Day: April 19, 2015

Review of ‘Three Strikes’

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If you’re a fan of A.J. Stewart’s ‘Miami Jones’ mysteries, you need to read the prequel, Three Strikes as soon as it’s available for sale. I received a free review copy of this book, which gives the early history of baseball player turned PI, Miami Jones.

Miami, while a student at Miami University, and a member of its championship baseball team, is playing in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. He meets the beautiful and enigmatic Kate Milne, daughter of a general who is commander of a sensitive Air Force base. Miami and Kate become involved, but he soon learns that she’s involved in some super-secret activity that could get Miami involved in treason.

Stewart, with his Elmore Leonard style of writing, takes us through Miami’s career from college to the Oakland A’s, all the while weaving Kate and her activities in and out of his life until a final confrontation in south Florida involving a scheming politician and the byzantine activities of manipulators inside the Washington Beltway during the second Gulf War.

An expert’s look inside baseball, and a sharp eye for the goings on of politicians and spies marks this introduction to the series. If you’ve read any of the others in the series, you’ll love this back story – and if this is your introduction to Miami Jones, you’ll be hooked for life. Great writing, fascinating characters, and a plot full of more twists than the roller coasters at Disney World. A five star romp by one of the best mystery writers around. This one definitely needs to be on the market!

Review of ‘Four Mothers’

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You might think you understand motherhood, but after reading R.J. Crayton’s Four Mothers: Four Short Stories Focused on Mothers in Crises you’ll probably have second thoughts. The author gives us four stories about mothers and the different way they deal with crisis in their lives—women, who the author says, make parenting decisions that have significant consequences for their children.

This extremely well-written collection is actually five stories. It includes a bonus story, ‘Lynch Party,’ which is she claims is not about a mother’s decision, but in fact is. The only thing that sets Mrs. Lynch in this story apart from people such as Bitsy Wellsworth in ‘Almost Perfect’ is that she is not the focal point character. Nonetheless, her decision to include a lifelike figure as a piñata in her child’s birthday party has the potential to significantly impact not only her children, but everyone around her.

Some of these stories will give you the chills, others will bring tears, but all will have a profound emotional impact long after you stop reading. Crayton is a master of the short story and this collection of her work should be next on your to-read list. Five stars!