Monday, December 24, 2012

Spyder Hole
Bob Nesoff
Strategic Book Group
Durham, CT
ISBN: 978-61204-044-8
$ 19.95
317 pages

Once in a while you read a book that is exceptional. Spyder Hole by Bob Nesoff is that book. Did our country have the knowledge of the attack on the Twin Towers before it happened? Could anyone have stopped this attack?

Before the 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers, the government agencies knew that there was to be an attack but were unable to figure out the details. They learned from their mistakes with a degree of guilt and the hope and diligence to never allow this to happen again.

Since then, how many attacks could have happened?

After the distractions from a two-career family, Hesh Whitman is finally able to enjoy his honeymoon with his gorgeous wife, Shoshanna on a Red Sea resort beach. What he never planned on was the attack the killed his wife and seriously wounded him when terrorists opened fire on the beach. He was one of the few survivors after this attack. Why would any group send terrorists to open fire on innocent women and children? Is this an act of revenge?

For Hesh as a Mossad agent, this is one of the many questions that he plans to answer. His boss, Dan Halevi is a former Green Beret who now works as a Mossad agent. The two frequently collaborate with the C.I.A. and MI-6 and SAS from Great Britain. Trying to break the attack/revenge cycle between the Israelis and the Arab terrorist groups is difficult and seems to be never ending. How can it stop?

Through unofficial channels, the agencies from the three countries collaboratively work together when they learn of the possibilities of nuclear attacks in the U.S., Great Britain, and Israel. How do you prevent further disasters from happening? This tale, based on some real events, explains the possibilities through this fictional account.

Bob Nesoff is a former Army Green Beret sergeant who resides in New Jersey.

Spyder Hole is exceptionally well-written and relevant in today's society. Using real events and filling in the background to these tragedies, even fictionally, gives the reader a broader understanding of world issues. This author thoroughly understands the relationships between the terrorist groups and the various agencies that collaborate around the world allowing the reader to actually understand the conflicts between the groups.

This well-researched novel is extremely detailed and intense. Spyder Hole is not a quick read but an intense experience that completely engages the reader.

As with many books today, Spyder Hole sometimes had typos and editing errors that distracted from the story. Overall though, this is an outstanding novel with constant action and intensity.

The Canadian Tenors

It is unusual to go to a concert where almost every song is so outstanding that the audience reacts with a standing ovation. That was the case last Thursday night at the Holland Center with The Canadian Tenors. (The Tenors actually joked about being “booed” in Omaha as a headline when they threatened to end the show.)

Following last week's blizzard, the audience was not as full as usual and even the members of the group had difficulty arriving in Omaha. For those who were there though, the night was spent in the splendor of the music of these four outstanding tenors.

The Canadian Tenors repertoire for this performance was from their two previous recordings one entitles The Canadian Tenors, their Christmas album called The Perfect Gift, and their new release on January 15th, Lead with Your Heart. From their Christmas recording, they sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", "What Child is This?", "The Perfect Gift", "O Holy Night", and their a capella version of "Silent Night". Individually each of the four sang a selection perfectly matching the tone quality of their voice such as "Ave Maria", "Forever Young", "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, and "The Lord's Prayer". Each of these brought the audience to their feet with exuberant bravos.

The audience thoroughly enjoyed the immense talent of this group which included Fraser Walters, Clifton Murray, Victor Micallef, and Remigio Pereira. Each voice has its own unique sound and together this group beautifully harmonizes in four part harmony within the tenor range. Clifton Murray has the highest voice resembling an Irish tenor. Victor Micallef is unquestionably an accomplished operatic singer. Remigio's voice is also operatic but having a warm relaxed quality to it. Fraser Walter sings beautifully as an accomplished musical singer. Together their sounds are glorious.

Prior to their visit in Omaha, The Canadian Tenors were in Las Vegas to promote their upcoming PBS special with their new album, “Lead with Your Heart”.

My complaint about the show, like the "booing" audience, was that it ended. It is believed that either P.T. Barnum or Walt Disney once stated about a performance to "always leave them wanting more". Yes, I wanted more of their fabulous singing and look forward to more from The Canadian Tenors.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" which was at the Orpheum last weekend was a completely enchanting musical. Normally. a musical has a high standard of musicians, actors, and dancers. However, this Disney musical excelled in all aspects. This well-known tale set to song literally had the audience bewitched.
What was truly amazing was to listen to the audience response of awe to the musical performances, the phenomenal dances, the exotic and lavish sets, all perfectly timed even with some simple magic acts. The elaborately detailed sets were perfect for the storybook to come to life effect. The special effects of the witch cursing the prince as well as the wolves in the woods combined the sets, music, and actors with the mastery of puppetry.
As Lumiere. Hassan Nazari-Robati artistically created his character of a candlestick with James May as Cogsworth the clock, both masterfully combining their talents throughout the show with their multiple antics turning their supporting roles to being as important as the leads. Joe Hager as Gaston was perfect in this role while actually resembling a cartoon character in his bullying pursuit of Belle. Mrs. Potts, the teapot, played by Erin Edelle wonderfully demonstrated her talent through singing the theme song and explaining the importance of being part object and part human. Hilary Maiberger and Darick Pead portrayed the leads in this wonderful production.
This production of "Beauty and the Beast" unquestionably was spectacular with the costumes. Yes, this show did win a Tony Award for their costumes but to actually witness this extreme magnificence was phenomenal. For the number "Be Our Guest", the energy and dancing along with the numerous costumes easily proved to everyone why this show earned the Tony. Picture girls dancing with foam plates on their heads and instantly folding the plates down on their backs as part of the dance.
Particular songs did stand out such as "Be Our Guest" and the haunting tune, "If I Can't Love Her". Would I ever go to another Disney musical? If "Beauty and the Beast" is an example, then definitely. This show delighted all the members of this mostly adult audience who thoroughly loved this night of music, song, and the Disney magic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Out of the Shadow

Out of the Shadow
J. S. Winn
Create Space
Charleston, SC
ISBN: 978-1480043176
$ 13.95
365 pages

How does one get over a tragedy?

Becca Rosen knew that something just wasn't right. Sure she loved her husband, but she really didn't feel that he was her soul mate. Then again, isn't that only in romance novels? Every couple has squabbles. Having a husband sleep on the couch is not unusual in most normal households.

Then the night happened. Becca awakened to feel her husband in bed with her, but it wasn't her husband. The scent was wrong. A masked man was in her bed having sexual relations with her. She fought, screamed. Where was her husband? She discovered him dead, stabbed in the living room where he was sleeping on the couch. With no evidence, who is most likely to be suspected to have killed him?

While being questioned by the police, Becca takes a leave from work to recuperate from this trauma. Realizing that she needs help, she chooses Dr. Sarah Abrams who quickly realizes that Becca is suffering from Repressed Memory Syndrome.

Becca's story is told through Dr. Abrams who is the keynote speaker at a conference regarding Repressed Memory Syndrome. For confidentiality, Dr. Abrams tells the story of Rachel as the anonymous person, Becca Rosen, as part of the conference.

This story is extremely-well organized and well-written novel. The tale of Becca/Rachel is gripping as she begins to discover her past that prevents her from having a healthy relationships. This particular psychological thriller is an engrossing tale of personal terror. The characters are believable and realistic, even when they are not likable. The family relationship is genuinely flawed but a true situation in many lives.

The plot line is gripping but unfortunately predictable, leaving the reader feeling like the ending is contrived within a small list of characters. Even though this is a thriller, the format reads similar to a romance novel.

J.S. Winn lives in California. She earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Metaphysical Sciences. She has also published poetry and a screenplay.

Out of the Shadow is a thriller for those who enjoy romantic noveels.

Yesterday and Today

Why do you love certain music? For many that influence is from their parents. For the McGuigan brothers, that lifetime influence was from their father and his love of the Beatles. While other school-aged children were going to the movies on weekends, these brothers were singing Beatles songs.

“Yesterday and Today” is a concert of Beatles music. No, they do not perform every song or even attempt that feat. They do perform prepared sets of traditional Beatles music from various time periods and take requests from the audience. (You need to stop by the table outside the theater to place your requests. Also list the reason since that is a criteria to have your song selected.)

The McGuigan brothers are led byy Billy who sings, plays guitar, and the piano; Ryan who sings and plays the acoustic guitar; and Matthew who sings and plays bass. Supporting the brothers is a group of amazing musicians. Leon Adams on the keyboards is wonderful. Jason Ferguson as lead guitarist is truly an exceptional guitarist who can literally play anything masterfully and artistically. George Laughery sings, plays guitars and keyboards/ He is a truly gifted musician with everything. Rich Miller as the drummer and occasional singer is an asset to any musical group.

Having a band in a small theater has to be a sound engineer's nightmare. The band wants to and should be loud. Keeping the balance is difficult with the multiple amplifiers on stage and determining who is singing the lead, the harmonies, and constantly having to instinctly know which mikes need to be louder than the others. With this group who seem to know every Beatles song, the task had to be daunting. Sometimes the balance was off which is to be expected.

I was amazed at the young children in the audience and their love of Beatles music. Naturally, I expected the older people who grew up with the Beatles to love it, but to watch children and young adults to be as thrilled with the music as well as the older ones, was exciting and really allowed me to see relevant this music is today, many years after it was written.

From songs from the Beatles' Christmas album, to “Octopus Garden”, "You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello”, “When I'm 64”, “Ticket to Ride”, “Yellow Submarine”, “Blackbird Singing”, “Yesterday”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Elinor Rigby”, “She Loves You”, “I am the Walrus”, “Twist and Shout” which had everyone on their feet, “Hey Jude”, amd more this was a wonderful show with the performers constantly interacting with audience for the entire family.

This is the fourth year for the McGuigan brothers, "Yesterday and Today" at the
Omaha Playhouse. This show will continue through December 31st with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm. and Sunday at 2 pm. at the Howard Drew Theatre. Tickets are $38 with discounts for groups and for the special New Year's performance. For tickets contact the box office at 402-553-0800, or, or

Monday, December 3, 2012

Simply Christmas

Simply Christmas
Robin Harper
featuring Marvin Goldstein
Robin Harper & Solarium Studios
MP3 format
$ 8.99

Who doesn't enjoy Christmas music? Those old familiar tunes help each of us to
relive those delightful childhood dreams of this magical time of year.

Robin Harper has chosen many of these tunes for her Christmas album. As she
sings the old familiar tunes, Marvin Goldstein masterfully accompanies with varied arrangements showing creativity and musicianship.

The songs included in this CD are The Christmas Song, (Everybody's Waitin' for)
The Man with the Bag, Grown-Up Christmas List, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,
White Christmas, Santa Baby, Mary, Did You Know?, I Heard the Bells on Christmas
Day, I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, Silent Night, and a reprise of The
Christmas Song.

So what is new and different about this album? Marvin Goldstein is superb with
his piano accompaniment. There is no listing about who wrote the arrangements
for these Christmas tunes. Don't you have to give recognition to the composers and pay a royalty if you use their works and are possibly profiting from their songs in any way? Credit was given to the hair dresser, the make-up artist, the photographer, and the cover design, but nothing to the actual song writer, arrangers, or studio engineers. Also slightly confusing is whether Solarium Studios actually musically engineered these recordings or if they were just recorded at a studio with no mixing. On the recorded label is Solarium Studios. However, the pianist, Marvin Goldstein, is a client of Soularium Studios. Is this a misspelling or a copycat studio?

Simply Christmas does have soothing relaxing Christmas music. However, shouldn't a recording be more responsible about its sounds rather than the appearance of the artist?

A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time
B. J. Betts
Boroughs Publishing Group
Short Story
$ 0.99
47 pages

Jake Houser is happy to be finally arriving home in Chicago after a two week business trip in Japan. Yes, the trip was a success and a foreign country is exciting but the comfort of home is always welcome. He quickly hails a cab at the airport after the landing and retrieving his bags. However, the icy streets are dangerous and this particular taxi driver seems to be careless rather than cautious. What he doesn't know is that this particular situation is the catalyst that will change his life forever.

Is there such a thing as a ghost who is not scary but who feels that need to complete a promise? Do near-death experiences allow an entity to communicate with the other side? Does having some unfinished business stop someone from their final destiny? Can a ghost use a person to help them communicate between the two worlds?

No one seems to truly understand the world of a comatose patient. Do they hear what is happening around them and what people are saying to them? It seems that we know so little about the brain and especially the injuries to it. Is a coma really a temporary station between life and death?

Unfortunately but realistically the choices for caregivers with a loved-one in a coma completely depend on the insurance. Even then, the choices can be tough. Finding a home-health nurse who believes in doing the right thing for the patient is truly a gift.

These are all issues in the story, A Moment in Time. This is a well-organized well-written short story for those who enjoy romance with real issues of everyday life.

Author B. J. Betts lives in southwest Iowa. Having married her high school sweetheart, she thrives in writing romance stories.

A Moment in Time is a fast-paced story for those who love romantic stories of fate.

The Right Hand

The Right Hand
Derek Haas
Mulholland Books
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Books
ISBN: 978-0-316-19846-2
November 2012
272 pages
$ 25.99

Using the philosophy of most spies, the right hand should not know what the left hand is doing. Most successful spies basically work alone while accomplishing their goals.

For everyone's protection, the right and left hands of any mission do not communicate especially if illegal actions are needed. The only one who has some idea is the mission handler who even then, only knows the bare necessities of
these activities.

For Austin Clay, he is the right hand of the C.I.A. usually being assigned the most dangerous and critical missions possibly even illegal. His current mission is to find a missing spy who has been captured by the Russians. The C.I.A. Is fairly certain that the missing man is being tortured and with previous dealings with the Russians, they are certain that at some point the man will be forced to reveal secrets. With Clay's background, intelligence, and skills, he is the most likely one to be able to fit into the setting to get close enough to actual succeed in the rescue.

However, reality is that things are not usually as simple as they seem and he quickly discovers a multitude of related issues surrounding this situation, all of which involve the Russians. Along the way he finds himself looking for a young woman who the Russians are also racing to find and eliminate. Inside Russia, he will do anything to successfully keep this woman alive, but there are costs to everything. Added to that , Clay discovers the planned assassination of the new European bureau chief branch of the C.I.A.. This is obvious to Clay that the assassin is someone within the agency. How can he possibly achieve both goals.

The Right Hand is an enthralling page turner with action/adventure as well as time for personal friendships and relationships. The characters are well-described and authentic with their choices and actions. The story is logical and organized in this gripping tale. Definitely the strength of this novel is the character of Austin Clay as a James Bond like character, who has the courage and wisdom to do the right thing in this riveting tale.

Derek Hass has co-written three books and has also published the novels, The Assassin Trilogy: The Silver Bear, Columbus, and Dark Men.

For a fast-paced riveting tale of adventure, The Right Hand by Derek Haas is definitely the “right” choice.

The Nutcracker

How do you tell if a performance is outstanding? You just need to listen to the audience. When the audience is completely silent and not moving for an entire program, you know that the show has perfectly entertained everyone.

That was the situation with this year's Nutcracker at the IWCC Arts Center last Friday night. Spellbound would best describe how the audience reacted to this engaging rendition of Te Nutcracker. Personally, having seen numerous productions over the years, I was amazed at how this year's show was fresh and different while still using the traditional music of Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker proved to possess that magical mix that makes this production definitely one of the best that I have ever seen.

As the recorded overture began, the dancers approached the stage through the audience in family groups to become part of the party. With elaborate costumes, each group approached the stage as a family unit for the annual Christmas party. For those not acquainted with ballet, this entire production is told strictly through the motions of dance. With numerous children acting through dancing, the story completely possessed the theater.

The sets were elaborate and detailed, moving smoothly and almost invisibly through their dances. The costumes were phenomenally elaborate and expressive to the individuals and the story. Added to that were the wigs and makeup which
were perfect for those with multiple roles and actually masterfully changed each person's appearance. The lighting and stage management were both outstanding as being integral parts of the production all with the purpose of telling this timeless story.

As Clara, Emma Browning excelled as an actress. She constantly stayed in character displaying realistic reactions of awe to each dream as they beautifully became part of the story. She definitely displayed maturity much beyond her years and talent that is outstanding. The North Wind singers were "ah"-some and beautifully in tune. The party children, toy soldiers, mice, little Drosselmeyers, and angels were superb in their performances.

As adult dancers, there were numerous superb performances in this outstandingly choreographed show. Denis Vezetiu as the Snow King literally "wowed" the audience through his magnificent and graceful leaps. Albert Liberatoscioli, dancing as a Russian was wonderful and enchanted the audience with his kicks. Natasha Grimm as both the Ballerina Doll and the Rat Queen showed her creativity with graceful artistry in both these roles. Erika Overturff as the Sugar Plum Fairy was enchanting. Matthew Carter and Sasha York always are wonderful in their various roles.

This particular Nutcracker was extremely well-planned and designed. Every movement appeared relaxed and natural as well as truly graceful and artistic. The planning of the costumes, wigs, make-up, sets, choreography, and the overall professional confidence easily was communicated to the audience.

My one criticism is in the storyline. If the story in named The Nutcracker, shouldn't The Nutcracker be in most of the performance?

Still, I hope to attend next year's performance by Ballet Nebraska. Knowing that they continually add more each year to make the show even better, how can they possibly top this one?

As I was walking to my vehicle after the performance, the parking lot was filled with young girls twirling as they dreamed of being the graceful and beautiful ballerinas and the adults wishing that they could move like those wonderful dancers.

Travels with a Road Dog

Travels with a Road Dog
Hitchhiking Along the Roads of the Americas
R. K.
Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 978-1-4783-4846-7
364 pages
$ 19.95

"...I had decided my own future."

What do you do after you flunk out of college? Some people get a job, some join
the military, some move back home to continue to live as children, and then
there are the few who are daring enough to take to the road. For a young woman, the idea of hitchhiking can be threatening, but with a little luck and learning who to trust, what a thrilling way to find out about themselves and to learn some life lessons while becoming what is known to hitchhikers as a "road dog".

R.K. decided that she wanted to see the country. With few financial resources,
she departed from her mother's home for a life of possibilities, deciding to
hitchhike along the way.

One of her first rides was with an old man who was drinking. After being
rescued by the police, she made the decision early on to never ride again with
someone who was drinking.

She quickly discovered the world of the Rainbow Gatherings around the country.
Either walking, riding with acquaintances, or hitchhiking she found a way of
life that perfectly matched her current ideals. This communal gathering excited her with the gypsy lifestyle at first, taught her much, and allowed her to discover certain qualities in herself and others. Along the way she met many generous people and managed to travel with two extraordinary dogs for companionship and protection.

This book is her memory of particular events and places she experienced through
her naive and adventurous eyes. While looking for safety, shelter, and
companionship, this young woman also discovers much about herself relying on her
personal instincts. The lessons learned as solutions to particular problems changed her life especially in the area of natural medicine. Traveling without much money but literally by her wits, she finds that there are numerous ways around the bureaucracy of passports and visas. Also, learning about people, problems, and trust makes Travels with a Road Dog an educational, but enlightening read through an unusual perspective.

Most of the names of the characters were changed. However, there was one place
where the changed name was confused with the real name, making the recounted
memory a little confusing for this one episode. For the most part, the book was well edited and especially well-organized. The strength of the writing was definitely the author's passion with her choices at this particular time in her life.

This account was wonderful in experiencing another lifestyle through someone
else. Her experiences and problems are informative and uplifting with her
solutions and sometimes, learning with her from the failures. Travels with a Road Dog is the true account and lessons learned from a young woman while discovering more about other people, places, and most importantly, about herself.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Why would over nine thousand people all go to the Mid America Center last Thursday night? One reason, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was performing.

For those not acquainted with this group, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra combines
hard rock music with classical tunes including an elaborate light show. This is a very simplistic description for this group and TSO is anything but simplistic.

The program began with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's new Christmas show, "The Lost Christmas Eve". This program was narrated as a poem very similar in style and rhyme to Dr. Seuss by a wonderful baritone voice. With an always moving light show enhancing the setting elements of the story, many well-known Christmas carols became part of this tale. What was amazing was how well this story was written with obviously music and lighting being the strength of this group, the story itself was a marvel. "How could this man have carried this wound so long in his life?" or "Is there a wrong so bad in life that it undoes everything right?" The combination of the story, music, and lighting excelled any of my expectations.

The second half of the show included songs from previous records and
performances. Always there are multiple aspects in lights, music, dancing,
singing, fires, as well as parts of the stage elevating and the platforms holding musicians over the crowds. The actual lighting movements with multiple screens worked with military precision. The immense support crew to those performing was
phenomenal in creating this magical show for everyone of all ages. This audience for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra included those from the age of eight to eighty.

As part of TSO, there were string players from Council Bluffs who were part of
this elaborate production. For these young adults, this had to be an unusual as well as a memorable experience.

With each show every year, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra always tries to make
their productions better and bigger than previous years. They definitely
excelled in this area with the entire show, almost three hours long, being
enjoyed from an audience of all ages.

A Christmas Carol

ow can anyone make a particular show special when its almost reached its
one-thousandth performance? Ask the people at the Omaha Playhouse as "A
Christmas Carol" will accomplish this on Friday, November 30th. This show has been an annual event since 1976 at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

It is amazing that each year the show is slightly different just to keep it fresh as well as many new performers, especially children, to fulfill the various roles.
This year's cast of "A Christmas Carol" was energetic, talented, and a completely
delightful. Jerry Longe is in his seventh year as the miserly Scrooge in this
"Bah, Humbug" role. Both Little Bo Peep played by Camille Adair and Brooke Gustafson as Little Boy Blue were outstanding while seldom blinking as they both portrayed mechanized toys that needed to be wound up. All the children sang magnificently and were well prepared as the various characters. The Crachit family were excelled in their interactions but especially with Kian Roblin as Tim warming the hearts of everyone with his clear singing voice. Outstanding also was Matthew Hemingway as Fred with his wonderfully resonant tenor voice.
The costumes were perfect, the sets were detailed but easily moved to help establish the time and place, the make-up was perfect, the lighting was complicated but was well plan and perfect, the sound system was well-balance, the wigs were excellent especially when an actress had to become another person, the orchestra never missed a note, and definitely special effects were all perfectly timed. Of course, this show has been almost performed one-thousand times at this theater.
Even with that many performances, the story still was entrancing to the audience. thralled. Any story that can captivate young children to be glued to their seats during a performance speaks for itself. The story still has a message that we all need to hear.
Personally, I found it amazing that so many details with the sets were onstage without it being crowded and people could easily maneuver. All the songs were
beautifully harmonized but especially "Coventry Carol". This song's haunting melody perfectly matched the blended voices of the adults.
“A Christmas Carol” in at the Omaha Playhouse through December 23rd. The tickets are $35 for adults and $24 for students through December 15th. As of December 16th, the tickets are $39 for adults and $28 for students. The shows are Wednesday-Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. Beginning in December and at 2:00 p.m. And 6:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoons.
How long has it been since you have seen any version of “A Christmas Carol”? Maybe it's time to go see it at the Omaha Playhouse.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Wedding Gift

The Wedding Gift
Kathleen McKenna
Bell Bridge Books
October 7, 201I
ISBN: 978-16119405287
246 pages
$ 14.95

Some people are fortunate that they were born beautiful. All their lives, they are judged as wonderful because of their outward appearance. That is Leeann.

Leeann was only a baby when one of her brothers died. Due to the family tragedy, her mother completely indulged her as a princess with the entire family enraptured with her beauty and charm.

However, the death of her brother was always an unresolved family issue. An
oil-rich family lived in this Oklahoma small town and one night, the mother of
five children who had married into this family, slaughtered her children, husband, and then took her own life. The family kept this house as if those dead would return any moment.

Leeann's brother, along with his best friend, chose to have an adventure in the haunted house. Her brother died from falling out of a tree into the empty swimming pool, landing on his head and the friend survived with broken bones. No one really talked much about the event. Why would they?

Leeann had won every beauty pageant and beginning her senior year, she had
planned to marry her deceased brother's best friend, Donnie. However, Donnie
suddenly married another girl.

Leeann found herself meeting and encouraging the oil-rich heir in the Winthrop
family, especially when she became pregnant. Their plan was to marry after her
graduation and to live in a townhouse.

However, George had an idea. Why not live in the deserted mansion?

The wedding gift, yes, the mansion where all the murders had happened and Leeann's brother had died was to be given to the newlyweds.

The Wedding Gift is told from the perspective of a haughty teen-aged girl. Even though Leeann is not always likable, she is realistic in being very “me” centered.
The tale is haunting and well-developed with the intended audience being females from the ages of fifteen to thirty.

Kathleen McKenna hails from Alaska and currently resides in New Mexico working now as an author. The Wedding Gift is her debut novel. She plans a sequel to this novel.


Hard Twisted
C. Joseph Greaves
Bloombury, USA
November 13, 2012
ISBN: 978-1608198559
304 Pages

Dilllard Garrett is just trying to survive and raise his thirteen-year-old
daughter. After his wife dies, he finds himself homeless in the year 1934 during the Great Depression hand-to-mouth in Oklahoma. Lucille, his daughter, nick
named Lottie, is always agreeable and helpful. That is just her personality.

Life consists of day-to-day survival until they meet Clint Palmer, a convicted felon recently released from Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Clint never completely tells anyone the truth about himself. The fictional person is easier to believe than the true to life psychotic one.

With the threesome combining into an easy friendship, smooth-talking Clint
masterfully twists all facts into his convenient realities as they travel throughout Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. What the Garretts are unaware about is the psychotic twisted mind of Clint. With the Garrett's dream of living a normal life, Clint quickly maneuvers his stories as the group drifts from town-to-town hearing of the recent deaths of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde.

When Lottie's father disappears, she accept Clint's explanation. She continues to accept additional ones as time progresses and the stories become more complicated. For survival, Lottie is forced to have her hair cut so that she looks like a boy and even to being Clint's common-law wife. She quickly learns not to question him but just to be supportive.

While the author, C. Joseph Greaves and his wife were hiking in a remote Utah canyon many years ago, they discovered two human skulls. This led to the research on this real event and this novel about the “skeleton murders” of 1935 in Texas. This story became Hard-Twisted and won the Best Historical Novel of 2010 by the Southwest Writers recognizing C. Joseph Greaves with the coveted
Storyteller Award.

Hard-Twisted might have happened years ago but the story is relevant today in dealing with anyone who seems to have an answer to everything, logical or not, and what happened to those who chose to challenge the psychotic mind.

The Walnut Tree

The Walnut Tree
Charles Todd
William Morrow
Harper Collins Publishers
New York, New York
October 30, 2012
$ 16.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-223699-9
248 pages

For those people who were born into the upper echelons of the classes in England
and Scotland, World War I was more than a war, it was a permanent change in their daily life. With the influences of the suffrage movement and the industrial revolution the lives of everyone were permanently and irrevocably altered. Gone were the days of the great houses with the downstairs staff meeting all the needs and desires of those born into the wealth.

Lady Elspeth, although orphaned, has lived a conventional life of the nobility, even though she is a ward of her uncle until her thirtieth birthday. However, she is given the freedom of an adult woman of class and wealth in her twenties while still having the closeness of her family, her cousins.

Being the year is 1914, Elspeth plans to go to France to assist her longtime close friend, Madeleine Villard with the birth of her first child. Henri, Madeleine's husband is distracted by the nearby German forces after the assassination of Kaiser Wilhelm as they invade Belgium and begin to occupy parts of France. Also, Elspeth has been attracted to Madeleine's brother, Alain, for years. Even though he is without a title, he does come from wealth. He gives her his mother's ruby ring as a promise to ask her uncle for her hand in marriage. As the men become involved in fighting, Elspeth wonders if she should go home.

After observing life in France, Elspeth feels the need to do more. She asks a nurse about how to become involved. Knowing the her uncle would not give his permission, Espeth hides her true rank and identity, as learns to become a competent and caring nurse. Spending much of her time near the battles in France, she is constantly looking for her family, Henri, and Alain.

The Walnut Tree is a novel about life during WWI from Elspeth's perspective. Seeing through the eyes of both the French and the Scottish gives an unusual viewpoint as the class differences begin to overlap in this changing time. This historical fictional novel is also is romance with the reader knowing from page one that Elspeth will get her man, just not which one.

Charles Todd is the name used by the mother/son writing team of Charlotte and Charles Todd. This team has written numerous historical mystery novels throughout the years that excel in placing the reader in the middle of their well-researched settings.

The Walnut Tree is a quick, but enthralling book that actually transports you to
another time and place. With believable characters and a strong sense of both time and place, this small novel is superb with the details of the time period.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall

Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall
Jill Koenigsdorf
October 26, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59692-383-6
380 pages

Many artists literally "squeak by" financially. Yes, the talent is there.
Yes, the diligence and productivity is there. However, starving artists seem
to connect more with their art and talent when times are difficult. It seems that many artists connect better with their inner self when times a re rough. Of course, even an artist could benefit from a helpful ghost who seems almost like a guardian angel who had previously been the masterful artist, Marc Chagall.

Phoebe Rosen is an artist who designs wine bottle labels. Since the economic
downturn, the winery has cut her hours which causes her to fall behind on her
house payments. This is her dream house which seems to perfectly match her artistic nature. She loves this house which she shares with her teenaged daughter ready to leave for college.

Her daughter plans a surprise birthday party for Phoebe but what surprises her
most is the lone guest in the corner. An older man in a paint shirt with gray curly hair who looks curiously familiar. No one else seems to notice him. No, it can't be one of her favorite artists, Marc Chagall. He has been dead for years but it certainly looks like him?

Why would Marc Chagall be sent to help someone? What can a ghost do? How can a deceased artist assist in any way?

Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall is a well-thought-out tale interweaving the
stolen art from World War II, the Russian rebellion, the Jewish issues in
Russia, the black market of stolen and hidden art by private collectors, the
life of an artist, lessons about Chagall and his life and interactions with
other artists, while solving a mystery with a touch of romance.
Even with all this, this story is engrossing especially about the history of
Marc Chagall while exploring the French countryside at a rural bed and breakfast
complete with local witches, bee keeping, and guilt about a choice made as a
child during the German occupation of the past war.

Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall is the debut novel for Jill Koenigsdorf.
Previously, Ms. Koenigsdorf has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has
published various fictional short stories as well as non-fiction. She resides
in Sonoma, California and Santa Fe, Mexico.

How about reading an intriguing novel that is a page turner while also learning about the artistry of a true master? Read Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall.

Music Man Junior

How do you perform a well-known legendary musical and adapt to only actors and
actresses who are aged eighteen or younger? Ask the Chanticleer Theater with
their latest musical, "Music Man Junior".
This version has shortened songs, abbreviated scenes, and dialogue so that
the entire production lasts about an hour while still singing and dancing the
best known of the songs and maintaining the story line.
As the con man, Professor Harold Hill, Eric Koch commanded the stage with this
demanding role. As Marian Paroo, Rolena Hatfield, beautifully maintained the
dignity of this demur female role. Wyatt Sargent who is only twelve, perfectly
played Hill's con man partner of Marcellus. Tommy Djilas was perfect as
the ornery boyfriend of the mayor's daughter. Kyle Schnitker demonstrated
poise and composure as one of the mature cast members as the mayor while adding
harmony and depth to many of the songs. Paris Fulbright and Molly Schnitker
were excellent in their roles of the wife and daughter of the mayor.
As in any production, there are always outstanding performances on particular
nights. On the night that I saw this delightful show, Audrey Schnitker,
portrayed Marian's mother perfectly with her dress, hair, acting, and definitely
commanding her part with a strong and beautiful voice. Unquestionably the
crowd favorite was seven-year-old Chase Sargent acting as the lisping Winthrop Paroo who actually charmed the entire audience as his character transitioned from almost mute or singing and playing an instrument.
The costumes perfectly fit the characters,the time period, and those on stage with some bizarre and delightful hats completing the outfits. The lighting, sets, and production crews were outstanding with only a few problems with the sound system. Jerry Gray was outstanding as the musical director with Rachael Schnitker being responsible for the clever choreography in this energetic show.
The unison voices is the major production numbers were perfectly matching and
well-balanced with simple, but accurate harmonies.
This particular audience was thrilled with the performance and rewarded the production with joyous applause and a standing ovation.
The Music Man Junior continues through next weekend, November 18th. On Friday
and Saturday, the show opens at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket costs
are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for students and children. For
reservations call (712) 323-9955 or e-mail the box office at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

"One man's life touches so many others." This is a quote from the
radio play, "It's a Wonderful Life", a story that truly transcends
the times.
Why would anyone want to see a show that is based on the classic
movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" that you have probably seen many times?
Simple, the theater version has something special and different that
actually lets the audience view the play in a different way. Imagine
"It's a Wonderful Life" as being read as a radio show being broadcast at a
station in December of 1946.
What makes this particular production so delightful is the attention to
the details that places the audience back into 1946. Between the
wonderful background music of Perry Como, the blues, and
Christmas music of the 1940s to the superb costumes, props, and
fascination of the creation of the sound effects, even though the story
was well known, the message seemed more relevant and applicable to
Four actors and three actresses magnificently became numerous
characters with a variety of voices, accents, and personalities while
visibly creating a multitude of sound effects. In this feel good play, the
dialogue and interactions as well as numerous characters, kept the
audience enthralled.
Pat O'Neil was delightful as Freddie Filmore and many other characters. Jake
Laurents truly became George in this legendary Jimmy Stewart role. Harry
Heywood and Vincent Simpson definitely showed their talents
through their many varied characters. Sally Applewhite was wonderful as
Mary with Lana Sherwood as the seductive Violet as well as other parts. Gloria
Taylor was Mrs. Bailey while masterfully controlling numerous
sounds, being a Bailey child playing piano without having a piano, and
singing the commercials.
The entire staff and production crews were outstanding in making this
production appear completely seamless.
"It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is at Bellevue Little Theater
through November 18th. The theater is located at 203 Mission Ave. in Bellevue.
Shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday with ticket
costs at $15, for Seniors over 60 the cost is $13 and $9 for students. For
tickets call 402-291-1554.
Why not enjoy a great theatrical show with a wonderful cast as you
begin this holiday season. See "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Make Believe

Make Believe
Edward Ifkovic
Poisoned Pen Press
Scottsdale, Arizona
ISBN: 9781461200823
Trade Paperback
November 6, 2012
$ 15.95
250 pages
Paperback, Hardcover, e-book
"Others find peace of mind in pretending. Couldn't you? Couldn't I? Couldn't we?"
Oh, the good old days with Broadway musicals where most people knew all the songs. Among all those wonderful shows, one always stood apart in that it had a mixed happy/sad ending. Yes, the happy endings gave us a warm feeling inside, but the mixed ending made you think about the story and the message in the story. That is always how I have viewed the musical, Show Boat.
Edna Ferber wrote the novel Show Boat and many others highly acclaimed novels even winning the Nobel Prize in literature. When Show Boat became a musical it had numerous barriers to knockdown, one of which was the author not always supporting the production. With the 1951 remake of the 1936 movie production, this particular novel is a mystery that surrounds the details of the movie, the actors, and the behind the scenes dramas including infidelity and the Senate investigation of the Hollywood well-known personalities and their possible affiliation with the communist party.
In Make Believe, Edna Ferber decides to attend the opening of this magnificent production in Hollywood, not for further publicity, but in support of her long-time friend MaxJefferies who has just been blacklisted by the McCarthy hearings and his name is being erased from the film credits. Unfortunately, Max is murdered and Ms. Ferber utilizes her writing skills in investigating this unsolved crime. Could it be his widow whose former mob husband was also killed? Could it be Frank Sinatra whose career is quickly falling being that he has recently left his wife for Ava Gardner? Could it be a member of America First who doesn't want these hidden Communists corrupting their country? All of these are possible, but who else?
Make Believe, entitled from a song in the musical, is an accurate and enthralling portrait of the time period, the people, and Show Boat. Complete with the Hollywood gossip of Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, this novel quickly and neatly allows the reader to actually be a part of both the investigation and to meet the people while still solving the mystery of who killed Max.
Edward Ifkovic has written numerous novel with Make Believe being his third in his Edna Ferber series with the prequel Escape Artist and Lone Star. He has taught literature at a community college in Connecticut for thirty years.
For those of us who were not born at this time, Make Believe is a wonderful snapshot of the time period as well as the history of the actual show mixed with a well-thought-out mystery encompassing the time period and the well-known characters. Warning or suggestion: Since I started reading this novel, the soundtrack of Show Boat has been the background music. Just play the soundtrack.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

View from the Edge

View from the Edge
Michael Kasenow
Infinity Publishing
West Conshohocken, PA
ISBN: 978-0-7414-7097-3
Trade Paperback
February 2012
$ 18.95
355 pages
Paperback, Hardcover, eBook

"When you get up in the morning---duck."

“When you get up in the morning—duck.”

How many of us have often wondered at the end of the day if we would have been better off to just stay in bed?

After being treated for a mental breakdown, Dr. Joshua Feenics is returning to his regular life after his leave of absence.

Joshua Feenics often feels that way now. He is a college professor who happens to be the head of his department. Basically he is bombarded with the complaints from students and faculty with the expectation of his mediation with each particular situation. Some days this proves to be extremely challenging especially when both seem to just lack common sense.

Josh is well aware of the professors in his department, especially their weaknesses and their prejudices. Another student concern is that there seems to be a possible religious cult on campus involving some of his students.

This small university is also being strongly considered as the site for the future display center for some newly discovered archeological wonders, possibly part of the Ten Commandments written by God. The authenticity seems to collaborate with the time period. However to Josh, something just doesn’t feel right.

With his personal life, Josh is fairly certain that his wife is having an affair. Her moods yo-yo and her excessive drinking makes their relationship definitely questionable. Now she wants them to sell their dream house on a lake so that they can start over since Josh had a mental breakdown. So why does she want to build a gazebo and a new dock? It seems the only solid relationship he has is his only son, Blake.

View from the Edge has a slow beginning as this introductory section centers around Josh and his daily life as well revealing the baggage of his abusive childhood. The few uplifting areas in his life usually revolve around his son and his friendships at the university. However, the development of the characters is amazingly strong and revealing to each of their personal character in this part.

Quickly though, View from the Edge becomes a page-turner. Although not technically a mystery since this is really Josh’s narrative, there are many crimes and mysteries which develop and are discovered throughout this finely interwoven tale. With each aspect unfolding, Josh discovers his strengths and involvement in each mystery.

Michael Kasenow is a geology professor at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of many science books, won numerous awards for his poetry, and the well-received novel The Last Paradise.

The lessons learned in reading View from the Edge advises each of us to keep going each day, no matter what our problems or challenges are along the way. Why? “We do what we can to feel good about it. But it takes you, you don’t take it.” Think about that when your life seems overwhelming and read View from the Edge.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Black Isle

The Black Isle
Sandi Tan
Grand Central Publishing
Hatchette Book Group
ISBN: 978-0-446-56392-5
August 2012
469 pages

Living life as an elderly woman of Asian descent can be trying. Finding a story
about your life in a library can either fill you with pride or dread. She feels
the horror of everything written about her and the depressed
thought of these lies in print. However, the truth of one aspect of this
book is true. She can talk to ghosts.

Few of us really know the horrors of those who lived through a war
occupied by an enemy. Some are able to still live in their home
although many are displaced being evicted from their home by opposing forces who
might not understand your history, culture, and language.

Being born in Shanghai in 1922, Ling discovered that being the female
half in a set of twins was not to her advantage. Her brother, Li, was obviously
favored by the family, especially their mother. Ling's mother is
extremely fearful of others and often refuses to allow the children to
leave the house. Her family lived well with her father being a teacher
with the family continuing to grow with the birth of another set of twins, both
girls, but the mother's paranoia of the outside world also growing.

With the advent of World War II approaching, the family grew in fear of being
invaded by their enemies, the Japanese. To save themselves and especially the
males, Ling's father took her brother and herself to the
Black Isle to begin a new and hopefully safer life. However, life
seldom happens as we hope.

Ling also possesses an unusual gift. She sees ghosts. To her, they
are as obvious as real people and are even difficult to sometimes
differentiate who is alive and dead.

In this epic novel covering about seventy years, the reader views the life on a
Pacific Island through a multitude of influences and change. She
also has the unique perspective of these changes upon the spirits of the island
who frequently have their own opinions of modern progress.

Black Isle is well-developed with realistic characters in a well-organized story
spanning much of Ling's life. The story reads as her narrative
explaining her choices including many of the horrors of the Japanese
occupation on the island as well as being a British colony.

The Black Isle is the debut novel for Singapore native Sandi Tan. She was
educatied in th UK and the United States and currently lives in

This unusual haunting novel combines history with fantasy to narrate a truly
memorable tale.

Cabaret Series Part I Chanticleer

What can you expect at a cabaret? Simply, it can be a variety of
performances in a restaurant like setting. How does this work at our
local Chanticleer Theater? Extremely well, as shown last weekend.
As usual, the Chanticleer staff excelled with this challenge. With the
ambience of a small restaurant with small tables for just two, six
multi-talented young performers, graciously entertained the audience at
this fund raising event last Friday and Saturday night being called
"Broadway at Chanticleer, the Next Generation".
Chris Ebke, Rachel Holmes, Ariel Ibsen, John Jones, Sarah Query, with
accompanist, Machellle Mitchell wonderfully performed from many
contemporary Broadway musicals such as Tick...tick...Boom!, Ragtime,
Once on this Island, Company, Songs for a New World, Avenue Q, Crazy Just Like
Me, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Jeckyll & Hyde, Chess, The Last Five
Years, and Children of Eden.
There were definitely some magical musical moments with these
performers strutting their stuff and showing the audience their talent.
Outstanding were Sarah Query especially singing "Little Things You Do
Together" which strongly reminded this reviewer of the legendary Elaine
Stritch in the original Broadway show. Both John Jones and Chris
Ebke were wonderful in their solo spots where the songs they were
singing perfectly matched their vocal talents allowing their falsettos to
ring out throughout the theater. Ariel Ibsen was delightful as the
character singer/ actress in her selections. Rachel Holmes allowed the
audience to be enthralled with her beautiful voice and perfectly hit those
anticipated high notes. Together this quintet perfectly harmonized in
the ending number "In Whatever Time We Have" from the musical
Children of Eden. Machelle Mitchell excelled as the accompanist being the
perfect musical foundation for all the performers. Every element of this show
was perfect including the lighting and the sound system.
This delightful cabaret evening of entertainment with light refreshments
was definitely a hit with the audience.
This Cabaret Series: Part II with the experienced, seasoned performers
from previous Chanticleer plays will continue on January 11th and 12th as a
fundraiser with a $20 donation that will include complimentary
refreshments. Seasoned ticket holders will receive a $5 discount.
This was a delightful evening of musical theater. This will be a show
for everyone who has ever enjoyed any song from any musical with a
delightful cast for the perfect cabaret experience.

Monday, October 8, 2012

La Traviata

How often do parents not approve of who their child wants to marry? This
age-old dilemma is the basic storyline for the opera, La Traviata
which was performed at the Orpheum Theater last weekend.

Violetta is slowing dying and suffering from tuberculosis when she finally meets
the love of her life, Alfredo. Living the life of high society while
attending numerous parties in Paris, both thrills Violetta but also
exhausts her physically. She decides to leave the partying and filth of
the city to live in the countryside. While this helps Violetta physically and
emotionally living with Alfredo, financially this forces her to sell
many of her possessions to pay for the expenses. Alfredo's father
becomes involved and does not want the relationship to continue. This
is the problem for La Traviata.

The lush operatic voices of the chorus beautifully harmonized with the
soloists balancing with the orchestra perfectly. The costumes, sets,
lighting, sound system, wigs, makeup, and overall management of this
production was superbly organized with even multiple activities on the
stage at a time. This performance was opera with the multiple rich
voices at its best. Every small detail was well-planned and executed.

As the lead soprano, Inna Dukach, superbly sang as the ill Violetta in
this extremely demanding role. Joshua Kohl, as her lover, Alfredo,
superbly expressed his love of Violetta as his tenor voice beautifully rang out
throughout the theater. Jake Gardner as Alfredo's father, Giorgio
Germont, was truly an audience favorite with his majestic baritone
weaving conflict for the two lovers.

The relationship between the cast and their audience is the true test of any
performance. You could hear the audience holding their breaths
throughout the songs actually parallel with the singers' breathing. For a
foreign opera sung in a foreign language and translated through a
screen above the stage for an American audience, this timeless Verdi
opera was enjoyed by all especially in the Orpheum Theater which
seems to perfectly match the opera with its ornate decorative theme.

Added to this particular performance was a short dance by two members of Ballet
Nebraska, Erika Overturff and Sasha York who gracefullyadded a Spanish flavor to
the partying guests.

The only negative aspect of this delightful evening was that the chorus
did not take their bows and recognition at the end. Yes, it is
understandable that they were not involved with the last act, but they
were integral with the entire production.

You definitely want to attend the next operatic production of Mozart's
The Magic Flute in February. With any opera at the Orpheum Theater, you can
relax and enjoy a wonderful story translated into English of timeless problems
set to wonderful music.
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Monday, October 1, 2012


Sara Poole
St. Martin's Griffin
New York
ISBN: 978-0-312-60983-2
August 2010
$ 14.99
392 pages

How do you prove that you are the best poisoner? Simple, poison the person in that position with a potion that is not easily recognizable, maybe your own personal concoction.

Francesca Giordano grew up in the notorious house of Rodrigo Borgia with her father as the chief poisoner. When her father is murdered, Francesca is obsessed with revenge. Who is responsible for his death? Her father's successor is in a dangerous position and Francesca knows that she is more qualified even if she is a woman in this male-dominated time period. She proves this by poisoning the poisoner and admits it. This gutsy move could have her condemned to death but instead she manages to become the poisoner. Who could be better qualified?

Poison is a tale of the Renaissance with the multiple problems in Italy from the expulsion of the Jewish people in Spain to the wide spread corruption within the Vatican and how the two interwove. Many of the Jews who came to Rome with nothing since their possessions were confiscated. Rome created a refugee camp that kept these people in a confined area regardless of their money.

Poison speaks of the history of Rome especially around the Vatican and how these two interacted as well as the physical aspects of the immense tunnel system within and under the buildings and how they were frequently utilized.

The character of Francesca and her involvement with the Borgias allows you to make your own judgments about the Borigas, especially Lucrezia in that her youth and naivety matures with her circumstances as being a pawn in this male world. Author Sara Poole lets the reader view these people through non-judgmental or prejudicial eyes with this notorious family.

My one criticism of this novel involved that one event near the end which involved a child that seemed too convenient and coincidental. However, the relationships with the glass maker and the pharmacist's wife in the Jewish ghetto were superbly written in visualizing the events, conditions, and even understanding the smells of the time period.

Poison is a superb first novel in this series by Sarah Poole representing the Renaissance and life in Italy. I love forward to reading the other novels in this series.


Lissa Bryan
The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Waxahachie, Texas
October 11, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61213-1221-1
Trade paperback
257 pages

Ghostwriter is the story of Sara Howell who is not enjoying life right now.
She is currently unemployed and not in a relationship which is just the opposite of her life a month ago. Realizing that she can no longer afford her apartment since her former boyfriend moved out, she begins to look for a cheaper place to live. Is this a struggle or fate stepping in to show Sarah her destiny? (This is a romance so it is acceptable to write that sentence.)

A local politician has contracted with Sarah for her to ghostwrite about her predictable and boring life. So she temporarily has some money coming in and just needs a place to live. How do you find a decent place to live when the costs need to be less than half of what you used to pay?

With the help of a local realtor, Sarah finds the house of her dreams. It an old house on an island that can only be reached by boat Added to that, the house was owned by her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared around the year 1925 after living there with his wife. Being that there were no direct descendants, his family inherited the house with numerous conditions while they continue to profit from the royalties on his books. The family has mixed feelings about having someone living in the house since they are certain that it is haunted by Seth, however, they also choose not to tell Sarah this. Since no one publicly knows when or how Seth died, this secret is not shared with Sarah. Great! A broke writer in a haunted house of their favorite author. What could possibly happen?

Sarah finds it difficult to write about this politician who has only given Sarah the information that she chooses to share, she is also experiencing excruciating headaches, and then the ghost himself, Seth. For some reason, Seth does not want her nosing around his things in the attic or even being in his house.

Ghostwriter is a paranormal romance. What reader has not fallen in love with the works of a talented author and dream of meeting the actual person who created these masterpieces of expression. For Sarah, this is her dream and the reality of life is having to daily write this biographical.

Lissa Bryan in that through the world of books she has had numerous life experiences. Although is the real world, she has published many stories with Ghostwriter being her first novel.

Reminiscent of the old movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, this tale will delight every romance reader with well-developed characters, a logical chronology, and an intensity that makes this novel a fast novel to read. You do not want to leave this story once you begin reading. The storyline is enjoyable and Ms. Bryan has a gift of placing the reader in the protagonist's shoes.

Definitely, Lissa Bryan, is an author who truly understands the relationship between the reader, the novel, and the author.

I wonder about the circumstances of many of my favorite authors now. Do I dare visit the places where they lived and died?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Talking to the Dead

Talking to the Dead
Harry Bingham
Delacorte Press
New York
ISBN: 978-0-345-53373-9
September 25, 2012
$ 26.00
352 pages

Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths is new to her job, insecure, and finding it
difficult fitting into the "old boys" detective mold with the police force in the
town of Newport in Wales. Knowing that she has a tendency to not fit in anyway, she finds the job a challenge that is quickly becoming a life obsession.

For Fiona, her first murder scene is shocking and disturbing. Sure, woman on drugs would seem to have an outcome of being murdered, stabbed. That part didn't completely bother her. What she didn't plan on was the woman's six-year-old daughter being killed by having a sink smashed over her head. How could a six-year-old have deserved that kind of a death? Also, the young girl seems to have a smile on what is left of her face. She appears happy and content.

Curiously though, a platinum credit card was found at this crimescene. The card
belonged to a man who went missing months ago. Even though his body had not been found, he is believed to be dead. Could he be alive? What would this wealthy man's platinum card be doing at the home of this single mother? Added to that is that the neighbors didn't ever see the daughter. Was she hiding in the house and fearful to even look out the windows? It seems that each discovery brings with it a multitude of questions that are not easily answered.

Also, she is currently assigned the job of investigating embezzlement by another police officer. She finds that somehow he seems to be linked to both the murders and the missing person.

For whatever reasons, Fiona becomes obsessed with this murder. She searches out the history of the credit card and the missing man, as well as those who knew both the mother and her child. Unfortunately, she manages to question too many people and another prostitute is killed. As she finds herself connecting with the world of the victims, she discovers a healing process herself for her own breakdown years ago.

The author of Talking to the Dead is Harry Bingham who is the literary consultant of the U. K. largest literary consultancy firm, The Writer's Workshop. He is currently working on his next novel featuring his unlikely heroine, Fiona Griffiths.

The character of Fiona Griffiths is refreshing as a realistically flawed and insecure character who has her own set of rules and is willing to put her own money with her beliefs. Although definitely unconventional within her police department, Fiona
discovers her own way of doing things might just be the best. At times, she was a depressing person but considering the crime, that was

Talking to the Dead is a hauntingly realistic tale of real police work with the quirky and likable protangonist, Fiona Griffiths, who is a refreshing character to the mystery scene. I look forward to the next Harry Bingham book featuring this unlikely heroine, Fiona.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Love Finds You in Amana Iowa

Love Finds You in Amana Iowa
Melanie Dobson
Summerside Press
Minneapolis, Minnesota
ISBN: 978-1-60936-135-8
313 pages

Life with people known for their peaceful practices allows avoidance of war, bu how does anyone attempt to handle a country's civil war while still holding your values and beliefs.

The people from the Amana colonies are in the process of moving their entire colony from New York to settle in Iowa during our country's Civil War. Even though the elders chose to pay for their young men not to be conscripted, they were still strongly influenced by the realities of the war.

The colony in New York sent many able-bodied men ahead to begin to build and
prepare for the women, children, and the rest of their families who would eventually make the long trek overland to Iowa. Their advance team included Friedrich Vinzenz, clockmaker, and his adopted brother, Matthias, who was a builder. Their job was to start planting the fields and building the kitchens, shelters, and places of worship for those coming in the near future.

Friedrich has promised to marry Amalie Weise when she finally arrives at the colony. Their long relationship grew from their childhood while spending time with Friedrich's family. Growing up with the Vinzenz family, their close relationship grew as well along with Matthias being promised to Friedrich's sister.

However life does not always work out as we plan or hope. When some wounded Union soldiers come to the colony to recruit, Friedrich feels obligated to join and to fight for those in slavery. Even when the elders of the community offer to pay in compensation for their services, Friedrich still chooses to join much to the distress of his friends, family, and community. Added to that, Amalie is finally near the Iowa colony after being separated from Friedrich for nearly three years. Now that she is finally arriving, she has to question their relationship when she is told that Friedrich has left to fight in the war.

This hauntingly romantic tale expertly describes the hardships of those resettling in Iowa and gives the perspective of the Amana people. This country's Civil War influenced more than those who were directly in battle, the influences changed the country in numerous ways, including attitude. The characters were believable and realistic in this well-develop story.

The strength of this particular novel is how well Melanie Dobson developed the characters and life in the beginning Amana Colonies in Iowa during our country's
Civil War. Her interwoven characters into the daily life traveling on foot and wagon train, to beginning in a new land, to the struggles with a country in a civil war allow the reader to truly understand the times.

Melanie Dobson has written many novels in this historical romance category. Except for the cover of the book not matching the character description of Amalie Weise, this particular novel is a wonderful book to read for anyone who is interested in these historically peaceful people and for those who love romance.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Lips Together, Teeth Apart

Four adults in a summer house that one of them inherited on Fire Island across
from Long Island for the July 4th weekend during the early 1990s. What could
possibly go wrong?

“Lips Together, Teeth Apart” is being presented through September 23rd at the
Chanticleer Theater. For a community theater group this play has to be
daunting for only having four characters which requires all four to be on stage
for over two hours.

This drama involves two husband/wife teams with one husband and one wife being
brother and sister. This adult play encompasses numerous issues such as
infidelity, cancer, infertility, homosexuality, mercy killing, secrets,
communication, listening, and how our attitudes and beliefs about AIDS have changed since 1991.

John Carlson. as John is believable as the smart one, even doing his crosswords,
and making words up to fit the spaces rather than the definitions. He succeds with his character being both arrogant and pitiful at the same time. Deb Kelly portrays his wife, Chloe, who fluctuates between being helpful and perky, while
overbearing all at the same time. She also shows how some older sisters quickly
assume their earlier role as caretaker. Jay Huse plays Sam who is Chloe's little brother. He quickly shows his character's insecurities and uncertainties while still playing at being a responsible adult and not quite succeeding at that
part. Liz Mulhern is Sally who is the sulky, artsy, and intelligent with usually some minor errors. She has her own personal issues while also carrying guilt from her brother's death. These four succeed in revealing their characters' flaws in their relationships with each other, completely exposed.

The acting and directing is outstanding especially considering all the dialogue
and the demands with all characters being constantly on stage. This show is certainly a challenge both to perform and direct in that there are so many adult issues which were all performed exceptionally well. The sound, sets, lighting, costuming, background sounds, and even a cameo bat appearance in the night sky were all perfectly executed.

For the next two years, the Chanticleer Theater will be presenting many shows
which are all involving area talent.
“Lips Together, Teeth Apart” will continue through September 23rd with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The tickets cost $17 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $9 for students. Contact the box office at (712) 323-9955 or email for tickets.

Just Add Salt

Just Add Salt
Book 2: Hetta Coffey Series
Jinx Schwartz
WhooDoo Mysteries
Treble Heart Books
Sierra Vista, AZ
ISBN: 1-932695-46-X
$ 12.45
294 pages

Some people seem to attract trouble like Hetta Coffey. It also might be that Hetta is the type of person who jumps into the water and then asks about its depth. Added to that, she can't swim.

Living on a yacht definitely requires a different lifestyle. Since she no longer has a land-based house, all of her life encompasses her boat. Being the she is an engineer who is contracted to work in various places, her boat or house, goes wherever she is needed. With her love, Jenks, currently in the Middle East, Hetta takes off for Mexico with her best friend, Jan, and a mysterious, but conveniently cheap captain to pilot the boat.

The more Hetta discovers about her new temporary job, the more she questions whether this job is legal or ethical. A particular Japanese company wants to buy land in Baja to develop into a desalinization plant which also seems to be involved with some poaching of whales. Hetta's job is to plan their supplies and needs to complete their project. Jan accompanies Hetta as a marine biologist who is really a companion and friend with no qualifications.

Just Add Salt is the second book in the Hetta Coffey series which now includes four novels. Just Add Water is the first book in this series which is wonderful with the character develop of Hetta and her friends. This second book in this series could be difficult to understand if someone does not have this background of the characters.

Just Add Salt truly succeeds with giving a sense of the setting. Understanding the area of Baja is quite unique with its varied populace and the Atlantic hurricane season as well as the US Coast Guard responsibilities along the southern California coastal region. The characters, especially Hetta, seem to long for adventure without thinking of the possible consequences. In that respect, it is a delightful journey in someone else's shoes that I personally would not want toinhabit.

Jinx Schwartz has written four books in this series featuring Hetta Coffey. Jinx lives in Arizona and Mexico most of the year. Jinx has also written a wonderful book, Land ofMountains, based on her own experiences growing up in Haiti.

Just Add Salt is a fun read. Hetta's misadventures resemble LucyRicardo from I Love Lucy, even with the red hair. The recommended audience is for women who love a mystery with a wicked sense of humor.

Johnny Winter review

What would make middle-aged graying men obviously in their sixties with
male-patterned baldness jump on their toes like girlish teeny boppers or
uninhibitedly strut their stuff to music? One thing, the music of legendary
guitarist, Johnny Winter who performed at the Whiskey Roadhouse inside the
Horseshoe Casino last Friday night.

This particular concert began with the Terry Quiett Band. With
bassist Aaron Underwood and drummer Rodney Baker, this band is definitely an
up-and-coming rock/blues band with immense talent and potential. Between
their enthusiasm, sense of musicianship, original songs, excellent techniques
with their instruments, superb vocals, sense of being a band, and loving the
music they play, their varied sounds perfectly matched the expectations of this
blues crowd. They also demonstrated their flexibility by even performing a
quieter selection in a true country/blues/rock style. This is definitely a
band that everyone will want to see again and again.

The Johnny Winter Band consists of Johnny, guitarist Paul Nelson, bassist Scott
Spray, and drummer Vito Liuzzi. Starting off the night with "Johnny Be Good"
set the pace for the night with the legendary guitarist. Many songs were
played from his recent album, and thoroughly enjoyed by this predominantly male
crowd who became one with the music from the "guitar slinger" and his band.

For being sixty-eight years old, he walked slightly bent but overall looked
healthy, compared to his emaciated years. However, age has not
changed his technique, his musicianship, or his passion for the hard rock blues.
With his superb band, who any one of them could be a blues star by themselves,
the respect they give to Winter's playing and music, is truly wonderful since
all of them are so masterful.

The show was too loud for the venue. If you can't understand the words
because of the volume, it could have been more controlled. The other side
though is that it has to be difficult balancing the noise from the slot machines
and the Whiskey Roadhouse along with the amps from the various bands.

Johnny Winter showed that age has not affected his ability to still be one of
the best guitarists worldwide. For Johnny, his guitar is an extension of who
he is and how he communicates. With fingers masterfully flying, his guitar
playing proved to everyone why he was on the lists of the best guitarists from
Rolling Stone years ago. This type of playing showed why most Woodstock
performers became legends in music.

The staff of the Horseshoe Casino was outstanding with their helpfulness and
courtesy. For the entire audience and bands, there could not have been a more accommodating venue.

Johnny Winter is definitely one performer everyone needs to see at least once in
a lifetime. For those of us who were not at Woodstock, the Whiskey Roadhouse
last Friday night proved to be a memorable event for years to come . If you
ever get the chance again, definitely go see Johnny Winter and his phenomenal

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mixed Signals

Mixed Signals
Jane Tesh
Poisoned Pen Press
October 2012
ISBN: 9781464200618 Hardback
ISBN: 9781464200632 Trade Paperback
$ 24.95
250 pages

We all have some kind of emotional baggage which weighs us down. For private investigator, David Randall, it's his eight-year-old daughter who died in a car accident. Since then, he has divorced twice and believes that he has found the love of his life with a much younger woman, Kary, who is not going to quickly jump into any commitment.

Accompanying his friend Camden, the two discover the dead body of Jared Hunter, who has been stabbed numerous times. Being that Cam has psychic ability, he actually repeatedly sees the brutal slaying of his former friend and is constantly haunted by this vision. The two plan to investigate this to be certain the they are not involved, even though the police are working on it. It just might clear the nightmares.

At the same time, a series of robberies are happening in an older section of this city, Parkland, which seems to be somehow related to a recent robbery at a history museum. This along with the newspaper, have common elements. What is combining these with the murder? Why is one of Cam's former friends hiding? Why is a friend of Jared now locked at a mental facility?

One unpredictable suspect is a person in a red and yellow costume calling themselves, The Parkland Avenger. Being that this character sometimes has caused more problems than help, this masked super hero/villain is getting the attention of the newspaper and the local community. There is even a Super Hero Society of Parkland whose masked members deny any knowledge of the Avenger.

Jane Tesh retired from being an elementary school library media specialist while becoming a writer and continuing her love of the violin, piano, and the community theater. She is also a certified kickboxing instructor who lives in North Carolina.

Mixed Signals is the second in this Grace Street series by Jane Tesh. Being that this is part of a series, it does help the reader to read the first book Stolen Hearts first to help understand the characters and their relationships. She has written another series featuring Maddy Maclin with the books A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, and A Little Learning.

The basic storyline is unusual, logical, and engaging. The characters are believable, even eccentric at times in this well-organized tale. All of this mixed in a brew of a delightful romp connecting the threads of a haunted psychic. Without having read the first book, it is difficult to completely connect with the characters at first since their development was in the previous book in this series. Mixed Signals is definitely a lesson in history, public records, as well as a delightful romp with red tights and a cape.

I look forward to more book in this humorous, cozy series.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Portrait of Malice

Portrait of Malice
Sanjay Sanghoee
Agni Books
Amazon Digital Services
July 10, 2012
Kindle $ 1.99
722 KB
316 pages

Everyone has heard about the art that was stolen during World War II by the Nazis, but never recovered. It always makes you wonder if it is stored in a Swiss bank or a hidden vault in some remote location inside a mountain.

However, there is the true story of the Goudstikker family who received international attention after the loss of their art which was sold to the Nazis, reclaimed by the Dutch government, and after a law suit, finally restored to the original owners. Portrait of Malice is based on this family's long quest to regain the art that was stolen from them.

Ethan Wolf is not enjoying life. He is a former police detective who had the bad habit of gambling and taking little payoffs. His wife is in a coma depending on life support. He needs the money to keep her alive. So now, he works as an insurance investigator, still skimming a little off the top, continuing to visit his bookie and owing too much money, in this dead-end job.

Ethan is being sent to Paris, France to investigate the robbery of many art masterpieces from a museum. He quickly discovers that the stolen art actually does not belong to the French government, but was taken from a Jewish family during World War II and was never returned to them. So how do you investigate stolen art that was already stolen? Added to that, the French law officials have their own problems without having outsiders asking questions about their internal corruption at numerous levels. Being stonewalled, Ethan quickly deduces that this is a dead-end investigation and discovers that he has few allies until he is arrested, one friend rescues him. Or is this a "friend" with their own agenda?

Portrait of Malice is a realistic, action-adventure thriller with believable characters. The problems of justice with the art stolen from the Jewish people by the Nazis with the restitution between the governments and the people, addresses the multiple issues facing the descendants of these unfortunate families. How can you prove ownership from papers that were destroyed? How can you prove your ancestry with the many documents that were destroyed during this time?

Sanjay Sanghoee has previously written the thriller novel, Merger. Daily, this New Yorker works in the banking and investment industry.

From Paris, France to the forgotten underground tunnels of New York, Portrait of Malice is a thrilling and engaging novel with a flawed protagonist that is still endearing. With the search for safety and dealing with low lifes while simultaneously entering the elite society events, Portrait of Malice is a memorable and educational novel.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Killing Way

The Killing Way
Tony Hays
Forge Books
Tom Doherty Associates
New York, New York
Trade paperback
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1945-6
272 pages

Most of us have heard the legends of King Arthur with the sword in the stone
along with Guinevere and Sir Lancelot. This magical story is now believed to be
based on a real person and time, though probably without much magic. Tony Hays
book, The Killin Way, approaches the legends as a realistic mystery of these early times, complete with crime.

As the ruling king ages, he plans to name his successor with Arthur as the likely choice. Even though Arthur serves basically as a tribal king, his chances are
weakened when a woman's body is found outside his close friend and advisor,
Merlin's house. The woman was killed with Merlin's knife that he loaned to someone. He just can't remember who. Also Merlin is a little unusual and the town
people have already judged and condemned him to death and begin to stone his

Arthur wisely choses an old friend, Malgwyn to investigate this murder and to
discover the truth of whether or not Merlin killed the woman, and if not, who
did and why. Added to that, Malgwyn hates Arthur for saving his life. When a
Saxon cut off his arm and left him to die during a battle, Arthur rescued him forcing him to become a one-handed scribe. Malgwyn has never forgiven him for that.

The Killing Way is a fascinating tale weaving the old legends into a realistic
tale of the times including the constant war with the Saxons, the adjustment
from being ruled by the Romans, the Druids with the own religion and followers, the Picts mixing in the society, and Arthur's stand with Christianity. All of these are combined to make this story a history lesson woven through the murder.

This book is well-researched and organized into a logical and realistic story.
The part about the early Christians with the Druids was fascinating in this
culture with their family traditions.

Texas author, Tony Hays, is both a novelist and journalist. He has previously
written Murder in the Latin Quarter, On the Banks of the River: A History of
Hardin County, Tennessee, and since this first novel in the Arthurian Mystery
series, has additionally written The Stolen Bride, The Divine Sacrifice, and The
Beloved Dead.

The Killing Way is a superb historical mystery novel, truly weaving the past
into the story. Personally, I definitely plan to read his other novels in
this series.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Black Stiletto

The Black Stiletto
Raymond Benson
Oceanview Publishing
Longboat Key, Florida
ISBN: 978-1-60809-020-4
$ 25.95
268 pages

Most of us think that we know our parents extremely well. They have no secrets
that we do not know and as grown children we have judged their lives as being
rather dull and routine. What would you do though, if you discovered that your
mother actually was a mysterious,caped,crime-fighting vigilante from years ago. This legendary crusader was almost a comic-book heroine whose identity had never been discovered. Her escapades made her a friend of the people, feared by the mobbed, and wanted by law enforcement.

Accountant Martin Talbot's mother is in a nursing home since she is suffering from Alzheimer's. Her memory isn't wasn't it used to be and she usually does not recognize him during his weekly visits. Since she has moved to the home, Martin has emptied her house and placed it for sale but it's just sitting there, vacant.

Being a single-parent to a teen-aged daughter is excitement in Martin's life. That is until he discovers his mother's diary of her life in the 1950s in New York. She explains why she ran away from her home in Texas to successfully begin a new life in New York at the age of fourteen. This is definitely a shock to Martin.

Now fifty-years later in the Chicago area, Martin is engrossed with his mother's previous life through her diary while his career has hit a dead-end. At first, he tests the information in his mother's diary by mentioning a name from it and watching how his mother miraculously and coherently reacts.

At this same time back in New York, a man is released from being in prison and he has one goal, revenge by killing the one who put him there, the Black Stiletto.

The Black Stiletto is a well-developed novel based on a diary and revenge. This story combines realism with balancing law enforcement and justice while dealing with the everyday routine challenges with an aging parent suffering from a debilitating disease. Also the idea of viewing our parents through different lenses makes this an interesting life lesson. How well do you really know your parents?

The Black Stiletto is an intriguing tale through the hum-drum daily routines of the realistic character of Martin Talbott. The characterizations are visual and well-developed in an unusual tale of creating a real-life action hero, the Black Stiletto.

Raymond Benson has written several books including many James Bond, 007 novels. His writing has been nominated for both a Shamus and an Edgar.

After reading The Black Stiletto, I plan to look for more books by Raymond Benson as well as wonder about the secrets my parents never told me. I wonder if there is a hidden diary, cape, and a stiletto somewhere?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shake Off

Shake Off
Mischa Hiller
Mulholland Books
Little, Brown and Company
Hatchette Book Group
New York
August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-20420-0
288 pages

"Everybody behind you could be following you, and it is your job to
shake them off."

How are spies recruited? Most people don't say that they want to
grow up to be a spy. What type of people become spies?

Growing up in Palestine, Michel Khoury has had an unfortunate life.
His parents were murdered by terrorists which placed him in a refugee
camp. With no family, Michel finds himself being recruited to be a
spy. With his keen ability to learn languages and having a Middle
Eastern complexion, he is quickly recruited and trained in Russia to be a spy.
Being able to fit into any group of people is obviously a trait
much valued for this profession.

Michel carries a passport which lists him as being from Lebanon. The
group who employs Michel has one goal which is the resolution of
peace for all in the Middle East. In order to achieve this, Michel
needs many identities, passports, and money.

While living in London, Michel notices Helen who lives across the hall in his
apartment building. The two of them share a bathroom where
Michel hides his various identities and passports with some money. He wonders
why Helen is tolerating her current lover who is an obviously
older, married man. Through a chance encounter, Michel and Helen
begin a relationship, but he can never tell her who he really is and what he

Michel has a new assignment from his handler, Abu Leila, in which he
is to find a house in London for some people to meet. However,
Michel quickly discovers that he is being followed. He constantly is
shaking off his pursuers who seem to always know where to find him. Is he being
set up? Who can he trust?

Shake Off has a different perspective as it shows that all who has lived in the
Middle East have suffered atrocities whether they are Jewish,
Muslim, or any other of the religious or territorial divisions.

This espionage novel is similiar in style to John Le Carre with the
central character being very much a loner and not being able to trust
anyone. There is the constant struggle between completing your task
while keeping yourself safe. This well-written, intense novel, is
engrossing as you follow Michel and sense his reactions while he is
balancing his safety with his paranoia.

Mischa Hiller resides in Cambridge, England now after growing up in
London, Beirut, and Dar El Salaam. He is a winner of the
Commonwealth Writer's Prize for the Best First Book Category for South Asia and

For a gripping tale full of espionage, read Shake Off.

Dying for Justice

Dying for Justice: A Detective Jackson Mystery
L. J. Sellers
Spellbinder Press
Charleston, South Carolina
ISBN: 978-0-9832138-3-3
310 pages
$ 11.99
"Gina opened her eyes, taking in the white blanket and blue-scrub nurse. Her first thought was: This is a hospital. Her second thought was: Someone tried to kill me."

When someone has been in a coma for two years and they suddenly awake to full consciousness, we consider that to be a highly unusual miracle. After asking for water, Gina immediately told her nurse that someone had tried to kill her. Her nurse called the police so that they could investigate whether this was an attempted murder or as previously thought, a suicide.

Detective Lara Evans is assigned to this case. She is young and inexperienced, but is smart enough to realize that she needs to consult her partner and mentor, Detective Wade Jackson. Wade has recently been allowed two weeks to investigate the death of his parents from ten-years ago. The man convicted of killing his parents recently wrote a letter admitting to stealing money from his parents, but not killing them. Being that the man is dying of cancer, what reason would he have for lying now?

Logically, the local newspaper can't wait to print Gina's story. What a wonderful, upbeat surprise. However, if someone tried to kill Gina two years ago, wouldn't that person still want to kill her? What if Gina really attempted suicide? She had tried it before and was heavily in debt. Would the publicity cause the murderer to try again? Could running this story cause further embarrassment if Gina did try to kill herself?

These two cases of the coma awakening and the death of Jackson's parents combine into this story, Dying for Justice by L.J. Sellers. As the cases interweave, the character traits are openly revealed into a realistic novel involving the personal and professional lives of both detectives. The investigations are realistic in that the detectives are looking outside the finite set of characters in the beginning of the story and always searching for possible suspects, not just those closely associated with the victims.

Dying for Justice is the fifth of L. J. Sellers' Detective Jackson mystery series. In this novel which also works as a stand alone, the character development is exceptionally strong. L. J. Sellers has also written two non-series novels, The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect.

Dying for Justice is an unpredictable, realistic, and well-written mystery that keeps you engaged until the last page. The pace never slows and easily parallels the life style of a police detective. L. J. Sellers writes superbly literally hurling the reader in this realistic mystery. Personally, I plan to read all the Detective Jackson mysteries and her other novels. Dying for Justice is definitely a memorable and enjoyable mystery.