AVANTI Reviews

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Joelene Stonehouse is something. From the mountains of Northwest Montana to the high desert of New Mexico, from New Jersey to California, this fast-paced thriller is exciting. For the first time in 25 years Joelene is out of the military and floundering. She misses the choppers she used to pilot and the adrenaline rush from flying in hot zones. Needing something to do she takes a job with her sister’s “family.” Now she’s a courier of sort who drives from one end of the country to another delivering vehicles to strange places under difficult deadlines.

She has no life. Then one good deed puts her in danger and she must figure out a way to save herself. A second good deed brings her someone she can trust. A third good deed puts her further in danger. The action is fast and the characters are memorable. Joelene is a strong woman who doesn’t hesitate to protect herself. This fast-paced thriller is exciting. The action is fast and the characters are memorable. Joelene is a strong woman who doesn’t hesitate to protect herself.


This is not the type of book I normally read, but I found it rip-roaring fun. The writing was cinematic, the language a great depiction of slang. I grew up in New Jersey where many of the characters are from, and I felt right at home with their Italian expressions and goombah comeraderie. The protagonist reminds me of a female Jack Reacher: ex-military, bold, fearless, flawed, but easier to relate to. It’s a quick read, full of twists, humor, a little sex, and a good setup for the sequel. I’ll be watching for that one.


I read AVANTI: A Joelene Stonehouse Thriller as part of a Goodreads Psychology Thriller book of the month selection. This is a quick gangster themed book. The heroine, Avanti, is a former military fighter helicopter pilot that gets involved with the New Jersey mafia as a driver. She happens upon a wounded Vinny, the nephew of a New jersey mob boss in Montana. Avanti covers the mob scene, comings and goings and interactions. A group of good people versus the evils of the New Jersey mafia. This book covers the typical voice of the New Jersey mafia and the author adds photos throughout the book that I found really interesting. The characters are believable and I found myself pulling for Joelene and her band of heroes as they battle a ruthless Vinny.


I have no idea how Adam James does it! Such a brilliant imagination – interesting characters, great location and believable plot – looking forward to more!

Ruth Rowley rated Avanti five stars

Would you run from the mob if they put a hit on you? Not Joelene! Right from the beginning, this story takes off full of action. Every chapter leads you on a hunt and chase. The main character, Joelene, doesn’t run from the mob chasing her . . . she runs toward them to end the attempt to take her out. The characters she encounters are believable and the dialect is great. You can actually see the story play out in your head as you read.

This was a fascinating idea for a story. Each setting was relevant and believable.


I liked the “in the moment” sense of the narrator’s voice, which immediately draws you into her action. I like how the technical details were slipped in to give the reader a sense of her expertise. This writer doesn’t make the mistake of explaining the reasons his character has competence and history—he suggests it by introducing technical clues while never breaking the action’s pace. That’s good. That’s strong. I like this.

I love the voice here. I love its narrative flow and the way it conveys an “in the moment” sense of being in the character’s shoes (or car, in this instance). I like the use of language. (For example, I liked how the writer uses “geysers” as a verb instead of choosing something more mundane, like “shot”).

Overall, I find this to be quite a strong first page. Well done, writer! 
First Page Critique: AVANTI, by Kathryn Lilley @ The Kill Zone (TKZ)


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