Category Archives: Fiction

Knife Creek (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) by Paul Doiron

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Knife CreekA very good crime story written by a new writer (to me) who has done an excellent job putting together this one.

Mike Bowditch, a Maine game warden who seems to always be a bit ahead of where his supervisors think he should be, gets off on a tangent. Though he is out trying to clear out some feral hogs who have decided to take up residence in his district, Mike discovers a reason to do some investigating.

What he finds is a dead baby in a shallow grave that appears to even have been partially at least nibbled at by the hogs. He notes that the baby is covered with a pink Red Sox shirt and immediately calls in his findings and forgets about the hogs. The first state patrol officer who comes to the scene is a young woman who had previously worked with Bowditch as a game warden. Pretty much against the wishes of their superiors these two decide to see what they can find out. When nothing else appears evident they split up and go about their other chores.

The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Last Mrs. ParrishAt some time in your past, you probably have looked at a celebrity and imagined yourself as that celebrity. After awhile, most of us realize that no matter how hard we try, we just cannot become that person. Even with a makeover and dieting, it just will not work. You won’t become that person.

Amber Pattinson obsesses over Daphne Parrish. She sees Daphne as perfect. To Amber, Daphne is who she wants to become. The beautiful, blond socialite and philanthropist exists with designer clothes including jewelry, travels extensively in their private jet and has a nanny For her two supposedly perfect daughters. She even has a charismatically handsome husband who happens to own his real-estate company. Of course, the family lives in their elegant homes, complete with servants and everything a woman could buy or desire.

Amber can only find one imperfection in Daphne. Daphne’s sister passed away twenty-years ago from cystic fibrosis. In her honor, she created a charity for those suffering from the disease. However, she still misses her sister.

The Brethren by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The BrethrenThis is a really interesting story that basically has several stories going on at the same time. The Brethren are a group of three ex-judges who are currently serving time in a minimum federal security prison or camp which is meant for criminals who have committed nonviolent crimes basically against society. They have to be guarded and watched but it is a very low security atmosphere. One of the three had been convicted for tax evasion, one was a justice of the peace who was jailed for embezzling bingo profits, and one had killed two hikers in Yellowstone while he was driving drunk. They basically had jurisdiction over the other inmates in the prison camp as long as it was a crime dealing only with other prisoners.

But there status did allow them to have privileges such as mail in and out without anyone checking it. They were also allowed visits unhampered by their attorney who in fact became their errand boy as they used him in the scheme which they put together. He was happy with the overall arrangement because one of the three judges was a knowledgeable sports gambler and he was always giving the errand boy tips on games to bet with very good odds of winning.

After the Monsoon: An Ernst Grip Novel by Robert Karjel

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

After the MonsoonAfter the Monsoon is an engrossing, intense, and suspenseful multi-layered thriller set in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. From the tension-filled opening chapter, to the escalating conflict, and the palpable sense of dread sustained throughout the story, readers will be kept on the edge of their seats until the final page. The tale includes a number of illegal activities, such as piracy, terrorism, money laundering, torture, and espionage. Readers get a close look into the inner workings of organizations in charge of preventing these nefarious activities.

Imagine your life changing dramatically in the blink of an eye. This is exactly what happens to a Swedish family sailing around the world when their boat is hijacked by Somalia pirates in the Indian Ocean. The family is held hostage on a remote island, and the pirates demand payment for their release. Living conditions are deplorable, and the family’s bad situation worsens when their son runs low on his antiseizure medication. How long can they survive their inhumane treatment? Will the ransom be paid? Is there any chance of rescue?

Heir of Ra (Blood of Ra Book One) by M. Sasinowski

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Heir of RaAt the Giza Plateau during the year of 1913 in Egypt, Lord George Renley explored under The Great Sphinx enters a dark chamber with an unusual carving on a door. The legendary Hall of Records is believed to be located at this location. Is it legend or fact? Soon after, Hazim, his Arab guide, started bleeding from his nose. Lord Renley became dizzy and collapsed. The only reminder of the event was a notebook that a young Arab boy stole from the dying hands of Hazim.

Alyssa is not your typical 17-year-old girl. She spends her time working with her father, Kade, who is an archaeologist. Her education is working as one of his assistants. Currently, she is left in charge of a dig in Peru while her father is on a dream assignment in Egypt, exploring a room under The Great Sphinx and is only allowed this privilege for 24-hours. Leaving Alyssa in charge in Peru, is a great responsibility for someone so young. She feels honored, but also deprived. Why can’t she be on this once-in-a lifetime dig with her father?

Her father, Kade follows the steps of Lord George Renley in searching for The Hall of Records. Just like his predecessor, he also became ill. Nothing seems to help him, every day leads him one step closer to death. No one seems to be able to medically help him. Will he die?

The Victim’s Club (Kindle Single) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Victim's ClubA different approach in some ways. Deaver has written this book as a Novella and it is very interesting though short.

Jon Avery is a detective working in Monroe County Sheriff’s office and is given a case to help out on as the primary detective is away for a few days. Avery begins his work when the state calls with some info the other detective had requested on one of her cases. It turns out that a burner phone was used to photograph a professor from the local college. The pictures showed the lady lying on a bench and pretty much undressed but also appeared to be asleep.

Avery knew of the college and that it was well known for its sports programs as well as quite a bit of partying. In discussing the event the other detective had found that Rose Taylor, the professor, had been at a party where she had one glass of wine and had started the second when she really felt wiped out so she had laid down on the bench. When she came to she noticed how her clothes were all messed up but instead of reporting to the police or anyone at the party she headed home.

Bollywood Invasion by Ricardo Alexanders

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Bollywood InvasionAt once engaging and cleverly creative, Ricardo Alexanders’ Bollywood Invasion enrapts readers with a fun and fantastical coming of age story, set in a well posed merging of reality and fiction which surpasses the reaches of time and continents.

Instantly the story draws you in, as initially, we meet John Palmieri living in modern times in Brooklyn; he’s a nerd and Beatles lover in high school and unsatisfied with his lower middle class existence. Things start with him in the throes of a dream, once again being bested by his arch-enemy Frank Castellano. He loathes Frank, who seems to have so much more than John; smarter mouth, bigger house, more friends, better stuff, including, the attention of the girl he secretly loves -Samantha.

The real adventure begins when fate crashes into his life, via an accident, knocking John unconscious. When John awakes, he finds himself in a parallel existence, where he has been transported back in time to late 1950’s, India. He wakes up as eighteen year old Raj Scindia, a prince in the Indian royal family. Naturally, he’s initially confused by his sudden transportation to a completely foreign life and culture with many humorous moments ensuing as he tries to wrap his head around what has happened to him.

Ward (The Ward Triumvirate Book 1) by Kyle Waller

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

WardFar from just another dystopia, Kyle Waller’s Ward creates an immersive universe of inviting darkness. The action packed pages will easily grip your attention.

To begin with, this story has no heroes, in the classical sense, only villains. After the main character is faced with the following proposal: Up the river? Or down in the dirt? He ends up in the prison-city of what once was Sacramento California. The Ward is a place of no redemption, only survival. On one hand, the condemned must face nature, as ash keeps snowing over the land. But on the other hand, far more dangerous are the people who inhabit these parts. As the inhabitants are divided into several groups competing for some very limited resources, the power-plays that emerge are the main threat. Well, Kyle Waller throws his main character in the midst of this ongoing war, thus allowing the reader to jump straight into the action.

However, beyond all the action and thrill of Ward, there is a more serious issue underlining the entire narrative, mental illness. While at certain points its presence becomes blatantly obvious, at other times, it is much more subtle. It is this subtleness that I found more impressive. In these cases, it resembles an invisible presence, something that you can’t see, but can only feel. And this sensation of uneasiness is masterfully woven into the pages of the novel. Setting aside the story line, the book can serve as an incentive to prompt more dialogue on this often ostracized subject, which in reality as well, lurks mostly in the shadows.

The 17th Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The 17th SuspectI have to assume the title The 17th Suspect refers to this book’s place in a series of books by Patterson. Probably the 17th Women’s Murder Club novel since I know he has written a batch of them (usually with help and often with Maxine Patterson). There is nothing in this story about a bunch of murder suspects but there is lots of good reading.

It is two stories (kind of usual for the Murder Club series) in one of which Yuki Castellano, the Assistant District Attorney, is involved with attempting to find a woman guilty of (a) first raping a man while holding him captive and (b) of attempting to find her also guilty of shooting the same man in the leg.

The second story involving the second member of the Murder Club is about San Francisco Police Sergeant Lindsay Boxer as she not only is battling to find who is shooting vagrants and street people but also battling her own physical condition which appears to be deteriorating rapidly.

Both stories are well worth the reader’s attention as they unfold quickly and show how the in-side portion of the criminal justice system works but also shows how the “on the street” portion of the system plays out.

Yuki fought hard to get her case into Criminal Court and worked even harder to figure out what actually went on as two co-workers entwined themselves in not only sexual adventures but then it appears one of them took it even further. The female player supposedly tied up the male participant and raped him (while he unbeknownst to her recorded it all on tape.) He claims she raped him though they had been having sex for some time together willingly on both behalves.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Everyone Brave is ForgivenDoes everyone view the events of World War II the same way? Imagine living in London during 1939, before the Americans entered the War. Naturally, at first everyone believes it will be a short series of battles with the Brits leading the way. Everyone wants to do their part, with many able-bodied men immediately enlisting. The wealthy, or those from the “better” families”, became officers. A few chose to stay working in the city to maintain the continuity of life. The children were evacuated to the country. Some chose to remain. What was life like in Londen then?

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a story for those who search for the genuine experiences of the past. The strong voices of each character discloses the true life of the time period. Whether from Mary North being a single and pretty new teacher and finding her place in the world, or Hilda as Mary’s best friend, Tom is her boss and fiancé, Allistar going off to fight, or Zachary as the black and poor. Each voice explains living through a turbulent time of hardship.

Chris Cleave loosely based this novel on his grandparents. This London resident has won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2006, been on the shortlist for the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, also on the shortlist for the Costa Award and having his books on the New York Times Bestsellers’ List. He is the author of Incendiary, Little Bee, and Gold.