Thanks for all of the great summer reading recommendations! Feel free to send more. Here are the books I’ve read this summer (so far anyway) and what’s on deck for the rest of the summer.
Use of Force, by Brad Thor
Part of the Scot Halvarth series. Halvarth is a former navy seal, transformed into a spy. Action packed, interesting insights into the biz of espionage and all the things we think are happening behind the scenes, but don’t want to ask. 4 stars.
Code Name Camelot, by David Archer
Part of the Noah Wolf series. Noah is a tough dude, with no emotions. This special characteristic allows him to act violently with no remorse. But it’s a two edged sword. 3 stars.
Testimony, by Scott Turow
A legal thriller with interesting twists. Bill ten Boom changes his life and takes a position as a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. His first case is the investigation of into the disappearance of a refugee camp. 5 stars
Camino Island, by John Grisham
A gang of thieves steal irreplaceable and priceless items from Princeton University. An novelist, Mercer Mann, is pulled into the intrigue. 4.5 Stars.
The Stranger, by Albert Camus
An ordinary man, is drawn into a murder on an Algerian beach. 3.5 stars
On my “To Read” stack:
The Tender Bar by JR Moerhinger – Thanks to Jake Brand PI subscriber Stephanie who suggested this book.
What’s on your stack of books to read over the summer? M. wants your summer reading recommendations and to spice things up, he’s offering to give away a copy of one of his books for his favorite recommendation (paperback, ebook or audiobook). Check out what he has been reading lately below and use the form to send him a book recommendation. If he picks your suggested book, we’ll email you to let you know you’ve won. And YES there could be multiple winners so suggest away!
What author M. Louis has been reading lately:
Currently reading: “She”, by H. Rider Haggard, I’m lovin it so far.
- An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt. Nice beach read, 4 stars.
- Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan. Incredible true story about a young Italian man surviving world war II in a heroic fashion, 5 stars.
- The Secret Wife, by Gill Paul. I loved this. Parallel love stories stretched over time and entwined, 5 stars. My recent favorite.
- Departure, entertaining sci fi about unintended consequences, 4 Stars.
- A Criminal Defense, Nice beach read, 4 stars.
- I read 6+ John Le Carre books (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, etc.) all excellent books depicting George Smiley as an unassuming but effective spy for the British during the cold war. 4-5 stars.
- The Revenant, by Michael Punke, better than the movie, helped with timeline, 5 stars.
- Almayer’s Folly, by Joseph Conrad, Intriguing depiction of an unusual spot in the world where cultures clashed in the 1800s. 5 stars.
- Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty. One of those books that succeeds on the screen as well. Murder in an affluent neighborhood. 5 stars.
- I read several Raymond Chandler books, (Farewell by Lovely). Kind of loses itself in todays world, ie socially insensitive to be mild. 3 stars.
Jake is racking up the stars for his audiobook adventures! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reviews👁 🕵 💪:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Lots of action and danger!…Fun yet full of twists and turns. … Colin Iago McCarthy does an excellent performance.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Would sit in car to finish chapters! … When a book leaves me wanting more, I know I’ve hit a winner!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I loved the internal repartee carried on in Jake’s head and his vulnerability, while being the tough noir PI. Very entertaining!”
Brian’s Book Blog
⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 “A thriller filled with twists and turns.”
Me Love Books
“If you are looking for a fast-paced and action-packed detective thriller that reads/sounds like a proper action movie, Secondhand Smoke is definitely a great choice.”
Erika Loves To Read
“I think this book would probably make an enjoyable movie due to the numerous action-packed scenes. P.S. This book made me wanna visit Portland!”
Below is a message we received from a reader in Portland, Maine.
Dear Jake –
Once again my new year’s resolution is to up my fitness game and walk on my treadmill for an hour a day. Yes, a whole hour – go big or go home I say. I even got a jump on things and started the day after Christmas. I’d forgotten just how totally boring a treadmill is, so I did some research and found this post about how audiobooks help get the best of your workouts. Searching for exciting audiobooks (I get bored easily) I downloaded Angel’s Devil from Audible and gave it a try. It was just what I was looking for! Before I knew it I’d done 90 minutes of walking and just to get to the end of the chapter. I actually looked forward to the next days workout to find out what happened next.
Happily I found you had a second audiobook and am in the middle of that. Really, why are you always tangling with your yoga instructor? You have crimes to solve! But anyway I wanted to say thanks for making my workout fun and keeping me on point. I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish book 2 but I’m glad I found you and look forward to book three!
Janet Loomis, a new fan
Jake Brand PI on Audible | iTunes | Amazon
A BIG thanks to everyone who took Jake Brand PI on vacation with them. We hope you had as much fun reading and taking funny photos as we did seeing where Jake ended up. A compendium of photos is below for your viewing pleasure.
Reading books For The Win!
And thanks to Jake Brand super fans on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for sharing the love! M. did a live video interview on the Books Go Social Readers Group last month – check it out on Facebook.
Aquavaria restaurant Wilamette River, Oregon
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
Getting all tropical on Maui.
Portland Airport aka PDX
Relaxing with some Pinot Noir, Oregon
Shopping for a mid-life crisis.
Postal Museum in DC
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Brick House Winery with Mrs. M. Louis
Prego! Ciao Italia!
Jake make a great dinner companion!
Annapolis Yacht Club
Jake in Washington, DC
Chillin at the beach in Kihei, Hawaii
Takin it easy in Lake Oswego, OR
National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC
Cruising around Rome!
Hanging out at the NPR headquarters in Washington, DC
Virginia Beach, VA
Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Your commute / workout / dog walking / cooking / boring job is about to become WAY more FUN!
Secondhand Smoke (Jake Brand PI 2) is now available as an audiobook! Over 7 hours of danger, twists, turns and smart alec repartee are now available to vastly improve some of the more hum drum parts of your life. (Ok, well some people actually like working out but even so, a rollicking good story with thrills, laughs and a touch of romance is going to level up a workout from “like” to “love” right?)
Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis, narrated by Colin Iago McCarthy
Audible / Amazon / iTunes
Set on the espresso stained streets of Portland, a simple missing person case is just the beginning of a trail of danger & intrigue.
In the midst of peril, Private Detective Jake Brand still finds time to annoy his yoga instructor, and fall for the woman with more secrets than answers.
“…endlessly entertaining in any situation, especially the perilous kind.” -Kirkus
Free Sample via YouTube Below
The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Girl in the Ice, by Robert Bryndz, is the first novel in the Erica Foster come series. Erica is a DCI in the London police. She’s recovering from the death of her husband, also a police officer, who was killed in an ambush of a raid that she was responsible for commanding.
Seriously wounded in the raid herself, both physically and mentally, she’s recovered enough to begin to work again.
Her first case back on the job involves the murder of a beautiful socialite whose father is politically connected. Pressured by her boss, the victims father, competing officers, and her own shaky emotional state, Erica battles to find the killer in spite of opposition from all involved.
Well written and entertaining, the story keeps the reader turning pages all the way to the end. Interesting characters and believable villains help along the way.
View all my reviews
We are totally pumped about the first review of the audiobook version of Angel’s Devil from AudiobookReviewer.com!
4 stars! Yay!
“M. Louis does an excellent job of making Jake likable by adding in Jake’s devil and angel side-kicks. . . .
The story flows well, keeping the listeners on their toes. Fast paced but not rushed, Louis reveals just enough keeping the action riveting. Masterful story-teller, Louis keeps the listener on the edge of his seat.
Colin Iago McCarthy is a wonderful narrator, keeping the action and emotions steady and peaking when it is. . . . ”
You can read the full review here.
People are loving the audiobook and it’s been flying off the virtual shelves over at Audible.com, iTunes and Amazon. Inspired by Jake’s enthusiastic welcome to the world of audiobooks we have just started production on the audiobook of Jake Brand PI book 2, Secondhand Smoke. Stellar voice actor Colin Iago McCarthy returns as the narrator and you can look for this new audiobook to be out in the fall of this year.
We also have a new trailer with a free sample of the audiobook version of Angel’s Devil available on SoundCloud and YouTube (or listen below and save yourself a click / tap).
Crossfire Trail by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 0 of 5 stars
Whenever you want an old school yarn, there’s no one better to turn to then Louis L’amour. Sell described as “…the man in the shadows of the campfire”, his characters are thick with personality. His stories echo an American past as romantic as they are frightening. Men who kill, good or bad. Women who love and wilderness on the edge of being settled. In Crossfire Trail, Rafe Caradec escapes the clutches of a ship captain. A captain who relies on shanghied sailors for labor. A shipmate asks Rafe to help his family and save the ranch, on his death bed.
Faced with unfair odds and the beauty of Ann, the dead man’s daughter, there can only be one outcome. Entertainment.
View all my reviews
The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Absent One, written by Jussi Adler-Olsen, is the second book in the department Q series. Carl Morck is a police detective who has been relegated to a dead file department, reviewing old unsolved cases.
In this book, a group of school classmates have a history of physically attacking strangers, beating them senseless, and in some instances, killing them. Flash forward and the core of the gang are wealthy, influential and just as craven. When carl starts to make headway on an old double murder, they use their influence to try to detail him.
Well written, entertaining with intriguing characters.
View all my reviews