A Fox in the Lion’s Den

 

 

A Fox in the Lion’s Den ISBN: 978173609000 Beverly Hills Publishing. Story and copy right by Dr, Hal Bradley DD. Text Jennifer Myers, on behalf of Story Terrace Design Copyright ©  Dr. Hal Bradley.

The actual story begins by introducing the protagonist as a blue eyed, blond teenage boy in the spring of 1969 riding a burro he had acquired for transportation around the mountain trails of a part of Mexico under control of a cartel dominant in that part of the region. No problems were likely to occur because he was “a kid from America protected by the controlling cartel.” Home actually was Seattle, Washington where he had been thrown out of school for six months for being caught smocking “weed”, a standard procedure for school at the time. He had been shipped to work on the properties owned by a friend of his mothers who acted in desperation hopefully to ‘save’ the wayward youngster. The story as it unrolls, is a fact-based fictional account of his gradual involvement with the cartels but also his slowly developing empathy with those affected by the drugs and slow emergence from his involvement. HE spent a period in prison for his actions with the cartels but emerged to cooperate with the DEA and ultimately work with the often destitute victims of desperation, drug abuse and the rest.

Discussion/Summary: This book might be referred to as a ‘memoir of sorts’. It is a remarkable story that presents sections of the author’s life in chapters in an uneven pattern. However, owever  HHHHHhhhhhthe ‘whole’ makes a fascinating picture and provides glimpses of the activities in which the author was involved along with hints of how the cartels function as well as the DEA. It also provides glimmers of inner prison activity as well as vague descriptions of his activities after ‘accepting God and entering into his ministries’. There is much redundancy although in large part probably understandably excerpted. So to summarize, there is much to learn from this book that as a whole presents an interesting and most unusual read, but is not for everyone.

4* 5* material; -1 possibly 2* for presentation.

 

Jupiter, Illinois

Jupiter, Illinois a novel assumed published, copyright and written by William Graham.

The story begins with an explanation about the birth of Jupiter, Illinois.  In 1867 two staunch friend graduates in the classics from Yale University arrived in the prairieland of central Illinois about two hundred miles south of Chicago and decided to build their own college with surrounding town. As sons of wealthy shipping magnates from New York City, they could well afford to purchase and establish the college and with complete faith that their institution named Byron College after their favorite poet, Lord Byron, would excel in teaching all aspects of scholarship and business to its assumed burgeoning supply of students, they proceeded with the next step. The town was established and named Jupiter after the Roman god of sky and thunder. From this introductory description the story moves immediately to a number of years later when the college appears not to have developed to the founders intended level and is pretty much forgotten. However, several plots develop within the town and its residents and are followed through a number of years. The town also has been hit hard by the closing of a factory that manufactured automobiles, the main source of income for the residents. The story from hear on, follows the activities of the largely middle class residents with advent of a tremendously wealthy entrepreneur who makes a deal with the mayor to reopen the abandoned automobile factory. He intended to produce a new version of an electric automobile and had decided to build a new and extravagantly designed home as well. Rules of the new factory employment were not particularly compatible with the employees’ best interests and together with the plant owner’s outrageously expensive house design, trouble ensued. The story proceeds as it plays out the activities of a number of the residents.

Discussion: This is an interesting book in that it provides an unvarnished picture of the lives of important players in a relatively small Midwestern town formerly dependent upon a now closed factory as the main source of income for most residents and a college that also had not lived up to the founders’ expectations. New blood is provided by entree of an extremely wealthy entrepreneur who offers to reopen the empty factory owned by the city, and also to join the community by building a new home of very costly design for him and his younger new wife. His rules of employee function, quite unfavorable to the employees, begin to generate dissatisfaction and are exacerbated by the costly construction of his new home. The activities of a number of the involved citizens are followed as each of their stories unfold.

The author appears to be a well-developed writer with excellent educational background and a large number of credits in published works including poetry, adult and young adult fiction, travel and biography. His style seems to be to present the unadorned facts of activities, whether business or more personal relationships. It is a style that brings to mind the theme of an old TV series based upon the main character, Sgt. Friday, stating to an interviewee, “Just the facts, Mam, Only the facts.” It is a technique allowing the reader to decide whether or not characters are ‘worthy’ of empathy. (A psychological note – perhaps a thought pattern that could develop in residents of a town who had lived through this town’s past and present problems?)

 

5* Enjoyable story from several perspectives

The Tidings

                  THE TIDINGS ISBN: 9781648036682 Westwood Books copyright and written by Nick Mezins.

 Sub-titled “Further Extracts From The Book Of Tidings of the Almighty and his Spirits to Humanity. Volume One November 1943 to January 1945”, a short “Forward” provides the source and manner in which this unusual material originally was discovered, and brought to light along with the revelations that further appeared at a much later date. An Introduction to Revelations follows along with a number of chapters covering these from a period beginning with 1943. Reading and understanding the “Forward” and “Introductions” is a necessity in order to correctly and completely comprehend the “Tidings” delivered “not of human origin”. (It has been through the human mind in the language of Latvia and meticulously translated to English.)

“The material in this book originated from The Almighty, from God, from the chief spirits and the other spirits and has been passed on to humanity on the planet Earth by these chroniclers. They are the Almighty’s heralds to the planet Earth, appearing outwardly as ordinary human beings.” These Heralds wrote the material in longhand, it was typed and several copies made. Errors were corrected and the material distributed in particular bracketing styles and other peculiarities to compensate for differences between Latvian and English word usages. Following these explanations, another “Introduction” is offered from the original publisher in 1992 serving as background for the author’s description of his organization of this and the books to follow. Now, the reader is presented with the book’s contents, chapter by chapter.

The chapters follow a somewhat rambling pattern that this reviewer finds quite difficult to follow, some ranging from sayings of a sultan, the German Nazi party, the Almighty, who also includes Satan as his vengeful portion, and other strange messages delivered by purported spirits of importance with certain facts: “I am not allowed to reveal that to you”. Also: “The spirits do not talk with everyone, but only with chosen ones, and those who believe in them.” Spirits further are described in appearance, duties and means of travel.

Certain known facts also occasionally are interspersed; e.g. “What was a miracle at the time of Christ is no longer a miracle. Science performs miracles. The day will even come when science will liberate man from all diseases and labors and will transport him from one planet to the next.”

Further on in the book the ‘tidings bearers’ offer more explanations by way of vignettes of persons in longer messages, but one seemingly prominent feature is the apparent desire not to offer any specifics with respect to the number, structure and hierarchy of the saints, and it even is difficult to ‘get a firm hold on’ the overall position/activities of “The Almighty”.

The admonishment is offered that you no longer are in Latvia, but you are in the world which is where the Almighty rules. And with respect to miracles?  The statement that man is not a prophet in his own land presents Christ as a perfect example. He was simply the son of Joseph the Carpenter from Nazareth and known to many. Thus, he required miracles to convince people of the Power of God.

Discussion: The main theme seemingly being provided in this book of Tidings or Messages is that man is incapable of understanding things beyond what his mind is able to absorb and is the reason God and Jesus spoke in simple words and provided simple stories. Not a single word written by Christ remains and those of the Apostles are carelessly written words of “common people” and are ‘remembrances’. None kept diaries. Also transcription errors exist in abundance.

Thus, it would appear that these “Tidings” have been set forth to provide the true picture of “The Almighty’s” relationship with man and a closing statement that most cleverly covers all aspects of the apparent incomplete explanations, descriptions, answers and other missing features has been set forth. To provide the statement would be a disservice to the author as well as the prospective reader who will recognize it immediately when he reaches its opening portion – “Anyone who has read a book without striving to delve into the writer’s thought, . …. …”.

3* 4* probably challenging read for the curious mind.

 

 

SHORT AND SWEET

SHORT and SWEET published by Park Langley Editions, London copyright and written by Raymond G. Taylor.

This is a collection of a sizeable number of short stories mostly on the dark side with a few consisting of only a few pages. The range in topics is wide as are the characters and close to the collection’s center is a sizeable number of pages following two different wolves, a male and female, each of whom has been forced from the pack for reasons of nature as described by the author and is the author’s way of presenting an introduction to a single, or perhaps series, that will follow the journey of these two mavericks.

Discussion: In many ways a strange collection of stories to read, as did this reviewer, when there is time on one’s hands and if a reader, you prefer using free moments to indulge in this pastime. The author seems to be relatively well-known in England and writes well. In summary, a strange but interesting volume that well serves its intended purpose.

5* For readers searching with ‘time on their hands’ searching for entertainment

The Roar of Ordinary

The Roar of Ordinary ISBN: 9781734629015

Published, copyright and written by J. C. Foster. 

A coming of age story set in America during the twentieth century, this is an expression of love that focuses on brothers and sisters from a supportive family that has resulted from the merger of residents mostly of the northeast portion of the U. S. with immigrants from Italy who face numerous personal ordeals, predominantly a product of the time. Recognizable family life evolves while on a collision course with the randomness of war, the Great Depression and other problems of the twentieth century. Close siblings find themselves in an era of challenging circumstances with life and death tied to their decisions, as fate hovers to devour the unlucky. This is a memoir setting forth an account of growing up in the embrace of a loving family with a sometimes ‘difficult to determine’ demonstration of that basic passion by a person of shifting moods and in a period of time overshadowed by wars followed by the fallout that combat brings. It’s a tale of introspection, hope, and redemption in the aftermath of loss while it scrutinizes the Vietnam War and identifies lingering governmental actions that exhibit forgetfulness regarding the lessons of Vietnam as well as those of other world conflicts. Along the way Jack, the protagonist dreams of what brought him to the here and now. He realizes that family, though an ordinary one, has provided required incentive, privilege, and opportunity as events, experiences, faces, and conversations appear. But he also sees that his individual decisions and those of his relatives and friends are what influenced fate to place each of them where they presently dwell.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author has presented in much detail the large number of activities in which an intelligent, active child, adolescent and young adult would engage while growing up in neighborhoods offered children of this era. Many may seem outlandishly ridiculous to today’s readers but assuredly were not beyond the thought patterns of those growing up in the early and middle parts on the 1900s. And the descriptions of the changes in thought patterns evolving in the mid-century are particularly well remembered and presented. The resultant conclusion is that in spite of some of the unevenness and redundancy exhibited, this is a book that describes in great detail the era of the 1900s as viewed from the perspective of a thoughtful young person gradually maturing under the guidance of a warm family environment with enough breadth to mitigate the perhaps harsher elements.

5* excellent portrayal of coming of age in the last century.

The Andean Cross

The ANDEAN CROSS ISBN: 9781648038372 Westwood Books copyright and written by Lawrence Clayton.

The story begins by ushering the reader into the world of mystery, cruelty and intrigue heralded by the Conquistadores and their invasion and mutilation of the culture and peoples on the New World under the guise of Christianity. Mathew Weston, a relatively young Texas History Professor, is on a summer break and joins a group looking for the wreck of a Spanish Galleon lost on its trip back to Spain with treasure. The unusual Andean Cross purportedly was included among the gold and silver that was lost during its journey to Spain from the Land of the Incas in 1544. The expedition make positive discoveries and he is fortunate to obtain funding to establish a dive team to investigate further the supposedly exact spot where the vessel was sunk in the Bay of Panama. But even before his obtaining this grant, the story initiates leads with respect to this particular shipment. It appears that the description of all of the items is not to be divulged. The nature of this secrecy and the underlying reasons provide the fundamentals upon which the author has constructed this unique historical, religious, suspenseful mystery with a large component of romance. Clair Snowden, an expert on one phase of history pertinent to some of the artifacts also is a member of the team and she and Weston gradually attain a level of understanding that reaches new heights for them both as the story continues to provide further information about the long rumored extent of the early dissemination of Christianity by its apostles.

Discussion: The author appears to be well known for his scholarly approach to the early rise of the Christian religion. The sites have been well researched as well as the material and the entire package is relatively well-assembled. Fundamentally, this is a plot driven tale in which a large group of characters are gathered together, and although somewhat vaguely presented as to exact positions within the story occasionally, function well. Regrettably for this reviewer, occasional character activities appropriate to the story are difficult to accept when assembled within the picture the author’s earlier descriptions have provided to build a mental picture of a person; e.g., Mathew is presented as a well-trained, knowledgeable diver who can qualify to gain a grant for money sizeable enough to run a dive team, yet he can almost pass out in a simple faint when thoughts occur to him about possible repercussions about his possession of the Andean Cross illegally, ‘because it provides a needed advancement for the overall forward motion of the plot’. Unfortunately, attributing such an action to a certified Deep Sea Diver will be unacceptable to most even slightly knowledgeable individuals and impossible for anyone with any information of the rigors of the required training alone. However, for the average historical fantasy, thriller, mystery, romance devotee this is a story that will satisfy in all areas. For the more casual reader, following the plot as it develops still will provide an interesting story and possibly new thoughts with respect to some aspects of the origins of Christianity.

4* 5* multi-genre plot-driven tale for many readers; at least 4* for most.

Forgiven(Forlorn book3)

Forgiven Vinspire Publishing ISBN: 9781732711273 by Gina Detwiler.

He author has written another in what appears to be a most unusual fantasy involving religious faith, fallen angels, and products of the reason for their ‘fall from Grace’. It centers on the activity of characters assumed to have been introduced in the first volume. Jared Lorn and Grace Fortune have defeated enemies both physical and spiritual in an undescribed Abyss and have begun to think their battles are over and all they want is to be together, write music and continue to live quietly. Regrettably, this is not to be. Various other misshapen individuals and a dastardly, vaguely connected relative of Jared’s also appear. This relative who is a brilliant, extremely wealthy entrepreneur who has joined together with a group of similar individuals with a plan to literally take over the world by absconding with a DNA factor that exists in Jared making him literally superhuman. This is the main plot of this book. On the surface, the idea presented to the world is to harness and employ Jared’s abilities to save the world and its inhabitants. Darwin Speer, the relative, pursues the couple singly and together relentlessly using every tool imaginable and even unimaginable; e.g. a machine that would open the Abyss and release the miscreants (Watchers) from their prison. Ultimately, Grace is able to find Jared in a tremendously weakened state, and with her powerful songs of religious faith save and restore him to his former all-powerful self and begin to address the tremendous amount of harm that already has been accomplished.

Discussion: The author has set forth another of those ‘difficult to select’ star evaluation. If the reader is a fantasy devotee especially with a bent toward a religious theme, this book especially ‘is for you’. For other fantasy genre lovers, you are on a slope whose level you will need to select. For a more general reader group I should expect the selection would range through the 3* and below levels. Thus. a book ranging from 5*- 1* depending on genre interest,

3* 5* – 1* dependent upon depth of genre interest.

HOPE

HOPE published by Dandelion Books Ltd., copyright and written by Julian Papadia.

Sub-titled He wanted to give her freedom, she wanted her daughter back, the story opens in Rickmansworth – Hertfordshire, a coastal small town on the outskirts of London. The protagonist is raging over the telephone. From this early point in the book, the reader is confronted with a quite confusing, constantly twisting tale that involves his once idyllic life with an adored wife and loving young son and daughter. There were difficulties because he, Paul, was a prominent detective in this small English town, and she the same in a Paris, France Police Department. The death of his young daughter, through a situation that both felt was his fault further complicates the story as do the cause of his telephone explosion because the matter about which he is complaining is the unacceptable early release of a prominent Mafia-type Boss’s son after his being the main accuser sending him to prison for a lengthy term. Adding still another problem is his acquisition of a teen age escapee from a religious cult compound who admits killing her mother and father within. The story now begins shifting between Paul’s home town, which is the area within which the compound is situated, and Paris where a brilliant woman surgeon has been taken under the protective wing of his ex-wife in the search for her missing husband who probably is dead and her beloved daughter, missing but possibly still alive after a terrorist attack blew up a visitor’s center in Paris, where her husband and she were going with the child on a vacation. Her delay was the result of having to operate on an enormously wealthy British Legend. After much activity on both situations a final solution is reached.

Discussion/Summary: Spoiler Alert (?) To reiterate, this is a tale with several greatly convoluted plots where the large number of twists and turns are confusing but simultaneously intriguing. Even more confusing is the manner in which the story is presented. Much of the pertinent information is withheld until late in the book. Additionally, a considerable amount of the action, both by the story-teller English detective Paul, and by the surgeon looking for her daughter, seems quite below the age and intelligence level required to reach their levels of accomplishment. So in summary, this reviewer has been left to dichotomize. The suspense/thriller devotee most probably will be intrigued at a high level. The more pragmatic reader, although probably discovering the seeds of an interesting plot(s?) no doubt will be disappointed in the need for good editing.

3*at best. 5 for suspense/thriller devotees; 3 or less, general readership.

Good and Dead

Good and Dead is a book copyright and written by E. L. Pini. It has been published by Producer & International eBook Publishing and sub-titled (An Avner Ehrlich Thriller Book 2) The translation from Hebrew is by Tal Keren.

The story begins in a manner well described to set the tenor for the entire story, or stories. It unfolds in an old rusted building situated in a seedy park outside of Moscow where a no-holds-barred wrestling match is in progress. The end of each match is declared when the ‘referee’ declares the loser “Good and Dead”. A young well-muscled Yuri Rasputin enters the ring shortly after the last loser has been removed and meets the huge reigning champion whom he cleverly eliminates by using a well-hidden blade. The reader does not again meet Yuri until about halfway into the book where he again appears as a major character in the deadly political chess game being waged and a dedicated enemy of our main protagonist, Avner Ehrlich. Avner, although in his thirties and with the physical results of many combative encounters in the field, once again has been sent on a mission. This time to Tehran to eliminate an Iranian nuclear scientist. This elimination is considered crucial to survival for Israel and possibly part of the rest of this section of the world. Complications develop and he is ordered to abandon the mission but in his usual manner ignores the order. Finally working his way into position for a direct sure shot at Hamdani when the man’s young son comes running into the line of fire. He does not take the shot, returning home through a dangerously tortuous series of maneuvers. Ehrlich takes responsibility for the debacle and is dismissed from duty and placed on leave for disobeying orders.

Because his intuitive abilities make him almost indispensable, he is called back quite quickly because Hamdani reportedly now is involved with Colonel Yuri Rasputin of the Russian Military in naval activity where a stealth submarine has been armed with a mega nitrogen bomb that although purportedly headed for Syria, actually is believed as being designated for Israel. Obviously it is imperative to destroy the bomb or Israel will cease to exist.

Discussion: This Book 2 of what is developing as a quite fascinating series appears to delve deeply into the games played by the many minds involved in this international political maneuvering, as well as providing details of the steps an organization such as Mossad must take to counter and survive. The one feature that may be open to question by the more pragmatic reader is his physical ability to react in the manner he does with the number of severe injuries he has suffered, e.g.; three slipped discs, plus possibly the frequency with which a man in Ehrlich’s position  must be saved from death by activity of others. However, the author has introduced a psychological element into Ehrlich’s physical/mental emotional composition that is compelling and quite unique to discover in persons involved in this line of work. So generally speaking, the true devotee of well-written thrillers will find this book as intriguing and enjoyable as any, and probably better than most, presentations in this genre.

5*Well-paced, beautifully written thriller highly recommended.

Chase Greatness

Chase Greatness ISBN: 9781642251890 Advantage Media Group copyright and written by Rajeev Kaper.

The usual forward material is followed by ten chapters and concludes with the author’s list of Rules by which to successfully operate a business of the nature discussed. Following in a very scholarly but easily read presentation with one hundred and nine very pertinent references included at the end. Between these ‘book ends’ the author sets forth a rather new aspect of operating a successful business in the new milieu that has begun to development accompanied by ‘workers with a different’ attitude. Gradually advancing his thesis chapter by chapter, he first explores where you’ve been and where you need to go. Then proceeds into the importance of the new social movement and how today the American workplace is more diverse with younger people much more comfortable with their individual identities and teaches that leaders must be comfortable as well and must accept these changes in both sexes and all races. All must be allowed to make and learn from their own mistakes, within reason of course. New kids are at home with social media- twitter, Instagram, etc. Most managers are not. They grew up with TV, arcades, movie theaters. You must remember and strive to create Commitment!! He points out that Millennials want to be loyal to their companies. According to surveys, most would like to stay with them for at least 5 years but, they want to be part of a diverse and inclusive workplace that should extend to every level of the company. They love to see diversity at the top and need exposure to people different from the usual top level; also, if there is too much focus on “the Bottom Line”, there actually is an overall decrease in it. How diversified are you in your interests, acquaintances, thought patterns? You must think long term, not short. To create an enlightened company today, you must respect your people and motivate them to greatness. Culture is the critical component where employees must be happy at work and feel appreciated. And a company must be tailored to the employees’ specific abilities. The author provides an excellent personal example of being required to build a successful company structure in China, a country that went from Communist to part capitalistic and changed to importance of cash, credit cards. Country club, etc. He offers other examples of India, where personal status is top priority. He emphasizes that employees must feel secure, valued and even lucky to be working at that company – maybe because it as simple as being “the town or section in which to work”. Further stressed are the need to develop excellent communication skills and by all means, be sure that your personal behavior lives up to the image you have portrayed.

Discussion: This book should be a revelation for any individual entering the business world of today. It provides a remarkable look at today’s corporate structure as well as many thoughts about why so many businesses are struggling so desperately. This is a munt read and besides his final presentation of Rules by which to operate, one other comment that at least to this reviewer is a gem set forth stating: “People buy people, not products.

5* Must read!