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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Dear Dad by John Hazen

Dear DadA child’s life is impacted not just by the mother, but by a strong father figure as well. It’s often up to the father, dad, to be the bad guy. He’s the one responsible to put down the rules, hold the kids accountable, and do all he can to raise good kids. He won’t always look for recognition as a child grows up and isn’t bothered when he sees his child say, “Hi Mom”, on TV. A dad sees that as a reward, that he did his job right and raised a smart, respectful, and great kid.

It’s a main reason the book, Dear Dad by author John Hazen, caught my attention. The book’s description makes it seem like a great science fiction tale as there is time travel. The book also has elements of general fiction in the way the book was written. Dear Dad to me was more than both of those aspects. This to me was a book that really told the importance of a father and son bond that would traverse the boys life, and time.

The book starts with a very ominous letter with John Foster writing to his father that he had a “close one” and almost died. The letter is from 1969 and as you turn the page you find yourself back in time when John’s dad is telling a story. John’s father is a decorated World War II soldier who survived the battle of the bulge and as the book opens we read that story. We learn how his dad was able to take out a machine gun crew saving the lives of others.

The book takes the reader into what I considered a normal boys life as he grew up to become a man. We read on how John grows up with his family in a very small town of Fairbrook, Massachusetts, and attends the local schools. As normally happens a young boy makes a group of great friends and by the time high school comes along often that group begins to break up. This is often due to the social aspects of maturing and in John’s case it was just normal life.

The period of the book, however, is during the turbulent late 1960’s and John is quickly about to turn 18. His dad wants him to run to Canada to dodge the war, as this is not like World War II. Vietnam is sending boys off to a war they don’t know what they are fighting for. It’s brave of Hazen to show this side of John’s dad as even today Vietnam is a tough subject for many. We read what his old friends do to get deferments from fighting, to enlisting, or maybe another branch. John, however, isn’t as lucky as his luck just isn’t there and he eventually gets called to duty.

It’s thus when John gets to Vietnam we get to see the good and the bad of the military during the conflict. The story takes us into John’s eyes as he witnesses the injustice of Vietnam along with race problems that where still strong in the armed forces. However, dark that period in John’s life may be he does makes friends, witness’s horror a horrific act. This act will haunt John’s soul as he thinks what he could have done differently, what if he had tried to help instead of turning his back. It is while he is in Vietnam that an artillery burst sends him flying through the air, and seemingly back in time.

John will find himself embroiled in a long fought war in American History. He will find himself meeting General Grant just before one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The battle is that of Shiloh, which will leave scars not just on the land but on the men who fought there. John will be part of that battle in a unique way and a chance to correct a mistake will come and will be up to him to repeat the past or make things right.

Dear Dad by John Hazen has it’s stories, and the timelines, are tied together by John’s never-ending quest to write to his father. Chapters will open with letters home, or letters from his father. Of course no letters will exchange during the Civil War but John keeps writing. This bond, even through time, is what makes the book so strong. It brings an element of a father and son relationship as the tying factor no matter the time frame. The story has aspects of even unrequited love, but it’s that bond that makes the book so great. This shows that author John Hazen planned this book well as no matter the time frame the characters are strong and believable. Oh and John seems to have “some luck” no matter how old he is.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Windmaster’s Bane by Tom Deitz

Windmaster's BaneTom Deitz was one of the first authors I really ever connected with in large part due to dawning of the internet age, as I was able to exchange emails with him. He provided me with information about his David Sullivan books and even signed a few of his books for me over the years. I have to say he was a very gracious author who seemed to like, and cared about, his fans. This is one of the primary reasons I enjoyed his writing so much as he took time to correspond with his fans.

It was then no surprise to me that after a period, where I had a lack of yearning to do any reading, I picked up one of his books. I remembered at that moment why I loved to read and this why I am posting this review of the book Windmaster’s Bane.

The book takes the reader into the world of David Sullivan who lives in rural Georgia. David has a fascination for things for history and old lore. He may not be as interested in the world around him but his interest in Irish and Celtic folklore is one thing he cares about deeply. He even at one time went through a phase where he tried to turn himself, and his best friend Alec, into werewolves. This incident of course is mentioned in the book and offers some of the humor found within the pages. Then of course he had the perfect car, in my opinion, a Ford Mustang.

It is fortunate for David that this is the time in his life where he is reading about the Sidhe. Those Celtic fairies that became all too real one evening after an unfortunate fall. It seems that while David had chased his little brother he fell and happened to catch a local funeral procession while looking through his legs. One has to admit that had to be quite a scene as one ends upside down looking through his legs. It is then that a power within David is awoken and that evening he will discover that other world that comes so close to his own. What David suddenly develops is something called second sight and gives him the ability to see the fairy folk.  This new “power” will bring him a great gift, or potentially a dark curse.

The book just drew me in as a teen and did that again as an adult. I had read the story before but fell in love with it again as an adult. Reading how David, Alec and his friend Liz must face challenges together to survive. Family members will be brought into the eventual war between David and one of the Sidhe. The Windmaster, Ailill, who lost a contest of intelligence to young David and has even deeper thoughts on how to interact with the world of man. This chance meeting that David had with Sidhe, that first evening, with the sight will start the long journey within the pages.

The great thing about Windmaster’s Bane is it has some of the elements of great quest books that came before it, but is not a clone. The story will take the reader into history and what some may not realize is Deitz even used Native American lore as a fact check for this book. I can simply say that this is a book that helped reenergize my love of reading as a teen and has done it again as an adult. The characters are well developed and it was easy to picture myself as David. His love of reading about history and ancient cultures is something I still do to this day.  The friendships, and closeness of his family, are so well portrayed it is hard not to get drawn into the book.

If Mr. Deitz was with us today I would send him a thank you note from this reader but sadly he has passed on. However, he left thousands of reader’s minds full of wonderment reading his many books.  I for one am so glad I never parted with this book from the late 1980’s as it is a treasure in my collection. I hope others stumble across one of his many books he shared with the world. The man was a much underrated author that at least touched this person through his writing.

Thank you Tom Deitz and may your memory live on in your writing and the minds of those who find your books yet today.

 

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Reviews

 

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