Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Thrillers Carol Balawyder, Leyla Cardena, John L. DeBoer

Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

Today something for thriller and mystery lovers.

The first review today is for Carol Balawyder for a book for those who enjoy thrillers, Warning Signs

About the book

Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?

Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.

Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars Drawn In  Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2020

Horror and gruesome killing upset me and I don’t like to read about these details. But author, Carol Balawyder handles the murder scenes in her novel about a serial killer so deftly that I just wanted to keep turning pages – never having the urge to hide my eyes – only wanting to know more.

Once I was hooked (on the first page), she introduced the characters gradually, allowing me to get to know them while keeping me on my toes with dilemmas they each struggled with. Ms. Balawyder expertly slipped in details that would be needed later to make the culmination of the plot flow easily. Nothing happens that seems contrived because the groundwork was laid earlier in the book.

Each of the characters had major flaws but they also had redeeming traits. Even Eugene, the serial killer, was not all bad. Imagine empathizing with a serial killer!

The tension regarding the murderer escalates, and we expect this, but when he befriends Angie, their internal conflicts come into play as well. We already understand why Angie would fall for someone like Eugene, because, by now, we know her personality. But will Eugene hurt Angie? What will Angie do once she starts to suspect that Eugene may be the killer?

What about Darren, the policeman who finds Angie attractive? Will his feelings toward her interfere with his murder investigation?

I was impressed by the way this novel’s plot flowed so smoothly, pulling me in as the characters I came to know so well became entangled in it.

After being drawn into the story on page one, I didn’t want to put the book down until I read, “THE END,” and even then I was thinking about it after I closed the book.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon US  and: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Carol Balawyder

Read reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Read more reviews : Goodreads – WebsiteCarol BalawyderLinkedIn: Carol Balawyder

The next author has recently joined the Cafe and Bookstore with her debut novel –  Leyla Cardena and psychological thriller Becoming Insane

About the book

When the monsters hiding underneath your bed are much less frightening than the bills you have to pay, the family you have to support, the job you have to find, and the unrealized dreams you cry about, then you know there’s a problem. Especially when you are a full-grown adult in your mid-thirties. It’s 1987. John Crane feels like throwing himself out of the window because of his depression, while his friend Jack Vain has to support his spiraling O.C.D. and panic attacks. Their issues are driving them into a shared psychosis. Without these issues, John and Jack may never have needed to go searching for the demon in the middle of the night, through the mean streets of New York. John Crane’s writings will never be read and discussed, and Jack Vain’s drawings and paintings will never be seen and admired. But the creature is here. It knows them. It wants them. It wants their help. It wants to eat, to touch, to create. It wants to live and be free. It wants to avoid death and become immortal. John and Jack’s creativity looks like the perfect host. As the beast of insanity takes hold, will John and Jack survive their own imaginations?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Adele Park 5.0 out of 5 stars Addicting read Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 October 2020

Becoming Insane is a fantastic novel. The two friends the novel centre around are brilliantly drawn, so believable. In the beginning, we can sympathise with them as the things which happen to them can easily happen to others. As the novel progresses we are drawn into the strangest journey, the writing is so good we are walking every step of this horrendous journey with the two men. The ending left me wanting more and I can’t wait for a sequel.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK –  And for Epub: Kobo – More reviews: Goodreads – Website: Leyla Cardena –  Facebook: Leyla Cardena Author  – Twitter: @CardenaLeyla

The final thriller today is from John L. DeBoer with a recent review for Deep Cover.

About the book

As his 40th birthday nears, former Navy SEAL Adam Taylor faces a desk job in the paramilitary security firm he works for – a sedentary executive position devoid of the exciting missions he’d craved during his entire professional life. So he joins the U.S. Marshals Service, hoping to get selected for the elite Special Operations Group of the Service. Soon thereafter, he finds himself involved in a hunt for Russian spies.

Espionage agents trained to pose as Americans in a secret base near Irkutsk, Russia have been inserted into the United States. Their mission: gather information concerning the political and social views of their neighbors and manipulate them to affect U.S. elections in disinformation campaigns. When this program is discovered by serendipity, the FBI, U.S.Marshals Service, and the NSA combine forces to weed out the spies as the 2018 midterm elections approach.

Adam and a cast of characters take the reader on an action-packed, suspenseful journey in which Russian agents scramble to keep ahead of the hunters by eliminating those who can expose the spymasters.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2020

First let me say I do not read many spy thriller stories. Why? Because they scare the hell out of me. Author John L. DeBoer’s spy thriller novel, Deep Cover, is a perfect example of a story that puts my self-defense senses on high alert.

Would a story like this have frightened me twenty years ago? Most probably, not. But, I am reading Deep Cover during a time when the current state of the U.S.A. seems like it’s in some kind of crazy furor. And not just on two different sides, but on many different sides. Today’s politics don’t seem like the two-party system I learned about in school. Right now, I feel like the state of American politics is like one of those crazy wrestler cage matches. Instead of just two wrestlers, it’s like throwing a crowd of wrestlers into the cage. Then it’s every person for themselves. It’s like the direct opposite of dancing in the street.

My take on Deep Cover could be completely off base, but as I said, I don’t read many spy thrillers. DeBoer has expertly written a fast paced thriller novel. Deep Cover will get you where you live. The story revolves around spies meddling in the politics of other countries. And also paints what is probably a very accurate portrait of Russian spies who were placed in the U.S.A. and have been here for fifteen years.

Fifteen years is a long time. I moved from New York City to Texas, and in less than a year, I had affected a darn good Texas accent. And…I loved it! I think it was Neil Diamond who sang, “New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more.” Along that same vein, Deep Cover mentions a John Wayne movie. My family has been on a John Wayne movie kick here lately. I am familiar with the John Wayne movie, The Searchers. Deep Cover contains a reference to the movie likening the part of a young girl, played by Natalie Wood, to the lives of the Russian spies living in America. The girl had been captured by the Indians and she lived with the Indians, as an Indian for many years. She was an Indian. The similarity to how Natalie Wood became assimilated into the Native American culture and came to identify with the Indian way of life reflects the situation in the lives and feelings of many of the foreign spies who have lived in America for so long. I could see how that fact alone could serve to create a culture of self-sabotage by the spies who have been living comfortably for so long.

John DeBoer has written an intelligent and compelling spy thriller. Deep Cover is an absorbing, action-packed story. DeBoer makes the reader think. Deep Cover is an exceptional thought-provoking read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US- And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by John L. DeBoer

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow John: Goodreads – Twitter: @Johnldeboer


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books for thriller fans on your Christmas list.


33 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Thrillers Carol Balawyder, Leyla Cardena, John L. DeBoer

  1. Wow! This looks like quite the trifecta. I recently finished a couple of books, so I’m giving myself to replace those with a couple more. Nothing better than suspenseful reads.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – November 22nd – 28th 2020 – Friends and Collaborators, Thanksgiving, Food, Book Fair, Alexander Technique, Music and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  3. Thank you so much, Sally, for including me in your Christmas Book Fair. ❤
    I am honored to be among a debut novelist (Leyla, Douglas Stuart, also a debut novelist won this year's Booker Prize – so I wish you much success with your novel. It seems like an interesting novel and I will have a look at it). I am also honored to be with a veteran novelist, John DeBoer. Like Laura Jay, the reviewer of Deep Cover, I too am not prone to read spy-thrillers but I think I will give your book a try.
    Best of luck to both of you in your writing and Happy Safe Holidays to all.

    Liked by 1 person

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