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, May 29, 2015

Battle Bugs: The Lizard War by Jack Patton

 This is an account of a war between bugs and lizards from the point of view of an eight or nine year boy.

Max loves bugs.  Like many boys of eight or nine, he finds pleasure in things that offend parents or siblings.   In Max's case, his mom is supportive of his love of bugs.   Working in an auction house, Max's mom often brings Max things that haven't sold.   One of the things ends up transporting him to Bug Island.

On Bug Island Max is befriended by the bugs whose very existence is being threatened by an invasion of lizards.   The book demonstrates acceptance of difference in the variety of bugs Max encounters.  It also shows courage in the face of adversity.   The book is a low intensity adventure that doesn't appear to have any aspects that would offend a parent.  It also appears to be the start of a series.  It is a Scholastic paperback which indicates it will be a success due to its backing by Scholastic and their close ties with schools and book fairs.

Web sites:        none found

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, May 24, 2015

The Deep by Nick Cutter

Stephen King on mind altering drugs is what first came to mind when I got into this book.   It is dark and disturbing.

The world is impacted by an apparent mental disorder, the "Gets".    Luke and Clayton Nelson,  estranged brothers are the key players in this bizarre book.  Luke is damaged but reasonably normal.   Clay, a savant, is flat out impossible to describe.  Narcissism does not begin to describe his self centered egotism.  

Al Sykes is Luke's Navy minder and appears to be accepting of the abnormality featured in the book.   The world is pinning its hopes on Clay's work in the depths of the ocean. (thus the Deep)   Lunacy is prevalent in the book as well as all manner of psychopathic behavior.   Considering the way Luke and Clay were raised, psychology aberrant behavior would be expected as opposed to not.

I found the book hard to read and did not enjoy 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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memory Man by David Baldacci

I'm guessing that this will be the beginning of a new series with a new cast of characters.   It is also the bloodiest Baldacci I have ever read.    A horrific Sandy Hook type of situation draws in an unlikely player to help solve the crime.

Amos Decker is a 350 pound man suffering from trauma induced hyperthymesia and synesthesia.  Yup, I'm going to make you look them up or induce to read this finger blistering page turner.  You will not want to put it down and will most likely want to throttle Baldacci when you can barely keep your eyes open and feel driven to continue reading.

It is a horrific mystery in the vein of In Cold Blood with slight overtones of the TV series Unforgettable.   I will not provide any more information as I hate spoilers.  I sincerely hope this is the beginning of a new series.

I highly recommend it.

Body of  work of <a type="amzn" > David Baldacci </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.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Black Scorpion by Jon Land

This book has action, adventure and in spades!  I'm guessing Land does 5 Hour Energy chased with Red Bull and washed down with Jolt and espresso when he writes.   This is a thriller on steroids with a wealthy protagonist and an even wealthy psychopathic villain.

This is the second in a series featuring Michael Tiranno, the Tyrant, as the protagonist.   Michael is a benevolent tyrant.  He is a wealthy businessman pandering to the vices of Vegas.   Familial discoveries open his eyes to some shocking aspects of his family tree and his past.  

The Tyrant persona might be compared to that of Tony Stark in Iron Man, a overwhelming ego and a pathological need to succeed at all costs.   His drive for success may not be as egocentrically driven as he may think.  

The plot is intricate and colorful.   There doesn't appear to be any connection to reality with the exception of computer vulnerability.   The mores on many of the characters are aptly illustrated by many of the greed driven arrestees of the past decade.   I guess in that aspect, there is a relationship to reality. 

A drive for justice and a compassion for fellow human beings brings some relief from the Black Scorpion's unmitigated evil.   Land tosses in plenty of twists and some very interesting characters.

This was a very entertaining read.

I did not find a site for Land but this interview was interesting.

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, May 12, 2015

The Heist by Daniel Silva

I haven't read any Silva for awhile, no particular reason, just haven't gotten any in my to be read pile.   This rendition is particularly poignant after having read Zack Love's The Syrian Virgin The plight of the Syrian people is the back drop for this thriller.   Gabriel Allon is back once more and surprisingly less violent in this book.

The current events aspect of this book was hard to ignore.   The events in Syria keep grabbing the headlines and one can only hope that there are operations such as this occurring.   I'm struck by the tribal and religious aspects of the middle east violence.   It is difficult for Americans to understand the depths of feeling and atrocity that occur due to differing accents and religions.   I just can't picture Baptists laying waste to Lutheran Synods or good ole' boys attacking the Boston beaneries.   However in the tumultuous kettle of Middle East,  hatred is having a bull market base superficially on tribal and religious differences.  

This book suggests that not only are the obvious reasons from above responsible for the reprehensible regime behavior but that simple old fashion greed is also a major motivating factor.  As an aside,  CBS news mentioned just this week the reputed wealth of Vladimir Putin as a motivating factor for his behavior. 

The book is a fast moving, with good character development and insights into the less savory side of the art world.

I highly 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.

Friday, May 8, 2015

One Particular Harbour by Chip Bell

Jake Sullivan is in hot water again.  The U.S. Virgin Islands are the setting for this drama.   Jake is arrested for a murder that he didn't commit.  

I commented in my review of Bell's "A Pirate Looks at Forty"  that I felt that Bell was improving in his writing.  I feel that he has really brought it home in this book.  Plenty of action and tension with the now familiar humorous interplay between Mike Lang and Jake.  

Again Bell shows that no one is safe in his books.  You never know who might catch the next bullet.  

The biggest mystery in this book is why is Jake specifically being framed for this murder.  Who is behind the nefarious plot?

I highly 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.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Pirate Looks at Forty by Chip Bell

This is the fourth Chip Bell book I have read and the best so far.   Bell is maturing as a writer and his character interaction is even better in this book than the last.   This is another Jake Sullivan novel.  Jake and his "sidekick" Mike are pulled into another international thriller by an act of piracy in Jake's domain of south Florida.

The plot in this novel is introduced by a couple of chapters of seemingly unconnected historic anecdotes.   As the book progresses you realize the foundation of the plot was laid out in the historic perspectives.  

Somewhat reminiscent of Clive Cussler,  the mystery within mystery is captivating.   Jake and Mike's interaction provide an admirable camaraderie. 

Once again, Bell does a very good job combining current events with a fictional thriller.   In this case the hopes for peace in the Middle East and the recognition that other countries have the same fractional divides that our nation faces.

I recommend the book.

I highly 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.