Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage ISBN: 9780985370282, published, copyright and written by Susan Cory.

This is the 4th volume in the Iris Reid Mystery Series, a series that employs the world of architectural design for its plot. The protagonist, Iris Reid has discovered a source of deep love and committed to living with Luc Cormier, an excellent chief whose restaurant had gained sufficient recognition to be considered for the acclaimed James Beard Award for culinary arts attainment. The restaurant kitchen and dining room conveniently occupied the entire ground floor of an old place in Cambridge, Massachusetts that was available at a very affordable price. She had completely redesigned the building in this manner and utilized the entire 2nd floor to install their living quarters along with an office for her architectural activities. In continuing work in her own area of expertise, Iris began redesigning an old abandoned building for Ash, a very talented young artist who had been able to purchase it because ‘the price was right’. All is progressing nicely until a series of totally unexpected ‘happenings’ begin. A huge fire of suspicious origin destroys a portion of the young artist’s building and is followed by another at an abandoned well on the property that contains bones of a human that police are able to identify. As the building’s owner, he immediately becomes the main suspect until later on Ash, the young artist himself, is the victim of a gun shot from a passing vehicle. These developments tie in with other events already set forth and an almost unbelievably convoluted and interwoven tale of betrayal, deceit, treachery, self-preservation, lost and/or misplaced love all are combined to present a mystery for which further details would only serve as a disservice to a prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has introduced, at least for this reader, a new and unique area for a mystery tale. As a well-qualified and actively engaged architect, she has successfully endowed her protagonist with the same abilities and set forth a mystery that involves many emotions. Unfortunately I have not read the previously written books in the series and must say that most credibly, this volume can very easily stand completely on its own, providing a tale mystery lovers will not want to put down.

5* Most unusual mystery/suspense/love story readers should love.

Inherent Greed

Inherent Greed ISBN: 9781734436167 Authoraide Publications, copyright and written by Carney Vaughan.

The author opens with a synopsis of the story that explains a man by the name of Cameron Parmentor “a self-swerving, cunning, cold-blooded adult, matures with eyes upon a career in Australian federal politics” and describes the manner in which he achieves his desired position. It further introduces two police officers who are captured on film exchanging a large amount of cash in a situation deemed to be corrupt. One of them disappears and the other, Jack Penrose, is cashiered from the force with only his word to verify that is was in return for a debt owed to him. A battered housewife neighbor to whom he is kind is the only one who believes him but then both are declared murders when her husband is killed. The story follows their attempts to evade capture and brings into the tale a large number of other characters that play important roles leading to a most interesting and unexpected climax.

Discussion: This is an account of a sociopathic killer that begins slowly but gradually evolves into a circuitous trail of events that are unraveled only by the tenacity of a woman journalist of sorts along with help from her husband, a retired detective, the disgraced policeman and a couple of Parmentor’s heavily affected victims.

5* Absorbing tale mystery readers will not want to put down.

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

Hairbag Nation

HairBag Nation Amazon Digital Services LLC copyright and written by Robert L. Bryan.

This is Book 1: The Police Riot that tells a series of stories of the NYC Transit Police. The story is purported to be fiction, but obviously contains non-fictional elements. Crime was rampant and the subway system even worse so that the authorities in 1983 ultimately decided to form three separate New York City police agencies – the NYC Police Dept., Transit Police Dept., Housing Police Dept. The same civil service examination was given to all applicants. Those who passed were assigned at the rate of 7 to the Police Department, 3 to the Transit Police and 1 to the Housing Police. Obviously a large degree of animosity developed among personnel of the various departments as a result of their self-assessment of importance of the various departments. This factor altered the consciousness of some of the Transit Police to the opposite of what they were meant to be. “They became lazy, cynical, contemptuous, apathetic, and indifferent. In short, they were transformed into Hairbags”, a name assigned frequently to ‘burned-out’ individuals who didn’t want to do anything and didn’t care anymore. This book is a fictionalized account of some of the resulting antics of these misfits.

Discussion: The book’s title appears to provide a suitable one in that it recounts a story of a bizarre incident occurring in NYC in 1857 that resembles the occurrences of the fictional anecdotes provided here. The author, a most creditably educated and still importantly engaged in security activities, retired Captain of the Transit Police has gathered together these vignettes that range from nonsensical to amusing to bizarre.

4* Mostly amusing collection of fictionalized stories about the NYC Transit Police.

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.

Money, Truth & Life

Money, Truth & Life ISBN: 9781734752830 Impact Driven Publishing, Copyright, written by Judy L. Copenbarger, JD, CFP, AIF.

Sub-titled Practical Wisdom to Strengthen Families for Life, the book opens with several Testimonials; an interesting Dedication; Special Thanks to several people. Following are 9 chapters; an Appendix; About the Author and an invitation to Continue Online. The discussion in each chapter is simply presented with an approach and verbalization set forth for the average family and its members. Chapters 1 and 2 discuss some basics of money and other fundamentals; #3, matters of taxation; #4, how to legally protect you, your business and your family; #5, cash flow planning; #6, growth and protection of your assets; #7, use of insurance to reduce financial risks; #8 how to live a life of Integrity; #9, preparing your next step summing up ‘The elements of mastery straightening your “life spokes” (elements explained earlier), Finances and Faith and Creating Your Plan. The Appendix includes in brief, a Spending Plan Template for Families, Additional notes on Laddering, an “Earn, Save, Sell” Exercise; 3 Methods to Pay Credit Cards.

Discussion: This is a most unusual book written by a woman of considerable talent married to an equally, but differently talented man, who has developed a rather unique ability to equate with and explain things in a simple manner understandable by families from any walk of life. The prospective reader acquires a quite definite implication both from the positions held by, and the friendly, personal tone used by, the providers of the opening Testimonials. Specifically that the book will set forth easily read and helpful prose for an audience that unfortunately more usually is overlooked or ignored.

5*  Highly recommended book specifically for targeted audience.