N. J. Lujan was born in Washington, DC then raised in a small town of West Virginia. Her first experience with journalism and writing complex, thrilling stories was as a teenager when she was the public affairs officer for her high school. It was then she discovered her love for writing. After graduation she entered the Army serving in the U.S. and Europe, then later went on to enjoy a successful corporate career while still fueling a passion for creating complex fictional stories. Today she continues to use parts of her backdrop to vividly take you on a journey that will leave you wanting for more.
N. J. Lujan, a accomplished ghostwriter, now lives in North Carolina and splits her time between writing, work, family, and three very spirited pups. To learn more, visit njlujanoffical.com.
“An engaging read that offers a novel spin on the notion that you can’t go home again.”
– Kirkus Reviews
A military thriller about the travails of a secret soldier who attempts to put her family first.
At the heart of Lujan’s debut novel is Norma Veurr, who helped found Atropos, a top-secret, black-ops government agency, many years ago. Despite vowing never to come back to the espionage game, she agrees to do so in 2009 after two decades away; however, she has a sense of impending doom after her solo mission, and she reflects back over how she got to this point. First, her mind travels back three days to her visit to her small hometown of Martinsburg, West Virginia. LeRoy, the town sheriff, still suspects her in the murder of her father, Mackenzie, who forged Norma into the weapon she became. Then her mind drifts back further to meeting her husband, Alex, who was part of a team that rescued her from a mission gone awry. Next, she recalls the dramatic birth of her son, Alexander—the reason she left Atropos 20 years ago. Lastly, she thinks about a fateful night when Alexander visited his grandfather, which led to Norma’s return to Atropos. Later, Alexander joins Atropos and rapidly ascends to leadership; when his team is captured, he must rely on an unexpected rescuer. In this volume, Lujan colorfully tells Norma’s story from her miserable childhood onward. She’s a well-developed character, as are the most important people in her life. The author elaborates on why Norma makes the choices she does, which is often to protect her loved ones. Atropos is certainly an important element in the book but not as much as readers may expect; Lujan writes more about what led Norma to and away from Atropos and less about its actual missions. The narrative, which slips back and forth through time, can be a bit confusing, as can the fact that Norma’s husband and son share similar names. However, Norma’s exhilarating tale is worth the effort.
An engaging read that offers a novel spin on the notion that you can’t go home again.
Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020
Page count: 166pp
Review Posted Online: April 20, 2020
A Black Ops agent searches for his missing daughter while someone threatens his agency in this third entry in Lujan’s action-thriller series.
Alexander Veurr is exceedingly protective of his 12-year-old daughter, Elina. As part of Atropos, a covert government organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., he’s adept at hand-to-hand combat and the uses of various weaponry. He trains Elina in these skills as well, but she has little interest in the family business. She’s also not very keen on Xavier, the retired Atropos team member and quasi-bodyguard who constantly shadows her; she’d rather have alone time with the boy she likes. Then, one day, Alexander’s nightmare becomes a reality when Elina suddenly vanishes. Around the same time, a man named Nolan is assigned by the president of the United States to monitor Atropos’ missions. It’s a mere excuse, however, to make himself head of the agency and push others out; as a result, Alexander and his comrades have no resources to track down Elina. They’ll have to rely on their intellect to figure out how and why someone abducted Alexander’s daughter. Lujan sets this story several years after The Atropos Maker II: A New Order (2020). Many series regulars crop up, although the author wisely centers on only a handful. Elina is a standout among the cast, as she alternates between professionalism and immature behavior, as when she refuses to speak to Xavier after he intentionally embarrasses her. Her kidnapping infuses the novel with plenty of suspense, as the circumstances of her disappearance are initially a complete mystery. There are bursts of action, as well, and Lujan’s concise prose maintains a brisk tempo (“Tires scream leaving treadmarks on the broken asphalt as the engine revs the cylinders wide open”) even during scenes involving father-daughter arguments over boys. Newcomers to the series will easily follow the story, although the somewhat-jarring final chapter will make more sense to those who’ve read the previous installment.
A riveting, spirited actioner and a worthy addition to its series.
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Review Posted Online: May 17, 2022
The Atropos Maker by N. J. Lujan - 90 sec
War and Peace
Passion in life
Writing complex stories
THE ATROPOS MAKER: Indie Award 4.8, 2020Best Reviewed Books of the Month – April 2020, 2020 Author & Army Veteran Releases First Book in New Action Thriller Series, 2020 Author draws inspiration from West Virginia town in new book, 2020 Martinsburg graduate publishes first novel in new series, 2020
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