Karen Neches’ new novel, Earthly Pleasures is a light, fun read that is filled equal amounts of humor and heart. At the conclusion of this wonderful n...moreKaren Neches’ new novel, Earthly Pleasures is a light, fun read that is filled equal amounts of humor and heart. At the conclusion of this wonderful novel readers are left to hope that the eternal forever place will be as lovely, fun filled and exciting as Neches’ brilliantly designed and thoroughly developed fictional paradise.
As the story begins we are introduced to Skye Sebring, a greeter in Heaven’s Hospitality Division. Her assignment is to help Earths recently departed through the transition. Meaning, she meets and greets all the newcomers, takes them on a tour of their new ‘home’ and answers their questions. While the main objective of Skye’s fellow angels is to return to Earth, Skye is quite content to remain right here in Heaven.
That is until the day a motorcycle accident brings Ryan Blaine to Heaven. Son of a former president, attorney, star of Heaven’s reality show Earthly Pleasures, Blaine is popular, handsome and engaged. Skye is immediately taken in by Ryan, so when he is jolted back to his physical body on Earth she becomes almost obsessed with the show and with finding a way to be with Ryan. There was something between them…he appeared to know her…how could she remind him of someone? Skye was a ‘new soul,’ she had never been on Earth or had she?
The story takes off from the first chapter and soars right through to the conclusion. There are techno-gadgets that have their basis in reality, but Neches has souped them up. There’s a little of everything, but not so much of any one thing that it over-powers or detracts from the main theme. Well written, fleshed out and delivered with a passionate voice that commands the readers full attention. Earthly Pleasures will tickle your funny bone and touch your heart with a cast of clever characters carefully navigating multiple story lines that co-mingle perfectly to keep you guessing, wishing and hoping. Karen Neches has penned a truly original story that is absolutely brilliant in its’ creative simplicity. Delivering an interesting novel that maintains its’ entertainment level from beginning to end, allows readers to pass the time quietly turning pages…a pleasure, that to a book-lover, sure feels a lot like Heaven.I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.
The fourth, longest and last of Jane Austen’s books to appear in print during her lifetime, Emma is considered a classic romantic comedy and was first...moreThe fourth, longest and last of Jane Austen’s books to appear in print during her lifetime, Emma is considered a classic romantic comedy and was first published in 1816. Written almost 200 year ago, it’s inevitable that the dialogue may feel a bit stilted at times. However, this adds dimension and depth to the story that focuses on 19th century social hierarchies and the interaction between various social classes.
Miss Emma Woodhouse is a shining example of a 19th century socialite. Beautiful, clever and wealthy, she fancies herself a master matchmaker and sets in motion a laundry list of schemes to pair off the Highbury residents. Convinced a makeover would elevate her new friend Harriet’s social standing and thus her marriage potential, Emma, fueled by her feeling of superiority, plotted and planned, all to no avail. Failing to realize the extent of her shortcomings and the consequences of such hurtful behavior, Emma was finally confronted by Mr. Knightley. Afterwards, embarrassed and ashamed, she reevaluated her life and began to make amends, in hopes of becoming a better person.
Emma is a beautifully written, classic, laced with wit and sarcasm. Through a vastly differing cast of characters, each delightfully inspiring in his or her own way, Austen vividly captured the heart of a community. Everything is neatly tied up at the conclusion, as things literally come full circle…ending much the way it began.
A subtle, yet significant message is hidden just below the surface—the beginning and the ending are just definitive points in the journey, in between is where we write our definition of happiness. There’s a depth and sincere honesty written into the very fabric of this story–that must be recognized to fully appreciate the artistic genius of Jane Austen.
Like a vintage automobile, Emma is a slow, leisurely read, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
READING GROUP GUIDE available. Happy Reading! (less)
Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is one of those rare novels, that will be read and re-read, discussed and enjoyed for many years, by old and young al...moreSara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is one of those rare novels, that will be read and re-read, discussed and enjoyed for many years, by old and young alike. Destined to be passed between family and friends and back again, until the tattered, time worn pages resemble the books beloved central character and narrator.Jacob Jankowski, just days from the final exams at Cornell University that would have attached the respectable Dr. of Veterinary medicine forever to his name, had his world forever altered when his parents were killed in an auto accident. Alone, frightened and penniless, the 23 hopped a train, never intending to “run away with the circus”… although, looking back, as he sat in the nursing home telling his story, it seemed fate didn’t much care about intentions, especially during the depression. It was hard life, the Benzini Brothers Circus, hailed as the Most Spectacular Show On Earth - which of course meant, it wasn’t Ringling and anything that wasn’t Ringling… well, wasn’t Ringling. And so it went, from town to town, day after day — set it up, tear it down - the freaks and geeks, midgets and clowns worked, ate, performed, lived and often died together. The harsh conditions are made even more unbearable at times, by the greedy manager, Uncle Al and his insane animal trainer, August. Yet somehow, in the midst of despair friendships and laughter persevered. Although much of the laughter was alcohol induced, during the height of the depression and prohibition, you took what you could get.
The narrator’s transition from the young circus vet, to the elderly, cantankerous nursing home resident is a well crafted, bi-lateral view that pulls the reader into this fictional world and never lets go. Whether in his twenties admiring beautiful, equestrian performer, Marlena and caring for the animals he loved so dearly or in his nineties mulling over where to have breakfast and the indignities of old age, the warm, quick wit comes through loud and clear. From the big top to the nursing facility Gruen’s sharp, three dimensional, fictionally fluid characters will have you laughing out loud one minute, mouth agape in sheer terror the next.
Hurry, hurry, step right up, readers and book lovers everywhere - if you hunger for a reading experience chock full of every conceivable emotion, beautifully written and wholly engrossing, Water for Elephants is a wondrous world, where fact and fiction combine, delivering the most memorable and pleasurable hours, you will be spend with a book. Characters so sharply drawn and wrought with emotion that there nearly flow off the page. Sara Gruen’s depictions of depression era America is as beautiful as it is haunting. From unspeakable cruelty and brutality, to selfless acts of kindness, Water for Elephants not has it all, but delivers it with unapologetic honesty and genuine heart felt passion.
Paper Mirror is the tenth installment in the popular Hardesty Mystery series. Author, Dorien Grey has crafted a fast paced mystery that continues an e...morePaper Mirror is the tenth installment in the popular Hardesty Mystery series. Author, Dorien Grey has crafted a fast paced mystery that continues an established and much loved series, yet easily stands alone, welcoming new readers. Private investigator extraordinaire, Dick Hardesty was settling into the role of family man after adopting Joshua, his partner’s orphaned nephew when an invitation to a highly publicized gala leads to the most intriguing case of his career. Once a crotch-tingling playboy, Hardesty had never been particularly fond of black tie functions, he was more of the party persuasion. Jonathan, on the other hand, was always eager to square his bow tie and rub elbows with the wealthy and well to do. The fact that his favorite author, Evan Knight, would be attending this noteworthy event, just added fuel to Jonathan’s barely containable excitement. The BurrowsLibrary had been literally willed into existence by the late Chester Burrows, an eccentric collector of homosexual writings. It was said that his, was the largest private collection of books on the subject. With such a colorful character as the library’s benefactor and namesake, it was not surprising that the opening night celebration was slated to be the social event of the season. At the very moment Jonathan is being introduced to famed author, Evan Knight, the courtesies are interrupted, when Dick is informed the body of a library cataloger had been discovered in the basement. Police surmise Taylor Cate’s death was the result of blunt force trauma caused by an accidental fall down the stairs. However, due to lingering doubts among board members, Dick is asked to investigate the incident. As the story progresses readers are treated to a collage of friendships, romantic entanglements, and secrets among individuals with long shared histories. (less)
There's nothing on earth that compares to the moments spent snuggled up with my granddaughter reading these little books. Her bright blue eyes widenin...moreThere's nothing on earth that compares to the moments spent snuggled up with my granddaughter reading these little books. Her bright blue eyes widening when the rhyming catches her funny bone! I treasure this time ... Stolen away from our hectic, busy, rush rush lives... These are the memories that stay with us and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Sharing "Nutshell Library" is more than reading a cute book - it gives us a chance to bond with our little ones, recall our own childhood memories, and share the wondrous world of imagination. (less)
With numerous early reader tools available today the Bob Books series truly starts at the beginning. Arriving in a sturdy, compact, brightly colored b...moreWith numerous early reader tools available today the Bob Books series truly starts at the beginning. Arriving in a sturdy, compact, brightly colored blue box are twelve books, perfect for little hands just learning the art of holding a book and turning pages independently. Each book is comprised of 12 pages, containing three letter words. Because young readers are easily distracted by glossy, high color images, utilizing simple, black and white drawings help children remain focused on the words first and the pictures second. The gradual addition of new sounds, improves and expands the vocabulary of very young readers. Thus instilling confidence and nuturing the natural desire to learn new things.
It's important to remember that every child is different - parents have to decide (independently) what is best for his or her child and at what stage you feel it is appropriate to introduce educational/learning tools. Keeping in mind that it's never too soon to start fostering an education based environment.
I recommend Bob Books to all parents, care givers and teachers... it would be wonderful to see these colorful little boxes on shelves from coast to coast. The best way to encourage a new generation of readers is to start early! I will share Bob Books with my grandkids...someday!
Happy Reading! RJ 3Rs-Real Reader Reviews
Bob Books have been divided into 5 sets, each gradually adding new sights and sounds featuring a controlled vocabulary. As a teacher, the author Bobby Lynn Maslen created simple, easy to read stories for her students. These would eventually be organized and released in the form of Bob Books. Each of the five boxed sets are uniquely color coded and continue your childs progression into the world of independent reading. The beginning set that introduces young children to the basic idea of connecting letters and organizing them to make words and utilizing phonics to sound words out.
The Magic of Bob Books from Scholastic 5 sets (less)
Power Play is a clever, action packed read that’s firing on all cylinders…intelligent, intriguing and absolutely entertaining– a boardroom block...moreWOW -
Power Play is a clever, action packed read that’s firing on all cylinders…intelligent, intriguing and absolutely entertaining– a boardroom blockbuster that demands to be read in single sitting and leaves you breathless, yet wanting more.
When CEO, Peter Rawlings, suffers a fatal heart attack while golfing at Pebble Beach, Cheryl Tobin is named as his replacement. In Hammond Aerospace’s male dominated executive suite, this wrinkles more than a few oxford button downs. Then a competitor’s newly designed plane crashes in a ball of flames during an air show in Paris. Which results in millions of dollars in new contracts, as customers scramble to get in line for the new Hammond jet. Because of this unexpected development, VP, Michael Zorn is unable to attend the annual executive retreat. On the day of their scheduled departure, his assistant, Jake Landry is summoned to attend the event in his place.
The lodge is located on an isolated Canadian lake, hidden deep in the vast British Colombian wilderness, where guests are treated to all the perks with none of the disturbances. Miles from the nearest cell phone or laptop King Chinook Lodge was the ideal place to brain storm and bond. Unfortunately, it was those very same characteristics that made it the perfect target for a high stakes kidnapping. And as fate would have it, the assistant, that wasn’t supposed to be there is the executives only hope for survival and the string that unravels a well planned ransom scheme.
This was one of the best books I have read (in any genre) and will certainly remain in my top 10 for a very long time.
The author has gone to great lengths to ensure the dialogue is as accurate as possible…the result is a wholly engrossing, exciting story that’s nearly impossible to put down! Modern issues, such as corporate kidnappings and glass ceilings, money laundering and sabotage are written with a depth and understanding that lend an unusual air of credibility to this novel.
King Chinook Lodge is an integral part of the story, both allowing the danger to present itself and propelling the situation to its climatic and unavoidable culmination. Throughout the novel, fragments of the past are revealed, allowing the reader to become emotionally connected and invested in the story. Disturbing and thought provoking “Power Play” is a top notch thriller that is immensely satisfying and wildly entertaining!
We all hope there’s a Jake Landry character on our bus or staying in our hotel…or in the next Joe Finder novel! I can’t wait!
Not once, during either of two frantic calls to Durham 9-11 did Michael Peterson mention the bloo...moreThere's More To The Story & It's Written IN Blood
Not once, during either of two frantic calls to Durham 9-11 did Michael Peterson mention the blood...and there was a lot of blood. During the early morning hours of December 9th, as Kathleen lay dying on the stairs, police and rescue personnel rush to the home on Cedar Street.
Connecting the complex sequence of dots that convinced a jury of his peers that Michael Peterson was indeed guilty of murder would have been the easy part, because the evidence had been painstakingly detailed during the five month trial. But, Diane Fanning takes the reader behind the carefully orchestrated performance in the court room and delivers the journey through the raw, unfiltered eyes of those who lived it. Detailing the crime scene, police procedure, the autopsy and the trial I fully expected, however, this book is chock-full of extras. Intimate conversations between Kathleen and her beloved sister, details concerning the exhumation and autopsy of Elizabeth Ratliff, the suspicious death of George Ratliff and much more. There's also eight pages of photographs that give the reader a glimpse of the Peterson's before, during and the aftermath is punctuated with a single photo of Kathleen's headstone.
During the trial, the defense displayed an air of arrogance both in and outside the courtroom. And much to the chagrin of Peterson's few remaining supporters, the author pulls no punches describing the showboating behavior of David Rudolf and Thomas Maher, the mysterious discovery of the missing blowpoke and the effect these antics had on the grieving families.
Superb, unflinching, emotionally gritty at times, Written in Blood is a stinging, in your face novel that paints a haunting picture of the madness that often lurks behind the gates of the nicest communities or in the home right next door. And reminds us all that the monster hiding in the shadows is easily recognized in hindsight...but, that's too late!
Although the last chapter of this story will be written by the North Carolina Supreme Court, Written In Blood is as complete a history of the Peterson saga as could possibly be written. If you enjoy reading a true crime novel that goes behind the scenes and beyond the glare of the cameras, Written In Blood does not disappoint!
Takedown raised the bar for political-thrillers, left readers in a state of shock and had critics wondering if Thor could possibly write another novel...moreTakedown raised the bar for political-thrillers, left readers in a state of shock and had critics wondering if Thor could possibly write another novel of equal quality. Well, he satisfied readers beyond their wildest dreams and silenced the critics with “The First Commandment.” The foreword is comprised of a single sentence: “Do not wish ill for the enemy, plan it.” With less than ten words the author set the tone, constructed the stage and prepared the audience for an adrenaline infused novel, fully loaded with international intrigue, brilliant prose and thought provoking scenarios so real they could easily be reported on the six o’clock news. Homeland Security agent, Scot Harvath is a born leader, selfless, strong, dedicated and intelligent– willing to do whatever it takes to protect his friends, family and country…not necessarily in that order. With his extensive resources, both in and outside the government, elite special forces training and having saved the country and the president, on more than one occasion, he is the embodiment of a modern-day patriot. So, it is only natural when his family and friends begin being systematically targeted, the assaults mimicking the biblical plagues, that Harvath turns to those in power for assistance. Refusing to be dismissed by a third party, Harvath meets with the President face to face, demanding an explanation. Within a few minutes it becomes clear the only answers he will be privy to, are those he discovers on his own, he is officially out of the loop.Why would the best counter-terrorism agent be ordered to stand down? Harvath found himself in an unfamiliar role, that of spectator and he felt helpless. Now, sitting by his girlfriend Tracy’s bed, he was truly helpless…unable to rescue her from the coma that held her captive. He knew what he had to do and understood the ramifications of his actions.By disobeying a direct executive order from President Rutledge, Harvath, is not only being hunted by one of the most dangerous men on earth, he’s been catapulted into the cross-hairs of the very government he vowed to protect. It doesn’t take long for the former Navy Seal to unearth a secret so disturbing, that questions and scenarios which had once been unthinkable, were now plausible. Six months ago, America’s “First Commandment” was broken, when the President, persuaded by his advisers that the use of isotope technology gave them the ability to track the men, authorized the release of five, high value Guantanamo detainees. Lulled into a false sense of security, the government was ill-prepared and caught off guard, again.
The First Commandment is a brilliantly woven web of excitement, in which Brad Thor leaves no terrorist stone unturned, capturing the reader with a single sentence, he delivers his most electrifying and realistically frightening novel to date. Thor’s pen is firing on all cylinders and I eagerly anticipate his next novel.
International best selling author Carole Matthews delivers a heart-warming tale of personal growth and rediscovery in With or Without You. In the hero...moreInternational best selling author Carole Matthews delivers a heart-warming tale of personal growth and rediscovery in With or Without You. In the heroine’s misdirected attempt to make herself irresistible to an ex-lover, the hiatus from her comfort zone sets in motion a transformation process, to which the reader is given a front row seat. What ensues is quite different from the cookie cutter romance many readers might expect based on the cover art. From the detailed exploration of one woman’s emotional and cultural awakening, to the quick wit and what goes around comes around karma, With or Without You is a well written novel that’s a pleasure to read!
Whether because her sister, Edie, is a regular fertile myrtle with six children, her position at a baby magazine or because she envisions the clicking of some demonic biological clock, Lyssa is convinced that her very happiness depends on the changes that accompany having a baby. Jake, her live-in-boyfriend of fours years, was making plans for big changes too, but his didn’t include a baby or Lyssa. Needless to say she is shocked when after a fourth failed invitro attempt she expected to be consoled, instead, he announces his need for space, walks out, and closes the door to their relationship. This wasn’t a temporary split….she had been dumped! And for Jake’s adventure seeking coworker that’s evidently perfect in every way and climbs Everest in her free-time. Lyssa decides, anything Neve can do, she can do better! If climbing a mountain is what Jake wants - she will climb the mountain, regain her man and live happily ever after.
After taking a leave of absence and making the necessary arrangements, she trades her stilettos for hiking boots and heads off for a month long trek that will bring her into the most remote villages of Nepal. Lyssa finds much more than she ever anticipated, for starters, her gorgeous, American tour guide Dean! During her journey of self-discovery, she begins to re-evaluate her priorities, as well as the direction of her life. For the first time she sees all that had been missing, not only from her relationship with Jake, but her life in general. Returning to Britain, she is filled with new found confidence, as well as, a bit of trepidation. For what began as an act of revenge had effected change in every aspect of her life, the enormity of which expanded her emotionally and culturally. Could she go back? Would she?
Developing the central character as part of the main plot line puts the reader at the table, as an invisible guest and can be a risky literary move. Yet, in Matthews capable hands, the story reads as if being shared between girlfriends over lunch, a true testament to the author’s imagination and ability to convey depth and dimension. The reader experiences a wide array of conflicting emotions throughout the novel. While in the beginning Lyssa appears weak and difficult leading you to feel empathy for Jake, this changes dramatically as facts are revealed. The journey presented by Matthews is entertaining and thought provoking, filled with everything an astute reader of contemporary romance could ask for. If you’re headed to the beach or just enjoy a good read on a lazy Summer Saturday, take this one “with you”!
Nora Roberts, (writing as J.D.Robb) has crafted a hard hitting, female detective series that consistently one ups itself and always finds a place at t...more Nora Roberts, (writing as J.D.Robb) has crafted a hard hitting, female detective series that consistently one ups itself and always finds a place at the top of the best seller charts and Visions In Death is no exception.
The year is 2059 and New York City Detective, Eve Dallas is called to Central Park to investigate the murder of Elisa Maplewood. Arriving in an expensive gown and heels, Dallas seems as out of place as the horrific scene she and partner, Detective Peabody pour over. Carefully and methodically they collect anything that could possibly lead to the apprehension of a suspect. The killer had gone to great lengths and taken unnecessary risks in order to stage the scene...the victim was displayed on the rocks near the lake, her hands posed as if in prayer, with a single red ribbon around her neck. Upon closer examination, Dallas discovers the most alarming, as well as, the most telling clue, the eyes had been removed with surgical precision.
When Celina Sanchez, a licensed, registered psychic offers to help with the investigation by sharing her disturbing and surprisingly accurate visions, Dallas is less than receptive to the idea. However, after an extensive background check and some cajoling, Dallas and Peabody pay Celina a visit at her home. During their conversation, Dallas presents the psychic with the ribbon from the crime scene, to which Celina has no reaction whatsoever. When the psychic continues to question why she was unable to connect, Dallas admits it was a fake, which upsets and impresses Celina tremendously. When the actual ribbon was retrieved from an evidence bag and given to Celina, she had an immediate and severe reaction, which surprised and alarmed the two seasoned detectives. Despite following up on all leads, exhaustive searches and Celina's visions, more bodies were discovered with the killer's grotesque signature.
Agreeing to an interview with the press was an unusual step for Dallas, however, she had a plan and reporter Nadine Furst had the means to put it into action. If this killer was motivated by a hatred of women, if he harbored feelings of male superiority, what better way to call him out of the shadows than to have women discussing his shortcomings on television. While Dallas was right about his reaction, she miscalculated the target of his rage. She had anticipated, as the lead investigator the killer would come after her, instead her partner, Detective Peabody was viciously and mercilessly attacked.
As visions of death become shocking crime scenes, Dallas must venture inside a killer's twisted mind to find what motivates him to do his dastardly deed. During the hunt for this psychopath, she is forced to deal with abuse issues from her childhood that she has spent a life-time trying to bury. The author takes the reader through an action-packed murder mystery, while at the same time personalizing the story through the growing bond between Dallas and husband Roarke, as well as, the relationship between Peabody and Dallas. The reader is given a glimpse into Eve's past and the issues that haunt her, motivate her and have shaped her strong, in your face personality. The characteristics that make her such a good cop are the very same traits that force her to keep everyone at arm length distance.
The twists and turns will keep you glued to your seat, trying to figure out who is behind this latest series of murders in the city that never sleeps. An excellent audio experience that I recommend to anyone that enjoys thrillers and mysteries. (less)
Ever wondered what it would be like to have it all? Of course, we all have…Karen Quinn’s novel, “Wife In the Fast Lane” provides a front row,...more3.5-3.75
Ever wondered what it would be like to have it all? Of course, we all have…Karen Quinn’s novel, “Wife In the Fast Lane” provides a front row, often harried view of the glamorous life, that to the average person seems far-fetched and outlandish, at best. Quinn invites us to sit back, relax and see the world from the platinum side of the coin for a few hours.
Christy Hayes knows the meaning of hard work and dedication, however, winning two Olympic gold medals did not prepare her for the cut-throat world of commerce. As founder and acting CEO of Baby G, an athletic shoe company, Christy needed to reinvent herself to look the part. Following the advice of her best friend and Baby G’s second in command, Katherine, she moves to an apartment, with the “right address,” a new wardrobe and haircut complete the transformation from athlete to successful athletic company owner. Well, superficially anyway…Christy is a beautiful, strong woman, but her lack of education and inexperience force her to rely on Katherine more and more.
Christy joins countless high profile, money makers and trend setters in Davos, Switzerland. Famous for hosting the annual World Economic Forum and global political and business elites, she looks forward to rubbing elbows with and learning the secrets of successful CEO’s. Christy is a fish out of water and finds herself star-struck at every juncture, especially with the gorgeous, media mogul, Michael Drummond. An evening of talk and sipping champagne and it is obvious Christy is in love. This whirlwind marriage creates a corporate power couple that would make others green with envy. Even with help at home from Maria, Christy’s maid and dear friend, she is unable to keep up with the demands of being CEO. So, she unwittingly turns the reigns over to her best friend, which plays right into Katherine’s diabolical plan to oust Christy from Baby G.
When Maria dies unexpectedly, Christy honors her friends’ last wish and adopts her 11 year old granddaughter, Renata. She soon discovers that cut-throat, backstabbing isn’t confined to the executive board room, there’s trouble brewing everywhere… It seems a newspaper reporter wants to have more than her eyes on Michael and the PTA leader of the private school where Christy enrolled Renata is bordering on psychotic.
From the Upper East Side of Manhattan to the luxurious village of St. Tropez, to the resorts of Aspen and Davos, readers will journey to glamorous locales, meet outrageous characters and laugh out loud more than once. Although the central theme is balanced atop a heap of coincidences which may be difficult for some, this is a good read, with light, quick wit, a few shadowy characters to add just enough shadiness to have you cheering for Christy and talking aloud, as you try to warn her of things to come. So, if you’re reading this one on a plane, subway or train don’t be surprised if, from time to time you catch the other passengers looking at you quizzically…You would do the same if the person in the seat next to you was having a conversation with their book.
I recommend “Wife In the Fast Lane” to anyone who enjoys a book that’s simply a lot of fun to read! Quinn’s quiet style and evocative characters delivers a truly distinctive reading experience. With only two novels to her credit readers are in for a real treat as she hones her craft and continues to develop that extra special something that defines a novel as a Karen Quinn original. I am on board for the long ride and anxiously await her next novel!
Inspired by the eloquent, yet deeply disturbing Greek tragedies of long ago, Blood of Paradise, is a dark novel, penned by one of today’s most passionate writers. David Corbett’s third novel, shines an unflinching and unapologetic light into the backrooms and back-alleys, corporate boardrooms and finally, the lofty and corrupt offices of the politicians sworn to serve and protect.
Whether defined or haunted by, his late father’s choices, Jude McManus left Chicago and joined the Army. He now provides protection services for high profile executives in El Salvador. Assigned to guard Axel Odelberg, an American hydrologist, hired to evaluate the effects a proposed bottling plant expansion may have on local water supplies. The powers that be expect a “rubber stamp report”, and will go to any lengths to ensure both favorable findings and total silence.
A brilliant liar and master manipulator, Bill Malvasio knew Jude McManus was an easy target. Exploiting his father’s memory and using their friendship as a base, Malvasio spun a story filled with half truths. He explained to Jude that an old warrant prevented him from returning to the US. He asked Jude to escort the ex-cop, Phil Strock (the third member of his father’s disgraced trio) back to El Salvador. While not entirely certain of Malvasio’s intentions, Jude agrees.
However, he soon realizes all is not what it seems, as he finds himself in the eye of life-threatening storm fueled by greed and maintained through violence. The true extent of the danger slowly becomes apparent as the Salvadoran mob flexes its’ muscle, ordering the murder of a female villager that complained her well was destroyed by the water project. Soon thereafter, an infant is kidnapped to guarantee her mother’s silence.
The characters are flawed, three dimensional and absolutely believable. Throughout the novel recognizing good and evil becomes more difficult, as the reader begins to question their own moral assumptions and attitudes. The plot and subplots work well together and often propel each other forward. Intricately layered and complicated, Corbett revs up the suspense and the stakes as the novel hurtles toward the conclusion.
With a practiced eye for detail, Corbett’s thoughts on the modern predicament are as insightful as they are chilling. Acknowledging the complexity of the politics and the difficult decisions being made by politicians, lends a realism to the novel, making it almost impossible to discern the line between fact and fiction. He weaves a myriad of seemingly disparate situations in the world - gang activity, terrorism, US foreign policy, corruption, murder, - into a seamless story that ties everything together. Exceptionally well written, with haunting depictions that capture both the beauty and the despair of a land and its people, which no longer seem so foreign or distant.
Powerful, shocking and thought provoking, Blood of Paradise is a challenging read that I would recommend to all who enjoy serious thrillers. For interested readers, Corbett included a dossier at the end of the book, describing the political atmosphere of El Salvador.
Happy Reading! RJ McGill 3Rs-Real Reader Reviews [http://rjscafe.wordpress.com] Personal Note: A dense and complex read, I often found myself returning to previous chapters to clarify the various aspects linking the characters. (A character list was an absolute necessity.) Also, I was frustrated by the use of undefined and obscure Spanish words that could not be interpreted by the surrounding text. Dark and disturbing, David Corbett’s passion is both refreshing and moving, so much so, I immediately checked out his 2003 release, “Done for a Dime” from my local library (less)
This is a MUST READ... It should be mandatory reading for high school - the creativity, the simplistic writing style is genius. Poe pulls you into the...moreThis is a MUST READ... It should be mandatory reading for high school - the creativity, the simplistic writing style is genius. Poe pulls you into the story, while making you question what is real .. What is just happening in the mind of the character. And there's a LOT happening in a short period of time. If you haven't read these do. If you have read them, read them again...some books are just that good.(less)
The chemistry between Raven and Dax is palpable ~ From the moment he forces her into a closet at the auction, to the swirling intensity of their first...moreThe chemistry between Raven and Dax is palpable ~ From the moment he forces her into a closet at the auction, to the swirling intensity of their first kiss, the reader is swept up into the story, like a leaf in a tornado! The author develops each as an individual, while continuing to bring them together, moving toward a confrontation with a killer and explosive intimacy. Both of which will leave the reader breathless and wanting more!(less)