All posts by bmackela

I'm a retired Steamfitter. I like to read, so I started a book review blog. I am no longer reviewing books. It was fun while it lasted.

Review of Utopia, Texas by Michael Glasscock III

Utopia, Texas 2Utopia, Texas

by Michael Glasscock III

Utopia, Texas is an action thriller, but it is also something more. It is a story of Monty Kilpatrick, a father who lost his son, a husband whose marriage hasn’t been the same since his son died, a former vet who couldn’t take the way some pet owners treated their pets better than their kids, and a game warden who used his job to hide from all the parts of his life that he couldn’t face.

This is a story of one man’s discovery of the holes in his life and how he can find a way to fill them.

You will read this as an exciting adventure, and then at the end think that it may have had another dimension to it.

Mr. Glasscock has written an exciting story that keeps you interested, but throws in some ideas to keep you thinking after you are done reading.

I give this 4 stars out of 5. Sometimes the writing seems a bit stilted, the dialog a little forced. Maybe the ideas that Mr Glasscock is trying to send to the reader are getting in the way of the flow of the story. But all in all a good story, and worth reading.

I received this book for free from Net Galley.

Book Description

Publication Date: January 8, 2013

What happens when men of principle become men of violence?

In the quiet town of Utopia, Texas, life is simple. Monty Kilpatrick does his duty as a local game warden, catching poachers, smoking too many cigarettes, and trying to keep his marriage afloat. Most days he thinks about the loss of his young son and how to not be tempted to stray from his vows by one of the local girls.

But just across the border in Mexico, drug cartel kingpin Juan Diaz is running his empire with an iron fist. Utopia is part of the cartel’s main trafficking routes, and when Monty arrests Diaz’s brother during what he thought was a routine traffic stop, the men’s paths cross. In a moment, the formerly peaceful Utopia becomes a war zone.

Set in cartel haciendas and the rugged Texas landscape and featuring plenty of guns, explosions, and helicopters, Utopia, Texas pits Monty and Juan against each other, both bound by the opposing set of laws they’ve chosen to follow. In order to save his town, his wife, and his pride, Monty must be ready to lose everything he holds true.

Product Details

Hardcover: 200 pages

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press; 1 edition (January 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1608324168

ISBN-13: 978-1608324163

Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

For the first eight years of his life Michael E. Glasscock III lived on his grandfather’s cattle ranch, about five miles south of the small community of Utopia, Texas. Michael decided to study medicine, and he graduated from the University of Tennessee Medical School at age twenty-four. Nashville, Tennessee, was the site of Dr. Glasscock’s otology/neurotology practice, where he was associated with Vanderbilt University as a clinical professor, and where he continues to be part of the faculty as an adjunct professor. Dr. Glasscock retired from full-time clinical practice in 1997 and moved back to Texas where he continues to work as a consultant for three major medical device companies. He now lives in Austin, Texas, and performs surgery at the Glasscock Hearing Implant Center in Houston.

Review of The Dark Hour by Robin Burcell

The Dark HourThe Dark Hour

by Robin Burcell

Published November 27th 2012 by Harper

This is the third book featuring FBI Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick. There is plenty of fast paced action, some unexpected plot twists, with just a little touch of romantic thoughts thrown in for spice. The story stands well on its own, but you would understand some of the ideas a little better if you had read the first two books first. If you have a kindle,  all three books are under $5.00 each at Amazon, so you might want to read them in order.

I enjoyed the story. Sometimes it seemed a little too easy for the “Good Guys” to escape the predicaments that they got into. But they certainly got into plenty of them, so they had to get out of them quickly, so that the action didn’t suffer. There were multiple groups of agents doing different things at the same time, and the story would switch between the various groups, so there was never a dull moment.

Ms. Burcell knows how to hold your interest and spin a fast paced story. I give this 4 stars. Sometimes it was just too easy to escape from trouble.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Description

Release Date: November 27, 2012

A high-profile killing has brought FBI Special Agent and forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick to Amsterdam—even as the assassination of a prominent U.S. senator rocks the political world. Two seemingly unrelated murders are leading Sydney to the threshold of a shocking conspiracy to spread a plague of death across the globe, especially when her sketch of a killer—and possible conspirator—reveals the face of a female CIA agent believed to be dead.

The murder of a witness and the disappearance of the missing agent’s husband, covert government operative Zachary Griffin, has Sydney racing against the clock to prevent a biological nightmare of astronomical proportions. For the dark hour is rapidly approaching when all secrets will be revealed . . . and the lives of countless millions will hang in the balance.

Product Details

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Harper (November 27, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062133470

ISBN-13: 978-0062133472

Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.6 x 1 inches

Shipping Weight: 4 ounces

About the Author

Robin Burcell spent nearly three decades working in law enforcement before retiring to write fiction full time. She has testified as an expert in the fields of forensic art, fingerprints, and child abuse. An FBI academy-trained forensic artist, her drawings have been used to solve a number of crimes, including homicides, bank robberies, and hate crimes, and she was called upon by various law enforcement entities, including the FBI, for this skill. She has worked with live witnesses, and the dead, sometimes having to set up shop in a morgue to draw the corpses for identification purposes after they have been found in a state beyond recognition (hence the term forensic artist).

Her past undercover assignments have been as a hooker, a housewife, and a high school student (and although this was years ago, she still retains her youthful looks).

She worked patrol and was a hostage negotiator for a number of years. She has also served as a detective investigating sexual assault, child abuse, crimes against persons, and crimes against property (burglaries, thefts, embezzlements).

She is the two-time Anthony Award-winning author of four previous novels featuring SFPD Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie: Every Move She Makes, Fatal Truth, Deadly Legacy and Cold Case. Cold Case, the fourth installment in the Kate Gillespie SFPD series, is a combination mystery and police-procedural story about the first female homicide inspector for the San Francisco police department.

She is continuing a new series about an FBI forensic artist. The first book, The Face of a Killer, was published in 2008, followed by The Bone Chamber in 2009. The Dark Hour came out in 2012. The Black List will be published in January 2013. You can visit her website at: http://www.robinburcell.com

Review of Ratlines by Stuart Neville

Ratlines Stuart NevilleRatlines

Stuart Neville

January 1, 2013

 

Albert Ryan is a member of the Irish Intelligence Service, the G2. The Director, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, and Lieutenant Ryan have a morning meeting with Charles J. Haughey, the Minister of Justice. Three men have been murdered. All of these men were former Nazis that were given asylum in Ireland. Haughey wants to have these killing investigated quietly. President John F. Kennedy is going to be visiting Ireland in a few weeks and if the media gets wind of the case, he may decide that the visit should be postponed.

Mr Neville does a very good job of portraying Ireland in the early 60s. It all feels very real. Ryan is a complicated character. He joined the British Army during World War 2, known in Ireland as the Emergency. The IRA supporters berate him for that. He is a Protestant in a Catholic country. He lives in a dormitory. He is not a well liked person. The other characters in the book are also well-developed.

There are enough twists and detours in the plot to keep you interested. You are never quite sure what is going to happen next.

This is an easy book to read and a hard book to put down. It has a more 60s feel, instead of being a fast paced thriller of today. You will want to find out what is going to happen next, but it can’t be hurried. There are no shortcuts to finding the answers, no cell phones, DNA, fingerprint banks, or computers.

I liked this book and give it 5 stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Book Description

Release Date: January 1, 2013

Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II.

A note from the killers is found on the dead German’s corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler’s favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: “We are coming for you.”

As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators, all presided over by Skorzeny from his country estate outside Dublin. When Ryan closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? Ryan learns that Skorzeny might be a dangerous ally, but he is a deadly enemy.

Product Details

Hardcover: 354 pages

Publisher: Soho Crime (January 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616952040

ISBN-13: 978-1616952044

Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds

About the Author

Stuart Neville has been a musician, a composer, a teacher, a salesman, a film extra, a baker and a hand double for a well-known Irish comedian. His first novel, The Ghosts of Belfast, was one of the most critically acclaimed crime debuts of recent years, and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Review of Two Graves by Preston and Child

TwoGravesTwo Graves 

(Special Agent Pendergast Series #12)

by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

If you have enjoyed reading the previous novels in the Pendergast series, then you will like this one. Two Graves is the third in the Helen sub-series, and you should have already read the first two, Fever Dream and Cold Vengeance, before reading this. There are enough plot twists, sub-plots, and inter-twined characters to keep a Pendergast fan entertained or maybe confused at times. It may just be me, but I had a hard time keeping everything straight. I figured it all out in the end, but sometimes these Pendergast novels nearly make my brain ache.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars out of 5. The story was good, but I may just be a little over Pendergast.

I received this e-book for free from NetGalley.

Book Description

Release Date: December 11, 2012

For twelve years, he believed she died in an accident. Then, he was told she’d been murdered. Now, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast discovers that his beloved wife Helen is alive. But their reunion is cut short when Helen is brazenly abducted before his eyes. And Pendergast is forced to embark on a furious cross-country chase to rescue her.

But all this turns out to be mere prologue to a far larger plot: one that unleashes a chillingly-almost supernaturally-adept serial killer on New York City. And Helen has one more surprise in store for Pendergast: a piece of their shared past that makes him the one man most suited to hunting down the killer.

His pursuit of the murderer will take Pendergast deep into the trackless forests of South America, to a hidden place where the evil that has blighted both his and Helen’s lives lies in wait . . . a place where he will learn all too well the truth of the ancient proverb:

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Product Details

Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (December 11, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446554995

ISBN-13: 978-0446554992

Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

 

About the Authors

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child “stand head and shoulders above their rivals” (Publisher’s Weekly). Coauthors of the famed Pendergast series, their books Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the 100 greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number one box office hit movie. They are also the authors of Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance and Gideon’s Sword. Preston’s acclaimed nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a movie starring George Clooney. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published four novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm. The authors welcome e-mail from their readers; you can visit their website at www.prestonchild.com.

Biography

Douglas Preston was born in 1956 in Cambridge, MA, was raised in nearby Wellesley (where, by his own admission, he and his brothers were the scourge of the neighborhood!), and graduated from Pomona College in California with a degree in English literature.

Preston’s first job was as a writer for the American Museum of Natural History in New York — an eight year stint that led to the publication of his first book, Dinosaurs in the Attic and introduced him to his future writing partner, Lincoln Child, then working as an editor at St. Martin’s Press. The two men bonded, as they worked closely together on the book. As the project neared completion, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the museum, an excursion that proved fateful. As Preston tells it, “…in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to [me] and said: ‘This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!'” Their first collaborative effort, Relic, would not be published until 1995, by which time Preston had picked up stakes and moved to Santa Fe to pursue a full-time writing career.

In addition to writing novels (The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon) and nonfiction books on the American Southwest (Cities of Gold, Ribbons of Time), Preston has collaborated with Lincoln Child on several post-Relic thrillers. While not strictly a series, the books share characters and events, and the stories all take place in the same universe. The authors refer to this phenomenon as “The Preston-Child Pangea.”

Preston divides his time between New Mexico and Maine, while Child lives in New Jersey — a situation that necessitates a lot of long-distance communication. But their partnership (facilitated by phone, fax, and email) is remarkably productive and thoroughly egalitarian: They shape their plots through a series of discussions; Child sends an outline of a set of chapters; Preston writes the first draft of those chapters, which is subsequently rewritten by Child; and in this way the novel is edited back and forth until both authors are happy. They attribute the relatively seamless surface of their books to the fact that “[a]ll four hands have found their way into practically every sentence, at one time or another.”

In between, Preston remains busy. He is a regular contributor to magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Natural History, Smithsonian, Harper’s, and Travel & Leisure, and he continues with varied solo literary projects. Which is not to say his partnership with Lincoln Child is over. Fans of the bestselling Preston-Child thrillers can be assured there are bigger and better adventures to come.

A Review of The Intercept by Dick Wolf

The Intercept by Dick Wolf

The Intercept

A Jeremy Fisk Novel

By Dick Wolf

On Sale: 12/26/2012

Format: Hardcover

September 2009, Jeremy Fisk is a New York City Detective. He is a member of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. Their main job is to prevent any terrorist attacks in the city. There are many Federal agencies who also are dealing with terrorism, but no one else who focuses on New York City. In this, the first book of an expected series, there is a suspected plot and one known member of the group. The FBI has a line on Bassam Shah, an Afghan, who is bringing something into The City. They want to keep an eye on him, so that he will lead them to the rest of the group. Fisk isn’t happy with that plan, but has to go along with the Joint Terrorism Task Force. That is, until Shah ditches his phone, rented car, and laptop and drops off the grid. He is somewhere in New York City, but no one knows where. Fisk brings in some undercover operatives who are unknown to either the JTTF or the terrorists. They are able to take control of the situation and prevent anything from happening. This action shows that Fisk and the NYC police are able to handle the job that was given to them.

July 1, 2011, an attempted hijacking is prevented by passengers on a plane headed to Newark from Sweden. A potential terrorist is able to depart from the plane after it lands to deal with the terrorist. Fisk and his group have to find him and stop whatever is being planed for the probable target, the dedication of One World Trade Center at Ground Zero, There are many unexpected plots twists and surprises.

Mr. Wolf presents a fast paced, action filled police novel. He tells the story mainly from the point of view of Jeremy Fisk, but some of the story is told by other characters in the book. This is a very natural way to have the story unfold. It is nearly like you are watching an action adventure film, and the director is cutting the scenes from one point of view to another. Also like an action adventure film, more time is spent describing what is going on than on character development. You are able to get to know Fisk, but most of the police force are rather flat. There is more time spent inside the heads of the terrorists than the members of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. I’m sure that these characters will be fleshed out in future volumes of this series.

This was a very exciting action, adventure police investigative novel. I give it 5 stars and recommend it to fans of quick paced action novels.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Description

Dick Wolf makes his literary debut with this tense, driving thriller, reminiscent of the classic The Day of the Jackal, an extraordinary tale filled with the ingenious twists and high-wire suspense we have come to expect from this master storyteller

Days before the July Fourth holiday and the dedication of One World Trade Center at Ground Zero, an incident aboard a commercial jet flying over the Atlantic Ocean reminds everyone that vigilance is not a task to be taken lightly. But for iconoclastic NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk, it may also be a signal that there is much more to this case than the easy answer of this being just the work of another lone terrorist.

Fisk—assigned to the department’s Intelligence Division, a well-funded antiterror unit modeled on the CIA—suspects that the event might also be a warning sign that another, potentially more extraordinary scheme has been set in motion. Fluent in Arabic and the ways of his opponents, Fisk is a rule breaker who follows his gut—even if it means defying those above him in the department’s food chain. So when a passenger from the same plane, a Saudi Arabian national, disappears into the crowds of Manhattan, it’s up to Fisk and his partner Krina Gersten to find him before the celebrations begin.

Watching each new lead fizzle, chasing shadows to dead ends, Fisk and Gersten quickly realize that their opponents are smarter and more agile than any they have ever faced. Extremely clever and seemingly invisible, they are able to exploit any security weak-ness and anticipate Fisk’s every move . . . and time is running out.

Product Details

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 400

Imprint: William Morrow

On Sale: 12/26/2012

ISBN: 9780062064837

ISBN10: 0062064835

Trimsize: 6 x 9

$27.99

Ages: 18 and Up

About the Author

Dick Wolf, a two-time Emmy award-winning writer, producer, and creator, is the architect of one of the longest-running scripted shows and most successful brands in the history of television—NBC’s Law & Order. Wolf has won numerous awards, including Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series (Law & Order) and Outstanding Made-for-Television Movie (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee); a Grammy; and an Edgar. This is his literary debut and the first in a series featuring NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk. He lives in Southern California.

A Review of Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Erebos softcover.indd

Erebos

Ursula Poznanski

Annick Press

Pub Date   Feb 1 2012

Nick Dunmore is on his school basketball team. His friend Colin Harris is also a member of the team. Recently Colin has been missing practice. In fact a lot of the team is absent. Coach Bethune is very angry. Nick wonders why Colin is skipping practice. He tries to get Colin to tell him what is going on. Colin says that he can’t tell him. But Nick knows that it has something to do with the dorky guys that Colin is hanging around with. Guys that he and Colin used to make fun of. So when Nick sees Colin passing something to a schoolmate, Jerome, he confronts Jerome and asks him what he received from Colin. Jerome refuses to tell him anything. Nick is sure that something is going on, so when Brynne offers him a game DVD, he takes it. He promises that he will follow the rules. The game makes the rules and all players MUST follow them or they will be out. Nick quickly gets deeply into the game. The game, Erebos, knows him. It can communicate with him. It gives him tasks to do, first in the game, then in the real world. It wants to control all the players.

Ms. Poznanski has written a very riveting novel. Its aimed towards the Young Adult crowd, but I was caught up into it just the same. The story is well written and believable. The story is structured well and the ending feels right. I haven’t played many computer adventure games, but this one sounds like one that would grab my interest.

I give this 5 stars.

I received a free e-book of Erebos from NetGalley.

Description

An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Product Details

Reading level: Ages 12 and up

Paperback: 436 pages

Publisher: Annick Press; Canadian and US rights only edition (January 19, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1554513723

ISBN-13: 978-1554513727

Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Ursula Poznanski was born in Vienna, Austria, where she still lives today with her partner and daughter. The older of two sisters, she enjoyed reading, music, cycling, and skiing when she was a child. Her favorite books were The Flying Classroom by Erich Kaestner, Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Ursula started writing when she was no more than seven or eight years old. She was fortunate in that she had teachers who encouraged her a great deal, and loving relatives who would read her essays to everybody who hadn’t managed to escape in time. She found it quite embarrassing, but it did not deter her from writing.

The idea for Erebos (Spring 2012) came from her penchant for stories that include a change of worlds. These usually come in the form of fantasies, but she wanted to tell a story where this actually happens. She loved the idea of a computer game dragging the player so deeply into a virtual world that it would affect his view of reality. She also wanted to write about manipulation and how it works.

What Ursula enjoys most about the creative process are those moments when it seems as if the book is writing itself. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is pure joy.

Her advice for aspiring authors is to read a lot and write a lot. Don’t believe that success is going to come fast or easy, but carry on nevertheless. Love your story; don’t run after trends. Look for a good writing partner who tells you the truth about what he or she thinks of your work. Appreciate profound criticism.

Ursula’s interests, besides writing, include photography, music (although she doesn’t play an instrument, she has not given up hope that she may still do so one day), talking to interesting people, and traveling.

A Review of Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt
Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

 

Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel

Douglas Brunt

Touchstone

October 2, 2012

Nick Farmer is a bond trader with Bear Stearns in 2005, before the financial meltdown. Mr. Brunt paints a picture of the excesses of a bond trader’s life, as seen through Nick’s eyes. He has spent too many years getting drunk by 5 PM, spending expense money on strippers and drinks. His marriage is in trouble. His life is a mess, but how can he fix it? He went to Bear Stearns right out of college. All he knows is selling and buying bonds. He has been doing this too long. He is 35, not 25. He makes way too much money, but knows that it’s all a sham.

Mr. Brunt does a masterful job of involving the reader into Nick’s life. He takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, as you feel disgust, fear, hope, and finally learn to like this broken and deeply flawed character. He also brings the other people in this novel to life. I didn’t like Nick in the beginning, but came to care very much about him by the conclusion.

This is a very strong first novel. It is written in first person, and really does involve the reader. I give it 5 stars and recommend it.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Description

Release Date: October 2, 2012

A wryly comic, first-person debut novel offering a withering view of life on Wall Street from the perspective of an unhappy insider who is too hooked on the money to find a way out, even as his career is ruining his marriage and corroding his soul.

It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him.

When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.

By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed character as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness.

 

Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Touchstone (October 2, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1451672594

ISBN-13: 978-1451672596

Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces

About the Author

Until 2011, Douglas Brunt was CEO of Authentium, Inc., an Internet security company. He now writes full time and is currently working on his second novel. A Philadelphia native, he lives in New York with his wife Megyn Kelly and their two children.

You can read a conversation with Doug where he talks about Ghosts of Manhattan over on the Q and A page.

Get email alerts and author updates from Simon & Schuster

A Review of The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson

The-Black-Stiletto-3-D3

The Black Stiletto

Raymond Benson

Oceanview Publishing

September 5, 2011

Martin Talbot has discovered that his mother may have been a masked and costumed crime fighter in New York City back in the 50s. His mother, Judy, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is in a nursing home. Her lawyer gives Martin a package that leads him back to the empty family home, where he discovers a hidden room in the basement. When he enters the room, he finds some black leather costumes, weapons, and a bunch of books. When he looks inside, he sees that they are diaries. He starts to read the first one. The story unfolds from this diary. But while he is reading the diary, life continues in the present. A mafia bodyguard has spent over 50 years in Sing Sing Prison in New York State. He has served his time and is looking for The Black Stiletto. The mafia Don that he was supposed to protect died at her hand and she killed his brother.

This is an interesting story. The diary tells the story, but the events that happen in the present are another twist. Martin found quite a few of his mother’s artifacts in the hidden basement room. There are many more volumes of The Black Stiletto’s diary. There are many more stories to be told. I will be reading and reviewing the next book in this series, THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE.

I give this 4 stars, because while I like the premise of the diary telling the story, it seemed a bit too predictable. I hope the next book has more suspense.

Description

Could Martin Talbots elderly, Alzheimer-stricken mother, Judy, really have been the Black Stiletto? When Martin discovers several volumes of her diaries hidden by his mother, he is stunned beyond all imagination. His mother, the underground heroine of yesteryear? The famed, still unidentified woman who battled Communist spies, took on the Mafia, and preyed on common crooks? The woman who exacted punishment on evildoers without mercy? But it is all described, in great detail, in the diaries. What caused her to begin her quest for justice. Her decision to act outside the law. Her feats as the famed and feared vigilante. How her reputation exploded. In short, how it all played out. Could it be true? Talbot is filled with doubt and disbelief. But the reappearance of one of the Stilettos old enemies with a thirst for merciless revenge makes the story more than real and could imperil the life of not only the Stiletto, but her son and granddaughter as well.

About

The Black Stiletto was a legend in her own time, an underground heroine who made a name for herself during the late Eisenhower years and early Kennedy years as a New York City vigilante. Although she was wanted by the law and would have been arrested had she been caught or had her secret identity been revealed, the Black Stiletto was a competent and successful crime-fighter. A feminist before the term was in everyday vernacular, she battled common crooks, Communist spies, the mafia, and worse—and was responsible for their capture and, in some cases, their deaths. But the Stiletto disappeared midway through the sixties and was never heard from again. Most people thought she had died, and no one ever knew her identity. Like pin-up queen Bettie Page, her mythical image resurfaced in comics and other media during the 1980s and 90s. Millions of dollars were made by others exploiting her likeness and persona. Today, the questions remain. Who was she? Is she still alive? If so, where is she now?

The answers can be found in THE BLACK STILETTO and THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE, by internationally known New York Times best-selling author Raymond Benson.

The July 2011 issue of Library Journal calls THE BLACK STILETTO “a mashup of the work of Gloria Steinem, Ian Fleming, and Mario Puzo, all under the editorship of Stan Lee.”

Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; 1 edition (September 5, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1608090205

ISBN-13: 978-1608090204

Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

Raymond Benson is the highly acclaimed author of six original James Bond 007 novels, three film novelizations, three short stories, and two anthologies on Bond. Writing as David Michaels, Benson is a New York Times best-selling author, an Edger Alan Poe Award nominee, and a Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best Thriller.

More about the author

As of Summer 2012, Raymond Benson is the author of twenty-seven published books. These include the new BLACK STILETTO series (www.theblackstiletto.net) featuring a 1950s costumed female vigilante:THE BLACK STILETTO (2011) and THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE (2012); six original JAMES BOND novels (now collected in the recent anthologies THE UNION TRILOGY and CHOICE OF WEAPONS); three 007 film novelizations; and the first two best-selling TOM CLANCY’S SPLINTER CELL novels (for the latter he used the pseudonym of “David Michaels”). With John Milius he penned HOMEFRONT: THE VOICE OF FREEDOM. He also wrote the novelizations of other popular video games–METAL GEAR SOLID and METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY, and HITMAN (HITMAN: DAMNATION, July 2012). Raymond writes his own original suspense books as well–stand alone thrillers such as TORMENT, ARTIFACT OF EVIL, SWEETIE’S DIAMONDS, FACE BLIND, and EVIL HOURS, or his two “Spike Berenger Rock ‘n’ Roll Hits” featuring a music industry detective–A HARD DAY’S DEATH and the Shamus Award-nominated DARK SIDE OF THE MORGUE. There’s a lot more, so if you want the full story visit the author at his website… www.raymondbenson.com!

Review of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

ape-1667x2500

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

Do you like to read? Have you ever thought that you wanted to write a book? Are you an author who doesn’t feel that he is getting a fair shake from his publisher? Are you curious about the new wave of self published books that are filling thee shelves at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo? Would you like to see how some authors can can create a buzz and how they keep that buzz going? If any of these sound like you, then you must grab this book and read it through. It works best on a tablet or smart phone that has internet access because there are many active links that you will want to explore.

The authors start by asking the question “Should You Write a Book?” They continue with a “Review of Traditional  Publishing.” After that they explore ebooks and why self-publishing might be the preferred way to go if you are an unpublished author. This is the “Author” part of the book. They then shift to the “Publisher” part and examine “How to Edit Your Book”, “How to Avoid the Self-Published Look”, and other publisher concerns. Then to finish it all off they talk about marketing and sales. This is the “Entrepreneur” section. Some topics are “How to Guerrilla-Market Your Book” and dealing with and using social media.reate a buzz and how they keep that buzz going? If any of these sound like you, then you must grab this book and read it through. It works best on a tablet or smart phone that has internet access because there are many active links that you will want to explore.

You will want to read though this book even before you start to write that first great book that is in your head. Then you will refer to it time and time again as you work on your pet project.

I give this 5 stars and recommend this to any aspiring author.

I received this e-book for free from Net Galley.

Description 

In 2011 the publisher of Guy Kawasaki’s New York Times bestseller, Enchantment, could not fill an order for 500 ebook copies of the book. Because of this experience, Guy self-published his next book, What the Plus! and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process. As Steve Jobs said, “There must be a better way.”

With Shawn Welch, a tech wizard, Guy wrote APE to help people take control of their writing careers by publishing their books. The thesis of APE is simple but powerful: When a self-publisher successfully fills three roles—author, publisher and entrepreneur—the potential benefits are greater than with traditional publishing.

Guy and Shawn call this “artisanal publishing.”

Artisanal publishing features writers who love their craft, and who control every aspect of the process from beginning to end. In this new approach, writers are no longer at the mercy of large, traditional publishers, and readers will have more books to read

APE is 300 pages of tactical and practical inspiration. People who want a hype-filled, get-rich-quick book should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want a comprehensive and realistic guide to self-publishing, APE is for you.

Product Details

File Size: 8543 KB

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Nononina Press; 1.0 edition (December 10, 2012)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00AGFU5VS

Text-to-Speech: Enabled

X-Ray: NotEnabled

Lending: Enabled

About the Authors

Guy Kawasaki is the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. He is also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Shawn Welch is the author of From Idea to App, iOS 5 Core Frameworks, and iOS 6 for Developers as well as the developer of several iOS apps. Previously he worked as a senior media-editor for Pearson Education.

He also helped pioneer many of Pearson’s earliest efforts in iPad solutions. Welch has a BS from Kansas State University.

Review of Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski

Light and Shade Cover

Light and Shade

Conversations with Jimmy Page

Brad Tolinski

This book is a joy to read for anyone that enjoys rock guitar whether as a player or a listener. A must read! This book goes way beyond anything that has been written about the reclusive Jimmy Page.

Brad Tolinski was able to get close to Jimmy Page and got him to talk about his music. This book has all the details that any musician or music lover could wish for. Page talks to Tolinski about guitars, tunings, chords, and amps. They talk about how Page was able to get a specific sound on an individual song. They discus the interplay between Bonham’s drums, Jones’ Bass, Page’s guitar, and Plant’s vocals and how they were able to all come to agreement on the roles that each would play in Led Zeppelin.

The book covers the time when page was a studio musician, before Led Zeppelin was formed, up to what Page is doing in 2012. The conversations with Page are interspersed with interviews with other musicians who have worked with Page, such as Jeff Beck, Chris Dreja, John Paul Jones, Jack White, and Paul Rogers.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

I was given an e-book version of Light and Shade for review purposes by Crown Publications and Net Galley.

Description

The “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private, interview-averse lead guitarist and mastermind behind Led Zeppelin–one of the most enduring bands in rock history–and the most complete, in-his-own-words portrait of the guitarist ever published.

More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and commercial success. The band’s notorious exploits have been chronicled in bestselling books such as Stephen Davis’s Hammer of the Gods. Yet none of the individual members of the band has penned a memoir nor cooperated to any degree with the press or a biographer. Iconic guitarist and Led Zeppelin founder, Jimmy Page, is both the band’s most reticent member and the one who most fascinates Zep’s huge fan base. For the first time and in his own words, he opens up to journalist Brad Tolinski, exploring in-depth his remarkable life and musical journey.

Title Details

Crown Publishing Group

Crown Trade

Pub Date: Oct 23 2012

ISBN: 9780307985712

Price: 26.00

Currency: USD

Edition: Hardcover

Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

Brad Tolinski has been the editor-in-chief of Guitar World, the world’s best-selling magazine for musicians, for more than two decades. He has interviewed and profiled most of popular music’s greatest guitarists, including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jack White and Jeff Beck. He is also the author of the deluxe-edition illustrated books Classic Hendrix: The Ultimate Hendrix Experience and The Faces: 1969–75.