61NEz0J50WL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review: The Second Life of Nick Mason

Steve Hamilton is a very talented author. You sometimes hear critics use the phrase “same but different” to describe a new twist on a proven formula – and it definitely fits here, as Hamilton has created a protagonist that is both criminal and heroic, and then placed him in a situation that is seemingly impossible to escape from.

The plot, characters and dialogue are gritty and fast-paced with lots of twists and action – and if you’re a fan of mystery/crime/thriller fiction then you should definitely read this book: 5/5 stars.

Use this affiliate link to see The Second Life of Nick Mason on Amazon.

I received a free digital edition courtesy Penguin Random House First to Read in exchange for an honest/unbiased review.

51vGNDdW6VL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review: Ghosts of War

This book literally begins with the ending of the last title in the series – “The Forgotten Soldier” – but you don’t need to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this one. The plot is similar in some respects to recent books by Alex Berenson and Mark Greaney – a few bad actors manipulate world events to try and lure the United States into a war.

In this case, the Secretary of State is dead (the ending to the last book), the Taskforce is sidelined to avoid being exposed in the fallout, and now Russia is advancing across Europe and our NATO allies are at risk – but then an even greater tragedy strikes America’s government.

This title is very different from the others in the series. The stakes are as high as ever, but this isn’t about the Taskforce chasing down bad individuals – it’s a book about war. And Brad Taylor writes it exceptionally well. Taylor is also more nuanced on the political side than in his previous works, which adds a layer of complexity to his characters.

This is a definite must-read for thriller/war novel fans: 5/5 stars.

Use this affiliate link to see Ghosts of War on Amazon.

I received a free digital edition courtesy Penguin Random House First to Read in exchange for an honest/unbiased review.

 

image

Nargis Orphans

Eight years ago this month Cyclone Nargis killed more than 150,000 people in Myanmar. The military regime that controlled the government at the time never released the true casualty numbers, but in addition to the dead and missing an estimated three million people were displaced and left homeless.

The U.S. military used C-130s to fly nearly 200 humanitarian missions that delivered relief supplies and food to Myanmar’s Irrawaddy region — but much of that aid ended up being sold on the black market in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta by corrupt Myanmar government officials (who ironically threatened their citizens with prison for the same offense).

The impact on Myanmar’s children is still being felt. Thousands were left homeless. Thousands more were made orphans. Eight years later they are malnourished, uneducated, and healthcare is non-existent.

I was blessed with a unique opportunity the past few days. I visited Nargis orphans in Thanlyin, Myanmar, with a non-profit group and we gave out books, toys, and candy.

But now I’m left with the same thoughts I always have after an opportunity like this — what’s the point? The visit made us feel good, but the kids will wake up tomorrow just as poor, hungry, and uneducated as they are today.

It would be nice if I could wake up tomorrow with better ideas about how to help them.