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December 18, 2021

Two Thrillers for a Long Winter's Night

by Donna Huber


While the weather isn't truly frightful yet, it is cold enough at night that all I want to do is curl up with a book so delightful. Add a cup of hot cocoa and it is the perfect evening for a bookworm. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Head Shot by Otho Eskin

Head Shot
December 2021; Oceanview; 978-1608094622
ebook, print (304 pages); espionage thriller

When I read The Reflecting Pool (read my review) last year, I thought main character Marko Zorn would be a great character to build a series around. He is one of the most complex characters I've read. With his connections, on both sides of the law; doesn't want anyone knowing too much about his movements, doesn't care to carry a fun - well he's either a terrorist or a spy. I'm leaning more towards spy since his actions do seem to indicate he wants to do the right thing - see justice served. 

Head Shot is the second book in the Detective Marko Zorn series but you don't really need to read book one to enjoy this one. There are a few threads from the first book, but you get enough details so that you are up to speed. (I don't actually remember all the details of the first book and didn't have any trouble fitting the pieces together). Zorn is still an engima. We don't get a lot of info about his background in the first book and there isn't much more revealed in Head Shot. We see a few more of his contacts and get a glimpse of his past as a New York police officer because he has a connection to the first murder victim.

It took a little while for me to get into the story, even though it starts with a bang - literally as Zorn is being shot at. But it picked up for me when the different threads started to intertwine. In addition to the attempt on his life, a past lover is shot in a theater full of people. She's an actress and her character was supposed to be shot off stage so was it a prop malfunction, suicide, or murder? Then there is Zorn's other assignment protecting the Montenegro Prime Minister while she is making a state visit after becoming Prime Minister when the former dictator was killed by an angry mob in Chicago. 

The plot is interesting but the draw for me is figuring out who Zorn really is. I was hoping for a few more clues in this book and since there weren't many (any?) secrets revealed my interest waned a bit. 

Buy Head Shot at Amazon

Chain of Command by Marc Cameron

Chain of Command
November 2021; G.P. Putnam's Sons; 978-0593188163
audio, ebook, print (512 pages); thriller

Since the passing of Tom Clancy, the Jack Ryan universe books have been written by a few different authors. I think I've read them all at least once and enjoyed their books, but Marc Cameron is my favorite. Partly that is because his books focus more on Jack Sr. (the original Jack Ryan) while some of the other authors write more about Jack Jr (the son of the original Jack Ryan). 

I've been reading Tom Clancy's series for 20 years - I started reading them after graduating college and made me fall in love with reading again (my college years left little time for leisure reading). So I'm always partial to stories featuring Jack Sr. Even though he is now the President of the United States and not out in the field anymore, I still find the stories exciting. Chain of Command is extra thrilling because the First Lady is kidnapped while attending a medical conference in Texas. 

There's a new VP who was just sworn in when the kidnapping occurs (the previous VP had a heart attack or stroke) and he finds himself assuming the role of President since Ryan is incapable of being both the president and fiercely protective husband. I'm sure he is capable - he's Jack Ryan after all, but this is what really would happen. Also, it also allows someone that isn't part of Ryan's inner circle (those who have been with him since his early days in CIA) in on the secret that is The Campus - the black ops group ran by Ryan's longtime friend John Clark. It's a tightly held secret as they operate outside of congressional review and some might see them as mercenaries. 

The cast of characters is quite large. We get to check in with some of the characters that long-time readers of the series have come to love, but new characters are introduced that we are sure to see in future stories. 

While this is an exciting thriller from start to finish the ending did have me huffing out a laugh and cracking a smile. It was so typical of a Jack Ryan novel. 

Whether you are a long-time fan or just starting out with the series, you are in for quite the ride.

But Chain of Command at Amazon


Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.



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