The Haunting

The Haunting, a paranormal romance in e-book published, copyright and written by Raymond M. Hall.

Plot: Sebastian Carmichael, one of the world’s foremost pianists apparently had recovered from a spectacular collapse during a concert. He decided he wanted nothing more than to find some way of life different than that he had been living. Thus mentally engaged, he was driving north from London along the motorway when suddenly he saw police lights flashing behind him. He looked at the speedometer and with a shock realized he was cruising along at one hundred thirty. Fortunately, one of the officers who stopped him was a classical buff and let him go with a warning. He continued and finally decided on following a teen-age hobby. His father, killed in a road accident along with his mother twenty years ago, had a construction business and the youngster had spent many hours around building sites. In fact he had expected to emulate his father until a music teacher had recognized his talent and had suggested scholarships that lead to rather rapid advancement into his elevated state as a musician of distinction. Now decided, and having reached the flat Lincolnshire fields, he pulled off at a ramp to Upper Marston. Wandering through the quaint village he noticed one with properties for sale. He entered, engaged the agent in small talk until the man obviously was ready to leave. He asked about an Inn. Was recommended to The Nags Head and offered to buy the agent dinner and share a bottle of wine deciding that he already loved the general atmosphere and wanted to continue to learn more. He needed to   expand the relaxation that rapidly was growing upon him. The evening was enjoyable and the next day, he returned to look at the properties available. He was completely tired of the years of constant planning and rigid execution required for his busy concert schedule where his life had become so completely directed, he had no time for marriage or even for real enjoyment. He even had contemplated killing himself. Now he was completely free to do what he wanted when he wanted to, he still was young and had ‘buckets of money’, so why not act impetuously? He looked at many but none that would provide anything for him to do. And he wanted to actively return to his youthful roots of building something. Finally, he saw a broken down bakery that had been deserted for years. The agent told him it had been on the market so long because it was shunned because it purportedly was haunted. Not believing in such things he bought the property and began completely gutting and rebuilding at a sizeable, but acceptable, jolt to his bank account.

The story next quickly turns to Seth Bishop, and his sons Luke and Tom, the original owners of the bakery in the 1700’s, Luke’s marriage to Bethany Abnett, a gypsy girl whom he completely adores, and their resulting fate from Cromwell’s harsh attempts to abolish all of the Roma. From this point forward, the reader repeatedly is moved intermittently among these and numerous other characters of the era and Sebastian’s activities, his willful sister Caroline, Briody, a beautiful woman under whose charm he falls completely, and more. The people of the ancient era, as well as the present, are both very good and very bad, and many often appear to be a part of the strange occurrences constantly besetting Sebastian’s newly acquired home.

Discussion: It would be distinctly a disfavor to provide further details to prospective readers of this paranormal tale peopled with quite a number of interesting characters that mostly the reader can love or hate. Further, the author has placed them in a plot that progresses at a lively, although somewhat uneven pace. (Actually the tale provides several interwoven tales.) However, paranormal devotees should enjoy the story and especially so when the final ‘fitting together’ of much of material, although probably already suspected by the reader, is not fully ‘spelled out’ until the final few pages.

4* Interestingly characterized and plotted paranormal romance.



Eagle Shield: Milestone Rising

Eagle SHIELD: Milestone Rising, first published in Australia by Aurora House 2018 copyright and written by Carl Lakeland. This Kindle edition ISBN: 978064822690.

Plot: The story opens in Alice Springs, a settled area in Australia’s ‘Outback” with Nathan being assigned to be the guardian/new parent for orphaned 10-year-old Angel whom he is informed has some ‘most ‘unusual talents’. Nathan Masters, nicknamed Canter, is a former special services soldier who had lost part of a leg in combat, but still works for ASIS, the Australian CIA/FBI type of organization. They are engaged in clandestine defensive activities against an organization that intends to devastate earth by nuclear fission. Purportedly, the organization is composed of worldwide, highly placed government and large company CEO’s along with Mafia and similar groups. These individuals are aligned with aliens who have infiltrated and lived among earth people for years and have provided these ‘privileged’ individuals with the opportunity to harvest large personal gains for their aiding the aliens while assuring them they would be provided with a means of escape from the devastated planet. The reason for the ‘Oudarretians’ desire to devastate earth is because the remnants of nuclear fission produce a substance they need to survive and gradually their source is being depleted. Angel is part human and part of this alien origin. Nathan’s assignment is titled Eagle Shield, presumably associated with an unusual relationship she appears to have with these birds. His instructions are to deliver Angel from Alice Springs to a safe house in Melbourne and then remain as her new parent/guardian while helping to prepare her to become an ASIS agent when she becomes an adult. Along with Angel he is given an important disc and other pertinent material about the Milestone Project that must never be out of his sight and control. With this attempted elimination of some of the early confusion of this story, the reader can embark upon pursuing the well written, fast paced abundant action that follows.

Discussion: The author has a most creative mind with which he has set forth a very interesting high-octane action plot, often on the edge of credibility, but acceptable with its occult/fantasy, alien/paranormal thread. His characters also gradually become increasingly interesting as more about them is revealed as is the plot, even though a certain amount of confusion still persists. Unfortunately, Canter is not as careful as his instructions require, numerous complications result and the action moves forward at a decidedly accelerated pace. So, readers who enjoy fast, often violent action with a touch of the paranormal will discover an enjoyable romp. Buy it and enjoy it but DON”T read the next paragraph.

A SPOILER ALERT must be offered for readers who, if like this reviewer, are not particularly attracted to lead characters who are quite inept in other than certain situations, here active combat. Specifically, if Canter were more mentally agile, listened to and followed instructions provided, he would be an individual more in line with expectations of an operative in a government’s intelligence service. But then, and most regrettably and apologetically, this perhaps is simply ‘one person’s opinion’.

3* 5* For violent action devotees; caveat regrettably and apologetically offered for others.



The Broadcast

The Broadcast, an e-book published, copyright and written by Liam Fialkov.

Plot: The author has provided an interesting plot that is quite closely allied with thoughts arising from Erich von Dänilien books. However as provided, little description of the plot may be set forth without a ‘spoiler alert’ for presenting too much of it and/or its component parts. Briefly however, the story centers around a series of blockbuster broadcasts that at first present photographic evidence of situations that lead to solving ‘dead case’ murders. It then switches to documentary productions of historic events that the producer states gradually will go back to zero AD. As these latter increasingly reveal graphic descriptions of well-known/accepted factors of history, mounting pressure is exerted against their production by both Christian and Muslim groups who fear revelation of various activities that may be contrary to their long held beliefs and/or teachings.

Characters: Leading characters include Jonathan and his brother Walter, who as small children had been put up for adoption when their family was killed in a car crash. Walter was fortunate in being adopted by a loving family, well-educated and became a well-known TV producer. Jonathan became the product of several foster families and was only variously educated. He was intelligent and extended his education into several areas, however. Jonathan’s wife Sarah, disowned by her family for becoming pregnant at sixteen (actually raped) was sent from St. Louis to Phoenix where she delivered a baby that was taken from her at the convent causing her endless remorse. McPherson is an award winning journalist who believed the productions by Walter were phony and set in motion an attempt to expose them. HH a former debatably crooked cop who had served time and now was a bitter, occasionally vicious PI. Michael, a young adopted boy who is hired by Walter and plays an increasing part in the story. Numerous others who play roles of varied importance. Additionally, Jonathan and Sarah’s large, heavily forested area of residence contains an unusual portion that also plays an important part in the tale as the plot advances until it gradually reaches a fitting finale.

Discussion: As described, the story begins with the TV’s Hype for the unusual clip that had come into Walter’s possession that reveals the perpetrator of a twenty-five-year-old murder, followed by similar before switching to the historical documentary productions. The method of provision is to quite constantly switch between scenes with intermediate chapters. 1 – the TV hype; 2 – a chapter describing Johnathan and Sarah; 3 -one of Sarah; 4 – the Broadcast; 5 – Johnathan; 6 – the Broadcast; 7 – Michael; 8 – the Broadcast, etc. This approach does provide important bits and pieces of the story and the interrelationship of numerous characters as they move inexorably toward the finish. Unfortunately, the format results in a large amount of repetition and/or redundancy that if removed, would greatly enhance the progression of an intriguing story. Some, more prosaic, readers may find a little difficulty in accepting some character activity and many will find character development sketchy. Some will find the ending ‘proper and emotionally satisfying’ while others may believe it to be a little too ‘pat’.

4* For fascinating story; -1 at least for numerous hiccups.

Chasing the Red Queen

Chasing the Red Queen, a multiple genre novel published, copyright and written by Karen Glista.

The book opens with a prologue from an ancient birch parchment of the Ojibwa, also known as Chippewa, Indian nation, whose main area of residence more or less centered on Sault St. Marie and contiguous portions of America and Canada. The parchment details how “seven spirits presented themselves to the people in the Land of the Dawn to teach the Mide way of life. The first six spirits were good and kind, but the seventh grew too powerful and killed those in his presence.” Supposedly, the good spirits had forced him into the ocean. This is a story of his reappearance and centers on Donja Bellinger, whose mother’s death four years previously has left her with intense psychological problems. Now her mother has decided to marry Carson Hampton and they are to move to the upper Michigan Peninsula leaving the home, school, surroundings and close friends established over her seventeen years of life. He was extremely nice, equated immediately with her younger brother and tried very hard to do the same with her. Offering still another problem was Carson’s daughter Makayla, a beautiful, poised, constantly well-dressed 17-year-old who was independently wealthy from money her mother had left her when she had passed away a few years before. They move into the new home which is on the Historic Homes Registry and reputed as having been owned by a woman who was believed to have been a Chippewa leaving the house haunted. It is a mess ad they are going to have it renovated while they’re living there. The two girls become true sisters as each has a problem with which they help each other and they go exploring into a secret room discovered. Here they find many fascinating things, not the least of which are very old paintings on birch bark along with some of the earliest photographs. These, combined with other discoveries – the fact that Donja is the only descendant left of a distinct branch of the Chippewa nation; she and Makayla becoming romantically involved with two extremely handsome men in the near-by night life centers; the men are       actually part of a vampire-like race living on earth for centuries – all lead to extended wild and weird activity evolving from re-entry of that seventh (evil Ojibwa) spirit who is attracted to Donja as the only surviving member of that extinct branch of the Chippewa Clan. The tale culminates eventually in horrendous bloody battles and a fitting end.

Discussion: The author has used the well-known strange stories that have for years emanated from, and about, the upper Michigan Peninsula and associated parts of Canada but has added a new twist – a vampire-like (alien) race of immortals. This amalgamation with one of the well-known basic themes is perhaps a little jarring to readers aware of the usual thrust of stories associated with the area. But in its unique multi – fantasy/alien (?)/vampire/mystery – genre status is acceptable and as such, no doubt of interest to many readers of one or more of these categories. Regrettably, there are a number of features that, at least from this reader’s viewpoint, make evaluation difficult to say the least. The impression first acquired is that the story appears to be slanted somewhat toward a teenage feminine group because after an initial understanding of Donja’s decision to go goth, the extensive amount of description set forth and emphasis on make-up, hair styles and stylists, boutiques, and variations in dress, as well as the approach to male/female activity descriptions somehow heightened this impression. However, as the story continues the trend became more varied and the imposition of more graphic violence moved the tale to assume a broader scope. Another distraction is the number of lengthy descriptions that requires judicial editing to aid in remaining closer to the book’s basic story. So to reiterate, a story difficult to assess.

Conclusion: A multi-genre story that no doubt should appeal mostly to certain Fantasy/Romance readers who do not mind inclusion of considerable graphic violence and lengthy rhetoric only tangentially pertinent to the main theme.

3* Multi-genre tale adding unusual twist to those associated with the region.

The Transitioners: The Purple Blues

The Transitioners: The Purple Blues IBSN: 9788494758490, Kwill Books, an e-book by Indigo Cox.

Misty, the protagonist is an extremely talented black/brown girl from Rocky Mount, North Carolina who has managed to be accepted into a PhD program at the prestigious Girard School of Music in New York City. She is in her last sessions before her thesis performance and must pass the course provided by obnoxious egocentric Professor Krinch who has an extreme anti non-white bias. She has managed to progress well in his class because she has been able to enroll and function well by transforming into white Cynthia and passing as a Russian exchange student. The story proceeds and revolves around how she manages to effect the change, ,her struggles with past and present ‘demons’, her intercourse with people that know her as Misty, those who know her as Cynthia as well as those who know and understand her in both roles. The tale further develops to explain how her true mission is to function to save ‘her people’ from the all-powerful destroyer Satin-like Sahizm with help from other ‘Transitioners’. The book ends by immediately introducing the reader to the first several pages of the next in what obviously will become a series of her adventures.

Discussion: The author explains in an Introduction: “Misty, the heroine of this book, battles hatred in all its forms. She is in many ways a lot like most of us girls who have been oppressed for years. She has many doubts initially about her own awesomeness, but when called on, her perseverance and resolve carry her into her greatness. Enslaved women and their descendants have been called on many times to be heroic, and many of us have risen to meet that challenge on multiple occasions. This is a story that has its roots in this legacy, the legacy of the many heroic women who have had to defend themselves and their children to survive.” Further that: “…Misty who like myself is a descendent of slaves. While Misty is a made-up superhero I derived from my own imagination, visiting the museum (African-American History) made me realize again, that we have had many heroes like Misty in our past. They are the reason why we still exist and thrive despite the hatred that unfortunately defines part of our history in this country but fortunately not all our hearts.”

Summary: These words directly from the author explain the book’s heavy fantasy basis that is essential, but also somewhat overrides a basically interesting plot that could be developed on its own. Regardless, if the reader is a devotee of fantasy and/or one with whom the author’s words appeal, this book is for you. A caveat is required with respect to the number of proofing errors, removal of which would greatly enhance the enjoyment, as would providing ‘breaks’ in the lengthy descriptive passages.

3* 4* for fantasy devotee and/or appeal of author’s words; 3* per caveats.

The Golden Book of World’s Greatest Mysteries

The Golden Book of World’s Greatest Mysteries ISBN: 9788075832634, Musaicum Books in e-book by multiple authors.

This book, sub-titled 60+ Whodunit Tales & Detective Stories is a compilation of stories by the “World’s Greatest Authors” and is referred to as “The Ultimate Anthology”. Among the authors included are Edgar Allen Poe, A Conan Doyle, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Mark Twain and others perhaps lesser known to American readers such as Guy de Maupassant, Théopile Gautier, Helena Balavatsky and some lesser known stories of among other authors, Jack London and Anton Chekhov. The book is divided into five sections. The first is “Detective Stories” starting with Poe’s better known ‘The Purloined Letter’. The second is “Suspense Stories” with the opening tale ‘The Birth Mark’ by Hawthorne. The third, “Ghost Stories” with the first ‘Thrawn Janet’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. The fourth, “Paranormal Psychic Stories” opening with ‘When the World was Young’ by Jack London. The fifth, “Humorous Mystery Stories” is the shortest with nine selections leading off with ‘The Secret of Goresthorpe Grange’ by A. Conan Doyle followed by Mark Twain, de Maupassant, Théopile Gautier and others.

Discussion: This is a most interesting group of stories for several reasons. First, they all are interesting, occasionally for an unusual reason. Second, they all are well written. Third, many offer a selection or more from an author lesser known to many American readers and/or a tale from a well-known writer that most readers probably just have not read because it seems a little removed from the books for which the author is most well recognized. The writing style and verbalization frequently are dated, but somehow lends charm to the presentation. William Melmoth and Julian Hawthorne are the translators and have done well with their contributions.

Summary: A group of short stories that allow the busy person to ‘take a break’ from his/her abundant activities when needed and indulge in an enjoyable few minutes of reading.

5* Enjoyable book especially for the individual who is stressed for time.