Archives for posts with tag: Thriller

tower downTower Down by award-winning thriller author, David Hagberg, is an exciting, fast-paced novel about events that could have been torn out of today’s headlines, involving terrorism, ISIS, and the bringing down of newly-constructed “pencil towers” in New York City.  A blood-thirsty freelance killer, code-name Al-Nassar, or “the Eagle,” educated in England masquerades as a multi-billionaire, Khalid Seif, after having killed him, and sets into motion a scheme that brings one of the pencil towers crashing down onto Carnegie Hall, killing hundreds of people, including seventy to eighty multi-billionaires from around the world who are inside the building. Can former CIA operative, Kirk McGarvey, prevent the killer from striking again? Details on how to win a copy follow, after this review!

Author David Hagberg delivers the goods with Tower Down, an intense page-turning thriller, the 21st novel Hagberg has written featuring McGarvey. The action begins before McGarvey, known as “Mac” by his friends, enters the picture. Al-Nassar leaves a trial of bodies wherever he goes, but his fingerprints are not on file, and he takes great care to clean up possible loose ends — by methodically killing anybody he thinks might later be able to identify him.

The pencil tower known as the Tower was built to be impossible for terrorists to destroy, so that there would not be any repeat of the events of 9/11. A nine-ton counterweight near the top of the Tower, controlled by a computer, helps the building adjust to any swaying it might otherwise have experience due to high winds. Over 90 percent of the apartments in the Tower were sold prior to the building’s construction, for exorbinant sums of money, with one penthouse going for a hundred fifty million dollars.

Al-Nassar strikes during a party Seif had planned, with some of the world’s wealthiest men and women in attendance. When the Tower inevitably falls, their lives are forfeited, along with the lives of hundreds of people below.

After his wife, Katy, daughter and son-in-law’s murders, and the deaths of other women in McGarvey’s life, he has been cautious about letting his guard down when it comes to his love life. However, in Tower Down, McGarvey has, once again, found love, in the form of his latest girlfriend, Pete Boylan, and he intends for their love to last. But, with his own life hanging in the balance, can McGarvey also protect Boylan’s, as he tracks his elusive prey to Cannes and other locales?

YOU could win a hardback copy of Tower Down from Tor/Forge and What’s New in Book Reviews if you are a resident of the United States, by simply leaving a non-Spam related Comment below and mentioning the state you live in. If you are selected as the winner, I will need your complete mailing address, so I can forward the information to Tor/Forge, so they can mail the copy out to the winner.  The comments will be seen by me as Feedback, instead of as comments. A winner will be chosen on midnight August 1, and if he/she does not respond with his/her mailing address after five days, a new winner will be selected. To purchase a hardback, paperback or Kindle copy of Tower Down at Amazon, click here — good luck to everyone who enters!

By: Douglas R. Cobb

 

 

 




Here at What’s New In Book Reviews, besides reviews, I like to sometimes let my readers know about the thought processes of authors, through interviews with them. This allows us to have an insight into the books we all read and enjoy. Today, I’m honored to be interviewing the author of the current bestselling SF thriller, Arctic Rising, Tobias S. Buckell. In it, he paints a picture of the ice caps melting due to global warming, Canada becoming an economic powerhouse, and what happens when a super weapon falls into the wrong hands. Without further prelude, let’s get on to the questions!

Douglas R. Cobb: Tobias, what are some of your favorite books and who are some of your favorite authors? Who influenced you the most to pursue a career in writing?

Tobias S. Buckell: When I was six years old I read Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. I’d read a few novels before that, I remember the first ‘book’ I read being a Clive Cussler novel. But Childhood’s End was the book that just blew my head open with ideas. I became very interested in science fiction as a result of it, and never looked back.

This may seem like an odd question, but what does the “S” that is your middle initial stand for? I am asking because I was wondering if it stood for “Smollet,” because Tobias Smollet is one of my favorite 18th. century novelists (yeah, I have more than one).

Hah! It’s Samuel. My full name is Tobias Samuel Buckell.

Before I get on to a few questions about Arctic Rising, Tobias, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about another bestselling SF novel you’ve written, Halo: The Cole Protocol. For people who may be familiar with the Halo game, but not Halo: The Cole Protocol, could you please tell my readers a little bit about what it’s about?

Halo: The Cole Protocol is a novel based on the hit video game series Halo. I play it a lot (among other games, the closest thing I have to a hobby is my Xbox, I’m currently loving Skyrim) and when I was offered a chance to write a Halo novel jumped for it. It’s a military science fiction game, but with a very cool back story that reminds me of some of the bigger idea SF out there.

In Halo: The Cole Protocol, did you try to stay true to already established characters and a plotline, or did you create new characters and were you given creative license to take the story in new directions?

I was given a great deal of artistic license by everyone, even though I did have to stay within the guidelines of the worlds they had created I could invent new characters to take the story in a new direction. I spent a lot of time trying to explore the motivations of the civilian rebels, the Insurrectionists.

Arctic Rising is a great title for your latest book, Tobias. What gave you the idea to call it that?

I wish I could say. I wanted to use the word Arctic in there, as that’s the setting. The use of ‘Rising’ is somewhat common in thrillers, so I mashed them together and quite liked the result.

In Arctic Rising, you depict what might happen if the polar ice cap melts and there is an international race to gain access to the newly accessible resources that lie beneath it.
How much of what you write about do you extrapolate from the declassified U.S. Military think tank research that you had the opportunity to read?

I stumbled across a few documents that were declassified about the military’s own global warming research and their efforts to use alternative energy and was quite struck by the fact that the US military is one of the largest consumers of oil and one of the most aware of how dependent that makes them. They’re one of the leaders in testing biofuels for use in planes, and they’re very interested about what happens about the Arctic Ocean, because that has budget implications for the US Navy and Coast Guard. And their take on what’s happening is very different that the politicians. They’re very worried about destabilizing influences from the impact of global warming across the world.

Your main female protagonist is Anika Duncan. What is her job with the UNPG (United Nations Polar Guard), and what does she and her fellow employee, Tom Hutton, detect about the Russian ship Kosatka that causes them to be alarmed?

Their job is to look for radiation signals from ships passing through the Northwest Passage, which is exactly what they find, and gets them shot down!

One very grave and real concern you write about in Arctic Rising is the dumping of nuclear waste by ships off the coastlines of countries like those of Africa.
To what extent (that you know of) is such dumping going on today?

Most of that is stuff I ripped from the headlines. There’s a website that is actually dedicated to tracking the number of ships with toxic waste on them that ‘accidentally’ founder and sink in our oceans. Strangely enough they tend to do this right over deep spots in the ocean. When the tsunami hit East Africa, there were many verified complaints of toxic drums washing up from the ocean’s depths there. It seems to be more common than we realize.

Do you believe that Canada would likely become an economic giant if the Northwest Passage was opened and more land and resources were uncovered due to the melting of the polar ice cap?

Canada’s already angling to get the benefits of that. They’re planning the opening of a Northwest deep water harbor, increasing budgets, and so on. With more arable land and a very generous immigration policy, Canada has the ability to grow fast, take advantage of the resources that open up, and benefit from being a place that shipping then passes through. There are a lot of upsides for Canada. Downsides, however, will be displaced First Nations peoples as ice melts, changing their territories, and the influx of outsiders that will threaten to displace them as a natural resource rush occurs.

I really liked how you incorporate an environmental theme into your novel without getting too preachy about it (though the melting of the polar ice caps should concern us all), and still have managed to write an action-packed story.
What does the Gaia Corporation want to do to help reverse the melting of the ice cap? How does Anika learn about their plans and how does the Gaia Corporation’s scheme go so terribly wrong?

Thank you. That was what I was aiming for. Well, one of my observations is that some people tend to lay claim to the idea that simple geo-engineering will solve the problem. That’s a very sexy idea, and alluring, because it lets you acknowledge the problem that 90% or higher of scientists say is bearing down on us, but then not have to worry about it. The problem is, most geo-engineering can be seen as a double-edged sword, as it has a side effect of often being able to be used as a weapon. If you can control the weather, what can you do with it besides just turning back warming?

Excellent answers so far! I just have a couple more questions for you, Tobias! Unlike some people who focus on only the bad things that global warming can bring, you also write about some potentially beneficial aspects of it. Do you think that the good and bad aspects really might end up balancing each other out?

I tried to show it as a complicated set of reactions. I don’t know if they would cancel each other out, I think that unchecked warming will lead to some seriously dangerous weather, from what scientists point out. It’s not just that we’ve had warm weather in the Earth’s history, it’s that we’re destabilizing the normal rhythms and potentially causing a runaway effect. It’d really suck to turn our world into Venus, which suffered from a runaway hot house effect. It’s a good idea to not create run away affects. As a species, I do think we can survive cataclysm fairly well, but the end result of not ever stopping dumping heat into an atmosphere is, really far down the road to be sure, potentially pretty tough if we want to have all the billions of people we have around still around. Even in the short term, super hurricanes and coastal flooding sound like a bit of a bummer. Part of the reason I wanted to write this book, though, is it looks like we’ve already warmed the Earth up enough we’re going to reap some of this, and that it’s not even possible to turn it all the way back, but just to stabilize it. So we’re already at a point where we have to make peace with the fact that weather is going to be weirder from now on, and that we’ll lose the Arctic. What does that mean? I wanted to try and answer that. I do think in the book I’ve pointed out that due to rising costs in fuel people are already adapting to the circumstances, using wind power where they can, and so forth.

Tobias, as Ben Bova mentions in a blurb he wrote about your book, Arctic Rising, it is a very cinematic one. Have you been approached by anyone yet to buy the rights to make it into a movie? It would make an excellent flick! Also, are you working on another project now, or are you too busy promoting your current one at the moment?

So far no movie rights have been sold. I’m currently working on a couple of new books, while trying to juggle promoting Arctic Rising. Hopefully I can find the right balance!

Thanks, Tobias, for agreeing to do this interview with me! Your answers were fantastic, and I hope anyone who reads this interview will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed being able to ask you these questions! I wish you much luck, happiness, and further success with your writing, and I’m looking forward to reading more from you in the coming years.



Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong is back on a mission to see justice done for Las Mujeres de Juarez, over four hundred dismembered and mutilated women found murdered along the border between Texas and Mexico, in Jon Land’s suspenseful thought-provoking mystery thriller, Strong Justice. In the first book featuring Ranger Caitlin Strong, Strong Enough to Die,Jon Land took a close look at government-sanctioned torture and the degradation of civil rights. Besides the action-filled, tense, page-turning plot of Strong Justice, in which Caitlin also has to go head-to-head with Colonel Montoya, a terrorist determined to bring America to her knees, I like that Jon Land incorporates the news headlines into his novels, like the often ugly and brutal reality of the cruel fates that Mexican women forced into prostitution sometimes face, of young lives cut short way too early and nastily. Strong Justice is that rare type of book that will live with you long after you have finished reading it, and it’s one that both those who love the Western and Mystery genres should heartily embrace.

She teams up in San Antonio with Cort Wesley Masters again, whose wife was murdered in Strong Enough to Die. Caitlin has had a romantic relationship with Cort, despite his criminal past, because he wants to become a better father for his two boys. There’s a tension created by this complication, also, both wondering if they can reignite their relationship, or if violence and guns are the only things that they had in common and that brought them together. They head to the town of Nuevo Laredo to try to find the evil, bald-headed steroid freak Marcerio, whom some call El Demono, a man it’s rumored cannot be killed. Besides being involved with a sex slavery ring, he also might be “the worst serial killer in history,” the person who murdered the Women of Juarez. Maria Lopez, a young woman who’d been forced into prostitution by Marcerio and his men – and whom he will do anything to get back – draws Caitlin Strong a crude map in black marker to Nuevo Laredo and the house she and other women were held at, one with “birds on it big enough to house a lot of people.”
Cort’s older son, fifteen-year-old Dylan Torres, had meet Maria on a day he skipped school. She told him her story, and that Marcerio was still after her. They are spotted by the police, and run for it, but the police catch Dylan and hold him on suspicion of possessing drugs, even though they find none on him. They reason, erroneously, why should he have ran, if drugs weren’t involved. He uses his one phone call to phone Ranger Strong, and she has him released into her recognizance. .

At the time, Cort is in New Orleans, trying to get money he’s owed from Frank Branca, Junior. Cort had done some jobs for Frank Branca, Sr., who’d suffered a stroke and now was wheel chair bound, and Junior doesn’t want to pay Cort what he’s owed. He finally takes it from Junior’s wallet, after saving him in a bloody shoot-out by killing members of a rival gang with Frank Branca, Sr.’s pistols. He believes he needs the money to help prove to social workers, who seem bent on taking his boys away from him, that he can provide for them economically. He and Caitlin have to demonstrate that he is a good father to Dylan and his younger son, Luke, or the social worker in charge of his case will recommend that the boys be placed in foster care.

As if this wasn’t enough for Texas Ranger Strong to deal with, she’s also called out to the small town of Albion, where a man is holding hostages inside a convenience store. He’s killed some of the people already, and no one is sure how many are still alive. Caitlin enters the store through the back, and sees the man with a gun held to the head of a young girl. She can’t get a good shot at him without putting the girl’s life in jeopardy, so she talks to the man, who claims that he had to kill the other people in the store – and his own family, earlier – because they had spiders living and breeding inside them, and he had to stop the spiders from spreading and doing the same thing to others. He asks Caitlin if she can see the spiders all over the shop, on the walls, in their webs, dangling from the ceiling. She goes along with him, and humors him, and rescues the girl, but something tells her that this incident is just the tip of the iceberg of the weird accounts of violence that are occurring in the town of eight thousand.

Billionaire Hollis Tyree has been drilling wells on land he owns in Tunga County, and a whole town has sprung up to satisfy the needs of the men working for him, complete with stores, a doctor, a church, and prostitutes, some of them the same women that came from the house with birds painted on it that Maria mentions to Ranger Strong. His own children disappeared two years previously on a trip to Mexico, and despite his willingness to have paid any ransom anyone responsible might have demanded, no one does demand a ransom, and he now thinks his kids have likely been murdered there. He’s not been drilling for oil, but for water, because he realizes that water in Texas, California, and other Western states is becoming more scarce, and he doesn’t want to see the results to America’s prosperity and way of life if water there suddenly ran out. However, there’s something besides water in the wells he’s having dug, something dangerous that’s getting into Albion’s water supply, twenty miles away…..

Strong Justice is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong’s attempts to bring justice to the more than four hundred women raped and murdered along the El Paso/Juarez border is torn from today’s headlines. I’d heard of the Women of Juarez before, and hoped that whomever was responsible for their deaths would some day be caught, and I still hope that one day, that will happen. The story about their plight and the fictional Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong trying to find the man who killed them made for fascinating reading that kept me awake late into the night to read more. It’s a haunting novel, one that combines scenes from the past, 1931, and the events of Caitlin’s grandfather, Texas Ranger Earl Strong’s, fighting to keep Al Capone’s gang out of Sweetwater, Texas, with Caitlin’s struggles to put a stop to a terrible serial killer and terrorists. If you like either Westerns, Thrillers, or both, you owe it to yourselves to pick up a copy of Strong Justice today!



What do drug smuggling across Canada’s border, a sex slavery trade based in Mexico, and a double-amputee Iraqi war veteran have in common? That’s what Caitlin Strong, a modern-day fifth generation Texas Ranger has to figure out in Jon Land’s Strong At the Break, the heart-racing page-turning third novel in his Caitlin Strong series. Though it’s the third in the series, Strong At the Break can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

Texas is not big enough for Ranger Caitlin Strong in Strong At the Break. She is “selected for a joint U.S. and Canadian drug task force” and travels to Canada to be a “part of a six-person squad” investigating a marijuana grow house using Chinese laborers…an operation the Hells Angels seem determined to end, even if it means muder.

Malcolm Arno, the leader of a powerful militia movement known as the Patriot Sun, is following in the footsteps of his father, the late preacher of the gospel Maxwell Arno. Max “and his cultlike group of fanatics known as the Church of the Redeemer” had been stockpiling weapons, getting ready for the day when they would start a second Civil War and take back Washington, D.C., and America and restore rights they felt have been gradually taken away from white American by the government and the courts.

Strong At the Break has flashbacks interspersed throughout, just as the first two books in the series do. The one that begins the books and serves as a prologue depicts Jim Strong’s confrontation and attempted arrest of Max outside of Pearsley’s Tackle and Gun Shop. Caitlin sees that Arno’s son is there with him, with no way to know then that Malcolm will grow up to carry on his father’s legacy. He organizes many of the country’s militant extremist groups together and makes Patriot Sun larger than the Church of the Redeemer ever had been.

Field medic and sergeant Mark Serles is an Iraqi vet who had his legs blown off above the knee by an IED. He believes that the Iraqis didn’t set it off, though, but that someone from our government or military did, to silence him because of information he knew. He is still anxious and worries that his life might be in danger, and doesn’t feel he can trust anyone around him. Caitlin Strong is a bit dubious, but promises to help Mark–a native of San Antonio–any way she can.

Jon Land’s short chapters interweave together and keep the suspense and action going nonstop. Each of the three main plot lines are fascinating, and very believable and well-researched. Homegrown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and his connections with the Michigan Militia are mentioned, and with the huge number of other White Supremist and neo-Nazi groups around the country, the parts of the novel dealing with them and their goals seemed all too real. I’m sad to say that McVeigh also had ties with at least one militant group in Arkansas, where I live, and to the “Elohim City” compound in Muldrow, Oklahoma, so the novel touched me one more than one level as I read about Malcolm Arno and the Patriot Sun organization.

Also, I was very interested in how the Hells Angels have helped participate in making Canada an even bigger source of illegal drugs entering into the United States than Mexico. I knew Canada was a major source of drugs like the BC buds, or marijuana, that Jon Land writes about in the novel, but I did not know to what extent until I read Strong At the Break. And the information I read about the tremendous amount of money, $20 billion, that disappeared in Iraq but had been meant to be used to ensure its infrastructure didn’t fail, was extremely interesting. How it plays into the funding of the Patriot Sun makes the novel seem ripped from today’s headlines, and I just hope that nothing like that scenario ever happens, which might allow militant groups to band together and carry out their plans to overthrow our government, however corrupt it might be.

Strong At the Break by Jon Land is a pulse-pounding book that proves you shouldn’t mess with Texas, and especially not with Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. It’s perhaps the best book yet in an already powerful series, and it successfully blends elements of history, the Texas Rangers, and today’s news into an explosive package you’ll love to read if you’re already a fan of the series or the thriller genre. Remember, you don’t need to have read the first two books to get into and enjoy reading Strong At the Break, so check it out today!

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