Born in the worst suburb in Pittsburgh, Elaine Brogan is bright, beautiful and bold. When her father is falsely arrested for passing counterfeit $100 bills, Elaine vows to become a Secret Service agent and track down the man responsible. After barely surviving the arduous Secret Service Training Academy in Laurel, Maryland, she is transferred to bleak and blustery Great Falls, Montana.
But things do not go as planned, and Elaine soon finds herself betrayed and thrown into an adventure that takes her halfway around the world, from dark and mysterious Sofia, Bulgaria, to Moscow Russia, and finally, to Milan, Italy. In the end, will Elaine find the love and happiness she truly seeks…or will she turn to a life of obscene wealth, power and corruption?
©2011 Mike Wells (P)2013 Mike Wells
Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells is a wonderful mystery, suspense, thriller with a dash of romance thrown in that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride. I was actually given a review audio copy for my honest review, so I'll make mention to the audio version as well but first, a brief synopsis.
Our heroine is named Elaine Brogan. We follow her life from child to adult. As a child, she had a knack for puzzles. Her father was completely devoted to her and gave her everything he could and couldn't afford. Elaine's life seemed to revolve around money and when a tragedy strikes, she goes into the Secret Service to seek out her own revenge but when that goes awry, she transfers to Bulgaria. While there, she finds herself working closely with her boss, Nick, who's smart, handsome and roguish. By Nick's side, Elaine finds her groove and quickly makes a name for herself as the girl who can spot fake money a mile away and everyone in the agency wants to use her but getting her away from Nick will take an act of God because she's falling in love with him, fast! Ok so maybe not an act of God but how about bad guys whom want to use her for their own nefarious purposes. Soon Elaine is sent on wild goose chases across the globe, no one is to be trusted and survival is the only goal.
I'm personally not usually a mystery type of person. I love my strong heroines', my alpha males and my HEA which usually aren't in mystery books but OMG is it ever in this one. The story is told from Elaine's POV and through her eyes, we see a life of naiveté through rose colored glasses but also someone who's brilliant in her own right. Yes she has her moments of extreme stupid but don't we all? She does definitely learn from those moments and tries not to fall into the same traps. She's also is a survivor. She doesn't rely on the hero to come rescue her. There's moments in the story that she seems backed into a corner with no way out but then she finds the little crack in the window to rescue her own bacon.
If you can't tell, I loved the characters, the action is high and the HEA is wonderful. The audio reader is absolutely brilliant as well. She brings life to the book with each character having a distinct voice and it's delightful to follow along. I honestly think that for this book, I would recommend the audio version over reading it on your own.
Definitely highly recommended!
PJV Quickie: LUST, MONEY & MURDER by Mike Wells was a surprise listen for me. I expected the book to be good, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. The story might not have been the usual character driven, romantically charged novel which frequent my shelf, but the intense plot and the obvious knowledge of the author kept me completely intrigued. LUST, MONEY & MURDER by Mike Wells is a good listen on Audiobook, especially with Sue Sharp as the narrator. If you are looking for a thriller, with political and a few hinted romantic undertones, check out this series. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Review: Let me state from the beginning that in it’s original form, Wells divided this 250 page book into three parts and published them as eBooks. Lucky for me, Books 1, 2 & 3 were all put together in audiobook format, so cliffhangers were not an issue – even though I can see if you were to read these one by one, how they could be. The books follow the main character, starting at the beginning of her life, for a very flushed out back-story. The character is Elaine Brogan, a very pampered child of a doting father, who while not wealthy would do anything for his daughter. One of those anythings just happens to be steal and cheat. So, when Elaine decides to be a model and gets caught up in some sort of counterfeit operation, her father, instead of admitting Elaine got the money, takes the fall and ends up in prison. Prison is too much for Elaine’s father and he takes his own life, leaving Elaine to fend for herself. Luckily Elaine is smart and driven and she is set on revenge. She blames the man from the modeling agency for her father’s death. She has to find him, she has to put him in jail, like her father went to jail. The only way to do this, she surmises, is by becoming an agent in the Secret Service counterfeit division. So, Elaine focuses on that goal and nothing else.
While the book dragged in the beginning, it accomplished what Wells set out to do. It set the stage, Elaine’s frame of mind, her goals and her motivations. I thought how Wells flushed this out was well done, even though most books will do this quite differently, usually starting the stories with present day and having the character flashback to their past in clips. But, Wells delivered the whole back-story. This technique in the story allowed for the author to “teach” the reader about counterfeiting as Elaine learned about it and the steps she took to establish herself as an expert. Well’s knowledge of intaglio printing, the process of printing money, counterfeiting operations and the government agencies that investigate these operations was the highlight of the novel. I love learning new things while reading fiction and I certainly learned a few things by reading LUST, MONEY & MURDER. As the book progressed, we move away from Elaine’s childhood goals of revenge and on to Elaine’s struggle as a Secret Service agent, which was also a great part of the novel. Elaine is a strong character and she is highly driven throughout the book. It was fun reading about how she made it through training, only to be relegated to nothing field offices and chauvinistic bosses and then finally to her dream position as an expert in spotting counterfeit bills.
It was a good story. Well written and full of wonderful facts. This book was also well worth the read if you are into a bit of thrills. LUST, MONEY & MURDER sets a fast pace and the main character is enjoyable. I enjoyed this story from the beginning to the end. With the addition of Sue Sharp’s narration, who nailed Elaine perfectly, I highly recommend you grab this one via audiobook. Mike Wells was a very competent author and while this book was self-published, I only noticed a few editing flaws and hiccups. The book was very tightly put together.
Some low points of the novel included the fact that the story goes through a few “tell me” moments, where the author does a lot of telling and not the nicely rendered “show” narration. Granted there is a lot of information, so this is understandable. But the information overload at times led to lackluster characters. Elaine was a three dimensional character, but the secondary characters never really came to life for me. The romance in the novel was just slightly talked about, leaving me not feeling it, in turn, leading me to have no emotional desire for an HEA for both characters. Again, this is pretty common in these types of mystery/thrillers, but a girl can hope. The focus of the novel was the plot and the mystery, which it did well and carried the story. I think Wells did a phenomenal job for doing this independently. If you would like to support a great Indie author, check out Mike Wells and his LUST, MONEY & MURDER series.
Recommendations: This is an adult thriller. If you enjoy a good mystery, or more conspiracy charged thrillers, give this one a listen. Fans of novels by Dan Brown or John Grisham might get a kick out of this one.
I am a romance reader through and through. But sometimes I come across a different genre and give it a shot. Quite a few years ago I found The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and was surprised by how much I loved it. I'm glad I asked Mike Wells to allow me to review an audio copy of this book. Lust, Money, & Murder was equally as good. I was on the edge of my seat rooting for the heroine. Elaine was a kick-ass heroine too. She was likable, smart, determined, successful, and strong.
Wells did an amazing job with the suspense and mystery. I was highly entertained and as a bonus there was a little romance that I didn't expect.
The audio version was pretty great. The voices and accents the narrator had to do were done so well. She tackled all of the voices incredibly and I enjoyed the whole experience.
I will definitely keep my eye on Wells and, perhaps, take a dive into more of his books.
I recommend this for anyone who enjoys strong female characters, murder, mystery, and suspense.
I just Love the Allure of a Great Romance...a Pair of Rose Colored Glasses...some Fine Wine, and a Subscription to Audible...
I discovered Mike Wells on Twitter, and found him to be a very interesting character himself. He is very well accomplished, and generous with his knowledge and advice. In other words, I like him.
I really wanted to love this novel, and while I did finish it, I did not find it to be, “unputdownable” (a self-proclamation by this author). In fact, I left it for probably a week or more before picking it back up to finish. This is not to say, however that I may not be tempted to try another of his books at some time in the future.
It could be, in part, that I didn’t enjoy this novel because I didn’t like the narrator, although I found much of the dialogue and character development to be left somewhat wanting. Overall, this read was disappointing and I would not recommend it as credit worthy.
No. The story makes this "woman" sound like a 12 year old girl. Ridiculous choices, no adult smarts, much less Secret Service smarts. Narration is totally flat.
I will continue reading books in this genre - just avoid Mike Wells.
The narrator kept the same tone regardless of what was happening. Working in the office had the same excitement as being chased by the mob.
My only reaction was to stop listening and find another book. I stuck with it for the first 4 hours, hoping it would improve. It didn't.
Don't waste your time or credit.
Most definitely! I was anxiously waiting for this book to be on Audible as I am spoiled to listening rather than reading. The wait was not in vain! From the first word of the first disc, it had my rapt attention.
Mike Wells writes such an intriguing plot he kept me enthralled from the first word till the last. All I could think was how much research had to go into writing this book because the things that happened were so detailed and accurate. I felt like I was experiencing a whole new World.
The reason I prefer audio books is because the reader makes you feel like you are there like a little mouse in the corner or a fly on the wall, eavesdropping.
Yes, there was a very moving part in the book that made me cry happy tears but I'm not going to divulge it as it would give away too much and the next reader needs to have my same experience without me ruining it for them.
I hope Audible is smart enough to get more of Mike Wells' books in audio. I will buy them all and will recommend them to my friends. I love Audible and am very spoiled to listening to my books. I really feel like I am there.
Yes. It was interesting to listen to and kept my attention. I found myself actually laughing out loud at times (embarrassing on an airplane, by the way).
Elaine Brogan was my favorite character. She was a strong woman who was able to deal with everything that was thrown at her.
I liked that I was able to distinguish which character was talking based on Sue's voice.
I don't know but this would make a great film!
This is the first audiobook I've listened to. I agreed to listen to it because I was going on a trip and thought it might help pass the time. I was right and I will definitely be listening to more audiobooks when I travel!
Elaine Brogan was born in a poor Pittsburgh suburb to a doting working class construction worker father. As a child, he regaled her with tales of fictitious royal ancestors and he provided her with everything she could want or need, even if he had to beg, borrow or steal (mostly steal) to provide it. As a young woman, her aspirations were to enter the modeling profession to stake her fortune. She was content, comfortable and proud of the life she and her father had staked out for themselves. That all changed, however, when a seedy scam artist running a modeling school con set her father up to take the fall on a counterfeiting dodge.
Unable to face life behind bars, Elaine’s father, Patrick Brogan, commits suicide, and Elaine sets out to avenge his death. Men continue taking advantage of Elaine’s naivety and trusting nature through college and into her career in both the Secret Service and the US Treasury Department. Elaine makes a name for herself due to her uncanny ability to spot the flaws in counterfeit US currency, and this attracts the attention of various unsavory types.
Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Welles is a story in three parts. The narrative follows Elaine’s life through a trio of novelettes combined into one story, detouring only briefly toward the middle of the third novella to tell us the story of a Mafioso Elaine becomes entangled with. There’s sex, car chases, cons, moral ambiguity, and descriptions of scenes of both beauty and of utter destitution. The story follows a well-worn path making it sometimes predictable, but it does it all in a way that feels fresh and unique. The writing is informative and inventive. The plots, especially one concerning a smuggling operation, are so believably inventive that one wonders how much of the story is based on true criminal events the author was somehow privy to.
The omnibus is available as an eBook, but I was lucky enough to receive the audio version of the book, recently made available on Audible, Amazon USA, and iTunes. Competently narrated by professional voiceover artist Sue Sharp, the recorded version avoids all of the trappings I tend to dislike in an audio-book. Often, producers feel the need to create a sort of radio-play experience, adding such superfluous Foley-fluff as music, sound effects, and multiple voice actors. Personally, I don’t need those things. An audiobook, in my opinion, should be as much like a reading experience as possible. When I sit down with a coffee and a tablet, I don’t generate the sound of footsteps to set a mood. I don’t bring in women to read the female parts or children to read the kids’ roles. Just give me the story, and let my imagination do the heavy lifting.
To that end, the choice of Ms Sharp was fairly spot-on. With a few exceptions, she kept me inside the story the entire time. Considering that the tale was penned by a man, it actually helped make the feminine voice of the narration more palatable having an actual female voice read the words. Ms Sharp expertly assigned nuanced inflection changes in her voice to represent different characters, both male and female, and her southern drawl and Russian accents were – to my ear – accurate. Unfortunately her Italian accent and her Irish brogue seemed to have been learned watching Mel Blanc or Cid Caesar at work, but that can be forgiven.
I listened to the story over several days while commuting to and from work. The fact that by the second day I found myself actually looking forward to the drive should tell you all you need to know about whether the experience was a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed Lust, Money & Murder. It had a Petterson/DeMille/Baldacci vibe I like, and a female protagonist that I found compelling and sympathetic enough to put me in a mind of Evanovich/Larsson/Paretsky.
Everything. The pace was brilliant and the story line kept my attention through all the books.
I loved Elaine Brogan but Nick Le Grange was my favourite character. He is true, honest, street smart, witty and your good/bad boy who doesn't follow the rules. What u see is what u get.
All of them but I enjoyed Nick the most when he appeared. I also really enjoy some of the smaller characters like Toni & Dimitri.
When Elaine went to go and revisit her father and home town for closure.
This is a fantastic story about love, friendship, betrayal, revenge and truth. Elaine's life and journey is easily relatable, filled with good times and tough or dangerous situations. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and suspense type book with a touch of romance.
i thoroughly enjoyed listening to every moment of this book. the narrator was perfect. the story line kept me holding on to every word. i was praying i wouldn't drive off the highway, i was just that engrossed.
i liked the ending. the villians body was never found, leaving open the possibility of a sequel and i liked the lead character was a strong woman who could take care of herself in just about any situation.
i like her voice and the pace of her reading and the accents of the different characters.
i was completely glued to every word.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
What started out reasonably well, got worse until an awful ending
The reader makes some characters sound like orcs.
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