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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

John Corey former NYPD detective and now a member of the Anti-Terrorist Task Force faces the return of his evil nemesis, Asad Khalil, The Lion. Khalil is a terrorist assassin who has sworn to kill Corey and his wife. The ensuing confrontation is gargantuan.

John Corey details the friction and differences between the button down FBI and the gritty NYPD. This book is set in a post 9/11 situation where terrorism is faced daily. The fast paced adventure mystery is violent and engaging. I did not expect to laugh out loud but the John Corey character spouts some lines that elicited a full blown guffaw.

I’m a bit concerned that I identified so strongly with Corey’s reaction to being threatened. His actions and feelings seemed quite realistic and acceptable considering the circumstances. This book was an exciting and quite sobering read.

I highly recommend it.

Body of work of Nelson DeMille


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lost City by Clive Cussler & Paul Kemprecos

Lost City leads one to believe ancient civilizations are involved which do play a large part in Cussler’s work. In this case an ancient family and it’s lust for power and immortality are the dominant forces in the book. The tales from the NUMA files stories seem to have adopted the traditional Cussler formula. A strong main character, Kurt Austin and a trusty, multi-talented sidekick, Joe Zavala. There is always a evil personified villain and a damsel, in this case one that is not too bright, in distress. The interaction between the characters and their interaction in fantastic circumstances seems to be the premise for all of the stories. Invoking either participation or just noting the reoccurring characters of past books also seem required. Although I was disappointed that Cussler had no cameo in this book. In spite of the predictability, I enjoyed the story. The Numa File stories are somewhat like light beer, not as good as the real thing but some of them (Amstel light) can be quite tasty. This is really beach blanket reading, tastes ok and certainly not filling.

Body of work of Clive Cussler

Review of the book:

His site:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Best eBook Reader for the Price The Book by Augen

5/15/11 UPDATE  Zero Tech Support must disqualify my recommendation  on  this unit.

Augen's The Book is an excellent value for the money.   $89.99.
Read my review at Money Saving Tech Tips.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Capitol Game by Brian Haig

One can only hope this is a fictionalized account of corporate corruption’s impact on the legislative process.

I found the book chilling as it seems entirely too realistic after reading any newspaper, electronic or otherwise. The plot could be gleaned out of any issue of the New York Times or Washington Post.

Jack Wiley was just shy of being super heroic. His brilliant plan and it’s execution leave you hanging at each chapters end, lusting for more. It is a difficult book to put down. The only thing I disliked is that it seems entirely too likely to be true.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Brian Haig

Web Site:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

A emotionally drained, despair ridden NY Homicide detective teams up with a small time newspaper reporter to combat a pair of insidious serial killers.

I don’t care one whit about the criticism leveled at Patterson and his formula written books. I enjoyed this book. It was an astoundingly quick read and held my attention. The characters were understandable and the protagonists were likeable. Jacob’s tenacity was to be expected from a grieving father. Dessie was a delightful combination of newly formed goody two shoes and a genetically predisposed small time hoodlum.

The story was beyond fast paced. It was impossible to put down. The killers were despicable and their fate was kept unpredictable.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of James Patterson
Body of work of Liza Marklund

Web Site:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hailey’s War by Jodi Compton

Hailey is a bike courier with a secret. She left West Point under unknown circumstances but what she learned there, keeps her alive through some harrowing circumstances. She truly believes in honor, respect and loyalty.

Hailey is an enigma in this story to both her friends and her enemies. She has a secret that she refuses to share. The author did a great job in maintaining mystery regarding that secret until the final conclusion.

There is artful misdirection in much of the book. Ms. Compton does a great job keeping you guessing. I admired Hailey’s tenacity and her willingness to face daunting odds.

The book holds your attention and educates you in regards to intercity gang behavior.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Jodi Compton

Web Site:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Buy Back by Brian M. Wiprud

An entertaining look at a criminal subculture in Brooklyn, NY features 6’6’’, 270 pound Tom Davin as a pseudo insurance investigator. Davin’s search for answers in a caper gone awry provides action, adventure and suitable twists and turns for the most jaded mystery reader.

Davin is a highly likeable character who has a unique outlook on what he considers criminal. He has a very ethical personality based on his skewed outlook on life in general and Brooklyn life in particular.

Davin’s vulnerability is captured and is juxtaposed with his size, temperament and career moves. The mystery and action are very well done and provide plenty of raw material for thoughtful speculation.

I really enjoyed the book and the quirky characters.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Brian M. Wiprud

Web Site

Monday, July 12, 2010

You’ll Be Sor-ree! By Sid Phillips

Sid Phillips tried to enlist in the Navy the day after Pearl Harbor. He ended up shortly thereafter in the Marines. These are his recollection of his days in the Pacific in World War II.

I’m not much for non-fiction. I find that daily events often provide more grim reality than I really care to experience. My Dad was only slightly older than Sid Phillips. Even though Sid was in the Pacific theater and the Marines and my Dad was in Europe and the Army, I heard parallels in his tales.

Phillips points out several times that our bulwark against aggression was a group of very young and very inexperienced kids. Those kids had horrific experiences that turned them quickly into men. I was struck by the fact that there wasn’t one single instance of “poor me” in his homey rendition. He made no excuses for is behavior or complaints about treatment. Quite frequently he made mention of events or instances where you could not expect sympathy or compassion from your compatriots. You were expected at all times to “man” up.

Regardless of your feelings about the military, you have to admire the courage and the resiliency of the “greatest” generation. In 1939 my Dad was in a mule brigade and by the end of the war there jets in the air. The astounding changes these young guys went through are hard to imagine.

Sid Phillips, I salute you and your generation for an amazing job!

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Sid Philllips

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Wolves Of Fairmount Park by Dennis Tafoya

This book chronicles the events that surround a drive by shooting that traumatizes two families and where collateral damages purges a portion of the Philadelphia drug scene.

Dennis Tafoya writes a complicated mystery. You may figure out the who but the why may escape you. He maintains your interest by providing in depth characterizations. Be prepared for some un-likeable characters. Cop cultural clashes with junkie culture and family values. Chris Black, muscle for hire, was both one of the saddest and yet eventually redeemable personalities in the book.

The insular nature of a chunk of urban society was well illustrated by Tafoya. It may be a little hard to believe unless you have urban friends. Years and years ago we took a Philadelphia friend to a Bucks County Inn for dinner. The terrific dinner didn’t hold a candle to his reaction to being so far out in the country. The lack of street lights, street signs and stop lights was only surpassed by his amazement that there were real cows just standing around in fields.

This author did an excellent job capturing the dismaying aspects of both the drug culture and the insular urban despair. The moving frustration of cops, overwhelmed by insurmountable problems, was movingly poignant.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Dennis Tafoya

Web Site:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Warlord by Ted Bell

This is my second Ted Bell Book. This is in the adult as opposed to young adult genre. This is a thriller right off of the pages of the newspaper (or The British Royal Family is threatened by terrorists and a shell shocked, combat fatigued Alex Hawke is called in to save the day. This book is a medley of rock and roll action.

This is a fun read. Alex Hawke makes James Bond look like a girl scout. His pal Stokely is intimidating even on paper. The characterizations were colorful and entertaining. Action was pretty much non-stop. The mysterious Smith was truly evil personified. I liked the back story use, it gave the characters more depth. The use of contemporary personages made the book more believable. Conspiracy buffs will revel in it’s contents and conjectures.

Bell painted Alex’s despair very well. It was easy to wallow in his grief. Loyalty and honor are too often ignored in modern novels, Bell captured both.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Ted Bell

Web site: http://www.tedbellbooks

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram

This is a tale of two boys visiting Egypt and their mysterious adventure eminently suitable for the young and even mature reader.

This is a rousting adventure story for young readers. It had nothing inappropriate. There was violence but not overblown or dwelled upon. The characters were likeable and painted clearly. Ingram did a very insightful work on the young male psychic. She clearly captures the age appropriate disregard for safety and saneness. Her protagonists blithely fly into danger with little caution for the consequences.

It is refreshing to have an adventure story for this age group that has no vampires or wizards. The setting is aptly described. You’ll find yourself seeking out liquid refreshment as you sweat in the desert scenes.

Young Indiana Jones stand back and watch Adam and Justin steal your thunder. This is the first book in a series that is sure to please.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Fiona Ingram

Web Site: