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5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Taylor Omnibus, 8 April 2013
This review is from: Mark Taylor Omnibus (The Mark Taylor Series Box Set) (Kindle Edition)
Review of each book below.

Genesis:

If you've read the entire Mark Taylor series to date, starting with No Good Deed through March into Hell and most recently Deeds of Mercy, you have a vague idea of Mark's back-story. We know Mark purchased his magical camera from an Afghani bazaar while he and his friend Mohammed (or Mo) were taking photographs and doing additional research for a book Mo planned to write. We're given hints about the eventual deterioration of Mark's relationship with Mo in Deeds of Mercy, yet when the series starts with No Good Deed, it may seem that we're coming in mid-story.

Genesis fills in those gaps, giving us a chance to become better acquainted with Mark and his story before the camera turned his life upside down. A must read for current Mark Taylor fans, taking us up to a post-9/11 timeframe just before the start of No Good Deed. Also, a viable introduction to Mark's tale for those who prefer their stories be told chronologically.

No Good Deed:

As I'm writing this it's late on 9/11, the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. News, internet discussion, and talk wherever I've gone has been about this. Islamic friends around the US are concerned about rumors of protests outside of mosques and burning of Qur'ans in a country founded on the precept of religious freedom and tolerance.

By now you're asking, what does this have to do with "No Good Deed"? Twenty years ago this book couldn't have been written. Partly because the events of 9/11 figure into the plot, but more importantly because the actions of the government would have been unthinkable pre-9/11. "No Good Deed" is both entertaining and suspenseful, but, regardless of your politics, should get you thinking. Are the responses to 9/11 making the US a better or worse place to live? Do we really win when laws are passed making it easier to combat terrorists if it also lessens our rights? Shouldn't the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" still apply today? "No Good Deed" gives you a chance to consider these questions from a perspective many of us haven't.

March Into Hell:

As a book series progresses you'll ideally get to know the main characters a little better; hopefully watch them grow and learn. During "No Good Deed," Mark was mostly on his own. His powers were secret from most and not totally believed by the few who were aware. In "March into Hell," Mark gets a needed support team (whether he realizes he needs it or even wants it). However, he struggles with his inclination to do what he believes is right while being uncomfortable with the attention he receives. Mark starts to give serious thought as to who or what is behind the power he's been given. In the process, he grows as a person and becomes better equipped to deal with his situation.

In "No Good Deed" Taylor was under almost constant stress, both physical and emotional. Without giving spoilers, I can't say how, but think you'll find his experiences in "March into Hell" are almost as intense. McDonald does very well putting you inside Mark's head in a way that jacks up the intensity. Luckily for you she doesn't make you actually feel it.

The only quality those who read "No Good Deed" won't find in this latest installment of Mark Taylor's adventures is the political angle. (For first timer's Mark was imprisoned as a post-9/11 "enemy combatant" in that book.) Because of this, the good guys and bad guys are much easier to determine. The real life questions provoked by the politics of Mark's situation aren't there. Instead, for those who want more than just a good thriller, McDonald gives you plenty of opportunity to consider questions of heroism and hero worship. What makes a hero? Does being a hero commit a person to additional obligations? Is it reasonable to consider a hero a public figure with the loss of privacy that implies?

Deeds of Mercy:

While visiting Afghanistan, Mark Taylor purchased a camera that had magical qualities. When developing the film from this old-fashioned camera, additional pictures would appear, depicting a negative event that would happen in the near future. Taylor would then dream about the events in these pictures and, if he acted fast enough, be able to prevent them. The series happens in the early part of this century, when film cameras were still in common use.

The reaction of some readers to the second book in the series, March into Hell, was interesting and, in my opinion, missed the point. Through both books, Mark is consistent. He's the good guy and, with the assistance of his magic camera, fights evil. That the primary evil Mark was fighting was a religious cult triggered some knee jerk reactions, not recognizing that Mark was still fighting evil.

Deeds of Mercy is a return to Mark's roots, in that many of the ways March into Hell was different from No Good Deed do not apply to this latest installment. As with No Good Deed, this book is operating in the political, rather than the religious realm. Who is friend and who is foe is no longer clear. Deeds of Mercy also answers one of the big questions some readers had about what happened to one of the secondary characters from No Good Deed, and brings that story thread to a satisfactory resolution.

If you're a thriller fan, especially political thrillers, and haven't read No Good Deed, you need to. For those who have read the series and felt March into Hell didn't live up to your expectations, Deeds of Mercy almost surely will.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.**
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star most definitely!, 12 Mar 2013
This review is from: Mark Taylor Omnibus (The Mark Taylor Series Box Set) (Kindle Edition)
I will not give any spoilers here, because I HATE when people do that on reviews. But I will say, this series is one of the BEST I have EVER read. I had bought the first book, and before I even finished half the book, I was here buying the next two. Then I had to wait for the last one. BUT WELL WORTH the wait!I am somebody who reads A LOT, at least a book every few days. And this series SPOILED me. I have tried to find books similar and can't. So seriously, you will NOT regret buying this series. And might I add, I gave it a 5 star, and it is only the second time I have ever given a 5 star. I am so looking forward to the next book. Enjoy, because I KNOW YOU WILL! TY M.J. McDonald, you deserve so much more then what I can write here!
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