Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Remote Viewer

cover

By Mark A. McCormick

https://www.amazon.com/Remote-Viewer-Fall-Brotherhood-ebook/dp/B01I9U0OMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473469406&sr=8-1&keywords=the+remote+viewer

Plot

After Jonas Lux is informed his family has been murdered, he takes a turn for the worse. Rescued by a psychiatrist, he is soon recruited by a shadowy government group. For little does Jonas realize, he has an amazing gift – that of remote viewing. And he will be tested beyond imagination as he is soon in a battle against terrorists.

I had hoped to be wowed by this book because I am interested in the topic of remote viewing. Although a nice premise, this book is fraught with errors and, in time, loses its sensibility.

Characters

Jonas Lux: remote viewer, 30s, 6’, brown hair, muscular, probation officer and bondsman, stock car racer

Clermont W. Crawford: Retired USAF Major, deep raspy voice

Stanley White: Lux’s boss

Cayce Markham: psychiatrist, 5’6”, blonde, green eyes

Kyle Mahoney: large frame, bald, mustache

Aaron ‘Doc’ Dias: doctor, short, balding, high pitched voice

Mohammad Oman Islami: owns a yacht

There are a few other characters including the bad guy in Oman’s employ. I didn’t mind the characters but they weren’t explored or used deeply enough. What does Lux’s enjoying stock car racing have to do with the story?

Dialogue

Major problems here.

– tag line that aren’t tag lines: …” Cayce shyly blushed. That’s not a tag. That’s an action.

– not in the book but an example of a constant error: “I’m going to the store.” He said.

– Internal thoughts and dialogue are unnatural and confusing with real dialogue

– too many people bellow and shout

– two people in the scene so: he shouted at him- is not necessary

– missing or incorrect punctuation in dialogue

– said out loud or shouted out loud was used too much

Writing

Titled chapters. Some profanity.

A lot of telling and not a lot of showing. I wanted to see the training Lux went through to hone his skills. There was a scene where Dias is telling Crawford about a potential problem with Lux if his emotions aren’t checked. But this should have been shown, not just told about. And the problem never really manifested itself. Other aspects of the RV came to be important.

Tense problems

Continuity problem: In one scene Oman arrives at his South American Ranch. A few pages later, he is calling his ranch from some west African island with no explaining how he arrived there.

As I said, the premise was interesting. A bad guy is placing atomic EMP devices all over the country. Unfortunately, one leaks and he gets sick…for three weeks. And the RV people can’t find him during those three weeks? What was happening during those weeks? Actually, it was a month since the next scene showed another week had passed.

When Jonas goes rogue, only one RV is looking for him. Really? I would think Crawford would have most of the team on the job not only to find Jonas but the bad guys.

Bit by bit, the story fell apart and became unbelievable. I wanted to really get into the RV part of it, see and feel what Lux was experiencing. But it was mostly surface. Weak dialogue in places and weak writing layered throughout.

My Rank:

Orange Belt

Orange

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A Silver Medallion

Cover - A Silver Medallion

By James Callan

jim-color-formal

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Medallion-Crystal-Moore-Suspense-ebook/dp/B01DJB7U8G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1472854782&sr=8-2&keywords=a+silver+medallion#nav-subnav

Plot

Crystal Moore encounters an escaped Mexican slave worker and discovers the girl is only one of a group of workers for a very wealthy man. Hunter Blackwood is holding one woman’s children captive in order to force her to work for him. Crystal travels to Mexico to rescue the children. By doing so, she puts her life and the lives of others in mortal danger.

This probably should go more into the character section, but I like the plot despite my thinking that Crystal just didn’t fit the adventurer type.

Characters

Crystal Moore: drives a maroon LeSabre, black hair, slender, brown eyes, attended Stanford, late 20s

Eula Moore: Crystal’s grandmother, 75, 5/2: 95 lbs.

Rosa Bonita Lopez: Black hair, dark eyes, slender, widow

Dr. Lester Krupe: adviser at Stanford

Hunter Blackwood: is on the Dallas Symphony Board, widower, late 40s, 6”, brown hair, grey eyes

Brandi Brown: Crystal’s roommate

There are other characters throughout. I enjoyed the feisty Eula. There were three Mexicans: Jorge, Jose, and Juan. Three J names did get a bit confusing especially when in close proximity to one another.

Again, I mention Crystal. She just didn’t seem the adventurous type. She seemed naive in the ways of rescuing the children.

Dialogue

Eula’s voice comes through. Jorge is not too bad. Not much else to say about dialogue. Hunter’s at the end was low grade desperation. Eric’s “I’ll cap the bitch.” was ‘B’ movie.

Writing

While there was some tension and danger, it didn’t come until later in the book with the rescue of the children. Hunter sends a killer out to deal with Crystal but his part doesn’t come into play until after she returns from Mexico. I wanted more danger in the scene where she has her first foray with the paraplane. Days go by with her wandering around doing things and waiting and no danger.

Brandi’s faking death after being stabbed was not believable. Body instinct would have her react to being impaled.

There was a lot of repetition. Words and phrases. As an example, in one scene, Crystal thinks that the man was trying to kill her as he had almost killed Brandi. In the next scene that thought is repeated as dialogue. This happens a lot.

The author states at the beginning that some things about Puerto Vallarta are factual and other things are fiction. I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta and I wanted more descriptions of the town. The bit about the green flash at sunset is true. I’ve seen it.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo

Scorpion Deception

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by Andrew Kaplan

Andrew_kaplan_6-210

http://www.andrewkaplan.com/

Plot

Six weeks out of a mission in the Soviet Union, and having turned freelance, former CIA agent codenamed Scorpion finds himself in Africa on a relief mission that turns deadly. In Switzerland, a hit team raids the American embassy and steals information listing names of government officials from various departments and agents…including Scorpion’s. The blame falls on Iran and as America gears up for possible war, Scorpion is pulled back into the espionage game to discover the truth. One enigmatic name surfaces: the Gardener. As Scorpion battles both time and enemy agents the discoveries he makes may determine not only the fate of himself, but they may have international repercussions.

I’ve read the previous Scorpion book and enjoyed it. This lot reminds me a lot of some of the old Ludlum plots. A big bad guy seeking domination and a lone agent hampered by his own people and the enemy seeking to discover the truth. Back when Ludlum was creating scenarios, it was Russians, Neo-Nazis, or a wealthy mogul seeking world domination a’la James Bond movies. Today, however, Arabs and Muslim terrorist groups are in the bad guy roles. Still the puzzle kept me reading.

Characters

Scorpion: real name is Nick, independent-for-hire agent, speaks multiple languages, gray eyes, scar over one eye, former Army Ranger and Delta Force, former CIA agent, mother died when he was a child

Scale: small stature, thin, over-sized hands

Sandrine Delange: French doctor, slim, attractive, chestnut hair, gold pupils surrounded by emerald green

Bob Harris: Scorpion’s former supervisor in CIA, sometimes wears glasses,

Dialogue

Typical. Each character uses speech and words fit for their background and Scprion fits in well with knowing the phraseology in each scene. Conversations don’t wander because there is so much action that dialogue is limited to giving the reader a slight rest between bullets flying.

Writing

Chapters are headed by location. Some profanity. Foreign words and phrases are translated. Action is quick and intelligent. Scorpion takes time to analyze but this only helps the reader appreciated the danger involved and the thinking doesn’t drag down the action. The time factor is a little difficult to handle other than in this book, time plays a factor because of the impending military action threatened. However, scenes begin with Scorpion already on site, not traveling so sometimes I didn’t know how much time had passed between scenes. Still, a fairly fast read with each chapter revealing a new bread crumb along the path.

My Rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

Legend

cover

By David Lynn Golemon

Golemon

http://www.eventgroupfiles.com/

Plot

A band of Pizarro’s men search for the lost treasure of El Dorado in the vast Amazon jungle. What they end up discovering is far more than they ever imagined. Present day: Scientist Helen Zachary leads a team into the Amazon wilderness in search of suspected heretofore unknown species of animal. When the expedition is lost, Niles Compton and his his Event Group are called into help. Problems arise with every turn because not only is the event Group up against various enemies both foreign and domestic, the truth behind El Dorado may have devastating consequences. From Nevada to Washington, D.C. to Montana to Louisiana, to a secret mine filled with wonder and horror the men and women of the Event Group race against time to uncover a secret thousands of years old.

It’s history mixed with fiction and speculation and I love it. It’s a complicated and complex plot and the above paragraph only scratches the surface. What a story unfolded here. Almost too much to get a handle on in so few words.

Characters

Helen Zachary: Chairperson of Stanford’s zoology department, Ph.d, blonde hair, divorced, ex-fiance of the director of the Event Group

Henri Farbeaux: holds the title of Colonel, international antiquities thief, blond hair, divorced, former employee of the French Antiquities Commission

Carl Everett: Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, second in command of security for the Event Group, former SEAL

Sarah McIntire: Army Second Lieutenant, geologist, member of the Event Group

Lots of characters, too many to mention but a few here. Master Chief Jenks is a stereotypical character seen and loved in many books (not Jenks himself, but his type of character). With so much going on, it is hard to get any real depth to the characters, but it’s not that type of book. I wasn’t expecting too much philosophizing or deep meaning soliloquies from anybody.

Dialogue

Many of the military men sound the same. Again, Jenks stands out. Conversations don’t drag and the lectures aren’t lengthy.

Writing

Story broken by parts. Each chapter headed by place and time. Some profanity. Very well written with an omnipresent POV. There is a lot of build up and Golemon is pretty detailed in each scene. The action comes quick. There is a lot here and Goleman manages to piece together bits from all over and somehow keep it believable. Technology goes over the top, but is fun. How Goleman kept everything straight is beyond me, but I admire an author who puts as much time to develop a story to its fullest as this one must have. He did his homework. This is fact, fiction, and fantasy all rolled into one and I love the stories where I want to jump into the action along with everybody. This is a lengthy book, but you will not get bored.

My Rank:

Red Belt

Red