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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Come Monday by Chip Bell

Jake Sullivan is an attorney who appears to revel in hot water.   This is the first of the Jake Sullivan Trilogy.  It is a mystery taking place in Key West, Florida.

Jake has the aspects of many of the often abused, frequently embroiled in difficulty protagonists that star in the hard boiled detective stories.   A down on his luck attorney, he finds his luck worsening when he overhears something he shouldn't have heard.

The rest of the action follows his serendipitous discovery of information fraught with peril.

Bell rings in a new protagonist with lots of plot and action.   The story is more of a novelette than full blown book which, I'm guessing why it is marketed as a self contained trilogy. 

I recommend.  


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, February 21, 2015

Resolution by Robert B. Parker

This is the same Robert Parker who wrote the Spenser detective series.  this is a western not a detective story. 

There is a distinct similarity between Everett Hicks and Spenser as to personality and repartee. Hicks relationship with Virgil Cole bears a striking similarity to the relationship Spenser shared with Hawk.  Despite the similarities I still really enjoyed the story.  it is a stereotypical western theme of greed and corruption.  A town needs cleaned up and Hicks and Cole tackle the job with some unlikely allies.

This is a very quick read so if you are going to the beach take an extra book.

I recommend. 

Web Site:

Here is an interesting article about who is writing the books that still have Robert Parker's name on them. 

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, February 17, 2015

The Syrian Virgin by Zack Love

I just revised my review on this book as I realized I dinged it one star due to my general dislike of the romantic genre.  I have recommended this book to more people than any other book I have read recently.  I recommended it, in spite of the romance, because of the crucial spotlight it shines on dreadful genocide being carried out in the Mid East.  This book has an important message that all the minorities, being butchered in the Mid East by fundamental terrorists, need to have a voice.

 Zack Love approaches literature as I approach a bakery.  He seems to want to have one of everything.   He has published eBook, a short story, a paperback, a novellette, a screenplay, a collection and a comedy.   Luckily he writes rather than frequents bakeries because he would be enormous.  I showcased his book The Syrian Virgin and suggest you check it out.   Now  that I have read this book, I am still amazed at Zack Love.  This book is a philosophic treatise and a romantic novel.

Anissa is the Syrian virgin.   She is a young woman pushed out of her home by the sectarian violence in  Syria.  The philosophic or political aspect of the book is based on the moral or righteousness of the actions of ISIS.   Those of us in the West tend to view the violence as totally repugnant and frankly I can't see  how you could see the religious bigotry in any other way.   Assad's rule in Syria can be compared to Saddam Hussein's in Iraq and Marshall Tito's in Yugoslavia.  A strong dictator keeping a lid on sectarian violence is not a new story.   As I write this there is a news account of a  mass execution of Coptic Christians by ISIS bigots.  This moves Zack Love's novel from entertainment to political commentary.

The other side of Love's book is the romantic novel aspect.  Anissa is enrolled in college and is torn between a charismatic leader trying to elicit support for displaced Christians and a self-made billionaire.   Her virginity and her feelings about said status preoccupy a fair amount of the plot.

This is an unusual book in that it poses some very difficult questions regarding dictatorship, religious bigotry, sectarian violence and personal mores. 

I 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, February 13, 2015

Deep Black by Stephen Coonts

Coonts addresses the surveillance expertise of NSA and his fictitious Desk 3 in this book.   The ability of the US government to impact another nation's computers and infrastructure is hypothesized.  Of course, I think this is all speculative but how would one know unless perhaps you are Edward Snowden.

The book has lots of action and cutting edge tools of destruction.  Again, I don't know if any of this stuff exists but the weapons and tech used are typical of a Coonts book, lots of whiz-bang and hooha!

The story is intricate and shows the value of "boots on the ground" when dealing with data collection. 

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, February 9, 2015

The Jungle by Clive Cussler & Jack Du Brul

The Cussler franchise continues in this formula book.   Like Patterson, Cussler has created a formula that sells books.   He starts with a preposterous mystery and then shares the stage with the primary mystery.   Eventually they are tied together.   This story starts with Chinese history and Marco Polo and ends with a hunt for a modern techno villain.

Juan Cabrillo and the Corporation are back.   Blacker than Black Water, the Corporation handles work that the American government wants done but wants to disavow.   In addition the Corporation takes on private contracts for "the good guys" who need intelligent muscle.   Their is light reference to Numa and Dirk Pitt. 

The story includes the requisite Cussler touches of historic incidents, jungle temples, super computers and guns and more guns. 

Du Brul is an author of note with his own protagonist, Philip Mercer, who makes a cameo appearance in this story. 

The story is entertaining, there is a ton of preposterous action and a black on black villain.   The formula works and provides a couple of hours of escapism.  

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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson

This is the first of the Repairman Jack novels that I have read that were in my bride's venacular, "WooWoo".  Now as a SciFi fan I don't quite identify the book as being that far out.  Edgy but not extraterrestrial.  Jack is hired to find a missing person and he finds lots of "other" things.

There is the common ground of retributional violence in this book.   Added to this story it is the confirmation of motivation for the chaos seeking villains in past books. 

I enjoyed the cataloging of different conspiracy theories that Jack is exposed to at his convention attendance. 

Jack is developing a softer side with his relationship with Gia and Vicky.   Wilson's penchant for killing off characters makes me leery of becoming attached to Gia and Vicky.   I plan on tracking down the story that is referred to in this book.  I am not sure how I missed it as I have been trying to read the books in order.   I use the fantastic fiction site for my reference guide and may have missed that story.  

Once again, I recommend the book and I plan on reading more of the series.


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, February 1, 2015

Crimson Angel by Barbara Hambly

Benjamin and Rose January are back in a new adventure.  The evils of slavery and greed are the major themes in this book.

Rose's past intrudes on the life that Rose and Ben are trying to build.   Rose's brother brings the Crimson Angel into their life and that leads down a path of death and destruction.   The mystery of the evil Dr. Maurir is defined by his similarity as  an early rendition of the equally evil Nazi Mengele with a similar penchant for experimentation on live subjects. 

Hambly very graphically illustrates the often ignored atrocities that accompanied slavery.  She also points out the astounding number of deaths that also accompanied slavery.  If nothing else, this book hammers home the dreadful impact of slavery on both the slaves and the destruction of character in the slave owners.

This is a good story with a very impactful depiction of slavery. 

I recommend.  


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