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What To Believe? Books for and Against the God Hypothesis Reviewed
World Audience, Inc.
303 Park Avenue South, Suite 1440, New York, NY 10010-3675
G. Richard Bozarth
What To Believe? offers 134 book reviews. The connection of a lot of them to the God
Hypothesis is distant, and a few of them, especially the reviews of novels, have no connection at
all. Almost all the books are strongly connected to religionism. It's a small quibble, and Harwood
could most likely reply that my titles are not always wonderful.
The only reviews that failed to interest me were the ones of science fiction novels, and not
because I dislike science fiction. I've loved sci-fi since I was a teenager. Harwood obviously is
also a sci-fi fan, but the sci-fi novels reviewed in this book did not bring out the best in him like
so many of the nonfiction books did.
Harwood is a prolific Freethought writer who has been publishing for a long time. He knows a
lot and shares that knowledge in his reviews, usually as rebuttal. A lot of the interesting content
also comes from the books he reviews. For example, the Talmud has a version of the Flood fairy
tale that is different from the Bible's. In this version the terrible thing Noah's third or second son
(I have two Bible dictionaries that disagree about Ham's status) did to his drunken father after the
Flood was not seeing him naked. It was castrating him. That makes the story a lot more
entertaining in my opinion. Another example is the conflicting genealogies for Jesus in the New
Testament. I had not known that the Roman Catholic Church solved the problem by claiming that
the genealogy in Luke is supposed to be for Mary. That is not a conclusion supported by the text
in The Jerusalem Bible, which is a modern English translation of the Roman Catholic version of
the Bible. The subtitle used for that section of Luke is "The ancestry of Jesus". Perhaps it's one of
those things the RCC is still debating and has not yet turned into dogma.
Harwood has intellectual teeth and likes to use them. Here are some of the bites he inflicts in
What To Believe?:
"To a scientist (or historian such as myself), the question, 'Is water wet?' can be answered in one
word. There is little doubt in my mind that a philosopher could write a 600-page dissertation on
the question - and other philosophers would see it as actually saying something."
"A theist can be moral, but only if, while paying lip service to every teaching of his religion's
sacred books, his observable behavior in fact repudiates those teachings."
"The masturbation fantasy that recognition of a problem and determination to solve it can cause a
species to evolve in a desired direction is the hallmark of sociobiology."
"Prejudice is not unchristian. It is one of the core traits of Christianity. Many Christians express
unprejudiced views, but they do so because they reject the teachings of their bible, the most
vicious and hate-ridden endorsement of prejudice ever written, with the possible exception of the
"All godworshippers are insane."
"Any university that accredits a faculty or school of theology thereby illegitimates itself to the
same degree as if it maintained a school of astrology or tealeaf reading."
"Unless the masses are made to realize that religion, besides being a delusion and a failed
hypothesis, is the root of all evil, there is no possibility of humankind exterminating religion
before religion exterminates humankind."
"What religion addict cannot find a rationalization for anything he deems expedient, anything
"Persons who believe the world is going to end within their lifetimes tend to pursue policies they
believe will make it happen."
I agree with the above almost 100% - almost because I would have written "irrational" instead of
"insane". There are things in What To Believe? I do not agree with.
Harwood accuses The Story Of Civilization by Will Durant (and Ariel for the last five volumes)
of being "scissors-and-paste high school pablum." I know this accusation isn't true because I have
read TSOC. The definition of "pablum" in The American Heritage College dictionary, Third
Edition, is "trite, insipid, or simplistic writing, speech, or conceptualization". That does not
describe TSOC. Will Durant's writing is a contender for the gold medal in nonfiction writing, and
a book of exquisite and profound aphorisms could be produced by mining TSOC.
Durant's huge, 11-volume, bestselling history of Western civilization is a supreme example of the
outline-of genre of nonfiction. The purpose of outline-of books is to distill the work of
professionals for consumption by intelligent nonprofessionals. It's still a popular form, and
writers who do good outline-of work usually enjoy commercial success. If Durant can be scorned
as a "scissors-and-paste" author, so can H. G. Wells (an outline-of superstar before Durant with
his bestselling The Outline Of History), Joseph McCabe (a champion of Atheism who wrote
several outline-of pamphlet series for Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, a famous Freethought
publisher), and all the other outline-of authors I've read (for example, Louis J. Halle, Out Of
Chaos, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977). Harwood is unjust.
Harwood is particularly outraged by Dan Brown, who wrote the amazingly successful The Da
Vinci Code, which I've also read. Harwood dislikes Brown because Code was not written to be as
historically accurate as possible. He condemns Brown for using "intentional wild
speculations designed purely to sell books." He makes this silly accusation even though
Harwood fully understands the novel, being a novel, is fiction. Fiction by definition is a fantasy,
a fairy tale, or, to use the term Stephen King likes, a lie. It's not meant to be true even when it is
as historically accurate as possible. Fiction is fun precisely because it is not chained to reality and
thus can be loaded with "intentional wild speculations". And when did it become bad to strive to
write fiction that also sells books after it is published? The condemnation, if carried to its logical
conclusion, puts Harwood in the position of insisting there is or should be some law of literature
that requires historical fiction to be nonfiction as much as possible, which would be absurd
because it would condemn many writers whose greatness has been long established (for
examples, Homer and Shakespeare). I absolutely enjoyed Code from first word to last and highly
recommend it to those who enjoy novels based on "intentional wild speculations".
Harwood calls himself a nontheist instead of an Atheist. He prefers nontheist because it is the
"more useful and less vilified name." I prefer Atheist because it is more in-religionists'-faces than
nontheist. Harwood is unquestionably as militant as I am, and I wouldn't argue with a person who
rates him more militant than me, so his preference for nontheist seems odd because nontheist is
not a militant term. Because militant Atheists have been scaring and enraging religionists over
200 years, when religionists hear "Atheist", they know "militant" is there even if it is unspoken.
That is why Atheists who are not militant are always seeking some other term. Harwood,
however, isn't one of the Good Doggy Atheists. His preference for nontheist is not an attempt to
avoid scaring or enraging religionists.
Harwood has sent "pages of 'Synopsis of English Grammar' to national news anchors who used
substandard English." Several of his reviews point out grammar violations by the authors. I'm not
with Harwood on this. I have a literary artist's attitude towards grammar. What are rules that
should not be broken to Harwood are guidelines to me. I ignore them whenever I disagree with
them or to accomplish my mission as a writer. Humans have been trying to control language with
rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation for as long as there has been language, but it is futile
to do it. Language is part of human culture, thus subject to constant evolution. Change is
inevitable. That is why Chaucer's famous English tales have to be translated for the average
English reader today. However, the farther a writer strays from the contemporary rules of
language, the closer she gets to losing clear communication with contemporary readers, and the
more talent she needs to persuade them her writing is a good reading experience. I stray, but I'm
not nearly so bold as Bret Easton Ellis or Cormac McCarthy.
What To Believe? has a lot to offer Atheists, Freethinkers, and Secular Humanists. I recommend
3209 S. Interstate 35 #1086, Austin, TX 78741
It seems as if everybody wants to go green these days. Well, science fiction writer Bruce Golden
has done it in a big way with his new novel Evergreen. Yes, there's an underlying environmental
theme here, but that's not what the book's really about. Despite the fantastic milieu he's created
for the planet Evergreen, this is a true character story. It's told from several viewpoints, while
exploring the themes of revenge, redemption, and obsession.
Evergreen is still a frontier planet where many forms of technology are limited by solar activity
and the planet's magnetic field. Solar power is the only power other than muscle and sweat. The
colony is being built on the backs of its indentured lumberjacks, while "the company" that owns
the planetary mineral rights begins to set up mining operations.
A man known by the name of Gash is one of these timber jockeys. He's got a past he's trying to
forget, and he makes use of the local narcotic to ease his pain - until he's recruited by the
colonists to join their insurrection against the company. This rebellion is only one of several
When an ancient artifact is discovered on Evergreen, a heretic priest back on Earth becomes
convinced it's the link that will prove his theory about the existence of an extraterrestrial "City of
God." Dr. Nikira forms an expedition to Evergreen that includes renowned archaeology professor
Luis Escobedo, his wife, Filamena, and his estranged son, Maximo. Unknown to the professor,
his wife has recently put an end to a brief but passionate affair with Maximo, her stepson. She
chastises herself for the weakness that led her to the affair, and is now determined to stay true to
her husband. However, when Maximo unexpectedly joins the expedition, she must deal with the
constant temptation of his presence.
Traveling aboard the same ship that will take them to Evergreen is Eamon, a young man wracked
by both guilt and a need for vengeance. After years of searching, Eamon believes he's finally
tracked down the man responsible for his mother's death. He intends to find the man and kill him.
In order to do so, he has contracted himself to join the timber jockey workforce, which is made
up mostly of debtors and convicts.
At this future point of man's exploration of space, several inhabitable planets have been
discovered, but, as yet, not a single intelligent species outside of mankind has been found.
However, an exobiologist studying a primate species on Evergreen believes the "ursu" may be
only thousands of years away from evolving into a sort of primitive intelligence. She'll discover
these creatures have a past as well as a future.
However, there's another intelligence on Evergreen. One not so readily visible. I won't give it
away, but suffice to say it leads this tale and all of its characters into one incredible climax.
As for the relevant issue of the environment, it's not something Golden slaps you across the face
with. No character ever broaches it - there's no editorializing. But, by the end of the book, the
question is clear. Should mankind be allowed to do whatever he wants with whatever planet he
encounters. Should he be able to do whatever he wants with planet Earth?
Evergreen has everything you look for in a great science fiction read. Believably tormented
characters, unique world-building, realistic dialogue, adventure, exploration, alien lifeforms,
conflict, resolution . . . by the time the book ended, I only wished it was longer. I wanted more of
this alien world, and wanted to know what happened to these characters next - at least those who
still survived the final page.
Art of the Upset
Bruce C. Reynolds
Advocate House (an imprint of A Cappela Publishing, Inc.)
9780981893341 hc $24.95, pbk $19.95
Jodi Grant, Reviewer
Bruce Reynolds has a philosophy for winning. He has demonstrated its success in his own life, as
an award-winning football coach and a 9-times State Representative for Delaware. In Art of the
Upset he shows how any David, in any field of endeavor, can overcome his Goliath.
While he talks about football, aiming his message at coaches, Reynold's advice translates into life
lessons that can be applied to any career, relationship, hardship, failure or success. He gives
wonderful examples, from military battles to board room tactics as well as from famous football
events, of people and teams who have come from behind to take astounding wins. And he shows
you the principal behind that win that made it possible..
Reynolds has always been fascinated with the psychology and the philosophy of how to pull off
the big "upset". Art of the Upset, is a "how-to" for the coach. But, the principles of the upset can
be applied to any profession and walk of life. He has drawn heavily from his own coaching career
and career in politics to illustrate the concepts involved in the process of pulling off the upset. He
has also researched and drawn from historical, professional, college, Olympic and world events
to make the telling of the process come alive.
Whether you want to inspire yourself, your team, your employees or your family to strive
together, this book will provide all the inspiration and how-to you'll need ... no small task in
these economically challenging times.
Says Reynolds: "I believe this book is unique and would be beneficial to any and all who desire
to be successful and to accomplish the seemingly impossible. It is a blueprint for success."
The Jigsaw Man
Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
New York, NY
If you haven't heard of Gord Rollo, don't feel alone. Though many of his short stories and novella
length works have been published in professional as well as semi-professional publications, The
Jigsaw Man is Rollo's first mass market published novel. Judging by his storytelling capabilities,
this is only the first we will hear from this creative and innovative writer.
The prologue here tells readers the reason why Michael Fox is the protagonist and why he was
ripe for the coming events in The Jigsaw Man. Readers may not see it on the opening page or
two, but once Part One "The Bridge" is digested, readers will think it a bit hard to lay down this
tale before they have completed it.
At what price would you part with one of your legs? Would you take one hundred dollars, one
thousand dollars, one million dollars? Say it is for medical purposes and you know that your leg
will assist researchers with discovering procedures which could help a lot of people. Would this
make you more inclined to part with the appendage? Michael Fox, the leading character here,
realizes his price and signs a contract to part with one of his arms. Before you shake your head
and say, "No, I can't understand that," read Fox's rationalizations and chances are good that you
will find some reasons with which you may even agree. In a hidden clinic, Fox finds that he is
not the only one selling something and it is not long before he realizes that something
considerably more disturbing is going on at "The Castle." One of the earlier clues is on a video
tape Dr. Marshall, doctor in charge and owner of the clinic, shows to the "arrivals."
"The most amazing thing by far-- and if I'd seen it anywhere else I'd have laughed and sworn it
was faked - was a human head severed below the chin, with its spinal column still attached but
openly exposed in a glass chamber filled with some milky amber-colored fluid. It was the head of
a male, a dark-haired man whose age was virtually impossible for me to guess at. His eyes would
open and close every four or five seconds, his nose twitched steadily, and once during the thirty
seconds the head was on the film, his moth opened up wide in what appeared to be a silent
---age 58, Jigsaw Man
After viewing the film, Fox and the other guests find that things really go downhill quickly.
Other discoveries are made, like the good doctor's mutilated son's head being kept alive by
machines, and Fox finds himself a threat to the doctor's planned schedule. Fox is finally tied
down and locked in by "the powers that be."
Rollo shows a certain expertise in characterization. In Jigsaw Man, he has breathed life into a
number of people you may recognize from every day dealings. Readers won't have a problem
envisioning any single character from this yarn. Too bad that sharing any of them would ruin the
effect of the book. Sorry, you'll just have to read them for yourself!
This book will scare you.
The scare may be different than most horror tales scare, but you will be scared. You will still be
compelled to finish the story, however. This book is for people with the stomach for medical
horror. It will make you queasy. Following The Jigsaw Man is an excerpt from Crimson, Rollo's
second book from Leisure. I have a feeling that we will be seeing many more dark dreams from
Gord Rollo's pen. Many more.
Gifted: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Imprint of Macmillan Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780753462836 $7.99 kingfisherpublications.com
Amanda Beesom has it all. She's the Queen Bee at Meadowbrook Middle School. She rules the
school. Anyone not her friend, is a big loser.
But everything is not what it seems. Amanda has a motto: Don't care for anyone or else you
might end up in someone else's body.
One day she looks into a mirror and sees Tracey Devon, one of the biggest losers at her school.
Problem is, she's now Tracey and even worse she's invisible to everyone around her. Then
Amanda finds out Tracey belongs to a mysterious 'gifted' class. But gifted in a strange way.
Amanda needs to figure out how to get back into her own body before it's too late.
This story is the first book in a series. Each character has a different 'gift' or paranormal ability.
Think X-men goes to Middle School. Amanda's character at first is snobby and mean. She's the
classic mean girl, hating anyone who's different and not like her. Later, though, she learns to deal
with her own special gift while in Tracey's body. The classroom situation was interesting.
Madame, the teacher, is intriguing. I wanted to know more about her and why she's so insistent
on protecting the student's abilities from others.
I like how the author is devoting a book to each of the student's special gifts. I can't help but think
that somehow each of the student's abilities will be helpful for the entire class.
This series is sure to appeal to tweens. It's entertaining, clean, and has a intriguing premise sure
to attract Xmen fans and those who love a good, fun tale.
The God Psychosis: Humankind's Ultimate Black Plague
World Audience Inc
303 Park Avenue South, Suite 1440, NY 10010-3657
Leland W. Ruble
At present I know of just a few authors who are, as William Harwood is, of writing so
extensively and so knowledgeable on a variety of subjects, and in the realm of religion, is one of
the most qualified in exposing the numerous faults, idiosyncrasies, and fantasy that masquerades
itself as a legitimate way to achieve nirvana (heaven), or if disregarded and not believed,
guarantees eternal torment in a delusional hell concocted by the priestly authors and apologists of
In this current book, the author further exposes the loony, rabid antics of religious fanatics and
those politically allied with the theofascist right in zealous attempts to recreate a world
dominated by the unscientific, the delusional, the fabulous, and the deranged. These are
individuals whose personal lives are totally predicated on beliefs which have no substance in
reality, and who since they are not confined, continue to infect society with lunatic expressions of
a godism that exists mainly in their brains and not the reality in which we actually exist.
The author makes a valiant, intellectual attempt through a series of articles (31), plus 46 book
reviews, and 4 letters to the media to expose the corruption, folly and delusional attempts by
religious apologists to remake the world into a lunatic asylum for believers in the irrational
beliefs of a god as depicted in so-called holy books.
The claims of religious apologists and their allies are thoroughly exposed as the author deftly
whacks in words, those who pretentiously hawk their religious delusions on the world stage.
Those politically allied with the theocratic, theofascist right, are also salvaged as the author
exposes their true nature and deceptive ambitions.
For instance, in the article, if Ann Coulter Was 30,000 Years More Evolved, the author had this
to say: "Ann Coulter is at the very least a serious contender, since she epitomizes the intrinsic
meaning of 'evil rabid canine.' She is as permeated with theofascism as Tomas de Torquemada,
as contemptuous of democracy as Joseph Stalin, and she has the compassion of Attila the Hun
and the redeeming social value of Adolf Hitler" (p. 43).
If you were perked up by that brilliant summation of Coulter, rest assured there are many, many
other just as luminous phrases by the author in this book.
Here's another from the article Planet of the Gullible - and the Parasites Who Fleece Them, the
author writes: "Of the 6.6 billion human beings on Planet Earth, only 2.2 billion know, believe or
suspect that they are not the domesticated livestock of an omnipotent petmaster in the sky, since
they are aware that 'gods', as such Sky Fuhrers are called, have never revealed their existence,
and almost certainly do not exist. That leaves 4.4 billion gullible marks who are currently being
controlled, manipulated and swindled by one or another god's self-appointed scriptwriters,
lawmakers, and tax collectors" (p.73).
To read more lucent phrases from the author, get the book and add it to your library for reference
and the sheer enjoyment of reading one of the foremost author's currently dispelling the illusions
of gullible, implausible god beliefs.
The religious community likely will rant and rave, and exhibit numerous temper tantrums if some
of their more notorious spokespersons should be so curious as to read this book. However, their
infantile inability to logically refute what the author states, is premised on the fact that their
religious servitude has rendered them permanently incapable of ever providing a rational,
realistic argument for belief in the illusive fantasy of an existing god. And the author knows from
his vast knowledge of religion, politics, and many other issues, that until they emerge freely from
the delusions that confine them to god belief, they will continue to wallow in that vast wasteland
of supernatural fantasy.
To get a better idea of what this book consists of, here is the author in his own words on the back
cover of the book: "Godworship is a contagious form of insanity that is within 300 years of
exterminating the human race. God addicts are not committing anthropocide, by environmental
pollution and overpopulation, out of malice. Rather, they are convinced the world is coming to an
end in their lifetimes, at which time a deus ex machina is going to carry victims of its mind-AIDS
off to a Cloud Cuckoo Land in the sky, and sentence the sane, intelligent and educated minority
to be tortured with flamethrowers for eternity in an underworld Auschwitz that can only be
described as a sadist's dream.
"No one who reads a Tanakh, Bible or Koran with his brain in gear can fail to recognize that the
character called 'God' in English mistranslations is the most sadistic, evil, mass murdering
psychopath in all fiction, and that those allegedly holy books are the most obscene paeans to evil
ever written, with Mein Kampf and the Left Behind series their only serious competitors.
"Be warned. Unless humankind exterminates religion within 150 years, there will not be a human
being left on earth in 300 years."
Color is Everything: Beginners to Advanced Painters Can Learn What All Great Artists
The Oaklea Press
6912-B Three Chopt Road, Richmond, Virginia 23226
Liana Metal, Reviewer
Dan Bartges, a full time artist since 1996, has produced oil paintings and water colors that have
been acquired by private collectors nationwide and by a number of Fortune 500 companies. He
currently lives in Virginia with his family.
Color is Everything is a useful mini guide that is a valuable tool for every artist. The book is in
full color, illustrated, and gives step by step instructions on how to learn about colors and their
use in different mediums. Dan illustrated his points by quick exercises that are easy to do and
enjoyable as well.
This mini color guide is a must for every artist who needs a fast seminar on color combinations.
Mastering color is made a lot easier to learn by following the author's tips and advice. It also
stimulates the desire to use the new hues one learns and create unique pieces of art! A very
enjoyable and useful book that will become the bible of the artist!
Get it from http://www.OakleaPress.com
The Extinction Instinct
CP Greene, author
PO Box 90145, New York, NY 10011
An important book - simply because it is ecological awareness cloaked in entertainment (and it is
highly entertaining), the novel, The Extinction Instinct, is perhaps a response to the multitude of
works of fiction produced that battle scientific issues (everything from evolution to global
Global warming, the environment, the polar ice caps, the destruction of habitat, the alarming rate
of extinction, these are all facts; however, too often, for political reasons, they are challenged,
both directly through information, and indirectly through entertainment. All one has to do is
search for "global warming" at any major bookstore's website and there are more anti-books
attempting to prove it false than books explaining or supporting it. There is a growing industry of
"entertainment" - novels, movies, websites, television shows - specifically designed to challenge
prevailing scientific theory or promote ideas that in direct contradiction to science.
So, for that reason alone, the introduction of any work of entertainment that supports - promotes -
ecological awareness is a god send. And, The Extinction Instinct is great entertainment. For a
novel, it is reminiscent of Michael Crichton or John Grisham (although written better). It is (I
expect purposefully, considering the publisher is known for "experimental literature") written in
a swift, lucid manner. The prose is careful, considerate, and fun to read. The characters are
nuanced, but certainly represent common archetypes readily apparent to any reader. The three
main characters, Maija Rudolph, Theo Kirk and Dr. Georges, represent certain fiction "models".
Maija, a mother of two gave up a career in botany to raise children, is the "every person". The
events of the book are described through her eyes. Theo, an exiled naturalist living in Africa, is
the rebellious scientist who knows the truth, who understands what is going on, but who cannot
get people to listen (Galileo, Copernicus, etc.), much to their detriment. Dr. Georges is a
"sell-out" absorbed in a vast bureaucracy who has to finally face his lack of backbone and stand
up to an administration that has a history of combating science (again, much to the detriment of
But, it is the plot that makes The Extinction Instinct a unique, important novel. Without ruining it
- one day, Maija wakes up and the news is reporting strange phenomena. It seems monkeys
overran a city in India and killed all the people. There is a sudden epidemic of common fruits and
vegetables making people sick, as if apples, oranges, etc. suddenly became poisonous. A cruise
liner was sunk the night before by what appears to be an attack by marine life. And, it begins to
escalate, until Maija spends her entire day witnessing global upheaval no one quite understands.
Why are armies of animals invading cities? Why are whales ramming ships? Why are grains
Dr. Georges is the undersecretary of the environmental affairs and, it becomes his task to answer
these questions. The world has spun out of control and government is at a loss. They lose troops
investigating an attack in a national park, they begin to lose gunships, they cannot control things
as they grow worse and worse. Over time, whole cities, then whole regions are taken over. It's a
war they didn't even know they were fighting. During investigations, Dr. Georges uncovers
controversial theories that may explain what is going on, which just so happen to be authored by
Theo Kirk. Explaining would ruin the plot, but Theo is a mixture of Indiana Jones and Charles
Darwin. He's a fun character to root for. He lives in Africa, arguably the worst place to be if
animals all the sudden decided to turn on humans, and he makes it out.
All the quasi-science and adrenaline plotting does a fantastic job of making a book about
ecological damage fun. The latent message of The Extinction Instinct is that we - humanity - are
raping nature. There is nothing new to this perspective, but when it is put in context of a revolt, a
war, it is somehow magnified. Imagine if nature actually fought back, would we be so quick to
exploit it? This is an underlying theme of The Extinction Instinct, and if it makes one person
mull this over, it deserves our praise.
Escape Under the Forever Sky
690 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Peggy Tibbetts, Reviewer
Lucy Hoffman is the 13-year old daughter of the US Ambassador to Ethiopia. By all appearances
she lives a charmed life in the middle of one of the poorest countries in Africa. A driver escorts
her from the gated compound to private school. She rides in motorcades to official dinners where
she dines with various world leaders. Servants attend to all her needs. She wants for nothing -
except her freedom.
After six months, all Lucy knows of the culture and geography she has learned from reading
books and talking to her driver, Iskinder. Like the wild animals she visits on her trips to the
National Park with Ranger Dahnie, she yearns to explore rural Africa. She eventually gets her
wish but not at all the way she imagined.
Lucy and her mother, the Ambassador, are embroiled in a serious disagreement over the touchy
subject of her freedom. She has been grounded for going to the outdoor market in Addis Ababa
with her school friends. She is furious at her mother. When she's finally allowed to go to her
friend, Tana's house for a short visit, they sneak off to hear a local band at a restaurant. There she
is kidnapped and the real story begins.
Lucy is held in a small hut in the country. Her kidnappers, a British woman and 2 African men,
are so disorganized and one of the men is so violent she is certain they will kill her. Even though
she is keenly aware that certain death might also await her in the dangerous wilderness, she
believes her only option is to escape. What follows is the most challenging adventure of a
"Escape Under the Forever Sky" is a suspenseful and spell-binding tale of Lucy's bravery and
resourcefulness as she draws on everything she has learned about this mysterious land to guide
her incredible journey. Yohalem's abundant research shines through with vivid details. From the
colorful, bustling marketplace in Addis Ababa to the hidden dangers and natural beauty of the
Ethiopian wilderness, young readers will feel like they are right there with Lucy through all her
exploits. This is an intriguing summer safari for all ages.
Book Title: Strokes of Genius
L. Jon Wertheim
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003
Raja N. Krishnan
Tennis is great. At the time of this writing, it is Middle Sunday, the traditional Sunday without
action during Wimbledon. The non-appearance of Nadal at this tournament due to injury,
combined with Federer's historic win at the French Open and the reading of a book (more on this
in a few) has made me reflect on the significance of last year's Wimbledon Mens Final. In the last
several years Roger Federer has become my favorite player to watch, due to his grace, fluidity
and ease of play. Some of the other players I enjoyed watching before him include Andre Agassi,
Stefan Edberg, and Mats Wilander. All these players had rivals, and that made them raise their
games to the next level. For Andre Agassi, of course it was the greatness of Pete Sampras, for
Edberg it was Becker and in the case of Wilander one of his main rivals was Ivan Lendl. Still
many people talk about the rivalry between McCenroe and Borg as the greatest, which I was too
young at the time to fully experience and enjoy. What led me to think about this on a Middle
Sunday during Wimbledon 2009? The answer to that question is L. Jon Wertheim's book,
Strokes of Genius. This book is about Federer, Nadal, the rivalry, Pascal Maria (the match
umpire), the game of tennis and most importantly about the greatest game played, Wimbledon
2008 Mens Final. The author does a great job of weaving the story of the game together, from the
pre-match ongoings, the sights and sounds of Wimbledon and the historical background of the
game of tennis. The author delicately crafts historical information about the game of tennis at the
right junctures as the match is being described, like flashbacks in a movie. This book has been an
easy, fast, and an enjoyable read. It makes me want to pick up a racket again and play tennis. It is
a book that celebrates the greatness of tennis. This book is a must read for all, and including
those up and coming young tennis players. Thanks to Mr. Wertheim for capturing this great
moment in tennis history and hopefully further jolting the popularity of tennis.
The Day Begins with Christ
Adrienna Dionna Turner
9781438929020 $18.99 800-839-8640 www.authorhouse.com
Dr. Author O. Wright
The Day Begins with Christ is a marvelous work of God guiding the hands and heart of his
servant Adrienna. In her powerful book, she makes the power and purpose of our Lord's death
abundantly clear and accessible. In her lucid discussions of life and salvation, she stresses that
through Jesus' death alone, the power over sin and death has been conquered and the mastery and
dominion of sin have been broken once and forever. In her gracious writings, she tells her readers
that the exhortation from our Lord and Savior to lead a righteous and holy life is still as relevant
today as it has ever been. Then, through her rich and loving wisdom, she patiently leads her
readers to the perfect will of God. As Christians, we should always demonstrate the amazing love
of God in our lives as we walk in Faith from day to day. Because it is God's transforming love
through his son Jesus Christ which brings us to the true expression of his will. The Day Begins
with Christ contains the divine message that will bring total enrichment to our souls. This
precious book, along with the Holy Bible, should be in every home so that one could learn how
to live the successful walk of Faith.
Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend
Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.
Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers.
141 Wooster St., New York, NY 10012
9781590200407 $21.95, 241 pages.
Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend is an uplifting and honest
book for abandoned friends who are seeking advice to alleviate their pain. Dr. Irene Levine draws
from the personal testimonies of thousands of women to provide anecdotes and groundbreaking
solutions to this distressing experience. Offering tools for personal assessment, case stories, and
actionable advice for saving, ending, or re-evaluating a relationship, Levine shows that breakups
are sometimes inevitable - but not unbearable.
Best Friends Forever teaches women to stop blaming themselves, and that the sad experience of a
broken relationship can make them stronger people who are better able to handle relationships
Best Friends Forever is a very insightful book with an original point of view on the termination
of relationships between friends. For example, Levine says that the endings are never as sudden
as they feel and that on looking back one can pick out events that forecast the eventual breakup.
The book gave this reviewer insight into a long ago split she had always thought was caused by a
remark she had made that offended her friend. On looking back at the situation with a new focus,
she was able to realize that she had gotten tired of her friend's idiosyncracies long before, and
that the "offensive remark" probably was designed by her unconscious need to end the
Levine tells us that whereas we are brought up to believe that best friendships go on forever, in
reality they rarely do. Friendships are based on two differing personalities, which evolve over the
course of time. There is no guarantee that two friends will grow in the same direction. According
to Levine, the odds are overwhelmingly high that relationships will fracture for one reason or
another, and break one or both hearts. Unfortunately, she says, most friendships are fragile rather
There are strong similarities between a close friendship and romantic relationships, and being
rejected by a best friend hurts just as much as being tossed aside by a lover, husband, or
boyfriend. The dumped one besieges herself with questions such as "Wasn't I good enough for
her? How could she do that? Who does she think she is? Does she ever think about me? Is there
something I could have done to prevent this?" (p.15). In a way, a broken friendship is the more
painful of the two disasters, as friends and family sympathize with a jilted lover, but the person
abandoned by a friend often is ashamed to tell others about the rift. And unlike a romantic
relationship, there is no standard code of ethics that obliges the dumper to be kind or even civil to
the dumpee, to offer polite parting words, an apology, or an explanation. As a result, it can be
very difficult for the rejected friend to experience closure about the relationship. An abrupt
ending often leaves the abandoned person in a depression for months. Some never get over
The author makes a moot point when she says, "The quality of a relationship rather than its
duration is a more realistic measure of the meaningfulness of a friendship" (p. 21).
Levine, in interesting sidebars, discusses the myths of friendship, one of which is that you always
should be able to say whatever you want to a true friend. Maybe so, Levine warns, but be aware
that some remarks are so hurtful they never will be forgiven, and can lead to the end of the
Relationships can fall apart for many reasons. The decision to part may be mutual because of a
blow-up, a disappointment, or simply because the friends have grown apart. A one-sided ending,
of course, is particularly painful to the person being left. According to the author most female
friendships have ambiguous endings, with the women drifting apart without ever really
understanding what brought about the termination.
A Chapter 3 sidebar, Tenets of Friendship at Times of Loss, should prove particularly helpful to
those close to someone mourning a lost friend (p. 58). The tenets include being there for the
person, as your words are less important than just being present and listening, not saying you
know what your friend is going through, as each experience of loss and grief is different,
focusing on what you can do, not what you can't do, refraining from prying your friend with
questions, giving a warm hug and/or an expression of thoughtfulness, communicating the
message, "I care and I'm here if you need me," and if you are the person grieving, realizing that
people often feel awkward about your situation, and allowing them some slack.
Best Friends Forever is an astute, ground breaking, easily read book, which holds one's interest
from beginning to end. It is highly recommended for psychotherapists whose practices are filled
with people mourning the loss of their best friends, the mourners themselves, which includes just
about everybody at some time or another in their lives, and the families and friends who love
them and feel helpless in confronting their pain.
Dr. Irene S. Levine is a psychologist, journalist, member of the American Society for Journalists
and Authors, and professor at New York University Medical School. She writes frequently for
such publications as The New York Times, Health, Ladies' Home Journal, Reader's Digest, Self,
The Huffington Post, and Better Homes and Gardens. She lives in New York.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living
Cheryl Carmin, Ph.D.
De Capo Press, Perseus Books Group.
2300 Chestnut Street, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted, intrusive
thoughts and rituals, affects approximately 6 to 9 million Americans. A complex illness that is
largely misunderstood by the public, it often goes untreated or misdiagnosed. In addition, many
mental health professionals have very little experience in diagnosing anxiety disorders. With
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Demystified, OCD expert and clinical psychologist Cheryl
Carmin explains the true nature of OCD, the factors that complicate its diagnosis, and the best
ways to cope with it.
In clear, user-friendly language, the book offers crucial information such as getting a correct
diagnosis, the most effective treatments, medication, guidelines for family and friends of OCD
sufferers, issues for children and adolescents, related disorders, and a step-by-step self-help
approach for those suffering from OCD.
Reviewer Dr. Alma H. Bond writes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Demystified is a
fast-moving, interesting, and simply written book which clarifies the mystery of this little
understood disease. It is a book that can change the lives forever of the millions of victims and
their families who hitherto have suffered in silence. Written in a compelling manner, the book
can be read easily by intelligent laymen, and should be required reading for physicians,
clinicians, and therapists who deal with this perplexing disease.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-1V) defines
Obsessions as "recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced ...as
intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress."
Compulsions are defined as "repetitive behaviors (e.g. hand washing, ordering, checking) or
mental acts (e. g. praying, counting, repeating words silently) the person feels driven to perform
in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be rigidly applied" (p. 6).
Dr. Carmin informs us that although the term OCD is part of our culture's vocabulary, the vast
majority of people have no idea of what the illness really is like. Although Hollywood plays
OCD for laughs and presents victims as funny or bizarre, for the smitten individual and his or her
family and friends, it is no laughing matter, but can be a terrifying affliction .The up-to-date book
gives a great deal of information that this reviewer, for one, who has been a practicing
psychoanalyst for 37 years, didn't know. For example, Carmin tells us, "OCD is a medical
condition that causes your brain to function differently from that of someone who doesn't have
the disorder "(p.xii). Many of Carmin's colleagues believe the disease is caused by an imbalance
of chemicals in the brain, while others think that the chemical imbalance contributes to the
disorder. Carmin tells us that the jury is not out yet on whether the behavior is biologically based
There are six to nine million sufferers, or two to three percent of the population who suffer from
OCD, about one in forty adults and one in fifty school-aged children. About half of the adults
diagnosed with anxiety disorders had demonstrated symptoms of a psychiatric illness before their
fifteenth birthday. Obviously, a huge number of people need this book! The illness also takes a
huge toll economically, amounting to approximately six percent of the estimated cost of all
psychiatric disorders. It strikes boys and girls at about the same rate, and usually appears in the
late teens or early twenties, possibly as a result of the surges of hormones and brain chemicals at
that period. About twenty-five percent of OCD sufferers have a family member who is similarly
distressed. Throughout the book, the author stresses that although OCD can ruin lives, it is a
treatable disease. Many victims who have suffered for decades have been"cured" by proper
treatment. Often such people do not know they have a treatable condition, and hence never seek
help. Others think the condition means they are "crazy," and keep it secret. Although scientists
frequently refer to OCD as a "complex" genetic disorder, research has yet to pinpoint a single
gene that "causes" OCD, nor is there a definitive medical test that can diagnose the disorder.
Common OCD symptoms include contamination and cleaning compulsions, harm-based
obsessions and checking compulsions, sexual and aggressive obsessions, perfectionism
obsessions and compulsions, religious obsessions, hoarding, and other symptoms such as the
constant search for reassurance and repeated questioning which do not fit into the other
According to the author, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and ERP, a form of CBT, is the
therapy of choice for treating OCD. The basic idea behind CBT is to teach such people how to
better understand and manage their obsessional beliefs and related anxieties so that they no
longer need to engage in compulsive behavior or rituals. The therapy involves a specialized form
of CBT called exposure and response prevention or ERP. The individual is exposed to whatever
causes his or her anxiety and is taught to refrain from using rituals such as hand washing to
counteract the anxiety. The technique sounds simple, but actually is very difficult to do and
causes the troubled individual much stress and pain. It also requires a great deal of courage. The
person must stay in the terrifying situation as long as it takes to find out that what is most feared
does not happen The anxiety always lessens, as it is not possible to stay anxious forever. The
process is called habituation. The aim of ERP is not to eliminate the painful thoughts but to learn
to tolerate them without resorting to rituals. As the smitten individual becomes more skilled at
refusing OCD, s/he becomes less frightened by the thoughts and images that formerly were
experienced as a torment, and the obsessions diminish in frequency and intensity. They subside
as a result of cognitive restructuring, as the ERP process involves not giving in to the rituals.
Research has found that there is a fifty to eighty percent reduction in OCD symptoms after twelve
to twenty sessions of ERP.
Some people require medication along with their therapy. Six common medications, along with
their possible side effects, are described.
Chapter Ten, How to Help When a Loved One has OCD, should prove particularly useful to
those close to an OCD sufferer. In it, the author describes ways of supporting the individual
suffering from the disorder. Most important is the strategy, "Do not do what comes naturally." It
is difficult to watch the pain the person is suffering without accommodating and helping him or
her over a difficult moment by assisting with a ritual, for example help with aligning the coffee
cups in the dishwasher, or giving reassurance, such as "Yes, I'm sure you turned off the water
upstairs." Yet this "help" is detrimental to the person's getting well, and is to be avoided at all
costs. Rather, patient should be told, "I'm not going to reassure you because reassurance will feed
the OCD." In addition, irritating as it may be to live with a person so afflicted, the author advises
families to watch their tempers, as the severity of a person's OCD symptoms is greatly influenced
by the attitudes of those around him.
The book ends with a list of resources where OCD sufferers can get more help, a Glossary, and
an appendix containing the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCSD).
If pressed to give negative criticism of this insightful book I would have to say that credit should
have been given to Freud, who wrote that to cure a phobia, the sufferer needs to face the object of
his fears. Freud would have well understood the basic premise of Obsessive-Compulsive
Disorder Demystified, that the sufferer must give up the rituals that attempt to ward off anxiety
and face his or her fears. (Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition, London, 1955, The Hogarth
Press, Lines of Advance in Psychoanalytic Therapy, 1919, pp. 165-166.) Despite this serious
omission, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Demystified is highly recommended for medical
personnel and psychotherapists whose knowledge of OCD frequently leaves much to be desired,
afflicted laymen who may have suffered decades in silence for lack of information about the
illness, and their long-suffering families and friends, who are frightened, bewildered by, and feel
helpless before the strangeness of their loved one's symptoms.
Dr. Cheryl Carmin is a clinical psychologist and the director of both the Stress and Anxiety
Disorder Clinic and Cognitive Behavior Therapy Program of the University of Illinois at
Chicago, where she is also a professor. A nationally recognized expert in the research and
treatment of anxiety disorders, Dr. Carmin is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive
Dr. Alma H. Bond
Black Lyon Publishing, LLC
Rating: 4 Stars
Fallyn Mitchell is barely able to make ends meet working as a freelance reporter and if she
doesn't snag a full time job or land a big story soon, she'll be living on the street. As if her life
wasn't complicated enough, Fallyn has been plagued night after night with unexplained dreams of
a mysterious stranger, whose presence is always hidden behind shadows. When the prominent,
Simon Clairmont of Clairmont Industries, specifically requested Fallyn for an exclusive
interview, something he rarely does, she thought her luck was finally turning around, but, of
course, it could never be that easy.
Simon and his cousin, Reese, are Vampires, known as Eternals. They've had centuries to
accumulate their wealth and improve their social status. Good and evil exists in both vampire and
mortal realms. Simon, along with his faction, prides themselves on doing good towards others
and ridding both realms of evil doers. The moment Simon gazed upon the beauty of this
stunning, mortal woman, Fallyn Mitchell, he was instantly enchanted. He knew he had to claim
her as his mate. Following her every move, protecting her from harm and even entering her
dreams while she slept, Simon was obsessed. Unable to contain his desire any longer, he
deliberately lured Fallyn to him.
What Fallyn thought was going to be a normal interview turned into a nightmare when Simon
revealed his true nature. Shocked and dismayed she ran, jumping into the first car she flagged
down. Of course, Fallyn's timing couldn't have been worse, after she found out the driver was
Simon's malicious brother, Lucas, determined on revenge and world domination. Knowing what
his brother is capable of, Simon is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep the mortal
woman he loves alive.
Obsession Everlasting is an interesting and enchanting read. Lisa Phillips has created a unique
and appealing realm between mortals and vampires. The emotional tension between Fallyn and
Simon is heart felt. The characters are portrayed life-like and the plot stayed on course
throughout the story. I enjoyed this story and will recommend it to other readers in the
Paranormal Romance genres.
Class Act Books
9781935048268 $6.50 ebook www.classactbooks.com
Erica Peterson has became part owner of her parent's business, Belle's Bridal Salon, a 19th
century Victorian mansion that's been passed down throughout her family's history and renovated
into a Bridal Salon by her mother, before Erica was born. Since her parent's retirement, Erica has
been given full command over the business, along with her proficient staff. Erica recently took
out a huge loan to remodel the Salon and it's essential that this upcoming bridal season is
profitable in order for her to pay off the loan, quickly. The problem is, there have been some
eerie and bizarre occurrences going on in the Salon and Erica's staff are suspecting it's
paranormal, but Erica is skeptical, until she spotted the mysterious Victorian bridal gown in her
store front window.
When the burglar alarm suddenly went off at the salon, Detective Grant Stewart was sent to
investigate. As he and Erica greeted each other, they both experienced deja vu along with an
unexplained passionate yearning towards each other, and soon after, the paranormal activities
increase around them. Not only was the ghostly Victorian gown seen, but now it was being worn
by an apparition, resembling a lady with red hair and green eyes, levitating several feet above the
floor. Erica needs to rid the Salon of this Victorian ghost Bride, quickly, before she loses all her
clientele and her business too. But some strange force is pulling Erica and Grant together, could
the increasing emotions between these two have something to do with the ghost? Could they be
soul mates and destined to be together?
Eternally His is a spectacular, charming and entertaining story of how true love knows no
bounds, surpassing time, space, past and present, in order to find its soul mate. Carol North has
successfully expressed heartfelt emotions through her characters, along with a perfectly
developed plot, turning this dazzling story into a thrilling and sensational read! I have added Mrs.
North onto my definite author's to buy list. I recommend this to any reader who loves romance,
time travel and paranormal genres. A must read!!!
Amy J Ramsey, Reviewer
Da Capo Press
9780306817359 $16.95 www.dacapopress.com
To most readers, the term "Wounded Warriors" refers to those Marines, soldiers, and sailors
wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. Author Mike Sager, however, an experienced investigative
reporter and son of a Marine officer, has widened the term to include some individuals to whom
the term 'dysfunctional' could easily be considered charitable
Very possible the title of the book will confuse most readers. "Surely Wounded Warriors" refers
to those Marines in the program at Camp Lejeune's Maxwell Hall? Sager has written a gripping
account of how these Marines are coping with their combat- altered lives. An experienced
interviewer, he lets the Marines' stories speak for themselves as he talks with several enlisted
men as well as Lt Col Bill Maxwell founder of the Wounded Warrior program. Through the
firefights and I.E.D.s remembered by those who fought in Anbar Province, Sager lets the Marines
describe the firefights, mortar attacks, and IED's that wounded them, as well as how they're
coping now. Powerful stuff.
But to Sager, "Wounded Warriors" includes others besides the Marines. He follows a
middle-class heroin addict... Vietnam-era expatriates living in Thailand a 13-yr old
Philadelphia kid who fights pit bulls, a 650 lb fat man Kobe Bryant Rev Al
Sharpton Marlon Brando Sager's definition of a 'wounded warrior' is far broader than a
typical Marine or Army active-service or veteran would ever consider.
There is no doubt, however, that Sager cares for his subjects. There are no value judgments
made, no aspersions cast. Sager is simply telling the stories of some truly dysfunctional and
pathetic members of society, and he relates their stories in a manner that make the reader
But any reader who has experienced combat, or has had friends or family members serve
overseas, will be hard-pressed to feel any sympathy for the likes of Kobe Bryant, Rev Al
Sharpton, and Marlon Brando. At least the morbidly-obese 650-lb man is happily married and
runs a thriving free-lance electronics design business, so this 'wounded warrior' has overcome his
The definition of a 'wounded warrior' is very broad to Sager as he writes of Brando being a
recluse on his private island, Bryant signing basketballs that he'll sell for $ 699, or Rev Al
wondering about the food he'll be served when he gets locked up. But in the real world, these
stories pale in comparison to that of the LCPL at Maxwell Hall describing the firefight in which
he's wounded and his buddy's killed.
But perhaps the new definition of 'wounded warrior' is how one responds to the challenges
around them and yet one more reason why those Marines in the Lejeune and Pendleton
Wounded Warrior barracks remain the elite of American society today.
I Am My Brother's Keeper
GySgt Jason K. Doran
Now that the war in Iraq has receeded to the back pages, it's worth reading an account of those
Marines who fought in the March 2003 initial push north.
GySgt Jason Doran was one of them. As part of Task Force Tarawa, the lead Marine unit,
Doran's Weapons Co, 1st Bn, 2nd Marine Regiment rolled into An-Nasiriyah on too-little sleep,
some incredibly bad Intel, and ended up fighting a 7-day battle against some incredibly motivated
Doran's book gives the reader a snapshot of what happened on 23 March 2003 from his corner of
the action. From working with the 81mm mortar team down on the Euphrates River Bridge, to
driving down and rescuing the Marines marooned at the "Alamo". Written in a brutally honest
style that comes from his 20-year career in the Corps, Doran gives the reader a glimpse of what
happened that day. Bravo Zulu, Gy!
Tears of a Warrior
Janet Seahorn, Ph.D & E. Anthony Seahorn
9780615213170 $19.95 www.tearsofawarrior.com
"The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten", said President Calvin Coolidge,
and with a potential 40,000 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome diagnosed since 2003,
PTSD is an issue that will be concerning both returning veterans and their families for years to
Husband-and-wife team Tony and Joyce Seahorn's book "Tears of a Warrior" addresses PTSD
from the unique viewpoint of a warrior, Tony, whose Vietnam-induced PTSD affected his
family, with that of his Ph.D wife Janet, who learned about PTSD when dealing with Tony.
The first part of the book is Tony's story; that of an Army veteran with multiple awards for
heroism. Well written and interesting, he details the combat experience that sent him home
wounded. Then Joyce takes over, with a brief history of PTSD, explanations of how PTSD
affects others, and suggestions on dealing with veterans who may have PTSD. While not
scientific, her ideas are borne of someone who has lived the experience and understands the need
to have others understand what PTSD is about, and how to help their loved ones. "Tears of a
Warrior" is interesting reading for anyone who needs an introduction to the growing world of the
Uncle John Salutes the Armed Forces
Bathroom Readers Institute
9781592239801 $18.95 www.bathroomreader.com
There are few books out today that will bring the reader such a interesting history of the
American military. Written in a fashion that will attract everyone from the high school student to
the retired combat veteran, this book is the highlight of the Uncle John's series.
They've taken all five branches of the service and given the reader dozens of little stories, facts,
and vignettes from each. Some are funny, some are not, and many simply relate the unknown
stories that makes up the fine tradition our military deserves: from Lt. John Yancy and his
Marines fighting their way out of Chosin Reservoir, Bill Mauldin's cartoon characters Willie &
Joe making their way across France during WW2, John Ripley (USMC) single handedly halting a
North Korean advance at Dong Ha...to actor (and Navy veteran!) Eddie Albert's heroism at
Tarawa...this book personalizes our fighting men in a way that most classical battles stories do
The book also takes the time to present some of the better books and movies that our Marines -
Navy - Army - Air Force have spawned; while every military devotee has seen "Saving Private
Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down", Uncle John suggests such movies as "They Were Expendable"
and "Glory". His reading list is equally suberb: selections like "All Quiet on the Western Front"
and Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down" serve to remind us that for all the music, flags, movies, and
hoopla, wars are fought by some incredibly brave men who rise to an occasion they'd never
dreamed they'd encounter.
Interspersed in the book are the stories of the five young men who have earned the Medal of
Honor - all posthumously - while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; it's good to see Smith (USA),
Dunham (USMC), Murphy (USN), Monsoor (USN), and McGinnis (USA) remembered.
This book will make great reading and a better gift - Bravo Zulu !!
Andrew Lubin, Reviewer
Writing Away the Demons
North Star Press of St. Cloud
PO Box 451, St. Cloud, MN 56302
9780878393299, $14.95, www.northstarpress.com
Creativity can be a tool for a healthier soul. "Writing Away the Demons: Stories of Creative
Coping Through Transformative Writing" is a collection of stories by those who, while in crisis,
took up a pen and paper and wrote stories, poetry, memoirs, and more in order to cope with their
dilemmas ranging from addiction to cancer. Showing the power of literary expression, "Writing
Away the Demons" is a very highly recommended read for those who need something to look
towards for strength.
Why On Earth Does God Have to Paint?
Rafael Chodos, author
Junko Chodos, illustrator
PO Box 995, Malibu, CA 90265
9780970404282, $35.00, www.giottomultimedia.com
Art is the most primal expression of the human soul, and to some, it is an expression of God.
"Why on Earth Does God Have to Paint? Centripetal Art" is a collection of unique and offbeat
paintings from Junko Chodos with analysis and tribute written by her husband of many decades,
Rafael. Her art may seem strange to viewers at first, but as Rafael explains, much begins to
become clear as to why her work is revered in the modern day. "Why on Earth Does God Have to
Paint?" is a unique collection of art sure to please art connoisseurs with a taste of the
Adopted for Life
Russell D. Moore
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
9781581349115, $15.99, www.crossway.org
Should Christian families prioritize adoption? Author Russell D. Moore believes so. "Adopted
for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches" is Moore's argument for
adoption in Christian communities, stating that adoption is a way of spreading the faith and
saving lives at the same time. Arguing Moore's points effectively and supporting religious views
with quotes from scripture, "Adopted for Life" is of recommendation to any Christian family
What Are You Going to Do With Your Life?
Edwin H. Friedman
c/o Church Publishing
445 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781596271142, $28.00, www.seaburybooks.com
The ramblings of a rabbi can bring much light into one's life. "What Are You Going to Do With
Your Life? Unpublished Writings and Diaries" is a collection of writings from acclaimed writer,
rabbi, and therapist, Edwin Friedman. These are previously unpublished writings, now available
thirteen years after his death, and their insights will make readers of any faith ponder at length.
"What Are You Going to Do With Your Life?" is of interest to any seeking contemplation.
The Devil Can't Cook Spaghetti
c/o Paulist Press
997 Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, NJ 07430
9781587680496, $14.00, www.hiddenspringbooks.com
Fear is truly a powerful thing, and has more influence than many people realize. "The Devil Can't
Cook Spaghetti: Using Faith to Overcome Fear" is a Christian self-help manual from author and
former television host Michael Essany, about the impact of fear in our lives. Through the power
of faith, fear can be conquered with life-changing results. A simple and straightforward
faith-based approach to anxiety, "The Devil Can't Cook Spaghetti" is a read that some will find
improving their lives.
Reconciliation in Afghanistan
United States Institute of Peace Press
1200 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
9781601270429, $10.00, www.usip.org
How has Afghanistan fared in recent years after the American liberation? "Reconciliation in
Afghanistan" analyzes how the American liberation of Afghanistan has contributed to country's
ongoing success and stability in recent years. Offering both criticism and praise, author Michael
Semple gives a level-headed evaluation of the U.S. government's handling of this issue.
"Reconciliation in Afghanistan" is of high recommendation to any looking for an intelligent
debate of modern Afghanistan's current social issues.
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781439205389, $40.00, www.booksurge.com
Every culture has its fine music, and Turkey is no different. "Post-Ottoman Turkey: Classical
Music & Opera" brings readers a taste of modern Turkey's fine culture in its classically
influenced music. Modern day Turkey has the unique position of being both an Islamic and
European nation, which shares influences from both of its cultures. A study of the art of music in
one of the most intriguing places in the planet, "Post-Ottoman Turkey" is a must-have for any
wanting a fuller understanding of music in the world today.
The Reality of God in the Universe
Bedrich V. Hettich
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 300, Bloomington, IN 47403
Star Treatment (publicity)
PO Box 133, Beaver Crossing, NE 68313
9780595521807, $17.95, www.iuniverse.com
God is a subject that baffles many in their considerations of the nature of the universe. "The
Reality of God in the Universe: Humankind Integrating with Life on God's Earth" is one man's
ponderings on the nature of a supreme being and creator of all existence. Author Bedrich V.
Hettich believes God is a unifier of all of humankind, and if we begin to realize some basic
principles about God, the world would be a happier place. "The Reality of God in the Universe"
is a fine and intriguing read about humanity's relationship with God.
My New iPhone
No Starch Press
555 De Haro Street, Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94107
9781593271954, $29.95, www.nostarch.com
The iPhone can be more than just an MP3 player and a cell phone. "My New iPhone: 52 Simple
Projects to Get You Started" is a guide to maximizing the value of one's iPhone by using its
power to the fullest. Practical projects, convenient projects, and just plain fun projects are all
discussed and outlined for readers to better understand what the device can truly do. A must for
the iPhone novice, "My New iPhone" is the perfect gift for those trying to catch up with the
technologically driven pack.
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533160082, $13.95, www.vantagepress.com
Ol' Faithful may be faithful, but that doesn't mean there isn't some mystery behind it. "Thermia:
Dawn of Armageddon" is a mystery of geophysics, as a professor and his young associate attempt
to uncover the secrets of Ol' Faithful. Together, they realize there may be more to it than a daily
eruption. "Thermia" is of high recommendation for those who love both mystery and
Michael J. Carson
A Little Murder
P.O. Box 1984, Friendsville, TX 77549
9781603181006 $18.95 http://www.lldreamspell.com
ER nurse Angie Deacon thinks a fishing trip on her husband's birthday might help ease the
tension between them. Will has been acting strange and Angie can't figure out what's going on
with him. In the middle of the trip, the boat's captain, Nolan Little, is found dead, a filet knife
through his chest. Detective Colby Jarvis initially thinks this will be an easy solve; other than
Nolan and his wife Valerie, there were only five passengers on the boat. But Jarvis can find
nothing linking any of the passengers to Little or his murder. Angie, feeling sorry for Valerie,
befriends her and the two women decide to investigate the murder on their own, uncovering
deadly secrets of the other passengers, some of whom will kill to keep them.
Davis takes what looks to be a simple murder mystery and adds enough twists and turns to
produce a real whodunit readers will be challenged to figure out. Characters are solidly
developed and dimensional, the plot fast-paced and peppered with suspense.
P.O. Box 1984, Friendsville, TX 77549
9781603180948 $15.95 www.lldreamspell.com
SBI agent Logan Hunter is called back from personal leave to investigate a brutal murder along
the banks of the Black River in Ivanhoe, North Carolina, where animal rights activist Clara
Banoak is found hanging from her chandelier, gutted like a deer. Logan quickly learns that
Banoak was outspoken in her views against harming animals and had more enemies than friends
in this hunter-infested area. Due to an outbreak of the flu, Logan is initially on her own as she
investigates the murder, developing a long list of suspects. When she gets too close, Logan is
assaulted and left to die in Hell Swamp. More determined than ever, she doggedly pursues her
case, uncovering other heinous crimes, with danger lurking around every corner.
Hell Swamp, book number three in the Logan Hunter Mystery series, is an intriguing thriller.
Logan Hunter is an interesting character: a woman with backbone who does not let the threat of
peril get in her way; an investigator committed to her case who will not stop until it's closed.
Whitfield adds a nice touch of romance with Logan's lover, fellow SBI agent Chase Riley. The
plot moves at a fast pace with an abundance of suspense and suspects, offering a mystery readers
will be challenged to solve.
P.O. Box 1984, Friendsville, TX 77549
9781603180405 $17.95 www.lldreamspell.com
After shooting a teenager in self-defense, homicide investigator Niki Alexander quits the force
and turns to counseling at a teen shelter. Although Niki works hard to help runaway teens, she is
haunted by guilt over the shooting. Abandoned by her father several months earlier, Jessica
Keeling lives on the street, going by the name of Jade. When she wakes up next to a dead man,
Jade panics and flees the scene, only to disappear. Jade's friend Rube, convinced Jade isn't
running from the police but that someone has taken her, implores Niki to help him find her.
Niki's former partner, Luis Perez, searching for the young woman seen running away from the
dead man, teams up with Niki to try to find Jade. Their investigation uncovers crimes of a more
serious nature: the mutilated bodies of missing teen girls.
Elvebak delivers a gritty mystery focusing on the sad and traumatic lives of runaway teens.
Plenty of red herrings are offered along with a suspenseful plot and realistic characters. Elvebak's
credible dialogue enhances the story, which moves at a fast pace. Visual imagery is at times
graphic, although essential to this well-written thriller.
Life Is One Big To-do List: a Woman's Life after 40
Terri Lee Ryan
845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
9781606935675 $24.95 www.eloquentbooks.com
Terri Lee Ryan, marketing consultant and career coach, has penned a witty self-help book aimed
at women over 40 regarding life's unending chaotic moments and how to deal with them. Ryan
focuses on issues ranging from lust versus love to aging parents, children, and pets. She writes
about divorce, changes in friendships, dysfunctional families, career challenges, volunteering for
charity work, along with dealing with housework, irritating people, computers, aging, and much
Life is One Big To-Do List addresses many important issues in a way readers will find humorous
and relatable. Women over 40, as well as women and men of all ages, are sure to benefit from the
author's candid, cleverly-written text. Ryan poignantly ends with: "My goal is to live each day as
if it was my last and keep a stock of pens and paper handy for my to-do lists, knowing that when
I quit writing them, my life is over. I would urge you to do the same." Well said.
Your One and Only
P.O. Box 1984, Friendsville, TX 77549
9781603180825 $15.95 http://www.lldreamspell.com
Production coordinator Brynne Sanderlin needs a man. Not for herself, although that would be
nice, but for her boss, producer Stephen Long. Long's TV program, Your One and Only, a reality
show pitting a bachelor against ten single women, has had three disastrous seasons without one
proposal. Long's pushing hard for a happy outcome, meaning engagement, and Brynne needs a
winner if she wants to move up in the production industry. She meets Colin Walker, a high
school Social Studies teacher, at a coffee shop and decides this sexy, personable man would be
the perfect bachelor. It takes some persuasion, but Brynne manages to get Colin to agree, and off
they fly to Ocracoke Island, NC for filming. But Brynne has a dilemma on her hands: she's
attracted to Colin and wouldn't mind having him for her own, but if he doesn't pick a potential
bride, her career's down the tubes.
Angie Best-Boss has penned a charming, fun-filled romance offering endearing characters and
laugh-out-loud scenarios. The chemistry between Brynne and Colin sparkles amidst an engaging
plot that readers will enjoy to the fullest. Ms. Best-Boss raises the bar for romance writers with
this well-written, entertaining story, which moves at a fast pace and is one that readers will be
reluctant to put aside.
The Resqueth Revolution
Mark H. Phillips
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781440109539 $20.95 www.iuniverse.com
Steve Marks may be a brilliant physicist but his reputation is in the gutter due to past unethical
behavior. Marks lands a job with a group of paranormal investigators tracking and destroying
entities from another dimension they call "demons" who feed off human terror. With the help of
his team, Marks devises a way to kill the demons, which backfires to the point of taking out
prominent humans associated with these entities. The team is taken hostage by the U.S. military
and forced to help find a way to cross dimensions and destroy the demons. Aware that demons
have strong allies in governmental positions, the team doesn't know who to trust and ultimately
becomes involved in warfare with humans and demons.
Phillips' concept is a bit complex but he is adept at delivering the story in such a way most
readers will have no problem understanding the basic mechanics of quantum physics and the
theory of dimensional worlds. The plot moves quickly and is filled with action, suspense and
deception. Primary characters are well-developed and an integral part of the story. The premise is
thrilling and readers will be so intrigued with this well-written sci-fi they will be reluctant to put
the book aside once it's finished.
The Wrong Side of Memphis
P.O. Box 1984, Friendsville, TX 77549
9781603181167 $16.95 www.lldreamspell.com
Dimond Redding, former Vietnam War field nurse, moves to St. Louis for some peace and quiet,
thinking to retire there. But that's not to be. Two weeks later, a man is murdered in the apartment
across the hall from Di. Di suspects the investigating detective is focusing on the wrong person
when he arrests a friend of one of the tenants in Di's building. Elvin Suggs, Green Beret during
the Vietnam War, is reeling from his wife's demands for a divorce. Suggs takes his dog and heads
to St. Louis to visit Di, his best friend's widow. Suggs, a private investigator, suspects something
afoul when more people are murdered in Di's apartment building, including his wife. When
Suggs is accused of his wife's murder, he decides to investigate on his own and soon finds his
own life in danger.
Applewhite brings focus to Vietnam vets via the characters in this book, stressing their outlook
on the war and the role they played in it as well as the lives they lead and the friendships they
cherish from that time period. This whodunit has plenty of suspects with several shifty
characters, all with secrets of their own, occupying the apartment building. Suggs is an appealing
character with a warm heart and zest for life. His dog Vanna adds an appealing dimension to the
read, as does Cobra, the homeless Vietnam vet Suggs helps.
Christy Tillery French
The Crossing Over of Mattie Pearl
Andrea R. Garrison
Andrea's Greeting and Greetheart Production
A somber reflection of the passing of a loved one is the main theme of this book. Comfort for
those who remain here is the mantra of Andrea R. Garrison as she takes the journey of her
mother into the hereafter in The Crossing Over of Mattie Pearl.
Facing death is a task we all shudder to acknowledge, but here is the heroic story of a woman
who had given her life to raising children in struggling times. She exemplified the true meaning
of giving comfort to others by refusing to accept medication which could have eased her pain,
but it was her desire to be lucid in her last days because she felt her children and friends needed
her comfort. Medication had been prescribed by her doctors and she ordered them to reduce the
dosage to 75% of the amount which would have let her live her last days free of pain. She even
refused medication at times when she knew visitors would expect her to talk with them.
Mattie Pearl "communicated messages of love to everyone who visited her. She said it is about
spirit, heart, and love. Love is the most important thing." Andrea Garrison brings this message
clearly in her book. When you read these passages personal feelings will overcome you as you
think back to the passing of a loved one in your life. Knowing that death is not the end, but the
beginning of a new vestige of living, whether you believe in the hereafter or not. Recognizing
remembrance of the love you had with that special person who is not with you any longer, can
bring you solace to continue on with your own journey in life.
Andrea recorded a CD so that the words can be heard by the blind. She also made a DVD which
has peaceful music with a back-drop of trees and waterfalls as she reads her prose. Her voice is
melodic, peaceful, and comforting. Truly a gift you can give to the bereaved which will bring
comfort and understanding in the time of sorrow.
Up Home Stedman, Book One 1903 - 1909
Clemson Page has written a compelling 1st historical novel about one of the most dangerous jobs
in the world that of being a coal miner.
David Gwynn, at 8 years of age, was in school when the Stedman colliery whistle blew in the
middle of the day. This was never good news! That day, March 22, 1903, was one David would
always remember. There was a firedamp explosion, roof cave-in, and flooding in the Allegheny
Anthracite Company Mine No. 3, located in Stedman, Pennsylvania. It was also the day that
David's father perished. Upheaval in his young life at 14 forced him to follow his father's
footsteps as a miner. He became a coal sorter on the breaker and progressed to working deep in
the mine itself, all to take care of his mother.
Mary Gwynn had a different idea for her son, she wanted him to get an education, and get out of
the mining industry working as a miner. David with his headstrong ways was out to avenge his
father's death by proving the cause of the accident could have been prevented. During the ensuing
years he gains good friends and acquires some enemies as well. He develops a rough-and-tough
demeanor which gets him noticed as a trouble maker. A one day strike by the miners was
instigated by him that also put him at odds with the fire boss and others in management. He
redeems his integrity by attempting to rescue a trapped miner.
Characters in this book will entertain you from the beginning to end. The raw truth about these
fearless workers and their sacrifices will invoke compassion and awareness of the perils of coal
One wonders why anyone would choose this occupation and its risky way of life. Since this is the
first book of a series maybe future novels will explain more of the motivation behind the choices
the miners made.
Clemson Page is an example of how education can really change the course of a person's life. His
background is that of being a descendent of family who had lived and worked in the coal mining
region! He has direct knowledge of how hard the work was in the early days even though he
became an attorney!
A terrific book! God Bless the coal miners!
Grand Central Publishing
The Hunted, by Brian Haig, immediately strikes a chord. I heard this story before. Recollection of
the events seems too true to be a novel. Then, you get swept up in the story and the events seem
surreal! Is this fact or fiction?
Alex Konanykhin and his wife Elena are the only characters in the book who are real!
Brian Haig blends fact with fiction demonstrating the events which actually happened. He
fictionalizes occurrences which caused frenzied disruption in Alex and Elena's lives. The KGB,
FBI, and INS are unlikely conspirators in this greed-filled take-over of hundreds of millions of
dollars amassed by a rising star in the new Soviet Union.
Alex Konanykhin studied to be a rocket scientist at Moscow University, but never made it.
Instead, he became a multi-millionaire by investing other people's money into various new
entrepreneurial schemes that became available under the embryonic democracy in Russia. At the
ripe old age of 25, he achieved prominence as a mover and shaker by backing the election of
Boris Yeltsin to be the leader of the Russian government. Much to the chagrin of the former
leadership, changes in how business was conducted took place. Alex formed several enterprises;
he was able to demonstrate that if you performed the tasks you undertook you would succeed.
The old adage of do things right and the rewards will be astounding became the foundation of his
newly invented empire.
Alex paid his workers more money than jobs offered by the government or other enterprises. He
insisted that good workmanship be the rule and not the exception. He was able to formulate
business plans rewarding the investor with unheard of profits. People trusted him and flocked to
invest. He made millions by employing a method of arbitrage where he would buy goods at a low
price and sell high. With the invested capital he obtained, the system worked extremely
The story seems too good to be true that this young man could rise to a position of prominence,
without creating enemies or jealousy. He hires a former KGB leader to head up security for all of
his companies. This is the start of his downfall. On a trip to Budapest, he and his wife are
kidnapped by thugs who demand he sign over his companies to them. Additionally, he is branded
by a hot iron with the Russian symbol of the hammer and sickle. He is forced to sign away his
holdings to these remnants of the previous regime. Even though suffering from extreme torture,
Alex remains very clever, and devises a way to escape the clutches of these henchmen.
Alex and Elena arrive in the United States and seek asylum as political refugees. Granted this
reprieve, they set up housekeeping in Watergate, a famous apartment complex in Washington
DC. Soon, troubles start all over again. The FBI persuades the INS to begin a deportation hearing
to send Alex and Elena back to Russia. Those controlling his companies and money wish to
dispose of him permanently so they cannot be challenged for their actions, and plans are
formulated for his assassination upon his return.
Deportation hearings are commenced, and what was to have been a short trial, stretches into 3
years with Alex being shuffled between several Federal Prisons before finally having his day in
How the story ends and the people involved make a great tale. However, Alex wrote a book
Defiance, where he tells the whole story as it actually happened, according to him. Brian Haig
says to document the real events would probably have taken years. Instead of the proof required
to back everything up as in a true biography, he agreed with Alex Konanykhin, to present his
story as set forth in this novel.
The Hunted is well written, keeps you in suspense, and is a page-turner of the highest magnitude.
After only 60 pages, you are hooked. You cannot put the book down until you have read the next
episode, and then you find out you have finished the book! As a sidelight, go to the Internet and
look up Alex Konanykhin. Many TV stations still have their broadcasts online telling the real
events. These events do not deter from The Hunted, but make you realize old and new Russia
still have the same methods of treachery, only some of the faces have changed.
Murder at Graverly Manor
Daniel Edward Craig
Murder at Graverly Manor is the third book in Daniel Edward Craig's 5-Star Mystery series,
featuring hotelier Trevor Lambert. Trevor, between jobs and back in his hometown of
Vancouver, Canada, comes across a Victorian mansion turned bed and breakfast with a for sale
sign in its yard. Intent on buying the creepy house, Trevor agrees to the bizarre demand of its
current proprietress, Lady Graverly, that he live and work at the inn for a month while she
decides if he's worthy of the property. It's not a thoroughly pleasant prospect: the allegedly
haunted manor is saddled with a violent history. Rumors abound that Lady Graverly's husband,
not seen for fifty years, was involved in the disappearance of a chambermaid. There are weird
noises at night, the staff are hostile or incompetent, and Lady Graverly herself, who is alternately
sweet and scary, is less than forthcoming about her plans for Trevor.
I really enjoyed this book. It's cleverly plotted and well-written. But I most appreciated it as an
entree into a different world: Craig himself has worked in the hotel industry--he was Vice
President of Opus Hotels in Canada--and his experience subtly informs Trevor's character. My
only complaint about the book is that there's a sort of information dump early on, as the author
summarizes what we've missed (or forgotten) in the first two books in the series. This might
work for readers familiar with the earlier books, but not having them read them myself I found
the information rushed and poorly incorporated into the current story. A minor negative, though,
in an otherwise very pleasurable read.
Headline Review (Hachette UK)
Peter Sheffield is a charmingly self-effacing Oxford don who has smashed up his Land Rover's
front end at the start of Rosy Thornton's Crossed Wires. The girl behind the phone at his
insurance company's call center is Mina Heppenstall, who finds his bumbling and the fact that
he'd swerved to avoid a cat charming. From that inauspicious beginning, and after another
accident on Peter's part, a long-distance relationship develops between the two, though they're
divided by the telephone wires as well as differences in age and station. But they're situations are
otherwise similar: both are single parents--Peter's a widower with twins; Mina, now in her 20's,
was pregnant at 17.
The above summary of the book, as well as its rosy cover and the brief description on its back,
would lead one to expect a light romance--Hugh Grant as Peter in the movie version, maybe,
falling for a younger Meg Ryan type. It is a sweet romance, as it turns out, but much more than
that as well. In fact the book is more about parenting than dating. For most of the book Peter and
Mina's stories unfold separately, though the two update one another in weekly phone calls. They
both have concerns about their children's social development, and both of them wind up facing a
similar, more serious problem with their kids in the course of the book. What's nice is that the
issues they face are very true-to-life. Their children are good kids whose small crises aren't ripped
from the headlines material; their problems are realistic, the sort of thing any parent might face,
and thus heartbreaking in the small way kids' problems sometimes are.
Crossed Wires is definitely a good read, deeper than you'd expect and as sweet as its cover
Last Night in Montreal
Emily St. John Mandel
"No one stays forever," reads the first line of Emily St. John Mandel's debut novel Last Night in
Montreal. Certainly Mandel's main character can't stay in one place for longer than a few months,
if that. Abducted when she was seven by her non-custodial parent, Lilia spent her childhood in a
car--nine years of motels and chain restaurants and public parks, dyed hair and name changes, her
picture and her grieving mother on their room's flickering TV screen before they fled again in the
middle of the night. The book slowly circles around Lilia's story until we get the whole of it,
skipping around in time and among perspectives: Lilia's own, when she was younger; and later
we see her mostly through other's eyes--the private detective who became obsessed with her case,
his daughter, and Eli, the latest of her abandoned lovers.
Last Night in Montreal is a powerful read--an unusual story, very well told. It's also dispiriting,
not only because of the facts of Lilia's life, but because the principals of Mandel's story are all
rootless and unsatisfied. But it's a compulsively readable book. I downed it in two days and might
have been quicker if the obligations of my own rooted existence hadn't interfered. In the end I did
have problems with the story's credibility. Mostly I find it hard to believe that the private
detective on Lilia's tail would abandon his life in order to track her down, that he would continue
tracking her after he found her. But the book raises any number of interesting questions, among
them the reasons for this obsession of his, which leads him to treat his own daughter more
horribly than the kidnapper he's chasing treats Lilia. I also am not sure that it made sense to make
the private detective and his wife former circus people, but perhaps I'm missing some thematic
relevance here. That the book raises so many questions would make it a good selection for book
discussion groups. And maybe for Oprah as well, if she's reading this. (And I know you are,
Oprah. I know you are.)
Cordelia Frances Biddle
Deception's Daughter is the second book in Cordelia Frances Biddle's series of Martha Beale
mysteries. Martha is an heiress living in mid-19th century Philadelphia. Her enviable financial
situation has made her more than usually free to determine her own fate with respect to marriage.
She has her sights on Thomas Kelman, an investigator working in conjunction with
Philadelphia's mayor, despite that he's an unsuitable match for her by society's standards. In this
outing Martha and Thomas must contend with a series of problems in addition to their romantic
fumblings and misunderstandings--most seriously, the disappearance of the daughter of one of
Philadelphia's leading families. The book takes readers from the well-appointed drawing rooms
of Philadelphia's finest to the sorry confines of an almshouse to the city's lowest dives, where
some of the aristocratic suspects in the girl's disappearance are wont to go slumming.
This is the first historical fiction I've read from Cordelia Biddle, but I doubt it will be my last.
(Biddle is also the co-author, with her husband, of a series of crossword mysteries published
under the pseudonym Nero Blanc.) Deception's Daughter offers a solid mystery, rich period
detail, good writing, and likable characters who protest against but are ultimately hemmed in by
the starchy confines of their times. On the negative side, there are a couple of chapters in which
the tone of the book shifts subtly, when the author is describing a trip taken by the fiance of the
girl who's gone missing, which I found mildly distracting. Also, there is one passage in which
Martha appears to have a prophetic dream, though this seems out of keeping with the rest of the
narrative and isn't explained.
While the main mystery of Deception's Daughter is solved at the book's end, Martha's romantic
life and smaller family-related problems are left unsettled, awaiting the next book in Biddle's
series. I'll be happy to pick up the story when number three is released. Fans of Jacqueline
Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series may find the Martha Beale books to their taste.
Don't Call Me a Crook!
Don't Call Me a Crook is probably one of the stranger books I've ever read. The memoir was
originally published in 1935 by Bob Moore, whose real name was Robert Macmillan Allison.
The author was a Glaswegian and an engineer who wound up traveling around the world while
working on various ships. He was also an incorrigible rogue--a thief (despite the book's title and
the author's protestations), a drunk, a racist. He stole from people who trusted him. He
abandoned his wife and child. (At least, he apparently never gave them a second thought after
sending them back to Glasgow when family life became burdensome.) One is tempted, given
Moore's immorality throughout the book, to call him a sociopath, but I don't know if that's right:
he does show signs of humanity at times in the book.
The stories Moore has to tell are often fascinating. Here he is, trying to save a woman who's
jumped off a yacht, or he's shooting at Chinese pirates, or he's stealing a bag of diamonds or
setting a ship on fire or lying to a man about his wife after he's stolen a wad of the couple's
"But I was not to be diverted by such uncouth tactics, so I just said, 'Yes, I think you should,
because it is all wrong to say I was seen kissing your wife, Mr. Flight. I was seen doing no such
thing. I would not dream of being seen kissing your wife, Mr. Flight.' (And neither I would for
that matter, for where is the sense in being seen?) But he thought I meant I had not been kissing
her at all so he said, 'Well, I'm sorry Bobby.' And I said, 'Aw, that's all right,' so we parted quite
"But I did not go back to their house anymore after that because Mrs. Flight and I went away
until all her money was spent.
"But she did not know that it was her money we were spending, or she would have been mad at
me, but I told her I had been lucky and won some money at the dogs.
"She thought I was taking her for a holiday on my money, and that will show you what a funny
woman she was. For why should I have taken her for a holiday with my money, when she was
not really young anymore and she had a house where I could go without spending any money at
Moore's life was anything but dull. This, combined with the conversational tone of the book--if
Moore wrote this himself, then he was a natural storyteller--make for a winning combination.
The book is also interesting as a historical document. In it we see the Prohibition era from a
drunk's eye view. It was a lawless, violent, very alien world that Moore inhabited.
For a while, then, the book is good fun. Sure, Moore is a scoundrel. It's clear from the start that
he can't be trusted. But we're willing to forgive him some of his offenses because he has a certain
charm. For all his adventures and crimes the book even becomes tedious about halfway
through...until we're woken up again. On page 202 Moore does something terrible. And he
mentions it almost in passing, as if it were nothing at all. It is so shocking that I had to reread the
paragraph to make sure I'd understood him correctly. What he did thoroughly undermines any
positive thoughts we might have had about the man. It's a strange thing, 200-odd pages into a
memoir, to find out something like this about the narrator, to have our feelings for the character
So in the end this was a uniquely disturbing book, unique as I've never experienced anything
quite like this--the shocking revelation from a narrator I thought I understood, his deadpan
delivery, his apparent indifference. A very strange book, but worth reading.
Lords of Corruption
Josh Hagarty's finding it hard to land a job. Would-be employers are scared off once they look
past his MBA and stellar grades, unwilling to take a risk. So when Josh is finally offered a
position that will earn him enough to pay off his mountain of debt and send his sister to an
Ivy-League school, he jumps at the chance--despite the negatives: Josh will run a project for a
charitable project that works out of Africa. The job implies a move to an unnamed African
country that's riven by tribal disputes and controlled by a brutal, unpredictable tyrant. Still, the
pay is good, and Josh is a nice enough guy that he's hoping to be able to make a difference. But
the truth of his situation hits soon after his plane lands: the country is impossibly corrupt, the
charity that hired him has gotten better press than it deserves, and Josh's predecessor in the job
was hacked to death by a machete-wielding co-worker. Suddenly, Josh's plans for his family's
advancement take a back seat to his hopes for escape, or simply survival.
Kyle Mills's Lords of Corruption is a fast-paced, well-written, well-structured book. The
motivations of the characters, both the good guys and the reprehensible madmen they're up
against, are explained, so it's clear what's on the line for each of them. Most interesting, the story
Mills tells is not black and white. Mills accentuates the moral ambiguities of his characters'
actions. Even the actions of well-intentioned charities are examined. The only thing that gave me
pause was that the relationship between Josh and J.B., a cynical reporter who's been on the Africa
beat for years, developed too quickly for me to swallow. Also, one particular escape scene--Josh
hiding in an office--struck me as implausible. In other words, hardly anything about the book
bothered me. Lords of Corruption is a really good, fast read.
Design Flaws of the Human Condition
Paul Schmidtberger's Design Flaws of the Human Condition is a book about relationships. Ken,
an adjunct professor of English slash reference librarian slash proofreader, is living with an actor,
Brett, who even as the book starts is grunting out their relationship's last gasps. Iris is a--well, her
work doesn't much matter--who's been living with Jeremy, the sort of self-confident, take-charge,
leader type that everyone finds immediately likable. They were meant for each other--Ken and
Iris, that is--and they immediately become friends after the two of them are (unjustly in both
cases) required to take the same anger management class.
Design Flaws of the Human Condition is a clever book, as is immediately apparent even from the
title of its first chapter: "Chapter One. In Which Ken's 'Really Great Day,' as Preordained by a
Starbucks Employee, Fails to Materialize." It's also nicely plotted, which is to say that all the
little strands of story are tied up by the book's end, often in ways that are not predictable but
which are apt. The most noteworthy aspect of the book, however, is its dialogue. Schmidtberger's
characters like to talk, and they're all reasonably intelligent and they invariably say clever things.
It's all very cute in a Gilmore Girls-ish sort of way:
"I know. It's like a toy. It's like getting a little yellow metal bulldozer for Christmas when you're a
little kid and you switch the bulldozer on and it creeps forward. You switch it off, it stops. And
sooner or later you turn it on and your mind wanders or it's dinnertime or any one of a billion
things happen to grab your attention and you forget about it and the little yellow bulldozer creeps
across the room and it eventually runs into a wall somewhere and it bounces back a fraction of an
inch and goes--grrrrnn, grrrrnn--and then it tries again, and it runs right into the wall again, and
then bounces back again. Again and again and again. Until the batteries are dead."
The problem is that ultimately the dialogue is unrealistic. People don't really talk like this, at least
not all the time, at least not all people. Schmidtberger's main characters all sound the same.
They're also--and this too is unrealistic--apt to interrupt someone else's delivery of a really
important piece of information with a clever story of their own, a comment like the one quoted
above, when in real life they would wait anxiously to hear what the *tened by the excision of
some dialogue, Design Flaws of the Human Condition was a fun and, yes, clever book.
The Missing Ink
Karen E. Olson
The Missing Ink is the first installment in a new series of mysteries by Karen E. Olson, author of
the Annie Seymour mysteries. Brett Kavanaugh is the owner of The Painted Lady, a high-end
tattoo parlor in Vegas whose lobby sports original art work and orchids rather than the neon we
might expect. Brett lands in the middle of a missing persons case when she turns out to be the
last person to have seen Elise Lyon before she disappeared. Elise is engaged to the son of a
Trump-like Vegas hotel mogul, so the hunt for her quickly becomes national news, attracting the
likes of 20/20. The case is far from straightforward, as Brett is the first to recognize: when Elise
came to her shop she was using a pseudonym, and the name she wanted tattooed on her chest was
not her fiance's. Intrigued by the mystery, Brett decides to do some amateur sleuthing, and she
unwisely elects to keep information from the police--despite that she lives with a representative
of the Las Vegas department, her brother, Detective Tim Kavanaugh. (I did have trouble
believing that Brett would keep information from the authorities and investigate on her own. Her
motive to do so doesn't seem sufficiently strong. But I suppose there's not much of a story to be
had from her providing a statement to the police and calling it a night.)
The Missing Ink is a fast read with a seriously intricate plot. You have to have your wits about
you to keep the connections between the various characters straight. Brett is reluctantly allied
with her competition on the strip, Jeff Coleman, who runs a more traditionally seedy tattoo
establishment. And she is helped out by her employees--Bitsy, the efficient dwarf, Joel, who's
obese and of indeterminate sexuality, and the self-absorbed Ace. We also encounter, among
others, disappeared rich girl Elise and her numerous paramours; suave hotelier and potential love
interest Simon Chase; and Kelly Martin, a tattooist with unexpected connections in Vegas.
Olson's previous series was set in New Haven, Connecticut--just down the road from me as well
as the author (with whom I'm acquainted)--and the books were steeped in a sense of place. The
Missing Ink, not surprisingly since it's not the author's home town, doesn't feel quite as wed to its
setting, despite the principals' appearance at an Elvis karaoke bar. This isn't a bad thing; it's
merely a noticeable difference between the two series. While I came away from the Annie
Seymour books most struck by the series' connection to its setting, this first Tattoo Mystery
leaves me most impressed by the complexity of its plot. I'm looking forward to more books in the
series: Pretty in Ink is due out in April, 2010.
Killer Summer is the 3rd installment in Ridley Pearson's series featuring sheriff Walt Fleming.
Walt is Quantico-trained, an expert tracker, a crack shot, and a very smart law enforcement
officer, but he's disappointed his father--an ex-CIA guy--by opting to chase criminals in bucolic
Sun Valley, Idaho, instead of chasing some more prestigious position. Still, high-profile trouble
seems to find Walt. This time out he suspects that a gang of thieves is planning an elaborate heist
in conjunction with a wine auction that's being hosted in Walt's jurisdiction. The prize: three
bottles believed to have come from Thomas Jefferson's cellar. At the same time, in a storyline
that eventually intersects with the wine heist story, Walt's nephew Kevin gets into trouble with a
girl who's vacationing unhappily with her father in Sun Valley.
Start to finish, Killer Summer is a riveting read. I love the main characters: Walt and Kevin are
both likable and smart in the face of adversity, which I find appealing. We don't learn much
about the criminals Walt's up against--and I suppose I would have liked to know more about
them--but we are made to understand that the ringleader is careful and smart at what he does as
well. The various strands of Pearson's story are expertly woven together. The writing is crisp.
Killer Summer was a book I really didn't want to put down.
Debra Hamel, Reviewer
Who Hired These People
Peter A. Laporta
1663 Liberty Drive Suite 200, Bloomington IN 47403
9781438956992 $14.50 1-800-839-8640 www.authorhouse.com
President Obama recently endorsed the chain Five Guys by getting take-out. He got great service.
Unfortunately we can't all be president, get good service, and not all Five Guys locations are the
same. The author shows so many examples of bad help and stupid business practices that are just
amazing. Readers will laugh out loud but it should be pointed out that all of the accounts are true.
We all know some of the culprits: Wal-Mart, Dunkin Doughnuts, Bank of America, and Denny's.
This is another title that should be used as required reading for college courses and all business
on how customers should be treated and the ways to run the company properly. My thoughts
while reading all of the stories were, "This is a service economy and we don't even do that well
and how did any of these people ever get their jobs?"
Connections A Collection of Poems
Poetry Ensemble of Orlando
9780615259130 $10.00 www.lulu.com
This is a collection of fifty poems by five talented writers. There are many different subjects
covered in various forms of the genre. Russ Golata, Estelle Lipp, Alice R. Friedman, Robert A.
Osborne, and Leslie Halpern are the authors of this fine gathering of poetry. The profits from this
book are being donated to charities dedicated to promoting the arts in Central Florida. This may
seem like a regional book but I am sure readers can find something to enjoy.
J. A Konrath
77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023
9781401302818 $23.99 www.HypoerionBooks.com
I have read the series and have to say this is the most twisted deranged killer Lieutenant
Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels has ever faced... This time out the novel begins with the funeral of
someone close to her. At the gravesite her cell phone rings. The person on the other end taunts
Jacqueline which begins the cat and mouse chase that steam rolls to a smashing exciting ending.
Many of the victims are friends of Jacqueline. She is determined to get this one and she does not
care what it takes to end this warped killer's spree of crimes.
Ernie the Autobiography
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
9781410410689 $31.50 1 800 223 1244 http://gale.cengage.com/thorndike
This is a fun book by a man who has had a great career over so many decades who just keeps
going even in his nineties. He talks about the many movies and TV shows he has been in and
unlike other bios by stars this is not a kiss and tell expose. Borgnine also shows why he has been
in the field so long and gives other actors great advice. This is the large print format that makes it
a little easier to read. He's been in so many great movies such as "From Here to Eternity," "Bad
Day at Black Rock," "The Dirty Dozen," "Marty," and "The Poseidon Adventure." I loved the
story he tells on how he decided to take the role of Commander McHale in "McHale's Navy" The
book is candid and shows why he is one of the best loved actors of all time.
St. Martins Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312380724 $26.95 www.stmartins.com
This is the first time I can recall that the lead character is not an attorney. This time out the author
focuses her attention on Ellen Gleason, who gets a flyer of "Have you seen this child" in the mail.
The one in the picture looks exactly like her adopted son. She now has a dilemma of what she
should do. Cover the story or ignore it and have life go on as usual. The work is filled with great
twists and turns and moves along at a very fast pace and is another great read by this author.
The Rolling Stones
Robert A. Heinlein
PO Box 1403, Riverdale, New York 10471
9781416591498 $13.99 www.baen.com
No, this has nothing to do with the rock n roll band of the same name. This is a classic novel that
shows again why Heinlein is one of the best science fiction authors. What is interesting is the
piece by Steve A Hughes where he talks about how accurate Heinlein was with many aspects of
the book's science. What makes this one and all of the author's works so interesting is they are all
character driven. The science was secondary. The Stone family is fascinating as they explore the
planet Mars and the work is as fresh as the day it was first published. Baen is to be compliment
for re-issuing these long lost titles.
Always Looking Up
Michael J. Fox
77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023
9781401303389 $25.99 www.HyperionBooks.com
As I read this second work by Fox, I was struck by how positive he has been through his battle
with Parkinson's disease. He also talks about his leaving acting, then returning to do guest shots
on other shows among them "Boston Legal." He also talks about his many trips to Capitol Hill to
raise money for research to fight the disease. The book is an inspiration to anyone who is fighting
any kind of disease.
Stacy Takes the Train to School
Mary R. Lupa
Illustrated by Yevgeniya Andriyevskaya
Outskirts Press Inc
9781432716097 $10.95 www.outskirtspress.com
The author teaches kids little lessons on safety and that it is fun to ride a train to school. The
work is enhanced by the beautiful artwork that helps move the story along. This is fun reading for
kids of all ages.
Mr. Monk And the Dirty Cop
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451226983 $22.95 www.penguin.com
Goldberg once again has a firm handle on the characters of the hit TV series. This time Monk has
to solve several crimes, until he has to come to the aid of Captain Stottlemeyer who has been
arrested for the killing of another cop. The Monk novels are always fun reading.
Growing Up Again
Mary Tyler Moore
St. Martins Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312376314 $24.95 www.stmartins.com
I used to like Mary Tyler Moore until I read her first book "After All." In it she revealed that on
November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated she had a totally different reaction
from the rest of the world. When the Dick Van Dyke show curtailed production on that day while
the nation came to a complete halt, her response was "Thank God", not "Oh dear God" or
something similar. I am surprised that she would even write something like that. I know that no
one would want a President to die that way. With this book I had second thoughts about
reviewing it because I wasn't sure what she would say this time. I can safely say this one does not
have a problem like that. It is all about living with diabetes and told in a candid way. She talks
about her fight with government to get funding for medical research, stem cells and how
important they are to people who have a debilitating disease and she reveals how diabetes can
alter a person's personality. I have a lot more respect for her but am surprised she has never
answered why she said what she said on November 22, 1963.
The Hindus: An Alternative History
The Penguin Press
80 Strand, London, England
I'll spend the summer season--and well into the fall--dipping into the rich, dense compendium of
the history of the people we know as "Hindus." Is Hinduism a religion, ethnicity, culture? All that
and more. Doniger, perhaps the reigning maharani of Hindu and Sanskrit scholarship starts the
story practically at the beginning of time. As comprehensive and academic as this weighty tome
may be, Doniger's sly wit and self-deprecation enliven its 780 pages. Still, the footnoting,
bibliography, index and appendices delight the more meticulous and curious reader. Doniger's
thesis is that traditional views of Hinduism omit a rich legacy from folk and oral tradition,
embracing the contributions of women, illiterates and low-caste men.
A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
I suspected I'd had migraines until menopause provided blessed relief, but reading about the
sickening headaches seemed to bring them back--at least while vicariously experiencing Levy's
rough ride. His search for a solution brings resolution of his relationship with a painful Other
living within his head, but, alas, not a solution to the pain. This book is a good one for
masochists and readers who don't demand a happy ending.
Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
Not quite as dense as THE HINDUS, but equally fascinating, this is a fictionalized view of the
beginnings of Islam. The large (527 pp.) novel tells the story through the eyes of "Aisha, the
youngest and most beloved wife of the Prophet." Although this is the author's first novel, it is the
product of a successful Pakistani-American Hollywood screenwriter, which accounts for the lush
descriptions and intense characterizations that make this book the closest to a "beach read."
The Rose of Sebastopol
80 Strand, London, England
Contrasts two Victorian cousins, involved with the same young man, who goes off from his
surgery practice to serve in the Crimean War. In more than a manners drama, the heroine,
Mariella, is changed by her flighty cousin's risky behavior aping Florence Nightingale and that of
Rosa's brash stepbrother, Max. The lives of the cousins' mothers highlight Victorian social
constrictions and superficiality.
Happy Trails to You: Stories
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
Dreary fiction tales of an unnamed photographer-narrator and her quirky life on Nantucket,
interacting with the help, observing other people's lives, shooting pictures of, basically, nothing.
Paranoid, health-obsessed, anxiety-driven depression.
Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain
Washington Square Press
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
A crazy, mixed-up black girl grows up in the vanilla Midwest, never happy with her self-imposed
succession of identities until she finds out that slavery flourished in Spain. Huh? It's a quick, easy
read, seldom taxing the intellect.
Thirsty: Meeting Jesus at Your Deepest Need
P.O. Box 35001, Colorado Springs CO 80935
From the Forward of Amy Nappa's book "Thirsty: Meeting Jesus at Your Deepest Need
"Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with life that you just didn't think you could even get out of
bed? And the thought of work - any kind of work - just made you sick to your stomach?"
Written in a very personal, friend-to-friend, coffee shop manner, Amy Nappa discusses
interesting and thought provoking aspects of 'The Woman at the Well'.
Immediately, she establishes that we are all thirsty, all wanting more, all in need. From there she
brings the story (found in John 4:4-32) to life with great attention to what actually was happening
in the discussion Jesus had with this woman.
Amy Nappa writes with vivid imagination and almost artistic insight into biblical characters,
carefully constructing an image of this story with all the shades of nuance and meaning that Max
Lucado would offer.
The chapters 'Teasing the Mystery', 'Speaking the Truth', and 'Removing Distractions' were of
particular interest to me as they present an up-close-and-personal God who makes no apology for
the mysteries in life, and unapologetically discounts all objections clearing the way for us to see
God's great interest in meeting our every need.
Throughout the book, you find the author's personal struggles and unique ideas such as the
'Surprise Me' experiment (which I plan to use myself) and the idea that God does not have
Attention Deficit Disorder - He cannot be distracted from His pursuit of us, of fulfilling our
A truly remarkable book. With a Reader's Guide at the end, very useful for Personal Reflection or
Group Bible Study.
If you have ever wanted to roll over in the bed and sleep away the world, read this book. After
you discover how passionate God is about you, you may discover a passion, a thirst of your
Ghostwriter: A Novel
237 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017
"Yikes" is the one word I would use to describe Travis Thrasher's newest novel
A supernatural thriller that goes nose to nose with any Stephen King novel I've read. Not a genre
for squeamish, but for those who enjoy a 'thriller' this one tops the list. The main character,
Dennis Shore is living la dolce vita (the very good life).
He is a best selling author with the ideal marriage. Lucy, his wife, is not only is his best friend
but provides the inspiration for all his novels. Together with their teen-age daughter, Audrey,
they live in a beautiful home, and have another home as well.
But then, Lucy dies.
Lucy was Dennis' connection to all things good. Now that she is gone, Dennis develops
paralyzing writer's block. Success comes at a cost. Once his talent for weaving catchy phrases
and memorable scenes is made known, his public demands more. As his deadline looms over
him, Dennis does the unthinkable. He claims a novel, written by another, as his own.
Enter Cillian Reed, the groupie type author-in-waiting that demands Dennis' attention and the
literary acclaim that Dennis is accepting as his own. As you read more and more of Cillian's
torments and tortures, Dennis descends to the place we all reach in our lives, a moment of Truth.
Armed with memories of Lucy and with other gifts as well, Dennis begins to face and overcome
the evil that has consumed his life.
A gripping tale, with a redemption quality, this is a story you will not forget. Travis Thrasher has
excelled in this genre proving that a Christian can indeed create a novel work without
unnecessary vulgarity or profanity. I am looking forward to more of his work.
Gina Hendrix, Reviewer
Shaye Areheart Books
c/o Crown Publishing
1745 Broadway, NY, NY 10019
9780307341563 $24.00 212-572-2537/800-726-0600, www.randomhouse.com
Libby Day, 31 years old, is a depressed, at times suicidal young woman. And she has every right
to be: When she was seven years old, her mother and two sisters were murdered, in what was
later called "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas" and "The Prairie Massacre." Libby
survived by crawling out a window of the family farmhouse where they lived, and where the
others died. The only other surviving family member was Libby's then 15-year-old brother, Ben -
the person who Libby later testified was the killer. Michelle, 10, was strangled, Debby, 9, died of
axe wounds, and the mother, Patty, of 2 shotgun wounds [her head nearly blown off ], axe
wounds [her body axed nearly in two], and deep cuts from a hunting knife.
The story opens 24 years later. Libby has managed all the intervening years by dint of the money
from a trust fund set up by sympathetic members of the public following the trial and the
attendant publicity. But that money has nearly run out, leading Libby to consider an offer from a
group calling itself The Kill Club, a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes,
which will pay Libby to interview Ben and others about That Night. The Kill Club, it should be
noted, believes Ben is innocent. Ultimately Libby begins to question the accuracy of her
Libby is a thoroughly dysfunctional, nihilistic personality, routinely pessimistic, who "assumed
everything bad in the world could happen, because everything bad in the world already did." She
still thinks of herself as "the one who lived," and as Baby Day and Orphan Day, as the tabloids
had variously referred to her at the time, and says "I was raised feral, and I mostly stayed that
way," and makes the reader understand that the darkest place of all can be one's mind.
The p.o.v. changes from Libby, in the present [the only 1st person voice], to Ben and Patty, from
the days before "that last summer before the end," and more specifically to The Day.
This was not an easy book to read. Libby is as much of an anti-hero as one will meet in a novel,
and being in her mind a harrowing foray. But the book is difficult to put down, and whatever the
reader may expect at the end, the author will surprise you. Recommended.
Simon & Schuster
1230 Sixth Ave., NY, NY 10020
9780743291460 $14.00 800-223-2336, www.simonandschuster.com
The Carterets were thought of as the perfect family, enviable, even. But of course there's no such
thing. It's only a matter of the degree of dysfunctionality, in most cases. Jasper Carteret is the
patriarch, scion of a successful industrialist family. Of the children [all of whom are cowed by
the father], William is the oldest. His sisters are Tinker, six years younger than William, and the
critical one, the "drama queen" who seeks solace for life's injustices in food; next is Mira [short
for Miranda], the thinker in the family; the youngest is Pony, 24, the quirky one, and her brother's
favorite. When her body is found in the water near the family's summer home on Lake Aral,
Vermont, the family dynamic is thrown into chaos.
Not the typical mystery novel, there is, however, one central mystery to the book: Pony, of all
members of this family who spent a good part of their lives in a house at the edge of a lake, was
by far the superior swimmer. William says "Pony could swim better than she could walk." So
how could she have drowned? Was it the accident the police proclaim it is? There is an
undercurrent of uncertainty and, somehow, danger, throughout the well-plotted novel, which is
immediately engrossing as the author brings the family members to vivid life and makes palpable
their emotional upheaval as the fallout of the tragedy unfolds.
Pony's given name was Angela, but "she'd never been Angela. She'd been Pony since the day she
was born, and William had given her the name. At the age of eight, he'd wanted a pony, not
another sister. So he called the new one Pony," and so eventually had everyone else. Pony was a
rule-breaker, the one who would "try anything. Nothing ever scared her."
The novel is all about "the consequences of betrayals and secrets." The author has done a
masterful job of portraying all the family members, each one very different from the others but
all interdependent, all with secrets of their own. A fascinating book, it is Ms. Lewis' sophomore
effort, a fact belied by this compelling tale.
853 Broadway, NY, NY 10003
9781569475638 $24.00, 212-260-1900, www.sohopress.com
To say that Adrian Wishart was a control freak would be an understatement. It is, therefore,
perhaps understandable that when he reports his wife missing, the police are less concerned than
Mr. Wishart might have hoped. After all, his wife has not been missing for very long. His fears,
however, ultimately prove to be well-founded. But is he in fact the person responsible for his
wife's death? They'd only been married for three years. He was known to have been extremely
jealous, and given to following his wife around and keeping close track of her movements at all
times, whether she was at work or having lunch with a girlfriend. But he appears to have an
airtight alibi for the relevant time frame.
The police are already involved in another investigation: the severe beating of the chaplain at a
prestigious boarding school, who is also the head of a local fundamentalist church. The victim is
in a coma, and the fact that the man's brother is an aide to a local politician, one given to loud
criticism of the police, makes matters even more 'delicate.'
The expectations of a lunar eclipse seems to heighten the already intense atmosphere, and on the
night of the highly anticipated event Pam Murphy, a new member of the detective squad, stands
"transfixed. All human activity except the need to congregate and worship was suspended for an
hour or so. . . The red moon mellowed them. They swayed to inner choruses and seemed inclined
to kiss and hug each other."
Inspector Hal Challis of the Australian Victoria Police has become 'involved' with Sergeant Ellen
Destry, a member of his squad, the Crime Investigation Unit. Though their relationship is only of
3 weeks duration, things have already been getting 'sticky,' on both personal and professional
levels. All of these disparate themes are played out with subtlety and precision.
This is the fifth in the Inspector Challis series, set in the Melbourne area. On its most basic level,
it is a police procedural, done as well as anything in the genre, but it is more than that, with
wonderful characters and sense of place. It is thoroughly enjoyable, and highly
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10016
9780312545222 $25.95 646-307-5560, www.stmartins.com
It was the prosecutor at her murder trial who dubbed Jessica ["Jessie"] Gammadge the Queen of
Liars Anonymous. She is the first to admit that she is certainly an accomplished liar, and her
skills have only improved in the nearly three years since the trial. [The good news: The jury
acquitted her; the bad news: she was guilty of the crime.] Despite the jury's finding, Jessie had no
choice but to move from Tucson - very few people, including her family [excepting only her
father and his then-partner on the police force], believe in her innocence, and with those two
exceptions all think of her as the Girl Who Got Away with Murder. In fact, she thinks of herself
that way as well.
Jessie, now 32 years old, and calling herself Jessie Dancing [her middle name], is working in
Phoenix as a Roadside Assistance Operator when a call comes in from a nearby area from a
client needing help after a car crash, during the course of which she hears other voices followed
by what appears to be sounds of a beating before the line goes dead. Jessie of course reports the
incident to her supervisors and the police, but feels herself drawn to the place where the call
came from to see for herself what can be learned from the scene. [The car is found, but there is
no sign of the man who made the phone call.] When the latter's wife asks to see her and to hear
the tape she agrees to return to Phoenix to see her, and grows suspicious of the woman's
truthfulness as well as her too-friendly neighbor, an attorney who Jessie soon discovers is also
her lover. [Jessie is, of course, an expert in detecting liars: "There are supposed to be
twenty-seven ways to tell if someone is lying . . . But a good liar knows a hundred different ways
to convince you that he's telling the truth."] As the investigation goes forward, Jessie finds
herself more and more enmeshed, soon putting her a few feet away when a car bomb explodes,
killing a young girl who is somehow involved in the car crash incident, and she becomes the
focus of a vengeful cop who has always thought of Jessie as 'the one that got away.'
I learned more than I'd ever known about the emergency systems used by auto manufacturers,
e.g., they can furnish diagnostics about the car's performance, include a GPS of course, have a
strong satellite phone with advisors available at the other end, can tell how fast a car is going
when it is hit and whether the brakes were engaged, and can even tell if there was somebody else
in the car, where he/they were sitting, and whether they had their seat belts on.
The writing is excellent, equally as good as Ms. Ure's prior novel, "The Fault Tree," which I
loved. The sense of place created by the author is wonderful as well, and the reader can feel the
heat of the desert, and visualize where "the saguaros stood as dark and still as an army of
surprised soldiers in surrender." A terrific read, and one which is recommended.
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010
9780312380860 $25.95 646-307-5560, www.minotaurbooks.com
To say that Snow Hill, Pennsylvania was a small town would be an understatement: Snow Hill
aspires to be a small town. Actually, that's not quite true either. The 'just folks' long-time
residents are quite content to live in a place where despite its small size, there are half a dozen
churches; people commuted to jobs in Harrisburg; no public library; the nearest Starbucks was a
45-minute drive away [also the distance to the nearest decent bookstore]; and 'anybody who's
graduated from the fifth grade is a pointy-headed intellectual."
The reader is introduced on the first pages to the primary adversaries in an ongoing battle, one
that is about to be played out in court: Ann-Victoria Hadley, known as Anne-Vic, from the town's
wealthiest family and now 91 years old, a Vassar graduate and later a Naval enlistee, known as a
radical feminist and an atheist or - worse yet - a secular humanist [defined by the town as
"someone who worships the devil and hates America] and who "hated stupidity more than she
hated anything else on earth." One resident, not atypical, who sees Annie-Vic passing by, thinks
that he wanted to "grab her by the neck and shake her and shake her and shake her until the bones
broke into pieces and her head came loose. He could almost see the blood on the sidewalk, the
deep, thick red spreading out against the white of the pavement." Shortly after those thoughts
appear on the page, Annie-Vic is beaten nearly to death in her home.
The dichotomy between the town kids and the "hill people," who have their own school, such as
it is, is made crystal clear. So too is the enmity between the townspeople and the people "from
the development," who "were like invading aliens . . . trying to take over the public schools" and
are known as The Enemy. They are in fact fighting a textbook change relating to intelligent
design. As one resident says: "It was Religion that would go on trial here," something of a
present-day Monkey Trial.
Since the police force of Snow Hill, where "nothing ever happened except domestic disputes and
teenagers getting stupid," consists of three people: the 36-year-old chief and two others, former
FBI agent Gregor Demarkian is [at page 47] brought in to investigate. [This is the 24th book of
the series.] The tale was a bit long-winded for this reader, with much [admittedly interesting]
debate on the theories of evolution vs. creationism/intelligent design, but the pithy observations
are wonderful, the plot interesting, and Haddam fans will not, I think, be disappointed.
Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, Maine 04901
9781594147609 $25.95 207-859-1000 www.Gale.com/fivestar
There are several memorable portraits of female characters in this newest entry by Denise Dietz
in the Ellie Bernstein/Lt. Peter Miller mystery series. The first, of course, is Ellie herself, now 41
years old and divorced, and after eleven months closer to matrimony with her cop boyfriend,
Peter Miller. The second is Sarah Leibowitz, now known to one and all as Sara Lee - the old
advertising jingle "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee" kept playing in my head, because that
obviously doesn't apply to this Sara Lee, as she is strangled one night with her waitress uniform
necktie, her body found in the alley behind the restaurant where she worked. It would appear that
the list of those who didn't like Sara Lee is not a short one. The case is assigned to Lt. Miller, and
Ellie does her usual thing of conducting her own investigation. [She reasons that she has been
solving fictitious mysteries her whole life, so why not?] They both have even more to engage
them when another body is found.
Complicating Ellie's quest to find the killer is her temporary dog-sitting job, taken on as a favor
to one of her diet-club members, Rachel Lester, ostensibly visiting an ostensibly ill sister in
Houston, but who is actually taking a breather from her marriage to a cheating husband in a
Pike's Peak cabin not that far from Colorado Springs, where Ellie et. al. reside.
Animals abound in the book, from Ellie's black Persian cat, Jackie Robinson; Rachel's border
collie; a fictional menagerie of seven cats, named for the days of the week; Ellie's mother's six
cats, charmingly named Danielle Steele, Victoria Gordon, Nora Roberts, Lorna Ann Jakes,
Maggie Osborne and Marty Blue, most of which names should be familiar to readers of the
present novel. 'Charming' is one of the best ways to describe the entire novel, which presents an
interesting plot, characters and dialogue instantly recognizable, and word coinage which took me
aback at first, e.g., "torridity" and "causticity," but which grew on me as the book went on - they
may be actual words, for all I know..
Food figures prominently in the book. The narrative is lightly sprinkled with recipes, and many
of the characters are of the weight-conscious variety, as might be expected in a series where the
female protagonist is the head of a local Weight Winners diet club. [The title is derived from a
line by the late Gilda Radner, a worthy muse: "Eating is self-punishment, punish the food
instead. Strangle a loaf of Italian bread . . ."] Ya gotta love it.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
A subsidiary of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706
Krannawitter does a great job of putting Lincoln's decision making and political thought in
context and explaining those actions. Many recent books and articles question Lincoln's motives
and ideology. This well researched look into the history and politics before and during the Civil
War will answer those questions.
Krannawitter does fail in his criticism of the motives and beliefs of those he considers are
re-writing Lincoln's actions and motivations. He has not done the research needed for this
criticism. He has produced the same superficial and misleading analysis that he complains they
have done with Lincoln. Many of the problems are subtle, such as not taking fully into account
the changes in language and word meanings that have taken place over the last two hundred
years. A few are factual, such as his crediting Darwin's work as a source idea before the Origin of
the Species was published. Some are creatively misleading, such as using a media label as the
core aspect of a political position. And a final few are logical, such as labeling that there are only
two opinions on a subject and not positions in between. In some ways, this fast and loose
criticism is justified as a counterpoint to these individuals previous analysis of Lincoln but the
overall affect is a lowering of the quality of this book. Krannawitter should have stayed where his
expertise is the political and historical context from the Declaration of Independence to the Civil
Vindicating Lincoln is a needed and worthwhile analysis of Lincoln and the early political history
of the US. It deserves a place on any historian's bookshelf to fill this niche. But it fails in
producing a real and accurate criticism of political and social discussion of today. In fact, you
will be mislead if you accept his interpretation of current political ideologies.
A Forge Book
Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Most contemporary readers have forgotten classic SF and some of its focuses on religion and a
deity. This gives Preston's Blasphemy, uniqueness in the eye of the modern reader. Blasphemy
starts out slowly with near caricatures of the main characters. The fast paced ending permits the
reader to forgive the weak development at the beginning of the tale. The best thing about
Blasphemy is that it brings back the sharp eyed commentary on society and religion lacking in
most contemporary SF writing.
A supercollider has been built by the US to explore the forces needed to create the fabric of the
universe. Gregory North Hazelius and a small group of scientists have discovered a problem. The
supercollider seems to be talking to them. They decide to hide the information until they can
work out what is happening. A worried government sends investigator Wyman Ford to the
research site to discover why data from the supercollider project has stopped being reported.
The silence from the lab gives unscrupulous politicians and religious charlatans a chance to focus
their attentions on the forty billion dollar laboratory. Their greed and manipulations touch a
volatile population to the point of hysteria and bloodshed.
Blasphemy is a very good tale exploring the good and bad about religion and people. It doesn't
have the wild force and focus of the classic SF stories but it does return a neglected subgenre
back into mainstream storytelling. My recommendation is to read Blasphemy and then troll the
used bookstores for some of the first tellings in the genre. You will be thanking Preston for the
S.A. Gorden, Reviewer
What Would Betty Do?
Paul A. Bradley
Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020
The most effective satire is indistinguishable from the mindset that it is satirizing. When
Jonathan Swift wrote "A Modest Proposal," the strongest denunciations came not from the Irish
whose babies he advocated fattening up for the cooking pot, but from England's Irish-haters who
thought that he was exposing the inner workings of their own minds.
Similarly, if Paul Bradley had not put the statement, "It is somewhat risky to be surrounded by
Catholics when God is pointing fingers at who will go to Hell" (p. 25), into the mouth of his
imaginative evil twin, "Mrs Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian" ("So close to Jesus, He
gave me His loaves and fish recipe"), he would have had no trouble convincing readers that it
was written by Ian Paisley or any other randomly chosen Orangeman he cared to name.
Betty writes (p. 32), "The First Rule of Christianity is: All humans are worthless scum who
should be tortured forever in Hell by the loving God who created them . Heaven, which God
created? All the credit goes to God. Hell, which God created? All the blame goes to us." There
may be Christians somewhere who do not think like that. But in the redneck anus of the universe
where I reside, they are as rare as dodos. When an Indian Ocean tsunami killed a quarter-million
randomly chosen victims who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, I wrote a
letter to the local newspaper asking, "Where was that fellow God while that was happening?"
More than one braindead True Believer(TM) (tautology) wrote back that the victims had it
coming, because (not in those precise words), all humans are worthless scum who deserve
whatever their loving, omnibenevolent sky Fuhrer does to them.
In answering a pretend letter from a woman who accused her of being more Jewish than
Christian (pp. 29-30), Betty Bowers answers the question of whether True Christians(TM) should
follow the Old Testament, "Jesus said yes and Paul said no . So you can choose which position
suits you with impunity." And under "betty's handy true Christian(TM) guide to biblical
interpretation" (pp. 31-32), she explains that, "With several bottles of white-out and a long
weekend, you'll be surprised how quickly you can make your Bible consistent with traditional
family values." That explains why Republicans have no problem denouncing the taboo violations
of Democrats, but are able to white-out the bit about practising what they preach.
Betty continues (p. 33), "Jesus doesn't really care if you follow His Father's Old Testament rules,
just as long as you keep telling Jesus how wonderful He is. Let's face it; we've all had friends like
Why are born-again Christians so much better than generic Christians? (p. 33) "Once is good;
twice is better. Just look what it did to the twice-baked potato!"
"God created only one man and one woman, not an entire subdivision. So how did they get
grandchildren? Well, I am too much of a Christian lady to spell it out for you, but you can do the
math" (p. 41). I have yet to hear any preacher who denounces the sibling marriage that was the
norm in Egypt until the time of the Caesars as "unchastity" even acknowledge that the earliest
generations of women must have been impregnated by their fathers, sons or brothers. Either that
or their bible is fiction.
Advice to Christian Crack Whores (p. 50), "Girls, if you are going to be down on your knees 14
to 37 times a night, you may as well pray while you are down there!"
"As a Republican, I am inflamed by the idea of killing human beings while they are still in the
womb. Once they climb out, of course, they are on their own - and fair game . In comparison to
our Lord's resourceful repertoire of ways to ensure demise, even Jeffrey Dahmer comes off as
rather milquetoast and squeamish" (pp. 51-52).
Betty's message to the unsaved (p. 61): "Since you forgot to tell Jesus while you were alive that
He was the most fabulous and kindest man to ever live, He will torture you forever."
"Evolution is clearly a lie. After all, if we have supposedly descended from Neanderthals, why
are they still living in Mississippi?" (p. 112)
Responding to God's explanation of why "he created everything but was not responsible for
anything" (p. 59), Betty writes, "I initially thought His craftily worded explanation was clearly
facetious and was prepared to indulge Him in the most convivial, lilting laugh . I realized that
God was absolutely serious in His self-absolution, so I allowed the beginning of my laugh to
seamlessly segue into a delicate cough."
Explaining why she tried to remove Alice in Wonderland from public school libraries (p. 77),
Betty points out that, "Clearly, this subversive story encourages children to question what they
are told, placing Christian parents in the untenable position of having to explain to youngsters
why the God who loves them will probably torture them in Hell."
Reviewing the movie Gladiator, in which Maximus "looks forward to an afterlife in a place he
calls 'Elysium' instead of 'Heaven,' (p. 71) Bowers/Bradley observes, "It is almost as if the
screenwriter were implying that Christianity is just some wholly derivative religion!" Of course
True Believers(TM) know that being identical with religions that existed up to 3,000 years earlier
does not make Christianity derivative. As Tertullian explained 2,000 years ago, the apparent
plagiarism stems from "the zeal the devil rivaling the things of God" - retroactively!
"Dear Mrs Bowers: If God = Jesus = Holy Spirit, and Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit,
didn't she have sex with her son?" Response: "Dear Inquisitive Sinner: I must commend your
mother for not even trying to answer your impertinent inquiry . When reading the Bible, even
to mutter 'why?' is tantamount to sending up an enormous smoke signal to Satan" (pp. 42-43).
Here I strongly suspect Betty of plagiarism. Her response to Dear Inquisitive Sinner was surely
an unattributed translation of a Bull from Pope Ratzinazi. And other passages appear to be
unedited quotations from Ann Coulter. On the other hand, only a True Christian(TM) would
dispute that Jesus was a motherf er.
Probably the book's least effective chapters are those in which Betty Bowers interviews the
viciously homophobic Dr Laura and the viciously misogynous Eminem. While exposing such
creatures as parasites who enrich themselves by capitalizing on hatred is commendable, the
author makes little or no attempt to make the chapters funny.
When I asked interlibrary loan to secure the Betty book for me, the last place I expected them to
find a copy was the University of Alberta. However, the notation that it came from the university
library's Humour Collection provided the explanation. Among its many other qualities, What
Would Betty Do? is deliciously funny.
It is also very sad. By his perfect imitation of the doublethink that enables religious fanatics to
perpetrate atrocities in the conviction that they are obeying an imaginary lawgiver, Paul Bradley
shows how pathetic and even pitiable god addicts really are. And his accurate parodying of
godworshipthink demonstrates the unspeakable evil of the mind-AIDS of godworship that is
enslaving this planet's 1.1 billion Christians, 1.0 billion Muslims, and 20 million Jews. More than
Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, Bradley's book demonstrates that religion is the most monstrous
crime against humanity that diseased imaginations have ever conceived.
Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness
Victor J. Stenger
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst NY 14228-2119
"As the real experience (the nonlocal consciousness) I operate from outside the system -
transcending my brain-mind - that is localized in space-time . My separateness - my ego - only
emerges as an apparent agency for the free will of this cosmic 'I,' obscuring the discontinuity in
space-time that the collapse of the quantum brain-mind state represents" (p. 38).
That passage typifies the contentless doubletalk that Victor Stenger grants an undeserved dignity
by taking it seriously. Since anyone who can swallow such gobbledygook is a serious candidate
for the Nurse Ratched Cuckoo's Nest, perhaps Stenger believes that paranormal theologians can
be cured by logical reasoning? Or could it be that he wrote a book that he knew would not open
the eyes of those who will not see, for the purpose of proving that no amount of logic can cure a
hocus pocus addict of his mind-AIDS?
Stenger devotes several early chapters to describing the various schools of solipsism that have
succeeded in reaching a mass market, aided and abetted by such gullible kindergarten dropouts as
Oprah Winfrey and Shirley MacLaine. I devoted much contemplation when I was nine to the
hypothesis that I alone exist, and everything else came into existence when I perceived them and
ceased to exist when they disappeared from my sight. I outgrew such childishness by the age of
ten. More recently I encountered at least one believer in religion - not a particularly fanatic one, I
might add - who believes that all reality exists only "in the mind of God." The new age solipsism
argues that reality exists only in a "universal mind" or some equivalent, and individual parts of
that mind can annul an unpleasant reality and replace it with one more to their liking by thinking
it into existence. (I kid you not.)
The only reason I can think of for Stenger devoting space to such unmitigated drivel would be to
demonstrate that he has actually read the fantasizers' nonsense and was not setting up a straw
man for the purpose of rebutting arguments that his opponents never made. In a sense, the gurus
Stenger takes on, such as Deepak Chopra, J.Z. Knight, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, are indeed
straw men, in the sense that it does not take a big bad wolf to blow down their assorted houses of
cards that could have been constructed by Wonderland's Red Queen. When Stenger gets around
to spelling out the laws of reality and suggesting that they falsify the gurus' masturbation
fantasies, the defence that he is doubletalk illiterate is effectively preempted.
In his previous writings Stenger recognized the difference between the non-falsifiable claim that
some kind of god exists, and the fully falsifiable (and falsified) delusion that a god with the
qualities attributed to it by religion exists. In God: The Failed Hypothesis, he showed that a god
that is simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent is an oxymoron that cannot
and therefore does not exist. In Quantum Gods, he describes the best marketed new-age theories,
offers a real-world alternative, and essentially leaves it to the reader to determine whether both
can be valid.
In fact I skimmed the chapters on quantum physics. As a non-physicist I can only guess that they
simplify but do not add to what is taught to third-year undergraduates. As to whether they refute
the imaginings of the solipsists, it seems to me that only a physicist can answer that. While
Stenger recognizes that new-age solipsism is non-falsifiable doubletalk, he takes the Laplace
position that, "I have no need for that hypothesis." Instead he refutes the pseudoscience of
specific humbugs such as the aforenamed by showing that their theses are as dependent on
falsified assumptions as the Christian bible is dependent on a flat earth, a talking snake and a
talking donkey. That his arguments will get past the firewall around Oprah's brain and the brains
of her equally mindless audience is highly unlikely.
Junk Science: How Politicians, Corporations, and Other Hucksters Betray Us
Dan Agin, Ph.D
St Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Dan Agin is not a scientist, but he plays one in this book.
Actually he has a PhD in biological psychology, a discipline best compared to neurological
astrology. And if his thirty years of research in neurobiology gave him any expertise, he
successfully flushed it down the toilet before sitting down to write this book. Junk Science is a
collection of undergraduate essays that at no point rises to the level of a properly supervised
Agin's Introduction is promising: "The sudden interest of the American public in science in the
late 1950s never translated into public scientific literacy - a knowledge of fundamentals -
adequate to defend the public against junk science promulgated by the faith industry, against
dangerous government junk-science policy and hazardous junk science in the health-care
market place" (p. 2).
Also: "How do bad science and junk science differ? In general it's a question of whether one
is talking about a single experiment or a whole field of investigation . When a whole field is
based on bad science we call that field 'junk science.' So it follows that creationism is junk
science, but a single experiment on the origin of life that involves inadequate controls is only bad
science" (p. 4).
That Introduction promises useful information. The problem is in the delivery. In his chapters on
eugenics, Lysenkoism, religion's suppression of the discoveries of Galileo, the Piltdown hoax,
"the food and diet circus," race and IQ, GM foods, stem cell Luddism, the search for longevity,
pollution, terrorism and nuclear weapons, global warming, cloning, and the tobacco industry's
conscious suppression of their own researchers' negative findings about their product, the most
that can be said is that Agin gets his facts right. He adds nothing to what the average
undergraduate already knows. In contrast, his chapter on young-earth creationism and intelligent
design is well written and his conclusions are adequately justified.
In the chapters on junk medicine and quack doctoring, Agin denounces chiropractic, naturopathy,
acupuncture and homeopathy, and casually mentions the failure of those pseudomedical frauds to
provide any evidence that they actually work. But anyone looking for evidence-based arguments
against quackery would be better advised to go back to Martin Gardner's 1957 book, Fads and
Fallacies in the Name of Science. Agin echoes Gardner's findings, but gives the impression that
he is simply parroting the Reader's Digest summary of Gardner's conclusions without offering his
readers adequate reasons for agreeing with them.
Agin's exposure of the fraudulence of talk therapy is undermined by his less-than-ethical
approach. Thomas Szasz has been telling the world for fifty years that psychoanalysis, indeed all
psychiatry, is the same kind of sympathetic listening practised by bartenders, taxi drivers, and
hetaeras, but without the real experts' awareness that their wild guesses are as likely to be wrong
as right. Agin identifies Szasz as "a psychoanalyst," and quotes a line from Szasz's writings so
blatantly out of context that he creates the impression that Szasz is a perpetrator of the very
humbuggery he denounces. Agin summarizes (p. 151), "Many people believe that the end of
psychiatry will occur this century . My view is that psychiatry departments will probably
disappear by mid-century."
TV programs such as Law and Order have been showing the world for twenty years that any
supposedly expert opinion expressed by the prosecution's psychiatrist will be directly
contradicted by the defence's psychiatrist. Yet recognition that a discipline in which this can
happen is itself pure humbuggery continues to be limited to a teachable minority. I consequently
find Agin's prognosis unrealistically optimistic. Since evidence of the fraudulence of religion is
no further away from anyone in the Western world than the nearest university library, would
Agin predict that religion will also be extinct by mid-century? Like religion, psychoquackery has
hundreds of thousands of pushers whose bread and butter would be threatened if their hoax was
exterminated, and they are going to fight to the last breath to prevent that from happening. The
same is true of such junk sciences as parapsychology, hypnotism, and therapeutic touch.
At least UFOlogy has diminished to the point where a Harvard professor who endorsed such
nonsense had to agree to stop peddling hogwash as the price of retaining his tenure. And talk
therapy's most monstrous atrocity, the Big Lie of "recovered memory," is dead but it won't lie
down, as is multiple personality playacting. For some reason Agin mentions none of those junk
Agin's chapter on sociobiology begins with a quotation from someone who knows what he is
talking about (p. 243): "Evolutionary psychology wants to have it both ways. It longs after the
prestige of hard science but hopes to be held to a lower standard of rigor than, say, molecular
biology." That really says it all. It is merely icing on the cake when Agin adds (p. 246),
"Courtship behavior, sexual styles all can undergo severe transformation with great rapidity,
and none of these changes can possibly involve the evolution of genes. There is absolutely
nothing to suggest that sociobiology or evolutionary psychology, as genetic-evolutionary
approaches, have anything to contribute to such questions." There is similarly no justification for
the delusion that giraffes' recognition of the need for a long neck enabled them to evolve one.
Since no paleontologist has written a definitive analysis of sociobiology as a hybrid of
Lamarchism and phrenology, anyone considering doing so might find Agin's observations a good
place to start.
Richard Dawkins, whose status as a public figure began with a book stemming from E. O.
Wilson's Sociobiology masturbation fantasy, has largely backed away from his earlier
endorsement of a "selfish gene" and other metaphors that were taken more literally than he ever
intended. But he has yet to denounce "evolutionary psychology," as the new pseudoscience
currently calls itself in recognition that "sociobiology" is widely recognized as discredited,
perhaps because he is too embarrassed to admit that he had ever been taken in by a discipline that
could be a legitimate contribution to knowledge only if biology, genetics, anthropology, zoology,
paleontology, and several other sciences are incompetent fantasies.
On the conflict between religion and science, Agin cites Stephen Jay Gould's attempt to portray
the two as "non-overlapping magisteria," thereby destroying the reputation he had taken a
lifetime to build up. Agin recognizes that science and religion are indeed incompatible, since
science cites evidence that the universe evolved by natural processes, whereas religion insists, in
the absence of any supporting evidence, that a god was involved. For religion to be valid, all
scientific methodology for reaching conclusions must be incompetent nonsense. Agin is on the
side of Ockham's razor.
Agin acknowledges (p. 293) that, "this book is intended for the general reader and is not a
scholarly work." Unfortunately, even by that standard, it contains little that its intended market
does not already know, and certainly has no ability to cure the blissfully ignorant.
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
Charles P. Pierce
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
"James Dobson compares the Supreme Court of the United States with the Ku Klux Klan. Pat
Robertson sermonizes that the United States should snuff the democratically elected
president of Venezuela. And the nation does not wonder, audibly, how these two poor fellows
were allowed on television" (p. 6). And in Dover, Pennsylvania, a pastor named Ray Mummert
delivers the line, "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture" (p.
Charles Pierce answers his own question about why individuals widely perceived as sick jokes
are allowed to propagate their ignorance on television. "Once you're on television, you become
an expert, because once you are on television, you are speaking to the Gut, and the Gut is a
moron . The Gut becomes the basis for the Great Premises of Idiot America. We hold these
truths to be self-evident. The First Great Premise: Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up
ratings, or otherwise moves units" (pp. 34-35).
"Which leads us, inevitably, to the Second Great Premise: Anything can be true if someone says
it loudly enough" (p. 41).
"Third Great Premise: Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is measured by how
fervently they believe it. Gordon Liddy is no longer a gun-toting crackpot. He has an audience.
He must know something" (p. 104).
In those passages, is Pierce telling us that the media are run by conscienceless prostitutes willing
to contribute to the dumbing of America if that is what it takes to win sales and ratings? Or are
the media moguls themselves scientifically illiterate ignoramuses who define "truth" as whatever
the Great Unwashed prefer to believe? Either way, he makes the point that the educated are
indeed under the tremendous handicap of living in an Idiot America.
Pierce begins his catalogue of American idiocy with a description of his visit to Ken Ham's
Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, is a serious
contender, along with Rupert Murdock and Mel Gibson, for the title of Greatest Embarrassment
to Australia Ever Exported. What Pierce found in Ham's version of Cloud Cuckoo Land included
a dinosaur wearing a saddle, a Triceratops small enough to fit on a 50,000 cubic meter Noah's
Ark without sinking it, and a statue of a naked Adam without a penis. Anyone who needs to be
told how idiotic such concepts are would not be reading this book.
Pierce's annihilation (p. 106) of "an entire network [the Fox News Channel] that bills itself as
news that is devoted to reinforcing people's fears" is effective, but less so than is done every day
by the man Pierce is here quoting, Keith Olbermann, in the segment of Countdown that provided
the name for Olbermann's book, The Worst Person in the World. But while Pierce assigned
Immanuel Velikovsky and Erich von D„niken to their appropriate places in the history of infamy,
his denunciation of such execrable rabid canines as Michael Behe, George W. Bush, Dick
Cheyney, Ann Coulter, James Dobson, Newt Gingrich, Ken Ham, Sean Hannity, Mike
Huckabee, Gordon Liddy, Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews, Oliver North, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah
Palin, Pat Robertson, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Antonin Scalia, Phyllis
Schlafly, Ben Stein, Rick Warren, and Jeremiah Wright, struck me as unduly charitable, since he
did not suggest that they should be sold to a rendering plant to be ground down into rat
Pierce starts each chapter, and ends his book, with what he considers relevant American history
dating back to the Revolutionary War. Memo: Relevant it is not.
Before opening Idiot America, I watched Charles Pierce being interviewed on Countdown, and
that may be influencing my evaluation of his book. Despite agreeing with almost everything he
writes, I view him as a fatuous narcissist who could be a poster boy for the truism, "With a friend
like Pierce, who needs enemies?" Readers who wish to retain the good impression generated by
this book are warned to change channels immediately if they encounter his mug on talking-heads
Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve
Lee Edward Fodi, Author & Illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
16200 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 170, Dallas Texas 75248
9781934812372 $8.95, www.brownbooks.com
Lee Edward Fodi, the "Wizard of Words", returns with his newest adventure in, Kendra
Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve. In his legendary way, Author and illustrator, Lee Edward
Fodi, flawlessly mixes magic, monsters and mystery for his readers. In this fantasy adventure,
and third book in this series, Kendra Kandlestar battles herself as she must choose between being
a true sorceress or learning to be a powerful master of dark magic. Readers will be on the edge of
their pages as they watch Kendra Kandlestar struggle with her choices. The suspense of Kendra
Kandlestar's difficult decision will challenge her audiences to look within themselves to learn
how to overcome their own mischievous sprites! Mythic archetypes, hair-raising action and
humor makes this installment of the Kendra Kandlestar chronicles a book fans of fantasy will be
tempted to stay up all night to read. This family friendly series and exciting book is filled with
thought provoking issues, Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve will entertain readers of
Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River
Kunle Oguneye, Author
Bruce McCorkindale, Illustrator
Blue Brush Media
851 Monroe Ave NE Renton, WA 98056
9780977738243 $14.99 www.bluebrushmedia.com
Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River is a timeless African folk tale that celebrates kindness
to others including strangers. Author, Kunle Oguneye, entertains readers by sharing the African
version of the Good Samaritan story. Oguneye's easy to read story is paired with Illustrator,
Bruce McCorkindale's, soft colorful illustrations that are fun and friendly. Young readers can
look forward to expanding their vocabulary skills as they learn how to pronounce new African
names and words. Learning tools included are, a glossary of words, names and places, a
description of the African Ku-omboka Ceremony and detailed information about Zambia itself.
Audiences of all ages will enjoy getting to know animals native to the land. Also included are
open discussion questions about the morale of the story that promotes readers to recall and retell
their own Good Samaritan stories. Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River is a wonderful
storybook that is packed with a good morale message and a treasure trove of learning.
The Adventures of the Poodle Posse
Chrysa Smith, Author
Pat Achilles, Illustrator
Well Bred Book
PO Box 50, Pt. Pleasant, PA 18950
9781424333356 $7.95 www.wellbredbook.net
Little curly haired poodles and their zany antics make for a fun read in The Adventures of the
Poodle Posse. Author, Chrysa Smith shares her real life stories with her beloved poodles in this
early-reader. Illustrator, Pat Achilles, highlights Smith's stories with adorable and friendly black
and white illustrations. This fun and sometimes very silly book will engage young readers with
pet friendly stories that are a delight to read. Audiences will enjoy the light-hearted humor in The
Adventures of the Poodle Posse as they learn about sharing and caring. Readers will also have
fun at the end of the book where they are encouraged to talk about the stories, characters and
what makes them laugh the most. For a wonderful book that will encourage young readers to
develop a love for pets and their silly antics, The Adventures of the Poodle Posse, is a great read!
Cora Cooks Pancit
Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Illustrated by Kristi Valiant
Walnut Creek, CA
9781885008350 $17.95 www.shens.com
When the young girl Cora's older siblings are not around as they usually are to help her mother
prepare dinner, she steps in. The family is a Filipino American family. She and her mother
prepare the favorite Filipino dish of noodles with vegetables, spices, and chicken called pancit.
As Cora is doing some of the more involved tasks, the mother talks a little about how Cora's
grandfather back in the Philippines would prepare pancit for field workers. The preparation of the
meal thus becomes an activity bringing together different generations of the family. With the
central activity of the story and the recipe for pancit following it, the book also relates to the
current interest in teaching young children about food, diet, and cooking.
America's Main Street Hotels - Transiency and Community in the Early Auto Age
John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle
U. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN
9781572336551 $29.95 www.utpress.org
The parameters of the authors' study are "small-town and small-city hotels." "Small" is defined as
places with populations between 600 and 60,000. The size of the hotels is between 25 and 250
rooms. The time period is 1900 to 1960. These parameters entail the closest relationship between
the establishment and popularity of the hotels and ownership and use of the automobile in
American society. With the authors' sociological interest, focusing on the smaller-size hotels
found in towns and small cities, they got a "clear view of how hotels contributed to community
development" which was not possible with respect to hotels in large, complex urban
environments. And in focusing on such small hotels, the authors would be adding something new
to this area of sociology and cultural studies since the subjects of most studies have been the
grand hotels of major cities with their images of cosmopolitan, modernistic glamor.
Jakle and Sculle's study is not dry or secondary by comparison, however. It is a
multidimensional, lively, and fertile study of an aspect of what was known as "small-town
America" in the mid-20th century. While not particularly elaborate, the facades and architectural
details of the hotels were indicative of contemporary American public architecture. The
barrooms, beauty parlors, restaurants, tobacco shops, and newsstands of the hotels were not only
amenities for travelers, but also social centers for the residents of the small towns and cities.
The authors' add unusual dimensions to the perspective on small hotels by covering to a
considerable extent the operation of them. Parts of this section could be a manual on how to
operate a small hotel for managers. However, the discussion of size and furnishings of rooms,
budgets for different facilities, training of staff, and such, helps to put the reader into a small
hotel. Some of this information is so detailed, it helps the reader to imagine being in a small hotel
and interacting with the staff and moving through its rooms. Some of the antiquated design
features and business practices add a nostalgic touch to the study as well.
Jakle and Sculle thoroughly and engagingly cover this topic of social history in such a way that
one comes away not only with an appreciation for these small-hotel buildings which remain
standing and in use in many places, but also with a better understanding of the term "small-town
9781931896528 $14.95 www.curbstone.org
Though Nasrallah is a Palestinian and has suffered oppression for this in Jordan where he has
lived for many years, this background is evident only lightly in his poems. As one of the
translators, Omnia Amin, writes in his introduction "A Replenishing Poet of the Diaspora,"
Nasrallah's poetry "transcends any determination of personal strife, reaching to universal themes,
where the sorrows of all humanity are realized." The poems of this volume selected by Nasrallah
from many sources over his long, noted career are a combination of shorter poems which like
Japanese haiku (as noted by Amin) awaken "philosophical insight by means of an everyday event
or object" and medium-length poems of most of a page or more which "honor and transcend the
Palestinian experience by opening it onto the world, and by opening his poems to the pain of
every individual who lives in difficulty without regard to color, religion, or national
One of Nasrallah's haiku-like poems in its entirety is "Strangers" (in the group with the title "The
Chairs"): "How dark/how dull/Those who came and went away like strangers/Even their women
and their small girls were sullen/This is how the chairs sit quietly thinking/in the evening." In
longer poems, the poet writes, "He sips her face in the winter morning/descends the stairs of her
sorrows/and sings of warmth./A path opens before him and he takes it." [from His Shadow Is
Departing]; and "He did not invent a word for departure/and did not shed a faint star in his
tears,/nor did he carry grass in his hands, or the rushing trees." [from Departure] Nasrallah
discerns a fresh poignancy in the quotidian.
And Grace Will Lead Me Home - African American Freedmen Communities of Austin, Texas,
Michelle M. Mears
Texas Tech U. Press
9780896726543 $45.00 www.ttup.ttu.edu
Thanks to "archival collections [offering] substantial resources," Mears is able to give an
unprecedented view of the African American communities in Austin from their beginnings at the
end of the Civil War until their were broken up from large-scale city planning in the 1920s.
These communities were established on the outskirts of the city usually in conjunction with land
owned by blacks where freed slaves felt more secure than in the largely unsettled countryside.
And in fact while the communities were not free from the discrimination nor threats of violence,
these were not so severe as elsewhere throughout Texas and the Southern states. In Austin, the
communities were able to grow and provide basics such as employment, food, and shelter; and
there were educational opportunities at black schools.
The details of Mears's picture affirm the range and content of her sources. Appendices include
the dates of the establishment of urban and rural communities, their churches, number of
inhabitants (from less than 200 to over 1,200), number of persons in different employment such
as blacksmith, brick mason, cook in private home or public place, teacher, preacher or minister,
and deaths of many residents and their causes. Mears elaborates on such bare facts as found in
the appendices in the text with attention to particular communities, additional statistics, and
profiles of individuals or vignettes of aspects of the life in a community. Old maps or area views
give one a visual notion of the communities which enhances the author's portrait of them and
Mears has been doing research of African Americans in the Austin area for many years as an
archivist at the U. of North Texas. She has also held positions as an archivist or librarian at other
Texas institutions. Her work is practically pure sociology. Her aim is an organized record of the
African American communities with limited authoritative commentary; instead of a thematic
study of violence against the freed slaves or their role in shaping the area where they congregated
as in many books by historians and writers on African American studies, for example. Despite
not straying far from the facts as abundantly contained in her sources, Mears's book is lively and
informative throughout and colorful in spots for presenting newly-discovered material bringing
to life bustling and innovative communities.
Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby
Photographs by Craig Varjabedian
Introduction by Jay Packer
Essays by Marin Sardy, et al
Afterword by Georgia O'Keeffe
U. of New Mexico Press
9780826336217 $45.00 unmpress.com
Varjabedian's photographs cannot help but bring Ansel Adams to mind. The photographer begins
his Preface, "With an almost crystalline clarity I remember the first time I saw Chimney Rock
and the red hills of Ghost Ranch." Adams' photographs have a crystalline clarity. And
Varjabedian's have something of this too. There is even one titled "Moon over Orphan Mesa"
which seems especially a nod to Adams. But Varjabedian's photographs are not so iconic.
Though having the vistas and technical skill of Adams's photographs, Varjabedian's put one more
in touch with the land and the particular subjects. One is not so much awed, but instead usually
finds a place in the photographs, often by touches such as a tree or fence or chair one can relate
Ghost Ranch is a 21,000-acre expanse of northern New Mexico brought to notice from Georgia
O'Keeffe's attachment to the area as displayed in her paintings and in the words in the book's
Afterword and elsewhere. But Ghost Ranch had an identity apart from O'Keeffe's attachment. As
such a large area, it not only almost ideally represented the particular Southwestern terrain of
New Mexico, but also the activities and challenges of permanent and transient peoples from
prehistoric bands through Spanish explorers and settlers, ranchers, and environmentalists. The
area is also known for attracting spiritual seekers. The photographs complemented by the essays
evoke both the natural and the historical sides of Ghost Ranch.
Not so formidable as Adams's iconic photographs while nevertheless capturing the scales,
contours, vegetation, and remoteness of the land, these photographs allow for and reward perusal.
In exploring their details such as the construction of old dwellings, a line of fence, gullies,
twisted trees, and smoothened rocks seem like storytellers of Ghost Ranch's past.
Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - Modern Issues, 1961-present, 15th Edition
edited by George S. Cuhaj
9780896898370 $55.00 www.krausebooks.com
This 15th edition has improvements in both content and format. Besides price increases where
warranted, there is also more detail on illustrations and signatures on many pieces. Notes are now
listed under the name of the historical country that issued them, not as formerly under the
present-day name of the country. The example editor Cuhaj uses in his Introduction to this new
edition is British Honduras is now separate from Belize. Also North Korea and South Korea are
catalogued separately instead of together under Korea. Similarly for Northern Ireland. Users want
to know this because the present-day and now-gone historical countries of the world are listed
The CD of this edition has improvements also over the first CD found in the previous edition. It
may "take some time to load" Cuhaj mentions, but this is because of the amount of data on it.
The CD contains all the content of the voluminous, 1,000-page-plus catalog in PDF format. The
CD is especially helpful because keyword searches can be done with it. Though the
straightforward and detailed format of the catalog down to current prices for different grades of
notes enables most users to find what general information and specifics they are looking for
readily enough. With the CD, though, each note can be magnified up to 300% its size for scrutiny
Collecting paper money reached the popularity of coin collecting in the end of the 1970s.
Globalization of business, world travel, multicultural interests, and the disappearance and the
founding of many new countries in the modern era all contributed to the jump in paper money's
popularity. For beginning collectors, the front section "How to Use This Catalog" is a succinct
introductory guide to the field. Notwithstanding its title with reference to this major catalog, this
section has explanations of the printing of notes and gradings, advise on caring for a collection,
definitions, material on terms of foreign, non-English, notes, and other fundamentals relevant
apart from their connection with the catalog.
The publication of a 15th edition speaks for the place this work has established in the field of
collecting paper notes. It has long been recognized by the most advanced and specialized
collectors as the leading reference for its comprehensiveness and authoritativeness; and thus has
also attracted the use of collectors at all levels.
Paul Fleischman, author
David Roberts, illustrator
99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144
At some point everyone gets a teacher who inexplicably seems to dislikes kids.
Author Paul Fleischman, whose many honors include the 1989 Newbery Medal for "Joyful
Noise: Poems for Two Voices," takes the nasty teacher caricature to the extreme in "The
The horrific Miss Breakbone, her massive proportions perfectly captured by illustrator David
Roberts, delights in making children cry and subscribes to "Guard Dog Lovers Monthly."
But Miss Breakbone goes too far when she confiscates a knick-knack a child has intended for his
mother's birthday gift.
Then, in a hilarious effort that progresses like a pint-sized version of "Ocean's 11" a group of
elementary-aged friends combine their many talents to break into the teacher's home and steal the
One child with long fingernails picks locks. Another hypnotizes Miss Breakbone's guard dogs.
Another shoots spit wads that disarm a video camera and, later, break a glass to distract a maid
while they sneak down a hallway.
A wonderfully entertaining tale about working together for justice and avenging mean
The Clever Stick
John Lechner, author and illustrator
99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144
"The Clever Stick," is one of those short stories that you can pick apart to find the deep meaning
or that you can simply enjoy at face value. Either way you'll come away with something
The tale follows a plain wooden stick that has a great appreciation for things of beauty - poetry,
the warn sun, red roses. But without a means to vocalize how much he loves the world around
him, he feels trapped and becomes sad and discouraged.
But by accident one day he discovers he can communicate by drawing pictures in the dirt. And
the forest animals and flora that he has so desperately wanted to connect with take note, to his
There certainly can be corollaries drawn between the story and people who rise beyond their
disabilities, such as a deaf person who learns to communicate with American Sign
You can ponder the subtle message about taking stock of a troubled stretch of your life and
becoming aware as you do so that a window has opened, that can take you down a new, more
Or you can quietly enjoy the tale of how one individual came to connect with those around
Thoughtful but not preachy, with a sure-to-make-you-smile conclusion and sweetly simple
Wally the Walking Fish Meets Madison and Cooper
Wally the Walking Fish Meets Madison and Cooper is a delightful little story about a young girl,
Madison, her hungry dog Cooper and Wally, a walking/talking catfish. The colorful illustrations
are enchanting - soft and warm. In addition to the story, Lamit has included factual information
about mushrooms, beavers, flying fish, mudskippers, and walking catfish, to educate as well as
Gary Lamit was inspired and wrote Wally the Walking Fish for this granddaughter Madision. I
hope she'll enjoy and treasure this unique book - an expression of her grandfather's love.
The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India
Dog's Eye View Media
9780980232370 $16.00 www.DogsEyeViewMedia.com
The Weight of Silence is a sociological travel memoir about the beauty, richness, and terrible
poverty in India and, in particular, about the children. Quoting from the introduction:
"In my journeys over the last years into the orphanages, slums, clinics and streets of India I have
become immersed in the world of these children. Their hope and resilience amazed me time and
time again; the ability of their spirits to overcome crippling challenges inspired me. Even in the
most deprived circumstances they are still kids - they laugh and play, perhaps far less frequently
than others; they develop strong bonds and relationships to create family where none exists; and
most of all they have an enormous amount of love to give....
"I want to be clear that although this book deals with struggles and failures, this is far from the
only side of India. The country is an astonishing place full of history, grand architecture,
magnificent natural beauty and some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Because this
book focuses on those excluded from the riches of their nation, the topics and issues written
about often show a darker side of India. Yet during my journeys and research the other, beautiful
India constantly showed itself, even in the most difficult places. It is an extraordinarily wonderful
place and I encourage anyone who has a chance to visit...."
Shelley Seale is an accomplished freelance writer, specializing in travel - multiple publications.
The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India is beautifully written, well edited, extremely
poignant, and educational. If you were touched by the movie Slumdog Millionaire and want to
know more about India, its children and their problems, read this book.
Albion Ablaze and A View to a Death
Authors OnLine Ltd
Bedfordshire SG193NU, England
9780755211173, 9780755211418 $14.95 www.authorsonline.co.uk
Albion Ablaze and A View to a Death are the third and fourth volumes in a five part series
making up The Journals of Marcus Rutilius Robura. Caesar's Tribune is Volume I, Master of
Gaul is Volume II and, in process, Road to the Rubicon is Volume V. I have reviewed Volumes I
and II in the past with strong recommendations.
John Timbers has taken historical characters and brought to life the culture, politics and Julius
Caesar's military campaigns from 60 to 52 BC. These books are based on Caesar's own
Commentaries on the Gallic Wars which led to his to overwhelming power as an all-conquering
general. The stories come alive through a novelistic twist time warp device as Marcus, the
tribune, find himself in two worlds.
In Albion Ablaze (55-54 BC):
"Recalled to Gaul early because of a German invasion in the far northeast, Caesar launches his
first exploratory reconnaissance in force of the almost mythical islands of Albion, egged on, of
course by Marcus. However, in this and the next year, in which Caesar carries out a full scale
invasion to unseat the tyrant, Cassivellaunus, Marcus plays a role wholly unsuspected by
historians (while still remaining credibly within Caesar's version of the story)."
In A View to a Death:
This volume covers a two year period during which some of the most savage fighting of the
whole Gallic war took place, not all of it in Gaul itself. The first half deals with a war waged by
Marcus Licinius Crassus. The second half covers the major Gallic rebellion against Caesar's
presence in Gaul. Quoting from Chapter One - A View - to give you a sample of Timber's style
and quality of writing:
"Shock; instant gut-wrenching terror; subliminal horrors amplified in dreams, and imposed with
mind-bending proportions on the realities so twisted and tortured by the brain's ability to
exaggerate the thought patterns tumbling through its contorted corridors during waking hours and
reflected in all their convoluted awfulness in sleep - such was the stuff of my nightmares.
"I am still not free of the debilitating trauma of those brief, violent encounters with the Parthian
Army in far off Mesopotamia, even though months have passed, and I've tasted normality once
again. It is as if the brain itself has been wounded, and its suppurating sores are seeking attention,
demanding relief that is being denied by any deviation from their origins.
"I am not alone. Few of us who fled that gore-soaked battlefield have escaped mentally
unscathed, even those of us who were fortunate enough to escape injury by those nightmare
barrages of steel-tipped arrows from the ubiquitous Parthian archers. For weeks afterwards we
walked, talked and worked like zombies, trying to function normally as best we could, still
threatened by the probability of pursuit and further defeat at the hands of what seemed then to be
an overwhelming power, our confidence in Rome's insuperability gone forever. Hollow-eyed and
gaunt, even the toughest veterans couldn't shake off the distorting aftermath of fear that haunted
our sleeping and our waking hours."
John Timbers is an educated, gifted writer with a colorful, lively writing style. If you enjoy
historical novels and/or military campaigns, these novels are certain to entertain and educate at
the same time. For more information about John and The Journals of MarcusRutilius Robura,
Crippling Epistemologies and Governance Failures
University of Ottawa Press
542 King Edward, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5
9780776607030, $29.00, www.amazon.com
Gilles Paquet is Professor Emeritus at the Telfer School of Management, as well as being
professionally associated with the Centre on Governance and the Graduate School of Public and
International Affairs of the University of Ottawa. The author and/or editor of more than forty
books (and having published an impressive number of papers) on economics, public
management, and governance, Professor Paquet is uniquely positions to speak with informed
authority concerning prevailing practices and inadequate methodological concepts of knowledge,
evidence and inquiry with respect to the social sciences. Offering impeccable scholarship,
Professor Paquet's critiques with respect to current Canadian policy development with respect to
a weak information infrastructure, inadequate accountability, and flawed organizational design is
documented by example and rational judgment. Professor Paquet goes on to offer public policy
reforms that would permit governmental and other social institutions to productively experiment
with the development and implementation of new governance and academic decision making
structures. Occasionally iconoclastic and always erudite, "Crippling Epistemologies and
Governance Failures" is highly recommended reading and a seminal contribution to academic
A Journey, A Reckoning, And A Miracle
K. J. Fraser
c/o National Book Network
4270 Boston Way, #200, Lanham, MD 20706
Karen Villanueva Author Services (publicity)
9781846942068, $29.95, www.amazon.com
Original, deftly written, and a riveting read from first page to last, "A Journey, A Reckoning, And
A Miracle" by K. J. Fraser is a iconoclastic novel incorporating religion, politics, magic, humor,
adventure, and human nature. Lucy is a seventeen-year-old Rapture believing Christian
embarking upon a pilgrimage to honor the dead from such American massacres as took place at
Waco and Columbine. Wounded in Iraq, Judith is a young black soldier and well-loved by a
voodoo practicing feminist grandmother. Then there is the former American president, George
Bush whose nightmares and visions involve ghosts, zombies, Mother Nature, Machiavelli,
Schopenhauer, a couple of former presidents, and Alice of 'Alice's Restaurant' fame. Anything
can happen with a little faith, a little forgiveness, a little courage, and a lot of creativity. Highly
recommended for personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction collections,
"A Journey, A Reckoning, And A Miracle" has more twists and turns than an Appalachian
mountain trail -- and the journey through its pages is just as much fun!
Pirate Queen: The Curse
R. Allen Downey
7290-B Investment Dr, Charleston, SC 29418
9781419690860, $15.99, www.amazon.com
Lai Choi San was an infamous female pirate marauding through the waters of the China Sea in
the 1920s and 1930s. Then she suddenly disappeared, with no one knowing what ever happened
to her. A decade later someone calling herself Lai captured a Chinese nationalist yacht carrying
six million in gold, plus an encoded microfilm that British intelligences believe contains a
top-secret Mao file. That's why British agent Loo Tao-hua and American ex-sailor Rick Reilly
(both of whom have paranormal powers) are assigned to locate this re-emergent and horrific
female pirate who may or may not be something supernatural herself! Imaginative, original, and
deftly written by a master storyteller, "Pirate Queen: The Curse" is a riveting read from beginning
1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403
9781440121784, $15.95, www.iuniverse.com
The stories are similar, yet each brings a new perspective on one of the blackest marks in human
history. "Remember Me: A Holocaust Survivor's Story" tells the story of Marian Kampinski and
her personal tale of trying to survive the harsh conditions of multiple different concentration camps which claimed her relatives, her adolescence, and almost her life. Suggested for readers
seeking a new perspective on the Holocaust, "Remember Me" is something to consider.
Get That Job!
Interlingua Educational Publishing
423 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 208, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
9781602991439, $14.99, www.amazon.com
High school may be hard, but putting that education to use may just be harder. "Get That Job!
Resume Writing and Interviewing Tips for Recent Graduates" is a guide to getting a better job
right out of high school instead of being forced into jobs which can be synonymous with flipping
burgers. Author Jack Bernstein gives plenty of tips and advice for starting on the path to a career,
rather than slipping into the life of a wage slave. "Get That Job!" is to be strongly considered for
new job market contenders.
A Contemporary Handbook for Weddings & Funerals and Other Occasions
Aubrey Mapphurs & Keith Willhite, editors
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
There are many events in life that deserve the utmost attention and care. "A Contemporary
Handbook for Weddings & Funerals and Other Occasions" is a guide to these major events in
life, and how to make them more meaningful and memorable for all involved. With advice on
wedding vows, eulogies, and communion, " A Contemporary Handbook for Weddings &
Funerals and Other Occasions" is a solid Christian guide especially recommended to anyone in
charge of these events.
A Divided Paradise
c/o DuFour Editions
PO Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425
9781848400139, $20.65, www.dufoureditions.com
An Irish pub is not unusual to see in Boston or Long Island, but in Tel Aviv, it's another story. "A
Divided Paradise: An Irishman in the Holy Land" tells the story of author David Lynch, and his
Irish pub in Israel and Palestine. Written from a journalistic perspective, and packed with many
fresh and original insights about the people behind the conflict. "A Divided Paradise" is an
endlessly entertaining delve into a serious issue.
The Cross & The Psychiatrist
Terry L. Dorn
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432739744, $10.95, www.outskirtspress.com
Some upbringings take a lifetime to recover from. "The Cross & The Psychiatrist" tells the story
of Terry Dorn, who lived much of his life on the streets of Minneapolis after being abused as a
young child. He tells his story of how he successfully attained a level of normalcy after such a
bizarre childhood. "The Cross & The Psychiatrist" provides inspiration and evidence that
anything can be overcome.
A Family Place
c/o CUP Services
750 Cascadilla Street, PO Box 6525, Ithaca, NY 14851
9781438427607, $14.95, www.sunypress.edu
Everyone has a long family line behind them. "A Family Place: A Hudson Valley Farm, Three
Centuries, Five Wars, One Family" tells the story of a home that housed one family over the
better part of three hundred years. Author Leila Philip presents a tribute to her family's long and
illustrious history, revealing a piece of Americana that is hard to replicate. "A Family Place" is of
recommended reading for anyone who wants to see the evolution of the American family first
Where Light Takes Its Color From the Sea
James D. Houston
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597141055, $15.95, www.heydaybooks.com
Little pieces of wisdom can do a lot for one's view of the world. "Where Light Takes Its Color
from the Sea: A California Notebook" is a collection of essays on the world written by James
Houston as he let it all sink in while vacationing in Santa Cruz, California. Poignant, witty, and
entertaining, "Where Light Takes Its Color from the Sea" is insightful and highly
Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform
Chelsea Green Publishing
PO Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781603582285, $12.95, www.chelseagreen.com
Is cheaper medical care for Americans a possible reality or just some crazy dream? "Howard
Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform: How We Can Achieve Affordable Medical Care
for Every American and Make Our Jobs Safer" is a proposal from former Democratic
Presidential Candidate and physician Howard Dean. Dean lays out his plan, which is based on
the principles of no exclusion and equal costs to all Americans. He also pushes the value of new
technology in health care in a very comprehensive and thought-out plan. "Howard Dean's
Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform" is a choice pick for those looking for opinions on the
Universal Healthcare debate.
The Story of the Sand
Mark B. Pickering
The narrative opens with Sampson Roy awakening in his tent after drinking himself to oblivion
the night before. His fondest wish was that he did not have to see another living person, ever.
However, when he was hungry or wanted something to drink he was forced to trek into town.
The work continues as Roy comes face to face with the ghost of an army buddy, recalls his
military service, the deaths of friends, the horror of the war and his anger. The tale weaves and
spins is filled with lust, booze, misunderstanding, as first one ghost and then more appear to take
part in the story and the narrative continues toward the final chapter.
Story of the Sand is a fictionalized recounting of the dilemma surrounding a combat soldier who
has seen comrades fight and die. The result, according to the author, is a man now facing myriad
problems; mental, relationship, financial, inability to cope with what has happened as a result of
the disillusionment felt by the main character Sampson Roy who went off to war full of optimism
and the belief that those in power can be trusted; that the war undertaken was right, proper and
Sampson Roy has returned to his home in Georgia a changed man after spending months fighting
in the sands of Iraq. Roy finds himself powerless to deal with home, society, life in general. He
soon learns that the government he served has little care concerning his problems; he receives
little help from the VA or any other agency. Gone is the patriotic idealist who went off to serve
his country, in the wake is an angry, aggrieved pessimist.
Roy's psychological harm due to what he observed while serving in the Middle East has left him
with a marriage in tatters, himself a pariah to those he has known and with whom he had
relationship. He retreats into a lonely world filled with liquor.
The unexpected dreamlike appearance of a ghostly figure of a dead soldier, David Tree, killed
during the fighting in Iraq and unable to pass to the other side, brings Roy some unexpected
news. His wife is pregnant.
Author Pickering sets down an intense portrayal of war's devastation for the individual soldier,
and the aftermath filled with loneliness, misery and attempts at rehabilitation.
Roy cautiously attempts to re enter the world he left; however his alcoholism and self-destructive
temperament has left him branded an outsider. His wife rejects reconciliation. Roy yearns to
return to the life he knew prior to his military deployment, he hopes to raise his child. Finding the
resolve to conquer his addictions and turn his life around may be too daunting.
Through Pickering's clever writing the reader carried along in unanticipated, imaginative
directions. While the various twists and turns are fundamental to the story, the tale borders on the
bizarre, unless Pickering is attempting to portray some of the drunken stupor induced
hallucinations Roy may have experienced.
Even though PTS is not mentioned, Story of the Sand is presented as a glimpse into Post
Traumatic Stress many battlefield survivors experience. The personal battle each combatant
fights once the return home is completed is of course undertaken by a very changed person, that
is an indisputable fact well known by those of us who may be married to a combat veteran, or
who are themselves veterans. I was often left pondering what the writer really meant to portray as
I read the book. At times the overwhelming reference to sexual activity, and the ghosts became
so blurred I felt lost in the wake. The ghosts seemed at times to take over the story until the story
of the soldier and his stress were only a sidelight to the activity of the ghosts.
The sense of personal loss, desperation for a hope for tomorrow and a yearning for things to
return to normal, as they were before the soldier went off to war is difficult reading for readers
who may themselves have personal relationships with a PTS suffering former combat
Pickering's writing is gripping, stirring, troubling at times and with the line between reality and
allegory so blurred as to render difficult reading in spots. The Story of the Sand is recommended
for those who enjoy a gritty, hard hitting novel filled with tangled interpersonal relationships and
Judy Nichols' Tree Huggers, opens with a Winslow Beach Beacon Real Estate ad reading: What's
New in Real Estate; the completion of the first luxury home in Normandy Sands, that is what is
The account commences with a depiction of that 6,000 square foot house. As listed the residence
might be just the thing for the perceptive homeowner able for meeting the multi million dollar
Needless to say; John Cochran was definitely not that man. His old beat up Volvo really looked
out of place, for that matter, Cochran looked out of place with his graying hair, weathered face,
clothed in an old pair of blue jeans and a really old Save the Whales T-shirt.
Waiting in his car parked next to the multi car garage; Cochran was anticipating the arrival of
one Warren Owens. Owens embodied the development company determined to acquire
Cochran's stretch of Carolina pine savannah and construct houses on it. As for Cochran; he really
was not interested in selling.
Owens' arrival was followed with his proudly walking Cochran through the house as the duo
waited for Owens' boss and Cochran's son to join them.
When four cammo attired men wearing masks suddenly appeared; Owens' only notion was that
the four planned to rob the place. compelled into entering a closet by the quartet; the pair listened
as the men moved around the room.
Owens worried that the men were vandalizing the place when he heard the glug glug of liquid,
Cochran realized something far more sinister was underway.
Kate Dennison's first day as a reporter for the Winslow Beach Beacon had not gone near as she
had thought it might. On the other hand, a job is a job, and a single mom really cannot get along
without a job.
Sent to cover the story of the fire that took the lives of Cochran and Owens, Kate works
diligently to get to the truth.
From that beginning we follow Kate on her trek to the various local club and school board
meetings, get to know an old colleague of hers from Dayton, Ohio where both were involved in
the local environmental work, meet Kate's daughter Molly, and watch over Kate's shoulder as she
types articles for the paper.
Kate quickly learns that all tree huggers are not warm and fuzzy. It is during the trial of the man
accused of the crime having burned the expensive house to the ground and killing both Owens
and Cochran that Kate begins to wonder if the wrong many may be on trial.
A confrontational environmentalist group is certain to disagree with an unprincipled developer.
Inscrutability, deception, death threats, rudeness, bodily grievance, chicanery, slayings, evidence,
all are part of the narrative. Kate must one way or another manage her job as mom and reporter,
care for her daughter, attempt to disregard her ex husband Keith and his most recent flame,
endeavor to find a little time for a life of her own in addition to unknotting the mystery of
whether the environmentalist group were responsible for the arson, or was it perhaps someone
Writer Nichols has produced an electrifying, well-timed work overflowing with nicely fashioned,
animated characters, in depth settings calculated to draw the reader into the account, in addition
to supplying a bounty of mystery and deeds, variance and inscrutability all neatly decoded and
I particularly liked the writer's use of a supposed clip from the Winslow Beach Beacon as the
beginning of each chapter. Those clips attach a lot to the small town feel for the story as
meetings, and death, declaration of the paper re hiring of that new reporter, witticisms tossed in
on the topic of the analysis surrounding the fire, in addition to details regarding Kate, including a
contempt of court action, jail, loss of custody of her daughter, being taken hostage, almost getting
herself killed help the reader understand that, Winslow Beach was not quite so boring as Kate
had first thought.
Happy to recommend Judy Nichols' Tree Huggers for those who enjoy a well written
Jennifer Morris' - Come, Llamas commences as JT Kinnaman of the Alaskan Kinnaman Llama
Ranch anticipates the birth of his very own first llama. He hopes the first born will be to Snow,
his favorite of the female llamas in the family herd.
Following family tradition; nine year old JT is now old enough to start building his own herd. It
was last summer that family patriarch, Grandpa, had promised that the first cria born this season
would be JT's.
The reader follows Joey to most, Joseph Turre on rare occasions and JT to his best friend along
with his Grand Dad, as he cares for the small llama, the surviving twin born, Snow. It is not often
that llamas produce twins, and JT had hoped both would survive, but he is happy that at least
little Elmo, while very small, is doing well.
The grim realities surrounding both joy and sorrow felt by those who raise critters as their
income at times becomes almost overwhelming. The Kinnaman family llamas are trained as
guard animals, as pack animals, and are sheared for their wool. Losing llamas can mean hardship
and problems for the family. Enclosures must be maintained, bears, wolves and coyotes all must
be kept at bay. Breeding stock must be shielded from harm, plus the animals sold to others for
use as guard animals must be kept out of harm's way.
JT tends to faces life head on. JT's wish to become a pitcher on his local baseball team, his
school work, the ongoing threat from rapacious animals who often attempt to get to the family
herd, working on the ranch, and coming to realize that his beloved Grand Dad is not going to be
with him forever are all part of his life.
Disaster strikes when a grizzly succeeds in breaking through the perimeter fencing. JT is all but
overwhelmed, to learn that gentle, beautiful Snow has been killed and her Cria, his own first
llama, Elmo cannot be found.
More significantly to the family as a whole is the fact that at least half the herd is now scattered
and may fall prey to predators. When the round up is completed, and all remaining animals are
housed in the barns until the fence can be repaired nearly half the herd is missing or slain and
Grand Dad has been taken to hospital.
Farm kids grow up knowing from early age that life and death are all part of the continuum of
Writer Morris has set down a saga packed with rich detail, animation and a child's growing
comprehension that while some life ends, other life goes on, in addition to understanding that
bemoaning the situation is not something to do; whatever the emotion or sorrow there are things
that must be done, and done now, because they are right to do. And, JT learns that sometimes
very hard decisions must be made.
Told in the first person from the point of view of a nine year old; the Alaska setting and life with
llamas comes to life.
Worth of family, worth of life, as well as community coming together for common good, are all
clearly spotlighted in this account of a youngster's growing up and beginning to fully comprehend
that growing up is at times very hard to accomplish. Readers also begin to understand that life is
now and again filled with unforeseen duty, joyfulness and hurting.
Happy to recommend Jennifer Morris' - Come, Llamas for mature 9-12 year olds. Jennifer
Morris' - Come, Llamas is a good choice for family night reading as Dad reads aloud to the
Diary of a Dead Man
2100 Kramer Lane Ste 300 Austin TX 78758
Walter Krumm's - Diary of a Dead Man follows one Cam, Cameron, Taylor as he anxiously
endeavors to disentangle himself from the horrific mess in which he has gotten himself
Who might have supposed that responding to a bland instant message that had popped up on his
computer might have lead to murder, danger and more.
It was actually on a Thursday, June 1 to be exact, that the date of their first tangible meeting after
so many messages was to take place. Those messages between he and Emily which had begun
innocently had soon progressed to messages that were more hot and steamy and a whole lot less
commonplace and mundane.
Cam was troubled with mixed feelings regarding the situation. He had been married for fifteen
years to Julie, and Cam had strong belief that adultery is wrong. He had long felt there is no
justification for such behavior, plus it was time to face the fact that he could not go through with
actually committing the act.
Cam did have the best intentions; he had made the decision to break off the almost 'affair' with
Emily. That was before he received his morning email from Emily. Following that email; all his
good intentions disappeared.
In point of fact; Cam had made the hotel reservations even before he received that significant
email. With that email went all resolution to cancel the reservation.
From that foundation the reader is plunged hurriedly into an appalling state of affairs filled with
extortion, demise, sexual flight of the imagination, and just plain apprehension.
As this fast-paced crime novel persists, Cameron must plan a course through a shadowy complex
of deceit, fatality, and deception that presents peril not only his own life but to the lives of his
family. Whether he can truly disentangle the chaos, and protect his family, much less his own life
remains manifestly thorny.
Indistinguishable figures, Emily, Nemesis, are names found on the instant messages. Terrible
decisions follow dire decisions leading to a spiral threatening to twist completely out of
It when Cam at last grasps that not only has he been set up, but he is only one person in a long
line of others who have been similarly victimized; that he commences to become conscious that
he is in the fight for his life if he is to break away from not only the extortion, but with his family
undamaged and perhaps, hopefully, himself still living.
Author Krumm has crafted a compelling tale devised to move the reader into the realm of
intensity, misconduct and ill will. Cam Taylor is set up to bear all responsibility for a slaying he
did not commit, while the authentic executors remain untroubled, and enriched.
The worst of it, as Cam sees it, is the fact that it is not he alone who is caught up in this
subterfuge, but like ripples in a pond when a stone is tossed into it; the ripples seem to persist
outward to reach many more than just this one man.
Taylor is compelled into a situation where he must struggle to keep his life, shelter his family and
force Nemesis to leave him alone. He has little hope that he can rely on anyone other than
Krumm's debut novel is carried out with a precision belying his lack of other works. Characters
are well detailed; circumstances, milieu and plot are all abundantly developed, tension is
maintained from opening lines to final pages.
Slowly the writer builds upon his premise that in these modern times many who would never
think of straying can be mentally seduced long before physical seduction becomes a reality, and,
that messages sent and received may or may not be from the person thought to be the sender.
The saga draws to an agreeable finale leaving the reader hoping there will be more exciting
works from this writer to be had in the near future.
Happy to recommend Walter Krumm's - Diary of a Dead Man for those who enjoy a fast paced
chiller of a mystery, as well as those who just like a well written work packed with
accomplishment, captivating characters and a good bit of apprehension.
Tears on Stone
Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler
Swimming Kangaroo Books Arlington TX
Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler - Tears on Stone: Falcon's Bend's most recent residents Pam
Garland, social worker, and her former wards, siblings Shelly and MaryEmma Gold, as well as
Shelly's four year old Ariel Wilson are quietly settling into their new home. That is how they
liked it. Settled and quiet.
Recently widowed Shelly is having a tough time with melancholy. MaryEmma divides her time
between caring for Ariel and toiling at the local floral shop while Pam is busy setting up a
counseling service for battered and abused women.
When MaryEmma realizes the garden in her old childhood home yard next door has fallen into
disorder she is saddened. How beautiful the garden had been.
Before long she becomes conscious that the house is now owned by childhood chum Jordan
Shasta. The duo had been indissoluble as children before MaryEmma's mother and step father
had died, Pam was appointed guardian, and Pam and the girls moved from the town.
Focused on the dreadful toll spousal abuse wreaks on women, their offspring and whole families;
Falcon's Bend Tears on Stone presents the reader a group of characters who are not always as
Pam, and her social work are the consequence of her own childhood filled with abuse. Watching
the ill-treatment her own mother tolerated has produced an irate, ruthless woman who is willing
to use the only reliable process for alleviating her pain.
Marigold, a fine designation for a pensive woman who today continues to find consolation in
gardening; MaryEmma recollects her childhood crush on Jordie Shasta with fondness.
As local police begin investigating what seems to be a death resulting only to the heavy hand of
the murdered; they unexpectedly recognize that a series of deaths appears to have been dogging
Pam, MaryEmma and Shelly.
Tears on Stone launches Falcon Bend's first woman officer Amber Carfi, as well as continuing to
follow officer's Pete Shasta and Danny Vincent as the pair accomplish their investigations. The
officers must unravel the string of bodies laying in Shelly's wake, become au fait with the rather
distasteful play boy who arrives on the scene and soon appears to be chumming up to one woman
after another as she leaves SOS, Society of Survivors, meetings conducted by Pam.
SOS founder Dorothy Hawks, a survivor of spousal abuse, is a woman who killed her husband in
self defense, was jailed by an unsympathetic jury, and has been searching for her children from
the time of her discharge from jail. She has been influential in developing the program,
incorporated by Pam, to aid women as they try to find help for themselves and their
A female coroner, a female detective and a string of men dead in widespread venues carry the
narrative in breathless fashion toward a gratifying conclusion.
Writers Wiesner Spindler have created a well written, potent account centered on what even
today often remains an disregarded, denied and bristly matter of spousal abuse.
Even today; women suffering cruelty often find society to be pretty hardhearted, willing to
prolong the myth that - she musta asked for it, or who could blame name when he is married to a
woman like her.
The vulnerable, despondency these women undergo, especially when they have children to
shield, is well portrayed on the pages of Tears on Stone.
These writers have done a noteworthy job for bringing a tricky subject to the forefront as they
knit a tale surrounding that which is comprehensible in scope, not acceptable from a legalistic
sense and is at times what seems to be only method left to those who must deal with the
The trepidation, hurt and incomprehension presented by each of the three main characters is
conspicuous, different for each, and provides the reader occasion to recognize that we each
respond to misfortune in OUR way.
While not a factual tale; Tears On Stone drives home the point: When irrational, abusive
relationships are in play there is no one hard and fast do this or do that, or the response will
Tears On Stone is the second book in the Falcon's Bend Series and can be read as a stand alone
Happy to recommend Tears On Stone.
Tarizon: Civil War vol 2
William Manchee's Tarizon: Civil War vol 2 continues the Sci Fi/Fantasy trilogy begun by
attorney writer, Manchee on the pages of Tarizon: The Liberator.
On the pages of Cactus Island; Stan and Rebekah Turner's son Peter was kidnapped, not by
humans on earth, but by inhabitants of Tarizon who have been waiting for the one who is to lead
The Seafolken and those who are awaiting liberation from a dictator growing more powerful each
Peter's abrupt seizure into the Tarizon space craft, Earth Shuttle 21, brings Peter to Tarizon
where his new life has begun. Lucinda Dimitri who was assigned to aid Peter during his
orientation to his surroundings, new language, and growing awareness of what his role in this
strange new land will be, is now Peter's mate who is carrying his child. Lucinda has been taken
prisoner causing Captain Leek Lanzia as Peter is now known to worry for her safety even as he
and the 3rd Loyalist Army continue the battle against Videl Lai and his tyrant rule.
Despite the prophesy that eventually the Liberator will be victorious, the ongoing battle continues
right now. Tarizon: Civil War vol 2 opens with death, destruction and a dearth of supplies; The
Battle of Tribution is well underway.
Hovertanks, intelligence briefings, an Earth Shuttle Rendevous, T-47 fighters and TGA troops, a
woman named Tehra, a momentous election, an order from Videl Lai to begin genocide of all
Nanomite swarms telepathic communication and battles, more than a few battles, all serve to
forward the tale in this action packed, fast paced narrative.
The death of Videl Lai might have signaled the end to the war were it not for the charge he gave
to his son. Evohn Cystrom watched horrified as his father was torn apart by two rhutz, as much
as Evohn wanted to go to his father's aid he could not. Videl Lai, while his adoptive father, was
good to Evohn as any parent might be. It was Evohn who had managed to abduct the Liberator's
mate, General Zitor and Lorin Boskie and to deliver them into the hands of the TGA. For that
deed Evohn had received a promotion to Captain and now, his father was dead.
With the death of Lai; Evohn Cystrom had been ordered to take the shuttle back to Clarion and
implement Operation Conquest Earth. So be it, if that was his mission, it was one Evohn would
see to the end.
The news of the fall of Shisk and Videl's death was cause for the people of Tarizon to take to the
streets in celebration. With the fall of the TGA the 3rd Army quickly entered Shisk and marched
to the Capitol Building. Seafolken had secured the site, the 3rd and 5th Loyalist Armies took
control of the city as well as the state of Soni.
The terms of surrender were generous, while the TGA soldiers were required to give up their
arms, they were sent home following their taking an oath to never take up arms again unless they
were members of the Loyalist Army.
Captain Lanzia was a little puzzled when Threebeard asked to have a private face to face
conversation with him. His puzzlement intensified as Leek listened to Threebeard's confession
that the attempt for rescue of his mate was thwarted by Threebeard himself. However, any anger
Lanzia might have felt was eased as he listened to Threebeard's explanation.
I have followed Manchee's writing from the beginning of his first series featuring attorney Stan
Turner and his family. I have yet to be disappointed in any of Manchee's burgeoning body of
Once more proves his increasing expertise as a writer. Manchee's turn from human Stan Turner
to the people of Tarizon has been accomplished with innovation and imagination. Characters
continue bright, stirring, and overflowing with energy.
Dialog as always is appropriate, often resolute, and pounding with strength. This particular genre
stratagem is compelling, appealing and more than a little extraordinary.
Situations are meticulous in depth bringing the reader straight into the action. concentration is
undeniable from commencement of the book right to the last sentences.
As always story line interweaving includes, tactics, subterfuge, an abundance of chicanery all
portrayed in will conceived prose.
Manchee's, heroes continue valiant, while his scoundrels continue to be out-and-out brutal.
As Manchee has shown excellent aptitude for crafting compelling mysteries, he is proving as
competent fashioning his fantasy/sci fi offerings also.
While the Tarizon Trilogy is loosely a by-product of the Stan Turner Mystery series this new
genre series is readable and well understood without going back and reading the Mysteries for
I am a fan of Manchee mysteries and advocate that if you have never read any of Manchee's work
in the past; please do consider his other writings in addition to this trilogy.
I find the Trilogy to be a stirring series, and Tarizon: vol 2, Civil War to be an electrifying
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend William Manchee's Tarizon: Civil War vol 2.
Living together, Feeling Alone, Healing Your Hidden Loneliness
Dr Dan Kiley's
15 Columbus Circle NYC, NY 10023
Dr Dan Kiley's Living together, Feeling Alone, Healing Your Hidden Loneliness is a 206 page
work focused on that segment of society who while living with others all around continues to
harbor the lonely feelings which may over time engulf and destroy.
Dr Kiley presents his work as ten chapters divided into two parts. Part 1 discusses the
Background leading to the feelings of Loneliness including Living together Loneliness including
the understanding that Loneliness is often viewed as a condition affecting shy folks having no
friends, as well as unhappy singles including the recently divorced or widowed. Loneliness is
little recognized as something that might affect those in relationships. Many LTL women are
those involved in a dysfunctional relationship that she is loathe to leave. LTL seems to have
emerged as a major problem within the last two decades or so.
The Stages of LTL; the UCLA Loneliness Scale, is a diagnostic tool used to aid in discovery of
causes for LTL. Five statements address by the Scale include There is no one I can turn to, I feel
left out, I feel isolated from others I am unhappy being so withdrawn and No one really knows
me well. The stages include Bewilderment, Isolation, Agitation, Depression, Exhaustion.
Included in the External causes of LTL are Women's Changing Roles, Mobility, High Tech, Low
Tech achievements, Freedom's Trap, Real or Perceived Isolation Behaviors of others, Demands
of others who are attempting to subjugate those around them, Sexual Abuse, Constant Criticism,
Emotional Vacancy, Blaming Others, False Contrition, and Nurturance Rejection.
Internal Causes of LTL include low self esteem, fear of other's anger, narcissism, role conflicts
and new expectations.
Symptoms of LTL include bitterness and blame, weight problems, substance abuse, depression,
anxiety, monophobia, sexual indiscretion, physical ailments, overachievement, workaholism, and
Part 2 continues with steps for Treatment. Step One is Surrender to stop the chain reaction
leading to loneliness before it begins. Surrender takes place when you move away from the old
frustrating ways, when you admit that you are outnumbered by the elements causing the feelings
of loneliness and when you realize that you need to change your lifestyle.
Step Two is Withdrawal during which time you retreat into yourself and embrace your aloneness
including replacing the old lonely ways with solitary activities. Solitude includes idling and
Step Three is Reevaluation to strengthen the personality leading to stopping of self induced
isolation when leads to reemergence and the stoppage of others from isolating you. Old roles and
methods may feel comfortable, but may be isolating.
Step Four is Reemergence is a time of trial and error learning, it's a time to list the roles you play
during the day and those with whom you have the most contact during the time you are in those
roles. Lastly it is time to note which roles you perform best and use those behaviors to shore up
the roles needing more help. Learn to remain in adult behavior, to not become angry when others
attempt to needle you, be specific when making requests, develop the assertiveness to express
you own opinions, accept responsibility only when it is your behavior, thought or deed which
caused the action or problem, allow insignificant matters to fade away, remember there is no
need for you to be all things to all people,
Step Five is Discovery points out it is okay to agree to disagree, to develop inner toughness, to
realize that the future is never certain and that it is okay to be ready for anything.
Rounding out the work is the Epilogue and Suggested Readings.
Dr Kiley's writing style is comprehensible, logical and filled with solid, down to earth
suggestions. He guides readers toward understanding what loneliness is as opposed to the self
destroying isolating feelings of non worth and complete aloneness.
Living together, Feeling Alone, Healing Your Hidden Loneliness is a good candidate for the
counselor's shelf and personal reading list of those who suffer from deep seated feelings of
isolation and loneliness.
Happy to recommend Dr Dan Kiley's Living together, Feeling Alone, Healing Your Hidden
Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
J. Steve Miller's
Wisdom Creek Press, LLC
5814 Sailboat Pointe, NW, Acworth, GA 30101
J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It presents
readers occasion for learning to Invest, Save, Make and Enjoy Money.
One of the first declarations set down in the work caught my eye, Miller wrote: I strove to be one
of those exceptions by basing my advice not just upon years of personal experience, but upon the
knowledge and experiences of well over one hundred wise people.
Now THAT sounds hard to beat.
Attaining acumen, learning, knowledge, living below ones means, investing habitually and
serving others all are keys to triumph.
Miller tenders a manuscript penned in an stirring and satisfying arrangement proposed to keep
the reader occupied and turning the page. Each sheet is overflowing with appealing and agreeably
structured information existing as coursework, conversation materials and motivation packed
Particularly supportive for those who may have modest to no appreciative perception of personal
finance; J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
can leverage as a jumping off point, or a road map to direct the neophyte toward proficiency
when it comes to understanding money, and what can be done with it in order to give surety
toward a more advantageous future.
Part One: Investing Money presents readers with important information for discovering the
basics, catching the vision and how to not lose money in stocks. Miller furnishes information for
how to go about making money in Mutual Funds, along with advice for how to diversify with
Real Estate. Scattered throughout this section are sidebars, set apart boxes, colored headings and
lots of information.
I found a note down on page 76 which seems to hold a wealth of well thought out realism and is
it timely: Preparing for Hard Times in Case of Another Depression, Work: jobs will be scarce, so
work hard and smart now. Make yourself indispensable by knowing more about your job than
anyone else and getting along with everyone. I need to be the last mechanic my boss would ever
1 GET OUT OF DEBT; try to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. Even if you hold
onto your employment during a dire market; it is likely you will earn less money for the reason
that companies will be hurting. Ask yourself, -if my income were cut in half, could I still make
2 LIVE WAY BENEATH YOUR MEANS. Those living beyond their means will be in financial
disarray. Lots of money will be lost should need arise forcing the selling of cars and houses at a
3 Put more funds into your emergency account. In some locales, half the population were without
work during the Great Depression. Consider how long could you last without an income?
Miller changes course in Part Two: SAVING MONEY and the writer yet again points out Live
Way Beneath Your Means. He suggests ideas for how to save on food and clothes cost, on
purchase of cars as well as how to save when buying houses. I found stimulating Miller's list of
ten ways to lose a lot of money. He calls them Ten Popular Ways, meaning these are the ways
many people bring into play to shoot themselves in the foot so to say when it comes to
Part Three: Making Money is concise and to the point filled with notes for how to locate those
dream jobs, how to go about to do extremely well at your job and how to empower in your mind.
Seems trouble-free enough, however, most of us have heard many co workers, or others
bemoaning the job they have, and don't want, while doing little to nothing to change the
Part four Enjoying Money makes available sagacious matter-of-fact suggestions for how to go
about looking for happiness in the right places which Miller notes necessitates some learning,
includes some philanthropic giving of self to others, and considering religion and other centered
Appendices incorporate an adult spending sheet or budget as well as one for 17 year olds.
Writer Miller has created a nicely penned, well-ordered manuscript intended to assist anyone at
any phase of earning, saving, investing and enjoying their money.
Text is chatty filled with witticisms and packed with plenty of practical and constructive data.
Coursework and assignments are designed to give support to the reader toward making
constructive changes toward, or continuing good money management.
Happy to recommend J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It
and Give It
The Forgotten Past The Arhka Chronicles, Vol 2
Heather Hayashi's The Forgotten Past The Arhka Chronicles, Vol 2 begins with the monster
beneath the maelstrom. Lighting illuminated the sky. The enemy was waiting.
The prologue sets the scene for tension, fear and anxiety. Chapter one begins with the Day of the
Aliens. Leaving behind the heat and humidity of the afternoon; Derrick Milianas entered the
cooling temperature the apartment building. A telephone call from his Dad moved Derrick into
action, his Dad's overnight in hand Derrick headed for the airport where his Dad was
From that beginning the tale move quickly unidentified flying objects were seen descending from
the eye of a storm, Derrick's mother's name and that of his sister are on the list of the missing, an
unexpected discovery, a piece of jewelry and the mystery has only begun.
When Derrick learns that his mother, Elise, and his older sister, Stephanie, are among the
missing, he's resolute in his determination to locate them. Traveling to the place where they have
been living he meets Jason, whose younger sister, Eris, also disappeared with Derrick's mother
Joining forces seems a natural thing for the pair to do before setting off to locate a mysterious
land Eris had told Jason about following an earlier incident when she had been wafted off
The journey takes the duo to Arhka where the fellows hope the reason for the abductions and
whereabouts of the three women is revealed.
Before long parallel worlds, travel from one to the other, another young man with a missing
sibling to share Derrick's worry, Derrick's secretive father Steven and his government work,
travel to a mysterious land, and a desperate plan move the chronicle forward.
Finding Eris, facing danger, ith'rya, dealing with the aftermath of an attack, and an upside down
car in a crater are all part of the action. A pounding headache, Vampires, adjusting to the truth,
humanoids and a Tyrannosaur like critter with snakelike eyes, leaders of various Arhka
governments, Dragon cities, teleportation points Derrick and Jason find themselves on an fast
paced race from one world to the other.
Keelryth, a Dragon who has found a new toy, perspective from the other side, mysterious
technology, into the fire, well laid plans which do not always work as hoped, a secret told, and
something worth dying for leave the youngsters filled with more concern and Elise, Eris and
Stephanie no less fretful.
A will to fight, something lost in translation, a daughter's frustration, things to come and the
Oracle's concern, overwhelming power, meeting the enemy, and worried families all keep the
reader turning the pages.
Writer Hayashi's mesmerizing prologue in addition to a matter-of-fact depiction of initial
characters, moves the reader into the ongoing narrative of The Arhka Chronicles. Various cabals
of Arhka population have been warring for centuries.
It is the usual struggle for power, who rules and who is ruled and plain and simple greed which
has ultimately led the four races of Arhka into the struggle. That was before the aliens had
attacked; bringing the four races of Arhka with the realization that it was either stop fighting one
another and begin to work together or be destroyed.
The Forgotten Past goes on meandering and turning through the blockbuster narrative begun on
the pages of To Save the World. This latest episode blends fantasy and science fiction in large
quantity, introduces a whole new group characters taking their place alongside many found in the
first episode, and another race created by the author. A new stratum is layered to the anticipation
and accomplishment as the characters endure psychological difficulty.
Multiple storylines, mesmerizing characters, detail filled settings, and just plain good writing are
all included in this fast paced work.
Happy to recommend Heather Hayashi's The Forgotten Past The Arhka Chronicles, Vol 2.
Molly Martin, Reviewer
M. H. Bonham
Dragon Moon Press
P.O. Box 1714, Calgary, AB, T2P 2L7, CANADA
9781896944692 $19.95 http://www.dragonmoonpress.com
This story is set in a universe where there are nine separate worlds, connected to each other
through the World Tree. This is the source of the Web of Wyrd, which runs through the Nine
Worlds. A millennia ago, the three warring gods nearly destroyed mankind. Now one of them,
Areyn Sehduk, the god of death, has returned to finish the job.
He kills Fialan, leader of the lochvaur, hoping to tip the balance of power in his favor. Sehduk
does not take into account that he has created a powerful enemy in Lachlei, queen of the
lochvaur. Vowing vengeance against the rival clan led by Sehduk, Lachlei leads her people into a
fight against demons and the undead.
Rhyn'athel, another of the three gods, is the only being powerful enough to defeat Sehduk. He
takes human form, and joins Lachlei's warriors, in order to stop Sehduk, once and for all. He
doesn't reveal his identity to Lachlei, but his abilities are not those of the average mortal.
Rhyn'athel also falls in love with Lachlei.
Meantime, Fialan is not exactly dead. He finds himself on Tarentor, another of the Nine Worlds,
part of an army of the dead. It's controlled by Sehduk, so the warriors have no free will, and are
forced to fight against their own people. Once on Elren, where this takes place, they must eat real
food, and they have corporeal form. Every minute they are there, they become more of Elren, and
less of Tarentor.
This is an excellent sword and sorcery novel that is pretty heavy on the sorcery part. It's got good
characters, led by a very strong female warrior, it's got an exciting story, and it is very much
Legends in Time: Exiles
Vincent Hobbes, et al
Hobbes End Publishing LLC
P.O. Box 193, Aubrey, TX 76227
9780976351023 $14.99 http://www.hobbesendpublishing.com
Part 2 of a series, this continued the story of Consul Veris, a senior member of the Nadorian
Senate, who is engaged in a desperate journey to King Kedor of Aronia, far to the north. He was
sent on this mission by Emperor Makheb, after being told that he, Veris, was about to be arrested
by his Senate colleagues, and accused of trying to kill the same Emperor Makheb.
While Makheb travels to the desolate Endlands, to confront Ramunak, the cause of all this,
several other members of the Senate, who can best be described as "power-hungry," consolidate
their power. The word is spread throughout the empire that Veris is an outlaw; Wanted: Dead or
Meantime, Veris, who is really a famous warrior from the Barbarian Wars named Gromulus,
stops in a small town on the edge of the Denok Forest to visit Fayorn, an old war buddy, and to
return his sword (it's not as simple as it sounds). Even though Fayorn lives on Nadorian land, he
thinks of himself as citizen of Aronia, a very self-sufficient and independent people. Fayorn has
no love for Emperor Makheb, or Nador, so he does not join Gromulus on his journey.
After a long time in self-imposed exile, Tornach, another war hero, returns home to a town that is
unrecognizable. He is Ungoran, and they were the cause of a lot of bloodshed during the
Barbarian Wars; memories of those days are slow to fade. In town after town, he is treated as if
he, personally, is the reason that a loved one never came home.
Here is another well-done piece of writing. The plot may be a little simple, intended for younger
readers, but it is very much worth the reader's time.
Paul Lappen, Reviewer
Searching for Blue Mercury
Comfort Publishing, LLC
9450 Moss Plantation Avenue N.W., Concord, NC 28027
1935361007 $17.99 www.comfortpublishing.com 704-782-2353
So how do you know what really goes on deep inside a person's skull? You pass so near to
people each day: on the street, in a hallway, standing near you on the subway, sitting next to you
on a plane. How do you know who they really are? If you knew they were having horrible
thoughts, maybe ideas about murder, would you just move away? Would you call the
In J.M.E. Flowers book, Searching for Blue Mercury, you will meet such a person. He is
Detective Parker, nicknamed "Blue Mercury" or just "Merc." His boss who is also his best friend
has assigned him to a serial killer case because Parker is a topnotch sleuth - or, at least he used to
be. Merc and his boss had served time together in Afghanistan as marines where they became
war buddies inside and out. Over there, Parker had saved his boss' life by stopping arterial
bleeding for endless hours when he could have sprinted to safety.
Lately, however, as much as he favors Parker, his boss notices that Merc seems extremely
distraught, possibly heading for a nervous breakdown. He wonders if Parker has seen just too
many murder victims - too much horror, too much bloodletting in his life. Trying to act smooth,
Merc Parker has taken a rather nonchalant attitude toward the serial killings, as if one more
doesn't seem to matter.
In Searching for Blue Mercury, the reader is constantly permitted to see the rather gruesome
thoughts that course through Detective Parker's head. He has a recurring dream, a hallucination
really, but he cannot force the entirety of the horrible delusion to surface. It slashes the sanctity of
his mind and shreds his sanity.
"Parker wanted to die. He wanted to take his father's gun and blast away at everything. To fire
and keep firing till everything was dead. Just as he should have done that day He lay there
knotted up in a fetal position on the floor and waited for this one to pass."
Parker knows there is a history of psychosis in his genetic makeup. Afraid his daughter will
succumb to mental illness, he has the girl confined to a hospital under the care of a well-known
but egotistical psychiatrist. The story is very clear about this point: Merc Parker loves his
daughter. He adores her and wants her to remain healthy.
He would do anything, anything to save her from the terrors of mental illness he knows his own
mother battled and which now trouble him. Although it is hard to imagine any father
hospitalizing his offspring to prevent an illness, still, in Searching for Blue Mercury, it seems
perfectly reasonable, since the reader is privy to the increasingly disorganized, terrifying thoughts
of Detective Parker.
In spite of what police think is disinterest, Merc Parker is deeply engrossed in the serial killings.
He obsesses about each one. At times, especially when alone, demons bound into his
imagination. He feels the victims being slashed with a knife as if he was their killer. He sees their
blood - feels its warmth. He stares into the eyes of a man looking down at him, strangled. He is
doused with gasoline and burned. He pictures a body stuffed in a trunk, gasping for air, dying
from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Feeling doomed, Merc knows he must get to the bottom of his delusional ranting before complete
insanity engulfs him. With his wife, he visits the center where his daughter remains hospitalized.
Her psychiatrist wants a conference. During the meeting, Parker cannot concentrate on reality. He
attempts to strike out at the psychiatrist but is physically restrained by a muscular attendant
whom Parker claims is "on steroids."
As more murders occur, Parker's boss is forced to remove him from the case. Evidence begins to
surface which indirectly points to Merc as a suspect. His boss refuses to believe any proof. But as
he and other detectives examine the facts and the sometimes psychotic behavior of Parker, Merc
indeed seems to be the killer.
More direct, damaging evidence is uncovered. Parker has secretly taken confidential files out of
the police bureau and arranged them so any connection between one killing and another is
deliberately removed. "There
As Searching for Blue Mercury moves rapidly on, Parker comes closer and closer to a complete
break with the outside world.
But can he still mobilize his painful thoughts enough to unravel the pieces of his own broken
psyche, the numerous serial killings, his own hellish life, before he is caught by police or mowed
down by them in a final life-ending confrontation? Will the story make sense before it ends, or
will the reader be left to ponder if Blue Mercury's search for himself ends in a
As a reviewer, I loved this story. The book is extremely well written. Its descriptions of the inner
workings of a very troubled mind will leave any reader thankful for their own mental stability,
possibly even doubting it at times. The ending and epilogue are such a shocker that I read parts of
them twice to make sure they flowed logically from earlier premises. They did! When I looked
back at some of the facts presented, it was my own interpretation of that data which set me up
wrongly for the unexpected ending.
I would recommend this book to any reader who loves mystery stories, especially those dealing
with the human mind. In many ways, it fits the horror genre better than mystery. As a result, it is
not a story for the squeamish because it describes scenes some might find too graphic. All in all,
it is one of the best tales I've read in a long, long time.
Other Books of Interest
Defending Angels: 425224988
Street Business: 1935361252
Battle Scarred: 1935361201
The Chimera Seed by Matthew Tully
Comfort Publishing, LLC
9450 Moss Plantation Avenue N.W. Concord, NC 28027
1935361325 $15.99 www.comfortpublishing.com 704-782-2353
Reviewed by Regis Schilken, author of the Oculi Incident, The Island off Stony Point, and soon
to be published, You Know When.
The Chimera Seed can best be described as a taut, energetic thriller, just the kind of read I like.
From its opening pages where you learn that a famed, visionary scientist has died and left his son,
Dr. Michael Tiernan, a huge inheritance, the story rolls along and gathers speed like a snowball
starting an avalanche down a mountainside.
Matthew Tully is a writer skilled at developing suspense. Tully's The Chimera Seed begins when
Michael Tiernan hears of his father's death and travels to a remote area of the Sardinian
countryside. There, he learns from his father's best friend about the astonishing Niamh seed.
By no means is the Niamh an ordinary seed. It has been named Chimera because of extremely
peculiar properties. When its mature vines produce grapes and they are distilled, one dose of this
potent wine-like chemical - Dionysinol - produces anti-aging in a human being. What's more, the
drug doesn't just slow down the aging process, it stops it altogether.
Young Dr. Tiernan realizes the financial ramifications of a fountain of youth drug. But he is not
as careful with secrecy and testing as his deceased father had been. Now, he determines to make
an enormous fortune by marketing his anti-aging Dionysinol. He transports samples of the
Dionysinol drug back to Oisinen Pharmaceuticals in the States where he is CEO.
Where Dr. Tiernan is determined to turn his company into a vast profitable empire, equally
resolved are competitive pharmaceutical companies to obtain and uncover the secret of the
Dionysinol substance, the Niamh seeds, and the engineering process, that turns the Niamh grapes
into the immortality drug.
But as clandestine as Dr. Tiernan and his two most trusted chemists are, they get caught up in a
ruthless battle that results in espionage and deceit, personal greed, political corruption, and
Dr. Tiernan learns he has been secretly treated to a dose of Dionysinol by an uncooperative
employee. Although not the most moral person, when Tiernan learns that a second dose of the
immortality drug is lethal, his sense of morality kicks in. He attempts to locate missing vials
before the drug can be manufactured and wreak havoc on all mankind.
Unquestionably, the fast pace of The Chimera Seed is hypnotic. The reader will be transported
back and forth across the Atlantic with Dr. Tiernan as he hunts the security leak within his own
Oisinen Pharmaceutical Company and his vast vineyards in Sardinia. Like Tiernan, the reader
will gradually realize the implication an immortal, increasing population would have, on what
would become an ever decreasing food supply.
This book is a must read for those seeking an extremely fast paced story of espionage, intrigue,
murder, and at times, deliberately imposed tortuous pain. The main characters are well
developed, showing both their self-interest and also their redeeming humanity. Matthew Tully's
tale displays real ingenuity with fascinating twists and turns. My suggestion to this writer is: keep
writing. I will personally await your other stories. Dan Brown, make room for Matthew Tully.
Other fascinating Titles:
Street Business - 1935361252
Searching for Blue Mercury - 1935361007
High Order - 1935361228
Season of Devotion
Omega House Publishing
P. O. Box 68, Three Rivers, MI 49093
Devotional Analogies for the Hunter
"Season of Devotion" is made up of forty-five devotional writings for the hunter. Each
devotional begins with a title which helps the reader focus on the thought or lesson for the day.
This is followed with a short illustration drawn from the life of Steven Jacobs, which relates to
his personal hunting experiences.
Jacobs introduces an application that identifies important practical spiritual lessons which
challenges the reader to reflection, further study, or to take an action step leading to service,
evangelism, or spiritual growth. A scripture portion re-enforces the truth presented.
There is an authenticity to Steven's writing that is refreshing and appealing. His writing is
Biblically sound, spiritually convicting, and strongly motivating. He invites the reader to find a
personal application, encourages assimilating the Word of God into a life of dedicated service,
soul searching devotion, and awesome worship.
The final challenge is entitled "Prepare or Despair," using an analogy to the hours of planning
and preparation that go into readiness of an hunting or fishing trip, the excitement, and outfitting,
and the final day of departure. Steven then asks the question of the reader: "I wonder if you are
prepared for the greatest adventure yet to come?" He carefully explains the claims of the Gospel
message and the importance of being prepared by accepting God's provision of the gift of grace
and salvation through Jesus Christ
Heartwarming and spiritually challenging "Season of Devotion" is top notch reading for any man
in a pursuit of or who is hunting for more of God in their lives.
The New American Prosperity
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411
9784934759356, $ 12.95
Smart and Happy Ways to Deal Effectively with Road Bumps and Set Backs
Whether your American dream is described with the words: Freedom, happiness, money,
possessions, or public recognition Darby Checketts invites the reader to exchange false ambition,
to re-define success, and to restore a confidence and determination to move forward.
"The New American Prosperity" is a call for all American's, from entrepreneurs, community
planners, government leaders, and the millions of other industrious individuals to join forces to
positively alter the political, economic, social, and environment "landscape" of our world.
Darby maintains that emotions of "hurt," "sour," and "bitter" block happiness, that anger and
calm cannot co-exist, and that we can deal with the deep rooted results of anger with faith, will
power, and love. He encourages the reader to find purpose and meaning in life.
I found myself identifying with the truths and observations of many of the essays especially the
one titled "The Age of the Drawers: Simplify Everything." This is something I plan to act on
The reality of Darby's faith comes through in his writing. He writes practical, powerful, and
positive essays and poignant stories that demonstrate true and successful living. The subtitle of
this book is: "Refining Success as Smart and Happy versus Rich and Famous." This is exactly
what Darby does as he shows from personal example ways to deal with set backs and road bumps
in times of personal and economic crisis. He offers timely, down to earth sage advice to help the
reader effectively get back on track.
"The New American Prosperity" is a refreshing reminder that (in Darby's words): "Prosperity is
about 'feeling blessed' - blessed with good health, which you faithfully protect; blessed with
sufficient financial resources to meet your most important needs; and blessed to have others in
your life who lovingly join with you in the commitment to be just plain Smart and Happy."
God's Supernatural Power
Frank DeCenso Jr.
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
Allowing God to Supernaturally Empower You
"God's Supernatural Power in You" is a compilation of powerful testimonies and edifying stories
of God at work in and through twelve individuals committed to allowing God's power to be
manifest through their lives. These men and women are well known world leaders, spokesmen,
pastors, and Bible teachers.
Frank DeCenso Jr. has drawn illustrations from the experiences of these anointed servants to
demonstrate how God's supernatural power is being evidenced as it brings change to individuals
and entire communities resulting in an impact on nations, around the world. Each story,
experience, or contribution is chosen based on how it will edify and equip the members of the
body of Christ to walk God's power.
The individual chapters include discussion on spiritual warfare, power, ministry, intimacy, keys
to revival, power for healing, evangelism, as well as five other important basic essentials to
creating a church where ministry is taught, adapted, and applied. At the end of each chapter two
or three pages are provided for "Notes and Applications." These pages present an opportunity for
the reader to record impressions, challenges, and plans for applying the power principles gleaned
from the chapter. These exercises provide an excellent way for assimilation of the material, a
quick review, or meditative reflection at a later time.
"God's Supernatural Power" is filled with powerful writing, practical principles, convicting
challenges, and convincing truths. DeCenso's writing is articulate, positive, perceptive, and
penetrating encouraging personal application, while rewarding the reader with God's supernatural
Sid Roth and Linda Josef
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 1725-0310
Testimonies and Stories of Miracles and Healings
Sid Roth and Linda Josef have compiled and edited testimonies and stories of miraculous
healing, deliverance, and freedom in "Super Natural Healing: Stories of the Miraculous." These
are stories of lives changed from hopelessness and despair to conquest and triumph, and of
breaking the pattern of destructive family curses. These are stories which reveal the power of the
God working in miraculous ways throughout the world today.
The book is made up of real life testimonies telling of miraculous healings and supernatural
manifestations. The stories are faith building examples which illustrate how God is pouring out
His Spirit in accordance with the words of Jesus in John 12: 12-14, " greater works than these
will he do, because I go to My Father."
Helpful suggestions at the end of each chapter contain "What I Can Do" instructions for applying
principles of healing to our own life situations in personal and practical ways. These directives
encourage the reader to receive the promises of God in answered prayer, experience Holy Spirit
anointing, and receive healing. Roth provides steps for putting the "power of agreement" to work
for you. He gives important suggestions for observing the Lord's Supper and lessons from the
This edition of the book includes a bonus feature, an excerpt from his book "The Incomplete
Church" in which Sid shows lessons learned from his own early Christian experience as he
learned the importance of knowing "When the Pattern is Right."
"Supernatural Healing" presents Yeshua (Jesus) to anyone seeking God's healing, deliverance, or
the freedom and forgiveness of sin.
Find Your Promised Land
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
A Wilderness Journey From Egypt to Canaan
In his book "Find Your Promised Land" Israel Kim recounts incidents from his own experience
and ministry and allow the reader to identify with glimpses into Kim's personal wilderness
journey and to learn from the lessons he personally gained through the process.
Kim skillfully leads the reader in an exploration of wonderful revelations and instruction from
the history of Israel in their exodus from Egypt, through the Red Sea experience and all the way
through their wilderness journey.
Kim contends that every Christian needs to go through a wilderness experience which results in
surrender to the way of holiness, to receive a spiritual anointing, and to operate within the
supernatural power of God.
Kim talks about living beyond the ordinary expecting to see signs and wonders, developing a
spiritual journey that leads to a personal intimate relationship with God, while enjoying a life
filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Find Your Promised Land" is Biblically sound and filled with practical wisdom. Kim challenges
the reader to rise above a "slave mentality," to begin a brand new identity, and to defeat adversity
to become a person of character.
In the feature "Points to Ponder" Kim asks soul searching questions which lead the reader to
finding freedom under the "hedge" of God's protection, healing, and deliverance.
Kim's writing is strong, openly transparent, anointed, and inspired. "Finding Your Promised
Land" will make it possible you to embrace your wilderness journey and to move forward
triumphantly into your promised land.
Larry Kreider and Dennis De Grasse
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
Discover, Receive, Experience and Exhibit Your Supernatural Spiritual Gifts
"Supernatural Living" presents comprehensive biblical teaching and hands-on steps for life
application. The book includes examples from the scriptures and from actual contemporary life
stories of the miraculous healing, as well as miracles of salvation, God's provision, restoration,
and renewal. Larry Kreider and Dennis De Grasse have worked together in this effort to compile
a wide-ranging biblical study on the nine supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Kreider and De Grasse have categorized three general groups of spiritual gifts: motivation gifts,
gifts of leadership, and supernatural gifts. They classify the three groups of the supernatural gifts
of the Holy Spirit as discernment, demonstration, and declaration gifts.
Dennis and Larry speak of personal occurrences from their own life experiences that point up
how we can respond to the prodding and whisper of the Holy Spirit allowing Him to impart His
gifts to us. They encourage the reader to take a step beyond their personal safety zones to step out
into a life of radical Christianity or supernatural living.
The last section of the book is of vital importance as it deals with the assimilating of these
lessons into practice. The authors make it easy for the reader to understand the importance of
waiting on God, listening for His Holy Spirit's instruction, relinquishing self to draw on His
resources and to allow these guidelines for following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The book is comprehensive, thoroughly researched and well documented. "Supernatural Living"
is and important edition that should be included in the working library of every serious follower
of Christ, every pastor, Bible teacher, and lay leader. Destined to become a classic on the
teaching of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
Practical Principles for Thriving Through Crisis
Best selling author, business consultant, and international speaker Myles Munroe becomes
mentor and coach to the reader in his book "Overcoming Crisis." He offers the reader
encouragement and challenges them to develop attitudes and principles which will help them to
reach their true personal potential. He gives practical advice for converting crisis into opportunity
Munroe speaks directly to the heart of the issues as he talks about the emotional responses we
face in days of crisis and the resultant consequences of these responses. He skillfully helps the
reader determine direction for turning crisis experiences into opportunities. He uses the Biblical
example of Joseph to illustrate this principle. Monroe contends that management is the number
one "Kingdom Key" for overcoming crisis. He introduces and explores in detail seven keys for
Each fast moving chapter is packed with valuable guiding principles and strategies for meeting
issues head-on in any kind of crisis, deployment, and for maximizing the resolution of crisis.
The final chapter is entitled "10 Ways to Rise Above Crisis." Through this chapter Munroe adds
permanence to the lasting value of the book. Similar to the chorus or last refrain of a song, these
reminders capture the essence of the earlier impressions and principles. This chapter should be
read and reread often.
Munroe's writing is faithful to the scriptures, financially sound, and economically realistic. This
is a book for pastor and layman alike. It is enjoyable reading, ideal for future reference, a
guideline for repeated referral, for deeper study, personal application and assimilation.
After God's Own Heart
600 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, Florida 32746
Discovering the Joy of Intimate Encounters with God
"After God's Own Heart" introduces the reader to God's tenderness, His holiness, love, and
matchless beauty. Mike Bickle writes to enable the reader to better understand the passion and
delights of God so that, like King David of the scriptures, they might become men and women
made confident to enter into the experience and pleasure of meeting God, as well as other men
and women who long after and replicate the God's heart. Bickle describes a principle of
transformation, which he has labeled "beholding and becoming." He encourages the reader to
discover ways that God enjoys his followers. Mike helps the reader realize how fasting
"tenderizes the man's heart to release supernatural joy.
Mike points out that God is the author of true pleasure and that this pleasure springs from His
very personality. He draws attention to examples from the New Testament which demonstrate
and exemplify the experience that are the result of a fresh encounter with God which touch his
heart, reveal His richness, and His righteousness.
The format of the book lends itself to ease in reading with highlights for review. It is filled with
powerful direction for personal application, and assimilation into the life of the reader.
Bickel's writing is deeply important, his message is life altering. His is a fresh call to
whole-hearted dedication and a fixed heart of commitment. "After God's Own Heart" is a stirring
summons to discover new insights and perspectives on how to experience an intimacy with God
the Father, the creator and with Christ Jesus, the Son and redeemer.
Richard R. Blake
The Dark Horse
375 Hudson St., NY, NY 10014
9780670020874 $24.95 800-847-5515 www.us.penguingroup.com
When a woman is housed in his jail, Sheriff Walt Longmire is not convinced she is guilty of the
murder of her husband. Even though the murder took place in an adjoining jurisdiction and she
confessed, with the murder weapon in her lap, something doesn't smell right to Walt, who
undertakes to conduct an investigation undercover.
Walt goes to the small town in which the incident took place in the guise of a representative of an
insurance company because in addition to the murder, a barn with six horses and the house in
which the murder victim was found lying in his bed burned down. He encounters a diverse set of
unusual characters, as well as a series of dangerous adventures. Along the way he comes to the
conclusion that nearly everyone in town wanted the victim dead.
The plot, as usual for this author, unfolds against the rugged Wyoming landscape, and is written
in the sparse style of the previous four novels in the series. After 24 years as Sheriff, Walt is
running for another two-year term, but is too busy to campaign. The story flashes back and forth
between Walt's efforts to get the accused to help him learn what happened, and his actual
investigation. The casual humor of Walt's under-deputy, together with the sharp repartee,
provides a light touch to the otherwise grim tale. As the story progresses, the reader is kept
guessing right down to the final chapter.
Little Lamb Lost
61 Paradise Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938
9781933515519 $25.95 800-829-7062 www.oceanviewpub.com
This debut novel takes a look at a dedicated social worker, Claire Conover, who doesn't believe
that her client murdered her two-year-old son with an overdose, despite the fact that she pled
guilty and was sentenced to prison. Previously Claire had returned the baby, who had been put in
foster care, to the mother after the latter cleaned up her act, was sober for 18 months and was
working two jobs.
There is no shortage of suspects and Claire continues to be haunted by her belief that someone
other than the mother was guilty of the crime. Warnings to close the case, threats of losing her
job, and caution that her life could be in danger do not deter her from her efforts to "reach the
For a first effort, the novel moves fluidly and maintains the reader's interest with excellent
descriptions and a solid plot. It provides an insider's insights into the human resources system
and foster care [as well as a native's knowledge of Birmingham, Alabama], and is
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 10022
9780061236235 $26.99 800-242-7737 www.harpercollins.com
Amanda Jaffe and her father are leading criminal defense attorneys in Oregon, having won high
profiles cases outlined in previous novels in the series. Each is separately presented with another
challenging defendant in the current novel.
The wife of a U.S. Congressman is charged with conspiring to have her husband murdered, but
Frank Jaffe obtains evidence to convince the DA to drop the charges "with prejudice."
Meanwhile, her co-defendant, accused of committing the murder, flees the country to an African
nation ruled by a sadistic dictator whose idol is Idi Amin. After 12 years, he returns to face the
charges (and to escape the wrath of his erstwhile benefactor). Amanda's challenge is not only to
exonerate her client, but to protect him from being killed by two separate, but equally dangerous,
persons who wish him dead.
The combination of the author's intimate legal knowledge and his ability to maintain a
suspenseful pace in a firmly written story keeps the reader intrigued from start to finish.
Inger Ash Wolfe
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116
9780156033985 $13.95 617-351-5419, www.HarcourtBooks.com
Whether this novel is a thriller, mystery or police procedural, or a combination of all three
genres, it is original and suspenseful. It takes place in a small town north of Toronto, and features
61-year-old Hazel Micallef, the acting head of the small police outpost in Port Dundas. The
crusty Detective Inspector has a bad back and is racked with pain, dependent on pain killers.
Aside from minor infractions, little in the way of real crime takes place in the small town. Then
one day a murder is discovered, the terminally ill victim horribly mutilated. Hazel discovers other
similar victims stretching across Canada from Vancouver eastward. Despite her understaffed
department, she undertakes to investigate what appears to be a case of a serial killer who may be
masking mercy killings.
The story is gripping, with a tight plot, packed with shivering descriptions and taut writing. The
author's name is a nom de plume of a writer who is described as a North American literary
novelist. One wonders why the author chose to hide under an alias for this well-told tale;
whatever the reason, it should be read for its well-constructed flow, and is recommended.
Shadows Still Remain
Peter De Jonge
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 10022
9780061373541 $25.99 212-207-7000/800-242-7737, www.harpercollins.com
The statement is made that this is a debut novel, although the author has co-written two books
with Richard Patterson previously. Be that as it may, this solo effort s an impressive one. It
introduces a troubled but determined protagonist, Darlene O'Hara, a detective in a lower East
Side New York precinct.
One day, O'Hara catches a missing person case and starts working it diligently. But after three
days, the investigation becomes a homicide case and she is told to keep away from it and leave it
to the specialists, including a star detective from Homicide South. However, she can't let go and
defies orders, attempting to solve the crime, until she is finally suspended. And she still goes on.
The author, a skilled journalist and researcher, spent three months riding around with NYPD
detectives, absorbing routine and the smells and sights of the Lower East Side neighborhoods,
and his descriptions attest to his powers of observation. Several chapters are introduced by dark,
brooding photos of various sites in the neighborhoods (taken by Daina Zivarts, the author's
Only one fault was found by this graduate of NYU: a description of a windbreaker worn by a
co-ed is said to be purple and white. As any alumnus (alumna) of NYU knows, the school's color
is Violet. Another criticism relates to several typographical errors; while not detracting from the
quality of the novel, it certainly is unexpected from a publisher like Harper.
All that aside, go and get a copy. You'll enjoy. Recommended.
The Chameleon Conspiracy
200 Madison Ave., NY, NY 10016
9780843961911 $7.99 800-481-9191, www.dorchesterpub.com
Dan Gordon makes his third appearance in this novel which combines elements of money
laundering, terrorist financing and other assorted national security breaches. Gordon is an
unusual protagonist, having a background with the Israeli Mossad as well as being an
international lawyer and an employee of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The plot involves Iranian agents and one in particular who Gordon labels The Chameleon, who
fraudulently bilks banks of millions of dollars, transferring the proceeds to terrorist activities.
The efforts to identify the perpetrators combine the talents of the CIA, FBI and other agencies,
both domestic and foreign, and Gordon's travels all over the world including Europe, Australia,
Israel and clandestinely to Iran.
Over-all, the inner workings of such investigative efforts are minutely detailed, relying heavily
on the author's background as an international attorney and his work for various Federal agencies
in intelligence-gathering. The story is imaginative, if not often overwhelming, in scope and
Dining with Devils
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, Maine 04901
9781594147494 $25.95 207-859-1000 www.Gale.com/fivestar
In "The Specialist," the predecessor novel, the serial killer, cannibal Dr. Ralph Stafford, is
presumed dead in a cave in Vancouver. The story of his exploits and how Kirsten Knelsen
escaped from his clutches, presumably having left him abandoned in a mine, is told in a true
crime novel by her boyfriend, Randall Teague [in a till-now unconsummated relationship]. The
present volume picks up the story from that point, with Kendall and Kirsten in Tasmania, he on a
book signing tour.
The novel opens with a gundog [a combination hunting dog/retriever] judge being shot and
murdered, and the beginning of the convoluted inter-relationships of the various elements of the
plot being investigated by Sgt. Charlie Barnes. It takes a lot of skill and intuition to go from link
to link, clue to clue, before it all begins to make sense. Among the players are Kendall's ex-wife;
a dope addict; ex-Vietnam Vet; the [presumed dead] serial killer; and an 80-year-old ex-cop with
a vicious dog; among others.
The author's descriptions of the characters are truly exceptional, and the plot development
excellent. Written with ease, the story unfolds slowly and carefully, providing sufficient action to
keep the reader's interest throughout.
Palos Verdes Blue
80 Broad St., NY, NY 10005
9781605980379 $25.00 212-504-2494 www.pegasusbooks.us
The various components of the 11th Jack Liffey novel are so dysfunctional and bewildering that
it is almost impossible to summarize the plot. Liffey's family includes an ex-wife who yearns for
him (or someone), a daughter who has just had an abortion after a brief, intense affair with a gang
leader, and a girlfriend-op who can't make up her mind about their relationship. Other characters
are even more dysfunctional.
As Gloria, the girlfriend, describes him: "Jack is a piece of work. When you/re with him, it's
always a matter of adapting to the circumstances on some Mars mission, one that's just about to
go totally out of control."
A "finder" of lost children, Jack is asked by his ex-wife to help a friend locate her missing
daughter, called "Blue." She's a lovely, talented and smart young woman deep into ecology, the
saving of the Palos Verdes Blue butterfly, and helping to feed Mexican illegals, as a result of
which she gets mixed up with a bunch of neo-Nazis. As he delves into the investigation, Jack
witnesses the changes and disparities in the area among the "haves" and "have-nots," the rich
kids, surfers and "illegals."
The writing is good and entertaining, but somehow the novel tends to drift from topic to topic,
complicated by the introduction of new (and sometimes extraneous) ideas without explanation
and the insertion of letters from a few of the characters which are intended to move the story
forward, but, instead, tended to slow this reader down. That said, the writing is inventive, and the
author's story-telling abilities shine.
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010
9780765318190 $254.95 212-388-0100, www.tor-forge.com
A couple of unrelated cases walked in the door of the agency as the Nameless Detective sat at his
desk one Monday morning. He wasn't even supposed to be there, now that he is semi-retired and
taking Mondays off. The first case involved two brothers from a little town north of San
Francisco who were being stalked by an unknown person for no apparent reason. The other was
an assignment from an insurance company on a claim for the theft of eight valuable first edition
mysteries, ranging from Conan Doyle to Hammett.
Jake Runyon took over the stalking case, doggedly following his nose from obscure clue to even
more obtuse lead. Pure detective work, slow but sure. Far more fascinating is the insurance claim
which Nameless pursues. It is worthy of a Conan Doyle or Poe and ultimately illustrates Sherlock
Holmes' observation that if you eliminate the impossible, what remains is the most likely.
Written with the smoothness exhibited in the preceding volumes in the series, "Schemers" is in
keeping with the classic tradition of whodunnits. As always, Nameless gives the reader
something to think about.
The Kill Call
77-85 Fulham Palace Rd., Hammersmith, London @6 8JB, England
9780007243457 17.99 BPS www.harpercollins.co.uk
[Note: This book is not yet available in the US, only in/through the UK/Canada at this time.]
The uneasy relationship between DS Diane Fry and DC Ben Cooper is prevalent throughout this
murder mystery, part of the author's continuing series featuring the two protagonists. At first, the
body of a well-dressed man found on a moor with his head bashed in seems to be a
straightforward police investigation,
However, the inquiry broadens into a lot more, involving illegal horse slaughter, the conflict
from supporters of the hunt and saboteurs opposing that "sport," and a look not only into the 16th
century Black Plague which nearly wiped out the local population, including many of Cooper's
forbears, but also events that took place during the 1960's. And those that lead to the recent past
as well as the present.
The depth of the look into the personalities of the two protagonists - which of course play a
major role in how they go about their investigations - is insightful and penetrating, and they are
always given intriguing mysteries to solve their insecurities. These are always tightly-plotted and
read well, and the book is recommended.
In the Dark
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010
9780312363291 $24.95 646-307-5560 www.stmartins.com
To oversimplify the plot, an 18-year-old girl was murdered - bashed all over by a baseball bat - in
1977. She was the sister of Lt. Jonathan Stride's wife, Cindy. Stride is now head of detectives at
the Duluth PD. Currently, there is a peeper at large in the area and Stride and his associate,
Maggie, are attempting to find him.
There is no evidence that the present and past cases are inter-related, at least not until a woman, a
friend from Cindy's and her sister's past, comes to town, writing a book about the 1977 murder.
Her efforts set off a series of events which lead to an unexpected denouement.
In an emotional novel, the stories of each of the characters unfold in graphic detail. Written with
a chilling eye, the novel recounts the love and perversions of the past and how they affect the
present. A very good read, and recommended.
Chasing the Bear
Robert B. Parker
375 Hudson St., NY, NY 10014
9780399247767 $14.99 800-847-5515, www.penguin.com
While published as a "young reader novel," this book is really fit for all Spenser fans, and reflects
the author's usual sharp prose. It begins with Spenser and Susan sitting on a park bench; she
draws out the hard-boiled and famously reticent detective about his childhood, as any good
Harvard-trained psychiatrist might. Spenser reluctantly complies.
That's how we learn about the early days of Spenser, how he grew up in a home of four males:
his father and two uncles and himself. Illustrations of the "family" life and lessons taught abound,
the boxing lessons and the 14-year-old Spenser's experiences which laid the foundations for his
future beliefs and actions.
To reiterate, don't be fooled by the "young readers" label. Adults, and especially Spenser fans,
will enjoy learning about the character formation, and the writing is pure Parker and hardly less
so on an adult level. The dialogue is sparkling and the short novel is a quick read.
237 Park Ave., NY, NY 10169
9780316166300 $27.99 800-759-0190, www.HachetteBookGroupUSA.com
It's been a long time since Michael Connelly was a crime reporter, but the experience has
certainly given him plenty to write about. In "The Scarecrow," he chronicles the dying newspaper
industry with the emergence of electronic journalism, while writing a first-rate murder mystery. It
brings back FBI agent Rachel Walling, who saved Jack McEvoy's life in "The Poet," providing
hope for the future after he is RIF'd [i.e., 'reduction in force'] from the LA Times.
But in his last two weeks at the paper, McEvoy undertakes to investigate whether a 16-year-old
Watts boy is really guilty of murder and starts developing evidence that there is another serial
killer out there. Once again, the author turns to new technology. In "The Poet," a fax machine
was crucial; in this novel, the internet and computers play central roles.
As is usual, Connelly's prose and plot are sharp, and the background deep and authentic. Enough
said. Highly recommended.
The Way Home
237 Park Ave., NY, NY 10169
9780316156493 $24.99 www.HachetteBookGroupUSA.com 800-759-0190
The nation's Capital continues to provide a searing background for the Bard of the District: the
"haves" and "have-nots," the "good" and "bad" neighborhoods, the violence-prone, the whites
and blacks. These are the factors that contribute to this tale of the life of Christopher Flynn, a
white boy brought up in a middle class family in a privileged DC neighborhood who goes bad as
After a stint in juvenile detention, Chris, along with some of his friends from that facility, goes to
work for his father in a menial job as a carpet installer. One day he and his buddy, Ben, find a
bag full of cash while working on a job. Chris convinces Ben to leave the bag where they found it
and walk away. However, Ben tells one of their ex-inmates about it, whereupon the latter steals
the money leading to disastrous and tragic results.
Insightful and penetratingly deep, the novel examines the relationships between father and son,
the son's development as a person, and the personalities of the various characters and how they
interact. Pelecanos' understanding of the motivations of the types of people he writes about is
outstanding and his ability to convey their speech and thoughts superb. Highly
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 0022
9780061733147 $26.99 212-207-7000/800-242-7737 www.harpercollins.com
Elmore Leonard brings back three characters from prior novels in this amusing tale of subterfuge:
Jack Foley from "Out of Sight," Cundo Rey from "La Brava," and Dawn Navarro from "Riding
the Rap." Jack and Cundo are serving time in a Florida prison and become friendly, taking care
of each other, watching each other's back, in prison parlance, "road dogs." Jack is serving a
30-year sentence, Cundo seven-and-a-half. Then Cundo retains his lady lawyer to bring an appeal
for Jack. She gets his sentence reduced to three months, with Jack scheduled to be released a
short time before Cundo, who pays his way to Venice, CA, and lets him live in one of his two
homes there (one worth $4 million, the other $2.5 million).
Dawn Navarro lives in the other home, supposedly waiting for Cundo, celibate, for
seven-and-a-half years. Sure. What she is doing is waiting to cash in on Cundo's wealth,
scheming with anyone she can find or think of. When Cundo finally returns to California, the fun
just begins, and Jack is caught in the midst of all the plotting and scheming, using his wits and
intuition to stay ahead.
As in all Elmore Leonard books, the novel is written with panache, plotted carefully and is very
funny. It is also highly recommended.
Intent to Kill
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 10022
9780061628689 $25.99 212-207-7000/800-242-7737 www.harpercollins.com
Ryan James was a promising third baseman destined to play for the Boston Red Sox until his
wife, Chelsea, was killed in an auto accident on the way to watch him play in the last game of the
Pawtucket farm team's season. Then his world fell apart and he suffered from insomnia,
effectively ending his playing days. Instead, he started working as a sports talk jockey on a
Boston radio station, but remained close to his in-laws and autistic brother-in-law, nicknamed
Three years later, Babes runs away from home and eventually calls into Ryan's program
"confessing" to having been the cause of Chelsea's death. The plot progresses from that point:
Was he guilty or not? If not, does he know who really is responsible? The radio show becomes
the only means of communication with Babes, as Ryan attempts to reel him in and get to the
bottom of Chelsea's death.
The novel is paced at a good clip, with polished writing and a believable progression. Smooth
reading, and recommended.
Kensington Publishing Corp.
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
New Orleans Detective Rick Bentz awakens from a coma to see his dead wife standing in the
doorway of his hospital room. After he's released his ex-wife Jennifer pops up over and over. It
might not be so strange if the woman weren't dead.
When a manila envelope arrives with photos of Jennifer and a death certificate with a red
question mark, Bentz starts to wonder if his ex is alive. If she's not, then who's doing this and
what game are they playing? To find out he must return to Los Angeles and try to find the
The path of discovery leads down a winding and bloody trail. It's a search that may rob Rick
Bentz of those he holds most dear and destroy his sanity as well.
I enjoyed Malice. It's well written and the little twists and turns kept me interested in the story.
Portions of the story included a look into the perpetrator's mind and gave me the willies. I'm not
sure I want insight into a person like that's mind. For more information on Lisa Jackson and the
books she's written, go to: http://www.lisajackson.com
Almost Perfect: Disabled Pets and the People Who Love Them
Edited by Mary A. Shafer
Word Forge Books
PO Box 97, Ferndale, PA 18921
Would you willingly take in a disabled pet and give it the best life you could? Almost Perfect
tells the stories of women who did just that. They took in brave, wonderful animals badly in need
of compassion, care and love. Without the women's kindness these trusting, sweet little creatures
would not have survived. It took courage to give Cagney the crippled rat, Colbi, the blind
husky-shepherd mix, Idgie, the blind cat, Ruby, the dog on wheels, Pink, the hairless dog and all
the other animals a home. But none of the women felt disappointed or regretted their life
Each story wove a tale that tore at my heart as well as warmed it. Animals deserve our love and
respect. It gave me hope to see so many caring and concerned people willing to chance hurt or
possible failure in their humane undertakings.
Almost Perfect is an eye-opening look at disabled pets, and the joy they can bring to our lives. I
recommend it to all animal lovers for inspiration, joy and hope in an often cruel and senseless
world. For more information go to: http://almostperfectpets.blogspot.com
Mazurka: A Gus LeGarde Mystery
Aaron Paul Lazar
Twilight Times Books
P.O. Box 3340, Kingsport, TN 37664
This latest addition to the Gus LeGarde Mystery Series opens with Gus and his new wife Camille
on their honeymoon flight to Europe. They're accompanied by Gus's brother-in-law, Siegfried, a
lovable giant of a man who suffered a brain injury in childhood. He's going to visit his ailing
German aunt who's called him to Europe. Gus and Camille invited Siegfried to travel with them
and plan to leave him at his aunt's while they continue their honeymoon journey.
They're in for a surprise when they reach Paris, for a large group of Neo-Nazis have descended
on the city to wreak their havoc and spread their hate. The three Americans become caught up in
all the drama and suddenly find they've become targets of the group. The danger worsens and it
begins to look like Gus and Camille should have stayed home for they may not make it back
I enjoyed the story. It kept me on edge, wondering what would happen next. The picturesque
descriptions of Paris are charming and made me feel as if I were there with Gus and Camille. The
book is both heartwarming and chilling at the same time. You'll have to read it to see what I
mean. Check out Aaron Paul Lazar's other books at: http://www.legardemysteries.com, or
Crossing the Centerline
Allan E. Ansorge
9735 Country Meadows Lane1-D, Laurel, MD 20723
Detective Michael McCaffery is house-sitting his friend and ex-partner, Carl Fletcher's boat
while Carl's away getting his Captain's credentials. Mike's awaked one morning by an odd
clicking noise. When he goes outside to investigate he finds a body in the water.
The authorities find five ID's on the body and it becomes obvious to Mike that someone is after
Carl. Carl was in an accident a few years earlier that left him crippled and killed his fiancee. Now
what looked like an accident begins to look like a hit. When Mike goes to the file room in the
sheriff's office, he finds the case file missing on Carl's accident.
Carl returns to town to find himself in danger and his boat hidden from sight. His only alternative
is to move in with his bossy mother in her retirement home. The two men fill Carl's mother,
Maggie, in on the details and she decides they need to work together to find out who's after her
son and why. The trio must find the perp before he or she succeeds in taking Carl's life.
I found Crossing the Centerline a well written tale, both engaging, and humorous. It grabbed my
interest on the first page and kept it. The characters are likable, the action fast paced. It's a great
read and one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. For more information
you can go to: http://www.echelonpress.com
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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