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
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.
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.
"A great mystery & suspense with a touch of romance"
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.
"WORTH THE WAIT"
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.
"Full of Suspense! Loved it!!"
Oh yes I would...this is an awesome twisty turny story that kept me on the edge of my seat once again!!!
there was many...but the end....I was like WHAT? Then YAY!!!
I like Sue's narrating....and would listen to her at any time...she really pulls you into the story!
I hate this question....but this would make a good movie....
** I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
Honestly...I love Mike Wells writing...he knows how to tell a story that is not even in the least bit predictable! Again I was on the edge of my seat and wanting more and more! This story is about Elaine....she was a daddy's girl and from a young age was deceived by con artist's time and time again....The first time resulted in her father taking his own life...leaving Elaine on a hell bent path of revenge....She strives to become a Secret Service agent and specializes in counterfeiting...because that is ultimately what killed her dad...She makes it through the academy to end up first off working for a sleaze ball that has her transferred out of the country when she rejects his advances....She begins to be happy in Bulgaria when she meets her new boss Nick and develops a real talent for identifying fake currency...then she gets a call from the Treasury agent she met while in the academy and he lies to her to get her to come work for the treasury office...and he just uses her and basically sets her up in a scheme to benefit himself and she almost gets killed...then she meets Georgio...who seems like an ok guy for a criminal...who then also just uses her...and is actually the top guy that started this whole thing! This story has soooooooooo many twists and turns and by the end I was like WHAT? I really enjoyed this story, and you will too...well worth a credit and a listen!
Thank you AUDIOBOOKBLAST(DOT)COM!
"Lust money & murder"
Lust, Money and Murder takes the listener into the life of Elaine Brogan This strong female protagonist is hit from every direction, and the entire story I was holding my breath wondering what would happen next. Packed with nail-biting suspense, intense action scenes, and exotic settings,
"A wonderful romantic thrill ride!"
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!
"Such an incredible ride"
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.
"Worthy of Primetime Television"
5★ Audiobook⎮ I literally just finished this audiobook less than 10 seconds ago and I’m still heavily breathing from having held my breath during the ending. Wow! This was such a rush. I’m left with a strong urge to go door-to-door proselytizing about Lust, Money & Murder. This audiobook has an addictive quality I’ve only experienced from television shows. You know how certain shows are considered “binge-worthy”? The ones that make you stay up until all hours of the night, compulsively clicking for the next episode. Mike Wells has managed to package all of that into an audiobook series.
Lust, Money & Murder are actually three separate installments (titled “Lust”, “Money” and “Murder”), but I recommend either listening or reading to them in combined form, as I did. If not, the monstrous cliffhangers are bound to drive you crazy.
Wells takes you on a journey with Elaine (the protagonist) that spans the globe, but does so in a way that feels smooth and continuous. There are certain themes in Elaine’s life, and thus in the story, that tie everything together throughout and especially in the end.
I never knew where the story was headed, not even once. I’m usually happy if a story can manage to surprise me once. Being surprised by one good plot twist is just about all I could ask for, considering how much I’ve read. Two well-executed plot twists all but guarantee a five-star review.
I’m sitting here trying to think back and count the times I audibly gasped, jumped forward in my seat, or shot my eyes open in surprise. Not to mention the very huge twist near the end that caused me to shout so loud that my cat has yet to emerge from under the bed. Considering all of that, I feel it’s only fair that Lust, Money & Murder should be awarded at least 10 stars (out of five).
What is most impressive about this story is the fact that it managed to combine well-balanced characters with a well-paced plot. The writing wasn’t flourishy and overly descriptive. It fit the speed and style of the story perfectly. Who wants long, unnecessary descriptions slowing the momentum of an action-thriller story? There were flashbacks and a few POV changes to vary the pace from time to time, but those tactics were used sparingly and with tactfully.
I need to start a petition to have Lust, Money & Murder made into a prime time TV drama. It would make the transition from page to screen extremely easily. I recommend this to anyone who likes shows such as Quantico, Castle (without the humor), Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Rookie Blue. Hey ABC, take a hint and option this for television already!
Narration review: As much as I adored the story, this is the type of review that tests my metal as an unbiased reviewer. The story gets a very solid 5 stars, but if I were rating the audiobook separately, it would get 3 or 3.5.
Let me be clear: Sue Sharp did a fine job of narrating the story. Her accents enriched the characters and her voice was lovely. I was even impressed with her tonal range. My complaints have very little to do with her and more to do with the sound quality and production of the audiobook itself.
There were several slip ups in the recording. So many, that I could not neglect mentioning them in this review. Phrases were repeated, there was audible dubbing, and sometimes the sound came and went. I understand that the author produced this audiobook (which I respect) and that instances like this are bound to happen, even sometimes in professional studios.
The good news is that my overall opinion of the audiobook was not affected by these errors, but only because the story and Sharp’s narration were so excellent. If that hadn’t been the case, this would likely be a very different review.
I’m not saying this to discourage you from choosing the audio version of the story, because I believe it is still worth hearing, but to simply fulfill my duty as a forthright reviewer. ♣︎
➜ This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author, Mike Wells, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Mike!
I would recommend this book to all my friends and family. Voice was perfect for this story.
I finished the book so it wasn't bad but it was more like a television movie than a novel. Entertaining but light. Fortunately I got the 3 books together rather than one at a time as the break points would have been aggravating otherwise.
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