Review: Ant Farm by James M. Jackson

There’s nothing predictable or same-old-same-old about Seamus McCree or the kind of crime he investigates. He’s not a solo PI, but a former stock analyst working with a sophisticated group of investigators with expertise in financial crime.

Seamus is likeable and multi-dimensional. He’s a risk-taker when it comes to his own well-being and quite the opposite when it comes to his college-age son, Paddy, a computer whiz and hacker. The father-son relationship adds depth to the story.

I appreciated how the energy of the scenes and chapters was orchestrated, with a range from intense and adrenaline-pumping to quietly intriguing. The writing is tight and polished, the plot original, and the characters complex. The romantic subplot was a surprise but believable.

Ordinarily, I dislike the anonymous point of view. However, Jackson handles this device skillfully, giving the anonymous perpetrator enough of an identity and personality that one senses a person driving the events rather than the author playing tricks on the reader. In many books that use this device, the villain’s POV scenes could be subtracted without losing anything except spoilers. In Ant Farm, the anonymous POV chapters create a suspenseful layer of events in which the plot advances. I’m impressed.

And I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. I’ll be buying it as soon as it’s liberated from Kindle Unlimited, along with the rest of the series. It won’t be too much longer. Meanwhile, Ant Farm is free on all e-book retail sites.

Reading Cheaply or #Free and Getting Through

Free

If you can’t afford books right now and don’t do Kindle Unlimited, Scribd is an option for people who read e-pub e-books. They offer a free one month introduction. All my books are in Scribd. (But not Kindle Unlimited—an author can’t do both because of Amazon’s exclusivity requirement for KU, and I am committed to keeping my books widely available.) If you don’t read on an Apple, Kobo, or Nook device, you can install Adobe Digital Editions on a computer to read e-pub e-books. You can also borrow e-books from many public libraries.

This link will take you to all e-book retail sites for my books, including Scribd.

Inexpensive

If you like to get e-books from a preferred retailer,  The Calling is free everywhere through April 23, and the other books in the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery series are now $2.99. The boxed set of the first three books is only $4.99. Small Awakenings, a collection of essays on mindfulness, is 99 cents. When the free promotion for book one is over, the price will be also be discounted. Discounts will last as long as the economic disruption of the pandemic lasts.

Getting Through

I hope you stay well. I’m coping by reading, writing, and socializing six feet apart outdoors. Walking and running are free. So are squats and pushups and home yoga practice. I’ve been calling friends and family I can’t travel to visit, reminding myself that for now, distancing is love and respect. We’ll get through this.

 

Mae Martin Book One #free Aug.-Sept.

The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends push her to explore her unusual talents, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions— access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, nothing can be the same again.

The Mae Martin Series

No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.

Free on all e-book retail sites through September 23.

#Free on Kobo, Nook and iTunes: The Calling by Amber Foxx

Free through the end of September.

 The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends push her to explore her unusual talents, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions— access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, nothing can be the same again.

The Mae Martin Series

No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.
 Kobo    Nook    iTunes Bookstore

March #Sales E-book #Bargains in Mystery, Suspense and Thriller

The following books are bargains right now. Everywhere, not just Amazon. Book title links go to Goodreads for more about the books. Sales links take you Barnes and Noble, Kobo, the iTunes bookstore, and/or Smashwords. Review links go to my reviews on this site. (I didn’t review my own book, of course, so there isn’t one for The Calling. See Goodreads for reviews.)

A-Blind-Eye-Web-MediumMystery mixes with political intrigue for an American in Poland

A Blind Eye by Jane Gorman

review

Sale dates: through end of March

Sale price: 99 cents

Kobo

Nook

iTunes

 

KJTS_Vol1_2500 copyIntense Thrillers

Kate Jones Thrillers Series, Vol. 1 boxed set of the first four novellas by DV Berkom

sale dates: through the end of March

sale price: 99 cents

review of a Kate Jones short (second half of review)

Kobo

Nook

iTunes

Smashwords

 

callingebooknewInnovative twist on the mystery genre: no murder and a touch of the mystical

The Calling by Amber Foxx

Sale dates: through March 26th

Sale price: 99 cents

Kobo

Nook

iTunes

 

FUNDAMENTALERROR 2Suspense with an unforgettable protagonist, introduction to the Amsterdam Assassin Series

Fundamental Error by Martyn V. Halm

Free everywhere all the time

Review

Kobo

Nook

iTunes

 

How I Choose a Good #Indie Book

Never bought an indie book before? Try it. A lot of readers haven’t, but it’s a low-risk adventure. I’ve paid as much $14.99 for a traditionally published e-book that I didn’t like, and I just paid $8.49 for one that’s only 67 pages. (Fortunately, I like it so far.) The most I’ve ever paid for an indie e-book is $4.99 and I’ve liked almost all of them. The only way I take traditional or indie publishing into consideration as a factor in choosing a book is that I love indie prices. Of course, there are a lot of other factors that go into my choice of a book, and this may explain why I’ve had such a satisfying indie reading experience. The following criteria have helped me find some great writers.

  • Have people whose opinion I respect given it good reviews? These might be people I know well on Goodreads, reviewers I follow on Booklikes, or personal friends, but they are all people who care about quality. I found Martyn V. Halm’s compelling Amsterdam Assassin Series this way. I’ve reviewed on one of the short stories in this series on this site, and all the books and singles on both Goodreads and Booklikes.
  • Is the author a member of Sisters in Crime? http://www.sistersincrime.org This has been a 100% reliable way for me to find good mystery authors. (By the way, though Sisters in Crime started as an organization to support women writing in the mystery genre, we have male members.) The organization educates its members with classes and workshops and discussion groups, and local and national chapter meetings. SinC’s “Guppies” group—short for the Great Unpublished—has many published authors who continue their membership because of the support they get and can give to new Guppies. I’ve never read a SinC member’s book that let me down. SinC members whose books I’ve reviewed on this site include J.L. Simpson, DV Berkom, Anna Castle and Diane Vallere. I’m currently half-way through SinC member Lois Winston’s hilariously inventive cozy mystery, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. Even the title made me laugh. Look for a favorable review coming soon.
  • Did the book earn a B.R.A.G. Medallion? This award for the best in indie writing isn’t a contest—it’s an ongoing process. Books submitted to the Book Readers’ Appreciation group are read and evaluated by numerous people, not just one or two judges or critics. I’ve never read a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree book that let me down. DV Berkom’s and Anna Castle’s books mentioned above earned B.R.A.G. medallions. (So did my murder-less mystery Shaman’s Blues, but of course I haven’t reviewed my own work.) If you’ve never read an indie book before and you like #mysteries and thrillers, you could start with one of these books. I think you’ll get your money’s worth—probably more.

Reviews:

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/two-reviews-the-daisy-dunlop-mysteries/

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/review-designer-dirty-laundry-by-diane-vallere/

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/review-murder-by-misrule-by-anna-castle/

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/review-the-body-market/

To find the books not linked to reviews, Shaman’s Blues and Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun (and many more) go to

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/books-by-genre-mystery/

Review: Fundamental Error by Martyn V. Halm

FUNDAMENTALERROR 2

This long short story or short novella is one of the four of its kind that make up the Amsterdam Assassin Series along with three full-length novels. (I’m glad to know that a fourth novel is on the way.) One of the many things I like about this series is that Halm’s style is so unique and his characters so original that I can’t describe his work by referring to other books or authors. The protagonist is a professional assassin—a complex woman, strong and unusually intelligent, with expertise in many areas related to her occupation. In Fundamental Error, Katla’s skills with technology and explosives and her capacity for careful planning, self-control, and observation are central to the plot. There’s a deceptive calm to the narration that somehow raises the tension. The shifts in time and point of view are structured masterfully, shifting back and forth between the minutes before a terrorist’s attempt to blow up an Amsterdam shopping center and the weeks leading up to the attack. The target’s horrific goal makes this story less morally ambiguous than the others. I didn’t feel the “Oh my god, I’m rooting for Katla and she’s an assassin” amazement that has struck me as I got swept up in the novels and the other Killfiles. Not that I mind having that experience. In fact, it’s one of the marvels of this series. Halm somehow makes a woman whose job is unsympathetic—to say the least—into a riveting lead character for a series.

If you’re new to the series, you could start here (free)

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/short-story-singles-and-collections

Or jump in with the first full-length novel in the series, Reprobate, for only 99 cents

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/suspense-and-thriller

You can see my reviews on the Goodreads links for all the other books and Killfiles in the series.