HIDING CRACKED GLASS BY JAMES J. CUDNEY – a #BookReview @jamescudney4 – @Shalini_G26

Hiding Cracked Glass by James J Cudney

Series Name: Perceptions of Glass
Genre: Family Life Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Magnum Opus – A Next Chapter Imprint; 1st Edition (October 8, 2020)
ASIN : B08F3YWTYX
Print Length: 286 pages
Publication Date: October 8, 2020
Source: Blog Tour
Title Link: Hiding Cracked Glass [Amazon]

About the Book

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved. 

My Thoughts

If it seemed that circumstances had evolved to a resolution of the issues visited by the shocking revelations in Watching Glass Shatter, the hushed euphoria quietly evaporated in this instalment of the Perceptions of Glass series.

Hiding-Cracked-Glass-Promo-PaperbackA strong reminder that people are people whether rich or poor, they face the same dilemmas and crises of the lesser privileged and are no less damaging. Olivia is back, now with her remaining four sons after having a retreat to Italy after the loss of both her husband and youngest son. There were life-altering secrets revealed in that earlier narrative, many shared; some not.

Olivia is going to celebrate a birthday and having returned to the family fold happy to be back until she received a blackmail letter. Unfortunately, several events occurred prior to her seeing the letter, which she immediately assumed should have been directed to her. And wasn’t. Unfortunately, the way it is revealed has the rest of the family reeling with assurance that perhaps it was not intended for Olivia, but for them.

There are the men and their mates, along with relatively unknown faces, and Diane, Olivia’s sister—aunt to the boys—more mother than aunt. In the ensuing hours, the POV is switched from brother to brother, as well as Olivia, along with flashbacks that fill in the backstory to bring the current scene up to date.

Each of the offspring has their own foibles and are working on those as well as the relationship with their remaining brothers. Olivia tends to remain emotionally elusive, continuing to hold back valuable information that should be shared and isn’t, unfortunately, until it’s too late. The characters are well developed and as monied privilege tend to exhibit narcissistic tendencies and I had difficulty with all of them. My heart went out to Emma and I was busy rooting for her. She and Diane are most sympathetic, but the mantra continues to hammer family…familyfamily. Even with the level of dysfunction, the theme doesn’t relax.

As each member is dissected as possibly being the blackmail target, more secrets are laid open, exposed. A classic example that money can’t buy you everything. Can these family members ever find peace?

The well-plotted novel navigates through several twists and pulls into a tragic conclusion that has your heart sinking into the depths. NOOOooooo. A story of family dramas, secrets, misguided intentions, selected equitable solutions.

“Children aren’t an opportunity to fix your past. They’re a chance to improve the world’s future.”

I was gifted a digital copy for the occasion of the blog tour and these are my unbiased opinions.

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About the Author

Background

James J Cudney - authorJames is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Author Links

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsMyTruthNow/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Genres, Formats & Languages

I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.

Goodreads Book Links

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Thank you to Digital Reads Blog Tours for the invitation to this tour.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne – a #BookReview

#Five Stars

The Second Wife by Sheryl BrowneTitle: The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Print Length: 349 pages

ASIN: B07KD6YS3R

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Second WifeSimple cover

Book Blurb:

She made her bed. You’ll lie in it.

Rebecca only wanted to help out – to be kind. Richard seemed so alone after his wife, Nicole, died, and Rebecca wanted to make sure he knew he had someone to rely on.

But now she’s in Nicole’s immaculate house. Drinking from her favourite crystal wine glass. Keeping shoes in her orderly closet. Comforting her sweet and grieving step-daughter. It feels like Rebecca is living another woman’s life.

And as she gets to know the neighbours, Rebecca hears stories that make her wonder: was free-spirited Nicole happy in this perfect life, or did she feel trapped? Did she feel, as Rebecca is beginning to, that something wasn’t quite right?

The book everyone’s talking about! If you loved The Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and The Girl Before, you’ll be totally gripped and unable to put down this twisty page-turning psychological thriller. Continue reading “The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne – a #BookReview”

Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview

Freedom Road by William LashnerTitle: Freedom Road by William Lashner

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Thriller and Suspense, Action and Adventure

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Print Length: 377 pages

ASIN:B07F6CLX1H

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Freedom RoadDepicts lonely flight

Book Blurb:

He’s taking a dangerous path in search of his missing granddaughter—the only part of his life worth saving.

Oliver Cross is fresh out of jail. His plans for the future are to live out his days in regret, back pain, and a bottle of Lone Star. But when he finds out his granddaughter, a wild child who reminds him of his late wife, has vanished—bless her hell-raising heart—Oliver jumps parole. With a sketchy teen and an abandoned dog, he hits the blacktop to find her.

On the road and on the run from a vengeful Russian drug dealer, Oliver finds himself on a trip across America and into his own past, fueled by fumes from a Ford F-250 and a reason to live. But from an exclusive club in Chicago to a seedy commune in the Rockies, a series of disastrous choices sends Oliver spiraling further from his goal and deeper into danger. It’s a journey that could all end in redemption or a hail of bullets. And either’s okay by him. 

My Review:

Perhaps Clint Eastwood is now too old to play the part of 72-year-old Oliver Cross, but he could have played the brooding, caustic, cantankerous man so believably that these pages would have quivered with the excitement. There were sooo many times I pictured him in this part, seeing Oliver as Clint has always been, the quintessential masculine hero who would triumph even at his own expense.

Oliver is a remnant of the ’68 Chicago Viet Nam anti-war demonstrations that have come to blows which actually introduces him to Helen, who will become the love of his life. Oliver is the product of a wealthy family, first-year law student, destined to become one of the good ole boys following in his father’s footsteps where the name Cross means wealth and power. But two things happen that will totally change the course of his life: He meets Helen and his brother, a soldier in ‘Nam dies a hero. Continue reading “Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview”

Reading on the #Cozy Side with a Little #Sci-Fi, #K-9, or #HistFic for Spice

#TBR - #Cozies

It’s not true that I’ve gone to the Cozy side, but sometimes it does appear that way, huh.

Take for instance these five on my current #TBR pile. It would appear at least four are cozy, and you’d be part right. Obviously, however, Bad Time to be In It by David Burnsworth is a Blu Carraway mystery, actually classified by Amazon as “hard-boiled.” You may remember I used that term in the discussion on Family Noir.

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood GerberThat would leave three with the cozy, women sleuth, and amateur sleuth designation, because (**surprise**) Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber has the additional distinction of also being classified as culinary. (Do you see more recipes in my future? The cover even SAYS “Includes Recipes.” But Nope!)

I really do enjoy a cozy mystery or two, particularly between heavier genres, such as the Irish historical fiction I recently reviewed or the sci-fi, or even the hysterically funny, campy, and definitely unique Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F Stewart. If you missed it, see my review here.

At most, there may be a conceived pattern. If you detect the upcoming pattern is filled with food or decadent desserts, it would appear that food or desserts are a necessary ingredient for the genre. But please, no more recipes for me, unless it includes a pleasing classic cocktail.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #Reviews – April Recap

Review Recap

My name in Gallifreyan--hint--starts with a "V".In defense of my obvious decrease in reviews this month, I’ll mention I was inexplicably inspired to write several articles regarding bookish (Family Noir) conundrums or publishing algorithms (the 1200 lb Gorilla), the last post of which included Sunday’s hesitant but fascinating introduction into Circular Gallifreyan. Before you protest that it is not a “constructed language,” I’ll agree that it probably isn’t as I couldn’t find any classification linked to the character-driven concept in any of the pages or websites I read. Remember this?

I waited all month to get my struggling seedings out and then almost immediately had frost. As always, too anxious. What can I say? I’m from California where we started seeds directly outdoors in February. Checking my fairy garden daily for any indication my plants made it through the winter–they didn’t–although I’ve been told it’s still a little early. It’s MAY! Having chopped down snags and trunks took advantage of the sunny, warm and beautiful weather today, and got out the old saw and put the fire pit to work. I have high hopes for the vegetable and flower bed this year. And bonus–both the rose bush and forsythia made it through the winter, thank heaven as DH (Dear Hubby) covered the other plants and they will apparently remain buried (I can’t find them).

 

the-bean
The Bean – Chicago IL

 

We had a week-long visit from our grandchildren and together with our son who works and knows Chicago very well took us on a whirlwind sightseeing experience that crammed as much as we could in a week. We walked ten miles one day to include the Navy Pier, the Bean (see above), the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). On other days we toured the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium each requiring most of the day. (Yes, I’m exhausted.)

Absolutely outstanding world-class museum and the Art Institute houses an impressive number of masters including Van Gogh, Monet, El Greco, Picasso, Warhol and every imaginable form of art from early medieval and renaissance to impressionism. Love the Monet’s!

So, life happens along with reading and reviewing and sometimes it is the latter that takes the hit–only five reviews in April–with more read but due for review in May. (These links will take you to my review.)

The Advice Column Murders

Claws for Concern

Murder at the Mushroom Festival

A Dog’s Way Home

The Crooked Staircase

The CE reviewed three titles as well, one of which is due for a blog blast the middle of May. Additionally, I’ll be participating in blog tours, spotlights, and giveaways in May. I’m thrilled and excited to be participating in giveaways and I’m eager to see the response.

As always, I continue to enjoy, welcome my new followers, and sincerely appreciate the ones who continue to read and comment! Thank you! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

Remember back in December 2015 when I investigated all these new-to-me genres? Nano-punk, nano-technology, or cyber-punk?

Well, it’s happened again. A number of bloggers I follow have reviewed stories recently they’ve categorized as “Noir.” If it sounds French, it is, and means “dark” or “of the night.” It is usually a genre that deals with violence or sex, but definitely corruption in some manner. (BTW, noire is just feminine for noir, but you knew that, huh.)

Postwar film noir - Humphrey BogartYes, I remember film noir, but “classic” (or roman) noir is considered a “hardboiled” genre that usually includes a self-destructive protagonist. I’m not writing the rules here, only relaying what I found in research–and it’s not pretty folks. Although I must say, we’ve definitely done a number on the original noir fiction spawned from Dashiell Hammett ( 1894-1961) “the dean of the… ‘hardboiled’ school of detective fiction.” The protagonist is not a rumpled, raincoat cloaked, cigar-chomping thoughtful-hearted protagonist, but rather a perpetrator. Forget Columbo! Think Humphrey Bogart. No, much worse. Think Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential. But there is a huge difference in the definition of “noir” and what we are calling forms of noir today.

Harking back to the Huff Post updated in December 2017 by Otto Penzler who didn’t mince words when he described the genre, “noir is about losers,” not private detectives. This is the down and dirty–doesn’t do well and never will. The protagonist in a noir story is driven by just about everything bad a human can exhibit: greed, lust, jealousy. They aren’t ever going to triumph. They can’t! (It’s noir.) And this is what separates the private detective or family noir from noir fiction–the moral ground.

The problem then, as Noir Fiction has splintered off as many sub-genres as the previously discussed fiction novels, is the evolution. Here are just a few:

Classic noir (Hollywood crime dramas emphasizing derisive attitudes and/or sexual motivations)

Family noir (domestic noir)

Film noir

Neo-noir

Photo noir

Pulp noir (classic noir with urban influences)

Scandinavian noir (Scandi noir)

Tech noir

I think it was the Scandinavian noir that set me to scratching my head. A Scandi noir? Certainly, it was the film industry that influenced the change of the hardboiled nuance into a neo-noir flavor. Definitely a contemporary or more modern version of film noir, the term neo-noir was popularized by two French critics back in 1955. It appears these were retro-actively applied to much earlier crime movies including the 1940s as well as the 1950s in the U.S. (Think Bogey)

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerSo I jumped on Goodreads again, my go-to of all things bookish, and noted that on their (current) favorite noir list the first six of nine is divided between Raymond Chandler at number one (Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)  and two and Dashiell Hammett at number three (The Glass Key).

It was Hammett who created Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon after a character he knew living in San Francisco. His authentic period dialogue was included in the movie famously played by Humphrey Bogart.

 

Black Mask Magazine featuring The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
Cover courtesy Wikipedia

Raymond Chandler? Really? Because if you were surprised by Hammett’s life dates, Chandler is right there, born in 1888 and died in 1959. Wikipedia notes he began writing after losing his job as an oil company executive. He published a short story in Black Mask Magazine, a pulp magazine in 1933. (First issue April 1920-final issue 1987) Along with Dashiell Hammett and other Black Mask writers, he is considered to be a founder of the hardboiled detective fiction. Philip Marlowe, his protagonist, was also played by the quintessential Humphrey Bogart. He said of the hardboiled detective, “he is the white knight who walks the mean streets, but is not himself mean.”

 

 

Point Blank film noir 1967 starring Lee Marvin
Neo-noir film Point Blank directed by John Boorman, 1967, starring Lee Marvin.

 

Cinematically, Lee Marvin cemented the neo-noir style of film when he starred in Point Blank (1967), introducing a new level of violence in film and established the foundation for later escalation of ferocity and brutality.

I suspect there would be some argument over whether the film Pulp Fiction is actually pulp noir or film noir. Jessica Jones – pulp noir? Where would you classify any of the dark noir books (Gone Girl) (or movies) that you’ve read (seen) lately?

But really, a family noir? OMG–it’s gotta be sad, depressing, and can never be made right.

It’s doomed.

I don’t need it.

I want peaceful.

I want happy–if not happily ever after–a light at the end of the tunnel. Some small promise it’ll be okay.

And hopefully soon.

©2018 V Williams V Williams