Cold Betrayal

Cold Betrayal

By A. J. McCarthy

A.J. McCarthy

https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Betrayal-J-McCarthy-ebook/dp/B07L15QJLT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1544235474&sr=8-1&keywords=cold+betrayal%2C+mccarthy

Plot

Victoria Anderson is in Quebec searching for Danny Wilcox, a wanted narcotics dealer. However, she runs afoul of his men and her life is in danger. Enter a guy named Benoit followed by a cop named Mario. Both would like to help, but can they be trusted. As the story unfolds, Victoria learns trust is a dangerous thing and who knows what may happens if it’s given to the wrong person.

Okay, the plot is fine but left some unanswered questions only one of which was answered near the end. The rest of the story, left me wondering.

Characters

Victoria Anderson: 29, drives a Ford Temp, father dead, lives in Florida

Yvon: Long greasy gray hair, tall, thin

Mario LeClerc: over 6’, wears rimless glasses, brown hair

Benoit: bearded, big man, drives a truck, has a German Shepherd, speaks French

Chantel: strawberry blonde, blue eyes, willowy

Danny Wilcox: wavy blond, blue eyes, 6’2”, drug dealer, muscular

I’m not going to play spoiler and tell the secrets of some of these characters, but I will wonder about Victoria. No physical description, no mention of employment, no mention of how she is affording this trip to Canada. She’s the main character and there’s almost nothing mentioned about her.

Dialogue

Some French thrown around, but it’s okay, it’s all translated or I was able to get the gist of it. Otherwise, the conversations were okay.

Writing

So, here we come to the big part of the problems with this book. I’m not playing spoiler by saying the book started after a bunch of action already took place. Victoria is seen waking up after an accident after a chase scene and escaping from bad guys. The chase and some physical attacks all took place before chapter one. So, I was a bit lost. She also had met with Yvon before chapter one so I thought he was a throwaway character that maybe shouldn’t have been. I wanted more of him. There was more confusion when obvious questions weren’t asked by the cops and weren’t answered by the narrator.

How did Victoria get to Canada? Drove from Florida? Really? Instead of flying? In a Tempo? Egads! Lol.

Again, what does she do for a living that she is able to take a bunch of time off? And be able to afford the gas and a return trip home?

Why is she after Danny? (Okay, this is answered, in part, near the end, but there are still unanswered questions before the revelation is made).

Why didn’t the cops ask why she’s there or at least question her association with Danny?

Again, I won’t pay spoiler, but in my opinion, the waiting until the end to reveal the big secret didn’t work because I was frustrated with not knowing anything about Victoria or her constant stubbornness to not help the cops when she had no idea what she wanted to do. I felt the scenes with her and Mario at the carnival and then skiing with a cop were filler because I expected danger and peril.

No grammar/punctuation/spelling mistakes, however I debated between two ranks and decided I had to go with:

Yellow Belt

Yellow

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Quick Kick – Ur

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By Stephen King

king

https://www.amazon.com/UR-Stephen-King/dp/1442303093/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488942987&sr=8-1&keywords=Ur%2C+King

Plot

Tapping into our primal fears of modern technology that made Cell a #1 bestseller, Stephen King sets his sights on the latest high-tech gadget in UR, in which a mysterious e-book reader opens a disturbing window into other worlds.

Reeling from a painful break-up, English instructor and avid book lover Wesley Smith is haunted by his ex-girlfriend’s parting shot: “Why can’t you just read off the computer like everyone else?” He buys an e-book reader out of spite, but soon finds he can use the device to glimpse realities he had never before imagined, discovering literary riches beyond his wildest dreams…and all-too-human tragedies that surpass his most terrible nightmares

My Analysis

This is another sneaky little book by King. I liked this one…well, except for the ending.

This is a short story. Well, shorter than his novels, let’s say. I listened to the audio version which took about two hours or so.

I think the story developed well, little bits and pieces revealed with each chapter. So, where Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher tackled aliens, Salem’s Lot dealt with vampires, 11.22.63 was a great book about time travel, this one opens the door a crack into multiple dimensions.

I think King handled each part very well. The only problem was he ended the book with my wondering…well, what comes next? Does Wesley throw away the Kindle? Destroy it? Keep it? Does he read any more stories or peruse any other newspaper articles? Does he break the rules or does he live happily ever after?

I don’t want to play spoiler, but it just ended, with a sort of resolution, sure, but what happens next? It ended and I was disappointed because I expected more.

My rank:

Purple Belt

Purple

The Angel’s Kiss

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By Justin Richards

richards

http://www.invisible-detective.com/author.htm

Plot

1938. Manhattan. Private investigator Melody Malone is hired by Rock Railton to find who might be trying to kill him. However, at a party the next evening and a visit to the studio, Malone is confused because her client doesn’t seem to recognize her. And there are several suspects – Rock’s gorgeous costar, the head of the studio, maybe some fans. Malone, discovers, however, that the truth is more bizarre than she imagined.

Characters

Melody Malone: private investigator in New York City, not her real name, British

Rock Railton: actor, deep voice, square jaw, deep blue eyes, slick backed hair, Clark Gable mustache,

Max Kliener: movie studio owner, producer, oily black hair, hefty build, bald patch

Giddy Semsestre: actress, Rock’s current co-star, attractive

Oh so typical in these genre type stories. And though-pardon the connection to the film studio plot-central casting types, they’re so wonderful not much detail is needed to get a feel for them.

Dialogue

I love the wit of Malone. Short story, so there aren’t any wandering conversations. Everything is to the point.

Writing

First person from Malone’s POV. Chapters are titled. Nice slick old style detective kitsch writing with some humor.

Okay, you have to be a Doctor Who to get the reference mentioned. In a number of the television episodes there are killer angel statues (trust me, they’re scary bad). If you stare at them, they don’t move, but if you look away… Anyway, that’s the plot that is referenced. For DW fans, this is a treat because it highlights a companion of the Doctor.

My Rank

Blue Belt

Blue

Quick Kick – Odd Apocalypse

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By Dean Koontz

koontz

https://www.amazon.com/Odd-Apocalypse-Thomas-Novel-ebook/dp/B0064C3TWE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501624286&sr=8-1&keywords=odd+apocalypse

Plot

Once presided over by a Roaring ’20s Hollywood mogul, the magnificent West Coast estate known as Roseland now harbors a reclusive billionaire financier and his faithful servants—and their guests: Odd Thomas, the young fry cook who sees the dead and tries to help them, and Annamaria, his inscrutably charming traveling companion. Fresh from a harrowing clash with lethal adversaries, they welcome their host’s hospitality. But Odd’s extraordinary eye for the uncanny detects disturbing secrets that could make Roseland more hell than haven.

Soon enough the house serves up a taste of its terrors, as Odd begins to unravel the darkest mystery of his curious career. What consequences await those who confront evil at its most profound? Odd only knows.

My Analysis

Another OT novel. I’ve not READ any of these, but have listened to all but a couple. I even saw the movie, which was probably not the best because, well, books are usually better than the movie version.

Anyway this one was a bit slow in getting going. On the other hand it seemed as if stuff had already been going on. Odd’s confrontation with the policeman seemed unusual in that they must have clashed before. Odd and Annamarie have been in this place for only a few days, yet by the time the story starts, uh, odd things have happened to perk Odd’s senses. We get a bit of Odd’s supernatural abilities but no shadow creatures from other novels.

The revelation came almost as a, “Hmm, I think THIS is what’s really going on here.” It’s pretty casual. I do like Odd’s style of dialogue, although, I will admit to becoming a bit peeved at Annamarie’s constantly being enigmatic. It has become tedious. Of the stories she’s been in and the mysteries he’s solved, he can’t solve her.

Still, the action is quick and decisive and for Odd fans this is a good one.

My rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

The Grifters

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By Jim Thompson

jimthompson

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Jim%20Thompson&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AJim%20Thompson

Plot

Roy Dillon is a con man who recently ran afoul of one of his marks. While recovering, his mother, who works for the mob, arrives, and tries to put Roy back onto the straight path. Juggling two women he contemplates changing his ways. However, is it already too late and will his past come back to haunt him.

I expected more mystery and less philosophical meanderings out of this one.

Characters

Roy Dillon: 25, salesman, con man, father dead, mother bore him when she was only 14, black hair, grey eyes, mother was selfish and mentally abusive, good student, lives in a hotel, smokes

Moira Langtry: five years older than Roy, Roy’s girlfriend, black hair, dark eyes, small chin, smokes, drives a Cadillac, used to be a model and a waitress and a hooker

Carol Roberg: 27, part time special duty nurse, short bobbed child-like features, came from Austria, was in the Dachau concentration camp during the war

Lilly Dillon: 39, works for a racket on the east coast, drives a Chrysler convertible, smokes

Bobo Justus: Lilly boss, short, tanned, iron wavy hair, chiseled jaw, smokes

Charles Grable: Langtry’s landlord, small mouth, close set eyes, plump face, married with children

Although I like the characters, Jim’s writing style tends to blend one into another. With everybody smoking and almost all with a criminal past, it’s difficult, sometimes to separate individual traits. Hardly anybody is likeable except for maybe Carol but she’s here and gone I didn’t get a chance to really connect.

Dialogue

Typical conversations for a genre like this. Half tough guy, all criminally oriented. Some voices, like Moira, come through. Conversations stay on point. There is more internal dialogue and contemplation.

Writing

As I mentioned, lots of philosophizing. Lofty prose, little action, no profanity. It’s not a very long book, but with no mystery or action, it tends to drag with all of the contemplation of ‘oh what shall I do with my life’.

My rank:

Green Belt

Green

Transfer Of Power

Transfer of Power (1999)

By Vince Flynn

Flynn

http://www.vinceflynn.com/

Plot

Rafique Aziz is a terrorist with plans to attack Washington, D.C. Mitch Rapp is on the trail to kill him. He and a SEAL team capture one of Azziz’s associates and discover deadly information, that the White House is the target. While politics are played outside, a terrorist is in control of the White House, hours from kidnapping the President. Rapp must infiltrate the secret passages of the mansion before it’s too late.

Nice blend of politics and action. Timely plot. Realistic.

Characters

Irene Kennedy: has a doctorate in Arabic studies, shoulder length brown hair, works for CIA, father worked for the State Department in various posts in the Middle East and was killed by a terrorist attack, oversees a CIA black op project

Thomas Stansfield: 79, former OSS operative, CIA director, silver hair

Robert Xavier Hayes: U.S. President, former Representative and Senator, married with three children

Jack Flood: General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 6’4”, 270 pounds

Campbell: Commander of JSOC, 170 pounds, 5’10”, former leader of the 82nd Airborne and 18th Airborne Corp,

Mitch Rapp: 31, 190 pounds, muscular, assassin and operative for the U.S., attended Syracuse University, fluent in several languages, has a scar from a knife wound on his left cheek, sometimes smokes, parents dead, one brother in New York, played lacrosse at college, code name ‘Iron Man’

Dan Harris: Lt. Commander in the Navy, SEAL, bearded, muscular, attended Annapolis, versatile

Ellen Morton: Secret Service agent

Jane Hornig: psychologist, degrees in bio-chemistry and neurology, has extensive knowledge of torture, master at the art of ‘interrogation’, mid 40s, just over 5 foot tall, listless features

Rafique Aziz: terrorist, has had cosmetic surgery

Anna Rielly: NBC news reporter, from Chicago, attractive

I especially liked the baddies in the characters of the veep and his chief of staff. Nice depiction of political toadies who only think of how to spin things to their advantage.

Dialogue

Good voices. Everybody’s character comes through I listened to most of the story and the narrator did a good job with voices.

Writing

Scene changes headed by location. Flynn nails the political ramifications and reactions. He understands how a terrorist would research and know how to manipulate. Good action, very little profanity. As I said at the beginning, very realistic with good intrigue, no slow periods, and an adventure that really ekpt me listening.

My Ranking:

Brown Belt

Brown

Quick Kick – The Chase

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By Lee Goldberg & Janet Evanovich

https://www.amazon.com/Chase-Novel-Fox-OHare/dp/0345543092/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486002069&sr=8-1&keywords=the+chase%2C+evanovich

Plot

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals.

Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills of their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad.


A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

My Analysis

If I’m correct, this is the second in the series, so I have yet to see how Fox and O’Hare met and became ‘partners’. However, it didn’t take me long to catch up.

What a delightful wonderful book and story. Evanovich’s influence comes through with many moments of laughter and amusement. The characters are quirky enough to work.

No profanity.

I thought the ending was a bit rushed and too ‘easy’. I expected the plan to go a different way but I think it worked well nonetheless.

The two authors have something going and have a good series here. I will definitely be reading more.

My rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

Quick Kick – Scabs – The Gemini Exception

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By Eric Shelman

Shelman

https://www.amazon.com/Scabs-Gemini-Exception-Eric-Shelman/dp/1514391988/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496837406&sr=8-1&keywords=scabs%2C+shelman

Plot

A strange phenomenon occurs out of nowhere; an omnipresent light that engulfs the entire planet. Humanity is forever changed by the light. NOAA and NASA are mystified. People soon face a new threat; even the smallest, most insignificant injury will no longer heal. Doctors cannot stop it. The sick do not die … they change. They are Scabs. As the survivors flee, it becomes clear there is no place to run and time is short. The topography of the planet begins to change. Devastation and destruction ensue on a massive scale. Scott and Warren Walsh are brothers. Over a thousand miles separate them from one another. Something about them is special, and places them in a category with only 0.2% of the world’s population. Only one thing gives Scott, Warren and others like them hope against the Scabs. The Gemini Exception.

My Analysis

Finally, something different than the usual fare of zombies running around. Oh, sure most of the world’s population are changed and turn deadly, but they’re not zombies, okay?

This story is told from the POVs of both Warren and Scott, switching between their adventures to survive. I think this helps distinguish and develop the characters more. I like the added aspect of communicating through homing pigeons.

This is a trilogy and I would like to read the other two.

This could be a decent movie, if done correctly. Otherwise, I feel it would be a schlocky horror film. The audio book’s narrator did a good job with voices. The author’s descriptions were vivid enough to keep my attention without being overly gross and graphic. The characters are varied enough to be interesting, sometimes amusing. The profanity sort of works, but I couldn’t get over Warren using it all the time in his mother’s presence.

Still, it’s a creepy book fan’s story…that’s not zombies.

My rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

The Falcon’s Malteser

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By Anthony Horowitz

anthony-horowitz-0071

http://www.anthonyhorowitz.com/index2.html

Plot

Herbert Simple was an inept cop and an equally inept private investigator, even if he has changed his name to Tim Diamond. Fortunately, his thirteen year old brother is the brains of the family. In this case, they accept a package from a dwarf and soon end up involved in bad guys, stolen diamonds, and murder.

Okay, a familiar plot but with a nice twist to the usual. And I mean twist. Not only does Horowitz twist a familiar title, but uses names that are off, but familiar as you’ll see.

Characters

Herbert Timothy Simple: 25, former cop, changed his name to Tim Diamond, private investigator, dark hair, blue eyes

Nick Simple: Herbert’s younger brother, 13, parents moved from London to Australia two year’s ago

Johnny Naples: dwarf, mid 40s, brown eyes, snub nose, mustache, black hair, smokes

Betty Charlady: Elderly, gray curling hair, cleaning lady/handyman type person

Jack Splendide: hotel owner, unshaven, overweight

Snape: Chief Inspector, blond, solid build, smokes

Beatrice Von Falkenberg: widow of a master criminal, tall, thin lips, actress in Holland, early 40s, owns an alligator

What delightful characters with great names. Another is Lauren Bacardi. Killers named Gott and Himmel. (Those who understand German will get the joke.) Some wonderful personalities, especially Snape’s partner who can’t get over wanting to beat anybody into submission.

Dialogue

Good humor between Nick, Herbert, and other characters.

Writing

First person from Nick’s POV. Titled chapters. Good use of words, puns, jokes, etc. Since this is an older teen book, there is a little violence, but nothing graphic and no profanity. It’s sometimes difficult to remember Nick is only 13 because he’s intelligent and creative. Herbert is a bit over the top in the inept department but makes for good humor fodder. I’d like to read the next in the series.

My Rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

Quick Kick – Bird Box

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By Josh Malerman

Malerman

https://www.amazon.com/Bird-Box-Novel-Josh-Malerman/dp/0062259660/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485105808&sr=8-1&keywords=bird+box%2C+malerman

Plot

Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motley group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

My Analysis

I was a bit lost at the beginning and considered going on to the next book. I gave this one a bit more time and discovered it became pretty interesting. It starts in ‘present day’ but most of the story is in flashback, showing how the problem began. There’s even a flashback within the flashback.

Two things bothered me. 1. I know the story is fraught with danger and sadness, but the narrator’s constant depressing tone was a bit much at time. 2. The mystery of what is seen is never answered.

The latter bothered me in other ways, too because whatever ‘it’ was or ‘they’ were that people were seeing and then going insane apparently weren’t physically attacking humans. The sight of them drove people to murder and suicide. The normal people kept blindfolded when venturing out and it was learned that there were the ‘things’ out there at the same time, but they didn’t attack or try to remove the blindfolds. Neither did the crazy people who survived. I guess is was unsure of the ‘rules’ of this story.

Anyway, it was a good story with some suspense and tension. Profanity, and it did describe things in graphic terms.

My rank:

Purple Belt

Purple