Reading Sanctum: Potpourri #6

Reading Sanctum: Potpourri is one of our continuing features of quick cut book reviews to help you find some otherwise innocuous books that might have escaped your attention. As a huge library/book reader geek, I love sharing stories about the books I am reading. So if you love books like I love books, then you just might love this feature, too.

Last month, the Mustache and the Beard celebrated our Codename: Capricorn month, a celebration of the Secret Agent genre. In preparation for January, not only did I watch movies and TV shows that are standouts of the field, but I read some books that due to my surgery I was unable to write about. Consequently, I would like to take the opportunity to share some of those books here.

The Good Soldier is a two-book bundle written by L. T. Ryan. The first of the two books is called Noble Beginnings, a play on the main character’s name, Jack Noble. Jack and his Marine buddy, Bear, are working as muscle for a CIA operation in Iraq, but when Jack protests the mistreatment of an Iraqi family by the CIA operatives that they work with, Jack and Bear become targets of a plot that uses them as scapegoats and patsies, but they should not have started something against Noble.

In Deadly Distance, the second novel in the bundle, Jack is working as a stateside federal agent who performs a sting operation involving the human trafficking of children when he is again cast as the target of a vengeful killer’s plot. The stories are action-oriented fare, but Jack Noble is a steroidal throwback that I found extremely cardboard. Fun stories with a misogynistic relic “hero,” that’s sometimes brainless.

It’s not a terrible story if you’re OK with a He-man hero. 3 out of 5 Grey Geeks.

The Mitch Kearns Combat Tracker series is about an FBI agent, former Special Forces and trainer Mitch Kearns. Dead in Their Tracks is the first book of the seven book series by J. T. Sawyer available now on Amazon as an ebook boxset for 99 cents. The story begins with a demonstration of Mitch Kearns’ ability. He is teaching a tracking course to FBI wannabees, which serves as a key set up for the series.

He returns from the field only to find that the daughter of his Black Ops mentor is on the run from a U. S. paramilitary contractor. She needs help avoiding capture, and while Agent Kearns attempts to make up his mind whether or not he will help her, his desert-isolated home is attacked. He, then, realizes that he must now use every skill he’s ever known, to attempt to keep her safe, and invariably unlock the conspiracy that is transpiring even in the highest branches of the U. S. government.

Counter-Strike is Book 2 in this action, adventure series which begins with a kidnapping. The kidnapped biochemist’s wife approaches Mitch and asks him to use his resources to track down her husband. She feels the U. S. government is being less than forthright with the details of the abduction.

Mitch and his girlfriend, Dev, who has now become the head of her father’s security company, named Gideon, track down the biochemist and become embroiled in a conspiracy. The conspiracy is vast and could involve a bio-terrorist attack with apocalyptic repercussions.

The Kill List is Book 3 of the series. After having spent several months traveling the world on various adventures, Mitch returns to the United States to visit an acquaintance. A year ago, Mitch had led a manhunt that resulted in the capture of an international killer. When he returns, he becomes embroiled in a revenge plot that involves a long list of characters and a trek through the forest with a ticking clock that is hurrying them toward supposed safety or increased chaos. Loads of action and a good story.

I read the first three books because I’ve found the stories sufficiently intriguing to warrant the attention and time. Fun stories, with very little characterization although as the series continued the characterization deepened, which is typical of the genre with its emphasis on continuous action. The seven book collection is well-worth the 99 cents if you are a fan of cloak and dagger, espionage, and fun, fast-paced reads.

The stories get better as they move-along. 4 out of 5 Grey Geeks

Amy Cross is an extremely prolific writer that generally writes horror and writes it well. Lights Out begins as apocalyptic horror, but very quickly becomes a revenge tale that is more action, and espionage. The novel totally sweeps the reader up in its quick-paced narrative from the very beginning, so by the time you realize that this is not going to be a typical Amy Cross story, you are three-fourths into the story and there is no going back. Why would you want to?

Ten years ago, Michael Essien tortured and killed a member of the intelligence squad that was supposed to bring him to justice. Cassie and Anders swore vengeance against the gun runner, but Essien lives in a high tech tower with the latest in London home defense technology. However, a solar storm is set to knock out the power in all of London for twelve hours, which provides a window to risk an all-out assault on Essien.

Amy Cross is very quickly becoming a must-read for me. The characters are believable. The plot twists keep you guessing as far as storyline. Highly recommended in my view. 

It’s only 167 pages, but a fast-paced, near-perfect read that gets our highest rating. 5 out of 5 Grey Geeks.

As always, I want to thank you for coming along for the ride. We love you all our Geek Followers. I’m looking forward to a lot of happy surprises. As always, my name is Louie Matos. I am the Mustache. See you later. Take it easy. And…

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