Incite Insight

Incite Insight ISBN: 9780994439901 Tale Publishing, Australia first published 2015 written by Robert New.

The protagonist, Brad Thomas, is a young man who, in spite of somewhat lesser abilities to ‘read’ people, their expressions and body language, and postulate on possibly hidden agendas, manages to become a detective in one of the smaller cities of Australia. However he somehow manages to obtain a similar position in one of the large cities where he constantly is made to feel inferior. He has a certain personal charm, however, which provides some hope for the sergeant to whom he reports and she assigns him to a case where the victim suddenly succumbs from an apparent ‘melting’ of the brain tissues. Several more victims suffer similar occurrences and all are recognized as prominent members of ‘think tanks’ or the highly intelligent products thereof. Forensics provides basic information which allows Brad to discover a certain professor’s programs that were “designed to help its audience improve their understanding of the links between aspects of the so-called ‘human situation’. It aims to increase people’s working memory and awareness of what happens around them”; i.e. not simply make them more intelligent. There are several levels of advancement which they gradually can unlock but really need to work mentally to reach each new level. He is provided another young woman detective as a partner, and at the same time meets, and is attracted to Amy, a secretary he meets while following a prominent lead. The attraction grows as they both are studying the professor’s levels, he thinking it might aid in solving the case while her interest is a basic desire to advance in life. The tale continues as Brad engages in computer hacking to advance in the program, confers with the prominent head of an organization that provides programs for others to circumvent undesirable matters and discovers a world of secrete organizations with thoughts of world dominance they in no way consider unconscionable. Brad gains in self-confidence and makes progress with solving the mystery, but concurrently the tale assumes another, associated but somewhat different, direction to its climax.

Discussion:  Brad’s approach to solving the mystery employs an approach that is somewhat implausible and the multi-layers of the story and their juxtapositioning is a little perplexing. However, the story retains the reader’s interest, but somehow leaves, at least this reviewer, with a somewhat confused understanding of its direction from that initially provided for prospective readers.

3* Interestingly worthwhile, but somewhat confusing read.

Blood and Water

Blood and Water, A Paranormal Mystery assumed published copyright and written by Caroline Ann Davis.

        Jan Martínek is a vampire, unwillingly converted by his uncle Otakar, and although married to vampire Darja who still would like to be with him, but because of their constantly occurring inter personal problems has caused them to separate for a time. Her brother Petr hates Jan and didn’t want her to marry him in the first place and wants her to return to Prague. She is in a quandary because she loves her brother as much as Jan. Right now, Jan is more or less assigned a job in America looking for Otakar and Magda who have disappeared. The pressure to find them is strong because the latter gradually has evolved to almost legendary status in vampire circles. The reader next is introduced to Kristina Benson who with her brother Kyle, live with her grandfather in the apartment over his old fashioned bookstore. The store is close to an old relic of a hotel/hospital that recently has burned to the ground. Her brother and a close friend are ‘Ghostbusters’ and went there to record ghosts reportedly living in the place and perished in the fire. Kristina has inherited psychic abilities that she refuses to follow even though she is a distant relative of Hanna Gerlach, a psychic and one of the most famous ghosts that lived there. But in spite of her reluctance, she feels a strong need to attempt to contact Kyle, wherever he is. Russell Hodges, a professor at the local college who, through his prominent position as head of the American Society for Psychical Research, had given a lecture at the bookstore some time ago and is attracted to her when again meeting and becoming aware of  her desire to contact the dead Kyle. Hodges is related vaguely to Dr. Clifford, the former owner of the destroyed hotel which also had been part of his clinical program. He arranges a séance with her, her grandfather and himself in attendance. The session is dominated by the harsh voice of the doctor as Kristina acts as the séance performer and Clifford is ranting that he wants Hanna back, and that he knows he has taken her. They are not aware that Jan has snuck in and is listening and he knows Clifford had taken the locket he, Jan, had given her and should remember destroying her body. It seems Jan had tried to convert her to eternal life as a vampire, but was too late as she was too far advanced with T.B.

      Kristina collapses into a coma-like condition that takes time to dissipate and scares her grandfather severely. She recovers soon, but still is insistent upon contacting her brother so Russell introduces her to Gwen Crowley, a well-known medium to help her. Meanwhile, Jan, posing as a writer interested in the burned out hotel/clinic offers to help her with another séance and the tale continues as Jan becomes increasingly attracted to Kristina who looks startlingly like Hanna, Russell similarly becomes enamored, Otakar and Magda are rediscovered as well as more about them unfolds, Darja becomes actively involved and Kristina’s grandfather plays a surprising role, all leading to an interestingly different climax.

Discussion: The author has provided an interesting plot that is much more involved than those previously read in this genre by this reviewer. My only, no doubt irrelevant aside, is that I do wish this author, as well as many others, would please become a little more knowledgeable about firearms when their characters are going to use them. Nonetheless, this is a vampire story that it would seem aficionados especially will thoroughly enjoy.

5* Interestingly ‘different’ vampire tale devotees should thoroughly enjoy.

 

Diary of a Time Travelling Alien

Diary of a Time Travelling Alien ISBN: 9781234567890 assumed published, copyright and written by Yaakov C Lui-Hyden.

The story is of a fictitious Alien who begins with: “dear reader, be this a tale of woe and hope; two things you love above all else. It is difficult to write. To collect my thoughts of a millennium and my motives for doing so I’m not even sure of. Perhaps simply because I can.” He then continues to describe how he belonged to a race that destroyed itself in wars, not foolishly fought on their own territory, but that of others, until they were the conquerors. Further, this was the cause of the wars, they fought for ‘souls’ which their technology had developed technics to move from one body to another. With shortages as a result of the wars (with technical advancements again allowing the bodies to be maintained [rather than killing]. Their fantastically advanced society, once arriving at their conqueror state, led to complete destruction ultimately through infighting among themselves. He had been a soldier and his last days on his planet he was dead, or as he explains: “Not dead because we had gone far beyond that”, but his consciousness was dormant. He now, and for some millennia, was destined to travel the universe as a bodiless wraith that, if desired could again enter another’s body. The story is of his attempt to do so and the disastrous consequences of his action.

Discussion: The author has generated a fast moving tale that offers a unique and distinctly different plot. It is one that lives up to providing suggested insights into the human condition with sarcasm and wit. Most unfortunately, these insights are mostly momentary statements. The opportunity and desire for expansion not only is there, but looked forward to by this reader with thwarted anticipation. Certain episodes also, such as with the dinosaurs, is too extensive for the material offered, as are occasional others. There also is a certain amount of confusion in following the action, part of which is handling of the unusual subject matter. Judicious editing would have helped tremendously. It is my understanding that this is the author’s first novel and as such problems encountered are no more than can be expected. However, this book demonstrates the advent of an author with a tremendous amount of promise.

3* fine effort from a new author demonstrating 5* uniqueness in plot design.

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.