The Voice of Death

 

The Voice of Death assumed published, copyright and written by Lawrence J. Epstein.

The reader is introduced to Danny Ryle, the protagonist, as he is being asked by an old friend of his father to ‘do-away-with’ a man who had stolen his wife. It seems Danny’s father, now infirm with a caretaker, had been the best at eliminating unwanted persons. So good in fact, that he never had been caught and was known as ‘the Ghost’. Danny, however, although extremely clever and a card-carrying congressional investigator specifically hired by a very wealthy member of the House, will do nothing unlawful. But, because the man asking Danny the favor is such a good friend of his father’s, he is asked by his father to at least speak to the wife stealer. They leave, enter the building where the supposed man is attending a New Year’s Eve Party and Danny is greeted by his beautiful wife Hannah. His father and the friend enjoy the joke they have played and with this background material for readers unacquainted with the characters, the tale begins. We discover that Danny and Hannah are raising Jennifer, a small child orphaned when her parents died in a horrible accident. They are attempting to make the child’s life as normal and full of love as is possible. Unfortunately, Hannah formerly had been in a marriage that did not work out and the ex- suddenly appears and proves to be a scumbag. He never signed the final papers, although he had said he had. He had an ulterior motive and wanted her back and would use the law if necessary, because she and Danny had committed bigamy. He is killed and Hannah is the most likely suspect. At the same time, Danny’s congressional boss similarly is the most prominent suspect in the death of his not overly attractive, but very wealthy wife. The story unfolds as he gradually attempts to solve these murders in order to save his wife and his employer. While thus engaged, he also encounters a woman who just won a huge lottery jackpot but has a unique problem that only he, with his strange set of acquaintances, can solve. The ending is not easily predictable and interesting.

Discussion: This is a fascinating mystery, or mysteries, filled with intriguing characters that keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat until the end. It is a mystery lover’s tale that even a pragmatist can enjoy in spite of the frequently encountered bits bordering on incredibility.

5* Mystery lover’s tale with a caveat.

Munching on the Sun

Munching on the SUN ISBN: 9781775111122 an e-book copyright and written by Mark Paul Oleksiw.

The story opens with a young man reciting a bit of the dramatic play Frankenstein on an empty stage in an equally empty theater at midnight. The single spectator is the Dramatics Professor who overheard the intruder’s entrance and came to see what was happening. From this unusual beginning the reader finds him/herself proceeding through the life of a very conflicted and confused young student as he and his friends advance through their senior school year. He is an extremely disciplined young man from a loving family and with an older sister with mental challenges. Through his dedication, he has succeeded in advancing her to a seemingly relatively normal manner of existence. He is tremendously well-liked and a natural mentor-of-sorts to his classmates. Much of his enduing problems stem from the fact that he becomes totally enthralled with a girl recently arrived with her strict family from India. Their evolving relationship, both reminiscences and on-going, along with his unusual interaction with his sister as well as his classmates, provides, a basis for the strange tale as it unfolds.

Discussion: The author has set forth a most unusual story in an intriguing manner that makes a reader want to follow to its termination. For most readers, this is sufficient. However, for a few who are inclined to think more deeply with respect to a character, questions about Lucas, the protagonist, surface and will not ‘go away’. Obviously this is more than a young person’s ‘coming-of-age’ tale and a reader would like to have some basis provided to account for his singular attributes – his dedication, and ability, to raise his sister’s mental acuity; his almost mesmerizing effect upon his fellow students; his actions with Kara; his tendency to react violently to certain stimuli. Similarly, some hint of an explanation for Kara’s unusual actions would be so helpful in providing some explanation for an initial reaction and her often wraith-like appearances. Granted, much of the story depends upon reminiscences, but frequently the reader is not sure which are fact and which fiction. Another feature that is difficult to dissemble is the educational level of the group. Much of the material indicates their senior level of secondary school. Yet much of the academic structure is more specifically of university level. But perhaps this feature only is troubling to individuals acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of academia.

3* 4* Fascinating tale in spite of missing and confusing elements.

 

The LIon’s Prey

The Lion’s Prey, a thriller/mystery assumed published, copyright and written by Cameron Mays.

Cole Cameron, a special ops type of individual, works for CIA on a covert project attempting to eliminate a former lieutenant to the former Muslim leader whose main thrust is to throw the U. S. into disarray by losing cyber-attacks to affect the main business activities. Cole is quite a brilliant tactician and with his smoothly functioning team constantly is being sent to areas where Intel indicates the Muslim chief reportedly has been seen. His desire to find this man is strengthened by the fact that his daughter, Jess, had been attacked and almost killed by him. This now college attending daughter’s reaction had been to apply for, and begin training to join the FBI. Added to Cole’s problems is his love for FBI agent Hannah and the interference in its progression because of their constantly conflicting work schedules. The characters provided for the reader are quite numerous and besides the main protagonists, include Jess’s friend, Hannah’s parents, an ill-intentioned congressman and his cohorts, and several Muslims, a couple of beautiful spies and a number of upper echelon members of the government. The finale provides a quite presentable entree to a no-doubt following volume to this second in the Cole Cameron saga

Discussion: The plot of this story in many ways is quite similar to others in this genre. The management however is well done by an author with knowledge of his subject, providing interesting characters, periods of high tension activity and a romance that makes a reader hope eventually will terminate successfully.

4* Well done thriller with a touch of mystery and of romance.

The Protectorate Wars: Born Hero

The Protectorate Wars: Born Hero. Assumed published, copyright and written by S. A. Shaffer, Esq.

This is the story that takes place in a mythical land “of vast wealth and power, towering mountains and lush plains ….a bastion of hope between sweltering deserts and the raging ocean.” Within this land are individual countries that have been peaceful for a number of years but now unrest again is arising both within the countries and among them producing further tensions. The protagonist, David Ike, is a very young man who is the son and grandson of heroic pilots who are legends as saviors of the country in which he lives. Presently, his circumstances are rather dire. His father was killed heroically saving the boy and his mother in a disastrous air crash and his illustrious grandfather passed away shortly thereafter. He lost an arm in the crash and the bionic replacement, although quite adequate, precludes continuing his air cadet training. Responsible for his mother’s care, an invalid unable even to speak, he is her caretaker and ekes out a meager living until by routine mandatory public testing, it is discovered that he is of superior intelligence and is hired by one of the major representatives in the country’s parliament. Unfortunately, David is a quite naive, sincere individual with a strong work ethic and a strong belief in principles. As a result, from this initiating step, he is poorly fitted to be involved in the political arena replete with maneuvering that involves deceit, distrust, betrayal, treachery and even murder. The story continues until somewhat unexpected activity produces a conclusion that leaves little closure and only begs for further action.

Discussion: A somewhat unusual book with an interesting plot, set in a mythical world of the future with many sci-fi features, some mystery and a hint of romance. The characters are well portrayed and the plot provides several surprises. As such the reader will enjoy, but must be aware of a rather slow beginning consisting of largely unbroken prose with few conversational or other breaks – a tendency that persists throughout much of the ensuing material.

4* 5*Interesting multi-generic plot; -1 with questionable feature for some.

NONDisclosure

NONDISCLOSURE ISBN: 9781733771405 published, copyright and written by Geoffrey M. Cooper.

Brad Parker is a highly successful scientific investigator who, like numerous such individuals are coerced into assuming a position of curtailing his investigative activities to assume a position of department chair at one of the prestigious universities in Boston. His administrative assistant comes to him with a problem of not being able to discover the reason for a $20,000 shortage in their budgetary allotment at the same time his top grant money recipient Mike Singer comes to him reporting an even graver problem. He believes another prominent staff investigator has just raped one of the graduate students working with them. He reports the situation to the dean and the president and one of the members of university’s police force, Karen Richmond, is sent to investigate. She insists that Brad work with her because of his obviously extensive knowledge of the individuals involved. Further details would be a disservice to potential readers. Suffice it to say, that although a fictional tale, the convoluted story gradually evolves to expose an involved set of actions that most readily could be factual. It is a fascinating look at a prominent, long existent problem particularly associated with the student-mentor relationship in the university ‘publish or perish’ milieu that exists in such institutions. Another item examined is the rivalry among investigators.

Discussion: Sub titled “A Medical Thriller”, this book also is a tale of mystery and romance. Its setting is academia. Its theme is modern day research and problems that not infrequently can arise when fertile minds produce important interdisciplinary results. It places a spotlight on universities finally facing the long ignored problem of sexual harassment on all levels, but seemingly more prevalent within the academic sciences where, as described above, a situation exists from which the misuse of authority so readily could arise. It also demonstrates a situation that has grown to ridiculous proportions within the last few years. The almost uncontrollable competitive situation among pharmaceutical houses to spend huge amounts of monies to aid in the discovery of significant results and for the originator to acquire some degree of compensatory gratification. As an individual once immersed in academia, this reader highly recommends this author’s presentation as a thoroughly enjoyable novel based on matters about which he demonstrates an intimate knowledge.

5* Well done novel by knowledgeable author.

The Monster

The Monster is an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Josh Soule.

The story opens at Chapter Zero with the protagonist reminiscing about life as it was in his earlier years and finally about the bedtime stories his parents told him. Especially he remembered his mother always telling of monsters, how they were real and among us today and that “Once in every generation, a monster awakens.” Then suddenly, he must breathe deeply to slow his heart rate, check himself to determine that he had no wounds and that the blood on his hands was not his. The room was a mess looking “like a warehouse in a low-budget horror movie” with a woman’s body on the floor leaking blood. He wondered if it was Debbie or just some unfortunate woman because “it was not unreasonable to think that an innocent person had died here, the world can be unpredictable and unfair like that sometimes”. Then chapter one begins with the twenty-two year old protagonist in a college class and gradual introductions to his close friend Tony, his ex-girlfriend Kelly and later his mother Susan who is a friend of Kelly’s mother Karen. We learn that Susan is undergoing therapy for a relatively recently discovered cancer lesion that had been caught early and responding well to the therapy. However she constantly picks fights and continues her pattern of poor treatment of him that has included quite intense verbal and physical abuse since his father left when the boy was twelve. The reader then is introduced to activity at the school and the school’s Halloween party where we meet Police Officer Erickson because of violence occurring from involvement of a shadowy figure that only our protagonist sees. The results make him appear to be the guilty person for the altercation, so he runs, meets and joins a group of misfits and criminals and the story escalates still without providing an indication of where the tale is going and how it will end. Regrettably, any further information would be a distinct disservice to interested readers.

Discussion: This is a very well-, and intriguingly-written psychological thriller following the activity of a mentally disturbed individual exhibiting much of the background for, and many symptoms of, dissociative identity disorder. The only disappointing features of the story from this reader’s perspective are the protagonist’s level of maturity which seems more that of a teen-age high schooler rather than that of a 22-year-old university student (which possibly can be at least partially excused as resulting from reaction stemming from the degree of abuse) and a seeming amount of unnecessary redundancy.

4* 5* Compellingly written psychological thriller; -1 for reasons described.