Jul 23, 2017

Deep Six - Book Review

My 9th outing with Dirk Pitt adventures.

Clive Cussler the master storyteller, this is yet another feather to his cap. I was awestruck by his skill of interweaving various sub plots in the story. 



The novel starts in the year 1966, with Arta Casilighio the teller of Beverly-Wilshire bank steals 120000 dollars and hatches a plan to escape from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand in a cargo ship, but she was killed by Korean seamen.

Another sub story, in Augustine Island, Alaska a poison leak in sea kills many, the nature of the agent is that it is absorbed through skin which turns out to be a deadly biological weapon, called Nerve Agent S. Years back the nerve agent was to be buried in desert, however some of the containers disappeared.

NUMA is asked to find out the source of the poison. Working along with Dr.Julie Mendoza, Pitt finds out the sunken ship and all the containers of Nerve Agent S. But unexpected eruption of the volcano tilts the ship and accidentally kills Julie.

Through the help of Alhambra Iron and Boiler Company and St. Julien Perlmutter, Pitt comes to know the ship Pilottown name has been changed several times and that the San Marino, the Belle Chasse and the Pilottown are indeed one and the same ship. The ownership points to Bougainville Maritime Lines, ruled by 89 year old Madame Min Koryo Bougainville.

Sub plot number 3, the President of the United States, Vice President Margolin, President Pro Temp-ore Marcus Larimer and Speaker of the House Alan Moran were abducted from Presidential yacht and mind controlled by a psychologist Aleksei Lugovoy in a secret lab, a part of plot of Soviet Union and Min Koryo.

Meanwhile Paul Suvorov a KGB officer misunderstands the mind control plan and tries to release, but he takes only Alan Moran and Marcus Larimer to a Russian cruise ship Leonid Andreyev. There Pitt's love interest Loren Smith who happens to be in the cruiser sees Moran and Larimer, she informs to her secretary.

She notifies Pitt. And Pitt along with Al Giordino disguises as a couples enters the cruise ship, but the ship was detonated many were killed. Pitt, Al and Loren tries to board nearby boat. As Moran and Loren boards, Pitt was attacked by Lee Tong, the grandson of Min Koryo and he takes Loren with him.

The President under mind control returns to White House, rules as a Dictator. The Congress tries to impeach. Pitt not fully recovered through help from Yaeger and Perlmutter finds out the secret lab and tries their best to save the United States, Vice President and Loren Smith.

How he accomplished is told in the final chapters. 

My artwork of Dirk Pitt on board Stonewall Jackson. Pitt attired in turtle neck sweater and holding a violin case.

I like to quote some of Pitt's one liners:

1. What in hell are these? Giordino mumbled, emerging from the cobwebs.

Welcome gifts from the sanitation department. (When hood and gloves given to wear for protection against nerve agent S)

2. Deducing the murderer in an Agatha Christie novel is kindergarten stuff compared to finding a lost derelict under hundreds of square miles of water. Sometimes you get lucky early. Most of the time you don't. (Pitt's poetic response to Dover on finding the shipwreck)

3. No one in the world is immune from curiosity. (Pitt asking to release news about finding of two ship wrecks instead of one)

4. What was that all about? Giordino inquired. My travel agent Pitt answered, pretending to be nonchalant. (Pitt's answer to Loren's Secretary Sally on finding Loren Smith in Leonid Andreyev cruise ship)

5. Y' all play the violin when ya fly? Hogan asked curiously.
Soothes my fear of height, Pitt replied. (Colt Thompson sub machine gun carried by Pitt in a violin case)

6. Nice place you have here, came a voice from the doorway. but your elevator is out of order.

You! he gasped. Pitts face tired, haggard and dark with beard stubble lit up in a smile.

Lee Tong Bougainville. What a coincidence. You're alive!

A trite observation. (Climax dialog between Pitt and Lee Tong)

7. Happen to know Lee Tong Bougainville personally, said Emmett. He is a respected business executive who donates heavily to political campaigns. So does the Mafia and every charlatan who's out to milk the government money machine, said Pitt icily.

8. Why have you pursued my grandmother and me, Mr.Pitt? he demanded, stalling. Why have you set out to wreck Bougainville Maritime?

That's like Hitler asked why the Allies invaded Europe. In my case, you were responsible for the death of a friend.

9. Sal Casio? she asked. With his daughter. And Min Koryo Bougainville? In hell. (Pitt answers to Loren in the end)

A penthouse suite, he corrected her. And who's going to pay for this opulent interlude? Pitt looked down at her in mock astonishment. Why the government, of course. Who else? (Pitt answers to Loren in the end)

Jul 15, 2017

Bully Boy Blue - Book Review

I did not read the blurb as I already read his fabulous psychological thriller White is the coldest colour and this novella "Bully Boy Blue". Kathy is dominated by his husband the bully boy Mike Connors, who is also a Police Inspector. Everyone including her mother and friends believes Mike's version of Kathy, that she is suffering from a mental breakdown after a miscarriage. Now Kathy finds that she is pregnant again she wants to save her baby and get rid of Mike Connors once and for all, did she escaped from the clutches of her husband and how she did will reveal the last chapters of the novella. The ending is superb. 


The story is packed with abuse and violence and some will not like. The story is very tense and in some places we will wish/pray for her deliverance.

Jul 6, 2017

Charlie Red Star - UFO Sightings

I like to thank Net galley for providing me a copy for review.

I strongly believe we are not alone in the universe. Twenty years back, evening time, my family use to lie on the terrace and watch the sky and we often see a small ball of light moving from north to south. Sometimes couple of lights trying to overtake. The lights won't blink and we told this to our friends and relatives, they did not believe us.

Coming back to the book, it is about recounting of Grant Cameron work on investigating the numerous unidentified flying object sightings that occurred in the Canadian province of Manitoba in the year 1975-76. The major portion of this book is retelling of the many tales told by citizens involved in the sightings. Charlie Red Star is name given to the glowing, pulsating disk shaped UFO.

The tales are vividly explained and exhaustive. Sometimes recounting feels a drag and the author has tried to change the flow by placing diagrams and photos.

Not only the author had given the records of sightings alone but also given elaborate information of how animals behaved during the appearance of Charlie Red Star, recording the sound and testing the wave pattern. People who become obsessed tried to capture the image of the flying saucer, but only one Tanis Major captured photographs are the best. Even the speed of the UFO is given. The author also raises several questions, what if these unidentified lights belong to alien technology? If the aliens wish to remain hidden, why do they place lights around their craft for all to see? Are they afraid of a mid air collision? Are these lights indicators that they want to land at our airports?

According to the story it appears that not only one UFO was involved, but commonly many had experienced watching Charlie Red Star.

In the end the author has given exhaustive detailed notes in chapter wise. I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend this to UFO buffs and conspiracy theorist.

Video from you tube website:



I like to quote the last line of the book.

" Reliving old memories and dreams of the past. When he hunts through the night, we won't question why. Good Night, Charlie Red Star - Old Chief of the Sky".

Jun 26, 2017

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51

In May 30, 1979 a space ship crash lands and was impounded in Hill Air Force Base, Ogden Utah, the ship had three passengers one girl named Creena, a robot designed primarily for agricultural duties named AG4MI and the hero Thyron neither flora nor fauna known as flora peda telepathis, a telepathic walking plant. All are taken into custody. 


Dr.Gabriel Greenley, astro-biologist who specialized in botany called into studying unique characteristics of Thyron. They both become close friends over time and they exchange their views telepathically, in authors point they have same psibrations. Thyron starts to grasp the knowledge from his place and hatches a plan to escape from Area 51. What was their plan? How did they break free from their confinement? Who helped them in their escape? all are beautifully answered by the author Marcha Fox.

The plot line is good, the back stories of Dr.Greenley, the thoughts of Thyron, his rhymes, intelligent villain Colonel Watkins, the encounter between Thyron and Watkins, how AG4MI and Thyron outwits humans are worth mentioning.

I cannot say that the book is fast paced but definitely the book has its entertaining values. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, though this novel is continuation story, it can be read as stand alone. Expecting to read other books authored by Marcha Fox.

Jun 19, 2017

The Bermuda Privateer - Book Review

I thank Net galley for giving me an opportunity to read and review William Westbrook's novel "The Bermuda Privateer".


From the blurb:
1796 Captain of the fast, beautiful, and deadly Bermuda schooner Sea Dog, Nicholas Fallon sails the Caribbean protecting Ezra Somer's lucrative salt business and battling Britain's enemies with his best friend and first mate, Beauty McFarland. Somer's daughter, Elinore, is Fallon's' lover. So when Somers offers Fallon a share of the business for capturing Wicked Jak Clayton the pirate who has been stealing his ships – Fallon is motivated to help. Sea Dog soon faces warships, treasure ships, an incompetent Royal Navy captain and a massive hurricane. Along the way Fallon learns about courage, sacrifice and friendship. Ezra Somer's had connived a letter of marque from the British Admiralty for Sea Dog to raid, plunder and otherwise disrupt and destroy Great Britain's enemies.

The novel is fast paced and the author's thorough knowledge of the Caribbean islands  is made into good use for the backdrop of the plot. My first book reading experience with pirate themed started from Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood and this book did not disappoint me.

Below are couple of characters I like to mention.

(1)Nicholas Fallon the hero of the novel, spent most of his life in ship who started as a ship boy and became the Captain of schooner Sea Dog. His skills in mathematics and cleverness in general made him a natural navigator and much respected by the crew. A born leader, whose thoughts are always about the safety of his crews. A lovable character, patriotic, obedient and truthful to his employer.

(2)Beauty McFarland, Fallon's ship mate and boyhood friend, she is courageous, a statistician, helpful to Fallon in his adventures.

(3) Ezra Somer the owner of salt company, aged and best in shooting, helped Fallon in his fight against the much feared wicked Jak Clayton. Has the heart to accept the mistakes he had done.

(4)Elinore, Somer's daughter love interest of Fallon, beautiful girl, Fallon forgets to breath when he first saw her.

(5)Ajani, a teenage guy saved by Fallon, a victim of slavery and Jak Clayton. His special abilities is his nocturnal explorations. His expertise saves Fallon and his crew from death from Jak Clayton's island and later who comes to know about a trial through his friends, a slave trial to Savannah.

(6) Alvaron, Captain of Spanish ship, though his part is small compared with other 5 characters but stands above all. He is one of the captain of the ship, transferring gold and silver to be handed over to France. While transporting the treasure from Spanish Florida to France, he meets with Fallon who is now under the Royal Navy to attack and stop the transfer. Both the ships collide and reaches the shore, Alvaron gravely wounded. Though an enemy Fallon helps him with his own surgeon. Recuperating Alvaron comes to know that his country is giving away that much treasure to France, he joins hands with Fallon.

(7) The schooner Sea Dog, a ship captained by Nicholas Fallon, the fastest ship and threat to pirates.

I liked the part of Fallon and his crew escape from the clutches of Jak Clayton's island. The chapters dealing with the escape of Fallon and Alvaron crews via the slave trial to Savannah. The chapters about the encounter of Sea Dog with Spanish flotilla. The change of mind of Ezra Somers for his salt trade and slavery.

I like to quote some lines:

Death is preferable to living without honour. (Fallon's answer to Jak Clayton)

Sometimes in War humanity wins.

We only make the war that our governments decree.

Jun 10, 2017

Vixen 03 - Book Review

My Eighth outing with Dirk Pitt Adventures.

In early part of 1950's Dr.John Vetterly, a microbiologist, chemically created an artificial form of life that in turn was capable of producing a disease strain that was nondetectable, unidentifiable bacteriological agent able to incapacitate a living thing within seconds of exposure and disrupt the vital body functions, causing death within three to five minutes it was named quick death shortly QD. Admiral Bass was given the task to dump the remaining 36 stainless steel canisters of QD in Rongelo from Buckley Field. Major Vylander commanded the Air Force Boeing C-97, number 75403, a Stratocruiser named Vixen 03. The plane did not reach the destination and his whereabouts was not known. 


(Image courtesy goldsborrobook website)

Our hero Dirk Pitt is on a vacation with his lover Loren Smith, a Congresswoman. In her father's garage he finds a part of plane wreckage, out of curiosity Pitt tries to find out where the wreckage came from. Through proper channels he contacts Colonel Abe Steiger and by chance Pitt understands that the plane should have crash landed in the nearby lake. With help from his sidekick Al, Pitt finds out the remains of Vixen 03. The report of Vixen 03 did not stir the Government and through Pitt's friend FBI agent Paul Buckner he gets information and pays a visit to retired Admiral Bass in his inn. Bass did not believe first and then together they bring up Vixen 03. But 8 canisters are missing from the lot, Bass gets ill and was hospitalized with much difficultly Pitt gets the background of Vixen 03 and the canisters.

The story moves to South Africa where internal problems was at its peak. The AAR (African Army of Revolution) headed by Hiram Lusana and assisted by Machita was gaining attraction from local people, the people look at Lusana as a messiah. To eradicate his popularity and AAR the minority whites hatches a plan, disguising as AAR and attacking white people and their farm. On one such operation navy retired Fawkes family is killed and his farm burned. Some of the officials in South African government convinces Fawkes that Lusana and his men are responsible. (This South African part drags as there is no Dirk Pitt action for a very long time.) They create one master plan "Operation Wild Rose".

Hiram Lusana comes to US to get some support from Congress, after his meeting with Congressman Daggat he was kidnapped by someone.

Now the story returns to Dirk Pitt as he was in search of the missing canisters. Did Dirk Pitt finds out the person who stole the canisters? Who kidnapped Hiram Lusana? What is Operation Wild Rose? What is the role of Fawkes in Operation Wild Rose? Did Pitt got hold of the missing QD canisters? all are answered in the remaining pages of this action packed novel.

The South African story at first looked strange and it made me feel what this has to do with the story, Clive Cussler's knack of storytelling is again become evident when he pieces them together in the end. The climax is faster and kept me at the edge. Pitt has shared more action with Abe Steiger, Sandecker and Al Giordino. The chances of finding the person behind stealing the canisters looked bleak for me but that is real twist in the story, as Pitt did some deductions like Sherlock Holmes.

The characterization and back stories of Hiram Lusana, Felicia and Fawkes are very well done. Lusana and Fawkes are opposing characters, we know that Lusana is not behind the slaughter of Fawkes family, in climax without knowing the truth both die for their cause.

I already mentioned author Clive Cussler has a bit of answering our own questions arising from story, one such appears when Admiral Bass tells them that QD is killed when in immersed in water, in our mind we also ask, then let the QD be in the lake bottom forever. That question features by way of Al Giordino, Al cuts in and says if water kills this QD stuff, why don't we simply leave it on the bottom of the lake? Bass shook his head solemnly. No thank you. If you found it, so can someone else.

Below are some one liners of Dirk Pitt.

(1) Pitt and Mapes when entering the weapons storage room.
Mapes slowed his Rolls-Royce convertible and lifted both hands from the steering wheel in an apparent greeting. The guard nodded and waved to his partner, who pulled open the gate from the inside.

I assume that was a signal of some kind, said Pitt.

Pardon?

The hands in the air routine.

An yes, Mapes said. If you had been holding a concealed gun on me, my hands would have remained on the wheel. A normal gesture. Then, as we were waves through and your attention was lulled by the guard's opening the gate, his teammate would have discreetly stepped behind the car and blown your head off.

I am glad you remembered to raise your hands.

(2) Pitt getting angry when Mapes was not able to account for the missing canisters.

How many men did your merchandise kill and maim last year, and the year before that?

If one of those gas shells went off you'd be responsible for perhaps millions of deaths.

(3) After saving Loren Smith from blackmailing.

What's that for? he asked, grinning with pleasure. A reward for bailing me out of a nasty situation. Pitt to the rescue. I always was a pushover for congresswomen in distress…

Women should be able to stand alone. He put his arm around her and led her to his car. There are times when even a dedicated feminist needs a chauvinist to lean on.

(4)Before the climax.
Bad news and dismal weather go hand in hand, Pitt said.

(5) Inside the battleship Pitt meeting Lusana who is tied.

I take it you lost the ship's popularity contest...

The dark form behind the light moved closer and Lusana felt his bonds being loosened. Where are you taking me?

Nowhere. But if you value social security in your old age, I suggest you get the hell off this boat before it's blown to pieces.

Who are you?
Not that it matters, the name's Pitt.
Are you part of Captain Fawke's crew?
No, I am free-lance. (typical Pitt one liner)

(6) Pitt and De Vall before the Fawkes family cemetery.

Why are you doing this? De Vall said savagely, What do you hope to gain?
I don't like to see traitors prosper. Pitt retorted.

Jun 3, 2017

Night Probe - Book Review

My seventh outing with Dirk Pitt adventures.


Night Probe : An old diver's term for exploring the dark of underwater caves.
Heidi Milligan discovers of an old crumpled letter in a university archive which leads into obscure and long lost document of North American Treaty. In early 1914 the British were aware that war with Germany was just around the corner. Britain was scraping the bottom of its treasury when it entered World War I. The Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and King George V out of desperation approaches President Woodrow Wilson with a proposal of selling Canada to the US for 1 billion dollars. Richard Essex, Under Secretary of State under William Jennings Bryan and Harvey Shields, Deputy Secretary of the British Foreign Office drafted the North American Treaty. United States loaned 150 million dollars for war effort which was a down payment.
 

Before the Treaty comes into force the two copies of the document were lost to time, after Harvey Shields traveling in Empress of Ireland collided with a coal collier sinks and subsequently another copy of the document with Richard Essex, traveling in Manhattan Limited train falls from the Deauville-Hudson bridge killing everyone.

Heidi has a crush with old man Brain Shaw who is actually a spy serving on her Majestic secret service. Without knowing the consequences Heidi tells him about North American Treaty and as well as with our hero Dirk Pitt.
 

The President of the United States facing a power crisis gets to know about the treaty through Dirk Pitt. He orders Pitt to salvage Empress of Ireland and Manhattan Limited. NUMA team starts their work.
 

Same time in Canada, Prime Minister Charles Sarveux is facing internal problem through Free Quebec Society, a radical movement dedicated to independence of French Quebec, headed by its veiled head and Minister of Internal Affairs, Henri Villon. The assassination attempt over Charles flight fails. A paid assassin look alike of Henri Villon, Inspector Foss Gly creates havoc by killing Quebec Premier Jules Guerrier. The British sends Brain Shaw to get hold the North American Treaty before NUMA.

Did Dirk Pitt succeeded in finding the document from Empress of Ireland and Manhattan Limited? What happened to Charles Sarveux, his cheating wife Danielle, Henri Villon and Brain Shaw? The mystery and suspense is revealed in the subsequent chapters by Ace story teller Clive Cussler.

A fabulous story entwined with greater suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. In every story Dirk Pitt encounters his evil adversary. But this adversary is a patriotic spy, Brain Shaw. Both respect each other, to me Brain Shaw resembled aged James Bond having same characteristics charm and seduction. In the final pages Pitt mentions to Brain, that James Bond will be proud of Shaw and they were quite close.

Like other novel I noticed some one liners of Pitt which I want to quote:

Dirk Pitt conversing about North American Treaty with the President of United States, before they part the President asks Pitt.

And you, Mr.Pitt, would you agree?
 
Pitt closed his briefcase and stood up. I'm a marine engineer, Mr.President. I steer well clear of political involvement.

First encounter of Pitt with Brain Shaw, Pitt after saving Shaw from the death grip of Foss Gly.

Who are you?, he mumbled.
 
Pitt. Dirk Pitt.
 
Strange, you don't look like the devil. Shaw had never doubted where he would eventually wind up.

On previous encounter Harrison Moon was tossed by Pitt when he was not allowed to meet the President in the White House. After knowing about Pitt, Moon meets Pitt in old car auction.

Mr.Pitt?

Pitt turned and looked into the babyish face of Harrison Moon IV.

Funny, Pitt said without surprise, you didn't strike me as the type who would be interested in old cars.

Actually, I'm interested in you.

Pitt gave him an amused look. If you're gay, you're wasting your time.

May 29, 2017

Wayne And Ford - Book Review

I am a fan of MGR a matinee idol from Tamil Nadu, India, actor turned politician and a philanthropist who is often compared with John Wayne's box office draw. Both the actors in their movies portrayed the same qualities needed to the people in those era. The title of the book "Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship and the Forging of an American Hero" and the image of Wayne stylishly holding a gun made me to request in Net galley, and I have to thank net galley and Doubleday books for giving me an opportunity to read and review.

(Image from willmckinley.files.wordpress)

The author has mentioned the inspiration she got is from her father Lieutenant Commander Sigmund B.Schoenberger, who is a John Wayne and Western fan, a military officer and a test pilot and who lived the code of masculinity that John Ford and John Wayne created in the movies.

She narrates the life of both director John Ford and Marion Morrison the scenery mover later famously known as John Wayne. The author not only mentioned the life story but also exceptionally quoted their personal and professional relationship on and off screen.

Nancy also cited the psychologist Robert Brannon's markers of manhood which men must acquire to earn the approval of other men that is what Ford and John Wayne's movie characters exhibited.
1. One may never do anything that even suggests femininity.
2. Masculinity is measured by power, success, wealth and status.
3. A man depends on never showing your emotions at all. Boys don't cry.
4. Exude an aura of manly daring and aggression.

(Image from John Wayne forum)

It is their friendship that made my eyes glistened that Ford who is also a mean boss cared for John Wayne when he worked with other directors and he himself came to the shooting spot to help John Wayne in completing his directorial debut movie "The Alamo". 


                                                              (Image from bluray.com site)
 
The author has vividly described the movies, characters and also bullying approach of director Ford how he teases Henry Fonda, John Wayne etc. on the set. She also written up to the end of their life their last days, I was amazed at their similarity that both died of stomach cancer. 


The book has some beautiful images of Wayne and Ford and their movies. The articles and notes given in the end is huge resource and the book is must read for Western movie genre and John Wayne fans.

May 23, 2017

The Baker Street Four Vol. 1 - Review

I requested for a copy of a graphic novel, The Baker Street Four Volume 1 in Net galley. I thank Net galley and Insight editions for fulfilling my wish.

The graphic novel "The Baker Street Four" is about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes unofficial force called Baker Street Irregulars. The book has two stories one is "The Blue Curtain" and the second is "The Rabukin Case". 


The Blue Curtain:

Chubby Charlie, acrobatic and energetic Tom, Billy and a feline are the Baker street irregulars. Tom's girlfriend Betty is kidnapped in front of his eyes. Tom along with his friends reach Door No.221B to find out that their master Sherlock Holmes has gone to crack a case in Surrey. Tom had glanced at the kidnapper who had a unique tattoo on his hand that of crowned skull with two roses. As they are tutored by Holmes they start to investigate. Did they save Betty?  


The Rabukin Case:

The story involves one of the Russian refugee an idealist Viktor Rabukin falsely arrested for killing O' Sally and believed to be new Jack The Ripper. His lover Katya Ivanova try to get the help of Sherlock Holmes on the way she was to be killed by some Russians but the timely intervention by our irregulars saves Katya. She comes to know that Sherlock has left for Austria in search for a stolen Stradivarius. Katya narrates her story that they are from Saint Petersburg, Russia and they are supporters of Socialist revolution. Like others they tried to escape from the clutches of Okhrana (The Russian Tsarist secret police) and stayed some time in France but Okhrana was behind them so they came to London, here Viktor gave speeches about the prospect of planning a future Russian revolution from England. Two days later Viktor was taken into custody as evidence of murder found in the attic room.

After hearing the sad story and their love of murdered O' Sally they convince Katya that they will investigate as they are assistants to Sherlock Holmes.

Did they find out who the real culprit in planting the evidence in Viktor's attic room? Did they found who is the real new Jack the ripper? all are answered in the remaining pages of the novel.

Sample images from the graphic novel The Baker Street Four

First I have to mention the artwork, it is rich in exhibiting Victorian era buildings, costumes, horse carriages etc. The action scenes are awesome, the acrobatic stunts of Tom are nicely done. The panels are breathtaking and the plot line is good. The characters Tom and Billy make fun of each other which often ends in fisticuffs but their friendship and mutual understanding never gets affected. Charlie is a girl, on advice of Holmes she disguises as a boy. The cat a small character often seen with them helps the three in dire situations. I loved these characters and awaiting to see their next adventure.

May 21, 2017

Knoll - Book Review


Columbus William McIntyre a special prosecutor in Junction city, son of a murdered cop who plans for running Shale county primary election for District Attorney, on one fateful day he gets a call from his friend Rick Van Pelt a detective at the Junction City Police Department and he hands over an old file to McIntyre. 

Knoll Book cover and the author Stephen Hillard
 
It is a personal file of his father Dean McIntyre, in the final pages he had hand-written a para which reads "For what I did in Dallas, they will find me. Carlos Marcello, his lapdog Mike Maroon. That prick Louie".

Without knowing the consequences McIntyre goes in search for the truth. Banner McCoy, Ex-NSA, fugitive spy, author of spyflow.com, whose project at TCC was called KNOLL, a project to utilize all available resources to gather evidence and resolve questions regarding the assassination of JFK. But in truth it is to destroy any remaining evidence of the conspiracy. These two character tales goes side by side.

What happens to them is the remaining part of the story? The author has well written the difficulties and sufferings of McIntyre's ordeal and an unexpected help from his guardian angel at the end makes this a good read.

At first I was unable to grasp the flow and had a hard time to understand McIntyre and McCoy. The story is told in first person account by McIntyre and Banner McCoy and shifts to third person when it comes to Calagero Minacore aka Carlos Marcello and his one time associate Louie Diamond. The climax and ending are super fast with vivid presentation it looked like watching a movie.

Like myself this book is recommended to JFK conspiracy theory buffs. The book as much information about a white Chevy, radio recording and a aerial photo taken before Kennedy assassination. 


I received this copy from Net galley and I thank net galley and FSB Associates, LLC for giving me a chance to read and review this novel.
 

May 12, 2017

Airborne - Book Review

Mesmerized by the cover of the book I requested for the copy through Net galley. I did not read the blurb. This novel is part one of Airborne trilogy, the story involves the life of three main characters paratrooper Theo Trickey, Medical Officer Captain Daniel Garland and Erwin Rommel (the desert fox).


The story starts in Ulm a small city on the Danube where prisoners of war Captain Daniel Garland along with captured 1st airborne Division. There he saves a gravely wounded paratrooper Theo. The story deviates from the battle to the life of Theo's childhood in Bolzano, his British father and South Tyrol mother, their fight against the right for branding them as Italian/German. Theo loses his father early and he is guided by his great grandfather and grandfather. Later Theo moves to England where he gets the chance to learn and sign up for the army and also a chance of meeting with Erwin Rommel who asked him to "make a decision" the words often popped out to Theo whenever he was confused, one for his ethnicity who he had to fight against, second for choosing as a paratrooper and thirdly almost working as a spy for England. His stint in army was first a failure until someone gives another chance to become a paratrooper. His success in damaging Trargino Aqueduct and getting the confidence from a group who have no command structure, no organization no relevant skills or weapons, fighting against Mussolini.

Waves of paratroops land in Holland (Image source Wikipedia)

Subsequently the author narrates the story from Garland point of view, a medical officer who entered the war voluntarily, his visions of the war and his service to the patients which are beautifully narrated for instance how Garland coped with stench of cordite, blood, suppuration and smell of sewage and never ending procession of incoming stretchers with mutilated soldiers. How he looked the war torn places, from his own words, onslaught of artillery bombardment, passing through damaged buildings having few windows, roofless buildings, showing gaping holes buildings consumed by raging fire, streets littered with wreckage and debris, burned out army vehicles, fallen telegraph poles, smashed trees, shell craters, mounds of rubble on the streets, aptly showed the desolation of the war. Like his colleagues he was expecting the victorious entry of 30 Corps for their salvation but 30 Corps was unable to advance north, Dreadfully injured Theo is unconscious but his will power drives him to be alive. While treating in Stalag XI-B, Garland is transferred to Stalag 357 where he enjoys some freedom. 

Aerial view of the bridge over the Neder Rijn, Arnhem (Image source Wikipedia)

The story ends when Garland preparing to escape from Stalag 357 and Erwin Rommel in Africa.

The book is around 300 pages, fast paced and I enjoyed thoroughly reading this novel and I anxiously waiting for the second part. Fans who are interested in Second World War will surely like this novel. While reading this book I ordered a paperback of Robert Radcliffe's Under An English Heaven. 

May 4, 2017

Abattoir Of Dreams–Book Review

Dear Mark,

I have read your first two novels, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. I liked your writing style and your trademark approach in character presentation with a tinge of dark humour.

abbatoir-of-dreams

The third book is Abattoir of Dreams which is not Ben Whittle investigation series and I purchased that book. As usual you did not disappoint me. I know how gruesome your villain characters are I cannot forget Edward Ebb from The Revelation Room and not to mention the name since it will be a spoiler “the target” in The Eyes of the accused. I expected such a character in Abattoir of Dreams as the story starts from Michael Tate who is in the hospital undergoing treatment after a failed suicide attempt, suffering from amnesia, paralysis and believed to be Becky Marie Coombs murderer.

Right from the start you made me ponder over the accused character Michael Tate, is he a murderer? is he innocent? Tate tells to the nurse that he can see an emergency door in the wall written with blood red letters, really is he a nut? why no family members visited him? As the story progress I was awestruck with your brilliance of using the characters Detective Inspector Carver and Michael’s friend to twist and mystify the plot further. What a storyline!  what a flow! non stop roller coaster ride.

The story becomes more disturbing when Michael childhood is revealed, how pathetic his life turned into. Of the all the characters you used I liked Liam Truman and the dog Oxo.

I feel little bit ashamed to tell you the truth that after reading some sentimental novel tears may welled up but I have not cried. Mark you made me cry not once, not twice but thrice. I closed my kindle and cried out after reading the chapters on Michael mother’s death, second when he leaves Oxo to Woodside Children’s home and third after the climax.

I like to mention about the use of a ghost in the story and making me think who the ghost should be. This book deserves to be filmed and five star rating is not enough.

If I made to compare the best works from your three books, certainly I will choose this book The Abattoir of Dreams.

Apr 30, 2017

Vindolanda - Book Review

While browsing Net galley for historical fiction books, first I skipped "Vindolanda" second time the name of the author Adrian Goldsworthy made me to stop and requested for a copy. Some of his works include The Complete Roman Army, Caesar: The Life of a Colossus, In the Name of Rome: The Men who won the Roman Empire and Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor, which are in my reading list.


Image ownership: Photograph D.Woolliscroft, © Vindolanda Trust

Tablet for the birthday invitation (From www.csad.ox.ac.uk)

The author has mentioned in the end of the story that a wooden tablet, a birthday invitation written by Claudia Severa to Sulpicia Lepidina is the inspiration for the novel.

I provide the image and the translation of the wooden tablet from vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk website.

"Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present (?). Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him (?) their greetings. (2nd hand) I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper, and hail. (Back, 1st hand) To Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Cerialis, from Severa." 

The story takes place in AD 98, Britain under the rule of Rome. The place Vindolanda, modern name Chesterholm. Vindex, a noble warrior of the Carvetti and the leader of their scouts informs Titus Flavius Ferox, centurio regionarius, seconded from Legio II Augusta (Prince of Silures) about the warring tribes plundering forts. Ferox with a small army reaches in time and saves a woman named Sulpicia Lepidina wife of Prefect Flavius Cerialis the new commander of the Ninth Batavians.  Subsequently they safely takes her to Cerialis and Tribune Crispinus. Though the attack appears to be a cattle raid by the tribes Ferox had doubts.

Tribune Crispinus and Ferox undertakes journey to meet the tribes and get their goodwill and support for their new emperor Trajan. Most of the tribes showed their loyalty but Ferox was not sure about Tincommius – Land of the High King who is an intelligent leader. During the feast arranged by Tincommius one priest Stallion attends lately and criticizes the Romans. With rage Stallion tries to kill the Romans and Tincommius interferes.

Ferox and Vindex leave early and reaches Vindolanda and comes to know that Stallion and his men have kidnapped and killed a lady who they taught of royal birth. While Tribune and their army reaches Vindolanda the rebel tribes under Stallion's speech have taken their weapon to fight against the Romans. Thousands of men against 100s of Roman army.

Did Ferox  plan worked? Who is behind Stallion? Did Tincommius who had collected vast amount of weapons sided with Rome or Stallion? all of these questions are answered in last chapter.

The author has mentioned that he took more freedom and did his best to reconstruct the story for the purposes in a way that the story never conflicts with any hard evidence found in the excavation of Vindolanda. Adrian has given a detailed account of the equipments of the Roman army, its organisation, its command structures, the tactics it employed, the ranks and routines involved.

All these days while reading the book I was with Ferox and Vindex traveling through the mountains of northern frontier of Britannia, the description of the land, the weather, the people and their customs made me feel as I was transported back to 1st century AD.

With vivid description of battle scenes like men yelling, swords striking the mail armour, hacking and stabbing, shields pounding on shields, sounds of swords striking over the flesh and bone, I felt I was actually taking part in the battle and looking at the horrors. I think the author narration has filled around 50 or so pages on the battle alone.

Those who like Roman history and historical fiction should never miss this book.

I like to quote some lines from the novel:

Do not waste rage. Nurture it, cherish it and use the strength it gives. Hot anger gets a man killed. Cold anger will put the other man in the earth.

Augustus described, fighting a needless war is like a man fishing with a golden hook, where no possible gain justified the risk.

A prophet cannot survive when his miracle fails.

Apr 20, 2017

Continuity of the Parks - Review

It is a short story written by Julio Cort├ízar Descotte, an Argentine Author. The story has three characters one is the reader, second is the man and third the woman. 
A man (the reader) picks up the novel he had started reading couple of days back. As he is a busy, he finishes all his business matters and settles in his favourite green armchair which faces an oak tree park and he immerse in the novel. The story in the novel, a woman arrives first then a man who is passionate and also emotional comes next to meet her, his face cut by the backlash of a branch. She kisses the blood stained face but he rebuff her caresses and they have lustful panting dialogues. They part ways, the woman going north and the man with a knife going south, he traces the avenue of trees and comes to the house of the woman's husband. As planned he crosses the hall, gets up the stairs, he enters the first room and second room which are empty and finds a door to the salon, he sees her husband reading the novel sitting in the green armchair. The story ends. 

Representation of the short story in image

Above image of uroboros, a snake eating itself, having no beginning and no end, Julio Cort├ízar has a vivid imagination and wonderful use of words, he masterfully blends the reality and fiction. The reality is the reader, the story in the novel which he reads is fiction and inside the story two fictional characters the man and the woman who plans to kills her husband who is sitting in the green armchair. Amazing talent in using words, the author makes us to miss the significant part of changing the track from reality to fiction. 

We imagine that the fictional tale and the reader who is reading the novel are connected as the author has used the green armchair and oak tree park with fictional man possessing a knife coming to murder the person sitting in the green armchair which is overlooking trees.

So beautifully written, on the first read I cannot understand and little bit confused after reading for the second and third time I was able to comprehend the tale.

Apr 18, 2017

Passenger 19 - Book Review

I received a copy from Ocean View Publishing via Net galley and I have to thank them for giving me an opportunity to read and review such a wonderful piece of work of Ward Larsen.


A small regional jet, an ARJ-35, with registration number HK-55H  carrying 21 passengers and 3 crew members disappears over Southern Colombia, Jammer Davis an aircraft accident investigator was sent in by NTSB, with information that her daughter Jen Davis was also on board. 


Initially no wreckage was found and through satellite search they were able to pinpoint the debris. The passengers and crew members were all dead except two girls from the manifest. Though the accident looked like a hijack something was missing for Davis, his conclusion that the plane is not hijacked is ridiculed by the team. 

Did Davis finds out what is the reason behind the hijack drama? Who is Passenger 19 and why it is kept secret? What it has to do with his daughter? The duration of the story is 5 days of search by a desperate father to find his only daughter, Passenger 19 is breathtaking, page turner, suspense thriller with lot of twists. 

Apr 15, 2017

Superman: Action Comics, Volume 2: Welcome to the Planet - Review

“Look--down there on the ground! It's a guy, he's kinda ordinary...it's--Clark Kent?! As Metropolis recovers from the devastating attack of Doomsday, the mysterious figure claiming to be Clark Kent takes the spotlight to clear his name and prove once and for all that Clark Kent is not Superman!”

I have to thank Netgalley and DC Entertainment for giving me an opportunity to read this graphic novel.

In Volume 2, the story takes place after the epic battle of Superman with Doomsday. Superman is killed, before that the world comes to know that Clark Kent and Superman are same person. Now Clark Kent with fractured left hand comes to Daily Planet to finish his investigation on Geneticron, later Clark was thrown out of the building and Superman! saves him. Both know they are not who they are. Superman takes Clark to Fortress of Solitude and tests him, the result was unexpected and the mystery deepens.

re-birth1

Superman is seen married to Lois and having a kid named Jon, trying their best to adapt to their new world.

This graphic novel revolves around the lives of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Lois been dead! and another Lois taking her place and trying to finish the book on Superman.

rebirth2

The story is not conclusive but it has its fair share of mystery and twists which will surely engage us. The art work is good, written by Dan Jurgens and pencils by Tom Grummett for That which you manifest is before you, Patch Zircher for Superman meets Clark Kent Part I & II, Stephen Segovia in Lois Lane Back at the Planet Part I & II. Especillay I liked the face of Superman been peeled which I have uploaded above.

Apr 11, 2017

Semmaari - Book Review




I had won the "Siliconpuram" book giveaway of this author previously and I had reviewed it in goodreads.com. In March I received a message from Samura the author, that I have been sent one paperback copy of Semmaari. I thanked him for his generosity.

One week back I received the copy before its launch date. The cover has the image of a sheep with the title "Semmaari" and a tag line Sheep with sixth sense. I cannot grasp, what connection it holds with a historical fictional story? That was my fault.

The book is 294 pages which can be read in one sitting but it took me 3 days to complete and was awestruck by the plot used by the author. Never before I had come across such a story in Tamil.

The story starts with an old guide Desigar narrating the story to the author and his family. There are two countries one is Suriyanadu and another is Chandranadu. The later is a small kingdom ruled by Puthirasekaran and like his father he is obsessed with architecture, he wanted to create a beauty in stones. He arranges Sadayuthar the chief stone architect and his assistant Nagalan to commence the work. The progress was fast, Sadayuthar men force is supervised by Kodari (Axe) from the name y0u can guess he is one of the adversary of the story. Then comes the hero of the novel "Semmaari" a Shepard and a simpleton from a downtrodden community.

While the architects are free they use to play "Aadu Puli Aatam" (Tiger & Sheep/Lambs and Tigers game) Semmaari wants to learn the game but was ignored due to his community status. He observes the game hiding from a tree. One such day Nagalan feeling lonely and bored asks Semmaari to play with him. He teaches the basics of the game to Semmaari. The game is dominated when played with Tiger piece but Semmaari was most talented when he plays with sheep pieces. Subsequently he meets his love Nathiyazh (Nathi – River, Yazh – stringed musical instrument) (what a lovely name)

As Semmaari is from a nomadic tribe they plan to shift but destiny has another plan. The Tiger and Sheep game becomes a contest between a stranger Guhan and Nagalan. While the contest goes on Nagalan playing with sheep pieces was nearing defeat and he asks someone to fetch Semmaari for assistance. Without the knowledge of the contest Semmaari helps Nagalan to win the game after the game as per the contest rule Guhan's right hand was severed by Kodari. This is the twist of the story as Guhan is none other than the Commander of Suriyanadu.

The next day Sadayuthar congratulates on Semmaari's victory while they were celebrating, Guhan comes back with a mighty army and kills everyone even the sheeps of Semmaari is not spared. Somehow Semmaari and his remaining family members, Nathiyazh and Nagalan escapes from the attack.

When Guhan's plan to arrest Nagalan the architect and his plan to avenge Kodari (for loss of his limb) and Semmaari (defeated in the game and as well his dignity)  fails miserably he asks the King Puthirasekaran to kill Kodari and Semmaari for him. Kodari who stays in a remote cave with his friends, hints upon a plan to kill Semmaari and thereby he might get mercy from his king and Guhan.

Semmaari comes to know that he has been targeted by three opponents King Puthirasekaran, Guhan and Kodari. He was running in despair along with his family and sheeps. He has no weapon to defend suddenly he understands that he is literally playing the Tiger and Sheep game and he uses the game techniques to outwit the three adversaries (3 tigers). How it is done? That shows the unique and intelligent story telling talent of Samura.

The characters are not complex they are simple and very much engaging and we can relate them to our day to day life. Each character has a unique feature and the author has blended them perfectly. Everything he narrates in the story are all related in one way or another.

After the climax the author goes into subtlety like the three different techniques Semmaari uses, the people involved in every plan, the use of five elements etc. are worth mentioning.

I very much enjoyed reading the book and I could have lifted the author if he was present before me.