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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Gun Kiss

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen. 

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.

Gun Kiss (Romantic/Men’s Action/Thriller)
By Khaled Talib
Imajin Books
ISBN #978-1772233490
231 Pages
Price $16.99 (Paperback)
Price $5.99 (Kindle)
Rating 4-Stars

“A Fun Story”

The author gave me a copy of the book for an honest review. Blake Deco, is an ex Delta Force member who now owns a small café, Mama Tacos, and also does some side work for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), especially retrieving stolen historical objects. We see him retrieve the gun used by John Wilkes Booth to kill Abe Lincoln at the beginning of the story, then upon return to California he’s contacted by a friend in Mexico with an important message: A recently kidnapped movie star is being held in the compound of a Mexican drug lord. With his partner, Jack Rowan, he drives to Mexico and in a daring night raid rescues Goldie St. Helen; then with the help of the Mexican police they make it back to the U.S. with the actress. But now the drug lord is after him and wants the actress back, plus there may be someone else after him.

The story starts off with some really nice action, but bogs down fairly quick with a lot of dead space and nothing happening. The story didn’t know if it wanted to be a men’s action novel or a lady’s love story. There are plenty of romantic scenes between Blake and Goldie, and some humor as well. In fact, the first quarter of the book gave me the impression that Blake Deco and Jack Royan, were doing a good imitation of Jake Speed and Desmond Floyd. Anyone remember them? A men’s action adventure that made it to film, but never made it to novels that I am aware of. Jake Speed was a parody of the men’s action novels, and this romp reminded me of that parody. The book also needs a good editing. Now don’t get me wrong, the story is fun, and I enjoyed it. I was just expecting a men’s action novel and got a romance novel instead. Heck, I still watch Jake Speed at least once a year. Give GUN KISS a try. I think you’ll like it. I know I did. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Monday, March 19, 2018

Operation Hail Storm

Marshall Hail was a husband, a father, a Physics Nobel prize winner and industrial billionaire. But when Hail's family was killed in a terrorist attack, he became a predator and redirected his vast industrial assets toward one goal, removing every person on the FBI's Top 10 Terrorist list. With the help of his MIT colleagues, Hail designed and built a devastating arsenal of attack drones of all shapes and sizes that are flown by the nation's best young gamers. The world will come to realize that Marshall Hail possesses the capability of getting to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unleashing an operation so disturbing that the CIA has named it Operation Hail Storm.

Operation Hail Storm (Techno Thriller)
By Brett Arquette
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1365452543
354 Pages
Price $17.72 (Paperback)
Price $9.99 (Kindle)
Rating 3-Stars

I was given a free PDF of this book and asked by the author to give an honest review. Billionaire Marshall Hail turns his vast wealth into a means of fighting terrorist after his wife and daughters are killed. Using his many cargo ships as home bases, he turns Hail Nucleus, Hail Atom, Hail Electron, Hail Proton, and other ships into his battle stations. All have a Mission Center and Security Center, as well as living quarters, swimming pools, gyms, and entertainment for his personnel. They fly drones to kill the FBI’s Top 10 Terrorist list.

The novel was intelligently written, and the author appears knowledgeable in drone warfare. Unfortunately, I found the characters unrealistic, and the lack of real action bored me to tears. The techno is present, but the thriller is missing from the book. In the first fifty pages pirates attempt to attack their cargo ship. Hail and team turn this into a party with popcorn. They release several drones to frighten them, but the pirates seem un-phased and fire at the drones. The drones fire back, but in a non-lethal attack. It does force the pirates in the small boat to get some distance from the ship while their larger mother ship, loaded with a .50 caliber machine-gun, takes up the attack. This time Hail brings his super weapon to the forefront and blasts the mother ship after its crew jumps into the water, to be rescued by the men in the smaller boat. We get a page or two of description as the super weapon warms up. We get the impression that the poor pirates have no choice in what they do, and Hail doesn’t really want to harm them. He needs to wake up; the pirates will kill and take boats and cargo from anyone they attack. This is not a very good representation of a men’s action novel. Narrative concerning the drones goes on and on until I wanted to chuck the book.

I begged for something exciting to happen to kill the monotony, and to my relief the author introduced a beautiful femme fatale, a sexy CIA spy after a Russian arms dealer. She arranges a meeting in a hotel bar, and they end up in bed. We don’t see the sex, but instead read pages and pages about how this electronic gizmo works, or how something else works.

I did appreciate the lack of, or heavy use of, profanity and sex. The author does tell a clean story, and that’s appreciated. But I don’t think it does what the reader expects, and that, of course, was to be a true techno thriller. There is just too much detail to electronics, and of this and that, and other non-essential stuff, like how many steps from his room to the Mission Center, etc. There needed to be more tension and action. It does have its good points, and I hope readers will take a chance on it.

Tom Johnson,

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mr. Calamity/The Valley of Eternity

TWO DOC SAVAGE ADVENTURES IN ONE VOLUME! Prospecting in the Wyoming badlands, Patricia Savage spies a man swimming in circles––high in a cloudless sky! After he falls to his death, the dead swimmer is discovered soaked to the skin. Who is he? How did he manage to swim through thin air? These are the questions Pat sets out to answer when her cousin, the famous scientist-adventurer Doc Savage, diagnoses her account as a hallucination caused by altitude sickness. But when the bronze-skinned girl vanishes, the Man of Bronze is forced to take action. A letter from Doc’s long-dead father presents him with a life-changing challenge that brings him to The Valley of Eternity….and the Man of Bronze does the unthinkable: he ditches his loyal aides in favor of his cousin, Patricia––the only one who can help him succeed in the most perilous quest of his entire career.

Mr. Calamity/The Valley of Eternity (Doc Savage)
Wild Adventures of Doc Savage
By Kenneth Robeson (William Patrick Murray)
ISBN #978-1618273185
Price $29.50 (Paperback)
Price $7.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

“Another Exciting Adventure of The Man of Bronze”

In “Mr. Calamity” Long Tom Roberts has inherited a ranch in Wyoming. Not a particularly large one. But it does have a milk cow and some horses, and a crusty old foreman to go with it. Pat Savage learns that there might be gold and jade hidden in the mountains in Wyoming, and decides to become a guest of the Circle Bolt Ranch, even if it does irritate the famous electrical genius. For Long Tom is at the ranch to work on electrical experiments, and doesn’t want to be bothered.

In the meantime, Pat is doing some prospecting when she meets a fellow named Hud who’s on his way to a swimming hole. Later, she sees Hud swimming in circles in the sky, then see’s him fall out of the sky. Discovering his broken body, she rides into town and calls the ranch to get Long Tom as a witness to everything. She has a mystery to solve. Unfortunately, things start happening fast. The body disappears, and Long Tom is almost hanged by men wearing flour sacks over their heads, and Pat encounters a funny little guy who shoots at her with a double-barreled shotgun. When she awakes, her horse has a broken leg and they are high up a mountain where there were no paths for her or the horse.

With all the weirdness, it’s time she called her cousin, Doc Savage to help her solve the mystery. Wow, I don’t know if it’s just that I haven’t read a Doc Savage in a long time, or they are just getting better all the time, but this one captured me from the beginning and wouldn’t let me go.  This is definitely one of my favorites. It has great mystery, good action from start to finish, and great supporting characters, including a couple of cowgirls who sling lead before asking questions.

“The Valley of Eternity” is the second novel in this huge volume. It is definitely different. In fact, I’ve heard from some that they didn’t like this story, but I found it a fun romp, even if it was unlike most Doc Savage adventures. Doc receives a letter from his father long after his death, telling his son that he needs to marry and sire a son to carry the Savage name forward. This throws Doc for a loop, and he starts dating, which causes riots and legal problems, then he gives his detective a list of names of women he’s known in the past that might be suitable mates. While this is going on he receives word from the Valley of The Vanished that the last shipment of gold is on the way, and there will be no more to help him in his battle to save the world from evil. This requires a quick trip to see what’s what, and he takes Pat with him, after all there is lovely Monja waiting for him in the Valley of the Vanished. And Pat is going to play matchmaker.  The hi-jinx of the situation is what this story is about. No great adventure, but I think Doc fans will enjoy it. I know I did. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Year of Shadows

After a plane crash in Northern Korea, Anton Chadeaux was paralyzed and left for dead. Found by monks from the hidden Wei Monastery, he was nursed back to health and learned to focus his mind with the ancient art of Sulsa Do. After five years he is reforged to be a master of the ancient art giving him abilities beyond the common man. He leaves those remote Korean mountains a new, better, stronger man, a man with a purpose; to help the helpless and be the last hope of the hopeless. Thus is born the granite man, the grey wolf of justice that the world comes to know as the archenemy of evil - Dr. Shadows! In five pulse pounding pulp style adventure set in the turbulent 1930s, Dr. Shadows faces off against murderers, ancient curses, Japanese spies, voodoo masters and a curvaceous killer out of his own past that just might be too much for even the granite man to survive!

Year of Shadows (New Pulp Fiction)
By Teel James Glenn
Pro Se Press
ISBN #978-1985201750
Price $15.00 (Paperback)
Price $3.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

“New Pulp At Its Best”

This book contains five new stories featuring Dr. Shadows – The Granite Man: THE EYE OF DARKNESS; A PERSONAL DEMON; FORBIDDEN CITY BLUES; GRAVE MISTAKE; and ISLE MACABRE.
            The Eye of Darkness begins in Hong Kong in 1938. Anton Chadeaux is trailing a master criminal, and when one of the members of the Gordon Archeological Expedition is killed mysteriously, which follows the previous murders he is investigating, it alerts Dr. Shadows to the case. The members are leaving for San Francisco and Dr. Shadows is among them when the Empress of Japan debarks. He knows the killer is also on board, and he plans on solving the case en route.
            A Personal Demon brings Anton’s college sweetheart, Akemi Oyami back on the scene. She and her brother, yakuza boss, Ratsudo Oyami come to Slugger’s club just as Dr. Shadows receives a warning that someone wants him killed.
            Forbidden City Blues: Dr. Shadows, Slugger, and Ki Nam Hoon are in San Francisco to meet with Han “Hank” Ku Lee, who is helping local Chinese find their families back in China. But someone is working a scam to bilk more money from the Chinese trying to get their families to the U.S. Dr. Shadows interferes with hoodlums trying to stop a young Chinese girl from reaching the Granite Man.
            Grave Mistake: Prisoners escape from Sing Sing and happen to stop at a small country café where Anton is visiting with old friends from the Caribbean. The owner of the café is a voodoo priestess. They are taken hostage, with Dr. Shadows wounded, and placed in a locked room. But now the gang must fear the night and voodoo monsters.
            Isle Macabre: When zombies attack and kill people in La Plata, Missouri, a clue leads investigators to the Caribbean. The Secret Service asks Dr. Shadows to look into that angle for them, and he returns to stay with his Caribbean friends from the previous story, Grave Mistake, and finds more evil, including voodoo and European foreigners who wants the voodoo drug.
            These stories were a lot of fun, and the author created good plots, memorable characters, and fast action. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson