Saturday, February 4, 2012

Action, Adventure, And True Life

There are times I read stories filled with action and adventure like I will never (hopefully) experience in my life. Other times I read stories based on true facts or people because we do live in a strange world where actions are sometimes more unbelievable than anything we could image.

The books I’m reviewing today fall into these categories. I’ll start with the action/adventure and end with the true story.

HARD TARGET by Howard Gordon

139986225Gideon Davis is adjusting to the life of an academic in Georgetown and looking forward to marrying the love of his life, Kate Murphy. Though there are times he misses his former life as a diplomat and presidential adviser.

That life was given up when he helped his brother, Tillman, and they prevented a terrorist plot against Kate’s oil rig, the Obelisk, in the South China Sea. Complications lead to Gideon’s forced resignation from the State Department and Tillman’s imprisonment and later presidential pardon.

Now ready for a quiet life Gideon, however, discovers evidence of an impending terrorist attack on U.S. soil. He turns to his former girlfriend, FBI Agent Nancy Clement, for help. Since Gideon’s source isn’t viewed as reliable, the higher powers aren’t quick to believe.

The informant disappears and Gideon turns to Tillman to do what he does best - go undercover to infiltrate the group of white supremacists. Their investigation leads to a plot to rid the country of the entire top tier of ranking U.S. officials during a mass-casualty attack.

The action is non-stop from the opening page to the conclusion. It’s a heart-pounding adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s filled with nail-biting suspense and adrenaline-driven action.

This is the second installment featuring Gideon Davis, but is a stand alone read. There’s enough background to remind returning fans of the action in GIDEON’S WAR and new readers aren’t left in the dark wondering what’s going on.

Author Howard Gordon, longtime executive producer and show runner of the hit TV show 24, brings the same fast-pace action to his writing. Keeping readers breathless as they turn the pages of HARD TARGET waiting to see what unfolds next.

Author Howard Gordon’s website is

Hard Target by Howard Gordon, Touchstone, @2012, ISBN: 978-1439175828, Hardcover, 288 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

151360206Life for most 15-year-olds is carefree, not complicated by the day-to-day worries adults face.

Tony Ciaglia was one of those teenagers enjoying summer camp in Texas during the summer of 1992. A fellow camper playing on a WaveRunner struck Tony in the back of the head and changed his life forever.

Tony was pronounced clinically dead 3 times by helicopter paramedics en route to the hospital and then he lapsed into a coma. When he awoke, he had suffered a traumatic brain injury. His right side was paralyzed and he had to relearn how to eat, talk and walk. Much of his frontal lobe, which controls emotions, was destroyed. The good natured Tony became depressed and filled with uncontrollable rage. Medication was needed to help control these new emotions.

Having lived with TBI (traumatic brain injuries) for a few years, Tony got the idea to write to imprisoned serial killers. His parents agreed only if they first read the letters he was sending and the letters he received back. Tony selected 29 killers and began the correspondence that would send his life on another path. His front reply was from Arthur Shawcross, the Genesee River killer.

From there Tony’s correspondence included a virtual who’s who of murderers. Among those writing were: Richard Allen Davis, convicted of killing Polly Klaas; Joseph F. Metheny, aka the Cannibal Killer; Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker; Glen Rogers, aka the Casanova Killer or the Cross-Country Killer; and Bill L. Suff, aka the Riverside Prostitute Killer.

In time Tony began to question his own sanity and if he was destine to become a killer because of his uncontrollable rage. His family intervened, helping him realize he was able to do what others couldn’t -- learn the secrets of the serial killers. When asked by investigators from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for help in solving a murder, Tony finally found his purpose. Tony began his own personal searches for forgotten victims using clues provided by his ‘pen pal’ serial killers.

This book contains chilling uncensored accounts from the serial killers’ own writing and is not for the faint of heart. It gives an inside look at what the killers thought and did. The book contains bits of correspondence with the 30-plus killers Tony contacted.

Author Pete Earley also gives readers a look at how the tragic event in 1992 not only changed Tony’s life, but that of his family and how they learned to cope with it.

THE SERIAL KILLER WHISPERER takes a close look at the terrifying minds of psychopaths who discuss their heinous crimes as calmly as most people discuss the weather.    

Author Pete Earley’s website is

The Serial Killer Whisperer by Peter Earley, Touchstone, @2012, ISBN: 978-1439199022, Hardcover, 336 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Do you enjoy books filled with action and adventure? What about books based on true facts, do those spark interest for you? As always, thank you for stopping by today.


  1. Mason - Oh, you've picked some real high-octane books to profile here! It appeals to me (I know, not a big surprise ;-) ) that Hard Target features an academic. Interesting storyline, too. And The Serial Killer Whisperer sounds unique. Not something that would be easy to read, but still, unique. Thanks for sharing these with us!

  2. The action and adventure aren't too important, but I do like true facts woven into a novel. It gives the story more credibility, and those are the ones that read best to me.

  3. I'm really interested in the first one. So many books and not enough time to read.

    Great reviews.


  4. I think I have Gideon's War on my iPad...


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.