Monthly Archives: July 2017

Can a Virus’ Origin Remain Hidden?

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K2 Virus Cover

Daniel Mann should have his Ph.D. by now, but an accident left his mom paralyzed at age 48. So, he is working at a job he really doesn’t enjoy to pay for her care. He feels guilty about the way he left his last job and proposes a way to merge the two companies. As part of the goodwill team, Daniel, a biochemist, goes to Seoul to help deliver a flu vaccine to the American troops.

Dr. Tonia Benedict is once again Daniel’s boss and she holds on to grudges. She blames him for the failure of her former company. While in South Korea together, they engage in a push-me/pull-me friendship. Should the vaccine work as planned the new consolidated company stock should jump significantly.

Veronica (Varsity) Kohl is a news reporter covering the increased tensions between the North and South. Daniel met her on the plane and developed a deep crush on her. She has asked him to be her guide, yet everywhere they go they end up in trouble. Is she really interested in him or to the places his Korean family can get her access?

In the meantime, a coronavirus has leaped from sick cows in North Korea to humans. It is a rather hardy virus and has a considerably longer incubation period than SARS or MERS. During a visit to refugees that were allowed to leave the North to the South, many of who carry the virus, Daniel becomes the face of South Korea welcoming these folks into the country. Then things get complicated.

Rhine’s novel, The K2 Virus, is a medical thriller that explains the science involved while intermingling with a good mystery. We follow the virus from the first moment it leaps into a human or patient Zero. Every time there is a possibility of exposing the existence of the virus someone tries to redirect the investigation by killing or trying to kill a key player. Tensions between North and South Korea go to an all-time high.

All the time Daniel is caught between his infatuation of the mysterious Varsity and the hot/cold friendship with his boss, Tonia. Add to the mix his traditional Korean family and Daniel is like a lost puppy, not sure where to turn or what to do. When he accidentally stumbles upon the K2 virus everything in his world changes and not all of it for the good.

This was an enjoyable read. I had a hard time putting it down. The mystery behind the virus mixed in with Daniel’s social ineptness around women made for a good combination. The ending was slightly surprising.

5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The Lines Are Blurred Between Good And Evil

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Omega cover

Anatoly Reznikov is one slippery dude. Everyone who says that they want him dead really wants him. He is the deranged bioweapons scientist responsible for two attacks thus far. And, he has gone missing again but who sponsored this disappearance?

True America is in the White House and all bets are off on the president upholding former pardons for Sanderson’s Black Flagged program. Karl Berg’s recent demotion within the CIA is a testament to this major concern. Now, Karl finds himself and some of his friends on someone’s hit list.

The Petroviches are trying their best to disappear when Jessica receives some news she cannot ignore. She hopes that she will be able to bring closure to a particularly painful part of her past. As usual, nothing is as it seems and Daniel must stay even more vigilant.

All of this is connected in the most sinister of plots.

Konkoly’s fifth novel in The Black Flagged Series, Omega, will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a thrill ride like no other once you get past the introductory background material. The twists keep coming and they are all intertwined. Anything that can go wrong seems to figure out a way to do exactly that. It is hard for the players to stay up with, much less ahead of, those that would have them dispatched.

My heart was pounding time and time again as close calls were coming faster than the characters could keep up with them. The implications at the end are mind boggling and set you up for Konkoly’s newest series The Zulu Virus Chronicles. I can’t wait to see how these two series run parallel from here.

5 out of 5 stars.

Would You Do The Same?

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The Edge of Civility cover

Jake Turner is trying to do the right thing. He wants to have a good life with his wife and children. Since being released on parole, Jake has turned his life around. But, no matter how hard he tries, it seems that the fates conspired against him. By the time he has a run-in with the Fletchers on Dunham Road, Jake is no longer the law-abiding citizen he so desperately wanted to become. His looks and his actions earn him the nickname “Manson”.

Bird’s Kindle Worlds Novella in The Perseid Collapse Series, The Edge of Civility, has got to be the saddest story I’ve ever read. My heart broke while reading this fast-paced tale of strife. I could feel Jake’s pain.

All Jake wanted was to provide for his family and keep them safe from the Jakarta flu virus. What would you have done in similar circumstances?

5 out of 5 stars.

The Struggle Continues

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Valley of Vengence cover

Alice, Randi, and Jim face separate struggles that ultimately bring them together. As coworkers in the before, they didn’t necessarily get along. With the world having gone into chaos, they find relying on one another is the only way to survive and keep their families safe.

Alice leaves Jim’s valley after helping Gary and his family relocate there. She wants to find her husband and son, then move them to her mother’s farm. Her journey has been harrowing up to this point and continues to throw the worst of mankind in her path. She has lost her humanity. She is hard on the outside, so much so, that the person she was before is no longer there.

Randi is fighting the demons inside. She wants to do the right thing and forgive the person responsible for the death of her most of her family. The remaining kids and grandkids are living with her in Jim’s valley. She won’t find peace within until she has had her revenge.

Jim can’t seem to catch a break. Having running vehicles make his group a target. An overly zealous sheriff’s deputy broadcasts on an open radio frequency the location of a tanker of diesel. A splinter faction of the local law enforcement that has gone rogue is determined to claim the tanker.

Horton’s fifth novel in The Borrowed World Series, Valley of Vengeance, shows that no matter what one does to keep safe, that there is always someone out there that wants to take what you have. The world is no longer civil and making your own justice is the new norm. The character expansion of both Alice and Randi is heartbreaking and cathartic for them. It’s amazing how strong they have become.

This is one of my favorite series. I find it very realistic. Bad guys are killed, but some of the good guys are too. It’s a tough new way of life. I look forward to the next book in the series.

5 out of 5 stars.

On The Road Again

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Thistle Inferno cover

Cavatica Weller and her sisters surprised the world when they moved three thousand head of cattle across the Juniper. Notoriously famous for their wild ways, they soon find themselves on the run, cast as outlaws, before they can collect payment. With them is the most sought after boy alive, Micah Hoyt, the son of the richest man on Earth. His father, Tiberius “Tibbs” Hoyt, is the president and CEO of the American Reproduction Knowledge Initiative, otherwise known as the ARK.

Micah’s father created an army to find him and kill anyone with knowledge of his existence. Seems Micah is in possession of data that reveals a cure for the sterility that has plagued mankind for many decades. ARK would be doomed if the cure was ever released.

Along with the conflicted priest, Father Pilate, the group has captured and subdued Rachel Vixx. She is the last of the Vixx sisters, a group of genetically engineered super soldiers. This ragtag group sets off back into the Juniper in hopes of evading capture and returning home to Burlington. What they didn’t expect was to come across an entire city of men blocking their travels.

Ritchey’s third novel in The Juniper Wars series, Thistle Inferno, is an exciting thrill ride with the Weller sisters at the helm. This steampunk Western does an excellent job of mixing old world technology with desperation inspired ingenuity. Electronics do not work in the Juniper, but steam-power does.

I thought this would be the last book in the series as I was expecting it to be a trilogy like so many authors are prone to. Thankfully, the story will continue. Hopefully, we will get to see if Rachel will stay loyal to the Wellers.

5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

One Man’s Journey

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Rambin Man cover

David Campbell is a drunk. He spent the entire Jakarta Pandemic in a drunken stupor. Finding out his mother succumbed to the virus, he heads out to his sister’s in Kansas City. On his way there via Greyhound bus, China hits the US with an EMP. Finding himself stranded in Montezuma Iowa, David comes up with a plan to walk the rest of the way.

Not being a prepper or having much in the way of belongings, David starts from scratch finding supplies he will need for the long trek. Demon alcohol keeps taunting him and is hard to ignore. A fifth of Jack Daniels finds its way into his pack.

Ancient tractors and older pickups pass David by as he heads out of town. Confused at first, he realizes that they are without modern electronics. This gives him hope of finding a vehicle to speed up his trip.

The virus wiped out a large segment of the population. But, there are plenty of evil doers left to wreak havoc on those trying to survive this latest turn of events. The fly-over states are not densely populated and David has hope that he will be able to skirt any areas with potential conflict.

American’s novella addition to The Perseid Collapse Series in Kindle Worlds, Ramblin Man, is a quick, easy read. Even with an alcohol pickled brain, David is smart enough to be self-sufficient. This story is in sharp contrast to what is happening on the east coast where folks are jammed together. I’m not saying David had it easy, but he did have less to contend with.

These novellas always lend a different perspective to the main Kindle World in which they are written. I enjoyed this addition to Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse Series.

5 out of 5 stars.

Are There Any Good Cops Left?

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The Predator and the Prey cover

Inspector Thomas (Sully) Sullivan has had a hard life, but he is very good at what he does. He has recently been sent to Beta Prime to clean up the corruption within the planet police force. The local government officials believe he is a screw-up that they will be able to use as a scapegoat for their crimes. To make his job as difficult as they can, Sully has been given a newly appointed and over eager Detective Sergeant named Josephson.

Capital City harbors many secrets including the identity of a serial killer. Sully believes the killer is somehow tied to the theft of drugs used to keep the miners from getting the Cough. If he unravels one of these crimes the other is sure to follow.

Being new in town, Sully doesn’t know whom he can trust nor do the folks he encounters know if they can trust him. Having a cop that isn’t bent is about as rare as a warm, snow free day on Beta Prime. His acquaintances are a priest with a shady past, a cabbie trying to keep his nose clean, a bar owner who knows more than he’s willing to tell, and a waitress who wears her heart on her sleeve. Then there is the mysterious woman who hides in the shadows that remind Sully of something in his past he’d rather forget.

Sivils’ first novel in The Chronicles of Inspector Thomas Sullivan, The Predator and The Prey, is reminiscent of the dime store detective novels of the past. The main character, Sully, is vividly described and well developed. The world of Beta Prime and Capital City are brought to life in such a way that I even felt chilled.

Unfortunately, the novel is riddled with typographical errors that are very distracting. In a self-published novel, I allow 5 errors before it changes the rating. This book went well beyond that number. The author really needs a good proofreader or an advance reader group to help ferret out these mistakes before he goes live.

Also, in a who-done-it, the killer is usually a significant character with clues leading up to their identity. It was rather disappointing that he was a minor character who only showed up to kill. The rest of the story was written in such a way that everything was very complex and tied together well.

3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.