Monday, February 14, 2011

March into Hell / Mary McDonald

Genre: Thriller              

Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words

Availability Kindle: YES  Nook: YES  DTB: NO


A mother of three and a respiratory therapist, Mary McDonald has been an avid reader her entire life. As the fifth of eight children, hiding in the corner with a book may have been Mary’s only way to get a moment of peace. She has been married for twenty-five years despite it being a mixed marriage – Mary is a Bears fan and her hubby roots for the Packers.  Find out more on Mary's blog.

McDonald’s first book, No Good Deed, introduced the world of Chicago photographer Mark Taylor. A camera Taylor purchased in an Afghanistan bazaar has magical powers, producing photos of catastrophic events before they happen. If Taylor acts quickly enough he can prevent the catastrophe.

In March into Hell, Taylor attracts media attention when a reporter finds out about his proclivity for rescuing people. Although filled with self-doubt and unhappy being in the spotlight he is unable to ignore what he feels is his duty. Then he saves the wrong person making him the target of a cult leader.


As a book series progresses you’ll ideally get to know the main characters a little better; hopefully watch them grow and learn. During No Good Deed, Mark was mostly on his own. His powers were secret from most and not totally believed by the few who were aware. In March into Hell, Mark gets a needed support team (whether he realizes he needs it or even wants it). However, he struggles with his inclination to do what he believes is right while being uncomfortable with the attention he receives. Mark starts to give serious thought as to who or what is behind the power he’s been given. In the process, he grows as a person and becomes better equipped to deal with his situation.

In No Good Deed Taylor was under almost constant stress, both physical and emotional. Without giving spoilers, I can’t say how, but think you’ll find his experiences in March into Hell are almost as intense. McDonald does very well putting you inside Mark’s head in a way that jacks up the intensity. Luckily for you she doesn’t make you actually feel it.

The only quality those who read No Good Deed won’t find in this latest installment of Mark Taylor’s adventures is the political angle. (For first timer’s Mark was imprisoned as a post-9/11 “enemy combatant” in that book.) Because of this, the good guys and bad guys are much easier to determine. The real life questions provoked by the politics of Mark’s situation aren’t there. Instead, for those who want more than just a good thriller, McDonald gives you plenty of opportunity to consider questions of heroism and hero worship. What makes a hero? Does being a hero commit a person to additional obligations? Is it reasonable to consider a hero a public figure with the loss of privacy that implies?


Although this is the second book in the series, the needed back-story is reviewed enough that having read the first book, No Good Deed, should not be a prerequisite to understanding and enjoying March into Hell.

Format/Typo Issues:

As a beta reader, I evaluated a pre-release version of the book in a non-Kindle format. The author was notified of those typos I found.

Rating: **** Four stars


Ann Best said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Best said...

Sorry. I just posted a comment meant for Mary. Forgot I wasn't on her site (senior moment)! So I'll write a comment for you, and join your site. Excellent review. I read her first book, and this review leaves me heading to the bookstore.

BooksAndPals said...

Glad you liked it, Ann.