Monthly Archives: October 2016

Traveler

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By Dennis Green

green

https://www.amazon.com/Traveler-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GZ25M5O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1475455178&sr=8-2&keywords=Traveler%2C+Green

Plot

Travis Becker is a police investigator who is at a low point in his life. His partner is dead, his girlfriend has left him and he’s afraid he is soon to be unemployed. Then he discovers that there are other dimensions with other Trav Beckers, where his partner isn’t dead and his girlfriend hasn’t left him… What’s a guy to do? He’d better get things straightened out because he’s soon to meet a corpse…named Trav Becker.

Too cool an idea. It may take a scorecard to keep all the players straight, but I think this is an excellent plot worthy of study and, well, numerous possibilities.

Characters

Travis Becker: police detective, smokes, 31, black hair, drives a Mustang, father is dead

Sam Markus: particle physicist, spiky red hair, 5’5”, 140 lbs.

Leon Martin: police Captain, 50s, grey hair, wears glasses, master swimmer, tanned

Adam Yount: 23, Trav’s partner, thin, curly blond, blue eyes

Morgan Foster: blonde, psychic, owns a cat

A nice array of characters. There are some good baddies and I won’t mention the other Travs and Sams because that would be too confusing.

Dialogue

Good conversations. Some of the mechanics and techno-ese did become a bit difficult to follow but I didn’t mind and I was able to catch up.

Writing

Some profanity. 1st person from Trav’s POV.

There were some irrelevant Interludes. I had to re-read the first 2 before I understood them.

Trav speaks of his dad and his dad showing up at the end was…a bit too convenient. Especially since he wasn’t included previously in the other dimensions.

The action was good and the good twist near the end was not seen but looking back, I should have realized something was going on that didn’t quite jive with Trav’s attitude.

I enjoyed this book and would gladly read the sequel. Where the author goes from here, only he knows.

My Rank:

Purple Belt

Purple

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The Word

word

By Hubert Crouch

download

https://www.amazon.com/Word-Hubert-Crouch/dp/0692369007/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474762313&sr=8-1&keywords=the+word%2C+crouch

Plot

1. A radical fundamentalist church protests at a veteran’s funeral. The parents hire attorney Jace Forman to sue. Forman hires a private investigator, Jackie McLaughlin to gather evidence.

2. McLaughlin also is involved in helping a reporter who is being terrorized because she is about to release a story on a shady lawyer, Cal Connors, and how he manipulated several medical lawsuits.

3. Connors, who runs a firm with his daughter, is involved with kickbacks to an insurance guy to settle some other cases.

Did you make the tenuous connections? I could have added a fourth with dealing with the problems of accepting the kickbacks. I thought this book was going to be mainly focused on the radical church case with the reporter as a sidekick. Unfortunately, until the end, the case is rotated around the burners along with two or three other plots with subplots sprinkled throughout.

Characters

Ezekial Shaw: assumed name, pastor, long stringy hair, brown hair, beard

Jace Forman: attorney, attended U. of Texas, 40s, has a son, widower

Leah Rosen: reporter: 26, attended U. of Texas

Darrin McKenzie: paralegal for Jace, has a sister, 36, divorced

Eugene Hanson: short, balding, 50s, daughter dead, married

Janice Hanson; Eugene’s wife, gray hair, dark eyes

Jackie McLaughlin: P.I., former cop, wavy brown hair, brown eyes

Cal Connors: attorney

Christine Connors: attorney, Cal’s daughter

And more characters. A typical cast of sleazy lawyers, a preacher, a lawyer, reporter. Nothing unexpected. Good guys and bad guys.

Dialogue

Considering the number of characters, I kept each one separate. Even Darrin and her sister. Dialogue never strayed, kept to the important stuff, moved the story along. Lots of dialogue, as expected, in the court room scenes.

Writing

Book is divided into Parts. However, no page had Part 1 so I didn’t know it was broken into parts until Part 2 showed up.

As mentioned above, I was a bit disappointed the church case wasn’t the main focus. I was looking for a good gritty court room battle with lawyers arguing and investigators turning up last minute evidence and witnesses galore. This read more like a soap opera and it was difficult, at times, to keep the characters and stories straight.

One major problem with this story is time. It was very difficult keeping track of time passing because very few references are made.

I discovered this problem during the beginning chapters. Briefly summarizing:

Chap. 1: the reporter goes home to find her home has been invaded and she has been left a ‘gift’. I read this as her going home at the end of the day. Okay. Maybe, maybe not, it doesn’t tell the time.

Chap 2: the Hansons show up to Forman’s office to discuss the case. I can’t see this happening at night so it must be during the day.

Chap 3: the Connors discuss their sticky matter with the insurance company cases. Apparently this is at lunch time because that’s the way the scene reads. It could be supper, though

Chap 4: back to the reporter. Now it’s 1 a.m.

Chap 5: Jace meets with Jackie. Here’s where I became a bit confused. Is it the next day? Same day? He’s in a different town, so…

I’m not sure which chapter has Christine visiting New York but, again, it doesn’t say when. How many days have passed. The next time we visit the reporter, weeks have passed. Really? With nothing going on in the court case? By the time court is in session for the trial, six months have passed. Fine, but it would have made the story so much better knowing the time frame. Again, a bit soap opera-ish in the way the author handles time.

Clean writing, minimal profanity-maybe two or three instances. Good story(ies) but maybe focus on one or two.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green

Big Flies

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By Keith Hirshland

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https://www.amazon.com/Big-Flies-Keith-Hirshland/dp/1532719361/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474228801&sr=8-1&keywords=Big+Flies%2C+hirshland

Plot

Leland Davis is on a quest to find the secret behind his dad’s life. Who was he? How did he become the man he was? Meanwhile, Chester, his dad, is shown in his early years, developing into something he himself wouldn’t have dreamed.

So we have a man after his fathers life and the father’s life. It thought the premise was fine, but the story itself was half interesting and half confusing.

Characters

Leland Davis: wealthy, owns a dog, drives a Wagoneer, parents dead, 6’2”, blue eyes, brown/black hair

Chester Davis: Leland’s dad, faux travel writer, thief, blue eyes, took martial arts, liked safecracking

Donald Thompson Richards: Nickname is Snoshu, short dark hair, brown eyes

Denny King: bar owner, dad was a cop

There were a couple more characters and the cast was interesting. I would have liked to have seen more of Donald’s personality come through or at least resonate stronger because I liked him. He had a unique personality. Denny and the girl at the end were also unique.

Dialogue

Again, Donald’s shows up with a good voice. There were Mr. and Mrs. Landers and I liked how they spoke.

Writing

The book is divided up into the past and present with the headings of These Days and Those Days. Those Days showed the life of Donald and Chester and how they grew up and what they became.

The author attended the James Patterson class on short chapters.

So, now the problems. How to do this without playing spoiler. About half way through I understood the beginning of the book where it listed three notorious unsolved crimes. I thought the premise of the story and Chester becoming who he was very interesting.

I did have difficulty knowing the passage of time. The book doesn’t tell the ages of Chester and Donald when they had their adventures. It only explains how they grew from children to young men, but the specifics on time didn’t go well for me.

One major confusion was that a major portion of Leland’s These Days scenes…weren’t real. I won’t tell anymore but that didn’t settle well with me. The author tried some coincidence type stuff at the end and that didn’t work either. It happened too quick.

Because of this the story fell apart and became confusing. Leland visits the site of his father’s death but there didn’t seem to be anything relevant in that. He learns who and what his father was…but how he discovered it wasn’t explained. It it was, I missed it. Because of this, Donald’s story didn’t fill out like it should have.

I was disappointed after it was revealed that pages and pages of story didn’t actually happen. And from then on I tried to find a point to the whole thing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo

Haven Of Evil

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By Melvin Rivers

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Evil-Melvin-Rivers/dp/149431746X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466915487&sr=8-1&keywords=haven+of+evil%2C+rivers

Plot

After a flood takes their home, Kevin Wilson and his wife Sandra find a rental place in the small town of Havenville. However, there’s a history to their house and death and demons await all who come to live there.

Fairly typical haunted house, demons, ghost-y tale. Nothing real original. Low level scary stuff.

Characters

Kevin Wilson: Unemployed, drives a Taurus, former reporter

Sandra Wilson: Library assistant, 33, Kevin’s wife, has an Associates Degree in Library Technology

Frank: drives a pickup, gray scraggly hair

Marge Crabtree: realtor, drives a Mercedes

Joy Springs: librarian, 30s, red hair, freckled, drives a VW Beetle

Nate Hill: reverend

Katherine Ford: Sandra’s mother, light complexion, greying hair

There is another character but to give a description of him would play spoiler. It was a disappointment that Marge didn’t have a bigger role since she was a main character in why the Wilson house is haunted. She shows but in a few scenes but I thought should have had a bigger role. Not too much description for a lot of the characters, including Kevin.

Dialogue

Katherine’s voice was distinctive.

The main problem here was the internal dialogue by several characters. Shown in italics, but too lengthy. People don’t think in longer complete sentences that run on for paragraphs. The narrator, being in close, should have told the thoughts.

Writing

This is a shorter book and a relatively quick read. Profanity.

This could and maybe should have been a longer book because there could have been so much more ‘story’, more horror.

No emotions were shown or else glossed over. We don’t see Kevin frightened or Sandra scared. Kevin acts as if the visitations by the demons are nothing to get overly worried about. At least that’s the way much of it comes across.

The twist at the end with Kevin’s friend was okay but might have been stronger had there been something to be scared about. The demon visits to several characters weren’t at all scary and the conversations tended to turn young adult. “Who are you?” “Why don’t you turn around and see for yourself.” Yeah, not very frightening.

I guess I just wanted more of everything. More action, more emotion, more scary stuff, more twists, more originality, more guts to the story.

My rank:

Yellow Belt

Yellow

Full Ratchet

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by Mike Cooper

Mike_Cooper_2

http://www.mikecooper.com/

Plot

Silas Cade is not your ordinary financial auditor who investigates company fraud. He’s the guy you call in when you need some serious juice. Former special operations Cade gets in, finds what needs to be found by whatever means necessary. In Full Ratchet, Cade’s latest job takes him to Pittsburgh to look into some hinky bookkeeping by a small company that makes seismic detectors. Cade works his way through the company in short order to find the problem but afterward is followed to his motel. And his residence in Manhatten is broken into. Cade is now a target and to save himself, he has to find out the truth behind curtain. Russian mobsters and an attractive assassin, however, want a different outcome. Oh, and let’s not forget one other issue with which Cade had to contend…his long lost brother.

Sometimes, you just need a bullet ridden, explosive, car crashing story and this one fills the bill. Cade’s CPA work hides in the back seat in short order as Cade runs into problems from the get-go. I like his style of ferreting out the wrong-doers in the Pittsburgh company. This story throws Cade into a puzzle and he has to work his way through the minimal clues to find the answers. While avoiding guns aimed at him at nearly every turn.

Characters

Silas Cade: financial auditor, owns a Sig Sauer P226, grew up in New Hampshire, foster child, former military, lives in NewYork

Dave Ellins: Cade’s older brother, foster child, owns a welding shop, race car driver, was in prison for auto theft

Harmony: blonde, assassin

There’s not much details on the characters. A little background on Cade and Ellins, but that’s okay. You’re not here for deep emotional issues and a character driven story. This is an action thriller, so the characters stay, relatively, surface. I like Cade’s slick, cynical attitude. He’s knowledgeable and his past military experience comes through. Ellins I also like because of his driving skills.

Dialogue

Pretty standard. Cade’s voice as well as his friends come through pretty well. Conversations stay on point and aren’t lengthy.

Writing

First person from Cade’s POV. Profanity. Some good cynical humor. Fast action, minimal descriptions just to get you into the picture without going into long details. The book reads like Cade is telling you a story of what happened last week during a car ride you and he are taking. Quick points, then moving on. I thought a bit about this because my original inclination was to give it a blue, but because of the different type of story (I mean, a CPA with a gun, for heaven’s sake), I’ll bump it up one rank to:

Brown Belt

Brown