The Next Chapter
Author: Melanie Young
In a flash of a second or even a nanosecond, your life can take on a different direction. Each day brings with it many unexpected events that can alter the way we think, act or live the rest of our lives. As we turn the pages of a book and begin each new chapter, the author introduces more information about the characters, develops the plot and excites the reader to continue reading using vivid descriptions of the scenery, the actions of the characters and enveloping the reader and wrapping them so tightly within the pages of the book until the very last word on the last page. This brings me to my review of The Next Chapter by author Melanie Young.
Carol Davidson, wife, mother and wedding photographer’s life is shattered in one brief moment. After speaking with her husband, Jim, not one hour before about their upcoming cruise for their 26th anniversary, the excitement, the happiness and the anticipation of spending this momentous occasion together will forever fade in her mind as the doorbell rings and an officer tells her of her husband’s fate in a deadly car accident. Like many people who lose their spouse, Carol created her own envelope or bubble that completely surrounded her and withdrew into her own world leaving many outside to fend for themselves. With a thriving business, a great next door neighbor and wonderful assistant, she devoted her time to Enchantments, her business and left her daughter and son-in-law outside the parameters of this bubble keeping others just within the walls but not too close.
After four years of mourning Jim, her daughter Andrea and husband Jason visit her with exciting news and want her to come and live with them in Florida. Debating her choices and whether she wanted to give up her home, her tangible memories of Jim and her business, Carol faces some really hard choices and must decide whether a house and material things matter more than her daughter who wants to know her mother and lost the chance with her father due to the accident. What choice does she make? What does her daughter say to her when confronted that finally pushes her to decide?
Visiting Andrea and Jason she meets Andrew a divorced father who Andrea and Jason buy their home and auto insurance from. Immediately taken with Carol he becomes an ardent fan of her moving to Florida. But, that decision is hers and although they seem to bond, Carol is still not ready for a real relationship and Andrew hopes to change that.
As Carol is sorting through and cleaning Jim’s office she comes across a letter that he wrote to her that will forever change her life, her mindset and cement her decision. A sincere, heartfelt, and beautiful letter from Jim to Carol, allows the reader to enter their lives, even for a moment to help understand the strength of their relationship and how strong that bubble that envelopes her formed as a shield to prevent anyone from getting too close and breaking the barriers for fear of being disloyal to Jim. But, after reading his words in his own hand, things will change for Carol, Andrea and her soon to be business partner in Enchantments, Sarah
Andrew the auto and home insurance salesman soon encounters his competition in Eddie the car salesman who definitely resembles Jim. The author takes us on a journey along with Carol with a woman who makes many life changing decisions, including where she will live, whether to have Sarah her assistant buy into her business as a partner, and learning to live life to its fullest. What does happen between Carol and Andrew remains to be seen. Will she prefer the man who looks like Jim? Andrea, Jason, Carol, Andrew, and her new granddaughter Jamie Grace will spend their lives on this exciting journey called life. With her best friend Joan’s sage and wise dating advice, which sounds like what my mother told me, and the support of her family, only time will tell when and if the next chapter in Carol’s life will be written. Dating does mean getting to know someone better to see if you really want to know them, as Joan states so brilliantly. My mother would add, the only thing a man is entitled to is the pleasure of your company and no fringe benefits. A date means going out and having conversation and that’s all. Relationships form over time and require trust, respect and understanding as you learn through Carol and Andrew. Good old fashion values definitely come through in this novel.
Author Melanie Young brings to light the many issues that women deal with when they lose a spouse. Understanding how Carol reacted and feels reminds me of my mom after losing my Dad. She enveloped herself and isolated herself too and did not want to break the walls of that bubble and let the world and the sun back in. But, she did in her own way and now will Carol pop some holes in that bubble and allow it to burst, or will she forever not write the Next Chapter. Well written, with characters whose personalities are clearly defined and the many journeys that Carol takes, the reader hopes that her future will have many Next Chapters with happy endings. Let’s hope she lets the sun shine and back into her life.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious
I give this book a beautifully photographed picture of
Five People: Carol, Andrea, Jason, Jamie Grace and you decide who gets the final spot.
By Brian L. Porter
When your body starts to tingle, your hands feel numb, your mouth can longer verbalize what you want to say and the pain is so excruciating that you can hardly breathe, you are now and forever a victim of PURPLE DEATH! A DEATH SO HORRIFIC THAT ONLY AUTHOR BRIAN PORTER CAN RELATE THE EXPERIENCES OF THE VICTIMS AND ALLOW THE READER TO EXPERIENCE THE DEATHS FIRST HAND.
First, you need to hear the facts and understand the events of each crime and learn the reasons why the police in two towns were more than frustrated and baffled as to why these murders were committed and how the poison, or Purple Death, was administered to each victim.
Purple Death is a poison that comes from a plant. The poison is called aconite and it paralyzes its victims without impairing their mind. How horrific that the person inflicted with his poison knows what is happening to them, feels unbearable pain and goes through a painful death without being able to ring for help or cry out in pain.
Detective Inspector Sean Connor his assistant Sergeant Lucy Clay, Dr. Catherine Nickels, and a team of investigators from Richmond-on-Thames and Birmingham, have to sort through many unanswered questions, clues that lead to suspects only to find themselves back at square one and a mysterious girl named the Chocolate Woman who seems to be at the center of these murders, but no one is really sure what part she played in carrying out these horrific murders.
As Detective Inspector Connor digs deeper into the past of each of the victims he comes face to face with an unsolved murder from thirty years before and maybe a connection to what is happening in the present. The latest victims appear to have no apparent connection to each other and yet this poison has poisoned each. With the body count rising, Connor teams up with the police force in Birmingham hoping to solve the murders faster using all of the combined resources.
Purple death is derived from a plant that will render your body useless but keep your mind and brain alert and aware of what is happening to you. Author Brian L. Porter describes the victim’s journey from beginning to end in such a graphic manner that you can visualize the scene in your head and feel the agony and pain the victim is enduring each and every second until their lives are extinguished.
I am Purple Death you see
I come from a plant that will kill you not me
As I begin to work my way through your body you know
Your respiratory system will begin to slow
Your mouth and lips will tingle and your lungs will burn
Your body and mind will writhe with every turn
My reasons for choosing these victims I will not divulge to you
But, beware there are more and one might be you too.
Thirty years ago a tragic murder went unpunished and more
Those that were involved will reap the benefits of what I have in store
When the past comes to haunt those in the present only author Brian L. Porter can create a plot so devious so creative that it will keep you on edge from beginning until end.
William Prentice was a private investigator that uncovered information about one man who he suspected was cheating on his wife. His partner, Andrew Forbes told the police that it involved a case of adultery involving a woman in Braintree County. With each passing day the woman involved and the man whether rightly or wrongly accused of cheating on his wife, things got worse and Prentice was killed. His murderer caught and released and a second the same.
But, according to one man justice was not served the woman whose husband was killed became so deranged and upset that she sought the comfort of our killer in order to make things right. The killer, created a brand of justice so heinous and so horrific and enlisted the help of a woman we shall call the Chocolate Woman, to distribute his lethal dose of aconite, the poison called Purple Death, to the unsuspecting victim in a piece of chocolate or in other cases in a familiar drink.
Who is behind these gruesome murders and why you will not believe? Why is it that every time Connor and his team draw three steps closer and gain the name of a possible suspect the body count rises? Why is it that the killer always knows what is happening and never fails to get there first? Only the killer, the author and of course this reader knows and we will never divulge that information.
With a team of detectives, investigators, his assistant and several medical examiners are pressed for time and hope to close in on this deranged killer. When the one person that can help them is placed in a safe house and hopefully can help put this case to rest, will the killer know where to find the person and will Connor, Clay and his team get there in time?
Who will win the battle? The KILLER OR PURPLE DEATH! What does keep you on the edge of your seat until you turn the last page and read the last word? Let’s hope our author brings back this team of detectives for another murder.
I give this book FIVE CHOCOLATE HEARTS WITHOUT ACONITE IN THEM
FRAN LEWIS: REVIEWER AND AUTHOR OF THE BERTHA SERIES AND MEMORIES ARE PRECIOUS
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Heartache is defined as anguish, sorrow or distress. Sin is defined as an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will. There are so many sins and so much heartache within this novel that you will come to truly understand their meanings and much more. A group of people, who are easily swayed, easily manipulated and who are looking for something to believe in whether it is honest, true or read and you have the breeding ground for anyone who wants to brainwash and deceive people. Pastor Ryan who prays runs the Church of Resurrection preys on the minds, vulnerability and poor self-esteem of his congregation, wife, and young women. He convinces them that he a man who can foretell their needs, future and predict world events and more. Without him and his guidance they could not exist, live or repent the terrible sins that he claims they committed. This brings me to my review of Heartache and Sin by Charles Soto. This novel brings to light many issues that are controversial, will create strong discussions and possibly arguments and disagreements when used as a basis for a book club or family discussion. This is a book whose messages need to be heard.
Steven and Karen Wheaton live in Havana with his family and friends. Karen is diagnosed with diabetes and is told not to conceive. Upset with the diagnosis and other conditions that she is made aware of, she falls prey to the teachings, preaching and voice of a corrupt, sinister and deceitful man. Preacher Ryan preys on the minds of his congregants claiming that with his prayer and the will of God, he will make it rain and the drought will end.
Brainwashing is something that many people who want to believe in something and want to come true fall victim to. Karen is one who is innocent, sweet and believes the words of this man and so do many others, as you will learn when reading this book. Added to this her husband; Steven and his two brothers knowing that he is a fraud, use the Internet to bring him down. Confronting Pastor Ryan, Steven gets him to admit the truth and now he must fight to save his wife from this man and many others too.
Karen believes that Pastor Ryan is the answer to the prayers of the people of Havana. No one bothered to find out why he left his previous congregation or what he did to the young women there. Abuse whether physical, verbal or sexual is unconscionable and needs to be punished no matter who the source is or the reasons why they are committing the abuse. Pastor Ryan is guilty of all three and justifies it in his own mind and to his victims that he is right and they are worthless and deserve what he decides to hand them. Frightening and scary since a Preacher or any member of the clergy is suppose to guide, listen, comfort and provide guidance to help people that are in trouble or need someone to talk with you realize that this man is nothing but pure evil. But, Pastor Ryan does not fit the definition a clergyman and although Steven knows he is a fraud he needs to tread carefully before exposing him and make sure that he has the proof or he may lose Karen and a lot more.
What is unique about this book is that the author has the characters reveal their inner most thoughts and explain what they need to do in order to survive. Mary, the Pastor’s wife gets the strength and courage to fight and leave the confines of her prison.
The author speaks to the reader as he relates what is in the character’s thoughts and mind as Steven forges a plan to unfold and reveal the deceptions created by this Pastor and the many inhumane things he has done and is still doing. Berating and humiliating his wife and physically and mentally abusing her and praying on the minds of bereaved women he increases his flock of unsuspecting women on the pretense of trying to help them. Using the Internet and the postal system he has devised a diabolical plan that needs to be stopped. But, the worst has yet to come and his cruelty has not reached its peak as the reader will learn and author will impart as he reveals what Steven knows in his heart is happening and must be done.
Karen is easily swayed as her the young women that are now in the living in the family quarters. Their clouded vision and poor perception and need to feel wanted, hope and comfort allows this horrific man to prey on their weaknesses and things will only get worse. Pastor Ryan does not care that he humiliates, who he deceives and how he goes about funding his own treasury and confining those to his compound who fall under his spell and believe he is there help them redeem their sins, find solace and peace within his congregation. Steven, Anne Marie his sister-in-law have witnessed first hand what they know to be the truth and are frightened by the blinding light that encompasses the compound and the people within it. Knowing that he even imprisoned his wife and abused her physically makes him and this family moves ahead to try and stop him. But, when the unthinkable happens and Karen gets pregnant the course of action that the Pastor wants and Steven’s not only conflict but also jeopardize more than their marriage but her life.
Believing himself to be the true and only prophet and the hand of God, this evil man controls everything that oversees and all he sees. Feeding, as the author puts it, the starving minds of this improvised county. He needs praise, power, to instill fear, false hope and total domination of his congregation. With no respect for women as I can see it, and trying to keep his wife under his total control, Mary finally learns how to play his game in order not to be the object of his ire. But, can she? What is his true ambition? Will she survive the abuse?
This brings us to another controversial issue that the author skillfully includes in this bone chilling and thought -provoking book. The serious issue of Abortion and whether Karen, who has diabetes should consider a full term pregnancy and the Pastor’s crusade to destroy the abortion clinic in Fargo and the women who have had abortions in it.
An abortion that occurs naturally without any medical intervention when there is a physical problem with a pregnancy is called a spontaneous abortion or a miscarriage, while an abortion that is the result of any procedure done by a licensed physician or someone under the supervision of a licensed physician to purposefully end a pregnancy is called an induced abortion as defined in your dictionary.com. This issue becomes the basis for the end of the book and what finally happens between Karen and Steven and their unborn child. The Pastor goes on a crusade to protest against the clinic and abortion and will do nothing short of destroying the women and the people within it starting with the doctor and his family. Using Karen in his propaganda to fight against abortion even though she should not go to full term and will not change her mind, the Pastor hides his true colors to in order to achieve his goals and pretends concern for her.
What happens will give you pause for much thought about the issues that are important in this novel. A man whose goal was to destroy, control and deceive others for his own purposes. Destruction of lives, towns, people and communities all because of one man. What does happen to Karen? Will Mary and her sons ever are free of the horrific hold the Pastor has on her and others? Will the truth about him ever be told and who will pay with their own heartaches and sins? I recommend this book as one of my best picks for the 2010 and I have read more than 25 since the New Year.
I am honored to have reviewed this book and hope to review Pride and a Prayer the author’s new book.
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
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?
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.
Novels by Steven Nedelton:
The Raven Affair
Tangled Minds By Yvonne Mason
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Teenage prostitution, drugs, murder, small town cover ups and more are only part of the tangled webs that have been so craftily intertwined in this novel by the mistress of mystery, murder and mayhem Yvonne Mason. Throughout this novel we are introduced to characters whose decisions are poorly thought out, whose ideals and values are twisted and convoluted and his morals sink to the lowest depth of an ocean floor.
Brianna Van Pelt feels that she has been dealt a bad hand. According to her it is the world’s fault that she got pregnant and 17 and got stuck with a child. It is her parent’s fault that she lost her freedom to party hardy and go out with her friends because they felt she had to own up to her responsibilities as a parent. Not according to this self-centered and thoughtless teenager.
Wanting to get a job, her own place to live and be on her own, Brianna is angry with her parents for not understanding her points of view when she wants to spend time with her friends and they refuse to babysit her son Josh. Josh becomes the innocent victim of a poor and heartless mother who decides she hates this precious child and will care for him but with a cold heart.
Finding a job for this beautiful young lady was easy, the where and the what would forever ruin her life and hopefully teach teenagers and young adults that there are consequences for your actions and using poor judgment. Sometimes there is no turning back.
Leaving her son in a closed car with a small crack in the window, Brianna meet with the owner of a restaurant in order to get a job waitressing. Unfortunately for her, the child starts to cry and the next thing she knows she is arrested for endangering the life of her child. Instead of appreciating all of the help she receives from her parents and the social worker, she uses a key phrase that seems to become the mantra of each of the characters in the book: It’s not my fault. It is the fault of my parents or someone else. Never taking ownership of her mistakes, Brianna enters a world that would soon envelope her in mind, spirit and body with consequences so catastrophic that they will forever scar her in more ways than one.
Working in the restaurant for a man who is cruel and sleazy, she becomes involved with another, Ken Morgan who entices her into the world of prostitution and all the fancy luxuries he can bestow on her as long as she follows the rules and makes the clients happy.
But, this life was short lived and she and her friend Amber soon learn the other side of this profession and have to run for their lives in order to survive.
Added to this a young child who is sent from pillar to post and constantly in the care of other people, you have the formula for failure and more. Josh, who had the potential to be a good kid, also feels that it is the fault of the world for his fate, as the book opens and we meet him at 17 years of age in jail for murder.
Her employer and pimp, Ken Morgan, fulfilling the sexual desires of judges and those who await her services, bedazzle Brianna with wealth and money and more, we learn that there are many desperate and sick men out there that want to fulfill their wildest fantasies and will pay any amount for them.
The author is familiar with the inside workings of the legal system and she clearly explains and helps the reader to understand just how difficult it is to prosecute and arrest drug dealers, prostitutes and more when dealing with small town law enforcement and corrupt judges.
Learning the hard way she runs to the mountains and is kept safe there by a group of mountain people who protect their own and make sure that Brianna and Josh are taken care of. The Holt family is into making and selling moonshine, wild behaviors, keeping their secrets and justifying when they commit murders.
Within this story we meet Ms. Amy the woman that cares and loves Josh and protects him as a young child and whom he wanted to remain with when his mother had to flee and only took him with her out of necessity and not love.
Hannah Holt represented the only grandmother figure that Josh knew and upon her death his entire character changed and as his mother’s did and they become too cold-hearted and unfeeling people caught up in their own tangled and twisted minds whose knots are so intertwined they might never form a straight and single smooth line.
But, life is not always what it is cracked up to be and you need to find your own way even in a world that seems against you. Making excuses for yourself and going down the wrong path is easy and what some people do when they are afraid of standing tall and learning that success comes with hard work. But, Josh watches how his mother destroyed herself, how she succumbed to a life of hard knocks and desolation, decides to leave and follow his own path of destruction and more.
Michael, Josh and Louis rob and kill Louis uncle for money and rob Ms. Elmira Jones of her diamond rings. This is the straw that will break all three and forever change their lives. Winding up in jail but protected by a judge in their town, we can only hope that the police department of these small towns will win out and teach these boys a lesson in life they won’t ever forget and maybe learn from.
But, learning from their mistakes was not what happened. Brianna spent her entire life blaming her parents and Josh for what she endured in her life. Blaming Benny, the boy’s father and Bredlove and anyone else that she could for her own mistakes instead of taking ownership of them and moving forward.
Anger and hate are terrible and can eat away at the core of your being as they did to not only Brianna, Josh. Mack and Louis.
With the tenacity and persistence of a bloodhound and the perseverance and diligence he could muster, Captain Beck of Georgia, CSI Trip and Detective Askew managed to do the impossible, break the case and thwart the efforts of a corrupt judge to make the entire matter go away.
Children are our most precious diamonds and they deserve a change to have love, understanding and nurturing. Although Josh was able to finally reunite with Ms. Amy and heard her words before being taken away to prison, he never quite accepted the fact that it was his fault and he was responsible for his actions and he now had to pay for his crime.
Without the love or a parent it is hard for children to live life and understand that are special and worth something. Working with children who had learning disabilities was what I am proud to say I did for over 36 years in the NYC Public School system. I encountered many like Josh many like Mack and fortunately not too many that were like Louis. But, the one thing I will say is that the author has it right when she states in the Afterword of this book that many times people do not understand children that need that extra bit of understanding and love. All too often when children act out in public they parent is blamed and wrongly accused of misconduct toward the child. All of us learn at a different pace and all of us learn discipline in many different ways. But, what everyone needs and what Josh and Brianna never did is LOVE. The last line of this book gives up hope that maybe by seeing Ms. Amy and listening to her words that this mother and son might yet be saved.
Stop saying it is not your fault and learn from your mistakes and you will be ten steps ahead. Yelling at children and physical discipline is wrong. Coming from a home where my parents never yelled or inflicted physical punishment to any one of us, myself, my sister or my brother, I can honestly say that explaining, talking and patience works better. I never blamed anyone for my errors and I know I have made some too. But, I will say it is no one’s fault but my own that I love this book and it should be on the shelves of every high school, college, parent and teenager’s shelf to learn the harsh realities that face you when you say: IT IS NOT MY FAULT.
I give this book FIVE NEW STARTS FOR JOSH AND FIVE I AM TO BLAME FOR BOTH JOSH AND BRIANNA AND TWO UNTANGLED MINDS WITH RENEWED LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Dream Catcher by Yvonne Mason
A story of triumph, love, persistence, endurance and more
There is no such thing as a child who cannot learn. There is no reason why anyone should be shunned or considered an outcast because he or she is challenged academically or in any other way. But, for a child to succeed he or she needs the support, guidance and love of a family. In this story you will meet a remarkable and unique family who not only proved the unimaginable and the unthinkable about a special young man, but engaged the help and love of friends too. Born with a serious illness, Yvonne Mason’s brother Stan proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he was going to show the world that he is here and that he will definitely succeed.
Not able to speak, not able to walk, and not able to do the things that other kids could do at first, he taught himself how to maneuver and crawl when faced with a challenge before the age of one. Born with 2 clubfeet and faced with wearing heavy plaster casts on his feet, Stan, Yvonne’s brother learned to overcome this and managed to move around. But, that is not all, with the help of his brother Barry, sister Yvonne and lots of friends and cousins he managed to learn to walk, take care of his own physical needs, attend school, graduate, help play practical jokes with his sister and cousins, take a bus to his Work Training Program and much more. But, what he had to learn after all of this is not much different from what we had to learn: Lessons of Life and Lessons of bigotry and prejudice not only toward people of different color or races but toward people who are different. Stan learned that not everyone is who he or she appears to be. Stan soon learns people can be cruel and underhanded. People take advantage of you when they think you are less knowledgeable than them. This holds for everyone, not just Stan.
His love of bowling, the first time he went to an Atlanta Braves game and his courage to forge ahead against all adversity makes you wonder why young people today give up so fast and try and take the easy way out.
Stan is truly a person to be admired. Nominated for the Toby Nobis award, which recognizes business, and employees who are challenged helped to give him a sense of pride but to his family too. Although he did not win this did not deter him. This was a man who was not supposed to be able “to do the simple things in life. How amazing the brain works,” as the author puts aptly puts it. Where others would whine and complain when Stan was faced with a problem he would handle it head on.
Flying by himself, dealing with a broken television set and adversity at work, he is truly an inspiration for all those who take defeat so easily and readily. Imagine trying to explain to someone the difference between 9-pin bowling and the regular method. As a bowler I do know the difference and when Yvonne describes the incident where Stan was trying to explain why he and his knew friend Lisa changed to a different bowling alley I remembered my brother trying to teach me to bowl without toppling over and throwing my arm cross alley. This story brought back some great memories. But, some lessons are difficult to learn and this time when Lisa proved herself to be a user and conniver his mother stepped in and thwarted Lisa’s scam. Others do not only learn by those who are challenged but these lessons of life too. You can never be too careful when it comes to lending money to a friend, especially when it appears that money is a primary reason for the friendship.
With their Abbot and Costello routines and their many funny high jinks Yvonne, Stan her mother and her family learned that you could do anything if you want to and don’t ever give up.
Everyone looks up to their parents and wants to emulate or follow in their footsteps. Stan loved his father and spending quality time with him and imitating some of his mannerisms and daily routines cemented their bond even more.
You need to read the last chapter written by Yvonne’s mother and presented at West Georgia for everyone to hear. Yvonne’s mother is truly amazing and someone who did what most mother’s should do but might not have the wherewithal or the stamina to do: SHE WOULD NOT ACCEPT FAILURE AS AN OPTION!
Stan is an example of what people must do in order to be happy. He accepted who he is and what his limitations and capabilities are. He would not blame the world for his problems and accepts people for who they are not bigoted or prejudice or hurtful to anyone.
Stan: I have a nephew that was born deaf. No one knew this until he was about a year old. The doctors told his mother and father he would never stand, sit up, walk, and drive a car or more. Then, he entered Lexington School for the Deaf and his mother and father would not let this diagnosis hamper him. He is now the father of a beautiful little girl and a web designer for a major hotel chain and more. Never give up on who you are. Never think that just because a doctor says it that it is written in stone.
Your influence on others will remain in their hearts and mind just by reading your story now and forever. Educators need to follow the example of those who cared enough about Stan and her caring enough to help him learn to read, speak and more. For those educators who teach Special Education you need to remember that kids learn at their own pace and as with Stan they will often surprise you and overcome insurmountable odds. Never give up and never say never.
You need to read this book and give it to every educator, doctor and parent to know that knowledge if powerful and love and family can help you through anything. Stan’s life is message to all of us that everyone can succeed no matter what if they want to.
This book deserves more than just five stars. Fran Lewis: reviewer
Legacy of the Ripper:
By Brian L. Porter
A legacy is defined as anything handed down from the past from an ancestor. Some bestow monetary awards, others furniture and some even jewelry. But, in the case of Dr. Robert Cavendish in the book A Study in Red the legacy bestowed upon him was quite different. His father, when he died, had his journals given to Robert by his solicitor and the end result was anything but rich, gratifying or happy.
Being a direct descendant of Jack the Ripper, Dr. Cavendish was presented with his journals and required to read them in order to understand the rationale behind his motives and mind for his killings. But, it destroyed him and left him in such a catatonic state that he became sick, ill and could not function or perform his daily routines.
In his second in his Ripper series once again the master of science fiction, mysteries and thrillers, Brian Porter, gives us more insight into the mind of another killer, or supposed killer, Jack Reid, Robert’s heir, or nephew.
Being the master craftsman he is the author switches between the past, the time period of the true Ripper murders and what we soon learn to be the present, in this book the early 21st century. Because a person is a descendant of a murderer, butcher and killer, does that mean that person’s genes are a part of you and if they are does that mean you will inherit them? Does that mean you will become one and the same with that person? We are about the re-enter the world and mind of one of the most elusive and creative killers that ever walked this earth: Jack the Ripper. Has he returned in the body of Jack Reid who is next in line and has received the dreaded journals which recount his killings and the ones in the present that mirror his exactly from the way the murders were executed and the days on which they took place? Only time will tell as you read this book and learn what horrors will befall the people now.
Perceptions are not always what they appear to be. First impressions and evidence in a crime an often lead to an arrest according to the evidence presented by the police and the prosecution. Appearances can often be deceiving and what might be right in front of your eyes is not always what is real.
Xerox machines are used to create exact copies of an original document. Imagine someone doing the same thing with crimes that were committed in the past and now xeroxing them in the present. In 1888 Jack the Ripper mutilated, maimed, killed, disfigured and disemboweled many young women because he thought they were not worthy of breathing life anymore because of their vocation. Prostitution was never legal in England though many young women resorted to that profession in order to live, feed their families and survive. Jack the Ripper was infected with a deadly venereal disease by one of these women and went on a rampage of hate, killing and destruction to rid the world of as many as he could before succumbing to the disease. We are not really sure because his identity remains unknown and he was never caught.
Jack Reid is in Ravenswood a maximum-security facility for the criminally and mentally insane. Insane and troubled yes, murderer, that has not been completely decided. After standing trial for killing three women he tries to relate his tale of horror and imprisonment that led up to his arrest and incarceration. The direct descendant of Jack the Ripper and next in line to receive his journals from his late uncle Robert Cavendish, he becomes entranced and mentally kidnapped by what was written in them and soon becomes one and the same with the events in them as his late uncle did.
What makes these crimes so unbelievable is that they are being committed on the same days and in the same exact locations as the first murders over 100 years before. Two police officers, and one Ripperologist re-read, revisit and rethink all of the evidence and come up with only one conclusion: Jack Reid might be innocent. The killer as Jack the Ripper was methodical, neat and did not even leave one piece of evidence behind to help the police identify him. But, in the third murder that Jack Reid supposedly committed he left himself covered with the victim’s blood and more. Even the way the murder was committed did not exactly match the third one in 1888. Added to that Jack’s description of his being held prisoner by a young man named Michael and repeatedly kept in a drugged stupor and a mystery man who claimed knowledge of all of the murders and held him captive so he could complete his goals, made it reasonable for the police to reevaluate their findings and try to get him free. But, was this the right decision?
Dr. Ruth Truman is the psychiatrist assigned to evaluate Jack and work with him in order to have him finally admit his guilt and more. She is relating the events in this book as she learns about them and narrates much of the book as Jack does too. How do all of the characters come together? The persistence of one Police Sergeant and one Ripperologist who would not give up until they found out the truth would help find out the truth behind the murders. Nor would lead Inspector Holland give up without a fight to find out just who was behind these heinous crimes and if what Jack related to them in their interview at Ravenswood was really fact or fiction. Did the journals really exist? Was there a man named Michael who worked with this mysterious man to frame him for these crimes? Was this person related to him and have the same mental disorder that seemed to run rampart in his family?
From Whitechapel, to Brighton to Warsaw Poland these elusive killers have left their mark. But what will astound you is the ending and not until the last paragraph of the last page will you learn the truth or think you learn the truth. The killer: Was he caught? Is he dead? Is he still at large? Only Brian Porter knows for sure and you the reader will have to decide for himself/herself. Can the pages of a journal carry something in it so powerful and so dangerous that it causes the reader to become tortured, tormented and terrorized by its contents? Can murders be carbon copies to resemble those from the past or even the present including the timing, the locations and dates of the murders? I won’t tell you. You need to decide the facts yourself and weigh the evidence. In the words of Jack the Ripper and the elusive Brighton Ripper: “I have important work to do, and I don’t have a lot of time to prepare.” Brian Porter prepare to receive my rating for this book and we hope you will not keep us in any more suspense and write the sequel so that we really know the ending to this outstanding novel. I am sure there is much more to come. Who will inherit this Legacy next? Who knows? Would you want it?
I give this book: 5 Ripperologists to help solve the crimes and Five Sergeant Wright’s to assist.
Fran Lewis: REVIEWER