The Chemist

 

 

The Chemist, an e-book of an award-winning novel first published in 2010. Fearless Publishing, copyright and written by Jason Mancheski.

The story opens with the kidnapping of a young woman in an unusual manner and with her disappearance even her automobile cannot be found. The perpetrators are described to an extent with specific attention to the shadowy ‘Chemist’. The reader then is introduced to Cale Van Waring the detective lieutenant heading the special crimes unit of the Green Bay, Wisconsin PD. He becomes lead investigator on the missing woman case that begins to worsen when more blond young women completely disappear along with their automobiles. He is aided in his search particularly by longtime partner James “Slink” Dooley and Sargent Anton Staszak and their first ‘break’ is the gruesome discovery of the first woman’s decapitated body appearing in the waters of Lake Michigan. Cale has other, personal, problems with which he is struggling. He and Maggie Jeffers, a beautiful young lawyer with the Public Defender’s Office, have been living happily together now for fourteen months but since the relationship appears to be going nowhere, she has given him until a late July date to make up his mind, or she will leave. From here, the manner in which the story proceeds to unfold, both with respect to the missing persons’ investigation and the Cale/Maggie relationship, is quite convoluted. It also, is this reviewer’s opinion, would be a disservice to the prospective reader to divulge more aspects of the process. Suffice it to say that the story involves Chloe, Maggie’s 2-year-olded clairvoyant sister, along with several gang members, and other sinister characters with a mounting amount of evidence pointing toward the despicable but unfortunately lucrative human trafficking industry.

Discussion: The author has provided a quite involved plot with variously described characters set in a suspenseful multi-genre tale. The protagonist perhaps is a little too strong in his tenacity of purpose when mixed with his ambivalence on a number of counts and his strong adherence to his own particular mindset with respect to others. However, it is a tale that most readers should enjoy and the brief synopsis at the end of this volume presenting the following book’s opening lines should enhance one’s interest in proceeding to the next in the series.

4* Suspenseful multi-genre tale readers should enjoy.

Cut Reality

Cut Reality ISBN: 9781733504911 Anywhere Press, written by Zack Hacker.

Jason Debord is a College English Professor who decides to become a contestant in the 50th TV Reality Show where two teams of contestants spend sixty days on small islands with no clothes or means of survival other than those they can devise. Periodically, a member is voted out and the rest realign themselves until only one is declared the winner. Conditions are difficult with insufficient food, extremely difficult sleeping arrangements and constant tension to avoid being the next to be voted off the island. One of the participants with whom Jason was most friendly dies, reported by the show’s producers as a suicide. Jason does not believe it was suicide and continues to accuse the producers of murder even after the show’s termination and he was declared the one million dollar winner. He believes that the death resulted from the producers desire to give further life to the series that was beginning to lose its general appeal. One, and possibly more, of the contestants also are critical. However, none can discover any evidence and a number of unusual occurrences seem to support his contentions, among them a near fatal automobile accident. Meanwhile, Jason’s involvement with his intermittent love interest expands and finally reaches a plateau because, as a consulting psychologist albeit mostly with disturbed teens, she find his paranoia difficult to accept. However, the story continues with numerous activities pointing both ways until its ultimate conclusion.

Discussion: This book, the author’s first, has presented an apparent mystery that expands to provide very thoughtful commentary about reality TV. The last pages of Chapter 11 aptly express these basic thoughts under the title “Dying for good TV: What we can learn from Bill Gerding’s Untimely Demise.” From this reviewer’s perspective, the tale’s characters never are particularly well defined, quite a number of features also would benefit from further attention and the romantic relationship is a little difficult to understand. However as a first endeavor, the author is to be commended and further presentations no doubt will be well worthwhile.

4* Thoughtful look at America’s Reality TV near addiction.