Monthly Archives: April 2017

Victim Of Compromise

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By Luke Johnson

https://www.amazon.com/Victim-Compromise-Luke-Johnson-ebook/dp/B005HFLB4C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490312214&sr=8-1&keywords=victim+of+compromise

Plot

Ray King is a recently promoted Chief Inspector and his first case is the murder of a private investigator. The case involves some very important individuals involved in politics. Add to that an apparent suicide. Just when King thinks he he has the case solved, he realizes he doesn’t…and the body count rises.

An intricate plot set in Britain. Pretty well laid out with some surprises along the way.

Characters

Ray King: Chief Inspector, 6’2”, peat brown hair

Terry Donovan: Detective Sergeant, 6’, carrot colored hair

Annette Crosley: former cop, private investigator, brown hair, green eyes, drives an MG Metro

Jim Wallace: graying hair, burly, Chief of detectives

Charles Robertson: MP, tall, sandy hair, 40s, married w/children, owns a security company

A nice cast. Lots of people and a lot of them die. I think there are good personalities and fairly well developed throughout.

Dialogue

Donovan has a good accent, dropping the H’s in a lot of words. The attorneys and Robertson have good voices, too. A lot of conversation. Near the end, I realized the cops spend an awful lot of time talking to people or interviewing people, even if it was a relatively short conversation.

Writing

Book is divided into Parts. Some profanity.

I wondered for a bit how the rest of the book was going to play out when the apparent murderer was caught early on. Then the complexity started and it turned into a pretty good chase after the killer since people kept getting killed.

I don’t have anything bad to say about the book. Clean writing. Everything worked out well. It would be interesting to see if King and company show up again in another book. If they do, I think it would be a worthy read.

My Rank:

Purple Belt

Purple

Them

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By M. G. Hardie

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(book to be released May 23)

Plot

One day, stock broker Devon Heathrow finds a package that contains a pair of glasses. Using the glasses, he is able to see strange beings-Them-from another dimension who subsequently attack him. Rescued and physically altered by another entity, Devon now wanders the world in search of answers, trying to avoid Them, and saving humanity from Them…if he can.

That’s my take on the plot. Had I known how the book was going to present this plot…I would have rejected the review request.

Characters

Devon Heathrow: stock broker, married with child, brown eyes.

Yep. One character, and the eye color is all the description I could find.

Okay, yes, there were other characters, but they were so far below minor because most of them showed up for a scene, then were gone.

So, there are the creatures called Them and most were given weird names. He, Him, Me, Ask. Others were given names-I assume-by Devon, which represented what they did: Landslide, Avalanche, Tsunami, etc. There is a guy named Prime who shows up later in the book who is one of Them. The He character is the surgeon who gave Devon the alterations to make Devon more than human.

There is another other-dimension group called the Sway, who influence humans more subtly than major catastrophes. In fact, one of the Sway is named Influence.

Unfortunately, these names made reading more difficult, especially when the He character was around Whenever sentences started with He, I had to read carefully to determine whether the sentence dealt with the Them He or he Devon.

The problem I had with Them and Sway, was because of how the book was written, these characters didn’t develop. They popped in and out. Every time a new character was introduced, I thought, “Okay, now we’ll have more than a passing interaction.” Nope. Gone by the next scene or chapter.

Dialogue

Beyond the problems of the characters, there were massive amounts of dialogue. The scene with He was mostly dialogue and He dumped so much useless, irrelevant information in lengthy passages, I stopped caring. The information dump was an encyclopedia entry listing almost everything about Them. This was done way too early in the book and most of the information was not relevant throughout the rest of the book and the way the story developed. The last 80 pages was mostly dialogue, with looooong passages and explanations, and most of that was repetitious concepts that were given throughout.

Devon has way too many way too long internal monologues. People do not think in multiple page paragraphs.

Writing

Where do I start? Titled chapters. Profanity. Punctuation problems. Misspelled words.

ALL of the book was telling, not showing. Action scenes were either too short or too long and none of them showed the pain or emotions of Devon. They were related through telling. Passive verbs, ‘ing’ verbs with lessen the tension.

There is a major problem with tenses. The author jumps from present to past and it doesn’t make sense and doesn’t work.

POV jumps. Narrator jumps from close 3rd to distant 3rd to medium 3rd too abruptly. It was jolting and threw me out of the scene.

Many times there are two sentences as one sentence and those two pieces don’t relate to each other.

Poorly written sentences. Weak writing. In one scene it is written that two Them used their fist, instead of fists. Many times I had to re-read sentences to figure them out.

Continuity problem: At the beginning Devon drives a Camaro. A few pages later the car is an Impala.

Time problem: After the surgery, Devon awakens to find himself in a barn on a farm. Minutes later, the house is destroyed and the family killed by Them. In the same scene, just a little time has passed and Devon hears the incident being reported on a passing car radio.

So, Devon is altered. Some time has passed because when he reaches out to a friend, he discovers he’s wanted for crimes back at the office and his bank accounts were frozen. However, he seems to find money to hop a train and cruise ship. This shift in transportation has problems, too. He was taking a train to California. I assumed he went some distance before the train derailed. Then he was on a cruise ship. How did he get there? How did he pay for the train ride? How did he survive at least a week with no money. None of these questions are answered.

After the cruise ship disaster, he begins wandering the world and for over half the book he travels and explores and examines and philosophizes and fights battles and rescues babies in way too numerous quick scenes and it’s exhausting to read. I kept waiting-in vain-for revelations to be made, for him settle down and do something substantive to the story. This doesn’t happen until he meets Prime and begins the endless conversation.

Jobs he held included lumberjack, construction, vigilante. He’s paid for his work but in one scene he uses an ATM. What? He’s traveling all the time, when did he have time to set up another bank account?

Attempts at lofty concepts and philosophy and the diatribes on human nature and the human species…it was all too much.

All in all, this was a poorly written book with a plot that never got off the ground because everything was told instead of shown and Devon was never grounded long enough to develop and give the reader something worthwhile. The characters were all but irrelevant and never developed. The dialogue was long with too much information.

My rank:

White Belt

White

Off The Grid

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By Robert Kingett

kingett

https://www.amazon.com/Off-Grid-Living-Without-Internet/dp/B013N7J3OU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488933751&sr=8-1&keywords=off+the+grid%2C+kingett

Plot

What happens when a blind journalist accepts a challenge to go for a month with no Internet? No email, no Facebook, no Twitter, nothing connected to the World Wide Web? This book shows how he deals with: his job, obtaining a job, receiving information, traversing around Chicago. Will he survive without podcasts? What type of world did he leave behind and now faces.

Actually, I think is a very insightful book and plot. A man’s struggle in the modern world and what he loses…and gains.

Characters

Robert Kingett: (yes, the author), almost blind, lives in Chicago, freelance journalist, homosexual

Marcus: black, brown eyes

Crystal: blind, brown hair with gold flecks

Travis Cornell: homosexual, brown eyes, 6’

I realize the book deals with Robert but I was disappointed in a lot of the characters. They weren’t developed enough. He meets Crystal but she’s never mentioned again. Did he connect up with her after the month was over? Robert’s friends show up every now and then, but they don’t seem to have an impact, other than the scene when they were trying to hook up a landline telephone. Which scene seemed a bit unbelievable that nobody would know to plug one the jack into the phone and the other end into the wall. Unless I’m missing something, I can’t believe the setup could be that incomprehensible.

Dialogue

Not much, but Robert has his own voice (if you can get by imagining what he sounds like singing in the shower. Lol.) The conversations do show his frustrations when dealing with people who don’t understand that-for awhile-he doesn’t have access to the Internet.

Writing

Profanity. Titled chapters. Short book.

A couple misspelled words, a couple punctuation errors, and a capitalization error.

As mentioned, I think this has wonderful insight into today’s world and how people behave and interact. I found common ground with him when he was looking for a job and the employers wanted email resumes or online applications. If I may relate my own story: I ran into a similar situation years ago when I couldn’t access a certain college’s website to apply for a job. So I spent an hour looking for the campus employment office (which was actually off campus). When I walked in, half the lights were out and one person was manning the desk. I wanted to apply for a position. She told me the college did everything online. “Here’s my resume and I’ll fill out an application.” “No, you have to do it online.” “But I’m right here.”

I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t accept my resume. I was standing right in front of her. I walked out thinking that she really needed to find another job because her position was obsolete.

Anyway, back to Kingett’s book. What I thought interesting was that though he constantly mentioned his blindness, I felt that disability was almost secondary to his troubles having no Internet. They were inter-connected, but his problems were common enough to be relevant for anybody with no access who needs information.

Of course he did mention the vast wasteland the Internet has become but he did mention it has become vital for persons with disability to function ‘up to speed’ with everyone else.

So, for ranking. As mentioned I was a bit disappointed with the lack of other characters’ developments and I was a bit disappointed with the ending. I hope I’m not playing spoiler by saying when Robert goes back online, I found it sad that he acted like a junkie who, after being deprived of his drugs for too long, has now been shown the vault of heroin.

Okay, maybe not that bad and there was humor in some of his actions, but, in a sense, that’s what it reminded me of.

My rank:

Green Belt

Green

A Touch Of Suspense

atouchofsuspense

By Kathryn J. Bain

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N80NUI8/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Plot

Three stories, all featuring K.T. Morgan.

In The Visitor a serial killer thinks he has his next victim well in hand.

Small Town Terror brings serial kidnappers/murderers back to a town they visited years before and this time they’re wanting to teach everyone a lesson.

In Reunion, a felon is determined to take back what he thinks is his: his ex wife.

So, these have a wandering woman-K.T.-showing up in the locales of each story, the heroine to save the day. I think the basic plots of each are good, but there are problems. The major one is that I was unfamiliar with the K.T. character. She just shows up with no explanation of why she’s in the towns to begin with. Is she a Jack Reacher type who travels around and ends up in these dramas? It seemed almost too pat to have the bad guys already in action and K.T. pops up. In Reunion, I didn’t understand why K.T. befriended the daughter of the guy the felon’s ex was going to marry. I would have thought the teen would have had better sense than to accept friendship from a stranger so quickly.

Characters

Christine Westman: 26, blonde, blue eyes, medical assistant

Kathleen ‘KT’ Morgan: 5’8”, around 30, widow, brown eyes, tattoo on shoulder, drives a Jeep, former Marine

Colt: has a brother, scar on face

Elizabeth Corman: waitress, married, pregnant, mom dead, blonde

Raymond Lindley: divorced

Some good characters and some of them had decent background information even for the short-ness of the stories. I was a bit confused since in the first story, K.T. was introduced as Kathleen Tatiana but used Morgan in the other two stories. No explanation why.

Dialogue

For the most part, I think the characters had separate voices. The teen in Reunion and her dad. K.T.’s tone was pretty straightforward, even when conning the bad guys in Small Town Terror. She didn’t become too excited or emotional in her conversations.

Writing

Chapters headed by date/time

3rd person POV except for parts in The Visitor when scenes were 1st person from the killer’s POV.

In Small Town Terror, I thought there were too many repetitions of the phrase “…when Shirley arrived/came.” in reference to the impending birth of the baby.

Because of the short stories a lot of things, as mentioned above weren’t fully developed. K.T.’s character/background/reason for wandering around the country.

The main bad guy in Small Town Terror wants to visit this small town to teach them a lesson before he and his gang head off to Cuba. First: there was no explanation on what happened the last time he was in the town, if he had lived there, etc. Second, I didn’t quite believe that the bad guys thought they could just hop a boat to Cuba and why would think to go there?

Clean writing throughout and I understand K.T. is in a longer novel, so watch for that. Maybe in that book, there will be explanations. For this triple feature I give this a

Green Belt

Green