This is the second of a book series featuring Joe Ledger, a larger-than-life hero with amazing fighting skills. We are introduced to Ledger in Patient Zero, an action-packed thriller that hooked me to read more of the Ledger series. Although The Dragon Factory is only the second book I’ve read, I can see that the others will be just as fun because Ledger is a member of the “Department of Military Sciences,” a deep underground organization secretly sanctioned by the President of the United States. Ledger’s assignments basically result in saving us all from global destruction. What makes the series interesting are the kinds of evil created by misdirected geniuses. The Dragon Factory is about exotic transgenic monsters and cloning and the potential extinction of ethnic diversity.
I will update the Ledger book list below as I continue reading the series in the order written.
[Side note: My addiction to reading has intensified lately relative to writing and blogging. In time, I will get back to writing. . . I may sneak in a few posts here and there. . . but please keep checking in and reading prior content.]
The Dragon Factory
This is the second of a book series about an emotionally damaged savant, Dante Torre, who is unlike any other hero. The first book, Kill the Father, is when we are introduced to Dante, who as a child was abducted and spent much of his years growing up isolated in a silo. While there, he developed his skills and sharpened his senses, as means to survive and eventually escape. The second book has an antagonist whose years from birth to puberty resemble Dante’s early isolation. Unlike Dante’s, the antagonist’s fate takes an evil turn that results in multiple tragic events. Through Deputy Police Chief Colomba Caselli, a traumatized law enforcer who experienced her own share of violence earlier on, Dante finds himself once again helping solve a crime that begins with a train full of dead bodies. Set in Europe, the story is full of fascinating characters and twists that make you want to skip sleeping.
The list below is in the order I’ve read Dazieri’s books. Expect this to grow as I enjoy more of his work.
Kill the Father
Kill the Angel
The writer of this book has also written and directed two movies – Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99. His treatment of the book is not much different in how he evokes images of jarring violence and graphic gore. Here, such intensity is combined with snappy writing and colorful characters. The book tells a story about a disgraced detective, Jules Bettinger, who is transferred to the “armpit” of America. This is a place where crime is the mainstay; it’s safe to say the ratio of crime-fighters to criminals is comparable to one person’s chances of winning the lottery. Not wanting to see his family live in the same city where he works, Bettinger suffers daily through an 85-mile one-way commute from home to his “new” police headquarters. But his work is even worse. He soon finds himself in trying to solve a double homicide that causes a string of events of increasing violent consequences and shocking climax.
The story immediately sets up to what will lead to a murder and a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Toward the end, I didn’t want to put the book down because I had to know if the wrongly accused will be vindicated against the odds. This is a debut book by a lawyer who not only writes expertly on courtroom scenes, but in a very compelling way, too. The main storyline, intriguing subplots, and R-rated sex scenes all come together into a cohesive and smooth read. Weaved in are some interesting facts about pearls, a quirky scientific cellular material, and a way to cheat using technology. Although this is the writer’s first novel, he has published a short story in a literary magazine. What’s even more inspirational to me is that several years back, the author and I were in a writing group together, along with four or five other aspiring scribes. Today, three in our group have had at least one work published, so I am fortunate to have been in the company of talented writers.
Recommend the book to your local library. To read it immediately, go to Amazon.com:
This book is the first of a series about an orphan who is raised and trained to be a lethal agent to handle covert missions for the U.S. government. After years of stealthily assassinating so-called dangerous people, our hero, Evan Smoak, starts to question if he’s really killing “the bad guys” and decides to leave the program. By doing so, he puts his handler, Jack Johns, into a precarious situation. An older man, turns out Johns is more than Smoak’s handler; he’s also the one who raised Smoak since childhood, growing fond of him along the way.
Smoak successfully escapes anyway and transforms himself into an undercover “fairy-tale godmother” by helping one desperate individual a year. Usually, the help involves ridding the bad forces that have made the individual’s life impossible. A bigger-than-life hero is what makes a thriller thrilling, and this story delivers such a character in spades. Prepare for all kinds of action and twists. The second book in the series is now available, The Nowhere Man, and I’m on it! (I just finished reading The Nowhere Man and it is even more action-packed than ever. Our hero finds himself close to being “no more man.”)
I must mention another book similar to this in many ways, and just as thrilling: Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri. For a full book review, read Bookidote. (This book is also the first of a new series.)
4/23/17: Subsequently, I’ve gone on to read more of Hurwitz’s books, as listed below.
Minutes to Burn
Don’t Look Back
The Nowhere Man (2nd of Orphan X series)
The Crime Writer
Trust No One
Don’t Look Back
Hell Bent (3rd of Orphan X series)
Inspired by true events, the story line is fiction but the setting is real. There was a compound in Chile called Colonia Dignidad, a religious cult founded in 1961 by a group of Germans and later disbanded. The movie is set in the early to mid-‘70s during the unrest of Allende’s rule. Daniel Brühl plays a German photographer and activist who gets involved in the protest defending Allende’s communist government. Then, when a coup‘d’état takes place, he is captured by the military and taken to this isolated area of Chile known as Colonia Dignidad. His girlfriend, played by Emma Watson, goes in to rescue him, all the while discovering the dark ties between the military and the cult. The scary part is how people surrender their wills to be ruled by a domineering and ruthless cult leader, who brainwashes them into thinking he’s there for their own good.
Another engrossing book by the author who wrote the “The Grant County” and “Will Trent” book series. All are thrillers and full of action, some more relentless than others, but they still make you grit your teeth. This newest installation is a standalone; it’s about two sisters who become estranged from each other because of a man, who marries one of them. More than 20 years later the two sisters reunite after the sister’s husband dies. Or does he? The widowed sister begins finding out disturbing things about her spouse, who had provided her with all her needs. Was he a genuinely loving and gentle man, or was he part of a secret pornographic ring? Full of graphic scenes and unbelievable depravity, the story makes you want to read through the night until your eyes can’t stay open anymore.
I’ve listed below, in the order they were published, the series and standalone books that I’ve read by this author. I will also continue to update the list below, as I continue reading her new publications.
The Grant County series
A Faint Cold Fear
Will Trent series
The Kept Woman
The Good Daughter
Pieces of Her (2018)