Sunday, January 29, 2012

A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent." Wm Blake


The novel describes events in 1892, in Portland Maine. Maggie Keene's body is found. It appears to be a ritualistic killing with her body posed in a certain manner, her right hand cut off and a pitch fork through her throat.

Deputy Marshall Archie Lean is the primary investigator but this case is like nothing he's ever seen. Dr. Virgil Steig asks one of his former students for help. Perceval Grey is a brilliant criminalist. He's part Abenaki Indian and a former Pinkerton agent.

There are a number of uncanny similarities in this plot to Matthew Pearl's recent novel, "The Technologists."

Where this novel takes place in Portland, Maine, in 1892, Pearl's mystery occurs in 1868 in Boston. Perceval Grey uses modern investigatory methods and possesses a unique understanding of people and possible motives. This is similar to Marcus Mansfield in Pearl's novel. Mansfield is about to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is scientific in his work.

Both men are ahead of their time in the analytical approach to investigating and the use of modern scientific methods. In addition, there is a bright woman helping with the investigation in both novels and both novels bring in witchcraft as having something to do with the story.

In "The Truth of All Things, the author demonstrates his talent for describing his characters and making them believable and worthy of our interest. However it is more like learning about the characters from newspaper accounts so we're not drawn to particularly 'like' the characters.

The exception to this is Archie Lean. We become interested in him not only for his stick to it, investigation but we learn that he is expecting a child. I was drawn to his relationship with his wife as the new baby's birth nears. Their concern for their crowded home and the economics of an expanding family are subjects that could be taken out of today's newspapers.

Helen Prescott assists the investigators considerably. She is a historian, knowledgeable in the history of the Salem witch trials. She is a modern woman of her day and doesn't let the other characters tell her what to do.

It is the connection to the Salem witch history that sets this novel apart. We are given information on the names of those tried and why they were accused of being witches. This is tied in nicely with the crimes of 1892.

The action evolves slowly, sometimes exasperatingly so as the investigators sift through one cue after another. However it all comes together nicely with a suspenseful conclusion.

Giveaway for blog followers only:

1. use above link to see Amazon review and indicater review was helpful.

2. leave email address for contact and indicate step 1 completed.

3. U.S. and Canada only

4. This is for an advanced review copy

5. giveaway ends Feb 101h.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our love affair is a wonderous thing.

Lee Child steps back into Jack Reacher's early history to tell this story.

It's 1997 and Reacher is still in the military. He's a major in the military police and goes where he's ordered. This time, he's sent to Carter Crossing, Mississippi, to be undercover and monitor the official investigation of a woman who was murdered. The crime took place outside Ft. Kelham a U.S. Ranger base where there is a secret operation under way. Rangers are being sent as peace keepers to Kosovo. Reacher is ordered to observe the action and avoid publicity.

The Rangers ordered for the mission are from Alpha and Bravo companies and as Reacher arrives, Ft. Kelham is ordered down with no one allowed off the base.

Reacher meets the sheriff, the attractive Elizabeth Devereaux, who is attempting to investigate the murder of the woman in question, who is white, and two black women. All three women were very attractive but only the white woman's death stirred up any concern in Mississippi.

Devereaux is prevented in running a complete investigation because her official powers stop at Ft. Kelham's gate. As Reacher gets to know Devereaux and finds she is the daughter of the former sheriff and was a former military police member, she and Reacher begin to work together and develop a romantic relationship.

The plot moves rapidly with built in humor as Reacher tries to search for answers while dealing with a group of local hillbillies.

The pacing is well done as there are moments of tension spaced with the relationship of Reacher and Devereaux. We also are interested at the attempt of the military to white wash the investigation for political purposes with Reacher's refusal to bend to the attempted cover-up.

"The Affair" is another well written novel by Lee Child, a master storyteller.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"the shadow knows."


I can't say enough good things about this book.

In a CIA camp perched in the burning desert outside Kabul, Afghanistan, an Arab, posing as double agent, double crosses the Americans. He explodes a bomb in a suicide vest, killing many CIA officers.

We learn that there are American soldiers dealing drugs with the Taliban and the Kabul CIA station is a mess.

John Wells has been a CIA problem solver and is asked to travel to Kabul and find what is going on.

Knowing the country and fluent in the language, Wells poses as a Saudi and goes to a Taliban tribe active in the area. His goal is to meet the leader so Wells could discover if there is a CIA mole.

The suspense builds as we read the story wondering if Wells will succeed and if there is a mole, to stop that person before they might succeed in any plot they were planning.

The author offers more than a suspense novel, there is a discussion of how an American who has converted to Islam could still have his primary loyalty to the United States.

Berenson paints a realistic picture of what I would imagine Kabul would be like with a desert area surrounded by mountains and populated by various waring tribes. The author also describes the Pashtun hatred for Arabs and dislike for Americans.

It is a sad commentary to see the idealistic soldiers who come to this part of Afghanistan with the goal of keeping America safe, only to have some of these soldiers become involved in heroine and have their lives changed. It is a sad comparison to what happened to many young soldiers in Viet Nam.

New Givewawy:
to enter giveaway:
1. use above link and see Amazon review and indicate that it was helpful.

2. be a follower of this blog.

3. leave email address and indicate you have taken steps 1 and 2 and wish to be in the giveaway.

4. follow on shelfari, if possible.

5. Giveaway ends Feb 2nd at midnight.

6. U.S. and Canada only, sorry, shipping.

7. This is for an advanced review copy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'If you always face the sunshine, the shadows will always fall behind you." Whitman

What drew me to this novel was the contemporary theme which was so vividly described, I continued to consider it, once the novel ended.

Davis Moore is a fertility doctor in Chicago. His specialty is reproductive cloning.

His daughter is raped and murdered and the killer escapes. When Moore picks up his daughter's belongings from the police, he obtains a sample of the killer's DNA. With no other way to catch his daughter's killer, he uses that DNA to clone a child that will grow up and be the exact replica of the killer.

In a parallel story, we observe the actions of Mickey the Gerund, who is a religious fanatic and a member of the group, "The Hands of God." He feels that he is part of God's army and his mission is to destroy fertility clinics and the doctors running them.

Davis is shot outside his own clinic and taken to the emergency room but at lease he survives, unlike his twelve-year-old daughter, Anna Katherine.

The novel proceeds at a leisurely pace which allows the suspense to build. It spans many years as the child Moore cloned is born. Justin Finn grows up and we observe his actions and Moore's observations of the child which become so infringing to Justin's parents that they take legal action to keep him away.

Meanwhile, the killing of doctors who operate fertility clinics continues and the newspapers dub the killer Byron Bonavarti.

The author provides information about the moral and ethical problems with cloning. Our interest increases as Justin turns various ages and develops an interest in mass killings in general and Byron Bonavarti, in particular.

In haunting prose, Justin seems to become more like his cloned father and we wonder if Davis Moore has cloned another mass murderer.

There are some excellent surprises and twists along the way and the author has delivered a novel which questions good against evil while we wonder which side will be victorious.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"If I ever needed you, I need you now." song lyrics


This is a contemporary novel influenced by the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. In this case, Abe Cushman, a former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, committed suicide when his Ponzi scheme was brought to light.

Patrick Lloyd is a young Wall St. advisor to the Bank of Switzerland. He's called to the corporate office and ordered to find Lilly Scanlon and money she manipulated while an executive with the bank. This was in connection with the Cushman Ponzi scheme.

Lilly is Patrick's girlfriend. She informs him that she's being set up and was fired unjustly. She also tells Patrick that the money in question is from at least one of Cushman's victims who will stop at nothing to get their money back.

Patrick and Lilly decide to work together. Soon after, each is threatened by criminals and then something about Patrick's past comes to light.

The maze of possibilities that these characters must negotiate makes the novel an interesting adventure to observe. The two protagonists must go about their search for the missing money while not knowing who to trust and even if they can trust each other.

The setting moves around but is mostly in New York and is nicely described. One scene has a character " the old St. Paul's Churchyard ...bathed in silence wile hearing the buzz of construction at the World's Trade Center across the street."

"Need You Now," is not only a financial thriller but deals with other important issues. There is a powerful message of a father's love for his children, while being a social commentary on the greed existing today and the desire of some to gain riches at any expense. It is also a story of misplaced trust and the failures in the witness protection program.

The author has captured the naivete of his two young protagonists and shows that innocence can be destroyed in a world of governmental ignorance and corruption and the highest levels.

The reader becomes involved in the struggles of Patrick and Lilly and the desire to have them succeed against impossible odds.


1. Be a follower of this blog.

2. go to above link and read the Amazon review. At the end of the review, please indicate "YES" the review was helpful.

3. leave email address for contact and indicate that you want to be in the giveaway and have followed steps 1 and 2.

4. At this point, giveaway is for an advanced review copy

5. giveaway ends Jan. 30th.

6. U.S. and Canada only - postage.

Good luck.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"There's no arguing with him, if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the but end." Oliver Goldsmith


I'm drawn to the Boston setting and the Irish ex-cop who is the protagonist of "Hard Knocks."

Jack Reilly's brother, Marty, is in jail and Jack is trying to make a living as a P.I.

When the story opens, a former convict and friend of Jack's brother hires Jack for a $20.00 retainer and is gunned down soon after, outside the Irish -cop bar where the two men met.

One of Jack's former academy classmates, Plain View Evans, leads the investigation and doesn't mind letting it show that he believes that Jack is mixed up in a crime, possibly involving the mob.

Reilly had been a former driver for the mayor and is retired from the PD on a stress related disability. As he begins investigating, we cannot help but be reminded of another Boston P.I, Robert Parker's wonderful character, Spencer. The author also seems influenced by Mickey Spillane and, in Reilly, we see a new, and improved Mike Hammer.

Reilly is searching for something that the Mob wants, or at least, doesn't want anyone else to have. He's helped by an attractive reporter, Katy Bemis.

The humorous but complicated plot eventually comes together nicely and the reader is drawn into the action.

From the beginning, I was impressed with the realistic dialogue and setting of the Boston area filled with politicians on the take and corrupt lawmen.

The author is a columnist for the "Boston Herald" and has given the readers an interesting vision of the hard streets of Boston and a modern P.I. who knows how to survive within those mean streets.

Giveaway rules:
A: Be a follower of this blog.

B: Use above link to go to the Amazon review and at the end of the review, indicate 'YES' helpful.

C: Leave email address for contact and indicate that you have completed steps A and B

D: Giveaway ends Jan 23 at midnight.

E: U.S. and Canada

Hope you can join in and have fun.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

When you realize how perfect everything is, you'll tilt your head back and laugh at the sky." Buddah

The idea of a murder at a child's ride in an amusement park drew me to this story. I have an image of lively music and smiling faces at a family entertainment attraction. The idea of someone being murdered in this surrounding is intriguing.

Danny Boyle, age 24, is a part time summer employee on the police department and doesn't carry a weapon. He enjoys spending time hanging out at the beach and narrates the bizarre events.

Danny is with fellow officer, John Ceepak, a former MP who served in Iraq. A thirteen-year-old girl screams that her father has been murdered. She informs the officers that she and her father, sneaked into the amusement park and a man pulled a gun on her father and shot him. The events occur at the Tilt a-Whirl ride at an amusement park in Sea Haven, New Jersey.

Ceepak only took the job with the Sea Haven P.D. for the summer but being an MP in the army, knows more about crime investigation than his superiors. However, they ignore his opinions and advice.

Ceepak decides to have his own investigation and partners with Danny in this. The murdered man is Reginald Hart, a wealthy real estate tycoon.

Ceepak is in the image of the straight faced detective, Joe Friday, from TV and the movie, Dragnet. I imagine him with the same short hair. He's always one step ahead of the person he's interviewing and at any moment I expect to hear him deadpan, "Just the facts, mam."

The characters are interesting and purposely stereotypical in this witty crime spoof, from the uneducated, muscle bound criminal to the inept investigator who drops a McDonald's wrapper at the crime scene.

The writing style is reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen and as the reader realizes that this is a spoof, they can see how creative the author is.

Overall, "Tilt A Whirl" is a comic story that is easy to read and entertaining.

Update on my novel "Splattered Blood"

Yesterday was the release date and Amazon began filling the orders for "Splattered Blood." is now carrying "Splattered Blood" as is Breakwater Books in Guilford.

I was happy to see that the first customer review gave the book a four star rating and indications have been that the story is entertaining and well liked.

Last night I was interviewed by North Haven Community Television. This experience was wonderful and I continue to live a dream of a published author.

My next two author events are a book signing at the Ct. Dept. of Child and Family on Hudson Street in Hartford, Wed. January 11th from 10a.m to 3pm.
and signing at Breakwater Books in Guilford, Sat Jan 28th from noon to 2pm.

The beat goes on.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"When you have come to the edge of light and are about to drop off into darkness, faith will be something to stand on." Overton

Harry Bosch is assigned to a cold case of a 1989 rape and murder that DNA evidence indicates that a child was involved. He must find out if the evidence was compromised or learn what else happened.

As he begins to make some headway with this case, he's ordered to investigate the untimely death of the son of his former adversary, Irving Irving.

It's a pleasure to learn more about a character who we admire. We observe Harry's life as he deals with his future retirement, which he hopes to delay for four or five years. He also has an excellent relationship with his fifteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, who he is raising by himself and indicates a strong desire to follow her father into a career in law enforcement.

We feel empathetic for Harry's plight as he shows his distaste for being taken away from the cold case of a killer who might still be active and ordered to work on the case that is important to the command staff at the police department.

Harry is like a Knight of the Round Table, trying to be a savior of the kingdom of Los Angeles. He feels a nobleness in his work. He's one of the highest regarded investigators in the homicide division and responsible for putting many criminals behind bars. Now, nearing age sixty, he feels that his time is running short because of the mandatory retirement so wants to achieve as much as possible before that time comes.

This novel isn't for everyone. When the results of Harry's work culminates in the capture of a criminal who is a child killer and sexual predator, there is a home filled with torture implements and evidence of such sexual torture that it even makes Harry gasp.

There are some unexpected surprises in the book which adds to the entertainment value. "The Drop" is a wonderfully written novel with a character who has won the reader's hearts and minds.

This enjoyable story continues Michael Connelly's legacy as one of the leading suspense writers. It wouldn't surprise me to see this novel nominated for awards in excellence in the mystery field.

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