Book Review: Levant Mirage

Levant MirageA few months back Oliver shot me an email. I had given his previous book, Marsh Islandan honest and fair review. He asked if I would be interested in giving his new book a read, and possibly reviewing it for him. At the time, I had given up reviewing books, but since I had reviewed his book once, I thought why not. I replied that I would be interested and sent me a copy of his newest novel, Levant Mirage.

The book follows Adam Michaels, a Major in the Army, who after an incident on the battlefield sees his once promising career derailed as punishment. It’s not until an attempted kidnapping that his career is mysteriously rehabilitated, he’s promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, then summarily retired and sent on an undercover assignment, all stemming from a Ph.D. dissertation he worked on some ten years prior. His question is why?

He is thrust into a world of intrigue, of betrayals and half-truths, a world where he forced to survive by his skill, and blind luck. His life is put at risk, not knowing what’s truly at stake since those in the know refuse to tell him the whole story. He finds colleagues murdered, sees one assassinated in front of him. He soon uncovers the horrible truth, of a terrorist plot to use his technology to bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

Michaels is in a race to save America and mankind from a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. He turns to his grandfather, a titan of industry, and familial friends to assist him, not knowing who else to trust. The normal rules of government and diplomacy no longer apply, so he enlists his former commander, a new representative in Congress to circumvent normal procedures. With annihilation closing, he puts everything on the line as he puts his last ditch effort to save humanity, battling traitors and saboteurs unknown, risking everything, including his life.

But will it be enough?

At first, I’ll admit, I had a hard time following what the story was about. Military and political intrigue, to be sure, but so what? Sure, there was a love interest thrown in to complicate the issue, but it would become clear what the story was about.

Levant Mirage is a story of its time. Oliver F. Chase wrote a timely novel of religious and political upheaval, of groups that would pervert the name of God in order to usher in their vision of the apocalypse and the world. There’s also the element of how the political game is played, a government that doesn’t trust itself, of various agencies holding on to secrets that threaten America’s survival, incapable of doing anything else but follow an obsolete protocol, to its own detriment.

At its center is the protagonist, whose research has been hijacked in order to create a world-ending weapon, and therefore is the only man who can save the world. As such, he becomes a target of terrorist groups and governments seek to destroy the west, especially Christianity and the democratic powers.

It’s a scenario that’s all too real given our time in history. There’s no lack of men and women who become radicalized and take up the anti-democracy mantel to betray their fellow countrymen. It’s a story that’s all too often on the evening news as of late.

While the book is a work of fiction, there’s enough truth that it is in a way a warning, that our freedom and our lives hang precariously in the balance. With this in mind, I absolutely recommend this book to all my readers. It’s gripping, chilling in its delivery, and leaves the reader on the edge of their seats, needing to know what comes next, and how the world could possibly survive.

I mean, from what I read, I’m sure I’d be dead, but I won’t hold it against the author. I just hope it remains a work of fiction.


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Book Review: Find My Baby

Save My Baby © 2014 Mitch Lavender

Save My Baby © 2014 Mitch Lavender

Happy August my friends! I can’t believe another school year will soon be starting, not that it affects me directly. Still, the summer will be waning soon, and all that will be left is to settle in for another fun winter, but cold is still several months away.

In the meantime, I have another book I would like to share with you. Find My Baby is Mitch Lavender‘s debut novel. Find My Baby follows a computer hacker turned IT security professional Zachary Foxborne as he is given the most complex case of his life. A mysterious email that was delivered to every email address that seemed to come from nowhere. Untraceable, a ghost.

The H@x0r Hoax, as it is called, leaves security professionals scrambling, trying to decipher the intent behind the message. No one can find anything malicious in the message, no Trojans or viruses, just a seemingly innocuous mailing, but whose implications seem crystal clear to many. A test run from someone unknown, who could wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world.

Through his work, Zachary become known to Ratmir, a Ukrainian who had figured out how to beat the system, to become invisible online. He had planned on selling the code, until Zachary came along and thwarted his plan. Now he wanted revenge, and he found the opportunity.

Lucy, Zachary’s wife had been unable to carry a child to term, and had lately become unable to become pregnant. After much searching, she settled on adopting a child from a foreign orphanage, one from Ukraine.

Once this becomes known to Ratmir, he devices a plan to keep the child hostage. In order to proceed with the adoption, Zachary has to pay a ransom, deciphering a manuscript that Ratmir desperately wants. Can he do so in time, or will he and Lucy lose the child that had hoped to call their own?

At the beginning of the novel, I was intrigued by the level of detail the author put in. Computer terms and explanations into what they meant, helped create the setting, which turned out to be short-lived. It wouldn’t be until the end of the book that Zachary’s computer knowledge would once again come to the forefront.

What I liked about the story was that Mitch Lavender displays his knowledge of the IT sector. Write what you know, and he did. Where it fell apart was that for all the build up of suspense, the rising tension between our hero and his antagonist, there seemed to be no payoff, no moment conflict where our hero is in mortal peril.

The danger is resolved in such a way that it left me unsatisfied. I don’t mind a happy ending, but it has to be earned, and felt that neither Zachary nor Lucy earned it. Too much promise and for naught. I liked the premise and the build up, just not the climax and resolution.

For this reason, I feel I would be doing a disservice to rate it highly, but I feel comfortable giving it a 3 out of 5 stars. There is some merit to the novel, and I truly believe the author shows promise as a novelist, but this first showing left me wanting more.

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Previous Review – The Ship

Book Review: Solid Rock

We’re at the mid-way point of February, and thankfully Valentine’s Day is over. I hoped you survived it as I did. Now we can all get back to doing what is really important in our lives, reading a good book. Today’s featured book is by Sam Quentin. I hope you enjoy!

Solid Rock

Solid Rock © 2014 Sam Quentin

When Keldraid Defense – an upstart company seeking to join the lucrative world of national defense – creates a new technology, one that promises to revolutionize America’s abilities to seek and destroy her enemies, they prepare a presentation to give to the top brass of the U.S. Military. Little do they know that the military is not the only one interested in Kedraid’s technology.

As Jeff Draid finalizes his speech, with the help of Keldraid partner and mentor, Professor Kelman, Jeff soon finds himself as the target of an all out assault, seeking to kill him and everyone associated with the project, in order to steal the technology and so win what promises to be a $2.5 billion profit machine.

With his team killed, Jeff is forced to go on the run, and every where he turns to for help, he ends up leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. He becomes the prime suspect of the murders of his team mates and friends he tries to turn to for help. After turning to the media for help, he is kidnapped by a defense contractor, hoping to turn Jeff’s dream into reality.

What follows is an intense game of corporate espionage and murder-for-hire, where greed and the promise of huge profits trumps the right to life, and Jeff finds himself caught in the crossfire. His survival depends on delivering the device to his host, with no real assurance that his name will be cleared in the murders of his friends, or even that his life will be spared.

As the precariousness of his situation becomes clear, Jeff must make a choice, or remaining in relative safety with his captors and hope they make good on their promise to clear his name, and make his wealthy in the process, or find a chance to escape, knowing well that failure will mean a horrific death at the hands of those who claim to protect him.

Sam Quentin wrote a riveting book, with many twists and turns. You don’t know which characters to trust, and what motives they each may have that could be detrimental to the novel’s main character. There is a real sense of fear from not knowing if the protagonist will survive until the end.

The book itself is relatively short and easy to read. The premise of the story seems plausible, and the technology itself, which at first seems like science fiction, could easily be believed to be viable, and maybe it’s already being created at this very moment. I enjoyed the book and feel that’s it’s well worth the price to buy if you own an e-reader.

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