A Good Man

A Good Man assumed published, copyright and written by S, M. Revolinski. First printing 2020, Sterling Productions.

This volume is the first in a series of ‘standalone’ short stories of the Old West in one volume entitled “Tails of Wyoming”. This initial tory is quite brief and is the tale of a lone traveler travelling alone through the mountainous country hearing a single pistol shot followed shortly by a second. Figuring someone is in trouble, he moves in the proper direction and discovers a man who has fallen partially down the side of a a large elevated area into a position where he is impossible to reach without special equipment. The man is bleeding to death from injuries sustained in the fall, but is alive and requests this stranger stay with him and then take his horse (tethered above on the top) and word of his demise to his wife in a not too distant town.  He does, is well received by the townspeople and, from notations about succeeding books develops a relationship with the man’s former wife. A portion of a second tale also is incorporated. Brief notes are offered about other stories that follow in the collection. This introductory story is quite interesting as are the notes supplied later with respect to the following stories in the collection.

Discussion: the author’s web page is included and describes a writer who has become quite knowledgeable about his subject and seemingly has produced enjoyable stories of this period of time in these early developmental stages.

5* For readers who enjoy tales of this developing section of America.

Stories of the Night

Stories of the Night ISBN: 9780996527385 Two Tales publishing, copyright and written by J. T. Ellison.

Sub-titled “A Bundle of Shadowy Tales”, this short collection of dark stories consists of Catwood, a monologue by an unfortunately mentally disturbed girl; Gray Lady, Lady Gray a tale involving the occult and of a young couple desiring and participating in a ‘dream wedding’ in an old Scottish castle and its aftermath with a follow-up description by the author about research done prior to the story; The Endarkening, another most unusual occult tale again followed by the author’s interesting notations; The Omen Days, a story following the activities of a Nashville, Tennessee Police Officer who cannot bring himself to enjoy especially this time of Christmas and the 12 days following after losing the love of his life 7 years previously – again an usual tale involving the occult and the Author’s provision of the meaning of the Omen Days. This story only partly fits into the dark nature of the others. The book seemingly then ends with About the Author and a list of her books that are available. But then an oversize SURPRIZE! Offers a SNEAK PEEK! An excerpt from her “latest standalone thriller, LIE TO ME published “in the fall 2017.” It is termed “a domestic noir”.

Discussion: According to the material supplied, this is a well-received author who prides herself on unusual stories following dark thoughts with occult features and unusual twists. This book appears to follow her usual production and should be thoroughly enjoyed by her usual readers and those who enjoy similar themes.

3* 5* for readers specified; regrettably -2* for this reader’s estimation of general reading interest.

The Cambria Deception

The Calabria Deception ISBN: 9870999057018 assumed published, copyright and written by Phillips Dickerson,

The story, although travelling through several countries and their most prominent cities, is based on initial, following and anticipated further action in the Calabria Region of Southern Italy where the story’s protagonist awakens in bed with Portia, the woman whom he has decided he wants to marry. Much would depend upon the next forty-eight hours and weather he could wrap-up two years of careful work as an elite spy for the FBI, or whether he would be dead. Thus begins a story of endless intrigue where numerous things go wrong and questions abound. Paul has been arrested for murdering his trusted, but strangely acting for several weeks before disappearing, partner and stealing 64 million dollars’ worth of uncut diamonds that is secreted somewhere only known by the missing man. He is free before his trial because another close FBI agent is able to obtain a position for him in an exclusive school which also offers tangential problems. Ultimately the trial is a mere weeks away and he still cannot remember important parts of the last two days of his mission. A seemingly empathetic psychiatrist gradually begins to ferret out the problem but this too is complicated with the Calabria mafia continuing a vendetta against him. Factions of other Mafia and Mafia-like organizations also are involved as well as arms deals involving a Mexican Cartel. The entire story with its almost constantly evolving unexpected twists and turns and fast pace is sufficient to provide devotees of the mystery/thriller genre a tale they will thoroughly enjoy.

Discussion: Fast paced mystery/thriller most enjoyable for all devotees of the genre. An unfortunate caveat for the aficionado who may be ‘bothered’ by the activity of the protagonist as an FBI agent.

5* for mystery/thriller devotees with a caveat, as described, for a few readers.


LEGACY ISBN: 9781800468870 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data, Matador imprint of TROUBADOR Publishing Ltd, copyright and written by Chris Coppel.

The story opens with a description of a person who had survived in her original dimension while others of her persuasion had been hunted down and burned at the stake or drowned. Now, in this new dimension, she had managed to live several centuries by returning to the original every twenty-five years where she was able to once more gain renewal from taking the life force of one of the younger members of her family blood line. She was frustrated that she almost had waited too long this time as she was close to expiring, but had been able to find and select her next subject to disappear by transporting her through the required entrance tunnel she was able to supply. The reader next is introduced to Craig and his wife Jenny who live in a very old house close to being recognized as a National Treasure in a remote part of Utah. They are rudely awakened very early in the morning by a delivery man who leaves ultimately before they decide to arise and answer the door. The decision is aided by intense barking by their large Labrador “Steeler” and the interest of their 4-year-old daughter Sally and 5-year-old son “Tim”. They discover that a large heavy package has been left that, when opened, is found to be an old mirror that fits beautifully with the house’s ancient décor. It also is revealed that Craig is an ex-Marine sniper finally released from active duty with PTSD but perfectly functional as a well-respected member of the local Sherriff’s Department. As the story progresses the reader is appraised of the facts that Craig’s early life was rife with disruption from a gradually increasing confrontational mother and father whose lives were ended by a murder/suicide while she was very young and of the series of activities that ensued. Also revealed are numerous facts about Jenny’s past life and that of quite an extensive family history. Also of their totally loving relationship from a most unusual beginning. The plot gradually unfolds with numerous twists, appearance of an old Indian Medicine Man, activity by the ‘witch from another dimension’ and introduction /activity of a number of other characters mostly on a lesser level of importance.

Discussion: a quite engrossing, well-paced, suspense/occult/alien (?)/thriller that regrettably is flawed by ignoring a series of activities that lead up to the final stages of action. This probably will create no problems for most readers but will present a bit of one for those with more pragmatic thought patterns, although not sufficient to ‘spoil’ the story per se. Thus, a good read with a couple of ‘hiccups’.

4* 5-1* Suspense/Occult/Alien (?)/ Thriller with a couple of ‘hiccups’

Can-Do Real Estate

CAN-DO Real Estate ISBN: 9781946633811 ForbesBooks copyright and written by ALI JAMAL.

This volume, sub-titled “Stable Success from the ground up”, consists of 13 Chapters, Looking for an Investment Property, and About the Author. The first chapter describes the author’s beginning moves with a condensed summary at the end of the information presented and suggestions therefrom. Chapter 2 describes his move from “Condo to Career” with again a summary of information and suggestions as does each of the following chapters. 3 is a description of his decision to devise a model for growth potential; 5, its growth, a most interesting presentation of “Personal Lessons” learned from a poorly researched story published related to his business with suggestions how to counter such an occurrence; Chapter 6 how to build a team of workers and supporters: 7, the importance of the “Social Aspect” of the project; next, 8, the action of “Buying Undervalued Assets” to add to your portfolio; followed by “How to buy your first multifamily property’ with the myriad investigative activities necessary and suggestions particularly helpful to succeed; Chapter 10, entitled “Airbnb – How to get started”, is prefaced by a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt with respect to purchase and management of a certain type of real estate and, according to the author, is one involving real estate that is ‘particularly situated’; number 11, is about “Asset Diversification” and the need to follow this procedure; chapter 12 offers excellent instruction on “Raising Capital Responsibly”; number 13, “Investment Lessons” presents pertinent information generally required. Following this chapter are 12 references and “Looking for an Investment Property” where the reader is offered to join the author’s group to be part of his company’s innovative investment group.

Discussion: This book would seem to be a must read for any entrepreneurial person interesting in following a similar career. Additionally it is a fascinating tale for anyone intrigued by how other individuals choose and advance careers in any unusual area of endeavor.

5* for readers described in the discussion.

The Danger Within

The Danger Within.  Assumed published, copyright and written by E. L. Pini. Translation from the Hebrew by Tal Karem.

The story follows the actions of singularly daring, rule-breaking Avner Ehrlich, functioning (in name only) as 2nd in command of one section of Mossad agents whose almost irreplaceable commander is heroically fighting pancreatic cancer. The story progresses through a maze of International political intrigue and vicious confrontations ranging largely through European countries and the Middle East. Ehrlich’s counterpart is Imad Akbariyah a ruthless, cunning Muslim rapidly gaining stature in Al-Qaeda activities. (The book’s Prologue provides an early look as his abilities.) His ultimate goal is to unite all Muslims into one huge group of activists that can control the world. His scheme is to have a number of terrorists implanted with a highly destructive, undetectable explosive surgically implanted in their bodies that will wreak wide-spread damage and havoc when detonated in leading cities and Holy Places throughout the world. An additional goal is to gain ultimate revenge upon the man responsible for his father’s death, as well as numerous others closely associated. The story as presented here, contains three episodes (labeled Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3) each addressing another Mossad action to attempt to nullify the ever increasing thrusts provided by Imad. Further intrigue is provided by the involvement of this latter character’s close personal physically involvement with a Mossad agent whose psychological problem lends to her unique personal attachment. Together with other included features, “The Danger Within” builds to provide readers with a fascinating, often gripping, thriller.

Discussion: The author has created a Mossad agent who portrays all that one could expect from information constantly reiterated about this shadowy organization of security for the much maligned and almost constantly attacked Israelites. The plot develops from a somewhat slow-moving beginning to accelerate to a high-speed pace leading to an action-filled conclusion that is filled with suspense to the very last page. Readers who enjoy thriller/suspense tales especially will find this book most satisfying.

5* Highly recommended, especially for thriller/suspense devotees.

The Fabric of Everything

The Fabric of Everything assumed published, copyright and written by Alex Mullin.

This is a book of short stories. Each selection appears to express an attempt by the author to turn snippets of conversation and actions of individuals observed and/or overheard by the author purportedly over a period of time, and seemingly memorable enough to the author, for her to attempt to work them into a number of short fictional tales. The book consists of 19 individual selections and About the Author.

Discussion: The author has made a valiant attempt to provide a series of short stories from the fragments of conversation and actions she has observed over a period of time. These observations have resulted in stories that may provide varying degrees of interest for readers from varying walks of life, but perhaps largely those who think in a manner closely related to the authors thought patterns. Regrettably, it was one difficult for this reader to attain.

2* As described in the discussion by this reader.

The Road to Delano

The Road to Delano EPUB ISBN: 9781644281253”A genuine Rare Bird Book” copyright and written by John DeSimone.

The author has fashioned a fictional story surrounding the violent period around Delano, California during the bitter disputes between the grape growers and the poor Mexican and Philippine workers bused in, and poorly housed/treated while working on the grape vines. It is a story of the resulting confrontations between the brutal, even viscous, supporting strike breakers heaping humiliation, and violent abuse on the Latino/Filipino strikers who were supported by Caesar Chavez and his insistence on non-violence among his United Farm Workers. It also is a coming of age story centered on two couples, each discovering love for another with roots in the opposite side. Adding further to the depth of the troubling situation for all concerned, is that each male character has the ability to gain a full college athletic scholarship that will take him from the chaotic situation in which he now resides. Still more, a mystery is part of the tale that involves the death of one of the protagonist’s father, an earlier occurrence that is highly contributory to the entire situation. Overall, the basic theme of the story is the requirement for individuals occasionally to make the most ‘gut-wrenching’ decisions to do what is morally correct in spite of the fact that it may result in a change in one’s life dreams.

Discussion: The author has presented a fascinating look at this particular time in American history and used it to provide a most interesting coming-of-age story of decision making involving the most basic of moral values. The tale projects a ‘feeling’ of being somewhat contrived in following the actions of probably the main character, but still makes for an intriguing read.

4* Intriguing story with flaws that largely may be overlooked.

Mysteries from the Keys

Mysteries from the Keys: a collection of short stories ISBN: 9781927899397 Cavern of Dreams Publishing, Library and Archives Canada Cataloging and Publication written by Mary M. Cushnie Mansour.

Story #1.   Minnie’s way – an old, sightless woman with a stray cat and old, ‘comfortable dog reliving memories while a ‘day helper’ comes to visit, but again leaves to buy groceries.  2. The Storm – a violent storm, a telephone call is received, mysterious and frightening. Discovers it was only a dream. Another call comes in. She answers and discovers it is a repeat of the Dram.  3. We can Smile Again – a story of 2 most unusual young girls as they gradually grow and mature in their macabre artistic pursuits.  4.  Closing the Cottage – a new tale of a now 19-year-old girl who is being left alone for several days in a lakeside home quite removed from a town of any size. The protagonist is purported to be a young woman recovered from a “nervous breakdown”. The plot details her regression into a return of psychological disturbance and proceeds to describe an episode, but with no definite closure.   5. Return to the Cottage – an episode based on follow-up material about the same setting and some of the same, with addition of new, strange individuals and still with no closure.   6. Flowers for the attic – another short bizarre vignette.   7.  The Witness – charming tale with a house cat the protagonist   8.  The Coffin – another tale ‘on the darker side’ somewhat softened by its poignancy.   9. Angelique – another dark tale – death of a loved one, another chance, gypsies and a not unexpected ending.   10. Master Arpeggio – an unusual fantasy centered on a cat   13. Rodney – a kidnapped child ends as a cold case to be solved in the next story__14. Rodney’s Return – same characters with a few additions and like the other stories, leaves much for the reader to determine with respect to closure.

Discussion: Recently, a number of books have been offered with the Florida Keys as a setting for their plot. Amusingly, this reviewer selected the book without properly determining the message provided by the title. Mysteries from the Keys is just as presented – a collection of stories ‘on the dark side’ written with the typewriter pictured. They do not have anything to do with the Florida Keys, but should have appeal for readers who particularly enjoy this type of story.

4* For readers who enjoy ‘tales on the dark side’.

The View from Breast Pocket Mountain

The View from Brest Pocket Mountain ISBN: 9780578696607 Senyume Press copyright and written by Karen Hill Anton.

This is a memoir of a woman who has literally travelled the world, while moving from a teen age ‘black hippie’ in the 1960s New York City to become the mother of four children with a highly successful career, along with her equally successful ‘white hippie’ husband. After leaving New York City for stays on both the east and west coasts as well as several countries in Europe and the Middle East and birthing their first child in Denmark, they arrived in Japan with one child and one bag each. They now were “Settled down” in Japan (Permanent Resident Status) with four children, a cat, a dog a moving van’s contents of possessions a far cry from, and dreaded words to, Americans with sixties credentials including the Beatles first concert in the U.S.; Bob Dylan who was “just another folk singer with a guitar playing at Greenwich Village coffee houses; among the throng of 200,000 when Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about his dream; when Woodstock, New York  was declared a nation, and more. The mere fact that they should be able to adapt to the Japanese way of life and enjoy the lasting experience in itself is almost unimaginable. As she states: “The Japanese educational system kills curiosity and utterly restricts the minds, imaginations and spirits of children.” “It is a conveyor belt of education they never leave, as the focus is not on learning, but testing, and memorizing facts and figures.” But then, when she had to face an unpleasant series of activities on a return trip to the U.S. while attempting to provide help for a family in obtaining food stamps, there was a total appreciation for many of the Japanese ‘way of life’. Again in her own words: “What a sight to see the name of the wealthiest and “greatest country on earth” attached to the dilapidated office building downtown where identification cards were issued. The windows were so dirty you couldn’t see out, the ceiling vents were taped on, the chairs we were required to sit on were filthy. Crude signs tacked all over the walls warned people of the consequences of fraud in obtaining government aid…The desperately poor Americans who crowded this room could not have been discerned from the denizens of some struggling nation where people would expect nothing at all from their governments.” In Japan she had been through the same lengthy bureaucratic procedures but always was addressed with respect offered by the prepackaged required honorific “san” attached to the name. No civil servant dare utter a name, i.e., just yelling out her first name “Karen”, without the addition of -san and to the last, not first name; e.g. Anton-san. The entire book follows her lengthy travels through many countries in a manner few would consider, but seems totally compatible with the mental set of an individual such as herself and of her husband. Their travels and accomplishments are intriguing to say the least.

Discussion: The story is redundant and repetitive in parts, but is an intriguing tale that memoir readers will truly enjoy as will any reader who likes true adventure travel tales.

5* Intriguing memoire.