Read Nefarious by Steven F. Freeman Online


When Army Communications Captain Alton Blackwell takes a hit to the leg while on active duty in Afghanistan, his self-confidence and leg are equally shattered in the explosion. Assigned to a desk job while recovering, Blackwell nonetheless manages to prove his resourcefulness as he matches wits with Al-Qaeda operatives in the dangerous regions of Kabul. Unable to fully heaWhen Army Communications Captain Alton Blackwell takes a hit to the leg while on active duty in Afghanistan, his self-confidence and leg are equally shattered in the explosion. Assigned to a desk job while recovering, Blackwell nonetheless manages to prove his resourcefulness as he matches wits with Al-Qaeda operatives in the dangerous regions of Kabul. Unable to fully heal, he resigns himself to the abrupt end of his military career as well as any hope to win the affections of the beautiful and intelligent Lieutenant Mallory Wilson.Upon returning state-side, the quiet civilian life is quickly left far behind when Blackwell’s colleague Zach Lambert calls him from a weekend camping trip in the throes of a devastating illness with forbidding implications.In a story out of today’s headlines, Blackwell and now-FBI Agent Wilson explore the possible diversion of a biotech’s project to develop an improved vaccine, scouring leads at the CDC and biotec company, putting their Army and professional skills to the test, and narrowly escaping agents with a murderous agenda at every turn. The closer they come to the truth, the quicker the bodies pile up, along with the suspects. To get to the bottom of the sinister scheme, can Blackwell still use wits when his body has failed him? And will he survive long enough to tell his colleague of the feelings for her he has long kept secret?...

Title : Nefarious
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781490991207
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 326 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Nefarious Reviews

  • Stacey
    2019-03-04 09:17

    What a ride! Nefarious is the kind of page turner where the end of each chapter begs for the next to be read at that moment. No good stopping points. Great story lines developed through alternating chapters with good characters. I love smart, strong women characters and I found one here.I was given a copy to download, but I had trouble. Out of curiosity I read a sample on my kindle and didn't want it to end so I bought it. Worth every penny. I'm looking forward to the next installment of The Blackwell Files.

  • Jean
    2019-02-21 07:57

    When I started seeing book fans on Goodreads raving about this book, I was only vaguely aware of the meaning of “nefarious.” Use it in a sentence? Uh, no. I had to look it up. Steven Freeman’s Nefarious sounded like something I might like to read, so I added it to my “want to read” shelf. Finally, perhaps two months later, I started to read it. It took me less than two days.A number of reviews of Nefarious start like this, “I do not normally read war books…” Nor do I. This is not a war book. Although half of the book is set in Afghanistan during the war, and the main character is a war hero, as are his friends, this is not a book about war. This is a well-concocted story about a war-wounded former Army cryptologist, Alton Blackwell, and his FBI friend, former Lieutenant Mallory Wilson, as they team up to use their Army and professional skills to penetrate a scheme that is diverting the development of a vaccine to potentially cause harm worldwide.Freeman’s writing is descriptive, yet concise. The action is riveting, the plot is believable, the suspense is palpable, the characters seem genuine, and their dialogue, true. I was rather puzzled by the insertion of the raccoon scene so early in the book, but Mr. Freeman’s storytelling is so compelling that I had no doubt that he would tie it all together in due time. The chapters set in Afghanistan are very strong. Freeman carefully introduces us to Blackwell, showing him to be an intelligent, caring, resourceful man. His self-esteem took a hit along with his leg when his van was blown up, and as we see him struggle to get his life back on track, we see that he tries to bury his feelings for Lt. Wilson. As the book progresses, they develop a friendship. Back in civilian life, they form an efficient partnership in working to uncover the nefarious plan and to expose its agents. My biggest problem was my impatience with Blackwell’s “regret avoidance” regarding Mallory! I look forward to reading more about Alton “don’t call me Al” Blackwell and Mallory Wilson. This was a very enjoyable start to what I hope will be a long, successful career for Steven Freeman.

  • Amber
    2019-03-07 09:59

    I Received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.I was asked by author friend Steven Freeman to check out his book Nefarious. It was a pretty good read. Alton Blackwell is a cryptologist in the army who decrypts messages about enemy targets in afganistan for the army. It is only when his leg gets injured in the field that he is demoted to the C-2 division that decrypts messages in an office setting. With discharge looming, Alton tries his best to help serve his country and do his job to help and save others. He makes many friends who end up helping him later on after his adventures on the battlefield. When a experimental and lethal Rabies vaccine kills one of his army comrades, Alton must figure out who did it with the help of his friends Agent Mallory Wilson and Dave. Can they find out who the culprit of the vaccine is and stop the nefarious plot to sell it before it harms others? Read this book and find out.This was very action packed and exciting! Definitely check it out. This was like burn notice. A great Military action Medical thriller.

  • Susan Anderson
    2019-03-03 02:55

    Nefarious The Blackwell Files by Steven F. Freeman is a riveting military/techno thriller with multiple storylines that are skillfully intertwined. With the first flip of the page, I was hooked into the action and the characters in this intriguing novel.When the story opens, the main character, Captain Alton Blackwell, a skilled cryptologist and war hero, has been wounded in Afghanistan. Both his leg and his confidence have been shattered, the author tells us, and Alton must decide whether to leave the military or take a desk job where his skills are sorely needed. But a sudden event thrusts him into action, delaying his permanent decision. After the havoc wreaked by Al-Qaeda leaves civilians wounded and takes its toll on military personnel and operations, Alton meets Lieutenant Mallory Wilson the beautiful and brilliant female lead. Their scenes together, while devoid of passion, qualify as a love story which, while not trying to give away events at the end, has the dynamic of spilling into future books. But whatever their future holds, their friendship grows in this book and extends beyond their tour of duty into civilian life where together they attempt to uncover a dangerous conspiracy.Nefarious The Blackwell Files was a real page turner. The scenes of conflict were brilliantly written with authentic detail and jargon, and I breathed the dust and felt danger of battle. I loved the bantering dialogue at Gandamak’s Lodge and I admired the tender relationship Captain Alton Blackwell had with some of the young Afghani civilians. I also liked how Steven Freeman wove two separate stories into one cohesive novel. But most of all I loved the characters, Alton and Mallory as well as the Afghani civilians who played such courageous roles in the story.Steven F. Freeman weaves a thrilling tale of twisting intrigue with battle scenes that are brilliant and characters who stole my heart. If you long for well-written action with authentic detail, an adventure that will sweep you away, and lovable characters who agonize and fight and change, you will love Nefarious.

  • Christine
    2019-03-10 09:11

    Oh my! This is not the type of book I usually read. I am not drawn to novels or movies involving either the military or the Middle East. I have not read Saving Private Ryan; I have not seen Lawrence of Arabia. I picked up this book as a number of people whose opinions I respect in my favorite Goodreads group thought it was terrific. They were right. Nefarious is a very strong novel by first time author Steven F. Freeman. There were a number of things I loved about the book. I was intrigued right off the bat by chapters 1 and 2, which appeared to have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I was thinking "how in the world are these two story snippets going to dovetail?" As I read on through the first half of the book, I found myself really engaged. This was surprising to me as this section of the book involved the military in Afghanistan. I honestly had been preparing to slog through that part to get to the second half where the two stories from chapters 1 and 2 merged; that section was set primarily in Georgia and Washington D.C. Another feature I really loved and which contributed to the fast pacing of the book was the short chapters. There were 317 pages and 69 chapters, which repeatedly lulled me into reading "just one more chapter" before turning out the lights. The protagonist was extremely likable and easy to root for. The villains were indeed nefarious; I got so worked up regarding one of them 20% into the book that I actually sent a Goodreads personal message to Mr. Freeman just to let him know this guy better get his comeuppance or I would not be happy!The storyline held my attention all the way through. There was no unnecessary prose. The ending unfolded like concentrated orange juice (one could not skim this part), and I was completely, utterly surprised by it. A final feature I liked was the hint of a romance though not enough to put off romance-haters.I give this book 4.5 stars. The slight knockoff from a 5 star rating is because the good guys were so incredibly smart. Not sure there are people that brilliant. If I am wrong, then this is a 5 star novel. In any event, I see a very bright future for new author Steven F. Freeman.I highly recommend this book to all mystery/crime/thriller readers, even those who think they won't like it for whatever reason. I plan to read the second, third and fourth books in the Blackwell Files series by the end of summer.

  • Marla Josephs
    2019-03-19 08:59

    Nefarious is a fast paced ride. It reminded me a lot of Dan Browns style in the way it introduced characters and story lines, then whisked you away to another one and left you dying to know what was happening in the previous story line but, just as absorbed in the latest, so that your only option is to continue to read!I am a huge Dan Brown fan but constantly scold him for this as I read. Because all of the story lines are so compelling, there is no good place to stop! And you know they all converge at some point like a big, exciting puzzle. You are kept on a constant, riveting, consuming edge where you must know what is happening, yet you will not know all until the story comes together and brings closure. So, I suggest you make sure you have the time to read it through, because you get strapped in from the first scene. I really enjoyed the way Alton's character and Mallory were developed. The author appears to have a military background and things that would normally have left me clueless were written in a way that were understandable without interrupting the flow of the story or giving a jargon lesson. And, certain medical terms that I was well aware of, MI, myocardial infarction, comes to mind, were definitely used correctly. So, the fact that Mr. Freeman definitely did his homework to use proper terminology for authenticity, yet did not overwhelm the reader with constant useless terms was very well done.I personally didn't see this book as a "war book", as I have seen stated, but a suspenseful thriller with elements of war, military and even romance. But, whatever overlapping genres it fits into, it is one heck of a ride! Well written and compelling. Can't wait to read the next one.

  • Paula Shene
    2019-03-08 11:05

    When I picked up Nefarious {hard copy, author signed}, I did not realize I would be in it for the long haul. This book, set in wartorn Afghanstan has many facets to draw different readers. Like Horror, I seldom read war stories, but there was a fast connection with the main characters that had me hooked. There is a mystery, there is suspense, there is a love story, but... going in, knowing this is a series, with a very satisfying stand-alone story, is a delight.Mr. Freeman is a beginning author with a bright future. I have bought his second book, Ruthless, and his third, T Wave, which just gives me time enough to be ready for his fourth, Havoc, that is due out in August or September 2012.He's an author I recommend and getting in on the ground floor is the best - it is apparent, he will prove to be, not only a proficient but prolific writer

  • Dee
    2019-03-10 05:13

    *Copy provided by author*I'll be honest in saying that in the beginning of this book I was thinking "Why did I agree to this!"I'm not a fan of books regarding the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq for reasons that are entirely my own. I tend to avoid them all together. So it took a few chapters for me to finally see the whole picture or atleast get a sense of where it was going.I became enthralled and wanted to see it through.This was well written with some interestingly developed characters. The authors depiction of war terminology is easy to follow along for those who haven't a clue. For those who are sympathies.Great book if your looking for something complex.

  • Lorraine Loveit
    2019-03-02 03:01

    I received an ARC for an honest review.I don't usually read war stories, but I have watched several movies/TV series in this genre.I was pleasant surprised that not only did I enjoy it, but for the first time in ages, I read a novel in one sitting.It's the type of story that stays with you after you have finished it, because the plot and more specifically, the characters come across as real life rather than fiction.Looking forward to reading Steven Freeman's next instalment in The Blackwell Files.

  • William Stuart
    2019-03-13 07:53

    As my blog readers know, I’m reading at least one book per month from a Georgia author. This time, it’s Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) by Steven F. Freeman. This one’s a thriller, so read on for my thoughts!Synopsis (from the author): When Army Communications Captain Alton Blackwell takes a hit to the leg while on active duty in Afghanistan, his self-confidence and his leg are equally shattered in the explosion. Assigned to a desk job while recovering, Blackwell manages to prove his resourcefulness as he matches wits with Al-Qaeda operatives in the dangerous regions of Kabul. Unable to fully heal, he resigns himself to the abrupt end of his military career as well as any hope to win the affections of the beautiful and intelligent Lieutenant Mallory Wilson. Upon returning state-side, the quiet civilian life is quickly left far behind when Blackwell’s colleague Zach Lambert calls him from a weekend camping trip in the throes of a devastating illness with forbidding implications. In a story out of today’s headlines, Blackwell and now-FBI Agent Wilson explore the possible diversion of a biotech’s project to develop an improved vaccine, scouring leads at the CDC and biotec company, putting their Army and professional skills to the test, and narrowly escaping agents with a murderous agenda at every turn. The closer they come to the truth, the quicker the bodies pile up, along with the suspects. To get to the bottom of the sinister scheme, can Blackwell still use wits when his body has failed him? And will he survive long enough to tell his colleague of the feelings for her he has long kept secret?What I liked: Nefarious is a good story! The trials Alton Blackwell goes through set the stage for his later career, his interactions with the locals in Afghanistan, and his guilt over the death of a high school friend all helped me identify with the character. As a real-life supply chain professional, I liked Mallory’s Army occupation, and her character added the love interest. The bond one finds among service members rang true, and the plot, as it evolved over the course of the story, made for a good read.What I didn’t like: Captain Blackwell’s antagonist in the Intelligence group and their “rivalry” was too clichéd for me. Similarly, some of the intelligence gathering seemed contrived to me.Overall impression: Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) by Steven F. Freeman was a solid and entertaining read. Good characters, a believable plot, a conspiracy, and good writing kept me engaged throughout. If you need a new thriller series to read, try this one!My rating: 4 stars

  • Richard A Peters
    2019-03-21 07:15

    This is the first 5 star Indie review I’ve ever given. Nefarious is a first class mystery thriller that starts in a military setting but doesn’t limit itself to the military world. This story will rope in both civilians and veterans alike.While great mysteries are a dime a dozen, what sets this tale apart is how well the author explores serious, real world issues. He brazenly takes on uncomfortable subjects, such as injured veterans’ challenges with overcoming shattered self-confidence, emotional disconnection from reality and struggling to find new goals in life. He deftly drops the reader into the shattered warrior’s shoes in such a way that you aren’t just interested, but you really care what happens next to the character. All without coming across overly depressive and still crafting this emotional angle as an integral part of the story rather than a side diversion.Now, the author does take some extreme “artistic license” with the details of military operations. For example, officers wandering around off base in Afghanistan to some civilian bar to drink, flirt with locals and “hang out.” Many veterans would find that annoyingly fictitious. Still, I admit that’s a personal bias that doesn’t detract from the narrative, but rather makes for a more wild story.The only issue that’s somewhat negative is the rushed ending. While the conspiracy is wrapped up tightly and logically, the method doesn’t fit with the rest of the book’s smooth tone. During the journey you’re fed tantalizing hints, grim foreshadow and believable twists. The “who done it?” feeling rises to a fever pitch by the last chapter… and then the heroes just have a eureka moment and unravel the whole sordid tale in one scene. Rather anti-climactic, in my opinion.However, none of that changes the fact that this is one of the most addictive page turners I’ve had the pleasure to read in a while. The tale is both fun and emotionally engaging- a thriller with a soul. Definitely worth both the money and time to read.

  • Kerry Hunter
    2019-02-28 10:53

    I very kindly received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.This is a very different read for me. I'm not familiar with war or its procedures, so some of the terms should have gone straight over my head, but thanks to the author's detailed explanations I understood every word, and boy oh boy was this story gripping. I loved every minute of it.We start off learning about Captain Alton Blackwell's tragic accident to the leg, injuring him for life, and possibly ending his military career for good. He sees his current and future life as bleak, and things only get worse when he is relocated to a desk job away from the fast paced action of field duty. He resigns from the army and returns state-side where, with a couple of friends from the military days, he investigates a case where all is not as it seems.It almost seems like this book is split into two halves - the military scene, and then back in the US, and it's not until the last gripping few chapters that the US half links back to the military half, and everything is just twisty turny and all links in with each other perfectly. The author writes succinctly, but doesn't forfeit any vital information, rich dialogue or vivid descriptions in doing so. I'd say this was definitely a masterpiece with regards to the way this story is written.Each character is developed so well and you really get to feel for them, and just want everything to be alright for everyone in the end. I think a lot of the time great plots come before character development, or character development comes before the story line, but in this novel both live harmoniously and provide a wonderful read. I have the second in the series and cannot wait to start reading it. This book received my highest recommendation and regard.

  • John Bell
    2019-03-13 06:01

    Nefarious is one of those books that pulls you in from the first chapter and never really relinquishes its grip until you read the final page. Mr. Freeman's military knowledge is impressive, and he weaves it seamlessly into the narrative. I love the 'fly on the wall' feeling that comes with reading a story that is grounded in realism. And the book certainly doesn't disappoint in that aspect. The excitement really ramps up midway through the story and ends with what I consider a satisfying climax. But the real strength of the story, to me, lies with the characters. Alton Blackwell, the Army Communications Captain whose life is changed after an explosion shatters his leg, is someone I related to immediately. His physical damage is matched by his psychological damage, and I was rooting for him every step of the way as he attempted to navigate through circumstances he never thought he would have to face. Along with the way he meets Lieutenant Mallory Wilson and together they uncover a dangerous conspiracy while at the same time developing a strong personal bond. It is this bond that is the most engaging aspect of the novel, and with the promise of a series arising from Nefarious, it is a bond I hope will continue to develop. I will certainly be reading. I really enjoyed this one.

  • Cindy Womack
    2019-02-26 10:02

    Part mystery, party techno-thriller, part character study, Freeman has brought a great story to life in his debut novel. After living through a terrorist attack in war torn Afghanistan, Alton Blackwell struggles to reconcile his self-appointed role as protector with the realities of a life changing injury. As the reader, I found myself pulling for Alton, whether he was thwarting another terrorist attack, uncovering a research firm’s effort to get its product to market come hell, high water, or murder, or self-consciously navigating his budding relationship with the smart and gregarious Mallory Wilson. Freeman seamlessly transitions from the highly tense life of a Middle Eastern military compound to the seemingly tranquil life of suburban Atlanta. And yet tranquility is the last thing Alton and Mallory discover once stateside. Using his giftedness with the language and perfectly cadenced dialog, Steve Freeman draws the reader into this world and keeps him wanting more. I recommend you start this book early in your day, since you won’t be able to sleep until you’ve turned the last page.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-22 08:11

    I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.Nefarious is one of those books that grips you from the very first chapter. It was a fast paced book filled with lots of action. I can't say there was a dull moment in this book. I wouldn't say that I am typically drawn to war stories, yet I really liked this book. Even though it was a little out of my typical tastes. I believe that this book would make a great movie.In my personal opinion I think that there was too much military scheming and not enough science. It was clear through reading that the author had a military background and therefore the story felt rather realistic. It was obviously very well researched, which I can definitely appreciate. I would have liked to have gotten better descriptions of the characters, I feel like I only have a vague idea of what they looked like. (view spoiler)[I think that the ending of this book was a little too tidy, a little to 'happily ever after'. (hide spoiler)]

  • Antonio Simon Jr.
    2019-03-06 11:10

    Alton Blackwell, a graduate of MIT and a proficient army cryptologist, has high hopes for an exciting and prosperous military career. His dreams are cut short when he takes an injury and is reassigned to a humdrum desk job. Alton eventually returns home and tries to make a life for himself despite the catastrophic impact his injury has had on his body and psyche.The author clearly has a strong grasp on modern military matters. The story of a wounded warrior's return home is one that has always seemed to strike a chord in many, especially these days. The book explores Alton's feelings of inadequacy and frustration stemming from his injury.The story does have some issues with pacing. There were moments in which too much emphasis was placed on story elements that didn't commensurately contribute to the plot. Moreover, stretches of the book go on for a bit too long, making it feel a little tedious at times.All told though, it's a good read.

  • Ruth
    2019-03-03 02:51

    TRUE AMERICAN LITERATURE! This novel is masterfully written. Freeman has believable characters and a story line that is addicting. I have often wondered what our troops go through when overseas. Steven Freeman eloquently and artistically turns this issue into a real-world experience. This novel has high drama, true romance (even when the character is not looking for it), and pure excitement. The setting in Afghanistan is so vivid I can see and feel the experience. There were twists and turns and different ways to look at each character. I found myself worried about the protagonist. Even the antagonist had good reasons for what he did. This book is about military without being written over my head. This book is about a love story that you continually swoon over. This book is about biological warfare, without being scary. This book is about a father who would do anything for his son.I am now a Blackfiles fan...staring Ruthless!

  • Megan McCauley
    2019-02-19 03:02

    I received this book from the author for a honest reviewThe book captured my interest from page one, and kept it the whole way through. I read a lot of different kinds of books, but I tend to get bored with books about the military not with this one I didn't have to force my way through the end. At first I was like wow there's a lot going on with a bunch of different characters, and was wondering how all the different aspects would tie into together. In the end it was like a giant puzzle that fit perfectly together. I like how no matter the situation Alton would alway come up with a perfect solution. Mallory was great not only is she pretty, but she is also very intelligant which in most books women aren't that smart. Looking forward to the next book to see Alton and Mallorys intelligant detective work to solving complicated situations.

  • B. Mc.
    2019-02-25 06:16

    A whodunit sprinkled with some techo and espionage. Alton Blackwell is a new kind of hero who uses mind power over muscle power. As a cryptologist, he was able to crack enemy codes. But it is his ability to understand the enemy and eye for detail to sense when things "aren't right", that allowed him derail the enemies plans. Now back at home, when a friend, and fellow former soldier, dies under mysterious circumstances, Alton uses these same skills to track down those responsible.Great read and I am looking forward to the next episode of Alton Blackwell's life.

  • Mary Davis
    2019-03-17 09:04

    Take a day off work...because once you start "Nefarious", you won't want to do anything else until you've finished reading it. The characters are completely engaging and very well developed, and the story line leaves you wanting more...even at the very end. Thankfully the 2nd installment of The Blackwell Files just came out! Mr. Freeman is a very talented writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this you will too! But don't forget to clear your calendar!

  • Alyssa
    2019-03-01 03:54

    Great read with lots of interesting twists and turns. The characters will make you love them and they are wonderfully developed. I tend to typically read books in the modern romance or historical genres but quickly fell in love with this book. The ending leaves you wanting more of the characters because you "feel" them as real, honest people. If you love mystery and intrigue with a little romance on the side this is a book for you! You won't be sorry!

  • Danni
    2019-02-21 11:05

    I very much enjoyed Nefarious and Steven F Freeman has a new fan. A top notch thriller that is well written with a well constructed plot. The characters always felt genuine and easy to empathize with and I felt Mr. Freeman did really well to construct the believable military and technological advances that underpin the book. Easy five stars from this reader.

  • Simon
    2019-03-10 06:57

    So good I could imagine this playing out as a movie in my head as I read it. The author writes a a great book. Plenty of action and complexity to keep the reader turning the pages, plenty of intrigue to get you thinking!

  • Krystle Wong
    2019-03-07 08:59

    Excellent read and a real page turner. Mr. Freeman's extensive military knowledge adds a lot of depth to the story. Takes a little while to ramp up but does not disappoint!

  • Mitsy
    2019-02-27 03:15

    Maybe I'll get back to it later. Story just can't keep my attention.

  • Goodbadbizarre
    2019-03-19 05:05

    SUMMARYAt the start of the book, we follow three plotlines, the most important of which concerns Captain Alton Blackwell in Afghanistan, who has been injured in a bomb blast that has ended his chosen career. The other two plots are liberally interspersed like intermissions in Alton’s story, and by the end of the book, these three plotlines converge into a single unit, just in time for the Big Reveal.We were expecting a typical war novel, but it surprised us. It is actually a mystery and thriller, one which just happened to be set in the Middle East: Alton matches wits with various terrorists and ends their machinations to kill people. We liked this combination of genres, and the emphasis on strategy rather than violence and the “whodunit” qualities of this book made for an enjoyable read. However, the first half of the book itself reads more like a series of interrelated short stories, and it shifts gears in the middle, changing the scene from Afghanistan to the United States. Consequently the mood shifts too, becoming far less War Novel and far more Mystery. Fortunately for the reader, the cast of characters remains the same, and they are all likeable and fun to read, all the way to the end.THE GOOD...1) Beautiful simplicityLooking back, the best thing about this novel is its simplicity. This author has obviously worked very hard on honing his writing style, and we could definitely appreciate it. The writing flows wonderfully and it is possible to read whole paragraphs without having to pause to digest, simply because it connects with the reader so readily. It was a pleasure to read something with so little effort on our part. The book works to simplify things to only the most important elements, giving the reader only what we need, and allowing our own imaginations to make up the rest. It was nice to be trusted by the author in this way. 2) Great sense of the “little moments”There is action in this story--the beginning contains a bomb, for example--but one aspect that we really enjoyed was the little “slice of life” moments woven throughout. These often contained wonderful nuggets of understated emotional truths. In discreet ways the author tells us everything we need to know about these characters’ emotional states, without pulling out a long list of complicated adjectives and metaphors to explain things. There was a lot of space to breathe in this story, and it has a really good sense of pacing, allowing us to connect with the characters in-between the action scenes. As a result, we gave a damn about them whenever they were in danger.3) Likeable charactersThere are a couple dozen characters in here, and the author does a fine job of fleshing them out. Of course, the most 3D character is the hero, Alton Blackwell, with whom we spend most of the time and from whose head we get the most thoughts. Alton was a genuinely likeable guy, altruistic to the core. It’s hard not to root for him whenever he faces adversity. He’s also competent, which is a must for a character in a mystery novel, and which further gives us another reason to like him. His philosophy of “regret avoidance” was great, because giving that to his character added an even further level of depth and helped explain his actions throughout the story. He wasn’t perfect, but was likeable all the more for that.4) Awesome endingSorry. Can’t tell you much, because Spoilers. But we can say that it has a cool ending. It hit all the right notes and left us satisfied.THE BAD...1) Could use some more connection at the beginningAt the start of the story, we are introduced to three separate plotlines: a wounded soldier, a colonel who is frustrated by the orders he receives from his NSA contact, and a pharmaceutical company working on a drug. Although these stories eventually became woven together, at the beginning we were hard pressed to see any connection between them. We cared most about Alton, so the other two plots could easily have become annoying distractions. Fortunately, the author seemed to anticipate this, because the story never lingered on them. Still, parts of us wonder if the other two plots couldn’t be cut entirely. In any case, it is what it is, and maybe other readers will like seeing the three plots converge, although we found it a little unnecessary. We would have been happy following Alton all along.2) Meandering plotWe liked watching Alton and his buddies. But, rather than one whole, complete story with a couple subplots thrown in, this book felt more like a sequence of interrelated short stories. It felt realistic, in the sense that we felt as though we were watching a real person's life, one episode at a time (after all, most people's lives work more like short stories rather than major arcs). We also liked to shift gears every so often, because we don't think that any of these incidents could have been stretched out into a full story. We just wish that the book could have been one or the other: either be a chronological sequence of short stories, or be a full book with a singular plot. We prefer the short story option ourselves, because that makes the most sense.THE BIZARRE...1) “Don’t forget your Beretta. There’s a good chance we’ll need it.”Character A tells Character B to bring his Beretta twice, each time at the end of a chapter. We suppose that it’s meant to be foreboding, in the sense that the characters expect there will be danger and shooting in the future. However, the second time it appears, it cannot be anything but hilarious. We assume this is only a mistake on the author’s part to include this twice, but that does not abate our humor any. It was fun to see a mistake like this in an otherwise well-polished text. Because we’re quirky that way.For that matter, we also wondered a little bit about the use of guns in the story. These characters are former military personnel, and one is now an FBI agent. Surely they’re both well versed in firearms. And, knowing that there are nasty people out there who want to kill them, surely they would both have guns? Just, you know, for safety’s sake? The bad guys seem to assume that they have guns. Because it makes sense that they would. Except... really, they don’t. Oops. Silly, foolish characters, don’t you realize this has become an action movie? Break out the firepower already!3) The grapes are listening.There are little grapes with bugs/listening devices planted in them. This was a fun little detail and we liked it a lot. Keep your eye on the grapes because they're important....AND THE VERDICT:This book is GOOD.We recommend this book to people who like mysteries, people who want a quick and fun read, and also would recommend it to parents who are looking for something that their sons could enjoy reading. Reading is fun and a book like this definitely demonstrates that sort of thing to a young reader. The heroes are all likeable and relatable, and it’s easy to root for them and cheer whenever they succeed in something. The plot is fast-paced and the reader never feels bored. There are no problems with the prose that make you work hard to understand what’s being said. All in all, this story was a fun yarn, and we're glad we read it.

  • Pamela King
    2019-03-07 04:19

    Steven F. Freeman has written nine books in The Blackwell Files series. I had already read Tears of God and The Dig (books 7 and 9) and enjoyed them so much I wanted to start at the beginning. That brought me to Nefarious. (The precis is below this review)I am not usually a reader of war stories and although Nefarious begins during the war in Afghanistan I would not class it as a war story. I think it would be described better as action, mystery, thriller and intrigue, sweetened with just a touch of romance. The story starts in Afghanistan then switches to what appears to be an unrelated story back in the USA. Having read two of Mr Freeman’s other Blackwell Files stories I trusted he would bring these together. He did and he did it skilfully.The combination of alternating locations and stories with short chapters has the reader turning the pages to read “just one more chapter”. There is never a dull moment. Mr Freeman is a skilled writer able to combine effective descriptive passages with conciseness.The greatest appreciation I had of Mr Freeman’s writing was when it came to military terminology and jargon. Being totally ignorant in this field I did not struggle with the war zone or military descriptors. Any acronyms used are explained and don’t have the reader running to Google to find out what it is about.Although the first of a series, like Mr Freeman’s other Blackwell Files, it can be read as a stand-alone. You won’t want to stop at one though; his stories and characters are addictive and will have you coming back for more.The characters are strong and very likeable (well, the goodies are anyway).Having read later books in the series, I was familiar with the main characters and already liked their personalities, intelligence and compassion. I was particularly interested in how the relationship came about between Alton and Mallory and also how they met Mastana. I wasn’t disappointed and look forward to their personalities and relationships developing as I read the other stories. The other characters are also well developed and easy to like or dislike according to their actions and beliefs in the story.

  • Anita
    2019-03-12 06:10

    Slower read but it puts together the players for later books.

  • Abby Vandiver
    2019-03-07 09:08

    Nefarious is the story of a military man, injured on the job and trying to continue his life the best he can. He does better than he thinks he could, and finds even with a life changing injury things can still be good. The book follows the main character in the military after his injury and then his life back home that gets entangled in a deadly cover-up that pulls back together a team of ex-military specialist.Alton Blackwell is a cryptologist. He has a degree from MIT, a lot of smarts and modesty. And a hankering for a forensic accountant, Mallory, who he meets after his injury and worries that with him being "less than whole" if he could ever win her affection. The other side of the story is about a scientist that wants to find a vaccine for rabies that could be administered cheaply by aerosol.More than half the story gives an inside glimpse at Alton on his job as a cryptologist in Afghanistan. And while it is entertaining, we later find it does not advance the storyline and could have been told in a lot less pages. The three stars, however, were given for the many logic gaps in this story. For me it started off with an unlocked sliding door that separates the interior of two apartments, not very private or safe, then the rabid raccoon that attacks without provocation, and the cryptologist, who is sent back to work only weeks after an injury that was caused by a bomb and who can decode and translate Afghani terrorist information but needs a translator to speak with an Afghani child. However, even with those things overlooked the last two or three chapters could not be ignored. Freeman lays out what should have been the entire book in these few chapters without giving the reader any idea how the information was deduced. Freeman writes that over the course of two days, and on an Internet café computer, Alton and Mallory, who now does forensic accounting for the FBI, are able to block detection of the use of networked computers, and access surveillance tapes of people coming out of a tavern, without anyone (reader or characters in book) knowing they had met there. The two were able to get recorded dialogue between people that talked on private phones, without prior knowledge of a connection between them or a subpoena and even get sealed records from the NSA, decode them and relate them back to a military drone mission that happen a year or so previously, among an array of other things, all with Mallory's FBI access cut off. And everyone in the world knows it's the "White House" and not "House White." No one would get that wrong. The wrap up was too quick, and implausible for me. Additionally, I found that the dialogue didn't develop the characters but the author used tags surrounding it to do that, and used unnatural language such as Alton telling Mallory that she looked like she was "flourishing."Mr. Freeman has a good grasp of the military and it certainly shows. And while rabies, killing about 50,000 people a year probably wouldn't get funding to find new treatment on the level talked about in this book, it was an interesting insert to the story.

  • Mati
    2019-03-20 09:01

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.So, first note: I'm not much of a war story reader. While I enjoy them from time to time, my lack of knowledge and experience with the military, government agencies and that general area of life makes it a little hard to relate to. I also feel somewhat dumb when all the jargon goes over my head. Nefarious is a book I really got into, however. While there was enough "war chatter" to set the mood, the general plot was easy to follow and clear. It reads like a thriller, or an adventure novel, rather than just a military book. The characters felt believable, and I enjoyed seeing how the separate arcs would come together. While I was satisfied with the ending, there were a few areas I wasn't a big fan of. The opening scene felt like it took a ton of time to get back to, which made it feel a little unnecessary. It was also a bit confusing to separate the different story arcs at first. Finch and Alton were easy to separate because one was civilian and one was military, but having Duke mixed in sometimes made it hard for me to remember who he was and what significance he had. By the ending, having that additional story almost felt a little strange. Somehow, he didn't seem as important as everyone else.While I was uncertain about Duke, I did like having the separate story lines. I'm a fan of having to "piece together" what is happening. How is this going to eventually converge with that? The pacing was done fairly well, and I didn't feel like I got too many answers too soon. I also didn't predict the ending, which is always a nice feelings.As for the romance, at times the Alton and Mallory thing felt a little too drawn out. I didn't really see their relationship develop, and that made it difficult for me to feel there was any real 'romance' in the story. While there was plenty of action and mystery to bring them together, many of their interactions felt very professional and arms length so you don't get the tension you may in other stories. I guess I wanted to feel a spark between them. It didn't have to be like weak in the knees love since this was an action/adventure type tale, but I wanted to feel like they really had something connecting them on a personal level. Maybe it was Alton's constant second guessing of things, but it made it hard to feel they were close in any way. I think in future stories that may come together more, but in this one it felt a little limited.Besides that, the story was really well done. The story line seemed well researched and the settings seemed believable. I'm not an expert in rabies so I can't tell you how plausible all that is, but as a reader I could buy into the plot. Overall, this was a great page turner that was easy to read, even if war novels aren't your favorite.