William F. Brown Thriller Novels

Author of Action Adventure Thriller Novels

Category: Book reviews (page 1 of 3)

“Last of the Few,” by Max Arthur — 5 Stars!

If you like military history, and the Battle of Britain, this is a very remarkable book. It is not a narrative history. From cover to cover, it consists of long and short 1st person quotes from RAF pilots recounting missions they flew during the 4-5 month long Battle of Britain. It puts you in the cockpit with them, day after day as they take off and fight wave after wave of German fighters and bombers. To say it is riveting is putting it mildly. With typically dry British humor, they describe the chaos and confusion of fast dogfights, victories, defeats, and getting shot down by enemy planes they didn’t even see. Through it, you see their fears, not so much of dying, but of being badly wounded or perhaps badly burned or maimed. Pressure? Tension? Nothing less than the survival of Britain and ultimately the war itself was on their shoulders. Yet they somehow hung on, kept going up, and won the battle by holding off the German onslaught and not losing. Interestingly, Arthur was also able to get quotes from the Luftwaffe aces they were facing, and we get a nice picture of the problems they faced as well. It is a remarkable book.

William F. Brown

 

Never Go Back, a Jack Reacher Thriller by Lee Child Book Review

Everybody likes the Jack Reacher series. He is the no-nonsense hero of 17 of Lee Child’s action-adventure novels, two of which, including this one, Never Go Back, have been made into movies starring Tom Cruise. Cruise is an improbable pick to play Reacher, but the movies are very good, as are the books. I liked this one better than the last few. The story really pulls you in and the action is non-stop. Reacher, the ex-MP major hitches all the way from South Dakota to visit Major Susan Turner, the new CO of his old unit, the 110th MPs in DC, only to discover that she’s in jail and some very dark

Jack Reacher

William F Brown
Suspense Thrillers

characters have taken over. Rather than go back out the way he came in and disappear again, (as Reacher would never do) he sticks around, breaks himself and her out of the stockade, and sets off with no money and no resources, not even shoe laces, to take on the entire Pentagon establishment and the FBI.  With Reacher, that isn’t a fair fight. He and Turner travel back and forth across the country to track down a large drug smuggling operation that has been going on right under the Army’s noses. As usual, the action is nonstop and the writing spartan and no nonsense. Lee Child has never seen an adjective he likes or uses. It is all straight nouns and verbs. The only thing that made a big thud with me was the ending. Hiss Boo! I won’t give away plot spoiler, but a big basher like Reacher deserves enemies that rise to his stature, and who he personally bests in the end, not those two guys.

William F. Brown is the author of 8 suspense thrillers with over 500 Five-Star Reviews: Burke’s WarBurke’s GambleThe UndertakerAmongst My EnemiesThursday at NoonWinner Take All, and Aim True, My Brothers, and The Cold War Trilogy. They are all available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them  and the author’s screenplays and other writing at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com

Foreign Influence, a Scott Harvath suspense thriller by Brad Thor

Brad Thor’s Scott Harvath series has become a must-read for action-adventure, suspense thriller fans looking for a good airplane or swimming pool book.  His 16th Scott Harvath book has just come out, and Foreign Influence is book #9 of the series. All of them are thick books, so he is banging them out. I’ve read most of them, and can attest that you don’t need to read them in order. I think one of the reasons this series sells well is that the main character,

Scott Harvath

William F Brown
Thriller Novels

Scott Harvath. He is the secret-secret agent, ex-Navy Seal, master of Black Ops who is working for The Carleton Group, a private company to whom the Defense Department has secretly “outsourced” the “go-kill-the-bad-guys” work they can’t legally do anymore budget. He’s the kind of agent we all hope this country would employ – one who goes out and hunts down the terrorists before they hurt us, and shoots first. Sadly, that’s exactly the kind we know it doesn’t employ, and probably shouldn’t. I think that’s Brad Thor’s view too, and, like Daniel Silva and a few others, he pulls no punches in his scathing commentary regarding US foreign and defense policy in the Middle East and how it lets the terrorist states push us around. Whether you subscribe to that view or not, the books are good reads. In addition to the non-stop action, there is a lot of violence, particularly directed at the bad guys, always on full-automatic. And there is torture, but usually of the “bomb is about to go off” type. He has created some unique minor characters, like “The Dwarf” and his big dogs, among others. Great literature? Hardly. But if you are sick or need a good suspense thriller swimming pool book, they are great. Just don’t over-think them.

William F. Brown is the author of 8 suspense thrillers with over 500 Five-Star Reviews: Burke’s WarBurke’s GambleThe UndertakerAmongst My EnemiesThursday at NoonWinner Take All, and Aim True, My Brothers, and The Cold War Trilogy. They are all available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them  and the author’s screenplays and other writing at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com

Book Review – The Valhalla Exchange by Jack Higgins – suspense novels

“Jack Higgins” is the pseudonym of British writer Harry Patterson who lives on one of the Channel Islands, is 87 years old, and has and has now published a phenomenal 84 suspense novels. He is an experienced professional and prodigious writer who keeps banging them, but obviously, some are better than others. The all-time best is The Eagle Has Landed. Most of them center on WW II, Ireland,

suspense novels

William F Brown
Suspense Thrillers

or an assassination, and they are all light and readable. Having read a decent number of his books, The Valhalla Exchange lies somewhere in the middle of the deck. Many of his stories use a literary device like of an old man telling a story in flashback, or a tombstone in a graveyard, as a way of transporting the reader back in time. This one takes up the long-time mystery of what ever happened to Martin Bormann. History says he was killed on the Weidendammer Bridge in central Berlin after escaping from the Bunker after Hitler killed himself. That story has many holes in it and there have been many reports of Bormann in South America long afterward. Higgins’ story has a disguised Bormann escaping south into Bavaria where he runs afoul of an American Army squad and a castle full of elderly political prisoners and generals. Well, the plot is a bit strange, but if you ignore that and like suspense novels, it makes a good airplane or read.

William F. Brown is the author of 8 suspense thrillers with over 500 Five-Star Reviews: Burke’s WarBurke’s GambleThe UndertakerAmongst My EnemiesThursday at NoonWinner Take All, and Aim True, My Brothers, and The Cold War Trilogy. They are all available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them  and the author’s screenplays and other writing at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com

“Deadly Stillwater” suspense fiction by Roger Stelljes – Book Review

Roger Stelljes has now written six police procedural, suspense novels featuring Mac McRyan and his friends from the St. Paul Police Department. Deadly Stillwater is the third book in that series, series of action-adventure, suspense fiction set in St. Paul, Minnesota. No doubt, there will be more to come. Although series books are very much in vogue these days; I usually dislike them, because they all-too-often cheat the reader. I feel a story should be distinct and complete from cover to cover and not simply a teaser to get the reader to buy yet another book. By and large, Roger Stelljes’ excellent suspense fiction featuring

suspense fiction

William F Brown
Suspense Fiction

‘Mac’ McRyan and a cast of quirky St. Paul homicide detectives don’t do that. They are self-contained stories and you really don’t need to read them in sequence. While they are nominally cop stories, like Deadly Stillwater, Roger Stelljes they are much more action-adventure than police procedurals and fun reads. Think Mitch Rapp with a badge, shooting first and asking questions later. Because this series is set in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, they will always draw comparison to John Sandford’s highly successful “Prey” thriller novels. I think Stelljes’ books like “Deadly Stillwater” have considerably more action and running around (the characters are always running or racing somewhere), while Sandford’s have better suspense and character development, but both series are good reads. Roger Stelljes’ books are on Kindle, and you can frequently find them in the Kindle Countdown Sales. Pick one up, like “Deadly Stillwater.” They are great for the beach or a long airplane ride.

William F. Brown is the author of 5 suspense fiction novels with over 300 Five-Star Reviews: The Undertaker, Amongst My Enemies, Thursday at Noon, Winner Take All, and now Aim True, My Brothers. They are all available on Kindle and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them and my other book reviews at my web site  Billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com

Book Review – The Valhalla Exchange suspense thriller by Jack Higgins

“Jack Higgins” is the pseudonym of very prolific British suspense novelist named Harry Patterson, who lives on one of the Channel Islands, is 87 years old, and has and has now published a phenomenal 84 spy novels. He is an experienced professional and prodigious writer who keeps banging them out, but obviously, some are better than others. His all-time best signature piece is The Eagle Has Landed, which was subsequently made into and equally good movie. Most of them center on WW II, Ireland, or an assassination, and they

spy novels

William F Brown
Suspense Action Thrillers

are all light and readable, and not very complicated. Most of it is fairly straightforward good guys versus bad guys spy novels.  Having read a decent number of his books, The Valhalla Exchange lies somewhere in the middle of the deck. Many of his stories use a literary device like of an old man telling a story in flashback, as he did here,  or a tombstone in a graveyard, as a way of transporting the reader back in time. This one takes up the long-time mystery of what ever happened to Martin Bormann. History says Hitler’s secretive, but very powerful, Nazi Party Secretary was killed on the Weidendammer Bridge in central Berlin after escaping from the Bunker after Hitler killed himself. That story has many holes in it and there have been many reports of Bormann in South America long afterward. Higgins’ story has a disguised Bormann escaping south into Bavaria where he runs afoul of an American Army squad and a castle full of elderly political prisoners and generals. Well, the plot is a bit strange from that point, but if you ignore that, it makes a good spy novel to take on an airplane or to the swimming pool , nonetheless.

William F. Brown is the author of 8 spy novels with over 500 Five-Star Reviews: Burke’s WarBurke’s GambleThe UndertakerAmongst My EnemiesThursday at NoonWinner Take All, and Aim True, My Brothers, and The Cold War Trilogy. They are all available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them  and the author’s screenplays and other writing at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com

Review of The Third Coincidence, suspense thriller by David Bishop

Nobody believes in coincidences when it comes to multiple assassinations, certainly not the FBI or Secret Service in this suspense thriller.  So, when Supreme Court Justices and Governors of the Federal

Suspense Thriller

William F Brown
Suspense Action Novels

Reserve start dropping, in completely different ways, the President has no choice but bring in Jack McCall, a veteran CIA and Defense Department agent to track the killers down and stop them. But is it a them? Or just a him? McCall gathers together and eclectic mix of local cops, FBI agents, and computer whizzes to find out. Given the fractured nature of the Washington security world, the competing agencies want McCall stopped almost as much as they want the killer stopped.  The only one in Washington who believes McCall can pull it off is the man who talked him into taking the job — The President himself.  So it is a coast to coast manhunt from Washington DC to the Bay Area of California with very few clues and the clock is ticking. The question is, will McCall and his team stop the killer before we run out of “Supremes,” or before the killer gets McCall? You need to suspend your credibility a bit to believe one killer could pull off that many complicated killings, each unique and against a well-guarded target, but all-in-all, David Bishop’s suspense thriller is a pretty good story. The author has two Jack McCall novels out, plus others in the Lina Darby and Matt Kile books.

William F. Brown is the author of 8 suspense thrillers with over 500 Five-Star Reviews: Burke’s War, Burke’s Gamble, The Undertaker, Amongst My Enemies, Thursday at Noon, Winner Take All, and Aim True, My Brothers, and The Cold War Trilogy. They are all available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited,  and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them  and the author’s screenplay and other writing at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com

Book Review – Tallahatchie by Rick DeStefanis – Good Fiction!

I have read and reviewed/ rated several of the author’s Vietnam novels and thought they were good fiction and rated right up there with Fields of Fire, A Rumor of War, or my favorite, The 13th Valley.  I was there, and he did a very good job of creating for the reader the sights, smells, and feel of that place and time, as well as

Good Fiction

William F Brown
Suspense Action Novels

drawing some very well-rounded characters. In Tallahatchie, I think he’s the one who did the rounding out as a very good writer. I’ve never spent much time in the Mississippi Delta (and I’m not sure I want to), but this book saves me the trip. It captures that region today, complete with run down factories,  small towns, diner food, waitresses, Delta blues, racism, rednecks, pick up trucks, and all the rest, with a cast of marvelously original characters, as the protagonist, Jack Hartman, leaves the modern world and heads to the Delta to ‘save’ a hopelessly run down factory. I spent two college summers working in a place just like that, and the author nails that too. His characters are the key. At its heart, good fiction (southern or any other kind) is about good characters, half fo whom you want to smack or laugh at, and all the action, feel, or setting won’t make up for weak ones. The author can call this ‘southern fiction’ if he wants, although I’m not sure what that means other than he absolutely nails a time and a region and it is a very well written story. I don’t want to give ti the ‘kiss-of-death’ label of ‘serious fiction,’ because it is simply a really good novel. Period!

William F. Brown is the author of eight suspense novels, including Burke’s Gamble, Burke’s War, and The Undertaker, exclusively available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

“Kane” by Steve Gannon – Book Review –

“Kane” – This police procedural novel is a very good blend of a police manhunt for a smart, vicious serial killer, who is every bit as nasty as Thomas Harris’s Francis Dolarhyde and Hannibal Lecter. That is juxtaposed by the extensive backstory of Kane, the LA Detective who is out to get him, and Kane’s family. Good suspense, and a good, reasonably unpredictable ending. I would also note that the cop part of the story is told in the 1st person, which adds a nice immediacy to the telling. Like virtually all police detective stories these days, the main protagonist must battle the idiots and politicos up the chain of command as much as he does with the perp.

KaneIf I have a quibble, it is that this has become terribly cliched, and the author paints quite a few of Kane’s LAPD supervisors as being too stupid, too incompetent, and too disruptive to be believable. In Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch books, he also has enemies up the chain, but they are more subtle and devious, which adds to the challenges and the drama. I grew up with Chicago cops, and stupid just isn’t credible, even in LA. A second quibble is that if anything, the story spends a bit too much time on the backstory of the cop and his wife and kids. It’s well done and adds to the climax, but I would prefer more dogged, tough, nit-picking police work to break the case leading up to it. That said, Kane is a good book and a good read.

William F. Brown currently has eight international suspense novels of his own on Kindle, including the recent and popular Burke’s War and Burke’s Gamble the first two books in his Bob Burke series. You can read other reviews in the book review section on my website.

Book Review – Daniel Silva’s The English Spy – 5 Huge Stars!

The English Spy – Frankly, I did not find the last two or three of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon novels to be up to his very high standard. However, whatever faults they had, The English Spy more than makes up for in spades. It’s is one of his very best — a complex, fast moving, character driven page-turner that

English Spy, Book Reviews, 1st Chapter, Thriller Screenplays, Thriller Novels, William F Brown, About Me, Thriller Novels, Cold War, Middle East Thrillers, Action Adventure

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continues and advances plot threads in a number of the recent books. As such, it brings back most of Allon’s old enemies, the Russians, the IRA, and the Iranians, as well as his old friends and allies. It also sweeps us back through familiar settings in London, the rocky coast of Cornwall, Belfast, “Bandit Country ” in Northern Ireland, Vienna, Lisbon, Corsica, Hamburg, and Israel, with lots of gunshots and bomb blasts in between. There’s enough story and real-world geopolitics in this book to provide four or five novels if he had wanted to structure it that way. Instead, Silva provides a roller coaster you really can’t miss, if you’re one of his big fans, which I am.

The author is obviously a strong supporter of Israel, and provides a very accurate picture of what’s happening in the Middle East today, particularly regarding Iran. It’s interesting to note that all of Allon’s closest allies are Brits. They are the story, as are the Russians in the Iranians. Nowhere in this mix, do we find a single American politician or spy, and Silva does not pull his punches about the current American administration, the mess it has created in the Middle East, and the simple fact that they have become both incompetent and irrelevant. That’s not fiction, and few people who have followed events over the last five years or so, could do anything but agree. But politics or not, The English Spy a great suspense novel. While Silva wraps up a number of plot threads, he leaves enough others alive and kicking to make us hope the next one be just as good as The English Spy.

William F Brown is the author of eight of his own action, suspense novels on Kindle, the latest of which are Burke’s War and Burke’s Gamble. See the book review tab on my website for more book reviews.

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