Daily Archives: August 6, 2011

The Inverted Forest by John Dalton

The Inverted ForestReviewed by Teri Davis

Sometimes you read a book that is so well written that it haunts you, but the story itself is also so disturbing and unsettling to you that you are not certain if you should recommend it or not. That is my predicament with The Inverted Forest.

The Inverted Forest revolves around a summer camp in rural Missouri. The owners of the camp are a set of bachelors who are also twins. One of the brothers recently suffered a stroke, so the surviving brother is in charge of the camp. Schuller Kindermann would prefer to work on his kirigami in the solitude of his cabin than deal with the day-to-day management issues. For that he depends on a long-time worker who lives there year round caring for the camp.

A group of teenagers has been hired to be counselors for this particular summer. They spend time together readying the camp. Unfortunately, these counselors have a late-night pool party, minus the swimsuits. This causes them to be fired. Schuller Kindermann goes to the nearby community to search for replacements. Unfortunately there is not time for training or background checks. He just takes what he can get for counselors.

Most of the counselors are in the early college stage between the ages of eighteen and twenty. There is one of the counselors that is a little unusual in that his facial features are slightly deformed and he seems backward. That is Wyatt Huddy.

The Literary Handyman: Tips on Writing from Someone Who’s Been There by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The Literary HandymanReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Writers, rejoice, for here is the book for you! Danielle Ackley-McPhail, the author of many books like Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, writer of short stories, and editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series and No More Dreams, with this book offers up her considerable hard-earned expertise to help you, too, learn the basic skills and handy tips and tricks that will help make you into better writers, and get you published! After all, how will the readers of the world know how brilliant your word choices are and how scintillating your prose unless your writing is published for them to purchase, read, and marvel about? Recognition (well, money, too) is the ultimate goal writers aspire to, and The Literary Handyman: Tips On Writing Form Someone Who’s Been There is an excellent guidebook to enabling you to reach your goal.

From the front cover of this book on, this book rocks, and if you enjoy writing, there will be many topics the author will discuss that will definitely be of interest to you. Who wouldn’t want to be depicted as a cartoon (if it’s not a terribly unflattering one, anyway)? Danielle Ackley-McPhail is, on the cover of the book, and she’s dress in the garb of a working person/editor, with a carpenter’s style belt around her waist. Along with a couple of tools, like a hammer and a screwdriver, she has in pouches two of the most important tools for aspiring writers: a dictionary and a thesaurus. It doesn’t matter how much of an expert on the English language or grammar you are; both of these tools are vital and indispensable for writers and editors (yes, even with Spell Check).

Some of the topics the book goes over are learning more about effective dialogue, the differences between major publishers and small presses, self-promoting, naming characters, and avoiding procrastination. The last of these might be the most important, because if you keep putting off writing and putting it on the back-burner, who knows what masterpieces you might be depriving the world of? And, if you don’t have your writing published, who knows how much fame, money, and attendant glory you might be missing out on?

Loose Gravel by David P. Holmes

Loose GravelReviewed by Teri Davis

“Beauty and a remorseless soul – a deadly combination. Dangerous – like loose gravel.”

If you have ever driven a car fast on loose gravel, you are aware at how dangerous it can be and how easy it is to lose control, just like fast living.

Detective Harold Bruntz has been a part of the Minneapolis Police for thirty years. He is not handsome. In fact, he’s a mess. He wears clothes that look slept in, hasn’t bathed recently, is overweight, drinks, sleeps around, and has problems getting along with partners. He also has his own version of right and wrong and will do whatever it takes to close a case, even if it is illegal or unethical.

Now his superiors are giving him one last chance. His new partner, Yo-Yo, is a svelte, black woman who can no longer work under cover as a prostitute. Either these damaged individuals have to get along, or they are both out of a job.

Someone shot Gordon Mark and Amanda Freeman while they were in compromising positions. Gordon died immediately while Amanda lived even though she was shot in the stomach. Amanda was also married to Darrel Freeman at the time. Who would be the logical shooter?

Now, Isabel le Freeman and Darrel Freeman are shot and killed, daughter and step-father. It turns out that Isabelle was also pregnant by Darrel. Who would gain by these people being dead? Why was Amanda not killed? What does she know? How does this family interact?

Flowers for Her Grave: A Grim Reaper Mystery by Judy Clemons

Flowers for Her GraveReviewed by Teri Davis

What if your son and husband recently died? Added to that, now you are wanted by the police. Are you willing to face life or would you prefer to run away and start over?

Casey Maldonado decides to leave her life in Ohio and to start life again in Raceda, Florida as a fitness trainer. She has an unusual companion though, the grim reaper. Yes, Death, L’Ankou, is staying with her. Those who fear death cannot see him, but those who do not fear him, do see these apparition.

Casey decides to change her name to Daisy Gray. To begin her new life, Daisy teaches fitness classes for a trial week at no cost to them. She is hoping that this will allow her to rebuild her life with new friends and to build confidence in herself again.

Naturally, Casey/Daisy has an attraction for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Late at night, Daisy finds one of residents in the locker room, bleeding. Even though she does the right thing and immediately gets help, the resident still dies. The police were able to discover that Daisy was not involved and could not have caused the death since the security video tapes backed her story. Unfortunately, not all the residents feel the same way.

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

The Silent GirlReviewed by Cy Hilterman

A Rizzoli and Isles story that is very well written and takes the reader to Chinatown where things are done in their own way and in their own time. Where history is a huge part of their lives, both how they act in the present and in the future. Tess Gerritsen had her mothers roots in China to give her inspiration that made her dig deeply for research for this story that takes you to those areas, both past and present, and gives you a feeling that you are living with The Silent Girl.

The story begins with a small Chinese girl being followed by two men, all three being observed by an older Chinese woman. The men had one thing in mind and when they trapped the young girl they started to do their evil sexual deed but the observing woman stepped in and creamed the two men making them scatter on their way. The woman knew the young girl and was trying to make a connection to help her. The girl eventually believed that the woman was there to help, not hurt the girl. The story skips ahead seven years when Dr. Maura Isles is testifying in a very controversial trial. Dr. Isles is a medical examiner and was giving evidence detrimental to a Boston Police Department Officer. The officer was a hero but the evidence that Dr. Isles was presenting was turning all in the courtroom against her.

A young Chinese boy was giving an unauthorized tour to some tourists he had persuaded to join his tour of Chinatown’s dangerous and murderous areas. When he took the group to a Chinese restaurant, The Red Phoenix, some strange “shadows” appeared that scared Billy and his tour members. Detective Jane Rizzoli and her partner, Detective Barry Frost, were called to the scene where the strange things had occurred during Billy’s tour. A severed hand was found and a very expensive gun but nothing else at this site. The detectives climbed to the roof of the old apartment house to see if there were any clues there. They did find what was no doubt the rest of the body to which the hand had been attached. Detective Tam was called into the case since in Chinatown little English was spoken. Tam was a good detective and knew quite well the entire area of Chinatown including its past history. He was also aware of the murders that had taken place years earlier in the Red Phoenix when the cook was suspected of killing others and himself creating a mess in Chinatown.