Monday, April 14, 2014

Nefarious and Ruthless (Books 1 & 2 of The Blackwell Files) by Steven F. Freeman

Nefarious (The Blackwell Files, #1)
When Army Communications Captain Alton Blackwell takes a hit to the leg while on active duty in Afghanistan, both his self-confidence and his leg are shattered in the explosion. Assigned to a desk job while recovering, Blackwell nonetheless manages to prove his resourcefulness as he matches wits with Al-Qaeda operatives in the dangerous regions of Kabul. Unable to fully heal, he resigns himself to the abrupt end of his military career as well as any hope to win the affections of the beautiful and intelligent Lieutenant Mallory Wilson.

Upon returning state-side, the quiet civilian life is quickly left far behind when Blackwell’s colleague Zach Lambert calls him from a weekend camping trip in the throes of a devastating illness with forbidding implications.

In a story out of today’s headlines, Blackwell and now-FBI Agent Wilson explore the possible diversion of a biotech’s project to develop an improved vaccine, scouring leads at the CDC and biotec company, putting their Army and professional skills to the test, and narrowly escaping agents with a murderous agenda at every turn. The closer they come to the truth, the quicker the bodies pile up, along with the suspects. To get to the bottom of the sinister scheme, can Blackwell still use wits when his body has failed him? And will he survive long enough to tell his colleague of the feelings for her he has long kept secret?

My Star Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alton is one of the best in his field deciphering crypts and doing so on in the field is the way he does it until he is injured and is forced to change things. Working a desk job is not what he wanted but he does what he has to. He'd be in a darker place if it wasn't for the friendships he makes with those he works with in the command center and the beautiful army accountant Mallory. Alton is a broken man with his injuries so he will never risk their friendship, but he can dream.

While Alton is in Afghanistan over in the U.S. a new vaccine is being developed and it could help with the rabies virus worldwide. When he comes back to the U.S Alton starts on his new life and alongside him is someone who served with him when Zach dies the circumstances prompt Alton to investigate. Along the way many discoveries are made but you won't know anything till the very end.

Alton is a strong man nearly destroyed by what happened to him. Throughout you see how he overcomes obstacles in order to figure out his life and be happy with it. Alton sees things others don't and I loved watching how he used his skills to solve problems like pieces of a puzzle. The mystery and suspense element of the story keep you on edge and guessing at what's really going and "who done it". If you've ever played the game Clue at the end that's how the story goes and it was a blast to read.

Ruthless (The Blackwell Files, #2)
A disabled ex-Army officer turned world-class cryptographer...a beautiful FBI agent...and a ruthless murderer on the loose in Atlanta.
A heartless killer ambushes and guns down ex-mobster Jay Mancini. Days later, the killer disposes of Mancini's live-in girlfriend in cold blood. Desperate to identify the culprit, Jay's niece Chelsea convinces work colleague and amateur detective Alton Blackwell to help investigate the seemingly run-of-the-mill professional mob hits.
Alton and his girlfriend, FBI Agent Mallory Wilson, race to sequester Chelsea away from wrathful mob gangsters intent on silencing anyone with knowledge of "family activities." But the investigation spirals out of control as a series of new events with no apparent mob connection serves to confound their efforts to identify the assassin. As Alton and Mallory struggle to make sense of scant evidence, unseen danger marches inexorably closer to them and Chelsea, who seems to lie in the vortex of the mayhem. Will Alton and Mallory unravel the mystery in time to avoid becoming the killer's next victims? And will their growing relationship survive the presence of the beautiful Chelsea Mancini?
Combining edge-of-your-seat psychological thrills with a side of romance, RUTHLESS keeps readers guessing until the final clue is revealed

My Star Rating:
4.5 Stars

Alton is back and he's got another mystery to solve. At the request of a co worker he and Mallory look into murders that appear to be a mob hit, but no one can prove it. Can they look through everything and find out who's behind the murders and what about all the other weird things happening?

In another case of who done it you see Mallory and Alton working together to sort through evidence and figure out why these people are being targeted and if Chelsea is next on the hit list. While going through the case they are also working on their still new relationship and their lives in two different cities. We also see character from book one come back and see more of their story play out. The commodore between everyone and how much they care for each other makes you feel invested in them and I loved seeing their interactions. Reading about each piece of the puzzle you can help but try figuring out what happened and how did it, but it's not until the very end when everything is revealed. I loved the progression of the story and the characters reactions to what was happening about them. Excited to see more of this series to come!
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