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Thursday, September 24, 2015

From Russia Without Love by Stephen Templin - Review + Interview!

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

So, I'm working on the old OLD laptop while a friend tinkers with the old one to see is a Frankenstein resurrection can be made...doubtful but hey, it can't be any worse.  *fingers crossed*  Speaking of reanimated things or people that just won't die, I've got a rather exciting book for you today that's several steps away from my regulars but not so far off the page strewn course to be unfamiliar.

Picture it. 2000 and something.  I'm in my favorite reading spot minding my own business when, BAM!  I get a review request for a Fiction read that could have been ripped from the day's military headlines.  The story sounds interesting but I'm concerned about the jargon and political intensity that may abound.  Would they overshadow what my interests we raised by?  300 or so pages later and much to my bookish joy, my concerns were laid to rest...and I ended up reading the next installment upon publication too!  Fast forward to a few months back and another email toting the coming glories of a book by one of the author duo responsible for my other reads off the beaten path.  A synopsis glimpse later and I was in!  Which brings us to today's featured title....

A Special Operations Group Thriller, Book 2
Stephen Templin

About the book...
SEAL Team Six veteran Chris Paladin left the Navy to become a pastor, but CIA spook Hannah Andrade pulls him back into Special Operations Group to locate the White House Chief of Staff’s kidnapped son-in-law before he is executed by Greek terrorists. Cantankerous Army Delta Force operator Sonny Cohen reunites with Chris and Hannah as they race the clock to save the hostage.

In Athens, Chris and his teammates discover that Russia is secretly behind the kidnapping, part of a murderous plan to attack the flow of natural gas in Europe. The Cold War has heated up again.

Chris and his crew’s rescue quickly changes into a mission to capture-or-kill a Russian spy.


Sound exciting?
Oh trust IS!

As I said, having read the previous series of books, I had a little background and connection with the characters in this story, but even from an outsiders perspective, I can see this working wonderfully as a standalone read.  The history makes their personal connections that much stronger and emotional (yes, I said emotional...just because they are guys and SEALS at that doesn't mean they don't have feelings), but the story itself is self contained.  If you've been following my site for any about of time, you'll note that this is not a corner of the Fiction genre I delve into very much.  For me, it's not the violence, combat, or link with reality that's the stake through my heart, but the political nature of the story.  It sounds heartless, but for the sake of my reading enjoyment, I couldn't care less.  It's like with Indiana Jones movies (hopefully you've seen at least one).  There is all the Nazi (etcetera) takeovers, war advances, and so on, but it blends so well with the adventure story we've come to love, it's a background piece that doesn't interfere...just like here.  

Now don't get me wrong, there are certainly higher political powers at work and aspirations of countries outdoing other countries, but you get so caught up in the more focused story that you can choose to acknowledge its existence without it taking over the entire read.  Passages detailing which country was enraged by this country regarding the planned Natural Gas access, or even those that tell down to the scope type about the firearms being used, all boiled down to a check mark in my mind's file and a gloss over to see where our heroes were now...and I'm none the worse for wear.  We've got a killer story filled with action, espionage, and mayhem hat will keep you on the edge of your seat.  The finite details will enchant some, but for me, the characters are where it's at!

Chris (code name Reverend), Hannah (Infidel), and Sonny (Mr. Sunshine) are a lethal trio.  Whatever they put their minds to, consider it done....and I mean REALLY done.  There's no escaping when they've set their sites on you.  Even if they have to go to the ends of the earth, sneak aboard a cruise ship, jump overboard in the dead of night to chase a shadow through the streets of are going down.  *Hoo Rah*  Despite all of that, they aren't just kill and capture machines.  Chris is actually a Reverend in his "other life", something that brings him great inner peace and joy.  True, he'd love for that world to encompass Hannah a bit more on the regular but he'll take what he can get until her path ties into his (*fingers crossed*).  Being our "leading man", we get inside his head much more than those of his teammates but that doesn't mean they are a complete mystery.

Hannah is rather deadly herself.  If you don't get knocked out my her looks (according to the reactions of most men surrounding her), she'll easily pick you off with a well placed shot and erase all traces of it occurring with a call to one of her many contacts.  Never mistake her for an unassuming woman; she just might have to MMA your butt to the ground.  (*high five*)  That brings us to Sonny.  He's certainly the most crass and loves nothing more than the heat of the mission (well, except his food and women) but we actually see a small crack in that bada** veneer this time around.  I won't exploit it (though I should), but it once again brings him back out of the realm of married to his work and everyday dude.

So, are you convinced?  Is this a must read on your wish list now?  Admittedly, it won't be for everyone, but for those that venture between the pages, you may be surprised just how high it rates on your reading list.  Recommended for adult readers due to the story itself and violent content...otherwise, we're clean like the take downs they aim for.  Don't forget to check out the first book in this series, Trident's Gleam.  Now for the creme de resistance!  When the review request for this title came through, I also had the opportunity to interview the author.  (Score!)  Seeing as I've now bent your ear for some time, I'll let him do the talking about the book and some UBER FABULOUS news you'll want to note.  Ladies and gents, please join me in welcoming author Stephen Templin!


Author Interview:  Stephen Templin
From Russia Without Love

1. You were in the military and you write about the military.  Is it a case of convenience (as in writing what you know) or simply the action, suspense, and drama that naturally comes from this particular area that drew you like a moth to a flame?

As a child I played soldier and was a Boy Scout. But growing up I was also a reader and a writer. Over time, I discovered that my greater passion is in writing. Because I’ve experienced the military and am still excited about it, particularly special ops and its extension into CIA activities, there is the flame.  

2. I've read your previous works written with Howard Wasdin (Seal Team Six series).  What was it like going solo?  Any preference for one or the other?  Pros and cons? 

For our nonfiction book, it was easier for me because the content was mostly Howard’s life. I just had to interview him and write it. And we went back and forth with the revisions. For him it was tough to relive a challenging childhood and the trauma of war—which led to the breakup of his most valued treasure, his family at that time. 

For our fiction books, it was more difficult for me because the content was mostly mine—there are so many choices open to a fiction writer, and it’s a marathon to complete a novel. Switching from fiction coauthor to fiction solo streamlined the writing process for me. Now, for this series, writing fiction solo seems like a good fit, and I can see continuing this for quite some time. But I’m open to the idea of collaborating with others in the future—it just depends on things like the project, demand, and what value each member brings to it.

3. Some readers may notice, others may not but seeing as I did, I have to ask.  What's with the (sorta) James Bond reference title wise?  Big fan perhaps or simply a great play on words that fit?  *curious*

I’ve enjoyed Ian Fleming’s stories, which I came to know through film, so that’s always in the back of my mind. And when thinking of titles, I sometimes look at Bond titles for inspiration. In May of 2014, Onet (Poland’s largest news website) interviewed me about Russian intervention in Ukraine (interview here: ), and that prompted me to think about where the future of this conflict may lie—which led to the plot for a new novel. The idea for the title came quite quickly and was difficult to shake off, which also inspired me to explore themes of love and hate. 

4. I read that the movie rights to one of your books sold to Vin Diesel himself, congratulations!  Any juicy tidbits you can share?  Which title, when it starts filming, or perhaps who is on your wish list for starring in it?

Thank you. Yes, Vin Diesel has the rights, but I haven’t heard any specifics about production other than that Vin Diesel wants to star as Howard. Howard would be an adviser during filming and both our names would appear at the beginning of the film.

5. For those short on time or with limited attention span, describe your book in TEN words or less....

Reverend, Infidel, and Mr. Sunshine must capture-or-kill

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About the author....

Since elementary school, STEPHEN TEMPLIN felt a need to write, dreaming of becoming a novelist, and now he is a New York Times and international bestselling author, with the movie rights to one of his movies purchased by Vin Diesel. Steve’s books have been translated into thirteen languages. He is a “hybrid” author who maintains active book contracts with top publishers such as Simon and Schuster and St. Martin’s Press while also publishing independently.

After high school, he completed Hell Week, qualified as a pistol and rifle expert, blew up things, and practiced small unit tactics during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. Later, Steve left the Navy and became a missionary. Then for fourteen years he lectured as a tenured professor at Meio University in Japan, where he also practiced the martial art aikido. Currently, he lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

To connect with Steve and for updates about new releases, as well as exclusive promotions, visit his website and sign up for the VIP Readers Group at:



Special thanks to Emily at Trident Media Group, LLC for the ebook for review and to author Stephen Templin for humoring my curious mind in the interview.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title was released the beginning of this month, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time...happy reading!


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