Friday, November 7, 2014

Love Poison / Pete Barber

This is the first half of a doubleshot review. Check back this afternoon for BigAl's take on the same book.

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Contemporary Romance/ Adventure

Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Pete Barber: “I was born into a blue-collar family in Liverpool, England. Like my peers, I grew up working with my hands until an uncanny aptitude for building computer software allowed me to trade overalls and hard-hat for a suit and tie.

I immigrated to the US in the early 90s, became an American citizen, and lived the American dream.

After twenty successful years in the corporate world, I turned my back on eighty-hour weeks and quarterly results and bought a run-down, dog-friendly motel in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. A close friend still refers to this decision as a brain fart; but life is a one-time play, and no one can write, and run a public company.

When the worlds of finance and real estate went stir-crazy in 2005, I sold the business and moved to Lake Lure, North Carolina where, in addition to helping my wife manage a small herd of llamas, I am, at last, fulfilling my life's ambition to write speculative fiction.”

Mr. Barber is also the author of NanoStrike and is a prolific reviewer at Books and Pals. To learn more about him visit his blog or stalk him on Facebook.


“Lab assistant and avid climber Amber Wilson is no stranger to risk. But she feels invisible around her handsome boss, Mark, until she accidentally doses him with an irresistible aphrodisiac that leaves him with a suicidal hangover. Abruptly fired, Amber and Mark partner up to research the source of the drug—a rare New Zealand mushroom—in hopes of refining it for safe use.

On their way to New Zealand to collect fungi samples, Amber is blindsided by a deep and intense romantic connection with Mark. Their new business plan is endangered by ruthless Maori mobsters who control a mushroom scheme they’re killing to protect. As the body count rises, Amber struggles to salvage her and Mark’s dreams, but when she risks her heart and acts alone, both of them could end up paying the ultimate price.”


This starts off as an entertaining romantic story. Amber has shut herself off from everything except work and dealing with her sick mother for so long that after her mother’s death she has trouble reintegrating herself socially. She has a couple of close friends she feels very comfortable with. One was Maude, an older woman who I could identify with a little too well. She cracked me up. The other was her gay friend Joshua. I loved the forthright way he related with Amber. I wish he had a larger role in the story. Amber was such a strong, intelligent, intuitive character that her insecurities later in the story, concerning or just accepting her feelings about Mark, puzzled me and got a little annoying at times. And when she took off on her little expedition to Paradise Island, I wanted to throttle her for being too caught up in herself and not thinking that decision through thoroughly.

The dialogue throughout the story was realistic and engaging, and once the setting for the story moved to Australia and New Zealand the action and suspense were non-stop. Mr. Barber did an excellent job setting up the scenes with his descriptive prose that it was easy to immerse myself in the different surroundings. I found quite a few of the scenes quite nerve wracking and stressful. (I am such a wimp…) The Maori Mafioso were some of the most callous, noxious, malignant group of villains I have ever read about and I did have trouble justifying any Maori in that role in my own head until I let it go and wrote it off as artistic license. However, it still didn’t sit well with me. I am sure that is just my own idealism shining through.

Love Poison is laced with adventure, horror, suspense, romance, and even a bit of humor. It’s about commitment, honor, trust, and being true to yourself above all.


You will find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster, so be prepared for the ride of your life.
Format/Typo Issues:

I read an Advance Readers Copy, although I will say it was well edited and formatted.

Rating: **** Four stars
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Anonymous said...

I love a good emotional roller coaster! Nice review. Looking forward to part 2 of the double shot :)

Jackie Weger said...

Hah! I'm ahead of ?wazithinkin. I read Blood Poison first! Loved it.
Congratulations! Pete.


?wazithinkin said...

Ms. Frayn, thanks for stopping by and commenting. This is an intriguing read that I am sure many will enjoy.

Ms. Weger, it is always a pleasure when you drop in. :D I am glad to here you enjoyed reading Love Poison also.