Monthly Archives: December 2015

Hoochy Koochy


By Cliff Yeargin



Jack Eliam. Atlanta P.I. with an assignment to find a long lost one-hit-wonder band member. He also has to try to persuade a neighbor’s ex boyfriend to cough up a couple grand. But neither cases is that simple.

Standard PI fare. Good stuff. Plenty of PI investigation, use of back up assistance when in trouble, all-around what you’d expect in a PI story.


Jack Eliam: Private investigator, bat maker, former pro baseball player, owns a Ford truck, not tech savvy, owns a dog

Catfish Wilson: owns a BBQ joint, drives a red pickup truck, played football at Georgia University

Dexter Truesdale: reverend, 300 pounds, black, white hair, near 80, owns a .38

Slick: manages Catfish’s restaurant, almost 60, just over 5′

Alex: Eliam’s neighbor, early 30s, owns a photography studio

Dillon Bell: frat brother of Catfish’s, former member of a band, sells used cars, 6′, 240 lbs., mostly bald head, wears reading glasses

Teddy Brown: former band member, works for a radio station, graying black hair, reading glasses

A lot of interesting characters. Some unique personalities with interesting nicknames. Each of them add a little extra flavor to the book, especially a guy named Sweet Thang. Eliam does a bit of side notes every now and then, humorous advice in italics on the current situation.


Tag lines that shouldn’t be tags. Incorrect capitalization on a tag. Otherwise, voice are decent. Some missing punctuation, some normal and some that might have been included just to give the extra flavor of the voices and the language used.


First person from Eliam’s POV. Mild profanity.

Easy going style of writing. Light-hearted, casual, not too deep. Some sentences that are part of one sentence could be made into a separate sentence. It’s noticeable, but, somehow it tends to work in this story. Incorrect words used and misspelled words and missing words here and there.

I enjoyed the climactic scene against the bad guys.

So, the dilemma is the judgment of rank. While the plot was good, action tight, I have to take into account the mistakes not caught by editing. If they had been few, I could overlook, but there was a fair amount. Then I look at the style of writing. I think it’s okay, could use a bit more detail here and there, but I think there was enough to capture the essence.

I can’t give the book a Purple Belt, but I debated between Camo and Green. I didn’t want to go so low even with the mistakes but I think back to the Green ranks I’ve given before.

Therefore, to be fair, I will say I enjoyed the book and I would read another mystery by this author if proper editing was done and there was a bit more detail. But, I have to go with:

Camouflage Belt





By Janet Squires


Once again, I caution readers to not send me review requests outside of the boundaries of my guidelines, from genres other than what I prefer. However…I will give guarded permission to those who write animal books similar to the following. I may not accept them all, but if it has a dog or cat or funny animal, then I might consider it. Because, I mean, who doesn’t like animal stories?


An animal rescuer finds Monty, a pit bull mix out in the desert. We follow Monty’s story of recovery, surgeries, and eventual adoption.

This is a very short book that really doesn’t tell a story like many animal books do. This is more of a report with a lot of photos.


Monty: black and white pit bull mix, scarred, broken leg (at beginning of story), had been shot, 37 lbs,

Nicole: animal rescuer

Raviv Balfour: orthopedic surgeon, vet, has a dog

Julie: fosters dogs, dad was an animal rescuer, has other dogs at home

Ginnie: Monty’s eventual owner, has a bulldog

Highlights of those involved with Monty. Not too much description, but there are photos.


One or two sentences only.


Lots of good photos included. Throughout is a tracker of the increased ‘like’ Monty received on Facebook.

Pretty tightly contained. No stories of Monty’s adventures in different situations, just discovery, recovery, adoption. I’m glad Monty went on to be a happy dog with a family, but I expected more adventure and anecdotes. I’m only giving this book the lower rank because of this. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad book, but I wanted more. There were no errors otherwise.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt


Deadly Desire


By Robert Joseph



Who murdered Willard Weems, former concrete king and, of late, a practicing Buddhist? Was it his son or maybe it was Weems’ spiritual leader, a woman who claims to be a channel for the spirit of a Buddhist Rinpoche? What about the woman’s manager? Inspectors Rafferty and Tafoya are on the case.

A standard murder mystery with a little woo-woo (lol) involved. Typical subplot with Rafferty being divorced with a spiteful ex and a teenage daughter.


Gabriel ‘Raff’ Rafferty: 36, homicide investigator, divorced, has a daughter, auburn hair, green eyes, father was a cop, slender, toned, tall, son dead

Enrique ‘Hank’ Tafoya: homicide investigator, married

Nigel Taylor: British, estate manager

Cassandra Calvet: titled Devachen Rinpoche, Buddhist, smooth golden skin, white/blond hair, green eyes, drives a Jaguar

Jason Lytell: Devachen’s manager, early 40s, curly blond hair, has a tattoo

Mark Howard: ferret features, boyfriend of Raff’s ex, prosecutor

Surface characters. Mark is the butt head prosecutor with no purpose except to show up and insult Raff. He has no redeeming qualities. The ex is spiteful all the time. Hank doesn’t play a big enough role throughout. Gabriel is okay but no cop would act as he does. I didn’t understand some of Cassandra’s associates who show up later. They weren’t really explained well enough and their appearance just added confusion to the story.


Some sentences are double tagged. One doesn’t need to let the reader know that the same person said two sentences in one piece of dialogue. Period where a comma should be on a tag.

Not believable dialogue: “Now just what in God’s name do you think you’re going to do with that thing you got in your hand?” This is said by a woman who discovers a killer in her car’s backseat.



A scattering of misspelled words (i.e.: a dead person is not a corps), missing words and punctuation, punctuation in the wrong place (i.e.: periods, for some reason, at the beginning of sentences and extra periods at the end). Extra words (i.e.: which which).

Problem: In one scene, Raff shoots a potential kidnapper but tells his daughter he won’t tell her mother or her new boyfriend – the prosecutor. Wouldn’t it seem believable that the prosecutor would know the situation eventually when the assailant went to court? Yes, the guy died, but Raff didn’t know that at the time. Wouldn’t Raff have to report the incident and complete paperwork on the shooting?

Along with the above, I didn’t understand the purpose of the attempted kidnapping, how it was important to the story.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but cops don’t fire ‘warning shots’. If someone is in danger, the cop will shoot the assailant if there is a clear shot.

Problem: The cops conduct a search for the killer the morning after a double homicide. Wouldn’t they have conducted the search immediately?

Not believable: That Raff would take his daughter camping with the main suspect in the murder during the investigation. In fact, all of the scenes on the trip and the subsequent relationship are not believable.

Some weak writing, especially with dialogue and the Forbidden Planet comparison didn’t work because it wasn’t hinted at early enough. Well, there were a couple of things but they weren’t strengthened enough to give me the sense of something supernatural. The reference and the direction came too late.

Unfortunately, after a potentially promising start, the story falls apart the longer it goes. With the other problems and errors I have no choice but to give this the rank of:

White Belt


The Combat Zone


By Jed Power



1972. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drugs are king. War protesters clog the sidewalks. Private eye Michael Malloy has been hired by a father worried about his missing daughter. Seems a straight-forward enough case, the girl might be involved in the drug scene, so he hires Stony Sundown, a dealer and user, to assist. Soon, though, Malloy runs afoul of a biker gang and the police, two groups of people who want Malloy to cease his search. Another is the mob. Of course, Malloy won’t (because that would make for a stupid story. Lol.) since he’s haunted by an old war memory. His job doesn’t become any easier once the case moves to the bad side of Boston and once he, himself, is affected by some white powder.

A good ol’ P.I. story is hard to beat. Set in a period of turmoil and change, this one has all the elements of a decent story.


Michael Malloy: late 20s, private investigator, former soldier in Vietnam, 6’2”, drives a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, owns a .38

Stony Sundown: early 20s, drug dealer, smokes pot, shoulder length, red/blond hair, blue eyes, bearded, thin, tall

Billy Skinner: mid 30s, police investigator, Malloy’s cousin, 140 lbs, 5’6”, thin, receding brown hair, has a daughter

Tank Turner: bearded, biker gang member, tall, large frame

Julie: Malloy’s former girlfriend, thin, dusty blonde

Nice cast. You have the love interest, the baddies in various forms, the bartender (I mean what P.I. story doesn’t have a bartender at some point?), the assistant, and the cops. What else do you need? Everybody is distinct, with individual personalities.


Pretty good voices. Some extraneous conversation, but nothing that flattens or bores. It just fills in around the edges.


First person from Malloy’s POV. Profanity

A lot of sentences start with ‘and’ or ‘but’. This works sometimes, but I think an author ought to be able to rewrite so as not begin sentences with conjunctions.

Good selection of period references.

While waiting for the big bad guy to make contact and from there to the climax, things slowed. Not much, but just enough I noticed.

One problem I have with Malloy and his drug use: I realize everyone reacts to drugs differently. However, with as much as he uses, I don’t see a lot of the effects except for a couple scenes, other than him getting tired a lot. The author might have shown his actions during the ‘high’, shown his emotions a bit more.

Good action scenes. Intellectual, thought out.

This one is definitely worth the read.

My Rank:

Purple Belt