Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT SILENT SENTRY by Theresa Rizzo #Crime #Thriller @Theresa_Rizzo

Today’s team review is from Judith she blogs at

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Judith has been reading Silent Sentry by Theresa Rizzo


To say I enjoyed Silent Sentry is an understatement. Normally a slow reader anyway, I savoured each and every aspect of this novel. Theresa Rizzo’s writing style is outstanding; her ability to put together a series of complex plot-lines, populate the story with fascinating characters, place them against such  brilliantly described diverse settings as  run down, inner city Detroit and the rich trappings of  Grosse Point, is exceptional.

The impeccable research is obvious on each and every page: from medical knowledge to comprehensive expertise in the IT field, the intrigues of the Italian and Russian Mafia,  to the machinations of business and families; each layer builds the world her characters live and work in.

And what characters! They leap off the page. Joe and Gianna  are rounded characters, each  with flaws and strengths, honesty and deceits.  Portrayed  with depths  that is revealed in both their spoken and internal dialogue, the reader is shown how they think and why they act as they do. Yet, every now and again I was taken by surprise by the direction that they suddenly move in. And the supporting secondary characters are equally well portrayed, given characteristics, personalities and habits that bring them to life.  There is humour in the description of some (take Aunt Rosie for example), a sinister element in others. But don’t be taken in; sometimes what is written about one or the other of these secondary  characters turns out to be a ploy; what we read is not what we initially understood. And that’s just one aspect of what makes this such a good read.

And just look at that cover! Say no more.

There were only two things that occasionally brought me out of a suspension of disbelief. I’m used to there being double spaces between time-shifts and flashbacks. In the edition I read this novel, there were none. But that might have been down to the  formatting, so I’ll leave that there. The other problem for me, and this is a personal one probably. I do enjoy reading novels that are told by an omniscient narrator such as this is. I really enjoy those where chapters are devoted just to one character’s point of view. Those are my favourite. But I also read and enjoy a roving omniscient narrator, if it’s consistent throughout the story. In Silent Sentry however, the bulk of particular chapters is following one ( or even two) perspective when , all at once, another character’s short viewpoint pops in. As I say, this is a purely personal preference- but it did distract me.

For me Silent Sentry  crosses different genres: crime, thriller, mystery, romance. And it works perfectly. This is one book I would thoroughly recommend.

I reviewed this book as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team: #RBRT

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CODE NAME: PAPA: My Extraordinary Life While Hiding In Plain Sight by John Murray @CodeNamePapaBk

Code Name: Papa: My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain SightCode Name: Papa: My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight by John Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight is a literary memoir / political thriller / true crime that tells the story of John Murray. He was the head of US covert operations for a large international group. This group, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.”

Code name Papa is part one of a trilogy, written in first person it is the memoir of a trained assassin and leader of a group of men and women who travelled the world secretly taking down the “Bad Guys”.

The story begins in 1965 when 3 marines meet and become friends. The narrator, Jake and Bill are sent to Vietnam where they are lucky to escape with their lives. Helped home by Jake’s father, the three once more are gathered together and offered a chance to join a secret group of protectors. They undertake strict physical and mental training and are prohibited from telling their families anything about their new jobs.

In 1976 Jake’s father dies and the narrator takes over the code name “Papa” and leads the group on missions which take them across the world, crossing borders, working under the radar with others from opposing political and national countries, these missions are about the rouge agents, the people high up in lines of command who are no longer trustworthy and ridding the world of baddies.

A compelling read spanning the years between 1965 and the 21st Century. I liked the fact that this is a memoir so you know what you are reading is pretty true. There is room to streamline the sentences and dialogue, they are often clumsy and overlong, over-explaining minor details like walking, driving and opening doors, too much use of “she told me… I replied, that…she then told me…” a bit of slimming would make the book flow easier for the reader and make it a 5* read.

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A free copy of the book was given to me by Book Publicity Services.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ON LUCKY SHORES by @KerryJDonovan #FridayReads

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs at

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Judith has been reading On Lucky Shores by Kerry J Donovan


Kerry Donovan’s writing style is admirable; his method of telling a story is easy to read but gives a depth to a plot that keeps the reader interested.

The book is set in a small town called Lucky Shores in the Colorado Rockies, a town struggling in poverty.  But rich in disparate characters.

 I loved the protagonist Chet Walker, a musician travelling around the country, looking for gigs to perform in wherever he can find them. The author has created a many-sided character with a mysterious background that if deftly revealed as the story progresses. And Joey (Josephine) Dolan is a perfect foil for him; yet another rounded character. In fact there isn’t one character in the book, whether I liked them or not, that I didn’t believe in.

The dialogue differentiates all these characters, it’s easy to work out who is speaking without the attributions and although the author uses American euphemisms, syntax and slang it was easy for me to read; in fact it would have been wrong not to stay true to the setting of the book.

And the descriptions of the settings are evocative and full of imagery. All create a picture for the action.

I don’t easily follow fight scenes; they’re as difficult for me to envisage as they seem to be awkward to write for many authors. But Kerry Donovan makes them both visible and (dare I say?) funny. The descriptions of the protagonist’s use of martial arts are brilliantly depicted

The pace of the plot moves steadily but with many surprising twists and turns, building the tension as the story reaches the denouement. Yet is this the end of Chet Walker? Somehow I think not.

This is a thrilling mixture of adventure, crime, mystery, romance; a real cross genre of a book. I enjoyed the read and don’t hesitate to recommend i


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review  as a  member of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE GANGSTER’S GRIP by Heather Burnside @heatherbwriter #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Babus, she blogs at

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Babus has been reading The Gangster’s Grip by Heather Burnside


Rita returns to her native Manchester from Greece, with husband Yansis as she requires medical treatment she would have to pay for in Greece. it’s been four years since she emigrated and once back at her family home she is mugged and meets aggressive and unfriendly Leroy, her sister, Jenny’s boyfriend. Other surprises for Rita include her sister’s five month pregnancy and her father Ged’s fondness for Leroy and the business he brings.

With red flags waving from her initial impression of Leroy, Rita hazardously undertakes her own research that does nothing to qualm her concerns for her sister and her future baby. In a mission to do what she can to preserve her family’s safety will Rita be able to prevent her worst nightmares?

A gritty novel about the underbelly of crime in Moss Side and gang warfare. We are given a realistic and unglamourised view of living in rough council areas, and how people get by to survive. This book picks up pace and adrenaline as you get further into bit and the author brings a sense of serious malicious consequences alive on the page. I enjoyed reading about the characters and learning more about them. I have not read the first book in the trilogy, Slur, but found that it didn’t at all detract from my enjoyment of this novel.

As gritty, violent and realistic as the book seemed I expect the language has been toned down from the true swearing and slang I would expect to hear on Moss Side, but I still was taken away with the world and characters created in this gritty thriller, which builds to quite a crescendo.

A heart-racing read of gangs and crime and their effect on a family in Manchester.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Undertaker’s Son by @BevSpice #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Olga, she blogs at

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Olga chose to read and review The Undertaker’s Son by Bev Spicer


I am reviewing this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie and to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The book intrigued me because of the description and the setting. We all seem to expect crime, and crime novels, to be set in big cities, but when evil hides in a small, picturesque and peaceful town, it seems worse. As if evil had no place in such environment. It’s true that it’s perhaps more difficult to hide in a small and idyllic French town, but some manage to hide in plain sight.

The novel, written in the third person, is told from the point of view of a large number of characters, from the “evil” character hinted at in the description, the undertaker’s son of the title, Claude, to Patrice, a young student who ends up being more central to the plot than it seems at first. The author allows us to peer into the heads of her characters, and this is sometimes a very agreeable experience (like in the case of Martha Burton, the British divorcee out to create a new life for herself in France, who despite disappointments in love, is fairly happy), and at others, an utterly terrifying one. Apart from Claude, who has no redeeming qualities, and Patrice, who is a nice young man without any shades, all the rest of the characters are all too human, they hesitate, they are morally ambiguous at times, and even downright immoral. Felix Dumas, the crook, is utterly dislikeable, but even he has some redeeming qualities (he does not understand his son, but seems to love him, and he tells Claude not to take drastic measures. He does not want anyone killed.) And Angeline… It’s a credit to the author that by allowing us into the minds of her characters, we might not agree with what they do, the secrets they keep, or their reasons and justifications, but we understand them. Well, that is, except for Claude.

Claude reminded me of the main character in Peeping Tom due to his fascination with death. But, in contrast with Mark Lewis, the protagonist of Peeping Tom, who is a victim of his father’s psychological experiments, Claude is unknowable. We share his memories and see his attachment to Felix, but he operates outside of our conceptions of right and wrong. He’s a psychopath, but from what we get to see of him, he uses his interest and fascination with death in a utilitarian way, and turns it into a business, rather than being compelled to kill. He plans his jobs with military precision, and seems alien to humankind, functioning at a different level. This is not the typical serial killer whose neighbours would say he seemed so “normal”. He is nothing if not extraordinary. A character very difficult to forget that makes us question the limits of humanity and conscience.

The plot is intriguing but the writing ebbs and flows through certain moments, like parties, planting a tree, and the fleeting memories of a dementing old-man, that help us get a vivid sense of the town and its people, and make us care for the fate of its inhabitants. For the duration of the book we become privileged town dwellers and get to know everybody. This is not a frantically paced thriller, but a novel that shares in the more relaxed pace of its setting, and that’s perhaps what makes it more chilling.

The ending is satisfying (perhaps everything works out too well and that’s the least realistic aspect of the novel) and reassuring. I look forward to reading more novels by B A Spicer.

Four and a half stars.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Acqua Morta by Adam Bane @MimmoMartelli #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Chris, she blogs at

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Chris chose to read and review Acqua Morta by Adam Bane


This dark crime thriller comes complete with sweeping vistas of Italy and descriptions that will transport you to an Italian dinner-table and leaving you drooling there.

Commissario Martelli, forced into retirement, continues to investigate his last case, a gruesome murder, against the wishes of his friends and ex colleagues. At the same time, in England, another policeman is investigating a case of forged passports and hoarded cash. Slowly, lyrically, the two strands twist together on their way to a single conclusion…

The writing is poetic, the descriptions evocative and the story wholesome. The book is a little long but, if you are a fan of both literary fiction and crime, this most certainly is the one for you.

*I received a free copy from the author in exchange for my honest review

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Letter W April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

Day 23 April A to Z Challenge my theme is characters from books I’ve read plus some audience participation.

Letter W for Sergeant Winston Windflower from A Twist Of Fortune by Mike Martin

A Twist Of Fortune by Mike Martin

A Twist Of Fortune by Mike Martin

A Twist Of Fortune is a piece of crime fiction set in and around Grand Bank Newfoundland, Canada. Sergeant Winston Windflower is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This is the fourth book about the sergeant. The book opens with Windflower’s girlfriend, Sheila, being taken away in handcuffs at a community protest about the closure of the local fish plant.
Winter is making itself know in this part of the world and Windflower and his small team must patrol and close the highways as necessary when the snowstorms blow through. During one storm there is car accident, Michael Ridgeway a local pharmacist is killed. After the storm has cleared and the car is recovered a second body is found, that of local outlaw biker Frankie Fallon. Post mortems produce evidence of opiate and narcotics abuse .
Windflower and his team find themselves working with other officers to solve a much wider drug ring. Meanwhile the Mayor has a fatal heart attack and the local community is shaken up once more.
This book is a leisurely stroll through some of Canada’s wild places, where no one can hide from the effects of crime. We get an insight into the communities and people who choose to live away from the bright lights of the cities.
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For my audience participation I’m asking readers to create book titles using the letter W for the picture below.

A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?

Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.


Leave your answers in the comments below and I’ll choose my favourites.

Randomly chosen challengers for you to visit today

As part of the challenge we encourage readers to leave comments, thank you.

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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Fallen On Good Times by Rewan Tremethick

Today we have a book review from team member Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review Fallen On Good Times by Rewan Tremethick


My Opinion

This book introduces you to paranormal detective Laslo Kane and his cases in the 1920s; prohibition being in full bloom.

With Fallen on Good Times, Rewan Tremethick has created an unconventional combination of a paranormal crime series with a humorous touch in the 1920s. Fallen on Good Times is the promising start of a series. You can’t help getting to like Laslo more and more as the story develops. He is quite a character, he made me shake my head, hold my breath, urge him on – you can see I was drawn into the story. It is a fast and entertaining read. This is for you if you like paranormal crime and a character you don’t easily forget.

Laslo Kane is addictive!


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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Chris reviews The Girl in the Black Pajamas by Chris Birdy

Today we have a review from team member Chris,


Chris chose to read and review The Girl In The Black Pajamas by Chris Birdy.


The Girl in Black Pajamas is part crime thriller, part mystery, and wholly full-on adventure. It is effectively comprised of two related stories that race along their meandering paths.

The main character, holding the various strands of the story together, is Bogie, a hacker. He flies to his ‘agency’s’ headquarters in Boston to help solve the mystery of why one of their employees was shot and his IT system breached. Joining forces with a convicted felon and his team, Bogie attempts to understand what his enemy has planned before he and his friends become the next targets. Throw in a missing laptop, some suspicious cops, a hacker nemesis and a number of back stories, and the action doesn’t let up.

Accompanying Bogie on his trip to Boston is his 4-year-old, genius daughter, Isabella. She aspires to learn the Five-Point-Palm-Exploding-
Heart-Technique from Kill Bill 2, and keeps Bogie and his colleagues entertained with her witticisms and innocent view of the world. She inadvertently prevents the murder of her father on the flight, but will she be able to do it again?

Holding the fort at home in Florida is Bogie’s pregnant wife, Bailey, who is left to look after a troop of three: her and Bogie’s baby son, Bogie’s elder daughter, Amanda, and Bogie’s granddaughter. This is made harder by the fact that Amanda’s shopaholicism and inability to deal with her infant leads to her husband leaving her and her friends trying to entice her to make porn movies with them. But why is her husband being targeted by his ruthless police colleagues?

Overall, the book’s writing style took a while to get used to, with its frequent changes of point of view and quick jumps from one scene to the next. The action was constant and didn’t let up, jumping from fights between families to car chases to murder attempts between Boston and Florida.

I haven’t read The Girl in White Pajamas, and this may have hampered my ability to warm to the large cast and their complex back stories. But the characters, besides being plentiful, were certainly colourful and the one thing that this book could not be accused of being is boring.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews The Killing Knife by Scott Marlowe

Today’s review team book review comes from Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review The Killing Knife by Scott Marlowe


This book introduces you to the ‘Assassin Without a Name’. He has his principles and one weakness.

With The Killing Knife, Scott Marlowe has created a thrilling compilation of the three first tales about the Assassin Without a Name in the series. The Killing Knife comprises three different stories, each gripping in its own way. You get to know the assassin without a name better and better with each story. The Assassin Without a Name is quite a character and I held my breath along the way. I was drawn into the story – hoping to not become his next killing order. This is for you if you like fantasy, crime and – do not object to admitting that a killer can seem like quite a nice guy.

The World of Uhl is addictive!


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