Saturday, August 13, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: BULLET FOR ONE & FOX FIVE

Following are two recent Kindle releases that I have read and highly recommend.
I was previously unfamiliar with either of these authors but both bylines are now definitely on my BOLO list.
I suggest you put them on yours too.

"John Coburn is a private eye who won't let the law stand in the way of justice!"
So reads one of the tag lines for this new mystery thriller by Brian Drake.
Another says: "If he fails, can he live with another ghost? … If he succeeds, can he live with the consequences?"
These are great come-ons and, for me at least, did exactly what they were supposed to do—make me want to read this book. Tag lines for books, however—like movie trailers —are often the best part of what follows. One always needs to keep this in mind and I have to admit that, as I hit the "Buy it with 1-click" tab on Amazon, I was wondering if this might be another such case.
Well, it wasn't. If anything, the tag lines might actually be guilty of soft-peddling the balls-out, full-throttle reading experience that Bullet For One delivers. Drake writes action sequences about as good as any you'll find, and the book is loaded with them. Chases, gun fights, fist fights, knife fights, beatings, escapes … it's all here and vengeance-seeking PI John Coburn is right in the thick of every minute of it. This is definitely Spillane territory, and I mean that as a compliment. The character of Coburn himself doesn't have a lot of depth in this particular outing (one hopes there will be more in a series) because his focused so keenly set on solving the murder of his partner and making sure punishment is meted out. But several of the secondary characters are well drawn and the plot has plenty of twists and turns and surprises before Coburn wraps things up—to his own satisfaction and also that of the reader.
If you like your tough guys tough and your action fast and furious, you don't want to miss this one!

This five-pack collection of short stories is about as good as it gets in the crime thriller genre. Protagonist Charlotte "Charlie" Fox is a truly memorable—not to mention formidable—heroine. Author Sharp writes cleanly, cleverly, and convincingly as she spins these tales of Charlie, ex Special Forces soldier turned "close-protection" bodyguard.
The stories here are arranged in sequence and follow Charlie as she progresses from a time just prior to becoming a bodyguard to a point where her professional skills are honed to their finest—and must be, as they are put to the test in circumstances as explosively dangerous and up-to-the-minute as today's headlines. This range and growth allows us to see Charlie in a quieter, almost sleuth-like mode early on and then evolve into the calculating, ultimately cool—yet compassionate—protector she was born to be.
Perhaps the strongest entry in this collection is focused somewhat less on Charlie than on a woman named Layla … a disturbed soul hell bent on a mission that Charlie, in the end, must try to keep from succeeding. The back story on Layla and her deceased lover Bobby is troubling, brutal … yet hauntingly poignant.
In the end, though, it is Charlie Fox and the stiletto-sharp (no pun intended) writing skills of Zoe Sharp that will stick with you after reading these stories. I was unaware of this excellent series (there are eight novels so far, a ninth due in 2012) before now; but you can damn well bet I will be seeking out more.
Highly recommended!

Until next time, as always ...
Persevere --- WD


Brian Drake said...

Thank you very much for your kind review. I have enjoyed your work over the years and your comments mean a lot. I'm glad to see that you are putting your work up on Kindle. Joe lives!

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