Steven F. Freeman’s Tears of God-The Blackwell Files 7

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Freeman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Alton and Mallory Blackwell are at a party when they stumble on a near improbable theory. Cutter Wilson didn’t die of natural causes. After setting up a meeting, their informant dies of decidedly unnatural means. Can Alton and Mallory figure out what’s going on? Good thing they have a team of investigators on their side to do so.

Story Telling: This series is known for mysteries, and this one is no exception. It is a little more suspenseful than some of the others.

Likes: We get to see David and Mastana again.

Also, Alton and Mallory are still devoted to each other.

Dislikes: Okay, I admit it. The Constitution and other Founding Documents are very important to me. Yes, the antagonist was an evil piece of work. But, do we also skirt the rules of investigation to stop him? By what right did Alton use his virus? What was the reason to infect a pharmaceutical company’s computer system? Where were the warrants for the wire-taps? And let’s not even consider breaking and entering. There seemed to be no limits for Alton. This was quite disturbing for me.

Not only that, but Mallory qualifies as a ‘conflict of interest,’ doesn’t she? I mean, Cutter Wilson was her father, so why were the Blackwells even on this case? With their inclusion, it appears more like an assassination than an investigation.

I’m not so sure why Mastana was on this case, either. Who takes a minor on an investigatory mission?

Silva was another problem. I don’t know why some women decry misogyny, and then use their body’s to get what they want. Simply put, if you don’t want to be treated like a sexual object, don’t dress, talk, or act like one.

Favorite Character: I have to go with Keven. He wanted to do the right thing.

Favorite Quote: Really, I don’t have one this time.

Favorite Scene: The only good scene was when David admitted to the consequences of bringing Mastana along.

Conclusion: I’m sad to say that this book was a big downer for me. Even though the team wasn’t in America, they were still American. They were honor-bound to uphold the Constitution. Not only did they not uphold the Constitution, but they didn’t even have a problem with breaking any of the Commandments. Once the good guys, the protagonists, the heroes, start breaking the rules, they are no longer good guys, and evil wins. That’s my opinion anyway.

Steven F. Freeman’s The Evolution of Evil-The Blackwell Files 6

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Freeman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Dr. Jan Summit, wife of Senator Jackson, has disappeared off of the face of the earth. She was last seen in the Galapagos Islands doing research for a cure to Alzheimer’s Disease. Now NSA agent Vega needs an expert cryptologist to decrypt Dr. Summit’s files in hopes of finding out why someone might take her captive. Who does he know that fits that description? I hope Alton and Mallory are ready for a trip near the equator.

Story Telling: This is more of a whodunnit than some to the last installments of the Blackwell Files. Also, murder isn’t center stage on this one.

Likes: The idea of Alton and Mallory working with a team was a good one. Let’s face it, as good as they are at solving mysteries alone, they would be investigated pretty fast if they kept stumbling into murder investigation.

Dislikes: It may just be all of the focus on Dr. Summit’s work and how that would effect the pharmaceutical companies, but this book didn’t seem to flow like the others in this series.

Mr. Shoemaker is an idiot. I don’t think he realizes how his anger at his father makes him easy to control. Let’s face it, most of his problems can be summed up by: Daddy got remarried. By the way, can we convince him to forgo all medication? You know, for the good of the planet.

Favorite Character: Oh. It’s the Gooch. There’s nothing like a good old boy, when you need help in a search and rescue mission. I’d bet he’s southern.

Favorite Quote: The Gooch, when the team notices the gunk on the door. “I was three-time tri-state angling champion before my stint in the Marines. I know my bass from my trout. And I’m telling you I don’t think that’s a fresh-water fish.” See, southern, and he hunts too.

Favorite Scene: I liked it when The Gooch lead the tracking team after the would be intruders.

Conclusion: This one may have started out slow, but we sped up at the end. Maybe some of the suspects in the next book won’t have as much ‘dirty laundry’ in the big reveal.

Steven F. Freeman’s The Devil’s Due-The Blackwell Files 5

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Freeman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s time to get back to Alton Blackwell. It’s been four months since his and Mallory’s Italian vacation. The wedding is soon to commence, and then they are off on their honeymoon. Remember Mastana from “Nefarious”? Well, she’s in trouble and needs Alton’s help. David and Fahima are joining them on this mission. Can the four friends find Mastana before it’s too late?

Story Telling: Mr. Freeman does a good job on this series. While it helps to read the books in order, it isn’t necessary for understanding. Alton’s flashbacks were handled in a way to keep confusion to a minimum.

Likes: It was something special to see all of these adults, who had nothing in common with Mastana–save that they spent time in her home country, or was a fellow countryman–, drop everything just to try to help her.

Dislikes: Nur Hanif was a cool guy. It’s truly too bad about his fate. Could his captain be the cause of it?

Favorite Character: Nur Hanif was a fun guy to follow. He was willing to do whatever he could to help Mastana.

Favorite Scene: I’m not going to cheat. IT’s too easy to say the point where Alton and Mastana see each other. I’ll go with Hanif’s story about how he and his wife met, and got married.

Conclusion: This is a great, easy, fun and exciting read. Mr. Freeman has outdone himself with this addition to the Blackwell Files. Especially since he accepts that good prevails, and friendships count for something. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Steven F. Freeman’s Havoc-The Blackwell Files 4

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Alton and Mallory are back. It’s been just about seven hours since the closing events in “T Wave.” Their Roman holiday is off to a great start. Too bad a new acquaintance of theirs ends up murdered in the Coliseum. Are we really so hopeful as to believe that their vacation can go on as planned without them getting involved in the investigation? Well, probably, but where would the story be?

This story was pretty good. It combined the urge to stay out of the investigation and on their vacation with the curiosity of what happened to Duncan. The whole international intrigue thing was well worked out. You won’t be able to easily identify where all the players are, or where they all fit in.

My favorite scenes were when Zane Crowe attacked Mallory and Alton in Rome, and when Alton finally figured out who Tom was.

Thankfully, Mr. Freeman didn’t feel the need to include much graphic sex. I just hope it doesn’t start increasing in each subsequent novel. That would be a deal breaker for me. Other than that, it was a great story.

Steven F. Freeman’s T Wave-The Blackwell Files 3

I was given this book for the purposes of a fair and honest review.

We get to revisit Alton Blackwell and Mallory Wilson. This time, people are dying in the hospital and it’s causing consternation among the directors.

The book was fun, and a tad bit confusing. There were so many couples that I had to remind myself of who’s who. Don’t misunderstand me, I found this book even stronger than “Ruthless.” It moved rather fast, and it held a strong sub-plot with David and Fahima, one that tied right into the main story line.

Alton also showed another strong point to his personality. He doesn’t seem to wish to air anybody’s dirty laundry, unless it has something that needs to be addressed. This is something that you just don’t see much these days.

It was also interesting to find an amateur detective that has a pet dog. No offense to cats, or cat people, but there seems to be a vast space devoid of dogs in these kinds of stories. Why can’t more people have dogs, after all doesn’t Buster need a girlfriend as well?

I really enjoyed the book. Can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Steven F. Freeman’s Ruthless-The Blackwell Files 2

I was given this book for the purposes of a fair review.

Alton Blackwell is back. It’s been nine months since the incident with the Rabinol vaccine. Alton’s colleague is having trouble. Her uncle was murdered, and she feels that the police aren’t taking her seriously. What else can Alton do?

This time around, there wasn’t any real slowing of the pace near the second half of the story. It continued the saga of David and Fahima. It’s interesting how many times Alton seemed to miss Chelsea’s flirtation. At least Alton stuck with Mallory. I hate love triangles, and it’s nice to see one that is put down early. Alton conducted himself as a gentleman. Quite refreshing to find a man with morals in the world, even if he is just a fictional character.

My favorite scenes were when Mallory showed up at Alton’s childhood home. Also the one when David is surprised with Fahima’s big news. It was a beautiful scene.

Another great read from Mr. Freeman.

Steven F. Freeman’s Nefarious-The Blackwell Files 1

I received this book for the purpose of a fair review.

We follow Captain Alton Blackwell here. A cryptographer working first for the Army in the field in Afghanistan, and then back in the States in a civilian security firm. We get to follow along for the ride when he gets dragged into the mystery of how and why his friend died.

This book was amazing. I’m not really much of a fan of military fiction, but Mr. Freeman handled it so well, focusing more on the intra-personal relationships, and not much of the military standard operating procedures. Mixed into this narrative is what one man will do for a vendetta.

The story interlaced many of the main plot points throughout the scenes in Afghanistan. It was great, though I did find one real problem with the book. That was how the story appeared to slow to a crawl in the second half.

The characters were powerfully portrayed, and they are what makes the story worth reading. I quite enjoyed the book. And would recommend it. As you probably know by now, I like to keep hardbacks of the books I enjoy. This will be one that I will be picking up soon.