Friday, May 26, 2023

Review: Lies by Seeley James

 This is part two of what we call a "doubleshot review" where two reviewers give their take on the same book. If you missed the first half where Judi Moore gave her take on this book earlier this week, be sure to check it out too.

Genre: Thriller


“Jacob Stearne’s Top Secret mission to secure the nation’s future is thrown into chaos by his arrest for murder.

A group of young physicists sequester in Latvia to finalize a green technology worth trillions of dollars. Billionaires want to steal their work. While oil-rich nations want to destroy it. The president has tasked decorated veteran Jacob Stearne with bringing their research back to the US—which he intends to do as soon as he can break out of jail and beat a murder rap.

With an over-zealous police captain running the manhunt in dead-or-alive mode, Jacob is forced to find the real killer while fleeing the law. With ambiguous help from a dubious crew comprised of a young stripper, a claimant to the Russian throne, and the naïve physicists, he quickly discovers: everyone lies.

As the Latvian dragnet closes in, and betrayals come from friends and foe alike, Jacob must rely on Stearne’s Law for survival: Paranoia is the result of acute situational awareness. To save the scientists and repatriate the research, Jacob must outwit a Russian oligarch. But this time, as he holds a bomb with a ticking timer, he may have run out of luck.”


“His near-death experiences range from talking a jealous husband into putting the gun down to spinning out on an icy freeway in heavy traffic without touching anything. His resume ranges from washing dishes to global technology management. His personal life stretches from homeless at 17, adopting a 3-year-old at 19*, getting married at 37, fathering his last child at 43, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim at 59, and taking the occasional nap.

His writing career ranges from humble beginnings with short stories in The Battered Suitcase, to being awarded a Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group. Seeley is best known for his Sabel Security series of thrillers featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard, the mentally unstable veteran Jacob Stearne. One of them kicks ass and the other talks to the wrong god.

His love of creativity began at an early age, growing up at Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture in Arizona and Wisconsin. He carried his imagination first into a successful career in sales and marketing, and then to his real love: fiction.”

For more, visit Seely James' website and like his Facebook page.


My only potential complaint about this book, that sometimes it felt like there were too many people and things going on to keep track of, was also part of its charm. Keeping track of who were the good guys and who wasn’t was tough, since the status seemed to keep changing, both in my eyes and those of the protagonist Jacob Stearne. As perceptions and stories changed Stearne had to adjust his approach, both to complete his primary task and to get out of Latvia, hopefully unscathed. Throw in Symone, a 15 year-old stripper who helps Stearne, but also isn’t quite up for the action that gets thrown at them, and it gets more tense.

In all of the above I didn’t mention the “God” that keeps appearing and having discussions with Stearne. This is specifically the ancient Roman god Mercury. No one else seems to see him and the “conversations” they have must be telepathic because no one else nearby hears anything. Does Mercury help? I’ll let you decide when you read the book.

Overall, I found this book was a fun and intense read. It at times got me thinking about real world issues (what would I want to happen if the premise of this story was real, for example). Definitely one that thriller readers should enjoy.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK


Some mildly adult content.

Although part of a series, #13 of 13 thus far, this can be read as a standalone.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 115-120,000 words

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