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Saucy Jacky by Author Doug Lamoreux

The name Jack the Ripper still will bring interest to the mines of individuals today, as much as it did when he committed the murders that made him famous, back in 1888.  The man would send fear across a city, if not a country, not just for the murders but the brutality of those murders. The fact after so many decades, no over a century, and there is still debate on who he was can be considered astounding. There have been plenty of television shows, movies, books, and other mediums of entertainment that have covered the man. We now to get to take a very different look at him thru the mind of author Doug Lamoreux in his book, Saucy Jacky.

Saucy Jacky will take the reader into not the gruesome crimes that where committed but dare I write this mind and what drove him.  I will warn readers with squeamish stomachs Lamoreux did his research for this book. He does not spare any details on how Jack’s victims met their ends. I will also remind potential readers the book takes place in the late 1800s in London, England. A period that saw high immigration, large unemployment, and even some racial/ethnic divides.  These could be prevalent in the Whitechapel district of London where the Ripper committed much of his murders.

The book opens as Jack himself is describing the sensation he, and his victim, felt as he proceeded to stab her for the first time. Yes, you read that right the book opens as Jack describes how is going about killing his first victim. Sharing with the reader his thought processes, where he got the knife, and even correcting himself as he tells the tale. He will even go as far as to promise to name himself at some point, but for now, he is Mr. ___.

Readers will get a taste of the man behind the knife, and those crimes as you continue to read the book. I will say that I am being a bit vague as I do not wish to give too much of the book away.  I will just note that as you read there will be many pieces of information that will be touched on regarding Jack.

You will discover how his lodgings will play a big part in his crimes. All I will allude to here, is you have to ask yourself how can living above a now-shuttered shoe store help Jack. Mrs. Griggs, who is his landlady, will be just as helpful due to her love of sharing the daily news with Jack.  A woman who is politically active who leads a group of women who call themselves Dress Reformists will all come into play in helping Jack.

There are also those individuals he works alongside in his daily job. A job that leads him to hear some great gossip from a female co-worker who is dating a policeman. This co-worker will give Jack a behind the headlines account of what the police are doing to try and capture the killer.

Saucy Jacky will go into great details on what potentially may have driven the man to commit such atrocities to these women of Whitechapel. You will learn why he selected these women, and how he was influenced by his upbringing. The interesting pieces are also what drove him to write his infamous notes to the newspapers, and police. There will be some real genius in how those were done and how, if true, would have really thrown the police off in that period. Something, for the reader, to discover as they read the book.

There will be many other insights into what may have been the mind of Jack throughout the book. As he learns about the police activities, he will share his thoughts on those coppers.  There will be vigilante groups created to also capture him, and one of their leaders will get a “special” gift sent to him. There, of course, will be his commentary on the Dress Reformist meetings as well. The biggest insights will come as we get to read his reactions to how the press, during the period, covered his crimes. We will also get a sense of how he felt having the name Leather Apron given to him, and what drove him to really name himself.

Saucy Jacky is of course based on what author Doug Lamoreux gained from the research he did for this book. He involved Ripperologists, those past newspapers, their journalists and so many others he thanks in his acknowledgments. The one thing is clear if any of the thought processes utilized within this story are true to the real Jack, well it’s no surprise he was never found.

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Posted by on February 9, 2019 in Reviews

 

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Heavenly Vision by Koos Verkaik

Religious cults have been part of our world for ages if not just thru stories, but actual cults that can be found throughout this world. They have filled the void for those who felt lost and needed a sense of belonging. They have filled the void for their leaders who wish to corrupt a religion to get people to their bidding.  There are of course numerous reasons why people both join, and start a cult and would be a story upon itself.

I bring up religious cults as they will become part of the story of Author Koos Verkaik’s aptly titled book Heavenly Visions. A book that will find a reader facing different time periods as a story unwinds thru the words with in the pages of this book. The book will introduce the reader to a wide range of characters, and even a range of time periods.

The book starts interesting enough in the year 1745 and will introduce the readers to ship captain Adriaen Kalf.  The Captain will have the most unfortunate events that will cause the man to see formal charges filed against him. The events that lead to his charges will be found spelled out in an old Atlas that falls into the hands of one Jan Glas.

As we continue to read the book, we find out that Captain Kalf had taken on a very unique device that time has nearly forgotten about. I write nearly, as Glas will be involved in helping an article get written about Kalf and it leads to an invitation to a symposium held by a publishing company. The company, Arnold McKay Publishing, is being the magazine ParaPsycho. It is during the symposium that many of the other key characters in the book will come into the picture. There is Pamela Mitchell from the magazine, a Hellen Derringer from a group called the Third Eye Association, and the beautiful Mary Landock.

The events in, Heavenly Vision, will start growing more and more intriguing during this event. Mary has her purse stolen that leads to a chase, police involvement and so much more. These events will eventually lead to Jan Glas, in England waking up in a Hospital.  There is much that is being left out on purpose as one must really get to read how this all happens as it is exciting and very intriguing.

The book will lead you back in time a few more times as you read the pages. One of the more interesting, trips to the past, will involve the introduction to Manuel Raso back in the late 1880’s in several southern US States. Our introduction to him will tell the tale of his unique gift that potentially came from a kick to the head by a horse. A gift that will leave many in tears, but grateful for meeting the man. A gift that will find him gaining a “cult” like following and eventually a formation of a town in Florida.

All of these past events will somehow find themselves tying back to Jan Glas, ParaPsycho and Arnold McKay. They will also go back to that secret cargo that Captain Kalf had upon his ship. All of these pieces are tied together much like a jigsaw puzzle being completed.  The rush of finding a place for each piece, and that feeling of nearing completion will be felt as you read what Author Koos Verkaik has laid out within the pages.

I do realize some people do not like stories that seem to jump around from one period to another. I however found this to be a great tool within the story and added so much to this book. There was just the right amount of changes that it did not take away from the overall enjoyment of the story. In truth, it only added to the complete puzzle as things are unveiled as you reach the finale of the book. Those who enjoy mysteries, suspense and intrigue will surely enjoy this book by Koos Verkaik.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2018 in Reviews

 

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A Light in the Desert by Anne Montgomery

I first want to state I do not always re-post a blog review but in this instance I felt it was necessary. You see the book, A Light in the Desert, seems to have some interesting luck. The book saw it’s previous publisher close and is being republished. I want to say this is not the first time either to be honest, but we won’t get to much into that. I just know that Author Anne Montgomery haw been one of those authors who I have reviewed a few of her books. It is for that willingness on her part to allow me the pleasure of reading her books that I am re-posting this review. I do hope you find it helpful in discovery a new read that you should really enjoy.

I have to admit when I saw the title to author Anne Montgomery’s newest book I had a flashback to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Why? In the movie Brad and Janet go toward a light to find help after a flat tire and a song plays. The song has a lyric of, “In the velvet darkness of the blackest night, burning bright, there’s a guiding star, no matter what or who you are.” I of course started humming the rest of the song but after reading, A Light in the Desert, I found this lyric to be quite fitting.

I write this as such a light has numerous connotations available to why it may be seen. A religious person would think of the light that led the three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born. Those not of a religious background may think alien, car light, train, or just a plain old light with nothing special to it. The book will introduce the reader to a few potential options but in its core is a story that takes the reader into the lives of many people that are as diverse as the wild of the Arizona Desert they all call home.

A Light in the Desert will introduce the reader to former Vietnam veteran Jason Ramm who has moved into town. He’s been able to settle in and found he’s been welcomed by the locals. As a person reads the book they will get to find much more of his background, including potential mental problems. These problems did not appear till he had a “mission” in Jerusalem and you may wonder what was he doing there. You will of course need to read the book to find out why. They will also find that he finds a dog, near death, and helps bring it back to life.

There are other characters like young teenager, Kelly Garcia, who is very pregnant and living with The Children of Light. The children are a group of Pentecostal zealots who try to live the way of the bible. They try and grow all their own food and help take care of those who cannot help themselves like Kelly. She has found her way to their home after a jealous mother decided she could not live with Kelly in the house any longer. Kelly does have a birth defect in her face, but it appears some man still found her beautiful.

There are other characters within the book such as a malicious gas station owner who has no problem beating his own son. The man’s problem is that the son has reached an age where he is not afraid of his father and is himself quite ruthless. The local store owner is the man all should talk to if they want to find out about their neighbors as he is the local gossip. He hears so much and sees so much as he does operate the only store around. There then is a smart and edgy news reporter who according to her bosses is a bit “past her prime”. She has won several Emmy’s but her age has caught up to her and in the world of TV News that is deadly.

The book will take the reader into a very complex plot filled with many plot lines. Ramm seems to be just another man escaping the big bad world but there is so much more to him. He helps the Children of Light and even takes a liking to Kelly. She needs help and someone to watch over her as she is under educated and the world has not been kind to her.  Ramm even may believe that she may help him with the madness he struggles with all the time.

There then is the gas station owner’s son, Billy, who stole so much from his father before running away. In truth Billy had left a nice package for his father in the bathroom of the gas station but it was found before it could do any damage. Billy has missed that opportunity but for those riding the train that goes through the area will find out, he is not done yet.

The book does have several different plot lines, but there is one thing that runs throughout the book. This is how one should never give up and fight for what they feel is right. Yes, there are those within the pages of, A Light in the Desert, that are misguided but the story unfolds nicely thanks to Montgomery’s writing. People will find some characters larger than life, and others you cannot help but sympathize with. There are even moments when one may feel terrible for Billy, and the next want to him hurt. The one character that caught my eye was that of the “retired” TV Reporter Kate. I felt there may be a bit of Montgomery in this character when one considers her back ground in TV. The simple truth is that each character is well developed and the story eventually will find a point where all the plot lines seem to join and converge on the right track. I have one final note and that is be sure to read the Dedication as the struggles Ramm has may be more real for the reader

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2018 in Reviews

 

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The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli

As one looks around in in the entertainment world for moves, comic books, TV shows, and even much of the literary world there is something unique. You find that many of the stories involving a post-apocalyptic world focus either on North America or Europe. There have been newer tails that bring us to places like Africa and even India. However, there is not much, that I found, that deal with “The Land Down Under” or better known as Australia. This is at least till I was given the opportunity to read the book The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli.

The book opens up in a future that Is not too far away from the present day. It starts innocuously with a man driving out to check his property. He comes across a strip of land that has gotten a great tear in it as a meteor landed and plowed a crater into the ground. Unfortunately for this man, and humanity there is some type of cosmic hitchhiker that will bring Australia, and the Earth, to its modern day end. Its effects will not immediately be known but this older man will shadow what is to come. A wild animal bit will not heal as a man give himself shots of antibiotics as he travels home. It is only when a friend stops at his home do we get a sense of what happened, and Humanity is in for just as much as a shock as that friend. A friend who will find out that opening a door can be a big mistake as the other side could have something infected who sees you as “lunch”.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will take a jump in time and lead us to a walled city. A place where survivors from a massive infected outbreak now live by somewhat strict rules, but they are safe. They will take patrols out into neighboring areas searching for the needs to help their community survive. As we learn more and more about those inhabitants we find not just great friends, but family dynamics, and of course greed. The inhabitants will be a mixture of military to civilians with each member having their job to do.

Author S.T. Campitelli does a very good job in not just introducing his characters but giving us great storylines for them. You find yourself starting to sympathize with their situation as well as either hoping for their success, or downfall in some cases. Along with the character development there is futuristic technology utilized in this book that easily could be real today, if not in a few years. This makes the book even that much more enjoyable as you find yourself envisioning the items being used. In all truth some of the items in a home could be things you ask your voice assisted device to do for you within the next few years.

The story will move at a very good pace and you will notice that the chapters are named around the primary character in each.  It is why you will find many are named for the leading character, father, and husband John Bradley. He is an educated man who goes out into the wasteland around to find those things the walled city needs. He is also one who cares for many and gets involved in a major operation that is going to be overtaken within the book.

There are also chapters such as Dustin Callahan, The Headhunter and Alpha Kronenburg that are just hints of the protagonists within the pages of the book. These will be names that readers will come to find have their own agenda’s and those in the city are at times just in their way.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will introduce the reader to what remains of the civilization that was at one time Australia. It will give readers insight into a part of the world that is often left out of the decision during apocolyptial events. It will also give the reader a chance to ponder what would they do to survive such an event. Would they find themselves banned together in the city, trying to survive on their own, or just well that’s a question you must answer yourself. Of course that will all come if you allow your imagination to take you within the events of the book.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Reviews

 

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The Last Movie Star (2017) staring Burt Reynolds

How many actors are you fans of that when you hear they are in an upcoming movie do you stop and make note of that title? Are you able to name them using one hand, maybe two hands at the most? I know I struggle to think of my own personal list, but one who comes to mind is Burt Reynolds.

I bring up Mr. Reynolds for the reason that I have seen his name appearing in several movies as of late. I had not realized that he was still keeping busy and doing a lot of acting as he enters the later years of his life. It was then recently while walking the aisles of my local Family Video store that I saw the title, The Last Movie Star.

I didn’t think twice I grabbed the movie and proceeded to rent and of course view this movie. It costars another older actor, Chevy Chase, and the Modern Family star Ariel Winter. The movie will take the viewer into an old actor who seems to have lost much of his past fame. He will get invited to a Movie Festival in Nashville and that will cause some changes in his life.

The movie does open on a sad note as you find Vic Edwards (Reynolds) at a veterinarian hospital with is ailing dog. The vet is giving Vic bad news about his aging dog and it comes down to Vic having to put his old friend down. He is left with the dog’s collar when he leaves the hospital and takes his drive home.

The movie will later show Vic out shopping at a grocery store taking time to admire an attractive young woman walking buy. He will decide on a frozen dinner for his evening meal and we watch as the aging actor goes through his normal routine. It is when he finally see him having a lunch with a fellow older actor, played by Chevy Chase, which he finally talks about the invitation to a movie Festival. Chase’s character tells him he should go and later on we see Vic packing his bags for the Festival.

The movie will follow Vic as he gets to the Festival and finds out his “assistant” for the weekend is Lily McDougal, Ariel Winter. The young woman is not what one would call typical or even assistant material. She picks Vic up in her “beater” of a car, drives while using her cell phone, and has shorts that are short. She is just the start of what Vic will find awaits him at this Festival he had determined was a top of a line affair. Instead he’s put in a lower level Hotel, taken to a bar for the Festival, and worse finds out he is in coach when it came to his plane travel.

I wanted to include that last part about how Vic sees himself as a top talent and still should see A-lister perks. I mentioned that as I wanted to show that the movie shows how hard it is for Vic to truly understand he has gotten old. It takes Vic to realize who he really is, and where he came from when he talks Lily into a side trip to his home town. It is here that the viewer will begin to relate more with Vic, and better yet what it’s like to get old.

The Last Movie Star could have been written around Burt Reynolds himself as much of it resembles his own life. In truth there have been articles written from interviews with the writer of the movie that it was written with Reynolds in mind. As the movie progresses we are introduced to this old man, grumpy, and headstrong man that still has his site on his glory days. There are even parts of the movie where old Vic is interlaced with young Vic in movie scenes. Old Vic is doing his best to pass on wisdom to his younger self about the dangers of getting old.

What the Last Movie Star does is quite brilliant in the way it was written and performed by its cast. It takes the viewer into this old man’s life and we see how he starts to realize he has gotten older. We get a sense of how he wants to reconnect with his past, and at same time teaching this young woman about life.

The thing the movie shows the viewer the most is a different way to accept what will happen to us all. We are all getting older every day and the movie will show the viewer the good and bad of growing old. It may help the viewer rethink their own ideals on getting old. However, most of all it is a heartwarming tale of a man who will reconnect with his life, and accept where it has brought him thru his life choices.

I should add that The Last Movie Star was written and directed by Adam Rifkin.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Who: A Novel of the Near Future by author Karen A. Wyle.

If one was to take some time and do an internet search for uploading your mind to a computer you’ll be surprised by the multitude of results. There are tech industry stories going back several years that talk about just that fact. There was even an article in which now departed Stephen Hawking stated it would be something that could happen. He did have the “brains” to know at this time we do not have the technology.

You have to wonder had we had the technology would Hawking have taken the chance to have his brain transferred to a computer to continue living. The possibilities of what could happen to a consciousness moved into a digital realm is somewhat endless, but someone has taken that potential and put it into a great read. The book is titled, “Who: A Novel of the Near Future“, by author Karen A. Wyle.

Author Wyle has already written some very thought provoking books in her Twin-Bred novels. She certainly continues that trend in this book. She goes deep into a subject that is currently starting to gain headlines and has implications of all types. The thing is, this book will give the reader a sense of what some of those potential problems could be.

The book will introduce the reader to a couple who are young and naturally in love. They are both musicians that have done some work for the company LiveAfter. LiveAfter is a firm that will take a person’s mind and digitize it so a person can continue to interact with those they care for. As both Thea and Max have done some contract work for the company they are offered a deal to make use of the digitization if something should ever happen.

As the reader continues the story they will find out the worse does happen and Thea dies. Max makes the choice to have Thea’s mind digitized and this is where the story really starts to take off. Max will find that he has his Thea back as she can still play her music and seems to be her normal self. However, as legislation is passed allowing those who have been digitized to do more, like voting Thea seems to change.  Her mindset changes and her personality seems different and Max has to wonder is this really his Thea?

The book will take the reader into the realm of what could happen when someone’s mind is digitized. Is there a chance the company doing that work could change or manipulate the mind, or some may say soul. I do realize it is a stretch to go with the soul, but if someone’s mind is change I say it’s part of their soul. The mind is the thing that drives reason and feelings, we can say it’s our heart but really it’s the mind that makes that final call.

The book will not just focus on the interactions of Max and Thea but you get to read how others are impacted. The extended family, their friends and others involved in their lives. We get questions come to mind on what this technology could potentially do if this technology eventually came to reality. The book really will get readers using their minds as they consider all the options put forward within the pages of the book.

Author Karen A Wyle is an author who will cause the reader to really think. She does a great job in character development as well as explaining many of the potential challenges this type of technology may bring. I will warn readers that at times this book may seem to get mired in topics around law and great explanations on possibilities, and technology. I realize some of us in fast speed world may find some of this boring, but the book is well worth a read. You can surely scan some of the pages but you’ll miss out on a very well developed story.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Reviews

 

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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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