Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Welcome to my world" sony lyrics

It is a parent's worst nightmare to learn of the death of their child and in James LePore's "A World I Never Made," the author has created an excellent novel with a shrewd premise.

Pat Nolan is summoned to Paris. He's told that his daughter, Megan, had been terminally ill with cancer and committed suicide. His reaction is the disbelief that is the normal first reaction to tragic news. We observe his regret for not spending more time with Megan and his guilt for not being at her side during her desperate time of need.

When Catherine Laurence, a Police detective in Paris, shows Pat the body, he sees that it isn't Megan and realizes that Megan has staged her death. With an understanding that is rare in people, Pat realizes that Megan must be in some trouble and has staged her death, so he goes along with the cover up.

Catherine is told that Charles Raimondi of the Foreign Office is asking about Megan and that the Saudi government is linking her to a suicide bombing in Morocco.

Megan is suspected because one of the terrorists in Morocco survived and informed authorities that Megan planned the attack along with her boyfriend.

Catherine is ordered to befriend Pat and see what she can learn. As she befriends Pat, her feelings become more personal and when she sees that something is wrong with what authorities are telling her, she decides to help Pat no matter what the cost to his career.

James Le Pore writes a perceptive story about terrorists, family relationships and late blooming love. He gives the reader an interesting ride as we go through the camouflage to find what Megan had set up her death and why she was in trouble.

We read of Pat and Catherine's search for Megan and Megan's prior history that led up to the events in the story.

LePore has a deft touch for dialogue and his legal background has given him a logical approach to mixing historical facts into the story to make it believable and interesting.

"A World I Never Made" is a well-crafted mystery with rich characterization. The novel moved along smoothly and was a joy to read.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My own novel

What a thrill to see my own novel, finally arrive at the Amazon book site.

Although Amazon states that the book is not scheduled for a release until the end of January, my publisher is trying to get them to move the date up.

I've received my author supplies and had my first author event last Tuesday at the Branford Public Library. I did two readings from my book to show the humor and imagery in the novel and spoke of the steps in developing characters and in getting published.

In the first week in January I will be interviewed on a public TV station in North Haven and then be at a book signing in Hartford, Ct. on January 11th.

I'm enjoying every moment.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"When men are innocent, life shall be longer." Emerson


Vanessa Michael Munroe is an assassin who has nightmares about her past. She understands her killing capability and when her best friend, Logan, asks for help, she can't refuse.

Logan explains that eight years earlier, his friend, Charity's daughter, Hannah, was abducted from her school and taken to a cult known as The Chosen. Followers of The Profit, have hidden Hannah and shielded her abductor. Hannah was age five at the time and Logan and the other members of a group who have escaped from The Chosen, ask Munroe if she'll go in for her. Since Munroe came from a similar background, she accepts.

These people who had been childhood members of The Chosen tell Munroe some of the things that go on there and inform her that they know where Hannah is being held.

Munroe makes contact with members of the cult at their location in Argentina. She pretends to be interested in joining the group and bringing money that her family has accumulated.

When she does get into one of the homes, she observes the teenagers as they return from a day of begging as the means of generating income for the cult. Munroe understands the difficulty will be to see how much Hannah has been brainwashed. If Hannah came willingly, it would be easier for Monroe to get her out and reunited with her parents.

The reader understands that amount of brain washing that these children are subjected to. They are told that the outside world is corrupt and that people just make up bad things about the cult. Unfortunately, in this day where we learn of young people being abused by those in power, we learn of officials in the cult using their position of authority to get the naive children to do things they normally would not.

The setting is well described as we see the outward life of contentment in the members of the cult but then peel away the outer layer and see the corruption inside.

Munroe demonstrates moments of vulnerability but is able to maintain control. This makes her a more appealing character as she tries to deal with the nightmares about her killing. While with the cult, she understands that her physical skills would be sufficient to rescue her from danger. She has an associate who covers her back and this provides a double layer of safety.

The book is disquieting at times when we see the vulnerability of children but it is still a wonderfully evocative novel that will stay in the reader's mind with the thoughts of missing and lost children.

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C: Use above link and see the Amazon review, at the end of the review, indicate "YES" the review was helpful.

D: Leave email for contact purpose and indicate that you have taken step C.

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This is for an advanced copy

Giveaway ends January 7, 2012

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"It's the most wonderful time of the year." song lyrics

In the Dickeyville area of Baltimore, five friends meet and bond. They form a group they refer to as the five arms of a starfish. Composing the group are Gwen, the Halloran brothers, Sean, Tim and Go Go and the other girl in the group, Mickey Wyckoff.

They lived in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood where parents permitted the children to play without monitoring their activities.

The story moves from events in the late 1970s to current time.

In the current time, Gwen returns home to care for her elderly father who has broken his hip in a fall. While home, she meets Sean Halloran who informs her that his brother, Go Go has died, from suicide.

We learn about the character's lives since their teenage years. Gwen is married to Karl, a successful surgeon who seems mainly interested in himself, not in her accomplishments as a magazine editor. She realizes that she doesn't want to live in a home where her husband is the only thing that matters.

In 1978, the five friends often played in Leaken Park and while exploring one day, they came upon an abandoned cabin that was now the dwelling of a black homeless man. They refer to this man as Chicken George because of the chickens he keeps around the cabin. They become casual friends of this man who often disappears for long periods.

During the summer of 1978, Gwen and Sean were dating and in her bedroom when Mickey and Go Go travel to the cabin and become involved in something with Chicken George.

We learn different sides to this event which has a major effect on the group and ends their childhood innocence.

The story is described at a leisurely pace to match the uncomplicated life the characters had. The dialog shows the changes from when the characters were young to their maturity in contemporary times. This is an achievement that not that many authors are able to manage.

The novel is entertaining as we see the development of the characters and their parents as they deal with the incident and concludes in a manor that leaves the reader saddened that the innocence of childhood is such a fleeting thing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Anyone can look at another's eyes but lovers can see each other's souls through the eyes." Larry Lotta

Set in Belfast, a young woman from Lithuania named Gayla is coerced into coming to Ireland for a chance for a better life. She thinks she will be in a good home and working as a nanny. However, she's sent to do hard work and then sold into prostitution. When the people who run this group attempt to force her into prostitution and one of them is trying to rape her, she manages to kill him.

Two other men were in the home with the murdered man, Tomas Stazdas. They are afraid of Tomas' brother so try to dump Thomas' body into a waterway, planning to drown the woman there. However, Gayla is a fighter who never gives up and manages to escape from them.

Tomas was the younger brother of a sadistic gangster, Arturas Stazdas. When he informs his mother, back in Lithuania, about her youngest son's death, the mother demands that he kill the girl and anyone else who was associated with Tomas's demise.

Meanwhile, a man named Billy Crawford had befriended Gayla while posing as a customer. He informed Gayla that if she ever escaped from the house of prostitution, he'd help her.

Gayla kept the number she had given him and calls him after escaping from the two men by the river. He meets her and tells her that he is a Baptist minister without a church and tries to save girls, like Gayla, who haven't lost their souls.

Investigating the case is Det. Inspector Jack Lennon. Soon after being assigned to the case, he learns that there have been additional murders.

The author, Stuart Neville, writes in a style reminiscent of fellow Irishman, John Connolly. In Connolly's "Every Dead Thing," revenge is the center of the novel as Charlie Parker searches for the killer of his child. In "Stolen Souls" revenge is also central to the story with Arturas's demand for revenge at all costs.

Stuart Neville uses description well and as things turn against Gayla again and again, the reader can almost feel as if they are in her shoes wondering if there is any reason to fight against fate and pray for help.

Not for the squeamish, this is a story that is so dramatic that there are times when the reader needs to take a break from the tense action. I enjoyed the novel and feel that Neville shows that he's a master storyteller.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Lots of people are dead and they're just not clever enough to fall over and decompose." Mary Burns


The novel opens with a Blue Line train in Chicago going faster than it should because the conductor wants to hurry home. The vibrations of the train's passage rattled the rails and caused a light bulb to become loose and fall, bursting quietly. Soon, some of the people in the area became sick and died.

PI Michael Kelly is called to help with security when it is determined that there could be a threat of a biological weapon on the Chicago railway system.

Dr. Ellen Brazile and her assistant, Dr. Molly Carrolton are experts in the field and they use a detection devise which registers a possible pathogen on the Blue Line subway.

As the disease spreads, authorities try to find the answers, while some, make sure they are not going to be blamed. Dr. Brazile informs Mike that soon after the first case, there were six more and the number of infected people was rising rapidly.

The Dept. of Homeland security is on hand and with mounting deaths, they decide to quarantine a part of the city. This gives some criminals the opportunity to rid themselves of their rivals and looting and burning of buildings begin.

It is easy for the reader to immerse themselves into this fearful setting. The action is realistically portrayed and not having time to think of alternatives, the story flows dramatically.

Dr. Brazile leads the charge in attempting to identify the pathogen and develop a vaccine while Mike continues to investigate who could have set this biological killer in motion.

I enjoyed Michael Kelly, who, along with Dr. Brazile, seemed concerned with the average person
while many officials were looking out for their image.

The story was enjoyable and shows that the author, Michael Harvey, knows how to put together a tense, well-plotted story.

Giveaway Rules:

1. this is an advanced reading copy

2. use above link and see the amazon review and at the end of the review, please indicate "YES" the review was helpful.

3. leave email address for contact purposes.

4. indicate that you have done step 2 and you wish to be in the giveaway

5. follow on Shelfari if possible

US and Canada -----Giveaway through Dec. 26th.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Talking without thinking is like shooting without taking aim. Proverb


Chicago has been chosen as the Olympic city of 2016. The action begins in the gang dominated neighborhood known as Four Corners. Two brothers, Ruben and Bobby Vargas grew up there and enter the police department.

Coleen Brennan was an Irish girl who befriended Bobby Vargas, who was Spanish. By the sixth grade they were boyfriend and girlfriend. His worst day was when Coleen was murdered when she was thirteen. Coleen was white and Bobby wasn't and their friendship was a dangerous thing in the race rules of Four Corners.

One day, the "Chicago Herald" runs an expose where they imply that in days to come, it would prove that Bobby and Ruben were the two boys who killed Coleen.

The story moves quickly with an interesting literary style with chapter's beginning with portions of the newspaper expose and then describing the actions of the current day. Coleen's murder is said to be a reprisal for racist policing but there is a question if she was raped to death as part of a gang initation.

Anton Dupree was arrested, found guilty of the murder and executed. His family is suing the city for wrongful execution claiming that Anton was of low intelligence and manipulated into confessing.

With the existing political climate, Bobby fears that the city will settle the suit and that he and his brother will be fired and face civil action.

There are a number of levels to the story which is told in a darkly realistic manner that has a momentum of its own. We learn that there was certain activity in Japan during WWII and that some of these actions should have resulted in criminal prosecution. Currently, representatives associated with that criminal activity is influential in financing the Olympics. Coleen's twin sister, Arleen, returns to the city and she and Bobby become romantically involved. However, Bobby is accused of certain things and the reader wonders how he will prove his innocence.

The talented author, Charlie Newton, who has been nominated for literary awards, provides the reader with a look at a section of the city life filled with gangs and drugs described so realistically that it causes the reader to gasp.

There is excellent dialogue and the writing moves across the pages effortlessly. Bobby Vargas is that type of protagonist that we enjoy reading about, he's brave, fearless and honorable and the center of an excellent novel.

Giveaway rules:
A: Be a follower of the blog
B: Use above link, read Amazon review and indicate "YES" helpful
C: Leave email address and indicate steps A and B were completed
D: Follow on Safari, if possible
E: U.S. and Canada only
F: Giveaway through Dec 20th.
G: Have fun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"I took a trip on a sailing ship and when I reached Jamaica, I made a stop."Song Lyrics

How can you not like a book with a title as original as this book has?

This relaxing novel could accompany the reader on a winter vacation, just thinking about the setting of a remote fishing village in Jamaica makes me long for the blue ocean and dread another New England winter.

Eric is the owner of a bar and of the ruins of a hotel which was damaged in Hurricane Albert. Now the hotel is cut off from the main land. As the story gets under way, Eric and his bartender, Shad, are surprised to see a woman on Eric's Island. Eric rows out and learns the woman, Simone, wants a place of peace and quiet. she will pay Eric to deliver groceries and requests to be left alone.

Shad is a person who people feel confident in revealing their problems and concerns to. He cares for Eric and the other people in his village. If there was a mayor of the little community, it would be Shad.

With little changing in their lives, Eric becomes fascinated with Simone. As the story progresses, we learn of her background and the reason she needs to be alone on the Island.

Life goes on and Simone becomes the talk of the village. Then, another change occurs, a number of men arrive and take steps in finding the political views of the residents.

The setting is well described and the leisurely pace of the novel allows the reader to slow down to the pace of life as described in Jamaica. I enjoyed this and imagined I was listening to appropriate background music and enjoying the ocean view.

Only in the barest of terms could this be classified as a detective story but with the author's skillful plotting, this was an entertaining novel.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"There is no great future for people whose faith has burned out." Rufus M. Jones

In Oslo, Norway, Henning Juul is a crime reporter, returning to work after a fire killed his six-year-old son and left him scarred. It also ended his marriage.

Henning is in the image of financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist from Steig Larrsen's "The Millenium Series, both men are quiet, determined and total professionals..

On his first day back, a young woman's body is found at a local park. The woman, Henriette Hagerup had the marks of a stun gun and was stoned to death.

Authorities consider this could have been a ritual killing but Juul disagrees.

He possesses that rare investigative journalist talent for seeing when things just don't fit.

Through the story, Juul shows his compassion when interviewing friends and relatives of the deceased. With his personal history of the loss of his son and his physical and mental scars, the reader has to feel for the man, and yet, he doesn't ask for sympathy.

We follow the police investigation led by Det. Inspector Brogulund and his attractive, intelligent assistant, Sgt. Ella Sandland who is dedicated to finding the killer and has no interest in her bosses insuinations.

Juul is a true investigator and finding the reason why someone would kill Henriette consumes him. The title of the novel has many meanings, not only was Juul's own flat burned but he shows the scars of the fire and internally, he has the fire in his heart so much so that the reader catches his passion.

The setting is well described as is Juul, who the reader can relate to and wish that they could witness his power of deduction and bring the guilty to justice. The author provides some twists and surprises that keep the reader guessing right to the excellent conclusion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one." Bill Gates

In April 1868, a number of ships in Boston Harbor have their instruments fail simultaneously creating panic and great damage. Officials want to turn the investigation to the Harbor Police but one suggestion is to ask the professors at the MIT, which was about to graduate its first class.

We follow the students, including Marcus Mansfield, who are listening to the school's president discussing the new technology that would combine the city lights on a circuit, saving the time and expense of having to light each street light individually. The speech is broken up by trade unionists, claiming that this innovation is depriving many people of their jobs.

Thus, the theme of the novel, advancement in technology and cost savings against tradition and more jobs. Boston, at the time is philosophically linked to Salem and many Bostonians regard science as a form of witchcraft.

Another incident creates great havoc where downtown windows and glass seem to melt. At MIT, a professor claims that since this school is the only institution devoted to science and technology, they should investigate this second incident, even though there is public distrust.

Tradition and innovation also clash as officials turn to Harvard to investigate. Marcus Mansfield and a small group of friends from MIT form a secret group to find answers about the instruments failing and the glass melting.

Fans of Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" will enjoy this analytical and historical novel. The author has gone into great detail about the scientific process. Although admirable by itself, this can become ponderous to the non scientific reader, such as I am. I felt this slowed down the story and at times became almost tedious. While I enjoyed the history of the times and the characters who were very realistic, I would have liked the resolution to be given in a less wordy manner.

Given the originality, fine dialogue and research, I would rate this at 3 1/2, moving to four stars.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Pompeii has nothing to teach us."

In 79 A.D. a new Aquarius is appointed, Marcus Attilius Primus, after the prior Aquarius disappeared.

Unexplained water loss occurs in the cities near Pompeii and the Aquarius is sent to find the cause and to correct the problem.

Water was a vital commodity of the day and Attilius, an engineer, feels that his position is important and his work should be done in a scrupulous manner.

As the story begins, one of the wealthy residents, Ampliatus, a former slave, is putting one of his slaves to death. This young man was responsible for caring for Ampliatus's prized fish which were meant to be delicacys for honored guests. When the entire stock of fish die, the slave is blamed.

In an attempt to save this innocent man, Ampliatus's daughter goes to Attilius who demonstrates to Ampliatus the the fish died because of sulphur in the water.

With the excellent narration of Michael Compsty, the story follows as if we are experiencing events on the History Channel.

Attilius begins to investigate a possible fault in the aqueduct while certain officials attempt to stop him because they fear that he will discover that they mishandled the water supply and made huge profits from overcharging people for the water.

There is excellent drama as the action begins two days before the volcano. We follow Attilius as he learns of an upheaval of land under the aqueduct and observes early warning signs that a volcano will erupt.

This is a highly entertaining story that shows the author's detailed research into the times and the life in the city of Pompeii. The reader becomes interested in the history as the characters come to life and a momentous disaster becomes closer and closer to occurring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Dawn, go away, I'm no good for you." Song lyrics

The story opens as a man comes downstairs and gets his morning paper and sees the headline that he is dead and his wife is missing.

After attending an event in honor of former FBI director, Sam Norris, his step-daughter, FBI Special Agent Mia Keeler, and her husband, District Attorney, Jack, head home. They're stopped on a bridge for an unknown reason. When they're ordered from the car, Jack attempts to resist and is shot in the shoulder, placed back in his car and pushed over the bridge. Mia is kidnapped.

Though wounded, Jack survives but with his car at the bottom of the water, it is assumed that he and Mia are deceased.

After seeing the headlines about his death, he examines himself and sees that his shoulder wound has been stitched up and there is a tattoo on his arm in foreign words that he doesn't understand.

With his old partner from his police days, they are at his home when a man tries to sneak in, not knowing that Jack isn't dead. They surprise the man but before they can question him, he escapes and jumps in front of a truck, killing himself.

Not long into the story, while Mia is being held captive, a man calmly informs her that she doesn't have long to live if he doesn't get his way.

What are the pieces to the puzzle? Who has kidnapped Mia and how could they have staged the abduction so well?

Jack has the tattoo on his arm translated and makes an admission that completely changes the course of the novel and brings a philosophical element into it.

The pacing is excellent and the characters described realistically. Things take a twist at the end while the reader finally gets a chance to catch their breath.

The book is worth reading for the fast paced story and the characters. A very creative plot that left me wondering how could this have happened?

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Every time you hear a bell ring, it means some angel's just got his wings." Francis Goodrich

It is 1937 at the peak of the Spanish Civil War with the guerrillas fighting against the Facist government in Spain. Robert Jordan, an American, possessing knowledge of weapons and explosives, meets a group of Spanish guerrilla fighters in the mountains.

Jordan is a dynamiter who has been sent to the area to blow up a bridge. Among the guerrillas is a young woman, Maria, who becomes attracted to him.

While the men who make up much of the freedom fighters speak of war, a man named Pablo appears to be in charge. However, it is his wife, Pilar who is the real force behind the group. Pilar is Spanish for pillar, is a symbol of the rock steadfastness of the group. During the early action in the story, it is seen that Pablo's resolve for fighting has changed and he often resorts to drinking.

Amidst the talk of killing and the Republican offensive against the Fascists, we follow the activities of Robert and Marie. This mixture of love and war is another significant juxtaposition of the author. With the tender moments of these two characters, it is as though this might be what the guerrillas are fighting for. The government's totalarianism attitude cannot tell them what to do and that gypsies like Rafael, foreigners like the American Robert Jordan, and women like Pilar and Marie can all work and live together as equals.

Hemingway has a master's gift for dialogue. We don't just read the words he pens. It is as if we have been transported to the Spanish mountainside and are listening to the scenes such as Pilar and Pablo discussing a matador that Pablo was proud of seeing and Pilar envisioning the matador as the matador gazes at the crowd in the rink before he kills the bull.

Hemingway was a reporter in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, his characters are honest in their actions and loyal to one another and Spain.

The story mixes historical fact and speculative fiction in a most entertaining manner that readers will enjoy and feel they have read something of literary significance.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"There are no winners, only survivors." Frank Gifford


Fans of survivalist novels differ widely in their reactions to John Wesley, Rawles novel "Survivors."

The author's premise is to ask who will be ready when the stock market has a total crash, inflation skyrockets and dollars and paper money become useless.

Once super inflation takes hold, rioting and looting begin and only those who prepared in advance will be able to survive. The infrastructure of society is dissolved, gas stations run out of gas and the high tech gadgets that are so much a part of people's lives, become useless without electricity. Those who can trade food or materials such as lumber or gold, are able to purchase necessary items. Others resort to force or theft.

Andy Laine and his family are in the group which seems to be made up of current and former military people with a strong sense of Faith. In their case, they have stockpiled canned goods, weapons and live in an area in New Mexico with water and a source of energy.

The reader witnesses the agony of families who are effected by the rioting as it begins in many cities in the U.S. and elsewhere. In this instance, I would have liked to see more of the emotions of the characters such as when one character is told something about his daughter.

One difficulty I had with the novel is that the survivor group seemed too fortunate in their planning as one character finds a hidden room with certain essential elements. They also seem unwilling to share their idea of planning with neighbors and friends and I thought this was very unchristian and selfish but maybe they felt that was necessary for survival.

With the dregs of society such as paroled convicts and gang members joining the looters, I was reminded of "The Stand," by Steven King which pitted a force of good and honorable people against those who preyed on the less fortunate in the battle to see who would dominate the world.

The story moves between the different groups and suspense builds up, but some of the concepts were too extreme for me to accept. However, I was mildly interested in the story and wanted to see how it would develop.

To be entered in the giveaway of this novel, use above link to see the Amazon review and indicate 'YES' helpful.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

"Books are the ever burning lamps of accumulated wisdom." William W. Curtis


John Connolly writes about life in a small town in Maine and the affects on people's lives when a teenage girl, Anna Kore, becomes missing.

Randall Haight is an intensely private man. He doesn't want his past known because he and a friend, killed a young girl when he was age fourteen.

After serving eighteen years, Randall was released from prison. The records were sealed and he and the other boy involved in the murder, were given new identities.

Someone was mailing pictures to him that showed the barn door where he and his friend murdered the girl.

Afraid that he'll be made the scapegoat if he tells the authorities about his past, he hires Charlie Parker to put a stop to it.

Parker has been haunted by the death of his own small daughter for years but takes the case because Haight's attorney speculates that the person harassing Haight might be Anna's kidnapper.

Midway through the story, Charlie begins to get messages that seem to be from his daughter, urging him to be careful. Another spirit is visiting Haight for a different purpose.

Connolly writes in a literary style that is delicious to read, "...there are other places that speak of the ferocity of the sea, of communities sheltering behind buttresses of black rock and shingle beaches against which the waves throw themselves like besieging armies..."

There are a number of parallel story lines that merge together in a tidy conclusion with some interesting twists and surprises which add to the reader's interest.

Although not one of Connolly's best, I would rate this a 3 1/2 star, moving up to 4 star for the story telling and literary manner of writing.

Giveaway rules;

A: Be a follower of this blog

B: Use above link and see the Amazon review and indicate "YES" helpful

C: Under comments leave email address for contacting and indicate you wish to be in the giveaway and have done step B.

D: This is a hard cover first edition.

E: Through 11/30

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Good luck

Monday, October 31, 2011

"I'd like to take each day at a time but sometimes several days attack me at once." Jennifer. Unlimited

Biochemist Emma Coldridge is in Arizona by the Mexican border. As a chemist for a lab that makes cosmetics, she's been looking for night blooming plants. Unexpectedly, she comes upon a stash of marijuana. Before she can make her escape, she's spotted and brought to the leader of the drug gang.

The the leader, Raoul LaValle, learns that she's a chemist, he informs her that his marijuana fields are infected. People who have come in contact with he plant are infected by a flesh eating toxin that brings a miserable death within nine days of exposure.

La Valle also deals in body parts and tells Emma that she must find a cure or be killed. Additionally, his mistress has been infected and he believes that the fungus came because the United States was spraying his fields to destroy the marijuana. Because of he need for revenge upon someone, he informs Emma that if she doesn't find a cure, he'll ship the next contaminated batch to the United States. He wants to spread disease to pay the United States back. He will also begin selling contaminated body parts to further infect people in the United States.

Emma is an ultra marathon runner and feels that she can escape and inform the authorities but she feels sympathy for the migrant workers who are forced to work in the fields and harvest the infected plants and she wants to save them.

She comes in contact with a college drop out, Oz Kroger who wanted to transport some drugs to earn money but is a man of conscience and when he sees the disease the plants carry, he decides that he wants to help Emma.

The story is well told, and the author provides enough evidence about chemistry and disease that the reader is convinced of the possibility of this really happening.

The drug dealers are truly villainous and the author gives a good point that in Mexico people really don't know who to trust. Were authorities acting on their own or are they hired by a competing cartel in order to take over the first cartel's drug operation.

The concept of the novel is original but the plotting could have been a bit stronger as Emma attempts to make her escape and a cat and mouse game begins. However, the reader does become emotionally involved and lost in the action as the chase is for life or death.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"The alienist is no joke - He finds you cracked and leaves you broke." Keith Preston

In 1896, John Schuyler Moore, crime reporter for the "New York Times" is urgently called to the scene of a murdered adolescent boy in the east side of Manhattan. He had been summoned by his friend, Dr. Laslo Kreizler, a psychologist - or alienist.

At this time, Kreizler and Moore's friend, Throdore Roosevelt was the newly appointed police commissioner. They observe the murdered adolencent's being dressed like a girl and Roosevelt informs them that this is the third such victim and the crimes weren't publicized because they were all poor and no one cared what happened to them.

With rampant corruption in the police department and the idea that some police were taking payoffs from criminals, Roosevelt sets up a private task force to investigate and stop the killer. In the task force are Lazlo, Moore, his friend, Sara Howard, an independently minded woman who was a secretary in the police and two honest and intelligent police officers, Lucus and Marcus Isaacson.

The reader delights in the descriptions of New York around the beginning of the last century. The characters eat at Delmonico's Restaurant where notables such as Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell dine. They describe the setting while passing such historic places such as Wanamakers Department store and Grace Church.

This police procedural is skillfully done with a huge cast of characters, many who were taken from the pages of history. The author also informs the readers of such advances as the new use of finger prints and criminal profiling. Caleb Carr is from the area where the story unfolds and his creative vision and research is evident.

"The Alieniest" is an authentic story that will transport the reader to a wonderful time in history and as I was enjoying the book, it was as if I was experiencing an episode of Walter Cronkite's TV show of the '70s, "You Are There."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Why do fools fall in love." song lyrics

In the rugged southern Texas, by the Mexican border, Danny Boy Lorca, a former boxer and alcoholic witnesses a brutal murder.

Sheriff Hackberry Holland had been notified by the FBI that a Federal employee had been abducted.

Danny tells Hack and his chief deputy, Pam Tibbs, that he overheard the killers refer to La Magdalena, aka Anton Ling, a free spirited Chinese woman who provided food and shelter for the impoverished people crossing the border. Danny also heard that the leader was a man named Krill.

Krill had been hired to find the missing Federal employee, Noie Barnum, as is Temple Dowling, a citizen soldier who employees a number of mercenaries. They believe that Barnum has information about the Preditor program and want to sell him to Al Qaeda.

The characters are bound together in their passionate struggle to survive in this desert area. The vivid Hackberry Holland has been compared to John Wayne in "True Grit." With the tension building smartly the sudden violence speeding the story along.

However, Holland tells of being a prisoner in the Korean war, which ended in 1953. Even if he was a twenty year old, this would make him almost eighty years old and it's difficult to see how someone of that age could accomplish the things he does in this story or for us to believe that his deputy, Pam Tibbs, had romantic feelings for him.

Holland seems like Dave Robicheaux transplanted to Texas, like Dave, he is a widower, attends Mass, dislikes government agencies and criticizes those who use bad language around him.

Even with that, this is a wonderful read and as imaginative as a modern "Lonesome Dove." I recommend it with its colorful characters and with the exciting climax.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Devil or Angel..which one..(are you). song lyrics

Undercover American climatologist, Martin Faber is kidnapped by a group calling itself Forces of Popular Defense. The price of his release is the immediate withdrawal of all NATO forces within 150 miles of Mount Ararat.

The chapters describe the actions of different characters with Martin's wife, Julia Alvarez narrating her own actions. This change in point of view is professionally handled by the author.

As Julia narrates her actions, there is an attempt on her life and she is rescued by Col. Nicholas Allen of the National Security Agency. He informs her of her husband's kidnapping.

Col. Allen believes that Martin left clues about how to save him in the message he was made to deliver.

Faber is being held by a group that feels they are the descendants of angels and are about to be returned to heaven. To do this, they must destroy the world and will be able to do so with something that Martin and Julia possess.

They have a pair of stones that are magical and enable the possessors to see things. In history, it was thought that these stones could be used to communicate with the angels.

The premise of the novel is difficult for this reader to accept. Javier Sierra gives great detail and an interesting Index of churches and places in history to support the idea of talking directly with angels.

This plot driven story has an interest but didn't convince me not to be skeptical.
If the reader wants a trip into fantasy with the idea of speaking to angels and see multitudes of evidence of why this might be feasible, this novel would entertain.

See above Amazon review. If you feel the review was helpful, please indicate "YES" at the end of the Amazon review.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The greatest event in the world is the arrival of grandchildren.

Meg Mitchell Moore's debut novel offers the readers a good study of a family with complicated needs.

Life in Burlington, Vt. seemed peaceful to the retired couple, William and Ginny Owen. Their eldest daughter, Lillian, called and informs them that she and her two children, ages three and newborn, are coming to their home and that she needs some time away from her husband.

Lillian doesn't share with her parents that her husband, Tom, had just slept with his assistant and a company function.

From life that seemed routine and peaceful, the home was suddenly in an uproar. Even more so when William and Ginny's son, Stephen and his wife Jane drive up without warning. Jane is seven months pregnant and both Stephen and she feel that they need a change of pace from their home in New York. Once again, the family ability to cope with change is challenged when a situation develops and the couple must extend their stay.

Rooms are changed and a pull out couch is activated for the sudden crowd.

Problems continue and the family seems to accept them but tempers are challenged with five guests in a home that had been set up for the retirees comfort.

The youngest child of the Owen's is Rachel, who has been living in New York. She also has difficulties and requests her parents to help.

The Owen's family's personal journey through the turbulent time is well described with humor and empathy with each child needing nourishment from their parents in different ways.

The author gives a good description of William and Ginny's realization that being parents bears responsibility that continues after the children leave home. The fact that the children have a safe place to go to when things are not going well is also a good lesson for all parents.

The characters and the setting were well described and the novel basks with fine literary flavor. The chaos was a bit long for me but the novel was enlightening and enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"A sword is never a killer. It's a tool in the killer's hands" Seneca

Every now and then an author creates a book that is truly unique and causes the reader to think about what is being said.

John Hunter is released from prison after serving sixteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's had plenty of time to plan his revenge for the people who framed him and get some overdue payback.

Bill Moore is a real estate agent in Florida. He's successful and loves his wife but wants more. One day he notices an email with the word "modified on it.

He doesn't think anything about it but soon a series of things happen. Suggestive photos of a co-worker appears on his computer and his wife sees it and accuses him of taking the photos. An appointment with an important client ends with the client not showing up and the man's secretary denies making the appointment. Then he becomes a suspect when a man goes missing.

Michael Marshall has written an intelligent novel that is a puzzle that must be solved.

It takes a while before we find a connection between John Hunter, the missing man, and Bill Moore.

The action moves along at a breakneck pace that seduces the reader and yet, nothing is as it seems.

The author brings up a good point about greed in society and the goal to get ahead at all costs. The dialogue is right on. Only the two main characters are well developed, the others are not much more than names. The plot is complicated and unpredictable and yet it's still unimaginably addictive.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"She's my little deuce coupe...she blows em out of the water..."

In a thriller so realistic that the events could have been taken from a futuristic newspaper reporting a doomsday scenario.

Omar El-Khayali, a radical cleric has been elected president of Pakistan benefiting from millions of dollars from militant Aswan Fortuna. Fortuna hopes that with his puppet in Pakistan and the radical President of Iran, the countries would work together to strike against Israel or the U.S.

Dewey Andreas, last seen in "Down Under" is in Australia wanting a normal life after killing Fortuna's son. Now there are teams of killers looking for Dewey to pay him back for stopping their terrorist plot.

In the land between India and Pakistan a minor incident between two Pakistanian soldiers and the residents of a small village quickly escalates into a conflict with India.

The situation quickly spirals out of control as India seems more than ready and willing to respond to a Pakistanian attack.

U.S. fears that if India retaliated with their nuclear weapons, they could obliterate Pakistan but then China would enter the battle and the U.S. would have to step in and defend their ally, India.

There seems no viable solution until one of the straticians recommends a Coup D'Etat and Dewey is selected to carry it out with a small team of associates.

There is mounting suspense as Dewey and his men take the steps to carry out the plan. The successor must be selected and convinced of the merits of action to save his country, other militants must be taken care of and Dewey and his unit has one narrow escape after another.

This exciting story had me leaving other tasks to return to the book again and again to see how the story was progressing and how Dewey could enact his plan while fighting off the militants. There is a glitch in the action and Dewey needs outside help to complete the assignment and hope to return to a normal life.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Coup D'Etat" and highly recommend it to those looking for a nonstop drama with a heroic character who the reader will sympathise with and admire for his skill and determination.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Memories are all I have to cling to. Thinkin about the things we used to have." Song lyrics

"The Things We Cherished" is an energizing experience that speaks of two love stories and a time prior to and during WWII when the world was in turmoil.

Charlotte Gold has a background in researching the Holocaust. She and Jack Warrington are in Germany to team up for the legal defense Roger Dykmans.

Germany hadn't been pursuing war crimes cases but the Department of Justice pressured them into action.

Historican uncovered information implicating Roger in selling out his brother, Hans, to the Germans who was attempting to help rescue Jewish people from Germany.

Roger isn't helpful in his defense so Charlotte and Jack travel to Wadowice, Poland, attempting to uncover anything to help with the case. They learn about Magda who Roger loved but was married to his brother, Hans.

The story moves back in time to 1940 and we observe what was happening in Berlin with the German round up of Jewish people who lived in constant fear of betrayal and being taken by the German authorities. Roger, who is not Jewish, came to Berlin as a student, to live with his brother, Hans and Hans' wife, Magda.

With moving back between time periods, Pam Jenoff, slows down the pace of the story as if lengthening the drama and allowing the reader to feel for the independent Magda who doesn't want to be a captive in her own home, just because she is Jewish. Then, with her husband away for much of the time, she and Roger become romantically involved.

The reader is rewarded for staying with the story when it slows down because the suspense and action pick up leaving the reader with a novel that is well worth the read.

Both Charlotte and Jack are fully drawn characters of whom the reader becomes attached and wishing that they would succeed in their goal and their lives. This is a heartfelt story with an ending that will remain in the memory of the reader.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark." Mauriac

One of Det. Alex Cross's hated enemies is Kyle Craig, known as The Mastermind. He's escaped from prison and wants revenge against Cross. To put his plan in motion, he kills FBI agent Max Siegel and undergoes plastic surgery to make him look like Siegel, then he learns everything he can about Siegel's past.

In Washington D.C. Alex Cross has proposed to Brianna Stone. Shortly thereafter, he's called on to investigate an assassination of two of Washington's politicians who are under investigation for corruption.

When another killing takes place and this person was also under investigation for criminal activity, the killers are praised for being patriotic, and officials realize that it is a sniper team.

Kyle, posing as FBI agent Siegel gets assigned to the case and is able to move his plan for revenge into high gear. With Cross not suspecting anything from a fellow officer, there is excellent suspense.

The story is a page turner given that a person could assume another person's identity so well that even the other person's co-workers don't suspect that this isn't the person that they thought and that no one would bring up details of Siegel's past that wouldn't be known to Kyle.

With this skepticism, James Patterson shows that he is the master of nail biters because he still gets the reader's involvement in the case. There is the reality of the the past Washington D.C. sniper and the wonder of how Cross will find the sniper team and how he will stop Craig before Craig can take revenge against Cross and his family.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"You've got the magic touch." Song lyrics

A doctor is grasped by a man thought to be deranged, while the doctor was making rounds at the hospital. He feels a shock and soon finds that when he touches people who are sick, they become miraculously healed.

Dr. Alan Bulmer is an old time family physician who delights with the personal touch and feels that getting to know his patients helps in the healing process.

When he notices this ability to heal by touching others, he tries to downplay his wondrous medical talent but as word spreads, people bombard his office and he has little peach. He can only use his ability for a limited time daily and when he is unable to help some people, there are occasions when the people become enraged.

His marriage is affected and only a few people stand by him as some people begin to call him a charlatan pretending to be a faith healer.

What a wonderful idea for the terminal ill to have a miracle cure and a second chance at life. This is an heart warming story were the author builds suspense nicely and spices his story with some very unique characters.

The conclusion was somewhat predictable but nevertheless, "The Touch" was a good read that won't be forgotten.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Our love affair is a wonderous thing." Song lyrics

"A Hidden Affair" describes how strong can a woman's love for the man who promised to marry her, and how long can that love last.

Jordan Weiss is on a mission. She has resigned from the U.S. Dept of Intelligence and is searching for her old boyfriend, Jared Short, in Monaco.

She has an old address and when she finds it, she observes a young woman entering the building. She asks the woman about Jared. The woman is evasive and when Jordan returns to ask more questions, she finds that the woman has fled.

Jordan meets an Israeli named Aaron who is also following the woman. He suggests that he and Jordan join forces. They do so and eventually develop a fondness for each other while maintaining a professional mistrust.

Interestingly, we learn of wine making in the area and that wine was used as currency during WWII. We also learn something about the Nazis demanding the best wine and the locals attempting to deny the Nazi's of this treasure. What happens to the true vintage of wine becomes part of the mystery.

Jordan Weiss is a strong character and a good match for Aaron but she continues her search for Jared even though events prove that he didn't deserve her devotion.

Pam Jenoff writes an interesting story that is well worth reading. With some of the action in places like Monaco, I would have enjoyed more of a description of the setting of those scenes.

The historical premise of the novel is riveting and even the minor characters are completely realized.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"...the nightlife, is no life, but it's my life." Song lyrics

In a well told tale about life in the Appalacian countryside in North Carolina somewhere around the 1950s or 1960s, the author paints a picture of the struggles of life.

Luce lives by herself in the old Lodge. She's totally self-sufficient living in the building which had been a summer home by a man made lake. Once the owner had died, Luce took it upon herself to stay on and act as caretaker.

When her sister is murdered, the state places her sister's two childern into Lucy's care. She felt that she didn't really have any choice. It was either that or have them separated and placed into adoption agencies.

This is an example of Naturalism in literature popular in the early 1900 where the character's environment and heredity predetermine what will happen to them, leaving little that they can do to change the path that is already written for them.

Luce accepts the challange of caring for these tempermental, untalking twins. It makes the reader wonder how she can do this with no parental training, no financial or educational help and no support group.

In a scene that reminded me of Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain," Luce takes the twins to her friend's home. When her friend places the children on her pony, the twins become normal little children again and utter their first words, the horses name, "Sally."

Bud is the children's father. He's a cold hearted killer. His lack of any trace of compassion and willingness to kill others with little prevocation reminded me of the excellent character Anton Chigurth from "No Country for Old Men."

As the story continues, Bud's path begins to converge with Luce and the children. As their paths come closer and closer, suspense mounts dramatically.

Charles Frazier is a wonderful story teller and has given us a book with rich characters for whom the reader develops a great deal of empathy. It is a book that the reader can get lost in and reaffirms the author's place as one of the best literary writers working today.

"It's only when the rich are sick that they feel the impotence of wealth." Franklin

"Sick Puppy" is not only a story of greedy politicians and builders who are destroying Florida's natural beauty, it's a story packed with colorful characters and wacky incidents.

Twilly Spree is a wealthy environmentalist who notices a person who we learn is Palmer Stoat, constantly disregarding the Florida landscape by throwing his gargage out of his car window. Twilly's reaction is to follow the car and when the driver is in a restaurant, to dump a truck' filled with garbage into the open convertable.

When this doesn't get his message of the results of inappropriately throwing garbage where it doesn't belong, Twilly escalates his tactics. In doing this, he meets Stoat's wife and she informs him that her husband in in the midst of working a deal to bulldoze an island that is filled with trees and animals, just to build a golf corse. The project is designed to enrich a builder who contributed to the governor's campaign, as well as benefiting her husband.

The characters were richly drawn and easy to imagine as was the unusual situations that they get into.

Hiasson plays with the reader and gives an amusing tale that is vastly entertaining. This is a good murder mystery mixed with humor.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"The first time...I saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes." Song lyrics

"First Avenue" provides a remarkable and heartbreakingly realistic view of a section of downtown Seattle and describes a portrait of good and evil.

Officer Sam Wright finds a dead infant in a run-down hotel on First Avenue. Sam has seen many things but the image of this child who died of malnutricion is somehting he won't forget. He learns that the baby's mother, Alberta Sanchez, worked at a nearby Donut Shop but has disappeared.

As he begins the paperwork at police headquarters, he wonders about the hopelessness that seems to exist with the people he came in contact with at the hotel.

With the death of the baby weighing heavily on Sam's mind, he wants to search for answers about what happened.

There seems to be a connection with this Donut Shop and in an unusual coincidence, a young woman, not much more than a girl, comes to Seattle looking for Sam. She seems timid and when she stops in at the Donut Shop, she gets a job there.

Sam's favorite place on First Avenue is Silvie's Restaurant where he often stops in to relax when not on duty. Sam has seen the young woman at the Donut Shop and learned her name is Marie. He tells Sylvie about Marie and asks if Sylvie would be willing to hire her since Sam feels that the Donut Shop is unsafe.

The author's manner of writing is descriptive and, at times poetic, "She laughed for a moment, but her laughter startled her as though waking from a dream. He watched her eyes turn sad."

I was moved by Lowen Clausen's characters with some of the coldhearted criminals so well described that I wanted to express some anger with them. At the same time, There are a number of well meaning people, including Sam, attempting to make life a little better with their compassionate manner and desire to help.

This is a wonderful and uplifting adventure. I enjoyed the setting, the characters who came to life in the pages and the story itself. "First Avenue" is written by a former Seattle police officer and his descriptions are so well done that's it's as if we're sitting in the passenger seat of his police cruiser watching events unfold.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely." The Land Before Time

In Cape Cod, Michael Decastro, former public defender and current fisherman, gets a message from Tran, Tuki Aparacio's half-brother, that she's in Ho Chi Minh City and in trouble.

The reader learns of Tuki Aparacio, the daughter of a black American soldier and Vietnamese woman, who is attractive with her dark skin and Vietnamese looks. She's a nightclub singer. In addition, she is worried that The Dragon Lady is looking for her and the Hart of Warriors, a ruby worth millions, that Tuki is in possession of.

I began this book anticipating a suspenseful thriller but found that the cardboard characters had no appeal to me.

It is obvious that the author spent a great deal of time and labor to write the story in so much detail but much of the action defied logic and moved around too much with action going from Cape Cod, to Saigon, to North Vietnam and then to the mountains of Vietnam.

In my questioning of the action, the protagonist, Michael Decastro, had just been jailed in Cape Cod, for a possible suicide attempt while drinking too much. He drops everything, and travels to Vietnam.

Michael asks his father to join him. His father, Caesar Decastro, served in Vietnam as an MP. Against all odds, forty years after the war, he finds and reconnects with the bar girl he lived with while in Vietnam. What is more, she still loves him.

I also found it difficult to see the young Tuki in possession of a ruby worth millions while she has very little in other assets.

Told in the third person, it was difficult to get a feel for the character's motivation and to know what was in their hearts.

Lastly, I found the antagonist, The Dragon Lady to be too unpredictable. At times she would be tender toward Tuki but then she would strike out against her or do something to Tuki's brother. How she came into all the information about Michael's movements while in Vietnam was also not well enough explained to me.

Conceptually, the idea of a woman from Vietnam falling in love with a man in Cape Cod and needing his help could be of interest but other details of the story when added together made the story less than it could have been.

2 stars moving up to 2 1/2.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Sometime around midnight lose yourself for a minute or two." Song Lyrics

"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is really a novel about the city of Savannah, its people and history.

"Esquire" writer John Berendt is in Savannah, Georgia, to write a story about the extravagant holiday party that Jim Williams hosts yearly.

Williams is one of the true characters of the area. He's an antique dealer and was influential in the restoration of Savannah's historic district. He lives in the family home of songwriter, Johnny Mercer.

There are a number of truly unique personalities populating the story. The mournful Luther Driggers is an eccentric who was an inventor whose ideas never made him any money and is said to carry a quantity of poison with him. He also plays with houseflies.

Serina Dawes is a friend of Luther and a wealthy woman who enjoys her life of leisure. There is also the notable character Lady Chablis, a cross dressing nightclub singer who has a major role in the story.

Jim Williams is accused of murdering his companion Danny Hansford who is known for his drug dependency and explosions of temper.

Berendt lays out the scenario slowly, perhaps, in comparison to the pace of life in the city. We learn of the history of the city, some of the facts in the redevelopment and the mix of interesting people who inhabit the area.

It is also interesting to see the society members who attend William's annual party and how their friendship and attitude changes when Williams is accused but before any verdict of murder or innocence is proclaims.

I enjoyed the book but thought the pace was a bit slow. Berendt brings Savannah to life and allows the reader to form their own opinion about the lifestyle of the inhabitants and what goes on at midnight, in this garden of good and evil.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"The deepest need for men is not food and is God"


Harlan Coben is departing from his normal adult fiction to provide an entertaining Young Adult story.

Fifteen-year-old Mickey Bolitar was sent to live with his Uncle Myron. Mickey has undergone a sad time period where his father died in a car crash and his mother isn't handling it well and is a patient in a clinic.

Mickey is one of the new kids at the high school and meets another new student, Ashley. They become friends but suddenly, she's not at the school and a teacher tells Mickey that he's received a note that she probably wouldn't be back.

With the weight of the permanent loss of his father and the current loss of his mother-at the clinic, he feels that he just can't bear the loss of one more person who was close to him, therefore, he wants to investigate why Ashley has suddenly and without word to anyone else, vanished.

In his investigation, he is aided by two outcasts from his high school who he as befriended. Spoon, the nerdy kid who is the janitor's son and the eccentric and humorous character, Ema. She's an overweight student who is a goth follower with shoe polish black hair, arm tattoos, black clothes and pale skin all bundled up with a sense of humor that makes her endearing and makes the reader curious to learn more about her.

Mickey also has dealings with a mysterious elderly neighbor known as Bat Lady who makes an announcement about Mickey's father.

With a wonderful author like Harlan Coben, the story is, as the reader would expect, well done, entertaining and an easy read.

Mickey Bolitar is a refreshing character who deserves his place as a worthwhile subject in the young adult literature of today.

Giveaway for this book begins: Sept 13th and continues through Oct 3.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act" Orwell


Harlan Donnally was a former San Francisco Police Dept. detective who was retired on a disability after being shot on the job.

At the start of the story, he promises a dying friend to find his friend's younger sister, who his friend placed in a home when she was age five. Tragically, Harlan finds that the girl, Anna, was murdered years ago and her alleged killer, Charles Brown, was never prosecuted due to being incompetent.

As Donnally continues to search for answers, he finds that there are people who would like to keep Anna's killing closed and prevent him from finding the answers. However, he persists. He needs to find out what happened in the 1970s in the Berkley community with the anti government, anti war movement.

Donnelly feels that he's on a mission to help his deceased friend who thought he was leaving his little sister in safety only to have her killed and no one punished for the crime.

Donnally is able to locate the alleged killer, Charles Brown, and bring him to court only to have someone hire a wealthy attorney claiming that Brown is the real victim. This makes Donnelly wonder if someone else is hiding behind the incompetent man's craziness.

We learn more of Donnelly's past and realize what motivates him in this search for the truth. His search takes him to places that neither the reader nor Donnelly could have foreseen. This freshness in plot is dramatically described and we see Donnelly as the type of investigator who doesn't give up and employs some creative measures to get answers and deliver justice that has been a long time in being served.

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5. Giveaway runs through Sept 16th
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Good luck and have fun.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone.

Martin Arrowsmith enters medical school in the early nineteen hundreds in a place called Winnemac.

The reader sees the difficulty of attening medical school and dealing with medical and social issues. Martin goes through medical school with the ardor of a man pursing his lifelong dream. When he takes bacteriological, he imagines that he's in the position of his instructor Professor Max Gottleib and can't imagine that life could be better.

Working so hard, there were times when he needed a change of pace and he visited a city called Zenith where he met Madeline Fox who was working on her grad school courses and seemed to be searching for a husband. Eventually they become engaged and soon after Madeline proceeds to attempt to change Martin's habits and mannerisms to the man she would like him to be.

Then he's sent to Zenith General Hospital where he meets a nursing student Leora Tozer. They become attracted to each other and have more in common than Martin and Madeline. They also become engaged and Martin has the two women meet and tells them he's engaged to both. Madeline is condescending toward Leona and disparages her coming from a country place like North Dakota. This seems to sway Martin to Leora and so, Madeline leaves and wished them a good life.

We follow Martin's life as he finishes Med school and moves to Leona's home to set up a family practice. It is interesting to see small town community and ideas about alcohol, gambling, pharmacical drugs, and medicine in genera. Martin tries to fit in with the farm community and meddling family of Leora but finally it is too much and he decides to move to the city where he will have more freedom.

His true love is really in research and eventually takes a position there. During the WWI he and joins the military and works in research about medical conditions that people in the military might face. This devotion is good to read and he tries to write some research papers, eventually working with bubonic plague.

Well written and a good description of a piece of America in the early nineteenth century.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"There is no witness so terrible and no accuser so our conscience" Sophocles

With the bad economy, Mickey Haller has had to search for clients and resorted to working in home foreclosures.

He longs to get back to the high profile cases and back to the courtroom where he's at his best. Then he gets a call from one of his foreclosure clients that she has been accused of murdering the banker who headed the mortgage loan division responsible for her foreclosure.

Since the client has no money, he gets her to sign an agreement giving him the rights to a future book or movie. This would enable her to pay for his services and that of his staff.

A complication occurs when the client is bailed out by Herbert Dahl who has also gotten her to sign a movie agreement with him. Dahl is a slimy person who puts together deals for movies.

Mikey's deal predated Dahl's and there are a number of antagonistic meetings trying to get this resolved. In the meantime, Mickey is getting a case together to defend the client, Lisa Trammel.

As the reader might expect with Michael Connelly, the novel is suspensefully written and the court scenes are like a tightly contested tennis match with one side winning points and then the other side countering. It is as if we are members of the jury and seeing if Mickey will be able to get his client proven innocent of this murder.

Mickey Haller is an excellent character who shows the difficulty of earing a living and having to put up with difficult clients. In the past, he's managed his business and his family life with constant emotional and financial struggles that are common to many of us and so we relate to him and wish him to succeed.

Another enjoyable story with Mickey Haller and a conclusion that packs the punch of a game winning grand slam home run.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our five senses are incomplete without the sixth-our sense of humor." Unknown

Former Secret Service Agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are hired by defense attorney Ted Bergin to help in the defense of Edgar Roy. They are soon up to their necks in a rivalry between informational gathering agencies inside and out of the government. Roy is accused of being a serial killer.

On their way to meet Bergin in Maine, they discover that he has been murdered and wonder how someone could have gotten close enough to Bergin to have killed him on a mostly deserted road.

Roy is accused of murdering six people whose bodies are found buried on his farm. He had just noticed that the ground didn't look right and had a shovel in his hand when the police arrived after an anonymous tip.

Sean and Michelle meet a Maine State Police Lieutenant Eric Dobkin who was helpful. They learn that Roy is a federal prisoner and anything connected to Roy must be reported to the FBI who will take over the case.

In this well paced thriller that tries to prove one man's innocence against seemingly insurmountable odds, there is a U.S. intelligence program led by Peter Bunting who is attempting to find a man of rare intelligence rated a six. It is called the EProgram. This person would be able to analyze information from all over the world and be able to make predictions and then provide this information to the government.

There are powerful people competing for a billion dollar contract and David Baldacci does an excellent job in keeping the reader guessing as to what direction the story will take. What do intelligence agencies want with Edgar Roy and how will Sean and Michelle get the information to defend him when it seems that they are going against the highest powers in the U.S. government.

A high powered reading experience that will keep you wanting more.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Treasure the love you receive about all else. It will survive long after good health has vanished." Og Mandino


In Joseph Finder's novel, "Vanished," someone attacks Lauren Heller while she and her husband, Roger, are out to dinner in Georgetown. Lauren hears Roger shout "Why her?" before she's knocked unconscious. When Lauren wakes up in the hospital, she learns that Roger has disappeared.

Roger's brother, Nick, is a former Special Forces member who is an investigator for Stoddard Associates. As the story begins, he's just prevented the theft of a cargo from a plane in a regional airport near L.A. The cargo that was in question was a large amount of money.

Roger's son, Gabe, gets in touch with Nick and asks him to help. Even though Nick and Roger haven't spoken in years, Nick is fond of Lauren and Nick so he agrees to try to find Roger.

Roger's position is chief financial officer of Gifford Industries and carries the burden of his father's crime. His and Nick's father is in jail for insider trading and securities fraud. Wanting to erase the memory of his father's crime, Roger has been extra diligent in his job.

Lauren also works for Gifford Industries as the executive secretary for the CEO, Leland Gifford. She admits to Nick that Roger told her that he had found something but wouldn't say just what it was. However, she knew it involved a great deal of money. She also admits that Roger may have let the people who were responsible for the espionage know of his discovery. She fears these people may have kidnapped Roger.

As Nick investigates, he finds that there is a corporation similar to Blackwater, that provides government security in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Much of their activities involves bribes to officials in those countries and sometimes to people in the U.S. Nick finds that military looking people are following him as he begins to find out things about Roger's past and could even involve his father.

This is an intelligently written financial thriller. There is good action and Nick is an excellent character somewhat like Lee Child's protagonist, Jack Reacher. Overall, I found the story to be cleverly plotted and suspenseful. I look forward to reading more of Nick Heller's exploits in future stories.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

" no sure test of is an accident, not a property of man." Thomas Carlyle

"The Accident" deals with the sale of knock off items, such as expensive purses and medications, and the unwary suburbanites who think they can add to their family's incomes by selling them. We also learn of organized crime behind many of these schemes. The author presents the facts of the loss of tax revenue, the cost to honest businesses and the revelation that some of these items are made by young children working in miserable conditions in China and third world countries.

The thrilling story tells of Glen Garber becoming worried when his wife, Sheila, doesn't return from an evening class. He's home with his precocious daughter, Kelly, age eight.

Unable to just sit still, Glen attempts to follow the route his wife would take and comes upon an accident. He sees it is his car and police tell him that Sheila was apparently drinking and passed out, an empty bottle of liquor was found. The accident was fatal to Sheila and two people in another car.

One of Sheila's friends, Ann Slocum is ordered to meet an unnamed man who wants his money. We learn that Ann has been selling unregistered pharmaceutical products. Ann meets someone by the water and has a dispute, resulting in her death, after hitting her head and falling into the water.

Glen has lost so much and, with Sheila's death, he seems surrounded by people who are intent on harming him, his business and even his daughter, Kelly. He is a most sympathetic character who we come to admire because he doesn't sit still after having his world crumble around him.

Barclay has written a book about a man who demonstrates how one man, acting with conviction, can make a difference.

This is an easy read but the reader should take their heart medicine and cancels all of their appointments before starting the story because once the reader delves into this gem, they won't be able to stop reading until the last page.

I enjoyed the characters and found myself holding my breath in parts of the book and saying "Oh No," and in other parts cheering for Glenn's success.

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Broken Promise