Strategic Entanglements

Strategic Entanglements assumed published, copyright and written by D. K. Knightley.

The author has set forth this initial book in the planned Kendra Veiss series that introduces her and other characters in another world in the year 2977. This world is composed of the dominant empire of Basur who had defeated and literally destroyed Askar, a medium-sized militant nation and left in this state although it’s ideological enemy. Askar gradually had climbed out of its devastated position and was again proving problematical. Both nations retained Counterintelligence agencies including Clandestine Operations, State Security and similar branches. The plot centers in Kendra’s position as an operative in Basur’s clandestine operations and her hot/cold sexual attraction to Aran Reiner, her Askar counterpart, especially after having been abducted by his operatives and submitted to torture. Kai Ansurian, an apparently good friend of Aran but seemingly a Basur-Askar Double agent, presents a somewhat similar problem after sexually attacking her not un-pleasurably during her torture sessions. Additionally, he also was helpful in her survival before release. A number of other supportive characters also are introduced and the story provides no ending per se, but rather serves as an introduction to the next volume in the series scheduled to appear in the near future.

Discussion: The author is described as presenting “A red-hot battle of the sexes designed for sophisticated readers looking for something original and out of the ordinary.” From what this reader seems to have been able to assemble from relatively diverse social intercourse, she has provided a vehicle that should have great appeal for these individuals. If the potential reader has not attained the more advanced levels of this mental state, however, the following notes may be helpful. Kendra’s at times almost hostile verbalization and actions with respect to attitudes of male dominance certainly are understandable after the horrible results of such activity she encountered within her own home. Similarly, such chauvinistic attitudes, even without her life experiences, are totally understandable and justified. It is only in the manner in which she often uses them that is difficult to accept. It would appear that she held almost a ‘death wish’ associated with some latent desire to be dominated as demonstrated by her totally unrealistic actions that repeatedly placed her in a dangerous, even untenable, position from which some dominant male’s activity was required to extract her. Additionally, the basic direction of the tale was a little difficult to discern. Besides depicting a highly intelligent and totally modern, courageous young woman fighting male chauvinism, an underlying tone of hesitant titillation seems prominent. For example, a rather extended scene seemingly slanted toward raising the expected titillation, proceeded during the torture period but was followed by quite clinically explicit descriptions that, perhaps purposely, nullified its apparent direction. Another feature of this volume that readers who prefer at least partial closure to parts of a story, may find the tale a little annoying in that it’s serial nature dictates that one must wait with baited breath until the author has been able to furnish the next episode.

Summary: If the prospective reader is not deterred by the above listed features, they will discover a well-written tale incorporating tension and sexual, as well as other, intrigue between attractive characters in a foreign land of the future. A good first novel.

3* 5* “…battle of the sexes …for sophisticated readers”       -2* for some as described.

A Predator and A Psychopath

A Predator & A Psychopath ISBN: 9781543976397 assumed published, copyright and written by Jay Kerk.

Subtitled A Dark and Twisted Psychological Thriller, the story begins with Part 1 following the activities of Jason Stankovic, a brilliant CFO for a large and successful corporation. He has an apparently idyllic life with his lovely wife Lisa, equally beautiful daughter Lea and young son Mathew until it suddenly dissipates. He is found in a completely confused state in a bloodied room with both Lisa and Lea dead from gunshot wounds. He is brought to trial but released into custody after being diagnosed as having suffered from a disassociated identity disorder. He is brought under the care of an excellent psychiatrist and his life and activities continue here and in Parts 3 and 5. Part 2 introduces the reader to Jerry who describes himself as “a human being. A superior one to the flock of the worthless…. a hypersexual being… belonging to the elite hunters… We all are hunters and gatherers, but we descended from a diverse genetic pool. I belong to the elite hunters. Today they have no use for us …. (but) we have a massive lust, we’re hungry to mate and multiply, thirsty for blood …. How do I live with my nature? I seek pleasure in the dark.” The activities of this psychotic predator continue to be described here and continue at length in Part 4 and are referred to in the last section of the book.

Discussion: The author’s mind set in publishing this book is interesting. In his ‘Note’ following conclusion of this volume he states: “This is my first novel, but it is not the first one I publish… along the years I have written for myself. I have written my imagination; now I matured to write for your entertainment.” He further admonishes that word count, paper or money generated are unimportant. “What I want is that you reach out to me and tell me what was good and where you felt most. I hope the next time, I’ll have something this animated and thrilling.” There is no doubt he has provided a certain degree of ‘animation’. But ‘thrill’ and written “for your entertainment? The story entails quite realistic descriptions of the activities in which psychotic individuals suffering from two of the various patterns in which psychotic behavior is manifest can engage. It is not a pleasant picture and from this reader’s perspective would seem to have been presented more as a vehicle for instruction rather than enjoyment. However, once again a reader is made aware of the vast differences that may exist in individual taste.

Summary: This is a somewhat instructive description of depraved activity in which sufferers of two different forms of psychoses can engage. It no doubt will appeal to certain readers for its suspense.

3* 4*Relatively adept description of psychotic behavior; -1 at very least for enjoyment.

Forlorn

Forlorn, a dark story of suspense ISBN: 9781978440180 Vinspire Publishing, an e-book copyright 2017 and written by Gina Detwiler.

A prologue describes the situation that results in Grace Fortune being pulled by her Guardian Angel when she is 6 years old from the flaming wreck of her family’s automobile that consumes her parents. The story begins as Grace, now sixteen and being raised by her aunt and uncle, is a student at the Buffalo Arts Academy, where although suffering from a degree of Attention Deficit Disorder, possesses a lovely voice and ability to play the piano. With her are her somewhat misfit friends that include scientifically inclined and quite pragmatic Ethan Ellerman who is there on full scholarship as a designer of video games, artistically inclined Brianna (Bree) Reynolds who at the moment points out a newcomer to the school who is every girl’s dream man, Jared Lorn with muscular build, almost white hair and strikingly blue penetrating eyes and his seeming attraction to Grace. Ethan points out that Jaren is a felon and was transferred here because he had stabbed another student with a fork at a different school. He heard that he moved from “Ohio or Oregon, something with an O anyway”. However he was said to play the guitar amazingly well. Only shortly thereafter Derick Holder, the boy with whom Jared had fought appeared at the lunch room and opened fire with an automatic weapon. Ethan is struck in the stomach and falls into Grace’s lap bleeding profusely. She calls out “Derick! Please stop! Stop shooting.” Her guardian cries out to Grace to sing a special song which he sings to her in the night when she has bad dreams from the Dark Ones seeking a way in. Her singing causes Derrick to hesitate and suddenly Jared moves as a blurred figure knocking the gun from his hand and literally throwing him against a large plate glass window with sufficient force to shatter the glass killing Derick. From this moment the tale becomes one of war between forces of good and evil including different levels of both with guardians, archangels, appearance of ‘the Risen One”, demons, fallen angels, the Nephilim, the importance of faith and the power of prayer per se and through music.

Discussion: The author has presented a most unusual fantasy that may well appeal to readers, especially YA who enjoy conflicts between good and evil forces as they vie for dominance in the living world. The trials and tribulations of the two protagonists are suspenseful as they engage in a series of activities that take them on remarkable journeys. Regrettably, from this reader’s perspective, the tale contains numerous hiccups that are difficult to accept and therefore may require a SPOILER ALERT. If, however a reader enjoys unusual suspenseful fantasy stories pitting the forces of good versus those of the ethereal dark side, obtain the book, enjoy and do NOT read further.

Two of the most difficult discrepancies for this reader to reconcile are: Much is made of the fact that Grace’s parents were completely destroyed by the fiery crash. Yet her mother suddenly appears with an entirely different scenario? Neither Grace nor her friends know much about Jared and seemingly nothing about Derrick yet Grace speaks to him by name and is uncertain when he left school when he is massacring the students?

Conclusion: A fascinating fantasy that should be of particular interest to younger readers and most especially to those of religious inclination. Regrettably and although having enjoyed many tales in the fantasy genre, this reviewer apologetically cannot reconcile the plot discrepancies mentioned.

3* 5* Fascinating fantasy for many; -2* for reasons described.

Roadhouse Rendezvous

Roadhouse Rendezvous ISBN: 9781515162094 Creative Space Independent Publishing, First printing 2015. Copyright and written by Hal Savage,

The author has put together ten rather unusual stories, two labeled as novellas. The first, entitled “The Woman across the Hall” is one of misinterpretation of body language while most of the others deal with some form of mystery, crime and/or detection with also a missing persons, a sick practical joke tale and one of revenge.

Discussion: From this reader’s point of view the collection is unique in that the stories are rather unusual with some dark turns that lead to somewhat unexpected endings. The 4th, 5th and 10th are perhaps the best detective stories and the 9th is as labeled “One Dumb Stunt”, but to reiterate, all terminate unusually and several strain credibility to a degree.

4* A collection of unusual stories.

APEX

APEX, A Max Algren novel ISBN: 9781543966428 Design and Production by Book Baby. Copyright and written by Ryan W. Aslesen.

Max Alegren, a former Special Forces, CIA, and now private operative is still attempting to avenge the death of his family but requires another name for his ‘hit list’. Congressman, former General Marklin, for whom he works sporadically, has such a name but will not provide it until Max has accomplished a seek and extract operation for a senator’s son who has disappeared. He encounters a rather weird young woman reporter who is interested in the situation and manages to be helpful enough to join him. Together they deduce where the young budding geneticist is probably being held. It is an island in the infamous “Devil’s Island” group owned by the French Government. Indications are that it also is under control of a dangerous geneticist who has escaped other missions to apprehend him. The French closely guard all evidence of the island’s existence which is rumored to house dinosaur-like creatures and even more vague tales of a hunting area where humans can be hunted for a million/day. Max assembles his team from former acquaintances and the story proceeds at break-neck speed, with only an occasional ‘break’ to provide pertinent material.

Discussion: The author is a former Marine officer and now security consultant as well as “a bestselling writer of military science fiction that is both authentic and replete with intense action and suspense”. This volume is another in the same pattern. The only regrettably negative aspect, and possibly from this reader’s overly developed pragmatic perspective, is a degree of discomfort mostly with parts of the action and the realities of weaponry, its supply, usage and results which in this volume seem to have moved, unfortunately, into the realm of difficulty with respect to credibility. But to reiterate, this could be as a result of many years spent in very practical activity.

3* Most enjoyable but providing an unfortunate personal impression as explained.

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’.

3* 4* For fascinating story; -1 at least for numerous hiccups as described.