Blood Gold in the Congo by Peter Ralph
When Joseph Muamba, the eldest of nine children, was “sold” by his Congolese parents, as an adolescent, to an American couple looking to adopt, nobody understood the impact this young man would have, one day, on the strife-torn, poverty-stricken, African nation. Blood Gold in the Congo by Peter Ralph, sees Joseph initially struggling to adapt to life in the US, until the young man discovers he has a natural talent for all sports and after being convinced he was perfectly suited for the Decathlon, Joseph aims for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. To everyone’s surprise Joseph is determined to compete for the country of his birth, rather than his adopted country and he returns the first Olympic Medal and a Gold Medal, to boot, for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A national hero, Joseph sees his new status as an opportunity to work for the empowerment of his poor, downtrodden, Congolese people, in this mineral-rich country. Rich, powerful, and corrupt businessmen and politicians all want Joseph to work for their interests, to secure their wealth and power in the Congo, but Joseph feels he is pulled by a greater destiny to restore dignity and fairness to a country wracked by civil-war and a brutal, murderous regime.
Author Peter Ralph was inspired by true events in the Congo to pen his novel, Blood Gold in the Congo and his rendition of this tale is truly wonderful. From the very first pages the reader is drawn into and rooting for this little boy, uprooted from his family and everything he knows, to be transplanted into an alien setting, albeit a very gilded one, in the United States. The story is an action/adventure worthy of “Boys Own” magazine and yet also has great undercurrents of social comment and extremely relevant issues of corruption of power that are well worth discussing and re-reading. I enjoyed this book immensely and found the authors style easy and captivating. The secondary characters are developed and imbued with realism, equally as well as Joseph Muamba was, especially his two boyhood friends, Maya and Yannick. Probably the saddest thing about this story is that it could have been written and equally applicable to almost all of the colonised African nations of the late twentieth century. The powers that ruled Africa for over a Century inevitably left behind a legacy of corruption, violence and a power vacuum that would spur racial, ethnic and clan war for decades after their departure. The recent revelations by CNN of child labour exploitation in Cobalt mining in the Congo, merely confirms the premise Ralph used for the basis of this novel. This is an outstanding read and simply a wonderful action/adventure story.
The Cartel Crusher by Dan E Hendrickson
Marnia Gonzalez, is the daughter of the ex-President of Mexico. After she is kidnapped and brutally assaulted by Cartel criminals and rescued by the legendary Hero of Cozumel, Commander Jacob Edwards of the U.S, Coast Guard, Marnia makes a decision that will change her life and those of all the people she loves. In The Cartel Crusher by Dan E Hendrickson, Marnia eschews her pampered and privileged lifestyle to serve in the Mexican military and to risk her life chasing down and destroying the criminal cartels that ruin the lives of everyday Mexicans and have their tentacles in every level of Mexican society. Marnia joins the Anti-Cartel Task Force and is soon recognised for her intelligence and her ability to defeat the most cunning of Cartel leaders. The beautiful, yet deadly, Marnia is the number one target of the criminals at home in Mexico, but even more so by the absolute elite of criminals who form part of a Secret Society that rules the world. Her life, her family’s life is in danger, but she is determined to end the cartels’ relentless power and hold over her people.
One of the real pleasures of being an “Indie” book reviewer is being able to watch new and exciting authors emerge and develop, as they hone their craft and tighten their narratives. The Cartel Crusher by Dan E Hendrickson is the second book in this series and having read the first effort, I am thrilled and stunned by the development of this author over the two books. This book is an out and out thriller, with a touch of sweet romance thrown into the mix. I found it “un-put-downable” and read it in virtually a single sitting. Many of the characters I met in the first book, reappear, albeit briefly, in this story, but it stands perfectly well as a stand-alone novel in its own right. The author does a magnificent job at refreshing the backstory for those of us who read the first book and introducing it to new readers. The author’s sentence structure and plot coherency have improved markedly between books and he deserves real credit for this. This second book left me intrigued and dying to know where the series will lead us in the third book of the trilogy. If you love action/adventure with real-life relevance then you will love The Cartel Crusher – I certainly did.
Tears of Fire by Gordon Bickerstaff
As a big Bickerstaff fan, I was excited to see his latest iteration of the Lambeth Group adventures was available. Tears of Fire continues the tradition of this series, with action-packed excitement from go to woah.
This book features the two main characters that fans of the series have come to know and love; Biochemist Professor Gavin Shawlens and Special Forces Soldier Zoe Tamsin. These two characters have become an endearing feature of this series and as each book passes, we grow fonder and fonder of them and their "odd-ball" relationship.
In Tears of Fire, Zoe has been sentenced to death by her Government for the murder of three members of the aristocratic Silsden family, who she had stopped in their nefarious plot to change the world forever. Faced with execution, Zoe knows she must go "dark" and seeks help from her CIA colleagues from across the pond. When Gavin becomes involved in an investigation linked to Insurance Fraud, Zoe realises the dangers he is in and is torn between her care and love for Gavin and her need to stay hidden from potential assassins.
as always this book is non-stop action, with plenty of plot twists and clever mechanisms to introduce new under-plots to the original story. Bickerstaff writes out and out thrillers and does it to an incredibly high level. Amongst the Indie Thriller authors I have read, Gordon Bickerstaff stands near the top of the tree.
Tears of Fire is a riveting read and one I cannot recommend highly enough.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME