Sunday, October 11, 2009

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Once again the Eroding Economy strikes, I am unemployed again and will start looking for employment again on Monday.

I finally had time to write the review on the last book I was able to read. There are also some from Harriet. Enjoy!

COLLISION OF EVIL, John J. Le Beau, Oceanview Press, $25.95, 326 pages, ISBN: 9781933515540, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

One of the first things you notice about the cover of this book is the Arabic writing and the Swastika side by side. These are the two evils that collide in this tale of modern day terrorism. His is the first novel by a former CIA Operative and will hopefully be the beginning of many more to come.

Charles Hirter is taking a vacation in the Bavarian Alps when stumbles upon something hidden in a cave, he is murdered. His brother, Robert, flies in to claim the body and meets with Kommissar Franz Waldbaer to discuss the case. Robert decides to stay and investigate for himself.

Robert meets with an ex SS soldier who tells him the story of one of the last secret missions of World War II. A secret shipment was hidden in a cave in the Alps and basically forgotten until an Arab prince becomes aware of it and plans to use it in a terrorist attack.

Robert and Kommissar Waldbaer continue the investigation and discover the terrorist’s plans and use the resources of Hirter’s job to capture the members of the terrorist cell and stop the attack.

Le Beau has written a novel that pits evil from two eras combining into a modern day thriller that could read like some thing out of tomorrow’s headlines. The plotting is solid and the story well paced and readable. The characters are interesting and even though the story is complete, there is room for more to come.

House of Reckoning, John Saul, Ballantine, Oct 13 2009, $26.00, ISBN: 9780345514240, reviewed by Hariet Klausner.

In Vermont, six months have passed since her mama died from cancer, but fourteen year old Sarah Crane has not had any time to grieve. She is too busy working on the farm while also caring for her grief stricken father Big Ed who uses alcohol to drown his sorrow. Every night he goes to bed drunk and she goes to bed praying to mama to help her.

After hours of drinking at the Fireside Tavern, Ed gets into a brawl with a man who called his late wife a whore. Ed leaves him dead before going home in his truck only to run over Sarah hurting her leg. While he goes to jail, social worker Kate Williams places Sarah in foster care with Mitch and Angie Garvey and their two teenage children Tiffany and Zach. She has almost no one as her new “family” is ice cold and treats her like a slave; while at school Sarah has become a pariah.

That is except former mental patient Nick Dunnigan who hears voices and sees visions when he does not use his meds; and her art teacher Bettina Phillips, known in some circles as the witch of Shutters Mansion. The latter mentors Sarah to paint what she feels;: images of the mansion’s dark past that matches Nick’s visions and releases a power that may prove evil and vengeful.

Though nothing new except modern communication technology has been added to the story line of an outcast teen having paranormal power to enact revenge against those who hurt her yet John Saul provides an entertaining horror tale. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Ed runs over his daughter and never slows down until the final encounter. Fans will enjoy King’s Carrie meets Barrymore’s Ever After Cinderella as Mr. Saul writes a suspenseful horror thriller with several past, present, and hints at future twists.

The Gates, John Connolly, Atria, Oct 2009, $24.00, ISBN: 9781439172636, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

Three days before Halloween in Biddlecombe, England, eleven year old Samuel Johnson of 501 Crowley Rd. accompanied by Boswell the Dachshund goes trick or treating to get a head start against the competition. At 666 Crowley Rd. Samuel debates Mr. Abernathy as to who or what or why they are trick or treating three days early than the official date.

Inside 666, using subatomic physics kicked, punted or booted (not being a scientist not sure which is the vernacular) inside a particle accelerator, Abernathy and three’s company create two giant gates that prove to be a portal between earth and Hades. All hell has broken out on the planet as the first time since the original dot 13.7 billion years or so ago exploded into the Big Bang, demons cross over in what seems to be the beginning of the small crunch. Samuel the warrior kid fights the horde but fails to persuade adults including his parents that a demonic invasion has begun.

This lighthearted fantasy is an amusing tale of good vs. evil in a world of cynical disbelievers. Samuel and Boswell battle the adversary almost alone as ironically their only ally is a low life Nurd the incompetent sub-demon. Targeting young adults with puns, hyperbole, and Abbot-Costello slapstick starting with John Connolly’s version of who’s on first, older readers who enjoy jocularity in their quantum physics will appreciate the tweener and the canine save the world; although some might wonder why bother.

Never After, Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Sharon Shinn and Marjorie M. Liu, Jove, Oct 27 2009, $9.99, ISBN: 9780515147285, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

"Can He Bake a Cherry Pie?" by Laurell K. Hamilton. Elinore rejects her father’s arranged marriage to the perverted earl; instead she decides to rescue Prince True from the witch in the cave who proved women are stronger than men.

"The Shadow of Mist" by Yasmine Galenorn - Siobhan Morgan the wereseal selkie rejects the arranged marriage with the man who raped her; Terrance has searched for her for over a century demanding she complete the contract. Siobhan ponders her next move.

"The Tangleroot Palace" by Marjorie M. Liu - The king orders his daughter Princess Salinda to wed the warlord, but instead Sally flees to a magical forest where a queen demands she complete a quest or else.

"The Wrong Bridegroom" by Sharon Shinn - At Kallenore Castle, King Reginald offers his daughter Princess Olivier in marriage to the first man who completes three tests successfully.

This super thematic romantic fairy tales collection is owned by the independent women who reject men ordering them to marry mates not of their choice; bravely they insist on much more from a mate.

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