A very Kroese-heavy mail day, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

Retrophisch Review: Wolf Trap

I’m behind on my book reviews, so here’s looking back at my first read of the year. Consequently, my first six books of the year were all Advance Reader Copies (ARCs), and they started with a bang in Connor Sullivan’s Wolf Trap. That shouldn’t be surprising, since his Barry Award-winning debut, Sleeping Bear, was absolutely terrific. Wolf Trap features a different set of protagonists than Sleeping Bear, but I do hope he revisits the first novel’s characters in the future.

Wolf Trap cover

Here, Brian Rhome is working the ski slopes in Montana, wrestling with his personal demons, and contemplating suicide. When the current president’s green energy plans are sabotaged, Rhome is recalled to his former lifeโ€”the one responsible for all those aforementioned demonsโ€”in CIA’s Ground Branch. For not only have the president’s plans, and the new power plants connected to those plans, been sabotaged, but a larger threat looms that requires Brian’s particular set of skills.

Wolf Trap is certainly a different kind of thriller than Connor’s debut, and truth be told, it took a little while for me to get over that particular hang-up. Once I got past that, however, everything fell into place and this reader was off to the races. Which is something our hero Brian is doing as well, racing around the globe to thwart the schemes of the man responsible for those demons which had Rhome contemplating stepping off a cliff when we first met him.

Sullivan doesn’t get bogged down with any details on the green science involved, delivering just what’s needed for the reader to understand what’s going on, and what the stakes are. While Rhome isn’t an everyman in the sense that not all of us have served in the CIA’s covert teams, he is in that we can all relate in some way to the loss and pain he grapples with, making it very easy to root and care for him. Connor definitely has another hit on his hands, and thriller readers should dive into Wolf Trap if they haven’t done so already.

4/5 phins, a solid sophomore release

Amazon: Kindle, Hardcover
Barnes & Noble: Hardcover
Indiebound: Hardcover

I get the sense, going through the Prime Day Kindle deals, that there is a certain segment of romance novel totally about the woman fixing the broken (from war, trauma, etc.) man.

Finished Joel Rosenberg’s latest last night, finally completing his Marcus Ryker series I began in mid-April. Stellar books, definitely recommended.

Immediately began Don Bentley’s penultimate foray into the Ryanverse. ๐Ÿ“š

For what it’s worth, readers of Rob Kroese’s Codex Babylon, Wytch Hazel’s album III: Pentecost is some excellent music to have on while reading, with its heraldic imagery of knights, and the Spirit’s fight against the forces of darkness. Both are highly recommended:
Book: www.amazon.com/dp/B0BXFP… ๐Ÿ“š
Music: wytchhazel.bandcamp.com/album/iii… ๐ŸŽธ

“All the demons I know are in middle management,” Martin said.
โ€”Robert Kroese, Codex Babylon

I instantly thought of The Screwtape Letters.

Seventh read of the year is Traitor, the latest Victor thriller from Tom Wood. I like that we got another peek into Victor’s past, and the next chapter of the assassin’s story is set up nicely. Can’t wait! www.amazon.com/dp/075158… ๐Ÿ“š

First non-ARC read of the year goes to Mark Greaney’s latest Gray Man novel, Burner, which I finished on my weekend trip to Pennsylvania to see my oldest’s team play in the national club hockey tournament. Mark just keeps getting better at his craft, this one is superb! ๐Ÿ“š

Finished Bill Schweigart’s “The Guilty One.” Solid cop thriller, excellent pacing.

And then that third act. Hoo boy.

There are writers who are great at ratcheting up the tension, & then there are writers like Bill who just push the pedal all the way to the floor. Buy this book!

Coming in at the wire, but T. R. Hendricks’ “The Instructor” is my third finished read of the month. Solid debut in the action thriller genre. Readers, you will not be disappointed. ๐Ÿ“š Comes out April 11th: www.amazon.com/dp/125083…