Readers' Favorite Reviews

Albatross: Birds of Flight

    "Albatross" by J.M. Erickson is an action and adventure thriller that tackles terrorism and national security in a fresh and exciting way. The story opens with an intelligence operative waking up to find himself tied to a straight-back chair, seemingly about to be interrogated. He soon discovers that there are neither negotiations nor concessions for him to offer his captors - they have all they want. What follows is a complex and credible plan set into action by four unlikely allies who see common goal is simply to be allowed to stay alive.
    Erickson's characters are complicated and real. I especially enjoyed the former psycho lo gist, David, whose calm and thoughtful presence is a major force throughout the boo k; however, each of the four main characters and their interactions with each other is what makes this book such an enjoyable reading experience. When you first encounter the four adults, they seem to be terrorists bound on some destructive mission, but, as you co me to know them, you quickly realize that there is much more going on. I also enjoyed the ethical questions that Erickson brings to play in "Albatross"; for example, the interplay of national security and secrecy with the natural and instinctive urge for people to protect those they love and care about.
    "Albatross" makes you stop and think - and wonder what you would do in such a situation. This is a thinking man's thriller, filled with moral dilemmas and chessboard strategy. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would not hesitate to recommend it. – (5) Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite

    Alexander J. Burns, an agent with the Department of Defense - Foreign intelligence agency of the United States - is under attack by his own agency. His memory loss has given them the upper hand and he is being hounded. Dr. David Caulfield helps him to recover and ends up paying a heavy price for it. As the memories start flooding back, the truth unfolds and Alex Burns has to get back into his spy mode to protect the ones he loves. He devises an ingenious, fool proof plan to create chaos and expose those who have victimized him. He is helped by people who have suffered as he has and together they are out to seek revenge. Success depends on their plan working precisely and their team effort. Will they be able to do it? Do civilians have a right to defend their lives while the government is out to destroy them? Is becoming terrorists the only way out for Alex and his team of motivated civilians?
    "Albatross: Birds of Flight" by J.M. Erickson is a thriller to the core. It grips you from the beginning, making you want to read it from start to finish at one go. The clever plot and story line keep you hooked throughout, making it a book that could be a good read on a long flight or when you want to read something exciting. Alex Burns’ character is something that one would want to see more of and hopefully a sequel will follow soon. The best part is the escape strategy put in place by the "terrorists".
    But, will they really get away with it? Well, one can only hope and wait for the sequel. – (5) Dr. Oliva DSouza, Readers’ Favorite

    Senior Field Agent for the Department of Defense Anthony Maxwell knows he is being interrogated as he is bound to a chair with an IV in his arm. He wants to talk desperately but there is no saliva in his mouth. He recognizes the man who is questioning him. It is David Caulfield, the therapist who has worked with the Federal Government. Maxwell also recognizes the man standing behind Caulfield. "Burns?" questions Maxwell, for he thinks Alex Burns, one of his top agents, is dead. Maxwell and two other government agents are then killed. Killed? Government agents? Back on May 2 of 2011, Anthony Maxwell was the team leader of top government agents sent in to kill terrorist leader, Oman Sharif Sudani.
    Instead, upon Maxwell's reversing executive orders, Sudani is kidnapped but all the witnesses are killed. Burns disappears in a helicopter crash and is believed to be KIA if not MIA. But Burns has survived and he is bent on revenge. Not only did he suffer brain injuries in that helicopter crash, but government officials killed the wife of Burns' therapist, David Caulfield. Can Alex Burns, a now-blinded David Caulfield, and their accomplices, Samantha, her beloved sister Becky, and little baby Emma thwart the FBI's field operations where Maxwell worked and hide away safely, living their lives in relative safety?
    "Albatross" is the first in the thriller series by author J.M. Erickson. It is well-written, filled with suspense right to the story's conclusion. Alex Burns, David Caulfield, Samantha, Becky, and all other characters are really believable. The story's premise that Alex and his friends cannot hide forever from the federal government is realistic and will draw the reader into this story. Alex Burns is the albatross that is hung around officials' necks and he simply won't go away. Hopefully, Alex will reappear in future stories. He is just too good a character to disappear. – (5) Alice DiNizo, Readers’ Favorite

    This is a very intense story about spies and government agencies. It is a good read for adults who like this kind of tales. I think this book has good potential, but it needs to be mined to find the gold in it.
    The setting is complicated and keeps you guessing and missing the target, which is fine. It presents a good memory game throughout its pages as you have to remember the plot and the array of characters used in this tale. Alex Burn is an agent for the government and finds himself in a doctor’s office one day after many sessions with Sam Coleridge Aka David Caulfield, his therapist. His therapist must be doing a great job with his sessions since Alex is remembering who he is and who is after him.
    Now alert and in his training mode, he tries to save the people who had helped him and who the government wants dead. He won’t be able to save everyone, but he will try his best to the very end. The sudden change from Burns to Alex, after many chapters, was jerky and go t me lost. I was adjusted to Burns for so lo ng that I had forgotten his first name was Alex. I had to go back to see if I missed something, which made me feel frustrated. This story needs some editing to fix the formatting where one character is speaking and another answers in the same paragraph. It just adds to the confusion. It also has some problems with mind jumping, or, in other words, the author keeps changing points of view which makes the story hard to follow. It has hard swear words that don’t move the story along. – (3) Anna del C. Dye, Readers’ Favorite

    The novel "Albatross: Birds of Flight" unfolds when Anthony Maxwell, a field agent at the Department of Defense Foreign Intelligence’s Operation Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, is kidnapped and murdered. Simultaneously, a number of coordinated attacks take place that threaten the US national security and destabilize the country. Upon investigation, Alex Burns, a former international spy, becomes the prime suspect. Diagnosed as having a trauma-induced amnesia, Burns divulged to his therapist, David Caulfield, the events in a past secret mission that has left him seriously injured. Police Lieutenant Steve Anderson also becomes involved in the investigation and the suspense starts to build up. What follows is a revelation that is potentially damaging to the whole country but in the secret world of espionage, who m can you trust?
    There is no doubt that J. M. Erickson is an excellent story teller. The development of the characters in this suspense thriller is do ne in such a way that they become real persons to the readers. From the way the story is told, we learn about their personal issues and understand why they think and act the way they do.
    Fast-paced and full of suspense, this is one of those books that you cannot put down. The author has also done his research well, making the story real and compelling. Apart from being a thriller, this novel is also a story of betrayal, romance and redemption. The characters are scarred but they manage to deal with their own demo ns and do what has to be do ne. It is a novel that will bring you on an explosive journey in the world of espionage and politics. Above all, it is a moving story about a man's personal journey and redemption. – (5) Maria Beltran, Readers’ Favorite
    The very word “betrayal” evokes strong emotion. The knowledge one has been betrayed can also evoke serious action. Such is the case in Albatross: Birds of Flight by J. M. Erickson. The story opens as Alex Burns, a member of an elite military-style group that helps to fight terrorism, discovers something his superiors would rather he did not know. Within a day, the helicopter in which he rides while on a mission over foreign soil, goes down and Alex is left to die. But, things are not always what they seem. Thus, we next meet Alex in the present day, five years later. Though it took time, Alex’s memories returned — and someone wants to know what he knows. But Alex, a changed man, is a step ahead of the game and has other plans. With the assistance of Samantha, a nurse with a chequered past, Samantha’s sister, Becky, a troubled young woman, and David, a psychologist blinded by an explosion meant to take him out, Alex creates a unit of mere civilians that pays a terrorist visit on his old unit.
    J.M. Erickson has drawn tragic and needy characters in Alex, Sam, Becky and David. Each is scarred physically or emotionally — or both. Yet, while they all seek some form of justice, they choose not to bring harm to others. To meet their goal, every detail is attended to and possible required changes to their plan are anticipated and prepared for. Together, this unusual “family” strikes an unexpected community. As readers briskly turn pages, they will find it surprisingly easy to feel for these characters and even to root for them. – (5) Patricia Reding, Readers' Favorite

    Alex Burns has seen it all in his tour fighting terrorism, but upon finding out some classified information he is starting to think differently about his job. Too bad his bosses don't agree, and the next thing Alex knows he is the target of friendly fire. He survives but has no memory, so the government is watching him closely. What starts off the plan called Albatross is the government's disregard for anyone else. When they think Alex knows something, they start trying to kill off anyone he might have talked to, which doesn't sit well with Alex. J.M. Erickson takes you into the mind of a Special Forces agent done wrong, and a government that has no problems in killing innocent people to keep secrets. Add to that those innocent people who managed to get away, and it's not so much revenge as a way to get the government to leave them alone they are looking for.
    From the very beginning, when you meet Alex Burns and all through the times he and Dr. Caulfield are together, you learn of a man with so much more to offer than what he was trained to do. You come to feel for Alex and Dr. Caulfield. You sympathize with the life that Sam and
    Becky had to live through and you want the best for them, and you even understand why they are doing this. Albatross also reveals the dark side of governments, especially when certain areas have too much control without any supervision. J.M. Erickson tells a believable yet, at the same time, unbelievable story of a man slated to be knocked off by his own government, and what happens when they don't do the job and he is left to act later. This is a great read for anyone; you will be swept away with the intrigue and suspense. – (4) Michelle Randall, Readers' Favorite
    Albatross: Birds of Flight by J.M. Erickson starts with a conversation between two intelligence operatives. Burns and Maxwell are partners but there is a tension and bitterness in their conversation that tells us these men are not true partners or friends. They don't even like each other. Burns is injured in a helicopter crash while on his way to a mission that has apparently been compromised. His chopper goes down and he disappears. This is the prologue.         
J.M. Erickson's Albatross: Birds of Flight opens with a bang and only gets grittier and more convoluted as you race towards the end. Alexander Burns loses part of his memory in that helicopter crash and in the spy business, what you don't know can kill you.
    I have to say I love Albatross: Birds of Flight. Great characters, great book. It is as simple as that. The idea of a spy with lost memories, not knowing who he can trust is very appealing when written right and J.M. Erickson gets it right. I was intrigued as Alexander Burns step by painful step regains his memories. He becomes a very sympathetic and likable character when he realizes that he is two men now. There is the man before the accident and the man after the accident. There is something particularly poignant watching a character look at himself through brand new eyes and come to the conclusion that he doesn't like his old self and can't be that man anymore. If you love a little psychological insight along with your action story, you will love this book. - (4) Ray Simmons, Readers' Favorite