Guest review: The Istanbul Puzzle


The Istanbul Puzzle is a thriller/mystery novel, first published January 19, 2012. It’s the first in a series of novels featuring Sean Ryan and Isabel Sharp, being published by Harper Collins and a series of other publishers around the world.

Buried deep under Istanbul, a secret is about to resurface with explosive consequences…Alex Zegliwski has been savagely beheaded. His body is found hidden near the sacred archaeological site of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. When Sean arrives in the ancient city to identify his colleague’s body, he is handed an envelope of photographs belonging to Alek and soon finds himself in grave danger. Someone wants him dead but why? Aided by British diplomat Isabel Sharp, Sean begins to unravel the mystery of the mosaics in the photographs and inch closer to snaring Alek’s assassin. Evil is at work and when a lethal virus is unleashed on the city, panic spreads fast. Time is running out for Sean and Isabel. They must catch the killer before it’s too late. An electrifying conspiracy thriller which will entice fans of Scott Mariani, Sam Bourne and Dan Brown.

Mr Sheli’s opinion: I downloaded this book ages and ages ago, but finally got round to reading it on holiday this year. I didn’t really know what to expect, but Sheli thought that it looked like the sort of book that I would enjoy.

The story centres around Sean Ryan. When Alex Zegliwski is killed in Istanbul in a brutal beheading, Sean goes out to investigate and find the truth behind the murder of his friend and colleague. His investigation starts offon a dangerous footing and he meets Isabel, who he hopes can help him get the answers he needs.

Overall, I thought that the book a good read. I enjoyed the storyline and some of the action scenes. This is the first book that I can remember reading that is written in the first person, so sometimes I found that a little confusing, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

Although I don’t think that this book is in quite the same league as some of my favourite action/adventure authors such as Robert Ludlum and Scott Mariani, I definitely enjoyed it and will certainly be reading the next two books in the series.

Mr Sheli’s rating: 3.5 stars


Guest review: The Nemesis Program


You may have noticed from the genre and cover of this book that it’s something a little different. No, I haven’t started reading boy books! My other half, Mr Sheli has read this book and has written the below guest review. I’m sure we will see more from him over the summer, and I’d like to welcome him to the blog! Take it away Mr Sheli…

The explosive, thrilling new BEN HOPE adventure from the top 10 bestselling author

While secretly researching the bizarre discoveries of Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla many years earlier, physicist Claudine Pommier becomes the victim of a remorseless and cruel murderer who breaks into her Parisian apartment. Is he just a serial killer, or is there more to her death than the Paris cops believe?

Maverick American biologist Dr Roberta Ryder receives a mysterious letter from her friend Claudine and travels to Paris to see her, only to learn of her shocking death. Before she knows it, Roberta becomes the target of ruthless men with a deadly agenda that only the letter can unmask. She’s alone and vulnerable. But she knows someone – the only someone – who can help her.

Ben Hope, ex-SAS soldier and Roberta’s old flame, now trying to retire to a life of peace with his fiancée Brooke, suddenly finds his life turned upside down by Roberta’s sudden arrival in England. She needs his help; he can’t turn her down. In a frantic race to Paris and halfway around the world, Ben and Roberta battle to uncover the mystery of Claudine’s research, with the killers just half a step behind. In the process they uncover a global conspiracy that will claim the lives of millions of people . . . unless Ben can stop it.

Mr Sheli’s opinion: I jumped at the chance to read an advance copy of this book as I have read and loved all of the other Scott Mariani books in the Ben Hope series, as well as his Vampire Federation series, written as Scott G Mariani. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next, and picked this book up as soon as it arrived.

We catch up with the main character, Ben Hope, about six months after we left him in The Armada Legacy. He is putting the final touches to his wedding to fiancee Brooke, when ex girlfriend Roberta turns up asking for his help. She has been sent a letter by her scientist friend, Claudine, saying that she thinks she may be in trouble. But when Roberta tries to go to her aid, she finds that she needs Ben’s help and that he is her only hope to find out what is going on. Ben gets dragged in to help and action and mayhem ensue whilst the secrets finally get uncovered.

As soon as I finished The Armada Legacy on holiday last year, I knew that I couldn’t wait to read the next installement in the Ben Hope series. I really enjoyed The Nemesis Program and much to Sheli’s annoyance, it destroyed 3 days of my revision time when I couldn’t put it down! (It was a little more exciting than revising for my exam!) The story kept me in suspense and I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next, and how Ben was going to get himself out of some of the situations he got himself in! Some of the scenes in the book are a little far fetched, but enjoyable nonetheless. Although this is the ninth book in the series, I still enjoy reading about Ben Hope as a character and am still rooting for him to get out in one piece!

Although this wasn’t my favourite book in the series, I still really enjoyed it and was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. I’d definitely recommend this book and am already looking forward to see what a tenth book will bring!

Mr Sheli’s rating: Four stars

An advance review copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review