Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Wrong Man

The Wrong Man
Kate White
Harper Collins
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-0-235065-7
Trade Paperback
$ 15.99
322 pages

Kit Turner wants more in life.  She wants excitement. She longs for more.  Then again, who doesn't?
As co-owner in a Manhattan interior design firm, Kit always searches for new ideas in attempting to best meet her client's needs.  She has pride in meeting the needs of her clients and feels that she knows how to perfectly match the interior furnishings and decorations with the personality of her client while staying within a budget. 
Her priorities for the last few years have always been business.  It takes time, talent and dedication to become a successful interior design company in a business with immense competition.
She dreams of a more fulfilling personal life.  So why not take chance?  What does she have to loose?  Isn't it time for her to have a little fun with having a personal life?
While at her hotel on a vacation at the Florida Keys, she meets the possible man-of-her-dreams.  With plans to continue their relationship back in New York,  Kit is full of hope.  After all, with the perfect man, what could go wrong?
Still hoping for the best, Kit agrees to visit him at his apartment in New York.
However the man who lives here is not the man she was with in Florida.  Quickly Kit is catapulted into a life of adventure, treachery, deceit.  She learns that her life is definitely more interesting but also extremely dangerous/ With one misstep resulting in death, Kit fears for herself, her friends, acquaintances, and clients.
What happened to the man of her dreams?  Who is this man?  Why is it that the more questions she asks, the more people who are in danger of losing their lives?
Will she discover the truth and/or love before another death, or her death?
The protagonist Kit Turner is a character that is heroic while still being a realistic person.  While searching for the identity of the antagonist, Kit discovers a maze of twists and turns.  Fortunately she takes the reader along with her at every discovery, wrong move, misdirection and clue until the last page.  This aspect weaves a fast-paced racing thriller leading the reader down the road while holding the hand of the protagonist every step.
Well-written, logical, organized, The Wrong Man is a gripping tale the delights all readers, even though the intended audience is for women.
Kate White has been the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for the last fourteen years.   Besides that, she is a New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including six Bailey Weggins mysteries as well as three suspense novels, Eyes on You, The Sixes, and Hush.  Also she is the editor of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.
The Wrong Man is a chilling read that warms every reader on a cold winter's night.

Losing Faith

Losing Faith
Adam Mitzner
Gallery Books
Simon & Schuster
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-1-4767-6424-5
$ 26.00
368 pages

"It is common narcissism that people view their lives like novels in which they are the protagonist.  It's a comforting thought, because it means that even when the story twists and all looks lost, there remains the unshakeable belief that a happy ending awaits."
When a federal judge is beaten to death, the most likely suspect is Aaron Littman, the chairman of a prestigious New York City law firm.  He is guilty of many things, but he probably did not kill the judge.  Unfortunately, even if he is found not guilty, he will probably lose his wife and his career even if he wins his freedom.
For his defense, his mentor and colleague, Sam Rosenthal has the task of finding the real murderer, or minimally showing that there are others who could be guilty of this crime.
The characters are believable, flawed but logical in their actions.  The pace is racing to the last page.  The story is well-organized and developed page-by-page relying on a setting that perfectly fits. 
One of the positive aspects of Losing Faith is the realism.  The inside view of the legal system is astounding, as well as frightening to those who have never needed a criminal lawyer. 
Another special gift in this thriller are the authentic life lessons regarding justice in this country. 
"There's one thing I never say to my clients: that I'm with them all the way.  The reason I don't is that I know it's just not true.  The truth is I'm with them until prison...and then, that's something they have to do on their own...And whether or not I was innocent or guilty wouldn't be the only consideration, because the sad truth in that innocent men do get convicted."
This short paragraph quickly strips all the television programs and novels of idealism, stating the reality of life.
Many of these lessons are hidden within the action of the story but are lessons everyone should know.
"Trials aren't about the truth.  They're about winning."
"One thing that Faith learned early on as a lawyer was that there is no such thing as good and bad people.  There are just people, who sometimes do good things and other times do bad things, and the idea that the guilty are punished is just something that people say; it isn't even remotely true."
The author, Adam Mitzner is and experienced defense attorney in New York City.  This is his third attorney novel with high action and revelations inside the justice system.
Losing Faith is an enthralling journey into the world of those who need a defense attorney.  This novel if for anyone who hopes they will never need the lessons learned in this thriller.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Newsmakers

The Newsmakers
Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart
Thomas Nelson
Harper Collins Christian Publishing
Nashville, Tennessee
ISBN: 9780718037673
January 2016
$ 26.99
352 pages

Are news stories ever planned?   Can a race to have the "exclusive" story of a disaster be planned to promote a particular broadcasting station or the career of a reporter? When a news crew happens to be at the right place at the right time, can it really be coincidental?  Even if this would happen once, could it logically happen twice?  Would anyone be suspicious?  
How many of us are just pawns in a master scheme?
Erica Sparks is receiving a gift.  After driving drunk with her daughter in the car, her life spiraled down.  Now she has the chance of a lifetime to redeem her career, her relationship with her daughter, and her one chance for happiness. 
As a news reporter, Erica has just been selected by Global News Network in New York as their newest star.  The network knows that it needs a new face and a new approach to gain their top place in the ratings.  Living in New York has one downside.  She must leave her eight-year-old daughter, Jenny in the custody of her ex-husband.
Life is exciting in New York.  With this boost to her career and a possibility of a new love life with her boss, this new beginning is just what she needs.  Of course, the money, fame and success are unquestionably perks that she is learning to enjoy.
Erica's first assignment is certain to be successful, an interview with Kate Middleton.  That interview never happens when Erica witnesses a ferry accident with her camera crew. She has the scoop by being the first to report the story.  Her journalistic value though make her want closure, discovering the cause of the accident.  However, the station wants her to focus on other stories.  Why?  Don't they see the value in closure?  Wouldn't her investigation improve ratings more than another story?
The Newsmakers is a collaborative novel by two well-known authors Liz Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart. Sebastian Stuart is also an author who has written numerous novels, plays and screenplays.   Liz Wiehl is a Harvard Law School graduate who worked as a former federal prosecutor.  She is a legal analyst and commentator for the Fox News Channel while also hosting her own weekly radio shows. 
The Newsmakers is a riveting story in the world of journalism at a news station showing their day-to-day lives with realistic characters who view their co-workers as competition. The conflict of loyalty to the station and staff as opposed to self-preservation and self-promotion is frighteningly authentic.  The pace is racing in this page-turner with flawed characters who are believable.  The reader is with Erica every step of the way as she discovers her dream career and the actual costs to her personal self.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Change is hard for everyone. In Picnic, the current production at Chanticleer Theater, the world changed after World War II.  Changed in ways that will never go back to life as was known before.
All of this is in a small Kansas town during the year of 1953.  Times have changed and people are changing, but not all at the same pace.  Some people are embracing the future, finding the possibilities to be exciting, while others cling to the past, security and their old-way of life.
Many men were down-on-their-luck and riding the rails was not uncommon. 
For Helen Potts portrayed by Debbie Bertelsen, she is more than willing to feed those who stop by her home, allowing them to bathe, clean-up and have a warm caring place to stay for one night.  
Her next-door neighbor, Flo Owens (Jennifer Orvis) has her hands full with running a boarding house and raising two daughters alone.  She has an eighteen-year old daughter who is known for her beauty.  She sees her daughter, Madge (Mary Beth Slater)  secure in her future with hopes of her marrying her wealthy college-educated boyfriend, Alan (Michael Castillo).  Millie (Carson Santee), is her fifteen-year-old daughter known for her overalls, having her nose in a book and her brains.  She never hopes or dreams of marrying. She plans to be an independent college-educated woman. Added to that household is Rosemary Sydney (Denise Putman), an old-maid schoolteacher who hopes that her boyfriend, Howard (Mark Reid) will soon pop the question so that she can belong to him.
The viewpoints, hopes and dreams of these females are the changes within Picnic.
This particular Labor Day night, a hunky drifter, Hal Carter (Adam Haverman) happens to be the object of Helen's hospitality.  He isn't the typical visitor to this neighborhood and he quickly becomes the catalyst to show how the times have changed.
The production crew of Picnic is outstanding.  The show is reflective of the time period and how our society has changed since 1953. The costumes, set, background sounds, lighting, costumes, sets, props, directing and producing appear seamless and perfectly blend into the performance.
Picnic is directed by Tyler Orvis with Michael Taylor-Stewart being the stage manager.  This play is produced by Jerry Abels, Terry DeBenedictis, and Tim Daugherty.
The acting is top-notch in Picnic.  The two middle-aged women, Debbie Bertelsen as Helen Potts and Jennifer Orvis as Flo Owens are delightful as single-women of a particular age each with their own unique situation.  Flo, as a mother is not always in agreement with the choices made by her 18-year-old daughter.  Adam Haverman as the drifter is wonderful as he teases and flirts to meet whatever happens to be his current goal.  Carson Santee is the typical fifteen-year-old who looks forward to her unique future.   In contrast, Mary Beth Slater as Madge Owens is completely convincing as the pretty daughter who wants to be happy.  She looks to passion, now.  Denise Putman is hilarious and almost too realistic with her character, Rosemary Sydney as the educated woman who really desires to be a wife, not a career woman.  Bomber was portrayed by Michael Jefferis who as the perfect teasing neighbor.  As Alan Seymour, Michael Castillo is a pivotal actor with his character having to accommodate everyone's needs, even if Alan does not agree with the decision.   Mark Reid as Howard Bevans, Rosemary Sydney's boyfriend who feels that he is too old to marry, is hilariously realistic.   As the two other teachers, Sydney's co-workers, Meganne Horrocks-Storm and Julie Livingston are wonderful busy-bodies.
The show begins promptly at 7:30 and with a fifteen-minute intermission, concludes around 9:20. 
Picnic continues at Chanticleer Theater at 830 Franklin Ave. through Sunday, January 17th at 2 p.m.  The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, January 15th and 16th.  Ticket costs are $ 20 for adults, $ 16 for seniors over 60 and $ 10 for student with identification.  You can reserve your tickets by contacting the theater at (712) 323-9955.   More information can be found at the chanticleertheater.com.
By observing other people who need to change, it is easier to discover how each of us needs to change.  See Picnic.


Friday, January 8, 2016

The Bone Labyrinth

The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel
James Rollins
William Morrow
Harper Collins Publishers
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-0-06-238164-4
$ 27.99
496 pages

Baako is a young gorilla being raised by Dr. Maria Crandall.  She is "Mama" to the isolated creature.  Along with her twin sister, Lena, the two are pursuing the quest to discover a genetic advancement in human intelligence.  
Who would attack a primate research center near Atlanta, Georgia kidnapping a gorilla, his handler and his mama, better known as head researcher? 
Taking some pieces of well-known facts to create an action/adventure novel which provokes further research and thinking is what master storyteller James Rollins has again accomplished in his latest novel, The Bone Labyrinth.  Along this reading journey is a page-turning education with the members of Sigma Force from nine previous Rollins' novels featuring Gray, Monk, Kim, Seichan, Kowalski and Kat.  The author relies on the reader knowing the characters from the previous novels and spends the time on plot rather than character development while the story travels around the world from Atlanta, Georgia to China to Croatia to Ecuador Why would governments be investing their time and money into archeology and anthropology?  What is the significance of the numbers 37 and 73 except that they are mirror images of each other?  Why was Neil Armstrong involved in an expedition to Ecuador in the mid-1970s? Why did the Great Leap Forward happen years ago advancing the intelligence of humankind? Can the Great Leap Forward be reproduced to currently enhance society today? Could a new Great Leap Forward change human DNA? What can be learned from Neanderthals, hominids and primates that could affect a Great Leap Forward? Which countries could be involved with research into changing DNA to pursue a new Great Leap Forward? Who were Father Athanasius Kircher and Father Carlos Crespi and what did they learn in their years of study? Could the moon be the product of some intelligent design?  Why were two minutes missing in the transmission from the original moon landing? Where was Atlantis?  What do we really know about Atlantis?  All of these are combined into one enthralling thriller that is amazingly well-organized into one logical and memorable adventure.
Although this is one of my favorite Rollins' novels, I would not recommend this to someone not acquainted with the Sigma Force characters.  This is James Rollins back to his old formula for a phenomenal thriller.  .
Like other novels in this series, James Rollins includes notes separating the facts from his fictional tale along with drawings and maps throughout this novel.
The Bone Labyrinth combines great storytelling with real research, mysteries of the world, scientific genetic advances, historical explorations, respect of other cultures and morality into a fast-paced novel that makes the reader stop and think.
Who would enjoy The Bone Labyrinth?   Anyone who enjoyed Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code would be delighted reading this latest Rollins' novel.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Lydia Kang
Penguin Group
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-0-14-242361-5
Trade Paperback
$ 9.99
394 pages

In the year 2150 genetics is common.  While trying to create a more perfect world, there will always be errors.  Unfortunately can be people creating "freaks" of nature.  Life for these individuals requires them to be hidden away from society.  For each of these people, they feel odd, left out.
Zel Benton is one of those people.  She has her own physical mutation, Ondine's Curse.  Her lungs forget to breathe and she needs to constantly wear a device to assist her to live.  Added to that, she is constantly studying molecular biology.
Along with her sister, Dylia,  the two leave an isolated life with their main connection to the real world being their father who works long hours. This has been Zel's life for years with the family frequently moving depending on her father's work. 
When her father is killed, the two sisters are instantly thrown into a new world.  As minors, the sisters find themselves at a place called New Horizons.  Micah assures Zel that everything will be fine. 
The next morning everything is changed with Dylia and Zel being separated.  Dyl is taken and Zel is assigned a new home with a foster mother. 
Marka, the foster mother operates a safe house for those with genetic mutations and apparently had worked with Zel's father.  Who was her father?  What did he really do?  Why was he killed?  Where is her sister?  Will she ever see her sister again?  Now that she feels like she is living in this "Land of Misfit Toys", can she ever have a normal life, friends, ...?
Control is a futuristic novel illustrating our society in a century and a half from now where genetic modifications is common.  This is a science fiction book based on the current knowledge of today and is definitely a possibility for the future.
Control is aimed at a teen-aged audience in this dystopian tale with teen characters and problems.  The characters are realistic with hopes and dreams along with a variety of problems with no easy solution and personal regrets. What is unique is how the reader is continually vacillating  between protagonist and antagonist based on the action's of each character with constant conflict and action until the last page.
Lydia Kang is a local author, wife, and mother who works as a physician at UNMC.  She prides herself with the science in her novels.  She has spent extensive time with the experts to ensure that her books are science based, not fantasy.
Control is a phenomenal debut novel and fortunately has a sequel, Catalyst.  This is science fiction for all readers not just teens. 
Who wouldn't enjoy reading realistic science fiction?  Control is a true science fiction novel filled with great characters who race to stay alive in this fast-paced page turner.