Interesting premise

book

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

Michael Swann, who is in New York City, is talking to his wife Julia on his cell phone.  The phone call goes dead and Julia learns that a bomb has gone off.  Julia rushes out to the car and tries desperately to get into the city to find Michael but is stopped by police barricades.  She keeps trying to text and call Robert but there’s no response.  Then developments are revealed by the news media that prove devastating to Julia.

I thought this was a particularly interesting premise.  As always, I don’t like to give away too much of the plot and leave it to the author to tell his story so I can’t explain why the premise is an unusual one since the publisher isn’t mentioning it in their blurb about the book.   Leave it to say there is more involved than a wife trying to find her husband during a possible terrorist attack.  While I did figure out quite early what was happening, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book at all.  At the heart of the book is the love story of Michael and Julia.  As Julia tries to find Michael or at least get some news about him, she relives their life together.  It’s a beautifully and realistically told story.  There’s a point more than half way into the book where it becomes very suspenseful.  I wouldn’t consider this one a thriller overall but more of a character study.  I liked the author’s book, “Finding Jake”, and his newest effort didn’t disappoint.  The story pulled me in and I became invested in the characters’ plight.

Recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

Advertisements

Dark, wonderfully written political thriller

book

Small Treasons by Mark Powell

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

Tess is the mother of three children and while she loves being home with them, she’s developed a very odd obsession. She can’t stop watching online terrorist ransom videos.  She gets up in the middle of the night to watch them, particularly one she refers to as “The Man in the Basement”, an American journalist held by ISIS.

Her husband John, now a professor at a small college, has a bit of an obsession, too, his being with the past. He can’t shake an incident that happened at his previous job and he still mourns his dead first wife and his grown daughter who he hasn’t seen or talked to in many years.  James Stone, a man John worked with at his old job, is pressuring him to turn over files of another professor, Professor Edward Hadawi.  The FBI is investigating Professor Hadawi in connection with an extremist religious group.  If John doesn’t turn the files over, James Stone is threatening to bring to light what happened at John’s previous job.

Stone is not only looking for Professor Hadawi but also for a young man named Reed Sharma. Reed is being groomed to be a terrorist bomber.  The growing connections between Tess, John, James Stone and Reed Sharma make up the backbone of this compelling novel.

This is a very suspenseful political thriller and very well-written. The characters are very well developed and I cared about them all.  The most disturbing section was watching how Reed Sharma is convinced that becoming a terrorist bomber has great meaning.  It’s a chilling section and very disturbing.  The author smoothly moves between the interconnected stories – from Reed’s transformation to the personal issues in Tess and John’s marriage to the political undertakings.  It’s a wonderfully written timely novel about obsession, faith and violence amidst our current political climate.  There were sections that moved a bit slowly but three quarters of the way in, there was no stopping this story.  The suspense in the last quarter of the book was quite nerve wracking.  I’ll definitely be looking for more of this author’s work.

Recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.