BioKill (A Matt Lilburn Novel)

  • BioKillAuthor: Stuart Handley
  • Published: March 2014 by Stuart Handley
  • Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
  • four-half-stars

Takfir wal-Hijra is one of the most extreme Islamist groups on the planet; they call for their followers to train in the use of arms, to blend in with their surrounds and to be sleepers within foreign communities ready to awaken and cause maximum mayhem. 
Follow the path of a contagious virus as it is purposely extracted from one country to another before landing on American soil. When Homeland special agent, Matt Lilburn gets involved, terrorism has one heck of a fight on its hands.

I was provided with a copy by the author as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

A chillingly realistic scenario involving a group of terrorists sending a contagious virus over to the United States. Matt Lilburn, a special agent with Homeland Security, along with Dr Evangeline Crawston, a British scientist with a doctorate in bio-pharmaceuticals, are both assigned to the case and in a desperate race to stay one step ahead of the terrorists.

Both men were twenty four years old and American citizens, raised from birth in New York. Their parents were proud, hard working Syrians who had immigrated to the United States hoping for a better life. The parents had kept their Muslim faith and did their best to install the peaceful doctrines of Allah…..Their boys, Yusuf and Bashir, running together, found a darker, sinister path…

The terrorist cell in the United States, run by the menacing Bomani, had just found two new recruits and they were committed to causing as much damage and disruption as possible.

The Director of Counter Terrorism, Allan Hall, and the Director of Emergency Management, Suzanna Lopez, together with Matt and Evangeline, are under pressure to stop the terrorists but all is not as it seems in Homeland Security.

The action and intrigue, with an unexpected twist, is intense and increases the level of suspense. The concept of the story is fascinating, gripping from the start, bringing home the terrible and conceivable possibility of bio terrorism. 

A very well written and researched novel, which has it all…murders, high-speed car and helicopter chases, a rather gruesome mutilation and passionate encounters. The switches in location from the United States to England and the Gaza Strip and back again is accomplished with ease, creating a continuously flowing narrative which is a pleasure to read.

I’m enjoying Stuart Handley’s dramatic and visually descriptive writing style very much. The characters are well-defined and authentic, even down to one-off appearances, such as Bonny, the neighbour of the two young Syrians. I look forward to more adventures with Matt Lilburn.

Stuart’s books can be found here

TanDrex (A Matt Lilburn Novel)

  • TanDrexAuthor: Stuart Handley
  • Published: March 2014 by Stuart Handley
  • Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
  • four-stars

Every now and again someone dares to challenge greed and corruption. When evil comes up against a raw boned soldier of justice – all hell breaks loose. 
Follow Matt Lilburn as he locks forces with a corrupt United States governor and his perverted son as they try to sell the code for a machine that makes the invention of computers seem trivial. 
By the time you finish reading the book, you will know why they call this invention — God technology.

I was given a copy of the book by the author as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Nanotechnology and, more specifically, Productive Replicator development has just been completed and due to exploitation and abuse of power is about to go on sale to the highest bidder. If this extremely crucial scientific discovery falls into the wrong hands it could cause untold devastation.

Matt Lilburn, ex special forces who now works for Homeland Security, and his brother Duncan, a scientist central to the development of the technology, are thrust into life and death situations. It’s a race to stop the individuals who will stop at nothing to gain the code for their own unscrupulous ends. It’s down to Matt and his team to put a halt to the corruption and greed before everything he holds dear is destroyed.

Wasting no time he drew his weapon, cocked it, then taking a low stance bowled the door open with his shoulder and entered the darkened room at an angle. Two hands gripped the pistol as he rolled to the side avoiding silhouetting himself at the door….Adrenalin sharpened his senses. He slowed his breathing, listening for any movement, anything that might give away a person’s location in the room.

This is actually a very scarily plausible premise and begs the question how far should research and development go before it becomes a tool for immeasurable good or conversely a hazard to humanity, dependent on who has overall control. A question applicable to many more issues, I know.

I like the flashbacks to Matt and Duncan’s boyhood, giving more insight into the two characters and when their old adversary from schooldays makes it personal and seeks revenge Matt and his girlfriend, Maria, are in the firing line.

I found this to be an extremely good novel, intense and dynamic, descriptively written with well-defined characters. The plot races along and held my attention completely. I look forward to reading more of Stuart Handley’s work.

TanDrex may be purchased from Amazon US and Amazon UK

About the author

StuartHandley

Stuart Handley was born near the shores of Lake Taupo in New Zealand, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the southern hemisphere.  The outdoors was a great calling for a young man seeking adventure where hunting and fishing were a way of life. After serving a few years in the army both within his home country and overseas, Stuart, spent the next decade being a man of the land.  With  practical skills such as livestock production, mustering, fencing, horse breaking and shoeing he went on to complete a full time university degree as an adult. Life’s education wasn’t yet complete, a couple of years in Australia included working hauling furniture where the work was heavy and sweat ran freely. Memorable events in Stuart’s career include the comradeship of fellow soldiers who still form part of his life, working as a horseman for the famous DB Clydesdale horse team and being an inspector with the R.S.P.C.A. Stuart draws upon worldly experiences and takes you to another world – the world where anything goes. 

Stuart may also be found on Twitter and Facebook

Sandman Slim Series ~ the audiobooks (1-3.5)

 

James Stark has spent the last eleven years in Hell as the slave of Azazel, Lucifer’s second favourite general, fighting for his life in the arena and as an assassin.

So what would you do if your boss gives you a particular key so you can kill another of Lucifer’s generals? Especially since this key can can take you anywhere and everywhere in the universe via shadows and the room of thirteen doors.

You kill your boss and get the hell out of Hell, of course, along with the key which is now buried (literally!) in Stark’s chest. That’s how James Stark aka Sandman Slim “wakes up on a pile of smouldering garbage” in a graveyard in LA.

So now he’s back, with Hellion magic, and looking for revenge against his old magic circle friends who sent him Downtown for being a better magician. The only advantage he has is the fact he’s become very hard to kill after his time in Hell.

It’s not too long before Stark finds one of his former friends, Kasabian, who pays a high and very weird, price for the part he played. Stark’s main aim though is to find Mason Faim and his sidekick, Parker, for killing his girlfriend, Alice.

Thoughts

A dark and gritty story told from Starks point of view with sarcasm and snarky humour. Things don’t quite work out as Stark thought as Heaven and Hell have their own agenda and he has to deal with every demon you could conjure up and more besides.

It’s witty, with laugh out loud moments, brutal but kind of sad as well and I find myself in compete sympathy with Stark. He’s the flawed anti-hero, the “monster that kills monsters”  It’s a roller coaster ride of the weird and wonderful.

  • 8026445Kill the Dead ~ book 2
  • Author: Richard Kadrey
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Released: October 2010 by Brilliance Corporation
  • Category: Noir/Urban Fantasy
  • four-half-stars

After saving the world at the end of Sandman Slim Stark is back and freelancing for The Golden Vigil, a secret angelic arm of Homeland Security, tracking down and killing off monsters. A young vampire who goes on a rampage sets in motion the events leading to another LA apocalypse featuring several different variations of the undead, Zombies, Lacunas, Drifters and Vampires.

When Lucifer comes to LA supposedly to collaborate on a movie being made about him, he enlists Stark as his bodyguard for reasons he keeps to himself. That is, until Stark realises what those reasons are and how they will affect him.

You know you’re in for a fast and fun listen with the opening sentences…

“Imagine shoving a cattle prod up a rhino’s ass, shouting “April fool” and hoping the rhino thinks it’s funny. That’s about how much fun it is hunting a vampire.”

Which is how the story begins and Stark gets more than he bargained for from a pod of vampires.

Thoughts

Being a nephilim, of angel and human parentage, has played a key part in Stark’s personality and we get to know more about him as his character evolves.  And although he is as tough and acerbic as ever, underneath it all there is morality and his own set of ethics despite his penchant for violence. We lose Stark for a while there too, but I’m glad he’s back.

Lucifer figures quite a bit in this story, not in a cartoonish or over the top way either. He’s not to be trifled with but he’s humorous, cool and composed. And hurt, physically and by his banishment from heaven, which is surprising and not at all like the usual interpretation of Lucifer.

I love the addition of Brigitte Bardot, a Czech porn star who is starring in Lucifer’s movie and has a hidden agenda. She and Stark bounce off each other in more ways than one.

So now, the question is will Stark take Lucifer up on his offer.

  • 51PELCnbLrL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_Aloha from Hell ~ book 3
  • Author: Richard Kadrey
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Released: July 2012 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Noir/Urban Fantasy
  • five-stars

Once again all is not right in L.A. Lucifer is back in Heaven, God is on vacation and an insane killer mounts a war against both Heaven and Hell

A few weeks have passed since Stark’s zombie killing spree. Stark and Kasabian are living in a motel room while Max Overdrive is being rebuilt. Stark thinks he’s getting the respite he deserves afar saving the world yet again….but no, that would be too easy.

He and Vidocq steal an artefact for Mr Muninn and have a run in with a demon. Stark is pulled into an exorcism gone wrong and meets an interesting new character, Father Traven. The boy who was being exorcised just happens to be the brother of one of the original magic circle. Coincidence? Stark doesn’t think so and the trail leads where he thought it would. Straight to Mason and into the middle of a planned war between Heaven and Hell.

Mason, along with Aelita, has been planning and plotting, gathering armies together and Stark has no choice but to go back to Hell and try and sort out the chaos Lucifer left behind. And while he’s there maybe this time he can save Alice from being murdered again by Mason. The downside, apart from the obvious, is what he has to do to get back there.

And now that he has his Angel under control he’s back to his old self.

The angel half of me got shaken loose a while back when a High Plains Drifter – that’s “zombie” to you – bit a chunk out of my hand. The human half of me almost died and the angel half thought that was its chance to take over. It was for a while, but then I got my strength back and I locked the angel upstairs in the attic like Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? It still bangs on the door and shouts but I’ve learned to ignore it most of the time

The snarky humour and wit is here again, in spades, along with the gruesome, the grotesque and the violence. It’s dark and hellish and Richard Kadrey’s writing is as entertaining as ever, made even more so by the narration. I love the way Hell and L.A. are written as versions of the same place and the descriptive writing paints vivid, if sometimes scary, pictures. It’s an insane, imaginative and creative ride through mind-boggling places. 

DevilintheDollhouseDevil in the Dollhouse ~ book 3.5

four-stars

James Stark, a.k.a. Sandman Slim, has a new job, but being the new Lucifer in town gives fresh meaning to the word “Hell.” Especially when he hears of hideous massacres near a haunted fortress out on Hell’s frontier.

As far as Stark’s concerned, the more dead Hellions, the better, but he still has to prove that no one screws with Sandman Slim. And facing creatures so terrible even Hell does not want them is no cakewalk, even for Lucifer.

Being Lucifer isn’t a fun job and it takes Stark into the outer reaches of hell in this short, violent and very bloody story. Lucifer #1 has left him a hell of a mess to clean up and although it’s the last thing he wants, Stark has to make sure he is acknowledged, if not approved, as the Lord of the Underworld. 

I used to be James Stark or sometimes Sandman Slim but then Lucifer 1.0 pissed off back to Heaven and stuck me running Hell. I thought that was the worst thing that ever happened to me. That was three days ago. Today things got worse. Today I’m in a truck convoy heading somewhere I never heard of to find someplace that scares even these evil fallen-angel pricks.

So, while trying to negotiate the politics in Hell, sorting out a demon even the worst Hellions fear and trying to find a way back home, Stark has his work cut out, to put things mildly.

A great bridge between Aloha from Hell and Devil said Bang filled with Richard Kadrey’s brilliant writing.

I love the gravely pitch of Stark’s voice, MacLeod Andrews absolutely nails it. Shifting seamlessly and without obviously ‘doing’ voices, he changes from Stark to a two hundred year old Frenchman, to several female voices, Hellions galore, the Kissi, a Texan sheriff and Lucifer to name a few. 

The books are available at  Amazon UK and Amazon US