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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Monday, October 30, 2017

LIONS AND THE LIVING DEAD by Ruby Loren_Review

Lions and the Living Dead: Mystery (Madigan Amos Zoo Mysteries Book 4)Lions and the Living Dead: Mystery by Ruby Loren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: LIONS AND THE LIVING DEAD by Ruby Loren
(Madigan Amos Zoo Mysteries Book 4)

In this fourth entry in the wildly delightful cozy mystery series starring intrepid and dedicated animal welfare advocate/zookeeper Madigan (Madi) Amos, Madi is working at a zoo in Cornwall. The new owners purchased it from the former owner after his scandalous animal abuses were exposed, but the animals need care, attention, and a specialist like Madi to recover physically and mentally, and if they are ever to trust humans again. While Madi is concentrating on the zoo animals, the owner of the contracted PR firm is stalked, accidents occur, and eventually murder. Then some of the animals--and Madi--are put in danger. She is threatened with exposure, even though her actions here and previously, have been innocent of any wrongdoing; and she learns her boyfriend is definitely no one's open book.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: BUBBY'S PUDDLE POND by Carol Hagen

Bubby’s Puddle PondBubby’s Puddle Pond by Carol Hageman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of BUBBY 'S PUDDLE POND

This endearingly illustrated and delightfully written book introduces children through second grade to the species Desert Tortoise. It also reinforces the concepts of friendship, kindness, generosity, and teamwork. Through Bubby the tortoise and his interactions with new friends (cactus wren, rabbit, gecko, and his humans), children will learn about the habitat, needs, and care of desert tortoises. The author offers additional essential information on Arizona's Desert Tortoise Adoption program.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

THE SCENT OF RAIN by Anne Montgomery_Review

The Scent of RainThe Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THE SCENT OF RAIN by Anne Montgomery

A heartrending, heartwrenching, fictional narrative set in the excessively strict, narrow world of Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hurricane, Utah, THE SCENT OF RAIN is true-to-life real- life horror. Make no mistake, this novel will chill your spine; but this type of abuse of women, children, boys, and animals, committed in the guise of strictest religion, needs revealing. Even in the midst of tribulations, THE SCENT OF RAIN celebrates the resilience and persistence of the human spirit.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review of NAZI GOLD by Tom Bower

Nazi Gold: The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust SurvivorsNazi Gold: The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust Survivors by Tom Bower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review NAZI GOLD by Tom Bower

The depredations of the Third Reich did not really end with the Allied victory in 1945. In science, in politics, and in fraud, surviving Nazis continued to wreak havoc in the name of greed and ideology. Top UK investigative journalist Tom Bower has researched the ongoing Nazi defrauding of Jews and other ethnicities for art, gold, and other valuables. Here he presents “the real story,” vividly and clearly. Readers will be shocked to discover the facts about “NAZI GOLD” in this book, “The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust Survivors.”The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust Survivors
The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust Survivors
The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust Survivors


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Review: KLAUS BARBIE THE BUTCHER OF LYONS by Tom Bower

Klaus Barbie: The Butcher of LyonsKlaus Barbie: The Butcher of Lyons by Tom Bower


Review of KLAUS BARBIE: THE BUTCHER OF LYONS
by Tom Bowers

An eye-opening and mind-boggling investigation into the life and times of Klaus Barbie, the Nazi officer who during World War II was Gestapo Commander of Lyons, Occupied France, reveals the lengths to which greed and love of power can propel humans. When those two drives are in control, any sense of humanity, compassion, empathy, and morality take a back seat. Such is demonstrated by the ease with which this horrible individual lived, in Bolivia and elsewhere, not concealed, but rather “in plain sight,” well known to governments, presidents, and other high-level officials and politicians. Barbie lived as if no retribution for his actions as a dedicated Nazi would ever occur, not even for the mass murders under his command. But a Parisian attorney and his German wife dedicated themselves to bring Barbie to justice, or failing that, to extermination.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A LONG TIME DEAD by Andrew Barrett_Review

A Long Time DeadA Long Time Dead by Andrew Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of A LONG TIME DEAD by Andrew Barrett

A LONG TIME DEAD is forensic-noir, starring a protagonist who is a CSI [formerly SOCO] for the West Yorkshire Police. Roger Conniston is “a man with a mission,” a man who is an imperfect individual, yet one with his own high moral code. His sense of integrity has in the past led him to report a superior, Inspector Weston, whom Roger believes to be a gun-runner. Weston got off with barely a slap on the hand, and has targeted Conniston ever since. In his role as a forensic investigator, Roger is neither police nor civilian, neither fish nor fowl, and his reporting of Weston has cost him friends even in his own department. Yet he perseveres, even to the extent of being framed for murder.

The author, Andrew Barrett, is a CSI for Yorkshire Police, and brings a clear understanding of the details of forensic investigation and the politics of a police department. A LONG TIME DEAD is the first book in his Roger Conniston trilogy.


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

THE DARKNESS OF EVIL by Alan Jacobson_Review

The Darkness of Evil (Karen Vail, #7)The Darkness of Evil by Alan Jacobson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THE DARKNESS OF EVIL by Alan Jacobson
(Karen Vail #7)

THE DARKNESS OF EVIL is the seventh in the series of FBI Special Agent (Behavioral Analysis Unit) Karen Vail. In this engrossing thriller, Vail is “hand-holding” (in the view of her unit commander) Jasmine Marcks, the woman who as an adolescent repeatedly informed local police that her father Roscoe was a serial killer. Finally investigated, charged, and convicted, Roscoe Marcks has been incarcerated in maximum security for the past seven years. Now Jasmine's nonfiction book detailing her life with a murderous father has been published, and simultaneously she receives threats, while Roscoe engineers a prison escape. Vail is in the midst of the new investigation, despite an arrogant U.S. Marshal who holds no approbation for the FBI.

There's plenty of violence, of course, since Marcks is a sadistic killer, but it's not gore for its own sake. THE DARKNESS OF EVIL is a well-constructed, tautly-written page-turner.


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

THE PRICE FOR HARMONY by Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr._Review

The Price For Harmony (Duke Bradley Mysteries Book 2)The Price For Harmony by Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THE PRICE FOR HARMONY
By Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr.
[Duke Bradley P.I. #2]
This series revolving protagonist John Marion (“call me Duke”) Bradley, former FBI Special Agent for 17 years, now a Private Investigator (“Private Eye-not Private Detective”) and his love interest and cold-case partner Special Agent Shriya Thakur constitutes what author Jeffrey M. Thompson calls “Gray Noir.” His vision of Akron, Ohio is just as bleak and desperate as the perspectives of Ross MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, or Raymond Chandler, with the exception that even in the midst of poverty, economic depression, political mishaps, homelessness, and human greed and covetousness—hope still remains. There is light, somewhere, to be found.

In my review of THIRTEEN YEARS OF DUST, I admitted how much I like the protagonist, Duke Bradley (even if he is an unreconsituted “old school” male) and love the series. THE PRICE FOR HARMONY is every bit as intriguing. Author Thompson fearlessly takes on some big topics: transgenderness, Satanism, medical black market, homophobia, and again, alcoholism and alcohol recovery. He hits all the stops and keeps the reader entertained as well as fascinated. Don't miss this series—whether you are a fan of the usual Noir or not.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

THIRTEEN YEARS OF DUST by Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr._Review

Thirteen Years of DustThirteen Years of Dust by Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THIRTEEN YEARS OF DUST by Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr.

THIRTEEN YEARS OF DUST is the debut installment in the Duke Bradley P.I. Series. Let me caution you, Constant Readers, that Duke is in a category all his own, and so is this mystery. Duke is not Lew Archer nor Philip Marlowe. He is an alcoholic, currently not practicing (nearly two years sober), who uses mantras (chanting) to cope with all the various triggers that formerly drove him to alcohol and still would if he gave in. He's also wry, dry, humorous; and considers himself the alpha male. Above all, never rag on his hat, or he'll never forgive you.
Duke is a former FBI Special Agent, and late in the book when he reveals why he is “former,” it will break your heart. Now as a “Private Eye,” Duke is broke, about to be evicted from his office/home, and desperate to solve a case cold thirteen years and claim the reward. But it's not just the cash; Duke somehow internalises a case, and has an unparallelled solve rate.
The mystery(ies) here are so twisty and convoluted that unless you are a psychic reader you will not see them unfolding until they do so. THIRTEEN YEARS OF DUST is heartwrenching, exciting, absorbing, and made me want more Duke Bradley adventures to read. Fortunately, his second, THE PRICE FOR HARMONY, is available.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

THE BLOOD OF EMMETT TILL_Review

The Blood of Emmett TillThe Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE BLOOD OF EMMETT TILL by Timothy B. Tyson

THE BLOOD OF EMMETT TILL is a tremendously important and terribly perturbing work of nonfiction. Intensifying the perturbation and pervasive grief, even now, 61 years in the future, is that the Emmett Till tragedy occurred. This is not a work of scary fiction; this is real.

In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old Chicago adolescent traveled with family to visit relatives in Mississippi. He eventually returned, but not alive. For shortly after his arrival, he was abducted from the home of his cousins, at night, and murdered. His “failing”? He may—or may not—have addressed a white woman.

The author, Timothy B. Tyson, is a Ph.D. In American History, who as a child experienced a public murder of a black male by a white male, in his own home town. In this book, his clear-eyed understanding of history, particularly pre-Civil Rights Movement history, not only in Mississippi and throughout the South, but also in segregationist Chicago, vividly portrays life as it existed for African-Americans, 90 years after the end of the Civil War. The political antics, white-supremacy interests, and fear above all of “miscegenation” or “mongrelization” during this era are revealed as historian Tyson turns over the rocks of deceit, betrayal, and race rage. Certainly contemporary conditions are far from ideal, but the Jim Crow Era here brought to life should sicken and dismay every reader. The murder of Emmett Till was wrong on all counts, but one of its consequences was to ignite the fires of Civil Rights and propel the Movement that has brought some changes.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TWO EMPRESSES by Brandy Purdy_Review

Two EmpressesTwo Empresses by Brandy Purdy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of TWO EMPRESSES by Brandy Purdy

On the Island of Martinique in 1779, Vodoun rules the native population, while the white European planter class consider themselves to be the top caste. Two young girls, daughters of planters, Rose and Aimee, are cousins, but wildly divergent in personality and character. Rose, the elder, is just as wild as the hurricane during which she was born, while Aimee is mild and a follower. When the Voodoo Queen predicts the girls shall become “Two Empresses,” neither is certain of belief, but Fate, in which Rose is a complicit believer, has in mind for both girls lives they could not possibly have predicted.

TWO EMPRESSES is a diligently-researched and strongly-imagined recreation of an era lost to us two centuries earlier. Lyrical and sensual, this is a vivid and compelling fictional history in which both characters and historical periods come alive.

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