Saturday, December 22, 2012

1st Review for DEATH OF A MATADOR: 5 Stars

I received my first review on for my latest novel DEATH OF A MATADOR. I'll save you the time of clicking on over to Amazon and publish the review here:
Powers delivers a page-turning police procedural with Death of a Matador, the latest thriller featuring Detective Grant Starr. The action takes place in--until now--a peaceful little dusty town in Central California. From the first page, the story plunges into the fascinating culture of the local Portuguese community, back-stabbing small-town politics, and the inner workings of a police department dealing with crimes related to current hotbutton issues: animal rights activism and the emerging corporate farming of medicinal marijuana.
Powers is a natural storyteller and the dialogue is especially entertaining. You feel like you're riding along with the detectives and officers listening in on their good-natured ribbing, privy to personal and confidential conversations as they unriddle a sudden spate of murders and scramble to protect witnesses. The banter is rich with cultural lingo, convincing police jargon, and spot-on buddy-cop wit.
I also enjoyed the vicarious excitement of wheeling Detective Starr's 1970 Ferrari along a California highway at 120 mph with gorgeous Detective Amber Whitehall riding shotgun! :-)
While the motivations of the corrupt mayor are fully explained, I'd like more insight into the mind of the matador killer. It's understandable that most people like animals, and most people fear going to prison, but I feel that this villain puts himself in extreme peril as an animal-rights activist and as a criminal avoiding capture. I'd like a little more explanation into what makes him tick, what drives him to activism and allows him to be capable of such cold-blooded actions.
Also, I'd like to see Grant Starr put in a bit more personal danger. Sure, he gets shot at, and others rely on him to save their necks, but I'd like to see him sweat-it-out a bit more, to see him in more up-close and personal all-out, whup-ass conflict with the bad guys.
All in all, this story kept me flipping the pages with fully-formed characters, tight action and suspense, very little fluff, and a surprisingly exotic setting via the Portuguese community and their traditions. If you're in the mood for a riveting detective thriller, I recommend it!
I'd love to get more reviews and would be willing to gift a copy of the book to anyone interested in reading and reviewing it. Honest reviews, of course.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Narco Moolah: A Cleo Matts Novel

I read NARCO MOOLAH: A CLEO MATTS NOVEL by Joe Crubaugh last week. Here is the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads:

I read fiction for many reasons, but I read genre fiction only for entertainment. Scared, thrilled, dazed, impressed, horrified, or just plain happily whisked away from life’s everyday problems—it’s all entertainment to me.
NARCO MOOLAH: A CLEO MATTS NOVEL, written by Joe Crubaugh, is a quirky and highly entertaining piece of genre fiction. 
My wife leaves for work at about 7:15 a.m., so I usually have my breakfast alone. Whether it’s oatmeal or cold cereal or yogurt or bacon and eggs, I have my breakfast at the counter while catching up on the news on my iPad. Crubaugh’s novel interrupted my routine: I read it instead of the news while eating my breakfast. I haven’t done that for a while.
Good guy spy Cleo Matts is no James Bond, but he’s got enough going for him to make him an interesting character. While he’s a bit too silly for my taste, too much of a cut-up, he’s got a didactic memory and is a natural linguist—very cool skills. He’s an okay fighter, but does get his butt kicked a time or two. Ever heard of a spy who’s afraid of guns? You have one here. He gets to have a couple of love interests, but don’t worry, he’s not settling down anytime soon.
Crubaugh keeps the novel’s pace moving along admirably and takes us to foreign and exotic places most of us have never been. The scenery, natives, customs, and societies are convincingly written; I’d be shocked if the author had not been to all these places himself.

The bad guys are, well, bad, very bad, and we are introduced to new characters, both good and bad, throughout the novel, but at an acceptable pace. There are plenty of explosions, fights, chases, gun battles, and computer hackers to satisfy any action or tech junkie.
The title's a little goofy and characters occasionally say things I feel are, well, silly. One guy, who works for the NSA, likes to say “What the junk!” And there’s a martial arts moved called “Ape’s Hammer of the Comet Hand.” What the junk? Even if it’s real it sounds hokey. Thankfully, Cleo mastered the move by the end of the novel.
These minor niggles aside, NARCO MOOLAH is a well-written and entertaining read, one I have no qualms recommending to fans of thriller and action novels.
Seriously folks, give the novel a look. At least download the sample chapter to your Kindle or Kindle app.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Enthusiastic 5 Stars for CANALS

I found this review on Goodreads, a site I don't visit often enough. I won't leave the name of the reviewer but you can check out CANALS on Goodreads here and see who wrote it.
Most modern authors make me break my five page rule. I prefer to find myself attached to a novel within those first five precious pages. I find myself having to break this rule-often- just to keep reading alive. Powers well captivated me within the first five and only sucked me into his story deeper with each turning page. 
This is a darker novel and with that, I find his mastery of words worthy of wanting more from his twisted and brilliant imagination. 
This is a perfect example of what literature should be. A full five stars.
Hey wait a minute! "Twisted"? Still, it's nice when something you do is appreciated. By strangers.

It's not all kisses and hugs though:
Horror and sci-fi are NOT my favorite genres, so I'm probably not the best critic. This was way too gory for me, I ended up skipping over huge sections of the story. I was like yeah, yeah, blood and guts, human suffering, gore, gore. I get it. This monster is evil. 
He is a good writer, though, even if I didn't like the content.
It's true, there is a lot of blood and guts and suffering. Okay, and some gore.

And boy is that monster evil!