Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Play Him Again And The Panther

Stories that keep me guessing what will happen next or who the bad guys really are draw me in and hold me captive till the finish.

I have two such books to share today. They are from different eras in history, but both are suspenseful and have lots of history intertwined. First we’ll go back in time to the Roaring Twenties and see how a rumrunner seeks revenge. Then we’ll return to present day for a trip to Yemen searching for an Al Qaeda terrorist.

PLAY HIM AGAIN by Jeffrey Stone

Take a step back in time to the era of the Roaring Twenties just asa5158bac2d81487ac7cbdff1a94673ab8f5f20a1 change is coming to the movie industry and a rumrunner wants in on the action.

Matt ‘Hud’ Hudson is the premier bootlegger to the stars and the movie industry bigwigs. Silent movies are still popular but Hud sees ‘talkies’ as where things are going. He shares his dream of making a ‘talkie’ with his best friend, Danny Kincaid, a con man.

Kincaid gets the idea to run a con on Frank Minnetti, a Chicago gangster recently relocated to California. Kincaid believes Minnetti is the answer to Hud making his movie.
However, when things turn deadly and Kincaid winds up at the bottom of the ocean, Hud’s direction changes. He sets out to run his own con to find his friend’s killer and seek justice no matter what.

The story is well-balanced with historical tidbits scattered throughout for a plausible adventure. Author Jeffrey Stone has done an excellent job researching the era and setting placing the reader back in time with realistic accuracy.

PLAY HIM AGAIN is filled with colorful characters mingling with real-life movie stars such as Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplain. It details bootlegging and the movie industry giving a look at how the two facets were possible interwoven. The story is action-packed moving at a steady pace but never losing your attention. There’s suspense, mystery, friendship, loyalty, and surprises along the way.

You don’t have to be a movie buff or a fan of the silent screen era to enjoy this tantalizing adventure. Hud is a character well-worth keeping an eye out for in the future.

Play Him Again by Jeffrey Stone, A Matt Hudson Novel, Riverdale Press, @2012, ASIN: B007MDM8EW, Kindle Format, 444 KB, 310 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - An eBook copy of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
THE PANTHER by Nelson DeMille

coverWhen you find yourself laughing out loud while listening to a suspense thriller set in one of the most treacherous countries in the world, you know author Nelson DeMille has returned protagonist John Corey to the limelight.

Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey has followed his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, to Yemen. There they joined a small team of specialists assigned to tracking down the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing. Their job is to apprehend a high-ranking Al Qaeda operative known as The Panther. Their orders are specific in his apprehension as The Panther is an American citizen. 

As more is learned about this particular assignment, John begins to see more at work than they are being told. Turns out he and Kate are the bait to lure The Panther out into the open. John is on a hit list for killing Asad Khalil, a Libyan terrorist known as The Lion. Kate is in the crosshairs for killing a tainted CIA agent, even though the shooting was in self-defense.

The couple soon learn they can’t trust everyone who is supposedly on their side. And it also appears the allies shouldn’t be as trusting either.

Narrator Scott Brick does an excellent job bringing the various characters to life. He brings the emotions to the surface drawing listeners in as the tension builds. His interruption of John Corey and his dry wit will have you smiling and laughing despite the seriousness of the plot.

THE PANTHER is not a story that can be breezed through. At just over 21 hours of listening time, the story goes into great details about the country of Yemen and the lifestyles of its people. DeMille’s eye for details in describing the land, its people, and their customs causes the story to more slow for the first part. However, this background information and set up is necessary for the dramatic conclusion. The intense look at Yemen and the situation there helps place the listeners (and readers) in the midst of the action.

DeMille’s characters are well-developed with strengths and flaws. He writes John as a bit of a smart ass, but as you come to understand him you realize there’s more to him. His wise cracks are a way of coping with tense situations.

When the pace of the story picks up, it’s a roller coaster ride till the finish. There are twists and turns that will blow you away. The suspense will keep you wondering who is really good and how just how far will be bad guys go.

The Panther by Nelson DeMille, A John Corey Novel, Read by Scott Brick, Hachette Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1619691827, Unabridged, 19 Discs, Listening Time: 21 Hours 30 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks for stopping by today. Do you enjoy historical tidbits sprinkled throughout stories to give them a real-life feel?


  1. Mason - Thanks for sharing those two stories. I really do like the historical context for Play Him Again, and Stone does an effective job of taking the reader there, so to speak. Really interesting information about the birth of sound in film too. I've not read the DeMille, but I always appreciate an author who can make me laught even in the midst of a tense plot.

  2. Love Nelson DeMille :)
    Happy Thanksgiving!


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