduces new characters including Professor Amranranputran and Professor Parsidor, new creatures like the Woodspeole and the Halogumpters in addition to a lot of surprising revelations.
However, I’m not a fan of cliffhangers but I suppose the ending of the book is necessary for a smoother transition to the next and much anticipated Book 4, The Uprising.
February 6, 2018
Smith is an exciting and suspenseful paranormal thriller written by Sam B. Miller II.
Rob Goddard represents the Harvard Department of Archeological Projects in the investigation of the latest claimed discovery of King Solomon’s Temple in Israel. With him is his eighteen year-old son Jake. Being an American in Israel is not easy for young Jake who spends most of his time defending himself from the townspeople who want him out of their land.
Bored from lack of anything to do besides playing video games, Jake, together with his friend Avner, follows a handwritten map he found on his father’s desk and sneaks to the new digging site. Running away from a possibly fatal encounter, Jake drops into a hole and unearths an aged leather pouch that contains a heavy gold colored ring with strange markings, King Solomon’s Ring of Power.
Shortly after putting the ring on his finger, Jake hears the voice of Smith, the interface whose essence is imbued into the ring. He, then, finds himself in possession of an object of immense power.
This is a fast-paced and action-filled thriller written in casual and conversational tone making it an easy read. The suspense is kept in high level right from the first up to the last page. Moreover, the plot is written in a way that even the readers find it difficult to decide whom to believe and trust. Furthermore, the author created two well developed characters that while Jake proves himself to be more than just an ordinary and naïve teenager, Smith who sounds like a funny, fun-loving and lighthearted disembodied voice proves himself to be capable of something else. My favorite character, however, is Inspector Nava Kilman. She is smart and brave, and she shows strength of character despite her youth, a real queen material. In addition, though the twist is, somehow, predictable, it is still a twist and it adds to the excitement of the already exciting story. Finally, the ending is exactly how I want it.
However, I find the back story on Smith and the creation of the Mouth of Truth a little bit vague.
Still I enjoyed this book immensely and I recommend it to readers who enjoy suspense and thriller novels with a touch of paranormal. Gory and violent scenes, however, may not be suitable for young readers.
February 4, 2018
The Xeno Manifesto is an exciting thriller novel by Brysen Mann.
Frank Smirnov has always known he is different. Not only is he an orphan who is oblivious of his roots, but he also displays ‘Powers’ he doesn’t comprehend especially when he is in a fit of rage. An unexpected friendship sparks his interest in mystical ‘Beings,’ an interest that leads him to a mind-blowing discovery that might question everything he knows about the world and the origin of mankind.
This is an exciting and suspenseful book and the author successfully keeps it interesting until the last page. In addition to a very promising premise which is introduced in a fast paced series of events, the characters are thoroughly portrayed in ample back stories. The mystery is suspended as the author shifts the plot by introducing another set of characters with equally ample back story. The excitement continues as the plot converges in a surprising and unexpected twist. This is, indeed, one exciting and enjoyable suspense thriller.
However, other readers may find the timelines a bit confusing. Moreover, though the back stories are ample, too ample in fact that some readers may feel being thrown off the plot, and seemingly sufficient, there are details that sound ambiguous. Furthermore, I find the ending inconclusive which leaves some questions unanswered. Finally, there are too many noticeable errors within the entire book that can easily be fixed by another round of editing.
Still, I enjoyed the book and I recommend it to fans of suspense, thriller and science fiction. The most important part of the book, for me, is the moral issue in instigating mass destruction to save the planet. I think that is one thing everybody should think about.
Congratulations to Brysen Mann (@brysen_mann) on such an exciting novel.