Monday, January 16, 2017

A Bend in the Willow, by Susan Clayton-Godlner

What an excellent novel. I am so glad that the author contacted me with a suggestion that I might like this book.

The writing is wonderful, she captures the essence of her characters very well and develops them easily into people whom you feel you have known forever.

The themes of the book are many and are also developed well. This book would lend itself well to any "Book Club," "Coffee Clutch," or for a family who reads together and shares together.

The themes are these 1) Love and Transparency, 2) Truthfulness and Forgiveness, 3) Trust and openness, 4) The pain of childhood abuse, 5) The pain of war and the ravages on those who serve, 5) The fear of medical uncertainty, 6) The fear of a parent loosing a child, and finally 7) Why hiding your past may painfully effect your future

These themes are woven into a wonderful story that will leave you wanting more. Little Michael Henry, young, energetic, full of wonder and love has a secret that he knows nothing about, the secret is his body is about to fail him.

What will his parents do as the sickness sends their lives into a spiral. How will Catherine's past also send them into a further spiral? What will be the keys to bind their relationships even more firmly, or will they unravel.

I won't say more because that would be too much of a spoiler, but let me say this, when the book ended, I wanted more. I'm sure you will feel the same.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Crush, by Heather Heyford

Again, another excellent novel incorporating wine country with a romance. The story line this time is really nice in having an Army Reserve Officer involved who happens to be a building expert. The short story lines of his humanitarian projects as well as the rebuilding projects from the military side are a good addition.

The fact that our Army Officer has a bit of a problem with commitment is very realistic and explains a problem that many career military families face. Lt. Santos loves the lifestyle that the military has afforded. He gets to travel the world and see many different places and provide helping hands to those in need through his construction project. He does not like to make a commitment that will cause him to put down roots, so he has had shallow relationships with women and no real ties to any one place.

On the other hand we have Juniper who grew up with a military father and was grateful when he finally retired and settled down in one place and allowed her to establish roots. She had been frustrated with having to move all the time and not really have established friendships and/or a place to call home.

So, when the two lifestyles clash a bit at their initial meeting you know that sparks will fly on several levels.

There are subtle sub-plots running throughout the novel and that makes it enjoyable and unique. It gives you things to think about and a good study in relationship building.

Overall for a Romantic Novel this has some very good plot structures that will allow you to think through how people build relationships and then how they finally can come to see their need for roots.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Scorched Earth, by George Caldorisi

I have been a fan of the Op-Center series of books that Tom Clancy originated. So, upon his death I wondered how they would fare. They had been written by others most of the time, but without Clancy's influence would they drop in quality.

I think this latest addition to the series answers the question, the quality has not dropped off it remains the same and presents an exciting read for Clancy fans of Op-Center.

After an act of terrorism POTUS approves an air strike against the leader of ISIS and the compound in which he is believed to be with his top advisors. The air strike doesn't kill the leader, instead it kills his first born son.

This drives the leader of ISIS to put together a plan to bring the war of terrorism onto U.S. soil and to exact revenge against the American President and the American People in an effort to demoralize them and take the fight out of them.

It is decided to kidnap the Navy Commander who orchestrated the attack on ISIS. This man is now back stateside and working at the Pentagon. Thus ISIS comes to the U.S., takes his captive, and works to get him exfiltrated out of the U.S. and back to the Middle East where they can behead him on camera.

When conventional methods of law enforcement can't track down the kidnap victim and bring him home the President turns to Op-Center and gives them the green light to try to find and rescue the victim.

There are many small twists and turns that will surprise the reader. There are political statements made in the story regarding how we should go about fighting terrorism and whether or not certain agencies should be given broader powers to operate both in country and outside of the country.

It is an excellent read and one that I am sure you will enjoy.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Deal Master, by Adam Gittim

This is my first time reading a novel / mystery / suspense that comes from the direction of a Real Estate Developer and the lifestyle such a person would lead.

I enjoyed learning a bit about Real Estate, but more importantly I found this a great study in Character Analysis. Our Deal Master has made a fortune in the Real Estate Development marketplace of New York City. But life has not been without it's ups and downs.

Having been out of the country for nine years Jonah Gray is back and ready to get back into the swing of things. He has done just that. The past is behind him and now he wants to make even more money.

But a sinister figure from his time away contacts him and wants him to work his magic to acquire three properties. The problem is that this man is a crime figure and Jonah doesn't want to get into business  with him, BUT, the man did Jonah some huge favors and he owes him.

The mystery is this, why does this man want these three locations and what does he want to do with them?

When Jonah hesitates things escalate and people get hurt.

Will Jonah be able to handle the issues without going to jail? Will he come out of all of this alive and with his loved ones alive?

All kinds of questions. The story will grab you and keep you reading until the conclusion.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Manhattan Lockdown, by Paul Baptista

In this modern day thriller we find the city of New York, specifically Manhattan, under attack by terrorist. The action starts out with a several bombs being detonated and many people dying as well as property being destroyed.

Among those caught in the bombings is the Mayor of New York, Roland Fortune, and many well know famous people. Mayor Fortune while injured by the explosions finds himself needing to stay involved so as to bring hope and comfort to the citizens of New York.

Police Commissioner Gina Carbone puts into action the emergency plan titled “Fort Apache.” This plan locksdown Manhattan by closing all the bridges, all the subways, all trains and all helicopter and boat traffic to the island. In essence the Island of Manhattan becomes a large prison for the millions who live there and those who just happened to be visiting.

The first set of bombings is not the last. There are more attacks that take place.

One of the first responders to the first attack is an off duty Emergency Room doctor, Gabriel Hauser, who gets dubbed the Angel of Life as many video feeds capture him going from victim to victim at the first bombing site.

What is interesting is to work our way through the story and follow the actions of the Mayor, the Police Commissioner, the NYPD as well as The President of the United States.

But what caught me more about the story, although it is very well written and exciting, was the fact that I felt it was more a political statement about Gay rights, Police over reach and profiling and how politicians often are looking out for themselves than for those they are sworn to serve.

While it seems as those there is some preaching going on during the story I found that it really didn’t detract from the story, nor did it offend my sensibilities, even though I am a retired Police Chaplain.

I loved the tension. I love the interplay of the characters. I loved the development of the characters. I think that Paul Baptista did a great job with this story and I look forward to many more.

Friday, April 15, 2016

On Edge, by Albert Ashforth

This book is a historical fiction about the collapse and failure of the Bank of Kabul in Afghanistan. At the time of the banks failure almost a billion dollars went missing. Twenty-two individuals were put on trial by the Afgahn courts and found guilty of theft.

At a time of the U.S. Military being in country is it possible that the influx of U.S. Dollars into the economy lead to the greed and theft of these millions of dollars.

At the same time Green on Blue killing was taking place, where Afghan workers were found to turn on and murder their American counterparts.

This is the situation that Alex Klear enters when his former handler asks him to go to Afghanistan and investigate the murder of his friend Colonel Hansen who was investigating the collapse of the bank and missing U.S. Funds.

The story is well written and documents well the issues of the war in Afghanistan and how the U.S. Government sends millions of dollars into a war zone without a whole lot of oversight.

The author was "in country" at the time of these events. While the characters are fiction and the story line is not part of history it weaves itself well through the issues of that time in Afghanistan (2013) when the bank failed and people were going on trial.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Cold Barrel Zero, By Matthew Quirk

When a Special Forces Black Team becomes expendable it becomes quite a problem to eliminate them, especially since they are very good at what they do.

The other issue is that they should not have had a “kill order” placed on them in the first place. They did nothing wrong, although one particular military officer has convinced the Pentagon and the White House that they have gone rogue.

The novel is fast paced, good on details about how a Special Forces Team would work together and gives you a thrill of a ride as you join them and two “outsiders” who are thrown together to try and clear the names of the operators as well as stop major terrorist threats inside the United States.

You will find that you are unsure of which side to cheer for at first, but then as things become a bit more clear you find that you are wanting the truth to come out and for corrupt individuals to eventually pay for their crimes.

But trust me, just when you think you have things figured out another twist comes into play and the most evil characters will surprise you.