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.

God in the Details

GOD of the Details ISBN: 9798720151935, independently published, copyright and written by Christian Bandea.

The author is a successful British IT network engineer and developer who has sub-titled his volume “The Scientific Cover-up of Intelligent Design”. It presents his contention that it still is necessary to include the idea of a single Creator, specifically a deity (God), in theories about the origin of the universe in which we live. To support his belief, he discusses the most prevalent of today’s scientific theories, the Big Bang, Darwin’s Natural Selection, the position of Einstein’s Relativity, the existence of Dark Energy in the empty spaces in the universe and more. The basis for his contention simply is the question as to why “universe-from-nothing, accidental-life-from-non-living, randomly-generated-evolution, consciousness-as-byproduct theories (as constructed and set forth) are all more intellectually acceptable than the idea of a Creator of the universe”? Are a series of accidents more believable than faith in a Creator who knew what he was doing with the higher order of complexity that was beyond physical laws, time, and human understanding, to bring all of the small and intricately inter-positioning and interacting atoms, particles, chemical constructions, neurological activities, etc. required to bring the universe and individual organisms into existence?

With respect to Natural Selection, “The irreducible complexity found in various molecular structures can’t be explained through the small steps required by natural selection through adaptation.” Yet, “the hardcore evolutionists are engaged in Procrustean efforts to fit these obviously designed molecular systems into the Neo-Darwinian framework.” They make no effort even to attempt to test evolutionary scenarios at the molecular level by experiment or calculation. And of course, in Darwin’s time, it was impossible to imagine the complexity existing even at the most basic levels of life; e.g., existence of extremely small cilia as a component that would seem impossible to assign other than to individual design – selection couldn’t possibly account for their existence (except by speculation) and there are no supportive mathematical models or experiments that have been done to support their hypotheses and increasing numbers of studies are pointing to the complexity of molecular structure, thus increasing their problems

“Dark energy” (Virtual particles are barely perceptible short-lived quantum particles that flit in and out of the empty areas of space) is the name of a mysterious energy building in these areas described by scientists. It conjures-up the thought of another “Big Bang”? How do we know that our “Big Bang’ is the first? Presently we know nothing about it. An Infinite cycle of ‘Big Bangs’ and ‘appearance of the universe from nothing’ theories “illustrate the high degree of intellectual contortionism required” to dispute the idea of a universe that is the work of a Creator. Next, multi-universes are speculated, and the contra-Creator list continues to grow. The author discusses various aspects of many of the anti-Creator theories and speculations while concurrently submitting his proposed evidence in support of a one entity originator of the universe and man. The last roughly 9 % of his book provides the author’s pertinent bibliographic comments listed in the text.

Discussion: the author has set forth quite an in depth examination of his subject and, from this reader’s perspective, has done reasonably well. He has approached his subject from the perspective of rules set forth by the philosopher Karl Popper in the 1930s that have been accepted and employed since then by the scientific community. Specifically, legitimate scientific achievements must be distinguished from speculations, regardless to the stature and achievements of the proposing scientist(s). None of the ‘theories’ set forth have presented any proof and furthermore, the ‘spark-of-life’ never has resulted when attempts have been made to provide such an occurrence after assembling all of the required elements.

5* In support of a ‘Single Creator’ for origin of the universe and man.

Coffin Cove

Coffin Cove ISBN: 9781789317534 Joffe Books, London copyright and written by Jackie Elliott.

This volume is the first in a series of “Coffin Cove Mysteries” stated to be “A gripping murder mystery full of twists.”

Setting and plot: The time period described is one beginning during the latter part of the last century when Lumbering was a huge part of Vancouver Island’s activity as well as fishing. The later-day part of the story’s setting is at a time when the lumbering had pretty much ‘run its course’, but activity in the fishing business still continued at a goodly pace and the past and present interactivity were inextricably interwoven into a tight knot. A Prologue describes the plight of a teen-age girl who is left securely tied to drown as the tide rises in the Coffin Cove area of the Island. The story then opens years later describing the area, the characters, their activities, a couple of more murders, and their investigation by the Royal Canadian Police as well as a young woman investigative reporter who has been blacklisted for publishing  a story that was erroneous and embarrassing to the mainstream publisher for whom she worked. Her only chance for redemption was when offered a job by the owner/publisher/single reporter of the local Coffin Cove Gazette. The unfolding tale implores the need for discovering whether any connection exists between the earlier girl’s death and the present killings as more hidden facts gradually are revealed by this homogenous enclave of residents who trust no outsider and will divulge no information to non-residents.

Characters: Prominent characters besides the blacklisted reporter Andi Silvers are Jim Peters, her ‘savior’ with the job on his small local paper; Harry Brown, a 6’+, near 300 muscular pound retired fisherman who lives on his boat docked in the cove; Hephzibah, his sister who runs the local eatery; Gavin, her former Senior Editor; Brian McIntosh, brother of Joe, the father of Sarah (the girl who was drowned); Joe’s daughter Sue; Brenda, disliked and unwanted secretary to Adrian Palmer, CEO of Hades Fisheries that is still owned by Nikos, a Greek immigrant who built the very successful business (she had promised Nikos to attempt to keep him ‘on the right track’ because he has ideas for expansion that do not include fishing, so she cannot be fired); Steve Hilstead, son of Stan who had a long history of drug relations as Skipper of a boat that would buy a fisherman’s catch while on the water and transfer it to their ship so the fisherman did not have to waste time with a trip to port before returning to catch more; Pierre Mason, head of a so called ‘Black-Op’ Organization that is attempting to hurt fishing activities – a charismatic individual, released from Greenspace Organization because of his dangerous attitude toward fishing vessels and a person with great appeal to young people who are all in favor of ‘saving the fish’; Captain Gerry Roberts of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, formerly in charge of a patrol boat monitoring fishing activities; Andrew Vega, RCMP Inspector sent to investigate the recent killing of 2 sea lions who reportedly are interfering with fish survival but are protected by the department; a few other interesting characters of lesser importance. Provision of more material than already described would be extremely detrimental to any prospective reader’s enjoyment of this fascinatingly written multi-directional mystery

Discussion: The author has assembled a large number of characters and details and released each of them at most appropriate times throughout the story to provide an intriguing story. As described, it is “A gripping murder mystery full of twists.” Additionally, it describes a fascinating bit of history that most likely is known by few. This reviewer suggests it is a tale not to be missed, especially by mystery and history devotees.

5* Not to be missed, especially by mystery and history devotees.

Captain’s Logbook

Captain’s Logbook ISBN: 9781637350164 Leaders Press copyright and written by John De Silva.

Subtitled “Escaping Nine to Five for 24/7” the story recounts a series of near disaster occurrences while he, as A World Qualified Master Mariner served as Captain in Command of one of the huge merchant vessels that sail the world’s oceans to supply the many items and supplies required by countries in their widely scattered areas. Most of the situations were the result of his leaving his home and family and well-paying managerial position in shipping in his home town, to be persuaded by an old friend (another shipping company’s manager) to return to sea. Granted, it is a constant call with which any and all true lovers of the sea constantly live. However, in this particular situation, the ‘friend’s’ mental attitude had greatly changed. Money and saving it for his company had become paramount. He neglected important basic ship maintenance requirements, as well as hiring properly trained and licensed personnel – matters with which the serving ship’s Commander was forced to attempt to handle, along with important crew members speaking different languages not necessarily compatible with each other’s all while continuing over a several thousand mile route including numerous countries. The author’s ability to survive safely he readily admits to be only by the Grace of God and his belief that his trials were resultant from his ignoring explicit direction he had received from God not to accept the assignment.

Discussion: This is a fascinating description of the shipping industry described by a very credible individual. De Silva was born in Sri Lanka, the post-independent era name of Cylon, moved through the various stages of arrival at the Master Mariner level. The description of details of large ship needs and management and those routines required in each port are especially interesting for individuals with interest in learning about ‘different’ ways of life. Perhaps particularly intriguing is the presentation with respect to the often mentioned ‘under-the-table’ payment expected by various port authorities, especially prevalent in many of the countries described. Certain readers may be somewhat disenchanted by the description of and further discussion pertaining to the training that developed the sincere, deep belief in God expressed by the author. But, it is not the least bit unusual. It is a sincere belief that exists in most seamen as well as almost every individual I know and have known whose life provides, or has provided, periods in which survival has depended upon some superior power.

5* Fascinating, especially if interested in individuals with ‘other than 9 to 5 jobs’.

Tolerance

TOLERANCE, A collection of short stories copyright by Kathleen Osborne et al. Edited by Kathleen Osborne and Soleah Sadge. Published by Kathleen Osborne et al.

The book is described as similar to the old phonographic discs that held recordings on both sides.  Side A contains ten short stories based on Tolerance. The individual tales cover a wide variety of different subjects ranging from what it would be like to be able to eavesdrop through fantasy/magical realism, on a restricted conversation indulged in by persons placing them; “realistic fiction”; imaginative fiction, literary fiction; sci-fi/romance; even a memoir and a couple of unique stories authored by individuals as described. The authors range from an “emerging author” and a “late bloomer” arriving from numerous years in the military and other pursuits to well accepted professional authors. One is unique in having acquired a passion for learning a different manner of expression that is displayed here; another, ‘coming-to-grips-with a position as a member of the Jewish Faith’ with “its own dysfunctions and historical misfortune”;  another prefers light fantasy; sci-fi and time travel; still another who travels extensively to places “tied to legends and folklore that she can include in her stories” and “is a fiction writer whose preferred genre is “contemporary fantasy with a touch of romance”; one more “works in pseudo-technology and has an innate ability to find street tacos in every city.” Still another describes himself as a man who “has an answer for everything, opinion on anything, and is quiet about nothing” and provides an approach to history, its existence and interpretation, past, present and future (?) – His stated preference is sci-fi/time travel. Side B, the “flipside” contains short stories “from the heart of these same authors”.

Discussion: This book offers an eclectic collection of unusual (strange?) stories in a variety of genres that can initiate thoughtful contemplation. Side B perhaps offers an even greater cause for rumination about the authors, their thought processes and similarities-dissimilarities between their offerings on both sides of ‘the disc’.

3*   5* – 2* Strange anthology readers will like or dislike, but be unlikely to forget.

From the Delta Mud

From the Delta Mud ISBN: 9781977639011, published, copyright and written by Guy B. Wheatley.

Setting: This is a story “from the very heart of the Delta”, the South’s canal that connected the Arkansas River navigable waterway to the Mississippi from the mouth of the White River, with its abundant water soaked land. Action largely is contained in and around the waterways and a long-forgotten barge ‘tow’ that years previously had been lost when it became detached and moved high into a heavily wooded area where it remained gradually rusting away after the high waters had receded.

Characters: The inhabitants of the area largely are provincial farmers and supporting shop proprietors’ with the exception of Marshall Bennington, Tom Stratton, and Gibb Asbury. Associated others occupy positions of lesser supportive substance. Marshall is the working head and owner of the largest farm in the area and from childhood has been raised with the idea that he was far more important than others. He has been able to impress others in the area with this face, thus have elected to a seat in congress from which he now has decided to launch his campaign to be President of the United States. Tom is an intelligent young man who has managed to establish himself as owner of a much needed ‘Jack of all Trades’ Center for the community and after marrying  a minor land owners daughter, gradually also begins to buy more land. Marshall uses his position and greater wealth manages to ruin his business and his wife leaves him as well. Gibb is one of the small number of canal lock operators about whom little is known other than he is a retired Special Forces veteran with an amazing breadth of knowledge. He is a congenial ‘loner’ who enjoys the wilderness and especially fishing.

Plot:  Tom, perhaps rightfully resentful of his losses, eventually decides to seek revenge against Marshall and decides that his decision for entering the election will provide an opportunity. An opportunity suddenly is provided when Marshall has been able to garner unexpected support that will make him a most viable candidate. The cadency will be initiated starting with the important supporters accompanying him on one of the large paddle wheelers on a trip down the waterways that begin in his home territory and extend down the Mississippi to New Orleans. The manner in which Tom proceeds, the action in gaining support of Marshall’s cadency and the part played by Gibb, provide a tale that further detail would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has a background and knowledge of all pertinent aspects of this story that are quite remarkable and provide a certain ‘authenticity’ to the various areas and equipment included in this tale. The only unfortunate aspect of the book, at least from my perspective, is the manner in which his proof readers have missed so many errors. Regrettably, he does not seem to be the only author affected recently. These careless oversights are unnecessary annoyances interspersed throughout an otherwise engaging tale. But generally speaking, the story indeed is intriguing with sufficient gradual growth of suspense to please most readers who are devotees of this genre. For those who enjoy learning about jobs and other new features of work performance, the author has set forth a real treasure trove.

5* with disappointment as described in discussion.

Murder Aboard a Cruize to Nowhere

 Murder aboard a Cruise to Nowhere, Sand in my Shoes Publishing copyright and written by Owen Parr.

This book is Novella 2 in “A Jack Ryder Murder Mystery Series” and follows an episode where the protagonist, along with Miami Beach Police Detective Logan Robert are guests aboard a privately engaged luxury cruise ship where the Head of the family, Gustav Inglenorth, is scheduled to announce changes in his estate plan, a matter involving several billion dollars. Jack and Logan have been invited, along with their ‘significant others’ as substitutes for four cancellations of original invitees. The invitation assumedly as a result of Jack’s reputation. He is a middle aged, former financial analyst now a prominent author of considerable reputation whose ability to detect minor and only slightly noticeable details has positioned him frequently to provide necessary material to Logan and positioned him to become a valuable consultant to the Miami Police Major Crimes Division. As a divorcee, his life style is rather ‘free-swinging’ and his abode is a sizeable yacht, his present ‘significant other’ is Logan’s sister. The plot emerges from the first night of the family cruise when the family patriarch is stabbed to death and a hurricane requires the ship to continue away from American waters where the crime can be turned over to the American authorities. Further acceleration of the storm finally makes them seek sanctuary in Cuba. It is incumbent upon Jack and Logan to discover the crime perpetrator(s) before return to American waters and surrender of the case to their authority.

Discussion: The author has set forth a quite interesting plot with an involved set of clues the reader can simultaneously attempt to correctly assemble. Regrettably, one feature of the book is the almost incredible lack of proper proofing. The number of missing, misspelled, misused and repetitiously employed words are almost impossible to believe. Thus, the reader will need to decide whether this mystery is sufficiently enjoyable to wade through the almost boundless proofing errors.

5* engaging mystery, -4* huge Caveat as discussed; Prospective reader’s choice.

Sedition

Sedition, Road to Breaking, Book 3 ISBN: 9781733107983 published, copyright and written by Chris Bennett.

The story continues with huge changes involving Mountain Meadows, its inhabitants, and the entire country. Megs interrupts a meeting among the elder leaders of the cabin slaves detailing their misunderstanding of a difference between them and the house staff slaves. The results are most productive and effect almost immediate changes. Meanwhile, as a State Senator, Nathan must journey to Richmond for an important session as to whether Virginia will join the Southern states in the call for secession from the United States of America. Fort Sumter has been attacked and appearances seem to be growing more favorable for election of Abraham Lincoln and the impending freeing of the slaves. Individuals espousing one particular element of the south are especially desirous of maintaining their position of political power and will use any available means to win. When Nathan left home he was accompanied only by two of his men because he was afraid that his neighbor might attempt again to harm his mother and destroy their home. Lack of sufficient support along with particularly audacious moves from this southern component result in serious injury to him and a need to leave for home rapidly and secretly even though severely incapacitated. Evelyn again appears, but in an entirely new roll and the reader is introduced to two new elements of the era that played an enormous part during this chaotic period. And even the huge Irish wolfhound/English Mastiff who Nathan had of necessity left behind when departing for Richmond by train, again enters the picture.

Discussion: In this third book of the series, the author has managed to present a most intriguingly interesting and well-paced, suspenseful tale. Additionally, he has provided further informative material with respect to probably existent political activity as well as features such as the Underground railway in preparation for a hopefully as well-managed finalé.

Another 5* read.

Don’t Mess with Jess

Don’t Mess with Jess assumed published, copyright and written by Kim Hamilton.

The author states that this is Book #1 of “An Accidental Lawyer Short Read in a series of short reads inspired by the full-length novel, Accidental Lawyer.”

Jessica Snow, a recently graduated young lawyer works with Kari Cruz, part black and other races and seemingly ‘Girl Friday/ jack of all trades’ for work required in and around the office.  Both work for boss Dawson who has a still newer employee whom he is grooming to partner with him in a most important (purportedly) golf tournament. The legal practice is of a typically described ambulance chasing variety and the office is in a depressed section of town as is Jess’s only slightly better situated place of abode. Jess has a well-deserved reputation for aiding in a criminal investigation, and once more is involved in finding the perpetrator of a hit-run incident that involves drugs.

Discussion: A tale of mystery and criminal investigation involving stereotypical characters but the tale is saved by the authors approach and the zany activities – a light, amusing style. This is the first of a proposed series of short stories, each easily consumed in a couple of hours.

4* A short bit of mystery in an amusingly described situation with zany characters.

Fresh Ink 2019 Short Story Collection

Fresh Ink 2019 Short Story Collection, published, copyright and written by Jamie Stone.

The book consists of seven stories. Perhaps all should be referred to as ‘on the dark side’. The first is about the protagonist chasing down the monster that torments almost every small child with problems by hiding under its bed every night. He finally destroys it making it safe for the small children until the next generation arrives. The next is of a Serial Killer finally arriving in Hell, his treatment there and his opportunity to obtain redemption along with a few others in a similar situation. The rest of the stories are of a similar dark nature. The entire book easily can be read in one sitting, thus having the advantage presented by most collections of this type. An individual selection can be consumed in a very short space of time.

Discussion: From this reviewer’s perspective, this is a volume that will appeal to a particular ‘mind set’, and for those readers I’m sure, will provide a high level of interest. For others, interest in this book probably will be minimal, except for the third story entitled “To Protect You”. This story opens as follows: “This is Report # 1,208,096, regarding Humanity’s loss of power, the end of machines, and the future of Planet Earth. May this be our final recollection.” The thoughts generated by the material presented are endless, and so closely relevant to life’s activities as they exist universally today, to be scarily mindboggling.

3* with a range from 5* to 2* as discussed.