Follow You Home – Book Review

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Follow You Home

The overnight train to Sighisoara from Budapest is late. Laura Mackenzie and Daniel Sullivan board the train into regular seats. Daniel wasn’t willing to shell out the funds for a sleeping carriage. A mismatched couple, mid-twenties. Daniel is short, stocky, with cropped blond hair, physically fit, average looking. Laura the taller by inches, around 5’ 10”. Kinda like Olive Oyl and Popeye ya know? Both Eastern European.

They’re traveling to Romania, about 2 and ½ hours journey by train.

They meet Ion and Alina. They’re from Sibiu Romania. Going home to visit folks.

Laura and Daniel are on a European tour for two months, then they plan to marry and start a family back in London.  Laura’s best friend, Erin is pregnant. Laura works in marketing for a children’s charity. Daniel developed an app for iphone and ipads, sold to skiddle.

Daniel’s best friend is Jake, a musician in London.

Alina’s an illustrator, comic books. Ion is in between jobs.

Later Daniel finds an empty sleeper. They us it for a nap. A guard checks their tickets and passports. They were stolen from their bags. “Stow aways…fare dodgers…” The guards stop the train, pushes Alina, Laura, and Daniel off, at a small open air station in the middle of nowhere. The train leaves. The middle on night, country in Romania. No luggage, no phone.

They are in Apuseni National Park, in the forest. The nearest town, 10 Kilometers away, six or seven miles. They start walking. They assume Ion is still on the train.

At 4 a.m. Alina goes into the woods for privacy. She doesn’t come out. Laura and Daniel go in after her. They hear a human cry. Deeper into the forest they trudge, while looking for Alina, only finding her boot, they find a creepy house. Ancient with candles in the windows, gave off a bad aura. They heard a strange sob from inside the house. They go inside, then come out and run all the way to town without looking back.

Anxiety and depression set in for both Laura and Daniel. They soon become emaciated and  rundown.

Erin and Rob are having a boy, she’s eight months pregnant.

Laura wants a fresh start in Perth, Australia by herself, without Daniel.

Daniel sees Dr. Sauvage, a woman psychologist for his trama after the house in the woods, PTSD. His brain is in phychological shock. He suggests the same for Laura. They promiced never to talk about what they saw that night.

Daniel tells Dr. Sauvage the story about what happened inside the house.

Laure attempts suicide. A ghost is at her bedside in the hospital. “You mustn’t kill yourself yet. I need you. I need you to stay alive.” Beatrice was gone. She’d been visiting Laura since the house in the forest. Beatrice was twelve when her father murdered her, 30 years ago in that house.

Dr. Sauvage and her husband were killed in a fire in their home, trapped upstairs. Claudia and Patrick, mid 40’s, no children.

Jake commits suicide. Daniel doesn’t believe it.

Daniel told Jake and Dr. Sauvage the story about the house, now they’re both dead?

Erin delivers a baby boy, Oscar James Tranham.

Who is Camelia? Daniel wants to know. He tries to find her.

Daniel tells his story to Edward Rooney, same story he told Jake. He tells Edward the entire story of the house in the forest. A nursery with a crying child, two unconscious, malnourished woman. Rancid smells. One woman said, “Help.” Several babies had been born and had died as infants in that room. Laura was taking the baby.

A man stood at the bottom of the stairs with a gun as they began to leave. The man wanted the baby. Daniel placed the baby on the floor and they both ran.

Two gunshots from inside the house, then all was silent as they ran.

After Daniel goes to the police, they search the house, found it deserted. Records indicate the house has been deserted for 20 years, since the owners death in 1991.

Daniel and Alina were following Ion’s plan, smuggling cocaine. His bags on the train each contained 250 grams.

Camelia is a stripper in London. She tells Ion that Daniel and Alina stole his cocaine. That its long gone. He plots his revenge on Alina.

At Erin and Rob’s house, Oscar is missing, so is Miss Mackenzie, possible child abduction.

The police find Camelia. Ion is there.

The devil speaks to Laura Mackenzie and threatens Oscar.

The police come across the name Nicolae Gabor, villains of Communist Romania. Guilty of crimes against people. A vicious and corrupt comrade, known for rapping and abusing woman and children. After the revolution, Gabor disappeared. Assumed murdered for revenge, no body was ever found. Gabor would be seventy by now.

Daniel thinks Gabor is the man in the house in the forest. He recognizes his photo online. Gabor was on the train in Romania. The old guy that helped with his luggage.

Laura and Oscar are with the devil.

Daniel and Edward drive into Hatfield Forest and stop at a pub. Then go into the dense forest looking for Laura and Oscar. They see scary faces, twisted . Black eyes in the darkness. Dead babies hanging from branches. Whispering, “Go back…Go back…”

They find the house. Gabor is there with a shotgun. Gabor shot Edward then fired at Daniel.

Alina, Laura, and Oscar are in the house, held captive.

Inside, Alina slams a rock down on Gabor’s head, killing him.

They are rescued from the house.

The End.

Follow You Home, by author, Mark Edwards was a poorly written book with too many plotlines that the author failed to connect properly. The story was confusing and hard to read much of the time.

I thought I was reading a ghost story, then the plot changed to drug smuggling, then to a  Communist Romania war criminal.

My rating: 2 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

DEATH OF A BRIDE – Book Review

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DEATH OF A BRIDE – Book Review

Dear Readers,

Recently I was greeted by author Luke Christodoulou and asked to read and review his latest Greek Island Mystery #3. A murder mystery. I agreed to do so. Here’s my review.

Cassandra Zampetaki is at her family’s mansion in Gavdos, Greek Islands. She’s getting married tomorrow. She’s keeping her last name at her mother’s insistence. She has long copper hair. Her engagement ring from Homer is a five generation hand me down that she is proud to wear. Her wedding dress, a silk, white Valentino. She tries it on again as a storm blows in outside over the ocean.  Someone comes up behind her and stabs her in the back, then in the throat. Cassandra falls dead. The storm blows like a hurricane outside.

Death of a BrideThree weeks ago: Tracy and Costa are just waking up. They’re married. Costa is off to work. Gaby was their child. She died when they lived in New York. They moved to Greece after the death.

Ioli is Costa’s partner and friend. Both Homicide cops. Ioli’s parents, Giannis and Anna. Both look old for their age. Ioli is 35 and lives alone in Athens.

Gianni and Anna Cara are arriving by Minoan Cruise ship.  Gavdos is only reachable by boat. Homer and Tracy meet them at the ship terminal and drive home in his old truck.

Home sweet home, the two story farm house. One hundred year old, 19th century, 20 bedroom house with pool house. Massive dining hall for parties. Thick, colorful carpets. Granite staircase. 1940’s  style bedrooms. Tall beds. Two massive generators due to only recently getting electricity to the island. Still frequent power outages on the small island.

Mark is the best man, a surgeon. More family arrives by ferryboat. The Cara Family plus two arrives to the Zampetaki mansion.

The day before the wedding; That evening in the dining hall, a huge dinner and party after. Dancing. Greek style. That night Cassandra is murdered.

The next morning Aunt Myrrine and the bride are missing(Cassandra). Katerina discovers Cassie’ stabbed body. She calls Christina, “The bride is dead!” she screams in the pool house.

In the crowded breakfast room, Christina tells everyone, “Miss Cassandra is dead in the pool house!” Everyone rushes to the pool house. Next to the body in the massive blood a note. “I am not your Aunt Myrrine. My name is Maria Marousaki. Wife of Ioanni Marousaki. I have done my duty. I can now die in peace!” The killer cut off the ring finger.

Captain Papacosta of the Hellenic Police is investigating the murder. No one believes the note was written by the old lady. Someone else is the murderer and an accomplice and still on the island.

Irene tells the police captain the history of their family. The story of Katerina Mamalaki and Theodore Zampetaki in 1909, in Chania, Crete. Katerina was to be married to Christo Marousaki. Katerina stood Christo up at the alter and eloped with Theodore. They lived in a remote sea village. Had twins, boy and girl. There’s been bad blood between the two families ever since. Revenge is a strong motive. Hatrid.

Cassandra’s dead corpse remained in the pool house during the investigation.  Behind locked doors. The storm also continued to rage.

Irene Zampetaki and Cosma refurbished the entire house. Her favorite room is her bathroom where she bathes. While taking a bath, Irene poisoned herself with overdoses of her own prescription medication. She committed Suicide. Just before dinner.  Mark sees something suspicious. He thinks she was murdered.

Years ago; Achilles lives in Athens. Agatha lives nearby. The meet.

Present day; The relentless storm knocked out the power—Again. The generators are powered up. Irene stated, “During an Olympic flight years ago from Greece to London, the plane crashed. Our daughter was on that plane. She was killed.”

Costa Zampetaki finds a paper note on his bathroom mirror. “…Back off. Let us all leave the island and classify Irene’s death as a suicide and Cassandra’s as murder from Maria Marousaki.”

Costa and Ioli devise a plan to trick the killer. The killer is after Tracy. There are less than 50 houses on the small island. They will search for Tracy. They inform Anna, Ioli’s mother, that Tracy woke ill and began their search.

Cassandra recently made out a new will that now makes Homer the benefactor. He will receive a large amount of money. Drafted just days ago to any future children but until then, Homer is the heir, her dad.

Cassie’s mother had transferred all her money to her daughter. Now it was willed to Cassie’ dad. 800,000 Euros. Homer claims he just found out from his lawyers.

Alexandra and Homer had a brief romance. The last two years. Cassie knew about it. This causes friction between Cassie and her dad. Both carry enormous student debt due to their love for degrees.

Years ago; Achilles and Agatha are at the Mercedes Club. Agatha is a student. They say their first I love you’s. They go to Agatha’s place. It’s her first time with a man. They plan a getaway.

Sometime later; Achilles and Agatha are vacationing on the island of Naxos. Achilles’ relatives have a cabin there. A run down cabin. Badly. As she complains about how rundown the cabin is, Achilles punches her. An act of revenge begins. He hits her again. She falls to the floor. Achilles opens a trap door to a secret cellar that was built under the cabin. He kicked her down the stairs cracking a rib as she tumbled down the twelve stairs crashing onto the cement floor below. “Welcome to hell, whore!” Agatha was in pain; trembling in complete darkness.

Present day; Tracy was hidden in the underground storm sewer system behind the shed. She was drugged outside her room in the house, abducted, and placed there, unconscious. The sewer is filling with water due to the storm.

Years ago, in the cabin on Naxos, Achilles’ father, his brother, Valentino and his two sons. And Achilles. Five men. The youngest fifteen. They gang raped poor Agatha in the cellar in a filthy porn scene. They video recorded the rape. They plan to keep her for three days and continue the gang raping for revenge. She has no idea what she did to them. These scenes are pure porn?

Present day; Captain Costa finds another note from the killer…If you continue, FORGET your precious TRACY! She will be returned to you in pieces! Each time you try to find me she will suffer… The killer tries to fool Costa by sending Cassie’s finger and saying it’s Tracy’s. Ioli isn’t fooled. They make a new plan. Gather everyone in the dining hall and really interrogate. Ioli brings her gun.

Years ago; The fourth day of Agatha’s raping. The men made a porn video of her. It was all for revenge. Sent to her parents. Revenge against Agatha’s father. They released her. If she talks about the ordeal, the porn video will be made public. She sails to Athens. Then flies home to her parents. Crete in Chania.

Present day; Under interrogation, Kallisto tells Costa where Tracy is hidden. In the storm sewer. Tracy is rescued and safely with Mark. Kallisto is arrested for the murder of Cassandra Zampetaki. Agatha is there.

Years ago; Agatha returns home to the mansion. Cassandra is 10 years old. In the study, behind locked doors, Agatha explains the video to Costa and Mrs. Zampetaki(Irene), her parents. She explains she was Raped by Ioannis Marousaki’s sons and grandsons. “Dad it’s all your fault!… your family’s stupid vendetta…raped again and again and again.”

Then Agatha turns on her dad. “How could you believe such a video? Dad, it’s me!”

Irene wants Agatha to leave and go to America to save the family from shame. And change her name. No longer be a Zampetaki. Save her social life. The family will pronounce her dead in time.

Agatha agrees to leave. She’s 18 years old. Dead to everyone who ever knew her to save the family from shame.

Cassandra is just like Irene. She told Agatha to stay away from her wedding. She’d ruin it.

Agatha killed all five of her rapists. She burnt them alive, following in the footsteps of her arsonists ancestor. They were on a hunting trip in the mountains in a small cabin. She burned the cabin, killing them all.

Agatha killed Irene. Force feeding her pills in the bathtub.

Ioli arrests Agatha Zampetaki. Agatha attacks with a knife and Ioli shoots her, killing her. The remaining family left the island that day never to return.

Later, Costa is diagnosed with gastric cancer. Follows with chemotherophy.

Mark and Ioli become engaged. They marry later that year in August on the island of Santorini. Costa walks her down the aisle and gives her away. In a small wedding. Thirty guests.

The End

DEATH OF A BRIDE by author Luke Christodoulou is the third Greek Island Mystery.  Luke contacted me via Facebook and asked me to read and review his book.

The way Achilles and Agatha are introduced and weaved into the story is vague. One could easily get lost with that plot line.

My biggest complaint with this book is the revenge chapter. When Agatha is being gang raped in the cabin on Naxos by Achilles and his family, the author chose to be so descriptive of the four day event that he wrote pure porn. For me, some things are just as effective left at least partially to the reader’s imagination. A gang rape scene stretching over four days fits that criteria. I could have easily imagined what was happening to poor Agatha without having it so… detailed.

The author chose to add a final chapter when the book was already finished. Costa being diagnosed with stomach cancer and chemotherapy. Mark and Ioli’s engagement and wedding that summer (August) on the Island of Santorini. Fine except that we didn’t find out what happened with poor Costa’s cancer except that he was becoming a frail, thin, man walking with a cane. And we didn’t get to attend the wedding.

Sounds like it storms and rains an awful lot in the Greek Aisles. Knocking out power. If there is power? The family vendetta’s in this novel are so powerful they’re worth gang raping and killing for. For Irene and Cosma Zampetaki, their standings in the community are above all else.

Overall I found Luke’s novel to be an interesting read. I wish him success with it and all his work.

My rating: 4 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

Constitution – Book Review

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Dear space thriller fans,

Recently I read a very enjoyable scifi thriller by author, Nick Webb. Constitution is the first in a space trilogy. Here’s my review of this fun novel that takes place predominantly in our solar system.

Book 1 of The Legacy Fleet Trilogy

ConstitutionSector 521. 10 light years outside of United Earth Space Bridge. ISS Kerouac. Their sensors are picking up a signal. Captain Disraeli is in command of the Kerouac. He lives in Britannia. He’s lost a lot of money on a bad investment.

His chief engineer is being reassigned.

They are looking for the swarm. The swarm has been there before and left. They rebuilt and prospered. People thought the swarm was destroyed with the last war.

They are q-jumping to sector 522. Commander Gooding is called to the bridge.

Captain Disraeli suffers from Rigellian warts compliments of the red light district of New Mumbai on Rigel Three.

Veracruz Sector Operations Center Starbase Heroic. Admiral Ryten plans to send a scouting ship after Disraeli and crew if he doesn’t hear from them in five hours.

Sol System. Earth orbit Valhalla Space Station. Captain Tim Granger. Admiral Yarbrough is decommissioning the Constitution. Scrapping her. Avery is the President. He commands ISS Legacy. ISS Baltimore. Eagleton Commission is forcing military cuts.

The Swan war was 75 years ago. The Swarm is gone. A war they won by pure luck.

Tim Disraeli plans to retire at 64.

Veracruz Sector Starbase Heroic. Built for Defense. One of several outposts at the edge of United Earth Space built after the Swan war and Earth was destroyed. Admiral Ryten is in charge of the small space city. Heavily armed.

Two missing ships. A scout ship and the Kerouac. Ryten orders, “Prepare a report for IDF CENTCOM. Ask them for guidance.”

L-2 Lagrange point, Earth Conference Room. ISS Constitution. Chief Engineering Officer Rayna Scott. Captain Granger battled cancer five years earlier and won.

A q-jump takes a minute to complete. And advances the ship a tenth of a light year.

A battle is discovered and a destroyed planet. Nueva Leon.

The Constitution is being decommissioned at Lunar Base. Less than a week away. They’re on their way.

The Swarm is back at Veracruz Sector, Leon System – Southern continent. A full scale invasion.

On the Constitution, Tim Granger’s cancer has returned. He has a few months to live. Steps down. He gets a priority one message from CENTCOM. Unidentified vessels sighted on trajectory towards Earth. ETA 1 Hour. “Alert Condition Red.”

“The Swan. Little Cumrats are back!”

Several ships q-jump into orbit around Jupiter. Six or eight large carriers or cruisers.

Granger re-assumes command of the Constitution even though he’s dying of cancer. “Battle stations. Sound general alert status orange.”

The swarm’s headed for Earth!

The Constitution battled the swarm 75 years earlier in the first swarm war.

Granger organizes a squadron of 177 fighter pilots and their ships to battle the swarm. Does he have enough time to save his ship and the world before his brain cancer kills him? Before the swarm reaches Earth? Before the swarm kills him?

A miniature black hole appears. Granger orders, “q-jump to Valhalla Station.” Only 15 fighters left.

The swarm is a liquid-based life form. They appear as slime.

The Earth is under attack. The Constitution is badly damaged in the battle. Can only q-jump one more time.

The ship prepares for a showdown in low Earth orbit with the swarm.

The Constitution is nearly destroyed. Granger blows up the Constitution. “Take that, you bastards—” With a blinding flash, the Constitution plunged into the singularity, disappearing into a violent flair. For a split second, the invisible quantum tethers connected the singularity with the reactor cores inside the alien ships. Causing massive explosions. Intense radiation.

The alien ships were defeated. The Constitution was gone with Granger.

They located the Constitution. It’s falling towards Earth. They locate Granger inside.

The ship is falling like a fireball over western Utah. Shelby Proctor, Granger’s XO goes in after him. Finds an engine still running. Barely.

She averts a crash and glides the ship over the Great Salt Lake at super-sonic speed, while on fire. The Constitution comes to rest in the business district of south Salt Lake City.

Granger believes he has only a week to a month to live. He visits a new doctor. The doctor says, “No trace of cancer. Free to go!”

The Constitution is being refurbished. Granger wants her back. He’s the new captain. In six months. “Congratulations!” Until then he commands the ISS Warrior.

The End.

Granger reminded me a lot of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Picard is one of my all time favorite star ship captains. Therefore, I also liked Granger a lot. The way they worked as one unit, the Swan reminded me of the Borg—also from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

This was an easy and fun novel to speed read through. I enjoyed getting lost in deep space with Granger and his crew aboard the Constitution. It brought back fond memories of  Picard and Next Generation, for me at least as I read. I was very glad all worked out well for Granger in the end.

Thanks for tuning in to my review of Constitution, by author Nick Webb.

A very enjoyable book. I recommend it to any scifi and  space fans.

I downloaded this book through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

My rating: 4 stars.

Until we talk again.

May good fortune guide your path.

JA Ireland

Wayward Pines – Book Review

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Dear friends,

Welcome to Wayward Pines. I like the series so much I decided to read the first novel. I’m glad I did. It was a very good read by author, Blake Crouch. This is how he tells the story in his novel.

The story begins: He’s wobbly but standing while bruised, next to a river. In an open field. He scans the town enclosed by cliffwalls. The man checks his pockets. No wallet. No phone. No keys. No Id. No money. The thirty-seven year old man needed a hospital. He can play the piano and fly a chopper. He’d been in an attack of some type but he didn’t know what.

Wayward PinesHe begins to hobble and wonder. Soon he sees stores and businesses. He sees Wayward Pines Hotel. At a coffee shop he learns he’s in Wayward Pines, Idaho from Miranda, the server.

Soon afterward, he locates Mack and Jane Skozie and passes out on their front porch.

He wakes in a hospital. Nurse Pam is starring down at him. His name is Ethan Burke. He asked about Agent Stallings. “He’s dead, I’m afraid,” Pam replies. His wife and son are in Seattle, Washington. He’s a Federal Agent. After she leaves, he removes the IV and flees the hospital.

He goes to the Wayward Pines Hotel and tells Lisa, the desk clerk, his sad tale of woe. She gives him a room for the night on good faith he’ll pay tomorrow. In the room, he tries to call out but can’t get through.

Later, he finds The Biergarten is open late. His tale of sorrow works equally well on Beverly and she gives him a meal on credit. Instead of a bill, she writes her address, 604 1st Ave.

We learn that Agent Bill Evans and Agent Kate Hewson went missing a month ago. Disappeared in Wayward Pines. Classified mission. Missing for ten days. David Pilcher was involved. Ethan’s investigating.

The next day. Ethan’s awakened by Lisa from the front desk. She’s at his door. It’s past twelve. “Mr. Burke! Mr. Burke! Check out is at eleven. You have to leave!”

He goes to Beverly’s home at 604 1st Ave. The house has been abandoned for decades. He finds Agent Evans inside tortured and killed long ago.

Ethan reports the murder to Sheriff Arnold Pope, at the sheriff office. He meets Belinda Moran, the receptionists. Pope tells him Agent Stallings is in the hospital morgue as he tells Pope about Agent Evans’ body at 604 1st Ave.

Every time he tries to get through to SAC or Adam Hassler by phone he can’t.

The book switches to Bainbridge Island Ferry Seattle toward Port Angeles. Theresa and Ben, Ethan’s wife and son, have a private funeral on the seashore for Ethan believing he is dead. They share many fond memories of Ethan then she buried a plastic ring to symbolize her wedding ring.

That night in Queen Anne. Theresa throws a party in Ethan’s honor. She’s selling the house. Her paralegal salary isn’t enough to keep them afloat. Ethan’s been gone fifteen months—no body. Adam Hassler shows up at the party. He’s about Ethan’s age plus a couple. He offers to help with Ethan’s life insurance. The company isn’t paying. They went over Ethan’s accident at Wayward Pines. “He and Agent Stallings pulled out in front of a Mack truck and were killed instantly. Except Ethan’s body wasn’t found in the car. There was no trace of Ethan’s DNA in Stalling’s Lincoln Town Car.” Later she recalls Ethan while cleaning up after the party.

Ethan’s in the hospital again. Dr. Jenkins the psychiatrist asks, “Do you have a history of mental illness?” Later he escapes and flees the hospital.

He becomes desperate and finds Kate Hewson. “They’re watching us.” He steals a car and flees Wayward Pines.

Before long, the road leads back to Wayward Pines as he panics. He’s caught by Sheriff Pope. Pope thinks he killed Agent Evans and interrogates him in the jail. They fight.

In Seattle; David Pilcher talks to Theresa. He extends an offer. Two- 1/2 inch glass vials containing clear liquid. A re-union with your husband. Drink it and they’re with Ethan. But their lives are gone. When they don’t drink, he sprays them with chemicals that they inhale.

In Wayward Pines: Ethan’s in the hospital again. Strapped to a gurney. Beverly rescues him from Nurse Pam and they run. Both want out of Wayward Pines. She tells him there’s no connection to the outside world.

A hit is put on Ethan. All five hundred town’s people are supposed to kill him. He and Beverly flee. They are caught. Beverly is killed.

While running for his life he sees the abbies, the fanged, taloned, humanoid creatures and a giant electric fence. “Return To Wayward Pines. Beyond This Point You Will Die.” He fights several abbies.

Later he finds his own machine. The tag reads, “John Ethan Burke”

Jenkins explains. “You were chemically suspended. We used hydrogen sulfide to induce hypothermia. Year of suspension 2032.”

Ethan was in suspended animation for “one thousand eight hundred years…five months…eleven days. David Pilcher discovered the process. He chose Wayward Pines. Wayward Pines is the last town on earth. It has six hundred and fifty people.

Jenkins admits he isn’t a real psychiatrist. No formal training. A phony.

Ethan’s family has been there for five years.

Jenkins offers Ethan a job as Sheriff of Wayward Pines. “Isn’t that Pope’s job?”

Suddenly, abbies attack. Pope is killed and eaten as Jenkins and Ethan escape in a chopper. Ethan is the new Sheriff. “Congratulations.”

He now knows his former life has been gone for two thousand years. He’s being flown to his family by chopper. Jenkins shows him the house where his wife and son live. “There’s your home. Theresa and Ben are inside. They’re waiting for you.” The chopper descends as Ethan’s heart races.

The End

I enjoyed reading the book just as much as I like the series on Fox. Wayward Pines is Awesome!

I downloaded this book through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

My rating: 5 stars.

I hope you liked my review.

May good fortune guide your path,

J.A. Ireland