Reclaiming our Own

Reclaiming our Own ISBN: 9781733497626, self-published, copyright and written by Christopher Irons,

The book opens with Brett Moore, oldest of 3 brothers complaining to his wife Riley about having to meet with his brother and sister-in-law and their twin 4-yr-old daughters Adrianna and Brooklyn and 2-yr old son at a local mall at the beginning of a three-day week-end. Ethan and Kathy Moore are a typical American family – he is a 65 hour per week accountant while she is stay home mom. Riley reminds him that he loves kids and should spend less time on his computers anyway. The story quickly moves into a suspense/thriller. The two-year-old, who they had decided would be better off left with Kathy’s friend at the mall’s childcare center while they shopped, was kidnapped. Brett manages to see the kidnappers, chases, reaches and ends inside the van entangled with the kidnapper. There are two more inside however, and he is knocked out. He finally revives chained in an unknown building and the plot gradually evolves. An apparently sizable ring of kidnappers of small children for adoption or release for large ransom because some who are children of wealthy/prominent families, is functioning throughout much of the country. Little knowledge of the organization has been learned because of the involvement of dirty government agents, and the apparent abduction of a child of someone highly placed in the organization. Wade Scott, a government agent with whom Brett served 10 years in the 75th Ranger Unit enters the picture, more is learned of Brett’s typically appropriate activities as a ranger, other members of the old unit assemble and the pace accelerates even more. Further detail obviously would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has provided an interesting scenario of deceit, deception, treachery, betrayal, and cruelty aptly met with courage and well-orchestrated response. A perhaps minor feature of the tale that a few words of explanation might clarify for those knowledgeable enough to question some of the results of combatant activity. Long accepted procedure in a gun fight was to dispatch two shots to the body (the greatest bodily mass) and is employed here. Today’s point of aim has been altered if possible however, to more difficult head shots because almost universal use of tactical vests/body armor. It is assumed that head shots were not feasible in some cases and that some type of tactical vest or body armor mitigated the effect to a manageable degree. Thus, the one most questionable portion of the story is explicable, so as a whole, the tale as set forth should be of great appeal to aficionados of thriller/suspense and actually for anyone who enjoys reading of justice dominating in this time when the country’s judiciary seems to appear involved in questionable activities.

5* Enjoyable thriller/suspense apropos discussion.

The Cooktown Grave

The Cooktown Grave ISBN: 9781734384437, prepared for publication by authoraide, copyright and written by Carney Vaughan.

This most unusual tale follows a ten plus year section of a young Australian man’s life following undeserved imprisonment for causing the death of his twin brother. Coincidentally, it also is of the detective’s brilliant police work that helps to establish not only his innocence, but illuminates underlying and unsuspected corruption within the police department. Specifics of the plot are so numerous and convoluted, as are the number of characters and their interrelationships, as to require considerably more space than can be provided in this ordinary review.

Discussion: Although far too numerous to provide plot details, readers should be aware that this is a tale that is divided into three parts with a quite slow beginning and movement into and partway through part two that briefly may cause concern. However the feeling soon dissipates and although admittedly some judicial editing probably still could enhance the presentation, the story becomes an engrossing chase/thriller/suspense vehicle speeding along at a good clip. The finale is satisfying and the final two chapters, in the author’s own words, set forth additional thoughts on police work that a reader will contemplate and well remember. They begin with “In a profession where one is in constant contact with the dregs of society the definition which should exist between good and bad can become blurred. Lost in a fog of vice. The human mind is a strange machine which works in relativities….”

4* Slow start, ultimately engrossing chase/thriller/suspense with riveting message.

When Worms Abandon their Burrows

When Worms Abandon their Burrows a mystery thriller assumed published, copyright and written by Sean Parr.

After several years in St. Louis, the protagonist Emily Merton has returned home to the small town of Hannibal, Missouri where she had had spent her childhood. While in St Louis, she had established a reputation as an excellent investigative journalist and now was working freelance but with special assignments for the small but important local newspaper. As quite a talented sculptor, she also sells carved pieces from her small studio/shop and is commissioned to provide a piece for the reopening of Lover’s Leap, the well-known local attraction partly destroyed by recent flooding. The funding for the park’s refurbishing has been provided by Malcolm Spencer, a newly appointed CEO of a prominent New York City Investment Company. Unknown to the New Yorkers is the fact that he has served time for the rape of an 11-year-old girl seventeen years before in Hannibal. Actually, it was a crime he had NOT committed but lies, combined with poor police procedures and a poor lawyer with whom his family concurred were responsible. Ironically, the child raped had been Emily and now she was assigned to interview him. She, in turn decides to expose him at the dinner where he is invested with his new position. Her attempt at exposure backfires, but she unexpectedly overhears a private conversation (the content of which she alters when speaking later to Malcom) and the action moves back to Hannibal and the preparation for the park’s reopening ceremony. Presentation of more detail is unrealistic because of their number and convoluted interrelationship.

Discussion: An outright judgmental decision on this book is difficult in the extreme. It has an unusual plot, projects a suspenseful aspect that makes a reader  continue to look forward to a plausible resolution but regrettably really requires an editor, or perhaps a mentor, to bring attention to the following. The story begins slowly with what appears to be stereotypical young girls who seem to continue at that level as grown women. The police work, even accepting the long-standing belief that small town departments suffer from inadequate staffing, is woefully poor; the lawyer again is ‘typically small town’; the inability of most characters to be truthful; the seeming inability of anyone to make sensible decisions; naivety of all to believe that an investment firm would select a CEO without really knowing his/her background; difficulty for anyone to believe the ruse he provides for the belief that the interview would remain ‘local’; and perhaps a very minor, but necessary, criticism that layered white pine is suitable for the lasting piece of sculpture that was to be placed in a position where it would be the recipient of constant change in weather conditions.

Summary: A seemingly somewhat contrived but impressive idea for a mystery thriller as a first by an author who shows promise.

3* 4* Mystery/thriller idea. Regrettably much less for presentation.

Ragnekai Winds

Ragnekai Winds, Kindle Edition, copyright and written by Peter Buckmaster.

This is Book One of a fantasy dealing with the subject matter of its subtitle, the Old Wounds Trilogy. It is set in and provided with a map of a mythical world of long ago where High King Sedmund, the most powerful of all kingdoms, long in failing health, suddenly succumbs. He has no heirs and strangely, had appointed no successor. It is rumored that he was poisoned by the sister of the ruler of one of the lesser kingdoms, who had been involved in a clandestine relationship with the king’s powerful general. Regardless, the lack of this overall deterrent, releases all of the frustrated ambitions held by others and each attempts to heal old wounds in their unique manner.

Discussion: The author has presented a well written tale of intrigue, distrust, deceit, betrayal and treachery interspersed with expressions of loyalty, faith and love. Many empathy worthy characters are engaged in activities reminding one of a well-played game of chess and many tragically pass away. The story is fast-moving with little ‘down’ time interspersed and the battle scenes are well described as relative to that era of warfare. As the reader progresses toward the book’s finale, he/she discovers that instead of being provided with some degree of resolution, still another element is introduced, although it had been alluded to in a most unobtrusive manner very early in the story.

Summary: The author indeed has set forth a most worthy story that meets all of the criteria for interesting and well-written manuscripts. It also plays well into the increase in escapist thinking generated by today’s hectic lifestyle; i.e. tales of fantasy that merely provide a substitute extension of the long-running TV shows and books depicting ‘Tales of the Old West’. The entire trilogy should be thoroughly enjoyed by all but regrettably a very few such as this reader and surprisingly a notable one other. It appears that perhaps a few prefer to have some degree of ‘closure’ at the conclusion of each book in a series. In this case, so many characters with whom a degree of empathy has been established have been killed that one is reminded of the old “cliff hangers” where a reader must wait to discover if the same fate has befallen several more. Most admittedly, such an admission ‘bespeaks a line of thought hearkening back to earlier times when such attempts to assure retention of the reader/observer’s attention for the next episode were initiated.’ (Granted, the idea goes back a long way, but probably not quite as far as thought; i.e. it was well before the era of dinosaurs.)

5* Well-written fantasy; the trilogy enjoyable for almost everyone.

Tap Sapiens

Tap Sapiens (Reign of Sapiens’ Evil [R.O.S.E.] Book 1) published, copyright and written by Robin T. T. Poon.

This post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi opens with young Brandi Perry travelling on a bus through sections of the countryside varying from complete destruction and ruin, small towns with inhabitants living on a barely above starvation level, areas of obvious wealth and plenty, and finally arriving at the army’s station where she is to be inducted into the armed services. After the usual examinations, issue of clothing, etc. she is assigned to a barracks with other new inductees. After ‘lights out’ she finds herself to be overcome with restlessness and quietly moves to the door, exits and wanders throughout much of the area including the officer’s building. Here she has an almost disastrous encounter with two officers, one of which is the commanding general. She returns to her own building where she is greeted by her immediate bunk mate. Gradually, the reader discovers that Brandi’s reason for joining the army is to somehow destroy the stranglehold it has upon the populace through the inequality dictated by the Supremo and enforced by his army. Death and destruction not only are continuing but actually increasing quite rapidly. She discovers that her bunk mate has suffered greatly, as have others whom she gradually begins gathering to her in a small group. After boot training, assignments are made and she finds that she has been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and moved to another building where she now has only one other roommate. This person, also having been poorly treated by the army, but continuing because of the needs of her family, becomes convinced of Brandi’s sincerity, and joins her group. From this point, the activity escalates as more about Sapiens becomes apparent and with Brandi developing a problem because of a growing attachment to the equally affected general who allowed her to retreat to her own barracks that first night when she wandered into the officers’ quarters.

Discussion; the author has set forth a complicated tale of revolt against tyranny complicated by introduction of romance. It moves along relatively well, is peopled with interesting characters and generally should appeal to those who like dystrophic tales with an emotional component. A number of characters are unaccounted for, bits of early history are injected in a somewhat ‘startling’ manner and other minor features no doubt will disappear as the author continues to mature.

4* dystrophic tale; surprising developments and a bit of romance.

The French Orphan

The French Orphan, first published 2012, 2nd Edition 2013, e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Michael Stole.

The plot centers around a young, penniless orphan enrolled in a theological school in Reims whose mission was to indoctrinate sons of nobles into the ways of the church. For some unapparent reason he becomes close friends with Armand, a handsome popular fellow student. As time evolves, the reader discovers that Pierre actually is the son of a man who had been the Marquis de Beauvoir, but confusion existed because he had married an Englishwoman who was not catholic (at this time of extreme religious animosity). Further complications evolved from the fact that Pierre’s father’s older brother who was dominated by his son Henri, was deeply in debt and jeopardized most of his remaining estates by taking one heavier loan to pay his pressing debts. Cardinal Richelieu was involved in his usual clandestine manner to attempt to gain all of these properties. Henri, a vicious person to whom life meant nothing if the individual stood in his way, wanted the Marquis title with the monies and estates attached. As the action unfolds, the reader learns that Armand’s father had been a dear friend of Pierre’s father and actually had enrolled him in the school hoping the two boys would become friends. As may be determined from these few sentences, the plot is quite as complicated as the old manner in which English and French Family titles were held and dealt with by reigning Kings and the impossibly powerful Cardinal Richelieu of France. The situation was further roiled by the fact that the French King was particularly more attracted to young males than to members of the distaff side, but also was still much attached to his sister who was the reigning Queen of England. Pierre and Armand sneak away from the school and the resulting action intensifies. It is replete with espionage, betrayal, distrust, deceit, feats of bravery and love interests by characters acting the appropriate parts, all leading to only a degree of closure that requires the now involved reader to await the next volume to ascertain further knowledge of whether all will end satisfactorily for Pierre and his lovely amour.

Discussion: This is an interesting tale that is nicely paced and peopled by characters who should appeal to readers who have a tendency to enjoy a plot embracing a protagonist whose serendipity overcomes all odds so that seemingly he eventually will accomplish his goals and live happily with his true love. The author seems well-versed in the muddled history of the period, and aware of the ill-fated Knights Templar and the long standing rumors about their ultimate ending. If the prospective reader is a historical fiction aficionado, is one who enjoys the type of story described, and doesn’t mind having to wait for the action to continue, this book definitely is for you.

3* 5* Well-plotted/written/characterized historical tale; -2 as described.