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.

The Andean Cross

The ANDEAN CROSS ISBN: 9781648038372 Westwood Books copyright and written by Lawrence Clayton.

The story begins by ushering the reader into the world of mystery, cruelty and intrigue heralded by the Conquistadores and their invasion and mutilation of the culture and peoples on the New World under the guise of Christianity. Mathew Weston, a relatively young Texas History Professor, is on a summer break and joins a group looking for the wreck of a Spanish Galleon lost on its trip back to Spain with treasure. The unusual Andean Cross purportedly was included among the gold and silver that was lost during its journey to Spain from the Land of the Incas in 1544. The expedition make positive discoveries and he is fortunate to obtain funding to establish a dive team to investigate further the supposedly exact spot where the vessel was sunk in the Bay of Panama. But even before his obtaining this grant, the story initiates leads with respect to this particular shipment. It appears that the description of all of the items is not to be divulged. The nature of this secrecy and the underlying reasons provide the fundamentals upon which the author has constructed this unique historical, religious, suspenseful mystery with a large component of romance. Clair Snowden, an expert on one phase of history pertinent to some of the artifacts also is a member of the team and she and Weston gradually attain a level of understanding that reaches new heights for them both as the story continues to provide further information about the long rumored extent of the early dissemination of Christianity by its apostles.

Discussion: The author appears to be well known for his scholarly approach to the early rise of the Christian religion. The sites have been well researched as well as the material and the entire package is relatively well-assembled. Fundamentally, this is a plot driven tale in which a large group of characters are gathered together, and although somewhat vaguely presented as to exact positions within the story occasionally, function well. Regrettably for this reviewer, occasional character activities appropriate to the story are difficult to accept when assembled within the picture the author’s earlier descriptions have provided to build a mental picture of a person; e.g., Mathew is presented as a well-trained, knowledgeable diver who can qualify to gain a grant for money sizeable enough to run a dive team, yet he can almost pass out in a simple faint when thoughts occur to him about possible repercussions about his possession of the Andean Cross illegally, ‘because it provides a needed advancement for the overall forward motion of the plot’. Unfortunately, attributing such an action to a certified Deep Sea Diver will be unacceptable to most even slightly knowledgeable individuals and impossible for anyone with any information of the rigors of the required training alone. However, for the average historical fantasy, thriller, mystery, romance devotee this is a story that will satisfy in all areas. For the more casual reader, following the plot as it develops still will provide an interesting story and possibly new thoughts with respect to some aspects of the origins of Christianity.

4* 5* multi-genre plot-driven tale for many readers; at least 4* for most.

Forgiven(Forlorn book3)

Forgiven Vinspire Publishing ISBN: 9781732711273 by Gina Detwiler.

He author has written another in what appears to be a most unusual fantasy involving religious faith, fallen angels, and products of the reason for their ‘fall from Grace’. It centers on the activity of characters assumed to have been introduced in the first volume. Jared Lorn and Grace Fortune have defeated enemies both physical and spiritual in an undescribed Abyss and have begun to think their battles are over and all they want is to be together, write music and continue to live quietly. Regrettably, this is not to be. Various other misshapen individuals and a dastardly, vaguely connected relative of Jared’s also appear. This relative who is a brilliant, extremely wealthy entrepreneur who has joined together with a group of similar individuals with a plan to literally take over the world by absconding with a DNA factor that exists in Jared making him literally superhuman. This is the main plot of this book. On the surface, the idea presented to the world is to harness and employ Jared’s abilities to save the world and its inhabitants. Darwin Speer, the relative, pursues the couple singly and together relentlessly using every tool imaginable and even unimaginable; e.g. a machine that would open the Abyss and release the miscreants (Watchers) from their prison. Ultimately, Grace is able to find Jared in a tremendously weakened state, and with her powerful songs of religious faith save and restore him to his former all-powerful self and begin to address the tremendous amount of harm that already has been accomplished.

Discussion: The author has set forth another of those ‘difficult to select’ star evaluation. If the reader is a fantasy devotee especially with a bent toward a religious theme, this book especially ‘is for you’. For other fantasy genre lovers, you are on a slope whose level you will need to select. For a more general reader group I should expect the selection would range through the 3* and below levels. Thus. a book ranging from 5*- 1* depending on genre interest,

3* 5* – 1* dependent upon depth of genre interest.

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.