Gambling with Murder: A Southern California Mystery by Lida Sideris – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Gambling with Murder by Lida SiderisA late-night call is all it takes for rookie lawyer Corrie Locke to kiss her day job at the movie studio goodbye, and do what she does best: flex her sweet P.I. skills and go undercover to find a senior who’s missing from a posh retirement community. One small stumbling block: skirting past security to gain inside access to the exclusive Villa Sunset. Time to call in the heavy artillery. Besides former security guard turned legal assistant—now wannabe P.I.—Veera, Corrie relies on a secret weapon: her mother, a surprisingly eager addition to Corrie’s team. Armed with enough pepper spray to take down a band of Navy Seals, Mom impersonates a senior to infiltrate the Villa, Corrie and Veera in tow. Turns out the job’s not as easy as they’d thought. These seniors have tricks tucked up their sleeves and aren’t afraid of using them.

The action gets dicey when the missing senior case turns into attempted murder by a criminal mind who’s always one step ahead. Corrie’s hot on the trail, but finds more than she bargained for…when her mother becomes a target.

My Review:

Oops! The fifth in the series and my first. I think I may have missed something. Wannabe PI Corrie Locke (also a newly minted lawyer) is trying her chops at finding a missing person. Villa Sunset is an exclusive retirement home in Santa Barbara and, yes, that is a gorgeous, very expensive area of southern California. The author sets the reader up for beautiful views, ocean-scented air, and palms swaying in the gentle breeze.

Gambling with Murder by Lida SiderisThe novel is a cozy mystery and moves at a laid-back pace. Corrie is joined by her best bud, Veera, a former security guard, and apparently this entry to the series, Corrie’s mother, who proves to be the interesting character (for me). Because it’s a senior community, they need her mother to be their “in.” It appears to work as she is readily accepted and they “temporarily” tag along.

It is supposed to be a senior community, but these seniors are apparently not only “active” but bored and tend to come off more as “geriatric delinquents” than seniors. But nothing is simple, even in a cozy mystery, and things begin, slowly, to become more complex adding characters to the plot, threads, and twists.

The author writes with wit, coining some interesting and funny phrases:

“…he regarded me with the disdain reserved for a virgin eggnog.”

“I can spot a liar like a hawk can spot a grasshopper.”

“I’m not doing it. I’d stick out like a raisin in a jar of mayonnaise.”

At about seventy percent, the narrative begins to heat up and the pacing finds the gas pedal. At this point, there are a lot of issues to clarify which do get ironed out in conclusion following a fairly low-key climax.

I’m not sure whether it was because I started well into the series or there was just too much minutia that didn’t help keep the plot on track, but I found it too slow for me. The dialogue could be humorous at times, however, there were occasions when action got a bit over the top and the residents too juvenile. I am a senior but these characters didn’t ring true for me.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuths
Publisher: Level Best Books
ASIN: B09QYW2VYG
Print Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Lida Sideris - authorThe Author: Lida Sideris first stint after law school was a newbie lawyer’s dream: working as an entertainment attorney for a movie studio…kind of like her heroine, Corrie Locke, except without the homicides. Lida was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship Award for her first book and a Killer Nashville, Silver Falchion Award Finalist for her fourth book – Slightly Murderous Intent. Lida lives in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens.

“A smart caper with a heroine to match.” – Kirkus Recommended Review

“…An excellent read. It has everything needed for a cozy afternoon curled up on the sofa – murder, mystery, humor, and plenty of action. The plot is extremely detailed and so well written that I found myself hooked on page one.” – Readers’ Favorite

Bio for The Cookie Eating Fire Dog:

Lida Sideris loves baking and eating all kinds of cookies. Never, ever leave her alone with a batch of fresh baked cookies…if you want any left for yourself. She is the author of a Southern California Mystery series. This is her first book for children. When she’s not writing, she’s running a legal non-profit in Southern California. Lida is a lawyer and mother of two human and two canine kids. She is an avid supporter of the three R’s: reading, writing and rescue dogs.

“The story is charming and readers will love Dan.” – Readers’ Favorite

“If you have any little aspiring firefighters at home, Lida Sideris has penned an adorable and motivating tale that is just perfect for them…the lesson is solid, and as Dan learns the value of selfless acts, so will many young readers” – IndiesToday

©2022 – V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Lost: A Mace Reid K-9 Mystery by Jeffrey B Burton – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Lost by Jeffrey B Burton

Book Blurb:

The Lost is the next mystery from author Jeffrey B. Burton starring an extraordinary cadaver dog and her handler.

The Lost by Jeffrey B BurtonGlencoe, Illinois: A home invasion turned kidnapping at the mansion of billionaire financier Kenneth J. Druckman brings Mason “Mace” Reid and his cadaver dog, Vira, to this wealthy northern suburb of Chicago. Druckman was assaulted, left behind while his wife and young daughter were taken for ransom.

Brought to the scene by the FBI, Reid specializes in human remains detection, and Vira is the star of his pack of cadaver dogs he’s dubbed The Finders. After Vira finds the dead body of the mother, former supermodel Calley Kurtz, everyone is on high alert to find Druckman’s missing daughter before the five-year-old disappears forever. But the trail Vira finds on the property’s dense woodlands leads right back to Druckman himself.

With the help of Detective Kippy Gimm, Reid and Vira must race against the clock. Nothing is as it appears to be . . . and the red herrings could be lethal.

My Review:

I passed the Lassie level dog books as I got older and these days I look for working dog books. This series does the trick for HRD (human remains detection) dogs. The various abilities of dogs and their bonded relationships with their handlers hold an endless fascination for me. And Vira, the cadaver dog in this series is almost on a paranormal level with her handler, Mace Reid.

The Lost by Jeffrey B BurtonIn this series entry, a financier’s wife and daughter go missing and Mace is called in by the FBI. Vira finds the body of the mother, alright, but when everyone else is supplying theories about the little girl or who killed the mother, Vira disappears back to the mansion.

Mace lives outside of Chicago and has worked with the Chicago Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies before. His budding romantic interest is Detective Kippy Gimm. I gotta say, theirs is a unique relationship, but…whatever.

Anyway, Mace gets to work on this one, keeping most of the other dogs in his pack at bay, the GSD and Maggie May both now on permanent disability (all in the line of duty).

There are lots of twists and turns, Vira (Elvira) not getting the accolade she deserves. If only she could speak. Well, she does, but it’s still in Canine-ese and Mace isn’t quite the brainiac Vira is, although he does have his moments.

There are some well-developed personalities here, human as well as canine, each with their own signature and I enjoy the humorous aspect of Mace’s persona. The well-plotted narrative gets complex—nothing is ever simple—and the surprise in the conclusion caught me off-guard. I enjoy getting some down-low on each of the dogs, their specific roles. The race to find the little girl is truly a matter of beating the clock with themes that go beyond abduction.

It’s a fast-paced mystery, filled with the flawed Mace growing a bit with each episode. I was fortunate to begin with Book 1-The Finders and Book 2-The Keepers and have enjoyed each, although with background and flashbacks this might well be read as a standalone.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review; no bias, just my honest thoughts. This one currently on pre-order and I’m looking for Book 4.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B09CNFDZ9P
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Jeffrey B Burton - authorThe Author: Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received his BA in Journalism at the University of Minnesota. THE FINDERS, the first in Burton’s K-9 mystery series, came out in June of 2020 (St. Martin’s Press). THE KEEPERS, the second in his K-9 series, came out in June of 2021. And THE LOST comes out in June of 2022.

Novels in Burton’s Agent Drew Cady mystery series include: THE CHESSMAN (MacAdam/Cage, 2012; paperback Harlequin Suspense, 2015), THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, 2015), and THE EULOGIST (The Permanent Press, 2017). His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines.

Jeff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a goofball/sweetheart of a Beagle named Milo.

Visit http://www.jeffreybburton.com to see more about Jeff’s novels and short stories.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Cold Snap: An Arliss Cutter Novel Book 4) by Marc Cameron – #BookReview – #crimeactionfiction

Cold Snap by Marc Cameron

Cold Snap by Marc Cameron
Attribution: Amazon banner

Book Blurb:

Stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with three violent prisoners, Supervisory Deputy US Marshal Arliss Cutter becomes the hunted in a desperate fight for survival . . .

After an early spring thaw on the Alaskan coast, Anchorage police discover a gruesome new piece of evidence in their search for a serial killer: a dismembered human foot.

In Kincaid Park, a man is arrested for attacking a female jogger. Investigators believe they have finally have their suspect. But one deputy is sure they have the wrong man.

In the remote northern town of Deadhorse, Alaska, Supervisory Deputy US Marshal Arliss Cutter escorts four very dangerous handcuffed prisoners onto a small bush plane en route to Fairbanks. Cutter’s expecting a routine mission and a nonstop flight—or so he thinks. When the plane goes down in the wilderness, all hell breaks loose. The prisoners murder the pilot and a guard and torch the plane. But their nightmare’s just beginning. Back in Anchorage, deputy Lola Teariki has traced the dismembered foot to a missing girl—and the serial psychopath who slaughtered her.

It’s one of the prisoners on Cutter’s flight. . . .

Now it’s a deadly game of survival. With no means of communication, few supplies, and ravenous grizzly bears and wolves lurking in the shadows, Cutter has to battle the unforgiving elements while the killer wants his head on a stick. Here in Alaska, nature can be cruel—but this time, human nature is crueler. . . .

His Review:

The unsolved crimes are the ones that bother them most. Arliss Cutter has a number of them and these haunt them even as he is dealing with new issues. This novel examines dual plots.

Cold Snap by Marc CameronA Russian ship sailing off the Alaskan coast has engine trouble and is stopped near a U.S. territorial buoy. Aboard the ship is 300 smuggled adorable puppies which will fatten the captain’s purse immensely. The problem is there are no papers for importing the puppies.

Female body parts are washing up on Alaska’s shoreline. There are no hands with fingerprints to identify the victims. Because the crime happened in international waters the U.S. Marshal Service has jurisdiction over the crimes. The victims are known prostitutes from the Fairbanks area but some of the young ladies have no history in Alaska at all. They are probably young runaways who came to Alaska to change their lives, a bad decision.

Transporting prisoners from Anchorage to Fairbanks is part of Arliss’s detail. The prisoners are some of the lowest of society. Arliss has escorted more than three at a time before but these are extremely despicable. The bush pilot who is taking them to the prison decides to alter his course slightly to check on his lady friend who is in an isolated camp 30 miles off course. What could go wrong?

Marc Cameron writes a very engaging tale of three crimes and some very egregious convicts. They will do anything to get free including killing a bush pilot and accidentally destroying the plane. They make life in the bush miserable for the entourage escorting the prisoners. Reading this book made me question the death penalty. Why federal custody for the rest of their lives?

CE WilliamsCould one of these three be the killer who is brutally murdering the young women? Read this narrative at your own risk. 4.5 stars – C.E. Williams

We read and reviewed other entries to this series, including Book 3, Bone Rattle, and always find them action-packed and fast-paced. It’s gripping but this one tackles a brutal plot that became a bit graphic for me.

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Action & Adventure, Mystery Action Fiction, Crime Action Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B09BK9SMKS
Print Length: 399 pages
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Cold Snap [Amazon]
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Marc Cameron - authorThe Author: A retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, Marc Cameron spent nearly thirty years in law enforcement. His assignments have taken him from Alaska to Manhattan, Canada to Mexico and dozens of points in between. He holds a second degree black belt in Jujitsu and is a certified scuba diver and man-tracker.

An avid adventure motorcyclist, Cameron’s books heavily feature bikes and bikers–from OSI Agent Jericho Quinn’s beloved BMW GS to Harley Davidsons, Royal Enfields, Ducatis and…most everything on two wheels.

Cameron lives in the Alaska with his wife, blue heeler dog, and BMW GS motorcycle. Visit him at: http://www.marccameronbooks.com

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great week!

Souvenirs from Kyiv: Unforgettable stories based on the heartbreaking experiences of Ukrainian families during WW2 by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

‘Russia has been trying to wipe Ukraine off the world map for thousands of years. They haven’t succeeded yet. Now, I’m picking up my stone and throwing it at Goliath. I want people to understand. I want to save this country.’ Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, March 2022

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerLarissa is a renowned embroiderer, surviving in occupied Ukraine during World War II as a seamstress in her ruin of a workshop. Surrounded by enemies, she expresses her defiance by threading history into her garments. But at what cost?

Mykhailo is a soldier on leave, returning to Ukraine from the front on Christmas Eve. As he travels through his country, he is confronted by the hardship the war has brought to his fellow countrymen. Will what he sees this Christmas change the course of his life forever?

Marusia and her family are woken early one morning by the arrival of the Nazis, who have come to search for her partisan brother. As the soldiers move through their house, her family has just moments to make choices that will determine their survival.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s stories bring to life the true history of her Ukrainian family who fought to survive World War II. Laced with hope,Souvenirs from Kyiv celebrates the endurance and resilience of the human spirit.

Souvenirs from Kyiv was awarded 2nd Place in the 2014 HNS International Short Story Award and the collection won the silver medal in the IPPY Book Awards 2020 for Military and Wartime fiction.

His Review:

As the current attack by the Russians upon Ukraine continues, Souvenirs From Kyiv illuminates the continuing hazard in that part of the world. This country has been in the path of battles and armies since recorded history. The Russians have attempted to draw them into their country for centuries. The citizens of Ukraine have suffered continually.

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerWorld War II found their male citizens being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. If they were unable to serve, they were kidnapped and forced to work on war materiel including bombs and bullets. The women were helping in the munitions factories as well and also conscripted to sew uniforms and other outfits including snow warfare camouflage gear.

Hiding some of the young men became the work of families. They would go to the forests and be part of the resistance. Families would take them in at very great risk to themselves. Should they be caught harboring these men, the whole family would wind up being shot. The Ukrainians also helped hide and protect large numbers of Jews. Harboring Jews was also a crime punishable by death.

Those members of the resistance saved many American and English pilots forced down in the fighting. The Ukrainians and Yugoslavian citizens helped to rescue the pilots as well as set up an underground system to spirit the pilots back to the west. Avoiding serving and being caught usually resulted in an immediate deployment to the Russian front.

The Ukrainians are not fond of the Russians. They hoped that the American forces would release their villages. The Russian troops had a reputation for gang raping the women and taking everything of value. The maturation of the war found the Ukrainian people praying the Allies would prevail and liberate their communities from the Nazis.

CE WilliamsStarvation was a major weapon of the Third Reich. The cities were blockaded and farmers and foodstuffs were taken by the German soldiers for the Fatherland or to feed the troops in the area. Small barley or wheat soup was the staple diet for the average citizen during the war. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction Short Stories, Historical Russian Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09WF1MQ8K
Print Length: 159 pages
Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Souvenirs from Kyiv [Amazon]
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Kobo

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Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger - authorThe Author: IPPY Book Award 2020 silver medal winner for SOUVENIRS FROM KYIV.

Long-listed in the Flash500 Novel Competition 2017 for No Man’s Land/The Breach.

Winner of the Flash500 Short Story Competition with an extract from Bolzano.

Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Book Award Box and Box Set of the Year 2019 for the Reschen Valley Box Set.

A Discovered Diamond, shortlisted for Book of the Month July 2019, Reschen Valley Box Set

Reader’s Favorite 5-star reviews for Bolzano, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass, and Magda’s Mark (featured in The Road to Liberation Collection).

HNS International Short Story 2nd Place Winner 2014 for Souvenirs from Kyiv (short story in the Souvenirs from Kyiv collection)

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ended up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021, in parallel to her WW2 novels and short story collections.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman

Book Blurb:

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy HoffmanAt once a literary crime novel and an intergenerational family drama, The Promise of the Pelican is set in the multicultural South, where justice might depend on the color of your skin and your immigration status. Hank Weinberg is a modern day Atticus Finch, recently retired as a defense attorney in Mobile, Alabama, and a Holocaust survivor, who fled the Nazis as a young child. With his daughter in rehab, he’s now taking care of his special needs grandson. Mourning his dead wife, spending mornings fishing on the pier with other octogenarians, he passes the rest of his days watching over his sweet grandson with the help of Lupita, a young Honduran babysitter. When her brother Julio, an undocumented immigrant, is accused of murder, Hank must return to the courtroom to defend him while also trying to save his daughter and grandson’s life from spinning out of control. The Promise of the Pelican takes its title from the legend that a pelican will pierce its own breast for blood to feed its starving chicks, a metaphor for one old man who risks all to save the vulnerable.

In a crisp prose style Harper Lee called “lean and clean,” Hoffman writes from an enormous well of compassion. He fills his new novel with a cast of finely drawn characters of all ages and abilities facing life’s harshest challenges and rising to meet them with dignity.

For fans of Harper Lee and Rita Mae Brown, Roy Hoffman’s new novel is steeped in a sense of place–coastal Alabama–with its rich tapestry of characters caught in a web of justice not for all.

His Review:

The Promise of the Pelican by  Roy HoffmanLife is a series of conflicts for most individuals. Struggling against drug use is a rabbit hole difficult to get extricated from. Helping someone who has been stabbed can be a very dangerous undertaking. These are but a few of the trials these main characters face. Society and especially law enforcement espouse innocent until proven guilty. However, it is hard to prove innocence from inside a prison cell.

Escaping alcoholism is also very trying and at times a seemingly impossible endeavor. Family will be supportive for awhile but finally even the ones who love you abandon the quest to get you healed. This book explores some of these afflictions with painful clarity! Children are often caught in the middle, with grandparents or other family members taking up the mantle of guardianship.

CE WilliamsThe author helped me to realize that my own childhood was a cakewalk compared to some of the trials faced by others. Drug use is particularly egregious and there must be a way that society can educate the young to avoid this calamity at all costs. The problem is that some of the richest get their fortunes from this very malady. They are the ones that should face legal action and prison. Regrettably, they can afford the dealers and lawyers to keep their hands clean. I found myself trying to figure out the cure for this national affliction. Read and see if you agree. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Jewish Literature, Southern United States Fiction, Southern Fiction
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
ISBN-10: ‎ 1950994341
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1950994342
ASIN: B09MV544WS
Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Promise of the Pelican [Amazon] 
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Roy Hoffman - authorThe Author: Roy Hoffman is author of the novels, “The Promise of the Pelican,” (2022), a literary crime novel of social justice in the Deep South, “Come Landfall,” a story of hurricanes and war, “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” endorsed by Harper Lee, about Romanian Jewish immigrants to the Deep South, and “Almost Family,” in a 35th Anniversary Edition, about a Black family and a Jewish family in Alabama. He’s author of two nonfiction books: “Back Home,” and “Alabama Afternoons.” A native of Mobile, Ala., Roy worked as a writer in New York for 20 years before returning south. He’s written for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and Washington Post, covered features for the Mobile newspaper, and received the Lillian Smith Award in fiction and Clarence Cason Award in nonfiction. A graduate of Tulane, he teaches fiction and nonfiction in Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing. http://www.royhoffmanwriter.com, @roybhoffman, http://www.facebook.com/royhoffmanwriter

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Wolf Catcher by Anne Montgomery – #BookReview – Native American Literature

Wolf Catcher by Anne Montgomery

A Reading Ireland Month book

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars  5 stars
“Gardening is not about growing food, but about growing children.”

Book Blurb:

A reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician and discovers that black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Wolf Catcher by Anne MontgomeryIn 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

My Review:

Boy, didn’t this one grip me quickly and keep me glued to the pages! I absolutely love reading fiction tales about the ancient history of our own beautiful United States—this one in the spectacular geographical area known as Arizona. Probably better known for searing summer desert heat, the state boasts a multitude of topographical diversity.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Flagstaff AZ
Chapel of the Holy Cross

Flagstaff, north of Phoenix, is high desert at almost 7,000 feet, a little over eighteen miles from Ridge Ruin. When I was still riding my motorcycle, the girls and I rode to Prescott—and then a short ride to pricey but gorgeous Sedona, the artsy community not far from Flagstaff that features red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls, and inexplicably deep pine forests. Sedona (twenty-nine miles from Flagstaff) is unique and heart-poundingly stunning. While there, I’d recommend a visit to the (active Catholic) Chapel of the Holy Cross built into the red rocks that offer dramatic views.

So I was deeply and thoroughly embroiled in this imaginative novel that split the storyline in dual narratives: The current one and that of the eleventh century capturing a native people written so creatively, you’d swear it was taken from the pages of a diary.

Kate Butler is a freelancer working on an article regarding the discovery in 1939 of a tomb near Ridge Ruin where a man buried nine hundred years previously was obviously a magician and sacred member of the tribe populating the ridge. But was he of the tribe? If not, where did he come from? And here’s where it turns fascinating—enter the world of Kaya, Wolf Catcher, Deer Runner, Badger, and the white wolf, Spirit Warrior.

Wolf Catcher by Anne MontgomeryThe Arizona high desert landscape in the tenth, eleventh century was changed by the active volcanoes of the area forcing tribes to abandon their villages and seek fresh game, water, and arable conditions. Some peoples were peacefully assimilated; some not so peacefully ventured to take by force the attractive conditions offered by distant communities.

Kaya, accepted to her village as a child, is a healer, but still not wholly one of them and keeps herself separate. Her skills, however, are unquestioned having learned from her mother. I loved her character and that of the support characters of the village. Their stories, their lives, come to life and breathe their circumstances to reality in the mind. Their experience as the storyline hurtles to conclusion is gripping.

The novel melds seamlessly much of fact with fiction. I love it when I’m moved to research the veracity of places like Ridge Ruin. Although to be accurate here, the author discloses her own discoveries when she was commissioned to write a feature article about The Magician by the Arizona Highways Magazine, and I must say managed to incorporate a complex tale here combining the tribal experience possibilities into an unputdownable account that includes a crushingly plausible antagonist bent on stealing artifacts.

“Our priority was the guys with guns, not the ones with shovels.”

Loved the cliff-hanging chapter endings. Well researched, well-plotted and paced, a historical mystery that raises still more questions about the migrations and origins of peoples and artifacts found in unlikely places.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Trust me, you’ll love it. Totally recommended and out now! 

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Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, US Historical Fiction
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
ASIN: B09MV1H4N3
Print Length: 382 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2022
Source: Author inquiry

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Anne Montgomery - authorThe Author: Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, and amateur sports official. Her first TV job came at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter. She finished her on‐camera broadcasting career with a two‐year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces. Her novels include The Castle, The Scent of Rain, A Light in the Desert, and Wild Horses on the Salt, Montgomery taught high school journalism for 20 years and was an amateur sports official for four decades, a time during which she called baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games and served as a high school football referee and crew chief. Montgomery is a foster mom to three sons. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, musical theater, scuba diving, and playing her guitar.

Find Anne Montgomery on her website: https://annemontgomerywriter.com/

NB: Ms. Montgomery states she has “red hair and freckles” and is American of Irish descent.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Cathedral attribute: Red Rock Realty

 

Chasing Time by Thomas Reilly – #BookReview – #medicalthrillers

A Reading Ireland Month contribution 4 leaf clover

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Chasing Time by Thomas ReillyDevastated by his wife’s terminal illness, retired teacher Tony Lucas seeks to recapture a lost magical key from his youth that has the power to predict the future and use it to unravel additional mysteries that could save her. Racing against time as the disease extracts its unforgiving toll, Tony embarks on an amazing quest involving a series of unexpected plot twists, cryptic clues, and memorable characters.

Driven by a strong male lead, this heartwarming book combines realistic medical elements with a hint of fantasy to create a gripping, suspenseful narrative. Reilly spins a compelling tale of a devoted husband’s resilience and perseverance as he pursues a life-saving mission that extends from Ancient Rome to modern-day America to the olive orchards of Spain.

His Review:

A strange talisman slips through time enhancing the lives of various individuals. Is time a continuous event with no beginning or no end? Lucius Fabius Antonius thought this might be true of the first century A.D. Lucius was an olive oil merchant in the Roman empire when disease ravaged the production in Italy. He was forced to look outside the empire and found a better product in Spain.

Chasing Time by Thomas ReillyTwo thousand plus years later Anthony Lucas waits patiently for a time capsule to be opened after it is discovered in a cornerstone of the old school. He is lucky to be chosen the recipient of the unusual talisman in the small copper box.

He discovers a five inch key-like object near an Italian restaurant which is intricately carved into the figure of a two-faced man. Tony tosses the key in his backpack and proceeds home. The box he won in class had an old newspaper clipping from 1906. The article included interesting happenings in that year along with some evidence of possible shady dealings from some of New York’s more prominent citizens.

Weird events continue to happen to the eighth-grader as he progresses through life.

CE WilliamsThis entire story is a very engrossing tale of what could be. As I read the book, I was drawn into the whirlpool of potential events in the confluence of time. I was so engrossed I could not put the story down but zipped through it. Start the book and you too will be all consumed! 5 stars – CE Williams

Thomas Michael Reilly—definitely of Irish descent—and my second novel by an Irish author or book about Ireland in participation with the eighth annual Reading Ireland Month. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Medical Fiction
Publisher: World Castle Publishing LLC
ASIN:  B09DTJPPLR
Print Length: 160pages
Publication Date: September 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Chasing Time [Amazon]
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Thomas Reilly - authorThe Author: Thomas Reilly is a retired biotechnology scientist and executive who holds a doctoral degree in microbiology. He is the author of numerous essays and articles on science and technology. CHASING TIME, his first novel, is a gripping medical suspense story with a touch of magical realism that captures many elements of the drug research and development processes. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Linda.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Reading Ireland Month 2022

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