By Rory Tate
IR Verdict: A quick and thoughtful thriller that takes Officer Cody Byrne around the globe in a series of murderous twists that include shocking personal discovery, Shakespearean drama and royal connections that she never could have seen coming.
Book Reviews, eBooks, Fiction, IR Approved, Mystery/Thriller • Jul 22, 2013
PLAN X starts with Bozeman Police Officer Cody Byrne speeding away from PTSD and her own insomnia toward the scene of a deadly explosion on the campus of Montana State University.
As a second blast rocks the first responders, Byrne has to fight back a panic attack as she flashed back to her tour of duty as a bomb scene investigator in Iraq. Based on her Army experience, she is brought in on the case.
Assigned to the seemingly uncomplicated identification of the surviving victim, Byrne ends up in the kind of tumultuous mystery that affects every part of her own life and uncovers centuries old pages spread around the campus, her family and the globe that could potentially be part of Shakespeare’s final and unpublished drama.
While in pursuit of the truth, on the job and off, Cody finds answers she was not seeking about the father she had never before met and some long awaited discovery about the real life and recent death of her beloved brother. She gains rare and raw insight into the person behind the façade of her previously alienated and intimidating mother, launching a more honest and mutual relationship between them.
From her attempts to uncover the real identity of the burn victim in Montana, Officer Byrne unwittingly encounters conflicting experts and international espionage. Everyone she meets seems to share the common goal of stopping her from learning the truth about the potentially history altering pages and their global implications in multiple covert operations and the British royal family.
The mystery and intrigue are engaging, the changing landscapes are described subtly but artfully. By the conclusion, everything else seems almost a backdrop for McClendon’s tale of her protagonist’s own self-discovery. Cody Byrne’s struggle with vulnerability and emotional paralysis results from real and relatable personal tragedy. Her growth and personal progress end up being the ultimate victory, as the villain’s own ending goes almost unnoticed.
Reviewed by Kat Toland for IndieReader
- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2013/07/plan-x/#sthash.8wGe5kiA.dpuf"
"Rides a Black and White Horse (Lise McClendon)
I am a book.
Sheaves pressed from the pulp of oaks and pines
a natural sawdust made dingy from purses, dusty
Steamy and anxious, abused and misused,
kissed and cried over,
smeared, yellowed, and torn,
loved, hated, scorned.
I am a book.
I am a book that remembers,
days when I stood proud in good company
When the children came, I leapt into their arms,
when the women came, they cradled me against their soft breasts,
when the men came, they held me like a lover,
and I smelled the sweet smell of cigars and brandy as we sat together in leather chairs,
next to pool tables, on porch swings, in rocking chairs,
my words hanging in the air like bright gems, dangling,
then forgotten, I crumbled,
dust to dust.
I am a tale of woe and secrets,
a book brand-new, sprung from the loins of ancient fathers clothed in tweed,
born of mothers in lands of heather and coal soot.
A family too close to see the blood on its hands,
too dear to suffering, to poison, to cold steel and revenge,deaf to the screams of mortal wounding,
amused at decay and torment,
a family bred in the dankest swamp of human desires.
I am a tale of woe and secrets,
I am a mystery.
I am intrigue, anxiety, fear,
I tangle in the night with madmen, spend my days cloaked in black,
hiding from myself, from dark angels,
from the evil that lurks within
and the evil we cannot lurk without.
I am words of adventure,
of faraway places where no one knows my tongue,
of curious cultures in small, back alleys, mean streets,
the crumbling house in each of us.
I am primordial fear, the great unknown,
I am life everlasting.
I touch you and you shiver, I blow in your ear and you follow me,
down foggy lanes, into places you've never seen,
to see things no one should see,
to be someone you could only hope to be.
I ride the winds of imagination on a black-and-white horse,
to find the truth inside of me, to cure the ills inside of you,
to take one passenger at a time over that tall mountain,
across that lonely plain to a place you've never been
where the world stops for just one minute
and everything is right.
I am a mystery.
Lise McClendon on Goodreads.com
... on my new thriller. I'm writing as Rory Tate this time (again -- see Jump Cut, 2011.) PLAN X comes out in June. Watch for it! Here's what people are saying:
PLAN X is both thrilling and sophisticated. In a serpentine story that races from small-town Montana to the vaulted halls of Windsor Castle, nothing is as it seems, including the works of the great Shakespeare himself. Former military and current police officer Cody Byrne is unforgettable--a heroine you want to root for. I love this book!
--New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author J. Carson Black
Plan X is an mystery/crime/spy novel that crosses international borders from Montana to England and back again. Cody Bryne is a cop in Bozeman, Montana, who has PTSD from her tour in Iraq. Cody must deal with panic attacks left over from her stint in the army where she was an explosive specialist.
This is one of the best crime/mystery novels I have ever read and I've read a lot of them. The action begins in the first chapters and continues up to the end. It is exciting, spellbinding and riveting. -- Ruth Ann Hixson
In nicely contrasted settings of western Montana and England, the author weaves a twisted tale of spies and cops and scholars in pursuit of antiquities with the potential for either fame or ugly disclosure. Murder is committed along the way, and Bozeman policewoman Cody Byrnes is determined to set things right for the victims. Cody is hampered by a dysfunctional family and the aftereffects of a combat tour in Iraq that didn’t turn out well for her. She must address all of her problems as she seeks answers to her questions from a host of experts and deceitful characters found in England’s great institutions. Why not wrap it up at Windsor Castle? A lot of superb research and talented writing went into this story and readers are encouraged to take advantage of it. -- William Lovejoy