ISBN: 9781617981555, Wild Child Publishing, an e-book edited by Leslie Karen Lutz, authored by Kat Stiles.

Characters/Plot: The plot actually is quite complex with several threads and many questions, some of whose answers are revealed as the story continues. A number of characters are variously interrelated. The story begins when teen-age Emily (Em) is struck and thrown into the air by a drunken driver who stops, determines she still is breathing and leaves. She feels a tremendous heat generating and awakens to find there is no damage. She discovers through the school nurse (Judy) that she has the gift of ‘healing’. Somehow this is associated with a tendency for her hands to perspire heavily so as to be an embarrassment in school. One thread of the plot follows a ‘coming of age’ theme with Angel the leader of the group making her life miserable. Next introduced is her one good friend Roz, whose father has been like a father to her – her father having been sent away by her mother for believing he had acted inappropriately with the child (which may have some substance because we learn later that her mother insists she visit a psychiatrist because of disturbing dreams she has repeatedly.) Emily’s mother Anne is extremely involved in a job that requires odd hours and besides is quite a difficult person with whom to equate. Lauren, her older sister who has problems of her own, is constantly dominant. Tommy, transfers from another school after ‘getting in trouble’, and is attracted to Emily. As the story progresses we further discover that Tommy has unusual sensual (hearing, sight, olfactory) sensitivity and Roz is clairvoyant. The second major thread evolves when their collective powers are brought to bear in searching for a murderer and the tale introduces several more characters. The story’s ending provides an extension of one thread that initiates what may be assumed to be a forthcoming sequel.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author has set forth a thriller/mystery/romance with a touch of the occult that is somewhat unique. More especially it is a book for the teen/pre-teen reader. However, the uniqueness lies in the fact that it has enough of an interesting opening and theme to stimulate to an extent the interest of more mature readers. Admittedly, the later will need to ‘overlook’ the more obviously youth oriented story to follow the interesting tale.

4* Intriguing tale for young readers even the more mature may find interesting.

Double Knot

Double Knot, A Davis Way Crime Caper #5, ISBN: 9781635110302, Henery Press Mystery Collection, an e-book by Gretchen Archer.

Plot/Characters: Davis Way Cole, along with Fantasy and Baylor are security personnel under direction of Jeremy Covey (Bald Head) for the casino owned by Richard Sanders. She also is wife of Bradley, the de facto CEO of Sander’s organization and coincidentally the image of Sanders’ wife Bianca so as a secondary job she is the person photographed for all publicity required of Bianca. Both are pregnant, with Davis’ being twins (of unknown sex because she and Brad ‘want to be surprised’). Richard decides to build Probability, a huge ‘state of the art’ cruise ship with every amenity known to man and invite only a limited number of billionaires on the initial cruise at one million a pop. Sanders had hired Maximillian Deluca and his wife Jessica earlier on a ‘whim’ and installed them as the ship’s host and hostess although no background or other vetting had been done as far as security personnel knew. Davis thinks that it is strange that Deluca would accept the proffered position when he was a successful banker – the Deluca-Elina bank. All members and guests board and are given special devices that open their stateroom doors and provide other required services. Davis also brings her beloved cat, Anderson Cooper, and is surprised to learn that her mother, with whom she has a somewhat confrontational relationship, has been invited to share her suite of several rooms that also contain, as do they all, a live-in butler, Burnstone, and maid, Poppy. Bradley cannot make the cruise because he must fly elsewhere on company business. The ship casts off, the cruise begins, Davis discovers that their special device is not functioning so they cannot even leave their room, and then finds a note in her bedroom compartment telling her not to attempt to escape or there will be dire consequences. From this initiating point the story evolves into one of intrigue involving a well-planned electronically based scheme to bilk millions of dollars from these billionaire passengers as they gamble in the ship’s casino.

Discussion: The author has provided action interspersed with mundane discussions and interactions, albeit in and about many activities and subjects and in a manner that many readers no doubt will enjoy and may even be able to equate – marital problems, family relationships, mother-daughter interaction, pregnancy idiosyncrasies, the generation gap, and others and does provide some attendant unexpected twists. All aspects are developed in a basically interesting plot that evolve into a pattern of chaotic activity aided and abetted by a group of zany characters. This is a novel written by an obviously accomplished author since it the fifth in the series and thus is a type of novel a certain type of readers thoroughly enjoy. For others however, this reviewer included, some of the dialogue appears irrelevant and the misplaced and/or thoughtless frenetic activity often seemingly appears somewhat contrived and may be a little ‘too much’ so that additional editing could enhance the enjoyment.

Conclusion: An interesting basic plot involving the activities of a zany bunch of characters in a chaotic romp that the author’s followers thoroughly will enjoy. Another, perhaps lesser number, will appreciate the plot but find disappointment in its envelopment in the chaotic romp that appears to be somewhat contrived.

3* Dichotomous. 5* for many; 3* for others as described.