Lies behind the Woods

Lies behind the Woods ISBN: 9780578593616 assumed published, copyright and written by Bradley Cornish.

A 25 year old tenured college professor is bored and moves for the summer into a cottage in the small town of White Pine in the Adirondack Mountains. He always went there for the summer because he somehow associates it with better times before his father left without saying a word to him when he was very young. He still hoped to find some connection. He is a serious distance runner and while on a morning run he sees what appears to be a possible kidnapping of a young woman. He rationalizes that it could have been any of several different scenarios and does not report it to the police until he sees the local paper and recognizes the reported missing girl as the one he had seen in the car. From this point on the story evolves into a search for the missing girl, her discovery, jailing of her kidnapper, his escape and her part in helping him capture the professor and an FBI associate for whom he has developed some love interest. The story also leads him to discovery of the long missing father and continues until the reader is offered a forthcoming follow-up story.

Discussion: This is a story supposedly based upon the Stockholm syndrome wherein hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. The story’s plot is somewhat thinly aligned with the syndrome, but more specifically it is a tale split in two halves loosely tied with his search for his missing father to bring closure to a part of his life. The first part dwells on the young professor’s repetitive, graphically described sexual encounters with the aside that he, like all of the characters, has been abused heavily during his early life. The second portion is a well-paced mystery/thriller chase through sections of the densely wooded area of the mountains. Overall there are many interesting twists to the story but a time line and seemingly missing sections of action that make the tale a little annoying if not difficult to follow.

Summary: An erotically tilted mystery/thriller/romance this reader found to be interesting but replete with problems of presentation. Probably a tale enjoyable for many. Regrettably, this reviewer was quite unimpressed with what provided only flashes of a good tale.

3* 4* for certain readers; considerably less for others.

AMORA

AMORA ISBN: 9780982150338 (paperback) Cleardtone Publishing, copyright and written by Grant J. Hallstrom.

Amore is a Roman aristocrat who at 17 years of age marries a somewhat older member of the same class who, as a result of having been sent to settle a problem in Egypt, has developed a significant business that he runs with his Roman Senator partners. The marriage is a happy one with the birth of a daughter greatly loved by both parents. Later, she gives birth to a boy who has a deformed leg, something that the unwritten rules of their society almost demand the child’s abondement. She persuades Leo to allow her to keep the child in spite of the act reflecting badly on his position. A position that includes not only his business partners, but his personal friend the philosopher Marcus Aurelius who becomes the Emperor. On the daughter’s 12th birthday, she is kidnapped, raped and killed. Both Leo and Amora are devastated, but instead of consoling each other, they begin the blame game. He finds more and more time to spend travelling and she finds herself completely alone. Gradually she becomes acquainted with increasing numbers of Christians, finally is caught with a group, and is sentenced to die in the Arena. Leo has been one of the men pushing for eliminations of all Christians and witnesses her destruction, as well as that of her faithful maid by wild Lions. The story continues with his gradual descent into debauchery and increasing drunkenness where he is betrayed by one of his partners. He is discovered badly beaten and barely alive by the son he has not seen in a long time and nursed back to health by him and his Christian friends. The tale continues with several interesting twists, well-described bits of gladiator combative techniques, captivating descriptions of Roman centurion battle procedures and a considerable amount of well- done proselytizing. All in all, a quite fascinating read as it wends its way to a conclusion not only as a novel but one containing most pertinent historical factual material and stimulating proselytization.

Discussion: A Preface explains the background material for this book. The author’s younger brother, Calvin, “despite some mental and emotional instabilities emotional problems”, married, worked three low-pay jobs to buy a home for his wife and three children. Unfortunately, the combination caused him to be difficult to live with, so while on a trip to California, his wife changed the locks and filed for divorce. Shortly thereafter, the eldest son moved out. The middle child came out as transgender. The youngest became socially anxious and spent most of his time playing video games in the basement. A few years later the transgender child committed suicide. Calvin’s ex-wife barred everyone from even knowing where the child was being buried. Calvin, through all of this heartbreak refused to let anyone speak negatively about anything concerning his family. Six months later he was ecstatic when his youngest son wanted to reconcile. He joined him, they embraced and the boy stabbed Calvin to death. His story of failing to blame or discredit anyone, is the basis for this story.

Summary: As described above, a fascinating tale on several levels, “Amora is a historical novel based on the true story of the noblewoman who inspired Justin Martyr’s petition to the Roman Senate” on behalf of Christians. It was denied and he, along with several others, was beheaded after refusing to deny their faith. Other important figures of the day – Marcus Aurelius, Crescens, the aristocratic woman’s husband Leo, who is a central figure in the book, and other non-fictional as well as fictional characters play significant parts in this appealing story. Thus, as stated above – a quite fascinating read as it wends its way to a conclusion not only as a novel but one containing most pertinent historical factual material and stimulating proselytization.

5* fascinating novel; pertinent historical facts; stimulating proselytization.

 

Battlemind: a Military Legal Thriller

Battlemind: A Military Legal Thriller ISBN: 9781712187845 assumed published, copyright and written by Michael Waddington.

Max O’Donnell, the protagonist was the usual normal child through grade and high school, subject to the usual bullying. His father had little to no sympathy and told him to quit whining and do something about it, which he referred to as develop a battlemind or developing an emotional mental approach to fightback and win. Eventually he did and the bullying stopped. We now find Max as an army JAG corps lawyer, nearing his time of release from active duty. He is a handsome half Puerto Rican who met and married his beautiful wife Annabella, while they were university students, She was a true southern Belle, born and raised in South Carolina and thoroughly spoiled by a family consisting of a Head of the most prestigious law firm in the state and properly positioned mother in all of the traditions and societies of southern aristocracy. The couple now have a home close to that of her family, two children, and are expecting a third as he prepares to leave the army and begin searching for a position in civilian law. Annabella is expecting him to receive an offer for entry into the family business. The family, of course, is totally turned off by even the thought of Max as the husband of their pampered, South Carolina Belle of old southern aristocracy. Max’s mother is Puerto Rican, so his heritage does not exactly ‘fit in’ with a family clinging to the long held southern beliefs of the purity of members of their particular society. Max is assailed with another problem. He is ordered to defend a Sergeant charged with murdering a terrorist by beating him to death while held in American custody. Any improper action against prisoners of war strictly is prohibited by the rules of International treatment of such prisoners. The story evolves into a mystery with many twists as Max attempts to defend the Sergeant at trial in Texas while simultaneously attempting to save his marriage in South Carolina. Both defenses are fraught with hostility. The trial has a hostile judge and a prosecution that is backed by the government’s stance that they never would be involved in such improper activity and thus, much of the material he requires for defense cannot be addressed because of governmental regulations. The home front situation is filled with intense dislike by his wife’s family and exacerbated by his wife’s receipt of false stories of Max’s association with another woman in Texas. Ultimately, after finally again speaking with his father after many years, he reacquires his Battlemind and approaches both problems with a mindset that brings results.

Discussion: The author has written an interesting tale of governmental employee deception, betrayal, blatant dishonesty all backed by supposed as well as actual mandates, as well as a well-done description of the distinct racial biases that still exist and are more prevalent in some areas than others. The characters are quite believable and the plot exhibits numerous intriguing twists. There is a certain amount of confusion to portions of the presentation that this reader finds a little difficult, but generally speaking, it is an intriguing story that leaves many questions as to how, or if, Max is going to be able to successfully straighten out his life with any degree of success.

 

4* 4 ½* actually (5 – ½*) for reasons described.

Eleven Furlongs

Eleven Furlongs ISBN: 9781732544123 a mystery assumed published, copyright and written by Tyler M. Mathis.

This is a story of horse racing in the earlier, less controlled days when the jockeys’ pre-race assembly room was a little less strictly controlled, jockey were perhaps a little less restrained, ‘doping’ of horses was more easily accomplished, as was ‘fixing’ of races and the greater prevalence of jockeys who were easily persuaded to change the outcome of a race for a quietly, and secretly delivered bit of cash The story teller is one of these freewheeling athletes who has more than his share of natural ability, but unfortunately is easily led astray. He now is a dying priest telling his true story and how his final race participation was in the first American race with participation by foreign thoroughbreds and run on turf rather than dirt and was probably the most highly ‘fixed’ race in history.

Discussion: The author has presented a horse racing story that brings back memories to any reader old enough to have participated in any phase of the sport and a fascinating explanation of various aspects of the sport to the un- or slightly initiated reader. It is a story set in an earlier time (roughly 1940’s to 1950’s) when the sport was slightly less rigidly monitored. The jockeys perhaps were a little less self-controlled than today as it seems were the persons responsible for running the events. In summary, a most interesting read that this reviewer regrettably believes a little judicious editing, especially of the final quarter of the book would greatly have enhanced its enjoyment.

4* 5* story; -1* as explained.

The Guardians of Erum

The Guardians of Erum publishing permitted by UAE’s National Media Council. Permit # MC-01-01-9623856. Book age group: +17 copyright ISBN: 97899483445, and written by “Self-Publisher” A. Ali Hasan, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Sub-titled, ‘and The Calamitous Child of Socotra’, the story’s setting is one of “Arabia’s pre-Islamic history, traditions, religious beliefs, and local culture and folklore” with abundant activity by jinn. Most locations exist in modern-day Oman or Yemen, but Wadi Erum, in which Part One is centered, is a magnificent city which now is believed to be buried under the sand dunes of Rub’ Al Khali Desert. The story line follows a young farmer and his wife who have a male child born under a particular star which indicated he would ruin Wadi Erum and bring other disastrous results to the world. This all set forth by “Behas the saher, deceiver of all weak minds, master of all sorcery. Necromancer and conjurer, alchemist, and lord of the jinnic realm, and widely known as the worst of mankind.” This jinn Master, or master sorcerer, was at one time acclaimed as a hero by saving Wadi Erum, but has fallen into a less credible position with the gigantic rulers of the city and country itself. Thus, his word still is believed by many and he entreats one of his jinn to kill the baby. The jinn is interrupted and killed by a member of another of an opposing group but cannot stop the baby from being kidnapped. The story continues as a desperate concerted effort is initiated by the baby’s father aided by the rulers and guardians of Erum plus others supporting the powerful Gray Mountain Queen who also wants to find the child for her own reasons. Fundamentally, the story becomes a chase provided in three parts. The first covers the area of Wadi Erum and its surroundings. The second moves the action to the coastal area of Salalah. The third continues onto the island of Socotura where a huge battle takes place, and gradually returns to the Wadi Erum area with a finalization of this section of the tale.

Discussion: This is an interesting historical fantasy involving a chase by the father to regain his son kidnapped by a jinn Master who is fundamentally wicked, but controversially considered good by many for an earlier deed that saved the city. There are numerous characters important to the story and they diligently maintain their parts. All maters considered, a book of fantasy, full of the occult that should greatly appeal to the younger members of the YA group. The author’s fascination with the historic folklore of pre-Islamic Arabia is evident and a thread to which he strongly adheres. From this reader’s perspective a cautionary note must be entered, however. With the level of sophistication existent in today’s youth, at least within the United States, it would seem that the level of 17 + or – suggested as the best reading level may be lowered a little for greatest reader enjoyment.

5* For lower level YA readers with suggested caveat reason set forth.

The Price of Safety

The Price of Safety ISBN: 9781950890811 World Castle Publishing copyright and written by Michael C. Bland.

The storyteller opens with his statement that “Igniting a miniature sun was the riskiest thing we’d ever attempted. Yet we were doing it in front of the entire planet” With 45 seconds left in countdown, he was mentally checking all aspects of the project while his onetime best friend and company co-founder CEO Nikolai, was in front of the 200 assembled CEOs bragging about the various accomplishments. The ignition is accomplished, in part, but must be terminated by a structural failure. From this introduction the tale continues as we follow the activity of Dray Quintero, a brilliant scientist who is the inventor of the extensive array of methods employed by the government supposedly to protect and provide a better life for the citizens. He discovers far too late that instead, these features are being employed to control them. Seemingly, the CEO has been able to provide the manner in which they are disseminated and has been completely tied to the government resulting in great wealth for himself, while Dray was involved in the brilliant investigative activity of providing the blueprints. The story is a matter of many twists and turns that involves his wife and three children. Death of the first one having a tremendous effect on him and his wife and directing their attention in an unhealthy manner toward attempts to protect the remaining offspring. But here, we discover that the older daughter has an agenda of her own. There are a large number of twists and turns in the plot with abundant distrust, deception, betrayal and treachery discovered to have been extant for some time and even within his own family.

Discussion: The author has provided a tale that reflects much of the thought and attitudes of much of today’s population set in a sci-fi of a number of years in the future. There is much repetition and some inexplicable thoughtless activity. However, this is a book for individuals who are devotees of sci-fi non-stop action thrillers. Regrettably from this reviewer’s perspective, it may be a little ‘over-the-top’ for even the reader who enjoys sci-fi/thrillers but is a tad more pragmatic.

3* 5* great read for die-hard readers of action-packed sci-fi/thrillers; -2* as explained.