Day: February 22, 2015

Review of ‘High Lie’

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When PI Miami Jones’ friend Lucas fishes a kid out of the water after he’s been tossed there by two roughnecks from a local gambling establishment, things get nasty. Miami learns that the kid, Desi, a young Cuban, was trying to earn money to get his father from Cuba to Florida, but was cheated. He, Lucas, and his sometimes girlfriend, Danielle, who happens to be a deputy sheriff, are determined to make things right for Desi. In the process of doing so, Miami finds himself immersed in the world of gambling, as toughs from all over face off for a chunk of the gambling revenue in south Florida.

High Lie by A. J. Stewart is the third in the Miami Jones Florida series, featuring former baseball player turned private eye Miami Jones. I received a free copy of this book for review.

Stewart, who writes in a style reminiscent of Elmore Leonard, paints a vivid and accurate picture of the world of legal gambling, especially the pari-mutuel scene involving jai alai (pronounced ‘high-lie’), and what can happen when money and the greed for money trump public interest. A cast of believable characters inhabiting a world so realistic you can smell the sweat of the jai alai players and hear the raucous cry of the Everglades water fowl.

This is a great weekend read that shouldn’t be missed. Stewart gets better with each book. I give this one five stars.

Review of ‘A Matter of Perception’

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A Matter of Perception is a fascinating collection of short stories by fantasy author Tahlia Newland. I received a free copy of this book for review.

While all of the stories in this collection are good, ‘Sacred Striptease’ is the one that really caught my eye.

‘Sacred Striptease’ takes us through an evening in the life of Lexie (Miss Electra), a stripper who works in a club frequented by mainly working class men stopping for a little entertainment before going home to their families. Told in the first person, the story shows the mental process of a woman who views what she does as art, not for titillation, but for entertainment. Lexie has a strong artistic connection and affection for the men who enjoy watching her perform, but is distressed by the presence of the Creep, a man who views her (in her view) not as a performer, but as a target for exploitation.

A profound treatment of subjects such as self-image, rape, and exploitation, this is a good short read that will entertain as much as Miss Electra’s artistic gyrations do. My only complaint is that the reader is never told why a former ballet dancer such as Lexie (not her real name we’re told) turned to stripping, and while the Creep is introduced and we’re led to believe he exerts a strong influence on Lexie (creating, we believe, a sense of fear and dread in her), he just disappears in the end with no real resolution to the tension, other than a slight surprise at the end, which I will not reveal so those who read the story can discover it for themselves.

Except for these two small weaknesses (in my personal opinion, I must stress), it’s a profoundly entertaining story, as are the others in this not-to-be-missed collection from an accomplished author. I give it four stars.