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About knightmist

I'm an avid reader who will read just about anything and provide an honest review. I also will share my own short stories as well as writing on life.

Strangeways by Robert J Brunner

I have to admit that when I received the request to do an honest review of the book Strangeways by Robert J Brunner, I looked the book up. I found out first that Brunner was a police 911 dispatcher. This was intriguing as it could add some realism to the book. As I further checked into the book I found it dealt with a prison, an FBI agent, death and an ancient god. Alright I would say I was hooked at this point, but that would not be truthful as I after I started reading the book I did get hooked.

Strangeways opens with a prologue that in itself is a bit of an enigma. The book introduces to a period in the early 1900s in which we find a man, Charles Hobart, in a small town staying in a boarding house. The Hobart is first seen as another potential traveling salesman of the period, a Bible salesman. It isn’t till an evening dinner with the residents of the boarding house things finally come out. The reason is in the town, well he wants to buy himself some property.  The property will be used not for a home, but for a prison.

The reader now “time jumps” to more of a current period in time. We find a prison guard out for rounds of a darken prison just at lights out. The guard will stop to talk to an inmate and take another one out of his cell and down to the showers, the inmate stinks. The guard will soon become first in some mysterious deaths that will begin to plague the prison. As the klaxon rang members of a response team come rushing into the shower area where the guard is screaming. Officer Peter Coyle’s incident report will be found not long after the death has transpired and will help setup what is to come.

It’s not long after that we find special agent Tom Griffin of the FBI on his way to the prison as he will be sticking his nose into what is happening at Strangeways Prison.  He was called by an old colleague who is now the prison’s warden. Griffin will not even make it inside the prison before a strange event will meet him.  He gets out of his car to see a large wolf eyeing him down like could be dinner. Things move on from this point and Griffin will keep his open mind. He may be expecting many different possibilities that may have been the cause of the prison guard’s death. The problem is, Griffin will not want to believe what is actually going on. He is a logical man, what is happening around him, regardless of the signs is something he is not prepared for.

Strangeways will take the reader in to the world of the prison, named the same as the book. As you read you will find that the prison is on Native American land. The area has been known for strange phenomenon and in truth may be the reasoning for the name of the prison. However, what transpires within the walls of the prison is far more than any would expect. The big change in this book is that it is not related to Native Americans but instead a Norse God.  This God has become popular within the pages of comic books, and super hero movies. His name is Odin, The All Father, and many will be shocked by the portrayal of the character. I for one was at first, but I then did some research on Odin and will just point out he is the God of not just of wisdom and poetry, but that of WAR and DEATH.

Author Robert J. Brunner puts together a book that will leave many readers struggling to put it down after they start reading the book. His characters are well developed from those of the prisoners within the prison to those on the side of Law and Order. There are characters you will find yourself miss reading and others that will be evident by their actions. The scenes within the book are well painted through his word play and are properly descriptive without going to intense during the violence. I found the book to be well worth my time to read and provide this review.

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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Obsidian Tears by Doug Lamoreux & Daniel D. Lamoreux

Yellowstone National Park is United States staple that attracts thousands, if not more, visitors each and every year. People enjoy not just the beauty of the Old Faithful Geyser but also the natural beauty that abounds the park itself. The one thing that many visitors, and maybe even some staff, do not know is the large history behind the land the park is located on.  The history includes that of the Native American’s and obsidian made artifacts have been found in the park. Why do I bring this up? I mention the obsidian as it is part of the title of the book, Obsidian Tears. The book is written by brothers Daniel and Doug Lamoreux and that deep black, glassy rock will play its part in this book.

Obsidian Tears will introduce the reader to Chief Forest Ranger Glenn Merrill who many readers may have met in the first book in this series, Apparition Lake. As in that book the reader will find Ranger Merril dealing with some alarming events around Yellowstone. The problem is these events are not just the threat from environmentalists, or campers’ causing mayhem, but something is brewing under the ground. There are earth tremors that bring signs that maybe the long dormant volcano under their feet is becoming active. There of course are the unexplained deaths that claim not just animals, but that of tourists and a ranger.

I wish to add that the book opening is quite interesting as well as it sets up some great foreshadowing of what may come. The Lamoreux brothers do a great job taking the reader back to a different time as we find the young Arapaho medicine man, Nakos, on a vision quest. The events that take place during this question and what will follow a few hundred years later will become clearer as you follow the story.

The thing is all the mystery around the park will eventually become tied to a mysterious box that is found within the park. I will not go into much detail on how, or where it is found, but just say they did have to look under something to find it. The item in that box will get things moving very fast within the pages of the book. These events will lead Ranger Merrill to search out his Shoshone friend, Johnny Two Ravens.  Along with Johnny, Merrill will also end up realizing he will need the help of a young professor of Seismology, one Dr. Betty Chmielewski or Lew for short.

The book is well written as the brothers certainly know how to work together and develop their characters. Along with the characters it does appear they have done a lot of research on Yellowstone and the history around the National Park. The book does have some violent acts, but for the most part we read more about the aftermath then get to read about the full details. I for one love this type of storytelling when it comes to violence as it engages the brain even more. The best thing about the additional engagement of the brain is it brings you more and more into the story you are reading.

Obsidian Tears is a very well written book and truly fits as book 2 in the Apparition Lake series. The reader gets to catch up on what has happened in the life of those characters they may have enjoyed from the first book. You also get a sense of what is going on within a park of Yellowstone’s size from the daily patrols that take place to dealing with some of the visitors. This is what makes not just the drama of the main story so special but you get a sense of the happenings at the park, which draws you in even more. A truly enjoyable read and I’m sure like many others, I hope for more.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Reviews

 

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The Witch of Delray by Karen Dybis

I’ll admit when I first saw the title, The Witch of Delay, I conjured up in my mind a story about your typical witch. The kind of witch story that I evoked in my mind involved potions, curses, and even hexes. The interesting thing is, The Witch of Delray, will take the reader into the story of Rose Veres who some saw as a witch.

I realize that opening paragraph may grip the attention of people as you ask yourself, where is Delray? Is she really a witch?

The answer to the first question is that Delray is an old part of Detroit, Michigan. The Delray area in the early 20th century saw many Hungarian immigrants call the area home. This background is shared with in the pages of the book by author, Karen Dybis. She does a great job explaining how things where in Detroit during the period of the book, mentioning everything from the Great Depression, to corruption, crime, and race riot in the 1940s.

As for Rose Veres, you must realize the period of the story. This was a period when many old fears followed immigrants from their native lands. It is where neighborhood stories could lead others to fear a woman’s piercing glare as an evil hex. It of course did not help Rose that she had a husband die, mysteriously and even some of her borders also die.  You see, Rose and her husband Gabor, took in borders and after his death she continued to take them in. It was just Rose and her children in the house along with their borders, and it wasn’t till one of them died.

The Witch of Delray will delve deeply into the reported murder of Stephen Mak. He was one of the borders, and like so many during the depression, had trouble finding work. He would help with some chores around the Veres’ house and it was on one of these occasions he met with a horrific end. He either was pushed, or fell, off a ladder while working on a window in the home. The following police investigation would lead to the multiple events within this book.

Author Karen Dybis does her homework in writing this true crime story. She had to obviously do a lot of research digging into archives and stories from the events. Dybis looks not into the primary characters from Rose Verse, son Bill, but into those who prosecuted her. Dybis looks into the history around the events, the characters and the eventual outcome.  Readers will be introduced to Detective John Whitman, Reporter Vera Brown, Prosecutor Duncan C. McCrea and female attorney Alean Rose Brisley Clutts. The book will span over a few decades and will give readers a larger picture on the “witch” of Delray.

What I really enjoyed about this book is something one will not see on the countless of real crime TV shows out there. We get beyond the story of the murder but that of parties involved. We get a chance to see how those involved either met with fame, or failure. The thing book really does is show us everything has consequences and sometimes they have far reaching impacts.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Strong Legs and a Lesson

My original plan was to write a post on a book review but then I saw something that had me change my tactics. The source too many is hated and one of the worst news sources in the world, and that is Fox News. So, what could I find from there that would have me creating a blog post? I’m sure there are a lot of ideas running in people’s heads, but I’m sure they are in most guesses wrong. The title of this post may have given an idea, but what brought me to this post is simple. Her name is Janice Dean; she is a meteorologist for Fox News and most importantly has Multiple Sclerosis.

I’ve posted many blog posts about my struggles and issues with that disease but what I saw there had me change plans for this week. You see some viewer asked Janice Dean to stop letting Fox dress her as the skirts were not flattering on her. I got to say I have not watched Fox News in sometime, and to be honest I do not watch any major news outlet. I only saw this story due to the fact she does have MS, and I got to say she handled it gracefully. The key thing she let that body shamer know that she’s proud of who she is and those strong legs. In her response she pointed out that she was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago, and of course told the viewer if you do not like them you can turn the channel.

This got me thinking about not just those out there that suffer with MS wishing they still had strong legs that would allow them to walk, but much more. I for one am thrilled that my relapsing MS is under control and my legs still allow me to move around. I personally know others who have lost their ability to walk and now either rarely go out, or use a wheel chair.

Now, I want to get more to the point of this posting and bring up one of the best lines from Janice Dean’s response. The line was, “you can always turn the channel”. What makes this so interesting to me? It points the most logical thing a person can do if they do not like something, and that is turn the channel. I mean she’s not breaking any laws here so if they do not like it the option is to turn the channel. The option isn’t to boycott the station, call for a national boycott or even threaten her more so she changes what she wears.

I know what I said in the last sentence seems like a leap, but that is the world we now find ourselves in. If someone does not agree with a perceived way of thinking groups will threaten, boycott, or worse cases cause harm. It doesn’t matter the political stance of a person, or group, it’s the fact they want that offending person to pay for not thinking like they do. It’s an epidemic and makes me think that there are simple options to the issue. If you don’t like it then “turn the channel”. I know not all cases are so cut and dry but really is it that necessary to create hate, and loathing.

I mean here we are as adults saying we need to stop bullying in the in children but what type of example are we adults setting. We sit behind keyboards, smart phones, social media and other devices to speak of hate. We want a business put out of business, thus destroying not just an owner that may be the issue but all that work for them. We will threaten people with death threats; put up internet pictures of death or violence. We will even cut off long term friendships for a disagreement because they do not think the right way.

So I realize I’ve come a long way from Multiple Sclerosis and have gotten a connection to bullying. It however is in away fitting that these things are connected. We live in a society that pledges that we accept the differences of others, that we should be free to think as we wish. However, we instead shout down those differing views if they do not fit a specific ideological opinion. We scream and yell at others before even taking a moment to try and understand them.

To be brutally honest, to me there is one simple cause for much of this. It’s that simple thing that helps us all connect at same time divides. It’s social media as we have forgotten how to truly talk to each other. A simple message about someone’s looks can create the need for Janice Dean to respond to shame. A simple message can bring hundreds, if not thousands, down on a person for daring to think differently. It is really easy to do so much of this HATE when you are not looking into someone’s eyes. You do not see how your actions can hurt and scar a person when you are not up close and personal.

I’m going to end this post here as I hope it gets people to think. I mean when was the last time you actually sat and talked with someone? Do you talk to friends, or family, more over a messaging device over face to face or a phone? Ask yourself what kind of examples are we adults setting for children when we take everything so personally? Just stop and think on those questions. I’m hoping this post does not create hate as it’s not the cause, but who can say. I’m asking people to stop and think and I’ll add now if I see hate coming in comments they will be deleted. I’m not one to continue the cycle but asking people to think. Even better for those things you find so upsetting instead of attacking and wishing death, try telling them you love them and hope they rethink their opinion. Let love show that it can conquer the hate by turning that hate to love over hate. If I’m lucky some will read this and realize what I am saying in this long winding post.

**Note the two links in the article will take you to an opinion piece by Janice Dean, the other an article from Forbes on the dangers of lack of human interactions.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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2017 Year of Challenges

I first apologize to readers of the blog for my total lack of new content at decent intervals. I also must apologize to the authors I feel I let down by not getting book reviews out in a timely manner. I am one that hates excuses, and I feel as if I have told this story before.  I am going to share some of the challenges of the past year with you along with a New Year Resolution.

First let me start with that resolution. I say this as I normally do not make resolutions as to me they are a promise and I do HATE breaking promises.  My resolution is to provide new content to the blog at least three times a month and when possible even more times. Content will be anything from continued book reviews to short stories, or just blurbs on life. So, there I’ve put it in writing what my resolution is and I will say for readers they will get this next statement. I promise there will not be a chapter like that from the William Faulkner book, As I Lay Dying. The chapter simply state, “My mother is a fish.” I’ll wrap this up by just saying that one of those books I had to read in high school as not really my cup of tea.

So 2017 was a lot of “fun”. I believe I posted about some of this previous but it was the year filled with the following things and thankfully not all happened to me. They unfortunately do involve family and as I wish to not give too much information out on their relationship to me let me just go with the list.

First I’ll start with the issue that had me scared, and still am, and this one deals with me. I have what I call micro blind spots in my left eye. They came about early in the year and after tons of testing my Multiple Sclerosis drug changed. This appears to be for the good as I am now on an oral medication, meaning no more shots. It also meant that some new lesions in the brain have gone done which is great, but a bit late for the eye. The good news it hasn’t gotten worse, but hasn’t gotten better either. I’m sure some will understand how that would impact my reading, and writing.

Now as for the family the list below is what they went thru, and as people say…Family comes first.

We saw:

  • We saw cancer diagnosis of not one but two forms, one was very close to be pancreatic. Thankfully it wasn’t.
  • We saw an infection get out of control and hit the brain. This was scary as anything with the brain can be potentially deadly and thankfully recovery was seen.
  • Broken bones requiring surgery, and short care rehab facility.
  • Bad backs requiring scans and talk of surgery, but thankfully that did not happen.

I realize the above list does look short, but much of the items where yearlong struggles. Some of the above even has continued into 2018, but thankfully not severe. In any case it was a year, and oh yeah our Ford Explorer decided it did not want to make another year. So car payments are back as we had to get rid of the 2004, and step it up by 10 years and get a 2014 Escape. Yeah that would seem like a perk but the car payments thankfully fit into the budget. Anyway that is not changing the fact my reviews are still free with the only thing I ask of authors is a copy of their book. I give an honest review in return no matter how much it would be nice to have some additional funds. (Insert a smile here)

So as I promised at the start of this posting there will be new posts three times a month on the blog. They again will be a mixture of postings but there will be more regular new content. I thank you for hanging in there. As always I am open to feedback and can find out how to reach me on my About Me page.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Personal

 

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Seven for the Slab by Doug Lamoreux

There where comic books, radio programs and television shows that would give their audience short scary stories. These would often wrap up quickly and would allow the presenter to do an anthology of sorts as they could have several stories within the same production. These of course helped give birth to the numerous anthologies that can be found out there.  We can also get a sense of this style from the 20007 Horror film “Trick ‘r Treat”.

Author Doug Lamoreux takes this idea and does two better than the before mentioned film as he places seven stories within the pages of his novella. This novella is aptly titled, “Seven for the Slab”.  I’m sure many who see the title will draw the conclusion that the slab must be in reference to a funeral home. I will say that assumption would be very correct, but do not go thinking these stories take place in one.  In the contrary a funeral home does have some of the main story thread but it’s not all the reader will get out of the pages of the novella.

Seven for the Slab starts out with the one thing so many of dislike, and that is being awoken by a ringing telephone. If you ask me that in itself is a nightmare as you never know why someone is calling you so late and if you are about to get heartbreaking news. This phone call is one that brings good news for one Herb Flay, it would mean he had his job back and that the Fengriffen Funeral Home and Crematorium needed his services. It was a call he had been waiting on for what seemed like a month and with some odd glee he went out into the thunderstorm ready to do his job.

This is the setup to the novella as Flay heads out in the night to meet his boss at a home of not one but two deceased individuals, a brother and a sister. The scene is a small neighboring town and as Flay heads out to the scene we are introduced to a group of characters from firemen, EMTS, local police and a home owner.

The rain along with what is found at the home of the deceased brother and sister are what send many of the first responders to a home owner’s garage. The place becomes the official staging area for those involved to wait out the rain and their potential next assignment if something comes up. This is a welcoming option for those who had been in the home, as the bodies, well it’s amazing what can happen after a period of time. I’m leaving the details for the story itself as for some it could be slightly disturbing, but sadly it is part of life.

I’ve provided a bit of the background on why there are so many within this garage as this is where a push from one of those individuals will get the stories moving. One must realize that when you have so many first responders together they may have stories to share with each other. In this instance it is just that, they are all challenged to share a story that will fit their current settings. It is a chance for each of them to out-do the other as they tell their stores.

I could go into each story but as this is a novella I do not want to take away a readers opportunity to really enjoy them. I just will say that with each one they get a bit more thought provoking and there is a bit of everything involved. The reader will find aliens, ghosts, zombie like creatures, and the worse of all humanity. I say this as what man can do to their fellow man can be just as gruesome as the creatures that we see in our dreams.

Seven for the Slab shows off the creative mind of author Doug Lamoreux as his characters tell their stories. They are well crafted stories that will have you wondering not just about the character writing the stories but that of the author who wrote the novella. I must say that you can tell he was a fan of those old series like Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt. The thing is we hear some great stories from the first responders but the back ground story is just as traumatic. I’ll close by saying that it is amazing what some will do to keep a job.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Kindred Intentions by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

A book is something that we pick up to read and if we are lucky will light our imagination. If we are even more fortunate it, that same book will get us hooked. The reader will not want to put it down as they are afraid to miss a moment of what is unfolding in the story that is being told by those words on the page. It is not every day that a reader will come across a book like that, and it’s even more rare to have an author continually turn out books with such storylines we cannot help but want to read it cover to cover in one sitting. Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli really hooked me with her Red Desert set of books, about life on Mars, but has done it again with her book, Kindred Intentions.

Kindred Intentions takes the reader into a police investigation of murders that are happening at the law firm of, Goldberg & Associates. We are quickly introduced to agent Amelia Jennings who has the job of finding out who is committing those murders.  However, things never seem to go as planned and before we know it people are out to get Amelia and she has to find out who is behind this all.

The reader will also find out as Amelia runs she will have one Mike Connor along for the ride. The issue is can she trust Mike and is he who he says, well I’m sure I could say but that is giving things away.

In the previous point I mentioned, “along for the ride”, and that’s what this book is. Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli has so many twists and turns within the pages of the book you may feel highs and lows as if riding a roller coaster.  The book has spots of humor that had me laugh out loud, and get a strange look from those nearby as I read. On the other side there are points that are dark as one must recall they are after a murderer.

The story is well developed, well told and if one tried to create a murder board as seen on TV shows, the intersections and paths would be confusing to follow, at first. This is the great hidden piece of the book the way you think you may have finally figured things out only to turn a page, and realize you were wrong. It can be upsetting for sure but it also makes you dive further into the story as you tell yourself you’ll figure out who it is.

I’ll add that this was one of the complaints about Agatha Christie’s books on how she would hide things from readers that only her detectives picked up on. It did frustrate some during her time, but it’s not the case within the pages of Kindred Intentions. Instead all you need to figure things out are here but life its complex.

Now, I will add that as I read this I would have to tell myself that what I thought could be misspellings are not ones at all. The books setting is in London, England, and thus the British English is utilized in the book and to me just added more realism. I would not expect a British character to be using American terminology, and as a reminder English is not author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli first language. It however does not matter what language you may read this in as the story in itself is what will capture your attention and suck you into the pages, be that they are digital or real. Kindred Intentions is just one well written book with plot lines that are developed masterfully and a story more twisted at times than a pretzel, but well worth the read.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in Reviews

 

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