Monthly Archives: June 2016

No God In Tannam

NGIT COVER 1

By Jimmy Macram

http://www.amazon.com/No-God-Tannam-1/dp/1530935164/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463887250&sr=8-1&keywords=no+god+in+tannam

Plot

Tim Landry is a cop who steps over the line to get the job done. In this story, he’s up against the mob. Who blew up a building? Who murdered a gangster? He’s also contending with his wife who hires the same P.I. he hired to follow her. Trying to hold off dissension in his own ranks, heat from above, and avoiding the tempting attractive bad girl…Landry is in a fight for his job, his life, and his city.

A classic good/bad cop against bad guys. This one is complex with a lot of angles and I had a bit of a problem following all of the connections. Part of the problem was that this was a shorter novel than most and could have been fleshed out to give more ‘story’ to the large cast.

Characters

Tim Landry: detective, married with children, 34, 6’2”, ran track in high school

Stephen Fitzgerald: Assistant District Attorney, 6′, black hair, 32

Donovan McCullough: 6’4”, 29, cop, almost 250 pounds, brown hair, bearded

Shaun Peters: Private detective, blond

Derek Bailey: cop, black, 6’4”, married, large frame

Several other characters, some of them with fewer descriptions than others. I thought the characters were fine. Each had a definite role and didn’t blend into each other. I thought characters worked well together.

The problem with characters was that one was introduced halfway through the story, then worked into the main plot and I didn’t think that worked. I also thought that some back story on more of the characters or more definite involvement in the main plot would have worked. There was back story alright…and that led to more problems.

Dialogue

Not too bad. Some good voices, good interplay, especially between Landry and Bailey. The ‘baddies’ had some good voices.

Writing

Profanity. Titled chapters. Some punctuation errors. Shaun was spelled Shawn at first, then Shaun the rest of the time.

The ending was good, but I don’t think the conflict between Landry and his wife was succinctly handled. She all but dropped out of the story in the last third of the book. Ditto with Peters.

The two major things that brought this book down in rank were:

1. Present tense. It was present throughout the entire book. This book was a lot of THEN and NOW story, which is fine. I have a book the same way. However, I use present tense in the NOW sections and past tense in the THEN sections. I think that would have worked here. With present tense being throughout, I lost a bit of when the scene was taking place. The time passing in the story was difficult to follow, especially when there was a lot of THEN story. Specific dates would have been an immense help in keeping the time line straight.

2. This book took a very distant omnipresent POV. Very distant. A lot of telling what was going on instead of showing. I was very far from the characters. Ditto with setting. Never did we get in close to emotions or pain or fear. It was clinical in the telling and I didn’t feel anything for the characters. I wanted to despise Landry for the heel and cheat he was and root for him to catch the bad guy. But I didn’t because there was no feelings from him. Ditto with his wife. Her emotions never were shown.

I think the author has some good characters to use. He has a good story to tell. He has sequel potential, but unless we see some personality innards from the characters, the stories will be flat and emotionless and these are not characters to waste.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo

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Resort Isle

resortisle

By Paul Sekulich

Paul 7-20-04 2 - cropped

https://www.amazon.com/Resort-Isle-Detective-Frank-begins-ebook/dp/B013T97YIY?ie=UTF8&keywords=resort%20isle&qid=1463650822&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Plot

After a detective’s family is killed, he works hard to elect a district attorney to the U.S. Senate, in the hope that a new form of detention for criminals will be introduced. Put these people on an island off the coast of California. No guards, no gates, and the rules are their own. What happens when the detective is sent to the island?

I was intrigued by this book because I was expecting a lot of good adventure and action. I a was somewhat disappointed. Not completely, but a bit.

Characters

Frank Dugan: homicide detective, married with 2 children, former Marine, drives a black Ford Bronco

Marty Dimino: district attorney, drives a gray BMW 340

Charlene Stone: 30s, dark eyes, Phd.

Rico Guzman: drug lord, smokes cigars

A few other characters. Not enough physical description of anybody. Good variety of baddies and good guys.

Dialogue

Not bad. Some voices come through although I could have wanted a bit more distinction between Frank and Marty.

Writing

Profanity.

Very difficult to judge time passage until later in the story. The time passage between the beginning and about the time Frank is on trial was almost impossible to tell. Some reference would have helped.

The writing itself was pretty good. No misspelled words or punctuation or grammar errors.

The story was pretty good. My disappointment was in reference to the title and the blurb. Here you have an island where a lot of the really bad criminals are going to be placed. Then you have the inevitable point where the good guy is trapped on the island. Great! That’s what I wanted. In reality, the action on the island is reserved for the end of the book, within the last 60 or so pages (on my Nook edition). And it was constantly interrupted by other scenes back on the mainland.

I didn’t experience a whole lot of danger or suspense or real action. It never seemed as if the protagonist was ever in mortal danger, either by wildlife or humans. Sure, you knew the good guy wins, but injure him a bit, put some emotion in. Frank’s relationships with sharks was interesting, but could have have been played upon more. There was a pretty good chase scene with the cops and some bad guys, but all through that scene I kept wondering when we’re going to be to the island.

One graphic murder scene.

As mentioned, good book, but I wanted more. This is the first in a series, so there’s time for more in future stories.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green

Pigeon-Blood Red

BOOK COVER

By Ed E. Duncan

ED DUNCAN

http://www.amazon.com/Pigeon-Blood-Red-Ed-Duncan/dp/1943549508/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463268500&sr=8-1&keywords=pigeon+blood+red

Plot

When a valuable necklace is stolen, Rico must retrieve it for his gangster boss. He tracks the thief to Hawaii, but complications arise and what started as a simple payback mission, turns upside down.

This reads more like a suspenseful soap opera with various characters throughout. I think the author does a good job of mixing enough back story into what is a shorter novel than most.

Characters

Richard ‘Rico’ Sanders: over 6′, dark eyes, works for a gangster, curly black hair, 4 siblings, parents dead

Jerry: smokes, works with Rico, pale, sandy brown hair, 3 older brothers

Jean: prostitute, red hair, dad dead, divorced, 3 sisters

Robert McDuffie: owns several stores, married

Evelyn McDuffie: Robert’s wife, black svelte

Frank Litvak: gangster, overweight, late 40s, balding

Paul Elliott: attorney, widower

One of the problems I had with characters is I think some of them were black but that didn’t come across. No, they don’t have to have stereotypical characteristics, but when I made a mental picture, I pictured several of these characters as Caucasian. A character who had a definite influence on the story was introduced too late in the story and I felt that part was forced. As if the author thought: Wait, I have to throw in one more piece of plot. I think this character should have been brought in earlier, especially since the reason for his later inclusion was shown near the beginning.

Dialogue

Pretty good. Some voices tried to come through. Many books have average conversations and voices and I think this one fits in with those.

Writing

Profanity. Book separated into Parts.

For the most part I think this was solid writing. As mentioned above it had more of a soap opera feel to it especially since there was omnipresent POV. Rico was the only character I felt close to. Jean a little bit, but not much.

One thing that stood out that struck me odd was (no spoiler, just more details of the plot): Litvak gives Rico a valuable necklace. Robert steals the necklace. Hence the chase. However, I didn’t ever figure out the reason gave Rico the necklace in the first place. Litvak had had it stolen and I assume was going to have Rico give it to a fence, but this wasn’t clear. And for Rico to be so nonchalant about handling and carrying the very expensive piece of jewelry wasn’t quite believable.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green

Ruffian: The Story Of A Jockey

ruffian

By Beverly Harrison

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https://www.amazon.com/Ruffian-Story-Jockey-Beverly-Harrison-ebook/dp/B01AB3A69U?ie=UTF8&keywords=ruffian%2C%20harrison&qid=1462924413&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Plot

Syd Paul, a female jockey, is attacked during a race and tragedy results. She finds herself racing for the finish line and for her life as she’s involved in a scheme to make sure certain horses don’t win. Who’s behind the race fixing? Joe McQueen, detective, is on the case, but can he be there when it’s down to the wire and the photo finish may mean life or death. Ain’t no horsing around in this book.

Okay, I will admit to being a Dick Francis fan and so I was intrigued by this one. I like the premise. It’s a simple plot with lots of action, some dirty deeds, and no lack of horses.

Characters

Sydney Paul: jockey, 30ish, strong, 5’2”, long dark hair, drives a mini Cooper

Maria: Syd’s valet, Hispanic

Stevie Pike: Syd’s agent

Joe McQueen: police detective, blue eyes

There are few others and I like the variety of the cast. Syd’s quick with a movie line and I like her spunk. Joe could have had a bit more ‘character’ rather than playing the handsome cop. I would have like to have seen a quirk or two. I didn’t like McQueen’s supervisor who needed some smoothing out of the rather rough edges.

Dialogue

For the most part okay. However, now we start running into problems. During Syd’s second kidnapping (sorry to play a bit of a spoiler here), the conversation she has with the kidnapper isn’t believable. After going through a horrendous and terrifying first kidnapping, instead of showing that she’s scared out of her wits, which would be natural, she’s having a “Don’t you think you’ve made bad life choices” talk with her abductor. And he’s buying it, sort of.

Writing

Profanity and almost too much from the board of directors.

First person from Syd’s POV.

The problems multiply here with: missed punctuation and capitalization errors. The biggest problem I found that became very annoying is with tense. Most of the book is past tense, but Syd breaks into present tense a lot. And not just when she’s thinking. For instance: Mary walked down the street. (Past tense) I must remember to buy some milk. (Present). This works because she’s thinking about it. But there are too many cases where the author abruptly switches to present tense and it clearly doesn’t work.

As mentioned lots of action, including a graphic kidnapping scene. Good climax with the final race.

However, to be fair, I can’t overlook the mistakes. Clean up the writing and I’ll be back for another adventure with Syd.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo