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THE QUESTION?: A Thriller for the Curious ~R. Breuer Stearns

Monday, December 28th, 2015

“If You Could have the Answer to Only One Question, What Would You Ask?”

“And Who Might Try to Stop You From Asking It?”

THE QUESTION is ideal reading for anyone who is curious . . . for those who gaze into the cosmos at night and wonder . . . for those who look into the mirror and imagine . . . for those whose hearts beat faster when confronting the unknown . . . for readers who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary thriller that inspires them to think.” (From Media Kit)

I was hooked right away into this fast-paced book and reading this book did cause me to think and offer up some of my own ideas.  I realized how so few folks in my life these days are able to hold a discussion about any subject or they rather offer up canned thoughts and ideas and are unable to defend or even understand what they are saying.  I was caught up with the two characters, which were constantly thinking and problem-solving and searching for new solutions within their field of work.

Nate is a grown up football star, who now works for the Navy helping Submarine Crews problem-solve disasters which he designs to test them within a research facility.  He is there to help the top brass figure out how to save lives in an emergency or disaster.  He sees a pattern of success when the Commanders are able to work as a team, take a deep breath and figure out “what” will remedy the situation.  It is a new form of communication system – a mind meld.  The minds in conjunction with each other are finding solutions very quickly and having remarkable success.

I can understand why this book is recommended for high school students as they might be able to still be taught to thinking and reason about this story and rediscover their innate curiosity.  One of my book groups would truly enjoy this story for the good thinking and discussion starters, but they do not read thrillers and several events in the story would turn them off to the read.   My other book group would be unable to discuss this story except on the surface and they do not understand enough history to dive deeply into the possibilities.  The attacks would not be distracting to the story because they know those from recent history.   Because the book is written in a style similar to the various scenes of a movie or TV series, I might be able to pull them into some new thinking or possibilities.  This makes me consider choosing THE QUESTION for them to try on and explore.

How does one save lives when a submarine is attacked or damaged? – How does one prevent the problem? – How does a person prevent a terrorist attack or keep it from happening?   Who will work with you and seek answers?

I give this book very high marks and know it will make a great recommendations for my regular readers who love thrillers.   I did have one problem with this story, one of the attacks and all the thinking I was doing left me awake all night it was so vivid and I wished I could have talked to someone about how to stop such a horrible experience from happening; I was also thinking about the Sandy Hook School Shooting. (I am writing this review on the 3 year anniversary of that act of terrorism).  This scene and this news story stays with me and I keep working on how to stop it from happening ever again.

About the Author

“R. Breuer Stearns is an investor and author.

Mr. Stearns graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover (1970), Harvard University (AB, 1974), University of Chicago (MBA, 1977), and DePaul University College of Law (JD, 1979). He rapidly ascended on Wall Street in the 1980’s, serving as Managing Director, Mergers & Acquisitions at Lehman Brothers and Head of Investment Banking (North America) at UBS Securities.  While living in New York, he founded “Terrific Teachers, Inc.,” a foundation dedicated to identifying and rewarding the best of the best of the city’s public high school teachers.

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Stearns launched a private investment bank in the former Soviet Union.  He spent the early 1990’s seeking to marry emerging science, primarily emanating from Russia’s Defense sector, with Western capital.  During this period, Mr. Stearns made a small fortune, albeit from a larger one.  The venture provided a remarkable lesson in hubris, a tremendous reservoir of internal strength, and first-hand source material for Mr. Stearns’ first book, Winning Smart After Losing Big (Encounter Books, Beijing University Press).

Subsequently, Mr. Stearns served as Chief Financial Officer of The Dial Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of Columbia/HCA Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of PacifiCare, Inc., President and Chief Operating Officer of Vascular Genetics, Inc., and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quepasa Corporation (QPSA: Amex).

Mr. Stearns is a Founder of VestaPoint Capital LLC, a family of investment funds focused on real estate development.  He lives in Arizona with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a horse.  He travels extensively and is intensely curious.” (From Media Kit)

R. Breuer Stearns Website

Laura Fabiani of iReadBookTours sent me a copy of this book for review.    It was well worth the read.  Thank you.

Related:
Dig Two Graves
Coercion
Ryder: Birds of Prey
The Fury

COERCION: A THRILLER ~Tim Tigner

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Coercion is definitely fast paced and quite the page-turner.  I read it over a two-day period of time and found it hard to put the Kindle down and do something else or sleep.  TLC Book Tours had the author send me an advanced e-copy of the book in order to review the writing and story; to share my thoughts with you the reader.  The author also sent me an email and included some personal insight to the story, which made me want to dive right in and start reading.  I know many of my readers will certainly like this story and the incredible pace.

Tigner shared this background material in the email,

“I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along a bit of background that you won’t find on the cover. I worked in Soviet Counterintelligence during the Cold War, and then lived in Moscow throughout perestroika. What an odd and humbling experience it was, to watch a superpower crumble. It got me thinking about what one man could have done to prevent it, if he was prescient, and resourceful, and ruthless enough. Coercion was the result. “

So here we are reading a fast paced, thriller, about International spying and the stealing of technology and along comes a human story about how individuals are being affected by the process.  I had a hard time with the psychopath character in the book using children to control their parents and keep the whole process moving forward.  It made me feel sick and as though it was possible.  Maybe that was a sure sign that the writing was good and believable.  Of course, there was a super hero and his nasty adversary, but how could a human run so far in a snowstorm at such extreme temperatures, survive and still do some “Kick ass” maneuvers?  This made the story about super humans and definitely movie material.  Very entertaining and intriguing ideas about political activities and a countries real strength, and I was very happy the female figure was so smart and capable.

Karpov was certainly ruthless enough to put his plan into motion and he was defending his beloved Russia and I could find parallels to the Old Fossil Fuel Fogies in our neck of the woods right now, all those folks who want to keep white privilege and old school tech and greed the working model for us today. The individual citizen is just collateral damage.  The resistance to change and the consequences of all the people caught in the crossfire was dramatic.  More fun because the story was about super powers and yet the fantasy touched so many lives in our current circumstances.   Good escape and powerful read.

From the book more about the author:

Tigner began his career as a Green Beret in Counterintelligence and did a great deal of globetrotting during the formation of the EU.  He eventually landed in Silicon Valley as a start up CEO on the cutting edge of medical technology.   He does a number of outdoor adventures including parachuting, hang gliding, mountain climbing, and walking the Serengeti and currently lives in the San Francisco area with his wife and daughters.  He has written at least 2 other thrillers.

Related:
Ryder: Bird of Prey
Asylum City
The Contractors

A BRILLIANT DECEPTION: An AB&T Novel ~Kim Foster

Monday, July 20th, 2015

When Kim Foster sent me an email asking if I would like to review her new book I jumped at the opportunity.  I have reviewed her first two books in this series, A Beautiful Heist  and A Magnificent Crime over the past several years and I could hardly wait to dive into this new book and see what Cat Montgomery was up to these days.   Within the first two pages, the reader is whisked off to Venice and quite the adventure.

Cat Montgomery is a jewel thief for the Agency of Burglary &Theft.  She is very good at her job as she steals back famous and expensive pieces of jewelry taken up by the wealthy; what has been stolen from somewhere else.    She is just off a heist of a famous necklace from a hotel safe in Los Angeles when she is pulled into a job in England of the Lionheart ruby ring.  The ring has been found in a grave in the UK.  With all her planning and care the Caliga, a notorious crime organization takes the ring just minutes before she arrives.   Her job now is to return the ring to England and rescue her new co-worker.

A BRILLIANT DECEPTION brings the whole team back together and Ethan, Jack, Brooke, and a new character Felix join the planning and head off to Venice to retrieve the ring and steal it back.  A love triangle forms which adds and interesting dimension to the fast and furious pursuit of the ring.

The writing is good and well paced and I just leaned into this read and found it hard to put down.  When I did need to do something different, it was easy to come back to and the story moved very well.   It was a good adventure and I liked the ending.

I did find it hard that Cat’s mother did not figure into the story as much, but she was instrumental in starting Cat thinking about a new career or about how to use her skills in a more productive direction.

Great for the beach – lighthearted and fun, it was interesting to explore some English History and the Robin Hood legend further.  I highly recommend this story and this author.  I believe that everyone will enjoy A BRILLIANT DECEPTION.

Kim Foster is the author of the Agency of Burglary and Theft Series of Thrillers. She first got her degree in Medicine and has been a family physician in Victoria, British Columbia for sixteen years.   Online, you can find her blogging about her left-brain, right-brain mash-up on www.kimfoster.com.  Kim lives with her husband and their two young boys.  She is hard at work on her next book and drinking a lot of coffee. (from the book cover)

Foster is making some special offers on Facebook to promote A BRILLIANT DECEPTION

Related:
A Beautiful Heist 
A Magnificent Crime

IN FLAMES: A Thriller ~Richard Hilary Weber

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

“We were all good examples, and at the same time casualties, of a hunger for easy profits edging inexorably around the globe, our goal specific if narrow, little more than simply cashing in.  Despite the rising heat, this grim insight made me shiver.” (Loc 595 of un-proofed e- copy)

IN FLAMES  is quite the story and it moves at lightening speed; the setting is the exotic island of San In’igo, AKA the jeweled paradise of the Caribbean and a monumental jungle, lots of clandestine ruminations and  peasant strife.  The first pages are about the arrival of our fair-haired boy from Princeton, Dan Shedrick, and his walk across the tarmac to his first architectural job and a journey that appears to be a rich boy’s survival sequence.

While most of his peers are job-hunting states side, Dan has found this yearlong internship with an oil company and a foot in the door to his wealth and fortune.  Elaine the naughty bad girl finds Dan right away and he moves from the National Hotel to a country club site with lots of his cronies.  He runs, swims, works the drawings of the new wharf and drinks rum by the gallons.

He is offered a part-time job at the new Art Gallery in exchange for some spying and information sharing.  It is at the gallery where he meets an interesting Ex- Communicated Priest, who flares Dan’s curiosity and interest in the attached characters in the story.   At a club party , a very popular radio entertainer is murdered  and during the night the club’s owner and Elaine’s husband dies of a heart attack and the story quickens pace because Dan holds a clue and evidence to the murder.

Add the Island fortuneteller and a whole section of battling the jungle when trying to escape the kidnappers and we are roped into an amazing adventure and tons of insects.  This story has lots of appeal and is a very quick read.  I can visualize lots of folks enjoying this story on their daily commute or just to unwind after a busy day.

There is a great deal of escape in the story and even though there is a clear formulation, the premise is catchy and every young man dreams of making his fortune the easy way, accompanied a sexy girl, and with lots of money involved.  How about CNN making footage of a young man’s survival story?

Oh yes!  Some bad girls are amazingly successful and smart; some turn out to be just another pretty face.

TLC Book Tours  sent me this thriller for review and it provided a great escape and a quick trip to an island paradise.

About the Author (from book cover)

Richard Hilary Weber is a native Brooklynite- Park Slope Born and bred – and a Columbia Grad.  He’s taught at the universities of Stockholm and Copenhagen, has been a scriptwriter for French and Swedish filmmakers, among them Claude Berri and jBo Widerberg, and now lives in Provence, France.

www.richardhilaryweber.com

Related:
Ayesha Ryder
Ayesha Ryder: American Treasure 
A Beautiful Heist
Supreme Justice