Monday, October 22, 2012

Victim of Shame: Why Me, God? by Mohsin Mian Zia

Zia, Mohsin Mian. Victim of Shame: Why Me, God? Smashwords. November 2, 2010. Paperback ISBN: 145-3-8659-50 EAN-13: 978-1-45386595-8. 180 pages. List price: $15.00 Digital ASIN: B004A8ZVRU. 367 KB. $6.00

Review Title: One Heartbeat - One Humanity - One Dream: A World of Peace

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Ryan, a victim. Ryan, ashamed.  Ryan, an impotent misogynist. Ryan shamed.  Ryan, an accidental pornographer.  Ryan mortified. Ryan, a champion of women’s rights. Ryan chagrined.  Ryan, an intentional journalist.  Why me, God? Why me?

Sarah, an orphan. Sarah, fiancé to a self-centered Muslim. Sarah dishonored. Sarah, a victim. Sarah degraded. Sarah, a psychotic break. Sarah ruined. Why me, God? Why me?

Maria, a Christian widow raising an Islamic son. Maria weakened. Maria’s Islamic son, killed in a terrorist attack. Maria broken.  Maria, a convert to real Islam.  Maria healed.  Maria, a healer. Try me, God! Try me!

“No matter which religion, nation, society, race, or ethnicity we belong to, we all have one thing in common. At some point in each of our lives, we all ask the question ‘Why me, God?’”

Zia’s Kafka-esque third novel is a plea for all humanity to live in peace and integrity.  Though written in English, it carries within the rhythm of all the languages of Pakistan: Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Blochi. The book is a flash back written from a first person point of view and is somewhat didactic. The plot meets Zia’s goal of trying to “unmask and unveil the frailties in every society.”

Rating: 4.5 stars

Tags: victim, mian mohsin zia, zia, shame, mian, Why me God?, womens rights, suspense, thriller,  hypocrisy, truth, forgiveness, redemption, Pakistan, Islam, Christianity , misconception, hatred, distrust

I received a complimentary .pdf file of this book from the author for my unbiased review.

Mian’s Website:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swiss Army Knife - When Life Is Confusing and Raw

Saffrin, Bob. Psalms, the Sunrise of Hope. Village Media / CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 9/19/12 ISBN-10: 1479282316 ISBN-13: 978-1479282319 ASIN: B0097WVXUS 220pp List Price: paperback $12.95, e-book $3.99

Psalms, the Sunrise of Hope looks at ten psalms with a common theme of finding hope in the midst of difficulty. The author defines Christian hope as conviction that God is in one’s life now and forever, and nothing can remove one from God’s love.

True hope, then, is resting in an unending care of one’s creator, expecting Him to move on one’s behalf. “Hope is a soldier that fights for us as we wait for the goodness of God to accomplish His will in and for us.”

Bob Saffrin describes the psalms as Hebrew poems meant to be set to music. They were and are used for worship, prayer and expressing emotions. Saffrin’s purpose is to change one’s attention away from problems; to move one’s attention toward God.

In Saffrin’s meditations, he includes the back stories of the psalms. He draws experiences that focus one’s attention from the Historical and Prophetic Books of the Bible, the New Testament. Saffrin speaks from his own experiences, and the experiences of others.

Rather than asking “Where is God?” One should ask “Who is God?” For each psalm, Saffrin includes a Life Lesson. He lifts portions of the psalm contrasting the world’s view with God’s perspective and includes questions to consider and discuss.

In all of these lessons and meditations, Saffrin encourages discovering God’s presence in the middle of one’s situation. If you recognize the presence of God, you go through distress, but distress does not go through you.”

For Psalm 3 he also includes a Bible exercise for the application of the psalm. It is a masterly example that one could use to create exercises for the other psalms. 
The ten Psalms included in this book are Psalm 3 (Hope for the Sleepless), Psalm 8 (Hope for the Insignificant), Psalm 13 (Hope for the Hopeless), Psalm 23 (Hope for Lost Lambs), Psalm 40 (Hope for the Shattered), Psalm 42-43 (Hope for the Depressed), Psalm 84 (Hope for the Homeless), Psalm 91 (Hope for the Vulnerable), Psalm 107 (Hope for the Unloved), and Psalm 139 (Hope for the Poor in Spirit).

Other books by Bob Saffrin:
         Moses, Steps to a Life of Faith
         Elijah, Steps to a life of Power
         *Psalm 23, Help for Lost Lambs
         *How to Sleep Like a Baby, a Meditation on Psalm 3

*These are updated and included in this text as bonus content.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for my unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wind over Marshdale by Tracy Krauss

Krauss, Tracy. Wind over Marshdale. Astraea Press (  June 11, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-62135-041-5 ASIN: B008ARYQPA 556KB List Price: $2.99 Christian Romance, Suspense. Jorja’s Rating: PG-occult theme, mild sex scenes.

Rachel Bosworth arrives to teach kindergarten in the small town of Marshdale, Saskatchewan. Thomas Lone Wolf and Con McKinley both begin to court her. Her landlady, Mrs. Beatry, the town gossip and quickly fills Rachel in on all she knows about the two and everyone else in town.

Thomas Lone Wolf came to Marshdale to pave the way for the cultural interpretation center. The center will house the archaeological finds from Old Man Lake nearby. Thomas is the great-grandson of the last powerful Cree medicine man who enters Thomas’s dreams of buffalo stampedes. He set aside his Cree spiritual legacy to live as a Christian. Even so, this widower and his children experience discrimination and resentment at every turn.

Con suddenly finds himself struggling with his own beliefs and values. He becomes Thomas’s advocate and only friend, not knowing that Rachel is dating them both. He falls deeper and deeper in love with Rachel, but part of him knows he cannot marry her until she embraces Christ as her Lord and Savior

Evil seems to be in the wind. The biggest opponent to the cultural center is the extreme fundamentalist zealot whose twin sister is a witch who, for her own reasons, is stirring up the demons in Thomas Lone Wolf’s history; and capitalizing on the darkness resident among the townspeople. It seems everyone in town, even the pastor at one of the churches, is fighting evil in one form or another.

Rachel finds herself “caught in the crossfire” and terribly confused. She is in love with two men. She does not understand Con’s beliefs or Thomas’s fears. Her landlady seems to know something unwholesome about everyone.

Krauss has written a twisted web of deceit and romantic suspense, a great beach-read or an avenue of escape during the upcoming holidays. The wind over Marshdale blows both hot and cold. This is Krauss’s fourth novel. She has also written several stage plays. Until she has the flexibility to write full-time, she is a high school teacher of art, drama and English.

I received a complimentary Kindle copy of this book from the author for my unbiased opinion.

Mohktar, Hatef. The Red Wrath: A Journey Between Two Destinies.

Mohktar, Hatef. The Red Wrath: A Journey Between Two Destinies. Houston, Texas: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights  07/31/2012. ISBN-10: 1618974599; ISBN-13: 978-1618974594. 474 (pp); $24.50

Asif lives in Oslo maintaining a flat subsidized by the government and working hard at unskilled labor every day. He meets, by chance, his old friend Akram from his village at home in Afghanistan. Being with Akram and his family, Asif remembers and writes.

Before the Communist coup, in 1979, that brought in thousands of Soviet troops; the village of Shir Abad was a place where Uzbeks, Pushtoons, Hazaras, and Tajiks lived as neighbors in Muslim peace and mutual support. Asif and his friends and neighbors, both boys and girls, attended school. Then, on Saturdays, they studied the Quran with the Imaam. Children grew and played and learned and lived in families that honored one another.  

“In the pre-Soviet War era, the society was unaware of the word ‘discrimination,’ Everyone no matter from which caste, tribe, creed, race, color or gender was always welcomed with open arms. People found support everywhere they went. But war and politics the two carcinogenic ailments, had diseased the modern society.” Asif’s family lived not only by the Muslim Quran, but also by the ancient Pashtoon law passed orally from father to son.

He experienced his first separations at the age of 13 when the Noor (light) of his heart, his hummingbird, was married to a man old enough to be her grandfather. Her stepmother, a divorcee from another village, created this handiwork. Latifa’s purity of heart, soul, and body brought a high bride price from this rich man Qalandar. Asif knew it was something Latifa’s own mother, who was like his aunt, would never have allowed. Latifa, the child scholar, moved out of his life overnight to another village where she was stepmother to children older than she.
Then Asif’s father, Zulfikar Khan, stood in the mosque and spoke against the new regime saying “This is the beginning of the end of Afghanistan as we know it.” His father moves his family in the night to another village. Then came the tanks. Zulfikar taken away and never seen again.  The village bombed. Men with machine guns killed men, women, and children indiscriminately. 

Suddenly Asif was responsible for the safety and welfare of his family. Separated from his father; he now became separated from his village and friends as he took his mother and younger brother and sister across the mountains to the refugee camps in Pakistan. He struggles to earn enough to provide shelter, food, and education for his brother.

 “Born in Afghanistan, Hatef Mokhtar, grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan and is now … the Editor in Chief of the Oslo Times.” More intense than either The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Mokhtar’s historical novel carries not only the history of the last thirty years of Afghanistan, but the cost to its people.

 The rhythm of the words, phrases, and sentences carries the languages of the people into English. “I believe separation is the beginning of a long metaphysical chain of events that binds one spirit to another, connecting every corner of the world and reaching places we cannot see because they are beyond the reach of the living. We can only reach them when our imagination has taken over from where our breath has left us.

          This is a book that is written with tears and hope and the reader will read it the same way. This is not casual reading material. The reader will be researching for the whole story, but will actually get it all here, deeper than the facts. The use of passive voice is inconvenient at first, but becomes necessary to maintain emotional distance from Asif’s pain and anguish.
The following sites will provide support and statistics for Mohktar’s emotional and intellectual analysis of the cost of thirty years of war and separation written as historical fiction.

I received a .pdf copy of this book from Readers Favorite for my unbiased review.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wisler, Alice J. Still Life in Shadows. Chicago: River North Fiction, 7/24/2012. 298 (pp) ISBN-10: 0802406262   ISBN-13: 978- 0802406262  $14.99    AISN: B00836T3AG   $9.99
Fifteen years ago Gideon left his Amish roots and people just outside Carlisle, Pennsylvania, even before his “rumspringa,” to make his way in the “Englischer” world. Gideon settles in the small town of Twin Branches near the mountains in North Carolina. His hands will never again be clean as they bear the permanent oil stains around his fingernails from repairing automobiles.
Since he left home, he has become the “Getaway Savior” for other boys and young men seeking to escape the “ordnung”  - the order, discipline and rules - of the Amish. Gideon, though able to help others achieve a more fulfilling life, carries within himself the hatred and anger that he wears every bit as ritually as the suspenders and straw hat he left behind.
When Kiki, a teen with autism, comes into his automotive shop wanting work repairing bicycles, Gideon struggles to accept her. Even though he goes to the tea shop every day to find himself in the warmth of hot green tea and the warm brown eyes of Kiki’s sister Mari.
It  is not until his younger brother, Moriah, crashes into his home and life, that Gideon comes face to face with himself, with his anger, and with God. Only now does he realize how deeply he needs to forgive - to forgive his father, God, and most especially himself.

All of us strive to one degree or another with the past. In some ways, we all see ourselves as “different” and needing to be something other than what we are in order to belong. Most of us wrangle with the ability to help everyone, except those closest to us.
Alice J. Wisler was born in Osaka, Japan. Her parents were career Presbyterian missionaries. Alice went to Eastern Mennonite University after graduating from the Canadian Academy, an international high school in Kobe, Japan.

With warmth, and even humor, Wisler holds up a mirror where one sees not only the scars, and shortcomings, but the need for God and one another, the need to find a place where one belongs. Without a wasted word or emotion, Wisler captures our humanity.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Study Atonement, Confession, Revenge, and Evil

Fox LA Interview July 26, 2012

La Salle, Eriq. Laws of Depravity (Martyr Maker Series). Create Space: 2012. ISBN: 1-4775-8211-8 (p) $15.00 ISBN-13: 9781477582114 (e) $3.99

Father O’Conner, found flayed in his office by the janitor, brings Detectives Quincy Cavanaugh and Tavares “Phee” Freeman to the scene of the brutal slaying. They follow the corpse to the city morgue. There they discover FBI Agent Janet Maclin who hopes to relate this murder to The Martyr Maker. This serial killer is Maclin’s only open case.

 Over a period of thirty years, thirty-six priests and preachers have been murdered in ways reminiscent of the martyrdom of Jesus and twelve of the major and minor apostles, twelve murders every ten years.

Dr. Kravitz, New York City’s chief coroner, following Maclin’s direction, finds a plastic capsule in O’Conner’s stomach containing a rolled up piece of paper with a passage of scripture written on it, confirming the perpetrator’s MO. Maclin, Quincy and Phee now work together in this police 
procedural trying to get ahead of a killer that is now threatening the clergy of New York City.

Coming from diverse backgrounds each individual peopling this book is flawed and complex. Each character deals with the evil in his or her background, as well as its cost on the present, in different ways. The depth of the story and its expected and unexpected twists and turns, makes for a highly enjoyable read.

La Salle spent two years at the Juilliard School’s Drama Division. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Best-known as Dr. Benton in the television drama ER, La Salle has acted on and off Broadway and in films. He has produced, directed and written screenplays. Laws of Depravity is his first novel.

Drawing on his years of experience in storytelling on the stage, television, and movies, this novel is highly visual and visceral. This is a “modern day parable cleverly masquerading as a crime novel:” a study of atonement, confession, revenge, and evil. Its characters are multi-layered bringing depth and vivid reality to this police procedural.

Each must confront not only with the depravity of a twisted mind, but also the defeated or suppressed depravities that have shaped their own lives and families, that have made them who they are. The reader is in for a page-turning experience that leaves supper dishes undone and creates bleary-eyed days at the office.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Courageous Book Written by Two Brave Women

Hitz, Shelley and S’ambrosia Curtis. A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.  Body and Soul Publishing:, 2012. ISBN-10: 061569389X ISBN-13: 978-0615693897 List price, $12.95

This guide looks at pornography from sociological, neurological, and personal perspectives. The authors wrote this book to provide assurance to women, especially Christian women, who struggle with the power of pornography in their lives. Hitz and Curtis believe that freedom from pornography is possible. A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography is based on a premise that, while images do not disappear, they can be controlled by redirection of thought, Christian counseling, accountability, and relationship with God.

Dr. Judith Reisman indicates pornography “could be more addictive than crack cocaine because cocaine can be excreted from the body, whereas pornographic images … remain, structurally and neurochemically with a person forever.”  With this information, the authors show that pornography is deeply rooted in America, and holds certainly emotional if not physical consequences for those who become addicted.

Hitz and Curtis wrote this book “to open the door to confession and conversation among women in the Body of Christ who feel as though they are alone in this struggle.” They share their own journeys, “true stories of struggle and freedom,” and practical steps women can take “to break free” from their cycle of addiction to images or the written word. Throughout the eBook version, are links to other information and support available from or through the authors and other sources.

Two brave women have written a courageous book about a topic not often discussed from the pulpit, in small groups, or between accountability partners, which are the primary means of dissemination of support for Christians struggling with personal addictions. Hitz regularly speaks to teens and adults to share God’s truth, and the freedom in Christ she has found, with others. On her website,  she shares her own story of hope and healing to inspire and encourage teens. Curtis is an English and sociology teacher at Salina Christian Academy. Each approached this project from her own battle with addiction to and freedom from pornography.

The tone of this book is objective and spiritual. The authors’ approach to this issue is straightforward but comfortable. Their use of personal stories, supported statistics, and information constitute a level of convincingness and urgency to their topic. The synthesis of information, shared guilt and practical steps provide a cohesive whole that is never vulgar or shocking. The Christian women that make up part of the 33% of the 40 million Americans who regularly visit porn sites; and struggle alone with their addiction and shame will find light, hope, and effective ways to approach their problem.

I was given an eBook of this title by the publisher for my unbiased review.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Time for Love

Zia, Mian Moshin. O N C E : Ask me anything, not Love.
CreateSpace ISBN-10: 1451500548 ISBN-13: 978-1451500547
Smashwords: ISBN: 9781452309­­224 
‘M---, No Time for Love’ is an author who writes English novels. He sees no need to include women in his novels, and certainly no need for a female protagonist. With no future projects in mind, he flies to Kiev, Ukraine, for a holiday. Here, where no one knows him, he can be an ordinary person. M attends a funeral, then a wedding where he knows no one.
A beautiful woman stops him to remind him to tie his shoes. He rushes out to catch her, to find out more about this woman with the lustrous face and emerald eyes. She is amazed at the compassion and virtue she finds in his rare moment of truthfulness. They meet, again by accident, at the Globus market. He is touched by the “God Bless You” that once again precedes her goodbye. “It is her style, the Maya style. She has a charismatic personality, and her aura is impeccable.”
She, raised by Catholic nuns, finds in the ordinary Morkel, the love she has never known, except the love of God. M--- finds her innocence, and the peace and comfort he finds in her presence, captivating. Here, he discovers the female protagonist for which his publisher and his readers have been clamoring. However, he says, “if we could foresee the future, then many of our problems could be resolved; I could have saved myself from the mistake of a lifetime.”
Words are to the literary novelist and poet, what color is to a master painter, or notes to a gifted composer. Zia packs a lifetime of love, loss, melancholy, and forgiveness in 142 pages of masterful prose written in first person.  He includes three poems to earmark and reread for themselves. I have only felt the undercurrents of such powerful depths in today’s words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Khalid Hosseini.
Zia’s  novel portends much for his honor of Allah and his country, Pakistan. I believe that the combination of the power of faith and the uncertainty of a homeland in the currents of change may be the gristmill that produces such true and profound works. This is a book or E-book to place where it can be read over and over and over again, for each time there will be something new to discover and savor,whether you read it in English or in Russian.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Can Biblical Plagues Be Stopped?

Griffiths, W. G. Methuselah's Pillar. Headline Books, 2012

Samantha Conway, a real-life Indiana Jones, searches in the Valley of the Kings for jewels hidden by Senenmut for his alleged lover, the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut.  Her search, based on directions she found in hieroglyphs found many years ago by other archaeologists, sent her well-diving in the desert sands of Egypt.   She continues deeper chasing the Metropolitan Museum’s expensive camera. Sam finds a man-made opening and begins to follow shafts running parallel to the well. She moves from one opening to the next until she is above the water level of the well. She finds herself in a chamber, surrounded by skeletons, and Senenmut’s treasure.

"She is the real deal alright, not just some beautiful Hollywood impersonation designed for big ratings on the History or Discovery Channel.  She is a modern day Lewis and Clark embodied in a raw scientist.”

Hakeem Salim, a twenty-two-year-old Afghani sheep-herder hiding from missiles, bombs, and trucks climbs into empty darkness. He discovers a secret chamber that appears to be a place of worship. In the chamber, Salim finds a flat smooth stone and a tall stone pillar covered with ancient writing. As the pillar falls and the chamber begins to crumble, he escapes with two broken pieces of the pillar. Hakeem finds himself pinned up to armpits in falling earth. He struggles trying to get free. Suddenly the Lions of Justice move into his ravine. They try to release him but when they discover the pieces of the pillar they shoot him and leave with the treasure.

Ramses al Tarik, hiding in an Afghani cave, worshiping at the altar of Anubis, is the current leader of the Lions of Justice, Asad al Adala. He is also the current leader on both the DIA and CIA’s list of most wanted terrorists on the planet. The pieces of the pillar led to a legend. Methuselah who, in this way, might have given his grandson Moses the Knowledge of Good and Evil that allowed him to crush a nation to its knees and lead a nation out of bondage.

Agent John Decker, an American James Bond, traced Tarik to his hideout. Little did he expect to encounter first-hand biblical plagues. And the chase begins. Somewhere among legend, myth, Bible story, and reality, lies a world in peril and a pillar to be found. Decker and Conway become an unlikely team searching for answers and a wanted man.
This is a story rich in descriptions and filled with suspense. Every move from changes of location or point of view leaves the well-fleshed characters in cliff-hanger situations. The story is well-conceived and well-told. The twists and turns of the plot will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. W. G. Griffiths has created larger-than-life characters the reader will love or love to hate. The book ends with the reader waiting impatiently for the next one to start.

One can only hope this first-place winner of the Hollywood Book Festival will be followed by more than another book in a series. Michelle Rapkin, whom Griffiths acknowledges, told him to drop what he was doing and write this novel. His readers will hope Griffiths will once again discard all the projects he is working on, and write the screenplay, and the sequel that is waiting to be told.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dan Walsh. The Reunion. PG-Violence

Walsh, Dan. The Reunion. Grand Rapids: Revell, 9/1/2012

“Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.” Luke 13:20
Everything lost can be found.

Aaron Miller is a veteran of the Viet Nam War. Like many, he returned broken in body and soul. He got off the pain drugs and drink and made Jesus his Savior and Lord, but by then, he lost jobs, self-respect, and his family.

Now he lives in the shed along with his tools and workbench. He is a handyman at a trailer park. The only things holding value are a box he had not opened in years and framed Polaroid picture of his children he had received the Christmas before he came home from Nam.

Quietly he cares for the trailers and hearts of other broken people. There was Heather in Lot 31, a seventeen-year-old runaway pregnant by her abusive boyfriend. Moe’s elderly widow, who does not want to leave the last place they lived together. Billy the wheelchair bound Viet Nam vet who hid his pistol before he answered Aaron’s knocking at his door.

What he does not know is three vets have hired David Russo to find him. Russo is a newspaper reporter who is writing a book about heroes of the Viet Nam. He leaves Texas knowing only Aaron’s name.

Once again Dan Walsh weaves stories within stories, rich with characters his readers will not soon forget. There is romance, intrigue, tension, mystery, and God, who believes everyone deserves a second chance.

Another heartwarming book by a stellar writer, this book will linger in your mind and continue to warm your heart long after you give it to a friend.

Dan Walsh honors all unsung heroes and all veterans, especially those of the Viet Nam War, who keep on giving because it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Roman Legions, Followers of the Christos, The Destruction of the Temple

Hanegraaff, Hank and Sigmund Brouwer. The Last Temple (The Last Disciple Book 3). Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 7/20/2012. (PG13-V)

Gallus Sergius Vitas was a renowned general of the Roman army; a former member of the inner circle of Nero, the Roman Emperor. Vitas finds himself in Caesarea posing as his brother Damian’s slave and daily mourning the death of his wife Sophia. Damian convinces Vitas there is no harm in carrying the scheme a step further. Vitas  is sold into the household of the fiscal procurator of Judea where he can spy on the domestic situation in Helva’s home. He should have known better. Damian leaves for Jerusalem to find his friend and former gladiator, Maglorius.

Vitas, assigned to protect Helva’s wife Dolabella with three other slaves, is vigilant as they pass through the market place to see the governor. A trumpet sounds three times. Dolabella stops. Vitas, now Novella, finds himself drawn into a dispute over dishes, becomes distracted. Suddenly, burning camels appear lumbering through the marketplace followed by assassins focused on Helva.

Vitas is once again rescued, this time from crucifixion as he is dying. He has in his hands a piece of a letter written by the last living disciple of the Christos. Many of the prophesies John has cryptically written in Hebrew, have already come to pass. Jerusalem will fall to Rome?  Jerusalem totally destroyed by fire? Not one stone of the Temple left upon another?

Hank  Hanegraaff

Hank  Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Man, and now president of the  Christian Research Institute the conservative Protestant counter-cult and apologetic ministry,* and Sigmund Brouwer, bestselling author of more than forty novels, join together to use the Disciple John’s Book of Revelation to describe the last days of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Sigmund Brouwer
Although The Last Temple is the third in The Last Disciple Trilogy, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Hanegraaff and Brouwer have tied the events of the first two novels like mystery writers salt their books with clues. There are no long reviews of previous plots. They only provide enough of a hint of the characters’ positions and  past events through short flashbacks or dialogue that this story makes sense.

The deft use of sights, sounds, and smells places the readers in Caesarea and Jerusalem between the years A.D. 67 to the fall of the Temple in August of A.D. 70. They take the time to share the motivations, inner flaws, and revealing traits of the characters, credibly revealed through descriptions and dialogues. The authors are careful not to overload the book with the obstacles and complications of the earlier novels except as they apply to the tensions, conflicts and development of the plot of this novel.

While Vitas seems to lead a charmed life, his story creates a platform for the historical events to play themselves out. Current novels and non-fiction similarly focus on the end of the world, the Mayan apocalypse of December 12, 2012.  The end time prophecies of the Bible seem to support this approaching date. 
Instead, the authors have chosen to provide the prophecies of the end times to explain the years leading up to the Roman Army’s crushing defeat of the Jews and the Roman General’s move into the political theater of Rome. The book is well-researched and deftly written.

*Hank Hanegraaff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (accessed September 5, 2012).

Friday, August 31, 2012

Two Mysteries by David Bishop PG13 LVS

Bishop, David. The Blackmail Club: A Jack McCall Mystery. Longboat Key, FL: Telemachus Press, February 2012
Dr. Christopher Andujar is found dead at his desk with a gunshot wound to the head and his left hand cradling the gun. The police closed the open and shut case with the label, suicide. His wife, Sarah, believes her husband was being blackmailed, making the blackmailer a murderer. The safe deposit box was empty. Two months before, after Christopher paid off their home mortgage, he told Sarah the safety deposit box held one-quarter of a million dollars, enough for him to retire.

After Jack and Rachel Johnstone closed the case known as The Third Coincidence, he resigned from the CIA, and she left the FBI. After their honeymoon, they opened McCall investigations with Nora Burke, former DC homicide detective. Then, Rachel was killed by a hit-and-run driver and Jack spent four months in the Middle East to be sure his wife’s death was not a blowback from his counterintelligence service. Now Christopher, his father figure and friend, is dead.

Then, a body, dead for two days, is found in the dumpster behind his office building with The John Doe has Christopher’s son’s business card, Donny’s Gentlemen’s Club in the cigarette pack rolled up in the sleeve of his shirt. On the back of the card is McCall Investigations name and number. And the mystery-roller-coaster-ride begins.

This mystery is straightforward, but contains just enough red-herrings to keep the reader guessing. Bishop’s imagery and details match Washington DC and Northern Virginia. Just enough particulars bring the impression the reader knows the characters, and could expect to recognize them in a coffee shop or on the street.

Bishop establishes conflict in the first chapter.  He continues to push the storyline forward with complications and compelling narrative and dialogue as Jack McCall moves around the poker table. The author’s complement of exposition, scene, and dialogue shows an increase in control of his craft. Even Jack McCall misses clues. There is just enough romance to relieve Jack McCall of his grief without forcing him to choose between his partner and his neighbor.

Jack’s final throwaway (literally) line sums the book and the case well: “life is a series of choices …. In the final analysis, justice is a perfect concept we struggle to apply to imperfect people and circumstances.”
Bishop, David. Who Murdered Garson Talmadge? A Matthew Kile Mystery. Longboat Key, FL: Telemachus Press, August 2012.

Matt Kile is more hardboiled than Jack McCall, bringing visions of Sam Spade and Humphrey Bogart. Written from Matt’s point of view the story is relentless and filled with snappy dialogue. There is a potent mix of characters from family to international arms dealers and the FBI. The plot takes Matt and the reader from California to Paris through a suspense-filled story with sufficient twists and turns to keep readers turning pages.

Kile is mystery novelist and ex-sergeant from the Long Beach police department who has spent four years in prison for murdering a thug on the courthouse steps. Kile was the arresting officer of the murdering, raping scum tried for assault and battery because the judge ruled the police search illegal and everything else fell with it including the admission of guilt. The man spit on and punched husband and father of the murdered family. Kile, with cameras rolling, drew his service revolver and emptied it into the lowlife.

Six years later, Kile is about to have breakfast with his neighbors Clarice and Garson Talmadge. As he walks out his door, his phone rings. It is Clarice. His former partner, now Detective Sergeant Fidgery is standing in Garson’s bedroom. Kile’s elderly neighbor is dead, shot from up close.

Fidgery tells Kile he has just finished reading Matt’s newest and best mystery The Blackmail Club. Inducing shades of Richard Castle (Castle, started airing in 2009, and currently airing on ABC), Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote, aired for twelve years from 1984-1996, and is currently internationally syndicated and showing on TVLand in the United States) and Ellery Queen, (Ellery Queen only aired one season on NBC in 1975-1976). Kile would not be aired except on cable channels because as he says, “Sex for pure lust is not worthless. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have someone we love deeply in our lives every time we get a case of the galloping hornies.”

He also seems unable to share the facts he knows with Fidgery without couching it in literary description. Kile and Fidgery check in with one another and together but separately solve the mystery.

David Bishop enjoyed a varied career as an entrepreneur writing articles and even a book on business published in three languages. “Eventually, he began using his abilities as an analyst to craft the twist and turns and salting of clues so essential to fine mystery writing.” 

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Interview with C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
The Serpent's Grasp
2012 Oak Tara Publishers

Q: What truth matters the most?
A: John 18:37. Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), but He also said in John 18 everyone who know the truth listens to Him. That is the most important truth of all to me, for with out Jesus what other truth really matters?

Q: Did you write The Serpent's Grasp and then choose Romans 1:25 as the basis for the novel, or was it the other way around? How is this scripture important to the understanding of the double-entendre of
the book's title?
A: Romans came first. It was always in the forefront as I wrote the novel. Paul speaks of people who worship created things rather than the Creator. Evolution has promoted that very well, to the point that man is the ultimate created thing to be worshiped. The ancient serpent, the devil (Rev. 12:9) has been at the helm of this plot.  Evolutionists look and look for the missing link so when they find it, they can say we are now complete. We can now evolve, too. But, in reality, the only place for mankind to evolve is spiritually. Hence, in the novel, Dr. Harry Landover's conclusion that the missing link is actually God. If evolutionists would realize the spiritual component they so deeply desire to find is found in God, they could stop searching and start living.

Q: In your introduction you include quotes on evolution and paleontology from great thinkers of the 19th and 10th Centuries. Why did you choose these particular quotes?
A: These quotes showed how mankind has come to view creation. Bertrand Russell saw how the glorification of mankind had taken on a whole new dimension with evolution. But he saw it would take some time for the belief to be ingrained into the psyche of our cultures. He was right. It took about 150 years. Steven J. Gould was talking about Christianity and all other belief systems so dogmatic in their world view they are not open to new thought. He saw these systems as restraining and harmful to what evolutionists were trying to do. Max Planck was just being honest. If you keep serving up the sugar water eventually people will just drink it without thinking about it. Evolution is a theory, but you never hear it mentioned as a theory anymore. Everyone talks in evolutionary terms accepted as scientific fact although it has never been proven. Our entire biological, chemical and physical views of how the world and the universe works is predicated on that belief.

Q: Which of your characters do you see as being in the "serpent's grasp"?
A: The antagonist, Anthony Fontaine, for sure. He's the fanatic. Think of him as the abortion clinic bomber of Evolution. Eric Gilliam is the poster child for evolution. He truly believes in survival of the fittest and natural selection, assimilate or annihilate. As for other characters like Antonella, Schmidt, Kensington, they are along for the ride for profit's sake. They believe in evolution, but only because it suits their purposes.

Q: What is the one thing you would like to leave your readers pondering?
A: How much of the evolutionary framework and verbiage have you adopted and aren't even aware of? How has it affected your faith?

Q: What can you tell us about your next project?
A: 30 Days Hath Revenge, an international thriller, is based in Jeremiah 7and 8 with Jeremiah 8:15 as the focal verse. The entire six-book series covers the span of thirty days. I hope this novel will cause readers to question the alliances, allegiances, and allies. It may even cause them to not want to open their mail, step out of their houses or send their children to school. It is due out this Fall (2012).

Friday, July 27, 2012

PG13 David Bishop. The Third Coincidence: A Jack McCall Mystery

David Bishop
The Beholder-David Bishop
Who Murdered Garson Talmadge-David Bishop
The Woman-David Bishop
The Blackmail Club-David Bishop
The Third Coincidence-David Bishop
Bishop, David. The Third Coincidence. Log Boat Key, Florida: Oceanview Publishing. Februay 2012. ISBN: 1608070345 (Rating: PG 13 SLV)

Supreme Court justices and Federal Reserve Governors are being assassinated. Is Commander LW acting alone? Is it members of his loose confederation of proclaimed terrorists and supremacy groups the American Militia to Restore Representative Government? The slayings threaten to cripple the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve. The devious plot could change America forever.

U. S. President Samuel Schroeder asks CIA and military intelligence veteran Jack McCall to assemble a multi-agency task force that reports only to the White House. Their mission is to find the twisted mind behind the devious well-planned assassinations. The killings crisscross the country east and west, north and south. 

The only clue a red baseball cap.

In this novel, as in Who Murdered Garson Talmadge? and The Black Jack Club, Bishop quickly brings his plots to a rolling boil, and he maintains the tension to the last page. His characters all have qualities that make you love them or hate them. The attention to detail carefully creates twists and turns and a thorough salting of true clues and red herrings.

Who Murdered Garson Talmadge?: A Matthew Kile Mystery
The Beholder: A Maddie Richards Mystery * top 5 on Amazon's top-rated list of mystery series, based on customer reviews (June 9, 2012) * #15 best-selling female detective eBook on Amazon (march 2012) * Amazon best-selling mystery series list (June 9, 2012 and running)
The Blackmail Club: A Jack McCall Novel
The Woman * #1 best-selling mystery Amazon eBook (March 2012)
* Amazon best-selling mystery series list (June/27/2012 and running)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Castle, Richard. Heat Wave. PG13 SLV

Castle, Richard. Heat Wave (Nikki Heat) Sep. 2009 Hyperion. ISBN1401323820 Rated: PG-13 SLV

NYPD Detective Nikki Heat is assisted by Officers Ochoa and Raley and impeded by journalist Jameson Rook (although he does provide occasional valuable insights) as she works to solve the suicide/murder of development tycoon Matthew Starr.

 Heat Wave is a real whodunit police procedural written with wit, tight dialogue and fast-paced action. The minute I had the mystery solved along came new evidence to put on the white board.

ABC television (Monday night 10/9 Castle)taken on Nikki Heat and made her Detective Beckett and the journalist Jameson Rook becomes novelist Richard Castle, solving crimes in one hour rather than 196 pages.