The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is first of a new series, published, copyright and written by Larry Richardson and is a truly entertaining story delivered in the time-honored manner of all of the good ‘story tellers’ of old. It begins with the killing of the wife of Vincent Marshall by the prominent and formerly untouchable Mafia Boss, Santino Giovani’ A spectacular court scene describes the face-off between the two men with subsequent assignment of Giovani to Federal Prison and necessitates Vincent’s assignment to the Witness Protection Program. Meanwhile,  Phil Branson, a rapidly rising General Manager in one of the largest Retirement Living Organizations is offered to leave his highly successful position in Orlando to take over the similar, but foundering organization, in Billings, Montana with the firing of their manager. From this moment a steady mystery thriller begins to develop and expand with a side of possible rising romantic attachment for this man who lost the love of his life shortly after an idyllic relation with this wife. The sub-plots are many and beautifully intermingled as this Retirement Home the Sanctuary had been selected as the scene of the Witness Protection Program; an assassin ‘who never failed had been hired by the Giovani family was closing in on Vincent; pieces of evidence against the former Sanctuary General Manager was playing with the CEO of the General Organization: a dedicated cop was working diligently with Phil in his attempting to gain the required evidence; and the one girl who seemed ready to replace Phil’s lost love suddenly was offered a career choice that would fulfil the dreams of her childhood.

Discussion: The author has set forth a mystery, thriller romance that should appeal to every aficionado of any of these genres as well as those readers who, as stated earlier, enjoy a well-paced, well-characterized, and intermingling of interesting and well-designed plots.

5* Highly recommended

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.

THE COLOR OF RAIN

The Color of Rain ISBN: ISBN: 9781735749747 (eBook) Published by Winter Wheat Press, Copyright and written by John W. Feist.

The author describes the book quite completely and simply as “A Kansas Courtship in letters.” Literally, the book presents a series of letters by a man and a woman conducting a gradually increasing growth of personal interest in one another through correspondence couched in the most appropriate verbalization required by the mores of the society in which they lived in the later few years of the 1800s. The developing courtship encountered further restrictions stemming from the fact that Irene, the woman, was a close friend of the man Frank’s, dearly loved wife who passed away at a relatively early year of her life. The deepening relation easily is discernable as the correspondence proceeds through a lengthy period of time and eventually does reach fruition after a series of set-backs, some manufactured by Irene as well as by Frank’s vacillation with respect to ‘letting-go’ of his guilt feelings with regard to his former wife, now deceased for more than a couple of years and to his two young boys who were an issue from this happy marriage.

Discussion: the author has done an excellent job of presenting the situation as it would be enacted in this particular segment of time with the strict codes as lived in this area at this time. The pace indeed is slow and probably will not be acceptable to readers other than those who enjoy looking into a section of Americana as it existed for a lengthy time period. For readers who enjoy well-written vignettes of such periods of history, the author has provided an excellent book.

5* for a particular type of reader, as explained.

The Cabin at Jackson Hole

 

The Cabin at Jackson Hole ISBN: 97987137870 Mountain Track Publishing written by Kari August,

A historical romance novel beginning in 1885 with a young woman who has lost her beloved father, descendant of a British Earl who had immigrated to America. He had had plenty of time to spend with his intelligent daughter as he mostly dabbled in minor pursuits and concentrated on spending time teaching her much of the knowledge he had gained through the years. Unfortunately, his pursuits were insufficient to maintain their life style and it had been necessary for them to move to a smaller home. For some time since her mother’s death while she was still a small child, her family had consisted of the two of them in a close relationship, along with their long-time housekeeper. Her father had gained employment as a professor in a Pennsylvania teachers’ college which was sufficient to supplement the monies still coming in. Regrettably also like most children, she had assumed that he would live forever and was shocked by his sudden demise, plus learning that Sally, the housekeeper, had been accepted as a substitute for her mother in her father’s life. She approached the college authorities to be permitted to assume her father’s duties. Although qualified, she had no demonstrable degrees or certificates and her application was denied, but while reading the newspaper she came across an ad for a school teacher in the western part of the country. Being a very intelligent, self-secure woman, and realizing that it would be impossible for the remaining two women to survive on the reaming income, she applied and was accepted. The story is about her trip, subsequent arrival and how this strong-willed woman not only survived but prospered in this rough frontier environment eventually finding love and fulfilment.

Discussion: The story settles into the Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole section of the country and includes a number of interestingly portrayed characters including Butch Cassidy and his cohort, a small number of interestingly portrayed Indians, a slick, unprincipled drifter, some solid ranch/farmer types and their families along with occasional wealthy Europeans at this time when they had been attracted to the “Wild Western America” to hunt and/or establish ranches. All matters considered, the author has set forth a rather historically correct picture of this ‘free-swinging’ period of America.

4* Historical Romance most enjoyable for devotees of its type.

Maelstrom Part I

MAELSTROM Part I [(Ryan Cunningham Book 1) KIndle  Edition] : ISBN: 9781646692484 assumed published, copyright and written by Rip Converse.

Part I of a proposed trilogy and including the first two chapters of the second offering at the end of this portion. It is the fictional story of a 37-year-old Ryan who is “in love with love” but never makes the declaration to anyone because he doesn’t want to ‘cheapen’ its meaning. Terrified of ending up alone, he continued to search for ‘the right person but unfortunately, his idea of the ideal mate kept shifting monthly, weekly and even daily. He also is a recovered alcohol and drug addict after having spaced out. He lived in the small Cape Cod village of Sippican with its somewhat staid mores and decided to sell his house, live on his 65-year-old but well designed and cared for 42’ full keel sailboat Parthenia, with thoughts of leaving the homey town with his huge black Labrador Clifton and sailing south. He had sold his home, bought the boat and moved on to it 6 years ago. It was a sturdy, well designed wood 42 foot full keel, mahogany bronze strapped dark oak frames, edge-glued by master ship builders built 65 years before. It was a well-cared for craft that was capable of many more years of blue water sailing.

He meets a young woman, also a recovering alcohol/heroin addict at an AA meeting and in a relatively short time they become mutually attracted. She has a young daughter and a several years younger son, both of whom become quickly attached to Ryan as a true father figure, a position he cherishes. He decides to include them when setting sail for Bermuda. The story evolves into a series of close disasters as they encounter a rogue Atlantic storm with many changes evolving in each individual under the duress of the continuing storm. The two chapters introducing the second book in the series build upon a chance meeting during the stay in Bermuda that begins to develop into what appears to be another developing storm of a different type.

Discussion: the author demonstrates an intimate knowledge of sailing ships and problems that can be encountered anytime sailing in large bodies of water. The story line is believable. The characters are believable and the action is non-stop. The two chapters of Part II provide a strong hint of continued thriller activity introducing a different element. This is a credible plot with believable characters and almost non-stop action

5* Recommended, 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.

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage ISBN: 9780985370282, published, copyright and written by Susan Cory.

This is the 4th volume in the Iris Reid Mystery Series, a series that employs the world of architectural design for its plot. The protagonist, Iris Reid has discovered a source of deep love and committed to living with Luc Cormier, an excellent chief whose restaurant had gained sufficient recognition to be considered for the acclaimed James Beard Award for culinary arts attainment. The restaurant kitchen and dining room conveniently occupied the entire ground floor of an old place in Cambridge, Massachusetts that was available at a very affordable price. She had completely redesigned the building in this manner and utilized the entire 2nd floor to install their living quarters along with an office for her architectural activities. In continuing work in her own area of expertise, Iris began redesigning an old abandoned building for Ash, a very talented young artist who had been able to purchase it because ‘the price was right’. All is progressing nicely until a series of totally unexpected ‘happenings’ begin. A huge fire of suspicious origin destroys a portion of the young artist’s building and is followed by another at an abandoned well on the property that contains bones of a human that police are able to identify. As the building’s owner, he immediately becomes the main suspect until later on Ash, the young artist himself, is the victim of a gun shot from a passing vehicle. These developments tie in with other events already set forth and an almost unbelievably convoluted and interwoven tale of betrayal, deceit, treachery, self-preservation, lost and/or misplaced love all are combined to present a mystery for which further details would only serve as a disservice to a prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has introduced, at least for this reader, a new and unique area for a mystery tale. As a well-qualified and actively engaged architect, she has successfully endowed her protagonist with the same abilities and set forth a mystery that involves many emotions. Unfortunately I have not read the previously written books in the series and must say that most credibly, this volume can very easily stand completely on its own, providing a tale mystery lovers will not want to put down.

5* Most unusual mystery/suspense/love story readers should love.

When She Touches

When She Touches ISBN: 9781688985490 assumed published by, copyright and written by Sheryl M. Frazer.

Subtitled “A Discovery of Destiny and a gift Like No Others” this is a novel extending from the mid-1900s to the present. It is an unusual story following Genevieve as she, recipient of abstract dreams beginning in childhood, experiences another informing that she ‘will understand once her daughter is born’. The young, newly married Mrs. Walker thought someday, but right now began recalling the fairy tale like, so wonderfully enjoyable romance and wedding to her most thoughtful and wonderful husband still sleeping beside her. From this moment the reader is taken on a strange journey where the young girl, born to a mother who seemed to want nothing to do with the child, is raised by her adoring grandparents and eventually discovers that she has a strange gift in that she can communicate with a person’s soul. This reviewer believes that providing even one more modicum of information would be a total disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: In spite of occasional minor glitches, this book and its anticipated sequel provide one of the more unique tales this reader has encountered. The plot about ‘a soul reader’ is nowhere even vaguely close to the tawdry image that may come to mind. The characters are engaging, even captivating at times and their interwoven nature intriguing. The pace is excellent and the anticipation set in motion by the idea of a sequel’s plot is one of the most compelling this reader has encountered.

5* If you enjoy the unusual, you will not want to miss this one.

Canvas of Time

Canvas of Time ISBN: 9798690817947 assumed published copyright and written by Amélie Pimont.

The story is a sci/fi fantasy/romance following the lives of two people, Sarah and Eli, who are consumed with eternally lasting love that surfaces again with each reincarnation. The reader first is introduced to the couple as they are picked up by a passing space ship in a galaxy far removed, find their true love and are brutally terminated shortly thereafter. They are reunited in Egypt where she is a thoroughly spoiled Princess and he her acquired slave. Once again fate steps in and the relationship is fatally terminated. More reunions follow in France during WW I, and again in WWII when their country is invaded, German soldiers are forcibly assigned to their home, and their fortunes again end unpleasantly. The last reincarnation presented occurs in Los Angeles where Sarah is a free-lance journalist whose photographs gain prominence while Eli is an extremely famous artist. Destiny again brings them together and they live a number of soul-satisfying years until one night while embraced in each other’s arms they fall asleep and once more ascend into the beyond.

Discussion: The author, originally a Parisian, now is living in Los Angeles where she is a free-lance film maker. I understand that this is her initial attempt at production of a novel. As such, it is commendable. Each plot is interesting, the characters are sufficiently fleshed-out to elicit empathetic reactions and the pace, for the most part is good, although slowed considerably in areas. The writing style is unusual, rather simplistic and almost stilted at times, possibly as a result of use of a second language?  There also is a considerable amount of redundancy and/or repetition of words. Some of these features are understandable because of the book’s basic theme. However, a considerable amount actually is disconcerting, if not exactly annoying. However, as a total presentation, the author has produced a most interesting story that deals with a subject that has fascinated people for years. Certainly, these individuals as well as fantasy devotes, will discover these stories to be ‘hard-to-put-down.

 

3* 5* Basic plot intriguing to most; -2* problems encountered for new writers