Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews BioKill by Stuart Handley

Today we have a review from Book Review Team Member Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

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Cathy chose to read and review BioKill by Stuart Handley.

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Here is Cathy’s review.

A chillingly realistic scenario involving a group of terrorists sending a contagious virus over to the United States. Matt Lilburn, a special agent with Homeland Security, along with Dr Evangeline Crawston, a British scientist with a doctorate in bio-pharmaceuticals, are both assigned to the case and in a desperate race to stay one step ahead of the terrorists.

The terrorist cell in the United States, run by the menacing Bomani, had just found two new recruits and they were committed to causing as much damage and disruption as possible.

The Director of Counter Terrorism, Allan Hall, and the Director of Emergency Management, Suzanna Lopez, together with Matt and Evangeline, are under pressure to stop the terrorists but all is not as it seems in Homeland Security.

The action and intrigue, with an unexpected twist, is intense and increases the level of suspense. The concept of the story is fascinating, gripping from the start, bringing home the terrible and conceivable possibility of bio terrorism.

A very well written and researched novel, which has it all…murders, high-speed car and helicopter chases, a rather gruesome mutilation and passionate encounters. The switches in location from the United States to England and the Gaza Strip and back again is accomplished with ease, creating a continuously flowing narrative which is a pleasure to read.

I’m enjoying Stuart Handley’s dramatic and visually descriptive writing style very much. The characters are well-defined and authentic, even down to one-off appearances, such as Bonny, the neighbour of the two young Syrians. I look forward to more adventures with Matt Lilburn.

41/2 stars for this one.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy review Tan Drex by Stuart Handley

Today we have a review from Book Review Team member Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblg.wordpress.com

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 Cathy chose to read and review TanDrex by Stuart Handley

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Here is Cathy’s review.

 Nanotechnology and, more specifically, Productive Replicator development has just been completed and due to exploitation and abuse of power is about to go on sale to the highest bidder. If this extremely crucial scientific discovery falls into the wrong hands it could cause untold devastation.

Matt Lilburn, ex special forces who now works for Homeland Security, and his brother Duncan, a scientist central to the development of the technology, are thrust into life and death situations. It’s a race to stop the individuals who will stop at nothing to gain the code for their own unscrupulous ends. It’s down to Matt and his team to put a halt to the corruption and greed before everything he holds dear is destroyed.

This is actually a very scarily plausible premise and begs the question how far should research and development go before it becomes a tool for immeasurable good or conversely a hazard to humanity, dependent on who has overall control. A question applicable to many more issues, I know.

I like the flashbacks to Matt and Duncan’s boyhood, giving more insight into the two characters and when their old adversary from schooldays makes it personal and seeks revenge Matt and his girlfriend, Maria, are in the firing line.

I found this to be an extremely good debut novel, intense and dynamic, descriptively written with well-defined characters. The plot races along and held my attention completely. I look forward to reading more of Stuart Handley’s work.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Babus reviews TanDrex by Stuart Handley

Today Rosie’s Book Review Team brings you a review from Babus. Babus blogs at http://ajoobacatsblog.wordpress.com

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Babus chose to read and review TanDrex by Stuart Handley

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Here is the review.

Stuart Handley’s TanDrex is about two brothers, who after being orphaned as children, pursue different careers, Matt Lilburn is ex-special forces and works for Homeland Security and Duncan Lilburn has followed in his late father’s footsteps not just as a scientist working in the field of nanotechnology, but working for the same company his father worked for, TanDrex. When Matt returns home one evening to find his apartment broken into and his girlfriend’s picture missing, he thwarts an attempt to abduct her but who would plan such a thing and why? Matt realises that the real threat is not to himself or his girlfriend but his brother Duncan who may have made the biggest scientific discovery of the century.

 

A fast paced high octane thriller than is absolutely riveting and exciting to read. The pace by no means skimps on the skill of the author to give you a visual, suspenseful and gripping account throughout this thriller:

 

“Fifty yards away from the apartment block there was a parking space available in a dimly lit section of the street; the pick-up edged in and he shut down the ignition. Now that he was close to Maria’s apartment, Lilburn applied more caution. Waiting a few seconds to ascertain no other vehicles had followed him, he walked briskly up the sidewalk consciously brushing his arm against his right hip: his cold hard steel companion was at his side; waiting to play.”

 

The action sequences keep you on the edge of your seat, and the suspense keeps you glued for more. Matt is a very capable leader and operative but working under the radar and alone stakes the odds against this formidable hero. His capable team are loyal and professional. Duncan Milburn is an enigmatic scientist with a conscience and also possesses a remarkable strength of character. I did find the character of Milburn’s girlfriend a little thin in comparison, she was not easily relatable as she was too innocent to even curse at the bad guys, which I found a bit lame if I’m honest but the strong female character of Scrat more than makes up for this flimsy addition to the cast.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Guest Author Stuart Handley

Today out guest is Stuart Handley, author of yesterday’s post LOL#1. Here is a link to my book review http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5wr

Stuart Handley

Let’s find out more about Stuart.

1) Where is your home town?

 

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, in one of the outlying northern suburbs. I consider myself to be lucky to live in a country with beautiful scenery and a rich diversity of life. Five minutes from my house is the Hauraki Gulf which offers some amazing boating and fishing and on a beautiful calm day the water and the small islands within the gulf look stunning. I was born in a town called Taupo which lies on the shores of the largest fresh water lake in New Zealand bearing the same name. Taupo is the place I really call my home town.

 

2) How long have you been writing?

 

Full time now around eighteen months. Before that I used to get up in the wee hours of the morning and write before going off to paid employment. I do recall when I was a young boy writing my first book called ‘Danger Man.’ It must have been at least a couple of pages long, hand written in pencil and bound in a stiff piece of cardboard bent double. The binding was a piece of string.

 

3) Do you have a preferred genre for writing?

 

I have a feeling I could write in most genres but I like writing where strong characters can be placed in difficult situations that bring out their emotions, much like as would happen in real life. I have known some very courageous men and women who have been in very trying situations and when you do know them personally, you realize that they are just human; they have emotions just like the rest of us. I have also seen the underbelly of some in society, those whom have scant regard for others. Mix the two together and you get a clash of good over evil, those who deserve and those who do not. My time as a soldier and probably my own personality led me into the genre of thrillers and action combined with underlined themes which I will tell you more about later.

 

4) Tell us what inspired your collection of short stories for LOL#1

 

Well, I wrote these short stories in the time when I used to get up in the wee hours. One of the stories about the molluscs was inspired while taking a lunch time walk along the beach at low tide. The story about the dog is due to my love of animals and the antics I have seen them get up to. Life experiences has a lot to do with some of my writing. I used to be a shepherd with a small team of dogs and some of the things they got up to…I also worked as an inspector with the RSPCA in Australia so I have a natural affinity with animals. As I write this my cocker spaniel is sleeping in his bed next to me. Now the bees! I keep a couple of hives myself and yes, I have had the odd bee or two end up on the wrong side of the veil I wear. Let me tell you, you go cross-eyed very very quickly and when they get caught in your chest hairs, oh the pain…

 

 

5) I loved some of the animal voices which narrated several of these stories, how easy was it to get these right?

 

Animal have very real personalities, I recall being on horseback riding along with my dogs next to a small bank above a creek, one of my dogs must have been day dreaming and fell off the edge, I laughed myself silly at him. When he scrambled back up you should have seen the look he gave me; if only he could have talked!

 

6) Give us a quick insight into your book TanDrex, entice the readers in.

 

My novels have an underlying them, with TanDrex it is what happens when science goes a bit too far and there are consequences. In real life, nanotechnology will one day be able to replicate anything we can think of, scientists believe that day is not that far off. Okay, say they can replicate gold, good and bad could come of that but say they replicate carbon eating organisms and these organisms grow and grow (they replicate.) Our world needs carbon to survive. If that technology gets into the wrong hands then quite literally we are all in deep trouble. In TanDrex the technology has been devised, the code for replication has been discovered and one of the companies’ owners wants to sell it — to the highest bidder, the Chinese Triads. Someone needs to step in and stop it.

 

7) Last week we featured another of your books BioKill with a book team review by Susan, what’s the main theme of this book? Here is a link to Susan’s Review http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5vB

 

Terrorism is a fact of life be it a bomb or something else. In BioKill it is that something else. This is a fact from the CIA; there is a virus, which does not affect humans, that can cause an estimated 50 to 60 billion dollars in lost revenue to America alone. That virus is not something you would normally think about. How easy is it to transfer between countries? Very easy, too easy. Worldwide, governments are aware of this — particular problem and most try to prevent it from happening but terrorists are terrorists. I had reservations about writing this book but the more I researched, the more I found that the answers to certain technical problems are already in the public domain. If I could find them out so could others. When reading BioKill it is too easy to just see this as a novel, a make believe piece of fiction.

8) Susan commented that she liked many of the genuine sounding voice accents, how do you decide what is too much or too little of a local accent/ dialect to use?

 

This is when you need your work to be professionally edited. Writing a book is a team effort. As a writer you need to be flexible enough to take constructive criticism and alter things if they need altering. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day the authors own voice is what counts, that gives the style to the book. The author has the final say as to either accept or reject advice. Susan gave me some constructive criticism that I will be taking in, she did an excellent job of the review. It’s all part of the journey.

 

9) What are you working on at the moment?

 

I have nearly completed my latest work, which of course, also has a theme. The book takes one to America, South America, Afghanistan, Australia and New Zealand. Again I have done research, so for example, while reading part of the story of a bike gang (Road Kill) in New Zealand, you should find the way they speak and interact pretty comparable to real life. As for the theme, let me ask you this; is it possible to make a human being do something that they would never dream of actually doing, make them commit something that was totally outside their own nature. The answer is yes, it can and has been done. Think about the School of America and what happened back in the 60’s and 70’s. Both in TanDrex and BioKill as well as in my upcoming book, Matt Lilburn, the series central figure, figuratively rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in.

 

 

10)Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

 

My books can be found at Amazon http://amzn.to/1pxyt3K

and Smashwords http://bit.ly/1jSmUqd and the retailers of Smashwords e.g Barnes & Noble, ibooks, Kobo etc.

 

 

 

 

LOL#1 Short Stories by Stuart Handley

LOL Short Stories #1LOL Short Stories #1 by Stuart Handley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book really is a quick, short read. Five short stories to make you chuckle. The first one is called Pounce and the narrator is a 6 year old dog with an annoying flea bite. The second story sees three old guys at the harbour, passing the time of day until they are all shocked by a gigantic explosion. Inner Fear talks to a child stood on stage facing a frightening audience. The fourth story is set on a beach full of shellfish and the last story, Chest Pains, follows the adventures of beekeeper Patrick Murphy.

These stories are very cleverly written, jam packed with descriptions to throw you straight in to the scene. Chest Pains had me giggling the most, my Dad keeps bees, so I know all about the overalls Murph was wearing and the beehive. The beach conversation with the clams was great too and Pounce just had me scratching with my own imaginary flea bite.

A good piece of light reading.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Stuart will be our guest author tomorrow here on the blog, do come back and read more about him and his writing.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Susan reviews BioKill by Stuart Handley

I am absolutely thrill to be posting this review by Rosie’s Book Review Team member Susan Molloy. She blogs at www.susanmariemolloy.com

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Susan chose to review “BioKill” by Stuart Handley.

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Here is her review.

“BioKill” by Stuart Handley is novel bursting with intrigue, action, a terrorist cell, biological warfare, electrifying chases, lusty scenes, murder, mutilation, a cat fight, government subterfuge, escape, humor, and remarkable characters in an extraordinary plot.

 

While a terrorist cell conspires bioterrorism in the United States, Matt Lilburn, an American special agent with Homeland Security, finds himself on the case, along with the British Dr. Evangeline Crawston and a slew of memorable protagonists ranging from a tentative neighbor lady, to the virtually hilarious gang of the five Bloods, the bizarre chief of Homeland Security, the owners of an aviation business, and, of course, the terror cell inmates comprised of Bomani, Bashir, and Yusuf, just to name a very few of the rich cast of personalities.

 

The author is astute in his use of scene-changing within the novel. He cleverly and seamlessly moves his story, chapter to chapter, from Brooklyn, to England, and to places within the United States with such deft smoothness that the reader easily follows the action without questioning or backtracking to previous pages to re-read.  Indeed, whereas one chapter may be taking place in Brooklyn and the next in London and later, on a pig farm in New England, Stuart Handley ties each scene so well to another it’s as if the entire novel is akin to a quilt of individual blocks with no visible seams at all.

 

The players in the novel are real and well-developed, and where necessary, the author gives them accents and vocal modulations.  For example, Alessio enunciates his accent well: “I see you ‘ave brought a friend . . . I canna but try.”  We can hear neighbor Bonny as she talks to the police: “I was gonna get back on the phone and tell you to . . . bust those A-rabs . . . I see you brought the whole dang station wid you!”  We get indignant along with blonde Timothy the caterer/waiter as he “let out his own shriek” when he exclaims that he “’ordered lilac-colored napkins, lilac, not … blue.”  Timothy owns and operates The Galloping Caterers, and I could not help to give Timothy a slight, albeit faux, British accent in my mind to go along with his hissy fit, because the name The Galloping Caterers reminds me of the late British gourmand Graham Kerr of The Galloping Gourmet.  And when the “lucky” five Bloods found the red Nissan Maxima and attempted to drive it, the manual transmission threw them for a hilarious loop: “Yo man, I seen on the movies – this car had one of those things and you got to push something in with your foot to make it go . . .”

 

Yet, there was something so real and creepy when the members of the terrorist cell, Bomani, Bashir, and Yusuf spoke.  “Yusuf and I go to a cattle auction”  “ . . . when we have finished our work for Allah . . . we return to our home and assimilate ourselves back into Western society.”  Their voices and personalities are real and wicked, and Stuart Handley captures this flawlessly. Bomani, in particular, has a distinct voice in using variances in verb usage and not uttering contractions.

 

I enjoy Stuart’s writing style.  It is very vivid, descriptive and intelligent.  He uses foul language sparsely, as in those moments when characters are so totally shocked or frustrated that a four-letter word slips out.  Lusty scenes are tasteful and allow the reader to envision all the naughty little details within the imagination.  Stuart’s background in livestock production and an inspector for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), et al gives authority to his novel.

 

There are a few instances within the novel where the author (who is from New Zealand) moves from American English to British English, such as “bonnet” for a car “hood,” “petrol tank” instead of “gas tank,” “mobile” for “cell phone,” “air-sock” for “wind sock,” “windscreen” for “windshield,” and a technical description of a helicopter’s speed measured in miles per hour, when airspeed is actually measured in knots.  I caught the aviation-related points immediately, since I have a long background and career in the aviation field.  It stuck out for me.  Yet, I believe it all will not take away from the story for most readers.

 

Admittedly, this is the first novel in this genre that I have read.  I was not disappointed at all.  Moreover, I cannot say enough positive statements about “BioKill.”  It produces non-stop action; it lays out a very real and plausible evil; it brings a little lightness to round out the reality; and it makes the reader think, laugh, and become more aware of contemporary events.

 

I highly recommend “BioKill” by Stuart Handley, and if I rated this novel on a five-star scale, I would give it six stars.

 

Yes; it’s that good.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com