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Reaping the Whirlwind

Dr. St. Clair claims that Mrs. Ida Johnson died from a heart attack, but her broken tea cup and tansy weed on her kitchen table tell another story. The apparently natural deaths of a homeless man, a congenitally disabled child, and others that followed right after her raise questions about what is happening in the town. Trent Tyson, the town’s deputy sheriff, struggles to disclose the cold-blooded murder while maintaining the peace during The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. Reaping the Whirlwind by Rosey Dow is a murder mystery rooted in the historical Scopes trial, in which a physics teacher is accused of teaching evolution to his class against the newly enacted law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in high schools.

Author Rosey Dow has done an excellent job of blending the fictional murder mystery with the events of the Scopes trial. The murder mystery is well-written and suspenseful, and it kept me guessing until the end. Unfortunately, there was no link between the murders and no motive strong enough behind them, and it spun my head around as to who could be the murderer.

It shed a lot of light on people’s lifestyles in the twentieth century, and I found it to be very similar to small-town culture today, with some differences. The concise and analytic representation of the trial indicates the painstakingly thorough research that Dow has done. The reaction of the residents and business community is well depicted and demonstrates their efforts to attract tourists and businesses to Dayton. The book’s clean romance between Trent Tyson and Nessa McKenzie is my favorite thing. However, this book could have been more fast-paced, but I enjoyed the introduction of all the characters, from boarding house owner Mrs. McKenzie to town gardener Elmer Bentley.

Reaping the Whirlwind is a captivating historical fiction novel and mystery story. Readers interested in the Scopes Trial of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, will enjoy this fictional take on the case of teaching evolution and the historical ramification it had on the US. Education system. Fans of the murder mystery genre will also find it amusing.

Pages: 288 | ISBN : 163698052X

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If Trees Could Testify

If Trees Could Testify is an exciting crime novel about a cold case involving the murders of two well-off, elderly siblings. After police received a tip of dubious origins, a father and two sons are arrested for the murders. The story follows Alex Reynolds and his legal team in rural North Carolina and the surrounding areas as they try to untangle the details of the decades-old case. We meet quite a colorful cast of characters ranging from a biker with hooks for arms to an overeager, over-green public defender to an old Sheriff who may not have been all that he seemed.

The author, William D. Auman, just so happens to be the defense attorney who worked on the actual case on which If Trees Could Testify is based. The tale is laid out extremely well, giving the reader a period of discovery through flashbacks and pithy legal banter. The author also adds a nice bit of history for the locations, such as Madison County, Asheville, and the French Broad River, really bringing them to life.

The dialog is snappy but sometimes falls into the trap of having too much legal-ese. Auman blunts these moments with the author’s notes, which some may find helpful, but it breaks up the flow for me. The dialog seems a little too idealized at times, where the good guys are overly good, and the bad guys are really bad. Sometimes I felt like the author may be too close to the material. However, he is very passionate about the law and adequately defending people who are innocent until proven guilty.

If Trees Could Testify is an intriguing legal drama that offers readers suspense and some surprising moments. Actual crime readers will enjoy this thrilling novel as they follow along with Alex and his team to get to the bottom of this mysterious murder.

Pages: 286 | ASIN : B099KT1PBR

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The Adventures of Mat Rufs

The Adventures of Mat Rufs by A. Liachenko, is a thrilling adventure novel that explores both ancient and contemporary secrets. This is the first part of a series about Mat, a young Canadian who loves traveling and meeting new people. Mat had intended to explore and eat some wonderful food in rural Mexico, away from the tourist regions, but while exploring a stunning cave inside a volcano, he gets lost and discovers both ancient and global secrets. He sustains injuries and is given medical care in a secret hospital located inside a volcano that no one outside can even fathom exists.

Emily, Mat’s sister, boards a flight from Montreal to Mexico after several weeks without hearing from him. She is unsure of where to begin her search. On the plane, she meets Antonio, a gorgeous man who also researches volcanoes and caverns, and their destination seems to be the same. Emily senses a strong romantic potential. Finally, she reunites with Mat once she reaches the volcano, where they learn that Antonio is a member of one of the drug cartels. At that point, the volcano begins to erupt. Who manages to make it out alive before the eruption?

This is a fantastic introduction to a series. The writing is excellent throughout, and it will keep the reader intrigued. All of the characters had complex personalities and that, in my opinion, appeared to have a realistic quality. The author excels at building tension and plotting entertaining, action-packed scenes. This adventure narrative has a charming fairy-tale feel to it, especially in the sections that are set in these stunning but dangerous caverns. What makes it simple for the audience to identify with the characters is that they are frequently seen attempting to do their best in multiple ways and, in general, defending their communities.

This book focuses on historical civilizations and exploring. It is clear that extensive study went into its writing. This is a fantastic debut novel. I implore you to read this book, and I myself am eagerly anticipating reading more of Mat Ruf’s experiences.

Pages: 241 | ASIN : B0BBFSBX6R

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Bitter Draughts

Bitter Draughts by Yves Fey is book two of the trilogy, The Paris Trilogy, a historical fiction that is quite promising. Paris, France 1898, amidst the Dreyfus affair. Detective Michel Devaux is set to investigate a series of violent crimes occurring all around Paris, seemingly connected to the explosion of hatred and bigotry devouring the city. Of course, Michel has to consider the most probable cause behind these mysterious crimes: the political one, but his expertise will lead him to consider many other possibilities. With diverse characters and an intricate storyline, this book delves into the political climate of France between 1894 and 1906, giving an enjoyable history lesson with many turns and twists.

From the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The plot, the characters, the ambiance, the many details… I was simply amazed at how masterfully crafted everything was. On many occasions, while reading, I couldn’t help but be immediately reminded of Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski. It was that good. The writing style, the story’s pacing, and the various perspectives from different characters presented a carefully and meticulously thought narrative. Because of this, the author created a story based on reality that was tense, mysterious, and compelling.

Each new chapter was as interesting as the previous one. Every unique point of view allowed the reader to see so many unexpected story details from a completely different angle. The plot, including mystery, history, art, and romance, was incredibly well balanced. While reading, one immediately feels immersed in the story, and the epoch described, aided by how the characters speak and conduct themselves, their interests, and their lifestyles. As the story develops, the attachment to the characters inevitably grows, and one gets to see how complex and unexpected they can turn out to be. Like in real life, severe political themes are explored, and the various characters react to them in entirely different ways, making up for a well-rounded description of the period in which the book takes place. By the end, one gets the sense of having read an excellent story that will be worth a few re-reads in the future.

Bitter Draughts by Yves Fey is a hard book to put down. This was a fantastic read that I highly recommend to readers of historical fiction and classic literature. Well thought out and with unexpected beauty and charm, this book made for a gratifying read.

Pages: 407 | ASIN : B09WG99X71

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New York By Night

This captivating story begins with three mysterious characters plotting one of the biggest robberies of their time, stealing over a half-million dollars in diamonds from the great jewelry firm, Diamond & Co. The owners of the company wish for the robbery to be kept secret, so as not to lose the faith and trust of their customers. As such, the hunt for the thieves begins. Police detective Murray Hazard takes one route to attempt to solve the mystery, while millionaire amateur detective Lionel Dangerfield takes another. A reporter and philanthropist, Ruby Sharpe, asks to join Dangerfield on his search, as she blames herself for the robbery after publishing a story revealing how Diamond & Co. secure their valuables and wishes to make it right.

Journalist Nellie Bly who is famous for uncovering a number of criminal activities in the late 1800’s was also a fiction novelist unbeknownst to many. While her novels were lost for decades and left unpublished, David Blixt has discovered them. He is now editing and publishing the lost novels. Nellie Bly wrote New York by Night using inspiration from some of the stories reported on. This novel is a suspenseful “who done it” mystery full of unexpected twists, intriguing criminal acts, and surprising alliances. 

Readers are taken on a fast-paced journey as Danger investigates and questions anyone who could have been involved, from the watchmen on duty to the son and lover of the owner of the company himself. He begins to suspect a well-known thief, Admiral Great and hits every roadblock imaginable while trying to catch the clever criminal. During this saga, Ruby and Dangerfield fall madly in love until Dangerfield finds out that Ruby knows more about the crime than she is letting on. Will this discovery lead to solving the crime, break the millionaire detective’s heart, or both?

This was an enjoyable read. Bly’s writing style is filled with wit and intrigue, readers will be entranced in the complexity of the character’s story. I found the constant ‘coincidental’ run-in’s between Danger and Ruby to be humorous and entertaining and rooted for both of them, wishing for a happy ending. Blixt did a wonderful job editing it to make it more readable for modern readers while keeping the integrity of Bly’s work. I look forward to reading more lost novels by this author!

New York By Night: A Female Reporter Tracking A $500,000 Robbery is a rousing mystery novel set in the 1800’s. With strong characters and a complex plot, readers will find this historical romance to be an exciting addition to their Victorian novel collection.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B08TLHC8FW

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The Agape Journey 

The Agape Journey by Eleanor Tremayne is one finely researched and executed work that can be read as a postmodern female bildungsroman. The narration by protagonist Imani creates a gripping story from the very beginning which remains till the last words.

From the very beginning readers are made aware that this is not a simple story of an American girl, rather this is going to be a roller coaster ride with a redheaded American journalist with an Arabic name. The amalgamation of Imani’s personal quest for identity along with the central mystery of the Agape carpet provides multiple layers to this engrossing and emotional historical fiction novel. This riveting thriller maintains an excellent balance between authentic representations and well-round characters with intriguing backstories.

The detailed description of places, from New York or Cairo, and the chronology with which the readers get to know about Imani’s past and introduction of every character is done with a finesse that ensures readers are invested in the character’s while taking them along on an exotic, beautiful and spiritual journey that is sprinkled with magical realism.

Each chapter begins with a beautiful quote whose significance can be traced in the chapters. Readers will root for Imani, and their heart will go out to all the brilliantly written characters in this suspenseful story, like her mother Sarah.

The Agape Journey by Eleanor Tremayne is an educational and thought-provoking experience. Tremayne seamlessly blends fact with the fiction in this spellbinding historical thriller. Readers who have never had an opportunity to visit South Africa will get to experience the rich culture through Tremayne’s extraordinary storytelling style. This book takes readers on an enthralling adventure to the brilliant wonders of the world, through thrilling mysteries, and on a spiritual journey that will have them thinking of this novel long after they have read the last page.

Pages: 371 | ASIN :  B09KNRK94X

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Global Dawn

Global Dawn by [Thompson, Wesley Boydd]

I had not prepared myself for the thrill that would come in chapter three. I, of course, enjoyed reading about the USS Benjamin Stoddert, Auguste, and Jacques Piccard and all the sea missions. I love being introduced to new jargon and chapters one and two had me learn about different sea vessels and everything that happens at the sea. Chapter three was however different. The reader gets introduced to Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O); a secret global council promulgated in 1904, founded to watch over and defend mankind from powerful and unknown enemies.

The O.T.O being in war with the New World Order (N.W.O) made the story exciting to read. To contain the situation, a meeting had to be set. The exchange between the president of the United States and Colonel Fisher as the latter brought the president up to speed with the history on the modern day battle with the N.W.O and the kidnapping of Henry Boder. I could visualize the two men as they discussed the issues at hand. Larry taking the spot from the president and hurting his ego was thrilling. I enjoyed how the most powerful man was made to listen to what a mere colonel had to say.

Reading Global Dawn was a pleasant experience because the plot gets more interesting with every chapter. I appreciate the effort the author puts in character selection. Each character  seemed real and authentic. My favorite character was colonel Larry. The man spoke with authority and knew his facts. I admired the guts he had. Dr. Henry Boder was another important character in the book that helped build a good part of the plot.

The inclusion of Benjamin Rothschild and Hitler and their relation to the New World Order in the book was surprising yet fascinating. Rothschild’s epiphany; that there were too many people on the planet and fewer resources for what he referred to as ‘the worth’ would make for a lively debate. The thinking pattern of the two men were extreme but still logical, and I appreciated how I could follow their different ways of seeing things.

Global Dawn is an amazing book that you don’t want to miss. W. B. Thompson is an excellent writer. Each chapter is succinct and makes the reading fun and easy. Organizational wars, envy, respect for authority, family, warfare, technology, and global influence are among the themes the author covered, and most of the them can be compared to issues in the real world. Global Dawn is an exciting book that I recommend to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic science fiction and techno-thriller genres.

Pages: 436 | ASIN: B07QL8GT58

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The Time Slipsters

The Time Slipsters5 Stars

Book 3 in the Dreadnought Collective series returns to the home of Terry and Sandra Tumbler. Terry and his wife plan a return holiday to Turkey, recalling their last visit with their grandson, Seb, when his tour group from the Sombrella Syndicate got into trouble in the underground city of Derinkuyu. They’d like to go again to see it at their leisure. Terry invites several couples who had accompanied them on an earlier visit to Santiago. Since they’d had trouble on that particular tip, Terry sweetens the deal by booking a luxury version of fast-travel flying cars, colloquially known as “potties,” to speed them on their way.

On arrival in Istanbul, the five couples embark on a grand tour of historic sites on a large coach, shared by a group of Spanish tourists. During their travels, Terry meets with a mysterious man named Marius. Marius asks Terry for help regarding Alien visitations, and Terry is delighted. His love of researching UFO phenomena may help save lives, and Marius may be able to explain the odd dreams Terry is having. When the tour visits the ancient hospital of Asklepion, the true nature of the “Magic Carpet” tour coach (dubbed the Turkish Floater by Wilf) is revealed, and the travelers slip back in time to witness ancient Rome in person. This leads to uncovering the mystery of the aliens who have been living under the auspices of the Sombrella Syndicate, and a threat to earth.

If you can’t tell by the irreverent names of the vehicles, this is a very funny book. The Time Slipsters is a delightfully fun read. It crosses genre borders as easily as the Magic Carpet crosses timelines. The story spans science fiction, travelogue, historical fiction and comedy while showing a vibrant world of the future and the past. Terry is a loveable rogue, and his gaffes are both funny and important to the story. Laughing at phallic rock formations and obsessing over bathroom facilities in ancient buildings could be jokes, but they may come in handy later.

But the trip is not all fun and games. When the ship begins to slip between time zones, the travelers are under very explicit orders to stay away from the locals. One of them foolishly ignores that advice, and like any time travel story, what you do in the past can have a ripple effect into the future.

The author’s imagination is truly fantastic. Even the little details of this future world are well fleshed out. There’s the concept of Democracy on Demand that allows people to guide their government by instantaneous voting. And sure, the flying cars are neat, but what about smart suitcases that carry themselves to and from your hotel, or having delicate surgery performed by nanobots while you sleep? I can’t start on the alien technology without spoilers, so you’ll have to read for yourself.

One thing I liked was the occasional break in the intrigue so I could wander the streets of ancient monuments along with the characters. It’s clear the author has visited these places and wants to share these remarkable places and their histories with others.

Though Seb Cage Begins His Adventures was a book aimed at young readers, The Time Slipsters is decidedly more adult. The adult humor and a few sexual references, though never explicit, wouldn’t be appropriate for a young reader. If you like SF, time travel stories, or dry British humor, you’ll like this book.

Pages: 291 | ASIN: B018MLKT7M

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