If you ever wanted an inside look into what it’s like to be a police officer in America, then Dark Nights by Robert L. Bryan is exactly what you’re looking for. This book is a collection of short stories that span Bryan’s career in the police and security forces. Twenty years is a long time to spend in such a dynamic field and Bryan shares his experiences with readers. Told in a fashion that makes it easy for those unfamiliar with police work to read, this book is a rare insight into the world of police officers. The way in which he writes shows that officers are human too, no matter what they face.
Reading a genre like crime can be intimidating: there is vocabulary to learn, culture to absorb and processes to understand. This can be a lot for someone who is reading in this genre for the first time. The reason why this book stands out is because it’s a prime example of non-fiction in the genre and it’s reader-friendly. There is no complicated vernacular that the layman would have a hard time understanding. The stories flow nicely and aren’t too jarring when we jump from location to location. The central character, the author himself, has a clearly defined role in each story that he tells. This might not seem like a big deal, but oftentimes autobiographical works, no matter how loose they are, can get away from the author. This is not the case in this collection. It is clear that Bryan’s paid attention to how he wanted to share his experiences with the rest of the world.
There is the right mix of macabre intrigue and humorousness in the stories that are shared. It goes a long way in showing that police officers are human beings like the rest of us. The fact that this is a non-fiction collection might tug at the heartstrings of readers because this means that the people we meet, the things that happen in these stories, all happened to real people. While we might understand that on a fundamental level, it’s another thing to read the accounts of such reality. It helps bridge the divide between a civilian and an officer. Showing the humanity, the slight ridiculousness and the sometimes inappropriate interactions makes the stories come alive and shows how real they are.
Police officers and everything they stand for seem so far removed from the regular civilian. Yes, we appreciate their presence and the work they do to keep our communities safe. But we generally don’t see them as ‘normal’ people like the rest of us. They are special, different, because they hold this position of power and trust. Robert L. Bryan takes his experience working in the force for twenty years and shares bits of it with his readers in Dark Nights. This collection of short stories told from his perspective is a clever way to break down those barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them’. He shows the humanity of officers and gives readers a taste of what they deal with every day. These short stories are fun to read and are worth picking up.
Pages: 345 | ASIN: B0711CB8K2
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Mellie is not the average twenty-something. Her older brother, a SWAT member, and all his fellow officers inundate her day-to-day life. Though Mellie has her sights set on Morris, she can barely bring herself to function when she is in his presence. Morris, her brother’s best friend, is also a SWAT officer and, amazingly, has the same stunned-into-silence demeanor toward Mellie. When the two are finally forced into an initial date, it seems the stars are aligned for the beyond-perfect couple. Before Mellie and Morris can begin their life together, they must overcome one glaring obstacle–the one person who knows no boundaries when it comes to keeping Morris from being with the one woman he loves more than anything.
Surrender to You, book one in Nikki Mays’s SAPD SWAT Series, introduces two main characters beginning an intensely romantic life with one another. Mays’s first in a series is primarily a romance novel peppered with a hint of mystery and a moving commentary on mental health. Mays incorporates concerns over addressing mental health needs via her antagonist who is not revealed until late in the story line. Though the plot takes a harrowing turn, Mays makes sure to tastefully deal with her character’s failing mental health and the various ways those around the character missed cues.
The author does a nice job of keeping readers guessing as to the identity of Mellie’s stalker. I found myself guessing the culprit’s identity based on three different motives as the reading progressed. I was not completely surprised to find out who had been harassing Mellie. However, I was impressed by Mays’s ability to redirect my attention to and away from three characters simultaneously.
For fans of romance novels, Surrender to You contains it all. I was more impressed with the style in which Mays has chosen to use in her writing. The bounce back and forth between Mellie and Morris’s first-person accounts is highly effective in engaging the reader. The first-person narrative provides a much more intimate look at the characters’ thought processes and allows the reader to both sympathize and empathize with their struggles. In addition, Mays makes use of a relatable conversational tone in her writing that keeps the reader involved and invested in the budding relationship and the mystery surrounding Mellie’s unwanted attention. All in all, Surrender to You is an easy and fast read due to Mays’s ability to reach her audience so quickly in the opening chapter with Mellie’s heartfelt confessions.
Mays gives readers well-drawn characters and has established a wonderful cast readers will be eager to see again in the next installment. Mays has tapped into a target audience who will most definitely agree with Mellie in her assessment of the prowess of the members of the South Amberly SWAT.
Pages: 267 | ASIN: B07F8FVHNQ
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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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Imagine just having gotten back from vacation only to find out your best friend’s cousin has been murdered.
This is what greeted Lieutenant Beaudry, a renowned but controversial officer who isn’t particular in living by the police handbook. He is known to solve cases by his own rules. Will he make sure not to ruin it this time after his recent dispute? Or will he tamper the evidence just like his close friend Nico did after seeing his cousin motionless in his car.
Tainted Evidence by Michael Kent could seem like your typical murder novel except that in this story the professional assassin knows the art of prosthetics, perfectly disguising himself and surpassing immigration officers. He also makes his murders seem accidental. Nobody is suspicious until an officer was present in court when the judge suddenly lost consciousness, and later on, his life.
I liked the plot, as it stayed close enough to reality to be believable and there weren’t too many tangled lies and deceit to unravel. The descriptions of scenes are so detailed that even my imagination played it in my head with vivid clarity. Michael Kent is able to offer picture perfect scenes for his superb characters to inhabit.
My favorite character in Tainted Evidence has to be Pat. The book depicted her as an independent woman who successfully came out from an undesirable marriage. She had a struggle with her ex-husband but managed to break free, started over, recovered until becoming fully independent. I admired how she took charge of her own new life, not being discouraged by her
past, and being able to live alone and even choosing the house she and Beaudry would live in. She is a perfect epitome of a strong woman in this day and age. As fierce as her character seems, she did maintain her soft side by being as understanding as possible to Beaudry’s hectic schedule.
I also appreciated the inclusion of Jimmy, an autistic boy with exceptional photographic memory and drawing skills. I applaud the fact that his talent has been highlighted instead of his lack of social skills. I think this is a good example of Michael Kent writing, he always plays to a characters strengths.
Interesting characters and a fascinating murder mystery will give any fan of the mystery crime genre plenty to enjoy.
Pages: 220 | ISBN: 0993713165
Tags: action, alibris, author, author life, authors, autistic, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, crime, detective, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, investigation, kindle, kobo, Lieutenant Beaudry, literature, michael kent, murder, mystery, nook, novel, police, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, sleuth, smashwords, story, suspense, Tainted Evidence, thriller, writer, writer community, writing
Historian Wrenn Grayson arrives at the Rosemont mansion expecting to receive payment for her services from the mansion’s new owner, Clay Addison. That expectation dies when she and Clay find Trey Rosemont murdered on the foyer floor. Across town, police officers race to Eastwood University. Priceless Egyptian artifacts were stolen from the history department safe. Wrenn’s longtime love, Eastwood professor Gideon Douglas, heads the department. Only recovery of the artifacts will save his career.
Life in Havens, Ohio, doesn’t stop for this crime spree. Wrenn works for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge. He wishes Wrenn would stop searching down clues ahead of the police and pacify temperamental playwright Barton Reed. Barton’s play is just days away from opening in the town’s historic Baxter Theater.
Amid murder, theft, or curtain calls, Wrenn’s instincts prove sharp. But it’s her stubborn one-woman approach that places her directly in the killer’s path.
Posted in book trailer
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When Nick Jenkins is murdered in the most heinous of fashions, Roger Devine vows to stop at nothing and spare no expense in order to find the killer. He enlists the help of hacker, Jack Mill, who in turn succeeds in dragging former detective, Nate Burns, out of retirement to solve the crime. Nate is paired, quite unwillingly, with one Detective Gabe Monet, and a week of lavish living, harrowing investigative work, and favor-calling ensues. Together Nate and Gabe begin to connect the dots between the murder of Nick Jenkins in Las Vegas and a rash of similar murders across the country.
Kwen Griffeth’s Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody has everything I want to see in a murder mystery. It is one of those rare read-in-one-sitting novels. I hate to use the phrase, “I couldn’t put it down,” but the term, without question, applies in this case. Griffeth’s writing has a seamless flow that sucks the reader in from the first page. The visuals provided by the author are amazing. I am not one who balks at having to use my own imagination to visualize the setting, but reading is made infinitely more pleasurable when vivid details abound–at this technique Griffeth is a master.
Griffeth’s Nate Burns, is one of those main characters readers will love from his first appearance. There is nothing more endearing than a family man facing inner turmoil and coming out on top. Nate is the perfect picture of both. Watching the efficiency with which he is able to jump back into the saddle after leaving the police department, the reader can see Nate as the incredible force he once was before being shot and put out of commission. His mannerisms, vulnerability, and tendency to second guess himself make him that much more endearing. On the other hand, when Nate is on the job, he is respected, makes himself known, and is determined not to be defeated despite his obvious physical limitations. That being said, Nate Burns has joined the ranks of my favorite characters across genres.
I had a difficult time liking Gabe Monet at the outset. I felt as though she tried far too hard to overcompensate for her shortcomings and her questionable reputation. Frankly, I think Nate and his family stole my heart so quickly and completely that I had almost no room left for Gabe and her shenanigans. The author, however, does a fabulous job of slowly making Gabe Monet a more likable character, and I was left feeling much more at ease with her manner and her commentary.
I am giving Kwen Griffeth’s Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody an emphatic 5 out of 5 stars and would give it more given the option. You don’t often find a novel of this genre that isn’t riddled with profanity and sexual situations. Griffeth has more than managed to create an engaging and gripping plot without inundating readers with uncomfortable scenes and unnecessary language. I look forward to reading more of Griffeth’s work and hope beyond hope to see a sequel to Dance with the Devils as the ending leaves the door wide open for more from Nate Burns.
Pages: 318 | ASIN: B07BV6822S
Posted in Book Reviews
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My Name is Nelson is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a mystery, satire, and political thriller as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I’d say it just happened. I started with a simple premise – an unstoppable weapon – and just went wherever the story took me. I have to admit I’ve been a little surprised by how focused readers have been on genre, (specifically, is a thriller supposed to be funny) because in my opinion, the style of the book really isn’t all that unique. Much like other satirical military works like Catch-22, MASH, and Doctor Strangelove, at various times it’s funny, poignant, romantic, absurd, heartbreaking, or action-packed.
The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Thank you for the compliment. It’s definitely hard to choose, because I’m extremely proud of all the characters. The socially dysfunctional mad scientist, the dejected, hard-drinking exotic dancer, the physics prodigy and her navy officer partner, the “jagoff” of a boss, the clever First Lady, the F.B.I. agents, the fighter pilots, the small-town sheriff…
The book is dedicated to all the men and women who work so hard to defend our nation, so there’s quite a few characters in law enforcement and the military. Ultimately, if I had to choose one, I really enjoyed writing the repartee between National Security Advisor Chet Addington and President MacIntyre. And Chet Addington gave us the book’s provocative subtitle!
What was your initial idea behind this story and how did that develop as you were writing?
I guess the idea was twofold. First, I had already written some very serious, intensely-researched novels, and I wanted to let my hair down and have some fun. I wanted to write a page-turning, popcorn thriller about politicians, a mad scientist, and an unstoppable weapon. Secondly, I started with the assumption that it’s impossible to write a modern page-turner without strippers. (Just kidding. Maybe.)
As the novel progressed, I found myself lurching into some weighty issues. Childhood trauma. Wealth inequality. Racial strife. The weight of the presidency. Particle physics. Broken lives renewed. Ultimately, I think there’s quite a bit packed into 222 pages.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I genuinely don’t know. We’re clearly well-positioned for a sequel to Nelson, so we’ll see. I’ve written quite a lot over these last two years, so I may just enjoy some well-deserved vacation time.
The audiobook for Nelson should be available this summer, however. To say I’m excited about the narrator would be a huge understatement. I never dreamt one guy could single-handedly do all the voices this novel requires, (not to mention the singing) but I think I’m about to be proven wrong.
From The Indie View: “A brilliant and unique novel…in terms of sheer storytelling mastery, it’s one of the best books we’ve seen in a while. We give ‘My Name Is Nelson’ five-plus stars and look forward to an equally well-written sequel…it’s a tremendously entertaining storyline with rich characterization and cinematic action scenes. It’s safe to say the author’s crafted a potential bestseller — and, possibly, a hit movie.” (Don Sloan)
President Andrew MacIntyre was having a pretty good first year in the Oval Office. Suddenly, during what should have been a peaceful Christmas season, he’s facing one of the worst national security crises in American history. And it’s being masterminded out of a sleazy, New Mexico strip joint? What the hell?
Is this a political thriller? Or is it science fiction? A zany comedy? Perhaps it’s a love story. Whatever it is, it’s a riveting page-turner with a little sex appeal, and a lot of laughs. If “Doctor Strangelove” can find the humor in nuclear war, then surely there’s a little bit of laughter lurking in unmanned aviation, as well as some serious, heartfelt moments.
It’s little wonder White House National Security Advisor Chet Addington* said this was, “Pretty much the best novel ever.” **
Posted in Interviews
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Turning Blue: A Life Beneath the Shield is the story of your life, from childhood to retirement, told with an honesty that lays bare some remarkable and sometimes scary moments in your life. What was the inspiration that made you want to write a memoir?
I lived only 25 miles from where I worked and grew up in a middle class neighbor that was so different from where I now went to work. It was definitely cultural shock for me. This was early 80’s and crack was on the scene and people were dying by the thousands. Life, in a sense, was cheap. As a young cop I often wondered why people hated me when I was on patrol. I got to see the anger in their eyes just walking down the street. I later realized they hated the uniform and what it represented. I wanted people to know that there was a person in that uniform. So I used what God gave me and used my life experiences to show that as people we are not that different, we all have struggles and lose, and that there was “A Life Beneath The Shield” and so came part of the title to my memoir.
Each chapter tells a story from your life. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
I found it to be a very cathartic experience writing about my life. There were many difficult areas to write about. Certainly one that was hard was the passing of my mother and coming to terms with our relationship. But the most difficult was the chapter regarding 9/11. This event changed the world and the way we live. A lot of innocent people lost their life that day. But what hurts the most is that first responders are continuing dying every day and a lot more are suffering from the after effects of that day. Many are in treatment for cancer and other health issues related to 9/11. I have written a stage play based on this chapter of my book. A working title for the play is: “9/11…Never Forget…I can’t”.
You retired from the New York Police Department after 20 years. What is one common misconception you find people have about police officers and detectives?
I believe most people base their opinions of cops either on a one-time, first-hand bad experience or form their opinion from a news story, or a second or third-hand story. Cops are human beings. We make mistakes. we hurt, we bleed, we cry… more than you will ever know. There are good and bad in every profession. Priests-teachers-CEOs…you name it. Police officers are faced with life and death situations every day and only have a split second to decide a course of action. We have families and friends who we love, and who love us. It is our duty to make sure we come home safe. Believe me, no cop ever wants to fire his gun in the line of duty. The responsibility and consequences are enormous. We are truly here to serve and protect.
Are you working on another book? If so, what is it about and when will it be available?
I have written an unpublished novel titled: “Core Four”. I have written a screenplay with Erik Wolter which is currently being reviewed by some interested production companies. It is a coming of age story about four 11 year old boys. Danny’s struggles with the loss of his father (cop) to 9/11 related disease and his expectations. Danny and his 3 closest friends go on an adventure that brings them face to face with a gang of thugs and find a hero in the most unlikely person.
As a kid growing up on Long Island, I struggled with an unknown psychological need to wear a uniform and a strong desire to be a part of an organization. My search would take me through Little League, Cub Scouts, and various fraternal organizations. This desire would only be fulfilled after joining the NYPD in February of 1984.
Somewhere during my twenty-year career, I was transformed from that kid into a veteran New York City police detective. This is my evolution from a middle-class suburban kid with simple values who naively thought the “projects” were a homework assignment into a veteran detective working in some of the most unforgiving neighborhoods of New York City. With this transformation comes the ability to separate the daily exposure to the dark side of human nature from your own life-sustaining core beliefs. Many will fail to acquire this ability and fall victim to drugs, alcohol, divorce, crime, and even suicide. This is a process which I have come to call Turning Blue.
This is my story of how I dealt with life-changing experiences at home while my gun belt and uniform hung safely in my locker. In my twenty years of experience as a police officer, I can honestly say that I have been scared and feared for my life. Could you go back to work after crying yourself to sleep, reliving your partner’s screams as he lay bleeding to death in the backseat of your unmarked car, and the only thing keeping your heart in your chest was your department-issued bulletproof vest?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: 1980, 9/11, a life beneath the shield, alibris, author, author life, authors, biography, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, cop, crack, crime, detective, drug, ebook, facebook, first responder, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, lawrence hoffman, literature, memoir, new york, nonfiction, nook, novel, nypd, police, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, story, Turning Blue, twitter, writer, writer community, writing
Cliven Bundy American Patriot is the shocking, yet true, story as told to the author, with twists and turns, highs and lows of intrigue and common sense of the life of one man, his devoted family, and fellow patriots that seem to only be matched by the lives of the Founding Fathers of this American Experiment known as the The United States Of America. It’s a story not yet finished in its telling. It’s a story every family should read and declare their own voice in! It’s a story you must decide for yourself: Is Cliven Bundy a American Terrorist or an American Patriot?
The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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