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Suspense

Wild Man’s Curse: A Wilds Of The Bayou Novel (Book 1) Susannah Sandlin

wmc“The bones said death was comin’,
and the bones never lied.”
 – Susannah Sandlin

“Morning, ma’am. I’m looking for Tommy Mason. Is he around?” Polite and professional, that was Senior Agent Broussard.
“Lord, what’s that no-good sonofabitch done now? Wait, you ain’t a cop; you’re a game warden. “What’d he do, run over a fish?”
― Susannah Sandlin, Wild Man’s Curse

The songs, the songs, of Bayou Country. Gator’s roar and painter’s scream. Moans of the wind through the cypress trees, the sibilant slide of a body into the water. Whether gator or fishin’ boat, or the sound of a body being slid over the side. Songs and scents – and always, life goes on. Until it doesn’t.

The bayou lives on, as it has always lived, private, dark and secretive. A mystical land where the boundaries between life and death are small. Where Catholicism resides side-by-side with hoodoo, Santaria nestles down with Southern Baptist, and one is just as likely to visit a traiteur as an M.D. She is ancient, unbending, the cycle of life personified. Don’t piss-off the Hoodoo Woman, the veves, or the houngan, for magic is real in the Bayou, and the bones, they never lie.

Eva Savoie knows all about the bone, about life and death . . . and she know, in her own bones, that old man Death is coming. So she cleans her house, scrubs her floors, and sits down to die. But the Savoies have never known the pleasure of a quiet death. And Eva’s is more painful, and bloodier, than any Sovoie before. The curse will have its due, just as it has for the last three generations of Savoies, for what her grandfather did all those years ago.

Gentry Broussard, un bon garde-chasse, a Senior Enforcement Officer for the Louisiana Depart of Wildlife and Fisheries, is the one who finds Eva’s body. He even catches a glimpse of her murderer – a murderer who is, or should be, a ghost. Now, he is on the hunt for a man dead four years, and what he finds may destroy not only his life, but that of Ceelie Savoie, Eva’s niece and heir. Heir not only to Eva’s property on Whisky Bayou, but to Eva’s ability with the bones.

“Its dying call is weak but clear
Yet it’s a plaintive voice I don’t want to hear.
I won’t go back,
I won’t go home,
‘Cause next time, Whiskey Bayou won’t let me go.”

Ceelie promised her daddy on his deathbed that she would escape, and never return. But ain’t life funny that way? Now Ceelie is back in the swamp. And it may be her blood Gentry wades through this time.

Admittedly, I am a HUGE Louisiana novel lover. My favorite author of all time for the stories of the bayous, swamps and small towns has always been James Lee Burke. His soulful renditions of the voice of the land touch the soul, drawing you into the land that time forgot, the land where the curtains of civilization fade away, leaving only the truth behind. Susannah Sandlin doesn’t quite have that soul-deep ability to draw you in, to allow you to close your eyes and smell the funk of brackish water, the sweet waft of water orchid. You don’t quite see the cypress in your mind, or hear the egret’s call. But she is close. The suspense is there, the respect for the peoples and culture of the South. I look forward eagerly to Black Diamond, the next in the Wilds of the Bayou series.

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Double Blind – Carrie Bedford – British Suspense

I just love “Freebie and low cost” book emails. You can find some wonderful things that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. This is the case with “Double Blind.” This is the second in the Kate Benedict series, and I will absolutely be going back to read the first.

“Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Double Blind: Kate Benedict Paranormal Mystery #2 (The Kate Benedict Series)

Feeling a need for a suspense novel, I flipped through my list of books that interested me on Kindle Unlimited, all found through one of my many book emails, and landed on this one. I am glad I did. Double Blind is filled with suspense, danger and a bit of a mystical tone that was just right for a lazy Sunday. Although this is the second in a series, I was able to catch on immediately to Kate’s situation and never felt lost or confused. I was intrigued, however, by glimpses into the previous story.

I would never want to be Kate Benedict. For you see, Kate has a secret. She can see auras around the heads of people who are slated to die – and die soon. So, imagine her shock and pain when she sees an aura around the top candidate for the position of British Prime Minister. She knows something terrible is going to happen. But what can you do, when you have no proof of danger except a mystical cloud no one else can see? She has to do something. But what? And when her best friend Anita, a surgeon, and Anita’s boss both develop auras as well, Kate is going to have to come “out of the closet” to her best friend – a scientist, who is determined that Kate needs psychiatric assistance instead of believing her.

There is action, suspense, and a very British turn-of-phrase in this novel, and I greatly enjoyed it. The writing is tight, the characters well-developed, and the storyline intriguing and very “ripped from the headlines” in a manner that kept me reading for much too long. Set in London, the writing painted pictures in my mind that left me fully satisfied with the reading experience.

All Good Deeds – Stacy Green is a Goddess . . .

A Personal Note:

I’ve been busy…  I have this huge technical edit I have been working on which is keeping me up all hours of the night, so I’ve hardly been able to read at all. I woke in the middle of the morning (after working all night) and couldn’t sleep, so I grabbed my reader. I was going for the lighthearted story on the menu, and accidentally chose this book instead. I would have put it back and chosen the lighter book – but the first paragraph grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go. I was hooked.

“I’m not a killer. Or a savior. I’m just one person trying to repair the broken scales of justice one jagged crack at a time.”

All Good Deeds won a bronze medal for ‘mystery/thriller’ at the 2015 IPPY Awards. In my mind, she deserved a gold medal. And a big gold medal from the whole freakin’ country for pushing this horrific issue out there in a novel that broke my heart and made me want to hug Stacy Green for being such a courageous woman.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled review.


 

All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1)

Lucy Kendall is a lot of things. Daughter of a self-absorbed mother. Younger sister to a suicide. Child Protective (Gack! Choke. Gag.) Services ex-employee. Private Investigator. Serial killer. And for the last one, more than anything else, Lucy Kendall is my hero.

You see, Lucy Kendall kills pedophiles. Pedophiles who have been run through the system, over and over, and gotten away with it. Who are still doing it. You see, pedophiles cannot be cured. Not gonna happen. For you see, pedophiles don’t think they are doing anything wrong. So, they destroy lives, souls. They rape and maim and destroy, and feel themselves justified. “Perhaps he felt he was born this way, or that he was entitled. But I doubted he spent hours agonizing over his choices. That’s not how his mind was geared.”

These are the people Lucy Kendall kills.

I cannot truly enunciate just how deeply I felt about this book. I loved it. True, Lucy is viciously torn about the work she does, no matter that she knows what she does is the right thing. The “system” certainly isn’t going to do anything about the monsters who creep through the dark. And with the advent of the Dark Web, well, being a pedophile is easier than it has ever been. Lucy knows that she can’t stop them all. But she can do her bit, no matter how small, to clean house in Philadelphia.

“There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘that person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do.” – Norm Chomsky

Lucy gave up when the young boy who she tried to keep in prison after he raped and slaughtered a little girl was released. He didn’t even have to register as a sex offender. He simply walked away, scot-free. Free to move into a neighborhood where children abound.

And now, little Kailey Richardson is missing. And things become more complicated, more horrific, than even Lucy can comprehend. Things fall apart. The center does not hold. And the more they fall apart, the more the flow of the past and the future blend and merge into whole new horrors.

Again, this book absolutely blew me away. In a small way, because I was abused as a child as well. But my abuse was mild compared to the horrors children these days are forced to endure. The fact that humans can do the things they do to children pretty much guarantees, to my mind, that there is no ‘god figure.’ If there is, the sick SOB is one twisted piece of work. And Lucy puts it well when she talks about death.

“It’s the nothingness. . . Whenever life ends, it just quits. We literally cease to exist. Every single one of us. . . . There’s no blackness, no tunnel, no sinking into oblivion. It’s literally nothing.

Lucy watched it happen. Watched the light go out. And felt the emptiness after. And, if they aren’t going to suffer in a Christian hell, well, Lucy will see that they suffer before the light goes out of their eyes. You GO, Girl!!!

Argh. Every time I think about the children out there, the ones who wind up in dumpsters or shallow graves, I despair. Especially when our police and courts can’t do a blasted thing about it. When eyes and minds are closed to the issue. Closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and going “La la la” isn’t going to make it go away. The one who sticks in my mind the most, who still gives me nightmares, is the little boy my police department found tied under a bedroom sink, battered, bleeding from brutal beatings and rapes, who had his penis wired off to keep it hard. He had been licking the dirt off the floor in an attempt to feed himself. Believe me, Lucy is doing a community service.

There are several books in this series about Lucy, the people who help her, and the cop who, well, read the darn book already!!! Then read the next, and the next. And maybe go volunteer for your local shelter. Maybe you too can save a child from a pedophile?

 

 

Review: A Cold War by Alan Russell #Bestof2015 #SuspenseThriller

“Nothing could be more heart rending than this mute and motionless dispair” – ― Émile Zola, Thérèse Raquin

“She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Despair. Horrible, gut wrenching, soul destroying despair. Nina Granville’s life has become a hell on earth unlike any most ‘normal’ people could ever understand. Fear so deep her bones ache with it. Because Nina is a captive. A captive of a monster in a land where ice, snow, and death are balanced on the head of a pin. Where the wrong breath, the wrong move, can mean immediate, or long, drawn-out death.

Captured and held in the wilds of Alaska by a sadistic monster, Nina is doing everything she can to survive, but the brutality is nearly unbearable, the psychological terror breathtaking. Nina is, very literally, in hell. A frozen hell, buried in ice and snow. Repeatedly raped, beaten and terrorized, she has little reason to continue living.

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run Cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGree.

The same poem. Over. And Over. And Over. The repetitive dirge, of a madman. No hope. No hope. . .

Until she finds Elese Martin. Or at least, Elese’s journal. Elise – the madman’s last victim. Elise suffered as Nina does now. The beatings. The rapes. The terror. Elise, who was held on for years. Who had, and lost, a child by the monster. Who made a plan.

Now, Nina needs to plan. To plan, to hope.

This book was, literally, heart wrenching. Alan Russell literally broke my heart with his writing. Nina’s pain, her struggle, was written so well I felt it. The story is incredibly well-written, well-paced and the characters and landscape feel so very real I could almost smell the smoke, the cold, the forests of Alaska. There are so many layers in the book, layers that I fell through as if through water, sinking into blackness.

It is an important story, an important book, with strength and depth. I can’t recommend it highly enough, but be ready to feel Nina’s and Elise’s pain, their desperation and despair. It is breathtaking, twisted, and amazing.

I received A Cold War from the publisher in an uncorrected proof. All thoughts are my own, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Strap in for the ride of your life.

Review: Missing by Randa Flannery #MissingPersons #MysterySuspense

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Rowan Is Brilliant. Brilliant on a level that Einstein didn’t approach, but Da Vinci may have shared. That kind of brilliance makes it hard enough to bond with ‘normals’ under the best of circumstances. Add in parents who saw her as an interesting experiment, homeschooling her and discouraging any outside hobbies, interest, or friends, and living a normal life is pretty much an impossibility of stunning proportions. But, when Rowan meets Lexi in college, her life changes. Lexi teaches her ‘social studies.’ How to talk to people. How to smile. How to have fun. How to be human.

But then, Lexi disappeared. And Rowen’s life was shattered. The pieces that Lexi had nurtured fell away, leaving the cold, precise, analytical Rowen behind. It hurts to be so broken. So, she analyzes. She analyzes at work, putting together business strategies for the customers of Hologram Security. She analyzes everything, researching, investigating, plotting and graphing everything that strikes her fancy. But especially missing persons, and Lexi’s disappearance. She even researches dating strategies when her friend, Farrah Lewis, whom she met in a support group for friends and family members of missing persons, asks. For six long years, ever since the day Lexi disappeared, Rowan has functioned like an analytical droid, living for her work, for her analysis. For the faint hope that one day she will find the thread that will bring Lexi back to her. Rowan is The Bloodhound, sniffing out facts and presenting them to her clients in the form of cold logic. Just as coldly logical as her life is lived.

And then one day, Harrison Briggs appears in her office. And all the pain comes rushing back. For Harrison Briggs is Lexi’s boyfriend. Was the last person to see her alive on that terrible day, when Lexi disappeared, and Rowan’s whole life imploded. Harrison Briggs, who has the gall to stand in front of her and swear that he didn’t attend Columbia. That he has never heard of Lexi. What kind of monster can do that? To stand in front of her and deny his relationship with the one person Rowan loved above all others? How Could He?

But things are even stranger than she thought. And what is true may very well cost Rowan her life.

I adored Rowan and her story. Mystery. Suspense. Convolutions. This a very well written, enjoyable book that kept me reading for way too long into the night. She is brilliant, but in such pain. Watching what has become of her psyche due to her parents cold scientific parenting is heartbreaking, and her ability to grow and change through the book gave me heart. Her search for her friend, and the pain of all family and friends of missing persons, is extremely well written. Highly recommended.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. This is Randa Flannery’s first book and I will be watching closely for her next.

 

Review: City Of Echoes by Robert Ellis #Thriller #PoliceProcedural #Suspense

25050652“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people” ― Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

“He felt his heart, which no longer beat, contract, and he wondered if there was anything in the world as painful as not being able to protect the people you loved.”― Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angels

Agony. Such an interesting word, with such an interesting origin. “Late 14c., “mental suffering” (especially that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane), from Old French agonie, agoine “anguish, terror, death agony” (14c.), and directly from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agonia “a (mental) struggle for victory,” originally “a struggle for victory in the games,” from agon “assembly for a contest,” from agein “to lead.” Now, it simply means, Extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.” Yes. Interesting.

Matthew Trevor Jones knows all about agony. His father walking out the door. His mother dying of cancer when he was twelve. His father refusing to accept, or even acknowledge his existence when he had no place else to go. A stint in Afghanistan. And now? Now, on this day, the day before his first day with Hollywood Homicide, he knows the agony of losing his friend, his brother in arms in the Sandbox. The man who pulled him away from all that was wrong with his life on his return from that dark and brutal place of guns and death. Away from his memories. The brother who got him started on the path to where he is today. Detective Kevin Hughes is dead, taken down in a blaze of bullets on his way to meet Matt, to celebrate his promotion. A bloody, blasted shell.

“At the end of the day it’ll come down to this: Kevin and I were brothers in arms. We fought the good fight and somehow both of us were lucky enough to come home. He had my back, and now I’ve got his.”

““Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?” – ― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

Agony.

And as the case turns and twists, layers of deceit and lies, hidden meanings and horrific realizations come clear. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing is real, but at the same time too brutally real to be believed.

Betrayal.

It all comes down to betrayal. The past and present are melding, and the threads of Matt’s life are starting to unravel.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
– W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

 This is the first time I have read Robert Ellis, but it won’t be the last. As much as I loved the book, there are certainly some who won’t. Ellis’s voice is harsh, nearly brutal in its ability to strip off the shiny layers, the bright and distracting gaudy bits, leaving the harsh truth behind, lying like the broken body of a child upon the sand.

“It hung there, all of it, in the candlelight and in the shadows, and on a night in late October when the dry wind howled.”

This is noir style detective thriller writing at its best and most complex. Beneath the shiny surface of Hollywood lies a dark and festering heart – and Ellis writes it like it is.

I received City of Echoes from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you like my review, please do me the favour of letting me know by clicking “Like” on GoodReads, and on Amazon after it is published. I really appreciate it!

 Publishing September 1, 2015 by Thomas & Mercer

 About The Author

Robert  EllisRobert Ellis is the international bestselling author of “Access to Power”, “The Dead Room”, and the critically acclaimed L.A. Times bestseller “City of Fire”, “The Lost Witness”, and “Murder Season” – selected as top reads by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, National Public Radio, The Chicago Tribune, The Toronto Sun, The Guardian (UK), The Evening Telegraph (UK), People Magazine, USA Today, and The New York Times. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages, are read in more than thirty-five countries, and are available in audio and all digital formats. Born in Philadelphia, Robert moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a writer, producer, and director in film, television, and advertising. Robert studied writing with Walter Tevis, author of “The Hustler”, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, and “The Color of Money,” and with his friend, John Truby, screenwriter and author of “The Anatomy of Story.” His books have garnered praise from a diverse group of authors including Janet Evanovich’s wonderful review in People Magazine. But perhaps Michael Connelly said it best: “‘City of Fire’ is my kind of crime novel. Gritty, tight and assured. Riding with Detective Lena Gamble through the hills of Los Angeles is something I could get used to. She’s tough, smart, and most of all, she’s real.”

Review: Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” – Robert Fulghum

This dream was worse, So. Much. Worse. Than all the others. Horrifying, bloody, savage. And the worst part?

It was true.

Solina’s brother is dead, torn apart by a wolf-like creature. A monster who talks. Who thinks, and plans, and has yet another goal.

Kill Solina. Eat her alive.

A baker by trade, an introvert by nature, Solina Mundy is pulled to Alaska where her beloved twin met his end. Ostensibly, to gather her brothers things and close down his apartment. Realistically? To find out what really happened to her brother. Everyone is hiding things. Everyone apparently knows things she doesn’t. And they have no intention of telling her anything – or of helping her in any way. Go Home, Little Girl. Nobody wants you here.

Like. Hell. Solina is afraid, sure. She is, by nature, passive. A homebody who spends her time working in her parent’s bakery, kowtowing to their every wish. She has always left her twin, Mani, to be the adventurous one, the one who allowed her to live vicariously through his actions. But now, Mani is dead, and Solina is meeting obstacles every way she turns. Mani’s boss, Thorin, is a cold, unwielding jerk, belittling and demeaning in word and action. Val, on the other hand, is a Player, in all forms of the word. He was Mani’s best friend, and helped Solina though the first few months after Mani’s death. But now that she is there, she finds that he is more like a bull moose in rut than a real friend, and no matter how she tries to keep him in the friend zone, he keeps pushing, pushing, pushing. No respect there, only a single-minded determination to drag her into bed, no matter the pain it brings Solina when she comes to realize that he only wants to screw, not to be real friends. Val, the “Patron Saint of the Perpetual Erection.” Sigh. What a jerk. When she needs a friend as much now as she did when Mani died. Possibly even more.

Then, Solina meets Skyla. A former Marine and one tough cookie, Skyla is the woman Mani loved. And she loved him as well, with all her heart. She isn’t about to let his death go unpunished. And if helping Solina will help her meet that goal, she is all over it. Sol and Skyla quickly become close friends. Which is all to the positive, as the world begins to blow up around them.

You see, Solina and her twin are more than they ever could have expected. And if their enemies have anything to say about it, Solina will die as her brother did, ripped apart by a monster. And then?

And then, the world will burn.

This book is amazing. Really amazing. It delves into a mythology I have read very little about, and I found that incredibly refreshing. I don’t want to give things away – whatever I say will cause spoilers, and as I know my review will be one of the first ones out there, I don’t want to ruin it for other readers. Suffice it to say that it is a wonderful pleasure to watch a woman like Solina, an introverted woman who never even raised her voice in the past, much less her hand in anger, grow into someone who is learning to embrace her own power. This isn’t a Mary Sue “I was just a normal person and now I magically kick backside” sort of story. Solina takes the pain and gets up, over and over again, learning the whole way, making mistakes, and suffering for it. She isn’t stupid – far from it. Those around her, except for Skyla, treat her like she is worthless – though the whole world, and their own survival, balances upon her staying alive. Their dismissal of her Ticked. Me. Off. Which makes it even more fun when she takes their dismissal and slowly, but surely, turns it back on them.

This is, I deeply and profoundly hope, the first of a series. The book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, per se. But there is plenty of room for the story to continue. My only problem? Now I have to WAIT for the next one!!! Sigh. That is going to be MASSIVELY difficult!!!

I Highly recommend this book for those of you who enjoy a well written modern day Fantasy with a mythology you certainly haven’t read much on before (if any), well-developed female characters (yes, with an ‘s’ – there are several well developed characters here, even if one of them makes me want to slit her throat and watch her eyes dim to empty black), a creative story line and wicked good thrills.

Midnight Burning was received from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. I will have the next in the series on my Must Have list – I enjoyed it that much.

If you like my reviews, please choose “This review was helpful” on Amazon, or whichever site you visit to purchase your books. The authors will appreciate it, as it draws more attention to my reviews! Thank you!!!

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Review: Destiny by Tom Lowe

Destiny | [Tom Lowe]“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” – Isaac Newton

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. — Abraham Lincoln

There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. — Noam Chomsky

“There is no denying that Hitler and Stalin are alive today… they are waiting for us to forget, because this is what makes possible the resurrection of these two monsters.” – Simon Wiesenthal

Isaac Newton. Arguably the greatest scientist who has ever lived, and some say the greatest who will ever live. Newton’s time was as unique as him – a time of great learning living alongside the darkness of ignorance, brutality and savage poverty – often encouraged by a church that held down the populace with the whip of superstition.

Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night: God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light.
Alexander Pope.

 A brilliant scientist, without a doubt. But what could he have accomplished if he hadn’t spent thousands of hours, thousands of pages, on superstition?

* * *

Paul Marcus is a broken man. His wife and young daughter were murdered on the side of a dark, rainy road, Paul barely surviving a bullet and knife. His family slaughtered, he retreats from his work at the NSA. A brilliant mathematician and cryptographer, Paul leaves it all behind to spend time on his farm with his wife and daughter’s horses and the family dog Buddy. It is a quiet life, not truly fulfilling mentally, but he simply can’t force himself to return to his old life.

Suddenly, Paul finds himself forced back into the world. And all hell breaks loose. The newest Nobel Laureate in Medicine, he has no interest in accepting a prize he is being offered for decoding the portions of human DNA that controls a particular heart disease – a disease his daughter suffered. It didn’t save her – nothing could have, not when a bullet tore her life away. But the President of the United States is up for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it just wouldn’t look good for him if Paul refuses to accept the award.

Then he receives a telephone call that could change not only his own life, but the lives of every being on earth. Isaac Newton’s studies into the Bible have been found. But what do they mean? Are they the ramblings of a man so determined to find meaning where none exists that he is jousting at shadows? Or are the hundreds of thousands of words he wrote truly a window into the thoughts of god, and a warning of a coming Armageddon?

To be honest, I didn’t really think, once I figured out what the story was truly about, that I would be able to tolerate it, much less enjoy it. Was I ever completely and utterly wrong. 17 hours and 35 minutes of narration by Mikael Naramore and I was totally immersed in the story the whole time. Yes, parts of it made me smack my forehead and growl. The Bible was written by humans, rewritten and translated over and over through many languages – Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, the list goes on and on, portions left out that didn’t conform to the church’s current thought processes, power struggles or intentions. Anything that might have been learned has long since been lost. But Newton was absolutely certain that the Bible was truly the word of god, and his findings would save the world.

Called to Jerusalem to interpret the papers and decode the work, he finds himself drawn into a world of intrigue, international espionage and murder, and shocking (horrifying) views into world politics and plots going back to the Nazi regime – and then further back to the 16th century. Plots that feed the fortunes of a select few families with intentions of ruling the world – and plans to destroy the very world that cradles us all. All. For. Money. Well, and power, we can’t forget power. Power beyond anything any rational human being could possibly realize.

I was completely enthralled by the amount of research that went into this book. It was, in a word, amazingly well researched and thought out. History, politics, finance, it’s all there, and all captivating. I could rattle on and on, but I will leave it for you to find for yourself. Well worth all 17 hours 36 minutes!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. Highly recommended if you are prepared to open your mind to it.

    • Written by: Tom Lowe
    • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
    • Length: 17 hrs and 35 mins 
    • Unabridged Audiobook
      Whispersync for Voice-ready

Review: Dark Prayer by Natasha Mostert

Non omnis moriar: I shall not altogether die. – Horace, Odes 3:30

What if we’re all like that? Like ghosts … in someone’s mind … gradually fading … fading … until finally … one day … we just disappear … drift into nothingness. Wouldn’t that be sad? – Walter Wykes, Fading Joy

“Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel says we are who we are because of what we learn and what we remember. Who am I, then, if my memory is impaired?” ― Mira Bartok, The Memory Palace

 

She calls herself Eloise Blake. Though not the first line of the book, it is the first line of the story. The story of a girl, a girl named Eloise Blake. But Eloise has only been Eloise for the past two years. For before that, Eloise was Jenilee Gray. Lovely, sweet Jenilee who loved the colour peach and liked pansies and sweet peas. Who was soft and gentle, and the ward of a very rich man, Daniel Barone.

“The man is a genius—of the Stephen Hawking kind. But two decades ago he dropped out of academic research almost overnight.”

How odd. A neuroscientist, trying to identify the memory molecule, his work was decades ahead of the Sackler Lab and their work on the identification of PKMzeta. A huge breakthrough – but he simply walked away. Why? And is what happened then somehow related to what is happening now to Jenilee/Eloise, who one day walked out of a restaurant and completely disappeared from London?

“The last he saw of her, she was talking on the restaurant’s public telephone, looking agitated and holding a sheet of paper in her hand. . . Mr. Barone thinks this may be when she lost contact with her identity.”

John Boyne said, “There’s things that happen in a person’s life that are so scorched in the memory and burned into the heart that there’s no forgetting them.” But that is not actually true. For Jenilee/Eloise is in a fugue state – she remembers nothing of her previous life of privilege, living in what amounts to a squat, living for parkour, or in her case, “free running”. And because of Eloise’s obsession with free running, Jack Simonetti, bon vivant, spoiled little rich boy, is ordered to London to use his free running skills to track her movements, assure her safety, and, hopefully, return her to the persona of Jenilee Gray. Of course, if Jenilee returns, Eloise will be gone forever. And the longer Jack knows Eloise, the more he realizes that she may actually be the ‘true’ persona. . .

On the day she disappeared she drove into London to visit a solicitor who had contacted her about an envelope that was left her by her mother and date-stamped for release that day.

What is so horrific as to cause Jenilee to become Eloise – for her fugue state to last so long? What was in the envelope? And what is really going on – because there is more, much more. Something happened, all those years ago, when five people began a quest, a quest which left one of the group in a wheelchair and another – Jenilee’s mother– murdered, while two others came to know success beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. One of them Jack’s father, Leon Simonetti. A man without compassion, a man with secrets of his own. Secrets which may have left one young woman completely (irretrievably?) lost.

“There is a goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne; but none of Forgetting. Yet there should be, as they are twin sisters, twin powers, and walk on either side of us, disputing for sovereignty over us and who we are, all the way until death.” ― Richard Holmes

Once upon a time there was a group of five, The Order of Mnemosyne, all brilliant, all experts on memory. . .

Once students sat at the feet of their teachers – Anaxamander and Parmenides, Anaxagoras and Xenophanes. I sit at the feet of Natasha Mostert – not so much as a ‘teacher’ but as an author. I said, in my review of Season of the Witch:

I was again pulled into the deep waters of the mind, the dark corners of the soul. And once more, I was enthralled by Ms. Mostert’s grasp of language, her ability to paint a picture with words upon the page.

Now, she reaches deeper, wider, further. Are we, and our memories, becoming shallow, increasingly incapable of internalizing knowledge? Natasha has once more done meticulous research, delved into the world of medieval memory palaces, and expanding them into the modern world, complicated renditions of our memory palaces, “replete with galleries, endless staircases, passages turning in on themselves, Escher-esque tessellations and infinite loops; rooms within rooms and inside them grinning gargoyles, oblique symbols and images of dark beauty.”

As always, Natasha has created these very oblique symbols, images of dark beauty and pain, and a heartrending tale of the palaces of science – and the darkest depths of the search for the memories of god.

We thought . . . we might even be able to look upon the face of God. Mnemosyne was a prayer.”

“A dark prayer. Worth any sacrifice”?

“Would you say it is worth the sacrifice of a child?”

I received Dark Prayer from the publisher in return for a realistic review. Natasha Mostert writes beautifully, with a depth of knowledge and empathy that makes her work beautiful and compassionate, painful and horrifying in equal measure. She is a great storyteller of depth and knowledge, and I completely adore her works. Highly recommended, as always.

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