Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Friday Review - June 22nd CIty Under the Moon

"Bioweapon catastrophes, government conspiracies, military sieges, historical revelations, psychological warfare and werewolves. You want more thrill from a thriller?" – Seth Green

City Under the Moon by Hugh Sterbakov

Assisted by a horror blogger and a squad of elite commandos, Tildascow must hunt Valenkov across the globe and uncover the sinister secret of the curse threatening mankind. Tens of thousands are infected. Time is running out.

I really never imagined I'd be writing this in a review: It's the werewolf apocalypse! This story is a very unique thriller that returns the werewolf firmly to the role of monster. For me, this was a welcome change from the recent trend in popular fiction where the werewolf is cast as more of a tortured romantic hero, doomed or otherwise. I also enjoyed the shake up from the hordes of undead leading us to our peril thing - although humanity meeting its end at the shredding hands (claws) of a hairy wolf-like human might not be much of a step up.

From start to finish, the werewolf infection in this story is terrifying. The creatures are nothing but driven killers, cannibals really, controlled by a single leader. They live to eat, kill and spread the infection. To become a werewolf is a fate worse than death.

And of course, that is the fate facing New York city.

As the potential doom of mankind - the werewolf plague - descends on the city; it soon becomes clear that options are limited.The madman behind the plague is demanding a cure from the U.S. government. But is a cure even possible? Will the government attempt to find a cure or will it take far more drastic measures? The author does a remarkable job of creating suspense throughout the novel, particularly at the end. There are a number of possible outcomes for the reader to guess at that pop up along the way.

For many thriller fans, this will be a great read. There are plenty of heart racing action sequences to keep the reader glued to the pages. There is a variety of character types - from a geeky young werewolf expert to an atypical FBI anti-terrorism specialist that is something of a science experiment herself. The novel even takes on different sub genres: at times it can be anything from medical to political thriller, science fiction and horror suspense to historical fiction.

I think this thriller will be a five star book for many action horror fans. For me however, there were some very significant things holding me back. I did find myself having to go over a couple of passages to re-read some of the action, and I did get a little lost in the middle. It could just be me and other readers might not experience this. My other, more subjective stumbling block was the writing style. Course language can be used effectively and in the case of this novel it's used well with humor. But for me, less is often more and it did take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. Although, I think it would work well as a movie.

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Reviewed by: E. Bard

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today Thrillers ROCK Twitter presents an interview with author, Rick Chesler, author of the thrillers, Tara Shores, novels full of action, adventure, intrigue, and suspense intermingled with cutting edge science and technology!

TRT - Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

RC = I currently live in Los Angeles, where I grew up, but have also lived in different places around the country including Hawaii and the Florida Keys. I have a degree in marine biology and have always been fascinated by the natural world, the ocean in particular.

TRT - Do you have a day job as well?

RC = Yes, right now I work as a research project manager at a major university.

TRT - As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

RC = Be a marine biologist and explorer.

TRT - What do you do when you are not writing?

RC = Spend time with my family. I also enjoy boating, scuba diving, going to the beach and, of course, reading.

TRT - Tell us your latest news.

RC = My newest novel, BLOOD HARBOR, about a small seaside town thrust into terror, has just been crowd-funded on Kickstarter, and will be published in February 2013.

TRT - When and why did you begin writing?

RC = I first started in my late 20s, influenced and inspired by the works of Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler, as well as my own studies of and experiences with nature.

TRT - How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

RC = I’ve lived in some different parts of the country, done a bit of travelling, so that exposure to different cultures and areas I’m sure has shaped my views on things. My degree in marine biology, scuba diving and boating experiences also play a role.

TRT - How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

RC = The Tara Shores series books tend to be pretty high concept, where the title is usually known to me before I start writing. The forthcoming SOLAR ISLAND, for example, is about events that take place on a floating solar energy installation. Wired Kingdom is a play on the classic television nature show, about a whale tagged with a webcam that broadcasts a murder at sea. So the titles, so far at least, have naturally followed the underlying premises.

TRT - Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

RC = I can’t say there’s an intended message, other than there are a lot of remarkable topics out there to explore, many involving science, technology and nature, and the ways humans interact with their world. First and foremost, though, the novels are meant to be thought provoking entertainment, hopefully the kind of books that are perfect for the beach or a long plane ride, but that also get the reader thinking.

TRT - Are your works based on someone you know or events in your life?

RC =No, the novels are purely fiction, but people I’ve known or have come across throughout my life may influence my characters in the little personality traits and quirks they have, or things they say.

RC =Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

TRT - Not really, no. I only have a set amount of time to write each night, and I know that whatever I’m going to write, it has to get done during that time, so I can’t afford to waste it. Outlining helps in that regard. If all else fails, skipping ahead to write the next scene I am sure of will eventually “unlock” the previous section I was uncertain about. The key is to keep moving forward somehow, putting words on paper and pausing occasionally to evaluate them critically.

TRT - Who is your favorite author and why?

RC = Michael Crichton, for astonishing premises crisply executed.

TRT - How long does it take you to write a book?

RC = The first one took longer, but now I can comfortably write one novel per year working part time on it, outside of a full-time day job.

TRT - What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

RC = I don’t know how interesting it is, but I write usually late night by dim light—one of those blue or green colored party bulbs in a desk lamp and that’s it, and lots of times with headphones on playing music.

TRT - If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?

RC = Only very minor details that don’t affect the overall tone and spirit of the story experience. I’m happy with the novels I’ve released so far. I think any book length work can always be improved at least a little bit, but at some point you have to say enough is enough, and for me that point is reached once they’re published. I look forward rather than back.

TRT - Hypothetical question #1: You’re going to be stranded on a desert island but are allowed to bring one book. What book do you bring?

RC = Desert Island Survival and Rescue Tactics

TRT -Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

RC = I’m a certified PADI (SCUBA) Divemaster. I’m a drummer. I lived in Hawaii for 5 years.

TRT - Do you have cops or others in a field of expertise who read your stories before you publish them?

RC = On occasion I have consulted directly with scientists who are experts in a field I’m writing about, such as whales or genetic engineering. Also, for insights into the life of a female FBI agent, I have read a couple of biographies by real-life agents.

TRT - Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

RC = The third Tara Shores thriller, SOLAR ISLAND, will be published this December (2012) from Seven Realms Publishing. Then, in February 2013, my first standalone suspense novel, BLOOD HARBOR will be released.

--Thanks very much for having me as a guest on the always awesome Thrillers Rock!

Happy reading,

Rick Chesler

Rick Chesler holds a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and has had a life-long interest in the ocean and its creatures. When not at work as a research project manager, he can be found scuba diving or traveling to research his next thriller idea. Author of kiDNApped and Wired Kingdom, he currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, son, and some fish.

A priceless biotechnology, an FBI agent, and an unspeakable act of familial betrayal collide in a tropical kidnapping more twisted than a DNA double helix. When a renowned scientist with a solution for global warming is kidnapped at sea, FBI Special Agent Tara Shores must unravel a high-tech trail of S.O.S. messages encoded into the DNA of living cells. As each decoded message brings Tara nearer to the missing genius, it also takes her farther from help than she ever thought possible.


When a blue whale tagged with a web-cam designed with stolen defense technology broadcasts a brutal murder at sea as part of a television nature program, Special Agent Tara Shores finds herself navigating an ocean of manipulation and deceit in a deadly race to reach the 100-ton creature roaming the Pacific before an unknown killer can destroy the digital evidence it carries.

As Shores dives deeper into the case, what she initially dismisses as a publicity stunt for the glitzy reality series soon sweeps her out to sea in a riptide of greed, intrigue, and high-tech crime.


Carmen Caine is the member of Thrillers Rock Twitter where she is happy to coordinate author interviews in between writing Scottish Medieval Romances such as "The Bedeviled Heart". For more on Carmen Caine, please visit:

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Our Friday Review for June 15th - Sundered

Sundered by Shannon Mayer 

A miracle drug, Nevermore, spreads like wildfire throughout the world allowing people to eat what they want, no matter how unhealthy it is and yet still lose weight. It is everything the human population has ever dreamed of and Mara is no different. Only a simple twist of fate stops her from taking the drug.
As the weeks roll by, it becomes apparent that Nevermore is not the miracle it claimed. A true to life nightmare, the drug steals the very essence that makes up humanity and unleashes a new and deadly species on the world, a species bent on filling its belly. Locked down within their small farm home, Mara and her husband Sebastian struggle against increasingly bad odds, fighting off marauders and monsters alike.
But Sebastian carries a dark secret, one that more than threatens to tear them apart, it threatens to destroy them both and the love they have for each other. 
The secret forces Mara to make the ultimate choice. Will she live for love, or will she live to survive?
This is going to be a fun series to read! I ended up starting and finishing book one in an evening. I did not read any reviews on this so had no clue just what kind of zombies I would be dealing with. I was pleased with Shannon's take on what caused the people to turn. I also like how they are not all mindless drones screaming for brains. This is a love story, a story of survival and a story of new beginnings. Pretty hard to surprise me when it comes to zombie stories, but Shannon did. It is well written and the characters well fleshed out for as short of a read it is.

Though not a social commentary outright on the desperation behind today's easy fix it thinking, it definitely was loud and clear that people, when desperate and lazy enough will do anything even blindly going along with the masses, to fix the flaws they perceive themselves having. Need to lose a little weight? Oh pop a pill, or in this case get a shot! If the doctor gives it to us it MUST be OK right? Tell that to our protagonist Mara who was lucky she was allergic to this quick fix. Remember everyone, if nothing is ever as easy as it looks and if it looks to good to be true, it most likely is!

This zombie apocalypse is just starting to get rolling in the first of this series. I am moving on to the next on "Bound" to find out! Edgar Allen Poe had it right... Nevermore!
Interview by Kriss, the Cabin Goddess

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our Friday Review - June 9th, 2012

Full Body Contact
by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray
Review: 5 Stars

Full Body Contact by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray is action rich romance with plenty of grit and suspense. Although it's touted as a thriller by many reviewers, I'm reluctant to throw that label around without the romance firmly affixed. Why? After finishing the novel, I felt the characters' relationships and psychology played a much larger part than the criminal investigation plot. Much of the suspense and most of the thrills arise from the dangerous relationship between the main characters Detective Alexis Reed and prime suspect Travis Dekker. This is in no way a negative. I just feel that simply calling it a thriller might not leave it open enough for other audiences.

Travis Dekker is a prize winning Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion and the prime suspect in the violent death of his girlfriend as well as others. Damaged by his reputation for losing control in the ring (and possibly during other violent activities), he no longer competes. Instead, he operates a gym to train future hopefuls. 

As the only detective with some MMA training, Alexis Reed is the best choice in her unit to investigate Dekker. While her coworkers Nick and Grace are both seasoned detectives, Alexis has the right look and experience to go undercover as Dekker's student. Neither of her colleagues are happy with the choice, Nick in particular. Having dated her, he's become protective which makes Alexis uncomfortable. But the girl detective is driven. She's had to work hard to get where she is and won't miss out on the opportunity. 

Almost immediately Alexis ('Lexie') gets caught up in Dekker's dangerous nature. She discovers she's attracted to his danger and begins to take extraordinary risks and rationalize Dekker's behavior. As her desire for the suspect escalates so does her own risk taking. Will her naïveté and inexperience jeopardize her investigation or lead her into something much worse?

Shorter than most novels but longer than a 'single', this is a good quick read. It's the perfect length for those times you crave a read but can't invest a lot of time - like during a road trip or air travel. Although the sex does get very steamy, so if you're a blusher, maybe not. Save it for the hotel room. 

For the romance part of the story, I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer. It also might have been nice to see a little more tension between the Alexis and Nick characters. I felt that relationship could have been fleshed out more (no pun intended) and it could have added a little more depth to the story depending on how it was tackled. However, as a quick light read it doesn't really need anything else, so I've reviewed it that way.

As a thriller, the action is tough and the fight scenes brutal. There's enough going on to keep the reader engaged and scrolling through pages right up until the end. All in all, it's a tidy little romantic thriller or thrilling romance - your choice - worth the cover price. So if you like your romances with kick or your thrillers with heat, this could be the novel for you.

Reviewed by: E. Bard
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Our Friday Review!

Review: 5 Stars

If you're ready for a good scare but it's not quite hot enough where you live to seek out the cool dank atmosphere of a movie theater, here's a great place to start: Widowmaker: A Thriller for Horror Buffs by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray. This was a great fun read that starts with an idea that's been around before - a movie that can kill - but then twists itself into something altogether original and entertaining. Here's the story blurb from Amazon:
Terror in the Trees, the latest uber-low budget slasher flick is slaying people... literally. But is it all hype or is there an evil force behind the supposed deaths? Special Agent Bolder had best find out before the President attends the Hollywood premiere...
The blurb really doesn't do the story justice. There's just so much more to it. It has all the elements of a campy horror movie mixed with well developed believable characters, humor, nail biting suspense, conspiracy and a completely unpredictable ending. The story wasn't the only part of the novel with such a surprise ending either; the endings for several characters were highly creative (and of course, sometimes rather gory). But getting back to the ending - wow. I really couldn't have predicted that one.

When it comes to horror suspense novels, there's very little to complain about in this one. I recommend it. Particularly if you're a horror movie fan looking for something a little unexpected. The pace is fast. The characters are fun (Mitchell was my favorite). A lot of characters die, including some of the more appealing ones. But yes, I will admit that the Baxter brothers are kind of two dimensional as far as characters go - it just makes them fit the story better.

I first read this novel back in January and the copy I had was an earlier version that had formatting issues on my reader. In places it was difficult to read. I am happy to say that this updated linked version doesn't share those issues. It's a very good deal at its current price of $0.99 on Amazon, but I would pay more and feel it was money well spent. Five stars.

Reviewed by: E. Bard

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