My writing PLN (Professional Learning Network) pretty much revolves around blogs and the authors who share their insights and advice through the online blogs. When I have a question, I often go there first, before digging through my shelves of self-help writing books. Along the way, I’ve read many of their books. Here, I want to share those that I’ve particularly enjoy and think you might too.
- Trap the Devil — the latest Dewey Andreas and he’s still my favorite flawed hero
- Serenity Avenged — the latest Shelby Alexander thriller about an older ex-fighter who’s looking for peace and quiet but keeps finding trouble
- Davidia’s Seed — Michael Smart’s first sci-fi (that I’m aware of) set in a multi-layered world with complicated characters and a well-woven plot
by Ben Coes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In Ben Coes’ latest in the Dewey Andreas series, Trap the Devil (St. Martin’s Press June 2017), Dewey is in trouble. Again. His boss sends him on an easy job, designed to let him recover from the stress of his last few escapades (in the last few books). Dewey resists but doesn’t have a choice, and the government-appointed psychiatrist believes that a mundane job might help Dewey come to terms with the murder of his fiancée many books ago. Or the death of his wife before the series even started.
His task: Provide an additional layer of protective detail to the Secretary of State on a routine trip to Paris. It sounds simple. It ends up anything but, with the government official murdered and Dewey forced to flee when he becomes the prime suspect. With little support from Washington DC, Dewey relies on his own resources and the help of the last woman to see the Secretary alive (except the killer). It quickly becomes obvious this is a lot more involved than one man’s death with a lot more at stake than his replacement.
Ben Coes is the master of weaving together the pieces of a complicated challenging plot, keeping it simple enough readers can follow but clever enough we can’t put the book down. In the Dewey Andreas character, he’s created the guy we all want on the front line when everything falls apart.
–received a free book from the publisher in return for an honest review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In Serenity Avenged (Unlimited, April 2017), Craig Hart has done it again. Shelby Alexander is called to the hospital when his unmarried daughter goes into early labor. The doctor insists the daughter can do no physical work so Shelby and his ex-wife agree to jointly care for her. Unknown to Shelby, he ex-wife has a massive gambling debt she can’t pay, the cost of which has finally come home to roost. When the violent collectors involve Shelby’s ex and his daughter, Shelby and his buddy decide to fix the problem, as only the Shelby Alexander we know from earlier books can do.
Shelby Alexander is an interesting lead character unlike any other series I’ve read. For one thing, he’s over 60. Don’t get me wrong. He’s still tough from his days as a pro boxer and his brain is sharp, and his girlfriend (who doesn’t show up in this book) is about the same age as his daughter. But with age brings baggage and he’s no exception.
One more thing I like about this series is the author’s voice. He always writes with passion, clarity, and a light sense of humor. Here are some examples:
“My parents hail from the Deep South. Gravy is a beverage down there.”
“I will pop your head off your body like a dandelion from its stem.”
“That place looked like the walls were held up by the termites linking arms.”
“His face looked like it had been wadded up and shoved down a garbage disposal. Bruises, cuts, abrasions…he had them all. He slowly, mechanically wriggled out of his t-shirt and found his torso in little better shape.”
Overall, this is a delightful fast-paced, believable story and a great addition to the series.
–received a free book from the author in return for an honest review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.