The Cascade Killer

The Cascade Killer ISBN: 9780999707586 Latah Books (production by Gray Dog Press) written by A Luke McCain novel by Rob Phillips.

A Prologue opens with a man and his son spotting and dropping a bear during the opening days of the states bear hunting season. Their elation was quickly dampened when accidently cutting the bear’s stomach while field dressing.. The spilling contents contained what appeared to be a human ear and pieces of clothing. Their call to 911 resulted in Luke McCain, veteran police officer with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Yakima and his dog Jack once again to begin a search for a killer. Assumedly, a man who upon further investigation is discovered to be a serial killer removed from scenes of previous crimes, and one who’s presence in this, as well as the previous area, were in jobs that required his expertise and as a result offered no reason for suspicion. The investigation is turned over to the FBI, but as the first officer on the scene, Luke is ‘kept in the circle’. This position strengthened by mutual attraction between Luke and the quite attractive FBI investigator, plus activity by other locals gunning bears illegally because of black marketers who pay well for bear parts of value as medicines by members of certain races and for the skin. Luke and his suggestions and hunches are primarily responsible for attempting to find the killer as well as attempting to save the life of the FBI agent.

Discussion: The author has produced an interesting story of the unheralded work done by this branch of governmental service whose danger seldom is recognized. It is a branch that daily must face anglers, 80 % of whom are armed, as well as hunters and even similarly equipped hikers. His presentation no doubt is particularly appealing in his ‘laid back’ approach while proceeding through situations fraught with danger. There is considerable redundancy that may not appeal to those not enamored of the ‘laid back’ style and slow movement of the story. A Preview of the next volume is included.

3* Appealing for those who enjoy books written in this author’s style.

The Blackout House

 

The Blackout House assumed published, copyright and written by Narasimha Vavilala.

The main characters are a man by the name of Stephenson and his brother James who is a member of the police force, seemingly in some position of command. James returns home where he described his self-anger at his fearful thoughts and activities in a recently developed double murder case that had taken place at a house described by members of the nearby vicinity “as a vampire house; a blood curdling house”. Worse yet was that “one of his colleagues went inside the house yesterday, and in the same manner, he also was dead.” He continues that now all of the police, including himself are afraid to enter the house. Now the government is insisting they enter and “find what is happening in that house and ensure safety for public by solving the problem without demolishing that house.” He does not want to go “but my mind is telling me to catch the bloody killer, because he killed innocent people…tell me what shall I do now?” James calms his brother and tells him to think of a way to discover a solution. The plot moves forward as he ponders the situation, discovers what he determines to be a workable solution and proceeds.

Discussion: There is little information provided with respect to the author. From appearances, he is a British resident who has gained a sufficient knowledge of English to provide a readable tale but one that demonstrates an as yet sketchy understanding of how to assemble the individual words. Thus, it is a simplistic presentation stimulated by his altruistic desire to remind teachers and parents to provide good advice for the children, and for students to make sure they do not allow anyone to denture them from a good and useful path in life.

2* 5* thoughts behind simplistic and handicapped English language presentation.

Forget me not

 

Forget Me Not by Marie Sibbons

A sub-title, “Two missing women; Fifty years One house holds the key” appears on the cover. It opens immediately with a Prologue. There is no ISBN or similar indication of the usual copyright material or publisher and is assumed to have been published by the author named on the cover as well as copyright and written by the referenced author. The book opens with a Prologue followed by PART ONE with Chapter one beginning “4th January 1995 Christine shuffled her feet to keep warm as she stood shivering in the doorway.” The tale continues following her and best friend Judy who has a teaching position as a nearby university. Their relationship appears to have risen because of a mutual need for housing at the lowest possible level plus the fact that both are graduates of the British system of providing for young children who have been orphaned. The rooms they acquire are in one of a few strange old mansions in an almost totally deserted section of Glasgow, Scotland. The landlord is a married man who lives in a part of the building until moving out and only to return monthly to collect the rent. The two young women find themselves as the only tenants in this ancient house that appears to be haunted. Several other characters are introduced as the story begins to recall the period of the Nazi bombings interchanging with those of the present. PART TWO ultimately is presented in the last few chapters to present a solution to the mysteries that gradually have been sketched out in the sizable number of chapters that have composed the first part if the book.

Discussion: Regrettably from this reader’s perspective, this is an enigmatic story that defies assignment of any specific number of stars. The overall tale is interesting, but must be read by one willing to persist through a considerable quantity of confusing material peopled by characters that never are ‘fleshed out’. The plot is slow to develop and the ‘haunting’ seems a somewhat forced inclusion for other than perhaps a few readers. But then, my impression is from that of one without any knowledge of the British system of dealing with orphans. Readers acquainted with such matters would be far better qualified to follow much of the action and thought patterns of the protagonists. From this perspective, the author’s book probably would appear to be far more suitable for other than some readers who exist within a so-called American market.

2* Possibly ranging to 4* for certain readers.

Something Found: A coin

Something Found: A Coin, published copyright and written by Troy Aaron Ratliff.

The reader is introduced to Todd Freeman, a middle-aged man who leaves Ohio to drive down to Key West, Florida where he establishes a studio. He is a good artist selling enough paintings to support himself and his studio. He is recognized by the locals for this, but also as a ‘Good Samaritan’. When Todd is not painting, he loves to roam the beaches with a top-of-the-line metal detector. He finds a lot of odd metal, and a considerable number of small coins and an occasional piece of value. And this is the reason for presenting him with a humanitarian award. Rather than gaining money for the valuable piece found, this “Selfless Scavenger” attempts to find and return the item to the rightful owner. As the story advances, we discover more about Todd’s early developed talent, marriage and arrival of a son that required a better income than that available for a new and unknown artist. Apparently he has other talents as well, which develop into the type of success every one associates with the American Dream. However, this purportedly idyllic life is destroyed by a catastrophic event that has led him to his journey to find solace in his original love of art and the success he has achieved within the last three years. However, once again fate intervenes when he discovers a most unusual penny with his metal detector and he is forced to flee for his life. He is saved with help from a number of strange individuals he does not know and begins a search for the answer to a long existent and well known mystery that has plagued an area of the Atlantic Ocean for many years, a unique and deadly problem that extensive scientific investigation has not been able to solve.

Discussion: the author has offered a most fascinating introduction to another possible answer to this strange phenomenon that has plagued scientists along with everyone else for many years. For this reviewer, the writing contains unnecessarily long descriptions of the trip, terrain, et al of the trip to and from Miami to Key West, but apologetically this may result from personal familiarity. Overall, the author has provided a fascinating opening book to what could be entrée to series exploring an intriguing addition to those proposals already set forth.

5* First of trilogy proposing cause of long standing phenomenon.

 

 

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.

Cycladic Girls

Cycladic Girls ISBN: 9781735123004 first published by Aegis Press copyright and written by Patrick Garner.

Sub-titled Celebrities, Deities, Love & Power; Greek Gods in the Modern World, this second book in a series (first, The Winnowing) states that the characters are not based on living persons. Rather, only the gods and goddesses are real. An author’s note explains that it is a ‘stand-alone’ volume but readers would find references to events in the first to appear frequently here in the second. For example here, Jackson Night is the story’s narrator and is an individual Lachesis, one of the three Fates who control life spans of mortals and gods alike made him a-mortal; e.g. he, like the gods, will live forever but is not immortal as are the gods, including his wife Danaë, who is a demi-God, daughter of the god of the seas, Poseidon and his human wife. The tale, as related by Jackson, follows the progress of Timessa, a nymph protected by Artemis (Apollo’s sister) who, feeling ‘controlled’ decides to leave and gradually evolves into what they know as ‘The Great One, Ishtar of Babylon and many other names. She preceded all of the other gods by perhaps a millennium and was the most powerful of all. She could bring fertility and she could kill by atomizing and scattering her selection to the winds.

The story follows her life as it emerges from her move as one of Artemis’ nymphs as she moves to the modern world where she attends college and enters a modern day life style. She has a spectacular type of beauty that draws her to modelling where she becomes an almost immediate sensation. As time passes, calls for her from all of the top designers become highly competitive, the fashion magazines pay top dollar for her shoots and she becomes an immensely wealthy worldwide sensation, attracts an almost cult-like following of girls and young women, revives the Ancient sacrifices, relabeling as Observances for pack of followers to be performed at the time of the girls’ period so that the shedding of blood was performed as a tribute to her, a gift they could bestow for those provided by her. The story’s breadth expands as more of the old Greek gods are re-awakened from their more than millennium of sleep and how this, along with Timessa’s discovery of Iole, an obscure French fashion designer, affects Timessa’s need for adulation that had mounted to the level described.

Discussion: The Series author might be thought of as somewhat of a Renaissance man in the breadth of his personal activities. He is a man with several degrees, a poet, playwright who also has established a theater, and author but also is involved as a wetlands scientist and hydrologist. His characters and ancient gods are fascinating and, as described in the author’s notes from the first book in the series, their “Sexual hunger, hubris, infatuation – these emanating combined with divine intellect drive the Winnowing’s key characters” and are carried over into this second in the series. Description of the old gods is supplied to the reader as a most helpful addition. It is suggested that reading the first book in the series will avoid a bit of ‘spinning of one’s wheels’ if beginning this volume.

4* 5* tale; -1 for struggle described if not beginning with the series’ first book.