In a fictional city, a black couple is coming back from a fair when they are mistakenly stopped by a police officer, unfortunately, it ends with a murder. What follows is the complex dichotomy inside the police department, the obstacles that a mother and recent widow has to endure for justice, and the length to which the parties that seek to benefit from this tragedy will go.
A Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello is a story that doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that black people in America face and how they have to adapt in order to survive.
A Betrayal in Black opens up in a lighthearted way and then transitions to a much darker and cruder story. Throughout the story I felt that the author had a clear understanding of law and police affairs.
When it comes to the technical parts of the story, Bello does a great job of immersing the reader into the world of law and order, with details that show the deep knowledge he has over legal prosecutions and police internal affairs. However, while this is immersing, it sometimes gets tedious and almost didactic, for example, when describing what a grand jury is, it almost feels like you are reading a law school book. But this is a minor flaw in an otherwise engaging story. The dialogue was interesting, and could even be funny at times.
A remarkable thing about this book is how it details every single aspect that goes into a case, from the murder itself to the conviction, all throughout detailing the victims grieving and the lawyers seeking justice. A particularly moving chapter is when the wife of the victim is speaking with their mother and they are retelling a story of how racism has evolved in this country, and, as angry as she may be, she can’t show it, because she is a woman of color.
This book was written in 2019, but the murder it describes is all too recent. The different ways black people have to think to present themselves to white people in order to be considered “equals” and not be dismissed as rude, is all too familiar. The themes in this book come at a crucial time, where stories like these are needed to paint a more vivid picture of the struggles minorities face in America. A Betrayal in Black is a must read.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B0827D7LGX
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What is the meaning of success; titles, money, family, happiness? These are the questions Nata and Karl must face as their life makes dramatic changes from their carefully planned out future. Nata is fostered by working class parents Joe & Hetty, Karl comes from the upper-class elite. Nata’s biological father was abusive to both her and her mother, leading her to fear men, and especially any and all sexual contact. Despite her reservations Karl works his way into her heart and they marry with the intent of living full professional lives that does not include a family. Nata however finds out she is pregnant and together they must figure out how to adjust their life goals and ambitions to this new situation. While battling with his ideals about his personal life, Karl must make some choices about his professional career as a lawyer. Knowing what is right and knowing what you can make a difference with are gray areas when you’re a lawyer dealing with the upper-class elite.
On the surface this book starts off with the story of two people from different worlds coming together to make their relationship work through unplanned events, pregnancy. As the story deepens you see beyond the surface struggles or plans changing, you see the deep wounds that childhood sexual abuse brings; you see the residual effects of emotional abuse and withholding of love and support to a child. It changes the world view, it changes what is important in life. Nata and Karl could be anyone you encounter in the professional world. They are focused on their goals but when life turns things upside down, their struggles to connect and find a path forward are relatable. Unplanned pregnancy, changing life goals of prestige or happy home life, can they all be merged? Karl’s professional life is also dealt a staggering blow. He knows the difference between right and wrong but knows fighting against what is wrong in this case is career suicide. He takes the safe way out to save his career, but it nags at him. He continues to try and find balance between right and wrong.
While Karl is trying to find his way, Nata is trying to make peace with her past and the demons that follow her. It is a realistic view into how sexual abuse continues to hurt people well into adult lives and impact their life decisions. When her baby is born early due to a car accident she is thrust into even more challenging emotions, a premature birth, a child that will have lifelong medical needs, a husband that can’t come to terms with a non-perfect child. Lorraine Cobcroft’s ability to tap into those emotions and the mindset of a new mother experiencing them is profound. So often these things are glossed over for other more comfortable plot lines, however Mortgaged Goods puts these deep emotions and controversial topics right into the forefront of the novel, making them key points.
While the novel starts out looking like it will be a ‘lawyer takes on the corrupt upper tiers of society’ type novel, this book is so much more. Mortgaged Goods by Lorraine Cobcroft tackles deep emotional issues, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, corruption of society, to include law enforcement, judges, and politicians. Through it all though, it is a novel about making a relationship work though the hard times, finding out what is truly important in life, and making the best of what life hands you, even when that is not what you have carefully laid out in your life plans.
Pages: 278 | ASIN: B018ZVWE5O
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The book starts with a little history of the Congo under Belgium rule during the colonial days. This gives the reader an insight into how things were in Belgian Congo, and how ‘La Territoriale’ was made to get rid of King Leopold’s cruelty and brutality in the CFS regime. The first chapter gives a lot of information about Belgian Congo and all that happened. I had the impression that I was attending a history class, as the author wrote about events I had never heard of. It was agonizing to read about King Leopold, as his inhuman acts against the Congo people led to a lot of loss.
Politics in Congo, the formation of political parties, King Leopold’s atrocities and the influence of Rumba are all covered in the book. Reading about natives who were killed as directed by King Leopold in the harvest of red rubber in the era of CFS regime was one of the moments I almost broke down. Natives’ hands were chopped and others left with permanent wounds and under the CFS regime. Just how cruel could one man be? The worst thing was that even as he committed all these crimes, King Leopold received backing from his country, and even had support from his followers.
The author covered a number of themes in the book. Politics, music, law, human rights violation, business, and trade were all covered. This book highlights the use and impact of Congo music in Africa and other continents like America and Europe. Thierry Antha extensively writes about the brand associated with Congo Rumba and Rumba Lingala, Congo music that is known by just a few, how the Flemish administrators took Rumba, the industrialization of Congo music during the colonial days and much more.
Thierry Antha extensively writes about the brand associated with Congo Rumba and Rumba Lingala, Congo music that is known by just a few, how the Flemish administrators protected Congo music’s exceptionalism, while Walloons industrialized it with the addition of the legal diversity of South American music for export in the late 1950s and much more. And mostly how Fonior, the Belgian company, misused its monopoly to commit fraud and defraud Congolese musicians’ copyrights and consumers’ human rights in America, first, after the colony’s independence.
Rumba music, as allegedly sold in the West, is beautiful to the Soul. When played in clubs, the radio, and other public media, one can feel how passionately the artists feel the music they create. As you enjoy “Rumba” music, do you know a little history about Fonior’s fake-outs and how the genres were born? Do you know the challenges they faced and how the music they made affected them and the people around? If not, then you need to read this book. It has all the good, bad, fantastic and ugly stories about Belgian Congo, the natives, Congolese musicians and the exploitation of Congo music.
Pages: 598 | ASIN: B07CH9M9BR
Posted in Book Reviews
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Beautiful, smart, alluring… Natalie Dreyer shone like a star in her professional world of corporate law. When she won the hand of the wealthy and charming Karl Albrecht, she thought she had it all.
Natalie is living the dream, but when tragedy strikes, her past comes back to haunt her and she must reassess what really defines a woman’s value.
Meanwhile, a crisis and confronting revelations challenge Karl to re-examine his standards and to question his deepest beliefs.
An epic novel, emotion-charged, tight with passion, and rich with sub-plots and intrigue, ”Mortgaged Goods” challenges us with heart-wrenching questions about our capacity to love and to forgive.
Posted in book trailer
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Life is more difficult now than it was a few years ago. More and more people have to work multiple jobs just to stay above water. Utilities cost more than they used to and money is losing value. By the time one receives their salary, it’s already spent. With high trade deficits and national debts, people have much less purchasing power. What is happening now that was not happening before? How have we gotten to this point? What conversations do we need to have to change things? How can there be more employment opportunities? How can the citizens live to work as opposed to working to live?
Alex Gall has produced a well-written account of everything people should be saying but will not. The language used in the book is strong but not abrasive and drives the point home effectively and firmly. The authors passion and commitment to the subject matter is commendable and infectious. I consider myself to be an average citizen, I read the occasional hot headline. But this book made me look a little further, and a little deeper, and find something that was shocking and appealed to the citizen in me. This book is delivered from the point of view of a concerned citizen painting a picture, a person who is inviting others to a well thought out and open conversation.
I would appreciated more references of source material because, as stated previously, this book will leave you digging for more information and getting more involved in politics. Some statistics or studies to back up the subject matter would have been appreciated. This book is well researched and is laid out in an easy to follow manner in a compact and readily available format. At times I felt the content a bit dense, or maybe the topics overwhelming. I had to put the book down and think about what I just read. This book certainly causes one to reflect. But once you come out of your reflection, once you put the book down, you will come away with an overriding need to do something.
There are some sensitive topics covered but the author uses a neutral approach which is inviting. His approach to the subjects is completely ‘take it or leave it’. This is one of the best qualities of this book. The fact that the author lays out his position without dragging people with him. The intensity of the book and the truth in the subject matter will carry you effortlessly.
This book does a fantastic job of starting a serious and necessary conversation. This is necessary for anyone who wants to be an informed citizen.
Pages: 260 | ASIN: B079YP7LGM
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This book will hopefully bring the justice that should have been done in the first place. It has been a long ride of being hungry and lonely for the author. I really hope justice will come, and he will finally be happy and be with his kids again. It’s been so long I wonder, do his kids even know him anymore? I know it’s been a long battle for him. But we all know God got him.
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Sudden and violent loss is the introduction to this story, a war veteran and his family fall victim to a tragic and yet seemingly deliberate attempt on their lives. Our main character survives, along with the family dog, but we quickly learn the fate of his wife and son was far more grisly. When local law enforcement fail to provide the answers he seeks, our war veteran takes matters into his own hands. Answers alone will not right this; we follow the recently widowed down the rabbit hole of his own thirst for revenge, strongly driven in his pursuit.
Death by the Jaguar piqued my interest right away, a personal fan of sailing and being on the water, and I definitely enjoyed how often it returned to that setting. Either James Ruby is experienced himself or did his research, as his attention to detail regarding many basic mechanics and proper names surrounding the handling of water craft was on point. His technical skill as a writer shined through once more in regards to setting the scene. Ruby paints a picture well, giving enough focus on the characters surroundings to immerse the reader without putting too much weight in to detail. One aspect that continuously distracted me was his over use of commas. The flow of the story remained choppy throughout, thoughts consistently broken up too much by the trip of a comma.
I feel Ruby did a solid job portraying the scattered and distracted mindset of the main character, writing his portions of the story from a first person point of view. Consistently being pulled into the memories of a war veteran while he doggedly pursues justice for his family shows a glimpse of what it is like living with PTSD. I was a little bit back and forth on how I felt overall about just how quickly he gained his thirst for revenge, with little to no mourning and not even attending the funeral. However, I still felt he wrote this broken character with fair knowledge of human psychology. One thing that caught my attention was that we never seem to catch the name of our main character. I could be wrong and just missed it, but I personally find myself relating to a character better when I at least know their name.
Another issue was the repetitive interactions of Sullivan, an arrogant Chief of the local law. It seemed that with every interaction there was so much focus on this characters need to assert his station of power, his need for it to be recognized. The story itself left me wanting; the entire tale is a build up of vengeful actions, but in many respects it lacks the expected action factor, making it somewhat difficult to stay interested.
I was impressed with James Ruby’s ability to set the scene and draw the reader in, as well as his attention to detail regarding areas that the common person wouldn’t be too educated in.
Pages: 291 | ASIN: B0755JWFNR
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Necessities tells the story of David Lewis, a double amputee Iraq War veteran who has taught himself to box and run half-marathons. David is bitter and angry but determined to succeed despite his injury. He has a promising career as a reporter for the Cleveland Post. His life is turned upside down when Cordelia Lehrer, with whom he had a brief fling in college seeks him out. Cory’s father is the publisher of a chain of an ultra right libertarian newspapers. Cory is looking for a newspaper man who can win her father’s approval and father an heir. David buys into the arrangement and finds himself in the middle of dysfunctional family wars and an increasingly difficult marriage, especially after young Tony, the heir, is born.
Coming in November 2017
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