Review: Fable by Michele Packard

Title: Fable: Matti Baker

Author: Michele Packard

Publisher: I’m not sure

Publication Date: May 20, 2019

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Matti Baker is a contract operator trained in counter terrorism by Freddy, a man she’s never met face to face, but who has been in her life since she was a child. Coming off a mission in which she was badly injured and lost an entire year to recovery, all she wants is some time with her husband and three kids. But someone is after some important vials and she’s back on the hunt, read to stop a conspiracy that will start a world-wide genocide.

So, that’s what I think it’s about, but even after reading the whole thing, I’m not entirely sure what the plot was. There was something some vials that she’s been protecting since she was a child. There was a conspiracy with a group of identical twins. And, yeah, that’s all I got.

Needless to say, I did not really like this book. First off, it was almost entirely tell-not-show. I felt like I was being bombarded with information, much of it irrelevant to the actual plot. There were long diversions where Matti recalled previous missions with her friend, Bethany, or retold the entirety of the first book, which, although that was sort of helpful, since I didn’t read the first book, also felt a little like the beginning The Baby-Sitter’s Club book, where the formation of the club and backstory of each girl is recounted.

Then, there’s the dialogue. At no time did I feel like any of it was actual words people would speak. It was so stilted and false and just… ugh. There was also the constant references: movies, TVs, songs being brought up on every other page. It was incredibly distracting and annoying. The dialgoue tags annoyed me as well. You can’t smirk a sentence (i.e. “What are you doing there, big boy,” I smirked.). No. Put a period at the end of that sentence and then smirk.

The plot was nonsensical. I literally don’t know what I read. I know at some point she went to Antarctica, but I don’t know why or what happened there because it was one chapter and no one talked the entire time. She was on some kind of tour, but who the other people were, I have no idea. I know there’s some kind of conspiracy, but I don’t know what it was about.

Also, I didn’t like Matti very much. I was very excited at the beginning, because I thought she was going to be a female Joe Ledger, but she’s just a handful of stereotypes slapped on with a veneer of “I’m not like other girls” and “humor” that only see seems to find amusing. Overall, this was a very disappointing and frustrating read.

No. Absolutely not, even if you’re looking for a book with a bad ass female character. Go to the mystery section of your library or bookstore and look there; there are much better and more coherently written bad ass women there.

Review: Rage by Jonathan Maberry

Title: Rage: A Joe Ledger International Novel

Author: Jonathan Maberry

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 464

Genre: Action/Thriller/Suspense

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Source: Goodreads Giveaway

The Department of Military Sciences is no more, but that doesn’t stop Joe Ledger and the former Echo Team from doing what they do best: protecting the world. When a massacre happens on an island in North Korea, Joe and Havoc team go to find their worst nightmares realized: everyone, women, children, men, the young, the old, have torn each other apart. They soon find the virus or pathogen on another island and witness the madness and rage that drive people to commit monstrous acts. Not only do they need to figure out what is causing the madness, but they have to prevent war from breaking out and discover who is behind this. It’s crunch time, but Joe and his team rise to the occasion.

I have been eagerly awaiting this book for months. I had no idea I’d won it in a giveaway until the book showed up. I was incredibly excited. I’ve followed the Joe Ledger series for about ten years and even named my cat, Cobbler, after Joe’s cat. When I found out Jonathan Maberry was going to continue the series indefinitely, I was very happy. Each book has been new and exciting without the drop in quality that sometimes happens.

This book was no exception. The plot was tightly woven with a lot of intrigue. I do have to admit, I was a little distressed because there was a lot of violence against women and children. It wasn’t graphically shown on screen, but the bad guys cheerfully talked about what they were going to do to the wives, daughters, and husbands of the people they were coercing.

I continue to love Joe Ledger himself. He’s a deeply fucked up man with a lot of demons, but he’s resilient and authentic. I love that he’s always very aware of what he’s feeling, whether it’s angry or deeply afraid of something. You don’t get a lot of macho bullshit from him. He’s a very vulnerable character who wears his battered and sarcastic heart on his sleeve.

I spent a lot of time being afraid one of my favorite characters was the master villain of the piece. At first, I was super excited when he showed up and was amazing, and then I realized that his scene didn’ t really prove he wasn’t the master villlian, so I’m back to being scared. My only consolation is the speech pattern is totally different from the way he speaks, so it probably isn’t him. Probably.

This book was quite an emotional ride and it didn’t let up. The ending was amazing. Devastating, but amazing. I wish I could pick up the next book right away, but this one isn’t even out yet! I am so thrilled about this series; it’s going to be a roller coaster.

Hooha! (Which, in team Havoc speak, is a resounding yes!)