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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

Baldacci has such enormous talent that one tends to forget how compelling his work is.  This rendition brings back Sean King and Michele Maxwell, the former Secret Service agents, who are now private detectives.  They unwittingly fall into the rabbit hole dug by a man bent on revenge.

Baldacci has a way of portraying his characters that you can almost reach out and pat them on the back.   They are believable.   They grab your attention and sate your appetite for thoughtful action.   Wack jobs exist and Baldacci paints them with meticulous detail and coats them with a veneer of reality. 

This was an excellent mystery, it started with nearly a bang and ended with a bang.   This is vintage Baldacci and I could not put it down!

I highly recommend it.

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, October 25, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

Brown's books usually chasing around some exotic place looking for something weird.  This book is no different.  This is a medical magic mystery tour of Dante's Inferno and the circus of the Divine Comedy.

Brown works hard at describing in detail whatever exotic place he is dashing through.   All his books take place at a dead run.  This book seemed far more preachy that his others.   He was making a point about over population and doing it with a heavy hand.   I couldn't decide if it was plot development or proselytization.

With the fast pace of his books it normally is hard to get bored but  in this book, I put it down several times as his wordy descriptions became tiring.   That is not to say I didn't enjoy the book.  Brown always has excellent supporting actors and this book was no exception.   Langdon was less the suave ladies man in this book.  He showed more compassion and less "Bondish" behavior.  In that manner he was more likeable than his normal arrogant professorial persona.

The book is thought provoking and timely, looking at the world and the methods technology can impact it. The villain proposes a reasonable solution to an unreasonable problems. This book has the potential to provide starting points for some interesting conversations.  There are moral, ethical and emotional questions for self searching.   Overall, the thought provoking aspect of thebook was better than the entertainment value.
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.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kick by John L. Monk

This book is far from a kick.  It makes you consider the consequences of you actions.  Dan Jenkins face reality through eyes other than his own and sees the consequences of their actions.

This is an unusual book.  It is vignettes of violence interspersed with introspection.   I’m struggling here to describe the book without giving away the basic premise.   Dan’s life is a living hell or perhaps purgatory.   He discovers there is more to his internal self image than he ever imagined.

Imagined is a good word as Mr. Monk has imagined a very interesting scenario.  There are parts of the book that are not for the faint of heart but they fit the plot so plow on through.

I recommend this 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.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bullet Proof Scavenger Hunt

 I agreed to be involved in this scavenger hunt and then promptly had computer issues.  I've found that some of my emails have gone astray.  My apologies to all involved. I am trying to get my new Win8 up and functioning and then move everything over to the new box.  In the meantime here are the other blogs participating in the BulletProof Scavenger Hunt.

Blog Participants:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nano Surveillance by Mark Donovan

This book would have been flat out science fiction just a few years ago.  Now the technology used in the book isn’t available quite yet but we will all see nano technology in our lives in the not too distant future.   Nano technology is used in surveillance by a private company dismayed at the path the nation is taking.   The plot focuses on the conflict between enlightened self-interest and government abuse.

Mr. Donovan predicates a somewhat believable plot if one takes the political  extreme left and extrapolates their futu

re as government leaders.   I would suggest that he could have fulfilled the same role by using the extreme right.   Sadly our nation seems to be embracing polarization and this novel capitalizes on that theme.

Dave Henson could be modeled after quite a few current high tech high rollers.   He is brilliant and has a conscience.   There is a certain naïveté in the plot that the government and their cronies would play as fair as they did.  The recent NSA scandals would indicate that Donvan may be postulating probable events.  

The book was intriquing but not captivating.   The government was a touch too leftist and the protagonists were a bit too good to be true.  

It is worth reading and the potential of nano technology is certainly thought provoking.  

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, October 9, 2013

Worth Dying For by Lee Child

 Reacher is dropped off in the middle of nowhere Nebraska while hitch hiking.   His odd sense of justice and morality is immediately assaulted by events around him as he checks into the Apollo Inn.  Unable to help himself, he once again inserts his considerable bulk into a mysterious situation.

Lee Child seems to tackle a lot of current event situations in his unique Jack Reacher style.   I think the insular community where the story is set may be hard to believe for folks who have never lived in a truly small town.  Equally the power of family may also be a unique experience for some folks who have not seen it. 

I guess Reacher’s Old Testament sense of justice must resonate with a lot of people because the books certainly are popular.   I find myself tensed up reading and not wanting to put the book down.   These books do not bring me to tears or cause emotional distress but they do provide a mean, visceral satisfaction when evil doers face the wrath of Reacher. 

As in all the Jack Reacher books I have read so far, there is non-stop action and lots of violence.  

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.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Wide Game By Michael West


Once again the small town of Harmony Indiana turns out to be less than harmonious.  More demented souls seem to reside in this small, corn fed town than any major metropolis.  What is up with all the corn fed fear?  A high school tradition of questionable merit melds into a game with bloody consequences.

A group of high school students are studied as characters.  They are fleshed out so the reader can develop a sense of empathy.  Then bad things start to happen.  

Michael West surely has a strange turn of mind.  I’m guessing that he, like Stephen King, has the heart of a small boy and he too, keeps it in his top desk drawer. 

After plowing through the mayhem you discover that you aren’t done yet.  Mr. West likes to flip things around just when you think you have everything figured out.   

Robby Miller of the Spook House is here, younger and not yet jaded.   I have read and reviewed  Spook House , Poseidon’s Children and Cinema of Shadows all by Michael West.   

He has carved a niche into the face of evil, leaving his readers looking over their shoulders and listening to the wind in the corn.

I’ve stated before I don’t read a lot of horror stories but I really the way Michael West renders them.

And yes, all puns were intended regardless of whether it is the lowest form of humor.     

I enjoyed the book. 

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Michael West </a>

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, October 2, 2013

The Jake Lassiter Series by Paul Levine

Reply to the sender Forward to a friend
October 1, 2013
Is this the end of Jake Lassiter?
"Blend the wit of Carl Hiaasen with the dialogue of Elmore Leonard and throw in John Grisham's courtroom savvy, and you have ‘State vs. Lassiter.’" –

Dear Readers:

STATE vs. LASSITER, the tenth of the award-winning series, is out TODAY in both paperback and as an ebook. Here’s the setup:

Jake’s law practice is booming...

He’s crazy about the new woman in his life...

His one-time delinquent nephew Kip is getting A’s in school...

What can go wrong? about a charge of first degree murder?

When money goes missing from client accounts, Jake confronts his banker, Pamela Baylins...who also happens to be his lover. She accuses Jake of skimming client funds; he accuses her of dipping into the till. She threatens to report him to the State Attorney...and within hours is killed.

All the evidence points to Jake, who’s charged with murder. Is this the end of the linebacker-turned-lawyer?

Paul Levine

Please Visit My New Website
For free excerpts of all the “Jake Lassiter” and “Solomon vs. Lord” novels as well as information on my stand-alone thrillers, please visit

Please also visit and “like” my brand-new Facebook Author Page for updated info.

"Irreverent...genuinely clever...great fun."–New York Times Book Review

“Mystery writing at its very, very best.”–Larry King, USA TODAY

"One part Grisham, two parts Hiaasen, a dash of John D. MacDonald, and voila! You’ve got Jake Lassiter.”–Tulsa World

“Jake Lassiter has a lot more charisma than Perry Mason ever did.”–Miami Herald

"Twice as good as Turow and Grisham and four times the fun."–Armchair Detective.

“Cracking good...funny, sardonic, and fast paced.”–Detroit Free Press

"Genuinely chilling...Jake Lassiter is Travis McGee with trial experience.”–Washington Post Book World

"Enough twists and turns to satisfy Robert Ludlum fans.”–Publishers Weekly
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, October 1, 2013

State V. Lassister by Paul Levine

In my review of Lassiter I described him as a pseudo-loser tough guy attorney, ex-pro-football player, loose cannon protagonist with the attitude of a rabid pit-bull.  I can’t say that I have changed my mind.  Lassiter has gone soft, has gotten a hot banker babe and is specializing in real estate.  Then the money hits the fan and everyone is sight is covered with excrement. 

Levine does a masterful job presenting Lassiter as a clueless jock who picks up on things slowly but surely.  Jake Lassiter’s sense of fair play and forgiveness is more than I could stomach.  I’m afraid if some of the things done to Jake had been done to me, I would be less forgiving.  Of course without his wily endurance and strength, I would have been dead after the first beating so it is truly a ridiculous comparison but… I’m the one writing the recommendation so I have “artistic licentious ” or in my case I like to “pun”ish my readers.   

Lassiter is likeable and a character that stands tall like Jack Reacher, Travis McGee or Spencer.   Levine’s only problem is he isn’t prolific enough.  I want more Lassiter!

Levine does show a very cynical view of the justice system.  His plot is intricate but not confusing.  He moves the story at a good pace.  In short, I like the way he writes, I like his characters and I like the morality shown by the good guys.   

I highly 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.