Her eyes underwater

Her Eyes Underwater assumed published, copyright and written by Romona Simon.

Julia Straus is a thoroughly spoiled daughter of wealthy parents who finally have informed her that it was time to stop her “wasteful, immature, goalless life” and do something with it. She enrolls in Law School, is thoroughly bored but must continue at least for a while to satisfy her parents. One evening she stops at a local coffee shop and sees the most attractive man she ever has encountered. She approaches and attempts to attract him and succeeds in being invited by him to visit a friend who lives some distance away. She accepts. The trip is unusual and contains a rather scary encounter, but ends with her safe return somehow with his discovery that they are in the same law class. She discovers that his name is Alex Bowman and that they previously had not met because he has missed a considerable number of classes. She still does not meet him in school for several more days until he finally appears as a fabulously popular, socially polished individual who attracts all manner of fellow students of both sexes as well as those at the professorial level. In spite of constantly attempting to spend time and actually obtain a legitimate ‘date’ with him he manages largely to ignore the attempts. Julia is an extremely attractive young woman who always has been the object of choice, even over other attractive women. Her attitude, “You doesn’t need men. Men need you. You are a modern woman, not your mother.”  Chagrined by his constant refusal she persists with intermittent successes leading to various somewhat unusual sexual encounters interspersed with other activities shared with each other as well as with other acquaintances. The activity continues in this fashion until the concluding chapters which somewhat strangely are largely repetitious of the early one but from a slightly different perspective.

Discussion: This is an usual book following a period in the amazingly totally free-living existence of a thoroughly spoiled young daughter of wealthy parents living with equally wealthy friends following a similarly wasteful and goalless path. Their principal activities appear to consist of shopping, heavy drinking and partying plus acquiring any number of available men, seemingly for ‘bragging rights’. The newly acquired activity is totally new for Julia and she muddles onward in an often almost unbelievably socially immature manner. The story is stated as being the first attempt by the author at serious storytelling and as such, shows considerable promise. Her descriptive powers are excellent and her tale is so unusual as to provide continuing interest as to ‘where it possibly could finally lead’. Unfortunately, a good editing could greatly enhance the format. Another regrettable feature, for this reviewer at least, is the fact that not a single character was able to elicit any level of positive empathy. As a result the reader is supplied with a somewhat bizarre tale of misplaced love and socially disturbed individuals in often well-described settings of these rather dysfunctional individuals interacting with a psychotic sociopath who’s ‘other’ activities provide a bit of horror to the account. If a reader’s interest tends toward such stories, it is well enough written to be within your realm of interest. A rating of a significant level for others is difficult.

3* ranging downward depending on reader interest as discussed.

 

Grand Masquerade

Grand Masquerade Born Publishing copyright and written by Stephen C. Perkins.

Setting: The setting for the story is the small town of Rupert, Vermont with its surrounding farmland and dense forests. The town is small but seemingly prosperous with well-run stores and farms with a particularly large dairy that also provides a far better than to be expected Bed & Breakfast that also includes a series of well positioned hunting blinds for those who like especially to hunt deer.

Characters: Outsiders that include a man running for President of the United States; the owner of a technological company that is ‘taking over’ the technology sector of the world by his company’s cutting edge advances; his spoiled well-educated but play-boy son; his long-standing and trusted CFO; his Chinese chief designer; a few lesser characters. Insiders are composed of a sizeable number of residents of Rupert that include the owners of the Dairy/B&B/hunting complex; several of their children; city residents and prominently one daughter of one of the wealthiest; the Sheriff and his Daughter who is somewhat of a ‘bulldog’ investigator; a doctor who is gaining an increasing position of renown as a healer who uses non-invasive techniques. A third set of characters, ‘the Others’, seemingly existing as those of legend and not really existing except as the after results of some form of horrendous activity. Legend has it that they exist because of an unholy alliance they had reached with certain residents of Rupert many years ago.

Plot: The book opens with a gruesome attack on a young boy riding his motorcycle in the dense woods followed by his disappearance. The local Sheriff provides a seemingly plausible reason but the State Police Officers decide to investigate further. They reportedly are attacked of several bears with disastrous results. From this point the reader is taken into a world of political machinations interwoven with the equally corrupt life of business with off shore hidden accounts, deceased individuals who are not dead but living and getting paid as another, and dishonesty, distrust, betrayal, deceit, and treachery rampant. All of these activities gradually interweaving with features concerning the legendary “Others”.

Discussion: The author has set forth a quite intriguing mixture of politics, unprincipled business tactics, personal greed, lack of morality, seeming lack of ability to have any semblance of deep affection all overshadowed by a mystically malignant power in which it is enveloped. A quite intriguing horror (?) story highly recommended.

5* Highly recommended multi-genre/suspense tale.

FOLIE?

FOLIE? A novel published, copyright and written by M. S. Barnes.

In order to provide further understanding of the substance of the book, immediately following the title these words are set forth; “noun, plural fo-lies [faw-lee] /fo’li/. French. Madness; insanity”. This is to explain that the referenced word is French and describes a particularly disruptive syndrome where delusional beliefs of one person may be passed to another (folie a deux) and even beyond to many, as in folie pleusiers (mass hysteria). The plot centers around a young psychiatrist who recently has completed her training and takes a job offer in an aging, poorly staffed and poorly maintained psychiatric institution in a remote section of Tennessee. It is in the time when the profession was only very slowly evolving from insulin and/or electric shock, lobotomies and other of the early experimental procedures. Armed with all of the latest knowledge available to the profession, Dr. Lee was sure she would be able to change the thinking and treatment procedures long espoused by all of the older staff members who she assumed were long removed from newer information. The story begins to accelerate when she spies a newly arrived patient whom she feels she must personally treat. The Chief, along with other members of the staff, believe she does not have the experience to handle this patient, but with reservations, give in to her insistence. She suddenly discovers she has a case beyond her abilities and turns to her mentor, a prominent professor/author and otherwise long recognized as most prominent in the profession. Providing further details would be a disservice to the prospective reader. Suffice it to say, that the tale gradually evolves into a horror, ghost (?) story of huge proportions, similar to, but more sophisticated than those shared in scary surroundings by youngsters.

Discussion: The author has set forth a most interesting tale of two particular basic features of addressing treatment of individuals with any health problems and especially those dealing with the mind. One is the ever present, but largely hidden, difference in the beliefs of medical practitioners and academicians. The former hold the latter in distain with belief in the old adage “Those who can (treat patients), do; those who can’t, teach.” Whereas, the latter, are just as strongly entrenched in the belief that without their discoveries and dissemination of the new treatment modalities, the practitioner would still be employing ineffective methods. Obviously much can be said in support of both beliefs. The second probably supports the first contention much more strongly because a really huge risk is associated when treating patients with mental problems. If the physician has any hidden, unknown or unrealized instabilities within, it can make him/her highly vulnerable to some action, word or thought pattern exhibited by the patient being treated. This is why psychiatrists themselves, after their extensive training beyond medical school and internships, may themselves undergo analysis and all invariably have a mentor with whom they consult when needed. Dr. Lee just picked the wrong type of mentor for her activities – an individual well versed in all phases of psychiatry EXCEPT the practical aspects and worse, an individual with a completely suppressed, devastating personal memory.

Summary: This book’s tale is spun by an author knowledgeable of the story’s basic elements. Thus, it presents an interesting dichotomy of choices – 1. An interesting read about a somewhat bizarre case of mental disintegration 2. To reiterate, an interesting horror, ghost (?) story similar, but much more sophisticated, than those shared by youngsters in scary surroundings.

5* Particularly interesting for two different tiers of readers as described.

Gritty Tales

Gritty Tales ISBN: 9781732544109 an anthology assumed published, copyright and written by Tyler M. Mathis.

The author states that this book contains “13 stories of Crime, Mayhem and Terror”. A forward, although purported to be brief, contains adequate length to provide an overview of the contents with a few directions on suggested approach. He also defines “Gritty tale” as “a story of harsh and uncompromising realism” and lists three definitions of gritty – “courageous, course and abrasive and characters driven by their very basest motives” – as applicable to his content. He also admonishes that “vulgar language, graphic content and unhappy endings” are abundant. He also advises that 6 of the stories previously have been published and all are “straight-up crime, horror of supernatural bent, and most are cross-genre works.” Each individual tale is initiated by its own brief forward providing a hint of what the reader will discover in the following prose.

Discussion: The collection of stories offered are replete with characters who are losers, contain sick minds and/or are basically evil or are in an evil position as a result of one or another factor. Each story is independent of the others and can be randomly selected to read, except for 4 designated as closely related and to be read as such. Thus, the volume provides an excellent read for the busy person who finds only short spaces of time for such activity. The book perhaps is a more fitting read for those who enjoy stories on the dark side.

4* for readers who enjoy dark tales often involving course characters and language

Dogs of War

Dogs of War, A novella. Amazon Kindle Edition, Copyright 2011 and written by Bradley Convissar.

Gary Lettner and Caroline, his wife of six months discover and purchase a home in a nice suburban area and in true dog-lover fashion he decides to visit a small animal shelter to get a dog. Not exactly in a manner favored by Caroline, he obtains Molly, a close to mentally beaten-down eight-year-old Dachshund. For little explained reasons other than a purported incompatibility, they divorce and he and Molly settle into an enjoyable routine until one night Molly awakens him in the middle of the night with incessant barking and a desire to be let out into the garden. From this point, the story become a tale of ghostly dogs and their insistence upon gaining Molly’s aid, with Gary in attendance, to attempt to right vicious wrongs they, and others, had suffered at the hands of cruel developers of dogs to be used in illicit dog fighting.

Discussion: The author has presented a tale describing in some detail the inhuman atrocities a certain breed of individuals will inflict upon animals to satisfy their sick minds. It is a short book that may be classified in the ghost/horror genre with a revenge theme that dog lovers no doubt will love. The pace is good, the rather detailed plot moves well so the reader feels compelled to continue to its termination. As an aside, as once owner of dachshunds, the breed is subject to the infirmities listed, but Gary’s treatment of Molly seems a little overdone especially in light of some of her described activities. But then, when one reads a ghost story, it is necessary to pretty much ignore any pragmatic thoughts.

4* Short, easy read ghost story with unusual protagonists.

Plagued

Plagued, Book One, a post-apocalyptical e-book copyright and written by Garrison Scott and introducing the series’ protagonist.

Skyler Campbell is a normal, attractive teenager living in Great Neck, Long Island. In school she is fully engaged in her school’s activities, including being a cheer leader. The football team has just won an important game and she is about to celebrate with her friends when her grandfather tells her it is important that he speak with her. She says she will see them later but after their talk she begins a home schooling program dictated by the fact that a monstrous asteroid is headed for earth and scheduled to strike within five years if the atomic war heads dispatched cannot stop it. Her grandfather, a former member of the Army’s specially trained Delta Force, wants her to learn to survive under any possibly evolving conditions. Thus begins her home schooling specifically designed to reach this objective. The asteroid strikes earth with cataclysmic effects. She and her grandfather manage to survive because not only had he trained her completely, but had a home with one of the deep survival shelters that had been constructed by a number of people when atomic warfare possibilities first became a viable possibility. The story presents a constant flow of credible occurrences that one might expect following a strike of this nature. There follows equally believable after reactions of earthquakes, flooding and entre into the post- catastrophic world. One, unexpected but also credible occurrence is a brief influx of alien organisms released from within the structure of the asteroid when it strikes that leave a horrible and lasting effect on survivors. Strangely it affects only part of the population but unfortunately Skyler is one of those affected. As they finally are able to emerge from their shelter, they encounter other individuals, some also affected while others who are not and these latter attempt to annihilate all of those who are. The story line follows Skyler as she attempts to survive this devastating situation as she heads west from this most seriously, seemingly center, of the devastating blow.

Discussion: The author has provided a non-stop thrilling tale of the attempts of a now unusually physically compromised young woman who otherwise still is fully equipped to survive as she tries to save others as well as herself in her constantly death-threatened journey. It is a story set forth at such break-neck speed that other than the more pragmatic reader will find difficult to put down. The only caveat offered is for these latter.

5* for other than pragmatists.