I found thriller author, Steve Berry, through his short story in Faceoff.

I started near the end of Berry's series with The King's Deception, so now I have novels on either side of it to catch up on the story. But, I don't think you lose anything. Berry does a good job with building his characters and providing enough backstory, so you can read his works out of sequence.

The King's Deception is action-packed. It starts with retired state department investigator (and current bookstore owner), Cotton Malone doing a favor for a former boss. He's supposed to escort a youth back to London on a trip that he is taking with his son. The one good deed gets him involved with a 400-year-old hoax that could have major implications for the United States and Great Britain.

I love how Berry weaves history throughout his novel. His research is detailed. I had my iPad out while reading to look at the art and European locations that he described. I had to see the "rainbow" portrait.

And Berry has a knack for dropping bombshells throughout the work. All the roller coaster plot twists kept me turning pages. It was definitely hard to put down.

The King's Deception is a worthwhile read. And I'm hooked on Steve Berry. The Lincoln Myth is next.

FACEOFF - Edited by David Baldacci

I downloaded the International Thrill Writers' anthology, Faceoff, edited by David Baldacci. Most anthologies have some sort of theme. This one is interesting because it pairs multiple writers and their protagonists in each story. It also introduced me to several new-to-me authors, and I look forward to reading their novels.

My favorites included Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly's "Red Eye," set in Boston. Both characters are looking for the same kidnapper. One is because of a recent abduction, and the other is chasing a lead from a cold case in California. Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein's characters meet at a lawyers' conference in "Surfing the Panther." I also liked the twist in Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson's "Infernal Night," set in New Orleans. "Pit Stop" by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay encapsulates an action-packed car-jacking in the limited space of a short story. I also liked "Good and Valuable Consideration" by Lee Child and Joseph Finder. Jack Reacher stories are always a great read.

And the beauty of a short story anthology is that if you don't like a particular story, you can always move on to the next one. There is something in Faceoff for all tastes.