Sunday, August 21, 2011

Apologies and reviews

My apologies to the authors and publisher who have been waiting on reviews of books I received a while back. Here are some reviews to try to make it up to some of you.

ONE WITH THE SEA, Richard Daniel O’Leary, Jetty House, $27.95, 256 pages, ISBN: 9780982823651.

This is the story of a man’s dream and the opportunities given to the son of an Irish immigrant by following the American Dream. It is a rags to riches story of determination and hard work resulting in creating a company that grew from one man’s idea into a company that provides jobs for over 2500 employees.

O’Leary grew up in Maine and his career in the Navy, Merchant Marines, and assistant general manager of the port of Norfolk prepared him for his creation of Cruise Ventures, Inc. and its growth and success.

Most readers may not remember the Horatio Alger stories of the 1920s and 1930s, but O’Leary’s story could have come out of the pages of one of those books. This is an interesting and uplifting story that will make you feel good about yourself and The American Dream.

THE INVENTOR’S FORTUNE UP FOR GRABS, Suzanne G, Beyer & John S. Pfarr, Book Publishers Network, $16.95, 168 pages, ISBN: 9781935359531.

Here is a legal thriller of a different color, it’s based on the true story on the efforts of a group of cousins who band together to obtain their share of a fortune that is left in limbo when the last survivor of an intricate Trust died.

This is the story of Art Hadley and his invention of the expansion bracelet that evolved into the expansion watchband used the world over today. At his death, his fortune passed to his two children, Thomas and Sarah, and various trusts that remained in effect until Sarah’s death in 2002. Here begins the story of a six year court battle among cousins that had never met that resulted in a $1.8 million dollar settlement.

Pfarr is the attorney who took the case after being found on the Internet. Beyer is one of the cousins who hired him. They present a story that is made so much more interesting in that it is true and told from the participants’ point of view.

FROM THE CAULDRON, Fred Phillips, Hippocampus Press, $10, 136 pages, ISBN: 9780984480265.

Here is a slim volume of enchanting and horrific poetry. Phillips has been writing poetry since his high school days and this collection features sonnets and verse that a mastery that calls to mind the works of Clark Ashton Smith and Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth.

The poems are grouped by interest. Be they medieval fantasy like those of Clark Ashton Smith, sword and sorcery reminiscent of Robert E Howard, or the horrors of H P Lovecraft, Phillips has mastery woefully unseen in the poets of today.

“The House”, “The Street”, “The Pit”, “They Also Rule, Who Only Stand and Baste”, and “Ode to Asbjorn Gustavsson Haarfagr” show the depth of his wording and expression. Hopefully, this volume is still available for those with interest in poetry and the Mythos related style.

A WEIRD WRITER IN OUR MIDST, Early Criticism of H.P. Lovecraft, edited by S.T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, $20, ISBN: 9780984480210.

This is a unique volume in the canon of works about Lovecraft and his writing. Herein we are given the commentaries on his work by those who knew him best and those who discovered his writings and saw fit to pass their opinions on to others.

From “Recollections of Lovecraft” by those who knew him; “Criticism in Lovecraft’s Lifetime” from those who were there as it happened; “Comments from Readers” featuring the fan letters to Weird Tales and other publications; “Criticism from the Fan World” feature articles by fans of his writing; and, “Notices from the Literary Community” are articles about his works after his death.

There are many familiar names ranging from Robert Bloch, Henry Kuttner, Don Wollheim, J Vernon Shea, and other members of the Lovecraft Circle to John Brunner, Sam Moskowitz, Vincent Starrett and other critics.

While not for everyone, this is an essential book for the Lovecraft aficionado and historian. As the former, it’s interesting to read how Lovecraft was thought of during his lifetime and shortly after his death. Congratulations to Hippocampus and Joshi for an interesting and informative book.

DID NOT SURVIVE, Ann Littlewood, Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 260 pages, ISBN: 9781590587454.

Here is an interesting murder mystery that is written by a former zookeeper and she has used her experience to create a very realistic and quirky novel. One can look for motives and reasons behind a murder in humans, but can an elephant have one?

Iris Oakley is a keeper at the Finley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington. Being pregnant and trying to rebuild her life since her husband’s death is hard enough without having to deal with an elephant killing her boss. She ends up in charge of trying to find a motive. And find motives she does; from the keepers to the veterinarian and animal rights activists to an ex-lover with an axe to grind and animals in an enclosed environment make for an interesting novel.

This is Littlewoods second Zoo Mystery and it is a fun quick read that entertains. What more could you ask for?

THE SEVERANCE, Elliott Sawyer, Bridge Works Publishing, $23.95, 238 pages, ISBN: 9780981617534.

Sawyer was a Captain with the 101st Airborne and served in Iraq and Afghanistan and this adds the real nitty gritty in his storytelling. His story telling is so realistic, you feel like you are there with Captain Jake Roberts.

Roberts and his band of misfits are a sort of “dirty dozen’ (sorry I know that is a cliché, but it fits) who are given the jobs no one else wants. On a patrol in the Afghan mountains that come across a trunkful of US currency that turns out to be hidden by a corrupt contractor. They plan to hide it and then smuggle it out of the country as their “severance” package from the Army.

The only problem is that someone finds out about the hidden booty. Jake and his men fight the Taliban by day and the other enemy at night. But who can it be? Is it one of their own, another soldier or contractor on the base or even Jake’s Nurse Girlfriend? These are the problems facing the Jake and his men as they try to survive long enough to get THE SEVERANCE home.

This is a good look at the war currently being fought and it reminds me of Vietnam where you had to be on constant vigil as someone may be a friend during the day and an enemy at night. You can almost feel the Post Traumatic Stress in this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment