ENIGMA Road to the Breaking, Book 2 ISBN: 9781733107969 published, copyright and written by Chris Bennett.

This is the second of an anticipated historical novel series of four. It opens with several definitions of the meaning of the book’s title, a quotation by Nathan Chambers, the protagonist: “I’m not particularly keen on doing what’s normal. I much prefer doing what’s right”, and follows with the opening chapter entitled “Princes, Strange Beasts, and Magical Giants”. The story begins in Greenbrier County, Virginia on June 11, 1860 with Nathan Chambers approaching the Big House his granddaddy had built among the seemingly endless cotton fields. It follows his, along with a host of other characters, actions as the United States of America gradually and inevitably head to the catastrophic War Between the States. A war whose genesis was greed, different ‘ways of life’ and differences in hunger for political power by groups basically demonstrating tremendous differences in morality with thousands of individuals’ very lives at stake. It also is the story of one man’s struggle to conquer an almost overpowering lack of control of a violent temper and to impose his strongly held belief in God and the equality of all men in a position of responsibility in a section of the country that was totally adverse to such equality.

Discussion: Although this volume can ‘standalone’, this reviewer believes some description of the protagonist’s actions and even that of many of his companions should provide insightful material for prospective readers. The first book in the series opens in March 15, 1860 – South of Fort Davis, Texas where Captain Nathaniel Chambers leads his troop attempting to find a notorious outlaw. They do and Chambers, angered by the outlaw’s action, viciously reacts. The reaction is understandable and not inappropriate, but distasteful to him as he is concerned with this personal lack of self-control of anger that he has been struggling with for many years. He had left home because of violent differences with his father, eventually graduated from West Point and ended his career to this point after fighting in the Mexican War. And the loss of control, early encountered and still active as demonstrated here, becomes a persistent feature of the story as it evolves. The tale continues as he is almost revered by those under his command as a fearless leader in battle and an intelligent, empathetic officer. Thus, when his father dies unexpectedly and he is forced to leave the army and its, for him, compatible way of life to return to Virginia, a few of his men resign to accompany him. The return is necessitated by his mother’s inability to handle the affairs of running a huge plantation, replete with slaves, another feature with which the Captain is ‘uncomfortable’.

The title of Book 1, “Road to the Breaking”, is based upon a time of great unrest between the American Indian Nations which Billy Creek, a U.S. Army Indian Scout with Nathan describes: “It was a time of such suffering and death, it caused the breaking of all the old ways. Some for the good, and some for the worse. Nothing came through ‘the breaking’ unchanged, and all that once was, even to the greenness of the earth, was broken during that time, and was never again the same.” The words well describe the theme of the author’s anticipated series as if progresses through the ‘gathering storm’ of the gradually developing Civil War as provided by a somewhat ‘in depth’ description of the actions that evolve around Nathan, his family, friends, acquaintances and enemies. The pace is slightly more ‘uneven’ than that of the first volume due largely to the additional discussions of pertinent facts that perhaps would benefit from some judicious editing. However, the characters are credible and most empathetically portrayed and the story of this chaotic period is a fascinatingly well-told historical novel.

In Summary, a most enjoyable ‘follow-up’ to the opening 5* volume.

5* Continuation of author’s difficult-to-put-down historical novel series.


Centricity: A Sci-Fi Espionage Thriller presumed published, copyright and written by Nathaniel Henderson.
Briefly, the plot follows the activities of several individualistic ‘loners’ who are attempting to function in a dystopian society that is highly compartmentalized but open to subcontractors and overseen by a CIA- or FBI-like central body that is able to discern their actions and thought patterns through various implants and take drastic action if anything contrary to the government’s interest is suspected. Past wars and resultant chaotic results are mentioned as is the occurrence of N-81 a mutating, airborne virus highly contagious during its incubation that wreaked havoc.
Discussion: From this reviewer’s perspective, nothing more can be offered with respect to this book without an explanation of the book’s basics. Specifically, it is a tale in the apparently quite rapidly growing sub-genre of sci-fi called Cyberpunk – succinctly described by Lawrence Person in Wikipedia as “Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.”
The book opens with a preface by the author thanking the reader ‘for plugging into the first instalment of the Centricity Cycle and an explanation of how his interest in this particular thrust for sci-fi stories occurred so that he felt compelled to combine this type of ‘techno-baroque world with his love of James Bond and thriller masters such as Tom Clancy to present his own type of tales’. He has done exactly this with a beautifully written, well-paced story complete with interesting characters. For readers new to this new phase of the psi-fi genre, quite fortunately, at the end of the book he provides an explanation of the rather extensive list of principle characters of the Naion Government, its Military and Corporate members in order of importance followed by those of Cheyvata’s Empire and a schematic of the Naion Hierarchy. Regrettably, a slight oversight caused a delay in explanations of certain of the terms being offered until after they had been used for a time; e.g. a good explanation of nimphs – “Neuronal Interface Multi-Process Hubs – not quite proper but often referred to all brainware including peripherals, software and synt assistants that managed them. They “allowed for the mental control of bodytech, including implants and wearables, but had limitations in trouble-shooting since they relied on local control programs to inform. If the local programs were missing the point, so would the nymph.” This explanation did not appear until Chapter 10.

5* Well-written/-paced/-characterized cyberpunk thriller; strong caveat for pragmatists.


Mine Published by Bloodhound Books print ISBN: 9781913942052 copyright and written by Kelly Florentia.

The story’s prologue opens in North London in late August when an unnamed person is evaluating the fact that the person she is looking at is a liar. She is aware of the fact that his drinking was the cause but it is immaterial. “I know what you did and you have to pay. All I’ve got to do is figure out a way to get rid of you. For good.” The first chapter opens with another anonymous voice berating herself doing something she regrets and worries mount when her phone is missing from its usual place. Before she can move, a 40ish man she knows joins her in bed and asks if she is alright? They are in her flat and knows him but cannot even remember his name. He turns out to be her friend Allison’ new yard man of a few weeks, and we hear the gruesome details of the night’s drunken escapade brought on by her just ex-husband’s divorce and her invitation to his new wedding to one of her formerly best friends. Finally, she remembers the man’s name and that he is the man her dearest friend has been wanting her to meet, he leaves and quite quickly thereafter, her ex-husband appears and we obtain details of his infidelity. She then gets an anonymous text saying: “I know what you did with your best friend’s husband”. Her ex-husband tells her she must sell the flat which she still owns jointly with her ex and a quickly accelerating series of events begins to involve Lucy in a series of events that threaten her with possible incarceration and even death. The ultimate solution to the extended series of activities provides an interesting twist that will give many readers pause for thought.

Discussion: The author has described a woman approaching forty who is carrying a large load of psychological baggage of unknown origin. The result is impulsive activity carelessly pointed in several directions simultaneously, accompanied by multiple thoughts in several directions frequently only vaguely pertinent to the situation in hand. Thus the reader is faced with a somewhat dysfunctional young woman with an intense need for close friendship, whose husband has left to marry a former close friend, a dependence upon other ‘close’ friends with whom she shares all of her most intimate thoughts, and an unfortunate inability to contain her alcohol consumption frequently at inappropriate times. A recipe for reoccurring disaster. A number of proofing errors are a little disconcerting.

4* Probably 4 ½* for readers who find tales of this type intriguing.


Resurrection Runner

Resurrection Runner ISBN: 9781734769821Tautly Sharp Publishing copyright and written by Robert Wood Anderson.

Listed as “A Steven Popoford Thriller”, the story opens with Steven as a very young man killing his love Gretchen on receiving orders from Home Office that he had been compromised because she was a master spy behind a sophisticated ring of enemy agents tasked with disrupting lives of American citizens. It was a messy kill but he would become more adept in the coming years. Apparently, he does become one of their best assassins, but is retired early for reasons that appear later, but only again to be recalled to provide a kill of unimaginable importance to save the country. Confusion develops after the kill because there is a considerable amount of evidence developing to show that he may have been sent to kill the wrong man. The tale continues to evolve in a rather confusing manner until the last quarter of the book where answers for much of the confusion begin to emerge. An ultimate climax is reached but leaves an opening for a probable sequel.

Discussion: The author has written a book that should appeal to individuals who enjoy sections of high octane action even though it is interspersed with lengthy sections of self-analysis by the protagonist. And as stated, the last quarter of the story provides adequate reasons for the earlier confused state in which the protagonist is enveloped and presents further fast action. For the more pragmatic reader, some of the action and its results are a little difficult to absorb.

3*  4*Politically oriented assassin mystery/thriller; -1* apropos caveat.


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.

When Blood Whispers

When Blood Whispers published, copyright and written by Richard Devall.

The book is subtitled “A Bad Date Forensic Thriller” and opens with “This story begins with a supercharged lift-off and doesn’t stop until the end.” An explanation follows that Wendy, a young woman had met Steven Porowski through a dating site and leaves their table in a restaurant he had selected when she is disturbed by his behavior. He follows immediately and threatens her before she can drive away. The story unfolds as his psychotic behavior intensifies and involves her sister Jennifer when  he sends pornographic material to her young son, and sets – up her husband Hunter as his killer after disappearing while abducting Hunter’s new ‘love of his life’ that already has set huge problems in motion in his family situation. Her mother also becomes involved and together turn into a pretty relentless team of sleuths leading to a chase of the demented Porowski and the kidnapped young woman. The ending is ‘different’.

Discussion: As provided in the opening remarks, the story provides the ‘supercharged lift-off’ and follows through as predicted with episodes of high suspense. The characters are well ‘fleshed out’, the pace is fast and the tale is well-written. Thus, regrettably and apologies, because seemingly only for this reader, some of the action and thought patterns exhibited by some characters were difficult to accept as pertinent to the character and/or situation.

3* 5* psychological/suspense/thriller; -2* for this reader as described.

Road to the Breaking

Road to the Breaking ISBN: 9781733107949 published, copyright and written by Christopher Bennett.

Book 1 of historical fiction in an anticipated four book series that by way of explanation opens with a quotation by Billy Creek, an Indian Scout, U.S. Army, 8th Infantry:
“It was a time of such suffering and death, it caused the breaking of all the old ways. Some for the good, and some for the worse. Nothing came through ‘The Breaking’ unchanged, and all that once was, even to the greenness of the earth, was broken during that time, and was never again the same.”

The story opens in March 15, 1860 – South of Fort Davis, Texas. As Captain Nathaniel Chambers leads his troop attempting to find a notorious outlaw. They do and Chambers, angered by the outlaw’s action, viciously reacts. The reaction is understandable and not inappropriate, but distasteful to him as he is concerned with this personal lack of self-control of anger that he has been struggling with for many years. And this trait becomes a persistent feature of the story as it evolves. The tale continues as he is almost revered by those under his command as a fearless leader in battle and an intelligent, empathetic officer. Thus, when his father dies unexpectedly and he is forced to leave the army and its, for him, compatible way of life to return to Virginia, a few of his men resign to accompany him. The return is necessitated by his mother’s inability to handle the affairs of running a huge plantation, replete with slaves, another feature with which the Captain is ‘uncomfortable’. Acceptance of his resignation, outfitting for the trip and the distance to be covered will take several weeks at best and his mother already is experiencing tremendous pressure from the inheriting son of the neighboring plantation. A running feud between the two deceased owners is being re-opened by the young man who is taking ruthless and totally unfair advantage of Nathaniel’s mother. This first book sets the stage for the ensuing series.

Discussion: The author has initiated what appears to be the beginning of an enjoyable tale of the pre-civil war and probably some parts of the ensuing conflict. He has approached a difficult job admirably considering all of the elements required in such an endeavor. He has set the stage by including all of them and imbued the story with tension and anticipation for the next volume. Granted, a certain amount of ‘filler’ has been added that slows the tale’s forward thrust, but generally acceptable and pertinent to character development. An intriguing beginning.

5* Pre-civil war novel with tremendous possibilities.

The Big Tilt

THE BIG TILT ISBN: 9781733610360 Arjuna Books copyright and written by Dan Flanigan.

This is the second book in the Peter O’Keefe series and centers around the activities of this former Marine who finally, with help from a one-time almost inseparable friend, beats drug and alcohol dependency. He now is separated from his wife who went through the ordeal with him but still is close to his 11-year-old daughter, runs a PI business with 2 employees supported by his faithful now successful lawyer friend who is his best client. The story follows Peter as he becomes a target for elimination because he is coming too close in an investigation he is conducting involving characters going back to his high school days, many associated with a trial in which his lawyer/friend is involved. This he does not need, since he already has been targeted by one branch of a Mafioso group because he had been responsible for the incarceration of its Don who died in prison. The action accelerates gradually as the tale progresses and the targeting action is affected by troubles within the Mafioso group and somewhat complicated interwoven activity among the numerous characters from the same early school days.

Discussion: As a lawyer himself, the author is well qualified to present this story of intrigue involving legal complications. The tale’s earlier portions offer some confusion assumedly because much of the material is based upon the series’ first book. Once past this part, however, the story accelerates and the reader finds it intriguing to attempt to discover how Peter, as well as other empathetic figures, are going to make out.

4* 5* story; -1* as stand-alone; i.e. Book 1 required for easier understanding

Fatal Decision

Fatal Decision ISBN: 9781735918204 WolfPrint Publishing and copyright written by T. K. Wolf.

Sam (antha) Harker is a seemingly cold-blooded killer with almost unbelievably developed skills required to function in her chosen field. Now in her twenties, her activities are the result of two closely associated factors. First, disruption of a happy childhood by the death of her mother and father, as well as almost deadly injuries to herself at sixteen years of age, by a drunken driver. Second, exoneration of the driver by legal counsel supplied by Delphi, a shadowy group involved in extensive unsavory performance and frequent murders as well as other deadly activity within the country and throughout the world. She finds a way to join the group, becomes an increasingly valuable asset until an opportunity arises for her to leave, an action literally considered a suicidal act, because to leave was to die because of their wide control of worldwide investigative elements as well as control of key personnel in all levels of government including law enforcement. After successfully accomplishing her disassociation with the organization she instigates disruptive activity costing them extensive loses while each time escaping with minimal personal damage. One evening she meets an attractive man who is a former medic serving with the U.S. Marine Corp. She continues the relationship, which unfortunately opens her to Delphi’s surveillance. They capture the two and use her feeling of responsibility for him by initiating his torture. Through intervention by another operative who was somewhat allied with her because of an equal desire to take down Delphi, an escape is provided. However, there are a number of conditions that must be met and the story continues to follow Sam as she wends her way through an involved series of treacherous acts, deceit, betrayals, and more involving numerous members of Delphi as well as companions of her supposed helper while feeling a total responsibility for ruining her lover’s life, although he also demonstrates an effectiveness on his own part.

Discussion: This is a wild ride with non-stop action while the protagonist performs incredible feats of ‘Deering-do’ as she struggles to survive, keep her lover alive and still continue her attempts to ruin Delphi. This is a high octane thriller for all readers who enjoy non-stop action.

5* High octane thriller for devotees of non-stop action.

Moraturi Lost

Moraturi Lost ISBN: 9781679850080 published, copyright SupRes, Inc. South Australia, written by Marti Ward.

This is the 2nd book in this author’s Lost Mission Series based upon a relatively large series of sci-fi stories about the Paradisi Project whose basics she describes again in detail so it is possible for this volume to ‘standalone’ without having read Casindra Lost, its predecessor. After Solar Horizons, the public face of the ten Founders has decided to ignore further messages from Casindra, they decide to send a second ship to establish the first colony on New Eden. The autocratic leader Henry Thorndike and his specialties ‘authorities’, Dr. Abramov, an AI specialist in charge of Solar System Security (CIA type), Dr. Aditya Ganesh, Intelligence systems, and Medical Authority Dr. Sabina Gunther call in Captain Michael Evans and give him command of the Spaceship Moraturi. They explain that the Casindra is being abandoned because, although Commander Sideris journey through the newly technologically developed wormhole had been successful, he had sustained severe injuries in subsequent encounters with severe storms in the new galaxy leaving a top level 3 AI in command. Messages sent by this AI made them believe that he had turned rogue because at this time the Founders group back home are facing unexpected difficulties with a strike by different levels of AI’s to which legally they must respond because of a legal snag. Thus, their action is to disregard further messages and dispatch another ship on the same journey.

This ship, the Moraturi and its journey, follows as the second book in this series. Captain Michael Evans as the commander of this new trip which advances to attempt actual colonization with 500 passengers, largely in various cryogenic states and, assumedly because of the problems in dealing with the disgruntled AIs, they provide him with a human crew, backed by mostly low level AIs. This journey also suffers severe consequences with damage to the ship besides injury and deaths to the entire crew, including Captain Evans. AND, these events occur before even reaching the galaxy. They are thrown out of the wormhole at a time now placing them more than thirty years from New Eden. There is no alternative other than for the passengers to step up, crew the ship, and attempt to figure out how they will run the ship and be able to extend the food, power and other supplies of necessities to allow them and their 500 passengers who must be brought out of their ‘sleep’ status in the very near future, to survive and safely arrive at their destination when the ship’s supplies had been arranged for less than a three year trip.

Discussion: This second volume perhaps is even more interesting than the first because of the interplay among the larger number of characters provided. It is aided also by the young ages of the principles and their abilities to grow rapidly with the situation. With inclusion of the quite lengthy description of the entire preceding events, this book, as stated earlier, can stand alone for new readers. However, actual reading of the first in the series before this one is enjoyable in itself and recommended,

5* Enjoyable new series for sci-fi devotees.