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Review: THE AMSTERDAM DECEPTION by Tony Ollivier

Description:
A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN AMSTERDAM TURNS INTO A DEADLY GAME OF DECEPTION

To find the missing device, Reynolds forces David to undergo a procedure to “host” the last thirty seconds of the spy’s memories. The procedure goes awry, however, and the spy’s memories, skills, and abilities download into David and break him free from Reynolds’ clinic. Dazed and disoriented, David stumbles out into the Amsterdam night and into a world he has only ever encountered in spy novels.

On his first international tour with the National Ballet of Canada, dancer David Knight is abducted from Amsterdam’s Red Light district and dragged to a clinic owned by Richard Reynolds, a billionaire with a serious problem. A prototype for a device that could save Reynolds’ company has gone missing and the only one who knew its whereabouts, a Cold War spy, is dead.

As the hunt begins, Reynolds needs David alive, but a rich televangelist wants him dead. Another man’s memories become David’s only protection in a battle between religious greed and corporate profits.


My Take:
This one has a little bit of everything going on. A young ballet dancer is out for a night of exploration with his friend who wanted to go to the red-light district of Amsterdam. And, you guessed it, he and his friend are in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are kidnapped which results in our main characters being dragged into a complicated, international mess involving a corrupt evangelical church and a Silicon Valley billionaire with lots of aging, leftover spies from The Cold War.

There are some features paying homage to the usual spy thriller themes, as you would expect. But there are some innovations, which at times, brings this one a bit closer to something out of a James Bond novel. For example: cutting-edge, sy-fy high-tech for implanting the memories from a dead man into another person and a VR video game on steroids that everyone seems to be after getting their hands on for one or another reasons. The result is exciting, page-turning reading from start to finish with several surprises along the way, just to keep you on your toes.

I’m ecstatic that this is the beginning of a series. The main character has a fascinating life, though he believed his life was rather mundane before the experiences in this story. This is a must-read for spy-thriller and mystery fans, but even if you don’t follow the genre there is plenty of action to hold your attention.

Tony Ollivier

Author’s Bio:

Tony Ollivier has stacked hay bails, picked tobacco, pinstriped cars and bartended his way through Canada before settling in Vancouver. Moving into technology early on, he’s worked for Apple, IBM and Microsoft. He now writes thriller novels while doing most of the cooking for his full-time family. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife, son and daughter. Visit his website, publisher’s website, and Amazon for more.



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Review of Matt Coleman’s A ROCKY DIVORCE

Simply brilliant and seriously funny!

Matt Coleman’s Raquel “Rocky” Champagnolle is a magnificent creation – not only a protagonist but also a highly effective anti-heroine with a sharp tongue and a rare gift of being able to judge people (fairly accurately) at first glance. Often she is surprised when she first hears someone’s name, but that does not deter her from calling them by the name she prefers, the name their parents probably should have given them. The thing with names, though, is something Coleman uses with great effect throughout the story. It offsets Rocky’s otherwise uncanny perception. She is a natural problem solver, a born detective even if she is somewhat reluctant to take on the complicated mystery underlying this story. In fact, the only reason she dives into the convoluted mess is that the town’s richest old lady calls her fat.

Rocky is a likable friend, the sort you love hanging out with even if you now you’ll probably regret some, if not a lot, of what she eggs you on to do. At one point, Coleman discusses the gravity some people have, drawing other people so close that they have no other option but to settle into orbit. Rocky is just such a star. Following her as she meanders through this absurd corner of a farcical universe is an adventure that will compel you to turn the page expectantly, wondering what snark will next erupt.

Having just finished Matt Coleman’s latest novel and regretting that there isn’t another chapter left to read, I’m glad there will be more Rocky stories forthcoming. And who knows? Maybe at some point, she might team up with Ellis or The Drew from Juggling Kittens. I mean – they do live in the same general area.

I am grateful for the privilege of receiving an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest appraisal. I have to tell you, each one of Coleman’s now three novels is strikingly different. And yet, they bear similarities beyond sharing an author. Each rests comfortably within the Grit Lit subgenre of mysteries. Each hosts a cast of memorable, quirky but relatable characters whose lives manage to spiral around at the fringes of sanity, skirting legality at times, while they try really hard to do what they feel is necessary whether anyone else feels it’s right or not. Reading one of Coleman’s books is an event I look forward to because of his amazing sense of irony and unwavering wit. I guarantee you’ll love this book every time you read it.

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Review: Nola Nash’s Debut – Crescent City Moon

Crescent City Moon by debut novelist Nola Nash has a creepy vibe throughout that establishes it as a great Halloween read…or a perfect book for anyone who loves supernatural mystery, suspense, thrillers. It is set in 1820’s New Orleans and captures the essence of the French Quarter, tapping into what residents know is the special nature of their beloved city – that things happening there are taken in stride that might not be accepted anywhere else.

Like many young people in the city, Zoelie Cheval has a curiosity about the occult. She plays with Tarot cards, dabbling in fortune-telling without completely understanding all the implications, or knowing the extent and peculiar nuances of her gifts. On her 21st birthday, when her father mysteriously dies her world is shattered. Then, while the police are investigating with officers everywhere throughout her house, a priest who was called upon to give last rights is also killed, and the stage is set for the kind of mystery you know is going to hold your attention for as long as it takes to reach the conclusion.

Nash seasons her realistic dialogue with well-placed French expressions and colorful descriptions of the settings. Always there is ample attention given to the arcane aspects of the plot, which straddle a line between real and surreal. Magic, though doubted at first, becomes increasingly real, and its limitations play a part in the resolution of the story, as well as its underpinnings in the balance of natural forces.

There is also a compelling love story developing in the background as Zoelie is attracted to the handsome and gallant Louis who labors to resolve the growing series of murders while protecting the young lady who is constantly in peril. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and look forward to the next in the series.