Friday, March 31, 2017

The Coterie Declaration

Title: The Coterie-Declaration
ISBN: 978-1-62420-310-7
Author: Richard C. McClain

Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble


Dakarai Holt, sixteen, is sentenced to a rehabilitation facility. He unearths a conspiracy imposing mind control with ramifications affecting the U.S and the greater world.


Arrested for hacking, socially awkward and speech-impaired sixteen-year-old Dakarai Holt is sentenced to two years at Sheffield Academy, an exclusive juvenile rehabilitation facility. Within the first two hours, Dak is subjected to mandatory brainwashing. The academy’s enforcers, the R.A.T. SQUADS, patrol Sheffield to ensure each student's full compliance. Gacheru, Dak’s roommate, pressures him to drink a tonic that conspicuously counteracts Sheffield’s indoctrination. This places Dak in the middle of many adversarial and explosive situations. Additionally, Dak becomes knotted in a clandestine plot involving the Secretary of State and a mysterious group who goes by the name, The Coterie. While at Sheffield, Dak must find a way to survive the R.A.T. SQUADS’ terror, the annexation of a remote island, and battle his own inner demons.

The Coterie Declaration
By Richard McClain
Review by Courtney Bearss
Rating:  5 Stars.

The Coterie Declaration, by Richard McClain is a contemporary read about a Sixteen year old Dakarai Holt, who is arrested for hacking.  He’s socially awkward and speech-impaired, but he’s an awesome hacker.  When he is sentenced to two years at a Juvenile rehab, the story takes off with government brainwashing along with a plot to take over a remote island.  Dakarai however has found a way to thwart the brainwashing, but then he has a battle of his own against not only the rehab enforcers, but he has to fight in silence as well as try to overcome his own inner darkness.

This was a complicated, but highly enjoyable read.  From the first page the reader is dumped right into the action.  You sympathize with Dak as he struggles with his inability to speak and other emotional issues, compounded by his absent and uncaring father.  This book is full of suspense and action and moves along very quickly.  The wait for the next book in this series will be long for someone like me that wants to know what happens next.  Well done, Mr. McClain.  I highly recommend this book.


It is 04:22:31 on Saturday morning and I'm having trouble sleeping. I sit up and turn the light on to give life to the dark room. Instead of celebrating Gacheru's absences, allowing me space to live on my own and nurture my promise to abort ideas of relationships, worrying about him is all I seem to be doing.
A sound at the door steals my attention. I wait for Gacheru to enter but nothing happens. On the floor underneath the door, an envelope sticks halfway into the room. I pick it up and work my fingers underneath the sealed flap and run my fingers the entire length.
The note reads,
Please put the twenty-five billion back.
I sit on the bed as the weight of the words hits me. Nothing in the words themselves denotes any kind of emotion. Except for maybe the "please." Still, a cursory reading initiates a panic attack in my body. A brown bag sits on the floor. I roll off the bed, hitting the floor hard. I pull the bag to my face, scrunch my body to the fetal position, and rock and breathe…
Who sent me the note? I ask an hour later. As far as I know, the man who accosted me in the computer room and his superiors are the only ones aware of what they think is a hacking mistake. To apprise me of this kind of critical information now when I'm not under the influence would violate Sheffield's environment of covertness.
Revealing such knowledge to me makes no sense.
I read the letter again. The word "please" continues to stand out. Sheffield has not proved themselves friendly on the administrative, teacher, or security levels. Why now would they want me to "please" put the money back? They're the type that would hang me up by my thumbs and torture me to get the information. I exaggerate of course.
This message couldn't have come from them. Which begs the question, who sent me this note?
I sift through short list of names. Gacheru's is the only name on it. Somehow he found out I took it and wants me to return the money. He's the only one I know who's been able to bypass Sheffield's mind control and for whatever reasons considered it important that I not succumb to their brainwashing. Would Gacheru send a note? He could speak to me any time. It's not Gacheru. That leaves nobody.
I walk to the window. Darkness still pervades the night, fighting to maintain control. Daylight is hours away. Since the note can't be from Sheffield or Gacheru, I decide to get rid of the evidence. I rip the area of the paper around the sentence and then stick it in my mouth, chew it till it's soggy, and swallow it.
I lie back in bed when I remember the drinks in the closet. It takes a second to pry the board loose. There is nothing in the crevice apart from a thick envelope and three cans. On closer inspection, all are empty. I put the hollow cans back inside and replace the board. The contents of the envelope are none of my business. I'm not a spy. Gacheru helped me for a reason. To betray him this way reeks of self-interest, the worst kind of egotism.
Lightning strikes my mind. Three cans could only mean one thing. A third person has ingested the liquid and like Gacheru and me, this person is resistant to Sheffield's mind control.
Since Sheffield wouldn't ask me to put the money back except under mind control, and Gacheru could talk to me any time, the person who sent the letter has to be the person who drank the third drink.
Why should I put the money back, especially if we're seemingly on the same side? Wouldn't we have a better chance of stopping whatever it is they're doing and going to do by hitting them in the wallet?
It seems cut-and-dry to me.
While back on the bed sheet I rack my mind, wondering who this third person is. If Gacheru trusts this person, would he approve of the letter? He could have asked this person to send it to me. So why not introduce me? What's the reason for keeping this person's identity secret? As always, my mind considers the worst. If this is a ploy by Sheffield to test whether or not I am still subject to their mind control, seeking out this third person could be nothing more than a trap.
I know three cans means three people are outside the boundaries of brainwashing. I know the third can was unopened more than a week ago. I'm making an assumption here. If Gacheru kept all three cans, this third person ingested the drink after I consumed mine. He would not need to wait till I arrived to give the drink to this person, which means this third person is likely one of the seven people who traveled with me in the van. I'm sure I can nail it down even more. I know this person is aware of the twenty-five billion dollars I stole. By process of elimination it can only be one of three people, and two of them I'm responsible for bringing to Sheffield. Shipley and Jayden. Tasi is the only other person in the room with us when the hunt for the twenty-five-billion-dollar search took place. I can constrict it more. Since I'm in the men's dorm building, it can only be Shipley or Jayden.
The doorknob twists. My heart is catapulted into my throat. Is it the R.A.T. SQUADS coming to drag me away so I can be tortured? Is it Shipley or Jayden?
I hold my breath.


The Coterie Declaration
Richard McClain
Reviewed by Tamara White
From the first page Richard McClain’s novel The Coterie Declaration the reader is thrust into Dakarai’s high anxiety speechless world. Darkarai’s complicated reality over flows with suspense, action, and danger. The entire novel moves at a thrilling neck breaking speed. When Dakarai’s magnanimous actions plunge him into a plea deal where he quickly finds out he is going to lose more than his freedom. Dakarai is a complex character that is fighting to not only survive the Sheffield Academy but also his every present anxiety. Sheffield Academy is a place where the rules on paper are not the rules that are followed. As the reader is drawn further and further into Dakarai’s world the characters that surround him become more shady and much more corrupt. While Dakarai does not speak with words McClain does a great job of creating intense scenes that allow Dakarai’s actions to speak for him.  Allowing the reader to explore Dakarai’s thoughts also gives the reader get a deeper understanding of the mute teenager. Even when The Coterie Declaration ends the reader know it’s not over.


Title: The Coterie-Declaration
Author: Richard C. McClain II
Rating: 4.5

Reviewer: J.C.

Young Dak, the socially reclusive mute and estranged teenage son of a multi-billionaire tech magnate, is a gifted hacker who hacks into multi-national banks to steal and redistribute money to charitable intuitions and organizations; a somewhat modern-day Robin Hood.
Dak is caught by the conniving FBI agent, Yarbrough, who convinces Dak to plead and be sentenced to a so-called rich-kid reform school, Sheffield, where he soon becomes a pawn in a sinister plot to help a secret organization steal something from Easter Island. Along the way, only able to communicate with the aid of a whiteboard, Dak comes into connection with several characters including shady government officials, a couple attractive young girls that Dak becomes infatuated with, the so-called R.A.T SQUAD—Sheffield’s brutal young security force—and other student-inmates, all of whom have secrets and pieces of the puzzle Dak needs in order to figure out what is going on.
With Dak’s social awkwardness, his muteness, and inability to form friendships, Dak struggles to survive and obtain clues as to not only the fate of his roommate—the only one he really trusted who is found hanged in a tree—but to uncover this secrete Coterie and their plans.
The Coterie Declaration begins with the action-packed FBI pursuit of Dak after he attempts to hack into a major bank. The action and intrigue continues at a fast pace and the reader turns the pages in continued anticipation of what will happen next, or where it is that this story is going. The reader empathizes with the young Dak, estranged from his wealthy father, and roots for him to not only survive, but to put a stop to the secret plans of the Coterie Declaration.

Author Bio

Richard C. McClain II, "The Storyteller"—an advocate of imagination and a deliverer of truth through creative writing. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Richard is one of five children who was taught to dream and believe that anything is possible. This thought premise inspired Richard to pursue the creative arts, through music, theatre and writing. Richard later became a pastor where from the pulpit he used his story telling abilities to bring the word to life in the hearts of the congregation. Richard is the husband of Sharon, and father of Nicholas, Nicola, Nathan, Natalie, and Nadia. He has had the privilege of honing his storytelling craft and understands the balance between imagination, fantasy, and real life.

"Consider this, before the story is ever heard, it is active, pulsating, and full of passion. It needs but the storyteller to tell it."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Side Slip by Mike Fuller

Mike is giving a digital copy of one of his books to a randomly drawn commenter.
Title: Side Slip
         Sam Deland Crime Novel Book Three
ISBN: 978-1-62420-334-3
Author: Mike Fuller

Genre: suspense
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble


SIDE SLIP -- A Sam Deland crime novel. Book III

Mike Fuller


Reviewed by G. Lloyd Helm

Side Slip is not an easy read, but well worth it. There is nothing predictable about this book, but it does have a sort of familiarity. It has everything a crime novel reader could want.  There are decent plot lines, but it is character driven all the way, which is why it is sometimes hard to read. Fuller has made the characters so real that the reader sympathizes with them, even the bad guys. And he gives you a wide range of characters to choose from, Pennsylvania State Troopers, Male and Female, Florida Sheriffs, Male and Female,  Farmers that used to be Navy SEALS, Dope seller/ murderers, crooked cop/burglars, and dogs.

Side Slip is worth the read.


Cops, mobsters and murder all mixed up and no one knows where it will end. But smart, tough and lucky swirl together to push the action through the chilling story of both good guys and bad.


Stuck in paradise and he isn’t very happy about it. Even the beautiful lady detective that gunned down the man trying to kill them both can’t get him to stay. Corporal Sam Deland wants out. Back to work leading his squad of state troopers and home where he can take up the life he had to put on hold. But Sam isn’t the only one wanting him to return. The woman he left behind is waiting for him and so is the Russian Mob. Sam’s past is catching up with him, and he doesn’t see it coming, yet. Detective Christie O’Shea, the pretty Florida cop that nursed Sam back to health won’t have the time to miss him when he’s gone. Murder is what she’s paid to solve, and she has to go after a killer that has sent shock waves deep into the police community around her. A triple play of heart stopping and heart warming suspense, action and life as Sam, his troopers and Christie all find they are in the middle of murders and mobsters. A story that twists and turns through the investigations and the lives of characters you will grow to know, to cheer and to fear. Sharp dialogue, real characters and enough drama, humor and mystery to keep the reader up late not ready to put it down yet. Another thrilling Sam Deland crime novel from the author of Sink Rate and Rope Break.


The search for a hidden key did not go well. All the usual spots came up empty. Dickie went down the steps to the garage but still no luck and then back up to where Ray stood next to the front door and sighed, "Well, ain't no key. Let's get it over with."
The pry bar didn't get it done. Ray had to whack the deadbolt a couple of hard hits with the sledge before the door flew inward. Dickie started in and stopped short. He smelled cinnamon. Ray almost ran into his back. Probably one a them plug in thingys.
Dickie held up his hand and then swiveled his head back and forth, trying to adjust to the slightly brighter light inside. Dickie heard nothing except the clicking of a wall clock somewhere. He shrugged and crossed to the kitchen door at the other side of the living room. Ray split to the right and did a quick walk through of the downstairs.
They met at the foot of the stairs and Ray pointed to a metal cabinet next to the cold fireplace, "I'll start on that, give me the bar, eh?" It wasn't a real gun safe, just a thin metal locker meant to keep kids away from the guns.
Dickie handed the pry bar to Ray and started up the stairs, shining the flashlight as he moved out of the light cast by the lamp. The cash and handguns were usually in the bedrooms. There seemed to be three upstairs and a bathroom. Dickie had to piss by now and stopped to go. He started and almost pissed on his hand when he realized there was a candle in a glass jar burning on the tub rim. That appeared to be the source of the cinnamon odor and was certainly the source of big trouble.
Ray was pounding loudly on the metal cabinet downstairs, and Dickie almost shit his pants as the figure of a small woman in a bathrobe passed by in the hall just outside of the bathroom. Dickie didn't even zip up his jeans and stuck his head out of the bathroom and looked down the hall. The small woman was there leaning out to try to get a look at what was making all the noise downstairs. Dickie's blood turned to ice when she turned toward him, and he saw the black automatic in her left hand.
She hadn't seen him yet. She just stood there but then turned to go back toward the bedroom. He knew there was probably a phone there, and he couldn't let her get to it. He tried to melt into the small space between the sink and the door, and as she moved past, he stepped in behind her and grabbed at the gun.
He missed. All that police training didn't help. She yelped and turned the pistol toward him. It was not quite full dark in the hall and Dickie could see it happening and knew what was coming. Without hesitating, he swung the heavy flashlight and struck her across her left cheek. The blow emitted a sickening crunch as bone gave way to the heavy metal light. She staggered but did not go down. The gun was waving in the short space of air between them and Dickie expected it to spit flame and his death at any moment. He stepped into her and brought the flashlight down with all his strength on top of her head.
She followed the motion of the blow and crumpled onto the hallway floor. Dickie was breathing in gasps by now, but he could still hear Ray pounding metal on metal. He tried to hit the button on the flashlight to see if the woman was still conscious but his finger slipped across. The wetness puzzled him for a moment but he got the light to come on and as he played the beam down on the figure at his feet, he was surprised to see blood dripping off the end and falling through the shaft of light onto the pink bathrobe of the very dead woman beneath him.


After writing professional documents for many years, Mike has finally devoted time to his true passion, writing fiction where the story and characters come alive in the reader’s mind. While his days were filled with authoring hundreds of detailed crime reports, arrest affidavits, search warrants and grand jury presentments, he took some of his own time and devoured books by the dozens. Reading not only was a rewarding diversion, it provided him with the added education he needed to function at a high level in his profession.
This has led to the creation of Mike’s crime/suspense/detective novels Sink Rate, Rope Break and Side Slip, the first three in the Sam Deland Crime Novel series. All are expected to be published in 2015 and 2016 by Rogue Phoenix Press 
Mike writes with the real life experience that many years of law enforcement shaped and influenced. The stories may be fiction but are based on how things happen in the real world.  His books are honest and captivating novels written with a unique voice that will both chill and charm.
Mike is a veteran police detective. He did it all from rookie patrolman to Senior Special Agent. His life has been enriched by a wonderful marriage, parenting, work, flying, sailing and good books. Mike is a lifelong outdoorsman, an experienced tactical firearms instructor, champion sailplane pilot and the captain of his own sailboat. All of these skills have made his novels vivid, exciting and real. Now retired after a career with three law enforcement agencies, Mike enjoys winters writing in Naples, Florida and summers sailing, writing and researching the next novel at his rural Pennsylvania home.

On Twitter:  @mikefullerwrite