Blog Posts by jonf

Posted by jonf on 09/29/19
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This is a great debut novel from a very promising young author. A group of hostages are being picked off one by one, and the only way to save them is to solve the mystery of the missing Kingfisher—a superhero that used to defend the streets of Chicago, but is presumed to have been dead for over 30 years.
The Reign of the Kingfisher follows vastly different characters that are all struggling with their own ideas of justice, love, and commitment, but who share the similar goal of saving the hostages and making the world a better place in the only ways they know how.

T.J. does a wonderful job weaving these very different characters together, and his writing makes you feel like you are living and breathing the same Chicago streets that they are. You do not need to be a fan of superheroes to appreciate this book, because even though those themes are present, the story itself transcends that genre to present a unique and compelling story about the human condition. I loved this book and can't wait to read the next book by T.J.Martinson

Posted by jonf on 08/29/19
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British best selling thriller author Kit Carradine meets a fan named Robert Mantis who he assumes is just a normal fan. That changes when Mantis says he is a member of MI6 and would Kit like to spy for them.
Having written thrillers for years, Kit is thrilled to live the live he's written about. He is asked to deliver cash to a man in Morocco and also find a woman named Lara Bartok. Kit finds out quickly that real life spying is much different his novels are.
In Morocco Kit finally finds Lara, only to find out she is the former lover of Ivan Simakov, leader of a group that targets right wing journalists and politicians. The Russian and Americans are after Lara and Ivan, and Kit finds that Mantis isn't totally honest about his claims. 
This is Charles Cummings first novel featuring Kit, it is fun, great locales and a believable love story.
Spy Suspense
Posted by jonf on 06/06/19
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Crown Jewel is the 2nd Simon Riske thriller. Riske is a former gangster who redeems himself , works in high finance and also repairs high end autos. Simon also works to solve problems for rich clients who desire discretion and results. This leads him to take a job finding a group of card cheaters at the casino in Monaco.
Along the way , he meets a German princess with some problems of her own which tie into his initial mission. Simon does it all, part James Bond , and part Jack Reacher, he deals with organized crime from Albania, wealthy but corrupt gamblers and deals with them with strength and humor. A great summer beach read, fast, great locales and a love story. Christopher Reich is a master of page turners.
Posted by jonf on 03/25/19
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The second August Snow mystery is a timely thriller that deals with the difficult times for illegal immigrants in America,  The story is set in the Mexicantown neighborhood in Detroit. August Snow is an ex-cop who has sued the city and collected millions, which he has used to help rehab Mexicantown homes and assist his neighbors. The area is being targeted by ICE and local cops, rousting illegal immigrants and spreading fear and anger. The trouble escalates when two teenage girls, who are illegals are found murdered.
Snow and his friends Tomas and Elena help tie the harassment and the murders to each other. They find that a group of rogue ICE agents and neo-nazis are engaged in human trafficking and murder. This a well written and thrilling mystery by Stephen Mack Jones, I look forward to more August Snow books.
Posted by jonf on 02/03/19
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This is the 18th book in the Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady series by J.A. Jance. Joanna is on maternity leave and in her absence Tom Hadlock has taken over her duties. Her leave is shortened when a local boy Jack find a skull in the desert along with a field of bones. After a body of another young woman is found in the same area it becomes clear there maybe a serial killer loose.
Sheriff Brady calls in help from an F.B.I. profiler and the manhunt is on. The killer, known as the Boss is a truly creepy antagonist. The book starts a little slower than some of her earlier works but picks up the pace for an exciting thriller.
This is a well written series, but if you have not read any it would be best to start with one of the earlier books in the series.
Field of Bones is filled with many good characters and a great feel for the Arizona desert.
Posted by jonf on 11/08/18
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The compelling story of the Apollo 8 mission told by Robert Kurson, the talented author of "Crashing Through" and "Shadow Divers". The author at a visit to the Museun of Science and Industry saw a small capsule from this mission and was moved to tell their story. In 1968 with America in turmoil, NASA sped up the launch of Apollo 8 to make sure Americans were the first to fly , orbit and return from the moon.
The mission was rushed and gave Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders only 4 months to prepare. It was a staggering challenge for a mission with little margin for error. Kurson does a great job telling not only the technological challenge, but the hardship for the astronauts and their families.
Rocket Men is a excellent, well written story of an overlooked mission, which was more dangerous  and impactful than the moon landing itself. A great book for fans of adventure and exploration, highly recommended.
Posted by jonf on 09/29/18
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The latest novel by Chicago author Marcus Sakey is a strange but original mix of police thriller, love story and the meaning of death. F.B.I. agents Will Brody and Claire McCoy are trying to stop a serial sniper who has killed 18 people, to complicate the matter, they are falling in love.  Will gets a phone tip which lures him to a church which is rigged and blows up killing all in the blast. Will awakens and is told by a stranger that he is dead and welcome to the afterlife.
The afterlife he is in is Chicago , same time but gray and lifeless. It is run by a group of the good people who band together to evade the eaters who kill to keep their strength. Soon Will is joine by Claire who is killed by the sniper.
Together Will, Claire and the group try to fight off the eaters and Will and Claire try to unravel the afterlife.
A truly original story, exciting and full of questions of our mortality.
Posted by jonf on 07/19/18
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In modern day Russia, led by Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika struggles to survive in the bureaucracy of the new Russian Federation. Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow", a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is ordered to operate against Nate Nash, a new CIA officer who handles the most sensetive penetration of Russian intelligence.
The two young officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in the charged art of tradecraft, deception and a forbidden spiral of mutual attraction that threatens their careers and an American asset in Moscow. Seeking revenge against  her masters, Dominika begins a double life, recruited by the CIA to find a traitor in Washington and return to Moscow as a new generation agent for Putin. Dominika and Nate's love affair and spy game lead to a deadly conclusion in this timely spy thriller.
This is Jason Matthews first book in the "Red Sparrow" trilogy. Matthews had a 30 year career in the CIA and the book is proof of his past experience. Great read for lovers of the spy genre.
Spy Suspence
Posted by jonf on 05/01/18
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The new John Wells thriller by Alex Berenson is a timely look at Russia's attempt to influence U.S politics. A large explosion at the American Airlines arena in Dallas kills 398 people. President Vinny Duto calls in Wells to investigate. The Islamic State has taken credit, but Wells finds aspects that suggest a larger plot. Later, after a famous evangelical minister and the Cardinal of Chicago are killed by a sniper, Wells finds evidence leading to Moscow.
The Kremlin is behind the terror attacks and is trying to help the rise of a radical right-wing senator from Tennessee. Wells and his marine partner Coyle, track a trail of money to South America which leads back to Dallas. This is the 12th in the series and is another intelligent and fast paced tale.
Posted by jonf on 03/13/18
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 Scott Kelly's account of his life as an astronaut and his ultimate adventure, his one year in space on the International Space Station is an exciting and educational story of life in space. Kelly recounts his time in zero gravity spent with two Russian cosmonauts and an array of European astronauts. He tells of the hardship of zero gravity on the human body and the stress of living in confined quarters for long periods of time.
Kelly also explains the trials of being isolated from family and friends. He was  on a different mission when his twin brother's wife Gabby Giffords was shot and he felt helpless. There was also fascinating research done on him and his identical twin Mark. This book is filled with adventure, hardship and human resilience, and how much humans can endure.
Kelly took an amazing path to becoming an astronaut. After being a less than stellar high school student, his life changed when he read the book The Right Stuff. From then on his dream was to become a test pilot and astronaut. This is a tale of dreams come true.
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