The Gypsy Queen

A Matt Preston Novel

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
314 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2018
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Author Biography

Paul lives in North Fort Myers Florida with his wife Sandy and their two beautiful American Cocker Spaniels, (Max and Samantha) who are better known as "The Kids" and are a special part of his books. Houseboat was written over the space of twenty years or so as different ideas would occur to him while working his many other businesses.

Born and raised in Seattle and now transplanted to Florida, in addition to writing, Paul keeps busy learning to ballroom dance and working on an HO scale train layout. A graduate of Western Washington University in Education, Paul taught for 4 years and became self employed when he left teaching. Over the years Paul has owned and operated many businesses, where he met many interesting people who always seem to confide the most astonishingly personal information to him, hence the varied knowledge of people. It is this knowledge that he uses to create his interesting characters.

His motto is "Caution: You may end up in my next Novel".

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

It’s not always the magnitude of the crisis that makes a novel great, but how it is handled and Paul Shadinger shows incredible skill in conflict development in this novel. The first book I read from this author was Code Name: Crescent and, seduced by the writing, I couldn’t wait to lay my hands on other books by him. So, I picked up The Gypsy Queen and it has been a great delight, a masterly entry in the Matt Preston novels. Again, helping one of his friends from the poker game, he quickly discovers that he is in a dangerous game and will have to fight to stay alive while pursuing a notorious international hacker simply known as the Gypsy Queen. Can Matt’s undercover skills and military background help him this time?

The Gypsy Queen is one of those rare books I have had to read nonstop, thanks to the author’s unique and clear narrative voice. It is compelling and it rings with originality. The second thing that captivated me was the deft handling of character. The protagonist is a very interesting character, a man with a disturbing penchant for poker, a lover, and a very gifted investigator. He isn’t perfect; he is flawed in many ways and readers will find him very intriguing and genuine. While the characters are compelling, this novel focuses on plot and the author succeeds in handling the conflict in a way that contributes to the pacing and keeps the reader’s interest. This novel is engaging, and Paul Shadinger makes the reading experience even more enjoyable by imbuing the work with great humor.

Christian Sia

Another compelling Matt Preston novel, The Gypsy Queen by Paul Shadinger is a rollicking ride in the genre of crime fiction. The protagonist, ex-undercover operative Matt Preston, is keen to help his friend from the card game accomplish a mission which may require his old skills. In this spellbinding crime novel, Matt is out to locate a cunning international hacker known as the Gypsy Queen. He has to make use of his uncover experience, but can he survive the life-threatening challenges that are stacked against him?

We are introduced to the protagonist right off the bat and he is in bad shape, still stricken by the sudden death of David, one of their friends at the poker game. Readers get to know that Matt is a womanizer and that he loves poker. But the request that Ralph asks of him opens up an exploration into Matt’s background and the stuff he can do, like finding missing people and other skills. Ralph wants him to find someone. From this point on, the conflict grows with the mystery and readers will enjoy the background that comes along with it, allowing them to get a complete image of the personality of the protagonist.

The themes of cyber crime, romance, and sleuthing are seamlessly woven into the narrative fabric. I also enjoyed Matt’s group of friends, buddies united by one thing: poker. The plot is fast-paced and it is intelligently done. The dialogues are great and plot-driven and they offer real great insights into character development. The first person narrative voice is as strong as in other Paul Shadinger novels. You’ll find humor at its best and suspense that keeps you turning the pages. The Gypsy Queen is a great achievement and a work of huge entertainment.

Lit Amri

The Gypsy Queen (A Matt Preston Novel, Volume 3) by Paul Shadinger starts off with Matt’s usual poker night. One of the regulars, Ralph, comes up to Matt for help. He met a woman named Melissa at a software seminar six months prior and he’s completely enamored with her, but she has disappeared. Ralph also used her ideas for his company’s new software game, and he doesn’t want to end up getting sued in the end. Ralph’s begging leads to Matt’s agreement, although he’s suspicious and has a bad feeling about the job. His suspicion proves to be true, as Melissa is an internationally known hacker dubbed The Gypsy Queen, and Matt is not the only one who’s looking for her.

Since this is already the third book of the series, I expected to miss some depth of the protagonist and other characters’ backgrounds. That said, I don’t feel that I missed much detail, and The Gypsy Queen is sufficient as a standalone. Some parts of the dialogue could be more concise, but the writing and the pace are good, and the narrative draws you in. There are several mysterious and dangerous events happening to Matt, so waiting for these events to connect to one another or see how they will influence the plot was interesting. With a good balance of gritty moments and humor, Shadinger’s The Gypsy Queen is a solid read and explores its themes and concept satisfyingly for fans of the genre.