Book Reviews: 

A Man With One of Those Faces (Dublin Trilogy #1)

Caimh McDonnell

One day, while searching for podcasts about books, I discovered Caimh McDonnell’s site and a chapter from A man With One Of Those Faces. This one involved Bridget, a nurse and a wanna be PI, trying to break into a house. The humor and the great observation of people and their idiosyncrasies as viewed through Bridget’s eyes, hooked me immediately. After I finished the whole book, I bought the audio book to share with my wife.

Caimh McDonnell has the ability to take an unlikable person and make them totally relatable by showing the absurdity of their misconceptions about the world and their inherent humanity. He combines Humor and suspense with a little mystery and makes a book that’s almost impossible to put down.

I loved this one so much I bought the rest of the series.

The Day That Never Comes (Dublin Trilogy #2)

Caimh McDonnell

Caimh McDonnell is my new go-to guy for humorous and engaging stories with a mystery bent. He reminds me a little of P.G. Woodhouse, the creator of the butler Jeeves. His portrayal of some seriously comic and wacky stuff seems actually possible and reasonable under his nimble fingers. Add to this, the creative cursing--not sure if all Irishmen curse like this but it’s funny as hell--and it’s a book well worth reading.
This book starts with the three main characters, Paul, Brigite, and Bunny, who are trying to start a detective agency together, all going in different directions. There’s been a falling out between Paul and Brigite while Bunny has disappeared entirely. Paul and Brigitte--estranged due to ‘the incident’ which took place before the start of the book--search for their missing partner with a backdrop that includes big-city politics, shady protesters, murders and the cops trying to solve them, and a trio of crooked developers.
As with the vast majority of books that stay with me--and have me reading passages to my wife in the wee hours of the night--the characters are the stars of this book. They, and the dog are so well crafted they could do just about anything and I would love reading about it. Two people and a dog spending a huge amount of time on a stakeout in a bar parking lot doesn’t seem like a gripping scenario, but this was one of my favorite parts of the book. I came close to wetting my pants several times. Also Brigitte’s reaction when she meets the woman who caused ‘the incident’ is priceless.
Another thing I love--and McDonnell does this so well--is when plotlines that seem to have nothing to do with each other come together in an entirely unexpected way. Can’t say more than that or I’d ruin the surprise.
I can’t recommend this book or this series enough.

Last Orders (Dublin Trilogy #3)

Caimh McDonnell

This is book 3 in “The Dublin Trilogy” by Caimh McDonnell. If you don’t read author introductions, do yourself a favor and read all of his McDonnell is a former standup comedian and it shows here as well as in his books. Better yet, sign up for his email list. His humorous musings about life in general and his life specifically are well worth the few minutes a month it takes to read them. Not to mention info about future releases.

Now, for the review. There’s not much I can add to the things I’ve said about the previous books in this series. As always, the blend of humor which is sometimes quite dark, but always funny. The characters are engaging and make me like them more in every installment, and intricate plotting produced a book that I will definitely read again and again.

Angels in the Moonlight (The Dublin Trilogy Book #0)

Caimh McDonnell

This book went in a direction I didn’t expect, and this is something I really like about the series. This one starts off with a scene where the main character Bunny McGarry acts in an outrageous manner and curses up a storm while coaxing a jumper off a ledge by insulting him. There’s a bit of foreshadowing here too but I’ll say no more because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. The rest of the book is a sort of flashback. The book is a “prequel to the Dublin trilogy which shows the events that led Bunny to meet the incomparable Simone I love the way we get to see the young-ish Bunny find love and the way he wins Simone’s heart while pursuing Dublin’s criminals and dealing with his partner’s problems.

One thing I thoroughly enjoy about McDonnell’s writing is the way books are a little like episodes of Law and Order, with more colorful and engaging characters, and a more fleshed out and intricate plot. This was an excellent addition to the series and I highly recommend it to anyone who liked the other books or if you’re a fan of wisecracking PIs like Elvis Cole, Spenser, or Harry Bosch (BTW If you haven’t seen this series on Netflix, turn your computer off NOW and go check it out).


Erika Krause

Contenders starts with a simple premise. A girl named Nina makes her living getting into fights and stealing her opponents’ money. When her brother dies she finds herself the guardian of his eight year old Daughter. The addition of the child highlights all the things that are wrong with Nina’s lifestyle and the choices she’s made along the way.
I loved this book. It crept up on me and grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go until I’d finished it in just three days. The descriptions and the dialogue are so well done. I think I highlighted half the book to go back and read again later. Erika Krause has a succinct style that is so easy to read. I was pulled through the story, constantly making new discoveries and anxious for the next chapter. Her observations (through the Nina’s eyes) about life and witty social commentary were spot on and often laugh out loud funny.
The rest of the book’s characters fit perfectly into the narrative of Nina’s life. They have their own problems and, like Nina, they go through life mindlessly, without actually thinking about what would really make them happy or how they could be living a better version of their own story. Like all humans, the characters are exquisitely flawed. They make bad decisions because of past trauma and their twisted view of themselves and who they are. Their humanity is what makes this such a good story. I cared deeply about each of them and wanted them to find their way to a better life.
I’m going to be reading this one again very soon.

All Necessary Force

Brad Taylor

Brad Taylor has picked up his game with this second book. Solid writing, nicely done plot development, and action that kept moving made this one a joy to read. Taylor weaves together the threads of his plot and ties every thing up with skill and even a decent amount of humor. Especially liked how he managed to slip in lines from one of my all time favorite movies, #theprincessbride. Character development is another important plus. Jennifer us coming into her own and becoming even more of a bad ass woman. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

The Short Drop

Matthew Fitzsimmons

Just finished this one for the second time (this onein audiobook). I can't say enough about Matthew Fitzsimmons writing. As a writer myself I love the way he can inhabit each character's thoughts for so long without it becoming boring. The plot is intricate and devious and he keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The characters are all so well drawn, you care about each of them deeply. I've read all his books and each one is better than the last.

Life Like

Jay Kristoff

This book was really a surprise for me. I found it because @bookwnoname recommended Jay Kristoff's Nevernight Chronicle. While shopping on Amazon, I was intrigued by the cover (just because they say you can't judge a book by the cover, does not mean we don't do it all the time) This is a dystopian mash up of: a little bit transformer, a dash of bladerunner, some spacehunter :Adventures in the forbidden zone (which would have been so much better in 2D) and some madmax for good measure. It all works brilliantly because of the excellent characters and world building. Not to mention excellent villains and fun chase sequences.
Looking forward to reading much more from this author

Atticus Kodiac

Greg Rucka

Stumbled upon this graphic novel from Greg Rucka. I loved his Atticus Kodiac novels, so I thought I'd try this. I used to devour comics as a kid until I decided they weren't serious enough.

Found out when I visited the amazing Gryphon Games And Comics I Fort Collins, that they can be serious af. Plus, great artwork (I've always wished novels had accompanying illustrations). If you're near by check them out. Games, comics, and very good coffee.

The Ties That Bind

Rob J Hayes

It's been a while since my last review because I was wallowing in a sea of mediocrity (four, or five, DNFs) before I came upon this absolute gem of a series. Then I had to read all three because they were so good. And satisfyingly long. I'm ecstatic at being able to recommend "The Ties That Bind" Omnibus edition by indie author Rob J Hayes. It's dark and stabby, with too many excellent characters to go into here, and really reminded me of The First Law trilogy. If you like Abercrombie, give this a try. The author weaves a complicated pile of story elements, revenge, betrayal, piracy, magic, religion and demons into a coherent whole with enviable control and quite a few surprises.

One caveat. This is really more like one large, wonderful book in three parts than three books with distinct conclusions. So just get all three from the get-go and be done with it.


Jay Kristoff

Imagine Hogwarts as a Church where the teachers are assassins and the students' entrance exam is to bring the teeth from their first kill. Poisons are taught by exposure and the blades in fencing class are razor sharp. Amazing world building that mixes ancient Roman and Renaissance Venetian cultures, a transporter network that runs on sorcery and something else that I'm not going to mention, a #badasswoman hero, and great storytelling! Loving Jay Kristoff's work. Thanks to @bookwnoname for the recommendation. Check out her, much better, review of this excellent book.

Star Kingdom Shockwave

Lindsey Buroker

This was so refreshing. An indy author who's good at writing as well as marketing. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in a series the author characterized as Big Bang Theory meets Star Wars. It had action, well rounded villains, good world building, and a very well done cast of characters who were interesting as well as sympathetic. I honestly cared about each and every player. Although this is the first in a series, and there needs to be some holding back of information and character backstory, the author has done it so well that the book still has a satisfying resolution while setting the stage for the next book and not irritating the crap out of me.

Locke & Key

Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

"Locke & Key is a graphic novel of the richest kind, presenting a story and characters concieved with all the deapth of a full-blown novel, yet perfectly rendered by both writer and artist to take advantage of the graphic medium. " --Robert Crais

I dont think I can do a better job than one of my favorite writers in reviewing this amazing book. It really does read like a book with the pictures from your mind as accompanying material. So many nice twists and plotlines just in this first volume. The storyline and the artwork are top notch. If you're a fan of horror, and Joe Hill, check this out. You won't regret it.

It was so scary it sent Jackson under the camper to hide.


Chuck Wendig

This is the second book I've read from Chuck Wendig and I wasn't disappointed. The man can write and observe humanity with the best of them. The reviews and accolades for this book are well deserved, as are the comparisons to Stephen King's "The Stand." Overall, I really liked the book and recommended it, with the warning that, just like King, the author can be a bit long winded for my taste. I found myself skimming long sections that, to me, didn't seem to add much to the story. It's a fairly minor thing, but the main reason I couldn't rate it 5 stars. This book has some great characters and some really imaginative storytelling but I would have liked more of the best characters in place of all the rambling.

The Rescue

Steven Konkoly

This was one of the best books I've read in a while. A couple of good protagonists, a pair of quality villains, and a plot that started off strong and kept moving right up to the clever end.

One caveat. Skip the prologue. It's so stilted and full of awkward dialogue that I almost didn't make it through. I'm not sure why it's even there. It doesn't do anything that couldn't have been done later with a couple of sentences, and it feels like it was written by someone else. Not enough to take away from the rest of this excellent story, but enough to stop you if you're an impatient reader.


Dustin Stevens

Ham is a kick ass MC that does what it takes to get the job done. She's got a lot of skills and she's tough as hell but not a cartoon super hero. She takes some lumps and makes mistakes. She's real. Dustin Steven's writing style is clean and easy to read. Not trying to be anything fancy, just good solid stuff.

The Hunt

Chuck Wendig

Another good one from Chuck Wendig. A well done continuation of the Atlanta Burns story that picks up shortly after the first book's ending. Good job of further developing Atlanta's character as well as her relationships while still letting her be a bad ass. I really liked the way we were inside her head and feeling her pain.

True Beliver

Jack Carr

I was so excited for this continuation of the James Reece story it made me worry I was building it up too much. Fortunately #jackcarr has the skills to pull it off. #truebeliever is just as good as his first one, and had me turning pages way past my bedtime

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

C.A Fletcher

This book was a huge surprise. And a pleasant one. I had heard nothing about it and didn't bother reading any reviews because; the apocalypse AND a dog? I'm in. Two of my favorite things right off the bat. Not to mention the other great stuff that I'll get to in a minute.

After finishing this wonderful book, I did look at some reviews that compared this to STATION ELEVEN. I can see the similarities, and the reviewers are not wrong. Both are well written and wax poetic about the landscape of the world far removed from the actual apocalypse. Both have lots of interesting characters and a MC you want to root for. But A BOY AND HIS DOG, for me, was everything Station Eleven wasn't. There was LOTS of tension and action. I stayed up way too late reading and finished in three days. It took me a couple weeks to finish STATION ELEVEN, and I might not have pushed through if it wasn't for a class (plus I skimmed quite a bit ). The villain is very well done and the dialogue is excellent. And there's a twist at the end which I can't even hint at, but it's so good.

One negative was the foreshadowing comments by the narrator, which didn't seem to add to the story but that was minor.

Definitely check this one out

Hunt Them Down

Simon Gervais

Do you like action? Lots of very well written, realistic action? Me too!!!

Then this book is for you/me. Us!. It's filled with so much high stakes conflict, great characters, and gunfights, and fistfights, and gritty awesomeness, and a little ear biting (Jackson's favorite) that I couldn't put it down. I read it in two days.

The dog was a bit put out. Look at him. He's thinking 'Laying in the grass is boring. Put that dumb square-thing-that-doesn't-taste-good down and take me for another hour-long walk by the river.' He's a little spoiled.
It starts off fast and just keeps going. It's so much fun. The kind of fun I hope people will have with my book someday. Seriously, I started writing so I could write a story like this. Hats off to #simongervais for a great read.

Also, the next book, Trained to Hunt, comes out on Sept 29 so you can read them back to back.


Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a genius. This book was really fun. Super dark fun. His voice and creativity are on full display here with a protagonist who, to quote the author, "Is about as mentally stable as a garage full of cats on fire" To cut her some slack, Miriam Black can see how someone is going to die if she touches them but doesn't seem to be able to affect the situation.That will definitely mess with your head.

Great story and really well done fight scenes. I can't wait to read more.

If you haven't read the author's blog #terribleminds I highly recommend it.

A Little Hatred

Joe Abercrombie

I couldn't put this book down. Joe Abercrombie has done it again. This book is set in #thefirstlaw universe, but it's far more than that. Dark, and observant, engrossing and a little bit stabby. Not as much fighting as The First Law Trilogy but what's there is excellent! A new cast of characters that are so well done and an intricate plot that moves always forward.
Made me want to go back to the series. Starting tonight.

Black Nowhere

Reece Hirsch

I'm not sure why I didn't already know about #reecehirsch His writing is tight and polished with excellent characters, pacing and plot. Black Nowhere has an "out of the box" main character who I look forward to seeing in subsequent books.

What Happened to Lori

JA Konrath

This book was a surprise in so many ways. The plot kept me guessing throughout the entire two volume set and I was so invested in all the characters, I stayed up past my bedtime several times to find out what happened next.

The unconventional nature of this story was challenging at times, and I can't say to much without ruining the surprise, but it was worth it in the end.

Mr Konrath is an excellent writer and, unlike so many who achieve a similar level of success, he is still working hard to put out quality writing rather than maximizing his income by rushing to publish half finished work.

All the Devils

Barry Eisler

You know how when you read a really good book and you wish you could be the main character? Livia Lone is one such character. An unmitigated badass, who's not afraid to do what's right, even if it puts her in danger of losing her job, and her life. She has one goal. Make the bad guys pay. To top it off, she's got the smarts and skills to get the job done. I'm going to have to go back and read this series again.

This is Barry Eısler's best so far. The action happens at a fast clip, but he still takes the time to make you really care about the characters, and really hate the bad guys. The suspense builds until the very end and makes you wish this was your life.

Disaster Inc

Caimh McDonnell

This was a pleasant surprise. The cover style and the title caught my attention Our eyes can't resist tasty beverages and firearms. I think it has to do with our hunter gatherer heritage.

I will be reading more from Caimh McDonnell who is restoring my faith in Indy authors. The collection of characters in this book was fantastic. I was also drawn in by the great descriptions and humor.

Freedom's Fire

Bobbie Adair

After reading this, I liked it so much I talked Beth in to listening to the audiobook even though she doesn't read sci-fi. The story and the characters were so well done they sucked her in and we just finished the whole series.

Really good writing without getting bogged down in the science. Just a great story.
The unconventional nature of this story was challenging at times, and I can't say to much without ruining the surprise, but it was worth it in the end.

Mr Konrath is an excellent writer and, unlike so many who achieve a similar level of success, he is still working hard to put out quality writing rather than maximizing his income by rushing to publish half finished work.

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