Monthly Archives: December 2017

Not Exactly Shakespeare


By Martin Freznell


So, what is this book about? Usually, I will give my take on the plot, but in this case the author does it for me…within the book.

The shortest book you’ll ever be forced to pretend to have read is a work of fiction that engages its reader with a series of seemingly unrelated chapters on a number of subjects.

That’s pretty much it. It’s 29 pages in my epub version and the author consistently tells the reader that he/she should not read it at all.

I found the ‘plot’ all over the map, dealing with politics, kitchen utensils, censorship, sex and others. The author bashes teachers and Trump.

Chapter 1 discusses censorship of words.

Chapter 2 discusses kitchen utensils and the author’s lack of them.

Chapter 3 (although no real number is given) is three sentences of author admitted filler.

Chapter 4 discusses how everything is a lie.

Chapter 4 (yes, the next chapter 4) discusses sex, drugs and touches on book reports.

Chapter 4 (yes, a third chapter 4) gets into how easy it would be to make this book into a book report.


None…except, well the author does include himself in the book so I’ll include him here.

Martin Freznell: the name is an alias, pale, 35, former teacher

Not knowing anything else about the character/author, I can’t comment except he does ramble on about stuff.


None because it’s all narrative.


Loads of profanity.

No grammar/punctuation/misspelling errors I can see.

Okay, so what do I do with a book where the reader advises me in the book to skip parts or just not read it at all? Is this serious? Is this a gimmick to get people to read the book? I don’t know.

I tried to find some humor, which there’s an attempt every so often, but, for me, I couldn’t get past the profanity. Not that I’m against profanity in books, but when it’s used so much, I tend to tune out it and almost anything else, like I do when I hear people use profanity in attempt to make what they’re saying more important.

So, I’m not sure how to judge this book because, for me, it was a bunch of rambling on topics about which he tended to exhibit his anger or frustration.

There was a lack of substance. I don’t mind a debate or cartoons about politicians. But simple Trump bashing turns me off just as it would had the author insulted Obama…without substance or something worthwhile to back up the dislike.

Lack of substance…but, maybe that’s some of the gist of the book.

How do I rank this? I guess in this case it will weigh heavy on the ‘enjoyability’ factor.

My Rank:

Yellow Belt



Costa Brava

CBfront cover

By David Kennedy



Freelance journalist Alex Scott plays house-sitter in Costa Brava for a family friend. Recently, one of the elderly housekeepers suffers a fatal accident. But was it an accident. Scott’s investigation turns up strange things. What is with a Russian buying up property in the area? What is going on in the lighthouse? What does a pretty blonde Ukranian have to do with the entire affair? Scott steps into danger and ends up fighting for his life.

For a premise, I thought it was pretty good. A murder mystery with the standard attractive woman to divert attention, some sneaky Russians, and mystery that could turn out to be one thing, but maybe again, it’s another.


Alex Scott: 30s, tall, parents dead, freelance journalist, blue eyes

Ferran Camps: small frame, works for Camps International

Dolors Ruiz: widow, housekeeper

Juan Finat: married w/children, dark wavy hair, drives a BMW

Maria: dark hair, architect

Natalya: Blonde, green eyes

A nice cast with a few others that play important roles either for the white hats or the dark hats. Most were well represented with Maria showing up near the beginning and then not until the end.


Since we’re in Costa Brava, the main language is Spanish and there’s a fair amount of it, but not overwhelming and nothing that isn’t understood. Capitalization errors on tag lines.

One issue with dialogue was that there were a lot of conversations where statements/questions/information was repeated. I didn’t mind it so much when it happened during interrogations because that’s cop-speak. But it happened a lot and it became overly repetitive. Get on with it, you’ve already given this information or answered the question before.


Punctuation errors and a misspelled word or two. The profanity in this was not heavy and, for me, almost not needed.

The main concern here is the amount of time not spent on the case. This is a murder mystery and much of the book details swimming and scuba diving and the town and the cliffs and the boats and the town and the dinner and the town. I kept wanting to get more of the mystery. In time, near the end of each section of gallivanting and sightseeing, a piece of the mystery came into the picture. This book took awhile to get going and near the middle there was a huge chunk of information dump. This might have been spread throughout or put near the end somewhere near the twist.

Once things started moving and Scott and another journalist started making and executing plans, then the tension heightened and the action was better.

My Rank:

Green Belt


The Deceived

Deceived Typeset

By E. C. Fisher



In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. When he created humans, the angel Lucifer despised what God had done. He rebelled and was tossed out of Heaven. Lucifer revolted, a war ensued, and the devil won. Lucifer wrote the Bible in order to sucker humans into worshiping him. Revelation is upon the Earth and Lucifer is planning on HIS heaven on earth.

God wasn’t completely vanquished. He was reborn into Michael and returns to Earth to put a stop to Lucifer’s plans. With a team of children and young adults, Michael sets out to regain God’s former glory.

Okay, I promise not to delve into theology or Christianity. This is a fictional story, so just go with it on that basis.

I don’t have any major problems with the plot other than how it played out but I’ll get into more problems starting with the next section.


Amendial: angel. In human form he is black, 35, bald, light brown eyes

Lucifer: angel

Michael: angel. In human form he is 23, dark brown hair, dark eyes

Ariel: angel. In human form she has olive skin, dirty blonde hair, blue eyes.

Judith Summersill: fit, dyed blonde, amber eyes, freckles, 21

There are other characters: Drew, Thomas, Bart, Mary…get the general idea? Many of the people Michael finds on his travels are named after the apostles…from a Bible that was filled with a lot of lies according to this story.

My biggest concern here is Michael. I couldn’t get a solid grasp on him. He is reborn with God’s spirit, but is still Michael, but has Jesus tendencies (which is strange because Jesus was a lie created by Lucifer). Plus, he went through character swings acting majestically in one scene and motherly in another and almost juvenile in others. His character didn’t stay consistent.


The kids all sounded alike. Michael and Lucifer had the best voices but Michael ends up speaking like the kids at times.

The dialogue tended to take away from the seriousness of the situation. After a big battle, the kids are joking around.


A LOT of run-on sentences. A lot of run on tag lines: …” Michael said and then he does a whole bunch of action before the period. This became tiresome to read.

Speaking of action there were too many instances of something causing something else. Example: She met Drew’s eyes, causing her own cheeks to turn crimson. Causing was over used and the sentences could have been written stronger.

The biggest problem is weak, overwriting. Extraneous material and detail where it’s not necessary.

Example: He hit her right cheek with his left hand.

Example: …he saw that a young boy was trying to escape from two grown men who were giving chase after him.

Example: …gesturing with his fork in one hand.

This is constant and it made for a difficult read.

Action scenes weren’t dramatic. In fact, after the first couple of battles with demons, the encounters became redundant and not exciting.

Other problems:

– Michael discovers an underground bunker that is one of many around the country where people are living after the world went chaotic after the rapture. People don’t go outside for fear of being attacked by demons. They’ve been living this way for years…yet there doesn’t seem to be a food shortage for so many people. The stockpiles must be enormous and there doesn’t seem to be any rationing. They have eggs and muffins and bacon and stew. Doesn’t seem quite plausible.

– There are rules and the military handles problems…yet when Michael heads out for his quest to find the Antichrist he takes a bunch of kids with him? Including the mayor’s daughter?(okay she’s 21, but still). With something that important I would think some capable adults would be willing and volunteering to go and fight.

– It became a bit juvenile that to defeat a demon they used water. So what better weapon than a Supersoaker?

– One of the premises is that when one dies, the soul goes to the River to be either reborn as something or someone else on Earth or the person can decide to enter Heaven. That’s fine. However, God, the creator of everything is able to…die? And then be reborn? Again, the concept doesn’t seem quite plausible.

– The ending was a bit different than I thought. Very lofty and poetic and glorious but the final battle with Lucifer was not tense enough.

No profanity. No spelling/punctuation/misspelled words. Because of that, I can’t drop it down to White. However, because of the weak writing and some of the issues I have with this I felt this deserved:

Orange Belt


The Renegade Spy


By Mark O’Neill



A dangerous assassin named the Scorpion has been contracted to kill the Chancellor of Germany. Sophie Decker of German Intelligence is on the case.

Well, what more description do you want. It’s a relatively short book and that’s the plot. Simple, right? Sometimes, that’s all you need.


Scorpion: assassin

Vladimir Rostov: crime boss

Claudia Meyer: German Chancellor

Sophie Decker: German Intelligence

Wolfgang Schmitz: Security chief, dark hair

Hans Unterwald: Chief of Staff, large man, smokes cigars, deep voice, balding

Not much description of the main character, Sophie. Not much background on Scorpion. Sophie is a renegade who pushes the envelope.

My biggest issue here was the assassin himself. He comes across at the beginning as very professional, but then tends to falter and lose that professionalism. If that’s how the author wanted to develop him, fine, it didn’t quite work for me. I thought there would be more play between Decker and Schmitz, that they would be closer.


Again, Scorpion says too much that doesn’t seem in character for him. Sophie is straight forward in her conversations, and that’s fine, that’s the way she is and it seems to work for her.

The major problem with dialogue was all the punctuation errors. Missing commas before tag lines and if the dialogue ended with a quote, the period was outside the quote marks.


Long sentences during action scenes which draws out time and slows things. Shorter sentences would have moved the story along and the action scenes would have been more dramatic and tension filled.

A lot of she and he usage, especially within sentences. Not a real example but this is the type of writing I mean: She looked back where she could see she was far from the street.

Some POV problems within scenes. Capitalization errors.

The biggest problem, however was overwriting. “Later that evening, just before midnight…” Too wordy. Just before midnight is all that’s needed. We know it’s evening or night. The assassin shot someone and “…his head was jerked back.” No, his head jerked back.

Wordy sentences that could have been tightened.

The shot could be heard. This type of sentence was used a couple times at the beginning and the problem was that the POV was from Scorpion…who was doing the shooting. Of course he could hear the shot. Could be heard indicates that there might be something that would possibly interfere with him hearing. Yes, he was using a suppressor but still…

Problem: When Decker knows Scorpion is close, she has a few moments before he’s seen and she has to save Claudia. I would think the first instinct at the instant she knows Scorpion is near would be for her to draw her weapon and be ready. She doesn’t do it until after she hides with Claudia.

More overwriting. Decker and Claudia are hiding behind a couch. The reader knows this. No need to say that they might be seen if they run from behind the couch.

Overwriting and some weak writing took this down to:

Camouflage Belt