Monday, June 27, 2011

"On the wings of a snow white dove, He sends His pure sweet love." Song lyrics

"Dove Creek" details the story of Patricia Faye who departed Kentucky and her family who "...bared their flat breasts in the kitchen to nurse their many babies and butchered chickens and churned butter and went crazy and died before the age of forty."

Patricia leaves her husband after catching him having an affair with a friend's wife. She takes sons Brett, age ten, and Zach age seven, and goes to Lapwai, Idaho to take a position as a public health nurse.

In her position as a nurse and a healer, she seems to win an immediate respect and acceptance from the American Indians that she visits. We observe her interactions with an elderly woman named Sally who lived in such poverty that she didn't even have a refrigerator or pots and pans. Even though her situation seems dire, Sally is a happy woman and finds time to have fun with Patricia. Patricia's first step in helping this unfortunate woman was persuading Sally's to accept a flu shot. After that, Patricia managed to find Sally a better place to live in a Senior Housing apartment.

Patricia narrates the story and makes us aware of the health issues facing these American Indians living on a reservation. She deals with obesity existing on an epidemic level causing an extraordinary number of amputations. In this regard, Patricia attempts to make people aware of the signs such as the loss of sensation in the feet.

She meets a man, has trouble with her children and continues to minister to the sick and elderly while reminiscing about past events in her life.

This is an entertaining view of Patricia's observations as she goes through her life as a person tending to her patients and exposing a part of life in the American west. The novel was written as things took place in Patricia's memory and is somewhat experimental as memory does not always tell stories in sequence. In my opinion, fans of Louise Erdrich's novels will enjoy this book.

Congradulations to giveaway winners:
Donna Theriot

Thanks everyone for participating.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"The first blow is half the battle." Oliver Goldsmith

Former CIA operative, Robert Bayer's first novel is crammed with details. It tells the story of what could have happened behind the scenes of 9/11 and what might have happened if people listened to Max Waller. Waller had been a CIA officer for ages. He still has a vivid recollection of 1984 when Bill Buckley, the CIA chief of Beirut, Lebanon, was kidnapped and decapitated.

The time moves to June 21, 2001. Max is given a comfortable job at Langley, keeping track of other long-time agents before their retirement.

Max is bothered by a photo he discovers in which Osama bin Laden is next to a Western looking person whose head is cut out of the photo. There is also another Arab in the photo. When Max shows the photo to one of his associates, the man winds up dead and people begin following Max.

When Max evades his followers, he's pulled in and questioned. His bosses wonder why his prints are on the photo found on the dead man and based on trumped up charges, Max is put on administrative leave.

He remains undaunted and calls a number of contracts from the past. Action continues and in this shady world of espionage, the complications and puzzles would have made John Le Carre proud. Max continues his investigation while being followed by members of a corporation called Applied Science.

I thought that the idea of the book was excellent but never came to like Max. The action is in waves with some drama and then many details. It is almost as if the author was attempting to give the reader extra details in place of more character build up. Given that this is a debut novel, I would read another novel by this author because the material is there for catching my attention. I feel that John Le Carre fans will enjoy this novel.

Check out my Amazon review.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Bless this house, oh Lord we pray, make it safe."

Have you ever considered how difficult it might be to get our of an impossible situation and change the future?

Michael and his brother, Julian, were raised in a home for boys. The Iron Hose provided shelter and discipline. Julian was constantly abused by the other boys and Michael wanted to protect his brother and was forced to fight for both of them. As a result, he became a ferocious combatant. When Julian finally struck back at his main tormentor, Michael took the blame.

Julian was adopted and Michael left the home and lived on the streets, again, constantly having to defend himself. At age fifteen, he was attacked by a group of boys in Spanish Harlem. He fought courageously and Otto Kaitlin, a crime boss, witnessed the fight and rescued Michael. Otto saw a similarity to himself as a youngster and Michael became his protege and later, Otto's main enforcer. Otto's own son, Steven, continued his education but didn't have Michael's fighting spirit.

Years later, when Michael meets Elena, he falls in love. When she becomes pregnant, Michael wants to get out of the life of crime and have a normal existence. In his life, he has come to love three things, his brother, Julian, Otto, and now Elena, the mother of his furute child. He asks Otto for his blessing but Otto is near death and Michael understands that Otto's son Steven and his main henchman, Jimmy, won't allow him to leave.

Michael visits Otto once again and sees the man suffering so greatly from his pain that when Otto pleads for Michael to end his suffering, Michael obliges.

Michael understands that he is now an enemy of Steven and Jimmy. He must leave with Elena with Steven and Jimmy after them for revenge.

There is a parallel story of Julian's life after adoption. His adoptive parents are wealthy. His adoptive father is a senator running for office and his adoptive mother, Abigail is fiercely protective of Julian. Then Julian's past returns to haunt him and his path and Michael's converge.

The story is reminiscent of Charles Dickens where the central characters at the start of the story are in terrible situations and are impoverished. Somehow, they must rise above the destitude
to succeed in their lives. The manner in which this transformation takes place is memorable and delivered with mounting drama and suspense and yet it is entirely realistic and well described. John Hart's readers will be taken on a dramatic ride that they have never experienced before.

Check out my Amazon review and if you agree, indicate the review was helpful.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Every day, it's a gettin' closer" Song lyrics

Gregg Main has made an impressive debut with his first novel, "Every Trace."

Ellen Donelly leaves her husband, Pete. Later, she calls and tells him she's at her sister's home. There had been an argument between Ellen and Pete and when he returned her call, in order to apologize, Pete learns that Ellen isn't at her sister's home.

We learn that Ellen is hunting Franklin Walker, who had been paroled a few years ago, after serving thirty years in prison for killing Ellen's father.

Ellen's plan is to kill Walker for what he had done and to find out who was the man who actually shot the gun that killed her father.

In this plot driven novel, we learn of Ellen's plan and Pete's actions when he learns that his wife isn't where she said she would be.

Things go wrong for Ellen and the story takes a dramatic turn as her life becomes endangered. During this time, Pete finds some of the details of Ellen's father's murder from Ellen's sister. He hires a private investigator and contacts the police after Ellen doesn't return home.

The story develops suspenseful as we learn more of what went on, when Ellen's father was murdered and that Ellen had been a little girl and was hiding under a desk at the time of the murder. The author does a suburb job of moving the action from Ellen's predicament to Pete's search for her and the killer's goals. There is good drama as we try to learn who was the man who pulled the trigger and what was the true reason for murdering Ellen's father.

The plot moves swiftly and visually. It has the making of a good movie and the suspense kept my attention throughout. Pete shows himself to be heroic in his actions and drive to save his wife, Ellen is a woman who acted without thought.

Please check out my Amazon review and if you liked it, please indicate "YES" it was helpful.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

"You're mine, and we belong together." Song Lyrics

There are times when the reader wants a book from an author they know will deliver a suspenseful story with characters that they can relate to and sympathise with.

Greg Hurwitz is one of the constantly good authors and he provides another enjoyable book in "You're Next."

Mike Wingate's last memory of his father was when Mike was age four and his father left him at a playground. His father's last message was that it wasn't Mike's fault. After that, Mike's father disappeared from his life.

Mike was raised in a foster home and befriended a boy named Shep. They became inseparable, as close as brothers could be. However, they were wild and unruly. Trouble with the law followed the boys on a number of occasions.

Mike got some breaks and with hard work, built up his construction business. He found happiness with his wife, Annabel and precious daughter, Kat, age eight.

After Mike's photo was in the paper for winning an award, he began to be threatened by a number of people with criminal backgrounds. There were also law enforcement officers who appeared to be working with the criminals.

Frustrated and not knowing where to turn, Mike calls Shep and eventually goes into hiding with Kat, after the criminals strike against Annabel.

The story shows Mike's struggle against powerful foe who seem to want to harm him for something he can't figure out. He can only guess that it might have to do with his parents.

Hurwitz's work is always highly entertaining. His characters are all too believable and the plot is cleverly revealed. The search for Mike's pursuers takes him to a place that the reader cannot foresee with a cinematic climax that is satisfying and engrossing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Save the last dance for me." Song lyrics

GIVEAWAY: See rules at end of review.

In a surprisingly philosophical novel with first rate substance, "Skull Dance,' tells of the time after the Berlin Wall came down. Berlin becomes a wide open city with numerous former Russian military members who are selling weapons.

Chris Ramsdorf, a former East German soldier, is now free to travel and comes to England. Having a good knowledge of the weapons of the Eastern Bloc, he is hired my M15, British Intelligence.

After he loses his position, he begins dealing with weapons on his own and is hired by a group of Russians to dismantle a warhead and extract plutonium.

Fearing the weapon might be used against England, Chris tells his superiors and is told to go along with the Russians.

He believes that a plan is in place to thwart the deal but something complicates things and he ends up in a jail in India.

In the jail, we observe his philosophy and ideas of life but when the situation becomes intolerable, Chris must attempt to gain his freedom.

There is outstanding character development as Chris evolves from a selfish, uncaring person, to someone who regards others with compassion and understanding.

The story does meander from place to place and the periods of action are followed by sections of introspection and analysis. This slows down the story but gives us a deeper understanding of Chris, and perhaps, the author.

The author, Gerd Balko, died of a heart attack and the novel was completed by Michael La Rocca.

Giveaway rules:
A-be a follower of this blog
B-follow on twitter @mikedtheauthor (only a desired step. If you're not on twitter, you can still enter the giveaway.

C-use above link and go to, read that review and at the end, when asked if review was helpful, please indicate "YES"
D--under comments of this review, indicate you wish to be included in the giveaway and include your name and email address, for notification
-U.S. and Canadian residents only, sorry, postage.

Giveaway ends at midnight June 25th.

Winners = Brittany Gale
Rae at Best O Books
Best wishes on winning this book.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Our greatest glory is...rising every time we fall." Confusius

In Culpepper, Virginia, January 1861, the inhabitants realize that Lincoln has been elected and fear that once he is inaugurated, their lives would change, and it wouldn't be for the better.

Will Bannon, at age thirty, is the sheriff of Culpepper County, his brother Matt is twenty-five and a better horseman, Titus is twenty-three, a born hunter, and Henry, a rambunctious age nineteen, a mixture of the others. Their younger sister is Cordelia.

The family reminded me of the 1965 movie, Shenandoah, with Jimmy Stewart. This family also had a peaceful life and tried to stay apart from the war.

With the Bannon's, there are a number of incidents with the Fogarty brothers and Joe Fogarty resists arrest, Will is forced to kill him. Thereafter, the two remaining brothers seek reprisal against the Bannons.

Will's mother takes an unusual step of disowning him for his actions in that he disobeyed God's commandment about killing another man. When the war begins, Will becomes one of the first to enlist. Being a former sheriff and having a horse, he is made a captain.

The book tells of the universal enthusiasm and optimism for the war, even from the local preacher. None of the hardships or terrible days ahead are even imagined.

We follow Will and his man as they come under Brigadier General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. The men prepare for their first encounter against the hated Yankees while at home, the Brannon's manage well. The women sew uniforms and do patriotic things for the soldiers while the men in the family continue to obey their mother and operate their farm.

I enjoyed the story and remembering details that led up to the start of the war. Will Brannon is an enjoyable character to follow and the book provided an easy read for those who enjoy historical events about the start of the Civil War.

Please see my Amazon review and comment if the review was helpful.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Please help me I'm fallen in love with you." Song lyrics

Karin Slaughter has been entertaining her fans with exciting thrillers with more than ten novels to her name.

Faith Mitchell completed a long computer seminar mandated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. Her mother, Evelyn, a retired police commander is watching Faith's four month old daughter, Emma. Faith has been through countless training exercises but when she sees a bloody handprint on her mother's door, she goes into high gear. She finds Emma locked in a car in the garage but it seems like someone is in her mother's home.

After Faith calls for backup. she sees movement in the house and sensing that her mother is in danger, she decides not to wait. She enters the home and finds one man deceased and then confronts two other men. She shoots one and chases the other, when this man fires at Faith, she returns fire, killing him. Three dead home invaders but no sign of Evelyn.

Will Trent is Faith's partner. Amanda Wagner of the GBI is his boss and Evelyn's best friend. They lead the investigation. We learn that Evelyn had been the commander of the narcotics division prior to her retirement. Through a tip from an unidentified source, it was determined that the men in Evelyn's unit were stealing part of the money from every narcotics arrest. Although Evelyn was not part of the investigation, she took a retirement.

Now Amanda and Will give first priority to finding Evelyn. What concerns them is that of the three dead men at Evelyn's home, two were from the Spanish gang, Los Texicanos and one Asian and members of these two nationalities don't usually work together. Perhaps there is a turf war.

The story deals with the loyalty Will and Amanda have for their friend, Evelyn. We also see Faith begin her own investigation. We follow the search with the supposition that Evelyn did take some money along with her unit. While the evidence seems to point in that direction, the loyalty of these fellow officers is admirable, as is Faith's love of her mother and determination to save her. During the investigation, Will and Dr. Sara Linton, spend a good bit of time together and become romantically involved. With these characters having ongoing stories in the author's novels, it seems like two people who had been destined for each other, finally realizing it and making their friendship more than it had been.

The story has good character descriptions and moves along swiftly. With the inventive plot, knock out characters and fascinating conclusion, it all adds up to make this an engrossing read.

Please check out my Amazon review. If you find the review helpful, please leave that comment. I love comments.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading
Broken Promise