The Fix

The Fix

The Fix by David Baldacci (Thriller)

If one reads enough thrillers, the themes become familiar: espionage, terrorism, governmental corruption, Russian mafia, special forces, stolen secrets, and so on. What differentiates these stories are the details and how the imminent threat to national security will be resolved. What also differentiates them is the main characters, the players who will solve the crime, stop the destruction, and foil the evil-doers. Character development—creating someone we feel we know and whose success we care about—becomes paramount if a story is going to keep us invested in the outcome.

In The Fix, David Baldacci gives us Amos Decker, a former football player with a tragic family history and a brain damaged by a sports injury that ended his career. As a result of the brain injury, he has a photographic memory and the ability to see auras, including colors that portend death, and he has lost his social skills. He’s great at parsing the details and seeing what others don’t see, but he’s a challenge to work with and pretty hopeless at establishing relationships. His female partner, FBI agent Alex Jamison, is a former reporter who sometimes has second thoughts about her career change and obviously has feelings for Decker, even though he frustrates the heck out of her. Together they provide the right mix of skill and vulnerability, and when we add in DIA agent Harper Brown—an amazing woman in her own right—and a cast of suspects that keep us guessing as to who did what and why, we have a book that’s hard to put down.

Baldacci is a prolific and accomplished author whose pacing, details, and storyline kept me absorbed from beginning to end. The Fix is the third book in the Amos Decker series, and having read it, I now want to go back and read the first two, Memory Man and The Guilty.

Grandma gives The Fix five stars. 5 stars


Oath of Honor


Oath of Honor by Matthew Betley (Thriller)

This page-turner kept me reading into the night, and the action never stopped. Anyone who enjoys thrillers with lots of involvement by covert government agencies and special ops forces will find this a satisfying read full of all the requisite suspense, anti-American global conspirators, highly trained specialists, and a traitor somewhere in the upper echelons of the U.S. government.

The main characters, former Marines Logan West and John Quick, are wise-cracking, close-as-can-be brothers in arms who now work as members of an FBI special task force. They are likeable, far-from-perfect individuals whose skills and dedication are put to the test as they search for stolen technology that has the potential to start a war between the U.S. and China. In addition to following the action through them, we also enter the worlds and minds of the co-conspirators from Sudan and China who are racing to put their stolen technology to use. And we meet other highly skilled special ops personnel, including the amazing and enigmatic Amira, who adds her own female awesomeness to the action. We also get a glimpse of the good-natured competitiveness between agencies and branches of the armed forces while they cover each other’s backs without compromise.

Oath of Honor is the second book in The Logan West Thrillers series that began with Overwatch. Author Matthew Betley is a former Marine with a high level of experience in the areas about which he writes and is also a recovering alcoholic, a trait he has given Logan West as part of his personal struggles. The result is a book that grabs the reader from the action-packed first chapter and just keeps on going to the ready-for-more conclusion.

Grandma gives Oath of Honor five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Traitor’s Story

The Traitor's Story

The Traitor’s Story by Kevin Wignall (Thriller/Suspense/Espionage)

If you like complex spy stories with lots of international intrigue, this book is for you. Finn Harrington is a former spy who’s been trying to go straight after making some spectacular mistakes in his espionage career and his personal life. But when a fifteen-year-old neighbor girl goes missing, her parents come to him for help, and he’s drawn back into the world of intrigue and violence that he thinks he has escaped. He soon discovers that her disappearance is linked to his tragic past, and he has never really made it out of that world. Now he must find and put an end to former enemies who would make him pay for his mistakes, or he — and those he cares about — will never be safe.

I chose this book because I had read Kevin Wignall’s A Death in Sweden and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found this book a little less satisfying and a little more confusing, but an interesting read, nonetheless. I didn’t always understand what was happening or why, but I knew that in the end it would all make sense, which it did. It’s not exactly the kind of book you can put down for any length of time and come back to easily because of the complexity of the story. Present-day events are related to Finn’s espionage history, requiring frequent trips into backstory, and sometimes, upon returning to the book, I had to reread a former chapter in order to remember where I was and who was who.

Wignall is a good writer whose books provide a glimpse of life in Switzerland, Sweden, and other parts of northern Europe. His characters are culpable, vulnerable people struggling to change against difficult odds, and I cared about what happened to them. That said, I now find myself looking forward to reading something a little less complex.

Grandma gives The Traitor’s Story four stars. 4 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of The Traitor’s Story from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.