Guest Author: Don Helin

High-level election officials mysteriously disappear from key presidential election swing states. A nursing home franchise in Minnesota keeps patients chained to their beds. Former General Frederick Farmington, a populist candidate with a radical protectionist agenda, inexplicably soars in the polls.

Are these incidents connected? Colonel Zack Kelly and his national security team suspect persons unknown within the president’s inner circle of aiding Farmington by tampering with the election.

Zack’s partner, Rene Garcia, infiltrates the Farmington campaign. She uncovers a plot to rig the election by hacking into state computers and using artificial intelligence to “cook the books.”

Zack finds the roots of the conspiracy run so deep they penetrate the lives of not only his team, but also his father, daughter, high-school classmates, and his first love of years ago.

Racing against time, Zack has to dig deep and use all his skills to rescue his colleagues from vicious killers who will stop at nothing to seize presidential power.

Not all of them will survive.

During his time in the military, Don Helin served at a number of stateside posts as well as overseas in Vietnam and Germany. He is the author of six thrillers that draw from his military experience, including three tours in the Pentagon. He writes for “TheBurg”, a community magazine based in Harrisburg.

His novel, Secret Assault, was selected as the Best Suspense/Thriller at the 2015 Indie Book Awards. His novel, Long Walk Home, won a Five Star review at Readers Favorite Awards and his latest novel, Roof of the World, was just awarded a Finalist in the 2020 Indie Book Awards.

You can reach Don at: http://www.donhelin.com.

PRAISE FOR MISSING

MISSING s a top-notch political thriller, as timely as it is terrific. Thriller vet Don Helin turns his sights on shenanigans arising in the days leading up to a presidential election in a tale that is both eerily prescient and scarily on point. Call MISSING a book ripped from headlines we never want to see as Colonel Zach Kelly and his crack national security team race to prevent a crisis of catastrophic proportions that would change the nation forever. A tour de force destined to be shelved right alongside Seven Days in May, Advise and Consent, and Six Days of the Condor.”

— Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author

**

“Don Helin’s new thriller, MISSING, starts with a literal bang and never lets up. Old flames, old pain and problems from the past put Colonel Zack Kelly at the center of a perplexing mystery full of shocking twists and turns. His team of tough and colorful characters have returned to help him investigate a high-tech conspiracy that couldn’t be more topical. If you’re looking for an action-packed page turner with a story ripped from today’s headlines, look no further”

 — Haris Orkin, award winning author of YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE and Amazon Best Selling Author of the JAMES FLYNN THRILLERS

**

Don Helin has a prescription for a fever pitched thriller that sounds a loud constitutional alarm for today. With his new novel, MISSING, Helin infuses the likes of Robin Cook and David Baldacci into a highly-charged, fast-paced warning that our political health might well be on life support.  A timely and exciting read.”

 — Gary Grossman, Best-selling author of Executive Actions, Old Earth and Red Hotel.

**

New Review

RECLAIMING QUINN by Parker Williams

Fiction, Shapeshifter Romance, LGBTQ

4****

Publisher Blurb: Shifter Quinn Adler knew he would live and die as a slave. Quinn’s life was filled with pain until he was rescued from an abusive pack. But in Lydon, Quinn can’t be sure of anything, so he’s terrified of everything. With no one to give him direction, he is lost—until Deke takes control of him. Deke Timmons hates that he has to play the role of master to his mate. Unfortunately, Quinn won’t accept his love until Deke can show him what being mates means. Vowing to help Quinn, Deke takes him into the world he’s never seen. Though sometimes their relationship is tense, his methods seem to be working. Then a power-mad Alpha swoops in to kidnap Quinn and ends up getting Deke by mistake. Now Deke must play submissive to a wolf complicit in Quinn’s abuse. He’ll do whatever it takes to get back to his mate—but with Deke in peril, Quinn must find his courage and reclaim the person he was meant to be.

Thoughts: This is the second in a paranormal series. Quinn was taken as a boy from his family by an abusive alpha. He was raped, beaten, starved, and treated as a slave until he was rescued by another family. Unfortunately, he has trouble reintegrating to a regular life and especially with his new “master”—who turns out to actually be his true mate. Deke knows he has to take things slow with Quinn and tries to. Then Deke is kidnapped and Quinn realizes what Deke means to him and he will do anything to get Deke back.

What I liked: the characters are strong and well-drawn with quirks, flaws, and strengths. The world building is excellent, especially with the vampyres being created to protect the Omegas. There’s a happily ever after that satisfies, but it’s also obviously part of a series because a few threads are left dangling even though this is a stand-alone. And you don’t need to have read the first one to know what’s going on in this one.

What I didn’t like: The book was slow to start for me. Okay, not really, but I had to skip over the first few pages because of the violence there. There are a lot of “triggers” in this book for some people. I didn’t get the whole “Omega” (and other Greek letters indicating who was what in society). Maybe that was explained in the first book. I also didn’t understand the whole “guy” got pregnant thing that obviously had to do with being an Omega.

Recommendation: It was a good book with strong characters and excellent world building. There are some triggers (rape, violence, abuse) that may take away from some readers’ enjoyment but overall, it’s a good read.

Changes

Just a heads up to authors and others, I am making some minor changes to the Sparkling Book Reviews pages. Mostly to organize things better. From now on, author promos will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays and reviews posted Monday/Wednesday/Friday. The weekends will be whatever I feel like doing. It could be nothing, it could be tips and tricks for authors, or anything else. Hope you’ll continue to join us here.

Speaking of reviews – check out my 3 sparkler review of “Cherry Cheesecake Murder” by Joanne Fluke under the “Mysteries” page.