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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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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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When The Tik-Tik Sings by Doug Lamoreux

Tik-TikThere are book titles that when you see them you are not sure what you are going to get when you start to read. I have to say that the book, “When The Tik-Tik Sings”, is just such a title. I was thinking is this about some sort of demented coo-coo clock? There’s a chance that Tik-Tik could be a title of a singer or a band. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first saw the title. Author Doug Lamoreux has written some great books so I tossed away my guesses on potential subject and began to read.

The book opens with veteran police woman, Erin, talking her morning run. As she runs through the area and near the peak of Eagle Point Park she is startled by a big black shape. The shape jumps out and goes up scaring the officer so that she falls and lands rather undignified in the wet grass. Whatever the thing was she had heard this odd noise, “tik-tik, tik-tik, tik…” just before it appeared. She was rightfully nervous after being startled and her imagination start to run wild but she was able to re-focus and finish her run.

It’s not long after the run that she is in her patrol car and on her way to work. It’s here that she comes across a speeding car and a very reckless driver in an expensive sports car. She does her job and begins pursuit of the driver, and it’s not long before the chase ends. It’s at the moment that she is about to confront this driver that something unexpected happens. There is a loud scream and it’s followed not long after by an explosion.

The book takes off from this point like the big bang that startled many in this small tourist town in Iowa near the Mississippi River. The next few chapters are filled with action as we are introduced to firefighters and other local police. There are mixes of great sarcastic comments from one character to another. Firefighters Ben and Nestor are some of those characters that fill the reader with some of that great laughter that will be found as the fight those in authority.

Those upcoming chapters also will introduce everyone to what is going to become the scourge of the local police. This being multiple murders that make no real sense. A woman’s body found way up in the air on the top of an old theater. There will be a common thread for most of the murders, but to find out what those are you must read the book.

There is another item in the book I found fascinating and even spoke to some I know who live in the Philippines about. The fact is that Filipino myth and lore will play a large part of what is happening within the pages of the book. Those who live in the country will tell you that the country has many myths and stories and some of those come to live within the pages of the book. In my checks it is clear that author Doug Lamoreux did his homework as he is spot on with how he uses that lore within the book.

When The Tik-Tik Sings has nothing to do with a clock as I originally thought could be possible. The part that a bird may be involved is “somewhat” right but it wasn’t something I was thinking about. The book has non-stop turns of action and with the point of view form used within the pages it is hard to put down. There is a lot of violence but the great thing is that Lamoreux does not do anything to gratuitous. The violence fits the situation and the descriptions do make the imagination work a little as you read. The book will make fans of mystery, suspense and thrillers very happy and is worth the read and is published by Creativia Publishing.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Sam Abbott

A Cold GoodbyeSome others will give a full paragraph on who they are and others are a bit more shy about telling readers who they are. Then of course there are authors who can write word after word and save that for their creations I believe that author Sam Abbott falls into the category of saving their writing. I say this as there are several Ned Fain books in publcation. Also one thing read the answers carefully as you will learn some real information about Sam Abbott is. So without further comment lets get to those questions.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

As a kid I used to write 10 to 20 page thank-you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts; I guess I could say that was the bug first biting me. I’m a late starter, though; took me years to actually pen my first story.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

My husband travels a lot for work, so my writing time isn’t much noticed by him. Other than that, I’ve been in business for myself for years, and writing has now become the business I wish I’d always been doing.

Question 3: What inspired you to write A Cold Goodbye?

Honestly, I don’t remember anything specific. Readers often ask where my ideas come from and the only answer I can give is that they just don’t stop. It’s rather problematic, actually, and can be quite a distraction.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters? 

The books I write are the books I like to read, which covers a fairly broad spectrum. Ned Fain evolved in my mind over a period of time and he was pretty real to me before I even began to think of a plot. Much of that thought process developed during my morning walks with my dogs, and as I got to know Ned I began to imagine his story. I did want a character who was physically challenged, including in his looks, and in the second book in the series that leads to Sylvi, who turns out to be a pretty different lady. As to the opening setting of the book, I wanted something a little off-the-wall, so began with “somewhere” in a zoo and ended up at the polar bear pit.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

Well, The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis, completely enchanted me, and I read the series over and over. At age 12 I discovered boys, (Sam Abbott is a pseudonym, if you didn’t already know) and went through a dreamy-eyed phase of Georgette Heyer historical romances. However, Miss Heyer was also an accomplished writer of mystery, and before you know it I’d worked my way to Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh among others.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

Nervous. ‘Nuff said.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Absolutely I’ll keep writing; Ned Fain isn’t ready to retire yet. Another PI series I’m working on as Liz Dodwell features a gorgeous, yet emotionally scarred, Icelandic woman: Elka Dahl, the Agency Confidential Series. And I have an ongoing series of an amateur sleuth who also happens to be a shipwreck treasure hunter – the Captain Finn Treasure Mysteries. Last year I wrote a cozy mystery story of a pet-sitter – Polly Parrett, which I’m picking back up for the end of this year. There’s also a new detective series in the works – a supernatural mystery, of sorts – and I’m adding to my range with a little Arthurian Sword & Sorcery.

By now you’re thinking I’m all over the place. Well, yep; it’s true. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried, to stick with one series at a time but finally had to accept my mind just doesn’t work that way. Though I’ve trained myself to create in-depth outlines I still get blocked at times. When that happens, I jump to a different series and keep on writing.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

For Ned Fain I chose a male pen name because men are still more likely to read mystery/thriller. However, it seems more and more women are learning to enjoy this type of intrigue, which is why I created Elka Dahl. As for cozies, mature women far outnumber everyone else.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Write something short and get it out there so you can get past that fear of failure and learn the production side of the business. Don’t sweat reviews and don’t reply to reviews. If you don’t have any reviews, it’s no big deal. As I write this there are two books in the Amazon top 100 that have only three reviews, and another with just one; and every top author has plenty of one-star reviews. Once your book is published, the real work begins: it won’t sell unless you put some effort into marketing it, so do your due diligence.

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time?

Ah, reading is definitely up there, along with walking the dogs – I have a pit bull and two poodles. My husband and I love dining out and traveling and I like to yodel. (Just kidding about that last one).

The + 1 Question (In this case I ask authors to answer one or the other. We got a bonus as answered both.)

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

Hmm, I had to think about this and I’m inclined to say I’d go to Afghanistan – where Ned Fain met his fate – and hand out books to the remaining troops, or visit military bases here in the US.

If your book got turned into a movie do you have any actors/actresses you’d like to see play your characters?

For Ned, JR Martinez would certainly have to be in the running, but I could also see Robert Downey, Jr., Bradley Cooper or James Franco.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Reviews

 

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A Cold Goodbye: Ned Fain, Private Investigator (Book 1) by Sam Abbott

A Cold GoodbyeThe world has seen skirmishes, battles, police actions and wars for too long. It’s a fact of human history that at some point humanity has been fighting each other for some reason or another. This violence impacts so many from the home fronts to those fighting the battles and there are many common outcomes of these battles. One of the biggest is what to do with those who come back damaged, either physically, mentally or both. What will they be able to give to society and what will society do for them?

The book A Cold Goodbye will introduce the reader to one such soldier, Ned Fain. He is a former JAG officer who was fragged by someone in Afghanistan. He was defending some foreign soldiers and after the outcome of the case someone tossed a grenade into the bathroom. Unfortunately, Ned was in that bathroom and things did not go well for him.

He’s now back in the states, working as a painter while trying to get a real job. His wife has left him and the visual scars cause people to turn their heads. He’s out looking for a new job and is very unimpressed with the man he is about to interview with. Ned does not like how this supervisor tosses one of his own employees “under the bus” for work not done. So, he does what anyone should in that point walks out, not interviewing and heads to the bus stop.

The one problem the bus won’t be there for some time and decides again to stop into the local zoo. This decision will put him in the spot to witness a very icy murder. The fallout will happen in front of a class of children on a field trip and thanks to Ned’s quick thinking he may spare those kids years of therapy.

It is here when the book really takes off. We find out that there is a young teacher who went to the bathroom at the wrong time. She becomes a prime subject and while Ned is talking to the police she hears how he was at one time a JAG officer. This woman will seek out his help and he will get involved in the case. He may not be a practicing lawyer but this down on his luck ex-soldier is about to get back into the action. The best thing about the job is he gets himself a sweet car to make get rid of the need for public transportation and for this Mustang fan it’s the perfect choice.

A Cold Goodbye will take the reader into Ned’s life. We get to see how the “accident” may have transformed him physically but mentally his mind is still there. He is even able to give information to the police, and district attorney, items they have not gotten to themselves due to his keen observation skills.

Author Sam Abbott does a great job of putting imagery into the mind so the reader can picture some of the things happening in the book. The use of the imagination in this form helps connect the reader with the story. The characters are very believable and you will find yourself routing for the young teacher, and Ned. This is book one in a series and we will see how he will find himself getting ready for a new career as a private investigator.

This is a great entry into the Mystery and Thriller genre and should have readers wanting more from Ned. The book will end faster than you think but as a reader you will not feel let down. A Cold Goodbye is a great read, and I will share that there is one more mystery. Sam Abbott is pseudonym for the actual author, whose name will remain a mystery at least from my point of view.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Chase and Charlie by Jessica A Scott

Chase & CharlieOne never knows how siblings will act together as they grow up and mature. They can either become best of friends, or complete strangers. The fact is that although they may be related there is no real reason to for them to like each other. One of the big differences is when the siblings are of the opposite sex. It seems that brothers and sisters have a closer bond with each other and if the boy is older he feels he needs to watch out for his little sister.

This brings me to the book, Chase and Charlie, by author Jessica A. Scott. I will admit when I first saw the title I thought of many businesses and even TV shows that had similar names to the book. I think maybe I was sensing something when that analogy came to mind as the book makes use of old TV shows. I of course did not know that at the beginning but that’s what makes reading and discovery what’s in the pages so enjoyable.

Chase and Charlie will introduce the reader to brother and sister pair that seems more like an old comedic act. I write this as Chase is a gentle giant as we learn the boy is 6’6 and weighs 310 pounds. Charlie, on the other hand, is petite and seems to be an average height for a woman coming in at 5’5. I have to say when I read those descriptions I thought of Laurel and Hardy, or Abbott and Costello. I realize some reading this may not know those classic comedic teams but I digress as this is about the book.

Chase and Charlie opens innocently with an introduction to the characters and their unique love of movies. At the same time within that first page the reader will learn that Chase is accused of murder and Charlie will try to clear his name.  The supposed murder takes place after the two go to Chuck E Cheese and win enough tickets for a life-size Chuck E Cheese Doll. The two do get many looks from younger patrons, and their parents, for the win but this is a special night. The plan is to catch the latest Star Trek movie, and one last night out before Chase graduates college. However, they will never see the movie as a blackout happens within the theater and when the lights come back up someone is dead up front and Chase is standing there.

The book will take off from this point and some readers will find the book hard to put down. The reader will get to experience all the things Charlie will do to free her brother. She will go as far as attempting to break into a mental hospital which will leader her to meeting Hogarth, who offers to help her. Hogarth is a janitor of sorts at the hospital who suspect things are not right there and the two will find out how right he is. As they work on showing Chase’s innocence they will uncover so many secrets about the hospital while they race to hide from those who eventually want Charlie stopped from her snooping.

Chase and Charlie uses a wide range of analogies within the book, and references to pop culture. One of my personal favorites is a nod to the old show Hogan’s Heroes which I watched as a kid. The book uses many others which are well timed and show Charlie’s sarcastic character. There are moments of high suspense and danger running throughout the pages. The book is written through the eyes of Charlie which leads to unique perspective on the events as they happen. This will also make sure we know what she’s thinking and what she plans to do to clear her brother. There will be those who find the book to be hard to put down as they begin to read it due to how it’s written. In any case those who enjoy some pop culture mixed in with a suspenseful mystery will enjoy the book. I will advise do not ask questions about where are the parents as that may cause you to over think the situation. Their absence is explained within the pages as well. Readers should just sit back and enjoy the ride you will be taken on within the pages. The book is published by Black Rose Writing.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Cabin Fever by James M. Jackson

Cabin FeverMichigan’s Upper Peninsula is known to many locals as God’s Country. It has this title due to the beauty that can be found across the UP. The forests, streams, waterfalls, lakes and endless beauty are something that can be difficult to be found and rivaled. There are year round activities for people from hiking, boating, camping and of course snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. I type those words as one who called the UP home for a good part of my life and was happy to call myself a Yooper during part of my life.

The book, Cabin Fever, by author James M. Jackson will take the reader to this beautiful landscape. The book will remind readers that amongst the beauty there can be dangers. Snow measured not so much in inches, but in feet. Temperatures can drop dramatically and get below zero during the winter months. Snowmelts can turn dirt roads more into mud pits as the snow melts away creating a near bog. These are things brought beautifully to the readers mind within the book.

Cabin Fever is book two in the Seamus McCree Mysteries and as I did not read the first book I went in not knowing much about Seamus. The reader is introduced to a man that loves the solitude his cabin in the woods brings him. He is able to sit back enjoy his large number of books, snow shoeing or just enjoying the beauty of the desolate lake. Winter has him snowed in but that is no matter to Seamus, as he is up to the challenge. It’s only when after a trip through a heavy snowfall that he will find a surprise that will change his solitude and not for the better. The surprise is an unconscious woman who is naked and in obvious need of help.

Seamus must make some hard choices if he is going to help this young woman live. He has no way to get to a nearby town, no phone or any real form of communication. His next supply drop is not due for several days so he must try all he can to get her help. He’ll try spelling SOS in the snow, blowing a horn three times and all he can. As you read what the man will do you will get an idea of his character and what he will do for what he thinks is right.

As the book progresses you find out what happened to the young woman and the mystery around her. The one thing that I want many to take away is also the sense of togetherness you get from those who call the UP home. Seamus will find himself being helped by many of the locals as the book unwinds. There help may cost some of their lives, but the important thing is that these communities who will help their own. It’s one of the things I really loved about growing up in the UP, the people and how they come together for those in trouble.

The book will take the reader into a darker side of Michigan, and that are the militias. These are groups that feel part of the Federal Government are misleading the country and needs to change. They are prepared for war if they must and some will put the lives of others secondary to get what they want, or need. In the case of Cabin Fever, their need is money to move closer and closer to the civil war they want. The leader is only known as The Boss and this person is someone no one will see coming, and is blood thirsty.

Author James M. Jackson uses the beauty of the Upper Michigan winter to set a great backdrop to Cabin Fever. The book will take you into characters that are well developed and will become likeable as you read the book. There will be a wide range of characters from a diner waitress to a local older man who goes out of his way to help Seamus. The fact is that the book delivers not just from the plot from the characters that you read. I still like to think of the UP as the silent character that is featured in the book. This is a great mystery with characters that you will want to see again and a plot that involves Michigan and nearby Wisconsin. The fact there is intrique, death and murder within the beauty of this setting adds so much more to the book. All are at risk with what may be coming and it is possible if The Boss wins, the militias could come into a lot of funding for their war. The book is published by Barking Rain Press.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Reviews

 

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