Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Devil's Elixir by Raymond Khoury

I have a place in my heart for Raymond Khoury. The Last Templar, his first major release, led me to Steve Berry's Templar Legacy and then to James Rollins and company.  In some ways I owe my current tastes in fiction to Khoury, although I have been mixed about his offerings after his debut. The Last Templar started in a frenzy but ended in a fizzle. His follow-up, Sanctuary, had an intriguing concept but failed to completely satisfy. I skipped his third offering but then came Templar Salvation, a follow-up to The Last Templar. The novel continued the story of FBI agent Sean Reilly and archeologist turned thriller writer, Tess Chaykin. The book showed an elevation in story telling and character development that placed Khoury with his friends and contemporaries, Steve Berry and James Rollins.
I was excited for the release of The Devil's Elixir, continuing the saga of Reilly and Chaykin. The novel is exciting and ultimately rewarding although not what I was anticipating. I expected a novel initially buried in history, then ultimately, by solving impossible clues, culminating in intense action. Part of this is correct.
The prologue begins hundreds of years ago with a missionary priest undergoing a drug induced experience. The groundwork was laid but the novel became an exploration of drug trafficking and vengeance. The exploration of history only went back to a catastrophic drug bust that went wrong leaving Reilly devastated and destroying the relationship with his girlfriend at the time DEA agent Michelle Martinez.

Back to the present, Martinez contacts Reilly when she is attacked and the roller coaster ride begins. There are many twists and almost as many turns and by the end the reader is just waiting for the last twist when it comes. The Devil’s Elixir is a fast paced, engrossing thriller with a hint of paranormal to keep the reader guessing. Although not what I originally expected I was drawn into the story and cared about the characters’ outcome. What more could you want from a book.

New Feature: Things To Come

I will be reviewing Progeny by indie author Shawn Hopkins.

James Rollins will be releasing his first newsletter in ages. It will contain info on the next Sigma adventure, Bloodline, coming out in June 26th.

Steve Berry will be releasing an e-short story that features Cotton Malone and Christopher Columbus in April before his new stand alone thriller, The Columbus Affair is released May 15 featuring new protagonist Tom Sagan.

On a sad note (personally since I was planning to attend), James Rollins will not be attending Thrillerfest this July due to scheduling conflicts with his book tour. Let’s hope the tour will bring him to NJ/NY.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review of Fatal Exchange by Russell Blake

The Sexiest Main Character, EVER
A review by Landon Cocks

Some of you may have read my previous reviews of Russell Blake’s books and come to the conclusion that he and I are friends or relatives. The truth is, although I only met the guy a few months ago, I have a strange fascination with him and his writing.

I have two reasons for this fascination:

1) His sense of humor is uncommon and his jokes, diatribes and observations about life help me smile through the drool.

2) The man can write. Period. Like, demon powered.

If you haven’t read any of his stuff, do so, and do so now. Can’t decide which riproaringly crazily paced thriller to begin with? (Yes, another dangling preposition. Get used to it. That’s how we speak.)

Try this one: Fatal Exchange. Just when you think it’s about an international currency scam involving a small Asian country and the highest levels of the U.S. government, which it is, you get smacked in the face by the sexiest main character ever created, Tess Gideon. She’s a bicycle messenger on the streets of New York trying to “find herself” while working every muscle in her lean, taut and tattoo covered body in a race to deliver her daily intra-office correspondence on time. Not only is Tess beautiful, sensual and sultry she’s also quite intelligent and hides a soul that could change the world if it was released.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of trademark Russell Blake action and suspense to go along with the breakneck pace of this novel as the story develops from a small apartment in Myanmar through a run down tenement building in New York City, finally erupting in the offices of the U.S. Treasury. Like all his books, Mr. Blake has chosen a plot that sounds too believable to NOT be true.

And there’s Tess. Dark hair, green eyes. And bad guys chasing her. Yes, please.

I give this book a five-out-of-five star rating. Great book.

Fatal Exchange can be found next to all of the Russell Blake titles on Amazon and his website,

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