Sunrise in Saigon
Sunrise in Saigon by Patrick Greenwood is a fiction story based on real events that happened in Vietnam during and after the war. Jack Kendall is an eleven-year-old boy at the time of the fall of Saigon in 1975. Still, many of his questions about the war are not answered until more than thirty-five years later when he makes a trip to Vietnam as an adult after health issues cause him to reexamine his current life. There he meets a woman who he had been communicating with online, and spending time with her takes his mind off his unhappy marriage. But is their relationship worth the risk? And is there any chance that they can be together forever?
I liked how this story spanned several decades of Jack’s life, starting in his childhood and into adulthood, giving the reader more insight into his character and his continuing interest in what happened to the Vietnamese people after the war when the American armed forces left the country. The author included many historical details and vivid descriptions of life in Vietnam and how the people there were still affected four decades after the war. I enjoyed reading about how Jack stepped in to help fix problems at a water plant during his trip to Vietnam. It was admirable that he wanted to take steps in his life to improve his health and mindset, and I liked that he took up cycling. The ending of this book surprised me, and I liked that it was unexpected.
Some of the decisions Jack made in the pursuit of so-called happiness and love were not exceptionally honorable and had detrimental effects on his family life. Jack and Linh’s infidelity is a vital part of this story, and how they are both looking for a connection that is lacking in their current relationships. Finding the answers to his long-held questions about Vietnam seemed secondary to his affair with Linh, especially during his first trip, giving readers a deeper look at his emotional state and his desire for deep emotional connections.
Overall, Sunrise in Saigon is a captivating read that will take the reader on an emotional journey alongside Jack and his quest for happiness. Some relationships are meant to last forever, some just for a moment. This novel shows readers that those moments are no less meaningful and impactful in our lives than the relationships that last for years.
Pages: 325 | ASIN : B0BMNGVK4Z
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, indie author, interracial romance, kindle, kobo, literature, Military Historical fiction, Military Romance, Multicultural, nook, novel, Patrick Greenwood, read, reader, reading, romance, story, Sunrise in Saigon, war fiction, writer, writing
The Many Adventures of Donnie Malone
The Many Adventures of Donnie Malone is a captivating historical fiction biography of Don Malone, an American war veteran, and pilot. First, we are introduced to Don and his life growing up on the farm. Then, we follow Don as he joins the army to fight against Germany. Through the course of Don’s life, we learn of his many experiences and significant historical events. Donnie’s life takes unexpected turns as he finds himself battling wealthy investors and powerful politicians who threaten his air delivery business. He also becomes involved with a mobster and takes on various dead-end jobs until a chance encounter with his former flight instructor, American ace Eddie Rickenbacker, changes his course.
Don’s nephew, Paul, opens the novel by introducing Don Malone, but most of the story is narrated from Don’s perspective in the first person. While the last chapter switches back to Paul’s point of view, the reader feels they experienced the story alongside Don throughout the novel.
From his birth at the dawn of the twentieth century to his death in the late 1990s, this book follows the many adventures Don Malone experienced in his long life with a special focus on aviation and the air force. The author’s writing is engaging and has done an excellent job of bringing Donnie’s adventures to life. The book is a testament to the human spirit, and Donnie’s courage and perseverance will inspire readers to keep pushing forward in their own lives. In addition, it was interesting to read about some of the significant historical events that Donnie witnessed. Including Donnie’s friendships with detainees in a Japanese internment camp, his involvement in labor struggles, and his evasion of McCarthy agents.
The Many Adventures of Donnie Malone, written by Paul E. Doutrich, is an enthralling tale that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction or wants to experience an epic adventure while learning about history in the process.
Pages: 315 | ASIN : B0BLY3ZTYM
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, ficiton, goodreads, historical fiction, Historical Japanese fiction, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, military fiction, nook, novel, Paul E. Doutrich, read, reader, reading, story, The Many Adventures of Donnie Malone, war fiction, writer, writing
A New Novel, Coming To Life
The Shadow of The Mole follows the intertwining stories of a man who believes himself dead, who is writing a story he claims is being recited to him, and the doctor caring for him during WWI. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
From 1990 to 2003, I was a freelance travel writer in conflict zones worldwide: Somalia, Liberia, Bosnia, Serbia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Mozambique, Kosovo, and Burma(Myanmar)… to name but a few. I stopped when I was fifty and began to suffer from strange psychic symptoms. I struggled with the impression that something invisible followed me like a shadow. A leering, threatening presence mocked me, whispering that I wasn’t an actual human, just a walking mummy and that a terrible death would be my fate. So, of course, I sought professional help and soon learned that long periods of stress can produce all kinds of unusual mental phenomena. Intrigued, I began researching Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I learned that PTSD, even in Roman Times, was documented and that, in WW1, soldiers who showed signs of PTSD usually ended up in front of the firing squad as cowardly deserters who pretended to be lunatics.
And then, I stumbled across Cotard’s Syndrome, sometimes also called “walking corpse syndrome.” When I began to read about it, it was as if a cold finger prodded me in my neck, and I smelled the energy – still far away – of a new novel, coming to life.
In 1880, the French neurologist and psychiatrist Jules Cotard was the first to describe and analyze the psychiatric syndrome he called Le délire des negations (The delirium of negation). I read about different symptoms and cases, but the ones that I found highly fascinating were patients who were convinced that they were dead. One of them was a young man who told everyone that he was a corpse and that his ‘self’ (sometimes, he said ‘soul’) was standing behind his right shoulder.
That night, I had a nightmare in which a ‘gypsy’ played a frightening role. That made me think about thirty years ago when I published ‘Feria,’ (Funfair), my third book, a short story collection about the Romani – gypsies – a people of wanderers with a unique culture and myths of gods and demons that I found fascinating.
Subsequently, by chance, I read stories about soldiers in WW1 trenches who reported about ‘presences,’ benevolent or malicious, materializing during intense fighting. New trends in psychiatry and psychoanalysis didn’t limit these symptoms to stress or cowardice but, hesitantly, began to search for malfunctions in the brain and childhood traumas in Freud’s psychoanalysis, often of sexual nature.
Thus, puzzle after puzzle, the hidden entry in my subconsciousness opened itself slowly and gave me access to writing “The Shadow Of The Mole.” The road to completion took me three years, sometimes stumbling over wondrous details, sometimes following dead-end forks in the journey before I once again found the “silver thread beneath my feet” (Hermann Hesse: Steppenwolf). Buffeted by doubt, despair, illumination, wonder, and hope, I wrote like a mole, rooting deeper into my story…
When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?
Being a full-time author for over 30 years, I have published ( traditionally) more than forty books in Holland and Belgium, and each novel started with only a hunch, a flash of intuition, and a first sentence. Each time a first sentence of a book came to me, I knew that I was on my way and that I more than possibly would finish the novel, trusting the inspirations that would materialize when the story developed itself. Often, I felt a pass-through for insights given to me.
This ‘method’ was not always foolproof: sometimes, I made useless detours, or, on other occasions, I resisted an inducement because I was afraid of the artistic, commercial, or personal consequences. When this happened, I noticed that the story fell flat or just plain stopped, so I had to give in and sought for a style and an element of mysterious opaqueness to incorporate the inducement in my story. For instance, there is a family secret of sexual nature in “The Shadow Of The Mole” that plays a big part in the story, but I didn’t want it to be in the readers’ faces, so dispersed in the novel, you can find allusions, hints, metaphors. This mysterious atmosphere plays an essential part in this novel.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
During my years as a travel writer, I noticed how war and violence could turn humans into terrible creatures committing horrible atrocities. Why and how does conflict trigger such savagery in us? And why don’t we learn from warfare in the past? For instance, in the nineties, I witnessed the Bosnian war’s ruthlessness, and now, thirty years later, I see the same horror in the Ukrainian conflict. Nothing has changed…Correction, something has changed: the weapons used on the battlefield have become even more sophisticated, deadly, and destructive.
Must we conclude that war alters something in the chemistry of our brain, or do we have to turn back to the old belief that humans can be possessed by demons who thrive on endless suffering? Hidden in “The Shadow Of The Mole” lies a possible and chilling answer.
What is the next book you are working on, and when will it be available?
I’ve chosen the working title “The Firehand File” for my next novel. Again, it’s a historical novel, this time situated in 1921 Berlin, the European “capital of sin.” In Flanders, critics described “The Firehand File” as a “worthy successor to “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” my first novel in English translation (2014), which won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best suspense novel of the year in Belgium, and the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense. “Baudelaire’s Revenge” has been translated into English, French, and Russian. The novel centers around the poetic oeuvre of Charles Baudelaire, one of the greatest nineteenth-century French poets.
Likewise, the plot of “The Firehand Files” has a lot to do with the poetry of the Flemish Dada poet Paul Van Ostaijen who lived for a while in Berlin. Once again, it is a complex, thrilling, historical novel noir.
Maybe, it’s better that I disclose the first draft of a blurb. It will give readers a condensed picture of the novel’s soul.
Berlin is a city of extremes. Political violence plagues the streets during the day. A serial killer whom the media call “The Skinner” roams the streets at night. He is suspected to be a rabid World War I veteran, but he remains untraceable.
In this human pressure cooker, the relationship between Paul Van Ostaijen and his impetuous girlfriend, Emma Clément, is on edge. Like hundreds of thousands of others in Berlin, they live in poverty. They are addicted to cocaine and other drugs, while Van Ostaijen is convinced that the artistic Dada movement, rejecting the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest, would change the world.
On a drug-induced whim, Van Ostaijen steals a document titled “The Firehand File” in the apartment of the spy Elise Kraiser. He finds the title “dramatically poetical.” Who could foresee that the poet, doing so, would set in motion a series of dramatic events that shed surprising light on a politician who is rapidly gaining influence?
His name is Herr Adolf Hitler.
The Firehand Files was one of the five finalists of the 2018 Hercule Poirot Prize in Belgium. I hope to see the translation finished this year and that Next Chapter, my publisher, will find it a worthwhile novel.
I sense that “The Firehand File” will be my last novel. I turn seventy this year, and my health is waning, so I’m preparing myself for the most fantastic adventure of all: death and the afterlife.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, Bob Van Laerhoven, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, historical thriller, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, military fiction, military thriller, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, The Shadow Of The Mole, thriller, war fiction, writer, writing
The Road Renounced
Packing up her father’s effects ahead of his funeral, Sam Ryan’s daughter discovers her grandmother’s diary. Her reading takes us on a twisting journey through history – WWI, the Spanish flu, prohibition, and the depression. Moving back and forth between the present and the past, from the USA to Belgium, Kaye Schmitz’s The Road Renounced straddles time and space. Finally, the worlds converge when her grandfather, an aspiring baseball player, goes to war and, once more, briefly, at her father’s funeral. By then, we know a whole lot about her grandparents’ life that the narrator wisely chooses not to tell the rest of the family.
One would expect a book that presents graphic scenes of war, alcoholism, spousal abuse, and suicide to be depressing. Not this one. The Road Renounced is a pleasure to read from start to finish. The opening “Letter to My Readers” pulls readers in immediately because Kaye Schmitz talks to them like an old friend, just like Maude writes in her diary. “Who would have thought a diary from a hundred years ago would have kept you glued like this?” (305) The narrator’s curiosity and compassion compel readers to read on. They might even do just as she did, for example, searching on Google for a song her father sang.
Weaving family history, homage, and meticulous research, Schmitz creates engaging scenes with a Forrest Gump effect – recognizable historical moments revisited with a fictional character present. Need to know where historical fact ends and fiction begins? Check out the detailed “Author’s note” at the novel’s end. The structure is masterful. Logical devices bridge the spatial gap till our Americans arrive in Europe. And then there is the trunk to link the past and present. There are concerns about women’s rights, war and patriotism, parental responsibilities, self-esteem, and mental health. Readers will be left with much to consider as they follow along on this journey with the protagonist.
The Road Renounced is a gripping drama and family saga that takes historical events and gives them a personal touch. Readers will find themselves drawn into the lives of this family as they learn about their past, good and bad, and are compelled to see the story through and learn who these people really are.
Pages: 440 | ASIN : B0BLVVVJYJ
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, drama and plays, ebook, fiction, goodreads, indie author, kaye schmitz, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, The Road Renounced, theater, war fiction, writer, writing, WWI fiction
Dear Dad, A Novel
Dear Dad, by John Hazen, is a wonderful but harrowing read. John Foster is the son of a decorated World War II vet who grew up in small-town New England during the build-up to the Vietnam War. Eager to do his part, Foster is drawn into small disagreements with his peers and family as he battles his own misgivings about the conflict. Once in Vietnam, his resentment toward the army brass, his enemies, and his fellow soldiers grows as he’s routinely faced with the horrors of war. When he’s wounded during an attack, he awakens to find himself in 1862, where he finds a nobler purpose.
John Hazen crafts a compelling story. Foster’s background and character are fleshed out extremely well through flashbacks to his upbringing in Fairbrook, Massachusetts. We learn of his camaraderie with his childhood friend group, and there’s a touching passage about how he brings his father back from the edge after his mother’s death. These strong family bonds clash harshly with the impersonal nature he learns to adopt in the military.
Once he’s transported to the Civil War era, he is confronted with more horrors of the battlefield, but now he feels as if he is part of something worth fighting for. I really enjoyed Dear Dad, A Novel. I found Hazen’s writing remarkably easy-going and entertaining.
Each chapter was prefaced with a letter that gave a little more insight into the story. Foster’s experiences on the battlefield are truly horrific. Hazen has a sharp critique of military bureaucracy, including the incompetence of some officers, while still admirably praising men who earned their way through merit. I think anyone who likes historical fiction from the Vietnam War or the Civil War would greatly enjoy this book.
Pages 303 | ASIN B007SXID7E
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: A Novel, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, civil war fiction, contemporary, Dear Dad, ebook, ficiton, goodreads, historical fiction, indie author, John Hazen, kindle, kobo, literary fiction, literature, literature fiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, vietnam war, war fiction, writer, writing, wwII
The Shadow Of The Mole
Bob Van Laerhoven’s The Shadow of the Mole is an intriguing and compelling historical thriller that has left readers both baffled and in awe. This beautifully written, thought-provoking story deals with the complex themes of loss, suffering, and the psychological traumas of war. The author also includes the challenges of a complicated, budding love affair in the difficult times of war. The novel employs symbolism heavily and also explores themes of the supernatural along with sexual themes. Set against the staggering backdrop of the First World War, the story is initially set in 1916, Bois de Bolante France but wanders into earlier times as the novel proceeds.
The novel is made up of different perspectives and shifting timelines. Still, the story primarily follows Michel Denis, a front-line physician, and psychiatrist-in-training, who is in his own mental and physical turmoil after losing an arm in battle. He takes a peculiar interest in ‘The Mole,’ a man who was found in a deserted mineshaft by the French troops. The Mole has amnesia and firmly believes that he is dead and an ‘Other’ has taken control of his body. Denis is compelled to open a psychiatric investigation to uncover the mystery of this man’s past and the events that led him to hold such a belief. What is even more fascinating is that this novel contains a story within a story: Denis’ story is interspersed with The Mole’s writings of Alain Mangin, a story he begins writing in écriture automatique. He insists that he is just writing down what is being recited to him by ‘another.’
Throughout the course of this extraordinary story, deception and reality go hand in hand, and people’s minds are tested to their limits right to the end. The most pressing question raised is, “when, how, and why does reality shift into delusion?” The story’s climax is equally dramatic: a truly cinematic experience that thoroughly engages the reader until the very last page, leaving them questioning what they believe to be true. I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction and thrillers, for I can assure you that this novel will be unlike any other you have read!
Pages: 430 | ASIN : B09RTTK28K
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: author, Bob Van Laerhoven, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, histoical fiction, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, military thriller, nook, novel, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, story, The Shadow Of The Mole, thriller, war fiction, writer, writing
Poetry As A Literary Vehicle
Send Down the Master in Person: Reflections on Adolf Eichmann is a tribute to the generation of people who fought for the Allies against evil. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wanted to write this eBook for several reasons. I wanted to dedicate this book to my parents, family, and their contemporaries who sacrificed so much by fighting and participating in the war effort of World War II. I was raised by this generation and believe that they were remarkable and exceptional people to have waged war victoriously against the evil and might of the Axis powers. I think it is critically and vitally important that their service to the nation and to the world be memorialized.
I wanted to chronicle the evil perpetrated by the Nazis and the subjugation of peoples Eichmann committed to further the aims of Aryan superiority and Hitler’s agenda of cleansing the world to establish the one thousand years Reich.
I also wanted to inform people about the Holocaust and the toll it has taken on humanity then and now. I wanted to use narrative poetry as a literary vehicle to tell the story of Eichmann’s capture by the Mossad as a pivot point in portraying what he savagely committed in the Final Solution.
What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?
I am surprised by people saying that the poem is easy to read and understand. I am pleased to know that it has a decided impact on younger generations who have read the poem and end notes and who did not realize the extent of horror Eichmann wreaked through Europe.
Is there any moral or idea that you hope readers take away from the story?
The major moral understanding and/or idea I hope people take away from reading this work is to be aware of the dangers of meta-narratives that crush the human spirit and the human condition. It is important to be aware of our history so that it does not repeat itself, and to be empathetic to the suffering bigotry, intolerance, and hatred can cause to others.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am hoping to launch the fourth book, the Pilgrim – Part I, in my series, The Immortality Wars, between this Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am writing a planned, nine-book science fiction, fantasy, and spiritual thriller that is based on Christian themes. The first trilogy, the Penitent, was published in August 2019.
Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A. Keith Carreiro, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, history, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, poem, poet, poetry, read, reader, reading, Send Down the Master in Person: Reflections on Adolf Eichmann, story, war fiction, writer, writing
Send Down the Master in Person
Send Down the Master in Person: Reflections on Adolf Eichmann is a poem written by A. Keith Carreiro. The first pages contain the poem entitled “Send Down the Master.” This poem is a great read that describes the details of Nazi Germany, as well as the actions of Adolf Eichmann. It delves into the great sacrifice that was made by the Allies who were involved. It is told from the point of view of an agent who worked to capture Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi who played a large role in the Holocaust. The poem at the beginning of the book is one long annotated poem. It is accompanied by end notes that help reveal the terms and references made in the poem, as well as provide more information and background about the time, environment, and people portrayed in this reflection on Eichmann.
This is an engrossing read from start to finish. The poem is enjoyable and I appreciated the descriptions of Adolf Eichmann. Send Down the Master in Person is a thought-provoking work that explores the horrors of war, as well as the courageousness of the ‘good guys’.
I found this book to be captivating due to the descriptions of the actions of the characters. This poem reads just like a novel and is easy to understand. I point this out because some poetry can be abstract, and this book does a fantastic job of ensuring readers are fully engaged with what’s happening. It starts with a description of Adolf Eichmann, and how he looks just like a normal person as the agent looks for him. I found this compelling; such an evil man looking so pedestrian. It then shifts into the role he played in the horrors of Nazi Germany.
I enjoyed the unique way that this poem reads much like a story. This makes it simple for people who aren’t necessarily fans of poetry to read it. As a result, I think Send Down the Master in Person would be perfect for fans of war fiction, poetry or history.
Pages: 72 | ASIN: B0B5254RLV
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: A. Keith Carreiro, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, history, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, poem, poet, poetry, read, reader, reading, Send Down the Master in Person, story, war fiction, writer, writing