Thursday, June 25, 2015

REVIEW: Twin Powers +($25 Amazon GC Giveaway)

Title: Twin Powers
Author: David Pereda 
Series: N/A
Pages: 361
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Thriller
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
While vacationing with her mother in Havana, a ten-year-old American girl is taken by members of a child sex ring intent on selling her into forced prostitution. When the human traffickers avoid capture and escape the island, the father of the girl, surgeon Raymond Peters, decides to take matters into his own hands and intiates a worldwide investigation. The Cuban government assigns a lethal professional assassin named Marcela to help Raymond track down the culprits. The search for Stephanie takes the unlikely pair—a man who has taken an oath to save lives and a woman who kills for a living—to the Middle East in the hunt for the mysterious mastermind, Mohamed. Working against the clock, Raymond and Marcela must pull out all the stops to save Stephanie and flee Dubai before Mohamed and his thugs kill them.
~My Thoughts~
This is the kind of thrillers you grew up reading...the kind that grip you with an iron fist and cause you to have heart palpitations as you and the main character race against the clock to put two and two together and save the day from the nefarious clutches of kidnappers, drug-dealers, or what have you! It was the kind of melancholy, dashing romp that makes you feel the characters' emotions as they feel them so that you're exhausted at the end of the book like they would be at the end of the case. 

Raymond Peters is very reminiscent of Liam Neeson in Taken...you know, father of the kidnapped daughter and a very particular set of skills and all. Watching the fear and terror play out in Sonia's (the kidnapped girl's mother) mind was emotional and captivating. Raymond's a surgeon and you can tell how his medical profession helps him along, but the real scene-stealer was his counterpart Marcela. She's the breath of fresh air that makes this tired trope really work and stand on its own. I mean...it's hard not to do that when you've got a trained Cuban assassin on your side.  

I have to admit, this was a bit of a long one for me, and at times the story seemed to drag along with the page count. There were some passages that could have been condensed, some musings that I got the point of one or two pages in that continued on for entire chapters. Still, these musings and ramblings did thoroughly paint the picture...so much so that it went past vivid into nearly 3D...if that makes any sense. 

Around the last quarter or so, the story really picks up and I found myself glued to my seat and loving all of the twists, turns, and suspense. I honestly didn't know if the bad guys would get away with it or not, and normally that's an open and shut concept in an adventurous book like Twin Powers. I definitely enjoyed this one. It's a good read if you've got a good amount of time and love very detailed passages. 
~Try an Excerpt!~
The woman looked like the queen of a redneck trailer park. She had a face like poured concrete painted pink, and limp Clairol-blonde hair. She wore a stamped polyester dress in shades of burnt orange, and pink flip flops. Her name was Tammy – short for Tamara, she said.

Definitely not my typical patient, Mon thought.

But then the woman wasn’t there as a patient. Tammy had come to him highly recommended by Anatoli Vorsov, a Russian businessman he’d been doing business with for over a year now.

Mon leaned back in his chair behind the wooden desk in the office he kept in the clinic precisely for these transactions and steepled his fingers. He allowed his mind to wonder, but not too much. He had to be alert.

It was amazing how his life had changed since his father brought him to Miami from Cuba years ago. How many years? Eight, or was it nine? So many things had happened during that time, including the fact that he and his father didn’t talk to each other anymore. One thing for sure, he had found a way to make money in the United States, big money, much more money than he ever hoped to make in Cuba.

He smiled inwardly and watched the “Queen”, who was giving him a broad smile.

“Good deal, no?”

She had a rough accent, as rough as her porous complexion, and the unsettling quirk of leaving out of her speech all the articles and most of the verbs. She sounded like a bad Hollywood imitation of an Indian in a cheap western, but not exactly. Mon couldn’t quite figure out where she was from. The fact mortified him, for some reason. He guessed she was from somewhere in Eastern Europe -- Ukraine, Belarus or Moldova. Maybe she was Russian, like Anatoli. Mon had met many Russians in Cuba, but none quite like this woman. Mon wasn’t very good with accents, anyway. He hadn’t lived in the United States long enough to develop a discriminating ear for accents. Hell, he was still struggling to master English. He hated the language. It was constantly changing. It had few grammatical rules and most had countless exceptions. Then there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of idioms that didn’t make sense.

As his instructor at the Miami Dade Community College always said, “English is a language you have to memorize.”

“Well?” the woman asked.

“Well what?”

Tammy cocked her head without moving one curly hair. “You want business or not?”

Mon’s curiosity was piqued by the woman’s proposition. He just didn’t know whether he could trust her. She had promised to provide him with five hundred new Medicare patients. Mon already had more than enough patients now. He was doing so well financially, he had to open offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to shelter much of that money from the US Treasury and not pay taxes. Still, five hundred new Medicare accounts were tempting. He could always open another offshore account somewhere else. He’d read somewhere that Germany was offering excellent tax shelters these days. Quickly, he calculated what he could bill those five hundred new patients – equipment, physical therapy, HIV treatments….The possibilities were almost endless, and the US Federal authorities were so lax and easy to fool.

Mon took a deep breath. He was definitely interested. What a wonderful city Miami was. What a wonderful country the United States was. It was without doubt the land of opportunity. Its streets were paved with gold. You just had to know where to prospect it and how to extract it. And he certainly knew how.

“I want,” he said.

Tammy stretched her thin lips into an awful smile. Mon detected some solid gold teeth. Her dental work was definitely foreign.

“Where are you from?”

“Here and there.” She turned serious, which was a blessing because her smile was turning Mon’s stomach. “Why you ask?”

“I like to know who I’m doing business with.”

Tammy frowned and rubbed her chin. “Ukraine.”

“Have you been here long?”

“Miami?”

“Miami. The United States. Whatever.”

“Miami, seven months. United States, two years.”

There she went again, eating up all the articles and the verbs. His English teacher would have been horrified.

“I want one thousand dollar patient. You give two hundred dollars more to patient for card number.”

Twelve hundred bucks per patient was a reasonable number. It was a bargain, actually. Mon knew he could make easily one hundred and twenty thousand from each patient. His mind quickly calculated the multiple ways he could legally charge the Medicare system. Oh, America was definitely the land of opportunity. He wondered if Tammy expected him to negotiate. Eastern Europeans liked to barter. Was he supposed to negotiate? She fixed her cold blue eyes on him, waiting for his response. He cleared his throat.

“That, bottom price,” she said as if reading his mind. “You like, no?”

Mon didn’t hesitate. Why negotiate? The deal Tammy had offered him was almost too good to be true.

“I like, yes,” he said.

The woman looked like the queen of a redneck trailer park. She had a face like poured concrete painted pink, and limp Clairol-blonde hair. She wore a stamped polyester dress in shades of burnt orange, and pink flip flops. Her name was Tammy – short for Tamara, she said.

Definitely not my typical patient, Mon thought.

But then the woman wasn’t there as a patient. Tammy had come to him highly recommended by Anatoli Vorsov, a Russian businessman he’d been doing business with for over a year now.

Mon leaned back in his chair behind the wooden desk in the office he kept in the clinic precisely for these transactions and steepled his fingers. He allowed his mind to wonder, but not too much. He had to be alert.

It was amazing how his life had changed since his father brought him to Miami from Cuba years ago. How many years? Eight, or was it nine? So many things had happened during that time, including the fact that he and his father didn’t talk to each other anymore. One thing for sure, he had found a way to make money in the United States, big money, much more money than he ever hoped to make in Cuba.

He smiled inwardly and watched the “Queen”, who was giving him a broad smile.

“Good deal, no?”

She had a rough accent, as rough as her porous complexion, and the unsettling quirk of leaving out of her speech all the articles and most of the verbs. She sounded like a bad Hollywood imitation of an Indian in a cheap western, but not exactly. Mon couldn’t quite figure out where she was from. The fact mortified him, for some reason. He guessed she was from somewhere in Eastern Europe -- Ukraine, Belarus or Moldova. Maybe she was Russian, like Anatoli. Mon had met many Russians in Cuba, but none quite like this woman. Mon wasn’t very good with accents, anyway. He hadn’t lived in the United States long enough to develop a discriminating ear for accents. Hell, he was still struggling to master English. He hated the language. It was constantly changing. It had few grammatical rules and most had countless exceptions. Then there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of idioms that didn’t make sense.

As his instructor at the Miami Dade Community College always said, “English is a language you have to memorize.”

“Well?” the woman asked.

“Well what?”

Tammy cocked her head without moving one curly hair. “You want business or not?”

Mon’s curiosity was piqued by the woman’s proposition. He just didn’t know whether he could trust her. She had promised to provide him with five hundred new Medicare patients. Mon already had more than enough patients now. He was doing so well financially, he had to open offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to shelter much of that money from the US Treasury and not pay taxes. Still, five hundred new Medicare accounts were tempting. He could always open another offshore account somewhere else. He’d read somewhere that Germany was offering excellent tax shelters these days. Quickly, he calculated what he could bill those five hundred new patients – equipment, physical therapy, HIV treatments….The possibilities were almost endless, and the US Federal authorities were so lax and easy to fool.

Mon took a deep breath. He was definitely interested. What a wonderful city Miami was. What a wonderful country the United States was. It was without doubt the land of opportunity. Its streets were paved with gold. You just had to know where to prospect it and how to extract it. And he certainly knew how.

“I want,” he said.

Tammy stretched her thin lips into an awful smile. Mon detected some solid gold teeth. Her dental work was definitely foreign.

“Where are you from?”

“Here and there.” She turned serious, which was a blessing because her smile was turning Mon’s stomach. “Why you ask?”

“I like to know who I’m doing business with.”

Tammy frowned and rubbed her chin. “Ukraine.”

“Have you been here long?”

“Miami?”

“Miami. The United States. Whatever.”

“Miami, seven months. United States, two years.”

There she went again, eating up all the articles and the verbs. His English teacher would have been horrified.

“I want one thousand dollar patient. You give two hundred dollars more to patient for card number.”

Twelve hundred bucks per patient was a reasonable number. It was a bargain, actually. Mon knew he could make easily one hundred and twenty thousand from each patient. His mind quickly calculated the multiple ways he could legally charge the Medicare system. Oh, America was definitely the land of opportunity. He wondered if Tammy expected him to negotiate. Eastern Europeans liked to barter. Was he supposed to negotiate? She fixed her cold blue eyes on him, waiting for his response. He cleared his throat.

“That, bottom price,” she said as if reading his mind. “You like, no?”

Mon didn’t hesitate. Why negotiate? The deal Tammy had offered him was almost too good to be true.

“I like, yes,” he said.
~Meet David!~

David Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards. He has traveled to more than thirty countries around the world and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others.

A member of MENSA, Pereda earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in California. He earned bachelor degrees in English literature and mathematics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.

Pereda lives with his youngest daughter Sophia in Asheville, North Carolina. He teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College
David will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

49 comments:

  1. It does sound like Liam Neeson's Taken. I did love that movie. I can't wait to learn more!

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    Replies
    1. That seems to happen to me often. I come up with an idea (although the idea of a kidnapped girl is not new), and by the time I finish writing about it, there's a movie out who stole my thunder. Ha Ha. The same thing happened with my first Havana Series novel, Top Secret. By the time the novel was published depicting face-altering surgery to Fidel Castro and the use of a double, Saddam Hussein was spotted using doubles in Iraq. I guess by the time I publish my next novel about a 13-yr old nerdy girl who runs track, there will be a popular movie out stealing my thunder -- hopefully not with Liam Neeson, though.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary. Let me know if you have any questions about the plot, the characters, the locales. In order for the four end-of-book climaxes to work, I had to set up the clues throughout the book -- some at the beginning.

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  3. thank you for the chance to win :)

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    1. My pleasure, Lisa. We authors are nothing without you readers. Thank you for reading. Good luck!

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  4. I loved Twin Powers. You're right about Marcela. There is something about a female assassin that rivets the imagination and David Pereda has done an incredible job of making her character multi-dimensional. She appears in several other books and each time we learn more about her past and what she is capable of doing. I am eagerly awaiting Pereda's next book.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, p.m. Originally, I imagined the character of Marcela as a man named Marcial who appeared in However Long the Night. But it didn't work. A friend suggested making Marcial a Marcela and, suddenly, I could see the entire book and how Marcela would fit in. I conjured her up like a sleek, beautiful and lethal assassin, kind of like a Halle Berry on steroids. Her father was a Russian soldier killed in Afghanistan; her mother, a black-as-midnight santera. She has skin like cafe-con-leche and hypnotizing amber eyes. She starts out as a lesbian, but in Twin Powers she develops a relationship with Raymond, who reminds her of her father.

      My next book is a YA tale about a 13-year old nerdy girl who runs track and falls in love.

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  5. Thank you for having me on your blog today. I'll be in and out all day to answer questions from your readers.

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    1. Thanks for being here David! I'm sure you've got a lot going on! What gave you the idea for Twin Powers?

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    2. Andra, thank you again for having me on you blog. I posted my reply to your question below.

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    1. Thank you for participating, Danielle. Good luck on the giveaway!

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    1. It is a great read, Rita. Thank you for visiting.

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  8. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, Patrick. This book is like an onion. The more layers you peel, the best it tastes.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your honest review and for the excerpt..I enjoyed them both!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Victoria.

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  10. It was a natural progression, Andra. The first book in the series reunited Sonia and Raymond and his long lost son; the second book had Sonia pregnant with the twins, Sophia and Stephanie; and the third book had Sonia and Raymond splitting up, and Sonia traveling to Havana with the twins. Why not have one of the twins kidnapped because of something Sonia did years ago while in charge of the health system in Cuba? This book, like all my books, can be read at different levels. You can enjoy it as a fast thriller, a travelogue, or as a deep statement about Cuba, Russia, the Middle East, women repression, political lies, the state of family relations in the United States -- or whatever else you want to see that I actually put there. Paul Cezanne used to paint masterpieces based on triangles, cylinders and spheres. I like to write books based on elusive mathematical concepts. Does that make any sense to you?

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  11. "... He teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College." I like that part of the bio. Keeps the brain active (as if writing didn't do that already, duh), plus it helps keep the social aspect of life alive (as writing can be quite ... um ... insular, for lack of a better word).

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    Replies
    1. Insular, I love that word, Laney4. My 12-year old daughter Sophia calls me anti-social, but I'm not. I'm only selective. I love teaching and helping kids and adults reach their goals, whatever they may be. I'm proud of them when they make it in life. It makes me feel like I did something good for someone, a la Confucius -- in my own way I helped teach that person how to fish, at least a little.

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  12. If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

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    Replies
    1. My name would be Mind Traveler. I wouldn't wear a costume. In present day, I'd just wear Brioni or Armani suits, mostly solid blue (in different shades, of course), Hermes ties, and Gucci shoes. My great power would be the ability to conquer time, people, and situations with my mind. In other centuries, forward or backward, I'd wear what an educated, sophisticated man of the times would wear.

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  13. I really enjoyed the excerpt! This sounds like a terrific book! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Betty. I pushed the envelope a little further on this one by having four different climaxes. Who says writing isn't like making love!

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  14. Thanks for the review and excerpt!

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    1. Thank you, Glenad. I'm glad you liked the review and the excerpt.

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  15. Congratulations David on the new release. Sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review, excerpt and giveaway.

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    1. Thank you, Sandy. Good luck on the giveaway!

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  16. I enjoyed learning about you and your book! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Betty. And thank you for being a dedicated reader. You'd like the book.

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    2. Thank you, David! It's a great book tour! And I have to say that you seem very dedicated to your students and helping them along in life and that is a marvelous thing!

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  17. I LOVE the description of Tammy. It leaves quite an image!

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    1. Thank you, Catherine. I've had many students from Eastern European countries -- Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia. They usually come to Asheville sponsored by Christian churches, mostly Baptist. They are hard-working and family-oriented. Tammy is nothing at all like them. Poetic license!

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  18. Interesting interview and excerpt...I enjoy the bio...mathematics and literature are an interesting combo. Thanks for sharing and the chance to win and congratulations to David on his release.

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    1. My 12-year old daughter Sophia is following in my footsteps. She wins the math award each year, and the English award. Thank you for the congrats, Glenda!

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  19. Your daughter sounds like an accomplished young lady! This sounds like a fascinating book! Thank you for the great post and contest!

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  20. My husband is a big fan. He's read "Killing Castro" I think.

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  21. The author has an impressive resume with all the awards won and his ability to speak 4 different languages.

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  22. Thank you for the exceptional post and contest!

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  23. Sounds promising.

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  24. What inspired you to come up with such great novel? Loved reading the excerpt.

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  25. Great excerpt! Thank you for the great post!

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  26. Interesting excerpt, and the premise sounds very intriguing. I really enjoyed Taken as well!

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  27. Mon is an interesting character. Great background and characterization. I love when a character seems real.

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