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on August 16, 2017
For once William Shakespeare seems to serve me well. In a story where friend and foe seems difficult to separate (a problem like Ceasar once also experienced) this seems quite apt.
An entire agrarian community disappeared...until they started coming back little by little, confused and often suicidal once Dale Conley of the BEI (Bureau of Esoteric Investigations) got tasked to investigate this event.
This is an interesting take on cults and the often deranged nature of such cult leaders.
At times tedious, the story still managed to hold my attention to the end mainly because I wanted to see if Dale Conley will really be able to pull it off in saving the day.
The BEI title specifically coloured my perception somewhat as I expected something paranormal to happen somewhere along the way. It never did. Now that you know this is not a supernatural kind of thriller, you can sit back and enjoy this thriller properly.
27 people found this helpful
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on January 14, 2018
This isn't normally my first choice in types of books to read because I don't really like thrillers. However when I read the blurb and it talked about the whole village of 147 people disappearing overnight, it of course reminded me of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. When I read a sample and found out it was being compared to the Lost Colony, I decided to read it. Once I started the book I couldn't put it down and finished it in a few hours.

It was an amazing story of manipulation told in flashbacks as well as present time. The absolute shock of who was behind this whole disappearance and how everything was accomplished was unbelievable. The author did a wonderful job telling you just enough at each point in the book that you could form your own opinion about what was really happening and who was orchestrating the plan. Then out of the blue we would find out a new detail that would put us right back at the point of not knowing any of the key players.

I also liked the angle of an elite division of the DOJ only 7 people in this group) that had their original identities expunged and the current ones totally untraceable. When the villain knows the hero's original identity, it becomes a little more obvious what is going on to him. The entire mystery of the lost villagers was meted out in riddles that the agent had to solve, often within seconds.

Exciting, well written, and unsure of the end result right down to the end of the book all worked together to make this a thriller that kept my attention to the last word. Tying history and a "modern" crime made for a great beginning of a series that you won't want to miss.
19 people found this helpful
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Engaging mystery book with a cheeky protagonist hoping to stop another Jonestown-type massacre if only he can solve the riddles in time. I did enjoy all the side references to the Lost Colony, professor Haywood Pearce, Jr, and the Dare Stone (for which the book gets its' title) that made for an excellent internet search while I was breezing along. Fine twist at the close and am hoping another sequel is in the works as I'm interested in reading of more historical adventures from Dale Conley, ace investigator!
16 people found this helpful
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on November 22, 2017
A fast moving action story with a touch of conspiracy thrown in to sweeten the plot. An elite and highly secret Federal agency (7 agents) must run investigations that are highly unusual. This book is about one agent, Dale Conley, a very intelligent riddle solver. The action is fast and furious from start to finish. Fans of the unusual will enjoy this adventure which primarily takes place in rural Virginia.

I have given this book a 4 star rating.

I obtained this book from Amazon in Kindle format.
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on January 1, 2018
Dale Conley is a high-security agent called in on truly bizarre cases, like this one: the sudden abduction of 147 people in a cult. This one brings back awful memories, but they are what help him solve the case. He has a finesse with women that just doesn’t seem to click lately, partly because of the terrible strain he’s under. He is also a successful writer who drives a hot Italian-American car, which saves his tail a few times. I loved this thriller and am most eager to jump into book two! Thank you, Mr. Carter.
4 people found this helpful
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on July 21, 2017
This is a stunning book, superbly written. It covers the resurgence of the evil that Dale Conley escaped before he became a federal agent.

Agent Conley is a flamboyant, hugely competent agent, who hits back stronger when the baddies push his buttons. This is a hard book, well worth your time, and a nightmare or two!
5 people found this helpful
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on February 15, 2018
I try to never include actual spoilers in my reviews. This is the kind of book I love to read. I did like parts of it. I thought it definitely needed work in character development. The protagonist, Dale, is sort of arrogant and flippant. I'm okay with that to a degree, but it didn't seem real to me. If it was supposed to be a cover for deep wounds from his past, I needed to read more evidence of the deep wounds. There was one thing in the book that knocked me down from a four to a three-star review, it was when the author brings a female character to Dale's hotel room. It was contrived and unbelievable. The ending did help take the edge of many of these things but didn't go far enough for me to think this is a great book. It is a good book, however. I definitely want to read more by this writer because this book reminds me of a first book published, where every clever thing the author wants to say is included. Remember what Stephen King says, "... you have to be able to kill your darlings." He's not talking characters in a book, he's talking clever prose that diminished the overall story. This book with an edit would be at least four stars or maybe five.
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on January 3, 2018
I got this book back in May and finally got around to reading it in anticipation of Dream On. My first read from author Erik Carter. What do you say about first read fro (to me) a new author. I really liked it, but in comparison to authors like Dan Brown or Steve Berry it was somehow lacking, but good enough that my next read will be another Erik Carter book.
2 people found this helpful
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on May 5, 2018
This is a typical mystery thriller that would play well as a tv series but there are disappointments. For a guy supposedly working for an agency that only a few people know about, Dale throws his badge - complete with the full super secret agency name - at everyone he can. He seems unconcerned about visiting his old boss, despite the fact that his previous identity was supposed to be dead. Minor details in the grand scheme of things but both manage to pull you out of the story. There are other examples scattered throughout the book but those were the two that irritated me the most.

The story line is interesting but not engrossing. I got tired of the constant references to the sexy car and 501s but I could just roll my eyes and skim those parts. Think Magnum PI meets Robert Langdon and you will have the gist of the lead character Dale. Not bad for a first novel and I might give the next one a try - it was a good time killer for the plane, just wasn't something I could rave about.
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on February 21, 2018
This was… ok. I’m sure this is precisely the right pace or intensity for some people looking for a casual in-flight read or to while away the time soaking up some rays, but it just didn’t do it for me. Just my personal taste.

I read a lot and action/crime thrillers are a fave, so I’ve come across some really intense stuff by many of the current masters of the genre. I could tell Mr. Carter worked hard on this – there were a few things he could easily have gotten wrong, but didn’t, and he did make the effort to include some original spins – yet, overall, it just seemed to be on the wrong side of Thriller-Lite. On the plus side, I liked the concept of him being in an elite unit of the DOJ’s ‘Esoteric Investigations’ and the ending ramps up nicely.

Pet Peeve Dept: lead character has a cool car, but he gave it a name!
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