#PBwkendread Review: Greco's Game (Aleksandr Talanov thriller series, book #2) by James Houston Turner

Title: Greco's Game
Author: James Houston Turner
Publisher: Comfort Publishing
Published: Sept. 1, 2012
Pages: 329
Genre: Spy thriller
Review: paperback won
Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon.uk

The story of former KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov continues in the hotly-anticipated follow-up to USA Book News's Best Thriller of 2011, Department Thirteen. Greco's Game finds Talanov witnessing the brutal murder of his wife. Convinced the bullet was meant for him and wracked with guilt, he spirals downward on a path of self-destruction, hitting rock-bottom on the mean streets of Los Angeles. But in a seedy world ruled by the Russian mafia, all is not as it seems. Was her murder an accident, or was it a carefully-planned strategy? The answer lies in Greco's Game, a chess game played in 1619 that Talanov's old KGB chess instructor regarded as the most brilliant example of how to trap and kill an opponent. The question is: who was the target?

I am not a big spy thriller reader there is just something about it that turns me away from reading. Though with this book Greco's Game I figured I would give it a try and see if it was any good. To me this wasn't a heavy spy thriller so it was quite easy for me to get into the story. Now this is book two though I wasn't lost as to what was going on and not knowing more of who Talanov was. Talanov witnessed his wife get murdered right in front of him, he believes that it was meant for him instead and he has been wanting to know who killed his wife. While wanting to know he is sleeping with hookers and drinking a lot. 
When a hooker named Larissa comes into the picture by trying to pull a fast one on him it becomes more than just that. It seems Talanov's past connections come into play and it seems someone from his past is behind everything. Talanov tries to warn those that want to help him and have him join their team but will they listen in enough time or will more blood be shed? 
There is a lot of action as far as gun slinging goes. We see how Talanov reacts in situations that calls for him to call people's bluff which was pretty cool. You can tell that Talanov is a character who is use to having those do what he tells them to or he will "break their legs." 
I liked seeing the relationship between Talanov and Larissa come together it makes me think he could love someone at one point. 
I did like the neat information on healing wounds and stopping blood from Larissa it is just simple home remedies, which I would have never thought of  being used. I might end up reading book three to see what else will be thrown Talanov's way. 
If you are looking for a spy book with plenty of action then I recommend this read. 

James Houston Turner
#1 bestselling author of the Aleksandr Talanov thriller series, about a former KGB colonel whose past will not leave him alone.
Talanov the character was inspired by an actual KGB agent who leaked word out of Moscow back in the 1980s that James was on a KGB watchlist for his smuggling activities behind the old Iron Curtain.
Talanov's debut thriller, Department Thirteen, was voted the "Best Thriller of 2011" by USA Book News, after which it won gold medals in the 2012 Independent Publisher "IPPY" Book Awards and the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
In 1991, James was diagnosed with cancer and given eighteen months to live after an eleven hour operation in Australia, where doctors removed a tumor the size of an orange from his face. "Beating the odds is about making any and all changes necessary to win the fight," he says.
At a low point in his writing career, he applied for a customer service job with a large company in Australia, where he was living at the time. He was refused, not because he lacked skills, but because he was "too ugly," a reference to the facial scars from his successful cancer operation.
"At the time, it was a kick in the guts," he says, "because we really needed the money. But if I had been hired, I would not have persevered with my writing to become a bestsellig author."
He has since dedicated his promotional book tours to that moment by calling them his "Too Ugly Tours," as a reminder that the hard knocks of life are sometimes blessings in disguise.
He and his Australian wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, live in Austin, Texas.


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