Hunt for Harald’s Gold ISBN: 9780996657396, assumed published, copyright and written by Jack Dancer.
This book is sub-titled A Scottish DNA Love Story and appears in part to have some semblance to these elements. Ostensibly a group of twosomes has been gathered together who have been discovered to be DNA-matched lovers to journey to Scotland to search for a huge gold nugget that has been lost for centuries. The group’s leader is a physician specializing in DNA research who had spent time in Africa where she encountered strange characters who pop up later in the story while the couples are searching for the huge nugget. Simultaneously it seems that a large group of African school girls had been captured by Boko Haram, transferred to an evil woman doctor who dismembers them to sell body parts as requested, on the black-market. Her headquarters and laboratories are on the Isle of Skye. One of the recruited members of the DNA couples is Tucker, who is the designated partner of Billie, the DNA specialist leading the couples on the nugget search. The reader discovers that he has had a former encounter with the evil doctor that has left scars, in spite of being partially successful. The other group members are of varied backgrounds and many not what they supposedly represent. The body part suppliers and the gold hunters cross paths by design as we discover and the tale proceeds to no ending but rather this volume serves as a first installment for the next.
Discussion: On the good side, readers may find much of the book to be an amusing read with a mass of action contributing in a highly confusing manner. A caveat must be include however in that there is abundant, often irrelevant sexual activity and most graphic depiction of un-anesthetized anatomical destruction. Furthermore and regrettably, from this reviewer’s perspective, the author has written a totally confusing volume with a bizarre admixture of Scottish legend, the fairy world, romance, a bit of science, activity by an unusual transgender hero and many improbabilities typically found in the fantasy genre. It also apparently is the first in a series.
Summary: A multi-genre book for readers who enjoy zany tales and don’t mind reading serials.
3* 4* Multi-genre zany tale for devotees; others 3 – 2*.
PABLO’s Apprentice, Where Revenge Meets Romance, assumed published, copyright and written by Richard A. DeVall.
The book open with a quote from Pablo Escobar: “Geniuses are always branded as crazy” and follows the life and escapades of psychopathic killer Rose Alvara who idolized his thoughts and actions, and how it affected her and the people her life touched. The story opens with the death of David Turner, a California police helicopter pilot and several other police officers at the expense of Rose and her lover and former cell mate, Little Bee as they escape a somewhat botched bank robbery. The reader then is introduced to Brandy Bednarz, David’s utterly devastated love which begins a second thread to follow in this lengthy novel of revenge. She is utterly despondent and moves east to live with her parents where she finally recovers enough to obtain a job and sentimentally begins training to become a recreational helicopter pilot. On her final instructor-accompanied flight, their flight plan takes them by fate over an area where Rose and Little Bee have just pulled another bank robbery and have evaded the police. However, Brandy and her instructor catch the police report, spot the escapees and give directions to the pursuers. Rose and Bee come close to downing their plane with long range rifles, but they escape. The two psychopaths continue their flight but Little Bee is killed and Rose decides to ‘make Brandy suffer’. The story continues on a complicated and hugely Karma influenced path leading eventually to foreign lands and ends in a most interesting manner.
Discussion: This is a fascinating, albeit chilling story depending upon development of a series of fate-influenced actions that severely nudge credibility. It consists of the development of a somewhat sadistic, unusually intelligent narcissistic psychopathic killer, and her resulting activities. It also presents the evolution of a second protagonist who is confused and greatly depressed from the series of fateful actions that she has encountered and eventually sees a psychiatrist. She also has acquired a new romantic attachment who is as confused a person as she is. The two, as a result of her being the recipient of Rose’s hatred, the ineffectual police activity, and being gradually nudged by the selected psychiatrist who also seems to have been psychologically injured, eventually evolve into thinking in a vengeful manner. The characters are well-presented but the action is slowed repeatedly by rather voluminous descriptions of the individuals during their introspective or soul-searching periods. Fortunately, most is mitigated by the fast-moving tempo so the reader’s interest is retained at a sufficient level to want to continue to read to the end.
Summary: A somewhat irregularly paced novel about interrelationships among several psychologically disturbed individuals with some performing particularly vicious activity. Regrettably from this reader’s perspective, judicious editing would have provided some reduction in the plot’s overly heavy dependence upon the influence of fate. The characters are well-portrayed and their indulgence in frequent periods of self-analysis are believable, relevant and well-justified, but again judicious handling could do much to enhance the pace
3* 5* Fascinating albeit unpleasant tale rated for reasons presented.