Teddy Lancaster and the Eye of Naroshi

 Teddy Lancaster and the Eye of Naroshi ISBN: 9798985573503 assumed published, copyright and written by Johnny Rapp.

Teddy Lancaster, is a young somewhat withdrawn boy progressing through the usual coming-of-age experiences. He lives with his mother, a healthcare worker employed at a near-by facility having just lost Teddy’s father whom they both miss greatly. Teddy also is a dreamer whose nightly series takes him on trips where he visits and actually lives in a waking state (during the time he is supposed to be sleeping) inside the kingdom of Egaria which is magically enchanted with an ancient protection spell. He also becomes enrolled as a student in Zarmore, the local school where he will be taught how to make his own world a better place along with various magical activities. During one of these dream sessions he befriends one of a colony of Goblins that includes farmers and this state of coexistence has been in effect for thousands of years. Teddy, under pressure of capture by the Goblins whom he believes he had insulted, steals one particular farmer’s greatest possession, a horse – Naroshi – to escape.  (This Goblin-Farmer group lives in a border city next to where Teddy lives when at home. It is a place that is half dream world and half real world. It is called Slaybethor.)

Actually he wasn’t in danger, but the ‘friend’ was having fun with him after he found him too near the area’s Castle. However, the old man does not take the theft lightly and has a magic staff with which he can blow things apart and when Teddy stole his horse, he went on a rampage looking for it and wrecked large portions of the surrounding village. From this beginning activity, the story continues, expanding as it proceeds.

Discussion: The author has set forth an interestingly plotted fantasy with its usual collection of goblins and animals cleverly assuming human roles. All are well characterized allowing an interest and even empathy to develop, and although fundamentally a story directed to the tean and pre-teen reader, no doubt well written enough to have appeal for the fantasy reader, similarly to others of note, at more advanced ages.

5* Teen/pre-teen; also probably advanced level fantasy devotees

Tokyo Express

Tokyo Express USS Bull Shark Naval Thriller Series, Book 4 assumed published copyright and written by Scott W. Cook.

This 4th book in the seemingly popular suspense thriller series by this author again follows the activities of the brilliantly aggressive Captain Art Turner of the somewhat unusually designed USS Bull Shark submarine as it operates in the Pacific Ocean from August 15, 1942 through August 24th, 1942 and sometime beyond through an Epilogue. Most of the main action described takes place in the waters surrounding Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and especially those of New Georgia where the Sealark Channel, popularly called “The Slot” provided a straight supply line from the Japanese Holdings at Rabaul and Bougainville. Once the U.S. had established their base on Guadalcanal and completed Henderson Airfield, their air superiority gave them control of this area during the day. This provides the base for this fact based novel.

To overcome the problem of supplying Japanese troops in these areas, Admiral Yamamoto developed a plan of running the fast destroyers down the slot at night when air power did not operate with any degree of success and destroyers were specially equipped to fight submarine attacks if attempted. The Americans immediately named it the Tokyo Express. Along with these naval engagements, Several Marine-Japanese hand to hand engagements are included with men serving on the subs as well as with the Marines included. A couple of naval battles – Solomon Islands, Savage Islands and individual Carrier-Enemy Aircraft engagements also are included.

Discussion: The author’s knowledge of his subject appears to be quite extensive as his description of pertinent minutia with respect to submarine working parts, movement, maneuverability and the results of attacks described, as well as the effects of bombs received by surface craft. His descriptions of hand-to-hand combat as well as other land battle scenes and their aftermath also are graphically set forth and thus, just as horrifying to the uninitiated as those of the results of a ship’s receipt of bombs from the air as described. The author’s understanding of the psychological aspects, pertinent perhaps more particularly to submarine warfare, appear to be quite accurate, as well. This is the second of the series I have read, and highly recommend as a WW II thriller.

5* Highly recommended war thriller.

 

A Hitite and a Shaman

     A Hititite and a Shaman at Queen Nefretari’s Service by Naveen Sridhr.

This fundamentally is a historical tale of royal intrigue during the era of Ramses II long reign with his beloved wife Nefretari. It is replete with the usual deceit, distrust, betrayal, deception and treachery among the kings and other heads of state, many branches of the same family. It also is a story whose history the author has stated he has attempted to follow as closely as possible.  Fortunately for the reader he also has included a list of the characters and a glossary of terms. The plot follows the flight of a deposed Hitite King and his son to Rameses country, the possibility of the new king demanding his return for prosecution and the maneuvers in which Rameses, and more especially his Queen Nefretari, engaged the situation to obtain a peaceful conclusion to the affair.

Discussion: The author has provided a most interesting discussion with respect to how adroitly a Shaman and Nefretari managed to acquire a peaceful settlement for a burgeoning problem and the lasting effects its use by Rameses had for the good of his people. In general, a lesson is set forth with respect to the value of peace versus war and much is learned about both of these monarchs. The only disappointing feature of this book from this reviewer’s perspective, is the redundancy and repetition employed to describe Nefretari’s, the Shaman and each provider’s viewpoint of the subject under discussion. Granted, the discussions are pertinent. However judicial editing could have reduced this material substantially to provide a more enjoyable read.

4* 5* material; -1* for reasons noted.

Big Stone Gap & Beyond

Big Stone Gap & Beyond: A Novel assumed published, copyright and written by John M. Vermillion.

The narration is provided by someone who has lived a millennium and fortunately the book’s opening contains a list and short explanation of the individual’s interrelationship to the large number of characters included in the story. Basically it is about the coal industry and those involved, largely from the minors’ level. It is split into three tales, the last following the life of Felix Forthright Fox a person of far advanced intellect who is bored with traditional school work, does not do well and is resentful with having to complete tasks he does not like. His forte is facing a problem, recognizing the core and developing an answer that will work. As an adult he progresses rapidly into a power within the coal industry, and as he grows older and matures, moves into other areas of endeavor compatible with this growth and change.

Discussion: This is the first of this author’s books this reviewer has read. He appears to be very well received, is a West Point Graduate with appropriate service and additionally has obtained three Master’s degrees. His characters are interesting, generate empathy, and the story’s pace is good. One particularly interesting feature is his ability to blend the story teller’s thoughts/beliefs into the thought patterns he provides through the characters. Thus, a most interesting and enjoyable read that supplies more usually unknown facts about a subject of particular importance at this particular time in history.

5* Interesting & enjoyable; particularly important at this time in history.

The Uquiet Genius

The UNQUIET GENIUS ISBN: 9780999117378 TMR Press, LLC by Glenn Dyer.

In this Conor Thorn (Book 3) the author again has provided his readers with a rapidly moving thriller taking place in the European theatre during WWII. This time it is as a result of Mussolini, and the Vatican wanting to retain a brilliant nuclear scientist, while the Germans, Russians and Americans’ all wish to convince him of the need they have for him to join them in their final movement toward building an atomic missile. The scientist also is an ordained man-of-the church who had successfully faked his demise and for four years successfully hidden in a monastery high in the Italian mountains. Deciding what he has done to his family was an unbearable action, he writes them a letter. A copy lands in ‘unfriendly hands’ and the secret is divulged, thus creating the involvement of the groups mentioned.

Discussion: The author has set forth an action-packed suspense/thriller/romance complete with Nazi cruelty as well as displays of betrayal, deceit, treachery and deception involving quite a large cast of characters who are sufficiently under-developed to result in fundamentally a plot-based tale. Enough empathy is developed among enough characters, however, to provide interest for those who enjoy other than plot –based stories. A particularly interesting note from this reader’s perspective is the inclusion of thought relative to the horrific results from atomic fission – a subject beginning to be addressed more frequently in the scientific community as time passes and circumstances change, but not previously noted so prominently in fiction.

5* Largely plot-based suspense/thriller/romance with interesting aside.

All We Have to Believe In

     All We Have to Believe in ISBN: 9781957013039 Hybrid Global Publishing published copyright and written by Jeffrey J. Lousteau.

The story opens in May 1919 in San Francisco with a parade followed by celebration in the rose garden of the Parthenon for the soldiers just returned from Europe with termination of WWI and selected family members. The book describes the WW1 horrors, the men who participated and the many levels of suffering they encountered, the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, the ‘mockery’ of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, the Great Depression, the government’s attempt at legislating the curtailment of personal consumption of alcohol termed Prohibition, the racial hatred, and more. All has been encapsulated in a family and their acquaintances in a time when wide spread unrest existed. The protagonist is Edward Dooley, a young Irish immigrant who enlists in the army directly from high school, and participates in heavy combat, returns suffering from a degree of what today finally has been determined PTSD, maries a loving and understanding woman with whom he has three children. But, to include a more complete overview of the era, he has been placed in the position of the son of immigrant parents upon whom his family becomes heavily dependent.

Discussion: The author has set forth a history of the 1900’s by employing a main character fully representing the average American man who was involved totally in the activities of the chaotic century making the errors made by most members of the generations struggling through with tenacity of purpose to survive. Generally speaking, it is a depressing story that in attempting to ‘cover-all-bases’, often becomes entrapped in unnecessary details. However, if the reader can accept these oversites, he/she will discover a quite extensive knowledge of the era told plainly and setting forth the main protagonist as an individual of strong character indoctrinated with the strong morality and work ethic existent within the generation as well as the other firmly established beliefs that appear to have been included in the members of those generations so as often being referred to as The Great Generation.

* 5* history of an era; -2 lengthy discussions; depressing but recommended.

Who’s Killing All My Old Girlfriends

Who’s Killing All My Old Girlfriends ISBN: 9798402869110 published, copyright and written by Jon Spoelstra.

Sub-titled Old Guys Murder Mystery #1, the author has set forth a most unusual story of an elderly gentleman who encounters a serious set of problems by deciding to ‘look up’ former loves of his life. Charlie North, a former news reporter for a Chicago newspaper, now in his early seventies, widower of a happy 41 year marriage and a highly successful Blog writer, had been thinking about fate as the cause of one’s selection of marriage partner, and decided to find three of his ‘almost’ partner selection. Regrettably, each of the three are murdered with his visitation marking him immediately as a ‘person of interest’ by the police in each of the cities.

Discussion: First impression is an interesting plot presented in a charmingly laid-back manner that at once is amusing, yet irritatingly rambling, redundant and repetitive with jokes included that are plentiful but mostly old, many references and examples of aging presented which are painfully correct but will be read and remembered. This reader for one, could not stop reading. The book does not even end per se. At its conclusion the next book in sequence is begun and, even if you don’t want to, the reader discovers that he seems to have acquired an addiction to want to see where the next venture is heading. A fascinating experience.

5* Unusual, charmingly dichotomous admixture of seemingly almost addictive proportions.

Cameleon: The Poacher’s Enemy

Chameleon: The Poacher’s Enemy: ISBN: 9781801284127, published, copyright and written by Brandon Kimbrough.

The author has written this story to heighten awareness of the high level of illegal poaching imposed upon the beautiful animals of the world and inspire people to aid in saving them from their rapidly approaching extinction. Reviewing this completed apparently first volume in an anticipated series will require a somewhat difficult procedure to do justice to his goal as well as his manner of presentation.

Plot: To accomplish his goal, he has chosen a young, seemingly oversensitive boy raised in a loving and supportive extended family including a Veterinarian father, doting mother, grandparents and siblings and subjecting him to a heart-rending experience at a very young age. Ben’s first discovery that all ‘bad’ activities cannot be overcome and conquered by ‘good’, and certainly not by immediate direct action when he was reprimanded for fighting with another grade school child “because he had hurt  a friend, the groundskeeper’s dog”. His loving and understanding father attempted to enlighten the child with perhaps a modicum of success and life went on in a somewhat curtailed manner. Somewhat later, the father arranged to take Ben and the family on an African Safari where they were able to witness these magnificent animals living in all their glory. The trip was progressing beautifully until they were observing a male Lion sitting regally surrounded by his pride on the open plain when the animal was struck in the head by a high power rifle round from a distant stand of trees that literally destroyed the magnificent animal’s head. The young boy experienced a traumatic psychological shock of almost inexplicable magnitude hat required extensive treatment. Ultimately he recovered and became a highly understanding and successful Veterinarian, but with a burning hatred for all poachers and especially a gradually developing desire to destroy the particular killer he had witnessed. His post-kill life provides the basic plot of this book- his desire to wreak havoc on all poachers and especially the one who had killed the lion.

Discussion: The author has made an exceedingly good effort to present a case against poachers for the totally uninformed reader and has employed several characters with nicely explained flaws to aid in this endeavor. There are Dylan, a lifelong childhood friend who has provided Ben with much of the social familiarity he exhibits; Jill, his well-positioned, beautifully adept at many functions office manager, Dana Harper, the well-trained investigative journalist with additional talents and Stan with his group of somewhat unusual animal activists. The overall attempt has been a well-worthwhile endeavor that hopefully will increase interest in this important subject. Most regrettably however, from the perspective of what this reviewer hopefully would believe to be the more generally knowledgeable individual, the level of approach would appear to be positioned toward the less knowledgeable and/or young adult.  Too many occurrences depend upon chance and facts per se are totally distorted or missing. The description of ‘poaching’  largely, is distorted, jungles really are not that close in appearance as the ‘woods or forests’ he appears to indicate, transport to the United States of animals to be ‘poached’ is not a usual operation, and most ‘poaching’ per se, is done by a different breed of individuals, although financed, no doubt by wealthy individuals. The ‘fight scene’ descriptions are obviously put together by individuals unacquainted with such activity. And as a pertinent aside, Krav Maga, a prominent attack/defense developed I believe in the 1940’s and reportedly used effectively by the Israeli is not a sport that is ‘picked up in one’s spare time’. As with all martial arts, time and constant practice are required to acquire and maintain any level of competence. Also, the shot destroying the lion’s head that Ben witnessed as a child, probably was a ‘miss’. A prize of the type described would not be one to destroy, rather a trophy to be retained. Thus a killing shot but non-destructive of tissue would have been more likely.

In Summary: Chameleon is a book that provides many interesting features, especially of the effects life’s vicissitudes will force upon one’s psyche, and ‘en toto’, an interesting indoctrination for the uninformed on animal ‘poaching’. As such, it is a well-worthwhile read. It is hoped that the author will acquire more familiarity with some of the other subject matter he discusses.

5* important message for the uninformed; – 2* or more for oyhers.

Fifty States

 

50 STATES A collection of Short Stories, published by Copyright, Ink, and copyright and written by Richard R. Becker.

The author has set forth a series of fifty short stories, each taking place in a different state of the United States on a different date. Each is unique, many on the dark side and all of different length and level of ability to generate carrying a projected interest in advancing thoughts beyond the material presented.

Discussion: The author has provided a highly ‘thought producing’ series of independent stories. They are well-written by a man who understands how to generate an interesting plot that  a reader can ponder and dwell upon, and as such, are most thoroughly enjoyable for the many reasons short story readers follow their work. A number of the stories would make longer, complete stories most interesting as well and, according to statements by the author, are exactly the future he has in mind for many of these individual ‘samples’. Thus, it would appear to be well worthwhile for the interested reader to look for these proposed releases.

5* with an additional eye to the future.

Awful Reckoning

   Awful Reckoning. A Cade Chase and Simon Pack Novel by John M. Vermillion.

Seemingly, the author is beginning a new series based upon his successful run of the Pack series and a character, Cade Chase introduced in the last of the Pack series. Here Cade again is presented in a Preface as a non-West Point graduate who finished as a heavily decorated four star general now residing in a small Appalachian town because he hated the type of crime that is steadily growing in this country and was trying to do something about it. Following is a list/description of the principal characters The story itself is to retrieve the Stanford Univ. student daughter of a highly successful multibillionaire entrepreneur who has been kidnapped by members of Antifa with threats of dire action if any investigative authorities are notified. Cade receives a call from the father who calls in a long standing mutually reciprocal assistance in desperate circumstances agreement. Cade accepts, gathers his small but highly efficient team and proceeds to devise a brilliant plan that is carried out without a hitch leaving the Antifa Head almost without funds, how it happened and any even vague ideas of who was involved.

Discussion: For readers who like well written action, presented by an eminently qualified author and loaded with suspense and activities that are totally credible this definitely is a book for you. One particularly noteworthy feature is that the plan as devised and executed does not leave any weak spots that can provide the one feature that causes the ‘last minute appearance of some factor that allows for an unexpected ‘hiccup’ that provides for a last minute introduction of ‘surprise’ activity. However, there is even more for the ‘thinking’ reader, especially if adverse to vigilante activity. A fact the author briefly addresses.

Summary: Generally speaking this is a book that will be thoroughly enjoyed from the perspective of the action/suspense aficionado as well as from that of the more cerebrally inclined individual.

5* Enjoyable thriller/suspense on many levels.