Monday, October 23, 2017

THE THIRD ILLUSION by Harrison Arnston

Harrison Arnston’s The Third Illusion, published by Harper as a paperback original in 1993, is a nicely played hybrid of the private eye and thriller genres with a tricky plot that Alfred Hitchcock would have found intriguing. It is Mr. Arnston’s eighth novel, after the legal thriller Trade-Off (1992), and his second to last published novel, preceding The Venus Diaries (1994).
David Baxter, a former CIA operative, is a hunted man. A Palestinian terrorist group has sentenced him to death for thwarting an attack and killing its leader. With the help of the Agency, David faked his own death, changed his name to Jack Slade, and lives a secluded life in a California mountain town. When a wealthy and politically ambitious businessman, who knows David’s real identity, lures him out of hiding with a hard luck story about a missing daughter, David’s carefully orchestrated life unravels.

The Third Illusion is what a thriller should be: entertaining, complex and fun. Its first person narration is smooth and provides the reader with an unobstructed view of both the action and David Baxter. Its plotting and pacing are pitch-perfect, and while the book runs 452 pages in mass market, there is plenty of story from the first page to the last. The climactic twist is achieved with what must have been a cutting edge technology in the early-1990s, and still feels a little science fiction, that stretches belief, but in Arnston’s expert hands this reader didn’t much care.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thrift Shop Book Covers: "Desperado Doublecross" / "The Plunderers"

Desperado Doublecross, by Tom West / The Plunderers, by Norman Daniels was published as a double book by Ace in 1970 (14265). The cover art for both titles is pure Western pulp bliss; flashy, vivid with more than a little implied action and violence. The artist(s): Unknown (to me at least)

The first sentence from Desperado Doublecross:
“Bill Mackay felt sorrier than a sick calf.”
The first sentence from The Plunderers:
“The street had quickly cleared of people and, except for the loudmouthed, drunken, highly dangerous man who walked down the middle of the of the road, the little town looked abandoned.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A few reviews...

A couple reviews went live in the ether recently for two of my stories. Kevin Tipple reviewed Blaze! Red Rock Rampage at his blog, Kevin’s Corner, with an appreciated “highly recommended.” My favorite portion of the review:
Blaze! Red Rock Rampage is a very good western. 15th in the series originally created by Stephen Mertz, the read features plenty of action and adventure in a western setting with some mystery and romantic elements thrown into the high octane mix. Well plotted and complicated, the read moves forward at a rapid pace. Blaze! Red Rock Rampage is highly recommended.
Click here to read the entire review, and check out Kevin’s other reviews and miscellany. He operates a great blog that is updated multiple times a week.
And Blaze Red Rock Rampage is in its final few days of its 99 cent sale. Get it, read it, and let me know what you think of it.
I also discovered a couple reviews for my short story Merrick, posted on two separate international Amazon websites. The first is from Aussie writer Brent Towns:
Those of you who enjoy a western with great action and NOT your average western hero should enjoy this story no end.
Read Merrick. You'll be glad you did.
Okay, now that the shameless self-promotion done, back to regular programming.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Available Now: Blaze! Spanish Gold

It is release day for my latest book, Blaze! Spanish Gold. The eighteenth installment in the always entertaining Adult Western series Blaze!—created by Stephen Mertz and published by Rough Edges Press—finds J.D. and Kate in a bunch of trouble as they attempt to celebrate their wedding anniversary in the fictional Northeastern Utah town of Unity.
The publisher’s description of Blaze! Spanish Gold is apt, and one phrase made me smile—thinking of sinister albino—and want to read the book again myself:

“The only thing Kate and J.D. Blaze had in mind when they rode into the settlement of Unity, Utah, was celebrating their wedding anniversary. But then J.D. is forced to kill a corrupt deputy in order to save a woman’s life, and suddenly the Old West’s only husband-and-wife gunfighters are plunged into a deadly mystery involving a sinister albino, missing men, and a lost treasure in Spanish gold.
“It’s action all the way as critically acclaimed author Ben Boulden returns with another exciting installment in today’s top Adult Western series!”
I’m fond of this one, as I am all my work, and if you choose to spend a little time with Kate and J.D., I hope you find it as pleasant as I did while I wrote Spanish Gold. And if you do read it, I would love to hear from you and I hope you'll leave a glowing review at Amazon, or Goodreads, or anywhere else. 
Blaze! Spanish Gold is available as an ebook exclusively through Amazon Kindle—free for Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscribers—and trade paperback pretty much everywhere: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository (for those international fans of Blaze!) and many other online markets.

And while I’m plugging myself without shame, my first Blaze! novel, Red Rock Rampage, is available for a limited at the unbeatable price of $0.99 for your Kindle device. You can get a little more information about Red Rock Rampage here, or click the link below for its Amazon listing.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

BLAZE! RED ROCK RAMPAGE: Kindle Edition On Sale for $0.99!

This is big news—for me, at least. The Kindle edition of my first book,  Blaze! Red Rock Rampage, is on sale for $0.99. A limited time sort of deal. 
The sale is anticipating the October 9 release of my second book, Blaze! Spanish Gold, and with a little luck will drum up some excitement for both books.   
I’m proud of both novels, and I hope you take the time to read one or the other, or even better, both. Maybe twice.
Thanks for your support!

                    --Ben Boulden

Sunday, October 01, 2017


The Moses Deception, the latest from Stephen Mertz, is a high energy, entertaining chase novel with a unique premise. An eleventh commandment—from a fragment of the original tablets shattered by Moses when he descended Mount Sinai—is discovered on the war-torn border between Turkey and Syria. The discovery threatens the status quo and more than a few powerful individuals and groups are willing to kill to keep the discovery hidden since the new commandment has broad implications for the three major world religions; Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. 
Adam Chase and Lara Newton are leading an archaeological dig on the arid desert site of what they believe is “an ancient proto-Israelite settlement” from “the second millennium BCE,” which could offer evidence that the Biblical story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt is historically accurate. When the Turkish military security detail attached to the dig is ordered away, the archaeologists are forced to abandon the site. As the rest of the dig team decamps, Adam and Lara are enticed to a cave where an ancient box is hidden. Inside the box are stone fragments containing God’s eleventh commandment and the discovery sets in motion a violent and harrowing journey for the two archaeologists.

The Moses Deception is an absorbing, action-oriented thriller. Its prose is cinematic: crisp and clear without distortion. The storyline, especially its impetus, is unique and the action moves across Europe—from Turkey to the Vatican to Berlin to the Swiss Alps—with a well-paced shimmer. The characters are heroic and evil with enough in the middle to keep things interesting. A billionaire, Buckeye Calhoun, who is bankrolling the expedition, is exactly what I imagine Ross Perot to be. Eccentric as hell, but likable in a good ole’ boy manner. A few big ideas are discussed without stalling the story and a nicely executed climax left this reader smiling and wishing for more.