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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Conversations With Dudley Dewlap by Elaine A. Powers - a review

Subtitled: Audio Theater Scripts on the World from a Lizard Point of View.

A delightful theater-style script in the form of radio interviews from a lizard point of view. The stars of our little act are Miles the monitor and Dudley, an iguana. In a setting of personal interviews, interviewing each other and occasionally guests featuring others in the general family such as reptiles and dinosaurs, the two keep a lively repertoire discussing who and what they are.
Powers, who shares her home with a half-dozen iguanas, is an expert who has taken the time to share her knowledge in a fun environment, probably meant for about a fifth grade level, where teachers or reptile club members can learn educational facts about these creatures ie. lizards don’t have vocal chords. We learn this when the iguana’s friends audition for the opera. Alligator wins the part as he can bellow pretty loud.
Written in play form there are instructions for special props and suggestions of names should one of the participants be a female. All in all a humorous educational tool that is fun to read.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Lunatic Life by Sharon Sala - a review

Tara Luna lives with her Uncle Pat, has since her parents died. He is as best a parent as he can be to the young girl. We meet them as they move to Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Another new school where they can call her Luna the Looney, Moon Girl, or even worse, witch. Tara is not only psychic but has a couple of hundred-year-old ghosts, Millicent and Henry, who provide a little protection and advice and cause general mayhem to embarrass Tara at every opportunity. 

Other than her ghostly followers and rare ability to read minds and peer into the future a little, Tara is just like every other teenager: likes the bad boys, has a run-in with the head cheerleader, etc. Sala follows the pattern of typical high school cliques that all of us have run into one way or the other.

Dealing with the rigors of just being a teenager and full of angst, Tara also handles being the new girl and the knowledge there is a foreboding dark presence in the house she and Uncle Pat moved into. By the time she meets the ghost of the young girl who was murdered there, helps save the life of a student at school who is having a seizure, and leads the police to one of her schoolmates who has been kidnapped, all by demonstrating her psychic powers to her new friends, Uncle Pat is forced to believe there is more to Tara than meets the eye.

Using real places and street names in the Stillwater area helps bring this book to life. In this, the first in the series of the “My Lunatic Life” young adult novels, Sala gives us a plucky little heroine to cheer for and leaves us eager to read the next book, for after all, there is still a murder to solve if the ghost of the child in her house is to be appeased.


My e-book version of 'Blood on His Hands' is published by Suspense Publishing through Smashwords and I recently completed an author interview with them to let my readers know a little more about me.

You can find the interview

Please pass the link on to others that might be interested in reading my work.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Never Go Back by Lee Child - a review

Reacher’s at it again; out to save whatever soul falls across his path, only this time he is drawn in to his old Battalion command, the 110th through the voice of a woman; a woman who is in his former position, commander of the unit, Major Susan Turner.

Seems Reacher has finally been turned by female wiles. He thought her voice sounded nice and he wanted to take her to dinner. Instead he gets taken. It appears he killed a man in a fight years ago and the army has finally charged him now he is back on their territory. Also he is wanted by a former girlfriend who wants child support. Could this be the end of the Reacher episodes after eighteen books? He is back in the army, charged under military court martial, and has a child to support with apparently a new girlfriend, who by the way has been removed from her post for taking a bribe.

Reacher was never one to sit and languish in a cell. And anyway he smells a rat. Someone with a voice as sweet as Susan Turner could never have taken a bribe, he’s sure of that. He breaks them out of jail and they begin a cross country chase to discover the truth on all the above allegations. As usual nothing is what was initially conceived to be but it is the way that Reacher discovers the truth and sticks it to the man at the same time that is classic Lee Child at his best.

Without giving the plot away let it suffice to say that Reacher lives to wander on in his normal post-conquest way and Child will be bringing him back to you as soon as the nineteenth volume is hot off the presses.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Candle The Moon by Candi Cornell - a review

With more twists than a corkscrew and a story more complex than fine wine “Candle the Moon” leads us through a suspense-laden murder mystery in Tucson through the eyes of private investigator, Maggie Moretti.

It all starts with the mysterious murder of Nicki, the daughter of Sophia, Moretti’s father’s goomatta, who was attempting to blackmail Maggie throwing suspicion of motive on several people, including Peter, the fiancĂ© of Lisa, Maggie’s BFF. Only Maggie knows how close she comes to being killed, and where Nicki’s body is hidden, but can she keep that secret and distribute enough misinformation to make others think that Nicki just ran off with a wealthy man to explain her being missing?

Over the years, Maggie, in her role as P.I., has helped several wealthy women out of a tight spot as they prepared to battle against soon-to-be ex-husbands in divorce court, none more than wealthy heiress, Jane. When it turned out her lying, cheating scum of a husband was Maggie’s ex-husband Joe Stygian, she is happy to help put the screws to him. What Maggie doesn’t know is that Joe was cheating on Jane with Sophia, who in turn put out a hit on Maggie because of the ill-will between Maggie and Nicki. Joe, partner in bed and in crime, took that hit and sold it to his twin brother Dan, and so the story revolves again.

The reader is dragged through this hot delicious mess, hoping for a happy ending, but Cornell has left room for more than one twist in the end to make you shake your head in wonder, and sets up the next saga in Maggie’s twisted life wonderfully. Bring on the sequel.

Murder at the Leopard by R.M. Vassari & L. O. Lampe - a review

In Sicily, Amodeus and his wife Ysabella open a tavern in Palermo. The Leopard is built to be close to the local tanners, artisans, and craftsman; situated close to both the docks and the city council. Amodeus hopes the shrewd planning will work well for business.

Extra business is anticipated for the opening week, the beginning of Holy week when pilgrims will be traveling from out of town. One, a retired soldier from the Holy wars, has plans to pay a surprise visit to a former acquaintance, Simon, one of the rich traders who lives in the estates in the hills. Business had been very profitable for the cloth trader who, following the death of his wife, made the accumulation of wealth his priority. Now with the civil unrest, war is threatened. Simon recognizes an opportunity and passes on information to the opposition for a price. When two bodies are found, one a drunken patron from the tavern on the city streets, the other in the wine cellar of the Leopard, it looks like they are destined to be a public house of bad repute.

When Simon’s past, and current situation, rears up to meet with the murder of an old friend, and then his own nephew found stabbed in the tavern, followed by the false arrest of Amodeus, it is left to Ysabella and her friends to investigate. Everyone but the authorities are sure the wrong man has been falsely accused. However, not only is there a murder to solve, but the mystery of the four identical gold pieces held by Simon, the old soldier and two others, one who is a  murder victim the other the Archbishop who performs his memorial service. Some forty-year-old business is still to be resolved. What is the link with the current killing spree? As suspect after suspect are systematically eliminated, this historical suspense thriller expertly weaves a tale of revenge, treason, and murder into a very sustainable story.

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