Lies behind the Woods

Lies behind the Woods ISBN: 9780578593616 assumed published, copyright and written by Bradley Cornish.

A 25 year old tenured college professor is bored and moves for the summer into a cottage in the small town of White Pine in the Adirondack Mountains. He always went there for the summer because he somehow associates it with better times before his father left without saying a word to him when he was very young. He still hoped to find some connection. He is a serious distance runner and while on a morning run he sees what appears to be a possible kidnapping of a young woman. He rationalizes that it could have been any of several different scenarios and does not report it to the police until he sees the local paper and recognizes the reported missing girl as the one he had seen in the car. From this point on the story evolves into a search for the missing girl, her discovery, jailing of her kidnapper, his escape and her part in helping him capture the professor and an FBI associate for whom he has developed some love interest. The story also leads him to discovery of the long missing father and continues until the reader is offered a forthcoming follow-up story.

Discussion: This is a story supposedly based upon the Stockholm syndrome wherein hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. The story’s plot is somewhat thinly aligned with the syndrome, but more specifically it is a tale split in two halves loosely tied with his search for his missing father to bring closure to a part of his life. The first part dwells on the young professor’s repetitive, graphically described sexual encounters with the aside that he, like all of the characters, has been abused heavily during his early life. The second portion is a well-paced mystery/thriller chase through sections of the densely wooded area of the mountains. Overall there are many interesting twists to the story but a time line and seemingly missing sections of action that make the tale a little annoying if not difficult to follow.

Summary: An erotically tilted mystery/thriller/romance this reader found to be interesting but replete with problems of presentation. Probably a tale enjoyable for many. Regrettably, this reviewer was quite unimpressed with what provided only flashes of a good tale.

3* 4* for certain readers; considerably less for others.

AMORA

AMORA ISBN: 9780982150338 (paperback) Cleardtone Publishing, copyright and written by Grant J. Hallstrom.

Amore is a Roman aristocrat who at 17 years of age marries a somewhat older member of the same class who, as a result of having been sent to settle a problem in Egypt, has developed a significant business that he runs with his Roman Senator partners. The marriage is a happy one with the birth of a daughter greatly loved by both parents. Later, she gives birth to a boy who has a deformed leg, something that the unwritten rules of their society almost demand the child’s abondement. She persuades Leo to allow her to keep the child in spite of the act reflecting badly on his position. A position that includes not only his business partners, but his personal friend the philosopher Marcus Aurelius who becomes the Emperor. On the daughter’s 12th birthday, she is kidnapped, raped and killed. Both Leo and Amora are devastated, but instead of consoling each other, they begin the blame game. He finds more and more time to spend travelling and she finds herself completely alone. Gradually she becomes acquainted with increasing numbers of Christians, finally is caught with a group, and is sentenced to die in the Arena. Leo has been one of the men pushing for eliminations of all Christians and witnesses her destruction, as well as that of her faithful maid by wild Lions. The story continues with his gradual descent into debauchery and increasing drunkenness where he is betrayed by one of his partners. He is discovered badly beaten and barely alive by the son he has not seen in a long time and nursed back to health by him and his Christian friends. The tale continues with several interesting twists, well-described bits of gladiator combative techniques, captivating descriptions of Roman centurion battle procedures and a considerable amount of well- done proselytizing. All in all, a quite fascinating read as it wends its way to a conclusion not only as a novel but one containing most pertinent historical factual material and stimulating proselytization.

Discussion: A Preface explains the background material for this book. The author’s younger brother, Calvin, “despite some mental and emotional instabilities emotional problems”, married, worked three low-pay jobs to buy a home for his wife and three children. Unfortunately, the combination caused him to be difficult to live with, so while on a trip to California, his wife changed the locks and filed for divorce. Shortly thereafter, the eldest son moved out. The middle child came out as transgender. The youngest became socially anxious and spent most of his time playing video games in the basement. A few years later the transgender child committed suicide. Calvin’s ex-wife barred everyone from even knowing where the child was being buried. Calvin, through all of this heartbreak refused to let anyone speak negatively about anything concerning his family. Six months later he was ecstatic when his youngest son wanted to reconcile. He joined him, they embraced and the boy stabbed Calvin to death. His story of failing to blame or discredit anyone, is the basis for this story.

Summary: As described above, a fascinating tale on several levels, “Amora is a historical novel based on the true story of the noblewoman who inspired Justin Martyr’s petition to the Roman Senate” on behalf of Christians. It was denied and he, along with several others, was beheaded after refusing to deny their faith. Other important figures of the day – Marcus Aurelius, Crescens, the aristocratic woman’s husband Leo, who is a central figure in the book, and other non-fictional as well as fictional characters play significant parts in this appealing story. Thus, as stated above – a quite fascinating read as it wends its way to a conclusion not only as a novel but one containing most pertinent historical factual material and stimulating proselytization.

5* fascinating novel; pertinent historical facts; stimulating proselytization.

 

Battlemind: a Military Legal Thriller

Battlemind: A Military Legal Thriller ISBN: 9781712187845 assumed published, copyright and written by Michael Waddington.

Max O’Donnell, the protagonist was the usual normal child through grade and high school, subject to the usual bullying. His father had little to no sympathy and told him to quit whining and do something about it, which he referred to as develop a battlemind or developing an emotional mental approach to fightback and win. Eventually he did and the bullying stopped. We now find Max as an army JAG corps lawyer, nearing his time of release from active duty. He is a handsome half Puerto Rican who met and married his beautiful wife Annabella, while they were university students, She was a true southern Belle, born and raised in South Carolina and thoroughly spoiled by a family consisting of a Head of the most prestigious law firm in the state and properly positioned mother in all of the traditions and societies of southern aristocracy. The couple now have a home close to that of her family, two children, and are expecting a third as he prepares to leave the army and begin searching for a position in civilian law. Annabella is expecting him to receive an offer for entry into the family business. The family, of course, is totally turned off by even the thought of Max as the husband of their pampered, South Carolina Belle of old southern aristocracy. Max’s mother is Puerto Rican, so his heritage does not exactly ‘fit in’ with a family clinging to the long held southern beliefs of the purity of members of their particular society. Max is assailed with another problem. He is ordered to defend a Sergeant charged with murdering a terrorist by beating him to death while held in American custody. Any improper action against prisoners of war strictly is prohibited by the rules of International treatment of such prisoners. The story evolves into a mystery with many twists as Max attempts to defend the Sergeant at trial in Texas while simultaneously attempting to save his marriage in South Carolina. Both defenses are fraught with hostility. The trial has a hostile judge and a prosecution that is backed by the government’s stance that they never would be involved in such improper activity and thus, much of the material he requires for defense cannot be addressed because of governmental regulations. The home front situation is filled with intense dislike by his wife’s family and exacerbated by his wife’s receipt of false stories of Max’s association with another woman in Texas. Ultimately, after finally again speaking with his father after many years, he reacquires his Battlemind and approaches both problems with a mindset that brings results.

Discussion: The author has written an interesting tale of governmental employee deception, betrayal, blatant dishonesty all backed by supposed as well as actual mandates, as well as a well-done description of the distinct racial biases that still exist and are more prevalent in some areas than others. The characters are quite believable and the plot exhibits numerous intriguing twists. There is a certain amount of confusion to portions of the presentation that this reader finds a little difficult, but generally speaking, it is an intriguing story that leaves many questions as to how, or if, Max is going to be able to successfully straighten out his life with any degree of success.

 

4* 4 ½* actually (5 – ½*) for reasons described.

Observe to Unmask

Observe to Unmask ISBM: 9798653727696, Kindle Direct Publishing, copyright and written by Pushpendra Mehta.

Subtitled 100 Small things to know people better, Pushpendra Mehta opens his discussion by admonishing individuals “Pursue your passion. Work with your intuition, learn as a child. And adapt as water.” There follow his suggestions for careful observation of individuals, their behavior and preferably from as large a number of situations as possible, to understand the person and how his/her true persona may be used to affect one or more encounters with you as an individual. Thus you must be able to introspectively evaluate yourself and realize how this other person’s traits will actively react with those you contain. He provides copious examples of actions and comments and how they variously may be used to affect their inter-relationship with you. The list of usages and their possible intention are great in number and far too copious to discuss per se. This is a presentation requiring one’s own individual perusal in order to attempt to make one’s personal evaluation. Thus quite simply stated, providing further material from the contents of this book would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: Basically, this appears to provide suggestions that individuals should consider when engaging in personal intercourse. Occasionally, this reader believes more details would be helpful when dealing with the discussion about persons mostly discussing news events happening around the world or events they did not witness of experience. The author offers the suggestion that one should know they are more talk and less action oriented and are simply providing their opinion or information of facts already known. This basically, is not necessarily true and there are blatant exceptions to this suggestion. However, the reader must realize the author’s overall attempt to provide simply basic features. His suggestions with respect to Gossip, Social Media, importance of eye contact, actually hearing, not just listening, positioning of feet, primary pursuit in one’s life and the rest provide many suggestions that are relevant, including the old accepted statement that the greater number of friends one has, is better. He provides the most appropriate admonishment that one should reconsider the statement from the perspective of selectivity. Thus basically this is a book that many readers should find noteworthy. A highly amusing aside with respect to the author’s advice, in a very small section he strayed into using a tennis situation for discussion. Unfortunately, he appears to be totally lacking in the rudiments of the sport.

4* Suggestions for understanding unspoken aspects of interpersonal communication.

Eastbound from Flagstaff

Eastbound from Flagstaff ISBN: 9781642793369 Morgan James Publishing copyright written by Annette Valentine.

The story introduces Simon Hagan, a man in his late twenties, in his small apartment in Albuquerque. His present activities include washing dishes at the hotel, classes in acting and first year pre-med college courses at the university. He is waiting excitedly for the love-of-his-life’s arrival from Flagstaff in an hour. Thus he leaves a little early to drive his typical crank Model T. Ford. At the bus station he learns that there has been a disastrous accident. The story moves from here to follow Simon’s life from its beginning on a rather successful farm outside of Elkton, Kentucky. He is the oldest son of a growing family – God devoted father who is a mentally, as well as physically, a strong man – a loving mother, a two-year younger brother Alain and several other siblings. Although never quite happy with the life of a farmer, he functioned well while dreaming of some other path in life. When he was eighteen, his mother was mauled to death by a bear which he had slowed but not stopped with the family shotgun. Unnecessarily blaming himself for her death and stimulated by his desire not to be a farmer. He leaves for Detroit, Michigan where Ford Motor Company was hiring workers for the very excellent pay of $5.00/day. The tale continues with his ability to equate easily with new people, and his activity on an assembly line. Through a chance remark by one of his new friends, he is given a job as a rookie on the Detroit Police Force. Here he rises very rapidly, becoming a Police Captain within a very few years. Regrettably, he acquires tuberculosis and must resign to move to a sanatorium in Albuquerque. The entire sequence of episodes covers a 9 year period during which he encounters many devastatingly crushing personal blows. Many of which, as with his mother’s death, he blames himself and continues a struggle with attempting to accept the fact pounded into him as a child, that God was in control. All of this mental stress is exacerbated by the constant presence in his bedroom of his mother’s bible that his father insisted he take with him and read the numerous notes he and his mother had entered on various pages. His continuation to do so adds immensely to his tension. Specific details and their chronological order really need to be read to understand the deep feelings and emotional turmoil dealt with in this tale.

Discussion: The author, a well-recognized figure in other endeavors, has presented here a debut novel depicting a period in the early life of her father. An Endorsement recounted before beginning the story points out quite accurately, that this “powerful story of resilience and recovery is a quest filled with brutal tragedies that explores the depths one endures and the path that ultimately leads to redemption”. This reviewer heartily concurs with the summation quoted by the endorser. But most regrettably, as a novel, several features require a greater degree of attention. The protagonist has a self-accusatory problem initiated by his mother’s death, but employed to strengthen his desire to leave the life of a farmer. Subsequent catastrophic occurrences strengthen the belief as his life continues. Furthermore, he fails to recognize the importance of the good matters that so easily come his way – his easy arrival at a pleasant boarding house resulting from his enquiry at the wrong address; similarly his hiring as a rookie police officer; his rapid advancement; and more all are serendipitous. Seemingly he makes a number of wrong decisions, especially with respect to his love life. But then again, his character is so sketchily developed as are those of his loves that it is impossible to even conjecture adequately. Therefore, and most regrettably, from this reader’s perspective the author has set forth a story with all of the elements of a fine fictional biography providing a powerful message, but it does require considerable character enrichment to reach the powerful story latently existent.

3* 5* powerful tale of a tormented trail attempting to reach redemption.

The Covid Legacy

The COVID Legacy assumed published, copyright and written by Lance Haynes,

The book opens with a description of areas of the country/world completely devastated from “The Dying Time’ when large portions of the world’s inhabitants were wiped out by a pandemic viral infection. It then introduces the reader to Brian, the son of Anders and Melissa Thorson and his wife Desta. He was from the northern section of the inhabited world and she was from Ethiopia. They discovered each other via an internet search and were allowed to get married and assigned to a home previously owned by a deceased billionaire near Jackson Hole by the UN Authority who functioned as the regulatory arm of the shadowy but all-powerful Dominus. They had been living here for 15 years and recently had been permitted to have children, or at least, a child. Brian possessed a brilliant mind and performed requested duties for the administrative body. The house assignment and other ‘favors’ signified their importance to the controlling authority. The story evolves as Brian attempts to learn more about his grandfather, Carl. From notes and other mementos of his grandfather he received and/or discovered from his father, he was able to discern the brilliance of the man and his manipulation by the controlling force of Dominus. Also revealed were the fate of his grandmother, existence of an equally brilliant aunt and more. Ultimately, the entire situation in large part designed and developed by his grandfather is addressed by the unexpected appearance of a believed long dead relative who with Brian, and a small cohesive group attempt to somewhat alter it for the good of all.

Discussion: The author has employed the present viral pandemic in a fictional setting that uses a tentative agenda where such an instrument, coldly but efficiently, was set in motion to solve the constantly discussed world problems of overpopulation, intercountry as well as personal greed and scrambling for dominance, cold and hot wars, global warming and the rest. It is a very readable thoughtful but in some ways ‘uncomfortable’, philosophical discussion brought to mind by China’s seeming culpable involvement. The discussion may be a little heavy for some, but coverage as set forth generally is acceptably comprehensible as pertinent to its placement within the story.

4* 5* story, probably -1 for (really required) lengthy philosophical passages.