Cover Image: Fearless


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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this title. Fans of Tom Clancy will enjoy Fearless.

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I loved this new series from M. W. Craven! I loved the character of Ben and I definitely look forward to more adventures. This was a pulse pounding thriller and I couldn’t get enough. This is one of my new favorite series to follow.

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Sorry, was reading this awesome book and it expired on me. It was a great thriller and was looking forward to the story!

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4.5 stars. I am definitely a M. W. Craven fan (and a Ben Koenig fan) after reading this book! I've read the entire Jack Reacher series like a kid in a candy store and now, along comes Ben Koenig, who is like Jack Reacher's long lost twin with an added twist of having a rare affliction that makes him incapable of feeling fear. This action book with some offbeat humor is a wild ride of suspense and intrigue--hang on to your seats because Ben Koenig is a man on a mission who goes straight through anyone who gets in his way. This book had me rooting out loud for the good guy who is a total bada$$.

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Ben Keoning is sitting in a diner and sees his picture plastered all over the news, he knows something is up. Contacting his former boss he learns that the man he used to work for has had his daughter kidnapped. He is now been given the green light to get her back by any means which was all he needed to hear. You are now off and running with a new story that is fast-paced and worth the read. I found this to be a good book.

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Beginnings of a great new series?? What a thrilling and fast paced novel. Great character development that gives you just enough information, but leaves you with the knowledge that there is more to be uncovered. Very interesting plot with a lot of twists. Lots of action and gore for the fans. Excited for the next one.

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Fearless by M. W. Craven

Ben Koenig is in a hotel restaurant when he realizes that the cops are onto him. It’s too late for him to duck out the back. Besides, his practiced eye tells him that they’ve instituted a cordon several blocks around him. A quick glance at the TV informs him that the entire nation has been put on alert. His face is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, and the local authorities are about to bring him in.

While his training would allow him to swiftly disarm his captors and escape, his curiosity prompts him to go along with the arrest. Thing is, Koenig isn’t a criminal. Someone very important has clearly had to pull a lot of strings in order to initiate a national manhunt to find him after his six years on the run. Koenig wants to know who and why.

His questions are swiftly answered in a small town jail cell, when his former boss in the Special Operations Group of the US Marshals shows up to debrief him. Mitchell Burridge fought tooth and nail to keep Koenig on active duty after a head injury should have sidelined him. Mitch is still pretty sore that Koenig just up and disappeared instead of asking for help with the problem that caused him to abandon his previous life. Surprised by Mitch’s candor, Koenig asks:

“You knew?”

“I head up a federal agency,” he said. “Of course I knew.”

“Then you know exactly why I couldn’t go to you. Why I couldn’t go to anyone.”

He shook his head. “Wrong. It was a SOG problem, not a Ben Koenig problem. It wasn’t something you had to do on your own. You didn’t have to go all Jack Reacher on us.”

“A problem shared?”

Mitch took a silent moment. Then he said, “I never stopped looking for you, Ben. You know that, right?”

The US Marshals are tough, loyal and look out for their own. But sometimes, not even their combined forces can solve a particularly tricky problem. Case in point one: the reason Koenig went completely off-grid six years back. Case in point two: the reason Mitch pulled out all these potentially illegal stops to find him.

Two months ago, Mitch’s only daughter Martha disappeared while studying at Georgetown University. No one saw anything. No one knows anything. The combined might of the US Marshals, the FBI and Metropolitan police have turned up squat. Mitch is no fool. He knows that Martha vanishing without a trace, with no ransom demand and no clues, means she’s most likely dead. All he wants now is to find out what happened to her, and to recover her remains. And if Koenig exacts a little revenge for him on the side, well, so much the better.

For Koenig isn’t your average federal investigator. The head injury he sustained hasn’t damaged his functioning, with one critical exception. The portion of his brain that regulates fear no longer responds to stimulus. After pulling some strings, Mitch got Koenig into elite combat training in order to take advantage of this inability to flinch, before putting him back in the field. While working as part of a team, Koenig relied on his people to do the risk assessment that would ensure the entire unit’s safety. On his own, his inability to process fear makes him take bigger risks than most people would be willing to even consider. He’s now become Mitch’s last hope in finding Martha.

As Koenig picks up her trail, he is, in turn, tracked by a shadowy organization intent on eliminating any threats to its existence. Those aren’t the only criminals keeping an eye out for him though, as a five million dollar bounty on his head makes him an attractive target now that he’s been forced out of hiding. Will he be able to find the answers his friend and former boss seeks, while surviving a veritable gamut of bad guys intent on seeing him dead?

Much like his fictional predecessor Jack Reacher, Koenig starts out as a lonely drifter whose startling capacity for violence belies a keen mind and lively wit. Unlike Reacher, Koenig is far less interested in romance, though his relationship with former colleague Jen Draper has an undeniable underlying sizzle:

She handed me a paper file and I eagerly took it. “Take a look. That’s everything we could find and it isn’t much. Someone who knew what they were doing deleted both his home and office computer files. It was unrecoverable. We couldn’t find anything in the cloud either.”

“The cloud?”

“Luddite,” she muttered. “I’ll try to put this in words you might understand. The cloud is like a magic box that computer wizards put their spells in to keep them safe. Is that simple enough for you?”

Filled with twists, turns and healthy dollops of humor, this action-packed thriller is an adrenaline ride from start to finish. Koenig himself is a fascinating protagonist humanized not only by his reversals of fortune, but also by his relationships with the people around him. I love that this is the start of a series, as the ending chapters reveal tantalizing secrets that point to even more cinematic adventures ahead.

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Each one of us has our own fears—whether it’s a fear of spiders or heights or the dark. Sometimes, our fears may hold us back from enjoying life and trying new things—while other fears simply keep us safe. And Fearless by author M. W. Craven shows what can happen to a man who’s incapable of experiencing fear.

Full review published on and aired on Shelf Discovery

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Ben Koenig was once a federal marshal an after shrapnel hit him in the head he found out he has a disease that could intensify and either make him scared of everything or in rare cases, he’ll fear nothing. He was one of these rare cases and thanks to his friend Mitch the head of the marshals he kept his job as an active team member but thanks to an operation that went right in the eyes of the law but totally wrong for Ben he had to run and run he did for six years. That is until the night he saw his face on the 15 most wanted list and he knew someone was looking for him and wanted to find him. He eventually finds out it is the friend Mitch, Mitch‘s daughter Martha has gone missing from Georgetown university Mitch and his daughter are the closest things Ben has the family and he will do anything to either find her or what happened to her. This is a great book in one of the bad guys even said if Ben Koenig had to investigate hell Satan better get a Kevlar vest and I thought that was brilliant! And wrapped up the greatness of Ben Koenig perfectly. I do want to say I didn’t like the way he was so dismissive and disrespectful of the police the first arrested him because they seemed like really good policeman and even had a great leader and Diane Lane the sheriff who I really hoped would have been in the book more it may be another day. Either way that is my only negative and it’s a small one I absolutely love this book and have loved other books by this author but it seems he’s truly out done his self with this new start to the been Koenig series I want to thank NetGalley and Flatiron books for my free arc copy please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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Jack Reacher look out! There is a new guy roaming out there with a very specialized set of skills and training. His name is Ben Koenig and he wants to help the good guys. More than that, he really, really wants to hurt the bad guys. Unlike you Jack, Ben likes to explain things, in detail – sometimes too much detail. He also has more than a toothbrush, the ability to get the weapons he needs, make necessary contacts, and think up alternative plans under pressure. He also has an actual condition that prevents him from feeling any fear. It can work for him or against him.

This is his first caper. It leads him to Texas where he aims to find his boss’s kidnapped daughter (alive?) and takedown everyone responsible. It’s a wild, thrilling trip with a high body count involving government officials, drug cartels, and Russian gangsters. Jack, if you meet him on the road, I suggest you trade stories (in your somewhat laconic way) over a slice of pie (you) and a chocolate malted (him). We have not seen the last of either of you. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing this title.

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Thank you to Goodreads, Netgalley, and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Selling Pitch:
Do you want a generic action thriller, but one that’s well done? Do you like written-by-a-man vibes? Do you like whodunnits where you’re along for the ride rather than puzzles you should try to figure out?

This is not my typical genre, and if it’s not No Exit, I will inevitably be disappointed.

Thick of it:
oh no, it’s written by a man

I love when my books start off with mansplaining.

This is aggressively written by a man.

Wow, what an asshole. This is so comedically written by a man and overdone that it might tip into funny to me territory.

Who nurses a pot of tea? I don’t think that’s the phrase. I don’t think that’s what you mean. You can nurse a cup. I don’t think you nurse a pot. Are you sipping directly from the pot?

Bestie, did you stutter? You just said that.

This is going to fall into so bad, it’s great territory.

Did he just explain pleather to me?

I’ve never been so happy to not eat nuts.

Is he saying that a burger is an American classic, or is he ordering it American classic style because I don’t know what that is? Also, I thought this was a dive bar. Why would they just have specifically pepper jack cheese and a milkshake? It’s like that TikTok sound. You can’t just go to someone’s house and ask for a milkshake.

Men love to think that the government gives a single shit about what they do. It’s wild to me.

Meanwhile, all the girlypops are like bring on the FBI agent. He has a job in a suit. Romcom time. Where’s that book? I feel like that would go instantly viral- a romance with somebody’s personal phone FBI agent. Like I’m down. I’d read that.

Take a shot every time this book says boat. (It stops, but there was a lot of it out of the gate.)

Remember, I love to read books’ recaps on what you literally just read. It makes me so happy and not cranky every single time. Eye twitch.

This man just said my glutes with a straight face. (Samantha, you are 12.)

Why they letting this man run his mouth?

The mansplaining in this book is exhausting.

Yeah, you can’t talk about fish size or dick size! (Samantha, please.)

It’s a little homoerotic to me, sir.

Real subtle.

Oh god, math.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard bacon described like that.

Oh my god, a custom menu and a book? This is some dark romance shit. (Sorry to every intended audience member who stumbles across my unhinged review. I’m not supposed to be here, but I will make it fun for myself.)

What sort of Crayola magic marker naming is that? Just say white. Also, it’s a scar? So like yeah it’s white, unless it’s red and scabby? Am I crazy for finding that redundant?

Credit where credit is due. I’m invested. I’m curious.

Ayy Massachusetts baby!

Why did I think this whole book was going to take place in the jail cell and just be like memories? That would’ve been fun. Very Taylor Adamsy. (He is my standard, and I will not apologize for it.)

Because they downloaded the file and some nerds can track that. Probably? (I love being right.)

They don’t trust the police. Of course, they don’t trust the police. Have you seen the state of things?

I don’t really buy the milkshake explanation, but I’m willing to go with it.

I’ve always loved that phrase. I’m such a horse girl.

I literally have no idea how the government or army or like police or whatever are structured. I don’t care. So like they can keep telling me the specific agencies that these people are from and my idiot brain is still like okay, file that one under police person.


Pay per view child snuff events should not make me giggle, but it does. Men’s brains are wild. Like ooo what’s super dark, and something that can be universally frowned upon?

Listen, I don’t know how technology works, but that seems untrue.

See if this was a romcom-enemies to lovers.

A man in a yellow suit just makes me think of Curious George.

Only men would think it would be normal for their daughter to not talk to anyone for a month. I don’t see the problem, Cathy! She’s just being independent! Men. Are. Wild.

Lol, he’s just immune to fear.

It’s gonna be the chick who manages risk assessment.

This book is dumb. I like it.


It’s a me, Sam!

He’s such an asshole lmao.

The cops won’t feel that they’re stickers? I dunno about that lol.

Except girlies don’t keep hair care in the cabinet.

Men really think every shower thought that they have has never been thought before, and that they must share it with the world.

I thought if you got hit hard enough to get knocked out then your brain was for sure damaged?

This time I’m not annoyed that he explained to me what 737 means because I don’t know.

Male writers’ descriptions for people will never not be bonkers.

So they’re in love.

I will never understand men’s love for cars.

She just knows your sizes? I mean I guess it’s men’s sizing, so like literally every single man in the world fits inside a medium T-shirt, but still.

Who lets men write women?

I know I’m giving this book a lot of shit. I’m having a good time.

And they were roommates!

There’s so much food in this book that it could be a cozy.



That milk thing is so real though.

In what kind of voice? That’s a little homoerotic, sir. It’s giving velvet wrapped steel, sir.


This author must love food.




Is that how stun guns work? I never knew. I never cared, but like now I know. How fun.
(I have instantly forgotten any weapons knowledge this book attempted to pass to me.)

This author like fan cast his book as he wrote it.

Also, it’s me, Sam. Again!



What a weird fucking phrase.



I’m genuinely curious. I do not know the solution to this whodunit.


Not a god sin that I literally always like.

Enemies to loversssss

Taping his mouth shut seems very dangerous to me just breathing-wise.

Take a shot every time this man has a milkshake.

This man really said let me put Twitter shower thoughts into a book.

Again, I don’t speak gun, so this part doesn’t really interest me, but like I’m interested in the whodunit part. I don’t really care about the action shoot-out that’s gonna come.


How does this man not have to use the bathroom after all those snacks?


Oh, how dumb. They both run out of bullets? That’s cheap.

I did not know you could turn cocaine into plastic.

The drug world is wild to me. I do not partake. I can’t imagine caring about anything that much. It just seems like so much work.

You can keep trying to make me solve it by telling me about the snake, but I’m too stupid. I’ve missed it. You have to tell me.

You know, I don’t feel like that much of an idiot for not guessing it. There’s no way I would’ve gotten this. It requires information I didn’t even know was a thing.



She said forced proximity.

I think it’s three stars for me, but for its genre, it’s four stars.

Look, my Barbie-ass is not the intended audience for this book. I still had a decent time. I think if you actually read and enjoy this genre, you’ll like this.

This book is aggressively written by a man, but it’s an action thriller, and that’s kind of the standard voice for the genre, so it’s hard to fault it for that. This book does a lot of ~educating~ for its audience which can definitely be annoying and come off patronizing especially in the beginning. I don’t know why his editor didn’t rein him in and be like trust your audience to know that break a leg means good luck. Then as you get further into the book, the explanations become useful because weirdly enough, criminal gangs and gun mechanisms, and solar panels don’t occupy any of my brain space. Obviously, I don’t know anything about government agency structure, or weapons, or technology, so I am not the reviewer to criticize the accuracy of any of that. The author’s word is law. I went with it.

The book reads like an action movie. That was fun. The pacing flounders a bit. For the first half of this book, it was very stop-and-start, and I kept putting it down. (Although I’m in a bit of a reading slump, so that might be on me.) Once you get past the 60% mark, it really picks up, and I finished it in one sitting. Then I have to complain about the pacing again because the ending felt very rushed. It’s obvious that they’re setting up for more books in the series, but this book didn’t have the closure that it needed. That’s not to say that this book has bad pacing. I just think it would be tighter and stronger if it had been snappier.

My other big criticism of this book would be that there’s not much emotional depth to its characters. They have backstory. They have tragic backstories, but it kind of falls into the trap of this is geared towards men, so the emotional weight just isn’t there. It’s kind of like we get told what events happened and then he has the obvious reaction to it, but we’re not gonna linger. We’re not gonna discuss feelings. Which again, I get it. It’s an action thriller. We want shootouts, not therapy sessions, but I think it would’ve been stronger if it could’ve done both.

I applaud it for not having a guessable whodunit. But to be fair, I’m not the audience for this book. Maybe it’s guessable if you’re better versed in the drug trade. (Meanwhile, I’m so sheltered that I had to Google where cocaine even comes from. And I think on some level I knew that it was from a plant, but I definitely forgot that it was from a plant.) I will also never win any awards for geography. There was no hope of me guessing this book’s solution.

I prefer my thrillers to be a mystery that I can figure out rather than just be something that I have to go along for the ride with. There’s quite a few instances in the book, where the audience was never given a chance to figure out what he would do next. You get given information after the fact. I just like to be an active reader, but if you want a passive reader, watch a movie in your head experience, this will do.

I’m a girlypop. I would’ve liked some romance and spice. It seems like they’re setting up for a romance between him and his handler in future books. I would’ve liked to see some of that now.

The author’s going to wax poetic about guns. He’s going to describe gory action sequences, but I think if you read the genre, that’s what you’re looking for.

It’s a solid example of the genre. It’s not necessarily my genre, but I would be interested in picking up book two. I wouldn’t recommend this to my girlies, but I would recommend this to the boys.

Who should read this:
Men who like action thrillers

Do I want to reread this:

Similar books:
* Eyeshot by Taylor Adams-gun thriller
* The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides-written by a man, psychological thriller

Unhinged Summary:
Benny Boy is ghosting through small-town America. No, not on Tinder. He’s trying to keep a low profile because of his #tragicbackstory. He used to work for the US Marshals but had to go into hiding after he shot and killed a Russian mobster’s criminal son. Now he’s got a $5 million price on his head. And also he’s been added to the FBI’s most wanted list. Not for any criminal activity, but just as further proof that men would rather do literally anything other than communicate. His Bestie, the head of the FBI’s daughter has been kidnapped. So Bestie has Ben arrested and bribes him with a chocolate milkshake to take the case. Ben’s like pass me a Lactaid. I’m on it.

Ben goes to her college campus to see what’s up. Homegirl hadn’t sent a single text in over a month, but dad of the year did not notice. This teenage girl exists in a vacuum and doesn’t have any suspicious friends or extracurriculars. Instead, she was just too good at doing homework. She was investigating a solar energy company for one of her finance classes. So Ben goes to her professor and is like lol give me the rough draft of her paper or I’ll shoot you. And the professor is like lol defund the police. And Ben’s like did I stutter? And shoots him. But conveniently the fire alarm starts ringing because oh my god, there’s a school shooter on campus. Pandemonium ensues. A vigilante football hero manages to put two and two together. He sees Ben with a gun and knocks him out.

Now Ben is in jail again sans milkshake. The local cops believe he’s a school shooter so they send gang members into his cell to beat him up. Ben’s like a total badass though and kills the gang members. Guys, they deserved it. The police Captain randomly helps Ben escape. And Ben is like is this a trap? And the police captain is like no. And Ben’s like OK, I believe you, and he walks out of the police station and gets shot. Well, almost shot. It turns out his love interest, Jen has rescued him. She had to shoot through him to kill a would-be assassin. She’s like damn, what a mess. And he’s like damn, enemies to lovers. And she’s like not in this book. Let’s go to my secret hideout cabin so that you can steal my car and drive to Texas to investigate that solar energy company. And he’s like bet.

So Ben’s in Texas, and immediately becomes besties with an ex-cop turned barber. He’s like retirement is boring. Let me help you solve a crime real quick. I’ll take you to go look at the solar fields. And Ben’s like damn, I really thought there would be more suspicious criminal activity going on at this energy company. And this guy in a yellow suit pops up, and is like oh my god, do you want to come over for dinner? And Ben‘s like no homo. And yellow suit is like oh my god, of course, no homo. We’re just gonna have a romantic dinner with oysters and steak and do tequila shots together. That’s like purely investigative work. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And Ben’s like I’m pretty sure flamboyant fashion codes you as a villain. And yellow suit is like do you want the steak or not?

So Ben goes on a date, and then they go on a tour of the solar company. Ben tries to make small talk, and he’s like how do you fix the solar panels when they break? And suit man is like that is top secret information. And Ben’s like that smells like a clue. So he and the barber come up with this super high-tech plan to stop one of the repair trucks by tying empty cans to the bumper. It works. Ben investigates the broken solar panel and the repair warehouse, but like literally all he can find is bubble wrap. And he’s like this is totally normal. Where are the criminals? I must’ve missed something. Time for a surveillance montage. During this surveillance montage, he like sees a snake and solves the entire case. And the audience is like do you wanna tell us whodunit? And Ben’s like be patient.

But oh no, the villains have killed barber bestie. And Ben’s like this mission just got personal. Ben decides he’s gonna fake his death so that the villains won’t know he’s coming. So he does that and then kidnaps the founder of the solar panel company. He FaceTimes yellow suit and is like hey sugarbear, let’s do a hostage trade. And the audience is like what was the point of faking your death then if you’re just gonna call him and tell him that you’re alive? And the author is like dramatic suspense, duh.

So Ben storms the castle, and there’s like a very extended shoot-out scene, and he wins because otherwise, we wouldn’t have a series. But then oh no, the villains capture him after he’s killed all the henchpeople because they have the director’s daughter as a human meat shield. And Ben’s like OK, I surrender, but he’s like crossing his fingers behind his back.

So then these idiot villains take him and the director’s daughter into the cave that the company is willing to kill people to keep a secret. And it’s like you literally could’ve taken them anywhere else, but it’s time for the book to explain some things. So the solar energy company was founded to hide a secret cave that goes from Texas to Mexico that allows them to smuggle cocaine in and turn it into bubble wrap that covers the solar panels. Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know that was possible either. Rather than kill Ben, the villains decide to imprison him in the hopes that they can torture him into telling them where their kidnapped CEO is. But before any torture can get started, the secret cave gets raided by Russian mobsters. You see, Ben got their attention by faking his death and called them up and was like hey my vodka besties, I know you’ve been losing a ton of money because some new gang has started selling cocaine in your territory. If I tell you how the rival gang is getting their cocaine, will you come attack the place for me? And they’re like dah.

So Ben escapes and kills the villains. He has to shoot through the director’s daughter to kill yellow suit, and the audience is like romantic parallels? Then Jen shows up, and she’s like surprise, bitch. And Ben’s like this isn’t a surprise. I knew you were obsessed with me this whole time. And she’s like ew, no I’m not. You have cooties. I’m just doing my job. And he’s like what’s your job? And she’s like I’m your handler-and Ben’s like you can handle this di-and you’re going to be a government asset and investigate other cases. And he’s like damn, I don’t really want to do that. And she’s like yeah? Well, I don’t either. You’re an asshole. And the audience is like just kiss. The end!

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Yes, Ben Koenig has Reacher vibes but he's not Reacher- he's a neurodiverse ex-US Marshal who feels no fear and who is on a mission. It's a fast paced, violent (sometimes graphic) and entertaining read that's hopefully the start of a new series,. Those looking for a new hero (of sorts) would do well to give this a try. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC, A page turner.

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Author M. W. Craven introduces us to Ben, an on-the-run U.S. Marshall in "Fearless". Ben has a head injury that causes him to have no fear, and he really does not. What he does have is lots of training. Once the head of a team that captured and killed lots of bad guys he knows what danger is. He has faced death many times as a U.S. Marshall and now he must be looking over his shoulder constantly for the bad guys are after him. He has a huge bounty on his head and in addition, he is on the most wanted list. His former boss needs him and has placed him there with the hope that he can find Ben. There is a precious life on the line and only someone with Ben's skills, training, and bravado can save the victim. In addition, there is a former colleague that keeps appearing. She is the foil in Ben's life. They don't like each other but keep literally, butting heads in the game of cat and mouse. If you like action and thrillers this is one of the best that I have read in a while. Ben is a character that can do it all when the need arises. This is the starting book for a series featuring the fearless Ben Koenig. I am looking forward to reading more of Ben's exploits. Thanks to Net Galley and M.W. Craven for the opportunity to read and review this book. #NetGalley#Fearless#MWCraven

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If you love a Jack Reacher book, I'd definitely try this one.

It's about a former US Marshal who had to himself go into hiding after a job put his safety at risk. Then, much like in a Reacher book, he gets found and asked to do a special job.

The writing is good and Ben Koenig is a compelling main character with a great narrative voice.

I'm trying to get away from books with a lot of testosterone and explicit violence, so this was a bit out of my new reading zone, but I think I will try the Washington Poe series as it has an odd couple detective team that I think will be more my speed.

But I think most hardboiled readers will love this one!

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I just finished reading Fearless. It's a fast read, exciting and intelligent. There is some violence, but all in all it does not detract from the storyline. I would recommend this for Jack Reacher fans.

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Book Review
M. W. Craven
reviewed by Lou Jacobs | Goodreads

Move over, “Jack Reacher” (Lee Child) and “Evan Smoak – Orphan X” (Gregg Hurwitz). Ben Koenig has arrived, not a Superman, but a kind of Batman – without superpowers, but with diverse training as a U.S. Marshal. Ben was the head of the U.S. Marshals’ elite Special Operations Group (SOG). They were charged with apprehending the most notorious criminals.

Ben was referred to in the criminal underworld as “Hell’s Bloodhound.” As criminals, terrorists, and militias were arming themselves, the SOG and Ben’s approach was overwhelming force.

Years ago, during a mission gone wrong, a perp picked up a hidden Kel-Tac semi-automatic in a baby’s crib. He was taken down as he fired a shot. The bullet ricocheted off an iron lintel above the door and hit Ben in the head. His tactical helmet absorbed most of the impact, but a small fragment crept under the rim, embedding itself in his forehead and skull. A surgeon easily removed the shrapnel, but an MRI scan unexpectedly revealed his right amygdala was calcified and shrunken, findings compatible with the rare Urbach-Wiethe disease, likely present his whole life. The neurologist suggested he end his career.

Damage and wasting away of the amygdala resulted in a physiological response to danger and threat of true fearlessness. Most have a fear response to dangerous situations, which was absent in Ben. This could be as much a detriment as beneficial in the field. Who could rely on his risk assessment? He wasn’t made to retire but was required to undergo an extensive three years of specialized training. Plus, he would be accompanied on missions by a second in command to assess risk. His training involved outside agencies: Marine Recon, Navy Seals, advanced demolition, lock picking, close quarter battle marksmanship with Delta Force. He studied with the Israeli Mossad, the British SAS, learning hostage-rescue techniques, and specialized breaching methods.

Six years ago, he led a specialized attack against a well-fortified house hosting a horrific operation. These lowlifes were televising a pay-per-view event in which little children were thrown into a ring with a starving pit-bull. This is a special kind of sickness, where children were being ripped apart for the enjoyment of depraved scum. The FBI had stumbled upon this ongoing “child-snuff” ring. The SOG conducted an armed assault, wreaking havoc on the perpetrators. Ben stormed into a room in which a young man was holding a child at gunpoint. Without a second thought, he delivered a “double tap” to the head, dropping the man instantly. Three days later, he found out that the young man was the son of a Russian mafia kingpin. He was given an ultimatum by the Russian, Yaroslav Zamyatin, who did not condone his son’s actions but needed to save face. He was given 24 hours to disappear before a 5 million dollar contract was initiated. If he didn’t disappear, his sister and family would be killed.

After six years of successful hiding and roaming from city to city, he looked up at the bar TV to see his face on the FBI’s 15 Most Wanted List. Ben quickly realized that someone wanted to talk to him very badly. He soon learned that the Director of SOG, Mitchell Burridge, whom he held in high esteem (his mentor – friend – a father figure), wanted to find his daughter, Martha. A vivacious, witty young woman, Martha was attending Georgetown University, studying forensic accounting. She was reportedly researching a somewhat suspicious solar energy company. She was kidnapped weeks ago but only reported when she didn’t return to college after her break. There were no clues or leads about what happened. Mitch had last talked with her two months ago. If she isn’t alive, he is given permission to eliminate those involved. Ben follows the trail to the small town of Gauntlet in the Chihuahuan Desert. A group of people has secrets they’ll do anything to protect.

M.W. Craven masterfully spins a high-octane action thriller that grabs the reader by the throat. The action and suspense are relentlessly ratcheted up in this page-turner, escalating into an amazing denouement. Craven weaves into the plot multiple colorful characters, such as Samuel Osborne, the forger supreme, who has unparalleled computer skills and puts information into the database to support his IDs. He developed his skills in the labs of MIT, majoring in polymer engineering with a minor in photography and film makeup. Along the way, the reader not only learns about sophisticated weaponry and tactical breaching and fighting techniques but also the art of “disappearance” and staying off the grid.

This is obviously our first encounter with Ben Koenig, but more will follow. I’m personally well ensconced on this fast-moving roller coaster ride.

Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. Hopefully, the next adventure will arrive

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Thank you to #NetGalley, Flatiron Books and M. W. Craven for the opportunity to read FEARLESS, to be published 11 Jul 23. Starts off with a bang! Fast-paced. Great sense of humor! The end was an opportunity to connect with someone with disappointing results. It was a James Bond style of adventure. The disease, when the amygdala gets calcified, was an interesting insert into the storyline. 5/5 Stars. #NetGalley. #Fearless. #FlatironBooks. #M.W.Craven

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I have a new favorite! How have I missed reading MW Craven? This high octane thriller is absolutely unputdownable, with a skilled ex-US Marshall protagonist who is incapable of feeling fear due to a rare brain condition. A young woman has disappeared and Ben Koenig’s old boss knows that Ben is the only one capable of finding his daughter and who he fears is already dead. Fearless is the first entry in Craven’s new thriller series, with an unforgettable hero and non-stop action filled with snippets of survival factoids that make for fascinating reading.
Highly recommended for readers who crave excitement and fast- paced action.

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Brilliant, brilliant audiobook!
I am so looking forward to this series! We are in for a treat!
I love Craven's Washington Poe series. They are some of my favourite characters. So I was intrigued by the premise of Fearless, as it seems to be tailored to appeal to US readers. Fascinating to think of a plot then choose which character/country to use.
US or UK, it didn't matter. Craven has written another fast paced, gripping action thriller that has whetted my appetite for further books.
Craven's sense of humour is never far away, and my favourite line is of course spaniel related: "I love spaniels; they're like the clowns of the dog world'. LOL. So true.
Ben Koenig is fascinating as a protagonist and I cannot wait to see how his character develops.
The narrator was absolutely amazing. I hope he continues to narrate the following books in the series.

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by M.W. Craven
Crime Action Thriller
NetGalley ARC
Pub: July 11, 2023
Ages 21+
3 Stars

Six years ago, Ben Koening sold all of his belongings and disappeared. He drifted across the United States blending in with those around him. But then one day while getting some food in a bar he discovers that he is suddenly on the most wanted list.

Ben is arrested and he finds out who had gone so far to find him and why. A friend needs him for a mission, and that friend knows Ben's disability. Ben has no fear. His brain no longer works that way.

This book is violent as hell, with vivid and detailed descriptions, and that's why I don't think anyone under 21 should read this. A person needs a mature mind because the images brought by the descriptions could give sensitive people nightmares for months. (If you need a trigger warning or content alert, this is it, so don't read it.) I think what makes it the most disturbing is the lack of empathy the MC and other characters have. But I do understand the reasons why empathy would be lost to the rage.

It's not a bad story, but the amount of killing is disturbing because while this is fiction, the storyline could happen and that is scary as hell, which is why I don't read these kinds of books. Give me werewolves and vampires. They aren't real monsters, humans are.

Even though it was good, it's very doubtful I'll read any of the coming books in this new series. I was expecting something different when I requested this, something more sci-fi.


3 Stars

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