Hunt for Harald’s Gold

Hunt for Harald’s Gold ISBN: 9780996657396, assumed published, copyright and written by Jack Dancer.

This book is sub-titled A Scottish DNA Love Story and appears in part to have some semblance to these elements. Ostensibly a group of twosomes has been gathered together who have been discovered to be DNA-matched lovers to journey to Scotland to search for a huge gold nugget that has been lost for centuries. The group’s leader is a physician specializing in DNA research who had spent time in Africa where she encountered strange characters who pop up later in the story while the couples are searching for the huge nugget. Simultaneously it seems that a large group of African school girls had been captured by Boko Haram, transferred to an evil woman doctor who dismembers them to sell body parts as requested, on the black-market. Her headquarters and laboratories are on the Isle of Skye. One of the recruited members of the DNA couples is Tucker, who is the designated partner of Billie, the DNA specialist leading the couples on the nugget search. The reader discovers that he has had a former encounter with the evil doctor that has left scars, in spite of being partially successful. The other group members are of varied backgrounds and many not what they supposedly represent. The body part suppliers and the gold hunters cross paths by design as we discover and the tale proceeds to no ending but rather this volume serves as a first installment for the next.

Discussion: On the good side, readers may find much of the book to be an amusing read with a mass of action contributing in a highly confusing manner. A caveat must be include however in that there is abundant, often irrelevant sexual activity and most graphic depiction of un-anesthetized anatomical destruction. Furthermore and regrettably, from this reviewer’s perspective, the author has written a totally confusing volume with a bizarre admixture of Scottish legend, the fairy world, romance, a bit of science, activity by an unusual transgender hero and many improbabilities typically found in the fantasy genre. It also apparently is the first in a series.

Summary: A multi-genre book for readers who enjoy zany tales and don’t mind reading serials.

3* 4* Multi-genre zany tale for devotees; others 3 – 2*.

Rula, The Heist

RULA, The Heist ISBN: 9781976968525, copyright and written by Nicole Parris.

The story opens when a young woman checks out of a cheap hotel on the fourth day of a dismal rain in London. Apropos instructions she had been given, it was late in the evening when she hires a taxi to be taken to a remote location. Supposedly her activity was being undertaken in an effort to right numerous wrongs. On the way, her cab is struck purposely and repeatedly by a car she assumes contains someone wishing to steal the contents of a small metal box she had been instructed to guard with her life. It was a box that held centuries of secrets and codes of Rula – a strange, ancient game whose secrets had been retained for centuries by one noble Italian family and had impacted society through the years in often evil and unexpected ways. Another car attempts to cut in but quite literally explodes just before the three cars arrive at a bridge crossing a sizeable stream. The original attacking car precedes them onto and across the nearing bridge and on the other side shoots out the taxi’s tires to stop the car. The attacking car’s driver then shoots the driver, and moves to open the passenger door where “trapped alone in the back seat, a part of Abby died with him. She relaxed. This was how she imagined her life would end – on the side of a dark road, alone at the mercy of ‘them’.” From this initial activity the reader is taken on a complex journey that begins in 1980 when the heir to the noble Italian family decides to acquire five new players to participate again in the ancient game. One of the players engaged is a prominent, intelligent and cunning magician who has an agenda of his own in playing. The ensuing action then shifts constantly through multiple scenes in London and others here in the U.S. and involves the now twenty-year-older magician, his henchman, a beautiful, spoiled, rebellious, wealthy young woman wishing to make her own way as an investigative reporter, the small paper’s owner, a male co-worker, a new husband who is the best friend of a man who also serves in the same capacity with her, her dominant father and several other interesting individuals.

Discussion: First and foremost, the author has provided a well-written, fascinating plot with most empathetically presented characters in a story that should offer various degrees of appeal to devotees of mystery, suspense, romance, thriller, for those enjoying erotica and even a bit of paranormal interest. The plot is complex, the main characters all exhibit varying degrees of mental ‘quirks’, some from obvious past occurrences while others are discerned as arising from other unknown factors. Most of the rather copious descriptions of places and activity appear to be justified with the particularly descriptive erotic activity, although well-done, appearing to be somewhat overly presented in that the quantity does not add appreciatively to the story. Further from this reviewer’s perspective, although some confusion occurs occasionally, most is eliminated as one progresses through the book, so there is really only one problematic feature for certain prospective readers – those who do not like being forced to read a serial. This volume introduces the reader ONLY to the first part of a story that seemingly will be extended through several episodes.

3* 5* fascinating plot, empathetically characterized. 3* important caveat.