Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Moon is so goofy if it wasn’t so closely related to reality you would scoff at it. Hollywood is goofy. I have a nephew who works on the 911 phone line. He, as well as those whom I know work the emergency room, confirms that a full moon seems to bring out those who aren’t wrapped as tight as the rest of us. A cop story in traditional Wambaugh style.

The characterizations are so rich, vivid, colorful and flamboyant that they often make you laugh out loud. The interplay between partners provides a thoughtful perspective on how relationships can develop in the pressure cooker of a shop.(squad car) The story often seemed to range widely but finally came down to a tied up conclusion. Some of the action may seem preposterous but it doesn’t take much research to see Wambaugh does his homework. The book paints cops as people, not as stereotype characters of sterling character but people. People with ethics, concerns and lives that are held to a higher standard of behavior than those they police. You can’t help but respect the jobs they do, in conditions that are often amazing.

I recommend it.

Body of work of Joseph Wambaugh

Review of the book


Friday, November 27, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Tommy wakes up in a nuthouse, or that’s what it seems. Shades of “Lords of the Flies” are alive and well. A no escape prison filled with teens and the mystery of how they got there is the plot of the story.

The story seems to revel in frustration and futility. Tommy vaguely recalls a previous life but can recall no details. The mystery is tantalizing and evasive. That was well done. The tension provides the appropriate mind set for a surprisingly captivating novel. I kept trying to dislike the story and couldn’t put it down. It is book one of a trilogy that I will be forced to buy so I can find out what the heck is going on.

I recommend the book, it is not a warm and fuzzy read but it keeps your attention and makes you want to read the sequel.

Body of work of James Dashner

Web Site:


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Cutting by James Hayman

A celebrated NYC homicide detective moves to Portland, Maine to leave his past behind. A series of horrific homicides forces him to accept that there is bad everywhere. Mike McCabe works through his personal demons and works with his partner to solve a daunting mystery.

Hayman portrays a likeable and realistic character. Mike McCabe isn’t the superhuman detective with no foibles so frequently illustrated in contemporary mysteries. McCabe demonstrates powerful love and emotions which elicit not sympathy but empathy. His concern for his daughter was poignant and rang true. The details of the crimes and the devious nature of the villain was welcome. I suspected the true villain but there was enough mis-direction to keep you guessing until the end. As usual, I enjoyed the character interaction more than the blood and guts of the crimes.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of James Hayman


Web Site:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw

The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw

Move over Da Vinci Code, another new Vatican centric novel. Mix together a hidden secret, a rogue Cardinal, a world renowned linguist, a TV producer and a Russian cop and you get a mélange of excitement. A simple translation assignment thrusts a college professor into a maelstrom of intrigue.

Brokaw paints vivid characters with strong characteristics. His main protagonist, Thomas Lourds, is a world famous linguist of immense sex appeal who unlike Indiana Jones attempts to avoid any physical confrontation outside of the bedroom. Lourds avoids being a caricature by being rescued from harm by his female companions. Initially Leslie, the TV producer, appears to be violence accomplished and a prime protector of the good Dr. However Natashya, the Russian cop, arrives on the scene and brings new meaning to the words lethal weapon. The evil villains show no redeeming characteristics. In spite of the broad brush, I thoroughly enjoyed this rollicking novel. Don’t anticipate a great deal of cerebral activity just lean back and relish the action.

I recommend the book.
(If this review looks familiar I posted it once before on October 25th and neglected to Title it so it wasn't showing up in searches. Arrgghh! I hate screwing up!  So here it is again, done right this time.)

Body of work of Charles Brokaw


Web Site: none found

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

A forlorn and alienated teen discovers real magic and is enrolled in a school which has little or no resemblance to the currently most famous magic school, Hogsworth. Brakebills is a school for the very gifted, bright and magically talented. Quentin Coldwater discovers he is no longer the brightest person he knows and comes to terms with who he really is. There is a requisite magic quest, a coming of age and a final acceptance of identity.

Sometimes hype can ruin a book. My anticipation of this book was dramatically higher than the reality of the book. It was a good story but I wanted and expected a terrific, can’t put the book down story. Perhaps that is what the less sated fantasy lovers found but for those of us who have been reading fantasy for over 55 years, the book was just ok. The characterizations were fine, there was color and magic and violence. If you have read any of my reviews, you know I am a serious fan of anthropomorphism. This book had talking, thinking animals. I should have loved it. I just liked it. BTW in a recent story reading session with my grandson’s 5th grade class, I was delighted to discover that when I asked for a definition of anthropomorphism, they knew what it is and were able to define it. I suspect that Miss Allen, the teacher’s obvious love of reading may have contributed to that delightful revelation. You should probably read this book just to discover what all the hoopla is about. It is worth reading but not reading twice.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Lev Grossman


Web Site:

Friday, November 20, 2009

We Are Never Alone, A Guest Post byRolf Hitzer, author of "Hoodoo Sea"

For a writer it all begins with an inspirational thought. We nurture our idea with our pen or keyboard, most of the time in complete isolation. It is a choice we make…to be alone with our scrawl. Physically, mentally we cushion ourselves from the rest of the world.
I’d like to think this is true, and to some degree it is fact, but we need the help of so many others as is the way with most things in life. To do my work I rely on the unquestionable support of my spouse and our family. I cannot concentrate or think free if I harbor guilt because I’m immersed in my work.
My Editor, he embraced my manuscript, and for good reason. Apparently he enjoys a challenge and my scribble did not let him down. My Literary Agent, I depended on her wealth of experience and her network of publishers and negotiation skills to represent my best interests for my first novel. My Publisher, they were willing to take the risk with an unknown author packaging the book to put the story’s best foot forward with blind faith that people will by the book.
Finally, my Public Relations expert taking Hoodoo Sea on a virtual book tour with a precise strategy. I am far from being alone, aren’t I?
Irma Hitzer, Norm Asher, Johanna Bates, Anne Bougie, Ardis and Joe Clark, and Tracee Skrepenski Gleichner, without all of you my first novel would have never seen the light of day. Thank you, I am forever grateful to you all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dark Stranger by Susan Sizemore

A VIP get captured when an enemy fleet surprises and overwhelms her escorting space ships. The Hajim don’t discover the VIPs identity and she is imprisoned on a common prison planet. Her striving for survival while she keeps her status secret is the thrust of the story.

As a fan of fantasy and scifi I expected to really enjoy this book. I didn’t. I think the premise was solid and could have been really exciting. The first thing that skewed my perception was the “smoldering” cover. That should have clued me into the idea that sex might be more dominating than plot. Zoe and Raven seemed more like caricatures than characters. The book seemed more appropriate for Harlequin romances than fantasy. I have a strong suspicion it will sell very well as romance novels seem to do. For me it’s genre was misplaced and thusly disappointing. I think if I had anticipated a romantic novel I may have been less dismayed. I am an avid fantasy and scifi fan and this just doesn’t fit into my preconceived notions of what those genres exemplify. With that said, I do think that the book will be popular, just not with die hard scifi/fantasy buffs.

Body of work of Susan Sizemore


Web Site:

Interview with Rolf Hitzer Author of Hoodoo Sea

My thanks to Rolf Hitzer for responding to my request for an interview.   

1.Reality to writing seems like a pretty big leap, what drove you to write this book?

When I had turned forty, I took stock on where I was at in life and where I was moving forward with it? Writing a novel became one of the lines on my Bucket List.

2.  Does your story line develop organically or is it gestalt before you begin?
I think it was a combination of both. The deeper I went into the novel, the more the story would change. Hoodoo Sea began to take a life of it’s own.

3. Is your process to outline and then fill the blanks or just sit down and start to tell a story?

Yes, I had made an outline. It allowed me to stay on track with the story. However, when my pen started to change the story, I had to keep revising my outline. I really found this strange when it began to happen.

4.  Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?
My main character, Scott Reed, is my clear favorite. His thoughts, his actions represent what I think and believe in real life.

5. What do you like the most about writing?

Writing is one of my outlets; it allows me to take my mind on a mental journey away from reality. 

6. Where do your new story ideas come from?

With, Hoodoo Sea, the idea came from a documentary on the Discovery Channel. During the commercials I began to jot down notes and the idea for the book was born. The idea for the current novel I’m working on came from an article in the newspaper. At the time I wasn’t looking for an idea, the story began to formulate as I kept reading the article.

7. What advice has helped the most in your writing?

In the early stages of the book I happened to watch the movie Finding Forrester. In the movie, Sean Connery, mentors a young man on writing. It was a tremendous help for me on a personal level as the timing was perfect with his message.

8. What are you planning on your next book?

My main character is a Forrest Ranger and the setting is in the Boreal Forest. I can’t say much more than that, this is where I get paranoid when I write. It’s as if I would jinx the novel if I say too much while it’s a work in progress.

9. Who is your favorite author and why?

Louis Lamour, I can’t read enough of his books. I have read several of his novels on multiple occasions. Most of his books are about the loner who drifts aimlessly along the western frontier. Arriving at the right place, but at the wrong time and against all odds, the drifter helps the innocent people being preyed upon by the outlaws. I get hooked every time.

10. What advice would you give for the want to be a writer?

Just sit down with a pen or keyboard and write! 

Thank you Rolf for your time and your trouble.   One common thread I have seen in my author interviews is that most authors advise to just sit down and start to write.  So for all of us want-to-be authors listen up!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hoodoo Sea by Rolf Hitzer,

A new experimental aircraft runs awry of the Bermuda Triangle. The tribulations of the crew occupy the plot of the story.

The nickname for the Bermuda Triangle is the Hoodoo Sea. I wasn’t aware of that. The crew of the SOLT-X1 was a mixed bag of personalities. James’s personality and mental stability seem uncharacteristic for an elite NASA crew. The interpersonal relationships of the crew occupied a great deal of the plot. The action sequences were well done. The premise worked well too. I felt the ending was abrupt and there were some loose ends left open. I really liked the cover.

Overall, I recommend the book, it was an entertaining story but I did feel it left a little too much unsaid.

Body of work of Rolf Hitzer

Web Site
Review: None found

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Premature Birth Needs Attention

Every year, 20 million babies are born too soon, too small and very sick ― half a million of them in the United States. November 17 is when we fight.

Do you know a baby that was born too soon, too small, unable to suck, unable to breathe on his own? Premature birth is a health crisis that jeopardizes the lives and health of nearly half-million babies each year. It is the #1 killer of newborns and can lead to lifelong disabilities. Worse: the number has increased 31 percent since 1981. It can happen without warning and for no known reason. Until we have more answers, anyone’s baby, could be born too soon.

Medical advances give even the tiniest babies a chance of survival, yet for many babies premature birth is still a life or death condition. It’s the #1 cause of death during the first month of life. And babies who survive face serious health challenges and risk lifelong disabilities.

The rate of premature birth has never been higher. In half the cases, we simply don’t understand what went wrong. We need to fight for answers. And, ultimately, preventions.

November 17 is dedicated to raising awareness of the crisis of premature birth.

Our children are our future, Donate to the March of Dimes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Suicide Bombing is a Selfish Act

Many thanks to Avi Perrry, Author of "72 Virgins" for taking the time to do a guest post for us today.

In contrast to a common belief, one promoted by Islamic politicians and echoed by the western media, those who choose to end their lives as suicide bombers do not commit that atrocious act out of desperation. They carry out a mass killing of innocents with the aim of securing their place in heaven next to Allah’s throne. These people are brain-washed puppets, manipulated by cynical handlers and a promise of 72 virgins in Paradise as a reward for their act of martyrdom.

Many suicide bombers are well educated. Muhammad Atta, the 9/11 leader and mastermind, was a trained engineer. Most of his fellow killers had college education as well. They were not desperate people; they were merely brainwashed by extreme religious beliefs instilled in their brains via particular Koran verses.

The Koran is to religious Muslims what Hitler’s Mein Kampf was to Nazi Germans. Followers, fans and cult members view it as a holy book. They place their blind faith in every word and every concept put across these texts. Muhammd Atta was an educated man, but nevertheless, he was a cult member—member of al Qaeda. He was selfish. He did not sacrifice himself. He paved his way to his 72 virgins in Paradise through the blood and the suffering of thousands. And so are those Muslims who choose to kill their own Muslim brothers in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Muslim countries. They don’t even bother to seek an enemy. Their murderous campaign is aimed at accidental strangers who have nothing to do with the suicide bomber’s “dispossessed” state. These murdered innocents are viewed by the murderer as instruments intended to pave his way to Paradise. That’s what he has been told; that’s what he believes.

Avi Perry, author of 72 Virgins—Countdown to a Terror Attack on US Soil.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Interview With Avi Perry Author of 72 Virgins

Avi Perry was kind enough to consent to be interview for this blog. Thank you very much for your time and trouble.

1.)Why did you write this book? What initiated this particular burst of creativity? 

There is a global misunderstanding when it comes to explaining the reasons behind suicide bombing. The media and many people in the Western democracies believe that suicide bombers are desperate people committing desperate acts. There is nothing more distorted than this characterization. Muslims who choose martyrdom as the final heroic act of their lives are selfish people. They commit this crime believing that they will be rewarded with 72 Virgins in heaven, sitting next to Allah’s throne, enjoying all heavenly benefits promised to them by their mentor manipulators who coldly view them as instruments for achieving a political objective. 

I felt an urge to correct that misperception, while doing it in a unique way. The only question was—how? There are many non-fiction books written about the violent nature of Islam. But, for me, Robert Spenser’s books: the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, and The Truth About Islam, have been the ones that triggered the spark for the idea of writing a novel, an action/thriller, which would attract and educate a different segment of the population, a segment whose main focus is entertainment rather than education, whose learning and enlightenment would be achieved indirectly.
As a university professor, at Northwestern University, and as a Vice President in NMS Communications, I always looked for ways to coach and educate my students, my direct reports, my customers and colleagues. I discovered that winning an argument, gaining attention, and convincing, may, sometimes, be difficult, since my views may be considered tainted by my background and upbringing. However, when these opinions and counter arguments are delivered via fictional characters, they wear a different color uniform. Arguments can be more extreme, more outrageous, less politically correct, and if I can add a bit of sarcasm and humor they may stick.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?

My story line developed organically. There are several subplots, loosely connected at the start, but gradually, move forward along an increasingly thrilling crescendo where they all converge in a violent ending.

3.) Is your process to outline and then fill in the blanks or just sit down and start to tell a story?

I wanted to describe the state of mind, the background, and the volcano that breeds the kind of psychopathic undercurrent that surrounds and sweeps the typical suicide bomber. I wrote the first two chapters as a single piece, but with no idea and no clear plan as to where I would fit it. It was neither a blog nor an article—it was a short fictional story. At that point I did not envision it as the opening scene for a complete, comprehensive action/thriller novel. It was merely a piece that I felt like writing with no particular aim in mind. My wife read it. She thought it was a powerful piece. She kept talking about it; she would not stop, not even in bed. She related it to everything she had seen on the news and, of course, on the Lifetime channel. 

And then, she began to treat my short story as if it had actually taken place, as if it had been news. It reminded me of Joseph Geobbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, whose famous observation had been adopted by Islamic extremists. He concluded that when you tell a lie a thousand times you start believing that it actually happened. Geobbels’s conclusion was not limited to lies. It could apparently be expanded to include certain type of fiction—the type that people can relate to—a story that could potentially come to pass. 

That sudden enlightenment was the spark that ignited and gave birth to the enterprise. I was going to take that piece and develop it into a whole book. But now, I needed more—much more. I spent the following week on an outline—not too detailed, but deeper than a PowerPoint chart. I began writing during the following week.

Now, the initial piece was no longer suitable. It was no longer a stand-alone; it was a first chapter or two within a larger universe. It had to be rewritten. Over time, as more pages started accumulating, I realized that my outline had become obsolete. It required a tune-up—or better! It required an overhaul, a new engine. The storyline deviated too far, away from my original thoughts. Characters and events began living their own life, and as I started to live inside their souls, I began breathing the same air, living inside their flesh. They were now real people, making up their own minds, controlling their own destiny. My outline had lost its sway.

Still, the fact that it was still there watching the story from the sidelines, served well when the story became stuck. Yes. I did hit the wall, felt like drowning a couple of times, prayed for the lifeguard to come for the rescue. And when he didn’t show up, I glanced at the outline again. It did help to set off a breakthrough even when I did not follow it to the word.

4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?

I had several favorite characters, but the reader will be looking after one special hero. The book tells a story about a group of Jihad extremists who target the United States in their latest terrorist campaign. These are the bad guys. The good guys are the ones who try to stop them. A persistent conflict between good and evil makes for a thrilling experience, and readers will naturally root for my good guy—my hero. 

5.) What do you like the most about writing?

This is a good question. I like experimenting with ways of conveying an idea, a story, a concept. But when it comes to fiction writing, I enjoy the design of my private universe—my own exclusive theatre where I can play God. I create characters, then I make them do and say things. I make them cry, I control their thoughts, sometimes I kill them. It’s a power trip. I’m sure that the real God gets his kicks from doing the same. What else does he do in his spare time?

6.) Where do your new story ideas come from? 

My story ideas come from real life, the times we live in and my personal experiences. The story in 72 Virgins could potentially take place. In fact, the book draws on current world events, politics, cultural divisions, international intrigue and religious fanaticism. The story offers an ample dose of realism, a cast of intense characters who engage in love, lust, and violence. It portrays the Jihad culture with its rationale and the volcano that breeds an irrational obsession with death. Moreover, it builds on the Jihadists’ motivation for targeting so many innocents and exploiting the victims’ massacre as a stepping-stone to their dream of eternal paradise next to Allah’s throne.

The story and its associated subplots are fiction, but the setting is real, the places where conspiracy is instigated are fictional, even though they're based on genuine events; the characters are deep and distinctive, while at the same time, they embody their unmistakable cultural heritage.

7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?

Don’t rush it. Go over your manuscript, rewrite it, polish it, and see to it more than once. You may not realize how blind you could be when it comes to catching your own errors. At the end of one of these cycles, you may want to let someone else read your manuscript and unearth some of these errors that have sneaked through your blind spots. If you are human, and you have written more than 80,000 words, chances are that your manuscript is overflowing with plenty of buried mines. You don’t want your first impression, your first reviewer, your potential agent, or your reader to step on any of these.

8.) Which did you enjoy writing more, this book or "Fundamentals of Voice-Quality"? 

Fiction writing is a lot more fun than the writing of a scientific or an engineering book like Fundamentals of Voice Quality. When it comes to fiction, there are no boundaries; it’s the perfect playground for your creative juices and imagination. You can play God, and you don’t have to worry about a comprehensive bibliography that supports your teaching. Still, those who have never attempted their hand at fiction writing might not realize that a good quality novel requires a great deal of research, sustaining many of the fine points that shape the characters, the atmosphere, the scenes, the scenery, and the plot as a whole—keeping it real. I view that part as a side benefit, since I like learning about things that I could apply later on in a manuscript I’m working on.

In my case, much of the information imparted through 72 Virgins required profound knowledge, some aspects of which were not within my grasp before moving the plot to the fore. In particular, story elements pertaining to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, types and attributes of chemical weapons, particular locations, places, and modes of worship, as well as aspects of science and technology that inspire modern spying techniques—were building blocks I brought into play, with the help of added insight from qualified mavens.

I was lucky to have generous people, connoisseurs in their particular field, who were enthusiastic about parting with their expert advice and more than willing to share some of their knowledge and information with me.

9.) Who is your favorite author and why?

My favorite author is Joseph Finder. I love his writing style; his sense of humor is superb; his plotting is thrilling, and he does a great deal of research in preparation for his writing. He writes fiction, but his stories are enlightening and believable; they could happen in the real world. And I like that part.

10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?

If you are not (yet) a best-selling author, an established expert, or a known celebrity, you are going to be ignored or face rejections when looking for a literary agent or a publisher. If you had written or about to write a non-fiction book, you will not get attention unless you have already established yourself as an authority in that particular subject or field. If you had written a novel, you should let a Simon-Cowell-type person read it before you set your eyes on getting it published. If your manuscript is of high quality, and Simon approves, then you may try Self Publishing, but only if you have the budget to carry the endeavor all the way through. That journey does not end with the printing of the book; it includes professional editing, cover design, typesetting, and above all—marketing. Without a reasonable marketing budget, your book will get lost in the decimal dust. No one will know about it, except your close family and friends. It may be the greatest masterpiece of the century, but it will remain anonymous, lonely and cold. However, if you don’t care about sales, then forget about the marketing, take it out of your budget and don’t bother. Still, you wouldn’t want your friends and family to say things, and smirk behind your back, so you must ensure quality even if you merely get it published as a medal for your undersized ego.

I found Mr. Perry's answers were well thought out and his responses in depth.  He didn't just blow through the questions to get them done.   His book may make you uncomfortable reading it but he presents a plausible plot and truly makes you think about the world in which we live.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis

A young woman is given extraordinary powers by her friend, a witch. In exchange for these powers she must serve the witch for eternity. Her struggle with her identity and her ethics while immersed in a violence prone culture defines the story. A war among immortals plays second chair to Max’s search for self.

Frankly when I requested this book for review I did it with skepticism. I wasn’t sure it was my cup of java. Once again I am glad I pushed aside my cynical bent and tried someone new. I am now a fan. I truly enjoyed the emotional interplay between the characters. Francis imbues realism into her fantasy world. Max’s self destructive urges are sublimated by her loyalty to those dependent on her strength. Honor and loyalty are sure fire captivators of my literary interest and Francis illustrates them quite graphically. I will do my best to follow up on this review by reviewing the next in the series. There is plenty of action and good solid character development. I heartily enjoyed the book.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Diana Pharaoh Francis


Web Site:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

72 Virgins by Avi Perry

This is a novel that reads like current events or history.   The story of an Israel who infiltrates a terrorist cell is fraught with peril.   The story paints a dim picture of the ethics of the Intelligence community.

I found the story frightening.  The games played by the Intelligence community were dismaying at best.  The sad part is that it is easy to see why draconian methods are applied to terroristic situations.  The brutality of the terrorists is played in counterpoint to their total disregard for human life, both their own and their victims.  Our culture generally finds it impossible to understand a culture that lionizes suicide, particularly suicide that is so destructive to others.  For some reason I found the story stilted and I couldn't identify why I felt that way.   It didn't read easily but that may have been the topic.

The book was informative and painted a very vivid picture of fundamental fanatics.

Body of work of Avi Perry

Review                Website

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In the Heart of Darkness by David Drake & Eric Flint

Belisarius, a Roman general, goes to India to spy on the Malwa. His “magic” crystal informs him that the Malwa have their own “link” to the future. His adventures as a spy, turncoat and redeemer comprise the main plot line. The subplot of his wife, Irene the spymaster and Theodora the empress provide the corollary subplots.

Flint and Drake do a great job with heroes. They paint larger than life characters with noble characteristics. They also have no problem portraying strong, butt kicking female protagonists. I enjoy the empowerment of the female characters. The portrayal of ruthlessness as both positive and negative, depending on who is using it, causes one to ponder ethics in general.

I enjoyed the book, I recommend it. It is a good series and I intend to finish it.

Body of work of David Drake
Body of work of Eric Flint

Web Site:

Review: none found

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Final Price by J. Gregory Smith

A quarter finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, this book deserves to be looked at carefully. Most of us have purchased a car at one point or another. I doubt many of us have considered the car salesman’s point of view, let alone a psychopathic car salesman. Shamus the car salesman does not take rejection well. His reaction to rejection is investigated by the largest Chinese American State Trooper in Delaware and his emotionally vulnerable sidekick.

Smith paints a vivid portrait of a tortured soul inflicting his inner demons on those who he feels has wronged him. Those of us who have sold for a living recognize some of the frustrations in dealing with a fickle, often unreasonable and frequently unpredictable customer. Doing your best to please someone and feeling maligned and misunderstood is painful. Luckily most of us are able to shrug off the bad, revel in the good and move on with our life. Shamus Ryan’s soul was shriveled long before he started selling cars. Price does a nice job inferring his past without detailing it, this provides a lot of room for the imagination to flourish.

Paul Chang struggles with his own demons and endeavors to stay on the sane side of the emotional precipice that Shamus cheerfully drives over. Paul’s loyalty to his former partner his endearing and his pain is clear. I think Price painted his characters well. The book is a good mystery and provides a modicum of motivation to consider the feelings and stresses of those who sell for a living.

I recommend the book, for a first effort this is outstanding!

Body of work of J. Gregory Smith

Review none found

Web Site: none found

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi

A grisly murder brings FBI agent Leia Bines to a small town in Connecticut. Agent Bines specializes in child cases. She meets Dr. Peter Gram, a local child psychiatrist who has a very special patient. Together the two face tragedy, terror and unexplained happenings in an engrossing mystery.

Grandhi has created a nail biting psychological thriller. His characterization of the slaaf is simply chilling. Dr. Gram’s skepticism is well played and justified, considering what he is dealing with and what he finds out about himself. Agent Bines soul searching would be inevitable considering that in her work a mistake may mean the life of a child. The story was laid out well and the outcome was certainly not predictable. It was a good read, not necessarily a comfortable read based on the subject matter, but an engrossing, compelling story none the less.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Preetham Grandhi


Web Site