Pieces by Julia Dudek Reviewed by Fran Lewis Author

January 11, 2010 at 12:51 am (mystery) (, , , , , , , , )


Pieces

 By Julia Dudek

Reviewed by Fran Lewis Author

Angelique Mc Court feels isolated in her own world and her own life. She has no friends, her parents are too busy to be part of her life and her career choice is one that she is unsure of. Living alone in her new apartment she feels happy that she will no longer have to share it with another medical student. But, her life was about to change forever when she comes home one and finds someone in her apartment. Bernadette was a timid, shy and insecure young girl whose parents sent her to New York to attend Bernard Medical School and become a doctor. Staying with Angelique little does Bernadette know that things were about to change for her and not for the better.

Angelique has a photographic memory. She can read an entire manual, textbook, map of a city and streets and remember then word for word after one reading. She does not have trouble remembering anything and faces and figures and entire medical books are easier recorded in her brain. But, Bernadette has to study and she and Angelique are total opposites and yet become best friends. Therefore making what happens all the more difficult and horrifying for Angelique.

When Winter Break comes Angelique encourages Bernie as she called her to go to a club and celebrate. This would be her last one. Leaving the club, Bernadette is brutally raped and murdered and the assailant leaving her memory totally devoid of the incident knocks out Angelique. But, the worst has yet to come. Into the mix we have Detective Ben Marsden whose job it is to solve the case but she us the only witness, Not thinking if the consequences to herself or anyone else, she ventures out twice into the night to revisit the scene of the crime and both times is followed by an unknown person. In the first incident the man is trying to help her but the second time, she is carrying a knife and while he attacks her the knife in her bag kills him and she shows no remorse at all.

Getting closer to the detective could prove dangerous as she unfolds a plot so diabolical that the reader will have chills run through them and shudder at what she plans to do. Avenging Bernadette’s death is her goal and going after an unknown assailant is her plan. Trying to piece together the memory of that night, Angelique goes in search of men who she feels deserve death. Going out in the middle of the night she tries to recreate in her mind the murder, seeing Bernadette’s face as she does and listening to a voice within her controlling her every thought and move. Revenge is the answer and she will get it at all costs. But, one man might stand in her way. Seeking vengeance and revenge for the murder of the best friend, her life takes a downward fall and her mindset drastically changes. How does this beautiful and bright beauty queen, with a photographic memory seek out the truth and hunt down a bloodthirsty killer, demon and where does she find him? As the anger, ire, rage and danger she encounters fill the pages of this thriller, Angelique creates a dangerous and heartless plan to hunt the killer, who is on the hunt for her. Her goal is to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that are hiding deep in the recesses of her memory and hopefully come out in order to solve the murder of her friend. Trying to enter the mind of this deranged killer, she becomes no better than him.

How far will someone go to protect the person that they care about the most? How much farther will Angelique go to avenge the death of her best friend? What happens when she meets Ben’s partner? Will she pay for her sins? The ending has a major twist that you will never see coming? Will she stay in Medical school or will she take a different road? Some of these questions are answered and others will be when Julia Dudek writes the sequel. This is her first novel and I can’t wait to read and review the next one.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

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The Last Ember by Daniel Levin Reviewed by Fran Lewis, Author

January 11, 2010 at 12:44 am (mystery) (, , , , , , , , , )


 

The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
Reviewed by Fran Lewis, Author

Imagine what would happen if there was someone who had the power to obliterate all of the records, information and history of a group of people. What would happen if everything about these people and contribution to history, culture, economy and more were totally wiped out? What would happen if at the center of this were several different groups each with their own private agenda. One group wants to erase any information or trace of Judaism and Christianity. One group wants to find out that a specific artifact belongs: the Italian Government or a local antiquities dealer. Another group wants to discredit the expert witness for the Italian government and return the map to their client.

Beneath the Coliseum in Rome there are many who are excavating the ruins to find a specific artifact. One is a man so dangerous that he would do anything, including murder to get at these ruins and find what he is looking for. Another is a corrupt police officer or carbineer that is working with the investigating officer to supposedly find out who is doing these illegal excavations beneath the Coliseum and destroying what remains below. One group is very methodical and the other totally destructive. One is lead by a police office that wants answers. The other is lead by a man called Salah-al-din who will stop at nothing and answers to no one.

This brings me to my review of The Last Ember by Daniel Levin. Jonathan Marcus is an antiquities lawyer working for a major firm. He is called to Rome to present evidence to the contrary that the two pieces of a map that have been found belong to the client his firm is representing and not to the Italian Museum.

What are they looking for and what is the reason for the illegal excavations will certainly surprise you and illuminate the meaning of the words found on the artifact when Jonathan looked at the 2 fragments of the map more closely: Titus’s Error. It all started with 2 stone fragments that were supposedly one to the Capitoline Museum. The Italian Cultural Museum stated that they were stolen and need to be returned. In the mix a preservationist who is investigating an illegal excavation in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount.

Flavius Josephus was a Jewish general who defended Jerusalem and was caught by the Romans. He handed over information to help them get through Jerusalem’s city walls. The question is whether he was a political realist or a murderous traitor.

These two fragments of the Forma Urbis cover the area of the Colosseum. Bumping into an old friend who is an expert in the Kabala, he soon learns from him that the inscription is from the Hebrew is a riddle. What do the daughter of the kind of Judaea, Aliterius as Jewish state satirist, Epaphroditus a published author and others have in common? What do sacred trees have to do with the illustration that they found? The last drawings found referred to a pagan image. Worshipping trees was a pagan ritual but that was not what they were all searching and looking for. Early monotheists altered the image of clay trees to look like a lamp with seven branches. If you read the Book of Exodus you will learn that what they were looking for was a menorah. The relief under the Colosseum is a direct reference to the menorah of the Temple’s inner sanctuary called the Tabernacle. They are all looking for the Tabernacle Menorah, which is the sacred lamp itself, which was fashioned by King Herod in 8 feet of sold gold and remained lit in the inner sanctum of the Temple of Jerusalem.

Here is where it gets really interesting. The Roman historian Procopius reported that Romans carried the menorah shoulder high through the streets of Rome. Next, one of their generals presents the menorah to a court in Constantinople. However, every city that possessed this sacred lamp has been left in ruins. First Jerusalem, Rome then Carthage were burnt to the ground. What does Flavius Josephus have to do with all of this? The picture shows the menorah but the dimensions are wrong and what they realize is that Titus did not have the real one. The Romans stole a fake and the menorah on the Arch of Titus is a copy? But how? The menorah stolen from Jerusalem over 2000 years ago was not the original in the first place and that was Titus mistake as referred to on the 2 fragments that Jonathan carefully inspected and his firm told him to forget he ever saw.

Salah ad-Din is digging under the Temple Mount in to find this menorah and extinguish its light or flame. Flavius Josephus had the real menorah all along and he was able to escape with it through a hidden gate carrying the ember. The last flame on the menorah’s westernmost branch. This lamp needed to be relit continually and never to burn out. The flame was an eternal flame that had special significance. Josephus was after the fire. The flame of the menorah is a perpetual fire and part of our modern traditions in our synagogues, churches and many other houses of worship to keep the sanctuary’s ark lit at all times. If one destroys the menorah than you destroy a people whose lineage and is a symbol of the eternal promise that “ Abrahams’ descendants would number like the stars of heaven and sands on the seashore.” Their bloodline would be eternal like the flame.

In all of this is another faction called the Waqf Authority, which is a Muslim Organization, which has been in charge of the Temple Mount with the same goal, to find and get the menorah and then destroy it? Their goal: erase the ancient history of Israel and destroy the Jewish people.

The author even deals with the strife and conflicts between Israel and the Muslim authorities regarding the excavations in the Temple Mount area. If the past can be erased so can Israel’s claim the land and to existence be questioned and erased too.

Even more complex is a corpse that was found by the police in an abandoned warehouse. Along with the body they found some old manuscripts related to Flavius Josephus. Comandandte Profeta dealt with recovering stolen antiquities. As he looked through the documents or parchments he saw orange, luminescent coils from an old space heater in a dented steel box and realized that something was not right. The documents were doused with a heat source and would explode. Before leaving the warehouse he did manage to get a fingerprint of the hand and a lock of the hair in order to try and identify the body.

Looking at the picture of the body and the warehouse he realizes that Professor Cianari was involved in some way and took the pictures. The location was the gladiator’s barracks, which was where the explosion had taken place.

This novel takes place in the course of one day and reverts back and forth between Emili and Jonathan and Chandler, to the police and of course Salah-ad-din and don’t forget the corrupt police officer who trying to them off the scent.

Illegal excavations, renovations in along the eastern wing of Saint Per’s in Chains church and this novel breathes intrigue, murder, suspense and a lot of history for the reader to understand and follow. What do the Maccabees have to do with this church and the Tabernacle Menorah and how does everything intertwine; you will have to read and find that out for yourself. Plus where does Josephus fit into the Maccabean heritage?

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Crossroads by Steven Nedelton Reviewed by Fran Lewis

January 11, 2010 at 12:37 am (spy) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Crossroads by Steven Nedelton

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

What if you had the ability to control someone’s actions and thoughts from a distance and they would be none the wiser? What if you could connect with another person from a distance telepathically and know what they were thinking, doing and what their inner-most thoughts were? What would you do if you were a major player in a government’s plot to find out the strategies of other countries at war and you were capable of controlling the outcome? You would be one of the major players in a groundbreaking novel that brings to light a very dangerous time in our history, The Cold War. For Mind Control and mind altering experiences frighten anyone into thinking: Who can you trust?

Is the Cold War over or just in another phase? Is Crossroads a novel way ahead of its time?  Those are the questions you have to answer for yourself after reading this novel…

Our world is full of curious eyes , as the saying goes–that is a given. Count on it even in your own loo, enclosed by four walls, a bare foot from your mirror, a few feet from your own bathtub. Think—is someone observing me right now? Am I truly alone? And you know something? You just might not be…

This novel is about spies and espionage for they were the main players in the Cold War game. These men and women, sometimes double agents, infiltrated the opposing secret services as well as their own, gained their confidences then stole their innermost secrets while spreading falsehoods and total confusion. 

Let’s meet them in our novel.

We have CIA agent Dave Tillman who is in charge of a group of men who are being trained in mind control methods and outer body experiences that would unable them to connect with someone from a distance and read and understand their thoughts. Dangerous, deadly and frightening  to say the least. The author enters the reader into a world most people are unaware of and unprepared for. 

Next, we have a Russian ‘agent-defector’ Mikhail.  A man sought by the Russians’ expert group for he is trained to spy on Americans. Tatiana, a woman in a powerful position in the KGB Directorate, is his control.

Then we meet Mme Benoit, a ‘double’ Mme Benoit. The Citizen Benoit who eventually discovers an agent can never be too comfortable in her position, never feel safe. What that meant for the good looking Benoit, you will have to read and learn for yourself.

Tatiana is a Russian doctor and a major player in this plot to find out what exactly the Americans are working on and how her former subordinate Mikhail is involved. She is also a seductress with hypnotic powers over her subjects, capable of erasing their thoughts, minds and controlling their every action and more.

Hypnotic mind control or mind controlled hypnosis: Do you believe in it?

Are you born with the ability to hypnotize someone and control their every thought and create situations for that person that they would follow your directions and wishes against their own will?

Tatiana did just that when she wanted a certain Colonel Volkov to forget everything he knew about Mikhail and his plan to eliminate him. She repeated the stunt with the Special Operations boss Sergey Sokolov. In this war or game, no one was indispensable and everyone’s life was on a thin tightrope, as thin or fragile as that of a spider’s web. 

Then there is an ex-cop, a hitman, hired by the Russians. The Director of Operations is killed, a photographer is murdered, a man is declared insane after going after Sokolov and then eliminated. What is going on? Some men are controlled by greed and others by a voice on the phone that hypnotizes them and paralyzes their very own will. What is the connection?

In Russia, a group of dissident leaders meet to discuss how to take down Gorbachev and regain control of their Communist Party’s ways and the people. But they don’t understand what is happening to the man leading them or what controls his mind and why are his opinions and ideals suddenly changing.

Then a young woman is murdered because she knows someone important? All of these lose ends and more will come together for you as you read more about a city that was once peaceful, sleepy and crime free, and known as Crossroads.

This book is mind stimulating and gives the reader reason to pause and think about what might really be happening behind closed doors when leaders of many countries have one goal and try to achieve it at all cost. Can this be happening under the watchful eyes of CIA, FBI and Homeland Security today as it did back during the Cold War?

What is the role of Project Sphinx? What part the mind controllers play in the plot to remove Gorbachev, in thwarting the coup you will have to read the book to find out? What finally happens to Tallman, Jack, Larry and Mikhail? What is the final fate of each of these brave men and others? Only the author knows and if you want to find out the unexpected ending with all its twists, turns and more, read this Five Stars novel from an author that I feel is equal to Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, Baldacci and other writers of exciting thrillers.

Fran Lewis:

Reviewer

www.SNEDELTON.com

 

Novels by Steven Nedelton:

Crossroads

The Raven Affair

Fear Factor

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