Month: November 2020

Review of ‘The Hard Side of the River’

Posted on Updated on

When abolitionists Dana Curbstone and Reverend Cal Fenton assist slave Jacob Pingram escape across the Maysville River to freedom, Pingram’s owner hires retired slave catcher Dan Basken to find and return his ‘property. But in 1833 Maysville, Kentucky, Basken is preoccupied with finding the slave girl Abejide, with whom he had a brief liaison before she was taken away to be sold. Basken is conflicted—he has begun to question the institution of slavery. When he catches up with the fugitives at the river, he must come to a decision that will change his life forever.

The Hard Side of the River by Johnny Payne is a gut-wrenching look at life in the South a few decades before the Civil War, told with a keen appreciation, not just of history, but the personal impact on the people who lived under a system that treated some people as property. This is a book that will change the way a reader looks at freedom and the rights of people to be free to determine their own destiny.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. As an amateur historian and author, I was both emotionally and intellectually impacted by the author’s deft handling of this extremely sensitive, and for some, controversial issue. I give it five stars, and look forward to the author’s next offering.

Review of ‘Healthy Diet for Men over 50’

Posted on Updated on

Michael Smith’s Healthy Diet for Men Over 50 contains some good ideas for men past 50 that if followed intelligently will enhance quality of life. In addition to life-style changes designed to make the most of the body’s ability to mend itself, the book also has recipes for a healthier diet. Like any other health book, though, it’s a good idea to consult your medical practitioner before making changes in your exercise routine or diet.

There’s really not that much new here, but the author has presented it in an easy-to-understand and apply way that is within reach of everyone.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and give it three and a half stars.

Review of ‘Montagnard’

Posted on Updated on

J.D. Cordell’s father, also J.D., was saved by a Montagnard named Dish during the Vietnam War. When the war ended, Dish continued the fight against the communists, running weapons from Thailand into the Vietnamese highlands. When J.D.’s mother, an ethnic Vietnamese who was adopted by Dish, goes to Vietnam to find him, she’s captured by his former enemy. J.D. and Dish team up to rescue her in one of the most interesting novels of the post-Vietnam period I’ve read in a long time.

D.C. Gilbert’s Montagnard is a riveting read that will hold your interest from first to last page. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘I am not a Traitor’

Posted on Updated on

Henry Stein is a 50-year-old master chef for the Israeli submarine force. When he’s laid off after a long career, he’s too ashamed to tell his wife or the other residents of his kibbutz. But, when he’s arrested and charged with passing classified information to a beautiful Korean-American CIA agent, his past begins to unravel.

 

I Am Not a Traitor by Y. I. Latz is a bizarre tale of a man who owes allegiance to two nations, Israel and Britain. He is also smitten by the lovely doctor, a neophyte spy for the CIA, who manipulates him in exchange for the information he picks up in his dining room at the submarine base. The story moves back and forth through Henry’s life, from his life as a young man in England, and the suspicious death of his grandmother, to Colombia, where his daughter is arrested and threatened with a trial for a routine traffic accident, to his experiences with the sometimes-brutal interrogators in the secret Israeli prison where he’s being held.

 

While the facts of Henry’s life are not in dispute almost from the beginning of the tale, where his true loyalties lie—the core theme—does not become clear until very near the end. The author’s judicious dispensation of facts is done in such a way as to keep the reader guessing. Henry is presented as a complex character, one with whom the reader will find it hard to sympathize until the stunning truth is revealed.

 

If you like your spy thrillers packed with false leads, byzantine plots, and plenty of intrigue, you’ll love this book. I received a free copy.