**spoiler alert** A mystical healer falls from the sky, inhabits the body of a newly dead Native American and begins a journey to find his way back ho...more**spoiler alert** A mystical healer falls from the sky, inhabits the body of a newly dead Native American and begins a journey to find his way back home. He soon pairs up with “Moses”, a skeptical, yet intrigued photojournalistic philosopher, running from his past, trying to save the future and hoping for a Pulitzer Prize photo op. They drive off, traveling cross country to where the signs lead the healer, in search of those who can send him back home. Though they each have their own agenda, they are both essentially heading in the same direction, meeting a bevy of Shamans & charlatans along the way. Initially, the Sky Man (as he is soon dubbed) does not do well with language, which renders some interesting nicknames for people he meets. In a series of missions, each with a clue/vision/tool to the next one in line, he must prove himself to be who he is to the multiplying skeptics. As adept as any Kwai Chang Caine, Sky Man conquers all obstacles affronting him, be they to harm, educate or seduce. Talismans, totems and spirit guides are offered, shared and experienced along the roads of a countryside still beautiful, as we are shown it through the eyes of respect and adoration. Given the abundance of Native American characters within the pages, there is a hefty dose of metaphysical – natural teachings, lingo and rituals, which I personally devoured, dictionary and internet at hand. (It is supposed to be fiction, right?) Drinking & debauchery, of course, slither in as needed. The injection of humor eases the intensity of content, blunders and missteps allow a humanistic perspective when broaching an almost peyote infused ride into desert, mountains and prairies. It’s a quasi-vision quest of trances and dreams, an incestuous amalgamation that transcends the wild, wild, west to the Canadian banks of Lake Huron where he is still defying implications of trickster. People know the previous owner of the body he inhabits. They want better answers. All aware that his kind do exist, that there is that possibility, there is contemplation on what, where & how to culminate. A combination of of John Carpenter's “Starman” / Beatty/Henry’s “Heaven’s Gate” / Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing / Jeff Noon’s Vurt or just about any Carlos Castaneda, Round Earth, Open Sky is fast-paced and covers multiple genres and fulfills in each. Witty, deep, violent & sensual. In final scene intensity, words before you, you still cannot blink, lest you miss that transformation, that flash of light, that perfect shot that finishes his journey. Loose ends tie up into a nice dreamcatcher to hang over you as tidbits flit into your slumber. Oh, for sure they will.
I applaud the creativity behind this book. While I have created poems/snippets around a found photograph, I dare venture into a novel full of them. An...moreI applaud the creativity behind this book. While I have created poems/snippets around a found photograph, I dare venture into a novel full of them. And what creative lives he has given them. A group of "peculiar" children with amazing talents, supernatural, if you please.. that survive in a protected time loop away from the past & future. Able to venture in and out, they bring back a hero to the tale and the adventure begins. I'm sure this will become a series, as there are so many more monsters to slay and loops to slip into. (less)
Always love a book that starts me out laughing and Janet's almost always do. Her books are perfect for in between. They're quick, light and uplifting....moreAlways love a book that starts me out laughing and Janet's almost always do. Her books are perfect for in between. They're quick, light and uplifting. This seems to be the first in a new series, so looking forward to stacking these on my shelves alongside the heavier tomes. (less)
The first of her books, "House On Tradd Street", I picked up because I had stayed on that street while in Charleston and felt a tug. It was amusing an...moreThe first of her books, "House On Tradd Street", I picked up because I had stayed on that street while in Charleston and felt a tug. It was amusing and enjoyable. This one was as well, tho there were a few segue issues and some parts left unfinished, as if it was a hurry to get done book. The parts that were in depth were quite so and the climatic scene was, tho even given it being fiction, some aspects of it were a tad askew. I like her books & will continue to read more, but hope things tighten up for future issues..
This one just didn't make it for me. Maybe I just missed having Gram & Joe, but it wasn't as madcap zany as her rest. I should just stick with the...moreThis one just didn't make it for me. Maybe I just missed having Gram & Joe, but it wasn't as madcap zany as her rest. I should just stick with the numbers.(less)
Sub title states “A TrueCrimeTale” .. of which I add, Lordy, I hope not. Persephone (Persey) is the main character and a subservient whisper to her overly macho husband, Roy. Roy is the surviving twin of a juxtaposition of character flaws from a well to do divorced family. A murky excuse gurgles as to the exact cause of the deceased twin’s cause of death. Money does have its secrets and this one plays a major role in this drama. Roy’s all about appearance and Persey serves as the perfect accessory to whatever he happens to have on, tiny in all the right places and not so in the best. (He expects dinner & seduction ready when he walks in the door from work.) Roy is especially fond of flaunting his trophy wife to his war-buddy best friend, Jarod, who is now a police officer. In an overly chummy, bro-mance, these two epitomize the white-boy club bravado in every way. Jarod is the bane of Persey’s existence, (or at least, the prime one) and constantly flirts in unrespectful ways in every available situation. A Lothario of epic proportions, he claims nothing but love for little Persephone. Persey may exemplify a Stepford Wife, but she’s more the Katherine Ross role and plays her own hand at manipulations. Forced into a show-off party, she manages time enough off her husband’s arm to meet a crime profiler who tells her about a string of homicides he’s working on and believes to be the work of a serial killer. She’s intrigued by the research and more so the danger involved. Not a good thing for a bored housewife with time to spare and a very obvious macabre side to her. Sequestered in her mother-in-law-bought home, she dresses as Roy dictates, decorates as her mother-in-law suggests and sneaks out during the day to break free of her confines with her dog, Digger. Pushing her own boundaries, she calculates possible kill sites (or drop off points) for the aforementioned serial killer and drives herself and Digger out to investigate one. Seems she’s a natural, as she stumbles upon a decaying body exactly where she assumed one would be. She then calls the detective she met at the party and starts a quasi-professional friendship with him. Keeping her find on the QT, so as not to bring her into the case, they soon fall into tête-à-tête regularity of him feeding her information and she giving her intuitions. (He, of course, dismisses them each time.) From his line of suspects, she’s told information on her husband’s twin that starts to crumble her ivory tower. Is he, or is he not dead? Persey first confronts the mother, a septuagenarian kook with a selective memory and Hell-bent desire for grandchildren and gets a rendition not so jake with Roy’s. Oh, how this plot twists and spins. As Persey works her detecting, Roy & Jarod work her. A favor for Jarod happens her upon the fresh kill of his estranged wife. She contemplates Jarod, the detective thinks more the twin, while Jarod & Roy blame Persey’s best friend, a married bi-sexual father, who the freshly deceased adamantly flirted with at the party of parties. Seems Roy wants any and all distractions out of their life so they can start a family in isolation. Well, not total isolation, there is Jarod, after all. Jarod of history, Jarod of good gene pool, Jarod of viable sperm when Roy finds his are tailless. Oh, oh, oh. So when distraught Jarod joins them for dinner and the wine is served and served and served, we can almost expect the switcheroo in the bedroom, but assuredly not the lacksy-daisy acceptance by all afterwards. Roy’s hope that the seed took and Jarod’s doubling it with an added hope of Persey taking, too, is a little too buddy-buddy, me thinks. But she manages to work the “rape” to her advantage and starts working the crime scenes a little harder and deeper, all the while being aided by subconscious dream state teachings from “the bird-lady” who played a quintessential role in her youth. These scenes are the most confusing… not being entirely sure whether it’s a story line or Persey’s own fear-induced imagination taking over. But her teachings are what give Persey her courage and tenacity and therefore, relevant. Then there is the final chapters where all the secrets fall open and the culprits are exposed. It was unexpected and intense. It was believable and cunning. Needless to say, Persey cracks the case and hands the detective his killer and a bonus case, already solved. (less)
There is dark and then there is dark. This is da...moreHALF GIRL by Stephanie Dickinson – Spuyten Duyvil / 1-933132-18-1 / 337pps / $14.00 spuytenduyvil.net
There is dark and then there is dark. This is dark. Angelique is 15 and lives in Iowa with her mother and stepfather on a nowhere’sville farm. Having lost her father quite early to an untimely aneurism, she is under the stern and lascivious rule of Maynard, the secret drunk her mother married. We begin as that episode is about to end. Angelique is enacting her escape. She justifies her pilfering of Maynard’s secret cash as owed hush money and tapes it to her body before starting her winter journey to find Easton, her brief summer love. Setting out as “a dusk pale as cat piss was falling,” she narrates with a grit hardly expected from a country bumpkin. There is a blizzard blasting her flimsy coverings, but a tenacity incomparable pushes her along. She hitches rides with everyone your mother warned you about, yet remains unscathed, albeit wiser. First was the seemingly harmless Native American, who had two dozing huddled boys in the back seat. Leonard unthaws her and offers a sandwich. He’s drinking and speeding and talking crazy. Of course, they get pulled over…but only because Leonard knows he can’t outrun the cop. Under the police questioning, Angelique learns that the 2 boys are also hitchers. The boys bolt from the police and Leonard seizes the moment with a barefoot pedal to the metal escape. Passing his 3 Feathers Whiskey, he starts talking lust and Angelique manages to avoid any further damage before he drops her to find her next ride. She gets a lift from a semi-driver who, at first, she thought was a man. But this “lady sailor of the corrupt sea” is just another speed-driven metal heap on the highway to the next stop. A glove box full of “dixies” and a cab full of pin-ups, she introduces Angelique to the “upper” aspects of inducements. A doze-off near smash-up and suggested reciprocation have you wondering just how much longer Angelique’s luck is going to last. Finally in North Carolina and the general circumference of Easton, she starts seeking him out. Securing herself a flophouse room, she first tries a bar that she is told is one of his hang-outs. A brief confrontation with the bouncer leads to a dead-end and she leaves to walk home. Somehow relieved of his duties, the bouncer follows her and tries to rape her at knife point in a darkened area “as far from love as you could come.” He’s limp and she’s unbroken, so she ekes out of that with more emotional than physical damage. He leaves with her yanked off necklace and more of her reserve. Calling the police renders her the culprit and when she refuses to finger an innocent ethnic, they dump her in seediness to find her own way back to her hotel. Some kind of guardian angel must be watching over her because she is offered a ride back to her room by a man with little respect for the cops he saw dump her outside his house. She calls Easton’s home the next morning and he tells her where to go and he’ll meet her there. When he finally shows up, just as she was about to give up, they leave with Angelique hopeful, yet understandably leery. Easton is a druggie. Easton expects everyone to be a druggie too. He takes Angelique to his opium den where she partakes of another first not to be had in “Ioway” and they soon meet up with Easton’s best friend Charlie. The dope and booze is abundant, but the money is minimal. Easton lives at home. Charlie is in college. Charlie comes from wealth, Easton comes from love. Easton paints and tries to write. Charlie plays football and tries to score Angelique. Drunk & high, Easton offers Angelique up to his buddy while he partakes of Charlie’s girl. Easton passes out, Charlie becomes enamored. The rest just gets dicier and dicier. Easton gets Angelique into drugs..or more so, gets drugs into her and falls in love, regretful of allowing the debauchery of the swap. Angelique is a tough cookie, a smart tart that realizes the mistakes she is making. But luck has to run out and hers does with a vengeance. Charlie invites them both over to his parent’s house for Thanksgiving while they are vacationing out of the country. The booze is flowing heavy and Charlie is seeking another tryst with Angelique. She avoids him and skirts off to the bathroom. Easton soon follows. Charlie comes next. He pops open the bathroom door with a shotgun. He’s drunk. It’s loaded. It fires and removes almost half of Angelique’s face. Her almosts have just run out. Angelique falls into a coma. Her mother flies in when contacted and stays with her. She is treated well, but cannot respond to anything said or done to her. Aware, she tries to convey anything via her eyes. The nurses and doctors hover, her mother dolts, Easton grovels for forgiveness, Charlie’s parents try for a buy-out and Charlie tries for the final remedy of just suffocating her. She comes out of the coma. If she had ruby red slippers, she would have assuredly used them. Offered a place with Easton and his family, she opts for the flight back home. Broken hearts abound, but we all know it’s for the best. Jump forward. Letters over the years and sporadic phone calls. Healing time and tethered knowledge. Two somewhat different people talk. Two different people decide it’s time to meet again. Dickinson has beautiful language. It’s evident she loves words and enjoys creating luscious images with them. It was her poetic threads that sewed this bleak novel into an enviable piece of work. My only wish is to read something of hers infused with happiness. She’s a talent, that’s for sure, and even if it were another book of gloom, I’d snatch it up..just to marvel at the usage of language so eloquent, so damned dark and eloquent, it makes me “giggly, but not in my mouth.”
Given that I just stayed nearby.. (On Tradd Street) I was anxious to see if I recognized anything. Wish I read this before we went there. But now that...moreGiven that I just stayed nearby.. (On Tradd Street) I was anxious to see if I recognized anything. Wish I read this before we went there. But now that I have read it.. well, it did give a lot of local flavor, but think White's attempt to be the next Janet Evanovich was lacking. The humor was cliché, the dialogue bland, and even though the characters had good basis, I felt she left them mostly inanimate.
I did like the cloak and dagger aspect, as well as the ghostly intermingling. It was, after all, a good story.. I just think the characters and dialogue need some ooomph.
The capers appear to be ongoing, as the cast is heading off to further Charleston adventures. Will I read it? Sure. I loved the city... and this is keeping me there when I'm not. Besides, when next I do go there, I have a lot of somethings to look for.(less)
One needs to get their bearings straight when reading this book,...moreRavenwolf by Kelley Heckart - Earthling Press / 978-1-58749-656-1 / 284 pps / $15.99
One needs to get their bearings straight when reading this book, as it follows the normal complexity of Mythology with an abundance of deaths & resurrections, transformations and hard to pronounce names. It’s the story of Nemu, a currently mortal/once Druid-Goddess and her husband, Ambriorix, who is in hiding from the Roman army he deserted. They live in seclusion with their son, Bran, who is relegated to being a sidebar in this twist and turn story of vengeance, desire, jealousy, deceit, and robust sex. It’s nonstop drama, (as all mythology is), and somewhat hard to follow with the hidden stories going on with just hints as to something bigger to follow. Then there is the further befuddling of it being told first and third person, with more than one view. Oye! BUT, aside from that, (and the eye-rolling over-usage of adjectives) it was a compelling read. Once into it, I was IN to it. When Nemu & Ambriorix decide their son needs a more diverse education, they set out to deliver him to both Druid and warrior teachers. He’s no sooner out of their sight then all Hell breaks loose. Nemu goes to ask about reoccurring dreams she has been having while Ambriorix is taken on a “hunting” excursion with friends. Once the couple are separated, the divisions are expanded. Old enemies work their magic against Nemu for the grudges incurred in her past life as a Goddess. The Roman army captures Ambriorix and traps him back into service. Both are told the other is in danger and they set out to sideline a way back to each other while, unbeknownst to them, they are also following the plans of those who wish them the most harm. Along the way, there are reawakened Goddesses that lend a helping wing, warriors that deter from their swords, and a binding love that prevails against all the folly thrown at it. Nemu, in her past life as the Goddess Becuille, had a bevy of lovers who all hold a torch for her. Gods & Goddesses that they are, they have the resources to get what they want. She is captured and freed consistently with each escape causing another temporary death. Meanwhile, Ambriorix is following Roman orders to find a renegade battalion of soldiers with troops that still harbor traitor views of him. Of course he wins their respect via the battles he faces and his intuitive leadership. There are constant loyalty tests thrown at him, of both Roman and matrimonial sorts, which he passes with flying colors. There are lapses in memory that recover and powers that are restored to show everyone involved why their tormentors have such a penchant for ruining their lives. And there are a lot of lives being ruined here. Shapeshifting tormentors worm their wiles in to deceive and score.20Soul stealing and body trading trickery abounds. It’s an all-out battle with no one really knowing whom they can trust. All in all, it’s a story of love so strong, spells, curses, misinformation, and the Roman army could not destroy. It was a perplexing read, but still a gripping one. My thinking is to leave the more graphic details of the sex scenes out (or, except in the case of sex-magic, leave them to innuendo) and fraction down the usage of adjectives to open it up to a wider audience. There’s no sex in the Harry Potter series and every age is hooked on those books. I appreciated her historical appreciation for Celtic lore and wanted to mention that she has a website where she furthers her research at www.kelleyheckart.com (less)
AFTER GUS by Kathryn Glendinning, Stamford House Publishing / 978-1-904985-60-0
This book begins with a rather confusing reference to her father and...moreAFTER GUS by Kathryn Glendinning, Stamford House Publishing / 978-1-904985-60-0
This book begins with a rather confusing reference to her father and continues as such as characters are dropped into the fray without proper introductions. Were it not for the family tree provided before the dedication, I would have had to wait chapters to find out who’s who in this sordid tale of somewhat typical familial greed and dysfunction upon the death of a parent. Jenny, the main character, is the family outcast, albeit through no initial fault of her own. An undiagnosed plague of asthma has her labeled as a crybaby and attention seeker, hence, she is shunned by her all too proper mother, her 5 siblings, her mother’s sisters and at times, her father, who usually tried to take her side. Suffering both the disease and her family’s dismissing, she hardens against them and becomes indifferent. (But given the book’s time frame of the 60’s, I cannot understand how a doctor of medicine would not know asthma when the classic symptoms are presented?) Be that as it may, Jenny is thusly pushed out and off to boarding school with a “difficult child” label and flounders with apathetic disdain for most everyone and everything. Nothing she does is ever good enough and nobody offers to help her overcome it. Later, as a married mother, she still battles with her clan, even though they all now know the real diagnosis of her youth. There are no apologies, no repentance. The wall is impervious. Living far enough away from her family to ignore them, she is also too far to know what is really going on with the 400 acre family estate she has stock in. Conniving to cheat Jenny out of her rightful share, her widowed mother finagles to dole the majority of the farm to her eldest son, who is running it at a loss, (or so it appears on paper). But Jenny’s husband is a savvy number cruncher with poignant questions and they soon attain assistance in righting the financial wrongs, while further increasing the family divide. Through a series of nasty (though still “proper”) letters and phone calls between several family members, rancor is spread and Jenny is again misdiagnosed as now being greedy and selfish when, actually, it’s the total opposite. It’s a book of un-segued venomous rants and retorts, too many “Oh, by the way” additions to an already haphazard story line, and time warps. It’s a good story, just told badly, with a rather cliché ending.
In her typical laff out loud vein, Mz Evanovich blows the sides out, grease through and mole off in Inspector Clouseauish escapades that slither is se...moreIn her typical laff out loud vein, Mz Evanovich blows the sides out, grease through and mole off in Inspector Clouseauish escapades that slither is sex and doughnuts and cargo pants. Stephanie Plum always gets her men...
This series just keep getting better & steamier... and it has nothing to do with the Jersey heat.(less)