a season for redemption – Ronald S. Barak, Author

January 31, 2011 at 12:08 am (Uncategorized)

a season for redemption – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Thwap. Thwap. Mmm, the silencer worked great.  In one clean move, he pocketed his gun and caught her before she fell to the ground.  He also managed to get her keys, open the door, and quickly get the two of them inside the townhouse.  He set he down.  No pulse.  He went back outside, turning on a flashlight he extracted from his pocket.  No blood that he could see anywhere.  He picked up her briefcase, went back inside, closed the door and confirmed that it was locked.  He put the briefcase on the entry table.  He then picked Alistair up, carried her into the bedroom and set her down on the bed.  Now I know where they got the expression dead weight. He undressed her, scattered her clothes about the room and went about his business.  Twenty minutes later, satisfied with the way things looked, and how smoothly this had gone, he quietly took his leave.  Perfect.  If I don’t dawdle, I can still catch the second half of the Lakers-Wizards game.  And it would have been “perfect,” too.  If not for the one slight drop of blood on the front porch he had missed – and the pair of eyes that peered out at him from the nearby shadows as he departed.’

It’s early 2009.  DC Detective Frank Lotello has just been informed that U.S. Senator Jane Alistair has been murdered and raped, in that order.  Within just a few short days he will learn of the murder and rape of Dr. Jody DiMarco, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, and the murder of Derrick Johnson, Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission.  As the task force is formed and proceeds to put the evidence together, one person speaks out, giving the force and the DA the perfect person to pin the murders on.  That person is Cliff Norman.

Norman built his small electronic business from just he and his wife into a company employing around 100.  He bought his wife a beautiful home and the two decided to start a family, their first child being a baby boy they named Ryan.  Then the recession hit.  Norman lost his business, his home and due to an illness whose treatment was not covered by his insurance, he lost his son.  This literally drove Norman into an apparent  state of off-balance.  He took his frustrations outside Capitol Hill, yelling to anyone and everyone who would listen, exactly what the corrupt politicians had done to him – and what he has now done to them.  This is what the DA perceived as Norman’s admission to the murders giving him what he believed would be an open and shut case.  Public Defender Leah Klein believes different and with the help of Lotello she hopes to prove Norman either innocent or guilty of justifiable homicide.

As I read a season for redemption I found myself actually picturing some of the characters as real people.  Ronald S. Barak has given them the personalities that even seem familiar opening my eyes to the real possibility that the events that take place in this story are not only possible but also probable (sadly, Gabby Giffords and Jared Loughner).  And I loved his honesty in his “Author’s Note” which says “While to some extent derived from real-world facts, events, conditions and principles of law, as to which the author has taken certain liberties, this is strictly a work of fiction – more or less.  Except of course if the satirical shoe fits, resemblance to any real persons is purely coincidental.  The names of characters have been changed to protect the innocent – and the guilty.”  As you read a season for redemption, I feel sure you too will be able to relate to the characters.

This is also a very educational book.  I’ve never been a juror for a murder trial and pray I never have to be, but if that situation ever comes up, I want to re-read a season for redemption in hopes of understanding the true meaning of ‘beyond a shadow of doubt’ and even possibly ‘justifiable homicide.’  This is a book that I feel everyone who is being affected by the recession – and feels any disdain for our political representatives – should read.  Just maybe it will help us all pull together to make a difference and have some of the corruption removed from our government.

509 pages
Gander House Publishers
ISBN# 978-0-9827590-0-4

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Children of the Dragon – Red Dragon – Theresa M. Moore, Author

January 29, 2011 at 12:25 am (Uncategorized)

Children of the Dragon – Red Dragon – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“It takes an Asian to understand another Asian, you know what I mean?”  “I’m not sure.  Are you saying I can’t do this because I’m a white man?”  Well…yes,” she said.  “In order to see what’s going on you need to know something about the culture, the history of the Chinese triads.  There have been wars between rival clans that last so long that sometimes the factions have forgotten how they started.  They have a code of behavior that makes them honor certain traditions that are not revealed to occidentals.  This is not warfare the way it’s waged in the rest of the world.  This warfare is waged with backroom deals, with business mergers, with swift and quiet executions in the middle of the night to eliminate the competition.  They are devout capitalists in the purest sense of the word.  These factions boost their power by dealing in drugs, human slavery, prostitution, illegal arms sales, you name it.  They also deal in money laundering using very legitimate businesses to cover their tracks.  The more wealth they amass, the more firepower they accumulate to back their political influence, and the corruption goes all the way to the top.”…. “You must become the dragon to catch the dragon.”
Michael Burton is a journalist who has been given his first major story.  His mission is to infiltrate the two rival clans known as the Red Dragons and the Black Dragons. To do this he has been given the full cooperation of the San Francisco Police Department with his main connection being Detective Lori Wu.  Lori and her team will teach the “white man” to talk and act as a Chinese.  But, the more Michael learns about the two clans, the more he exposes them through his articles, the more danger he and Lori find themselves stepping into.
Michael’s investigation of the clans take him to an underground death match fight.  He finds himself appalled at the events taking place right before his eyes.  The fight must continue until one opponent dies. The fighter known as Xue Yaoli has never lost a fight and when he spots Michael in the crowd of spectators, he locks eyes with him giving Michael a feeling of death to come.  But there is more than that in Yaoli’s eyes.  There is a sense of recognition that can’t be denied.  So when Michael requests a meeting with him, he finds himself being confronted with family secrets that not only upset Michael but also confuse him regarding his heritage.
Theresa M. Moore has slipped another one in on me that I simply couldn’t put down.  In the Red Dragon, she brings back the vampire villain Julianus as he again spreads his desire to control wreaking havoc on everyone and everything he comes in contact with.  I now find myself impatiently waiting to read her next book in the series, The Queens Marksman.

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January 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm (Uncategorized)

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In Darkness We Play – Various Authors

January 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm (Uncategorized)

In Darkness We Play – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

The Vampire

To feel the pain
Of teeth, as sharp as steel
Slice through your vein
The pain and anguish
One cannot feel
You are a mere mortal
Think we are wrong
That we should be extinguished
Put out for good.
What makes you a mortal
Think we are of a lower grade of life?
You kill for sport
We kill for food
Death is death
Blood is blood
Give it to me
Before I hunt.
To die during the day
And live at night
To age only a year in every decade
And never die…
But mind you I don’t mind
When I fly over your heads
High up in the sky
Give me your blood
And Join me in my life
And when you know what it’s like
You’ll lie in wait
For the sun
To turn to dust
A ‘chicken’ way out Live undead
And die unalive.
For all eternity
Time will tell
If you are sick or well
And when you decide…
In Darkness We Play is a grouping of poetry written by Authors:
Lee Pletzers who works as editor and reviewer for Sinisteria horror magazine.
E. A. Irwin, Author of the Myth to Life: The Rise of Riley McCabe series.
Lori R. Lopez who considers horror and humor as her favorite categories and lets both seep into most of what she writes.
John Irvin was born in NZ five months after Hitler liberated Luxembourg in 1940 and says he lets his dark side out on each waning moon.
And last but not least is Aline S. Iniestra who considers her poetry as a way to see the beauty in that which most consider horrible and grotesque.

These are your Authors and as its name states, In Darkness We Play is made up of poetic tales from the “darkness” of the minds of these Authors.
If you enjoy tales from the dark side, you are going to love In Darkness We Play.
119 pages
ISBN# 0-9582893-5-1

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Glastonbury – Brian L. Porter, Author

January 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Glastonbury – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“King Arthur did exist, Mr. Cutler.  I’m convinced of it, and this document will help to prove it to you.  I can’t reveal to you where it came from or how it came into my possession, but a lot of people have died over the years to protect it and the information it holds.  I’m a wealthy man as you already know, and the money itself is not of great importance to me.  I thought that you would appreciate a large cash injection into your business.  You are building a very good reputation in your field, Mr. Cutler.  Imagine how high your stock would rise among your potential clients if you could put on your company brochure that you were instrumental in leading the team that finally revealed the burial place not of King Author himself, but of his great sword, Excalibur!”
Joe Cutler, owner of Strata Surveys, has just been propositioned by millionaire Malcolm Capshaw to search the land near Glastonbury in search of the burial place of the famous sword Excalibur.  Everyone who has ever heard of or read about King Arthur knows he as well as his sword are a figment of his creator’s imagination.  But…the document shown to Joe by Capshaw is not only convincing but the fact that someone like Capshaw would believe in the fable makes it an offer he can’t turn down.  Now he has to convince his team, Sally and Winston that not only is the money good but they really have nothing to lose.
So, the team sets up camp at a quaint little guest house called the Rowan Tree located just outside of Glastonbury.  Capshaw has alerted Joe that he will be sending Walter Graves, a known historian to meet and work with them in their recovery.  But is Graves exactly who he is supposed to be?  When Joe gets a quick glimpse of a pistol under Graves’ jacket, he’s no longer sure who he is dealing with.  And more confusion comes when their Ground Penetrating Radar picks up something the size of a casket buried beneath the ground’s surface.   As the discovery is uncovered and the lid opened to expose the body of a man, Graves’ explanation of it being a body buried hundreds of years before is discredited by Winston noticing that the body was wearing a Timex watch.
So, who is Graves?  Who is Malcolm Capshaw?  And what do the notorious Maitland brothers have to do with the search?  They are noted for their dealings with organized crime but how do they fit into play?  These and many other questions combine to make a really twisted tail of mystery, history, murder and suspense.
As usual, Author Brian L. Porter has kept me in the dark until the very last 10 pages of his book Glastonbury. And as usual, I was totally surprised with his ending.  My words to you Mr. Porter are this…you have created a great new character, actually several, so please keep their stories coming!

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A Higher Court – John L. Betcher, Author

January 20, 2011 at 11:14 pm (Uncategorized)


A Higher Court – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“God vs. Science at it’s Best”
“Thank you for coming today.  My first announcement may be a surprise to some of you who are familiar with typical jury selection procedures.  But there will be no voir dire – no questioning of Jurors for today’s trial.”  The Judge seemed to be looking directly at me as he continued to speak.  “All of you have been chosen to serve as Jurors in this matter.  There will be no further selection process.  There will be no alternates.  No one will be excused.  To be perfectly clear…every one of you will serve.”  So much for my day of contemplation and reflection.  But what in the hell was this Judge thinking?  Maybe he was a more pitiable specimen than I had first surmised.  There were more than thirty of us prospective jurors here.  The Judge’s statement was absurd.  The court couldn’t empanel more than twelve jurors, plus a couple alternates.  The law didn’t allow for it.  Before I had finished considering the Judge’s bizarre statement, he interrupted my thoughts with another declaration…a statement I could never have anticipated…and words I will never forget.         “Today you will determine if God exists.”
William Kensey has been summoned for jury duty.  Being an attorney himself, he knows what goes on during a trial.  He knows what questions and answers are important, needing to be listened to carefully and which are fluff.  He is expecting to spend the “fluff” time thinking about his lack of feelings after the passing of his father.  But nothing could have prepared him for the trial he will be acting as a juror for.
As the trial proceeds the Counsel for Repudiation and the Counsel for Existence will both present witnesses who deliver rather strong testimonies to their beliefs.  As I read each argument, I found them to be a test for my own faith.  I read about the Big Bang Theory presented by the professor dealing in the area of cosmology.  What he said could make sense when he explained that earth was a lot older than the Bible tells us.  My personal answer to this is “how long was a day in God’s time?”  The question arose that man couldn’t have been made from “dirt.”  “What was God’s dirt?”
“From the beginning, when the Almighty first gave man a soul, man has been stubborn and disobedient.  Man has never been satisfied being man.  He lusts to be God – an aspiration he can never achieve.  So for the most part, man has chosen to separate himself from God…to make his own way in the world.”   Looking at the world both past and present, I find this statement to be 100% true.   Another statement made that I feel is so true with the world and man was the Author’s conclusion that there are five obstacles that prevent mankind from attaining faith.  They are – Anger, Fear, Ego, Idolatry and Comfort.  Again, as I read the reasons behind these five obstacles I have to say that I agree.
After reading The Shack, many asked what I thought and should they read it.  My answer to them was that I felt it should be read with an open mind.  If read with an open mind, I feel you will receive the message intended for you.  That is exactly how I feel about A Higher Court.  By reading with an open mind, you become one of the jurors and will be able to make up your own mind as to whether God does or doesn’t exist.
I could spend all day expressing my feelings for A Higher Court but will leave it at this.  While reading  A Higher Court, I actually emailed, called and talked to several friends with my recommendations for the book.  And this was done before I had even finished.
In my opinion, A Higher Court is right up there with The Shack. A must read no matter what you believe.
225 pages
ISBN# 1453833250

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Future Imperfect Book Three Fina Deceit – P. I. Barrington, Author

January 16, 2011 at 12:58 am (Uncategorized)

Final Deceit – Future Imperfect Book Three – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“We’re here at the scene of last night’s devastating blast that literally ripped apart the huge auditorium owned by The New Creation religious community, destroying the building while a service was being conducted.  We have no idea how many people were in that building, and no information on how many may be injured or even dead.  If you’re looking at the second news drone, you can see the amount of destruction behind me – cars flipped over onto their roofs, the gigantic crater left by the explosion and enormous chunks of buildings just tossed around here as if they were nothing when, in reality each one of those must weigh five hundred pounds.”  The reporter paused and the anchor woman asked, “Allen, do we know if Amy is among the missing?”  “No, Donna.  We have not found her yet.  The officials here are trying to get together a list of possible missing persons and anyone who might have been in the area.”  Donna looked into the camera eye.  “Our own Channel Eight reporter, Amy Strand, may be among those missing at the unbelievable explosion that tore apart a major section of The New Creation compound last night.  Her vehicle was identified in the terrible wreckage, and as of now she has not responded to attempts to contact her or her camera operator, Nicola Anderson.”
As Las Vegas Police Chief Charlie Bowman will soon learn, he is missing 3 of his detectives who he believes were also attending the service when the explosion took place.  Thanks to Renton Wakeley, news director of Las Vegas’ Channel Eight, Charlie is even able to see one of his detectives, Payce, as the station’s drone circled over the crater created by the explosion.  But trouble comes in the form of Las Vegas Mayor John Long.  His dislike for the Vegas police department, and especially Charlie, is so intense that he will do anything to bring the whole department down, even to the extent of trying to force Charlie to call the rescue mission off and declare it a recovery mission.  The search becomes even more difficult after a gas main is hit resulting in yet another explosion.  Will Charlie give in to the Mayor?  No way!  He suits up and goes on his own rescue mission that takes him deep into the maze of halls and floor levels beneath The New Creation.
Police detectives Pace, Gavin and Nick, along with news reporter Amy are all survivors with one goal in mind…finding their way out.  But unbeknownst to them all is the fact that there is one other person roaming the halls of the old underground military facility with motives of his own.  Medical intern Dr. Logan McKaye once helped Payce escape from a slow death before and his wish now is to find her and save her again.  His chance comes after the second explosion takes Gavin out of the picture and he is the only one left for Payce to lean on for help.
In P. I. Barrington’s Future Imperfect Books, I have tried to no avail to come up with the reasons for all of the events that took place in the first 2 books.  Who is El Jefe?  Who is Logan?  Where do the snake carvings fit in?  Who is Lars impersonating and why?  These were just a few of my questions.  In Final Deceit, she brings it all together and gives me the answers.  All of which, I was totally unprepared for.  This is one series of books that lives up to the final book’s name Final “Deceit.”  I simply loved the series but do advise that to get the full effect of the story, read them all, in order.

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Up and Comming Music Artist Marc Martin

January 14, 2011 at 12:44 am (Marc Martin) (, , , , )

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Barbary Point – Alan Nayes, Author

January 10, 2011 at 11:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Barbary Point – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Mitch stood with the pole in hand.  “Maybe we’ll get lucky.”  He checked something on the reel then cast out the line.  I followed the flash of silver through the air, arcing like a tiny meteor, until it landed with a small splash some ways behind the stern.  Never in my wildest musings, would I have ever thought of fishing as a sexy sport.  But watching Mitch cast that day – how his posture reflected both power and control, his arm moving back in a wide reverse swing, then whipping the rod tip back overhead, hearing the soft whine of the spinning spool – would forever change this perception.  I found myself drawn in by some inexplicable force.  I was part of something that kept growing, and would keep growing, until I was totally consumed.  This was pure emotion, spreading throughout my body, filling each cell to satiation, then moving on to the next cell.  I was being devoured alive.  And I’d never felt better in my life.’

Kelly English, the chief editor for West Coast Today magazine, has just received news that her father has died leaving his estate to her and her mother.  Kelly is 28 years old and hasn’t seen nor heard from her father since she was 3 years old.  It appears that he had no time for her and she had no time to disburse of his so called estate.  But, due to a medical situation with her step-father, she has agreed to make the trip from her home in California to Oshkosh, WI.  After all it shouldn’t take long.  From what her mother has told her over the years, her father never had much so the “estate” would be nothing more than a shack in the woods and could be taken care of in a weekend trip.  So, after promising her fiancé that she would be back by Sunday evening for their dinner with his mother, Kelly takes off to get the task over with.

After meeting with the attorney and arriving at Barbary Point, Kelly finds herself in quite a dilemma.  The shack turns out to be a nice rustic cottage with waterfront, a dock, a dog and her father’s best friend Mitch.  As time goes on, she finds herself wanting to learn more and more about her father and the life he lived.
Barbary Point is one of the most beautifully written love stories I’ve read.  It will make you laugh and cry.  It’s so well written that you will feel the pain that Kelly, and I’m sure her father too, felt throughout their lives.  But you will also feel the joy and love that Kelly feels as she spends more and more time on Barbary Point.  I loved this heartwarming story of love.

XoXo Publishing
ISBN# 978-1-897521-43-4

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Just Add Water – Jinx Schwartz, Author

January 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm (Uncategorized)

Just Add Water – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Picking up my ballpoint, I filled in under SAILING EXPERIENCE, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and trans-Pacific.  I left out the fact that all of this cognitive content was gained on cruise ships the size of small cities.  The next question was easy.  WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEARN TO SAIL?  It is against my nature to answer this type of question with any honesty, but I thought, what the hey? And wrote:  Meet new people.  Learn a skill.  Find a mate.’

Being as honest as possible, Hetta Coffee fills out her application for sailing lessons being given by the Gay Nineties Sailing Club.  The whole idea of learning to sail was Hetta’s  and she actually convinced her best friend Jan that it is the perfect way to meet men.  In fact, Jan set up the lessons.  Hetta wished she had paid attention to the actual name of the club.  So, after 4 hours on board a sailing vessel made up of all women, both Hetta and Jan decided they just might need to find another club to learn their new skill through.

Hetta’s pricy home, complete with dog playground and trap door, sits among homes owned by several of the NBA players.  It’s large but has become quite costly, plus Hetta soon finds out that someone has found access into her home and is apparently searching for something.  And she’s pretty sure she knows what they are searching for and even who the intruder might be.  Five years earlier she was given a key to a bottle club in Tokyo.  A bottle club is a lounge that rents you a locker allowing you to store your own drinking preference to be enjoyed whenever you are in town.  But when her one and only suspect turns up as a floater in her own hot tub, she decides she has had enough and should move on.  So when the owner of the “Sea Cock” makes her an offer she can’t pass up, she sells her home and buys herself a yacht.  But as I’m sure you can guess, the troubles don’t stop there.

Just Add Water has been a joy to read.  Jinx Schwartz’ style of writing includes a good murder mystery, a lot of suspense, many suspects and a ton of humor.  This is such an enjoyable light mystery read.

WhoooDoo Mysteries
341 pages
ISBN# 1-932695-20-6

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