Jason Collins

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Smashwords book reviews by Jason Collins

  • Gold Train (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) on Dec. 29, 2011

    “Jade Snow is to journalism, what Jason Bourne is to action and espionage.” Author - Lada Ray introduces this excellent thriller against the back drop of 1918 Revolutionary Russia and a train carrying a special cargo in a remote part of Russia. This special train is carrying a cargo which much be protected at all costs and is being guarded by the “Red” (Bolshevik) forces. The naïve train driver spots two young children ahead on the tracks, who fail to remove themselves from the track, forcing him to use his human instincts and apply the brakes. The consequences of this action will be far-reaching and will stretch into the very heart of modern day Russian politics. The attempts to get the train moving at a safe speed again prove fruitless, as the special train comes under attack from the “White” (anti-Bolshevik) forces, which are loyal to the Tsarist autocracy. The train and its precious cargo are stripped with all Red forces being wiped out, before the horse train and precious cargo disappear into the cold Russian night and thick forest. The story then propels us forward into modern day New York City and into the seemingly simple life of housewife, mother and pet-lover - Jade Snow. A devoted wife, Jade has given up her journalistic career, for a simple but happy life, with her investigative journalist husband Paul. Jade we learn, has a certain psychic talent and comes from a proud Russian lineage. Jade’s Russian roots and interest, were heavily influenced by her beloved Grand Mother Anastacia who told her tales of golden domes and magical balls in Mother Russia. It is this interest and fascination that leads to a conversation with a fellow Russian Journalist, Svetlana, and changes Jade’s life and career direction forever. What evolves is a brilliantly crafted thriller with murder, mystery, espionage and captivating twists and turns throughout. The author takes us on a tantalising, rip roaring, dangerous, action packed, yet passionate journey across modern day Russia. What consequences will a sudden encounter with a stranger have on Jade’s life, who is this attractive and mysterious man really? Can she trust him? Alone in a faraway unfamiliar land, Jade is caught in a web of lies, glamour, terror and intrigue that leaves you gripped to the plot at all times. Jade’s investigative journalistic instincts take her unintentionally into a dark world, where security services and terrorist activities left unchecked, could potentially have global consequences. Against this burdensome and dangerous backdrop, Jade has to persevere in her pursuit of truth under extreme scrutiny, knowing one mistake could change not only her own life, but the destiny of one of the world’s most powerful nations. Jade Snow is to journalism, what Jason Bourne is to action and espionage. The author has managed to develop a character with a fascinating thoughtful purpose. “Gold Train” is an absolute must read, the author goes beyond the obvious and whisks us along into the heart-stopping world of Jade Snow with breath-taking appeal for the next paragraph and page. The author’s knowledge and comprehension of the Russian political scene brings a very credible and believable level of authenticity to the plot. A mesmeric thriller, “Gold Train” is marvellous book which has something for every reader. It leaves you wanting and calling for the next instalment in the adventures of International Journalist extraordinaire – Jade Snow.
  • Gold Train (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) on Dec. 29, 2011

    “Jade Snow is to journalism, what Jason Bourne is to action and espionage.” Author - Lada Ray introduces this excellent thriller against the back drop of 1918 Revolutionary Russia and a train carrying a special cargo in a remote part of Russia. This special train is carrying a cargo which much be protected at all costs and is being guarded by the “Red” (Bolshevik) forces. The naïve train driver spots two young children ahead on the tracks, who fail to remove themselves from the track, forcing him to use his human instincts and apply the brakes. The consequences of this action will be far-reaching and will stretch into the very heart of modern day Russian politics. The attempts to get the train moving at a safe speed again prove fruitless, as the special train comes under attack from the “White” (anti-Bolshevik) forces, which are loyal to the Tsarist autocracy. The train and its precious cargo are stripped with all Red forces being wiped out, before the horse train and precious cargo disappear into the cold Russian night and thick forest. The story then propels us forward into modern day New York City and into the seemingly simple life of housewife, mother and pet-lover - Jade Snow. A devoted wife, Jade has given up her journalistic career, for a simple but happy life, with her investigative journalist husband Paul. Jade we learn, has a certain psychic talent and comes from a proud Russian lineage. Jade’s Russian roots and interest, were heavily influenced by her beloved Grand Mother Anastacia who told her tales of golden domes and magical balls in Mother Russia. It is this interest and fascination that leads to a conversation with a fellow Russian Journalist, Svetlana, and changes Jade’s life and career direction forever. What evolves is a brilliantly crafted thriller with murder, mystery, espionage and captivating twists and turns throughout. The author takes us on a tantalising, rip roaring, dangerous, action packed, yet passionate journey across modern day Russia. What consequences will a sudden encounter with a stranger have on Jade’s life, who is this attractive and mysterious man really? Can she trust him? Alone in a faraway unfamiliar land, Jade is caught in a web of lies, glamour, terror and intrigue that leaves you gripped to the plot at all times. Jade’s investigative journalistic instincts take her unintentionally into a dark world, where security services and terrorist activities left unchecked, could potentially have global consequences. Against this burdensome and dangerous backdrop, Jade has to persevere in her pursuit of truth under extreme scrutiny, knowing one mistake could change not only her own life, but the destiny of one of the world’s most powerful nations. Jade Snow is to journalism, what Jason Bourne is to action and espionage. The author has managed to develop a character with a fascinating thoughtful purpose. “Gold Train” is an absolute must read, the author goes beyond the obvious and whisks us along into the heart-stopping world of Jade Snow with breath-taking appeal for the next paragraph and page. The author’s knowledge and comprehension of the Russian political scene brings a very credible and believable level of authenticity to the plot. A mesmeric thriller, “Gold Train” is marvellous book which has something for every reader. It leaves you wanting and calling for the next instalment in the adventures of International Journalist extraordinaire – Jade Snow.
  • Stepford USA (Accidental Spy Small Town Adventure) on Feb. 07, 2012

    This first instalment by Author - Lada Ray introduces us to brilliant investigative journalist - Jade Snow. Jade Snow we learn, is a twenty eight year old all action investigative journalist used to dodging straying bullets in Afghanistan, before a near death experience throws her into the arms of her soon to be husband Paul. What Jade doesn’t realise is that her days of investigative journalism and an all action career are about to come to an abrupt halt when motherhood dawns or is it? This thriller is set in the sleepy surroundings of Stepford, Massachusetts, a small town community in America that hides a deep dark secret. Jade finds herself in this sleepy town against her wishes following her husband’s insistence on finding her a nice, quiet and calm environment for her to remain fit and well during her pregnancy. Jade Snow we learn is no ordinary young mum to be. It is not long before her inquisitive mind and investigative instincts, lead her onto the trail of a devastating dark hidden secret within the community. A crime so horrendous and brutal, it lives on in the lives and happenings of this sleepy hallow even until the present day. Jade’s loneliness and love of quality company finds her being introduced, and soon becoming part of the social set-up of this most picturesque of American town’s. The intimate circle of six women Jade would join, unbeknown to her, will transform her time in Stepford from a peaceful relaxing stay into an intriguing web of lies, deceit and mystery. The pursuit of the truth will not only put Jade Snow and the life of her unborn child in grave danger, it will have a profound impact on the lives and community of this most fascinating of small towns for years to come. This story of a horrific crime, a victim, an accused person and powerful local interests, desperate to keep the truth hidden from the larger world, only makes Jade Snow throw off her restrictive temporary physical shackles and risk all, to unravel the truth. The pursuit of truth among the complex personalities of this town, and an eagerness for someone to keep it hidden at all costs makes the challenge appear impossible. Stepford USA takes us on a journey with this charming, sharp minded young journalist in a race to reveal the truth before someone else is killed, will Jade succeed? Can she protect herself and the life of her unborn child? Who can she trust? Anyone? Will she manage to discover the facts before it costs someone their life or even her own? On the face of it, Stepford is a thriving small town community the likes of which are splattered across the American continent however, the deceit and manipulation facing Jade threatens not just people, it threatens the very way of life of this beautiful town. Undeterred, Jade Snow takes us on a gripping, dark psychological adventure, where unrealised talents may be the difference between life and death for Jade and others. Does the answer to the secret rest within the group of six ladies “Knitting Club”? All women of varying ages and loyalties. We are introduced to Lady Adelaide Paphos, an elegant motherly like lady, who develops a fondness and close bond with Jade during her time in Stepford. Her son Jason who harbours a long held secret. Then a chance lunch time meeting with the power players of the local community that introduces us to the young police chief – Chief Nordini, Judge Bowman, Lawyer Marc Catcham, Banker Peter Burns and the quiet Jack Maloof. These men all with varying interests and knowledge of the comings and goings of the town extend an invitation to the elite Rotary Club to Jade. How will this innocent invitation propel Jade into an even more intricate web of unimagined deceit? Jade’s investigative journey takes us to a “Hidden Lake”, a chance encounter with a friendly neighbour and his dog, a virtual reality experience and observing one of the married town influencers groping a woman out of sight of others. How does all this relate to the truth? Can it be found and who is watching Jade’s every move? This page turning thriller is exciting, full of suspicion and possesses excellent character development throughout. It challenges the reader to consider the glaringly obvious and not so obvious, reality and challenge their own perceptions of reality and illusion in the pursuit of destroying the prejudices found in every small town. Will Jade and her soon to be born baby survive the small town experience? The author has managed to develop a character with a fascinating thoughtful purpose. The brilliant combination of plot, character development and unexpected twists and turns, keeps the reader addicted to the next turned page. Once you start reading this book, you will not put it down such is the perfect pace and flow of words in which the book is written by the author. Psychological thrillers don’t get much better than this. Excitingly and yet chillingly gripping, it’s the sort of plot line that surprises you at every turn and absolutely does not let you go. A highly recommended read for anyone.
  • Land of Hope on Oct. 02, 2012

    A totally, captivating, and powerfully potent suspense thriller. The book is cleverly written with the emotions, lives and outcomes of all the main characters, interpreted and told through the eyes of the books’ main character, Pearl Zhang, the story sucks you in immediately. We are introduced to the main character Pearl Zhang, a Mandarin Language Interpreter working with law enforcement and social service agencies in the United Kingdom. Pearl’s life is at a crossroads on professional and personal levels. Forced out of her previous successful career, Pearl has launched a new career for herself working closely with these agencies, all the while she is dealing with the pain of being recently separated from the love of her life, Husband Andrew. Pearl’s separation, loneliness and self-doubts lead her into the arms of Detective Inspector Jack Gordon, a former military hero, but a similarly work obsessed character. Their steamy and seductive chemistry is only outdone by their own self doubts and loneliness, sharply brought into contrast, with the dramatic and sometimes graphic stories of the other characters in the book. Kirk, uses Pearl’s character to narrate the story, and introduces the reader to the dark and painful world of human trafficking, where individual stories are sometimes heartbreaking and often frustrating in their outcomes, as public and private agencies fight, often valiantly, but often with little or no useful result, to help men, women, and children who have been kidnapped, tricked, or forced by violence; into a world they never wanted or can handle. Passionate and committed to her work, Pearl finds her involvement with these human stories intensely personal and leads her to question the motivations and morality of the Snakeheads(Traffickers), and how they can subject innocent helpless people, to such brutal and horrific treatment on every level. Kirk, does a wonderful job of developing the book’s characters, showing the reader increasingly significant cracks in Pearl’s thoughts and feelings, the more she delves into the fascinating cast of characters created by the author. Pearl’s interaction and sense of personal responsibility and commitment for the truth, and assisting these helpless people sometimes; creates situations of powerful over-dependence by each character on Pearl, beyond her professional instincts. It is often this mental and emotional battle between her professional role, and her personal moral and emotional uncertainty that provides; the most unexpected and shocking of consequences for the book’s characters and indeed, Pearl herself. The author has taken a very complex and challenging modern issue, and expertly treated it with a clear compassion and detailed understanding, enabling the reader to discover harsh realities of the brutal and often little addressed issue of human trafficking. It is a book of extremes with characters of ultra confidence and manipulative brilliance, through to the petrified characters often deeply emotionally troubled, due to the nature of their experiences and life’s reflections. The book contains many frightening, unfortunate, and true messages, told with imaginative twists and turns. We often read fictional thrillers in the pursuit and desire for escapism for ourselves however; by the time the reader is introduced to each character and personal story, you will find yourself egging on the vulnerable to succeed in their desire to escape and seek a better life. Money being the root of all evils, the irony is that the evil incarcerators and those incarcerated is their need to fulfil one common desire – earn money. The author captures this forcefully when using Deng Xiao Ping’s quote, ‘Getting Rich is Glorious’. Glorious for those who have it, and glorious for those who may get it, due to the dreadful life they would escape. Each personal story in the book is absorbing and testimony to the author’s knowledge of the subject matter and intelligent writing. Each person, like all immigrants believe “The Land of Hope” in Europe, Japan or the USA will be the answer to their problems. Too often immigrants only realise that the life they left behind, was in many ways, better then the life they now find themselves exposed to. They can only think pleasant things in their dreams and hold onto the happiness of home in their hearts, not their day to day reality. The book is absorbing, cleverly written, and fast-paced style throughout with an informative and educational element driven by great characters. The book is powerful in its culmination with an action packed yet, heart tugging ending. It leaves the reader considering this very real world issue and yet, the characters are so credible, you are left wondering if there is an Ah Fang, Madam Lin or even a Dragon in your locality. One final note, at the outset of the book, the author provides a very useful guide to Chinese names, to assist the reader with a better understanding of how Chinese names compared to Western names. This proves very useful especially for those persons not familiar with the subtle differences. A highly recommended read.
  • The Earth Shifter on Jan. 16, 2013

    The Earth Shifter by Lada Ray is advertised as an “epic quest,” and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Ray manages to create a cosmic adventure thriller that will take the reader through history and across continents in an attempt to save all mankind. The book commences back in 1908, when a secret meeting between a monk and Pope Pius X in the Vatican in 1908. The conversation revolves around a comet on a collision course for earth, threatening global destruction. The two men discuss the impending doom facing the earth, and agree that only the prophetic “Key,” can prevent all but certain annihilation of the planet and its people. The monk is observed by one of the pope’s guards levitating, and joining the mystic emergency session of Earth's Council, a secret mystical group consisting of the protectors of Earth. The Council of the Earth Keepers agree not to interfere when the Comet of Karma collides with the Earth, so this civilization would reap the consequences of its past, present and future actions. Only under the actions of the “Key,” can Earth and all mankind be saved. The storyline is intriguing and the shadowy characters and secretive meetings brilliantly executed. The story then switches to modern day Russia, where we meet Sasha, a young Shifter, capable of time travel and reading others minds. Sasha is under aware of her true hidden talents and powers. She is closely guarded and protected by her parents - Olga & Maxim Elfimov, and a Shaman – Tengis. Sasha and her family are subjected to the observations and manipulations of governmental and non-governmental organisations, but why? What will the consequences be, and why the real interest in Sasha and her family? Sasha finds an alternative world hidden away from ordinary humans with her powers however; this world is equally fraught with as much danger & evil, as love & goodness in modern day earth. The introduction of two other central characters, Kei & Win, Chinese twins living in New York City’s Chinatown, only serves to add to the carefully crafted mystique surrounding Earth’s faith. What have these two young men, and the sexually attractive female “Red,” got to do with Sasha and Earth’s ultimate faith? The dark organisations casting their haunting influence in the background from intelligence agencies through to secret societies are fantastically captured. This book contains breath-taking and life costing thrills, deception and espionage at its best. The plot moves along quickly, introducing each key character and sub-plot with precision timing. There is also the perfect amount of imagery given to set the readers imagination alight with each page. Who and what is the Key? Will the forces of crime and darkness prevail and can Sasha, Kei and Win realise their destiny? Terror, murder, intrigue, and magic become the course in this wonderful thriller. The Earth Shifter is an awesome, fast- paced original storyline with exceptional twists that will leave you breathless and wanting more. The book is outstandingly researched and a marvel of creativity. It contains the perfect mix of history, fact, fiction and creative imagination at its best. Simply said, the Earth Shifter is a great read that will leave any reader excited for the next instalment by this very talented author.