BOOK REVIEW: THE ANCIENT NINE

THE ANCIENT NINE by Ian Smith is based on his time as a Harvard student in the 1980s.  Readers might think of a fraternity, where male students rush to join, in this case it is called “punched.” As with fraternities there is hazing, sexism, and underage drinking. But these “final clubs” are not fraternities but are actual secret societies that have been in existence since the 1700s, with many of the rules of its members very archaic. This conjures up a story of what Brad Meltzer might write. Harvard University conjures up images of a very prestigious and exclusive school whose acceptance rate is only 5.2% of its applicants. Within the...

REVIEW OF JUNKIE LOVE by JOE CLIFFORD

JUNKIE LOVE is a very difficult book to review. Originally published in 2013, it is less an autobiography and more a stylized account of author Joe Clifford’s last year of being homeless and battling drug addiction in San Francisco. Primarily set in and around the San Francisco area, JUNKIE LOVE tells the story of Clifford’s quick decent from New England-bred rock-and-roll hopeful, to 9-5 printshop office worker and nighttime party animal, to homeless shooting gallery resident. It’s a shocking fall made all the more brutal due to the fact that it’s told without remorse or regret. Make no mistake: at the time this story takes place, the next...

REVIEW OF THE SOUND OF DISTANT THUNDER

THE SOUND OF DISTANT THUNDER by Jan Drexler presents a unique look at the Amish society.  This first in a series uses the backdrop of the Civil War as the characters struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires with the national interest. Jan Drexler brings an understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. She takes the saying, “write what you know,” to a whole new level. She commented, “My ancestors were Amish.  Also, I lived in Indiana and they were part...

REVIEW of BURNING RIDGE

BURNING RIDGE (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Book 4) Margaret Mizushima Crooked Lane Books Sept 11th, 2018   BURNING RIDGE by Margaret Mizushima is a fast-paced and engrossing police procedural.  It features Matti Cobb and her K-9 German Shepherd partner Robo, which makes these stories appealing to not only those who enjoy mysteries, but also to animal lovers. Having done her homework, the author spoke with and shadowed those that train dogs.  “I have a friend who retired from training tracking dogs.  She allowed me to watch her train for tracking and evidence detection.  I was inspired by her to write about a female canine handler.  In fact,...

BOOK REVIEW THE HAZARDS of GOOD FORTUNE

The Hazards of Good Fortune Seth Greenland Europa Editions August 21st, 2018 The Hazards of Good Fortune by Seth Greenland explores why society is less forgiving today than in the past and relies too much on the court of public opinion. He delves into the issues of race, religion, and how they are intertwined. Greenland wanted to write a story centered around “a New York real estate mogul that takes some events of Donald Sterling’s life.  I thought Sterling got everything he deserved, but it did make me think.  I actually had a character before I had a story, knowing that I wanted to write about someone tried and convicted before he had his...

REVIEW OF PEARL #1

Jinxworld/ DC Comics October 2018   After more than a decade of working exclusively with Marvel Comics, Brian Michael Bendis’s move to rival DC Comics earlier this year proved to be a seismic shift in the pop culture landscape. Bendis not only had a massive impact on the four-color pages of Marvel comics with lengthy runs on Daredevil, the Avengers, and Ultimate Spider-Man, but also the creation of the Miles Morales Spider-Man and ex-super-hero/current PI Jessica Jones. But while Bendis was creating havoc with Marvel’s company-owned characters, he was also continuing his love of crime stories in the pages of his creator-owned Jinxworld...