5 Stars, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Nicole Castle, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Inauspicious List by Nicole Castle

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Amazon

Title: The Inauspicious List (Chance Assassin: Book Three)

Author: Nicole Castle

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I have what could probably be described as an unhealthy love for this series, and The Inauspicious List only reaffirms it!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: With a new handler and Silva’s book of hits, Frank and Vincent’s marital bliss is only interrupted by the occasional spat over whose turn it is to kill. But when their jobs stop going according to plan, a detour takes them down a path that could bring the end of their careers. And their lives.

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Review: So, if you haven’t started reading this series yet, let me catch you up: Everyone in it is certifiably insane. There. Now you’re caught up.

After a brief respite to allow Bella and Casey to have their say in Les Recidivists, Nicole Castle has brought two of my all-time favorite assassins back for book three in the Chance Assassin series, The Inauspicious List. Just to catch you up even further on what exactly the list is, it’s a book full of names…which doesn’t sound all that exciting until you know those who are named in this book are people who someone has hired our assassins to kill. Fun, right? Well, the “Inauspicious” part of the title means not so much fun for our hitmen and hitwomen (Bella <3), but it adds up to loads of entertainment for us readers.

Frank and Vincent are our happily wedded couple, blissfully come out of retirement after V was forced to take some time off to recuperate, having sustained some serious head injuries whose aftereffects still haunt him but for which Frank made the kidnapper pay dearly. One of the most absolutely awesome things about these characters, I must say, is their hunger for violence—yet they’re so damned likeable. They live for the kill, and I know that adoring them sounds crazy, but it’s nonetheless true. These guys barter hits like kids trading baseball cards, and their gleeful anticipation of wreaking havoc is infectious, to say the least. That’s how lovely Nicole Castle’s storytelling is: she’s created this band of social and psychological misfits who kill for fun and profit, who, outside of these books, would be considered irredeemable (at best), and she makes them completely lovable…in a pathological and twisted and joyful sort of way.

In an even lovelier addition to this installment of the series, V’s narration of certain events which occurred with our sweet and loopy Miko in The Result of a Straight Razor (book two in the Mako Shark companion series about a rival set of assassins), have now overlapped into Chance Assassin. One of the things I loved about getting these particular scenes from Vincent’s point-of-view was not only the effect the encounters had on Frank and V, but also seeing Miko through someone else’s eyes. The beauty in this is that had we only seen our oddball outsider assassin via V’s storytelling, Miko wouldn’t be nearly as wonderful and sympathetic as he is in his own books. Honestly, it made me love him a li’l bit more. He’s sincerely broken and somehow a little bit smishable too.

I’d also be somewhat remiss not to add somewhere in here how beautifully warped Frank and V’s relationship is, so I’ll say it now. Looking for a non-traditional romance? This is it. These two men met after Vincent had been stabbed during a job-gone-wrong he’d been set up for. V was only a teenager at the time, though he had an unfortunate amount of experience with sex by then, and he set about seducing Frank in a rather comical and tenacious way. Let me assure you, though, that Frank waited until Vincent was of legal age to consummate their relationship. So even with their age difference and in spite of the way they met, even in their twisted “yes, of course I shot you on purpose because, hello, you shot me on purpose years ago” way, these two guys just fit like a custom tailored straight jacket. I love every single one of their interactions because they’re so sincerely in love with each other. They just so happen to show it in a different way. When these two men said “‘til death do us part,” they meant it. Probably in a hail of gunfire.

So, in the end, the merde has hit the ventilateur. I’m trying that out in French in honor of Frank. For the rest of us, that means the shit has hit the fan. Seems there’s an assassin war on the horizon, one Miko may factor into in an interesting way, and based on the final sentence of this book, holy merde, it’s already underway. And I can’t wait to see what Nicole Castle has in store for us next.

This series has quickly become an absolute favorite, what with its quirky characters and sharp dialogue and plenty of laughs to go along with the killer bits, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for something just a little bit different and a lot cuckoo for cocoa puffs. I felt like this installment started off a little slowly, but it didn’t take too long to get moving, and once it did, it was another fun ride on the crazy train to Murdertown.

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You can buy The Inauspicious List here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Literary Fiction, Nicole Castle, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Result of a Straight Razor by Nicole Castle

TNA Page Turner Resized

Title: The Result of a Straight Razor (The Mako Shark: Book Two)

Author: Nicole Castle

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 168 Pages

At a Glance: Three cheers for the morally complicated!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Miko is in mourning. He is plotting. Miko is thinking about death and vengeance. About forgiveness. And love. Miko is getting some new tattoos.

Dividers

Review: There’s one thing author Nicole Castle will never be accused of: writing sane characters. Or, at least what might be considered sane by most people. Not up to this point, anyhow. Ms. Castle writes about a group of assassins, after all, and their lives revolve around murder and mayhem, something they pursue quite passionately, I might add. Sometimes with a glee that can only be called disarming and charming in a disturbing sort of way.

These people make me happy.

The Result of a Straight Razor picks up where The Consequence of High Caliber left off, so it’s an absolute must to read these books in order. Miko, our sweet and broken man-child, returns to his would-be lover Toby—would-be if Toby didn’t give Miko a sense of normalcy that only serves to make Miko realize how not-normal he really is, and how dangerous it is for him to be in Toby’s life.

Relationship Status: It’s complicated.

We get a bit more of Miko’s backstory in this installment of the series, through flashbacks that show us how he came to be where he is; not exactly the best assassin in the bunch but having been nursed on a steady diet of violent and murderous bedtime stories about people who became his heroes, it’s given him a lot to strive for. But poor Miko. ::sighs:: He just seems to have a big Murphy’s Law target tattooed on the business end of his best intentions.

Plus, he needs to stop pointing his gun at the wrong people.

The linchpin of The Result of a Straight Razor’s plot is a carry-over from book one, and the death of Miko’s best friend Ophelia—a death everyone but Miko believes was suicide. Miko is determined to prove there’s murder afoot!, even as every one of his efforts to do so seem bent upon proving him wrong.

The murder business is so fickle.

And it also distances him from Toby, not only geographically but mentally and emotionally too.

It’s also hard on relationships.

Razor-sharp wit and a skillfully honed sense of pace and timing have been the hallmark of not only these books but those in the Chance Assassins series too (several characters from that series make brief cameos in “Straight Razor”). Bella, as usual, steals every scene she’s in, and every single nuance, from the overt to the subtlest, adds to its charm. These are not your typical heroes and heroines, nor are they strictly antiheroes—they’re far too loveable for that. Maybe they’re just demiheroes. Because, really, are any of our favorite characters all good or all bad?

Three cheers for the morally complicated!

I love this book. I love this author for being just a little demented. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this, or any of Nicole Castle’s books, for that matter. They’re disturbingly comical and comically disturbed novels.

They’re disturmical in the very best way.

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You can buy The Result of a Straight Razor exclusively at:

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Nicole Castle, Self-Published

Interview and Giveaway: Nicole Castle – The Consequence of High Caliber

Nicole Castle

TNA: Welcome to The Novel Approach, Nicole, I’m so glad to have you with us today! Why don’t we start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Nicole:  Thank you so much for having me!  Well I’m a self-published author of the Chance Assassin series, which has me thinking about murder in one way or another for most of the day.  But if you look at my browser history you’ll likely find searches for gunshot wounds and car accidents in equal amounts as kitten videos or feel good coming out stories.  I currently live in Portland, OR, and I have a little monster-dog that takes up as much of my time as she can. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Nicole Castle, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Consequence of High Caliber by Nicole Castle

Title: The Consequence of High Caliber (The Mako Shark: Book One)

Author: Nicole Castle

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 168 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Miko is a devoted son. An irresponsible brother. A protective friend. An anonymous lover. An assassin, nicknamed the Mako Shark after the sheer violence of his hits. Miko is deadly. And damaged.
Miko is in love.
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4 Stars, Literary Fiction, Michael Kudo, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jackie, Wilde City Press

Review: Red Rose (Blood) by Michael Kudo

Title: Red Rose (Blood)

Author: Michael Kudo

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: “I don’t like to be called an Assassin, I prefer the term problem solver.”

My name’s Alex. I’m an average guy. I kill people for a living. But don’t judge me.

I don’t take jobs on just anybody though. I only kill the really annoying people, like cheaters or abusers. So if you think about it, I’m actually doing God’s work—okay, maybe that’s stretching things a bit. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Nicole Castle, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Nicole Castle’s “Les Recidivists” Is A Repeatedly Fantastic Read


“Driving a corpse across several international borders in the trunk of a Maserati sounded like a great idea to me! It would make a terrific sitcom.” – Nicole Castle


Title: Les Recidivists (Chance Assassin: Book Two)

Author: Nicole Castle

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 447 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Two years following the events of Chance Assassin, Frank and Vincent are living in France, struggling with retirement. And with each other. When someone from Frank’s past shows up and threatens to bring his personal and professional lives together with a bang, it’s up to them to find out who ordered the hit and take them out first. Things may not be what they seem, but they may be exactly what Frank and Vincent need.

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5 Stars, Nicole Castle, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Nicole Castle Redefines Romance In “Chance Assassins: A Story of Love, Luck, And Murder


“I looked at Frank, wondering whether that was the connection I’d felt between us. Two murderers seeing one another for what they were. Death united us. Not love.” – Nicole Castle


Title: Chance Assassins: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder

Author: Nicole Castle

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 354 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Vincent Sullivan is down on his luck. When a chance encounter generates a job prospect he’s too desperate to decline, Vincent is well on his way to a career in crime. But after the job goes wrong and he’s gravely injured in the process, things couldn’t get much worse. Except that he may have just killed a man.
Continue reading

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S.A. McAuley, Total-E-Bound Publishing

Who Will Be The “Dominant Predator” In The Borders War?



“I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.” ― Stephen Hawking



Welcome to the Revolution.

The fight for dominance in a game of political warfare now comes down not to who is right but to who will be left when the battle is done. It is a question of survival of the fittest in which the dominant predators have been genetically modified to serve as the weapons of destruction. One thing is certain: the fact that they currently fight for the same side weighs heavily against the Opposition’s favor.

Merq Grayson has become the face of the Revolution, though that hadn’t been the original plan when he was chosen for this mission. With one bullet, he assassinated the Premiere of the Opposition. He was meant to be made sacrifice for the greater good, but his enemy-turned-lover, Armise Darcan, was not about to allow for that outcome, turning traitor to his own country in loyalty to the one person he will follow and protect to the end of his days.

For a man who does not trust easily or often, when trusting in someone can mean the difference between betrayal and death, Merq’s faith in Armise is a gift that’s been earned. Whether that will last, however, is anyone’s guess. If it comes down to Dominant Predator vs. Dominant Predator, there will be no winner. The loss would be devastating on a soul-deep level for both men, so it remains to be seen if a father’s prophecy will come true, or if the son and his brother-in-arms, lover, partner will only become stronger as they fight shoulder to shoulder, back to back, one for the cause, the other for the man he loves. They are bound together; let nothing tear them asunder.

The twenty-sixth century is a barren and desolate place, a dystopian landscape where anything that resembles hope has been quashed by political oppression. It is a place where the fight is the way of life, where life itself is expendable if it serves a madman’s bid for power, where that madman is now the target of Merq and Armise’s deadly skills. S.A. McAuley has turned in a brilliant sequel to the stellar One Breath, One Bullet, and my only regret in reading Dominant Predator now is knowing I have to wait for the next book in the series.

If you’re looking for the antidote to the formula romance, this series is it because it’s not romance in even the loosest definition of the word. The Borders War series is raw, it’s erotic, it’s edgy, it’s in-your-face, it’s bloody. This is war and war’s not pretty, but in this case, it is irresistible. The author doesn’t mince words nor over-tell, providing exactly the detail necessary to keep the pacing of the plot somewhere in the edge-of-your-seat range.

Obviously this series won’t be for everyone, but if you love strong male characters who deal in death and prefer bullets and blades to hearts and flowers, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2) here:

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