Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder

Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson

Cooking For Cannibals is your classic love story. Boy meets girl. Girl gives her mother and her mother’s friends a miracle drug that makes them young again. Corporate hit-men come in search of miracle drug. Drug comes with the side effect of craving human meat. Youthful 90 year olds start killing people of questionable character. Boy starts cooking up a cannibalistic feast. It’s a tale as old as time.

Rich Leder takes us on a wild ride in this darkly comedic thriller and if you are willing to suspend your disbelief a bit you will be joyfully swept along. It’s not the drug that takes the elderly back half a century that is hard to believe. Nor is it the fact that a side effect of the drug is cannibalism. Rather the most unbelievable part of the book is in the insane luck that our protagonists seem to be blessed with as they are constantly jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire while remaining unscathed, with death and destruction looming all around them.

Tales from the Other Side by Paul Corson

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Tales from the Other Side” by Paul Corson was designed as a companion piece to his “Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity”. While, the books are strong enough to stand as independent reads, when taken together, their message is elevated to the next level.

But first off, a few words about “Regaining Paradise”. This daring book goes beyond the curtain of materiality to tackle some of the biggest existential questions relying on personal experience, science, and rationality/logic, sprinkled with a little bit of imagination. Although the spark for this intellectual and spiritual quest lies in the three lived transcendental experiences of the author, he heavily relies on science to argue his perspective.

In “Tales from the Other Side”, Paul Corson delves deeper into his personal life, revealing instances of when the “Other Side” seeped into this side. These confessions and stories will enable the reader to have a more holistic view of the thought-process of his spiritual journey. The book is segmented into seven magical parts, of which five are autobiographical, the next part is a rather out of the ordinary conversation (between space travelers and stargazers) and the last part consists of fiction stories that form allegories.

The Little Breadwinner: War and Survival in the Salvadoran Heartland by Lucia Mann

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The Little Breadwinner: War and Survival in the Salvadoran Heartland” is a harrowing tale about the many faces of war, written by Lucia Mann. The book folds and unfolds the narratives of several generations across different lands and times, but perhaps the biggest feat of the read is that it offers an account of the civil war of El Salvador. What is more, the author was on location at the time of the civil war so the subject has an added personal resonance.

If you are not familiar with the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992), this is a great opportunity to learn about it. At the beginning of the book, you can find a map and chronology of the events that serve as a general guideline for the pages that follow. The two sides that were in conflict for more than 12 years were the military-led junta government and a coalition of left-winged groups, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). The US-funded government death-squads conducted a methodic terror campaign against civilians that added up to a long list of human rights violations (forceful recruiting of child soldiers, massacres, attacks, and rapes). A lot of people were killed and a lot of people simply disappeared. Their exact number remains unknown, but the UN reports a victim count of over 75,000, as far as those killed during the long civil war. It all finally ended with the Chapultepec Peace Accords.

“The Little Breadwinner” encompasses the civil war, but goes beyond it and captures some of the late after-effects of a tough decade. Lucia Mann starts with some apparently disjointed cold facts about the Salvadorian Civil War, but as the pages progress, her approach turns more personal as she tells us a multi-generational story. She frequently interjects with personal observations and comments that sometimes jolt the reader out of the immersive experience.

One of the main characters is Estrella Godwin Lozano, a person with a short stature that becomes “the little breadwinner” for her family living in poverty. She is the descendant of the Waorani tribe from the Amazonian rainforest. Her birth mother was a gifted tribe member and her gift passed down between generations being particularly strong in Estrella’s case. Yet, this special soul was not ordained for an easy life; she faced many hardships and challenges, the worst of which was brought on by the civil war.

The Little Breadwinner” reveals the personal narratives of the victims of the Salvadorian Civil War. The book is based on real events but presents these in a fictionalized form. Lucia Mann, a passionate and worldly activist, a prolific writer, tells yet another unique story about the oppressed and suffering trying to fight against the current of fate.

Daniel Scratch: A Story of Witchkind by Don Jones

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Daniel Scratch has the misfortune of being an orphan. Strangely, he is allowed to stay in his family home. Being alone in an old house can be difficult; however, brownies, the little elf-like creatures, clean and cook for him. His father lives as a spirit in the basement, making noise and yelling advice. Also, his great-great-grandmother resides in the attic as a spirit-like creature in another dimension.

Daniel lives inside a world of witches and humans co-existing with each other.

On his thirteenth birthday, Daniel’s great-great-grandmother informs him that he is to take a test. She gives him no other information but directions. Afterward, he is given an unusual glass medallion and discovers himself on an isle with the Tower of Endings. Now his education to fulfill his family destiny begins.

Reading Daniel Scratch is reminiscent of Harry Potter, in that they both begin in similar situations such as being orphaned and no family support. The discovery of their destinies is the adventure.

Once the education begins for Daniel, it also starts for the reader. The sentence structure and vocabulary are both more advanced, allowing the reader to learn along with him. Philosophy is intermixed into his lessons, also increasing the difficulty level.

The story is exceptionally well-organized. Developing the details in the world of the Axis is his destiny. He must learn the responsibilities of each Axis before he ascends to his duties for the Sixth Axis.

Surprisingly, the necessary relationships between witches and humans are compared to any entity dealing with people. The lessons for Daniel are relatable for everyone as he learns from his own and others’ mistakes.

An underlying theme is also the necessity of continuing reading and researching the past.

The author, Don Jones, resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. After years of writing technology books, he now has entered the fantasy world of witchcraft with an obvious continuing story of Daniel Scratch.

Daniel Scratch is an enjoyable story with unpredictable twists and turns that will leave you wondering and always thinking and questioning.

I look forward to meeting Daniel Scratch again in the future of this exciting new series.

The Society (Elizabeth Grant Thrillers Book 1) by C.G. Abbot

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

While Elizabeth Grant is housesitting her grandmother’s house in Mississippi, she is plagued with returning nightmares. Seven years earlier her best friend Loralei, the closest thing she had to a sister, disappeared without a trace. As a child, Elizabeth spent every summer visiting her grandparents. During her first summer visit, she met Loralei and they became best friends spending all their time together.

The summer that Loralei vanished, Elizabeth did not visit Mississippi. Could she have done something to prevent her disappearance? The night her friend went missing, she had a vision of Loralei in her bedroom in Colorado. Loralei appeared bloody and beaten, terrifying Elizabeth. She asked her mother to call Lorelai’s house and learned that she was missing. Loralei was never found and Elizabeth began to have nightmares and visions of her. What terrible thing happened to Loralei?

Now, while at her grandmother’s house, she receives an early morning visitor, Madame Antionette. Madame Antoinette needs to speak to Elizabeth about Loralei as she was having visions of her too. Soon after her visit, the woman is killed and Elizabeth is now in danger too. Someone is watching her, possibly the same person or persons who hurt Loralei and Madame Antoinette. Elizabeth discovers that her friend was in possession of some important documents that endangered her life and puts the nation in jeopardy. Throughout the book, Lorelei appears to her friend helping her figure out the mystery.

bLU Talks – Business, Life and the Universe Compiled by Corey Poirier

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

More than just an assortment of self-help lectures, BLU Talks Presents: Business Life and the Universe offers a thoughtfully produced collection of unpretentious, coaching soul-help discourses. Compiled by Corey Poirier, this is the first book in the series, which contains an expansive variety of lectures and intimate anecdotes which together culminate into an overall varietal hosting of meaty subjects created to guide, edify and inspire.

Brimming with sparks of cogent knowledge, each “talk” primarily focuses on a different element, situation, or practice in life. The inspiring lessons come across powerfully but are related in such a warm and welcoming style that allows for easy and authentic resonance between the author and reader.

Additionally, the expertise involved is vast, your instructors come from all walks of life, including mothers, authors, business owners, advisors, leaders, spiritualists, Reiki masters, overall intelligent thinkers, and go-getters, with many of them wielding expertise in multiple disciplines. Some narratives are based on life experiences that touch the heart as well as expand the self, such as Alli Mackenzie’s A Day We Will Remember Forever or Carey Lowe’s chapter which presents character flaw identification titled, Self – Improvement. Others sharpen the business acumen from a very different perspective like The Secrets They don’t Teach You at Business School by Dr. Allen Lycka. Similarly, the Universal element emanates from the enlightened perspective in Aurora Light’s Intention, Synchronicity, and Love Co-Creation with the Universe, which is absolutely one of my favorites. Likewise with lectures like Grow by Jennifer Eckel which discusses stopping negative attachments or Caroline Stewart’s Radical Honesty as well as Cultivating Resilience Through Trauma by Gary Benoit.

Pillars of Success by Jack Canfield, Harriet Tinka, and Dr. Allen Lycka and Other Business Professionals

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Pillars of Success is a fantastic resource for people who are interested in learning about beneficial ways to enjoy success and happiness in both their professional and personal lives. The book is penned by Jack Canfield, Harriet Tinka, and Dr. Allen Lycka, along with a number of highly respected individuals. Each of the nineteen chapters focuses on different writers and their individual perspectives on how to live one’s life to the fullest potential every day. The individuals who contributed to this book are encouraging but do not sugar coat the challenges people will face and need to overcome in order to reach the major goals they have set for themselves. Readers not only can pick and choose which chapters appeal to them the most for incorporating the changes suggested by a particular co-author, but they will also gain an inside perspective on how the contributors to this book made changes in their lives. The writers share stories that are related to both their personal and professional lives of how they overcame adversity and how the actions they put in place made a difference in a life of positivity versus one of negativity. The book addresses the importance of positive thinking in all aspects of a person’s life; albeit career and financial stability, family and social relationships, physical and emotional health, and spiritual/religious beliefs.

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life: Two Survivors Reveal the 13 Golden Pearls They’ve Discovered by Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life by Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka is a very inspirational and thought-provoking book written by two people who lived through extremely traumatic and trying experiences. The authors learned from those experiences and grew to understand that they did not have to allow what happened to them to influence the rest of their lives negatively. Instead, they both chose to move on and have successful careers and happy lives, and decided to collaborate and write a book to help others also live “fantastic lives.”

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life is subtitled “Two Survivors Reveal the 13 Golden Pearls They’ve Discovered.” Those “golden pearls,” or life lessons, aided them to get past the traumatic events in their lives and to move on. The self-help book that they wrote, detailing what those 13 golden pearls are, is full of revelations that the authors hope will inspire readers of the book. The negative things that everybody experiences in their lives, to one extent or the other, do not have to define who we are as people.

I really liked it that Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka opened up in The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life and revealed the nature of the traumatic experiences they went through. Dr. Lycka was diagnosed as having Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and he was told he only had six months to live. Harriet Tinka was a fashion model and a Woman of Distinction who lived through the terror of being kidnapped by someone she knew, stabbed by the man, and left for dead. Dr. Lycka and Harriet Tinka could have let these things embitter them and alter the course of their lives and careers for the worse. Instead, they moved on, grew, and didn’t let the negative things they went through define them.

What are the 13 golden pearls that the authors discovered and relate to their readers in The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life? Being an author myself, I don’t want to reveal too many “spoilers.” I’d rather that potential readers of the book get the pleasure of checking out what the pearls are on their own, by reading Dr. Lycka and Harriet Tinka’s book. They reveal what the pearls are in a captivating and entertaining manner by both telling stories from their own lives and also by utilizing a myriad of quotes from famous authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson and celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney, Christopher Reeve, and Bruce Lee.

I will mention a couple of the pearls that I loved reading about the most, though, and those are the importance of forgiveness and laughter. I will talk more about a few of the other pearls with Dr. Lycka and Harriet Tinka in an interview that they graciously agreed to do with me, which can be read elsewhere at this same site.

GREEZERS: A Tale of Establishment’s Decline and Fall by Simon Plaster (Review #2)

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Henrietta, a former newspaper reporter, answers a want ad and is given the opportunity to play amateur sleuth when she is hired by erstwhile lawyer Leroy “Lero” O’Rourke to help in his surveillance case involving the prominent DeGrasso family. What starts out as a simple case turns complicated when Henrietta and Lero find themselves in the middle of a high-stakes competition. The race is on as to who might take over the reins of the family owned lube business when the ninety-five-year old family matriarch, Nanette DeGrasso, gives up her position of leadership either due to retirement or death. There are two main contenders for assuming control of the Oklahoma City based company. Charles DeGrasso, Nanette’s son, considers himself not only ready to undertake the role of Chief Executive Officer but also firmly believes that he has been the rightful heir apparent for decades. However, Joe DeGrasso, Nanette’s nephew, is of the opinion that he is a better choice as the successor, and he has already launched a business venture that could impact the company’s bottom line if customers embrace it. With the venture off to a disappointing start, will sales revenue increase? What risks, both personally and professionally, are the two competitors willing to take in order to achieve their dreams of running the family business? As Henrietta and Lero get pulled deeper into the intense family rivalry, how much will the stumbling blocks they encounter hinder their efforts to bring the case to a satisfying conclusion?

Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity by Paul Corson

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Do you feel a sense of incompleteness? A longing to return to a place you have never been to? Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity might not have the answers to all of your questions, but it will help you find the answers you are searching for. Prepare yourself to be taken on a “hero’s journey” by Paul Corson on the vehicle of imagination.

Regaining Paradise is about regaining what we once all had, but then slowly grew out of, the light of Paradise. A light that many of us have turned a blind eye to. In a world in which materialism gains ever more ground, it is a challenge to see beyond the mirage of the tangible. But, as Paul Corson notes, the solid is mostly intangible energy. The author has peeked behind the veil of our reality and not just seen but experienced what lies beyond. If you accept his invitation to journey together, so will you.

Although Regaining Paradise heavily draws on the author’s personal transcendent experience, that is not the only source of inspiration. The curious nature of the author comes across in the rich references that embellish the book, from a great variety of fields: literature, mythology, philosophy, psychology… the list goes on.

Harbor’s Edge by Sanne Rothman

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Sanne Rothman’s young adult thriller, Harbor’s Edge, piques the curiosity while romancing the imagination, with a story that offers mystery, the supernatural, budding romance, and an intelligent 14-year-old heroine on a profoundly insightful journey to self-discovery.

The story is set in beautiful Hawaii with which author Sanne Rothman does a wonderful job of detailing the beautiful environment. She brings forth both its timeless natural beauty as well as artfully presents intriguing aspects of Hawaiian life and culture especially with her incorporation of the lore of the dark and ancient sea monsters called The Mo’o, the legend, and mystery of which is initially contemplated by Harbor early on in the story.

Initially, as the story unfolds, we meet Harbor, a young, resilient, intelligent teenager who finds her life shrouded in mystery and sadness. Having lost both her parents under mysterious circumstances, she fights with feelings of abandonment as she seeks to solve the mystery of what truly happened. She lost her F.B.I. agent father to a cold-blooded murderer and her mother, who disappeared without a trace, leaving her and her younger sister Fig in the care of their TuTu (grandmother). TuTu owns a popular, local restaurant, featuring Hawaiian hamburgers and Harbor works at the restaurant in the drive-thru which allows her the opportunity to practice analyzing the faces of customers based on techniques from her father’s FBI profiling manuals. She works on her skills at analyzing faces in the hopes of finding clues to her father’s murderer and clues to her missing mother.

The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War by Khawaja Azimuddin, M.D.

Reviewed by Danita Dyess

In The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War by Dr. Khawaja Azimuddin, he chronicles the devastating effects of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Back then, Azimuddin, a Pakistani, was only eight years old. His detailed account of the civil unrest chronicles two years of emotional, economical, familial, and political upheaval. About 100,000 Prisoners of War were entangled in a never-ending battle between the Bangladeshis and their quest for independence and the Pakistanis who have assumed total control.

Azimuddin had two older siblings – his sister, Maliha Apa and brother, Khusro Bhaijan. His mother, Ammi, was the daughter of an influential civil servant. Their spacious home was surrounded by a pond and trees filled with bananas, apples, and coconuts.

His father, Pappa, had been educated in India. Now he was a bishari, upper class group of society. Pappa worked as a plant manager for Adamjee Jute Mills, the world’s largest manufacturer of jute and cotton products. He oversaw the Bengali workers, the poor class residing in shantis. The two classes are about to erupt in a war. Why?

The boy that liked to play cricket, ride his bike, and pet his pigeon, Kabooter, explains. He says the history of the two factions began when the East and West Pakistan were separated by geography. When the British left, two countries formed – Muslims represented Pakistan (Bengalis) and Hindus represented India. Now the Pakistani army killed mill workers. So the mukti bahini murdered Pakistani officers and civilians.

So the story unfolds with Abdul, a loyal servant of Azimuddin’s family suddenly leaves. He had heard about the slaughtering of five Bengali men. Also, Mujibar Rahman was a political leader who won the election but was denied the presidency. The Awami League supported him and protested the conditions. Bengali workers vacated their jobs at the mill.

Travels Through the Years: A Life Story by James McGee

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Travels Through the Years: A Life Story is a wonderful retelling of James McGee’s life as he takes readers on an inspirational and fascinating chronological journey from childhood through adulthood, marriage, fatherhood, and retirement. McGee spent his childhood in the small town of Lomita, California, before he took a gap year during college to travel. This marked the beginning of a lifetime exploring all 50 states in the United States along with 86 countries. During McGee’s travels, which were tied into military service and business and leisure trips, he became acquainted with relatives and visited ancestral and historical sites in conjunction with cultural places of interest. McGee has written captivating descriptions of the people and places he encountered and provides great insights into the different lifestyles he was exposed to in all of the locales that he visited either once or multiple times. The recollections of personal and family history will tug at people’s heartstrings, especially the sudden loss of his beloved wife and son. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one will relate to McGee’s difficult, unpredictable, and slow j.urney through the grieving process and the changes one goes through while struggling to cope with devastating loss. He writes about the mechanisms that helped him through his bereavement, which can provide inspiration to others who have lost someone they love.

The book is extremely well-organized, and the chapter titles and headlines within the chapters make the text easy to navigate and also give readers the opportunity to engage with subject matter they may want to revisit. Black and white family photographs add extra meaning to the story. Readers will appreciate the reference material at the end of the book as it is helpful in providing a snapshot of the wealth of material that is covered in the book. In the Postscript there are quotations that fit in marvelously with McGee’s intimate thoughts about his life together with a list of books that were an indelible part of the journey. The Afterword is comprised of his reflections on life experiences as well as opinions on differing topics from the years 2002 through 2020. Appendix 1 lists the 86 countries he visited and the year(s) that he traveled. Appendix 2 is a chronological summation of all the jobs he has held throughout his working and retirement life. Appendix 3 lists the places where he has lived and the timeframe. Following Appendix 3 are past reviews of books used in the writing of this remarkable book that will take readers on a spellbinding journey through the past and into the present.

McGee eloquently articulates his feelings and insights in this beautiful life story that is inspiring, thoughtful, and encouraging to all who set aside the time to read the book. Readers will also find the personal and family history along with the descriptions of places, whether historical or modern, of great interest. Reading this story is a genuine treat and will embolden people in their own travel plans, and those who prefer armchair travel will find the book delightful and a great way to learn about the history, traditions, and hospitality of many cultures.

GREEZERS: A Tale of Establishment’s Decline and Fall by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Greezers is Simon Plaster’s latest and perhaps greatest satirical novel featuring the memorable character, Henrietta, named after a town in Oklahoma, Henryetta, who, previous to Greezers, had the desire to advance her journalistic career and one day earn a Pulitzer Prize. In Greezers, a tale of a chain of lube shops, fast food, and succession, Henrietta seeks a change in her life, and gets a job as an assistant to Leroy (“Lero”) O’Rourke, a private detective. She thinks that as a journalist, she has done a fair amount of deductive reasoning, and that will stand her in good steed in her new career. But what lengths will she go to in her pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way? Let’s just say that in Greezers, chock-full of popular culture and musical references that fans of the series have come to expect, Simon Plaster has Henrietta putting her “assets” out on stage for all to see, even having her briefly working at a strip club in her efforts to surveil a subject, Harry DeGrasso, who is a potential heir of the Trinita Coal Oil & Tar Company.

You may wonder why Greezers is called Greezers. It’s because the book is about the plots and schemes of potential successors to the Trinita Coal Oil & Tar Company’s chain of Greezers lube shops to one day take over control of same from the Company’s elderly 95-year-old matriarch, Nanette GeGrasso. While her son, Charles, being the Executive Vice-President of the Company, looks like he would be the obvious choice as the heir apparent, he has fallen out of favor with his mother, and he has familial rivals who also would like to dethrone Nanette, like her nephew, Joe DeGrasso, who is also an Executive Vice-President. Nanette acts scornfully towards all of the potential successors, with the exception of Harry, who is her grandson and a junior executive in the Company, under both the watchful eye and thumb of Charles. Charles, however, does not think that Harry is trained fully enough or is nearly as experienced and worthy as he is, and he believes that he, rather than Harry, should be the one to take over after his mother dies.

Singing the Land: A Rural Chronology by Chila Woychik

Reviewed by Teri Takle

Many people write about the events in their daily life and the thoughts that make it memorable. Daily record keeping is unnecessary, but every few days is needed to view what we have enjoyed in our little snippets in the back of our minds.

Depending upon where you live, life is different. If you live in a large city, it is busy, crowded, noisy, and many residents thrive upon that lifestyle.

For some of us, we live in Iowa, one of those fly-over states. We thrive in the quiet life of the country, or a small town, or even a large city.

For the author, Chila Woychik, she adores her life on her farm with her husband in the beauty and joy of nature in Iowa.

January 21

“First snows, like first loves, leave one panting for breath.”

January 31

“Iowa is nothing in winter, but endless roads slick with lonesome.”

How can these two entries be written just ten days apart? The answer is Iowa. The first draws the reader inside the beauty, silence, and complete awe of the first snow. The second reflects the days of hard work, shoveling, and the constant slipping and falling on the ice.

Another author, Stephanie E. Dickinson, is also an Iowa native. In her foreword to Chila Woychik’s chronology, she reveals her love of the people and the way of life in Iowa. She also beautifully reflects about her childhood memories in Iowa.

Strong from the Heart: A Caitlin Strong Novel (Caitlin Strong Novels Book 11) by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

“Central, we’ve got a potential level one event.”

Good thing such things are nothing new for Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. And with that line from the prologue, her latest adventure Strong from the Heart is off and running at a breakneck clip that doesn’t let up until the final page is turned. This is the best thriller of the year, in large part for how it confronts Caitlin and company with challenges that are exceedingly rare for a genre novel.

I say that because not only does Strong from the Heart place the opioid crisis front and center, but the book does so with the series’ tried and true regulars front and center. Start with Caitlin’s surrogate son, now high school senior Luke Torres, being rushed to the hospital after snorting Oxycontin. Add to that Caitlin’s own dependence on Vicodin to get her through the pain from recent gunfight-related trauma and you’ve got the recipe for a thriller rife with characters at war with themselves as much as the bad guys who’ve hatched a typically nightmarish plot, typical for Caitlin Strong anyway.

These particular Washington-based villains have formed a drug cartel of mammoth proportions under the auspices of the government itself. Their dirty dealings are brought to light when an entire town on the Texas-Mexico border is wiped out in minutes. But a Caitlin Strong thriller is far more comfortable in the darkness and Strong from the Heart is no exception there, as we’re treated to a seemingly endless succession of morally challenged types, most notably a monstrous Native American named Yarek Bone who sports a condition that keeps him from feeling any pain.

A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite Book 6) by Robert Dugoni

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very good cop story by Dugoni. A good read with action, story line and no sex! Tracy Crosswhite is a Seattle homicide detective who works with Del, Faz, and Kins. In this one Del and Faz are working to break up a drug ring headed by a guy named Little Jimmy. It appears that Little Jimmy has shot and killed a woman in the neighborhood who was spearheading a drive against drugs. The main proof is a hand print on top of an automobile that was left by the gunmen. But figuring out if that ties to the shooting is part of the story.

Faz knows Little Jimmy very well since when he was fourteen Faz had been instrumental in getting Little Jimmy’s dad put in prison. While there he was killed by other prisoners and Little Jimmy still feels that Faz was the one who put his dad in the position and thus he does not like Faz. So far however it has been just a quiet eye to eye battle between the two but Faz watches Jimmy very closely. And Faz works to prove Jimmy is the one in the murder of the woman.

While Faz and Del work on their case they also battle sideline battles. Del has severe back problems that get worse every day by his work and doing things around the house. It causes Faz to have to work alone quite often and he is also having personal problems as his wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer so he is having all sorts of mental anguish.

A Bend in the River by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Reviewed by Teri Davis

From an American, Vietnam is usually from the soldier perspective. Yes, our young men were enlisted and drafted into military service. Many more interpretations of the situation half-a-world away from the United States do exist.

Libby Hellman wrote a realistic fiction novel beginning in 1968 involving two sisters from a small Vietnamese village, Tam and Mai.

This small village is approached by Americans both from land and air. The two know about how the servicemen drop bombs from helicopters leaving their crops burnt and poisoned. Even worse, they are then not able to grow anything on that land for years.

Tam and Mai select two different opportunities leading them apart and not reuniting again until 1978. What could happen in those ten years?

A Bend in the River is a beautiful image of life for the Vietnamese people of the South. Author Libby Hellman vivaciously researched this particular time, the land, and spoke to many people regarding their personal experiences in creating this gem. Her characterization makes real people in this fictional tale of the sisters.

The Innocent (Will Robie Book 1) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Will Robie is back and though a lot of us have a hard time believing that our government would hire hit men to take out those opposed to our ideas, here is the guy who does just that. For some time and several Baldacci books Will Robie has been the hit man for the United States who travels all over the world. He works for the U.S. government incognito and takes out the top men in the various groups who oppose the U.S. way of thinking and doing business.

He basically reports to one man who gives him his assignments and these assignments can be anywhere in the world. And as is almost always the case he somehow gets involved personally with individuals along the way. Usually these individuals are women that he meets and falls for. Some of them are good and some are not so his live becomes even more involved than just killing bad guys.

In this story Robie begins having to kill a Russian and a Palestinian who are planning on killing someone high in the U.S. Government. Robie does his job and makes his way back home. Little does he realize that the Palestinian whom he had killed has a relative who will hunt Robie down and eventually find him.