Authors Showcase: Mystery and Romance
September 4, 2012
The Book: No Remorse
The Author: Ian Walkley
The Story: Lee McCloud (Mac) has a reputation as a loose cannon. So when a secret agency operating outside the law recruits him for his special operations skills his team leader Tally, a tough, attractive computer genius, is ordered to keep him on a tight leash. But a tight leash is the last thing Mac wants. His intent is to use the agency’s massive resources to track down Sophia, a close friend’s daughter, who has been kidnapped in Mexico.
From the beginning, sparks fly between Mac and Tally. Mac sees Tally as an office worker, not qualified for field operations. For her part, Tally views Mac as little more than a cold-blooded killer. The conflict escalates as the two are forced to play at husband and wife in order to get close to their next target.
Ignoring orders to stay out of trouble, Mac enlists the help of Scotty, a British soldier, and Jog, a Lebanese fixer. They follow the kidnappers’ trail to Paris, where events lead them to suspect Sophia is a captive of Sheik Khalid, a billionaire Saudi exile who is suspected of supporting terrorist groups by shipping weapons, drugs and slaves on his luxury vessel, Princess Aliya.
Mac and Tally discover they have feelings for each other, but events lead Mac to question whether Tally is working to another agenda. With time running out, the group dodges assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats and sharks. But they cannot anticipate what is waiting for them on Khalid’s fortress island of Andaran, or that there’s much more at stake than Sophia.
Review by the geecher “Barbara:” No Remorse, start to finish, is a roller coaster ride of a read. Lee McCloud or Mac is shanghaied into a covert branch military operation after he botches a kidnapping rescue. Saving the young girls that have been abducted remains his main objective as he travels the world from Mexico, London, Paris, Dubai and onto a mysterious island nation worthy of a James Bond adventure. It is here that Khalid Yubani has set up his main operation that is so evil and vile that it makes his sex slave and human trafficking businesses seem bland in comparison.
Mac is aided by Tally, a genius hacker, whose job is to empty the bank accounts of al-Qaeda agents and the global militant Islamist friends of Osama bin Laden. Khalid turns out to be considered rogue to the inner families of al-Qaeda so the paths of Mac and Tally’s operations cross building mystery, intrigue and conspiracy like none I’ve read in recent years.
I’ve seen many other reviewers compare this first novel of Ian Walkley to those of Tom Clancy, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. I could not agree more. There are so many plots and sub-plots but Ian is able to keep the reader fully absorbed in the action without confusion. I’m looking forward to more from this author and would recommend this, his first novel, to one and all.
The Book: Mark of the Loone
The Author: Molly Greene
The Story: What happens when a workaholic serial remodeler falls in love with an old stone cottage built by an ornithologist and his eccentric Irish wife? If you’re Madison Boone, you kick your budding romance with handsome Psych Professor Coleman Welles to the curb and lose yourself in a new project.
Madison is a skilled property “flipper” who renovates distressed homes in addition to her busy real estate sales career. She struggles with the inability to put down roots years after the sudden death of her beloved parents. Madison and her three wise, hilarious friends all wonder if she uses her busy, work-centric lifestyle as an excuse to avoid connection with anyone but them.
When Madison checks out a probate sale outside Healdsburg, California, she falls in love with the European-style house on a private tract of land overlooking Lake Sonoma. In fact, she likes the place so much she climbs in the window for a private tour. With help from lawyer and friend Genevieve Delacourt, Madison soon learns that the estate’s corrupt attorney has manipulated the sale and is attempting to steer the purchase to an anonymous client in a deceitful plan for personal gain.
Good fortune enables her to purchase the Blackburne’s property, but far more than a new home and lush gardens await discovery during this renovation. As Madison works on the remodel, she’s drawn into an old love story with dangerous consequences. In the process, she discovers herself as she unearths buried secrets. The series of events both endanger Madison and lead her to love – and a permanent home. Mark of the Loon is the skillful combination of history, mystery, and romance in a novel that explores deep friendship, choices, and how individuals cope with loss.
Review by Jo VonBargen: Man, oh man. That’s one heck of a story! Like all things I truly enjoy, it had to come to an end. Noooooo! Madison Boone and friends are in my heart now. I implore the author to come up with a series based on this wonderful character!
Molly Greene has more than proven she has the chops to create a fictional world in which we are completely invested. When I first saw the cover, I thought…boy, that is RICH, which doesn’t begin to describe the contents. Such wonderful, beautiful detail and layering in a journey that pulls you along with pure ease. If I had to put it down for awhile, I was constantly trying to suss out the plot and wonder what intrigue would next unfold.
MARK OF THE LOON is beyond excellent; it’s memory-making. Not an ounce of purple prose, but a constant stream of verbal tennis between Madison and her friends which makes the reader wish all relationships were like that. It was a pure delight! The author’s descriptions of places and furnishings were a sensory wonder.
So many life lessons to be had here; I always look for the author’s moral code underpinning a story. Molly Greene is one righteous chick, to borrow a term from my flower-child days. Of course, I knew that before. If she’s the Pied Piper, I’ll happily follow to the ends of the earth.