Two lifelong girlfriends find their childhood game of playing spies from a 60s TV show becomes all too real when they attend their 30th high school reunion and are recruited by the same organization to thwart a former schoolmate’s plan for worldwide domination.
**** Melanie “Mel” Tyler and Kathleen “Katie” Conner have been best friends since kindergarten. As teenagers, their favorite television show was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The girls even had a hidden room where they kept files on various schoolmates. But after graduating from high school, everyone in the graduating class went their own way. Mel’s voice landed her a variety of voice-over jobs and she now lives in a Santa Monica Condominium. Katie wed and her husband, James O’Brien, eventually became a Minnesota State Senator. Today, Mel and Katie find it difficult to believe that they are about to attend Abbeyville High School’s thirtieth reunion. Seeing most of their former classmates should be fun, but there are a few that the ladies hoped would not attend. Unfortunately, the three worst do make an appearance. Charles Haussman and Eric Kramer were bullies back in school and they have not forgotten how the ladies once bested them (thanks to their U.N.C.L.E. addiction.) Then there is Wyatt Gaynes, the jock that Melanie had a crush on – along with many other female students. The deceitful creep had used Mel, just as he did everyone else. Mel and Katie are soon recruited by U.N.C.L.E., which turns out is a real spy organization, to help thwart a former schoolmate’s plan for worldwide domination.
**** FOUR STARS! I have never seen an episode of the old television show The Man From UNCLE, but after reading this book I plan to search various streaming internet sites in hopes of viewing a few. You do not have to be a fan of the old show in order to fully enjoy this tale. (I guess it does not hurt that I used to watch other spy series, such as Get Smart.) I found this story to be extremely fun to read! Those who have read this author’s previous novel, Red Wine for Breakfast, may even notice the subtle nod to the Sock Test. (I could not help but chuckle when a pair of socks was mentioned in a single, short line.) If you are looking for a story to enjoy during vacation or to make a rainy afternoon fly by, this is it. I have no doubt that I will not soon forget this fun spy thriller. **** HUNTRESS REVIEWS – Reviewed by Detra Fitch on April 28, 2013
*** It’s great fun to find a book that seems to be written specially for ME! I was a devoted fan of The Man From Uncle and would dearly loved to have been one of their agents (I even had a membership card but an overzealous teacher confiscated it and lost it.) Raven West has tapped into the same desire that a million women of ‘a certain age’ must have had and has made it come true, and at a boring old school reunion, too! There are strong characters and plenty of action, so it held my interest all the way through. An easy read that ticks a lot of boxes for an entertaining crime novel. – Bev Robitai on Jan. 13, 2012
*** If you were a fan of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., or even if you’re not, you’ll get a kick out of this. Two women who went to school together get recruited as U.N.C.L.E. agents at their 30th reunion to battle the latest incarnation of T.H.R.U.S.H. It’s great fun, and even though Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin don’t make an appearance, there are plenty of reference that will delight! Go along and enjoy the ride “Open Channel D”! – Penton
*** I enjoyed the fact that the main characters were all average, middle-aged people who were suddenly pulled into a dastardly scheme-it was a refreshing change from the usual thriller protagonists.
*** Many U.N.C.L.E. fans of the sixties imagined themselves helping U.N.C.L.E. if this was you, you will enjoy this new novel. Raven West has caught the spirit of “the things of dreams” that U.N.C.L.E. fans all over the world consist of’. Take yourselves into the world of U.N.C.L.E. fantasies and dream along with Kate and Mel as they help the real U.N.C.L.E. guys thwart a much-too-real evil adversary who was a former classmate. – Bridget Calvert (Honorary Editor of ‘ The Network’)
*** I just finished Undercover Reunion. I instantly fell in love with all the characters. Enough information was given to let me know what was going on and it kept me interested. The back story about their childhood playing UNCLE spies was fun. The jokes fit the personalities of the people and had me laughing as I read it.
*** Excellent read, thoroughly enjoyed the story, reminds me of The Helicopter Spies. Strong characters. I like The Man from U.N.C.L.E and I enjoyed Undercover Reunion. highly recommended. AAAAA+++++” Clive Woollands, May 31, 2012
*** Very fun, well thought out, enjoyable read. Loved it! I really enjoyed the background stories of the characters. I liked the unexpected plot twist. Wish there were more UNCLE stories like this.” – Timothy Severs, October 8, 2012
First Class Male
Content with his life as a small town, Postmaster Alex Bentley never intended to become a hero, much less a media sensation, but fate had different plans. From deep within the splendor of the Catskill Mountains, to the majestic skyline of Manhattan, First Class Male delivers an intricate tale of a small town postmaster who triumphs over a ruthless District Attorney, a mysterious adversary, an unsympathetic public and finally his own heart.
Rachel Clark left her career as a New York lawyer for a shot at her dream of writing books. The man who had been her partner in the courtroom and her lover at home, Mark Greystone, refused to stand by her and left. For two Summers she rented a place in the small town of Crystal Lake. During that time the Postmaster, Alex Bentley, had witnessed Rachel’s manuscripts for Legal Briefs be rejected dozens of times. When Rachel mentioned giving up if the manuscript was rejected again, Alex broke several postal regulations by holding her manuscript for one full day and spending the night making a few little changes to the story. Changes that sold the book, launched Rachel’s writing career, and hurt their friendship that had recently become more. While Rachel was in New York promoting her new book and writing the next, Alex was promoted to Director of Postal Operations in Albany. The two are brought back together when Alex was arrested for allegedly embezzling two hundred and seventy-three thousand dollars from the post office while he worked in Crystal Lake! Rachel stopped everything to be his attorney,especially when she found out that Mark Greystone was the one trying to lock him up!
**** This story combined small town life with the big city crowds. It showed surprising insight into the daily life of postal workers and readers will find the author seemed to do much research on the various duties in the job! The book has several sub-plots that will keep the readers involved and wondering what will happen next. However, the ending will leave many readers satisfied and many others frustrated! Very good reading within these pages!
**** –Huntress Book Reviews
Who would ever think such sexual passion is steaming up the mail-sorting room? I will never look at those public servants across the counter quite the same way, after reading Raven West’s novel. West has taken some rather common characters: postal personnel, attorneys, law-enforcement, and made them extraordinarily interesting. These are people with all the self-doubts and latent nobility in each of us. Postmaster Alex Bentley, Thoreau-esquely withdrawn in the secure world of upstate Crystal Lake, NY, commits a major USPS no-no…and pays the price. Talented and confused author/attorney Rachel Clark escapes the Big Apple for her Walden Pond period. She has been hurt in love before, and Crystal Lake is the place to recoup, so she mistakenly believes. Mark Greystone, like any good antagonist, is a complex, believable DA. His drive causes damage to Alex, Rachel, and himself. The knowledge West has of the politics and internal affairs of the USPS is quite impressive. The way she shares that in FIRST CLASS MALE makes for a deserved appreciation of the people who are the best postal system in the world. –Robert Fulton from Charlotte, NC
Very few outsiders have taken up championing the good of the Postal Service over the years, let alone putting their thoughts to paper. Author Raven West is one such person, and she did just that in her latest book, First Class Male, (The Lighthouse Press, Inc.) Other books have been written in the past, chronicling the going postal phrase, but they concentrated on the violent side of the term. Ms. West doesn’t do that. She has taken the phrase, and through the character of a small-town postmaster expounded upon what is good with the Service. In it s own self praising way First Class Male appears directed towards the tight-knit family of postal employees. If that is the case, then it has hit its target. That s not to say it s not a book non-postal employees would not appreciate – because it is.. From the beginning, Ms. West describes PM Bentley at 32 years old as the fastest rising employee in his district to go from letter carrier to postmaster of Crystal Lake. She paints him as just an average guy, who hooked up with the post office to pass the time. In doing so she develops his character as a person who has come to love his job, and is extremely offended at every public attack. A trait so readily identifiable within the walls of all post offices. Because the author did such a complete job of researching her subject she didn’t t have to take liberties with the truth, like so many other authors of fiction do. First Class Male is not a tear jerking, good guy gets the girl in the end type of book. No, not at all. It is a book that provides all postal employees with the feeling there is someone from outside of our realm who cares about how we are constantly taking it on the chin, and that is refreshing. All clichés aside, First Class Male delivers. –Thom Green, National Association of Letter Carriers
A strong, determined ex- New Yorker has to shake off the laid-back attitude of Los Angeles to overcome the challenges of a radio industry that threatens to turn her off, and a man who only wants to turn her on.
Believable YOU ARE THERE atmosphere! Reviewer: Andromeda from Inverness, FL United States
Terrific! You don’t just read it, you LIVE it! Indeed, Raven West’s RED WINE FOR BREAKFAST is redolent with that very essential, YOU ARE THERE atmosphere. Its synopsis “…In a business drowning in testosterone, Red Wine for Breakfast is the story of a strong, determined New Yorker who has to shake off the laid-back attitude of LA to overcome the challenges of an industry that threatens to turn her off and a man who only wants to turn her on…” is right on target.
As a veteran of the newspaper business in particular and media in general, I enjoyed very much entering her heroine Jenny Reed’s world, who is very much an emancipated, no nonsense woman who boldly fights for what she wants, and gives no quarter. Yes, Jenny is no falsely blushing flower of innocence. She grasps the bull of mediocrity by the horns, and turns it into what she wants. Red Wine for Breakfast is NOT a traditional Harlequin novel, but a tale very much in tune with the realities the NEW WOMAN has to deal with, and triumph over. Thumbs up, Ms. West! Kristina O’Donnelly, Author and Publisher.
Ten years in the film industry never gave me a clue what “the sock test” was, or how to apply it to men. But thanks to Raven West’s rollicking tale, Red Wine For Breakfast, I now feel up to speed with what the really “cool” people always seem to know. Red Wine is a fast, fun, and entertaining read. The phrase, “Lights, camera, action!” comes to mind immediately when you open this delightful contemporary novel of love triumphing over pain and betrayal.
Doris Cohen is a 34-year-old New York transplant in California, whose on-air personae as Jenny Reed, the top rated morning drive-time radio show host, pits her against slick Johnny King, her program cohort. King is the brother-in-law of Brian Allen, the station manager with whom Jenny has been intimately involved, which makes for some “hot” radio clashes and ratings to match.
Despite the soaring ratings, drug allegations and a murder suddenly thrust Jenny’s show even more into the limelight. Behind the scenes, the drug scandal threatens to bring the station to its knees while the main characters’ bizarre romance continues on-air.
Raven West knows her way around a radio studio, that can’t be denied. This story is a believable, intriguing, and enjoyable inside glimpse of the business. It also has a quirky, comedic touch which is difficult for most writers to handle. The intricate plot, a host of layered events, and the exquisite dialogue will keep you reading and often laughing into the wee hours.
The author pulls it all together at the end, giving the reader a happy and very satisfying “climax.” If you want a heroine who is real, who intends to take the world by storm and who won’t be dissuaded by men or machinations, then this book is for you. If you also want a hero who starts out as a heel, then makes his metamorphosis by the end of the story, then you’ll love Red Wine For Breakfast
Reading “Red Wine for Breakfast” was like going home. As a former program director/news director at various radio stations, I could immediately relate to the characters in this book–I’ve worked with them. And, even without my insider’s knowledge, this book is a fantastic read–intriguing, action-packed and a page turner. I can’t wait to see more from this author!
*** Perfect! A hilarious look at life in a radio station. Full of sneaky twists and I even learned why women should always make men take “the sock test”! HUNTRESS BOOK REVIEWS – (Reviewed by Detra Fitch) – Under Modern Contemporary – http://www.huntressreviews.com/ -Huntress Book Reviews
Red Wine for Breakfast is a true winner from the title to the last page. A fun, in captivating read – this book was hard to put down. Raven West gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of the Radio Industry and to this day I find myself imagining what’s going on after the mike goes off on my drive each morning. The mix of characters in Red Wine for Breakfast matches the twists and turns this novel takes, making it exciting to the last page. I loved Red Wine for Breakfast and recommend it for a fun, exciting escape.