The Legend of Jake Johnson

The Legend of Jake Jackson by Dusty Saddle Publishing Copyright and written by William H. Joiner, Jr.  This is Book 3 in the Western Adventure series by this author.

Jake was a legend in the Old West, not only because of the hope he provided for the oppressed with his unmatched ability with a gun, but also because of unusual history. He was a white child raised by the Comanche Indians to become the Warrior White Wolf revered by the Indian nation for his fierceness in battle. Circumstances led to his reverting to the white man’s way of life becoming a rancher, marrying and becoming a loving husband and father. When informed of some injustice performed by the numerous outlaws inhabiting the west, he would depart to “rectify” the situation, often doing so by reverting to a Comanche Warrior’s manner of dispensing justice.

Discussion: The author has presented his tale in a series of short vignettes depicting how each individual outlaw developed and progressed to the final action that brought Jake to act and how he took care of each individual situation.

5* Stories should be well-received by devotees of western tales.

The Girl from Columbia

 

The Girl from Columbia ISBN: 9781642378900 Gatekeeper Press, copyright and written by Julian Rodrigues.

This is a story covering a significant portion of time and activity that had taken place in Columbia and the United States before 1884 where the story begins in Sea Girt, New Jersey and extends well into the next century. The author offers some introductory remarks referring to a story by Guy de Maupassant that presents, perhaps somewhat mystical characters that are most representative of those set forth in his own forthcoming tale. It is one of tragedy resultant of the unscrupulous activity of several totally amoral, vicious men as they proceed through life with seemingly only hedonistic goals and acquirement of personal wealth and more significantly, power. The action begins with a general depiction of the Columbian youngster and her activities in rather ghostlike familiarization to obtain knowledge of all of the nooks and crannies of her father’s huge house. Also gradually exposed are a description of the father’s (Samuel Johnson) personal appearance, undesirable traits, alliances, and the eventual consequences as other characters appear and are incorporated into the mixture.

Discussion: The author has set forth a dark story of abuse of power, not only of personal love, but of against an entire class of people. It is a tale of the effects of the despicably deceitful acts of a man who acquires power and money and employs it literally in almost inhumane ways that are destructive to many individuals. The characters associated with, as well as those contrary to, his desired goals are appropriately introduced and gradually developed with respect both to reasons for, and action taken against, the man. The book does exhibit some author unfamiliarity with some aspects of the book which would enhance enjoyment, but this no doubt will be unnoticed by most readers.

5* Unusual, relatively fast-paced, dark mystery/suspense

Dude Where’s My Walking Stick

Dude, Where’s My Walking Stick? Assumed published, copyright and written by Kevin Moore.

This is a tale by the author of a journey he undertook that covered the entire, extremely difficult walking trail “Te Waipounamu South Island, New Zealand”. The trip began on December 12 on the Te Araroa, or The Long Pathway: New Zealand’s national long distance trail and 70 days later completed “more than 3,000 kilometers, through countless trails that traversed colossal mountain ranges, forded too many rivers to count, crossed innumerable valleys, and cut through scores of breathtaking forests from the top of North Island to the bottom of the South.” The book chronicles the daily details of the journey,

Discussion: the author, although not physically prepared for a walking trip of this severity, attempted and finished the extensive journey fraught with challenges of great proportions for persons with much superior physical conditioning. Much was accomplished in his case almost completely through almost complete reliance upon mental tenacity of purpose. As such, the story sets forth an aspect of this individual that, more generally speaking, would not be expected from a mental picture one gains from self-descriptions and actions provided by the man. Description of the terrain, sky, birds and beasts is extensive and provides fascinating images for anyone having encountered anything similar and enough to generate an interest in any person not having seen anything similar. Admittedly, verbal presentations do offer a certain amount of redundancy/repetition that would have been relieved with inclusion of pictures. Overall, this is a book that devotees of travel will find to be riveting. Probably lesser interest to other readers for reasons they will recognize.

4* 5* for travel enthusiasts; -1* for others as described.

The Carry Out

The Carry Out ISBN: 97811736734209 Seacoast Press, copyright and written by Kali Gadomski.

The author has presented a most intriguing fictional tale centered upon a group of characters each of whom has lost a loved one in the disastrous destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City by the airplanes purposely flown into them on 9/11. It is a story primarily about this group of freshman high school students being thrown together by being in the same area by residence and their class and associated activities in which they indulge. The title of the book, is the name of the cleaning establishment that offers service to residents of the area and where much activity of the pertinent characters is discussed, often next action decided, frequently initiated and decisions made for future moves. The characters exhibit the complexity of thought that assails every growing person of these ages but are provided a further depth by the nature of each person’s singular loss, the story it entails, and the underlying ethnic considerations.

Discussion: The author has set forth an appealing, even somewhat riveting coming-of-age tale for young readers that adults also will discover to be most thought producing. Perhaps it may be considered rather ‘Pollyannaish’, but the characters are well ‘fleshed-out’ and nicely managed as their gradual growth ensues. Occasionally their patterns of activity, as well as their depths of thought, are difficult to accept as high school freshmen, but are acceptable in the situations that do exist. To provide further actual details would be a disservice to the prospective reader, so suffice it to say: the book presents valuable lessons to the young adult, and a fascinating read (with even thoughtful suggestions for the fully adult) reader.

5* for reasons set forth.

 

The Helpers

The Helpers Library of Congress # 2010902607 assumed published, copyright (2010) and written by S. E. Nelson.

This is “A (fictional) International Tale of Espionage and Corruption” set in the African Congo. It is a tangled web of activities involving primarily French and Belgium internationally military and diplomatic trained members of these governments assigned to espionage positions in this country. Numerous other individuals of English and various other nationalities also are involved in this quite intricately involved plot that explores and lays bare the power hungry rulers of Colonial times and presents a picture of how pervasive it was and of the possibilities of the existence of persistent remnants of similar activity. Several major characters are murdered along the way with a few making it through to the end, mainly a dedicated American Free-lance Journalist and her photojournalist partner, a small local schoolgirl and her mother, a British world health worker and his wife, a wily French Intelligence Officer and his protégé, also some of “The Helpers” – the powerful secret group that is responsible for the constant warfare and “ethnic cleansing” that constantly causes the mass murders repetitiously occurring and set in position by their minions. The action is non-stop from beginning to end, and even beyond because the story makes most clear the fact that the use and misuse of power is a never-ending commodity in world affairs with seemingly special emphasis on Africa and its abundance of natural resources

Discussion: The author has set forth an intriguing multi-genre thriller that includes mystery, suspense, a degree of romance and large quantities of distrust, betrayal, treachery, deception and deceit. It also includes strong demonstrations of empathetic behavior and well fleshed-out characters. The story begins with a “Brief Synopsis” explaining the Congo and their interrelationship with “The Helpers”, a “very powerful underground organization whose members include international businessmen and high priests (who) are determined to maintain a stronghold on the natural resources of Congo.” In all, it is a long story that still will hold most readers interest throughout, even though the frequent switches to different characters, their thoughts and activities, do add considerably to the rather abundant repetition and redundancy as the author has handled it sufficiently well that most will not find it too annoying.

4* Long, but hard to put down, fast-paced multi-genre book, with noted slight flaws.

Debussy’s Slippers

Debussy’s Slippers First Edition ASIN: B08FJ3NQLS published, copyright and written by Steve Exeter,

After a quote by George Gershwin “Life is a lot like jazz…its best when you improvise.” The book unfolds as a fanciful tale based upon a large section of the lives of George the composer, and his slightly older lyricist brother Ira during the period of their immense popularity in writing musicals for American Theatre during the Jazz period. The plot centers on George’s laissez-faire attitude in writing music, interest in the opposite sex and abundance of use of alcoholic beverages plus his basic but unrevealed feelings of inadequacy with respect to composing music that would survive with the likes of the grand masters of old. As a result, he journeys to Paris to attempt to be mentored by Maurice Ravel, at the time considered the best in France. The story gradually evolves into a distinct confrontational relationship between the two whose diametrically opposite manners of composing became increasingly apparent and lead to a sad experience for them both, each reaching a higher level of performance while performing on the other’s turf.

Discussion:  The well-known British author has set forth a fascinating biography about the Gershwin brothers who were unrivaled in American theater during the Jazz era. A pair that offered Broadway Musicals in abundance, scores for major films, opera, orchestral works and a couple of piano preludes. He then extends his story to include Maurice Ravel, internationally regarded as France’s greatest living composer (along with the older Claude Debussy) who developed a style featuring clarity and incorporating several forms, even jazz, into his repertoire. His “Bolero” probably is his most remembered work. The contrasting manner in which the two virtuosos work – Ravel, a slow, painstaking worker – Gershwin with his tendency toward ‘letting it happen’ – and the interaction between two personal ‘egos’ and the resulting confusion developed within Gershwin’s psyche, makes an intriguing psychological presentation that only adds to the picture provided for music lovers. Amusingly perhaps, the introduction of Debussy’s slippers and their fanciful involvement add an interesting thought as well as providing a psychological ‘prop’.

Regrettably from this reader’s perspective however, a serious caveat must be offered because of implications that may be inferred with respect to George’s death. Actually, he passed away from the failure of removal of a brain tumor. The inference, at least garnered by this reader, was that alcoholism and George’s ‘freewheeling life-style’ were the main cause of his death. While certainly most possibly a contributing factor, it seems unfair to allocate his demise to this feature. Additionally and although opportunities for ‘loose’ sexual arrangements certainly were plentiful, direct accusations as presented would seem to be a little ‘out-of-line’.

3* 5* fanciful Gershwin biography for most readers; regrettably -2* as described.

The Collaborators

 

The Collaborators first published 2020 by Cassiopeia Publishing copyright and written by R. P. Nathan.

The author cleverly has divided this book into two parts; 1. Day into Night and 2. Night into Day with the significance not truly discernable until close to the very end of the presentation. The story itself is that of the Nazi occupation of France replete with descriptions of the brutally cruel treatment of villagers as the army searched for Jews being hidden by them. It particularly depicts the activity of Karl, a Nazi army Captain and two of his detachment who have been with him through his campaign in Russia previous to this assignment as he performs under the approving eye of his immediate supervising Major. As the story unfolds, it also details much of his earlier life – a close friendship and secret love for a beautiful French university student, Céline, and the third member of this close triangle, an accomplished Jewish Athlete against whom he constantly competed and who also was in love with, and favored by, Céline. Now just a short time later, Germany and France are at war and Karl, along with his accompanying invaders are employing their inhumanly cruel tactics in searching the neighborhoods for hidden Jews, and Céline and her family as they hide her now Jewish fiancé 3rd member of the old closely related triumvirate and his family, are directly in their path.

Discussion: The author quite adeptly has employed the remembrances of several characters to explore factors of good and evil as they affect basic morality, love and loyalties developed through years of learning and the struggle provided when faced with duty to country, personal honor and perhaps even survival that require action totally contrary to long existent already thoroughly incorporated attitudes and beliefs. The author has set forth a most introspective thought-involving study in a fictional setting. The tale contains only one scene that provided a questionable moment for this reader, but may be an individual thought feature of this reviewer and thus, overlooked by most.

5* Cleverly written fictional tale that should provide introspective material for thoughtful readers.

Gentleman’s Guide to Flirting

Gentlemen’s Guide to Flirting ISBN: 9781736798409 (print) Assumed published, copyright and written by David Sharpe.

After a disclaimer, the book opens with a short descriptive poem describing for whom the book is written. Following are an Introduction that emphasizes it is NOT a book “for Pickup artists, scammers or players.” Conversely, it describes “a mindset and approaches described here are more effective for boldly meeting and connecting with ladies in high-quality ways while being respectful of them and having fun at the same time.” It literally is an attempt to provide communication skills (tools) to aid guys in attempting to acquire a woman who is equally serious in her desires to find a man with whom she can be totally compatible in a close relationship that shares similar beliefs about personal independence, decision making, money, children and the rest of the factors that must be considered when living together in a close relationship. The work is presented in five parts. 1. Planning and Preparation; 2. Meeting In-Person; 3. Meeting Online; 4 Cultivating & Sustaining; 5. Tools & Links to employ. Especially featured are a list of 10 rules that the author insists must be closely adhered to for successful completion of any serious thoughts you have about attaining your goal. It is well-thought-out and his insistence is justified. The examples he provides for building the readers confidence and initiating the approach to the possible ‘candidate’ are numerous and varied according to a plentiful supply of suggested opportunities. The book closes on a depressing, but thoroughly necessary to understand quote, to which few people give thought in their earlier years of life.

Discussion: The author has set forth a book that probably is much needed at this particular time. Discussion is plentiful with respect to the loss of conversational powers in the present generation and constantly referenced are use of digital intercourse sources even when sitting in close proximity. Furthermore, the result of interpersonal relationship restrictions from appearance of covid-19 have had a devastating effect on any formerly normal methods of meeting and conversing and large numbers of both young men and women have been left stranded with no possible entrée to  the ‘normal’ methods employed. The author has offered a book that may present some seemingly sophomoric suggestions and redundancy is at a high level. However, considering the wide spread existence of the problem and the obvious need to present material usable by individuals whose social/conversational talents are at widely different levels of development, but who are totally sincere persons, the author’s presentation would appear to provide a helpful addition to the literature of today. BUT this factor must be understood and kept in mind by readers from this somewhat more advanced level of social/conversational position. Thus, the rating of this presentation is provided accordingly.

4* Only -1* assuming author’s knowledge of flaws described in greatly needed presentation.

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.