My Summer Reads (so far)

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.

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Summer Reading List Giveaway

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.

Recent reads:

  • 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.

Where Jake Went: Books FTW

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.

The NEWS:  BOTH Secondhand Smoke and Angel’s Devil are available as audiobooks!  #Yay!

 

Take Jake with you and win! (new prize)

Kim Scott and Lisa Kane #Jake-n-it at #AquarivaRestaurant #willametteriver #PDX#TeamJakeBrand #trilliumfamilyservices

A post shared by M. Louis (@m.louis.author.guy) on

Jake is getting around!  Contest photos are streaming in from all over the place.  The Take Jake Book Tour Contest will be going the entire summer long so bring your favorite Jake Brand book with you on vacation (or even to the dog park), snap a photo and post it to Twitter or Instagram with #TeamJakeBrand in order to get in on the prize action.  OR you can just email us the photo and we will post it for you.   info@mlouisbooks.com

You could win a gift certificate from your local indie bookstore or from Amazon (your choice!) 

You can even get in on the ‘Take Jake’ Book Tour Contest by taking a screen grab of your device while listening to the audiobook of Angel’s Devil and posting on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #TeamJakeBrand.

Here are some pics we’ve received from all over the place!

Maryland, Hawaii, New York, Virginia, Oregon, Washington DC and MORE!

Take Jake Book Tour Contest

M. is super busy writing the 3rd book in the Jake Brand Private Investigator series and watching Game of Thrones (which he calls “research”) so we at Team Jake Brand are taking things into our own hands to launch our latest crazy idea to get the word out about his fun and fast paced crime thrillers.  So, we bring you (drumroll)…

The Take Jake Book Tour Contest!

Jake Brand book one, Angel’s Devil and book two, Secondhand Smoke are going on a book tour with YOU!

All you need to do is take a photo of one or both books out there in the wild and post it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #TeamJakeBrand or you can email it to us at  info@mlouisbooks.com

Extra credit for:

  • Both emailing a copy AND posting on social media
  • Letting us know where the photo was taken

There will be prizes!

Every month we will select a winner and award them either an Amazon gift card or a gift certificate for their local indie bookstore.

Follow M. Louis on Twitter @Jake_Brand_PI  |  Instagram @m.louis.author.guy and the hashtag #TeamJakeBrand to quadruple your fun!

So take your copy of Angel’s Devil or Secondhand Smoke with you out there in the wild world, prepare your selfie sticks and enjoy being a part of our latest crazy idea.

PS: Kindle / Ebook readers you can participate too! Just make sure that the cover of the book is visible on your reader when you take the photo.

Team Jake Brand Contest

Review: Girl in the River

Girl in the River
Girl in the River by Patricia Kullberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Girl in the River by Patricia Kullberg is a well written book about Portland, Oregon from the late thirties into the fifties. A young Mae Rose’s mom dies from a botched abortion at the end of the depression. Having no family to help her, she moves from rural Oregon to Portland. Bad luck and dire economic times force her to make hard choices to survive.

Well written, the book provides an interesting description of Portland and some of its residents, as Mae works to not only survive but thrive.

5 stars!

View all my reviews

And Some Other Stuff, Also on the Run

Wait for it…

there are donuts involved.

(Promise.)

Secondhand Smoke – Jake Brand PI book 2 – by M. Louis – Available on Amazon (free on Kindle Unlimited / 2.99 ebook) and these fine Indie Bookstores:

Boulder Book Store
1107 Pearl Street (on the Pearl St. Mall)
Boulder, CO

Boulder Bookstore Online

Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219
503-246-0053

http://www.annieblooms.com/

Broadway Books
1714 NE Broadway
Portland, OR 97232
503-284-1726

http://www.broadwaybooks.net/

The Origins of Jake Brand, PI – Reluctant Hero & Lover

My parents were true believers in babysitting by TV.  I was the only kid in my neighborhood to have a TV in my room; heck we were the only family to have two TV’s.  As a result I spent decades watching television, and nothing has changed much since then.  I’m a passionate watcher.  I find human truth in TV shows.  Much of it is the viewpoint of the writer/director of what they believe the audience wants to hear or see at that moment in time.  For example, Dragnet was a police show intent on informing us of the demons of crime at the time of free love and hippies.  If you smoked marijuana, Friday was going to get you.  Or the second season of True Detective; all I saw was dark violence, a base attempt to appeal to our lesser selves.

I find that I am most attracted to the reluctant hero.  They stand out to me not because of the shows depiction of crime and conflict, but because of the character of the man confronted.  All of my favorites had several things in common.  First, the dude was a hunk.  Aren’t we all?  Second, the hunk could be a tough guy.  Don’t we all think we are?  Third, the tough guy never wanted to fight.  He wanted to talk his way out of it or even avoid it.  Fourth, the man was empathetic.  He cared about people and it was this concern for the wellbeing of others that was the hook that drug him into conflict. There are a lot of examples of these, but I have a few that especially stand out to me.

MaverickMaverick, filmed between 1957 and 1962, it is a black and white series about a gambler, Bret Maverick (there were other Mavericks but they were faded shadows of Bret), played by James Garner.  “Who is the tall dark stranger there, Maverick is the name.”  That’s right, I still know the words to the theme song.  Bret wasn’t a detective. He was a gambler who traveled from town to town, making a living playing cards.  Basically a loner, in each episode he became reluctantly (there’s that word) entwined in a weaker soul’s conflict.  His empathy forced him to abandon his self-interest in order to do battle for the weaker person. He’s witty and charming.  Women love him, but can’t corral him.  He’s a tumbleweed blowing in the wind (this sentence will never make one of my books).

Rockford-Files02Next up, The Rockford Files, airing from 1974 to 1980.  Starring James Garner (yeah I know, I’m a Garner groupie) as Jim Rockford, it was essentially Bret maverick driving a gold Pontiac Firebird instead of riding a horse.  There are two significant differences between Rockford and Maverick.  First, Rockford was anchored.  He lived in a trailer home on the beach instead of drifting from town to town.  Second, he had a team.  A very quirky, difficult to manage team, primarily his dad Rocky, and Angel, who always had a con going.  Doesn’t seem like much, but it was impressive to me.  The second line of the Maverick theme song is “Ridin’ the trail to who knows where…” makes Maverick seem sad.  Rockford didn’t seem sad.  He seemed happy in a dysfunctional way.

magnumpiIn the early to late 80’s there were two shows that hit my imagination, Magnum P.I. and Hill Street Blues.  Both of these shows had great ensemble casts that all took their turn being tough, serious and funny.  They mixed humor with anger, compassion, and passion.  It was the unity of tough guys, and gals, banding together to complete difficult tasks.  They fought with each other, but in the end, they were family and worked as a team.

MoonlightingIn the mid-eighties, one of my favorite shows of all times (for the first three-ish seasons) aired, Moonlighting.  Starring Bruce Willis as David Addison, and Cybil Shepherd as Maddie Hayes, it was hilarious.  It was Bruce Willis at his best.  It was romance, as David and Maddie went from thoroughly disliking each other to hubba-hubba.  And it didn’t happen overnight.  They took their time over several seasons before they, well you know.  Unfortunately the amazing chemistry with them bickering while harboring secret desires, couldn’t survive the realization of those desires.

Anyway, Jake is bits and pieces of these characters.  I see him as a reluctant hero and lover.  He’s careful and caring.  He sees the humor in everything around him and can’t keep it locked inside.  He wants to settled down but can’t find his soul mate.  He likes his clients less because they pay him and more because they value him.  He laments missed opportunities but doesn’t let them drag him down.  He’s a professional who appreciates the strength of a team.

Anyway, in my mind it all plays out like that.


DoesJakeSolveTheCase

Review: Ochoco Reach

Ochoco Reach
Ochoco Reach by J.R. Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ochoco Reach, by Jim Stewart, is the tale of half-brothers that battle dirty feds, banditos, and the elements. Set in the wilds of Mexico, spectacular Central Oregon, and Portland, Oregon, the brothers rely on more than just their experiences as special force veterans who served in Vietnam. They also draw heavily on their experiences growing up on a ranch with a rich native American influence. In fact Daniel is half Nimi’ipuu, or Nez Perce tribe. Both brothers are connected to the land and hear and rely upon the songs and battle cries of their shared heritage.

But it’s more than just a modern day battle between good and evil. Elements of the book reach back to the old west, reminding us of all of the movies and stories we’ve heard growing up. Plus, as all good books do, there’s a very enticing romance element to contrast against the stark violence.

Very enjoyable, 5 stars!

View all my reviews