"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

No Way Back: A Novel by Andrew Gross

Not Up To The Standard Set By His Other Books

Published by William Morrow in April of 2013

This is my fifth Andrew Gross novel. Unlike in his other novels, the characters in No Way Back failed to connect with me. The hallmarks of an Andrew Gross novel are all present here: an easy writing style, a quick-moving plot and some sort of shocking event that causes the main characters' lives to spin out of control. But, unlike the other books, I found myself to be lukewarm to all of the "good guys" and the sinister plot that held the bad guys together to be forced.

In No Way Back the reader meets Wendy Gould, a married suburbanite who almost has a one night stand with a handsome  piano player after she has had a horrible fight with her husband. She stops it before they progress to the actual deed and while she is in the bathroom re-arranging her clothes a stranger enters the room, argues with the piano player, tosses a gun to him and then kills him. Wendy steps out, picks up the gun  and then kills the attacker. Then she flees and is framed for both murders.

As the bodies start to pile up, Wendy digs into her case and discovers connections that lead her to a Mexican nanny with a dangerous past.

Nothing about this book was particularly bad, but nothing was particularly great either. The plot moves forwards at a relentless pace, but it is sometimes unclear as to the why and how of how it all comes together. The characters are interesting people but there is nothing there that makes the reader really want to connect to Wendy or to the nanny, Lauritzia Valdez. I read to the end to see how the story ended up but not to see what happened to the characters themselves.

Pet peeves:
#1) the Spanish is atrocious, and this is a recurring problem in Andrew Gross books. I like the fact that he tries to offer some Spanish to lend some authenticity. But, all pretense of authenticity is destroyed when the Spanish is this bad. There are literally millions of native Spanish speakers in this country - please vet your Spanish with any one of them before you publish it.

#2) There is no GMC Explorer. The Explorer has been manufactured by Ford since 1990 and was never ever manufactured by GMC since it is a completely different corporation.

#3) the AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, not a submachine gun. A submachine gun is a completely automatic weapon (hold down the trigger and it keeps shooting) that is the size of a large pistol (or a little bigger). Think Uzi. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic (you have to pull the trigger every time you shoot) rifle (long gun).

So, in the end the book is 3 out of 5 stars because the characters failed to resonate with me and the plot comes together so suddenly that it isn't remotely plausible. Good beach reading but I suggest any of these other Andrew Gross books instead: Click here.

Reviewed on April 27, 2013.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com here: No Way Back.

I received this book from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Titanium Rain, Volume One (audiobook) by Josh Finney

Great Near-Future Sci-Fi Military Action!

Published by The AudioComics Company in 2012.
Multicast performance
Duration: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Titanium Rain is a near future military adventure story about a group of physically enhanced American and British fighter pilots and their missions against an Imperial Chinese government over mainland China. This AudioComics production of Titanium Rain is an adaptation of the 2010 publication of volume 1 of a graphic novel series of the same name by Josh Finney. Finney adapted the graphic novel for this multicast performance done in the style of the old-time radio show, complete with multiple actors, top-notch special effects and a soundtrack especially written for this production.

The listener discovers that China has suffered a military coup thanks to their Communist leader being killed by an Islamic terrorist. The general who took over China has proclaimed himself to be a new Emperor, has started a de-Westernization of China campaign and sneak-attacked several ships in a Japanese harbor with a submarine. This starts World War III.

America is winning the war but it has come at a terrible cost when it comes to pilots. Quite simply, America is losing pilots for its new ultra-high tech planes faster than they can replace them. So, the American government has come up with a plan called the Phoenix Squadron. They recruit pilots who almost qualified to fly these planes and give them an injection of nanobots that rewire their nervous systems and make them physically and mentally tougher. They go from being “wash outs” to being the best of the best.

The audiobook bounces back and forth from military action to interactions among the pilots on the airbase. Both are very well done and a nice ensemble feel develops. The action is especially gripping and Finney is not averse to killing off characters, which keeps the drama heightened. This is war, after all and people die.

Be warned, Titanium Rain is an audiobook about war and there is a lot of explicit language.

This enjoyable first installment is a strong foundation for what is intended to be a series of stories about the Phoenix Squadron. 

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Titanium Rain, Episode One (Dramatized)

Reviewed on April 20, 2013

Note: I received a copy of this audiobook without charge from the publisher as a part of the Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program in exchange for an honest review. I honestly thought it was very good.

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War (audiobook) by Daniel Stashower

Published by Macmillan Audio in 2013.
Read by Edoardo Ballerini
Duration: 13 hours, 45 minutes

A photo of Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884)
taken circa 1861.
Most history books mention the plot to kill Lincoln as he was travelling to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration in February of 1861 with just a sentence or two, if they mention it at all. This is unfortunate because a more in-depth look like this book provides can give the reader a real feel for the fluidity of the situation when Lincoln took office.

Daniel Stashower's The Hour of Peril begins with a solid biography of Pinkerton's life (about 2 hours or so) that may just be the most interesting part of the book. The book eventually moves into a discussion of the Presidential election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis that Lincoln faced as President-elect, including the danger that both Maryland and Virginia would secede and leave the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. to be surrounded by two Confederate states.

On top of that, Lincoln almost had to travel through Baltimore to get to Washington, D.C. and he would have to switch trains and travel through downtown Baltimore on foot or in a carriage. That would leave Lincoln exposed to various groups of "plug-uglies" that had sworn oaths to kill him before he could be sworn in as President.

Various groups had heard of these plots, including the military, various Congressional committees and a railroad man who asked Pinkerton to send some detectives in to infiltrate these groups. Strangely, the New York City Police Department under a man named John Kennedy also sent men to investigate and they also found plenty of evidence that organized groups of men were out to assassinate Lincoln while he traveled through Baltimore.

While the background information was told quite well, the book bogs down as the story nears the date of Lincoln's trip through Baltimore. It is hard to maintain any sense of tension since the reader/listener knows all to well that Lincoln did not die in Baltimore in 1861. The book slowed down to a crawl as the minute details of a midnight train ride are doled out. Edoardo Ballerni's soothing voice, while perfect for catching Lincoln's wry sense of humor throughout most of the book, did little to enliven the second half of the book with its density of details.

Despite the slow ending, the first half of the book was so well-told and so interesting that I am still giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The audiobook includes an interview with the author at the end of the that is essentially a twenty minute re-hash of the early biography of Pinkerton and a summary of the plot(s) to kill Lincoln. Sadly, it offers little or nothing new to the listener except the opportunity to hear the enthusiasm that Stashower has for his subject.

Reviewed on April 20, 2013.

Note: I received this audiobook from the publisher at no cost to me as part of the Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer program  in exchange for an honest review.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: The Hour of Peril.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Breaking Point (Joe Pickett #13) by C. J. Box

Inspired by a true case of abuse of power by the EPA

Published March 12, 2013 by Putnam

I really enjoy C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series but I freely admit that I, sadly, just sort of forget about these great books. There's no reason for that because this series is every bit as good as the ones I never forget about (Michael Connelly and Robert Crais) but I just do.

Breaking Point is an excellent addition to the series. The book features a local landowner and his family who are told by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they need to stop construction on their property in a subdivision at the edge of Saddlestring, Wyoming because it is a "wetland" even though there is no water and no spring on it. They are given a few days to return the property to its pre-construction condition or face stiff fines ($70,000 per day). The property owners are given no way to appeal the decision and no one will discuss the problem with them from the EPA.

When the family resumes construction two armed EPA agents arrive to issue a cease and desist order and are killed and buried. The father of the family is on the run and only Joe Pickett can track him down. But, he finds these government agents hard to stomach and is not real sure that the man he is tracking wasn't provoked by his own government.

Throughout the book there is a consistent theme of excessive government regulation (federal, state and local) and the bureaucrats that enforce them not even bothering themselves to see the effects of their rulings. There are a lot of comments about not caring about the people involved because moving the paperwork is more important and the dangers of government workers getting too close to the people around them and how it can be difficult to enforce regulations if they "go native" rather than valuing the idea of getting to know the people they are regulating.

The inspiration for this story is the Supreme Court case Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency - a case that did not lead to violence but did involve an incontestable ruling that a piece of property in a subdivision was actually wetland, despite the lack of water. Click here for more information on that case.

The novel moves along at a breakneck pace and is one of the best novels I have read this year.

Note: I was sent a pre-publication copy of this book by the publisher as a part of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Breaking Point by C.J. Box.

Reviewed on April 17, 2013.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Stationary Bike (audiobook) by Stephen King

Published by Simon and Schuster Audio in 2006
Read by Ron McClarty
Stephen King
Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

I am not sure who the person was at Simon and Schuster Audio that decided to record Stephen King's short stories as separately packaged stories, but I think it was a stroke of brilliance. I am leery of listening to a 30-40 hour audiobook for a taste of King's special brand and I am equally leery of a short story collection - I get tired of mentally shifting gears so often.

In this short story, Richard Sifkitz is an overweight graphic artist (he specializes in book covers and advertisements) who was told by his doctor that he needs to lose a little weight and eat better because his cholesterol is too high. The doctor compares his cardiovascular system to a road maintenance crew and says that Sifkitz is working his crew to death and soon enough it will start to fail.

Sifkitz resolves to work out and buys a stationary bike. He paints a simple painting of a landscape on the wall as well. Soon enough, he begins to fall into some sort of trance as he rides and it seems like he is actually riding into the landscape he has painted - and what he finds there is a definite surprise! Note that this is not a "horror story" so much as it is a story with a twist, much like The Twilight Zone.

Stationary Bike was read by veteran reader Ron McClarty who covered all of the characters well and helped to make this an enjoyable audiobook experience, despite its short length. His conversational reading style reinforced the idea that Sifkitz is just a regular guy with an extraordinary story.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Stationary Bike

Reviewed on April 12, 2013.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Civil War (Marvel Comics) (audiobook) by Stuart Moore

Adapted from the graphic novel series by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
Published by GraphicAudio in 2013
Multi-cast performance
Duration: Approximately 6 hours.

NOTE: This review was written before the Marvel Studios movie of the same name was released. Clearly, this comic series inspired the movie. For me, this novelization is superior to the movie.

At the start of this review I want you to know that I am a fan of comics, but not a fanboy (and I use that term with affection since I am a fanboy of other things, just not superheroes). I watch most of the movies, read a few graphic novel collections from time to time that are several years old that I find in my local (and excellent) public library. I talk comics with a friend of mine who is a serious fan, but I am not. I have never been to a comic book store. I have no t-shirts with superhero logos. The only superhero movie I own is the Adam West Batman movie.

However, I am a huge fan of the work that GraphicAudio has done over the years with its adaptations of DC Comics graphic novels. They promise “A movie in your mind” and they have never failed to produce high quality audio dramas that sound like old-fashioned radio plays with better sound effects, special music and usually more than twenty actors plus a narrator. The fight scenes are amazing, the sound effects are always top notch.

Two or three years ago, I was asked on a message board if GraphicAudio ever performed anything by Marvel Comics. I confidently said that they did not and probably never would because DC and Marvel are like Pepsi and Coke – forever in conflict. I assumed Marvel would eventually decide to go with another publisher and that was that. Boy, am I glad that I was wrong. Marvel and GraphicAudio working together means that there will be twice the opportunities to let GraphicAudio do what they best with the very best superhero stories, especially if their first one, Civil War, is any indication of what is to come.

Marvel’s Civil War is a “reboot” of the Marvel universe. It is not a fundamental change like the Star Trek re-boot that came with the last movie. Spider-man is still Spider-man and Iron Man still flies around and tries to control everything through Stark Industries. But, some minor characters were literally killed. Groups like S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers are forever changed as well.

Since I am not a fanboy (once again, said with affection) in my mind I placed this audiobook a year or two after the events in the movie The Avengers just to make the story work for me. There have been some developments, though. The Hulk has disappeared. Nick Fury and Thor are dead and no one knows for sure how or where they died. Spiderman has just been convinced by Tony Stark to join the Avengers. Spiderman is also getting an Iron Man type suit that works with his abilities free and clear from Tony Stark.

This audiobook is a dramatization of the 2012 novelization of the rather extensive comic book series that made up the Marvel Comics Civil War. There are some substantial differences between the two story lines.

The story begins with a group of young superheroes called the New Warriors tracking down a group of supervillains in Stamford, Connecticut. They attempt to apprehend the villains and during the fight one of the villains causes himself to explode rather than be captured (the bad guys appear to have been using illegal drugs just before the fight so this is a serious case of impaired judgment). The explosion is massive and kills more than 700 people and causes a massive public outcry against untrained, irresponsible masked vigilantes who cause more damage than the outlaws they apprehend.

Within days the federal government has responded with sweeping legislation (negotiated with the help of Tony Stark) that requires all “meta-humans” be registered, unmasked, trained and licensed by the federal government and become federal employees and serve in a federally regulated superhero team working through S.H.I.E.L.D. Each team will be assigned to a state. Meta-humans who fail to comply will be hunted down, arrested and incarcerated in a special prison without any sort of trial. They will be released only if they decided to comply.

This is not a new idea in superhero stories. D.C. Comic’s The Dark Knight deals with a government that has had enough of superhero vigilantes as does Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles but Civil War creates its own distinct look at this concept.

Spider-man comes out of the shadows and becomes the symbol of this new movement when he unmasks himself during a Tony Stark press conference. Soon, his life is a disaster as old enemies and the press harass him at home and he loses his job once his newspaper figures out he was faking his Spiderman stories and pictures for all of those years.

Captain America decides that this new policy reminds him of the World War II era Japanese internment camps and there are some similarities. Imprisonment based on who you are, not what you have done. Young Japanese men could not leave the camps unless they agreed to fight for America in the army in Europe. Imprisoned superheroes cannot leave prison unless they agree to serve the federal government as meta-human police. Captain America becomes the leader of those that refuse to register, Tony Stark/Iron Man is the leader of the group that complies and a war of words quickly becomes a super-sized fight and not everyone survives.

Spider-man serves as the symbolic fulcrum of the argument, swinging back and forth between the two until he finally makes a decision.

One of the best things about science fiction is its ability to take a current event topic and turn it on its head and still be able to continue the discussion. In this case, this book discusses a number of issues, including:

-Group safety vs. individual freedom and another person’s rights;

-Negotiating away your rights in exchange for safety;


-The coerced use of behavior-modification techniques;

-How far can corporate information gathering go?;

-Combined corporate/government power vs. the rights of the individual;

-Do you support America because it is your home or because it protects your rights?

The conflict between Tony Stark and Captain America continues until it gets to the requisite climactic fight scene (this is a superhero story, after all). Personally, I loved this story until the clunky ending where one side cedes to the other. It was all rather anti-climactic compared to the build-up and it just did not work very well when compared to the rhetoric and drama that filled the rest of the story.

If Marvel was looking to re-boot their universe this book does that in a way that seems rather natural. No time traveling enemies destroying worlds or killing a superhero’s parents. In this case, the politics of being a superhero gets in the way and changes everything.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Civil War Prose (audiobook)

Note: I was sent this audiobook by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as part of Audiobook Jukebox's Solid Gold Reviewer program. Yes, I truly did like this audiobook. I liked it a lot.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America by Scott Weidensaul

Published in 2012 by Houghton Miffllin Harcourt Publishing Company

I have had Scott Weidensaul's The First Frontier for longer than a year, buried in my legendary pile of books (actually, I am more organized than that, they are all in 4 milk crates) but when I heard an interview with Wiedensaul on the John Batchelor radio show I was reminded to dig it out.

Weidensaul is to be commended for a very thorough job of researching the history of the relationship between the natives and the European colonists. The records are scant, the spelling is haphazard and so much of it is buried in myth and politics.

He starts with the disposition of the American Indian population prior to the arrival of Europeans. The limited history of pre-Colombian contact is discussed (with the Vikings and various fishing fleets) and the discussion of the similarities of differences of the various American Indians arrayed along the Atlantic coastline is quite interesting.

But, as Weidensaul's narrative continues and the colonies become established the book becomes quite repetitive and I found that I had to force myself to plow through what seemed to be an endless list of atrocities from both sides up and down the coast from Maine to Connecticut. There would be a misunderstanding, one side would strike back with violence, the other would escalate and then the European colonists would obliterate a native village, burn their corn and then there would be quotes with atrocious spelling and then it would start again in a new village.

Hannah Duston/Dustin statue in Haverhill, Massachusetts 
Now, please understand what I am saying. First, what am I not saying? I am not saying that these struggles were unimportant or that these deaths were not tragic. I am not saying that this history is unimportant or that these people do not count. I am saying that the way this was presented made the whole thing a blur of violence and misunderstanding with precious little analysis. Rather than tell every sad story (with its related  quotes and back stories) up and down the New England coast for nearly one hundred dreary pages these could have been summarized with the highlights being told (the exception in those stories was the extraordinary and gruesome tale of Hannah Dunston/Dunstin and her retribution against the group that kidnapped her and killed her baby - she killed and scalped them all so that she could turn in the scalps for the reward. Weidensaul's discussion of Duston/Dustin and what she has meant and what she means now is quite good.).

The section on the Carolinas was better as it was told as more of a cohesive narrative but the section that ended the book with the beginnings of the occupation of western Pennsylvania was too long for a re-hash of the trends that had been happening since the early 1600s. I think the focus of the book was too much on catching all of the individual events and less on catching the trends and making the story something that was more friendly to the reader. This reader, who loves history, teaches history and talks about history all of the time found this book to be a well-researched but not very well-written. It was something that I had to slog through, which is too bad.

I received this book from the publisher at no charge through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

I rate this book 2 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon here: The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America.

However, I do recommend this book instead: Struggle for a Continent: The Wars of Early America

Reviewed on April 4, 2013.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Mother's Secret by J.L. Witterick

Published in 2013 by iUniverse

J.L. Witterick's My Mother's Secret is the true tale of Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter Helena who are  native Poles trying to survive the German occupation of their country. They speak German since Franciszka was married to a German (the father of Helena) but she left him to return to Poland before the war. Helena works in a German factory and is dating the manager, the son of the owner. She and her mother are somehow scraping by even though the war is a daily reality for them and German soldiers have been known to park their vehicles right next to their house and officers have even come over for dinner. Oh, and they are also hiding two Jewish families and a German soldier who refuses to fight, keeping them all fed and unaware of each other.
German soldiers in a Polish village in 1942 or 1943

Witterick tells this story in a spare writing style that emphasizes the matter-of-fact way that these two ladies took in families that needed help with little discussion. People came to them needing help and they helped them. That's it. It is sad that this is remarkable in this world, but it is.

This story reminded me of the famed Levi Coffin who helped between 2,000 and 3,000 slaves escape along the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. I have visited his home in Newport, Indiana and he was always worrying about how to hide the extra food and water that extra mouths consume. I cannot imagine how hard it was to hide this extra consumption (not to mention dealing with the bodily waste) on a daily basis. Levi Coffin said when he was asked why he did what he did: "
I thought it was always safe to do right." I am sure these ladies never heard of Levi Coffin or of the Underground Railroad, but they were of that same admirable mindset.

I would recommend this book for grades 5 and above. The reading level is not too high and the horrors of the Holocaust are not listed in gruesome detail so as to bother younger readers.

See the author's website by clicking here.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5. 

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story

Reviewed on April 3, 2013.

Streets of Fire (audiobook) by Thomas H. Cook

"That's the trouble with a situation like this - you just don't know who is who."

Published by Highbridge Audio in 2012
Read by Ray Chase
Duration: 11 hours, 35 minutes

Thomas H. Cook's Streets of Fire is set in Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 1963 during Martin Luther King's famed "Birmingham Campaign" that featured the Children's March, "Bull" Connor, boycotts and fire hoses being turned on demonstrators.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. 
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, 
Prints and Photographs Division, AL-898-5
Sergeant Ben Wellman is called away from taking detailed notes on Martin Luther King's speeches at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (one of many policemen that were used as spies who filled notebooks and turned them in to their superiors) to investigate a dead body found in a shallow grave in an abandoned ball field in Bearmatch, a black neighborhood. Generally, the all white Birmingham police department didn't do much investigating into murders in this working class Black neighborhood - they are logged and if it is not solved with minimal investigation, it is left to the people of Bearmatch to mete out justice if they can.

But, Wellman is touched by this case. A 12 year old girl in a simple dress was raped and killed and buried in the middle of a neighborhood and no one noticed because so many people were involved in the protests. Wellman digs into this case and also into the racial divisions of Birmingham. As he investigates he also discovers deep fissures in white and black society - neither are monolithic and the protests are causing both societies to split apart.

The Birmingham police department is also splitting under the pressure. Some cops are true racists, some are just following orders and some are quietly on the side of the protesters and wondering and how they should proceed. As the book proceeds, Wellman moves from being a simple order follower to being solidly on the side of the protesters.

This is a great police procedural. Sometimes it is a buddy book, sometimes it is one man against the system, sometimes it is just a look at the tragedy that racial hate has wrought on American society. The back story of the protests adds a great deal of depth and urgency to the story. Be prepared, the history is not one hundred percent correct, but I suggest that the changes are minimal enough to make the story to work (changed for dramatic effect as they say in the movies).

The only complaint I have is the large number of characters. Ray Chase, the reader, does a tremendous job of creating separate voices for all of them (his reading is actually quite remarkable and I heartily recommend the audio version). However, there are so many characters that are so integral to the story that they just sort of flow into one another one after a while, especially when it comes to the police detectives. It makes sense that there would be so many police in the department, but to make so many of them characters makes it a bit complicated.

A bit complicated but very much worth it.

This audiobook was provided to me at no charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer program.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Streets of Fire can be found on Amazon.com here.

Reviewed on April 3, 2013.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Riders of Judgment (Danny Duggin #3) by Ralph Compton

Unique twist on the traditional Western but fails to deliver

Originally published in 2001.

Riders of Judgment is the third in the "Danny Duggin" series. The first two book are Death Rides a Chestnut Mare and the second is The Shadow of a Noose. The trilogy is about Danielle Duggin, the crack shot daughter of a master gunsmith who was gunned down by a ruthless gang led by Saul Delmano, the rich and spoiled son of a man who has led his own gang for decades.

Danielle transforms into "Danny" and starts to hunt down the 10 men in the gang that killed her father. She has a list of names and is slowly working her way through it, marking them off as she kills them. She is joined by her twin brothers in her second book. In the third book they are down to one last name: Saul Delmano.

Saul Delmano is hiding in Mexico, protected by the government of Mexico because Delmano's father rules the valley he lives in and polices it and shares some of the spoils with corrupt officials. Delmano's father has put a $2,000 bounty on Danny Duggins head and every crooked bounty hunter and gang leader between Duggin and Mexico is looking to collect.

While I do give Compton credit for a unique twist on the traditional western, I found this book to be rather scattered with lots of random plot changes and new characters  that did little to move the story along and just padded the book. The romance that blossoms is very forced but the look at what this long crusade to avenge her father has done to "Danny" was interesting but, sadly, under-explored.

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Riders of Judgment

Reviewed on April 1, 2013.