Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Cold Wind" by C.J. Box (@cjboxauthor)

I'll admit to being a little rock-and-roll, but somewhere deep in my heart is a country boy yearning to get out.  C.J. Box went a long way towards making that happen with this novel.  This is the eleventh in the Joe Pickett series, and it made me want to run out and grab all the rest immediately.

This is another of those thriller writers that, if you haven't experienced him yet, he's definitely worth picking up.  You get a great, action-filled read, full of good guys, bad guys and the not-so-intelligent in-betweeners.  You get a real feel for Wyoming and it's unique topography and politics.  You also get an awesome back-list where you don't have to wait for the next freakin' novel to come out.

For you non-thriller lovers, this one has appeal beyond the adrenaline-pumping norm.  It's nice to have an honest-to-goodness honest and good guy running the show.  Joe Pickett is a guy you want to have on your team.  Plus, the fascination of peeking into the politics of what really kind of still is the Wild West with a small veneer of polish on it is truly compelling.  There's plenty here to keep you engaged.

So, if you already read C.J. Box, you know what I'm talking about.  If you don't, it's totally time, dontcha think? :)  You can get Cold Wind here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cage Match, Baby! @craftycmc vs. @amberscottbooks

Okay, folks, I've got a good one for you this week.  Wait.  Did I say "one"?  I meant "two".  Because this week, it's a match-up between the intense crime thriller Plain Jane and the sexy paranormal romance Fierce Dawn.  Now, knowing this crowd, you may already have your decision made, but take your time, check them both out, and then give your vote to the worthiest candidate.  Or play both ends against the middle and vote for both of them--you'll get more free stuff that way.  :) 

Because these two indie darlings are part of what the Indie Book Collective is calling the Blog Tour de Force Cage Match Edition.  Go check out what they're doing and what all you can win (Kindle, anyone??).  Then... Let's get ready to book rrrruuuuummmmblllleeeee!

This is the first book that Carolyn McCray released, written under the name Cristyn West.  If you've been following this author, you already know that she's spearheaded some of the most innovative marketing campaigns for indie books ever.  You should also know that when it comes to storytelling, she pretty much kicks butt and takes names.

This novel is dark, gritty, compelling and just a little twisted.  Great combination for a crime thriller.  You've got good guys here that almost look like the bad guys.  And there's twist after twist that will knock your literary socks right off of ya.  I'll be the first to admit that the crime thriller genre can sometimes feel a bit one-note, but this novel's a freaking symphony.  You can purchase Plain Jane here.  You can vote for Carolyn McCray by commenting on her blog.

Now, don't let the fact that Fierce Dawn is a paranormal romance keep you from checking this sucker out.  Scott has proven to me over and over that she's a genre-defying wunderkind.  If you like paranormal romance, you'll love it.  If you don't really like that genre, you'll still probably love it.  Scott manages to find unique and compelling ways to take her storyline along, and while there's definite sex appeal, this is far from a bodice-ripper.

The characters are fascinating, the magic is engaging and the novel seriously zips along.  You'll be flipping digital pages until late in the night,  cursing the clock for moving too fast.  You can get your copy of Fierce Dawn here.  You can vote for it by commenting on Amber Scott's blog.

For anyone that's an e-book-a-phobe, let me tell you that you don't have to own an expensive Kindle or Nook to read 'em.  You can download an application for your computer or many smartphones that will allow you to read both of these gems.

Now, having presented both options to you, I respectfully retire from the fray.  I respect both of these authors way too much to weigh in too heavily on one side or another.  I will tell you this--I'm looking forward to watching the fight.  Ding, ding!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Atlantis" by Robert Doherty @Area51_Book (aka Bob Mayer)

Yes, it's science fiction.  Yes, it's also a military-type thriller.  Yes, it's terribly edited.  Yes, it's a lot of fun.  Yes, it's dirt cheap.

And yes, it's totally worth the read, even with all the typo gaffes.

This is NY Times Bestselling author Bob Mayer writing as Robert Doherty, with a series of what appear to be self-published novels.  He, like many others, is realizing that the whole self-publishing thing allows him to keep a lot of control over his work.  The only thing lacking here is a good line editor.  Seriously, dude.

But beyond that, this is one heck of a ride.  Will it appeal to non-thriller or science fiction readers?  Possibly not.  But at a mere $.99 for the Kindle version (and if you don't have a Kindle, don't let that scare you--there's an app for that, even for PC users), you can afford to experiment outside of your comfort zone.  So, put down the copy of Sense and Sensibility for a second and give this one a try.

Now, if you happen to love thrillers and/or science fiction, like myself, you simply HAVE to get this sucker.  There's more than one, they're rip-snorting fun, and as I said before... they're CHEAP!!!  Total thriller trifecta of goodness here.  So, what're you waiting for?  If you can get past the typos, there's pure gold here.  Get mining.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson

I had to do it.  I had to review at least one of the Millennium trilogy novels, right?  I will admit that it's strange and sad to review an author who has passed on, and therefore will not ever be able to provide us with another thrill after this.  But the thought of not reviewing what some are calling the thriller genre's Lord of the Rings would be... well... criminal.

I'm not going to belabor the point for you thriller lovers.  This is just one of those that you have to read.  Is it possible you won't like it?  Sure.  It's translated from another language, and some of the cultural differences may not work for you.  Sort of like the spaghetti westerns.  You either love 'em or you don't, but if you're a lover of westerns, they're sort of required watching.  Same deal here.

But those very differences are exactly what might intrigue you if you don't typically go for the thriller genre.  The prose flows differently than most typical thrillers.  The action is definitely tense and there is build upon build upon build, but there's something different here.  Also, the amazing heroine is the new standard for a female thriller lead.  There's plenty of meat here to sink your teeth into.

So, regardless of whether you're a thriller lover or not, this is one of those that you just have to pick up.  So... go do it!  You can get The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest here.