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Monday, December 27, 2010

Shaken, by JA Konrath: A book review.

Book Blurb
Since her debut in Whiskey Sour, Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has dealt with her fair share of criminals. But she may have finally met her match in “Mr. K,” the brutal serial killer who has eluded Jack not once, but twice, over the years. Mr. K is the essence of evil, credited with more than two hundred horrific homicides. Now, on a hot August night, Jack finally gets the chance to face the maniac—unfortunately, she must do so while bound and gagged in a storage locker, primed to be his next victim. As she awaits her fate, Jack looks back on her career, from her first homicide case to her recent retirement. The twenty-five years in between saw Jack’s attitude toward justice, the law, her job, and her personal life shift drastically. She is a different woman now…but is she good enough to stop a madman? Novelist J. A. Konrath’s trademark blend of suspense and wry humor are on full display in this tense thriller, a gripping tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Just when I thought that Mr Konrath would never be able to top Ms Cork's character in Cherry Bomb he unleashes the ultimate terror: the elusive Mr K. the story takes place in three periods in Chicago PI, Jack Daniel's, career: when she was an ambitious young police officer working her way up the ranks, while she was a detective 3 years before, and now in the present as a PI. Not since The Firm by John Grisham, have I read such a beautifully-written page-turner that I was able to complete it in under 24 hours. I'll be looking forward to Konrath's follow-up Stirred, which will be on sale in 2011.

5 Stars

Shaken, by JA Konrath is now available on Amazon.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, available now.

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Heirs of Mars: Book Review

Book Blurb

The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there. To save New Troy from falling birth rates, Asher secretly clones people in his truck. To save New Troy from despair, Claudia hosts the most popular racing show on two worlds. And to save the city from destruction, they’ll rally persecuted cloners, resurrected colonists, and racing celebrities to fight homicidal AIs.


I was given a copy of this novel by the author for review. It is set in the future on Mars and although this is science fiction, there are several elements of the story that people can relate to today. The main one being the ethics of cloning. There are the humans that believe that cloning is essential for the survival of life on Mars since there are too many professionals that are dying as a result of the ongoing war with robots—who, interestingly see the clones as a threat to their existence. Then there are the humans that don’t accept the clones as individuals with equal rights.

I had a bit of difficulty keeping up in certain parts because of the number of characters, and at some points it was difficult to tell the protagonists from the villains, but it did not prevent me from enjoying this story.

3 Stars

Heirs of Mars, by Joseph Robert Lewis
Available now on Amazon and Smashwords
Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thanks For Nothing, You Bastards! An open letter to the 60 House Members who voted against the 9/11 Health Care Bill.

New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph C...Image via Wikipedia
Dear House Members,

My name is Russell Brooks and I’m a thriller novelist. Although I live in Montreal, Canada, there are many things that Canadians share with Americans. There are holidays, our love for fast food restaurants, broken New Year’s resolutions, and NAFTA. I try my best not to criticize US policies, but there was an event that occurred this week that I found to be very disturbing. You all attempted to block a bill that would have allowed the first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to receive health care benefits. It is my understanding that some of those first responders have either died or are suffering from long-term health problems due to being exposed to the toxic ash that engulfed lower Manhattan. Although I’m sure that you all have your reasons (selfish as they may be) for ignoring the needs of these heroes, it is very incomprehensible that although the safety of Americans—home and abroad—is a high priority for everyone, you did not recognize the First-Responders. They may not be fighting overseas with assault rifles, grenades, and rocket launchers. They came into lower Manhattan with fire hoses, EMT equipment, and their ability to direct traffic and crowds to safety. Their own selfless acts of risking their own lives for the benefit of others without receiving any orders from the White House is what makes them the real heroes of 9/11.

I’m sure that you may have pledged allegiance to your flag on numerous occasions to illustrate your patriotism. But I must add that your choice to block the 9/11 Health Care Bill was anything but patriotic. It was a flagrant slap in the face to ordinary citizens that risked their lives to help others in need on that dreadful day. This would’ve occurred while many of you had the luxury of hiding out in one of the underground bunkers that are located between Maryland and Virginia. By voting against the bill you attempted to sign their death sentence, something I’m sure would've pleased Osama Bin Laden considering you’ve continued the job of increasing the death toll from the 9/11 attacks.

I can’t guaranty that another terrorist act will not occur on North American soil in the near future. At best, the terrorists don’t need to do much to attack American citizens since they’re aware that it’s a lot cheaper and convenient for them to let you guys do the job for them. The sad truth is that by voting against the bill, you were all serving Al Qaeda—not your country—an act for which you all deserve to be arrested and charged with treason. Furthermore you ought to be barred from politics for the rest of your lives.

I’ve read some excellent novels and watched some great movies. As an author I’ve always told others that villains will either make or break a story. I’ve been asked what was the inspiration for the villains in my novel. The answer is simple, I always base some of my characters—even the villains—on real people. Today I can say with confidence that if I were to model a villain after any of you in my next novel, it’s unlikely that I would be criticized for creating an unrealistic character.

Fortunately, your efforts failed this week, and at a right time considering that this would be a long overdue Christmas present for the First-Responders. The best Christmas present to America and the rest of the world would be for you all to be exposed and remembered for your actions (or inactions, which ever way you look at it), especially the next time elections come around.

Yours Very Truly,
Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession.

So for my gift to everyone, I’ve taken the liberty to list the names of the 59 Republicans and the 1 Democrat (non-italic) for your convenience. Hopefully the American voters will not be as asinine in their votes as these House Members have been.

Akin, Alexander, Bachmann, Bachus, Bartlett, Bilirakis, Bishop (UT), Boozman, Brady (TX), Cantor, Cassidy, Coffman (CO), Conaway, Diaz-Balart, Ehlers, Fleming, Foxx, Franks (AZ), Goodlatte, Graves (GA), Guthrie, Hall (TX), Hensarling, Herger, Hoekstra, Inglis, Jenkins, Jordan (OH), King (IA), Kingston, LaTourette, Latta, Lewis (CA), Lummis, Manzullo, McClintock, McCotter, Mica, Miller (FL), Myrick, Olson, Paulsen, Posey, Rehberg, Rogers (KY), Royce, Scalise, Schmidt, Sessions, Shuster, Smith (NE), Stutzman, Taylor, Terry, Tiahrt, Upton, Walden, Whitfield, Wilson (SC), Wittman.
Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora’s Succession. Available Now.


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Russell Show: Christmas 2010

Here's an excerpt of the solo I sang this evening for the Trinity Memorial Church annual Christmas Concert.
Happy Holidays.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, details HERE.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Barry Eisler Spotlight, Part IV: The Russell Show, featuring Inside Out.

As the saying goes, All good things come to an end. But from my point of view, we'll always have Barry Eisler's books with us. And in our last communication, he confirmed to me that he was busy on his next novel. So we all have something great to look forward to.

To conclude Eisler's spotlight feature, I do a dramatic reading of an excerpt from Inside Out, his latest bestseller.

Please visit Barry Eisler's website at and check out his blog, The Heart of the Matter. I also must recommend his previous books, starting with Rain Fall, the first in the John Rain series about a Japanese-American assassin. I have a strong feeling that John Rain will be in Eisler's follow-up to Inside Out, so it would be a good idea to start from the beginning. You'll be in for an excellent thrill ride.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, now available. Details.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Barry Eisler Spotlight, Part III: Review of Inside Out.

Conspiracy-theory buffs are in for a treat. Inside Out features the return of Ben Treven—an American Black-Ops soldier. In this sequel to Fault Line, Treven isn’t on the run, but doing the hunting instead. A rogue Black-Ops soldier, Daniel Larison, has stolen ninety-two CIA interrogation tapes and has blackmailed the US Government . Treven—who was imprisoned after a bar fight he was in resulted in the death of one of his attackers—is released from jail with the aid of his former commander, Colonel Scott Horton. Treven’s release comes at a price: He must track down and eliminate Larison. Along the way, he is joined by Paula Lanier—a sexy FBI agent with an attitude—who is not only an annoyance to Treven, but later becomes an ally. What complicates matters further for Treven is that other hit squads have been dispatched to hunt for Larison, leaving Treven to suspect that he may be a pawn in a bigger picture.

Inside Out contains some well-paced action, martial arts, and a believable conspiracy that will leave the reader wondering if all of it is really fiction. FBI agent Lanier brings about an excellent balance to complement Treven’s character. This is illustrated by her naivety in handling certain situations that risk exposing them. At times, I had a chuckle picturing how pissed off Treven must have been every time she made a gaff. What I also enjoyed was that Eisler allowed readers to enter into the minds of both Treven and his target, Larison, illustrating his first-hand knowledge of surveillance and reconnaissance techniques. The fight scenes were very believable, and the hand-on-hand combat scenes were meticulously well done.

In addition, readers will learn why it’s not a good idea to read important documents—electronic or hard copy—or have a private conversation while you’re traveling in first class. Conspiracy fiction fans will love the subject matter of the CIA’s interrogation tapes that was top news several months ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if discussions about this have been given a boost, due to Eisler’s interpretation of what could’ve really happened to the CIA interrogation tapes.
Oh yeah, if you’ve ever wondered whatever became of Japanese-American assassin, John Rain, from Eisler’s previous novels, you’re in for a treat.

3 1/2 Stars.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Available Now.