Month: November 2018

Review of ‘Murder Has No Guilt’

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A gunman walks into a high-end London hair salon and opens fire, killing the owner, two staff members, and five customers. For DCI Isaac Cook and his team, the race is on to find the killer, but they must start with a relatively blank slate. At first, there’s no motive, but as they begin to look under the rug, they find much trash: a ruthless Romanian gangster and his henchmen, a Russian oligarch with an impeccable reputation in England, but who heads one of Russia’s top mobs, and assorted other bits of flotsam and jetsam of England’s criminal underworld, all come together in a maze that foreshadows a possible gang war, and more blood on the streets.

Cook and his crew not only have to deal with the criminal bad guys, but with the bureaucratic and sneaky weasels in their own organization, who are more interested in making points than solving crimes.

Murder Has No Guilt by Phillip Strang is another outstanding chapter in the adventures and misadventures of the indomitable DCI and his band of merry men and women, as they face danger and duplicity with their usual dogged persistence until the guilty—or most of the guilty—are brought to justice.

I’m a fan of this series, which never disappoints, nor does it become boring, with each story building on the last and keeping you reading until the end.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I give it five stars without hesitation.

Review of ‘Kinky Bones’

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Wizards and witches don’t mix very well. Arthur ‘The Hat’ Salzman, wizard enforcer and all-around gangster, knows this, and usually avoids them. But, when Selma (aka Mrs. Pink), a young witch, impersonates Ivan, brother of his sidekick, Vicky, and head of the vampires, and hacks their bank accounts, and then impersonates his daughter, George, Arthur finds himself up to his fabled hat in witches. Mabel, queen of the witches, is up to something that’s definitely not good, and wants Arthur’s help, but, being witches, she and her coven go about it in all the wrong ways until the appearance of the kinky bones, the skeletal remnants of an all-powerful witch, complicates things beyond imagining. As if this wasn’t confusing enough, Arthur meets Penelope, a citizen who has never seen magic, wizards, or dead bodies, and falls in love with her. From that point, things just go downhill.

Kinky Bones by Al K. Line is number 7 in the Wildcat Wizard series, and if you’ve read and liked the first six, you will be totally captivated by this one. The Hat at his best (or worse, depending upon your point of view) as he deals with batty witches, devilish plots, and murderous bones. Just as the bones get Arthur around the throat, and other sensitive, but unmentionable parts of his body, this book will grab your attention and not let go until you reach the end.

I received a complimentary copy of Kinky Bones in exchange for my unbiased, honest review, and honestly, what can I say; it’s one heck of a great read. Don’t let this one get away.

I give it five stars.

Review of ‘No Place to Hide’

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The president of the United States authorized a bio attack on Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and now, as he’s about to leave office he decides that he must eliminate everyone who has knowledge of his action. One of those people, ex-navy SEAL Trace Austin, accidentally stumbled across the plans for the attack while he was in Florida with his wife and son and has created a fail-safe plan; he will keep the president’s secret as long as he and his wife are left alone. But now, someone is threatening their lives, so all bets are off. Trace must act to forestall the actions against him or die trying.

No Place to Hide by Steven M. Roth is a story that moves at a machine-gun pace, as shadowy groups act against Trace legally and financially. Action is non-stop, and the author spares no details in this byzantine tale of high-level corruption and evil.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. A solid four-star thriller.

LinkedIn Got Hijacked

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Any of you who also happen to follow me on LinkedIn, the business-oriented social media site, might recently have received an email purporting to be from me, with a job offer that seems to good to be true. There are a few problems with that email. First, it probably IS to good to be true. In fact, I suspect that it’s a phishing attempt, and strongly advise against responding to it in any way. Secondly, it’s not from me. Someone hijacked my LinkedIn account, changed the password and locked me  out, and then started sending this email to my contacts. I’ve been working with LinkedIn to try and resolve this, but so far, no luck. This hacker is GOOD, and by that I mean BAD, because he–and, I assume it’s a he, although I suppose it could be a she, anyway, this hacker has fixed it so that whenever I communicate with LinkedIn, their response back to me goes automatically to my Trash folder. I now have to scan my Trash folder every day to make sure I get their communications. I even tried opening a new account and asking LinkedIn to delete the old account, but neither has worked.

So, there you have it. This person has caused me many hours of lost productivity. I’ve spent time working on this problem that I could’ve used writing, and it’s very frustrating because I’ve achieved nothing. I hope whoever it is, is happy at the turmoil caused. Not really. I hope whoever it is rots in hell.

Remember, if you get an email from an address with my name on it, it didn’t come from me, so delete it right away, and don’t reply, send a resume, or communicate with this person in any way.

Review of ‘Reverence’

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The USA has undergone a revolution and is now the United Nation Republic (UNR), with the mission of bringing utopia to the earth, whether or not the other residents of the planet want it. Enforcing this tyrannical scheme is a corps of super soldiers, cyborgs with massive power, and an almost obsessive drive to accomplish their missions. Will Marconi, one of these super soldiers, begins, though, to question his mission, and himself, and rebels against his masters.

Reverence by Joshua Landeros is a fast-paced dystopian future novel with tons of blood and gore that will more than satisfy fans of this genre—a bit too much gore for those with delicate sensibilities, however, and lacking the tight editing that would make it palatable. The plot hangs up in places due to the poor proofreading, but the author shows promise. So, if you like your stories with nonstop action, and a body on almost every page, you just might get into this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and even though I am a tepid fan of military fiction and an avid science fiction fan, I just couldn’t really get into it. Except for Will, the characters are never really fully developed, and the ‘how’ of the transformation of the US into a world tyrant, even though it does somewhat mirror current political trends, is never adequately explained.

I give the author four stars for effort, but my rating of three stars is due to the execution.

Review of ‘Death Calls’

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Arthur ‘The hat’ Salzman, thief, gambler, and wizard, has always been able to revive when he dies. But, when he dies for the 50th time, the Grim Reaper, old man Death, informs that it’s time for him to fulfill a deal he made when the power was granted—he must become the Grim Reaper.

For Arthur, it doesn’t sound like such a good deal, and he’s determined to find his way from the endless void in which he’s imprisoned, and back to the land of the living. When his trusty sidekick commits suicide to come and rescue him, things just get even more complicated.

What follows when she arrives in the void is quintessential Wildcat Wizard fare, as Arthur pulls every trick he has out of his sleeves to beat the odds. As usual, along with the gore is a good dash of humor, grim humor, and a puzzle that it seems at first that even the smartest wizard on the planet can’t solve.

If you’re a fan of this series, this one won’t disappoint, and I can promise you, you’ll be surprised at the ending.

I received an advance reader copy of this book, and what can I say – it’s another five-star story.

Review of ‘Full Moon, Dunes & Macaroons’

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Imogen Banks, a witch who can bake, or a baker with witch’s powers, keeps telling herself that she’s fine with Prince Hank’s engagement to Princess Shaday, but at the engagement dinner in the Fire Kingdom, which she attends with her other royal kitchen colleagues, she’s feeling conflicted. The festivities are only slightly disrupted when one of the guests, a hated prison warden, is found murdered in his tent, but when Imogen’s foul mood affects her cooking, she’s banned from the kitchen and decides to solve the murder. There is a long list of suspects; the journalist the warden was blackmailing, his ambitious assistant, and even his daughter, Eve, Shaday’s best friend. And then, there’s Imogen’s brother, Horace, a rebel and the most wanted man in all the kingdoms. He makes contact, and begins to teach her new magic, but is he up to something else?

Along with Iggy, her trusty, and sometimes crusty, baking flame (that’s right, flame as in fire) Imogen sets out to untangle this knotty problem, almost getting herself eaten by a bat in the process. You’ll have to read the book to figure out that one. What book, you ask? Why, Full Moons, Dunes, & Macaroons by Erin Johnson, of course. The fifth book in her Spells & Caramels series, she keeps the energy flowing and the plots twisting most effectively, giving us another strong, though sometimes ditzy, female main character to cheer for. My seven-year-old granddaughter who, like me, has been reading since she was four, is also, like me, a diehard fan of this series—although the previous volume had a rather adult theme, so I’m holding it back for at least two or three more years. This, though, will give you a clue—this series can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

I received a free copy of this book. Another five-star performance.

Review of ‘Uninvited Quests’

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Lucan, an aspiring squire, and Manuel, an aspiring knight, are on a mission to slay the Dargonqueen, when Wort, the prickleberry winemaker diverts them on a search for a mythical sword. Brae is a half-human paladin on an apology tour for a once evil god—only, she’s not sure about the formerly part—when she, too, is diverted by Wort. The three come together in a cave of slime, oozy, dangers, and Manuel gets himself killed—twice before the death finally takes—leaving Brae and Lucan to complete the original quest.

Uninvited Quests by Lex Wilson is just what its subtitle suggests, a comedic fantasy adventure that turns fantasy novels on their ears and will have you laughing so hard you’re likely to fall into the slime. I don’t know what hallucinogenic substance the author ingested before sitting down to write this, but if he’ll send me the address of the supplier, I’ll take a couple of pounds.

A really, really enjoyable read. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it five stars.