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Smashwords book reviews by VigilantReader1

  • The Wellington Bureau: A Quartermain Mystery on Dec. 02, 2015

    Lady Anna Quartermain is recently widowed. The young woman's deceased older husband, Andrew, and his young daughter, Emma, died in a car crash. Her playboy step-son, Toby plays a minor role. After the funeral, Lady Anna enters a bank in the middle of a robbery by three inept crooks. She notices characteristics of the men, analyzes them, and eventually convinces two of the robbers to turn on their leader and surrender to the police surrounding the bank. With that bit of detecting experience she opens an investigative office with two of the three robbers as her assistants. The Wellington Bureau is a delightful bit of fluff which leans to romanticism. The final scene provides the reader with a clue as to Lady Anna's romantic entanglement in the following book. The story telling and general writing are good. There are frequent editing errors that prevent the reader from appreciating the story fully. Extra words should have been edited out. The use of as for a, and inserting you for she are mindless errors that should have been caught. Also, a character's thoughts are expressed in italics, not as routine dialog set off with quotation marks. Scenes often run together without warning the reader of the change. At one point Percy says, "Some of the roses must be very old. The roots are gnarled and woody." Without X-ray vision he couldn't see the roots; he was viewing the stems above ground. The central characters are well developed and interesting. Hopefully, the author will have a professional editor correct the many issues that drag this book's rating down to a low 3.0. This is a review of a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews
  • Point of Attraction on Dec. 02, 2015

    Point of Attraction was a great surprise for me. Not being a fervent reader of cozy romantic stories, I was pleased to find an actual thriller plot that could have stood on it's own without the cozy angle. The two genres came together with feeling, high levels of emotion and action to culminate in an engrossing read. Georgie Gainsworth is the main character. She owns a beauty solon where she also provides hair cuts to men. Her primary hobby is writing novels. Mason Montgomery is a policeman and aspiring writer who signs up for a writing class. You can surely imagine where their point of contact begins and where this is going. Georgie is a widow. She clings to the memory of the perfect husband and her deceased mother. Before her death, the mother made a Raggedy Ann doll for Georgie so she would always remember that her mother was spiritually there for her. But then the doll is suddenly stolen, Georgie is almost the victim of a hit and run, and the mystery grows and darkens the farther the plot develops. The cast of charming but chaotic characters are described and developed with precision and feeling. Some of her friends are over the top kooks, but they love Georgie and would protect her with their lives. The writing style is crisp and descriptive and flows smoothly throughout. I recommend this book for all who read the mixed genre. That's the good part, but the book is not without fault in other respects. That old bugaboo, editing, reared its ugly head and detracted from the overall fine writing. There are missing words, extra words, misspelled words, and misused words. They are not in abundance considering the length of the novel, but they are there and they are noticeable. I suspect this is self edited because silly little errors slipped through: using past for passed, he's for his. Point of Attraction still deserves a high rating because the plot, the characters, and the writing are strong. The book is rated 4 stars and I recommend it. This is an unsolicited review of a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Mud Pie on Dec. 02, 2015

    Mud Pie is a British mystery. I've read many British stories in the past and have grown accustomed to the most common slang terms used. But Mudpie brought slang words to a whole new level. It was interesting, but it necessitated using the dictionary quite often. The plot is full of pain and despair; the main character has been condemned to death by gangsters. At times Lannie is so distraught she converses with the dead owner of the house she lives in and then with a murdered bar maid. Lannie Herron is a twenty-seven year old pastry chef who gets crossways with the Manchester, England, criminal mob. After several attempts to kill her fail, she leaves Manchester to hide out. At about one third into the book we learn the full story of why she has been marked for brutal death. Lannie's new life in hiding centers around a rural rugby club and the country pub where she cooks. Her new bevy of characters soon begin to open up to her and she learns all have something to hide, and not all are the friends they purport to be in public. There is conflict and suspense galore. The mobsters are still after Lannie, and a murder at the rugby club elevates Lannie to the head of the suspects list. But then she compiles her own list of suspects with reason to commit the murder and slowly includes most of her new group of acquaintances. By halfway through Mudpie, I was intrigued and knew I had to finish. The writing quality is above average with only infrequent editing errors. A few scenes were lumped together without breaks, and I felt a few sentence structures were clumsy. But these were few and minor and barely distracted from the overall quality of this engrossing story. I rate Mud Pie a 5.0 out of a possible 5.0 and heartily recommend it. This is an unsolicited review of a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Ties That Bind on Dec. 09, 2015

    Tie's That Bind Carolyn Arnold Mystery, Detective, Police Procedural 79,900 Words Rating 4.0 our of 5.0 When a murder victim is found with a tie wrapped around her neck it's filed as an isolated incident. But when a second victim is found murdered with the same brand of tie Detective Madison Knight strongly suspects a serial killer is at work and anticipate more murders. The relationship between Madison and her junior partner Terry added mostly good natured conflict. The two of them sparred constantly and provided an internal story besides the murders. It didn't take many appearances by her Sergeant and the Police Chief to form the same low opinion of the men that Madison had developed. The characters are interesting and well defined. Madison is shown to be a single workaholic with a passive aggressive personality. She constantly thinks of what she coulda, shoulda, woulda done. Editing is okay except for minor occasional issues, and the plot held my attention. I recommend this story. On the negative side, there is far too much telling in narrative instead of using dialog to carry the story and inform the reader. In addition, the writing is wordy. I cringed when Layton rented a car under a phony name he'd just made up. He couldn't have had a credit card in that name, and I know from experience I can't rent a car without one. That should have been researched and caught. This story is rated 4.0 This review was unsolicited and free. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Edge on Dec. 12, 2015

    The Edge Dafney Lawrence Mystery & Detective, Amateur Sleuth 60,340Words Rating 3 stars out of 5 stars Posted 12/12/2015 Kip Sullivan has been hired as a librarian in a small Mississippi town of 6,000 people. A sixteen year old student was murdered the night before Kip's first day at work. Old feelings connected to the student's mother's previous murder quickly rise to the surface. Early on I developed a non-caring attitude for the characters. They're mostly a bunch of losers and slackers; it was hard to get involved in their shallow personalities to the depth I usually develop during a good read. The accused murderer, Luke Wilder, has a lot in common with Kip; both were outcast in their high school years. Both expunged themselves from other students and chose to be different in thoughts, speech and dress. Kip bumps into Luke after the murder when they are each at the crime scene. During their conversation, Luke threatens Kip twice and then grins and laughs each threat off. Not a smart thing for the prime suspect in a murder case to do. Later in the story Kip and Luke meet in the back woods where Luke is cooking deer sausage over a fire. He found a deer carcass and cut some sausage off. Obviously the author doesn't know sausage is a processed meat; you don't simply cut it off like a strip of tenderloin. Then we got to the final action scene and it was unbearable. The Edge has multiple editing issues with missing, extra, misspelled and misused words in addition to past and present tense problems. The rating is a generous 3 stars out of 5. This is a review of a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Shout in the Dark on Dec. 15, 2015

    Shout in the Dark Christopher Wright Mystery, Detective, Suspense, Thriller, Action 109,580 Words Rating 4.0 out of 5.0 Dec. 15, 2015 Marco Sartini became a Catholic Priest at the age of thirty. Before he was assigned to a parish, he got involved in a search for a bronze likeness of Christ. In 1980, the bronze bust was hidden in the bowels of the Vatican until it disappeared. A group of Neo-Nazis plan to steal the relic to claim Hitler and Christ were both Aryans. The relic is the only likeness of Christ known to exist, and two other groups who will kill for the relic are hoping Marco will lead them to the prize. The plot held my interest and was fast moving as the search crossed Italy and moved to France. The bad guys, both German and Italian were set on capturing the relic and were willing to commit murder to wrest it away from its finders. On the negative side, the author has inserted far too many German and Italian words of which most English speaking readers have no idea as to the meaning. Editing errors are not frequent, but they are distracting when they occur. The characters are well developed and mostly consistent, but I disliked Laura because she was too demanding and wimpy. Marco vacillated between being a celibate priest and a horny young buck. His one way attraction to Laura became tiring and painted him as weak and naive. Then when that affair ended, he focused on Natalia. I rate Shout in the Dark a weak 4.0 This is a review of a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Diabla meets Abaddon on Jan. 01, 2016

    Diabla Meets Abaddon Karl Tutt Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled – short story 20,500 Words 3 Stars out of 5 Dee Rabow and her partner Ricky run a detective agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She's an ex-cop, ex-prostitute, ex-stripper known as Diabla. With that background I wondered how she was accepted into the police force. She and Ricky were partners there before both were kicked out after a vague event occurred during a case. Diabla is a beautiful, rough talking broad with a big heart who says she needs to get laid. You'd think she could find somebody to help her out with that little problem. The writing is good with minor editing errors. The style is reminiscent of the rough and tumble detective stories of the 1940s and 50s. It's far more lighthearted and casual than I expect in a story billed as hard-boiled. The violence and rapes must be what prompted the author to choose that sub-genre. In one on one dialog the author kept inserting the name of the person being addressed as if the reader couldn't keep tract of the back and forth conversation. Character development was good enough for a short story. Sentence structure was mostly okay. The plot was good but rather simple. Many side questions were left unanswered, like why the antagonist chose the victims he killed. Then there were things Diabla did in gathering evidence, breaking and entering, that would have made the evidence inadmissible in the case. In real life her shooting the perp a second time would have resulted in charges against her. But all in all it was an enjoyable short read. This review was unsolicited and free. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Send In The Clowns on Feb. 19, 2016

    Send in the Clowns 12 Mark Bredenbeck Genre - Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 60,000 words and 174 pages Rating 2 stars out of 5 Posted 2/19/2016 Detective Mike Bridger wants to get back with his wife but his job calls him every time they try to get together and discuss their issues. The other woman he's seeing secretly doesn't help his cause either. A circus comes to town and strange things begin to happen. Can the animal rights group P.A.A.I.N. be responsible for the sudden misfortune or could the circus people be involved? When a murder is committed, Mike's team is called upon to track down the villain and apprehend the guilty party. But of the multiple suspects, which is the guilty party? Old histories are soon uncovered that only add confusion to a poorly handled investigation. Mike has additional problems; a new boss revives an old case of a citizen being injured when a younger Mike lost his temper. He then has to deal with an internal investigation during the hunt for a murderer. The bad news. The writing is stiff and unrealistic. More contractions would soften the formality of the dialog. The people speaking have a habit of repeatedly saying the name of the person they're addressing. Real people seldom include the name of the other person in one on one conversations with people they know well. The story needs professional editing for grammar, punctuation and storyline. When lions, tigers and monkeys were mysteriously released from their cages the police didn't check the cage doors for fingerprints to see if someone other than the circus people opened the doors. And wouldn't the cages of wild animals be locked if they were parked in the middle of a city? Supposedly someone shortened the ropes of a trapeze and caused a performer to fall. My recollection is that the ropes are positioned so the aerialist can grab them and they are always in the same place and set for the performer who will use them. If a foot or more had been removed the performer should have been instantly aware of it. Past half way through the story the police finally noticed several CCTV cameras near the crime scene that they had overlooked previously. That was plain incompetency. The writing style is overly wordy, and many sentences are structured poorly. Bad structure led to the inclusion of commas that would have been unnecessary. Some of the descriptives were so over the top they became funny: Example – The painted smile looking down at him made the marrow inside his bones shudder. Maybe I've led a sheltered life, but I don't recall the marrow inside my bones shuddering and I can't imagine that happening. After Bridger is handed a cup of coffee by his devious sex partner he taste something strange in the mix and then begins to hallucinate. He never clearly accepts she drugged him and we never learn why. Conveniently, the lights in the entire city go out during a jail break, and the emergency light system at the police department fails to come on even though it's tested routinely. During the course of the story many questions are raised and then never answered; they simply disappear. Patrol officer Jo has issues that are left hanging. The drugging incident slips away. The man who caused damage to the circus is caught before the story ends, but there is no closure. It seems like the author took short cuts to end the story and left everything hanging. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Mapping the Glades on Feb. 21, 2016

    Mapping the Glades David Burton Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 81,520 Words and 290 pages Rating - 4 stars out of 5 Harrison Park is the main character in Mapping the Glades. The story is set in Florida where he lives in self-imposed isolation. Harrison is an ex-undercover DEA agent turned crime writer. Throughout the story we learn of the guilt, hate and shame he has fought after leaving the DEA and since the death of his wife. Pauly Allister is Harrison's stepson who returned home after living several years in California. Tracy Manning is Pauly's lovely stripper, prostitute girlfriend who lives wild and crosses the wrong man. Raul Geoshay is the wrong man to cross; he's pure evil and the perfect antagonist in the plot. What I liked in this story is the interesting storyline that moved almost non-stop. The action was intense and the winning side switched back and forth like a Ping-Pong ball in a tournament. The characters are developed so the reader knows exactly who and what they are. It's done over time of course, because it's not all presented in an info dump. Undercurrents of past loves and deeds linger in the background as a multitude of characters attempt to position themselves for the love or revenge they crave. The story is well written with infrequent editing errors What I didn't like about Mapping the Glades is the way several scenes ran together without separation. There were also several outright errors in the writing. At one point a woman is handcuffed with her arms behind her and around a large post, and then she wipes her hair out of her face. At the scene of an accident on a bridge a man slides off the elevated deck, into the water with a black book in his hands. Nothing was mentioned of it being ruined by the water or how Pauly and Tracy took possession of it. The name Spencer was substituted several times for the character Simone, simply a poor editing oversight. Readers who are offended by depictions of frequent sexual situations, extreme violence, rape, incest, torture and cursing should take note that it occurs often here. Overall, I enjoyed Mapping the Glades and recommend it for hardcore crime and mystery fans. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Killing The Man-Black Edition on Feb. 26, 2016

    Killing the Man 14 Kenneth B. Humphrey Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 95,330 Words and 556 pages Rating 4 stars our of 5 Posted 2/26/2016 I can only assume the book's title is meant to be a double entendre. Killing the Man is the name of a conspiracy in the plot, but could also refer to Rick Killing, the Man. And who and what Rick Killing is captures the entire story. Rick Johann Killing, Loss Prevention Mgr. at a major big box store – 24 Y.O. He's an ex-sports star who ran away from a career as a professional football player because of his fear of fame and failure. Maya, Rick's wife, is stubborn and acts like a vindictive child at home or in public. In living with Rick, it's easy to understand why she does. I didn't care about either character. Rick is an obnoxious smart aleck whom I felt no compassion for. At 70% the entire story was about Rick and his attitudes and personal issues. His antagonistic character was that of a fifteen year old. The main theme of the story is more of a coming of age tale about a man whose personal issues have screwed up his entire life. Rick stumbles upon a racial conspiracy no one else can see or wants to believe. The discovery of a racial/crime plot in his hometown brings out a higher level of pride and motivation. From there the plot gradually swings from Rick's problems to an unbelievable plot to change the foundations of the USA. Fortunately, through his acts to protect his friends and loved ones, he finds redemption at the end. The writing is well done, sentence structure is good and the editing is far above average. There was a problem adjusting to the author's style. Dialog would be given, and then Rick's internal thoughts would follow without being flagged with italics. After a few pages I accepted it. Character development for the main characters was good. On the downside, some of the action scenes were a bit contrived. The biggest example being that the police would never have condoned or been involved in the takedown portrayed at the end. The beginning chapters of the book paint Rick as a imperfect, smart mouthed ass and makes it hard to take him seriously or have compassion for him. It was hard for me to stay with the story because I disliked the character. However, by the end Rick found a purpose and broke out of the shell he had built around himself. I can't recommend Killing the Man highly, but it turned out to be a good read. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Helsinki Pact on Nov. 11, 2016

    Title – The Helsinki Pact 67 Author – Alex Cucia Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Political 355 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted11/11/2016 The plot and story telling of The Helsinki Pact deserves a five star rating. The plot is full of surprises. My impressions: intense, conflict, betrayal, danger, socialism, murder, theft, torture, love. The story begins in East and West Germany in March, 1989 shortly before the fall of the Berlin wall. The action is plentiful and intense. Thomas Wundart is a West German economics student and aspiring opera singer. He is a scammer earning money by criminal activities in East Berlin. Bettina List is an East German agent of the secret police, The Stasi. Colonel Dieter is a high ranking officer in The Stasi. Stephan Fischer is the assistant to Alfred Herrin the CEO of Deutsche Bank in West Germany. Stephan is Thomas's best friend. Russia is facing financial collapse. Alfred Herrin represents the West German Government and has been authorized to facilitate a deal between Russia and West Germany. Russia will get the money it desperately needs in exchange for allowing the reunification of West and East Germany. A second plot in the story finds four East Germans planning to dig a tunnel and escape to West Germany. Unknown to the Stasi, Thomas has helped the four young people attempting to escape to West Berlin. What the Stasi network does know, through his relationship with agent Bettina, is that Thomas has been involved in black market currency manipulation. He is arrested, and during interrogation Colonel Dieter learns Thomas's father was a successful West German banker at Bundesbank. Before his death, he enjoyed ties to other movers and shakers in the West German banking industry and government. Under threat of imprisonment in East Germany, Thomas agrees to become an informer reporting to Colonel Dieter. Another twist in the plot is a group of six people headed by 'The Brain'. They plan to illegally collect millions of Deutsche Marks by manipulating the currency exchange rates during the East and West reunification. The editing and sentence structure are to UK standards and are a bit different from what US readers are used to. I strongly recommend this story. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Blonde Heiress, a Carter A. Johnson Thriller on Feb. 15, 2017

    Title – The Blonde Heiress Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Vigilante 135 Amazon Pages Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 2/15/17 No. 34 - 2017 Main Characters: Carter A. Johnson, ex-cop who is hired as a vigilante. Harrison J. Withers, the mysterious man who contacts Carter to join a vigilante group. Mayna Mortinson, ex video porn star, a widow until she married her defense attorney Edward J. Smalley, defense attorney, Mayna’s husband The novella length story opens with Carter A. Johnson awaiting a jury’s decision to send him to prison or find him innocent. Of course, he is innocent and leaves the court to submit his resignation from the Los Angeles Police Department. While on a train headed out of town, he is contacted by Harrison J. Withers who hints at a job offer to be presented when they meet. Before meeting Harrison, Carter plots to get even with the five police officers who framed him. And get even he does. His first case with the vigilante group is to investigate the murder of two people and the court decision to free the wife accused of the murders. He quickly gets a feeling in his gut that things aren’t as they appear. When Mayna, the blonde heiress, dies mysteriously he knows he is on the trail of a sadistic murderer. But knowing who the killer is and having evidence to present to a prosecutor are two different things. In the end, Carter gets his man and resorts to vigilante justice to prevent the killer from leaving the country. I enjoyed the plot and the story and recommend it to those readers who are not put off by vigilante justice or descriptions of violent murders. The editing, sentence structure and character development are good. There are enough details to carry the plot and paint a clear picture of the characters and surroundings. Research of Las Vegas and the surrounding area is apparent. The plot is fast paced and interesting. The writing style is crisp and fast moving. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Outnumbered Volumes 1-6, The Zombie Apocalypse Series on April 23, 2017

    Title – Outnumbered volumes 1-6 Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Action/Adventure, Horror 342 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 4/23/17 My impressions: betrayal, rogue killers, zombie horror, internal enemies, new take on zombies. Main Characters: Tom Jacobs – leader of a group of zombie apocalypse survivors in Iowa Kira Schafer – widow of Carl Schafer who was killed by zombies. Paige Schafer – Kira’s daughter. I found Outnumbered Volumes 1-6 a refreshing look at the zombie apocalypse genre. The relentless zombies are present only to serve as a catalyst to drive the real story of the human survivors. Surviving in the devastated world they’ve been left with would be difficult enough without their own internal betrayals plus treacherous acts of other groups of vicious survivors. The interactions between the main and support characters was realistic. In this version of the zombie apocalypse even the zombies slowly change over the years. I won’t say how, but their evolvement was totally fresh and unexpected. Each step of these changes presented new challenges to the humans. Tom Jacobs and his best friend Shane were Army Delta Force snipers. The other support characters have varied backgrounds from a Navy SEAL weapons expert to a veterinarian who serves as their doctor. Kira Schafer’s deceased special forces husband recognized from the get-go the devastation the zombie onslaught would cause and prepared his family for survival. Against her early upbringing, the will to protect and defend herself and Paige caused her to evolve into a determined kick butt warrior. There are some gruesome scenes and minor cursing. The editing and sentence structure are good to excellent, and character development is detailed considering the number of characters who revolve in and out of the scenes. Details are explicit and research is good, but with the zombies it’s, of course, mostly conjecture. The plot gives a fresh look at the zombie genre and the accompanying decline of the human race. The author’s writing style is fast paced with in depth insights into the human behavior under threat of worldwide annihilation. The action scenes are intense and well choreographed. I enjoyed the story and highly recommend it for fans of the action adventure and zombie apocalypse genres. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Stilettoed on May 03, 2017

    Title – Stilettoed Author – D. B. Silvis Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 218 Amazon Pages – 69,500 words Rating 3 stars out of 5 Posted 24 - 2017 My Impressions: violence, rape, foreign intrigue, gays, lesbians, murder, torture. Main Characters: Jake Wayde – P.I. Dave “Tiny” Barnes Katie Monahan – FBI Special Agent, Jake’s girlfriend. Lt. Kelly – Ft. Lauderdale Fla. Detective. Jeffrey Rhineman – Rich idiot Siddra Abood – Palestinian secret agent, diabolical killer. The story is a continuation of the initial book Puzzle of Death. In it, Jeffrey Rhineman’s scientist father put in motion a plot to have twelve people he hated compete in a race to solve a puzzle and kill each other while doing it. The promised prize was ten million dollars and a chemical formula worth multi-millions to rogue, racist foreign countries. No one believes the secret formula exist except for radicals in Iran and Palestine who want to exterminate the Jewish nation, Israel. “Stilettoed” reads like a stageplay with an off-stage character giving directions to the actors. The action revolves around the secret agents trying to locate and capture Jeffrey Rhineman. Jeffrey is a fruitloop who won’t accept safely hiding to stay alive. His need to be running to gay bars nightly defeats all efforts to protect him. In the course of his quirkiness many people are attacked and some die. Jake Wayde has his hands full with watching over Jeffrey, making time for his beautiful girlfriend and tracking down the assorted killers. And then the Mafia gets involved, too. The plot is complex and the vicious bad guys keep the action stirred up. Multiple characters add depth and the important ones are defined adequately. Now the bad news. The editing is atrocious. There are far too many missing, misspelled, extra and wrong words used. In addition, the story is written in present tense but now and then slips into past tense. Several sentences are contradictory and don’t make sense in the context of the paragraph. The writing style is wordy. There is XXX cursing and abundant violence, plus torture. Stilettoed is an okay read if you can overlook the errors and accept strong cursing and violence. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Carnal Prey on May 27, 2017

    Title – Carnal Prey Author – Warren Ashton Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Serial Killer 270 Amazon Pages Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 5/17/17 No. 30- 2017 My impressions: serial killer, personal issues, daunting task, haunting personal fear, alcoholism, escapism. Main characters: Dillon Haywood – age 48, Head of forensics at Omaha NB. Has a personal fear of finding his only daughter dead on the streets. Captain Angela Marconi – hardnosed, no nonsense cop, head of homicide. Bradley Eric Neilson, unskilled laborer, pathetic serial killer. Carnal Prey is well told but not well written. The first twenty five percent of the story is slow and almost entirely narrative. The story centers around Dillon Haywood’s mental anguish caused by his personal issues as he chases after a cruel serial killer. His off the job relationship with his boss is all that keeps him from having a mental breakdown. As the body count rises Dillon accepts his self-imposed blame for the killer not being caught although his team and the taskforce are following every sparse lead they uncover. In his mind, his rebellious missing daughter could be the next victim claimed by the serial killer. There are simple formatting issues plus the editing is very poor. There are missing, misspelled, extra and wrong words used plus gross misuse of quotation marks. Line breaks are needed between scene changes, but sentence structure is okay. Details are adequate and character development is good for Dillon but sparse for Angela. The plot is excellent but the writing style is hurt by an inordinate amount of editing errors. For those turned off by gross details be aware there is a detailed, graphic description of an autopsy. Cursing is minor and not an issue unless the reader is easily offended. Based on the excellent plot I recommend this story if the reader is not turned off by the abundance of poor editing. This review was provided as a free service. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Dalmatian Traffick on May 31, 2017

    Title – Dalmatian Traffic Author – Bluette Matthey Genre – Travel Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 215 Amazon Pages Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 5/31/17 No.36 - 2017 My impression: An interesting plot buried under heavy baggage. Main characters: Hardy Durkin – owner/operator of Durkin Tours, ex-military intelligence soldier. Alain Clotiers – Lt. Col. in the French Foreign Legion Capt. Luc Buvain – French Foreign Legion soldier working undercover. Tado Radic – Croatian sailboat captain. Mirela Culjandji – sunken boat survivor with a dark story to tell. Full framed and tough Hardy Durkin is asked by his friend Col. Alain Clotiers to feign being on vacation while he searches for information about who is supplying illegal arms to Europe from the region around Croatia. During the sail to Croatia they witness a boat explode and rescue a lone survivor. The beautiful, teenager becomes a primary character in the story when they learn she has ties to organized crime and was almost sent to Italy to be forced into prostitution. Before Hardy even gets started in his undercover role, he is told Captain Buvain has disappeared and is feared to be in the hands of the arms suppliers. His primary job then is to search for and free Buvain. Col. Clotiers joins Hardy and the pair, along with Mirela, chase bad guys as they search for Buvain. Despite dead-end leads and betrayals, the group plugs along until Buvain is found and they can continue on with their original mission. The editing is good and the sentence structure is mostly good with minor exceptions. Character development is good to excessive in several cases where the character’s involvement is minor to the story. Details are thorough to overdone. Research on country and local levels is apparent. The plot is interesting despite the dead weight of abundant filler. A reader who enjoys travelogues and history lessons should like Dalmatian Traffic. Filler in the form of detailed, long winded dissertations of the history of old trade routes, the cultural and economic effects of past wars, cigarette tax, drug routes into and through Iran slowed the story until I scanned through the excessive information to where the main story continued. At about seventy-five percent of the way through the book the writing again focused on the main plot until the end. I’ve given this story a higher rating than I personally feel it deserved by my taste in reading. Readers who abhor filler should consider it a lower rating. Those who like extra local and regional color plus abundant history lessons will agree with the higher rating. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Dogtrot Murder A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller on July 11, 2017

    Title – The Dogtrot Murder Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Thriller, Suspense, Vigilante Justice 208 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 7/11/17 No. – 29-1 2017 My Impressions: Carter - tough, competent, intelligent, compassionate, tenacious. Kate: afraid, disappointed, liberal, betrayed - rejuvenated, fair, unafraid, revenge. Main Characters: Carter A. Johnson – the vigilante sent to investigate the conviction of a wife currently in prison. Kate Menke – convicted of murdering her husband, serving a life term in prison. The Dogtrot Murder opens inside the antagonist’s thoughts as he prepares to murder Gerhart J. Menke, Kate Menke’s husband. The following segment switches to Kate’s incarceration at the Kansas State Prison for Women at Topeka, Kansas. Her feelings and reactions during the admissions segment invoked compassion for the woman who claimed to be innocent of the crime. Then we meet her cellmate Mercie, and watch their relationship develop. Next the scene switched to Carter at his girlfriend’s cabin in Oregon discussing their fledgling relationship. They’ve each been married previously and are cautiously defining the extent of their new arrangement. Back in prison, Kate is getting threatening looks from a fellow prisoner wannabe gang leader and questions why the woman’s anger is focused on her. The scenes continue to switch back and forth as Carter and Mattie are making love while Kate is accepting the reality and danger of life in prison, quite a contrast in life styles. Both main characters are written in first person, and due to their separation of scenes, it works well. As Carter begins his investigation he gets too close to the truth of Gerhart’s murder and a series of attacks to silence him begin. The action scenes are intelligently choreographed and vividly portrayed. Watch especially for the scenes with Kinky Stillbrink. The editing and sentence structure in this story are not perfect but approach excellent. Development of main and supporting characters is above average. I clearly understood who and what each important character was. Details and research are thorough, especially for Kate’s time in prison and the procedures enforced there. The plot is involved and held my interest from start to finish. Crisp and complex describes the writing style. It’s not wordy or loaded with excess details that would constitute filler. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on July 15, 2017

    Title – The Redemption of Charlie McCoy Author – Christopher Wilsher Genre – Crime Thriller 378 Amazon Pages Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 7/12/17 No.48 - 2017 My impressions: loner, serial failure, rationalization, liar, cold, sociopath Main Characters: Charlie McCoy – ex-Marine, small time hustler, burglar, 53 years old. Amy McCoy – Charlie's thirteen year old daughter. Mike De La Torre – FBI special agent Charlie McCoy is pressured to repay a loan shark the money he owes after the shark's goons busted Charlie's right hand with hammer blows. He reluctantly agrees to break into a mob boss's home to steal a large sum of money and several computer discs; the job smells because it just seems too easy. The theft suddenly goes badly awry; luckily Charlie was leery and had a back up plan. Then Charlie is on the run from mob enforcers who want everything Charlie has stolen put back in the boss' possession.. But the mob isn't the only group chasing him. An FBI agent wants to know his whereabouts too, and Charlie is suspected of one then three counts of murder. Charlie is a sociopath who easily blames everyone else for his problems and failures. He's also a loner who isn't able to relate to other people, even those he cares about; he's emotionally deficient. His ex-wife has no use for him, until she needs him to keep their thirteen year old daughter for a few days. Then Charlie's life takes a definite turn for the worse. Precocious thirteen year old Amy challenges Charlie at every turn and confronts and condemns him each time the mobsters chasing him get near enough to almost catch them. It's a rollicking non-stop confrontation as Amy constantly berates him for being an inept thief and a lousy father. The ending held several surprises as Charlie pushed back against the crooks and the FBI. The editing is very poor with missing, extra, misspelled and wrong words used. Character development of the main characters is good and sentence structure is mostly good. Details are adequate and thorough research is evident. The plot is great with many unexpected twists. I enjoyed The Redemption of Charlie McCoy and highly recommend it unless the editing would be a serious turnoff for the reader. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Cape Abigail - A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller on July 18, 2017

    Title – Cape Abigail Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Hard Boiled 261 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 7/18/17 No. 29-2 - 2017 My impressions: framed, violence, rape, intimidation, romantic triangle, vigilante justice. Main Characters: Carter A. Johnson – vigilante investigator. Kate Menke – vigilante investigator. Mattie Boker – Carter’s girlfriend in Oregon. Sharon Collins – Cape Abigail, Maine Police officer attracted to Carter. Steve Snowe – Cape Abigail, Maine Police Sergeant. Lynn Lancaster – both of her parents were convicted of committing three murders. Frank Lehnen – husband of murder victim. Fidel Elizondo – drug cartel assassin. Fiona Wiesmann – exotic dancer and more. The fictional seaside town of Cape Abigail, Maine is the setting for Cape Abigail in current times. Carter Johnson is assigned by his vigilante group handler to look into the conviction of a husband and wife imprisoned for the premeditated murder of three people in the quaint, peaceful town. Before leaving Oregon he and his current girlfriend Mattie have a serious discussion about their future relationship. Carter is not pleased with the direction they’re headed. In Cape Abigail, he comes to the aid of Police Officer Collins and then on the rebound from Mattie starts an affair with Collins. The daughter of the convicted murders, Lynn Lancaster is adamant her parents are innocent until she suddenly becomes sullen and withdrawn and changes her position to accept their guilt. Carter asked for another investigator, preferably female, to get next to Lynn and learn what is troubling her. Kate Menke is sent to assist him and Carter finds himself dealing with three women he is attracted to. As the investigation gets closer to the person actually behind the murders, Carter is attacked and then he and Kate are attacked. The action scenes are well orchestrated and believable. They pulled me into the story with the detailed accounts leading up to the scene’s conclusions. The final attack on Carter was cold and calculating and he barely escaped with all his parts. The assassins portrayed were well conceived and truly evil, each in their own way. Through many twist and turns in the plot, the vigilantes eventually learned the identity of the antagonist and brought him to justice. Both the editing and sentence structure are very good. The character development is thorough and detailed for all of the main characters. The plot is complex with more danger and turns than a coiled rattlesnake. The writing style is to the point without a lot of extraneous detail that constitutes filler. Thorough research is evident throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot's fast, action filled pace plus Carter’s resolute handling of his feelings for each of his three love interests. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Reverse Metamorphosis The Irrevocable Change Trilogy on July 25, 2017

    Title – Reverse Metamorphosis - Book One of The Irrevocable Change Trilogy Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Thriller, Assassin 104,800 Words Rating - 5 stars out of 5 Posted 7/25/2017 No. 50 - 2017 My impressions: frighteningly realistic, violent yet caring, driven, tenacious and unrelenting. Main Characters: Clayton Albrecht – The Assassin Tony Giliano – Clayton’s mentor and father of his best friend, Mafia boss of a territory in southwest Chicago. Anna - Tony’s wife and wannabe bad woman Mafia boss. Joey Tadono – Tony’s second in command of his illegal activities and chief enforcer. Clayton’s mother Margaret and younger sister Lizzy. Adrianna Giliano – Tony and Anna’s only daughter. Near the beginning of the plot, Clayton is involved in the accidental death of a drunk who attacked him. He then took up the vigilante murder of a man who killed his lifelong best friend. Months later he avenged another gang's attack on Tony that put him in the hospital. Under Clay’s tutelage fourteen of the attacking gang’s leaders were killed in a single attack. Circumstances quickly arose that led to Clayton being blackballed from his union laborer job. When Tony mentioned another boss was looking for a hitman to take out a convicted pedophile, Clayton volunteered and began his career of killing for money. The conversations between Clay and Tony about Clay’s choice to be a professional assassin were realistic and brought out the close relationship they shared. An unexpected aspect of Clay’s new career came through when he had to deal with a situation involving his younger sister, Lizzy. He hadn’t expected his murderous skills to be used in his personal life and was deeply troubled by it. Clay discovered there were other family problems to deal with and again it involved Lizzy. I laughed out loud as the situation with Lizzy and Irish unfolded with Clay in the middle. I found the writing hilarious. Eventually, after starting a business to cover his extended trips away on contract kills, Clay bought a home and moved away from the watchful eyes of Margaret. Clay’s life became more complicated when he and Adrianna began a secret affair without telling Tony or Anna. Soon, Adrianna pressured him to marry her and issued an ultimatum; marry me or I’ll find someone who will. The account of a contract kill in Canada was an exceptional tale of planning and execution that I found superb in its detail and composition. It was an outstanding segment and one that made a profound and lasting impression on the assassin. Near the end, Clay was injured in a shootout that reeked of tension. It was one of the high points of the plot. The editing is excellent with only minor errors and the sentence structure is good. Character development is in depth for all main characters. Details are outstanding where needed but are not wasted on issues of little consequence. Research is evident in location descriptions, and weapons are defined as to makes and models. The plot is not the typical assassin story. Clayton’s family relations and friendships are explored in depth and add clarity to the story. The writing style is fast paced with just enough breathing room for readers to catch their breath before the next action sequence. The story contains strong cursing and violence and some sexual situations. Reverse Metamorphosis actually reads like a soap opera because of the personal involvement with the families of the main characters. I enjoyed it and recommend it highly. This story is violent; readers who reject detailed violence, rape and torture should skip this assassin series. The Assassin is a cold-blooded killer. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Assassin Evolves Book Two of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on Aug. 01, 2017

    Title – The Assassin Evolves - Book Two of The Irrevocable Change Trilogy Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Crime Thriller 106,200 Words Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 8/1/17 No.50-1 - 2017 My impressions: violent, tenacious, ruthless, caring, rationalization, deeply emotional. Main Characters: Clayton Albrecht – The Assassin Anna Giliano – New mob boss of her deceased husband’s criminal territory. Adrianna Worthington – Clayton’s blackmailed married girlfriend and mother of his illegitimate son. Joey Tadono – previously second in line of Anna’s husband’s criminal organization. Clayton’s mother Margaret and younger sister Lizzy. Whether his murder contracts take him to Florida, California, Wyoming or near Chicago the Assassin has a plan. But sometimes the plan goes awry because of unexpected circumstances. One of Clayton Albrecht's contract kills in Georgia was a great example of the depth of the plot. He was hired by the husband of the wife and mother murdered by Johnny Lee Bolton. Johnny Lee kidnapped, abused, raped and finally killed her. Clayton quickly encouraged and developed a friendship with Johnny Lee and his girlfriend/whore Rachel May. Clay convinced Johnny Lee to describe in detail the brutal acts he inflicted on his last victim in anticipation of their teaming up to kidnap and abuse additional victims. The writing was clever and detailed Clayton’s vicious methods to ingrain himself into Johnny Lee’s trust so he could comply with the terms of his contract. Another scene I especially liked involved Clayton refusing to murder a woman and her two children who were in the witness protection program. He became involved with the woman and walked away from the mob’s orders to kill the family. What happen next was a creative piece of acting and action for Clayton to set himself free after capture and deal with the man pressuring him to commit the brutal assassinations he demanded. The two segments mentioned above are indicative of the cunning, detailed action throughout The Assassin Evolves. What elevates The Irrevocable Change Trilogy above other assassin series is how the author has entwined Clay’s caring family and friend’s relationships with the brutality of his profession. He truly cares for them and strives to protect them even as his actions cause them pain and place them in danger. This story is violent; readers who reject detailed violence, rape and torture should skip this assassin series. The Assassin is a cold-blooded killer. I enjoyed The Assassin Evolves and heartily recommend it to fans of violent crime stories. The editing is nearly excellent but not perfect, and sentence structure is good. Character development is very good with actions painting a picture instead of narration defining them. Details are adequate without being overdone and boring. Research is in depth and excellent. The plot is exciting, detailed and emotional. The writing style is crisp, fast and action packed. There is abundant conflict and tension. Continuity is good, scenes make sense and don’t contradict others. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Three Monkeys, A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller on Aug. 07, 2017

    Title – The Three Monkey’s Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Detective, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 221 Amazon Pages Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 7/22/2017 No. 29-3, 2017 My impressions: hardcore, loving relationship, tenacious, violent, gruesome. Main Characters: Carter A. Johnson – vigilante turned private detective. Kate Menke – vigilante turned private detective. Deline Durand – wealthy author, lawyer, receptionist, girl Friday. Paul Peltier – wealthy attorney, grandfather, radical Constitutionalist. Anastasia Dubois – domestic-servant Johnny Peltier – grandson of Paul Peltier Capt. Harlee Davis – St. Louis, Missouri Homicide Police Captain The Three Monkeys takes place in and around St. Louis, Missouri. The story opens with the discovery of three naked, mutilated bodies hung on the side of a barn a short distance from St. Louis. Then the plot moves to the East Coast where vigilantes Carter and Kate are about to terminate a child trafficker who supplies children to pedophiles. Carter receives a cryptic message to stand down; the vigilante group has been compromised. Being Carter and Kate, they finish the job before retreating. A week later they meet with Harrison J. Withers and learn the circumstances causing the abandonment of the vigilante organization. Out of a job, they are forced to make a career change. Months later the detective agency of J&M Investigations opens in St. Louis, Missouri. A new character is added to the series; Deline Durand is the enigmatic employee hired as the new agency’s receptionist. Her vibrant French character stands out and rivals those of Carter and Kate. Kate’s thought at Deline’s interview was ‘Somehow, we’ve managed to attract either Wonder Woman or the employee from hell.” The agency’s first major case is The Three Monkeys. After many interviews and false leads, the investigators are left with two sets of suspects. One is Paul Peltier and his grandson Johnny. After two threatening episodes, Deline is attacked and injured as she leaves the office. By then another new character has been introduced, Police Captain Harlee Davis is the detectives tie to the St. Louis police department. Eventually, there are more killings and the search narrows down to the final suspects. I’ve learned to appreciate the action scenes in this series. The actions are well planned and realistic. The editing and sentence structure are far above average. Character development is thorough as colorful pictures of each person is painted. The central plot involves gruesome murders and is offset by the romance between Kate and Carter. The story contains mild sexual descriptions and minor cursing. Much of the bantering between lovers Carter and Kate is funny and lighthearted. This series is one of my favorites and I can strongly recommend The Three Monkeys to crime thriller fans who are not turned off by the gory killings. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • The Devil’s Homecoming The Irrevocable Change Trilogy on Aug. 08, 2017

    Title – The Devil’s Homecoming Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Crime Thriller 106,800 Words Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 8/8/17 No. 50 - 2 - 2017 My impressions: loving relationships, revenge, violent, great ending, Main Characters: Clayton Albrecht – the assassin. Joey Tadono – Mafia boss Lizzy Albrecht – Clayton’s younger sister. Tommy Maxwell - Clayton’s nephew. Clayton Albrecht emerges from a drunken stupor after murdering five people in a New York City bar the night before. He's still inebriated when he visits his sister-in-law. After more whiskey, he attacks and rapes her. Weeks later, he takes his two nephews to Canada for a week-end fishing trip. Such are the extreme action cycles in the life of The Assassin. After silencing his step brother and sister-in-law when they seek to initiate a contract on him, Clay takes his eighteen-year-old nephew Tommy to Alaska for a week of skiing and snowmobiling. Tommy has become his pride and joy. Due to Clay's drinking and a run of bad luck, several hits had unacceptable results or sensational damage pointing to the mob bosses who hired him. Joey has Clay severely beaten as punishment and as a wake-up call. A major personal impact occurs when his nephew, Tommy is attacked and critically injured by the adult town bully. When Tommy dies Clayton wages a vendetta against the men responsible for his nephew's death. Interspersed with his personal life, new contracts continue to be assigned until his services are demanded to murder a US Congressman. He refuses to kill the man for personal reasons. He foils the attempt on the man's life and incurs the wrath of the top mob bosses. While making his escape he is shot and has to hide out while his wound heals. The resulting war with the mob bosses results in more personal losses and leaves him with a kill list stretching from the Midwest to the East Coast. Eventually he plays the only card he has left for beating the mob and staying alive. The Devil's Homecoming didn't slow down one iota from the first two books in this trilogy. The editing and sentence structure of The Devil’s Homecoming are very good. Character Development in this third story of The Irrevocable Change series builds on the previous books and is a vivid portrayal of the main characters. Details in the story are adequate without being long winded and boring. Research is evident in its depth and thoroughness. The plot is exciting, complex and emotional. It held my interest from start to finish. The writing style is crisp, fast, action-packed and involved. Continuity throughout is good. Every scene makes sense and doesn’t contradict others. I strongly recommend this crime trilogy because of its intense pace and character involvement. This story is violent; readers who reject detailed violence, rape and torture should skip this assassin series. The Assassin and many of the people around him are cold-blooded killers. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Rembrandt's Angel on Aug. 25, 2017

    Title – Rembrandt’s Angel Author - Steven M. Moore Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller 422 Amazon Pages Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 8/25/17 No. 56 – 2017 My Impressions: tongue in cheek, humor, lovers, caring, action, violence. Main Characters: Ester Brookstone – Scotland Yard agent over art thefts, age about 60. Bastiann van Coevorden – Interpol agent, age about 40, Ester’s lover Gerhardt Dunst – owns pharmaceutical companies. Chasing bioweapon to eliminate enemies of a Fourth Reich. Karen Lietzke - art dealer, and leader of Nazi plot to rule the world. Rembrandt’s Angel has strong undercurrents of satire. The interactions between Ester and other characters is entertaining and provides humor among the violent acts of resurgent Nazis in 2023 Germany. Ester is an art expert and chases art thieves with a vengeance. Following a trail to verify the existence of the painting Rembrandt’s Angel stolen by Nazis in WWII, she and Bastiann travel across Europe and to South America dealing with Nazis, Islamic Terrorist and the leader of a drug cartel. They learn a fresh group of determined Nazis plan to rule the world with a Fourth Reich as their despotic idol Adolph Hitler attempted. Ester has been married three times and survived all three husbands. She unashamedly loves her sex bouts and finds good sex as necessary as food and wine. Bastiann plays a support role as Dr. Watson did to Sherlock Holmes. There are several minor errors in details and research. BMWs are not made in England but in Germany. With bags over their heads for a ride in a helicopter, how could Ester know what the terrain was like? Stainless Steel flatware does not corrode. Ester and Bastian’s escape from a stone cellar was a bit contrived and unrealistic. The editing and sentence structure are excellent. Character development is good for the main characters. The plot is fresh and pulls the reader in quickly. Rembrandt’s Angel is not a great story but is thoroughly entertaining. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • D.O.G.: Executive Order on April 28, 2018

    Title – D.O.G. Executive Order Author – Robert Barlow Jr. Genre – Suspense, Thriller 402 Amazon Pages, 98,000 words Rating 4 stars out of 5 Posted 4/27/2018 No. 18 - 2018 My Impressions: Reflects yesterday's headlines, assassination, betrayal, high level government corruption. Main Characters: Gunnery Sergeant Zach Hinson – Marine sniper. Sgt. First Class Jason Jones – Army sniper assigned to the Marines with Zach. If you are a hardcore conservative you'll likely give D.O.G. Executive Order high marks. Not so much if you are a fervent liberal. The story centers around an incompetent progressive liberal U.S.A. President intent on destroying the constitution and the country along with it. The two marine snipers are thrown into the middle of a presidential executive order and the betrayal and intrigue it reveals. Only the personal agenda of a terrorist leader saves their lives after they are betrayed at the highest level and specifically targeted to die. The editing and sentence structure and poor. There are far too many missing, extra, misspelled and wrong words used along with sentences that are poorly organized. Additionally, there are excessive comma where not needed, missing quotation marks and conflicting past and present tense in sentences. A competent, professional editor is needed. Character development is good for the two main characters and several subs. Details are good for the military aspect. The plot is original, as if plucked from the news of several years ago and then radicalized. The writing style is wordy, sloppy and repetitious. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.
  • Acceptance First: Revenge Second Book 5 of the Carter A. Johnson series on June 22, 2018

    Title – Acceptance First: Revenge Second Author – Robert Schobernd Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller Word Count 83,500 Rating 5 stars out of 5 No. 26A - 2018 Posted 6/22/2018 My Impressions: Brutal, betrayal, vigilante justice, extreme revenge, mesmerizing Main Characters: Carter A. Johnson – Saint Louis, Missouri, detective. Kate Menke – Saint Louis, Missouri, detective Irene Compton – Wife of murdered assassin. Acceptance First: Revenge Second takes place in the Missouri Ozarks near Table Rock Lake. Two murders are committed at the beginning where the reader learns Robert Compton is a hired assassin. Soon after, Robert is killed when his and Irene's house explodes. Then the real action begins as Irene sets out to learn why her husband was murdered and who was responsible. But the killers aren't satisfied; they want Irene dead too. She thwarts several attacks, and then enlist the services of J&M Investigations. Carter Johnson and Kate Menke and their support staff begin the arduous task of gathering evidence that will lead to the perpetrator of Robert's murder. But after taking the case, the detective staff is suspicious of Irene's motives. They feel she is withholding information from them that would make their job faster and less expensive. Get ready for a fast paced, action packed ride as Irene and the detectives are attacked by the criminals they are pursuing. When petite, diminutive Irene suddenly disappears and people begin to die the case takes an unexpected turn. The editing and sentence structure are outstanding. Character development is thorough for main and supporting characters. Details are above adequate to maintain interest. Thorough research is apparent in the use of firearms and explosives. The plot is complex and held my interest from the beginning. The writing style is crisp and fast moving and delves into individual personalities. I can highly recommend Acceptance First: Revenge Second for hard-core action and crime fans. This review was provided in exchange for a free book. Vigilant Reader Book Reviews.