Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fantasy and Crime

Everything Zing: Winter
Grant Stone
Tate Publishing, $21.99
ISBN: 9781613466827

On December 24, 1999, George Everest of Manhattan believed in a big spectacular entrance. He just was unprepared for this one when he looked out his apartment window. He was falling rather fast through a colorful spectrum until he stopped and began moving horizontally. Finally he landed on a soft surface after having fallen through the roof of Grand Central Station. However, when he opens his eyes he sees a Christmas pageant with animated figures singing; that is until the tree fell in his chest. George Everest believes in a big entrance and this one was a doozy.

However, his adventures have just begun when he ends up on the Train of Thought until he reaches Ozilline’s cottage on Lake Englehook. There Marnie and Ozilline discuss how the survival of the Imagine Nation Kingdom rests with George because Landon believes his teacher George owns the unexplained hourglass that means only doom. All these Pursesands children wonder how life can pathetically twist to make an adult hold the Key to saving their kingdom from their nemesis.

This whimsical odd fantasy grips the audience from the moment readers feel we accompany George on his mystical journey. Fast-paced and filled with action, fans will appreciate this turn of the millennium adventure as George feels like a sort of Gulliver working a dangerous holiday gig in which two adversarial camps know he is the key to victory or defeat. Harriet Klausner

S. G. Redling
Thomas & Mercer, Jun 19 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612183022

Six years ago, Feno Chemical spilled an experimental lethal pesticide in rural Penn County, Iowa. Many residents of what was then Dalesbrook died and not long afterward the army barricaded the survivors inside a containment zone. Medicine is provided to those quarantined to combat the deadly toxin; the flowery odor of the meds has led to the PennCo Containment Area being derogatorily called Flowertown.

Raging Ellie Cauley is sick of brown water and dwindling supplies. Her best friend Bing believes there is an avarice conspiracy to exploit what is going on in Flowertown, but Ellie is uninterested as she only wants to stay high and make love with her Army sergeant boyfriend Guy. However, she cannot ignore what is happening when people die in a bomb blast and vanish via an underground railroad. Ellie finds evidence that supports Bing’s contention, but is unsure whether Guy is her friend and ally or a mole spying on her and the other quarantined. As she begins to uncover what the outside plans for the Flowertown imprisoned, she remains hesitant as to what she should do even as her rage explodes and she finally takes a stand.

Fans who relish an exciting cautionary conspiracy thriller in which it is nearly impossible to figure out what is going on inside and outside the fence will want to read until S.G. Redling’s first published work. The suspenseful storyline grips the audience starting with the eerie front cover and never loses that hook until the final confrontation. The cast seems plausible as paranoia, self-pity and anger are prime traits of the residents while the premise also works reminding readers of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Flowertown is a taut tale. Harriet Klausner

The Family Corleone
Ed Falco
Grand Central
ISBN: 9780446574624

The Great Depression has left most people ruined. However, one of the most thriving market businesses is fuelled by the Prohibition that has led to crime families making a fortune selling bootlegged liquor. However, the social experiment since the end of WWI has been repealed by 1933. The crime families will compete for control of other illegal activities as their government sponsored great profit maker comes to an end.

In New York, Don Vito Corleone worries about his children’s future. His three youngest kids (Michael, Fredo, and Connie) attend school while his adopted son Tom Hagen goes to college, but alienates lunatic Luca Brasi. However, Vito is upset with his oldest offspring seventeen year old Sonny. He wants Sonny to become a businessman, but his son prefers the old fashioned violent way to affirm he is next in line to run the family business. The Don knows his son is too ragingly violent to head the family though he lectures him to know when to use your heart instead of always your gun or fists. Meanwhile in the boroughs, Corleone’s enemy Giuseppe Mariposa teams up with Emilio Barzini and Phillip Tattaglia to destroy the family.

This is an engaging Godfather entry that takes place when Vito is a relatively young Don with small children and a volatile teen. The key is that the personalities that make up Mario Puzo’s saga remain consistent as for instance Vito uses the Teddy Roosevelt mantra to “speak softly and carry a big stick…” Fans will appreciate Ed Falco’s strong entry, which hopefully leads to more 1930s prequels. Harriet Klausner

The Wrong Man
David Ellis
Putnam, Jun 14 2012, $26.95
ISBN 9780399158285

After class, paralegal Kathy Rubinkowski heads to her SUV to go home when someone shoots her in her head. Detective Frank Danilo and Mona Gregus arrest Iraqi war veteran Tom Stoller who is incoherent and apparently homeless in spite of an address. Stoller was found with the murder weapon and Kathy’s purse near the homicide scene. The cops get a confession out of the mentally unstable Stoller.

Tom’s Aunt Deidre Maley observes in court attorney Jason Kolarich destroy the testimony of a key prosecution witness in a murder case. She pleads with him to defend her nephew as public defender Bryan Childress is leaving the office. He agrees though the trial is in a few weeks and his client wants it over so a continuance is unlikely. As he goes over the evidence and talks with his client, Jason begins to believe Tom confessed to a horrible event in Iraq not to the killing of Kathy. He finds proof that Kathy was assassinated because someone wanted to end her inquiry into a terrorists’ money trail.

The third Jason Kolarich legal thriller (see The Hidden Man and Breach of Trust) is an exciting tale that is at its best in the courtroom and in client-lawyer meetings. The attorney defends an individual suffering from PTSD triggered Disorganized Schizophrenia who mumbles okay though he apparently has no idea what he responds to. When the case turns into an improbable thriller, the storyline remains fast-paced but loses some of its freshness of defending a person whose sanity seems unlikely. Harriet Klausner

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