Friday, March 24, 2017

Cascadia by H.W. "Buzz" Bernard

Genre: Adult, Thriller
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

At the time I scheduled this review I had not thought about what I would be teaching in my classroom around the time this review was due. It just worked out that we are reading stories on disasters. My students have been reading about Tsunamis and the earthquakes that cause them, specifically the 2004 tsunami. An interesting point in the article they read dealt with geomythology. Scientists are using stories told by Native Americans to back up stories of earthquakes and tsunamis that occurred in the past. Those were things I thought about as I read this wonderful thriller by “Buzz” Bernard.

One of the reasons I really like his work is you can tell how much research he does. I’m not sure how difficult that is for him with his background. I felt like I was reading a real life event.  His main character has to face one of the biggest challenges of his life. Dr. Elwood is a geologist who keeps having nightmares about a quake that devastates the northwest coast.  The more he has the dreams the more he believes the quake will actually happen. The challenge he faces is whether he should risk his career to go public with what he ‘believes’ will happen or if he should keep quiet to protect his career. If he is wrong it would be career over. If he doesn’t tell anyone and his dreams come true then he lost the opportunity to save lives.   I wondered if meteorologists and geologists ever actually go through this. I found it interesting that the “Thunderbird and Whale” reference was also mentioned in the articles my students read. This is such a well-written book I could see it as a movie.  I want a book like this that will keep me reading from cover to cover. I enjoy books that are so realistic I wonder how much truth there is to them. I definitely recommend you read this book and any of his other books. You won’t be sorry you checked out this author.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is one of those stories that has you looking over your shoulder. We live in a world that is constantly under surveillance. It seems common place to the point we tend to ignore it. Think of all of the criminals who are caught because they forgot there is the ability to provide surveillance in most every situation. Zoe finds herself stuck on a train on her way home one night. When she begins to read the ads in her paper she sees a picture of herself. There is also a website attached to her picture. Later she finds out that another woman who’s picture was in the paper ended up dead.  This pattern keeps happening and she is sure that she is being targeted.  I tend to do a lot of reading late at night after I’ve finished grading papers. This one had me so creeped out about being watched that I dreaded having to get out of bed and go to the bathroom. I kept hearing what are normal creaks of our house, but kept imagining someone was in the house.
We have Kelly a detective who has her own issues and is actually trying to build her reputation back up. She is one person who believes Zoe.  This is one of those books where things build up slowly until you suddenly realize how tense the situation is. I was unable to guess who was behind this. That is a plus for me. I hate reading a book and figuring things out so quickly.  I loved this book and the way it was written in different points of view.  This is a book that I will definitely recommend.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Guest Post: John Achor Author of "Five-Six Deadly Mix

A short while ago, I was musing about the infinite number of events that had to occur before I would meet my wife. Considering she was born in Vermont while I was raised in Indiana, there was a darn good chance we would never meet. But … World War II, the Manhattan Project and dozens of less significant occurrences did happen and we did meet.
I began thinking about my female protagonist, Casey Fremont, and how and why she came to be and where she lives ― in my warped mind. We were living in Phoenix, Arizona when I completed a pair of thrillers with a male protagonist. I was casting around for a change of pace ― I decided to switch from male, third person thriller to female, first person mystery. Casey’s odyssey began.
In my home library, I found “Writing the Private Eye Novel,” edited by Robert Randisi — and a chapter by Jeremiah Healy titled: Developing a Series Character. I used the information there as my basis for developing a new character. I began the work in Phoenix.
During a workshop presented by the Scottish author,  Val McDermid, she said it took her a couple of years to take an idea to fruition. I wondered if it would take that long for me. Little did I realize … You may wonder how I was able to attend a seminar by such a prestigious writer. Easy answer ― in Phoenix, Barbara Peters who owns The Poisoned Pen bookstore arranged the class. Barbara is well known for her acumen and as an independent bookseller; she is often invited to present at large conferences in the U.S as well as the United Kingdom.
Back to my story. I worked on my character, using a four-page development checklist I devised combined from several other writer’s efforts. It’s so comprehensive, I’ve never completed the entire checklist ― even for Casey. I did decide on her physical characteristics, her back story, where she would live and other details which may never be revealed in her books. Then fate/karma/coincidence stepped in.
My wife and I decided to move from Phoenix to Arkansas. Don’t ask: we didn’t have relatives there; we didn’t know anyone there ― but the state did have green things. I later learned the things were called trees and grass. Phoenix, is basically brown.
I moved Casey from Arizona to Little Rock, Arkansas. Our retirement village was about thirty miles southwest of Little Rock, so I found it easy to visit the big city often enough to gather needed details ― and know when to make it up.
We recently moved 600 miles north to the Omaha, Nebraska area. Will fate catch up with Casey and find herself in Nebraska? Or will she remain in Little Rock. In her third mystery  “Five, Six - Deadly Mix” (released January 2017) she’s in Little Rock. I’ve begun writing the next one ― working title of “Seven, Eight - Full of Hat” ― and she’s still in Arkansas. Where next? We’ll see …

Casey Fremont’s latest mystery  

John Achor posing with a poster at his first book signing  

Author Bio
The first of John Achor’s three careers spanned twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot. He accumulated over 4,000 hours flying planes from Piper Cubs to the military equivalent of the Boeing 707. After the military, he entered the real estate industry. He joined a national real estate franchise as a management consultant working at the regional and national levels. Those positions led him to Phoenix, Arizona, and an affiliation with a major Savings & Loan institution.
In John's words, “When the Savings and Loan industry melted away like a lump of sugar in hot coffee, I knew it was time to develop a third career.” He became a freelance computer instructor, user-developer, consultant, writer and Community College instructor.
In mid-1999, John moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where he lived in the piney woods with his wife Pat and their two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. As you may know from his latest book or web site; these two cats are no longer with them. Big hole in their lives, but both are waiting for us by The Rainbow Bridge. Their latest move was a recent relocation to the Omaha, Nebraska area where John is busy meeting and greeting new writers, readers and writing groups.
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