Category Archives: Fiction

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Reviewed by Allen Hott

I have been reading and hearing about this one for quite a-while and was not too sure that I wanted to read it. Thought it would be too poo-poo or womanly if you prefer. But not only was I surprised but really I have to agree with everyone else. Where the Crawdads Sing is truly a great read.

“Marsh Girl” or Kya Clark which is her real name lives quite a different life from most folks. She grows up in the marshland outside of Barkley Cove, North Carolina. She has one of the strangest lives that can be imagined. Her family lives in a run-down shack and is pretty much bossed by the father of the family. But one day her mother leaves (because of the father’s actions) and never returns. Then as time passes each of Kya’s brothers and sister also leave.

Zintara and the Stones of Alu Cemah by Dominic Bohbot and Michel Bohbot

Reviewed by Ray Palen

The debut novel from brothers Michel and Dominic Bohbot is a dynamic fantasy tale inspired by the love of speculative fiction instilled in them by their father. This is seen not only in the dedication of ZINTARA AND THE STONES OF ALU CEMAH but also throughout the narrative.

We are taken to another world, one that contains mythical and imaginary creatures alongside human characters. There is a synopsis of many of the characters at the start of the novel and I admit I had to turn to it several times during the reading as there are a lot of names and relationships for the reader to juggle. The Prologue finds a young Zintara, human in all features aside from the great black wings that thrust out from her back, being sent away by her mother as her family and their empire falls in a violent manner. The antagonist of this tale, Korban — human warrior and sorcerer — is on a quest for the three Stones of Alu Cemah which will purportedly bring him the ability to rule over all.

Augie’s War by John H. Brown

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Pretty interesting story about Augie Compton who though he is in Vietnam seems to spend a lot of “thinking” time about his life back in Riverview, West Virginia. As the days and weeks go by away from home he continues to go back in his mind to his very close Italian family and his adventures growing up while working part time in his grandfather’s bakery. Those “lookbacks” do a lot for developing this story and keep it moving. Anyone who has spent time not only in the military but also out of the United States while in the service knows how often the reminiscing goes on in the mind.

Augie lucked out in many ways when after graduating from college with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. First off he was quickly drafted into the Army. Because of his background, however, after basic training he was assigned to Advanced Individual Training. On completion he attained the rank of quartermaster. He had hopes of going to Germany or someplace like that but as he feared he got assigned to Vietnam. Along the way to make matters worse two of his former friends who were already over in Nam were killed and this really made his thoughts grow even darker.

A Textbook Case (a Lincoln Rhyme story) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A Textbook CaseA very interesting short story by Jeffery Deaver featuring his favorite detective, Lincoln Rhyme. As usual Rhyme, the quadriplegic former cop who still works “off the books” for the NYPD, is helped out by his assistant/girlfriend, Amelia Sachs, and a bunch of runners or helpers from the department.

This one involves a bad person who uses fire as his method of killing and each fire is set up by some type of explosion. The first one involved the finding of a young woman who had been found in the underground garage of an apartment building. When Sachs and other officers go down into the garage they are completely astounded by the piles and piles of all types of garbage. Broken light bulbs, bags of trash, cardboard boxes that are stamped down, and other pieces of just plain trash litter the entire murder scene. Knowing Rhyme’s method of solving cases she and several of the officers begin gathering together as much of the trash as is possible.

The Ashorne’s Ingress by Seamus Eaton

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Truly a prolific read, Seamus Eaton’s The Ashorne’s Ingress excites the imagination with a multifaceted, and complex fantasy epic which proffers to readers an enticing narrative rich with the craftily blended elements of fantasy, horror, gore, magic, science fiction, and sex.

Initially, events start out on earth, the year is 2020 and we are introduced to the focal character William Gentry, who is in the midst of a softball game when his whole world comes tumbling down as he receives the news that his family was severely injured in a freak kitchen accident, that leaves his wife and son dead, and his daughter’s life hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, as he struggles with his emotions and the devastation of the loss, William finds himself approached by two beings claiming to be ambassadors from a land called Arba, located on another world. Claiming to have knowledge of his true identity and legacy, they extend to him a very odd offer, that if accepted would lead to saving his daughter’s life, and possibly more, they only catch is he has to drown himself in a specific river, at a specific time and carry with him an odd triangle they left with him called the Germ of Reismyl. Distraught, in disbelief and teetering on the edge of insanity, he initially misses the opportunity to take the plunge, resulting in the unfortunate death of his daughter.

Don’t Wake Up: A Novel by Liz Lawler

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Imagine waking up stripped of your clothes, strapped to an operating table, and threatened with unimaginable physical cruelty. This is what happens to Dr. Alex Taylor, who works at a hospital in Bath, England. After Alex’s terrifying experience, she is convinced that she was violated, however, no physical proof exists that supports her story. Alex’s life takes a downward spiral, as she tries to convince everyone the attack was real and not a delusion. She starts drinking too much. When a pregnant nurse dies, Alex is convinced the same person who tortured her is responsible. No one believes Alex’s allegation. It appears as if Alex needs psychological help, and deadly incidents involving her only make things worse. Relationships with her colleagues and boyfriend suffer, and Alex worries she is losing her grip on reality.

In Don’t Wake Up, Liz Lawler expertly utilizes multiple third person point of view. Lawler only switches character perspectives between chapters or scenes, and it is clear whose eyes readers are looking through. The majority of this engrossing story is told from Alex’s perspective, but readers are also shown the viewpoints of key characters and their reactions to Alex’s claim of an attack. The different viewpoints pull readers deeper into the heart of the story in which Lawler skillfully interweaves not only things such as criminal acts, police investigations, prejudice, disloyalty, jealousy, violence, and dedication but also the effects of psychological trauma, overindulgence in alcohol, and reliance on anxiety medication.

The Next President by Joseph Flynn

Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is the first of Mr. Flynn’s books that I have read and it is quite a story. In my eyes, although it is some ways hard to believe, I truly think that most all of the happenings could occur. The entire story is about a new presidential candidate who happens to be black and how there is an involved plot to have him assassinated. How those who are planning this endeavor ever decided the best person to do the job would be a sharpshooter who served in the army under one of the planners is somewhat a mystery. It appears that he might be the best qualified?

Senator Franklin Delano Rawley is the candidate and Jefferson Davis Cade is the original sniper that is set up for the attack. (You have to like the FDR and Jefferson Davis implications in the book if you think about politics while reading.) J. D. Cade has just recently killed a man in his hometown in a very strategic and fascinating way. His former commanding officer in the army knows of this secret and decides to use it to force J.D. to pull off the assassination under fear of being tried for the murder at home plus a threat to J D’s son is implied.

Forgotten Bones (Dead Remaining) by Vivian Barz

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Forgotten Bones is the first installment in the Dead Remaining series. Police Officer Susan Marlan and College Professor Eric Evans play the central characters. The prologue draws readers in with a realistic and dramatic opening that leads to a creepy mystery for law enforcement to solve. It involves the accidental discovery of one child’s dead body in the small town of Perrick, California, and the uncovering of more bodies. The FBI takes over the case, and they zero in on one man as the guilty party. However, Susan questions the validity of the FBI’s rationale and decides to conduct her own unauthorized investigation. Eric is experiencing uncanny and horrifying visions that seem to correlate with the gruesome findings of the corpses. Are Eric’s hallucinations from his own imagination, or do supernatural elements play any kind of role? Eric teams up with Susan to help discover if the police have the right suspect in their sights.

Girl Most Likely: A Thriller (Krista Larson) by Max Allan Collins

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Max Allan Collins book, “Girl Most Likely” introduces us to Krista Larson, young chief of police of a small Midwestern town named Galena. She is only 28 years old, which makes her the youngest female police chief in the country. She learned from the best, her father, retired detective Keith Larson.

Chief Larson is attending her 10-year high school reunion. The reunion is held over a weekend with several events planned. Sadly, a year earlier one of her classmates was murdered in Clearwater, Florida. Then, during the reunion, another classmate is killed. The second victim is a high-profile journalist for a Chicago TV station. In high school she was known as a boyfriend stealer and not the most well liked. Digging into the past can be tricky and old grudges and drama cause resentments to flare. Keith’s wife, Krista’s mother, recently died. To help deal with his grief, Krista invites him to help with the investigation.

The Better Sister: A Novel by Alafair Burke

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ve long since enjoyed her father’s mystery novels and Alafair measures up.

We first meet the younger sister Chloe who has the splashy life working for a popular magazine. Chloe is now married to Adam and they have a stepson Ethan; however, nothing is as it seems – the happy marriage is not so happy and the son is not a happy teen.