“They Laughed at Me”, by David Kempf — Review

I found They Laughed at Me to be a dark and disturbing story, but in a good way. It was easy to believe an alcoholic under house arrest for DUI could harbor dark impulses to murder his ex-wife, as well as to kill while performing at open mike nights like The Unknown Comic. David Kempf has delivered a very well written book which, though short enough to read in an afternoon, punches above its weight. In the end, was the result due to Jack Lively’s general incompetence, or a self-destructive mindset? Hard to tell, and that is part of the story’s charm.

I rate the book a 4.5, based on the FCP book review standard. Priced at $2.99 on Amazon Kindle, it’s a good entertainment value.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Accidental (?) Reader

So when does a healthy appetite for new things to read get out of hand? Easy, when friends and relations start making suggestions.

My friend Rebecca pointed out in her trademark low-key fashion that the biography of Stalin written by E. Radzinsky was depressing, but excellent. OK, normally this would be out of my comfort zone, but an endorsement like that couldn’t be ignored.

In the process of acquiring said book, Amazon (wily temptors that they are) suggested a couple more Robert Massie books. My son John had suggested Dreadnought to me over the holidays and I enjoyed reading all 1,000 pages of it. How did Amazon know? End result, a couple more largish books entered the queue.

My daughter Sarah sent me the Hank Green book as well.

My science fiction jones is being fed by James Cory and Alistair Reynolds. Chaim Potok had a sequel to a book I love and thus another was snagged.

You won’t see much of me in the coming days. Should I stop responding to queries, you might want to send search and rescue. This is the reader part of the equation.

Eudaemonia

“…See you can’t please everyone,
so you got to please yourself…”
Ricky Nelson

In a fit of COVID-confinement boredom, I recently took advantage of a six month membership offer for a popular dating website. Anything but boring. Between Netflix, Starz, and this, my free time has pretty much evaporated.

It’s been a real education for me on a number of levels, having been out of the dating world for more than 23 years. The people watcher in me has had a field day reading all the profiles, which range from desperate appeals to unwarranted arrogance and mirrors I wouldn’t mind owning. The people I’ve corresponded with (pretty much all you can do in the current wait-for-my-vaccine environment) have largely been interesting, accomplished, and attractive; while some few are batshit crazy. Crazy has its own appeal, but you shouldn’t have doubts about waking up around them.

The author sees it as an opportunity to create character profiles for use in upcoming books. No names or attribution, just personalities and physical descriptions. Talk about a dual use upside! Heck, I might even sell a few books as potential dates kick tires and check my teeth.

I’m having way too much fun with this!

“White Trash Warlock”, by David R. Slayton – Review

Author Slayton has written a very entertaining work introducing Adam Binder (the titular warlock). It starts off fairly slow at first, introducing an interesting mix of characters and situations, however the pace soon builds relentlessly to a climactic conclusion. A few threads are left open for the next installment, but the story itself is self-contained. A short work, perfect for weekend reading. I especially enjoyed the nods to Denver, CO landmarks and attractions.

While the plot doesn’t break any truly new ground, priced at $6.29 for Amazon Kindle, it is a fair entertainment value. I rate the book a solid 4.0, based on the FCP book review standard. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Image by Mustafa Alpaslan from Pixabay

“Black Willows”, by Jill Hand – Review

The Trapnell family is at it again in this sequel to Jill Hand’s White Oaks. (click here for previous review of White Oaks) The offspring of recently-deceased billionaire Blanton Trapnell are still doing their best to inherit their respective portions of the largest estate in Georgia. It’s a terrible thing to be bound by the constraints of a trust fund. One can’t buy a snake-infested Greek island with a mere trust fund! Unfortunately the executor of the estate, oldest daughter Karen, has gone missing. Like most Trapnell problems this one is self-inflicted, as Aimee is pretty sure she successfully killed Karen. My favorite character among the children is the fastidious international arms dealer, Marsh, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the character of the Trapnells.

Black Willows is another testament to Jill Hand’s skill in weaving an engrossing and humorous tale. I read it pretty much in one sitting, and re-read a week later at a much slower pace. Why? Because there are so many witty and sly cultural references embedded, I’d hate to miss one. It’s always a pleasure to read well-crafted stories without wasted threads. There aren’t many authors who consistently deliver on that score, but Jill Hand has done so repeatedly.

I rate the book a solid 5.0, based on the FCP book review standard. Available for pre-order at https://www.amazon.com/Black-Willows-Trapnell-Thriller-Jill/dp/1684335868, with international general availability October 20, 2020

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JILL HAND is a former crime reporter. She is a member of International Thriller Writers.

White Oaks, the first book in her series about the scheming, free-wheeling Trapnell siblings, won first place for thrillers in the 2019 PenCraft Awards. Her short stories have appeared in many anthologies.

 

 

Website: http://www.jillhandauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jill.hand.5855

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jillhand1_gef

Banner and photography artwork provided courtesy of Black Rose Writing and Jill Hand.

Good Times, Bad Times

“..Sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger, sometimes you’re the ball..”
Mark Knopfler, “The Bug

It’s been that kind of year, hasn’t it? In my case, I’m seeing only a subset of the challenges of COVID19. Being mostly retired, my income hasn’t been significantly impacted but other challenges have risen instead.

I recently was diagnosed with a medical issue needing an immediate start of treatment, but COVID19 made it impossible to see or be examined by a doctor in person. One could have gone to an emergency room, but it would have only led back to the same queue awaiting treatment, as emergency room doctors aren’t the right type to deal with the problem.

After a month of negative COVID19 tests I actually got in to see a doctor. Cutting to the chase, I started treatment last week – four months after the initial diagnosis. Better late than never, right?

In the meantime, a friend of mine gave me an idea to do a Dear Leader Tales anthology of short stories, in time to be released prior to the election. We just closed the submissions period and are reading/scoring the 300+ stories now. So in between treatments, the daily work of publishing continues!

When you’re a ball, sometimes it pays to spin things around to where you’re back on the Slugger side of the equation. Especially if you can produce something which will bring joy; if not to readers, then to the authors being paid for the use of their work. All in all, that’s a win-win situation.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Virtue

“I tend to suspect the virtue of those who signal it.”
Dan M. Kalin

“Empire of Light”, by Alex Harrow – Review

Alex Harrow kicks off the first of the Voyance series with a bang, literal and figurative. The action is non-stop, filled with betrayals and plot twists when something isn’t being blown up. The writing is very tight and the characters well developed. I would caution there are fleeting scenes of graphic sexuality (if that is a concern) which were fully in support of the storyline. I was left still not knowing much about the Voyance, but I expect it will be fully explained in later installments.

I rate the book a solid 4.0, based on the FCP book review standard. Priced at $6.99 on Amazon Kindle, it’s a fair entertainment value.

(Disclosure: I received my signed paperback copy at a charity event for child literacy)

Image by Omni Matryx from Pixabay

“Wolf’s Soul (Firekeeper Saga Book 8)”, by Jane Lindskold – Review

Jane Lindskold has done it again; produced a gripping Firekeeper novel which has a storyline easily capable of standing on its own. The characters are vividly painted and the plot is well-tuned (as usual). I purchased the paperback version, which is beautifully presented in both cover art and interior formatting. It isn’t often a reading experience is as delightful as this one.

Will I read it again?: Absolutely, and probably before she finishes the series.

I rate the book a solid 5.0, based on the FCP book review standard. Priced at $7.99 on Amazon Kindle, it’s well worth the premium.

Image by Elias Sch. from Pixabay