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Russia

One-Man Wrecking Ball Picks Up Vince Flynn Legacy

in Thrillers by

Kyle Mills opens his fourth Mitch Rapp thriller (since taking over the series following the passing of Vince Flynn in 2013) Red War (Atria) with Russian President Maxim Krupin standing in his Kremlin office looking down at the protestors filing into Red Square. The growing backlash and constant threat of being overthrown is annoying to Krupin, but it’s the inoperable brain cancer that he was secretly diagnosed with that proves most troubling. At first, Krupin’s symptoms are fairly minor and easy to hide. However, as the cancer worsens, so too do the neurological issues plaguing him, forcing him to rely on more drastic methods in order to conceal his rapidly declining health from the many threats he faces both at home…

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Tall Poppy Review: “The Language of Sisters”

in Fiction by
The Language of Sisters

Sometimes we read a book and sometimes we disappear into another world. Cathy Lamb’s novel, The Language of Sisters (Kensington Publishing Co.) is the latter. This story took me from Russia to Oregon and back again, through the tangles of family and the veracity of the statement “The truth will set you free.” This is the tale of a Russian, close-knit, witty and brilliant clan, the Kozlovsky family, who escape the horror of Communism and the KGB in Russia but can’t escape the memories. As they build a new life in Oregon they each must find a new life. But leaving the country does not mean leaving the secrets. We meet them twenty-five years after their escape. The Language of Sisters…

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My Favorite Short Story: “The Captain’s Daughter”

in Potpourri/Stories by

Writers and editors are often asked to name their favorite novel but seldom are asked to name their favorite short story. This fact may be determined by the short story’s brevity and that there are many more “perfect” short stories than there are “perfect” novels. Then again novels are not necessarily called “perfect” but rather just “great,” and it is generally agreed that greatness does not preclude having flaws. All this notwithstanding, “favorite” implies a subjective point of view; and yet I think for most readers it’s difficult to choose a single short story that lives on in one’s mind above all the rest. But I actually have an all-time favorite, the only short story I continuously and ritually reread about once…

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WWII Drama, the Romanov Family and a Deadly Mystery

in Pop Culture by

Dear Reader, The Silent Woman takes place during the summer of 1937. King Edward had abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, and Adolf Hitler was building planes and conscripting an army—in violation of the Treaty of Versailles—with barely a hint of this activity being reported in the newspapers. England was headed to war, but her citizens didn’t know it. An interesting time, indeed! My hope is The Silent Woman will transport you back to this tumultuous time for Britain and for the world. I’m giving away five copies of The Silent Woman.   Write to me at [email protected] for a chance to win. Please mention Author Buzz Contest in the subject line. The Silent Woman Dear Reader, Did one of the…

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A Child’s Front-Row Seat to History and the Cold War

in Non-Fiction by

Among the array of photographs in Grace Kennan Warnecke’s new memoir is a picture of her standing with Ted Kennedy and his family in Leonid Brezhnev’s office. “The trip was highly unusual – and I knew it at the time,” recalls Warnecke. Warnecke calling something unusual? How unusual, given a life lived so close to one historical moment after another and captured in detail in her work, Daughter of the Cold War (Russian and Eastern European Studies, University of Pittsburgh Press), released today. Chatting with Warnecke reminds me of how arduous a path it has been for women. When she describes her mother at home and her father, George Kennan, as one of the most important diplomats of the 20th…

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A Child’s Front-Row Seat to History and the Cold War

in Non-Fiction by

Among the array of photographs in Grace Kennan Warnecke’s new memoir is a picture of her standing with Ted Kennedy and his family in Leonid Brezhnev’s office. “The trip was highly unusual – and I knew it at the time,” recalls Warnecke. Warnecke calling something unusual? How unusual, given a life lived so close to one historical moment after another and captured in detail in her work, Daughter of the Cold War (Russian and Eastern European Studies, University of Pittsburgh Press), released today. Chatting with Warnecke reminds me of how arduous a path it has been for women. When she describes her mother at home and her father, George Kennan, as one of the most important diplomats of the 20th…

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Ripped from the Headlines: New Releases that Blend Politics, Pop Culture, and Current Events

in Potpourri by

Headline news changes as fast as it can, with each new viral video, political scandal or celebrity moment that’s caught on tape. But there are some headlines that stay with you, and over the past year we’ve definitely had a few we won’t be forgetting any time soon: from the beginnings of the Russia investigation, to The New Yorker‘s expose on Harvey Weinstein. While no one can predict the pace at which headline, breaking news is no longer worthy of being a headline, some events line up too perfectly for us not to comment on. Here we have a list of books on topics that have been dominating the news lately, whether they’re pop-culture, politics, or current events. War on Peace: The End…

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‘Red Sparrow’: Jennifer Lawrence’s New Film is in Theaters and the Final Book in the Trilogy is in Stores

in Fiction by

Red Sparrow (Scribner Books), the first book in Jason Matthews’ trilogy is a seductive tale of espionage and intrigue just ripe for Hollywood. Sparrow is a dark thriller about a Russian ballerina-turned-spy who infiltrates “Sparrow School,” a facility where students are taught to use sex as both a weapon and information-gathering technique. The book is a thrilling ride of suspense and emotion, it’s no wonder Hollywood actually did come knocking on Matthews’ door in 2013 with offers of turning his words into a cinematic masterpiece that book lovers and movie-goers, alike, will find engaging. Red Sparrow, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, makes its theatrical debut today on the heels of some very mixed, but mostly favorable reviews across Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and Washington…

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‘The Eves of MY Destruction’ Alerts Many to Devastating Cyber Crimes

in Fiction by

My new book, The Eves of My Destruction is entirely a work of fiction but it has many kernels of truth. The technology explained in the story is real and while I took care not to reveal too many insider secrets, be aware if you read my book that similar events are taking place in the real world that should give you pause. In my novel, the protagonist in the story is accused of using his deep knowledge of the banking system to pull off a massive cyber-crime, stealing billions of dollars from multiple banks. I did extensive research as I wrote my book and Mark Twain’s old adage “Truth is stranger than fiction,” often came to mind. As an…

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Creating Characters That Readers Love: 3 Tips for Writers

in Potpourri by

Walt Gragg, author of ‘The Red Line,’ shares with us and you his tips for creating unforgettable characters readers will surely love. One of the great things about being a writer is that you get to meet so many other writers along the way. From the extremely famous to the highly obscure, the chance to interact and talk about the trade with others who are a part of this business happens for most of us at least a couple of times each year. Something you soon learn is that none of us goes about the process of creating a novel in exactly the same way. There are as many approaches to this craft as there are people writing. No one…

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Walt Gragg Turns Realities of War into a Work of Fiction in ‘The Red Line’

in Fiction by

One of the questions I’m frequently asked about my World War III epic The Red Line, a novel about a major conflict between Russia and the United States, is – Why a war novel and why Russia? The answer is not a simple one. First let me say my hope is you find this is a story unlike any you have experienced. The Red Line is not just another techno-thriller intent on glorifying war and reveling over the latest military technology. The intent of the book is to focus on the only thing that matters in war – the people who find themselves facing it. This is an edge-of-your-seat story about ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances. There are no…

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When Hollywood Comes Knocking: Turning a Thriller Into a Major TV Event

in Fiction by

Now that my military thriller The Red Line has reached the bookstores and people are becoming aware, Hollywood is working on turning it into a major television event.  Since then, I’ve been frequently asked: ‘what gives a thriller the potential to become a great movie or television series? From what I can see, the answer is actually a simple one— the same thing that makes it a novel people can’t put down. Relentless, edge-of-your-seat action and interesting, compelling characters are what draw in reader; the same will also draw in viewers. Fortunately, at least according to the critics, that’s exactly the book we’ve written.  The Red Line contains characters you fall in love with and exceptionally visual action that never stops. So we’re…

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