Sunday, December 27, 2009


Author: Tamar Myers
Copyright: 2009
Avon Paperbacks
Harper Collins Publisher
Trade paperback
ISBN: 978-0-06-172783-2
$13.99 310 pages
Fiction/Congo(Democratic Republic)

Amanda Brown is literally immersed into the African culture of 1958 when she agrees to fill in for a missionary couple. How demanding can it be for a few months?

To begin with the housekeeper who is male, Protruding Navel, has an extremely judgmental attitude of his expectations for Amanda. Added to that, Amanda decides to hire a local as her assistant basically to irritate Protruding Navel. This woman, Cripple, who is the local witch doctor’s first wife, understands human nature and who comfortably unsettles Protruding Navel.

Amanda’s experiences and relationships are interwoven into the problems of the times with the mining of diamonds when the witch doctor’s second wife’s youngest son is found chewing on a diamond. This particular gem is possibly the largest diamond to be found. Being that Belgium has the rights to all diamonds, the witch doctor asks for helps from others with more power with the local government in trying to profit for his family. This immediately thrusts everyone into a series of lies and dishonesty that does not always benefit everyone involved. Also the differences between the natives and the white Belgium citizens intensify as each one attempts to profit personally and to cheat others.

Having a childhood as the daughter of missionary parents in the Belgian Congo gives Tamar Myers the expertise to use her experiences and to turn them into a story. The personal voice of the author is unquestionably the strength of this novel. The story is well-paced, complicated, interlocking, and believable with characters that are realistic and having a lovable heroine. Also, the author’s knowledge of the time, the place, the lifestyle, the people, and the cultures literally permeate each page. This novel is based on her experiences and life whether tragic or humorous and her memories value the native culture and the people of this time period.

The story in places reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver’s POISONWOOD BIBLE due to the common setting of Africa and the experiences from missionaries. Having read Tamar Myers’ other books, I found THE WITCH DOCTOR’S WIFE to excel and stand out as much superior to her already enjoyable mysteries.

This is one of those books that impact your thoughts after you finish reading it. The ending is memorable and is one that I will personally remember because of the characters’ actions and being unpredictable. It’s the kind of ending that all of us would love to witness in real life.

Tamar Myers actually was raised in the Belgian Congo by her missionary parents and experienced the tribal customs of the 1950s. She is the author of thirty-six novels and resides in the Carolinas.

Teri Davis December 27, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Author: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Copyright: December 2009
Tom Doherty Associates
Hardcover ISBN:978-0-7653-1982-1
$27.99 352 pages
Horror/Historical Fiction

To a vampire, time seems endless. They don’t fear illness as ordinary mortals, but exist by building upon their wisdom of the ages and their wealth. Unlike the stereotypical vampires, these actually help humanity and are well-respected as they survive over time.

In the year, 438 C.E., the Huns lead by Attila are attempting to take over the region of the Carpathian Mountains. With the Roman Empire weakening, this is the perfect opportunity for their expanding dominance of the territory.

In BURNING SHADOWS the small communities in the Carpathian Mountains are fearful of the rumors of the approaching Huns As the rumors become more frequent and the feeling of impending doom approaches, Count Saint-Germain chooses to send his longtime lover Atta Olivia Clemens to Constantinople for her safety. As a lesser leader for the declining Roman Empire, Germain realizes that the people rely on his wisdom and leadership for their survival, he quickly moves this community to an isolated monastery.

The monastery enjoys its aloneness and even has many monks who survive as hermits in the nearby caves completely alone. Reluctantly, the monastery relies upon the few Roman soldiers and the village Watchmen for their protection. However, quickly the people become restless and many hope to journey closer to Rome for their safety.

The monastery harbors many hermits in nearby caves who are not welcoming to this invasion by their neighbors. Many frequently wonder if their families would not be safer if they traveled closer to the Roman territory. Many families flee, but it becomes apparent to those within the walled community that the Huns are obviously tracking and successfully butchering the commoners.

Saint Germain and his love, Nicoris both control their passionate love and desires of being a vampire. Their sense of responsibility to these commoners and to help them in any way, break the traditional stereotype of vampires with these showing compassion and responsibility to the community.

BURNING SHADOWS is listed as a horror story, but really belongs in the historical fiction category. Most of the novel involves life in this time period and life with the Huns slowly approaching and dominating the old Roman territory. The vampire life is continuous in this series but what is most evident is the story of real life during this time.

This series featuring Saint Germain has been in print for over two decades encompassing fantasy, horror, and history together. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a resident of Berkeley, California and has been nominated for various awards and honors throughout her career of the stories for the vampire, Saint Germain.

Teri Davis December 20, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009


Author: Albert Samuel Tukker
Copyright: 2007
Lulu Press
ISBN: 0557024749 ISBN: 978-05557024742
$24.95 292 pages
Science Fiction/Mystery

Everyone seems to have an opinion about what might happen in December of 2012 when the planets will supposedly align and the Mayan calendar ends. Will this be the end of our world?
Albert Samuel Tukker has his own vision of what might happen. His story is POLE SHIFT. Could this alignment cause our magnetic poles to shift to being straight up? How would this change our planet?

POLE SHIFT begins with Forrest Woods being at his wife’s side as she is slowly and painfully dying of cancer. When she actually dies, he is, naturally and guilt-ridden, not there. However, Forrest still feels her closeness, especially whenever the blue firefly appears. Is this his wife looking after him?

Grieving is different for everyone. For Forrest, it means that he is grateful for Lisa’s life insurance and this allows him to move out into the Arizona desert and live his life without the hassle of populated areas while pursuing a career in photography. He becomes a loner and survivalist with building his own shelter, raising his own food, and having little human contact.

Forrest is grateful for living away from the cities when an immense earthquake occurs that literally changes the planet. Did the change of the poles cause this earthquake? Since Forrest was in his cellar at the time, he managed to live until the shaking stopped. What he was not prepared for was the change in the land such as mountains being flattened and much of our country not being covered in salt water. Even the crops he had planted had the roots pulverized. Also puzzling is the placement of the Sun in the sky and the path it follows throughout the days. What would change the sun’s position?

Animal behavior also changed during this disaster. Forrest witnessed a flock of pigeons killing and eating a rabbit and a herd of rats outran and killed a coyote. What could have changed these eating habits and behaviors? If animals react this way, how will this change humans? How do you survive now?

POLE SHIFT is Forrest’s journey back into having relationships with people along with the healing of his grief. What are the rules to live by now? What else has changed? How does he survive? Is this the end of the world as we know it?

POLE SHIFT makes you wonder what will be the result of the alignment or will anything actually happen in 2012. More importantly is the examination of our humanity and how each of us reacts in the face of danger and life. This is the story of personal healing and survival.

The voice and sincerity of Forrest Woods is the strength of POLE SHIFT. My criticism of this novel was being forced to end my reading relationship with Forrest and his blue firefly by finishing the last page.

I could easily see POLE SHIFT as the first book in a series featuring Forrest. I look forward to reading more from Albert Samuel Tukker.

POLE SHIFT was considered to be the best science fiction for the year 2007 from for Literary Excellence.

Red, Green, or Murder

RED,GREEN, OR MURDER Author: Steven Havill Copyright: November 2009 Poisoned Pen Press Hardcover ISBN:978-1-59058-665-5 $24.95 284 pages Mystery
When a person retires from a long-time law enforcement career, being a livestock inspector could be boring. That’s what Bill Gastner, formerly a county sheriff in a remote and quiet area of New Mexico, was thinking about when a ranching accident launches him into a long series of unrelated investigations that all require Bill’s expertise, experience, and contacts in understanding each event. Fortunately, his successor, Estelle Reyes-Guzman respects and welcomes his assistance in her overwhelming position as current sheriff.
First, while moving cattle, a young rancher’s horse is spooked. As the rider attempts to calm the creature, he is thrown off and unfortunately, the horse accidentally steps on his knee. Added to this is a missing ranch hand that leaves behind his dog and the questionable death of a close-friend and retired gun dealer. Are all of these related? How do you investigate each one without feeling guilty for not having answers to questions that keep Bill wondering? What ranch hand would leave behind a working dog that is as important as another human?
What makes RED, GREEN, OR MURDER such a delightful reading experience, is the strong, believable, and likable character of Bill Gastner. You feel as if this is one person who could be real and who each of us would want as a friend, especially if it involved a crime or the law. Also, the story is well planned and keeps you wondering and being interested until the last page. This is one novel that I was trying to constantly think about how this author could logically connect the events and resolve the problems.
RED, GREEN, OR MURDER is part of series called THE POSADAS COUNTY MYSTERIES featuring Bill Gastner and Estelle Reyes-Guzman. This particular novel actually fits in the middle of a long stream of investigations featuring these two. This series is actually a combination of a present-day western coupled with a mystery or two. Being that I have not read this series, I was enthralled with the characterization and impressed with how this particular book works as either a stand alone or as part of the series. To reacquaint characters or to introduce ones to a reader, who has not read the other books, proves that Steven Havill is a masterful writer who I plan to know better soon. Personally, I plan to read the other books in his series.
Steven Havill resides in New Mexico. He has worked as a teacher and recently studied gunsmithing.
I look forward to reading any book written by Steven Havill. This is truly a masterful storyteller who can weave a complex story into a logical and well-written tale.