The Wrong Side of Paradise

A Top Secret Presidential Novel

Fiction - Thriller - Espionage
452 Pages
Reviewed on 01/15/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

The Wrong Side of Paradise: A Top Secret Presidential Novel by Mike Shellenbergar is an exhilarating ride for fans of thrillers and covert military activities. It begins when Captain Jack contacts Diego Black Hawk, a half Ute Indian and half Mexican American, a guy with no phone, no address, and no friends, on behalf of the President. There is an important mission for him and his team, and that mission is the Russian, Alexi Vasily Volkov, the same who was involved in the assassination plan in France. He has shown up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. So Black Hawk, together with Cowboy and Liz, set out on a mission that takes them over rough paths to stop a Russian-Cuban team from taking over Colombia and Venezuela and the nefarious plan they have for the two countries. The exhilarating action pits them against many odds to Russia to face the one behind the Russian scheme.

This is a wonderfully narrated story with compelling characters and a great plot. The writing is excellent and Mike Shellenbergar’s storytelling skills are impeccable, infusing the writing with humor and building characters that are not just rock-solid, but fun to follow. They are fully drawn, multidimensional, and intelligent. In real life, the trio would make the perfect team for covert activities. The prose is filled with vivid and detailed descriptions and I loved how the author lets the unique traits of each of the characters come out neatly in the story. The narrative voice is strong, and consistently so. This is good, robust entertainment, with plenty of nerve-jerking twists and a conflict that reflects the geopolitical realities of the international setting. The Wrong Side of Paradise is an exciting ride with characters that are not forgotten easily.

K.C. Finn

The Wrong Side of Paradise is a work of fiction in the espionage and thriller genres and serves as the third instalment in the Top Secret Presidential series. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Mike Shellenbergar. The novel follows the established team of Hawk, Cowboy, and Liz as they head to Colombia in order to investigate and prevent a Russian plot to establish control over Colombia and Venezuela to create a communist stronghold within striking distance of mainland USA. Succeed and the American people can continue sleeping peacefully at night; fail and the history of the Vietnam war will repeat itself in South America.

This is an action-packed novel that follows on from author Mike Shellenbergar’s previous two instalments, which take the now established trio of heroes and send them on a globe-trotting adventure. The author has done some serious homework with regards to the locations visited with each of them being described with a wonderfully immersive level of detail, and, similarly, the political landscape is very authentic to that of the era. The Wrong Side of Paradise should be highlighted for particular praise for its very honest look at the complexity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the form of Hawk. It’s a condition often added to characters of a military background by authors who don’t fully understand the nuances of it, but in this case, the author portrays it honestly and the effect it has on Hawk’s life. The Wrong Side of Paradise is a must for action fans, fans of military fiction, and anyone looking for their next great read.

Divine Zape

The Wrong Side of Paradise: A Top Secret Presidential Novel by Mike Shellenbergar is the third novel in the series and it is deftly written for those who are fond of bold characters, intelligent plotting, and espionage. Diego Black Hawk and his team are a secret team that carries out missions for the President. Hawk, Cowboy, and Liz live almost off the grid, and this time, they are on a mission to capture Alexi Vasily Volkov, the Russian agent who was responsible for the assassination plan in France. But the team’s mission quickly puts them in the crosshairs with powerful enemies, including a Russian Cuban team with a bold plan for Colombia and Venezuela. Follow the team as they take impossible risks to stop criminals from actions that can lead to a full-blown war. The stakes are high, the obstacles manifold, and the events unpredictable. Can they complete their mission unscathed?

I read The Wrong Side of Paradise in one sitting. It is a propulsive thriller filled with action and the setting that takes readers across countries is superbly written, exploring political maneuvers and schemes that are realistic to third world settings. This novel is monumental with kickass characters that will remind readers of Mission Impossible featuring Tom Cruise. The prose is excellent, with carefully and diligently crafted dialogues, descriptions that are vivid and capture the scenes in a detailed manner. I love it when an author creates a strong protagonist and an equally strong antagonist, and that is what Shellenbergar does in this spellbinding story. While there are many books in the genre, The Wrong Side of Paradise stands out in its originality and unpredictability, exploring the Russian involvement in Colombia and Venezuela and pitting the key characters against formidable enemies. It is an unforgettable reading experience that takes readers on a twisty path with the characters, and it is never lacking that sheer narrative punch and emotional impact that fans of espionage look for.

Pikasho Deka

The Wrong Side of Paradise is the third installment of Mike Shellenbergar's A Top Secret Presidential series. Diego Black Hawk once again teams up with his partners, Cowboy and Liz, as they try to put an end to the Russian Alexei Vasily Volkov's plans. The plans include trying to assassinate the President of the United States and working with the Cambodian leaders to smuggle military equipment and weapons for the Viet Cong and the NVA. After kidnapping the North Vietnamese Minister of War and delivering him to the CIA, Hawk and his team continue their pursuit of Volkov and set off to rescue the US Ambassador to Colombia and an undercover CIA agent from the clutches of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. But a traitor in their midst complicates matters.

Filled with thrilling action sequences, The Wrong Side of Paradise feels like a shot of adrenaline running through your veins. Author Mike Shellenbergar takes you through a wild ride spanning multiple countries, with a set of characters that never fail to entertain. The plot moves at a breakneck speed with twists and turns along the way that keep you fully engrossed throughout the narrative. I found the characters compelling and enjoyed the dynamic and banter shared between Hawk, Liz, and Cowboy. I also enjoyed the personality of President Kelly. The action scenes occur in quick bursts, and Mike Shellenbergar's attention to detail makes them seem realistic. Overall, I enjoyed The Wrong Side of Paradise. I will recommend it to fans of action-packed thrillers.

Vincent Dublado

In The Wrong Side of Paradise: A Top Secret Presidential Novel, Mike Shellenbergar brings back the top-secret hit squad of Hawk, Cowboy, and Liz. This time, their mission is to stop a Russian-Cuban alliance whose large-scale operations will mostly be done by unsuspecting paramilitary factions in Colombia and Venezuela. The enemy’s overall plan is to take over the northeastern part of Venezuela and all of Colombia and turn them into one large communist state. This is led by Alexei Vasily Volkov, the guy that the team has been chasing around the world. The other two leaders of the operation are believed to be Volkov’s daughters. On top of this, the U.S. president wants the team to kidnap Nguyen Chi Ky, the North Vietnamese minister of war. The team knows that kidnapping high-profile figures are much harder than terminating them, and their plan to take Volkov has to be perfect. If it all fails, the three of them are likely to be dead.

Great thriller-espionage novels have a rhythm that you cannot feel in other genres. Think of the way Hawk, Cowboy, and Liz make detailed preparations and stick religiously to their plans where a slight error can cost their lives. Think of how they approach enemy terrain, making you feel like you are part of the elite team, and you know that no matter how well-planned the mission is, something is bound to go wrong. The Wrong Side of Paradise will likely remind you of action movies with the same rhythm and flow. Mike Shellenbergar gives you the right blend of military tactics essential in making a great action thriller, complemented by evocative prose that gives you a realistic feel of the setting. As the dynamic trio heads to the Darién Gap, the dramatic stakes become more streamlined. This is one of the best action-thriller espionage series and delivers so well that its cliffhanger ending will surely make you want to read the next in the series.