Archive for July, 2011
A Deadly Hand – A Dana Sloan Mystery – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
“Slim pickins,” he said, letting his body slide into the reclining position against the sturdy dumpster. He reached into another pocket of the filthy overcoat he wore and pulled out a pint-sized bottle of wine. He held it up to the light. It was almost empty. Shrugging his thin shoulders, the man drank from the bottle, draining it in a few swallows. Then, he struggled to his feet and pitched the bottle into the dumpster. Turning around, the derelict suddenly realized that he was no longer alone in the alley. A stocky figure dressed in a dark overcoat and a wide-brimmed hat had joined him. “Hey, buddy,” the bum called out. “Can you spare a dollar?” The newcomer stopped and took a piece of currency out of his overcoat pocket and waived it at the derelict with a black-gloved hand. Delighted by this gesture, the derelict stumbled forward to meet his benefactor. With his eyes fixed on the currency, he didn’t notice that the stranger had taken out another object from another pocket. The derelict was still concentrating on the currency, intent on making it his. He made only the slightest sound of disbelief as the bullet entered his stomach…Satisfied that his prey was dead, the shooter stood back and looked down at the stranger who had just been murdered. Then, the gloved hand reached into a pocket once more and withdrew the final item. One by one they were dropped onto the lifeless man’s body. Five playing cards from an ordinary deck were now a part of the murder scene. The cards were the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and the Ten of Spades…a Royal Flush.’
Dana Sloan is an investigative reporter for The Globe. Her boyfriend is Detective Al Bruno. The combination of an investigative reporter and a police detective make for a very touchy relationship. Dana’s boss Sam comes to her with his belief that his mentor and friend, retired reporter Leona had been murdered and not died of natural causes while living in the Peaceful Pines retirement home. After talking to the director of the home, and confirming that Leona was murdered, Dana decides to go undercover working as a receptionist for Peaceful Pines. Bruno, who is busy trying to turn up clues as to who the “Royal Flush Killer” might be, doesn’t have time to listen to Dana’s suspicions. Not even when the murder of a political figure’s wife seems connected to her investigation.
While running on a shaky relationship to begin with, Dana is hit extra hard when Bruno ends up arresting her when he finds she has given refuge to his number one suspect in for the Royal Flush killings. So, who is right? Dana believes he is totally wrong in his suspicions and Bruno feels the same about hers. Will this become a no win situation for both of them? I’ll give you one clue…they are both wrong.
As I read A Deadly Hand, I was tossed from one suspect to another and like Dana and Bruno, I too was wrong. This was an ending I simply didn’t see coming. This is my kind of mystery!
Avalon Books (Hardback)
Worldwide Mystery (Mass-Market Paperback)
My Life, For Her – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘Rob called Roy, “Beth Anne is missing! She left the Hospital to meet us at the game and never showed. Where the hell could she be at this hour?”
“Calm down Rob,” Roy replied, “I’m sure there must be a reasonable explanation for all this worry. She must have broken down on some back road.”…
Rob walked over to his car. “Roy, I don’t know where the hell she is! It’s not like her at all, missed the game and no calls. Did she just disappear or decide to leave us? I don’t understand why she would do that. It just doesn’t make any sense.”…
They walked around checking for her car. It wasn’t long before they found it. Rob opened the door with his set of keys, the engine started with no problem. Why was it still in the parking lot – it didn’t make sense. The panic grew inside him; his hands were trembling as they checked around the whole hospital perimeter. It was getting late and they still found no sign at all of Beth Anne.’
Rob Marrino is a happily married man with a wonderful wife, Beth Anne, and two beautiful children. After serving as a field medic in Viet Nam, and with the encouragement of Beth Anne’s uncle Roy, Rob joined the police force in their home town of Pikeville. Pikeville was the perfect place to live, raise a family and serve on the police force. It was small, quiet and virtually crime free. Then all hell broke out when Rob was cruising in his restored Mustang and was passed by a vehicle being chased by the a state trooper. As Rob joined in the chase and knew things were kicking up a notch when he saw the gun being fired out the window at the trooper’s car.
What turned out to be one of the biggest drug busts in the small town’s history also turned out to be one of the biggest nightmares in Rob’s history. What he would end up facing was far worse than anything he had ever faced while serving in Nam. Why? Because it was happening to his own family, mainly Beth Anne.
In My Life, For Her, Rob, along with his best friend Tex, is taken back into the jungles to defend what is his. The two attempt to accomplish a feat that the government had failed in doing. This becomes a time that all of their Viet Nam training kick back in with hopes that they will escape with their lives as well as the lives of others. My Life, For Her was a book that kept me turning the pages and cheering for a miracle.
Renaissance – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘My marriage had just fallen apart. It wasn’t like I didn’t see it coming. So why was I in complete and utter shock? The warning signs had been blasting out at me in fanfare for the past…oooooh, six years, or so? Why the hell didn’t I hear them. What was wrong with me that I ignored it all for so long? It was a hell of a wake-up call, discovering my fifty-four year old husband having cyber-sex with a twenty-four year old girl he’d met online. I suppose I should be grateful to her in a way. She gave me the shove I needed to finally take action and end a marriage that had been dead in the water practically from day one, if I’m honest. But I hadn’t expected the tirade of emotions that would come when I finally discovered that it was him, and not me, who had gone astray. Even until the very end, I had always (stupidly) believed he really did love me. OK, I know, he had a funny way of showing it. It’s one thing to make a declaration (or in his case, millions of declarations) of love. It’s quite another to actually mean what you say and follow your words with honest and genuine actions.
Sarah Tate found herself in a position that so many other women (and some men) find themselves in and struggle to survive through. Some make it and some fail. Sarah was one of the lucky ones who simply wouldn’t give up. What is Sarah’s problem? She is ending her marriage to the man she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. But to her surprise, she will not only have the responsibility to support and care for their 3 children but she will also be left with bills, taxes and commitments that he acquired by using her name. So the struggle begins and so do the side-effects.
In her book Web of Lies – My Life with a Narcissist, Sarah Tate opens her life to the world as she goes through an emotional roller-coaster with her husband Bill. She becomes aware that he really isn’t the person she met, fell in love and started a family with. In Renaissance she takes us, in detail, through the two year struggle to keep her own sanity as well as create some sort of normalcy within the lives of her three children. A lot of this even takes place while still in the marital home with the husband living in the basement. She takes you through the trials experienced as she breaks free from the toxic relationship that has threatened so many times to take her under. The problems experienced while trying to explain to her two oldest daughters as to why their daddy isn’t in the home and why he doesn’t bother to visit. She explains the importance of support not only through family but through friends and even therapy. She takes us through the 5 steps to recovery – Euphoria, Disquiet, Denial, Despair and finally Release.
In today’s time, the divorce stats are tremendously high and getting higher every day. As I read Renaissance, I found myself relating to so many of Sarah’s problems and feelings of helplessness. Whether you are or were married to a narcissist or not, I feel that just about anyone, male or female, can find something in common with Sarah and hopefully through reading Renaissance you will be able to see that you are or were not alone in your struggle and that her strength will help you to make the right choices for your own situation.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com
The Seventh Messenger – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Like obedient children the people formed a circle around Benjamin. He closed his eyes and raised his hands to pray, but instead of the comforting words that the group expected, an agonized cry forced itself from Ben’s mouth and he fell to the floor. Suddenly Benjamin seemed to go into a convulsion. As the people gasped in fear, Mary ran forward to help her husband. Her efforts to grab hold of him failed as he was rolling around thrashing his arms and legs and moaning and yelling words that could not be understood. Mary was frightened and began to cry. Then, as suddenly as the convulsion started it ended. Ben lay quietly for a few seconds and then with the help of Jacob and Silas rose to his feet. His face was streaked with tears and fresh tears were spilling from his dark eyes… Finally, he spoke. “I was seized by the Spirit of the Lord, so that His truth could be spoken through me. For the Lord revealed to me that Michael Mills is indeed a false profit, a heretic, and I, Benjamin Franklin Purnell, am the true Seventh Messenger. It is I who will lead God’s people to the Millennium. It is I who will lead you out of the strife of these awful times and into the light of peace and prosperity. Michael has blasphemed and we have followed him, and God’s displeasure has silenced our voices and made us afraid to venture into the sunlight.”
Benjamin Franklin Purnell, along with his wife Mary, had joined the religious group that called themselves “Flying Rollers.” But after the conviction of their leader Michael Mills for raping several of the group’s young girls, another leader was needed. With his gift for talking, preaching and steering people to his way of thinking, Benjamin became that leader.
Benjamin moved his people to Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1903 and created what he would call “The House of David.” The facilities grew with the addition of an amusement park, zoo, hotel, restaurant and even its own baseball team. And as The House of David grew, so did the treasury which allowed Benjamin and Mary to live true to the names the people gave them which were King Benjamin and Queen Mary.
To become a member of the colony, applicants turned over all earthly items of value to The House of David. They were to eat no meats and married couples were to live as brother and sister. In other words, no sex was allowed. But Benjamin was the king so his own laws didn’t necessarily apply to him. He created what he called the Inner Circle which was made up of girls no older than 16. These girls were to live under the roof of his home and he in turn would “purify them.” After the age of 16 they would be sent to work in other areas of the compound. Most of the girls kept their “purification” to themselves but one who found herself pregnant decided to bide her time while committing herself to the destruction of King Benjamin.
The Seventh Messenger has been one of the most intriguing books I’ve read in a long time. When I read that the story was inspired by the true story of Benjamin Franklin Purnell I had to check it out for myself so I Googled the name and found events and places just as they are depicted in the book. I don’t remember the downfall of The House of David being publicized here in the south but I do remember another colony that did make the papers here for doing a lot of the same things. It’s wonderful that a person can bring men, women and children to God but when they do it with selfish desires, it hurts those who are doing it just for the good of God. This is a great book and I highly recommend it for interesting reading. I totally enjoyed reading this book!
Anaphora Literary Press
Ursula’s Quest Book Two of the Witchcraft Wars – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“Tell me Slade, do you know much about the legend of the Temple of Life?” “Yes, it’s a very old legend. It comes from Kemet I think. Something about the gods building a temple to guard a portal that supposedly led to the realm of the gods. I don’t remember all of it but it’s nothing more than a legend.” “But what if the legend were true?” Slade started to laugh until he saw how serious Nikolai was; he actually believed in the myth. “You may well laugh but I have come across many strange things in my studies. Strange and troubling things,” Nikolai said. “About the Temple?” “Yes and no. I believe that outside the legend itself very little has ever been said or is known about the Temple. I have, however, discovered from my research that portals from one dimension to another do actually exist.” Slade looked hard at Nikolai, his immediate thought was that the necromancer’s brain had been addled from the blow to his head, but he could see that Nikolai clearly believed what he was saying was the truth. “What other dimensions? There is only this world and the realm of the gods,” Slade said eventually. “To the sight and understanding of most people that is true but I assure you I have found that we are but one of many different dimensions.” “I don’t understand. Do you mean other worlds like our own or…” Slade trailed off, he didn’t even really know how to frame the question.’
In book one of the Witchcraft Wars, Slade, as well as several others that escaped with him, are traveling in hopes of finding the answer to his dreams where he believes his father High King Erich is talking to him. In his first dream he was told to follow the trunk which turned out to be a human that helped him in his escape. In his second dream his father sends him on a search for the Dragon Clan hopes of finding the Great Dragon.
Ursula, Slade’s sister, is having dreams of her own that she believes are coming from their father. In her dream King Erich tells her to search the ruins for the key. So with the help of Ming, her childhood playmate, as well as three others that join them, she finds herself deep in the Temple looking for the answers and the key. As it turns out, there are three keys that must be found and so far Ursula knows of one while Trunk knows of the second.
Both brother and sister must complete their mission before the war between the kingdoms gets underway and before the witch known as Shallendara finds the key herself. Shallendra’s quest, so it appears, is to use the key to open the portals to the gods and increase her own powers. But, opening the portals will not only destroy the world but Shallendara too will be destroyed.
As in Book One of the Witchcraft Wars, author Tracey Alley has created a story that holds you spellbound and hoping that someone will find the key soon before all is lost. I’m again anticipating Book Three to see who the holder of the third key turns out to be. And to see if Ursula and Slade are able to save the world from the destruction caused by Shallendara. With author Tracey Alley, anything could happen, good or bad.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com
A Dead Red Cadillac – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘I hung up, and with hands that palsied, I grabbed the nearest set of keys and drove our old farm truck into Modesto. I ignored the familiar rattling of the loose drive shaft, the torn vinyl headliner, the missing door handle, and the growing spider web of broken windshield on the passenger side. The drive was a no-brainer, one where I can easily divide my attention between the road and work schedules before hitting the outskirts of the nearest mall. But, not today. I couldn’t stop thinking about Caleb’s words. Of all the answers to the whereabouts of my car, not in a million years would I have guessed that my Caddy would be found tail fins sticking out of the shallow end of Turlock Lake. And behind the wheel, neatly buckled into her safety belt, was none other than the blue ribbon winner in this year’s county fair’s jam making contest, Patience McBride.’
Lalla Bains has had a few mishaps in the last few days. Her Ag-CAT plowed into a row of tomatoes while making an emergency landing, breaking her leg. Her dad, who owns the plane and the crop dusting company that she was flying for, would never believe it wasn’t pilot carelessness that caused her to make a crash landing. And now her best friend Caleb, who is also the sheriff, has just informed her that he has found her bright red Caddy in the lake with a dead body in the driver’s seat. So she can’t fly and now she can’t even drive her luxury car around town.
Patience McBride was a widow who kept to herself and never bothered anyone, so why would anyone kill her? Well, since it was Lalla’s car she was in and she herself has become a suspect, Lalla has decided to find out. Her first suspect becoming Patience’s nephew who appears in town around the same time as her murder. He seems to be quite a smooth talking con artist, especially with the women, Lalla included. Making him less and less of a suspect in her eyes but not in Caleb’s. The confusion really starts when Eddy steps into the picture. After taking a couple of shots at Lalla, in her own home, she is able to knock him out with a book end only to have her own father Noah turn him lose.
Another roller coaster ride of suspects and murders. Author R P Dahlke has given us the works with A Dead Red Cadillac – murder, mystery, suspense and humor. About half way through the book I was given 1 clue that lead me to the person I felt was the killer. The more I read, the more I doubted my conclusion. It wasn’t until the end the last few pages that I was able to determine if I was right or wrong.
Amazon page for A DEAD RED CADILLAC, available as Kindle @$2.99 and as a trade paperback @$12.95 http://tinyurl.com/675v9bc
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com
The Torah Codes – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘I needed to walk around someone, so I had to step on the dirt of one of the tree plots that lined the street. As I stepped on the soft dirt, my heart grew cold. I nearly threw up. A body had been cut up and recently buried underneath the dirt. A man with dark hair, a pin-striped suit, a golden wedding ring on his finger. I knew this. I knew this like I knew my own name. There was nothing to indicate such a thing. A million reasons could be given for why the dirt was soft. But I knew there as a body down there. And that I was next…’
‘My eyes voted for the bed. Two hours later, it was 8:12 p.m. and I realized I hadn’t let my bladder vote. I headed for the bathroom and turned on the light. My eyes complained. I turned off the light. I leaned against the mirror above the sink and reassured them that the light was off and that they could now open again. I opened my eyes expecting the typical picture: round face, brown hair, brown eyes, long neck, but all close up since my forehead was leaning on the mirror. But it wasn’t myself I saw. I saw a room. A room filled with cameras. Photos were taped to the wall. I cupped my hands to the mirror and saw the room more clearly. All the cameras were pointed straight at me. But the room was dark and no one was there.’
Nathan is bi-polar and when he gets busy and forgets to take his meds he does have a tendency to imagine things. Could this be one of those times? The best thing for him to do is get out of his landlord’s duplex and find a place where he is safe. But that’s kind of hard when no matter where he goes he feels someone is following. Someone wants to harm him. Then he runs into Sophia as she gives tarot readings at a table set up outside a bookstore.
Nathan invites Sophia back to his apartment but not for what she thinks. He wants her to look into the mirror to assure him he isn’t hallucinating. And after confirming that what he sees is real, she talks him into going to the police.
As the police search the owner of the unit next to Nathan’s they discover pictures of not only him in the unit but of him on the outside as well as pictures of his mother and father while on their honeymoon. But why? How? He only knows the owner of the unit, who is also his landlord, due to renting from him. He had never met him prior to renting the unit.
In The Torah Codes Nathan’s travels take him to a Rabbi who explains how the codes are actually a part of the Bible. He makes Nathan aware that there are 36 people who are directly connected to the codes and he, as well as Sophia, are apparently connected in some way. Then he meets the creator of MEG (Motionless Electromagnetic Generator) making the puzzle even more confusing. This becomes just the beginning, as his journey leads him to Israel in search of answers.
So, are the Codes real? In The Torah Codes, Author Ezra Barany has included some very interesting statistics that will make the mind wonder. At least it did mine.