Friday, March 9, 2012

Bodyguard of Lies Blog Tour by Donna Del Oro - Review and Interview



Welcome to my stop at Bodyguard of Lies Blog Tour by Donna Del Oro! This tour is organized by Sizzling PR and by the author Donna Del Oro. My stop includes some information about the book and the author, a review, an excerpt and an interview with the author!

Let's start with the review!



A BODYGUARD OF LIES (release: Jan. 13th) has a dual setting, a contemporary one and a WWII/London setting. It's a blend of romance, mystery and WWII espionage. I researched it while in England, Ireland and Germany in 2009. The story involves a Jewish-American FBI analyst, who's recruited by MI-5 to go undercover and investigate a naturalized American grandmother. The elderly woman is suspected by MI-5 of being a notorious Nazi spy never caught by the Allies during the war, who caused the deaths of thousands and is wanted for war crimes. Jake Bernstein runs into a series of unexpected obstacles and complications: This spy knows a secret that could endanger the royal family; the old woman has a beautiful granddaughter who threatens to derail his investigation; a neo-Nazi group in Ireland known as the Celtic Wolves; and a clever, cagey old woman who's not as weak as she looks.

My review:

I loved this book! My attention was caught immediately from the first page and it kept my interest until the very last page! Bodyguard of Lies is well-written, it has interesting mystery story, captivating characters and historical back flashes to historical events during the World War II.

Regarding the plot:

Bodyguard of Lies had two story lines. The book started with prologue from 1941 we you meet one of the main characters Mary McCoy. Then you are brought back to the present time where FBI investigator Jake Bernstein gets a mission to cooperate with British MI5 to find a Nazi spy who worked in England in the War Office during World War II.

Jake is sent to Ireland where he meets with two ladies: an old woman who is suspected to be connected to the spy and she has a beautiful and sweet granddaughter who travels with her.

The plot is filled with many sudden surprises and develops very smoothly. Each page I turned I realized that I really want to know how it ends, who is Mary McCoy and how will Jake's case be ended and how the relationship between Mary's granddaughter Meg and Jake will end. The plot was filled with action, twists and turns, had quick pace and was genuinely driven by the characters!

Regarding the characters:

As said the plot was very good, but let me tell you, the characters and their personal stories were excellently written! I really enjoyed the characters! They were believable, lovable (even Mary McCoy!) and that made Bodyguard of Lies an excellent reading experience.

My absolute favorite character was Mary McCoy. Her story was horrible, sad, cruel - but yet I really enjoyed reading about her. Mary McCoy survived the war and that made her a hard and bitter woman. After the ward she simply closed and blocked her past, until she is contacted by the French couple and lets herself to get manipulated.

Mary McCoy is a conflicted character. From one side she has been supportive to her children and grandchildren and has been like a mom for Meg. From the other side she is hiding a very dark past, being responsible for awful events. She carries her past with her and even though none of her people around her will understand her, she is proud of her past, too. I loved her character, but I despised it equally much.

I adored Meg. She is a loving granddaughter of Mary and when Jake appears and especially when she finds out who Jake is and what his motives are, is still believing in her grandmother. When the truth gets out, she still loves her grandmother and she is very brave of accepting who her grandmother really is.

Jake was a great protagonist! Trustworthy, reliable, handsome and smart.

Generally:

Bodyguard of Lies is an excellent mystery story! I absolutely loved it! It was easy to read and it was one of the most captivating mystery stories I have read lately! Definitely a must read!

5 Flowers!

5 stars!

About the author:


Donna Del Oro spent her childhood in two places, Silicon Valley, CA and the countryside of East Texas, as her father tried several job opportunities. Finally settling in Silicon Valley, she grew up in a bilingual, bicultural world--Spanish on her mother's side and English on her father's. Comfortable in both worlds, she decided upon retiring from teaching to write about her Hispanic side. Four women's fiction books resulted and a series about professional singers, their careers and love lives. Retired and devoting much of her abundant free time to exercise, writing, singing and her grandson, Donna has finally reached a point in life that totally satisfies her. Life is good and she has no complaints, just a lot of gratitude for her many blessings.

Excerpt:


The major handed Jake a secure mobile phone, which he tucked into his jacket’s inside pocket. Acknowledging the older man’s military background and bearing, Jake gave a quick half-salute, biting back the sarcastic retort that sprang to mind. I’m thirty-two, Major, not thirteen.

“Will do, Major,” he said and grabbed the handle of his suitcase. “Where the hell is this motor coach going, anyway? Besides the Republic of Ireland?” Major Temple’s bushy gray eyebrows arched. “No, didn’t have a chance to read the itinerary. Too busy with the files.”

Temple chomped on his pipe, one side of his mouth upturned in another wry smile. Jake sensed the man was holding something back.

“Southwest England, Wales, Republic of Ireland, a bit of Scotland. Two weeks’ worth.”

“And if I conclude this investigation in less time?”

“Then we debrief and back home you go. We’ll handle the filing of charges and arrest warrants if needed. Extradition, if necessary, for Mrs. Snider. Well then, good luck, ol’ man.”

Jake nodded and took his leave. Outside, he hailed the guide, a friendly, outgoing sort who introduced himself as Robert Morse. The man quickly turned the suitcase over to the driver, who stowed it in the storage bin at the side of the motor coach. As soon as Robert checked him in and indicated that he could take on board his carryon, Jake moved to the coach’s front door. He suddenly stepped aside as a young, very pretty blonde climbed down, spun around and helped an elderly woman descend.

“Sorry, Robert, my grandmother has to visit the restroom.”

The blonde glanced over at Jake, grinned in greeting, then took her grandmother’s arm and followed the direction of Robert’s sweeping arm. The two women entered the glass-fronted hotel lobby and walked slowly around the corner of the lobby’s counter. Jake’s gaze clung to them.

So there they were. Mary McCoy Snider and her granddaughter, Meghan Larsen. What a hottie!

“Quite a looker, that one,” Robert murmured them, his eyes following their progress as well.

An understatement, Jake thought as he nodded to the man in agreement. The granddaughter was lovely—had the face and figure of a Hollywood starlet. She had a wholesome but sexy look about her. The red lipstick she wore accentuated her full, sensual mouth; her deep-set blue eyes were large and luminous. A boxy navy-blue pea jacket concealed some of her curves, but the overall effect of a beautiful, symmetrical face, a tanned complexion, long blonde waves partly covered with a large, black beret, and graceful motion was powerful. Like a slap of warm sunshine in this cold, damp country. Seduc—er, schmoozing that girl was going to be a perk, not a chore.

Already, he was warming to this assignment.

The grandmother, bulky in a long wooly coat, looked attractive despite her purported eighty-five years of age. The elderly woman was well preserved, he decided, and must have been quite a beauty in her youth. Like her granddaughter, she would’ve turned men’s heads and carried her power over them like a Hollywood pinup girl.

“Would you care to board, Mr. Schoenberger?”offered Robert, the tour guide, interrupting his reverie.

“Call me Jake. I’ll wait until the women return.”

The tour guide tossed him a knowing smirk.

A few minutes later, Jake was helping the elderly woman up to the steep first step. Mary McCoy Snider paused on the steps, holding onto the railing on the coach’s door, and looked back at Jake, her dark blue eyes sharp with intelligence.

“Thank you, young man. What’s your name?” she asked, a slight Texas drawl softening her naturally strong, clear voice.

“Jake. Jake Schoenberger from Virginia.” He smiled up at the elderly grandmother, who then nodded and moved up into the coach. He slid his gaze down to the granddaughter, who’d paused at the coach’s door. The top of her head came to his jawline.

“Thanks for helping, Jake,” she said, blinking up at him before climbing the steps herself. Her long honey-blonde hair brushed his shoulder when she moved past him. There was a self-conscious shyness in her manner. Which Jake found odd, for such a beautiful woman. Wow. His pulse revved up.

Dude, you’re on duty.

Wasn’t that why they chose him? Get close, peel off the layers of distrust...

He proceeded up after Meghan Larsen, appreciating the rear view. Too bad, he thought, when the two women took seats near the front of the packed coach. The one vacant double-seat was in the rear of the coach. He nodded a friendly greeting to all of the passengers as he passed them on his way to the back. They were mostly couples but another single man, an older guy in his fifties, sat alone at the halfway point in the coach. Two women of about the man’s same age—maybe mid-forties—were behind him. They perked up as he walked by, shot him wide smiles beaming with anticipation.

He knew that look.

After stowing his carry-on underneath the empty seat next to him, Jake sat down. His long legs brushed against the seat in front. Damn, like traveling in coach. Two weeks in this freakin’ bus—how was he going to stand it?

He leaned over. From his vantage point, he could see the blonde’s wavy locks falling about her shoulders. She was sitting on the opposite side of the coach in the aisle seat, her grandmother in the window seat. Damn, he’d have to find a way of sitting closer to them. Maybe their seats on the coach weren’t fixed ...or he could feign motion sickness and ask Robert to place him further forward.

As he was plotting a way to chat up Mary Snider and her granddaughter, the blonde swiveled her upper body and looked down the aisle. Their eyes locked together briefly and she smiled. Despite a night without sleep and heavy with jet lag, his pulse kicked up. Something lurched in his chest. His groin clenched. Jake returned the smile.

Good, he thought, she noticed me. Contact with targets made.



Donna agreed to give an interview to Me and Reading, so please give a warm welcome to Donna Del Oro!

MR: What went through your mind when the very first book you wrote was published?



Donna: I was excited, too excited in fact to look carefully at the contract. I should have negotiated for 5 years instead of accepting 10. The publisher was a big disappointment and I no longer send my work to him.

MR: How do you write? Do you sketch a plot first, create characters first and then starting to write?


Donna: I do a lot of thinking, note taking, researching before I put pen to paper or sit down at my computer. Most of the plotting and character study takes place in my mind.

MR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?


Donna: Focus, focus, focus. Have a clear picture of where you’re going in the story, why and how you’re getting there.

MR: Where did you get the idea for your book A Bodyguard for Lies from? How was the book born?


Donna: A BODYGUARD OF LIES was one of the easiest books to plot because I lived the story, you might say. I combined what I knew about the FBI, World War II espionage, the Nazis, and present-day Nazi hunting and set this all abroad in England, Ireland and Germany. My trip in 2009 gave me the chance to put “boots on the ground” and do on-site research. It was a lot of fun!

MR: Which character do you love most in your book? Which character can you mostly relate to?


Donna: I must say, the FBI analyst, Jake Bernstein. He’s partly based on two people I know, my step-father and my grandson. I loved Jake’s intellectual curiosity, his sense of objectivity and his strong need for justice. Yet, he’s a compassionate man in his thirties who’s lusty and action-prone. He’s such a wonderful character that I’m reprising him in a sequel, titled LIES IN HIDING. Instead of old Nazis, he’ll be going after jihadist sleeper cells in the U.S.


MR: I must ask you about new work in progress. What will your next book be about? Anything you can tell us already?


Donna: LIES IN HIDING, featuring FBI agent Jake Bernstein, is in the plotting stage as we speak. It’ll take place in San Diego, California and other areas in Southern California—one of my favorite haunting grounds. One of the mosques in San Diego harbored the leader of 9-11 Al Qaeda murderers, Mohammad Atta, but the FBI couldn’t prove intent or pre- knowledge.

Thank you so much Donna for the interview and for writing such a good book!
 
Happy reading!
 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great review. You should feel so proud of yourself that you wrote a book that elicited such a fabulous response!
    Congratulations, Donna.
    Patti

    ReplyDelete

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