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Review: The Brothers Cro-Magnon by Roger Pepper

The Brothers Cro-Magnon

We’re all clay, created by evolution and molded by life on Earth.” – Dr. Stu Uhlig, The Brothers Cro-Magnon

“The tissue cut clearly shows blood vessels with strong walls. Inside the vessels there is haemolysed blood, where for the first time we have found erythrocytes. Muscle and adipose tissues are well preserved. We have also obtained very well visualised migrating cells of the lymphoid tissue, which is another great discovery. The upper part of the carcass has been eaten by animals, yet the lower part with the legs and, astonishingly, the trunk are very well preserved.” – Viktoria Egorova, chief of the Research and Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory of the Medical Clinic of North-Eastern Federal University

 

She was thrown away like trash. A simple Neanderthal woman, she was gang raped – probably by the new dominant species to come along, the Cro-Magnon. Modern man’s predecessor – and just as vicious. They finished with her, then they threw her into a crevasse where she died and froze, the sperm of her rapists frozen on her thighs. We can’t, of course, know what her name was, or if she even had one. So they called her Galine – God Has Redeemed. Her rape, her cold and lonely death, were not the last of the indignities heaped upon her. No. Bureaucracy had the dubious pleasure of heaping ignominy upon her poor corpse. They burned her. Ah well, maybe that is for the best. To be placed in a glass case and stared at by the ignorant and unwashed would perhaps have been even worse. But the last, the worst humiliation of all?

Some of the sperm is alive. It is viable.

And it has been used for insemination.

What could possibly go wrong?

Now Catherine “Corky” Mason is in Khatanga, right up near the North Pole. Quite a change from her last ten year posting in the Middle East. Which is worse? Heat exhaustion and sand in your panties, or freezing the skin off your body in 90 below with a stiff wind? Seeing as how her luggage is lost in Moscow, well, you get the picture.

In Khatanga at the urging of her editor at the New York Herald, Corky is theoretically on A threatened Northern spotted owl in a fresh clear-cut.vacation, but she is also there to write a story about the cloning of a perfect mammoth specimen retrieved from the Siberian ice. The actual request came from a “crazy” Russian paleontologist named Zuyev. A man who has an unhealthy interest in Corky – an interest that soon turns deadly. For Zuyev is convinced that Corky is the only sister of four very special brothers; Cro-Magnon brothers, born from the sperm of Galine’s rapists. Brothers who have a lot in common with their sadistic sperm donors. The hubris of man, the reach for glory, for fame, for ones name to carry through the centuries. But to what effect?

Cro-Magnon skeleton
Photo courtesy of Sciencephoto.com Yes, the Cro-Magnon people buried their dead.

The Brothers Cro-Magnon  has its plusses and minuses. I was absolutely captivated by the concepts of the story. The work on the Vindija-80 (Vi-80) sample led to the first viable steps in unraveling Neanderthal genomics. Today, the Neanderthal genome is an abstract string of billions of DNA letters stored in computer databases”. But that doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. As for the mammoth cloning? In May of 2013 scientists from the Siberian Northeastern Federal University unearthed an absolutely amazing find. On Maly Lyakhovsky Island they found the corpse of a mammoth in the permafrost. A An autopsy of the huge creature - nicknamed Buttercup - will be shown in a Channel 4 documentary later this monthcorpse which, “During excavations, the carcass oozed a dark red liquid that may have been fresh mammoth blood. In fact, the mammoth meat was reportedly fresh enough that one of the scientists took a bite of it.” The female mammoth, nicknamed Buttercup, lived about 40,000 years ago. And she was so well preserved, she actually bled.

So, Roger Pepper has his science pat, though a bit ahead of its time. What bothered me, what always bothers me, is the rough, very rough, editorial work. It would have been much better if the prose was tightened up, and especially if the continuity, logic and flow were handled by a good editor. It was frustrating and dragged me out of the story more than I like. Otherwise? A solid entry into the pseudoscientific. A worthwhile read for anyone who finds the subject matter interesting.

About The Author:

Roger Thomas Pepper

Roger Pepper is the author of three novels, The Brothers Cro-Magnon, When Ice Ran Red and Davide, which are listed on Goodreads, and can be viewed on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDkXV…

Now a mainstream author, he withdrew from a successful career in science to follow his lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist. An Associate of the British Institution of Metallurgists, Roger went to postgraduate school at Manchester University in the United Kingdom, where he was awarded his Ph.D.

Roger is the coauthor of a patent on the development of the metal composite material used for the antenna of the Hubble Space Telescope. He began writing in his spare time while serving as the Director of Research of an Aerospace Materials Company in the United States.

His memoir, My Father The Viking, won 3rd Prize in the 2006 Linda Joy Myers Memoir Competition of the National League of American Pen Women, a competition open to published and unpublished works. He received an Honorable Mention for an earlier version of the first 50 pages of the The Brothers Cro-Magnon from a contest run by the Speculative Literature Foundation.

Roger is a member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the New Hampshire Writers Project. He is a co-organizer of the Portland Writers Group (350 members), and the host of their monthly evening writing workshops. Tess Gerritsen acknowledged him in her bestselling medical thriller, Harvest, for providing research materials.

With friends from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Roger hiked in the Austrian and Italian

Alps, traveled in France and Israel, and trekked in the Kangchenjunga and Annapurna Himalayan regions of Nepal, the Tien Shan [mountains/Mountains] of the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.

He now writes full time and lives in Maine.

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Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

Review: Pinked – J. C. Mells

PINKED BC3Take a pinch of Othello, throw in a heaping handful of Mildred Pierce and a big splash of Jack Kerouack. Serve with a blast of What It’s Like by Everlast. Stir well and serve with a side of desperate hope. Just read it.  – Me.

These were my final words in my review of Pierced the first volume in J. C. Mells Pierced series. I raved and carried on about Pierced – it’s depth, storyline, amazing characters and creative twists. I loved it, and I hope you got a chance to love it too.

The second volume of the series, Pinked is out now, and it does not disappoint.  J. C. reaches deep in Pinked, expanding upon an already fascinating character, reaching deeper into her psyche, and twisting her life beyond anything she ever imagined it could be.  Pinked shows yet again that, though she may have lived through horrifying perversions, she still has an ability to not only survive, but to thrive in circumstances that would warp a weaker person’s soul.

Things are moving fast for Pierce, in ways she never would have expected. Life, family, tragedy, its all here with a vengeance.  As if life wasn’t hard enough for Pierce, even her DNA has changed, as Lucas has been forced to change her in order to save her life. Now, Lucas looks back at what led up to Pierce’s change, and what it means not only for Pierce, but for himself and the rest of his extended family. Can Lucas learn to get past his self-hatred, his fear of his wolf and the need of those around him for him to step up and accept his place as Alpha?

The story cranks up fast, and blasts into a race against time. Action, adventure, mystery, fantasy, suspense, it is all here. Just as Pierced was, Pinked is wonderful and complete, with a raw brutality that sucks in the reader, keeping you on the edge of your seat and drawing you into a world so very like our own, and yet so very strange.  Once again, you are in for a book of depth and character I haven’t seen since, well, since Pierced!

Highly recommended with a bullet!

Review: Beneath The Veil – by William McNally

Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much, but that’s how life is.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

 I never realized before there were so many ways to die. So many ways to kill people. Why are there so many deadly weapons?

Clapp rubbed his lip and looked down at her. “Listen, Miss Gilbert. I’ve come to figure that man is the only deadly weapon. Take a gun. It’s an absolutely harmless thing—even makes a good honest paperweight—until some man gets his hands around it. You can strip a gun down to its basic parts and it’s lost its power. You can reduce a man to his chemical elements, but you’ve always got the spirit of whatever you call it left. And that spirit will find some damned way to do evil.
Wade Miller, Deadly weapon

————

Beneath the Veil Cover
Click cover for the GoodReads page.

There are secrets. Secrets hidden between the darkness of the world and the darkness of the human soul Secrets wander amongst the lost, where only the dead are truly free. Secrets live within the darkness, sucking away the human soul, leaving a shell of nothing but horror.

Barry Ryan is learning about secrets. His personal secret, that he is dying of an inherited disease. The bigger secret, hidden under layers of history, that there is something strange, very strange, about his family and where he came from. An adopted child, Barry has done well in his life. A famous sculptor, Barry has friends, a career, and an adoptive family that loves him. But with only a familial match capable of giving him the marrow transplant he needs to survive, Barry must return to his roots, return to the shadows of the past – the shadows and secrets of a place called Auraria.

With his sister, and her boyfriend, Barry begins his trip to Auraria. And thus begins a trip to Hell. But a Hell of whose creation? Layers of lies and superstition and death fill the pages of “Beneath the Veil.” I was immediately drawn into the story, as reality becomes merely a memory. As truth and physics and geography twist and turn upon themselves, into a horror no longer dreamed, but lived.

The story itself was well written and convincingly frightening. The characters themselves are believable, though they could have been a bit better ‘fleshed out’ in my opinion, though some would say that doing so would cause the story to drag a bit. To each their own.  The author doesn’t lead you by the hand through the book, you must come to some of your own conclusions, and this is not a book tied up in a tidy little bow at the end. It is, however, extremely creative, and, for a horror novel, ended in a deeply thoughtful manner. Overall, I found there were some small missteps, but I am quite comfortable with my rating. If you are a lover of horror, mystery, or thrilling ghost stories, this is most certainly going to interest you.

Recommended.

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