A Touch of Deceit/A Touch of Revenge

ATouchofDeceitAudiobookReview

  • Author: Gary Ponzo
  • Performed by R C Bray
  • Published: Podium Publishing, released by Audible May 2013.
  • Category: Crime/Thriller/Mystery
  • four-half-stars

Winner of the Southwest Writers Novel Contest, Thriller category. FBI agent Nick Bracco can’t stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can’t stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this terrorist. Tommy, however, is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.

How often does an FBI Agent have a relative and a friend in the Mafia? Nick Bracco does. His cousin, Tommy Bracco and boyhood friend, Silk. The three men grew up together and have remained close. Nick is the head of an anti terrorist unit and he and his partner, Matt McColm, capture a Kurdish terrorist, Rashid Baser. The leader of the terrorists, Kemel Kharrazi retaliates by taking Nick’s brother hostage.

The Kurdish group of terrorists are in the United States to orchestrate a spate of terrible bombings demolishing houses across every state in America, payback for the US involvement in the war between the Turks and the Kurds. The KSF want the American troops out of Turkey and they are prepared to kill American citizens without discrimination. Nick and Matt are now involved in a plot which ultimately aims to bomb the White House.

When Tommy is injured in a revenge attack and Nick’s wife is targeted, the FBI and the Mafia join forces behind the scenes. Nick’s heritage is Sicilian and things are getting far too personal for his liking.

It seems I’m rather late to the party but I’m about to catch up quickly. I really enjoyed this first in the Nick Bracco series. A fast-moving story with compelling and strong characters who are all well-rounded from the start, the glimpses into their personal lives gives them substance and distinction.  Nick’s issues and the situation he finds himself in make him very human and engaging. The dialogue flows naturally and believably, the plot excellent and well thought through. The main antagonist is well conceived, ruthless and menacing.

Nick and Matt are the perfect team, each playing off the other’s strengths, and they have a terrific relationship. The inclusion of Silk, Tommy and Sal gave the whole thing a noticeable difference in direction – a definite plus. Tommy and Silk can, and do, go beyond the lines of accepted behaviour from law enforcement. 

  • ATouchofRevengeAuthor: Gary Ponzo
  • Performed by R C Bray
  • Published: Podium Publishing, released by Audible August 2013
  • Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
  • five-stars

FBI agent Nick Bracco heads an elite group of anti-terrorist specialists known as The Team. When his team members start showing up dead, Nick suspects a Kurdish terrorist who has revenge on his mind. As the terrorist closes in, Nick resorts to using an unconventional weapon—his cousin Tommy. Tommy has a quick wit and valuable connections throughout the Mafia. Sometimes even the bad guys can be patriots.

Nick Bracco and his wife thought Nick leaving the FBI and taking a job as the sheriff of Payson, Arizona was the answer to living a quiet family life after the death of Kemel Kharrazi. But the terrorists haven’t given up, Nick and Julie are still targets. Matt and his girlfriend, Jennifer Steele, have also moved to Arizona and are still working for the FBI, tracking down the remainder of the KSF cell who have a new leader and a deadly mission. Add a Russian assassin into the mix and prepare for an explosive and thrilling ride.

The bullet left the sniper’s rifle at 3,000 feet per second. Unfortunately, Nick Bracco didn’t hear the shot until it was too late. He was sitting on his back porch staring at a pregnancy test his wife had just handed him. It was positive. 

Those are the opening few lines and it’s full tilt from then on. Nick is reinstated and heads an elite team tracking down the now leader of the terrorists, Barzani, and his followers. When his team members begin to be murdered one by one Nick enlists the help of his cousin, Tommy, who proves invaluable (and adds so much to the story.) Nick, Matt and Tommy’s characters are developed further and Gary Ponzo isn’t afraid to let their human sides and personality quirks show which adds to the realism. 

So, we have another very well written, plausible and action packed storyline with multiple shocks and surprises. Political intrigue at the highest levels and an alliance between the FBI, the CIA and the mafia to protect America from impending disaster at all costs. The plot is full of twists I couldn’t see coming, especially the superb ending. And an excellent narration by R C Bray delivers perfect voices and characterisations. My only grumble is the next two books aren’t out on audio. (I’m hoping I can add ‘yet’ to the end of that sentence.) 

About the author

GaryPonzoAuthor Gary Ponzo began his writing career over a decade ago by writing short stories. He quickly discovered a knack for the short form. In just five years he’d published seven short stories in various publications, two of which were nominated for the very prestigious Pushcart Prize.

His first novel, “A Touch of Deceit,” took five years to write and one to pick clean. The story was born from his childhood experiences working in his father’s candy store in Brooklyn, NY. His father was Sicilian and became friendly with some local members of a different kind of Sicilian family. Since Gary was just fifteen at the time, these family members would make sure he was protected whenever he would work late at night by himself. He soon discovered a side to the mafia not many people knew. It was these relationships which caused him to write about Sicilian FBI agent, Nick Bracco, who recruits his mafia cousin to chase down the world’s most feared terrorist.

“A Touch of Deceit,” went on to win the 2009 Southwest Writers Novel Contest, Thriller category. He is currently working on the 5th book in the Nick Bracco series as well as trying to create world peace in his spare time. Gary currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Jennifer and two children, Jessica and Kyle.

To find out more about Gary’s books please click here and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter