Dead Heat to Destiny

Three Lives and a Spy

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
357 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2023
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Author Biography

J.B. Rivard believes words can create pictures. One 80+ year-old reader said, “I was right in the biplane cockpit with Nick,” referring to Nick Mamer, the 1929 record-setting pilot featured in Low on Gas – High on Sky, J.B.’s nonfiction book (2019).

A writer of historically-authentic fiction and nonfiction, J.B. knows readers want the past to blaze up and enthrall them. His commitment to compelling and convincing writing derives as much from his widely-varied working life and four years in the military, as from his technical career on the staff of a U.S. National Laboratory.

In her review of the novel Illusions of Magic:Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago, Marssie Mencotti wrote, “Similar to Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, Rivard explores historic Chicago by illustrating how the events of that time affected and informed his characters.”

J.B.’s deeply-researched historical writing also includes feature articles such as “Under the Cloud,” a recollection of the Pacific nuclear tests in The American Legion Magazine of April, 2022.

His latest novel is the cinematic Dead Heat to Destiny, in which the lives and loves of three people are imperiled during the cataclysm of World War One. “The level of research required was more than I initially imagined,” says the author. “And this book may be the best one yet.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Dead Heat to Destiny: Three Lives and a Spy by J. B. Rivard is a work of fiction in the historical, interpersonal drama, and intrigue subgenres. Set during the world-changing events of the First World War, it follows four lives intertwined by bonds of love, family, and duty. Student Adrienne finds herself caught in this international conflict when her love interest, Will, becomes a U.S. Army pilot while her cousin, Gregor, is promoted to Imperial German Navy U-boat captain. As families flee across continents, a spy in Central America shakes things up in a way nobody could predict.

J. B. Rivard has crafted a masterful tale that balances the suspense and intrigue of an international wartime spy thriller with the sensitivity of a deeply emotional drama, resulting in a WW1 epic that will satisfy readers. One striking feature of the story was how Rivard never shied away from the dangerous realities of war and the difficult choices people on both sides of the divide make when there is nowhere to run from global conflict. I really enjoyed Adrienne’s practical approach and heartfelt personal narrative, and the dialogue between the different characters offered both emotional insight and excellent plot exposition. I would certainly recommend Dead Heat to Destiny to wartime fiction fans; readers won’t regret it.