Monthly Archives: October 2017
By Trey Stone
Jordan Greer, Gerard Martin, and Dana Norman all work for the FBI in Columbus. Their supervisor is Sean Calloway. One day, Martin walks into his boss’ office and shoots him. Why did he do it? Greer and Norman are determined to find out…if they can get around a formidable internal affairs agent.
Okay. Again, I was intrigued by the plot. The problem was that’s about it for the plot. I expected Greer and Norman to be hitting the streets in search of clues, but all of the story takes place at the hospital (for a short scene), Greer’s house, or the FBI offices. Plus, there are other problems that will be discussed later.
Jordan Greer: FBI agent, 32, 6’2”, blond
Gerard Martin: FBI agent, 40s, heavyset, short brown hair, former British SAS, married
Dana Norman: FBI agent, black hair, has a sister, former cop
Sean Calloway: FBI agent
Lloyd Ackerman: FBI internal affairs investigator, large frame, balding
None of these characters acts like I would expect FBI agents to act. Ackerman shouts and is angry all the time. The other agents, either Norman/Greer or the internal affairs investigators Ackerman brings with him-don’t act like agents. Much of the ‘investigation’ is a lot of nothing except IA people on the computer researching Martin, but every now and then someone comes up with…a CLUE. When he/she does, I can almost hear the soap opera cliffhanger music pop in because everybody has an OMG moment.
Major problems here. Many of the issues are with capitalization and punctuation. Most of the dialogue is missing a comma before the tag. The tag may not be an actual tag, but may be a brand new sentence. Fine, but there’s no period in the dialogue and the first letter of the new sentence isn’t capitalized.
Way too many exclamation points. Way too many yelling and screaming tags. And the scene itself should explain to whom someone is talking. If there are only two people, there is no need to write Norman said something to Ackerman. That’s obvious.
Other than that Ackerman has the only distinguished voice and only because he can’t stop yelling.
Basically, the dialogue sounded forced, overdone.
Where to start? The only profanity is the ‘F’ word. Okay maybe a damn here and there, but F is overused.
Chapters are headed a bit strangely. They’re headed by the character who will have the POV in the chapter, the date and time. However, there is some weird computer coding that I don’t understand.
When I saw the above chapter headings and the errors on dialogue mentioned above, I checked the pdf file I had converted to epub, thinking maybe something went wonky in the conversion. I also contacted the author and was informed that the copy I received was the version that was published.
Okay, onto other problems:
– Spelling errors. Incorrect words used. Capitalization errors. Example: agent Greer. When used with a name, Agent is a title so it should be capitalized.
– It is not believable that the Norman and Greer did not remember sooner that Martin was married or that Ackerman didn’t know Martin was married until told.
– Subsequently, why did Ackerman and company rush over to the Martin’s house and bust in the door scaring Martin’s wife? Doesn’t make sense. There wasn’t any notion that she was in danger or at least it wasn’t made clear enough.
– In regards to Norman, why does Greer call his partner by her last name most of the time?
– On page 61 in my epub format, Ackerman begins the interrogation of Martin. This goes on for awhile with some shouting and conversations with his other IA agents. Then there’s a Norman/Greer scene. About 20 pages later, the interrogation scene is repeated except this time it’s from Martin’s POV. This is weird. Why repeat an entire scene from another character’s POV? I thought there was an error and stuff was repeated by accident.
– Speaking of repetitions there were too many times of ‘the giant man’ or ‘the giant’ when referring to Ackerman, the ‘black haired agent’ when referring to Norman, and ‘the little woman’ or ‘the blonde woman’ when referring to Martin’s attorney.
– Martin’s attorney declines to be Greer’s attorney when he’s arrested because she’s ‘impartial’. If she were impartial she would take him on.
– Too much back and forth between Norman/Greer and Ackerman on whether the two agents can talk to Martin. Get on with it.
– Hardly any action. The bit scenes when the agents take down bad guys lack real tension and felt like filler material.
And the ending lost its tension with too much dialogue.
The writing is weak and the dialogue is over the top. This reads like people who didn’t understand their roles overacting in a stage play.
By Lincoln Cole
Okay. May I begin with a rarity? Usually, I start with a short blurb about what I read as the plot. Sometimes, I’m disappointed because what either the author has sent me as a description of the book or what I read on Amazon does not adhere to the actual contents. In this case, may I submit the Amazon blurb:
A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.
Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.
Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?
The above is what attracted me to the book. The disappointment was that the above blurb is mostly untrue. The actual is: Abigail spends a lot of the book rescuing Haatim and tracking down a connection to her mentor who saved her at the beginning of the book. Yes, Haatim has a secret and yes, he does ‘team up’ with Abigail, but it’s a reluctant team up. They don’t even reach Raven’s Peak until page 128 of my epub version which has 205 pages. And it’s not even in Raven’s Peak proper that the weird stuff is happening.
Some of this is explained, but if I had known this was the plot, I might have passed.
Arthur Vangeest: demon hunter
Frieda: brown hair
Abigail Dressler: early 20s, black, brown eyes, scar on cheek
Haatim Arison: sister dead
George Wertman: overweight
Not much description of anybody but Abigail. Abigail comes off as a bit cynical, tough but her constant attitude of not answering questions became a bit irritating. Haatim plays a good counter to Abigail in that he’s a complete wuss. I can understand naivete, it was a little difficult to accept he doesn’t know which end of a gun to point at somebody. He changes near the end, but still is a weak character. Not enough of Frieda ‘s involvement in the book to care about.
For the most part, okay. Characters have distinctive voices, including the demons.
The issues I had in this category were:
Repetitive descriptions of Abigail. Once you have a character established, the reader doesn’t need to be reminded that she’s black with brown eyes.
As mentioned above, I had a problem with the plot. Also as mentioned the bad stuff doesn’t take place in the town of Raven’s Peak, but in a campground…an hour away? Really? An hour?
Another aspect of the story I couldn’t accept: Out in the woods near this campground is the original location for the town of Raven’s Peak, with structures still standing. After years and years, nobody has come across this site? No hikers? Lumber companies? Surveyors? It isn’t discovered until a twelve year old boy wanders away and gets lost and he finds it?
Another weird thing: When Abigail and Haatim go to the site Abigail finds a guy-the lone survivor of a group of campers-doing something strange in the church. Then she walks away to call Frieda for assistance? Really? She doesn’t inquire as to what the guy is doing? Doesn’t recognize the supernatural woo-woo going on? Doesn’t recognize that the guy might have problem? She’s going to go away and call to see what needs to be done?
My main issue was that this was a shorter book than most and I expected to get to the main plot as told by Amazon sooner than we did. It took a long time to rescue Haatim from his first supernatural encounter then another long section of recovery and escaping Arizona. Then, when I thought they were off to RP in Tennessee, they divert to Colorado to torture a demon for information. Then off to another scene to make another connection to Abigail’s mentor. Finally, they reach RP, or rather the campground.
I don’t mind subplots, but the incident at RP turned out to be the subplot and if it hadn’t for the incident with these campers, I don’t think Abigail and Haatim would have found anything. They certainly didn’t obtain any concrete information in town about previous incidents of ‘something weird going on.’
There was repetitive phraseology in the action sequences:
Example (not in the book but only an example): He shot, causing the other man to fall back.
The repetition was an action following by an ‘ing’ word the action resulted in. This type of writing was over used.
Clean book otherwise, with no grammar/punctuation/spelling issues but I am going to have to drop it from the original intent of Camo to:
By Matt Ziselman
Once again, I deviate from the usual mystery/thriller reviews to bring you a book I thought was pretty special. I hope you won’t mind too much.
How the lives of three dachshunds influence the perspective of their owners. That’s what Hounded is all about: looking at the actions, reactions, and personalities of dogs and relating them to the life of Matt Ziselman. He begins the book by sharing the story of how he met his first pet, a German Shepherd, as a young boy. Then he jumps to his current adult life, married with children and the trio of canines in his household. Baxter, the 25 pounder; Maya, the emotionally scarred older dog; and Molly, the happy-go-lucky vicious licker. In every chapter he discusses the quirks, habits, and eccentricities of the dogs. These include: Molly’s eating of poop, Baxter’s attempts at dominance over the others, and Maya’s phobias about the front entrance, hall, and stairs. Then Ziselman will relate these doggie dos to particular instances within his own life. He’ll discuss, upon more than one occasion, his parents’ death, his own brand of OCD, and how he shouldn’t worry so much.
This is not your typical let’s-talk-about-my-special-pet book. I love animal books and learning about the pets in people’s lives. Ziselman, however, sets out to give us, and himself, life lessons. In fact, he calls them Daschund Life Lessons. At the end, however, he changes those to Life Reminders. The circumstances, personalities, and decisions he discusses in Hounded are those to which many people can relate. We’ve all done similar things, have similar quirks. And with a discussion of dogs, you can’t go wrong.
Baxter: 25 pound dachshund, stares a lot, acts dominant, but is not
Maya: adopted from is assumed but not outright stated, a puppy mill, emotionally scarred, apathetic, has phobias
Molly: happy-go-lucky, the boss, intense licker
Of course there is the author himself whose list of characteristics would pretty much spoil the book and be too long to mention. His wife and daughter are also included. I enjoyed listening to the dogs’ quirks and lives and hearing about Ziselman’s life was interesting in its own way.
Since this is a certain type of non-fiction book, there is little dialogue. I listened to the audio book so the narrator used a different voice to reflect the author’s daughter. Which is fine. Same with the author’s wife.
He blends well humor and serious, tear-jerker material. At first, I was a bit put off by his use of profanity, but it works. So, buyer beware, that this is not a children’s doggie book. This is for adults. I listened to the audio version which added the extra nice quality of hearing a narrator’s inflections which further brought out the humor. I did want to hear more about the dogs and not so quickly moving to the author’s dealing with an issue in his life. But that’s what the book is about. It doesn’t center on the dogs, it shows how a dog’s life influences a man’s thoughts on his own life. The subject matter gets a little risque or male-oriented when he discusses dog farts and Baxter’s apparent disregard that he’s neutered. Still a well written, well thought out book. His use of language is excellent.
By Duncan McGeary
Barry had created a little piece of paradise in his southern Arizona backyard—until the javelinas came.
His battle to rid his property of the wild pigs soon escalated into war. Too late, he realized these weren’t ordinary animals. They were something new, something meaner and smarter. These pigs weren’t just at war with him; they were at war with the human race.
And the humans were losing.
What a great concept for a movie flick. I would love to see this on the screen. It’s just believable to be “Hey, this could happen.”
There are several characters around which the story revolves, each having their own adventure and problems with the pigs.
This is a trilogy (What?), so what could books 2 and 3 hold in store.
This gives some very basic information on the origin of the super pigs and there are typical, “Yep, he’s dead” scenes.
I think reading the book might have been better than the audio, just because the imagination might have been better encouraged.
By John L. DeBoer
Terrorism is center stage. Two members of a security company team up with the NSA to stop a terrorist from killing a rock star. It’s a game of chess and out-thinking the opponent and the stakes are deadly.
Oft seen plot with just a bit of a twist this time where the main characters aren’t military (although they are former SEALS), or a lone hero going into action guns blazing. Plus, the terrorist is home grown.
Adam Taylor: 38, former SEAL, works for Global Security Guardians
Mario Martinez: former SEAL, works for GSG, parents dead
Peter Crandall: NSA analyst, knows Arabic, homosexual
Amira Bahar: NSA analyst, long black hair, dark brown eyes, Muslim, has a brother
Barbara Plaskin: works in the counter terrorism department for the FBI
Yusuf Khouri: 30, parents were professors, attended Fairleigh Dickenson U., and Wroxton College
I thought the characters, with the exception of Yusuf, were pretty good, well developed. Some good camaraderie between Adam and Mario. There was good interplay between the good guys.
As for Yusuf – the Reaper. Well, when I saw the title, I thought “Ooh, evil guy coming up.” When I started in on this, Yusuf was the bad@$$ terrorist. As the story moved along, though, he had to contend with a couple of terrorist yokels who, if they were honest with themselves, would rather have sat at home eating Cheetos and watching Netflix. They didn’t come across as all that scary. Which, in turn, brought down Yusuf’s nastiness because he had to constantly keep these other two on the mission. He was a good baddie, but not scary Reaper bad.
Pretty good. Distinctive voices. Conversations didn’t wander.
A bit of profanity. Chapters and scenes headed by a combination of time/location/day.
This book was clean in that I didn’t find a grammar/punctuation/spelling error and I was impressed with that. Kudos to whoever edited this.
I thought the action was pretty good, some good drama, a bit of a twist at the end that could have gone another way and still worked.
I did enjoy the chess game. Each side seemed to think ahead and plan accordingly. Yusuf was pretty good at coming up with Plan A, then B, then C, then D, and so on each time he was thwarted from the previous. The GSG guys and the NSA kept always thinking, “Well, what if Yusuf does this, then we’d better plan for that.” So, that was interesting.
My main issue with this book is that it set up the climax way in advance, then spent a huge chunk of the book leading up to it. That final day dragged on and though there were plan changes and clues and deliberations, and scenarios, it seemed forever before things started speeding up.
The climax could have been a bit more intense, but I enjoyed the determination of the terrorists.
So, what about rank. This may surprise some people based on the issues I had with this, but I did enjoy not having to slog through errors and hard to read sentences and misspellings and POV problems. And it was a decent story, all in all, despite some of the aforementioned problems. Therefore, keep those in mind, but still have a good read on a book I’ll give a: