My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hologram: The Abduction of Hui Chien Song

As a cadet with the Arizona Highway Patrol, Hui-Chien got hands-on experience and some street-cred with the officers while she worked toward a degree in Criminal Justice. Homicide Detective was her goal—until a blistering hot August day when a routine dispatch to a traffic accident changed her life forever.
News of the abduction hit Detective Fallon Brooks hard. However, Brooks had troubles of his own—he was out on leave due to an injury suffered during an incident involving the shooting death of an unarmed black man, an incident that had him in hot water with the LAPD. Nonetheless, the thought of the young Asian woman at the mercy of two convicted murders—one a child molester—shook him to his core. Brooks puts his conflict with the department and his current status as pariah of the force aside, and sets out on a desperate mission to find Hui-Chien.
A romantic suspense-thriller packed with twists and turns and a touch of erotic spice!


Hologram: The Abduction of Hui Chien Song (Romantic Suspense)
Hologram Book #3
By Nancy Miller
Hologram The Novel
ISBN #978-0989455756
Price $12.99 (Paperback)
Price $3.99 (Kindle)
297 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

Two prisoners escape when the prison van turns over on the Arizona highway. They take Hui Chien Song a hostage. Song, an exchange student is studying criminal justice in hopes of becoming a homicide detective. For practical experience she is riding patrol with the Arizona Highway Patrol. Her unit responds to the accident report, putting her in harms way.

The story follows her captivity and Detective Fallon Brooks who wants to rescue her. Brooks partner shot an unarmed black man and the same bullet wounded him. His report clearly states the black man was unarmed and his boss wants him to change his statement. Meantime, Hui Chien is falling for one of her abductors, Hasan Khan, who is running from a murder conviction of his previous girlfriend. 

There are several sex scenes, as well as some profanity in the book, but the plot and characterization is topnotch, and there are several twists that are unexpected. Plus, we have a good cop and bad cop situation. The bad cop that plants evidence to convict. The good cop that plants evidence to prove the opposite when he knows the original evidence was planted by the bad cop. I couldn’t put the book down, as it kept my interest throughout, and the ending was certainly a surprise. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rope On Fire

John Crane is an elite secret agent…until his agency suddenly closes. But if the government doesn’t want Crane’s talents, Internet billionaire Josh Sulenski does. Someone’s going to a lot of trouble to sabotage a harmless project he funds. Josh wants to know who and why.
When Crane investigates, he quickly turns up a lot more trouble than he bargained for. On his own and under attack from all sides, Crane makes up new rules for the spy game. His only assets: a talent for improvisation and Josh’s very deep pockets.
From the beaches of Puerto Rico to the gritty alleys of Eastern Europe, Crane works his way back to the man pulling the strings—a ruthless gangster out for global power. With his back against the wall and innocent lives at stake, John Crane charges into a war he may not be able to win.


Rope On Fire (Men’s Action Novel)
By Mark Parragh
Waterhaven Media LLC
ISBN #978-1733975605
Price $14.95 (Paperback)
Price #4.99 (Kindle)
324 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Smooth Reading, Plenty of Action”

John Crane worked for a secret government agency, the Hurricane Group, where he was a field agent until funds shut down the group and left him out of a job. Then young billionaire, Joshua Sulenski offers him a job. One of his projects he is funding is being harassed in Puerto Rico, and Josh wants him to find out who and why, and put a stop to the destruction of valuable equipment.

The first half of the book takes place in Puerto Rico where scientists are discovering microorganisms in the mud on the riverbanks. When men attack the lab wearing all black, Crane kills one of them and discovers they are cops. But they appear to be working for a Russian. He eventually stops the rogue police officers and Russian, but learns that someone else was heading the attack from the Czech Republic. The second half of the book takes place there, as Crane discovers a Russian crime boss behind the scenes.

This was a smooth read, with plenty of action. Well written, and fun. Thankfully, there are no sex scenes to slow the story, and the use of profanity does not clutter the narrative, though there is some language. This was all about plot and characterization. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sarah And Zoey

From award-winning author, Linda Watkins, comes a story of two women, from different walks of life, and the one dog who loved them both.... A feature writer for the Boston Globe, Sarah Palmer had it all – a beautiful apartment, a great job, and a family she adored. A thousand miles away, Mindy Sue Watson didn’t have it so good. Trapped in a marriage to an abusive alcoholic, her only pleasure was in tossing a ball to a skinny dog she’d adopted from the local shelter. Sarah & Zoey is the tale of these two women and the one remarkable dog who saved them both. It is a story of the power of unconditional love. "Three disparate lives - two human, one canine - whirl through a circle of circumstance that is poignant, involving, and especially moving to dog lovers who want a novella about crisis, escape, and recovery. Sarah and Zoey can be read in short segments, so it's perfect for busy fiction readers who want high drama packed into succinct chapters. The mechanics whereby loss and endangered lives heal are nicely portrayed in a winning story that emphasizes hope and offers an involving tale dog lovers will relish.


Sarah And Zoey (Literary Fiction)
By Linda Watkins
Argon Press
ISBN #978-1944815066
Price $7.97 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

“For Dog Lovers of Any Age”

Two women thousands of miles apart are brought into the life of a rescue dog named Zoey. Sarah Palmer, a writer for The Globe loses her husband and son in a storm on a boat, leaving her broken and not wanting to live. Mindy Sue Watson is married to an alcoholic and wife beater. Unable to leave him it ends in a final beating that almost takes her life until her dog, Zoey comes to her rescue. She flees the house but her husband catches the dog and drags it behind his pickup, almost killing it. Mindy reaches the hospital, and a neighbor calls the police about the man dragging the dog. Mindy’s husband is arrested while she goes through several years of recovery. Zoey is turned over to the Humane Society and ends up where Sarah learns of the animal’s history. She adopts Zoey and the next two years she gets her life back with the dog’s help. The writer in her wants to learn more about the dog’s past history and discovers the story of Mindy Sue. She takes Zoey on a road trip to visit his first “momma”, only to discover Mindy living in a protective home, and her husband released from prison early. Bringing Zoey back to Mindy Sue puts them all in danger once more.

This was a wonderful story about a dog that helps two women in danger. It saves the life of one, and helps the other want to live again after great loss. For animal lovers, especially dog lovers, this story will tug at your heart. It’s a short novella, and fast read, but he story moves smoothly, and keeps the reader interested to the last page. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of WIRE DOG STORIES

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Westfarrow Island

Big Anthony Tagliabue is a local character whose fiancée Agnes Ann owns a stable on the eponymous offshore island. She is secretly training a promising filly for the track when she discovers that Tagliabue also harbors a secret: he's a deep cover operative who is called to duty when a Russian spy ship transits the coast on her way back to St. Petersburg. Giselle, his enigmatic and exotic handler, intimates that his mission to rescue a defector from the Leonov might also ameliorate his thirst to find the killers of his mate. Agnes Ann is not so sure about Giselle. The result is a tense tale of high seas adventure off Georges Bank, racing drama at Saratoga, bloodletting in the north woods and intrigue on Westfarrow Island. Tagliabue is a bona fide modern day hero with a big right hand and a fast gun hand. His literary thriller will keep you reading in thrall until the last page.


Westfarrow Island (Literary Thriller)
By Paul A. Barra
The Permanent Press www.thepermanentpress.com
ISBN #978-1579625686
Price $29.95 (Hardback)
Price $9.99 (Kindle)
251 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Fast Paced And Exciting Action”

There is more to Big Anthony Tagliabue than first meets the eye. When his shipmate is killed in an explosion on the cargo boat, he almost loses the boat also. Then the mysterious Giselle, a secret agent brings Tagliabue into a case involving a Russian spy ship on the way back to Saint Petersburg. This is a dangerous assignment for the tough Tagliabue who also wants to solve his shipmate’s murder. Plus, his girlfriend is secretly raising a filly for the tract at her offshore island stables.

There was enough plot and mystery for two books. Good characterization, and the exciting action moved smoothly, keeping the reader turning the pages. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of INVITATION TO DEATH

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Ohio

On one fateful summer night in 2013, four former classmates converge on the rust belt town where they grew up, each of them with a mission, all of them haunted by regrets, secrets, lost loves. There's Bill Ashcraft, an alcoholic, drug-abusing activist whose fruitless ambitions have taken him from Cambodia to Zuccotti Park to New Orleans, and now back to "The Cane" with a mysterious package strapped to the underside of his truck; Stacey Moore, a doctoral candidate reluctantly confronting the mother of her former lover; Dan Eaton, a shy veteran of three tours in Iraq, home for a dinner date with the high school sweetheart he's tried to forget; and the beautiful, fragile Tina Ross, whose rendezvous with the captain of the football team triggers the novel's shocking climax.
At once a murder mystery and a social critique, Ohio ingeniously captures the fractured zeitgeist of a nation through the viewfinder of an embattled Midwestern town and offers a prescient vision for America at the dawn of a turbulent new age.


Ohio (Literary Fiction)
By Stephen Markley
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 978-1501174483
Price $11.59 (Paperback)
Price $12.99 (Kindle)
512 Pages
Rating 3-Stars

Praised as a Literary National Bestseller, this huge tome takes place overnight in an Ohio town when several former classmates gather to relive old memories, or reveal old secrets. 

The characters never appealed to me, nor did the story ever give me interest in the plot, and I found the writing boring. The publisher sent me a copy of the book for an honest review, and if I’m honest I must confess it was a waste of my time reading this. It may be classified as literary fiction, but it will never be a classic in literature.

Tom Johnson
Author of CARNIVAL OF DEATH

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Cold For The Bastards of Pizzofalcone

Book 3 in de Giovanni’s bestselling “Bastards of Pizzofalcone” series is set in contemporary Naples during season of cold winds, political hijinks, and murder.
A heinous, double murder in a squalid apartment on the wrong side of town pits Inspector Lojacono, Di Nardo and the rest of the motley collection of cops known as the “bastards” of the Pizzofalcone precinct against their superiors, the press, and the local political hierarchy. Only by bringing the killer to justice can they save their reputations and the department.
De Giovanni is one of the most versatile, prolific, and successful Eurpean mystery in Europe. His award-winning and bestselling novels, all set in Naples, offer a brilliant vision of the criminal underworld and the lives of the cops in Europe's most fabled, atmospheric, dangerous, and lustful city.


Cold For The Bastards of Pizzofalcone (Police Procedural)
By Maurizio de Giovanni
Europa Editions
ISBN #978-1609455255
352 Pages
Price $18.00 (Paperback)
Price $8.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

“Topnotch Writing & 3-Dimensional Characters”

The police station at Pizzofalcone was shut down after their officers were caught selling drugs instead of doing police work. A new team of officers have been selected, some from the original force not connected with the drugs, and others from the surrounding area. There are already two marks against them. The old curse still haunts the new team, plus each have their own crosses to bear. Headquarters would love to shut the new team down, while the men and women of the new Pizzofalcone wants to prove they are honest cops and good investigators. A brother and sister are murdered. The sister has a violent boyfriend, plus their father was just released from prison after beating a man to death. These are the main suspects, though others pop up through the investigation. A second case involves what at first looks like parental sexual abuse. Two cases that are critical, and must be solved fast.

It’s the characters that drive the story, and the reader is pulled into the case from the start and glued to each step of the investigation. The writing is superb, as Giovanni’s stories always are. These are the best stories coming out of Europe, and Maurizio de Giovanni is my favorite writer of police procedural and murder mysteries from anywhere in the world. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of NINA FONTAYNE

Friday, May 24, 2019

Primordia: In Search of The Lost World

Ben Cartwright, former soldier, home to mourn the loss of his father stumbles upon cryptic letters from the past between the author, Arthur Conan Doyle and his great, great grandfather who vanished while exploring the Amazon jungle in 1908. 
Amazingly, these letters lead Ben to believe that his ancestor’s expedition was the basis for Doyle’s fantastical tale of a lost world inhabited by long extinct creatures. As Ben digs some more he finds clues to the whereabouts of a lost notebook that might contain a map to a place that is home to creatures that would rewrite everything known about history, biology and evolution. 
But other parties now know about the notebook, and will do anything to obtain it. For Ben and his friends, it becomes a race against time and against ruthless rivals. 
In the remotest corners of Venezuela, along winding river trails known only to lost tribes, and through near impenetrable jungle, Ben and his novice team find a forbidden place more terrifying and dangerous than anything they could ever have imagined.


Primordia: In Search of The Lost World (SF)
By Greig Beck
Severed Press
ISBN #978-1925711479
Price $12.78 (Paperback)
Price $4.99 (Kindle)
246 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

Ben Cartwright is out of the Army now, and back home, but still looking for some excitement. Discovering that his namesake, Benjamin Cartwright, in 1908 had went in search of the lost world, sending his notes and maps to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in England. Doyle had written the fiction novel from those notes, and the actual lost world just might be real. Discussing it with his old friends, they decide to look for the fabled lost world themselves. However, they need the notes and maps entrusted to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The first hundred pages or so reminded me of the Hardy Boys solving puzzles, as they search for the hidden notes and maps; there is another group also after them, and the maps end up in the wrong hands. But that’s okay, Ben’s team has the notes, and the last hundred pages take them to the plateau. Here’s where things get scary. A comet called Primordia passes close to Earth’s orbit every ten years, and during its passing one plateau becomes a time portal, returning the mountain top millions of years in the past. It’s this plateau they have found and climbed a chimney to the top, where they discover dinosaurs and giant snakes. It doesn’t take long for everyone to be eaten, except for Ben Cartwright and his girlfriend, Emma Wilson. Just as a giant 70-foot snake is about to eat them, Emma falls over the edge of a cliff and escapes into a cave. Ben is running from the monster snake when the comet leaves Earth’s orbit once again. Emma makes it to civilization and vows to return to the plateau in ten years to save Ben.

The yarn was fun, and being based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World made it unique. There weren’t many dinosaurs, but we do see a few. Mostly, giant snakes eat everyone, since they are the major predator on the mountaintop. Personally, I don’t like reading a book that doesn’t end, as this one is left open for part two. I would love to know what happens in the sequel, but a little afraid it will begin like Nancy Drew before we get to the meat of the book. After all, Emma must wait another ten years when the comet makes its next pass by Earth to attempt a rescue. Will Ben survive that long? And is it just a coincidence that the comet is named Primordia? Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of JUR: A STORY OF PRE-DAWN EARTH