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.

 

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.

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.

Dutch Preacher Boy

        Dutch Preacher Boy ISBN: 9781098382420 TunaFiscch Publishing by John Kommerinus Trinstra.

Sub titled “Coming of Age in Grand Rapids, Taking Wing Beyond* From Ethnocentric Religion to a Wide World of Wonder. A MEMOIR.

This is a fascinating tale most especially if you have an interest in any phase of religion. It is told by a man born and raised in the Netherlands in the Dutch Calvinist faith – Calvinist College 1962-1966 and Calvin Seminary 1966-69 and after immigrating to America, 2 weeks at Moody Bible Institute – and wanted to be a Fundamentalist (Religion defined as Religion as written is the last word). However, as explained in the gradually developing story, his extensive travels throughout a goodly part of the world changed quite drastically his perspective. His description of these travels and the changes wrought make for a story similar to few, if any other ‘coming-of-age’ tales in that the process extends far beyond what usually is considered that period in one’s life, into sessions as a missionary where threats were encountered in the Mexican Border area; working with Inmates in Cook County Psychiatric Hospital where he picked up a most thought-provoking answer to a simple question and read a sign posted on a near-by wall the reader will love. It simply read “I’m absolutely crazy about change. I just can’t handle it well.” And many more incidents of interest including close encounters with royalty and celebrities, a number of ‘secrets’ of well-known radio/TV preachers of various faiths, “sexual awakening, athletic fields of battle, heroes, tragedies, escapes, with lots of humor and playful banter”.

Discussion: The book ends with a brief notation about the former pastor, educator, and entrepreneur author and an Index of his wide range of people encountered and exact page(s) where it took place with the referenced person. Some of the discussion with respect to the individual and/or his/her perspectives may appear biased to varying degrees, but certainly lie within the author’s prerogative.

5* Interestingly, thoughtfully assembled memoir

The Tidings

                  THE TIDINGS ISBN: 9781648036682 Westwood Books copyright and written by Nick Mezins.

 Sub-titled “Further Extracts From The Book Of Tidings of the Almighty and his Spirits to Humanity. Volume One November 1943 to January 1945”, a short “Forward” provides the source and manner in which this unusual material originally was discovered, and brought to light along with the revelations that further appeared at a much later date. An Introduction to Revelations follows along with a number of chapters covering these from a period beginning with 1943. Reading and understanding the “Forward” and “Introductions” is a necessity in order to correctly and completely comprehend the “Tidings” delivered “not of human origin”. (It has been through the human mind in the language of Latvia and meticulously translated to English.)

“The material in this book originated from The Almighty, from God, from the chief spirits and the other spirits and has been passed on to humanity on the planet Earth by these chroniclers. They are the Almighty’s heralds to the planet Earth, appearing outwardly as ordinary human beings.” These Heralds wrote the material in longhand, it was typed and several copies made. Errors were corrected and the material distributed in particular bracketing styles and other peculiarities to compensate for differences between Latvian and English word usages. Following these explanations, another “Introduction” is offered from the original publisher in 1992 serving as background for the author’s description of his organization of this and the books to follow. Now, the reader is presented with the book’s contents, chapter by chapter.

The chapters follow a somewhat rambling pattern that this reviewer finds quite difficult to follow, some ranging from sayings of a sultan, the German Nazi party, the Almighty, who also includes Satan as his vengeful portion, and other strange messages delivered by purported spirits of importance with certain facts: “I am not allowed to reveal that to you”. Also: “The spirits do not talk with everyone, but only with chosen ones, and those who believe in them.” Spirits further are described in appearance, duties and means of travel.

Certain known facts also occasionally are interspersed; e.g. “What was a miracle at the time of Christ is no longer a miracle. Science performs miracles. The day will even come when science will liberate man from all diseases and labors and will transport him from one planet to the next.”

Further on in the book the ‘tidings bearers’ offer more explanations by way of vignettes of persons in longer messages, but one seemingly prominent feature is the apparent desire not to offer any specifics with respect to the number, structure and hierarchy of the saints, and it even is difficult to ‘get a firm hold on’ the overall position/activities of “The Almighty”.

The admonishment is offered that you no longer are in Latvia, but you are in the world which is where the Almighty rules. And with respect to miracles?  The statement that man is not a prophet in his own land presents Christ as a perfect example. He was simply the son of Joseph the Carpenter from Nazareth and known to many. Thus, he required miracles to convince people of the Power of God.

Discussion: The main theme seemingly being provided in this book of Tidings or Messages is that man is incapable of understanding things beyond what his mind is able to absorb and is the reason God and Jesus spoke in simple words and provided simple stories. Not a single word written by Christ remains and those of the Apostles are carelessly written words of “common people” and are ‘remembrances’. None kept diaries. Also transcription errors exist in abundance.

Thus, it would appear that these “Tidings” have been set forth to provide the true picture of “The Almighty’s” relationship with man and a closing statement that most cleverly covers all aspects of the apparent incomplete explanations, descriptions, answers and other missing features has been set forth. To provide the statement would be a disservice to the author as well as the prospective reader who will recognize it immediately when he reaches its opening portion – “Anyone who has read a book without striving to delve into the writer’s thought, . …. …”.

3* 4* probably challenging read for the curious mind.

 

 

Good and Dead

Good and Dead is a book copyright and written by E. L. Pini. It has been published by Producer & International eBook Publishing and sub-titled (An Avner Ehrlich Thriller Book 2) The translation from Hebrew is by Tal Keren.

The story begins in a manner well described to set the tenor for the entire story, or stories. It unfolds in an old rusted building situated in a seedy park outside of Moscow where a no-holds-barred wrestling match is in progress. The end of each match is declared when the ‘referee’ declares the loser “Good and Dead”. A young well-muscled Yuri Rasputin enters the ring shortly after the last loser has been removed and meets the huge reigning champion whom he cleverly eliminates by using a well-hidden blade. The reader does not again meet Yuri until about halfway into the book where he again appears as a major character in the deadly political chess game being waged and a dedicated enemy of our main protagonist, Avner Ehrlich. Avner, although in his thirties and with the physical results of many combative encounters in the field, once again has been sent on a mission. This time to Tehran to eliminate an Iranian nuclear scientist. This elimination is considered crucial to survival for Israel and possibly part of the rest of this section of the world. Complications develop and he is ordered to abandon the mission but in his usual manner ignores the order. Finally working his way into position for a direct sure shot at Hamdani when the man’s young son comes running into the line of fire. He does not take the shot, returning home through a dangerously tortuous series of maneuvers. Ehrlich takes responsibility for the debacle and is dismissed from duty and placed on leave for disobeying orders.

Because his intuitive abilities make him almost indispensable, he is called back quite quickly because Hamdani reportedly now is involved with Colonel Yuri Rasputin of the Russian Military in naval activity where a stealth submarine has been armed with a mega nitrogen bomb that although purportedly headed for Syria, actually is believed as being designated for Israel. Obviously it is imperative to destroy the bomb or Israel will cease to exist.

Discussion: This Book 2 of what is developing as a quite fascinating series appears to delve deeply into the games played by the many minds involved in this international political maneuvering, as well as providing details of the steps an organization such as Mossad must take to counter and survive. The one feature that may be open to question by the more pragmatic reader is his physical ability to react in the manner he does with the number of severe injuries he has suffered, e.g.; three slipped discs, plus possibly the frequency with which a man in Ehrlich’s position  must be saved from death by activity of others. However, the author has introduced a psychological element into Ehrlich’s physical/mental emotional composition that is compelling and quite unique to discover in persons involved in this line of work. So generally speaking, the true devotee of well-written thrillers will find this book as intriguing and enjoyable as any, and probably better than most, presentations in this genre.

5*Well-paced, beautifully written thriller highly recommended.

Beyond Balancing the Books

Beyond Balancing the Books by George Marino is provided with a more complete title following several relatively brief, but pertinent “Words of Praise” written by individuals respected as knowledgeable within this area of endeavor: The new entire title, Beyond Balancing the Books Sheer Mindfulness for Professionals in Work and Life, is followed by a rather lengthy disclaimer including (“The information in this book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians or other healthcare providers” and more…) ISBN: 9781736380208 (e) “Published in conjunction with One Heart Coaching, LLC.” Then in turn, is an invitation to Download Your Bonus Companion Guide to Beyond Balancing the Books which is a nine-page bonus guide to aid you in applying the book’s principles to your daily work life. The following Table of Contents consists of a listing of introspective analyses with respect to work as a CPA and evaluating individual elements of various aspects of personal health gradually moving into Chapter structure with #1 Getting Started with Mindfulness Practice beginning an incorporation of Meditation and other ‘helpers’ to achieve incorporation in its totality so as to find it ‘as not something you do, but rather becomes a way of life you live completely’. It will help you manage stress along with breathing exercises, ability to learn how to recognize your present, how to begin, and steps to follow. to attain the level of relaxation you wish to attain (How to get to the “Deeper Level” experience, you need to focus attention and for this you must choose how you will focus – by visual, auditory or tactile senses.) Also you must develop your Acute Sense Perceptions so you can focus on the present moment and acquire an open awareness- of what is going on in your mind and body. But at the same time be sure it is a not judgmental.

The rest of the ten chapters follow the same path of instruction until a final presentation About the Author and Appendices provide an extensive list of reading for each chapter and bring the book to its conclusion.

Discussion: The author has put together a distinctly different instructional book concentrating on business accounting, accountants, and a projected manner in which they may survive the tensions encountered in its pursuit and enjoy the resulting ‘fruits of their labor’. The unusual opening structuring of the presentation, combined with the trend set forth by the comments made by the opening series of comments and the unusual, specifically directed disclaimer provide the instant recognition of the book’s direction. However, it is not until the reader begins to absorb the author’s message that it is begun to be absorbed. Basically, it is one advocating constant introspective analysis with evaluation of the messages received and incorporation of the better portions discovered while employing “Core components of mindfulness attention and noticing, open awareness, acknowledgement of an acceptance, detachment, conscious choice, and the necessity to create ‘quiet time.’” Often necessitating use of whatever form of meditation the person finds to be effective.

Summary: The author has offered a book that from this reviewer’s perspective is markedly unusual for readers of this area of endeavor. However it deserves far more than a passing glance because of the myriad pertinent ideas the author has set forth from his extensive association with his profession and the many associated activities thereof.

4* 5* for concerned readers and important suggestions for all.  .

Leviathan Rising

Leviathan Rising A USS Bull Shark Naval Thriller, Book Two, published and copyright by Scott W. Cook and Spindrift Press and written by Scott W. Cook.

The author has set forth a thriller following the engagement of two submarines during the American Japanese hostilities of WWII. The vessels are constructed quite differently from those routinely composing the fleets of these two opponents. Each has been constructed with features providing aid to allow them to provide destruction to the other while on the surface rather than in the usual below surface manner of function. Added are an underling problem between the captain and his executive officer; a prominent member of the crew who is a drug user/dealer; the man’s accomplices, one of who has provided information to the authorities; Japanese and American spies, counter spies and or double agents; all gathered together to determine the condition of the other’s surrendered ship.

Discussion: Not having read the first volume, this is a seemingly plot driven tale with little background of the characters, but an intriguing, fast moving story that presents a most enjoyable few hours of reading.

5* Enjoyable read

Apotheosis Now. Rabbit Hole to the Beyond

 

Apotheosis Now. Rabbit Hole to the Beyond assumed published copyright and written by Yanhao Huang.

Description/Discussion: The author seems to have aspired to set forth another pseudo-philosophical discussion on how to face life and the situations encountered with a basic need to discover “Do you want happiness or success?” He further hypothesizes that the answer is happiness and yet he points out how often, even if success is attained, how often happiness still is missing. Or that a goal reached results in only a short period of happiness and another goal must be obtained. This in turn, leads to a need to question even the basest suggestion that comes to mind and leads to extended introspection. In the author’s beliefs, these appear to be somewhat heavily affected by Asian religious philosophy, but generally lead to attempts to discover who he is? What are his true goals? Is a deity’s inclusion in the mix? And other similar questions.

The reason this particular review opens with a note as to the authors approach to a confusion that seems to be occurring more frequently because it is the 3rd approach to the subject I have read recently, the last just a little more than a week ago. Thus, to render a personal evaluation, as expected from reviewers, this book offers another dissertation on a subject that appears to be of rising interest in today’s reading population. It offers another interesting approach for the confused individual to read, evaluate along with the other approaches offered, and arrive at a decision with which he/she can live.

5* As discussed

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.