People Missing in the Woods

People Missing in the Woods, an e-book published, copyright and written by Steph Young.

The author has collected the stories of a considerable number of individuals who have disappeared under strange circumstances in numerous countries throughout the world. Occasionally their bodies have been recovered after varying amounts of time after they were reported missing – and even in positions repeatedly visited by searchers. Even more strangely, some reportedly did not even provide a hint of the cause of death. Most have been in areas far removed from ‘civilization’ and many in sections referred to by local residents as ‘haunted’ or other such description such as Arizona’s Superstition Mountains and the Scottish Mores. The tales also include a number of strange encounters similar to other tales of UFO’s and strange ‘aliens’ with all, no matter in what part of the world encountered, being described with remarkably similar body and facial/head structures.

Discussion: An interesting accumulation of stories that would benefit from editing to remove repetition and perhaps provide, where available, more than just cursory autopsy findings and forensic details.

3*     4*Interesting reports; 3* for reasons described.

Eagle Shield: Milestone Rising

Eagle SHIELD: Milestone Rising, first published in Australia by Aurora House 2018 copyright and written by Carl Lakeland. This Kindle edition ISBN: 978064822690.

Plot: The story opens in Alice Springs, a settled area in Australia’s ‘Outback” with Nathan being assigned to be the guardian/new parent for orphaned 10-year-old Angel whom he is informed has some ‘most ‘unusual talents’. Nathan Masters, nicknamed Canter, is a former special services soldier who had lost part of a leg in combat, but still works for ASIS, the Australian CIA/FBI type of organization. They are engaged in clandestine defensive activities against an organization that intends to devastate earth by nuclear fission. Purportedly, the organization is composed of worldwide, highly placed government and large company CEO’s along with Mafia and similar groups. These individuals are aligned with aliens who have infiltrated and lived among earth people for years and have provided these ‘privileged’ individuals with the opportunity to harvest large personal gains for their aiding the aliens while assuring them they would be provided with a means of escape from the devastated planet. The reason for the ‘Oudarretians’ desire to devastate earth is because the remnants of nuclear fission produce a substance they need to survive and gradually their source is being depleted. Angel is part human and part of this alien origin. Nathan’s assignment is titled Eagle Shield, presumably associated with an unusual relationship she appears to have with these birds. His instructions are to deliver Angel from Alice Springs to a safe house in Melbourne and then remain as her new parent/guardian while helping to prepare her to become an ASIS agent when she becomes an adult. Along with Angel he is given an important disc and other pertinent material about the Milestone Project that must never be out of his sight and control. With this attempted elimination of some of the early confusion of this story, the reader can embark upon pursuing the well written, fast paced abundant action that follows.

Discussion: The author has a most creative mind with which he has set forth a very interesting high-octane action plot, often on the edge of credibility, but acceptable with its occult/fantasy, alien/paranormal thread. His characters also gradually become increasingly interesting as more about them is revealed as is the plot, even though a certain amount of confusion still persists. Unfortunately, Canter is not as careful as his instructions require, numerous complications result and the action moves forward at a decidedly accelerated pace. So, readers who enjoy fast, often violent action with a touch of the paranormal will discover an enjoyable romp. Buy it and enjoy it but DON”T read the next paragraph.

A SPOILER ALERT must be offered for readers who, if like this reviewer, are not particularly attracted to lead characters who are quite inept in other than certain situations, here active combat. Specifically, if Canter were more mentally agile, listened to and followed instructions provided, he would be an individual more in line with expectations of an operative in a government’s intelligence service. But then, and most regrettably and apologetically, this perhaps is simply ‘one person’s opinion’.

3* 5* For violent action devotees; caveat regrettably and apologetically offered for others.

 

 

The Broadcast

The Broadcast, an e-book published, copyright and written by Liam Fialkov.

Plot: The author has provided an interesting plot that is quite closely allied with thoughts arising from Erich von Dänilien books. However as provided, little description of the plot may be set forth without a ‘spoiler alert’ for presenting too much of it and/or its component parts. Briefly however, the story centers around a series of blockbuster broadcasts that at first present photographic evidence of situations that lead to solving ‘dead case’ murders. It then switches to documentary productions of historic events that the producer states gradually will go back to zero AD. As these latter increasingly reveal graphic descriptions of well-known/accepted factors of history, mounting pressure is exerted against their production by both Christian and Muslim groups who fear revelation of various activities that may be contrary to their long held beliefs and/or teachings.

Characters: Leading characters include Jonathan and his brother Walter, who as small children had been put up for adoption when their family was killed in a car crash. Walter was fortunate in being adopted by a loving family, well-educated and became a well-known TV producer. Jonathan became the product of several foster families and was only variously educated. He was intelligent and extended his education into several areas, however. Jonathan’s wife Sarah, disowned by her family for becoming pregnant at sixteen (actually raped) was sent from St. Louis to Phoenix where she delivered a baby that was taken from her at the convent causing her endless remorse. McPherson is an award winning journalist who believed the productions by Walter were phony and set in motion an attempt to expose them. HH a former debatably crooked cop who had served time and now was a bitter, occasionally vicious PI. Michael, a young adopted boy who is hired by Walter and plays an increasing part in the story. Numerous others who play roles of varied importance. Additionally, Jonathan and Sarah’s large, heavily forested area of residence contains an unusual portion that also plays an important part in the tale as the plot advances until it gradually reaches a fitting finale.

Discussion: As described, the story begins with the TV’s Hype for the unusual clip that had come into Walter’s possession that reveals the perpetrator of a twenty-five-year-old murder, followed by similar before switching to the historical documentary productions. The method of provision is to quite constantly switch between scenes with intermediate chapters. 1 – the TV hype; 2 – a chapter describing Johnathan and Sarah; 3 -one of Sarah; 4 – the Broadcast; 5 – Johnathan; 6 – the Broadcast; 7 – Michael; 8 – the Broadcast, etc. This approach does provide important bits and pieces of the story and the interrelationship of numerous characters as they move inexorably toward the finish. Unfortunately, the format results in a large amount of repetition and/or redundancy that if removed, would greatly enhance the progression of an intriguing story. Some, more prosaic, readers may find a little difficulty in accepting some character activity and many will find character development sketchy. Some will find the ending ‘proper and emotionally satisfying’ while others may believe it to be a little too ‘pat’.

4* For fascinating story; -1 at least for numerous hiccups.

Chasing the Red Queen

Chasing the Red Queen, a multiple genre novel published, copyright and written by Karen Glista.

The book opens with a prologue from an ancient birch parchment of the Ojibwa, also known as Chippewa, Indian nation, whose main area of residence more or less centered on Sault St. Marie and contiguous portions of America and Canada. The parchment details how “seven spirits presented themselves to the people in the Land of the Dawn to teach the Mide way of life. The first six spirits were good and kind, but the seventh grew too powerful and killed those in his presence.” Supposedly, the good spirits had forced him into the ocean. This is a story of his reappearance and centers on Donja Bellinger, whose mother’s death four years previously has left her with intense psychological problems. Now her mother has decided to marry Carson Hampton and they are to move to the upper Michigan Peninsula leaving the home, school, surroundings and close friends established over her seventeen years of life. He was extremely nice, equated immediately with her younger brother and tried very hard to do the same with her. Offering still another problem was Carson’s daughter Makayla, a beautiful, poised, constantly well-dressed 17-year-old who was independently wealthy from money her mother had left her when she had passed away a few years before. They move into the new home which is on the Historic Homes Registry and reputed as having been owned by a woman who was believed to have been a Chippewa leaving the house haunted. It is a mess ad they are going to have it renovated while they’re living there. The two girls become true sisters as each has a problem with which they help each other and they go exploring into a secret room discovered. Here they find many fascinating things, not the least of which are very old paintings on birch bark along with some of the earliest photographs. These, combined with other discoveries – the fact that Donja is the only descendant left of a distinct branch of the Chippewa nation; she and Makayla becoming romantically involved with two extremely handsome men in the near-by night life centers; the men are       actually part of a vampire-like race living on earth for centuries – all lead to extended wild and weird activity evolving from re-entry of that seventh (evil Ojibwa) spirit who is attracted to Donja as the only surviving member of that extinct branch of the Chippewa Clan. The tale culminates eventually in horrendous bloody battles and a fitting end.

Discussion: The author has used the well-known strange stories that have for years emanated from, and about, the upper Michigan Peninsula and associated parts of Canada but has added a new twist – a vampire-like (alien) race of immortals. This amalgamation with one of the well-known basic themes is perhaps a little jarring to readers aware of the usual thrust of stories associated with the area. But in its unique multi – fantasy/alien (?)/vampire/mystery – genre status is acceptable and as such, no doubt of interest to many readers of one or more of these categories. Regrettably, there are a number of features that, at least from this reader’s viewpoint, make evaluation difficult to say the least. The impression first acquired is that the story appears to be slanted somewhat toward a teenage feminine group because after an initial understanding of Donja’s decision to go goth, the extensive amount of description set forth and emphasis on make-up, hair styles and stylists, boutiques, and variations in dress, as well as the approach to male/female activity descriptions somehow heightened this impression. However, as the story continues the trend became more varied and the imposition of more graphic violence moved the tale to assume a broader scope. Another distraction is the number of lengthy descriptions that requires judicial editing to aid in remaining closer to the book’s basic story. So to reiterate, a story difficult to assess.

Conclusion: A multi-genre story that no doubt should appeal mostly to certain Fantasy/Romance readers who do not mind inclusion of considerable graphic violence and lengthy rhetoric only tangentially pertinent to the main theme.

3* Multi-genre tale adding unusual twist to those associated with the region.

Raptor Ray

Raptor Ray, “self-published via KDP”, copyright and written multi-genre e-book by Brent Reilly.

Plot/Characters: The year is 2025 and the beautiful wife of brilliant geneticist Dr. Ramundo Ramirez, is having a designer baby at 6 months because she looked like a huge 9 months and the fetus had begun pushing for delivery. The mother, a 7’ tall, also brilliant geneticist was a genetically enhanced woman herself and had insisted that she give birth to a dinosaur hybrid. Her desires were fulfilled. Sonograms had pictured the fetus as really weird and the obstetrician Bennet had delivered thousands of babies but admittedly this was the first delivery of a non-homo sapiens in 30,000 years. He does a C-section, an extraordinarily large baby explodes out. It has a tail but no feathers or body hair, strange yellow eyes, two claws and a thumb for each hand, scaly skin, and feet presenting three talons only, like an eagle. The delivery causes unstoppable bleeding and she dies. Ramiraz suddenly realizes that she had been more interested in producing this hybrid than in raising it. He is devastated, wants nothing to do with the child. Bennet’s daughter Emily, also attending, cleans the baby but cannot stop its crying. His irascible mother Wilda sees the baby and the two equate immediately. She tells son and Emily to go back to playing God, she would stop teaching and although suffering from Parkinson’s, will take care of this child who had special needs.

The story then turns to the General, the character around whose activity most of the story revolves and with whom (and/or his relatives/offspring) the reader is taken into a long ride through sci-fi accomplishments some of which no doubt already are on the drawing board while others still are on a list of anticipated conjecture. Included are his ability to generate clean electricity, provide potable water putting desalination plants out of business, and transmit it all to where people live, and more. The Pacific Ocean had a million uninhabited islands because of lack of reliable drinking water. He took over, developed them and gathered them together as a country which he owned. He developed a thermal nuclear source far better than electrolysis – placed them as artificial islands calling them ‘sea cities’. These were defenseless until the Jacksons got their own country, claimed an exclusion zone and confiscated ships that fished there. He developed a metal stronger and lighter than steel enabling him to construct the tallest skyscrapers etc. etc. and Luxury resorts cheaper than any. Pre-planned cities with cheapest transportation, education, healthcare, maximized walkability. His family, brilliant geneticists, ran the designer baby clinics that already had produced some of these dominating science, sports, acting, medicine and others who now were in their 20’s. A utopia? Possibly, but this all is dependent upon the General who might be summarily described as often rude, crude, lewd and despicable in his personal as well as business tactics but make make him the first certified Trillionaire. The tactics include manipulative banking activity, short-trading, invoking discontent, riots and more. He ruins Australia, and thousands of parties attempting to stop him collectively lost trillions. He shorted publically-traded counterparties, Goldman Sachs stocks crashed as well as others and he made a trillion just on shorting thousands of financial firms and used the media to inflame Americans so they wouldn’t fund necessary defense/attack needs so he could take over.

Discussion: The author has presented a lengthy treatise on the physical troubles facing today’s world and its inhabitants with additional ways in which these problems could be eliminated mostly, unfortunately by means not yet available. The activities additionally mirror much of the subversive activity that is so apparent in political maneuvering on the international level. This definitely is a book that should appeal to sci-fi/fantasy/thriller devotees. This reviewer’s personal enjoyment would have been much enhanced if some of the descriptions of building the various cities and those of the frequent battles could have been edited sufficiently as to be less redundant. i.e. although admittedly varied, much redundancy could have been eliminated. One other curious note – given the apparent importance of Raptor Ray’s birth, it seems, at least to this reviewer, odd that only the occasional chapter was devoted to his activities until close to the book’s end.

3* Basically sci-fi, multi-genre story exploring numerous modern world problems.

 

Panther Across the Stars

Panther Across the Star, Fallen Leaf Books, e-book copyright and written by Lon Brett Coon.

Prologue: In a broken down house in Oklahoma in the year 2023 Myaka is at the height of frustration. He is the great grandson of the long line of Panther Across the Sky, Chief of the Shawnee Indian tribe. As hereditary leader, he is afraid for his people: “How many times can a peoples’ hope be torn from them before it goes out forever? I don’t know if I can bear that burden. It crushes my bones and chains my soul.” He is a desperate soul who drowned in a river of fear. He smashes the mirror with his fists as well as any other glass wear available. His mother tells him all eventually will be alright but too immersed within himself, he grabs a blanket against the chill and wanders out into the night. He encounters a group of people sharing fun, wine and talk around a campfire on the beach. They invite him over, are a little startled because easy relationships are difficult between people of their culture and his. However, they equate well and upon their urging he tells them a story. The tale is based fundamentally on the life of the purportedly wise Shawnee Indian chief Tecumseh and his attempts to form a confederacy of Indian nations to stop the encroaching white man. He is presented as a man who wanted peace for all with none overriding others in spite of seeing his father brutally killed by white men who had invaded Shawnee territory. The tale continues with numerous episodes of his life, some based on actual activities, others are conjecture including his saving the lives of three intergalactic persons who crash in their spaceship near his band of warriors – an incident purportedly to be found in Shawnee legend. This volume of the anticipated series ends with an epic white/Redman battle. An epilogue follows where Myaka finishes his story to the uneasy group of the rape of the Indian nations by the constantly encroaching white men with their incessant lies, retractions and overwhelming military resources and concludes: “The Reservation – a token gift to the savages that holds up American humanity.” He walks away, but the reader is given to understand that somehow with this catharsis, the fifteen year old boy has grown to become a man and the reader understands that the saga is about to continue.

Discussion: The author has provided a historical novel with a message somewhat similar to the earlier written books describing the fall of the Cherokee Nation but with an interesting sci-fi addition. The body of the tale is well-written, the action is abundant and graphically detailed and follows the life of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh with a slight historical error, unnoticeable to other than a very few American Indian aficionados. From the viewpoint of a reader who has spent a fair amount of time in and around reservations, the housing description and Myaka’s actions are particularly well done. The epilogue does not seem to fit as well. It somehow seems to this reviewer like a prepared paper to enforce a point that already has been well presented in the body of story. (An aside perhaps of some interest to a few readers –the name Myaka means Turtle.)

4* Enjoyable historical with an interesting sci-fi inclusion.