Required Reading

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't, whether I got it free or NOT!

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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman


Calliope Jenkins has a serious chip on her shoulder.   She takes no crap, no how, no way from nobody.   When her best friend and former lover “disappears” she is forced to ally
 herself with unlikely allies some of whom may not exist.

This is either a psycho thriller or a fantasy horror or maybe both.   Testerman does an excellent job in crafting the unlikeable character of Calliope Jenkins.   Calliope makes a porcupine seem warm a cuddly.   She does her best to keep anyone from getting close.  Is she a wounded bird or a pterodactyl?   She keeps company with a clown or is Viktor really a clown.  

What things are hidden?  Do we all have hidden things?   Testerman develops both his characters and his story as psychodramas.   There is a wealth of pondering as well as a good adventure in this book.  I really liked Mahkah for reasons that will be self evident if you have followed any of my recommendations.

I highly recommend it. 
I enjoyed the book. 

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Doyce Testerman </a>

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fog of War by Ethan Jones

This is the third book in the Justin Hall series.   Justin is a Canadian Intelligencer Service agent.   This action laden adventure details his involvement in Middle East terrorist activities with his partner Carrie O’Connor.   They find themselves in Somalia and discover that they have been both duped and targeted.  

Once again Justin is a volatile character and reacts to many situation emotionally.   Carrie, his partner, leavens his behavior with a little common sense.   Also again the plot can be pulled right off of the CNN news wire.   Arms smuggling and terrorists abound.   Justin’s contacts with the Russian mob come into play when he finds him self the target of a fatwa. Revenge again plays a major part for Justin in the intricacies of the plot.

Some startling revelations come to play with the CIA and Justin’s former boss.  Perfidy in the world of spies and intrigue, gasp!

Ethan Jones has a future in the world of thrillers.  This book was an entertaining read.

I recommend it. 

Here’s the link:  to purchase the book.  

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Echoes of Death by Marlene Mitchell and Gary Yeagle

   Grant is a young man pondering his future in law enforcement while faced with the antagonism of his red necked Chief.  Grant is thrust into a series of grisly murders that are totally out of character for his small town.  In the previous book, Grant faced a major ethical decision.  This book picks up where the last book left off. 

Grant Denlinger is back in this mystery set in the Great Smokey Mountains.

I would recommend reading these books in order.  I think they will make more sense.  Once again the community has mixed emotions about the victims of the latest murders.  None of the victims generate any empathy. 

The authors do not tar the villain with a broad brush.  They show the motivation and the provocation of the villain’s behavior.   Instead of loathing the bad guy, you tend to feel sorry for them while knowing that justice needs to prevail. 

Chief Blue is also back and together with Grant they tackle the knotty ethical problem that has plaqued Grant throughout the first book and this book as well.  

Finally there does seem to be the potential for a follow up on this story.  There is a revelation at the very end that clearly sets up a sequel.  

My review of Seasons Of Death (first book in the series.)

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER ave a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Witch of Babylon by D. J. McIntosh

Contrary to the title this is not a fantasy nor does it deal with the stereotypical witch.  Instead it deals with the overrunning of Baghdad, the fall of Saddam Hussein and the looting of Iraqi antiquities.

New York art dealer John Madison is the main protagonist.   He finds himself treading water with a life vest full of rocks.   He is over his head, overwhelmed, beaten up and beaten down.   The guy can’t catch a break and seems constantly on the verge of breakdown.  

There are nefarious characters, secret societies, religious antiquities, muscle bound private contractors and other colorful and intriguing aspects to this book.  It aspires to a Dan Brown type but doesn’t quite pull it off.   It was an interesting read but it doesn’t grab you by the throat and choke you if you try and put it down.  

A different style and a different author that will fly on it’s own merits with comparison to other novels. 

I enjoyed the book and I recommend the book.

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Texas Twist by John Vorhaus

This is the third book of the Radar Hoverlander series.   A con artist being conned by another con artist makes for some rather interesting flimflam. 

Radar and his beyond quirky sidekick Mirplo display the normal radical eccentricities one would expect from these two.   Allie seems to bring a skewed sense of morality or perhaps common sense to the table.  

Woody, the wayward father, makes a cameo appearance.   Kadyn was a nice addition and I hope we see more of her in the future. 

I did not like this book as well as The Albuquerque Turkey.   The author’s afterward offered a unique perspective to the book and frankly I really enjoyed the insight into Mr. Vorhaus’s psychic.  

As you would expect from a Radar Hoverlander plot, there were spirals within circles that were surrounded by polyhedrons.  The intricacies of the story and the malapropisms from Mirplo are some of the more enjoyable aspects of the book. 

I enjoyed the book and I recommend the book. 

Web site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, June 7, 2013



For about three novels now, I have been defining my style as “sunshine noir,” which is all well and good until someone gets around to asking me, “Okay, JV, just what the heck is ‘sunshine noir’?” Then I’m backed into a corner. Then I’d better have an answer.

Available June 1st, 2013
Sunshine noir, according to me (and who better to be according to, since I’m the coiner of the phrase?) is place where a heady subject and a light touch intersect. In my new novel, The Texas Twist, the heady subject revolves around the question, “What happens when a con man gets conned?” The light touch can be found both in my whimsical approach to storytelling and in the linguistic quirks I give to my characters. In this book, for example, we spend a lot of time in the company of one Vic Mirplo, whose perspective is so bent that he’s given to a steady stream of unconscious malaprops, such as “ameliorate: to vanish or disappear, like Amelia Earhart.”

This tension can also be seen in my characters’ names, not just the estimable Mr. Mirplo, but the novel’s hero, Radar Hoverlander. (“Radar as in O’Reilly?” he is asked. “Radar as in airborne threat detector,” he replies, “but I get that a lot.) There’s also a bad guy audaciously named Henry Wellinov, as in “leave Wellinov alone,” and an Olivier de Havilland, and much, much more. 

Why do I do it? Why do I mix the heavy and the light like I do? I wish I could tell you that it was a conscious stylistic choice, but the fact is just…I write like I write. Every time I try to darken my tone, some fit of whimsy comes peeking through, demanding a place in my prose. It’s just who I am. And I figured out long ago that my best professional strategy is, “Keep giving them you until you is what they want.”

Muse upon that last sentence for a moment if you will. It says everything you really need to know about “sunshine noir.” The style existed, for sure, before I named it, but knowing its name makes it easier for me to explain it – maybe easier to sell. For you, the reader, it bears the promise of a fast, fun read with enough tension to make you feel tense, and enough wit to make you laugh. If that mixed bag is your cup of tea, then The Texas Twist might be just the tea bag for you. 

John Vorhaus’s new novel, THE TEXAS TWIST, is available now at All his other books (and they are not few) can be found via his Amazon author page. He tweets for no apparent reason @TrueFactBarFact, and secretly controls the world from

My Thanks to John for his books and his guest post.  The Texas Twist release date was June 1st.  Keep watching here for my review.  Check out my review of John's book: The Albuquerque Turkey.    (Keeping with John's theme, this is purple prose.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

$0.99 Deadly Coast by R.E.McDermott --Jump on this it is Great!--6/6/13 & 6/7/13

$0.99  promo for Deadly Coast
I have enjoyed both of Bob's books immensely!
This is a great time to try a terrific new author. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, June 3, 2013

You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa

I’m not sure how to characterize this book.  I guess romantic mystery might work or romantic comedy mystery.  It is a light hearted murder mystery. (Light hearted and murder are hard to put in the same sentence.)

 The action takes place in Quaker Hills outside of Philadelphia.   This seems to be a vague reference to Quakertown or some other community in the Bucks County Area.   I enjoyed the references to local places.  

Having grown up with my next door neighbor being Italian, I felt that Ms. Costa accurately described the inter-family relationships and the volatility of family and friends.   The characters were colorful and many.   Eve is a troubled soul captured by self imposed family responsibilites to run the family restaurant when she really wants to dance.  

There is a lot of humor in this book as well as a mystery.

I recommend it. 

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.