Arnolfini Art Mysteries 2

Arnolfini Art Mysteries 2 ISBN: 978190053059 (eBook), an imprint of Digital Vista written by Rich DiSilvio.

The author has set forth for the prospective reader a most interesting series of mysteries ranging from almost priceless pieces of art to prominent architectural structures. The protagonist is a private investigator whose vocation/avocation is to appraise the authenticity of these objects for Museums and other interested individuals/groups who are willing to pay the expenses as well as the fees for which such unique ability is rendered. The first of the investigation the protagonist, Armand Arnolfini, describes in this book is of the authenticity of the long-lost Leonardo daVinci’s “Leda and the Swan” which his father maneuvers him into doing after setting-up Armand’s marriage to Andrea St. John, a young woman he found to be able to replace an irreplaceable wife who he had passed away a few years earlier. The marriage took place in a storied castle in Belgium with a list of attendees that was a list of the elite of the art world. From this initial offering the story travels through a number of other investigations of prominent pieces of art, buildings associated with architect/artists and then to a fascinating tale about the at one time tallest architectural structure in the world, the Woolworth building in the United states.

Discussion: the descriptions provided by the author are replete with details of an opulent manner of life only imagined by most as well as fascinating details of the varied and often serendipitous path these investigations can take. The amount of fiction included within the body of this work only can be judged by how much the reader knows about the art and architectural world and those who participate and/or have participated through the centuries. Definitely a rivet and ‘must read’ for anyone interested in investigations and especially for those having any interest and/or curiosity about art and architecture.

5* Riveting if interested in investigative art and/or architecture.

Mailstrom: Part II (Ryan Cunningham Book 2) by Rip Converseip

Maelstrom: Part II (Ryan Cunningham Book 2) Kindle Edition  by Rip Converse.

 The first book in this series was quite well-written. The characters are credible, even in highly dramatic scenes of being involved in a believably violent storm in the middle of the ocean. When the protagonist’s relatively small but seaworthy sail boat housing him and his adopted family is attacked by a large modern ocean going power boat seemingly owned by a South American cartel member, admittedly the reader may become a little ‘uneasy’. The story continues in this first part of the trilogy with the owner continuing to battle the elements and simultaneously the drug/alcohol saturated power boater as well. Part I  ends when the protagonist is rescued after losing  his boat, money and one of his adopted family and is  returned to his port of origin to be aided by close friends. This transition occurs for the reader by provision of 2 chapters of Part II, as the conclusion of Part I. The plot for this second portion of the story develops when the cartel member actually turns the situation into a personal vendetta against the former sailboat owner, now living ashore with what is left of his adopted family, the adult female of which having been again returned to her drug/alcohol habit. He meets a State Trooper who has had similar experiences with drug dealers and convinces the returned land dweller to accompany him in an effort to deal with this unrelenting miscreant. Part II again ends by introducing the reader to chapters of the next book in the series

Discussion: This time, for this reader, there did not seem to be sufficient credibility or interest in the story to purchase the next volume. It was regrettable, but the ‘uneasy feeling’ developed earlier in reading the first book continued its gradual decline of credibility in the tale. It really was quite disappointing because the original plot proceeded with so many possibilities including knowledgeable descriptions of sail boats, the seas and psychological possibilities underlying the entire project. Much beautifully described activity based upon genuinely believable details of boating and psychological attitudes and reactions was sufficient to lead to purchase of the second book but disappointingly, this particular reader did not believe there was sufficient hope for a return to the author’s basic knowledgeable early plot to progress further.

2* regrettably at best for this individual reader, as described.

Crisis Averted

CRISIS AVERTED PR Strategies to “Protect your Reputation and the Bottom Line” ISBN: 9781642252576 Published by Advantage Media, copyright and written by Evan Nierman.

The author opens the book with an introduction: A Crisis Averted Followed by PART I: An Introduction to Crisis PR, and four chapters; PART II: Bad Things Happen to Everyone with 3 chapters; PART III: Crisis Control and 4 more chapters. An Afterword closes the presentation.

“This profession centers upon high-stakes and high-profile situations that are hard to forget but are often best handled quietly without the world ever knowing or truly understanding what took place behind the scenes” and explains the procedure employed here. The author explains that good crisis management requires an empathetic individual who is cognizant of all the possibilities involved in all aspects and is a master of nuances when dealing with the situation. “Your client’s success can often hinge upon those subtle distinctions in the way you frame arguments, describe situations, and talk about companies.” You must know your subject matter!!

You also need to be willing to go help even though the call comes in the middle of a family reunion, or other you’re enjoying. You need to be able to converse comfortably with a high profile CEO as well as a blue collar worker and if the guy you’re trying to bail refuses to listen to you be willing to walk away. You also take the job because you believe in the guy who needs help and be willing to fight nasty opponents including reporters.

“A crisis is anything that is going to give people an inaccurate negative view of you or your company. If that is the situation in which you find yourself, then you had better not retreat into your shell, because it is not going to protect you. Instead, take a positive step toward keeping your reputation intact and discuss your circumstances with a crisis counselor.” No longer can you simply tell the truth, you must press for the truth!!! You often must think fast, act fast and even talk fast.

The number of people you are going to physically meet is a finite number, but with internet the number is billions and you are going to be painted as they wish, unless you PRESS for the truth to be seen AS YOU WANT TO BE SEEN! “Share with care and Post with Purpose”

Before facing any crisis situation, “formulate a clear and positive message”. Without such a clearly defined message it is “impossible to communicate powerfully without clearly articulating a primary message!”

Discussion: The author has set forth a book on how to deal with an unexpected crisis in a straightforward, easily understood manner that has gained kudos from numerous CEOs as well as individuals in other positions of importance in need of Crisis Control. The book is heavy on the importance of what the author’s particular team can offer that may be superior to that provided by others. However, in this reviewer’s estimation, it is a justifiable emphasis because of the breadth of his experience in a large number of areas and situations that crises frequently occur. This particular book is well worth reading for anyone and a must for anyone who has the misfortune to be involved in this situation.

5* Highly recommended read for all; a must for anyone involved.

Andy: Origins

ANDY: ORIGINS ISBN: 9781950547333 assumed published, copyright and written by Dirk Walvoord.

The story is fiction. The book opens with a quotation excerpted from Cyrus Bergen’s “The Theory of Likeability (Univ. of Northwest Press). If one can identify the things that a person likes and can consciously do those things and if one can also identify the things that a person does not like and consciously avoid those things, then one can make himself (or herself) likeable.” The plot follows the attempt by a university to coerce one of their brilliant staff professors to imbue a robot with these character traits. He is selected because he exhibits them personally, making him in great demand as a guest lecturer. Trouble ensues when the manufacturer who supplies the money to the University for the Project begins to work with, but also against, the institution’s Dean to provide other AIs to replace the personable professor.

Discussion: This is a highly credible plot from the standpoint that it has existed for many years when highly intelligent and investigative minds within universities are tempted, or actually are, coerced by their Deans and other administrators to accept grant money to further the university’s income from manufacturers to provide input into their projects. The new ‘twist’ is that this particular project entails development of lifelike robots as assistants that are ‘all things’ to their main ‘master’. The book is well-written, although perhaps a little confusing when the chicanery begins, by an author who is knowledgeable of his subject.

5* Application of a new plot ‘twist’ to a long-existent practice.

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.

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’.

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.

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.

Redlined

Redlined, a novel of Boston ISBN: 978097282233Brunswick House Press, copyright and written by Richard W. Wise.

Jedediah Flynt is an ex-Marine with a considerable amount of hand-to-hand combat experience, an ex-wife and two small children for whom he pays support but seldom sees. Presently he is an ‘organizer’ in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts under contract to the Catholic Church for projects helping the poor and downtrodden in their fights against public projects such as a just completed victory against the Boston Building Commissioner. He still is a well-conditioned, attractive, somewhat charismatic individual who believes in what he is doing and has the ability to analyze and truthfully face a situation and manage it. Sandy Morgan is a newly hired young woman who he sends to watch a vacant building that he fears will be next for gutting by explosive arson in a developing pattern that, on the surface makes no sense. Sandy does not follow his orders and is killed by the arsonists. Thus begins a fascinating story that builds to a climax with involvement of: another new young woman replacement being heavily involved through excellent research activity and becoming threatened; a part of a local Chinese ‘tong’ group; a large Chinese Gambling Syndicate and representatives of a mainland Chinese ‘Mafia- like’ group; an immensely wealthy entrepreneur; several groups of local resident organizations; marine corps friends of Jed; and even several levels of the Catholic Church. The story builds to a fascinating climax that is logically thought producing on several levels.

Discussion: A tremendously well-written story with an excellent pace, well-developed characters and a plot that holds the reader enthralled until the end. A highly recommended thriller/mystery provided by an author who seems eminently qualified to produce such a tale.

5* Thriller/mystery highly recommended.