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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Duplicity by Ingrid Thoft is an informative and gripping novel about abuse. It brings back Fina Ludlow, an outcast in her own family, and a fighter for justice. It is very interesting how Thoft intertwines a murder mystery while having readers question organized religion and abuse. There are many similarities where people learn facts about a community or person; yet, choose to ignore it. These two seemingly unrelated plots come together as Fina must convince those who have this information and facts to act upon it. It is a wonderful story about what is right and wrong within the context of religion and life itself. Thoft got the idea for the story in reading about “a Seattle Church that imploded. Although the Covenant Rising Church was Evangelical what was put forth in the book could be applied to any religion. I wondered what happens to people when the cornerstone of their experience doesn’t turn out to be what they thought. I am fascinated with the idea of mega churches where it is about faith, but also is about money and power, especially those personalities that rise to the top who are very charismatic. I also thought of what happened in Penn State. So many people chose not to do anything because of money, position, and power. It blows my mind how people got this information and chose to ignore it. They did their minimal duty and had the attitude of washing their hands from it. It was as if they did not want to upset the apple cart.” The story begins as Fina and her dad, the head attorney in the high-powered personal injury law firm, meet with his old flame, Ceci, who asks that they investigate the Covenant Rising Church. Ceci’s daughter wants to bequeath a large amount of expensive property to them. Fina finds the Church has a slick chauvinistic pastor whose wife has her own infidelities. In addition, both have suspiciously used the donations for luxury cars, a vacation home, and a fancy house. After a prominent Church member dies unexpectedly, one Fina was to meet with; she becomes more suspicious of the Church’s undertakings. The investigation uncovers misguided loyalties and questionable motivations. This is rivaled only by Fina’s own family problems, her abusive brother Rand, who she is trying to build a case against. According to the author, “The common thread is where lots of people knew things, but did nothing about it. I questioned ‘at what moment do people speak up and say something is wrong?’ The dynamics of power, status, and social interaction influence how people make difficult decisions. You cannot always believe with blind faith and look the other way. We must keep our moral compass and allow dissent. Should you subvert your critical thinking to fit in or subvert your judgment?” Fina is someone that not only stands up for herself, but also for those who she feels cannot speak for themselves. She has a strong sense of justice that spurs her to, at times, act above the law. She is independent, headstrong, focused, and loyal. Being a non-conformist, even within her own family sometimes makes her feel lonely and unaccepted. In this book she is not left in a good place as she tries to deal with family issues and why she prefers not settling down to a typical domestic life. Duplicity delves with serious topics, but the banter between the characters and Fina’s sarcastic demeanor present a welcome release. Readers will question along with Fina the true meaning of faith and are given access to all the dynamics within her dysfunctional family. In addition the murder mystery is very riveting. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at BlackFive
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Enhanced Interrogation by James Mitchell with Bill Harlow discusses the EITs. Having spent years training US military personnel to resist questioning he explains the procedures, safeguards, and the results from the interrogation program. Being on the front lines Mitchell personally questioned thirteen of the most senior high-value detainees in U.S. custody, including Abu Zubaydah; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the amir or "commander" of the USS Cole bombing; and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Mitchell is a psychologist who served twenty-two years in the Air Force and who helped develop the CIA’s interrogation program. He only dealt with the top-tier terrorists and by his own admission has spent more time with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) than other interrogators. He helped incorporate some of the harsh techniques employed by the US military SERE schools. He told blackfive.net, these survival, evasion, resistance, and escape techniques had been used for over five decades without significant injuries to “train warfighters to protect secrets. I had been subjected to them myself, had used them to train others, and helped the Air Force Survival School revise its approach to resistance training after the first Gulf War.” Readers will understand that EITs, when applied correctly, were useful in drawing detainees to cooperate, and, when applied incorrectly, they were counter-productive. He was particularly critical of Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent who first interrogated Abu Zubaydah at a CIA black site in Thailand. Soufan, a darling of the Left, said the rapport-building techniques he used when he questioned Abu Zubaydah resulted in a huge intelligence score: the identity of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed versus what the CIA was doing in using “borderline torture techniques,” which made Zubaydah not cooperate. Not true, says Mitchell, and recounts in his book, “Zubaydah shut down after Soufan called him a son of a b---- and then tried to bribe him. He thinks he buddied up with him after offering him spiritual guidance. This is ridiculous. Zubaydah later told me he did it because if talking about religion then he was not speaking about operations.” Mitchell thinks “too much has been made of waterboarding. Of 1623 days in CIA custody only 14 days was he subjected to EITs. People are focusing on two weeks out of years. The CIA made sure to have doctors to evaluate the detainees before and after the interrogations to prevent long-term mental and physical problems. When you hear about Zubaydah’s mental problems, remember he wrote in his diaries about how he faked mental issues.” What did work, according to Mitchell, was President George W. Bush’s response. “The swiftness and veracity put the terrorists off balance. KSM told me, ‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’ He made it clear that had the US treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks.” KSM also predicted how those in the press and some in the political arena would turn on the interrogators who took aggressive action to prevent other attacks on Americans. Mitchell is especially critical of the Democrats, notably Senator Feinstein who “set us up as the fall guys. They were writing things in official reports that were inaccurate and misleading without giving us a chance to defend ourselves. Her report has stirred up the crazies and Jihadists, essentially issuing a Fatwa against everyone and me, past or present, working to protect Americans from Jihadist terrorist attacks. In fact, Feinstein staffers on ‘deep background’ outted me.” He wants Americans to understand that the media, the Obama Administration, and some Democrats “live in a bubble of protection provided by the men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives. Yet, they will throw them under the bus afterwards so they can claim the moral high ground. In my mind, the temporary discomfort of a terrorist who has voluntarily taken up arms to destroy our way of life does not outweigh my moral obligation to do what I can to save hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Good luck finding anyone who will actually use EIH if asked to. As General Michael Hayden said, ‘you better bring your own bucket and rubber boots.’” In this gripping and illuminating book people will get a glimpse into the thoughts of high-ranking terrorists, an explanation of what was done to get them to talk, and a front seat view of how some on the Left would rather turn the Jihadists into victims rather than perpetrators. Enhanced Interrogation is an outstanding explanation and understanding of what is needed to keep America safe. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at BlackFive
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The Guests On South Battery by Karen White is part paranormal, mystery, historical, with a little romance. Readers will be kept enthralled with the scenes of historic Southern houses and spooky happenings. White has done a lot of research on the subject of ghosts. “I describe this series as ‘my Sixth Sense meets National Treasure meets Moonlighting series.’ There were certain parameters I wanted to include in this series: It had to be in the South with the city old, charming, and having a lot of historical significance. I wanted to set the plot around haunted houses. Every culture, every religion has them existing. I think there is a lot about the universe we do not understand. So yes, I do like the possibility. I do think people can communicate with the dead and I find it fascinating.” The mystery begins after a young woman, Jayne Smith, is bequeathed a home in Charleston by someone she does not know. Questions arise as to why she randomly inherited this house and what is her relationship with the spirits who do not want her to inhabit it? She seeks out Melanie Middleton, a Charleston realtor, who specializes in historic real estate. She also has a hatred for old houses because she sees dead people come alive. White’s details about the architecture, history, old historic houses including hidden passages and other fixtures, make the story even more riveting. Jayne and Melanie become kindred spirits after Melanie hires her as a nanny. Intertwined within this ghostly story is also the theme of family. The different relationship dynamics are fascinating. Both Melanie and Jayne have abandonment issues; Melanie is insecure about her husband Jack; and her mother is struggling to make up for lost time now that she is back in her daughter’s life. According to White, “Melanie, as a young child, was abandoned by her mother, but it was done to save her. Because Melanie’s alcoholic father raised her she had to be the adult in the relationship. Her sense of insecurity stems from this. She has two personalities, the public and private. Outwardly she appears strong and competent, but inside she is like a quivering bowl of Jello: neurotic, OCD, and a control freak.” This book is an excellent read. It seems any Karen White book never disappoints with her spellbinding plot and cast of characters. The charm of the series is the relationships the main character Melanie has with friends and family. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson delves into the human psyche and the mind of a serial killer. The story’s strength is with the character’s thoughts. By having four different narratives readers are able to understand the complete picture of the disturbing circumstances of the plot. Swanson noted, “The idea for this story has been rattling around in my head for awhile. Originally I was going to write it as a romance where two people swapped apartments, never met, but somehow fell in love. The more I thought about it the more I thought it should be a murder mystery. Then it all clicked, where a woman moves into her cousin’s apartment and the day she arrives a corpse is discovered next door.” There are just a few times in the story that people might need to suspend belief, as the main character, Kate Priddy, becomes a psychopath’s magnet. After being traumatized by an abusive boyfriend she escapes to Boston, MA to try to gain some perspective. Kate is able to leave her home in London when she and her cousin, Colin, decide to exchange apartments. Soon after her arrival she finds her neighbor, Audrey, has been murdered with the person of interest, her cousin Corbin. To make matters worse she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. He confesses to Kate that he was drawn to Audrey and basically stalked her from afar. The suspense ratchets up when Kate’s fears, brought on from her intense panic attacks, become well founded as a serial killer, Henry, targets her for his next victim. This story is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock. Rear Window, Dial M For Murder and Wait Until Dark come to mind. Drawing inspiration from other movies and books Swanson commented, “When growing up I loved Roald Dahl, The Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. I also watched my first Hitchcock movie, Rope, around the age of ten. It had a scene in it where two college students strangle their victim. I wanted to play off this relationship in my story, having an alpha and beta psychopath with Corbin as the beta and Henry as the alpha. This is definitely a story about the damage men can inflict on women. Besides Rope the other Hitchcock movies that influenced the story are Rebecca, with the setting becoming an important element, and Dial M For Murder where the villain does not look like a villain. Since I have seen all 53 of his films I hope to put in my books his mode of suspense.” This book has readers invested in the characters. It is a psychological study of obsessive relationships that include Allen with Audrey, Corbin and Henry, and her ex-boyfriend George with Kate. It is a story of betrayal and revenge where monsters lurk under every bed. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at BlackFive
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The following is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Curtain Of Death by W.E.B. Griffin and William Butterworth IV present a fact filled novel about the early days of what will become the CIA. Even though the period between WWII and the Cold War is intense in itself these authors were able to make the plot even more riveting. The story reflects Griffin’s own experiences during the mid 1940s in war torn Germany. It becomes obvious that the clandestine agents must not only deal with the Nazis trying to escape to Latin America, but an entirely different kind of war. The enemy has changed, the rules have changed; and the stakes have never been higher. The time is January 1946, the setting Munich Germany, and the protagonists are the men and women fighting a covert war. The plot begins with two WACs and intelligence analysts kidnapped by four KGB agents. Unfortunately for them one of the women, Claudette Colbert, hid a pistol in her bra, and shoots three of her assailants, wounding a fourth. Readers take the journey with the DCI-Europe unit as they navigate through the conflicts within the different US agencies and with the two logistical enemies, Russia and the Nazis. Curtain of Death is a novel that mixes intrigue and diplomacy within a suspenseful and enthralling story. An added bonus is the sarcasm and humor sprinkled throughout the scenes. Q/A with the authors below: Elise Cooper: Can you tell us what is true in the book? W.E.B. Griffin: I was there when I was a kid. I knew and saw a lot. The Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, who became the head of German intelligence in the, 1940s, did work for us to save his people from the Russians. Also true are the Operations OST, Paperclip, and Odessa. EC: What about the women characters? W.E.B: We also had many good women who played a prominent role in 1940s Germany as spies and intelligence analysts. Characters in the story like my fictional Claudette Colbert were real and did carry pistols, but the idea of her hiding it in her brassiere was mine. They did this because we could not afford to have them kidnapped. Seven-K was a character I created. She was based on some Mossad agents who did work with us in exchange for getting Zionists out of Russia. William Butterworth IV: There are fascinating stories of women spies in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor to the CIA, and their missions are the stuff of legend. Yet the contributions made by the 4,000 women, including Julia Child and Marlene Dietrich are largely unheralded. Exceptions include Elizabeth McIntosh’s book Women of the OSS: Sisterhood Of Spies. EC: Can you explain this quote from the book, “The DCI itself-was that its formation was going to displease the Pentagon, the Navy, the State Department, and the FBI, all of whom had urged the President to disestablish the OSS and have its functions transferred to them.” W.E.B: President Truman realized putting the OSS out of business was a mistake. He created the DCI under his buddy Rear Admiral Sidney Souers, who formerly worked in insurance. He was in charge for about eighteen months, but then wanted to go back to his profession to make some money. Truman allowed them to do anything they wanted, but they were not allowed to tell anyone else what to do. Unfortunately, there was no cooperation among the units. Truman purposely kept Central Intelligence out of everyone’s hands but his. This caused bureaucratic infighting, because Truman made sure he kept the sole control. EC: You interject humor in the story? W.E.B: I love to write humor. If I could make a living doing it that is all I would write. The happiest period of my life is when I was writing the sequels to MASH. I was able to ridicule everyone. EC: What is the difference between the CIC and the DCI? IV: CIC is the Counterintelligence Corps and the DCI is the Directorate of Central Intelligence. The DCI is the fictional name in the series for what became the Central Intelligence Agency. EC: Is the story based on anyone? IV: Dad said he subconsciously wrote in part, about Rene J. Defourneaux, and called their relationship cousin-like. He was an Army OSS Second Lt. and later became a legendary US Army intelligence officer. Like a lot of highly intelligent spooks he also had a terrific sense of humor. I am intrigued by the history and stories of these men and women. EC: What is the process you both use to write the books together? W.E.B: We talk a lot. I send to him a chapter and he tells me what he thinks: ‘don’t do this’ or ‘do this’. One of us will write 90% of a book and the other 10%, and then it reverses with another book. Billy is a very good editor and had been one for sixteen years before we began working together on a daily basis. IV: Dad lived this period, knew the principles from having worked with General White and others, so he wrote most of this book. And I added what I could. A good editor has an invisible hand in the work, making suggestions and edits that help the story without changing the writer’s distinctive voice. EC: Speaking of edits, would you ever put in the front of the book a list of characters and their relevance? IV: I can see it as possibly a companion book, but do not like doing that because it bogs down the story. THANK YOU!! Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. How Will I know You by Jessica Treadway is not just a crime story, but is also has a psychological aspect. The storyline refers to a small town community where everyone knows everyone else’s business. This time around, Treadway decided to have multiple narrators telling the story ranging from a teenage girl, black graduate student, a middle-aged art teacher, to a policeman. The plot begins where a high school teenager, Joy Enright, in upstate New York is found in a pond strangled to death. Martin Willett, her mother’s teaching assistant and lover has been accused of the crime. The arresting officer, interim police chief Doug Armstrong, has his own agenda for solving the crime quickly. He is hopeful that the town board will appoint him the full-time police chief. Treadway noted, “ The premise for the book came from two places. Several years ago a family I knew went out ice-skating. They all fell under but one of the daughters slipped away and drowned in the pond. I was haunted for years by this family’s grief. Then there is a well-known murder case in Massachusetts where a mother dropped her teenage daughter off at her lifeguard job. She disappeared and was never found. I decided to make the pond the focus of the drama involving a girl who first disappears and then is found murdered. My previous novels are based on actual incidents, but this one was much more my imagination.” Most of the characters appear to have their own set of problems. Joy wants to be part of the in-crowd and has turned into someone mean and nasty, compromising her own values. Her mother, Suzanne, is an elitist who had an affair to reconnect with her artistic self. Allison, the daughter of Doug, is a daddy’s girl who makes her husband feel inferior to her father. Each is affected by their decisions that have huge consequences. This novel strings together small town secrets leading readers to the conclusion of the plot where the truth behind Joy’s killer is revealed. It is a study of how humans react under pressure. Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. The Soul Of A Seal by Anne Elizabeth has something for every type of reader. It is part adventure, part military thriller, part political, and has a steamy romance. If so inclined, people my want to skip some of the hot and heavy physical intimacy and concentrate on the extensive and detailed scenes of space, shuttle design, and the training involved. The book references different military settings, military issues, and historical events. Being married to a Vietnam veteran, a retired SEAL, she wants “to give insight into the SEAL community, respectful of our courageous souls, and to illustrate how hard and complicated dedication can be as well as how precious those peaceful moments are. There are basic facts that are true to all military life: struggles with marriage, family, relationships, money, health, and returning home. My husband told me that in my writing I should honor the community and country. I wanted to inform people about the challenges and to show their personal courage. The characters are based on real life former SEALs. I am very careful to craft a plot that does not hijack the veteran’s story so I only use elements of it.” The plot has a Navy SEAL, Captain Bennett Sheraton, sent to find out who is sabotaging a top-secret program that will allow him to captain a space shuttle. He becomes attracted to the lead scientist, Dr. Kimberly Warren. They must untangle if the culprit is a lone wolf or part of a major conspiracy involving different US agencies or foreign powers. The action and adventure comes from her personal experiences that include her flying an airplane, parachuting, and mountain biking. Anne is one of those authors who does not just do the talk, but have actually done the walk. She noted the fact versus fiction of the story. Fact: SEALs are on call 24/7 if they are in operational mode. Many SEALs desire to become astronauts after retiring and some have actually achieved that goal. At the end of the book Anne details the experiences of Chris Cassidy and William Shepherd. She also wants people to understand how “Underwater Demolition Team Frogmen, precursors to the Navy SEALs played a key role during the Gemini and Apollo programs by leaping in the water to recover the capsule and help the astronaut.” On the other hand pure creative thought was the Lester Facility, a covert place that will launch hardware into space via the Warren shuttle. A powerful quote describes these silent fighters, both in real life and fiction. “The public would be unaware of the men’s pain and sacrifices. The selfless warrior did not require an accolade; rather, survival and success were the greatest gifts of all.” The author explained, “I hope readers are encouraged to learn more about the real life personalities of these men who contributed to the betterment of all humanity. They are my words but it is based on the SEALs who I know. Part of their motto is ‘never quit.’ They are not limelight guys but rather are quiet, humble, bold, strong, and brave.” This novel has elements of a thriller, science fiction, mystery, and romance. It is a good read to understand a little of the SEAL personality and missions, as well as the effect it has on th Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. The Seventh Plague by James Rollins blends scientific intrigue with a small dose of historical mystery. Unlike his other books this one has more of an emphasis on the science, both physical and biological. However, readers of Rollins’ books always learn from interesting facts within a gripping story and this novel is no different. This as well as the other books always has scenes between Commander Grayson Pierce and his father who has Alzheimer’s’ disease. Rollins believes he was influenced “by my father’s death during the course of writing this book. No author writes within a vacuum. This is reflected in the storyline, which started with the first book and the subsequent decline of his father. My own dad was my biggest promoter, and my loudest cheerleader.” The novel begins with an archeological dig in Egypt going very awry. Archeologist Harold McCabe is found stumbling out of the sands, but dies before he can tell his story. The mystery deepens when his body appears to have been mummified before his death. During the autopsy it becomes apparent that within is a deadly pathogen that threatens to cause a pandemic, with the virus spreading throughout the globe. It is airborne and highly contagious with a mortality rate similar to Ebola and somehow connected to the plagues listed in the book of Exodus. Turning to McCabe’s daughter Jen a connection is further discovered tying the current threat to Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla. The theory proposed in the book attributes an environmental change that turned the Nile red. The book speaks of the “algae blooms, bacteria growth, even heavy contaminations.” Rollins noted to blackfive.net, “I wanted to write a story about the book of Exodus that will try to prove the events depicted about Moses were factual. The scientific explanation for the plagues was due to a major climatic period of change within Mother Nature. This is a modern version of the cascade of events where I made the connection that it mimicked the ancient plagues.” Furthermore, Rollins explained why he included two famous historical figures. “I am a big Mark Twain fan. I like the fact he and Nikola Tesla were friends. Twain hung around his lab and did experiments with him. At the end of his life Tesla claimed of having a shocking discovery, a new energy source. The possibility became the ‘germ’ for this book. He had research surrounding energy and new electrical sources. He actually invented an alternating current, which is what we pretty much use in every single US household, the electrical infrastructure.” Through Sigma Force’s investigation a mysterious group of assassins is found that attempts to erase all evidence through destruction and death. Seichan is pitted against the Russian assassin Valya Mikhailov who can match her skill for skill while Commander Grayson tries to keep the scientists safe. On the other side of the globe Director Painter Crowe struggles to stop a mad genius locked within a remote Arctic engineering complex. Rollins, “I put in the sub-plot of how someone with a massive geo-engineering program could have things go terribly wrong if he succeeded. Global warming is happening, but my goal for this book is to show how geo-engineering is ignoring the change to the carbon in the atmosphere. Instead, they are going for the Hail Mary pass that includes wrapping a big blanket around Greenland.” He told of his next book projects: “Seichen and Vayla butting heads where Seichen represents the non-dark side and Vayla stayed in the shadows. There will be a resolution to their battle. This next Sigma book will bring back as a major character, Maria, the human mother of the gorilla Baako. It will involve a mystery surrounding the end of World War II. This one will be more historical. I am also writing by myself a Tucker and Kane book where Kane will get a girlfriend, a search and rescue dog. There is also talk, coming out in the summer, of a compilation of short stories in an anthology with a new novella added.” The Seventh Plague blends action, adventure, with a lot of science. It has an interesting premise based upon the reality of the plagues imposed by Moses on the Egyptians as well as informing readers about the Twain/Tesla relationship. Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. When All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz leaves readers spell bound. Although billed as a suspense romance novel it can easily fit into the thriller category. As with the Columbo TV series there is very little attempt to hide the identity of the antagonist, but the motive and possible conspiracies are masked throughout much of the novel. Just when the reader thinks they had found the answers, the carpet is pulled from under them with a new set of questions. This is the first in a trilogy. Krentz noted to blackfive.net, “I am writing the other brother’s story as we speak. The third novel will resolve the evil cult mystery left over from this book. Each is a stand-alone with a mystery on to itself. There will be cameos from the characters of this first book. I really love that set-up of a private investigator series. Any mystery with a PI can handle more personal stories involving confidentiality, keeping secrets, and probing the personal corners of other people’s lives. This series is now a trilogy, but if it works it can be the core for a PI series.” This story has two plotlines that come together at the end. The plot begins with the possible murder of a woman and the disappearance of another. It appears that the one with all the answers is Jocelyn Pruett, but she has disappeared. A private detective, Max Cutler, is hired to find out why one woman was murdered and in the course of his investigation meets up with Charlotte Sawyer, the stepsister to Jocelyn. Together they search for answers and link the death and disappearance to an on-line based investment club and Jocelyn’s past of being a rape victim. They find that power, privilege, an escalating serial rapist, and a friend-enemy are all fighting to silence Charlotte and Max. An over-riding arc that will continue in this trilogy has three stepbrothers obsessed in trying to find out the cult leader who imprisoned them, and set a fire that ultimately killed others. Because they had no relatives the police chief who rescued them adopted the three and raised them as his sons. The question of what became of this cult leader has haunted the brothers. Max was affected so deeply he had to leave his criminal profiler job, got divorced, and relocated to Seattle. The theme of the novel involves deceptions, unanswered questions, and finding out the truth. Revenge, vigilante justice, and becoming avengers are the central part of the story. Something most readers can relate to is how “life passes in the blink of an eye.” Krentz feels the “avengers crossed the line to find justice and then became vigilantes, which is not healthy. This is why I could not make the heroine one of them. Her own core values would not allow that kind of justice that involves less than legal means. I wanted to show women are perfectly capable of thinking about revenge and will have their own way of doing it. I always believe that whoever plans revenge has a dark side. Vengeance is a dangerous thing and usually comes back to haunt you. Vigilantism is like the western story of meeting a guy in front of the saloon and shooting it out.” The two sisters appear to be as different as night and day. Jocelyn is flashy, an “A-list girl”, bold, and self-confident. Charlotte is seen as risk-averse, cautious, vulnerable, level headed, honest, and not spontaneous. She is in-sync in personality with Max who is also vulnerable, doubtful, a plodder, and comfortable enough with each other to share their past. As with all her books the characters grow throughout the story. “I had Jocelyn learn something about herself, which is she does need Charlotte as a sister of the heart. On the other hand, Charlotte learned that her inner strength was greater than she gave herself credit for. Most of us do not understand our own strength until something stresses us and then we have to deal with it. Regarding Max and Charlotte, Something I have in my books is how the relationship develops when the hero sees the strengths and the heroic qualities in the heroine and she sees those same qualities in him. Their story compliments each other. They share the common core values: courage, honor, determination, and the healing power of love.” This novel is a great read for fans of mysteries who will not be able to put the book down. The many twists and turns create an exciting plot with action building throughout the story. Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. If there is any reason to rejoice over the fact Hillary Clinton was not elected President, it is one word, Benghazi. The 3 a.m. phone call came and she did not answer the call. Americans still do not know the truth and facts surrounding her role in this tragic incident. Lydie M. Denier has just released her book, A Voice For Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Denier, the former fiancé of Ambassador Stevens and Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean, the information officer in Libya, discussed their feelings about the election, Hillary Clinton, and the Benghazi cover-up. Lydie is disgusted that people are rioting and in mourning because Hillary Clinton was not elected President. She and Patricia understand it is their right, but are glad Hillary Clinton did not become Commander-in-Chief. As a Hollywood actress, Lydie, has some words of advice for her peers, “When they asked me why I was against having a woman President, I responded, ‘I want one, but not her. Lots of my Hollywood friends say I am now moving away. I answered go and I will help you pack. Move on.’” She wanted people to know that for the past three years she has had a hard time getting A Voice For Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens published. “I was told who cares about his life. This sounded like they were echoing Hillary Clinton’s comment before the Congressional Committee when she said ‘what difference does it make?’ It does matter because Chris needed a voice and I am happy to be it. He was always in my heart and I wanted people to get to know him as a great human being. In going through his stuff his mother found some pictures with me. The letters I have, some of which I published, show him to be a very romantic and thoughtful person. It has been a constant fight to get the story out, and I had to publish it in Canada.” Lydie told how she saw emails where Clinton referred to the Ambassador as “Sean Stevens,” when asking if she should immediately go public or wait until the next day. Was she uncaring or ignorant as she mixed up the names of those who died? She also wonders what happened to Chris’ journal, since he kept one every day. “I heard his passport, belongings, and journal were never given to his family. I can speculate that someone gave them to the State Department. Who knows what they did with them, possibly burning them. There was also a picture of him taken the day he died where he is standing between two men. I was told those were the two who are responsible for Chris’ death.” The book has a quote that shows her frustration, “No one seems interested in digging for the facts to learn the truth about what happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty who died tragically and needlessly that day. Instead, they want to obscure the truth to protect a political position...” The quote is more applicable today since the Wikileaks’ emails have come out. They show how Hillary Clinton told the truth to Chelsea, but not the American people. Lydie noted, “I want Americans to understand that Clinton sent him to Benghazi without any security. She ignored the 600 requests for help. He had been to Benghazi twice before. Even though she knew how dangerous it was she sent him there because she wanted a presence on September 11th. He was to go there in August 2012 but because of the lack of security he and his team cancelled it. The trip was supposed to be postponed until October or November. Chris went there on 9/11 because she directly told him to go.” She went on to say that “Chris had decided it was way too dangerous and had decided not to finish his term as Ambassador and to come home. He was thinking of retiring because he saw a lack of respect within the State Department. Gregory Hicks told me they had tried desperately to get help after receiving the call from Chris that they were under attack. He felt powerless since he could not convince anyone to send help. Probably because this was the real “3 AM” phone call and she was sleeping.” Patricia Smith echoes Lydie’s sentiments. She also believes Clinton was sleeping and that she “never had their backs. I suspect she knew what was going on and went to bed. Her lies were never ending. First, she looks me in the eye and says that a video caused my son’s death, and then when I called her on it she says ‘one of us is lying and its not me,’ basically calling me a liar. When I tried to get answers no one in the State Department spoke with me because ‘You are not part of the immediate family.’” She went on to say that she does not even know where her son is buried and worries that his body is not the one in the casket brought back to America. “They never opened up the casket so I could see him. They did not even take them out of Libya in an American plane, probably because it was too dangerous. I truly believe she murdered my son.” Lydie and Patricia are glad Hillary Clinton lost, but it is a bittersweet victory since that will never bring back their loved ones. As Lydie noted, “How could anyone have trusted Clinton to take care of this whole country when she could not even take care of four men in Benghazi. I truly believe Hillary Clinton’s choice to sit still, leaving Americans alone, to fend for themselves in Benghazi, will go down in history as a singular act... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Terminal Impact by Charles Henderson is about Marines written by a retired Marine. This novel takes readers on a journey about a sniper on the trail of al-Qaeda terrorist al-Zarqawi in Iraq. He allows readers to understand how those in the military can be haunted by a missed opportunity. The protagonist of the story Marine Scout-Sniper Jack Valentine missed a critical shot that would have killed a terrorist leader during the Persian Gulf War. Now back in Iraq in 2006 to lead a highly trained unit, he vows to make things right. To complete the mission he must overcome greedy contractors who hire mercenaries to play both sides. Readers get a glimpse into the life of a Marine including anecdotes, asides, history, and combat language. Henderson told blackfive.net of how he drew inspiration from “Marines I know. These Scout Snipers are big influences on who my main character Jack Valentine is including his training, skill set, and personality. He is a compilation of three or four guys. For example, when I wrote about the “Mob Squad,” that is real. In the First Gulf War some Italian guys who chose to be together dubbed themselves this nickname. Their favorite saying, ‘It is just business, nothing personal.’” Wanting to write a story that was believable, accurate, and real, Henderson noted, “I dug into the well of my life. I grew up hunting, living outdoors, and surrounded by rifles. Snipers are the people I know best. They are quiet, down to earth, and not boastful. I wanted to honor them. Ernst Hemingway once said, ‘To write something well you have to have lived it. You can’t write about what you don’t know.’” Anyone who wants a realistic glimpse into the life of a Marine should read this book. It appears the scenes and the jargon are very realistic. Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Tom Clancy’s True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney explores the world of cyber threats and cyber security. Government officials have been talking about these dangers for a decade; yet, it seems it has been all talk and no action, that is until Jack Ryan Sr. became President. The plot begins with seemingly random acts against America’s military and national security officials. First, an armed man in a crowded restaurant attacks U.S. Navy Commander Scott Hagan, captain of the USS James Greer, when on leave. Hagan demands to know how the would-be assassin knew his exact location, but the man dies before he says more. This is followed by an American operative being arrested in Iran for spying, even though he has made the trip numerous times before. It comes to a head when a man is kidnapped by American covert officials accused of being a traitor and reveals he gave away classified information to save his wife from being outted as an American operative. Through much investigation it is determined American intelligence is under attack by someone selling classified information on the dark web. The information up for grabs included lengthy and detailed profiles of America’s highest-ranking military personnel and undercover operators. As more deadly events involving American military and intelligence personnel follow, all over the globe, it becomes clear that there has been some kind of massive information breach sold to ISIS that uses this weapon of stolen data to take out targets. President Ryan asks the Campus, a top-secret intelligence agency, to track the leak of this source. This scenario appears to be a warning to those that use social media since the cyber antagonist was able to find what people were doing, where they were, and piece together this information. Greaney believes “People worry about the NSA tracking them, but they are actually allowing this through social media. This book talks a lot about social media intelligence that is completely open source. For example, we were able to track Russian soldiers fighting in the Ukraine through their Instagram accounts. They were shown to be 65 miles within the Ukraine at the same time the Russian government was saying it was not true. But the absence of information can also give someone information. Say you went to college majoring in Arabic studies, and then suddenly your social media goes dark. With a leap of faith a person might suspect you of going into the covert world.” The theme of the book shows how government cannot adequately protect its own agencies, corporations, or even individual American citizens. Greaney wants readers to understand, “This is a very realistic plot. Remember when China breached the database of the Office Of Personnel Management. Twenty-five million records were lost. Anyone who had applied for a classified position was at risk. They did not even have a cyber security department. What I did was take things in the real world and fictionalized it.” Current events allow for readers to grasp the multitude of importance of a security breach. Greaney noted to blackfive.net, “I thought of the Secretary of State who had an unsecure server while emailing on Yahoo. This is one of those instances when I did not want to make our government officials that accurate. I did not want it happening on the Jack Ryan watch. It seems the real world is more unrealistic than this plot line.” Unlike some other thriller authors, people know that in a Clancy novel some of the main characters can be killed off. What Greaney has done effectively with this story is to expand the Clancy world by refilling the ranks of the Campus. The new characters added or have taken on more of a role. Adara Sherman and Midas, ex Delta Force, enhance the story with their grittiness. True Faith and Allegiance allows readers to have their eyes opened to the dangers of cyber breaches. It is a warning for the US government to quit doing the talk and start doing the walk regarding the need for a strong cyber security program. Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Chaos by Patricia Cornwell has a “chaotic” plot. This book fascinatingly shows how people are losing control. In some ways technology has made lives easier, while in other ways it has taken away someone’s independence. Cornwell shows in this absorbing thriller how that can happen. Cornwell commented to blackfive.net, “The major theme in my most recent books is that we are living in the age of technology. My more current research is moving more and more towards the sorts of technology that the military is developing. A lot of what ends up in criminal investigations begins with the military. Much is first implemented in combat. A good example is when Scarpetta uses her CT scanner. It was modeled after the one at Dover Air Force Base. The military is also using a scanning x-ray electron microscope. It can possibly determine the projectile used to kill someone in combat and who was the one responsible for making it.” Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s Director, is receiving anonymous poems that are on the bizarre side from a cyber bully known as Tailend Charlie. In her professional life she must find out why two people died after being struck by lightning, including her good friend General John Briggs who has also been electrified. Scarpetta starts to suspect the involvement of Carrie Grethen, her nemesis. She determines that the deaths by “acts of nature” are actually related to this cyber bully, a cunning and technically savvy predator. Will Carrie be the antagonist in future books? “I don’t know where Carrie will go and want to leave things open ended. She will be in the next book, which also has an international connection to Scotland Yard and Interpol. An old case has just re-surfaced.” Dr. Kay enlists the help of her “work husband,” partner detective Pete Marino. They begin a perilous investigation of who is behind the cyber bullying and the murder of the two victims. Her niece Lucy does not play as prominent a role in this book as in others, but she is enlisted to try to find out how this criminal could have access to private information and the ability to use electricity for murder. In this thriller Cornwell shows how Kay balances the demands of her work life with her personal life. Besides having to deal with a cyber bully she has to confront her feelings of sisterly rivalry with Dorothy. The backstory is told of their early life together and why at this time her sister decides to come for a visit. Anyone who has a sister knows about rivalry. Cornwell wants readers to “think of Scarpetta as human with a family, scars, dysfunction, memories, and loses. Her only sibling, Dorothy, has always been in the shadow from day one of my books. She was going to be the homecoming queen in high school, while Scarpetta was the nerd in the science lab. In this book and going forward readers will spend some time with her. Her visit has a big connection to the plot.” As with all her recent books, Chaos demonstrates how technology advances can be beneficial to criminals. Readers work the investigation with Scarpetta as they try to disentangle the puzzle and mystery of this gripping plot. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Those who love dogs write the best books about them. This becomes evident with Maria Goodavage’s latest book Secret Service Dogs. It is filled with colorful, funny, dramatic, and heartfelt anecdotes intertwined with a history of this special unit. She decided to write this book after researching and finding there was very little out there about the Secret Service agency’s canine program. After two bestsellers about military dogs, she commented, “I thought it would be fascinating to shift gears and look at the dogs that protect the president of the United States, the First Family, presidential candidates, and even the Pope, when he visits the United States. I was surprised and impressed by how integral Secret Service dogs are to the many circles of protection for the president.” Right from the very beginning readers understand the heroism of these men/women and their canine partners. Another hero, Clint Hill, who put his life on the line as he jumped on the JFK car in Dallas, wrote the forward. Goodavage feels honored that Clint Hill contributed to the book. “I met him on a boat in San Francisco. After the Lucca book I was thinking of what I should do next. I talked to him about writing a book on Secret Service dogs and handlers and he was so gracious in offering to put me in touch with the right people. After reading an advance copy he offered to write the forward.” Never before has anyone been given the access that this author has by the Secret Service. Readers are taken into this world that has been “secretive” for many years. It is informative about the different types of dogs used to guard the White House and the President, the First Family, and dignitaries. The Explosive Detection Team travels worldwide with the President. Emergency Response Dogs is part of a “SWAT” team, where they would attack an intruder. Tactical dogs protect the President and the First Family inside the White House grounds. Floppy-eared dogs aka as Friendly dogs patrol outside the White House. They are named for their ability to be affable to those people who are walking or viewing the White House from the outside. The incident that brought attention to these dogs was when someone jumped the White House fence. This book explains all the details surrounding it and how the Belgian Malinois, Hurricane, became a hero. After being punched and kicked by the intruder he still was able to subdue him and had the man give up with the help of another canine, Jardan. It is through stories like these that readers gain a good understanding of how the extensive training allows these dogs to risk their lives to protect the First Family and the President. But there are other stories as well. When President Ronald Reagan, an apparent dog lover, decided to pet one of the dogs he almost had his hand bitten off, after coming out for a photo op with the agents and their dogs. He reached out to shake the Agent’s hand, but the canine at his side stared up at the President and showed his teeth. Luckily, the handler put the dog at ease, and nothing came of the incident. Some might wonder how does the First Family’s dog interact with Secret Service dogs. The author addresses it within a chapter. Noting that the handlers were very vigilant about the pets of the First Family they tried to avoid any confrontation. She recounts such an incident involving President George W. Bush’s dog Barney, a Scottish Terrier. Thinking he is the alpha dog he charged at the ERT dog, Oscar, a Belgian Malinois. The handler scooped Oscar up high in his arms and avoided a major incident although Barney did bite his tail. Besides these anecdotes she also explains the policies of this unit. One that appears to make no sense is the one and done. As Goodavage notes to blackfive.net, “The “One and done” has been a policy of the Secret Service’s canine program since the beginning. It means that as a handler, you get one dog during your career. Usually, when the dog retires, so does their human partner. The Canine Unit is popular, and the idea is that this rule would give others a chance. But many handlers feel, and I tend to agree, that you’re losing incredible talent this way. You want the best of the best when it comes to protecting the president and other key world figures. Deeply experienced handlers can be tremendous assets. Fortunately, there have been plenty of exceptions to the one-and-done policy with a few on their second dog after their first had a long and fruitful career before retirement.” Secret Service Dogs by Maria Goodavage is an interesting insight into this unit. It is eye opening since very little has been written. Readers will learn about the relationship between handlers and their partners. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.The Earl by Katharine Ashe is a historical novel filled with adventure, mystery, and sprinkled with romance. She is a professor of History who has strong heroines that learn from and teach the men who love them. This book is the conclusion of the Falcon Club series and the second book in the Devil Duke series. All her stories are compelling and through the character’s eyes, emotions, and conflicts, readers can learn about the historical context. The banter of barbs, bickering, and debating allows them to begin to understand the other’s passion and point of view. The identity of her heroine, Lady Justice, is Emily Anne Vale, while Peregrine is Colin Gray, the Earl of Egremoor. They are constantly trading correspondence and debating over the column written about women’s issues, specifically a woman’s marital status. After Colin agrees to help her find her sister, who has disappeared, they are thrown together. He imposes one condition; they find out each other’s true identity. At the meeting place, Colin admits he is Peregrine and believes Lady Justice to be a man and insults her by demanding to see her master, the real Lady Justice. His assumptions are based on the fact that Lady Justice’s identity was never revealed. Because of her deep disappointment that the man she once knew as a childhood friend could so blatantly dispel that a woman was capable of accomplishments, Emily refused to reveal herself. The mystery begins in Scotland. It is here they trace her sister’s presence and are accused of killing a local man’s wife. It seems a man who resembles Colin and someone dressed up as a woman resembling Emily are robbing travelers. When they are mistaken for outlaws, they have to flee for their lives. Readers take this adventurous journey with the characters as they try to prove their innocence. Emily is independent, a recluse, bookish, strong-willed, and at times self-righteous, while Colin is honorable, determined, witty, and chauvinistic. A quote in the book shows how he feels entrapped, “It was thought they were on opposite sides of a tightly locked door. She stood firmly and proudly on the outside… while he was inside the room, suffocating.” It is as if he wishes he could be like Emily, comfortable in her own skin, but instead was pressured by his father to be someone he is not. Ashe noted to blackfive.net, “They’ve each built up ideas of who the other is. I wanted to show that not all heroes have to be John Wayne. The men important to me are intelligent, sensitive, and emotional. Over the course of this journey they must tear these notions apart. In the beginning they each believe they know the truth about the other, but by the end they realize they’ve only been partially correct.” Ashe says the scenes of physical intimacy are an integral part of the characters’ story. “In the early 1800s, women of the privileged class were protected from male sexuality. But Emily acknowledges it and tries to come to terms with the double standard in which men are expected to experience their sexuality while women are not. As far as I am concerned if the sex does not have meaning that alters the relationship, for the good or the ill, it should not be in the novel. Physical intimacy must be a meaningful communication. When Emily makes sexual advances she is a woman on the front edge of feminism during this era.” Readers will have to wait for the next book, The Duke, to find out what becomes of Colin and Emily’s relationship. Ashe explained, “I intentionally left it open ended. I want Emily to maintain her legal autonomy, and if she married she would lose it entirely. Yet, unless they marry, their children would not be able to inherit Colin’s title or property. Ultimately, it’s clear in The Duke, which also answers the mystery of why the Duke of Loch Irvine does not want his secrets exposed, and whether he is indeed the devil society believes him to be.” This page turner has people unraveling the mysteries of why has Emily’s sister disappeared, will Colin discover Lady Justice’s true identity, and will they be found innocent of the crimes accused of? The novel is full of the contradictions men and women often face and struggle with surrounding the issue of equality. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. No Man’s Land by David Baldacci on the surface seems like a science fiction story. But this thriller featuring US Army criminal investigator John Puller has a very plausible theme with a compelling and action-packed plot. He always seems to give a shout out to the military. He noted to blackfive.net, “My dad was in the Navy, and I have a lot of friends in the military and police. I think those in the military and police are very special people, which is why I wrote this book quote about Puller a former combat veteran and now a CID investigator, sprinting ‘toward, not away from, the violence.’ I have tremendous respect for them. It is an incredibly difficult job under the best of circumstances and far more complicated than people realize. We need to hold these people up and encourage them to serve in these professions.” The storyline has two men combating demons they experienced thirty years ago. Seemingly unrelated, Baldacci does a great job intertwining the two characters. Puller ‘s mother disappeared thirty years ago and now CID investigators are accusing his father of possibly murdering her. Aided by his brother Robert, an Air Force major, and Veronica Knox, who works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence organization, Puller begins a journey that will take him back into his own past, to find the truth about his mother. Simultaneously, Paul Rodgers begins his own journey after getting paroled from jail. He was basically a guinea pig in an experiment to make a “super soldier.” His body was altered so that he wouldn’t fear physical pain, his brain was changed so that he wouldn’t feel guilt over killing, and he was changed to become a fighting machine. Regretting being turned into a “monster,” he seeks out the two people responsible for his plight to make them pay for ruining his life. Discussing the storyline Baldacci saw “The super soldier theme is not all fiction, since they have worked on it for a long time. A lot of what I spoke about in the book is something they have been or are currently working on, including brain implants, and making soldiers able to heal themselves on the battlefield. I think one of their long-range goals is to make our fighting force more effective. I know this sounds very H. G. Wells, but it is the way the world works. I wanted to attack this from the human side, and the dark side of it all. At some point this has to be tested on real people. Their goal is to make the soldier more efficient, more combat ready, stronger, and with greater endurance. A lot of this can only happen with technology. Is it a dark or sweet part? General Robert E. Lee said. ‘It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it.’ We don’t want to possibly change a person to being non-human. I am not saying to stop the projects, but we must be skeptical and ask the necessary questions about modifying soldiers. We must be aware that technology and humanism sometimes collide.” Beyond this riveting and heart-wrenching story Baldacci explores many issues, including dementia, human experiments, and conspiracy theories. He has a knack for having the reader hate some of the characters in the beginning, only to root and care for them by the ending. Baldacci stated, “I think about how the brain defines personality, who someone is, and how they react to others. When modified, changed, and pierced by artificial means the outcome is very scary. Putting something together that is supposedly perfect is only in the eyes of the beholder. It’s their definition of what is perfect. Let’s not forget Hitler’s desire to create the perfect Aryan race. But I also wrote in this book about how Puller’s father is suffering from dementia, and he felt how he basically lost him. It destroys people from within.” No Man’s Land is an edge of your seat thriller. Readers will be hooked from page one. Besides the tension edged plot, the thought provoking themes will allow people to question how far military experiments should go. Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Before the Clinton Foundation Bill and Hillary perfected the politics of personal profit. It is incredible how the Justice Department along with mainstream media refused to investigate how businesses and foreign governments made the Clintons rich while gaining influence. Peter Schweizer in his book, Clinton Cash, exposed the Clintons and their devious ways. He enlisted the help of Brett R. Smith to write a graphic novel on the subject and just recently made an animated information ad about the Clinton’s Quid Pro Quo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7rNaI7P3dc) and her re-set with Russia. Brett noted, the first chapter in the graphic novel is called ‘The Lincoln Bedroom Goes Global.’ This was a dry run for the Clintons. People, like myself, who are part of Generation X, should be reminded of the type of stuff you get from the Clintons. It is a refresher course on how they operate.” For those who do not remember, the Clintons, during their Presidency, allowed Democratic donors to stay in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House as a reward. The records showed a total of 938 individuals stayed over at the White House between 1993 and 1996. Of them, 821 spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. Bill Clinton wrote: "Ready to start overnights right away-give me the top 10 list back, along with the 100." So he and the First Lady used “Pay For Play,” back in 1994. They probably forgot that the White House was not their house, but the American people. Fast-forward to when Clinton was Secretary of State and her desire to have a “re-set with Russia.” Brett is very frustrated that Donald Trump did not bring up the Russian re-set during the debate with Hillary Clinton. “It is amazing to me that after she called him ‘Putin’s puppet’ he did not bring this up. The Clinton Foundation does business with horrible autocrats that have atrocious human rights records. She speaks of this game of being a paragon of liberal virtue yet; she takes money from businesses like Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical. I like to say if they did not have a double standard they would have no standard.” He made the info ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_I8JdPOmJo) to allow Millennials to get a glimpse of what the Clintons are about, including the re-set with Russia. In 2010, a Russian company was allowed to buy the business Uranium One. This was after the new chairman donated two million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, which was never reported, and Bill Clinton was also paid $500,000 for a Moscow speech. In October, the sale was approved. Ultimately, 20% of U.S. uranium was basically transferred to the Russian government. Then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, could have vetoed it but chose not to. Brett agrees that there is no transparency. He believes, “It is the Lefts’ Red Scare. The mainstream media is focusing on Trump’s supposed connection to Putin and the Russians. Yet, nobody wants to focus on the fact that Hillary Clinton has already done business with the Russians, and the worst kind of business. 55% of the people that visited her at the State Department were donors. If she becomes President and achieves all that power I expect this “Pay for Play” to ramp up. This is about power and influence. We made the new ads to get the truth out there so voters can make the best decision they can.” Before voting, Americans need to consider how the Clintons operate. The Lincoln bedroom scandal and now the Clinton Foundation has shown that they are willing to have government agencies as part of there own Foundation donors and to lie about it. Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Moral Defense by Marcia Clark brings back defense attorney Samantha (Sam) Brinkman. This second novel of the series is as riveting and suspenseful as the first, Blood Defense. What makes these novels by Clark unique is that within gripping crimes she allows the readers to gain a glimpse of the inner workings of the judicial system. In this book there are four sub-plots. Samantha promises her dad, LAPD Detective Dale Pearson, to investigate the allegations of excessive force by his peer, Detective Kevin Hausch; the Oroczo family, gang members who expect Samantha to find who secretly arranged for Arturo to be killed; and DeShawn Johnson who needs her help in getting some drug dealers off his back. But these all take a backseat to the main plot, where an adoptive girl, Cassie Sonnenberg kills her mother, father, and brother. Tiegan Donner, Cassie’s teacher and counselor, begs Sam to be her representive. After deciding to become her advocate Sam must sift through the many accounts, including the possibility of abuse by her brother and father. Because of her own past demons Sam finds this case touches some very personal memories. She must find out for herself if Cassie is innocent or guilty and come up with a defense. What makes these books interesting is how Clark interjects into the storyline her legal background, allowing for realism. People unaware of what happens behind the scenes of the judicial system are able to learn about it. She noted to blackfive.net, “This is the biggest question mark; how to work with a client who committed a hideous crime. From the defense point of view you are requiring the prosecution to have the burden of proof. There are checks and balances we need to have a fair system of justice. A lot of times it’s getting a fair conviction. Sometimes the prosecution can over file a case or overcharge the defendant. The goal is to make the punishment fit the crime.” Clark finds a way to have justice prevail, even with hardcore clients. An example of this was her culpability in the killing of a dangerous client who was sent to prison. Samantha is not a clear-cut heroine. She is scarred, tough, intelligent, and capable of morally dubious behavior with a private code of justice. She wants people to understand “it is usually the defense attorney endangered by these clients. As a prosecutor for ten years before the Simpson trial I was very aware of the tensions between the minorities and LAPD. Because cell phones were not prevalent people did not hear about it. Now they show it and show it, and it becomes public within seconds. But cops are frustrated because people will only speak to them anonymously so cases can never get proven.” She further stated, “Gang injunction. This makes it hard for them to move around the community. Cops have an easier time yanking them up and throwing them in jail. They start to move out of the neighborhoods because it is too hard to do business. Because they had been terrorizing the neighborhoods this is one way to deal with them, especially since kids realize they cannot survive unless they join the gang. It is like a cancer that hits the community.” In Moral Defense Marcia Clark has many twists and turns, including an ending that will shock the reader. There are surprises at every corner. Anyone who enjoys legal thrillers should read this book. Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Daniel Gordis in his book Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn speaks of the founding of Israel as “a fairy tale. Israel is a story of a homeless people that kept a dream alive, of a people’s redemption from the edge of the abyss, of a nation forging a future when none seemed possible.” While he recounts its history, readers begin to understand that Israel has become a blending of democracy and tradition with far more prosperity than anyone expected from it. He stated to blackfive.net, “I wanted to show of the many countries that were created in the twentieth century, Israel is one of the very few that was founded as a democracy that has remained democratic. This would be impressive in its own right, but it is even more astonishing when we consider the fact that the vast majority of Jews who immigrated to Israel, from Russia, Arab countries, etc, came from countries without a democratic tradition. There was this unwavering determination of Israel’s founding generation to be part of the Western world.” The book opens with a quote by Mark Twain that summarizes Anti-Semitism throughout the centuries. What Gordis does well is show how Israel sprang from the effort to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. It appears that Anti-Semitism in Europe is never ending. In the late 1800s Theodore Herzl came up with the idea of a Jewish state to shelter the Jewish people from the European abhorrence. This hatred culminated in the Holocaust. Fast-forward to today where Jews are once again fleeing Europe. Gordis noted, “In 2016, about 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, the world is much less changed than we had hoped. And Israel is the only country in the world that as a matter of law guarantees Jews on the run both refuge and citizenship. The State of Israel was created first and foremost to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people.” But what role has American Jews played over the years? Many were ambivalent about supporting a Jewish state. Gordis explains, “American Jews feared that if they supported the idea of a Jewish state they would be accused of having dual loyalties.” A further wedge in the relationship between Israel and American Jews occurred with the capture of Adolf Eichmann who was the Nazi in charge of the death camps. Gordis told blackfive.net that it was David Ben-Gurion, the father of modern Israel, who best summarized the conflict, “Now I see it argued, by Jews among others, that Israel is legally entitled to try Eichmann but ethically should not do so because Eichmann’s crime, in its enormity, was against humanity and the conscience of humanity rather than against Jews as such. Only a Jew with an inferiority complex could say that; only one who does not realize that a Jew is a human being.” Gordis recounts how American college students are conflicted over the issue with Palestinians. “American Jews often appear paralyzed, ostrich-like, intimidated, or otherwise ill-equipped to make Israel’s case beyond simple clichés. Some American students asked, aren’t Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, to blame for the conflict? I asked if they knew what year the occupation started, or the circumstances in which it did. I figured we should quickly review the history, which is one reason I wrote the book.” Gordis shows how Israel has battled the odds for decades. He feels that a quote from the book after the Six Day War can apply today. “The Jewish state had more than survived. Betrayed by the French, put off by the Americans, and rattled by the Russians, Israelis had been left entirely on their own. Gone are the days when Jews would cower in fear. Israel has triumphed over boycotts, attacks, threats, invasions, and isolation. People should be in awe of what has been accomplished, becoming a cultural, economic, and military powerhouse.” Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Broken Trust by W.E.B. Griffin and his son William E. Butterworth IV has many relevant themes intertwined within an action packed plot. This Badge Of Honor Series offers a lot of insight into the lives and challenges of the police. With officers being threatened all across this country this book is a very welcome read. The plot begins when Philadelphia Homicide Sergeant Matt Payne sees a shootout while off duty. Known as “Wyatt Earp of the Main Line,” he becomes actively involved even though he is recuperating from a serious gunshot wound. He finds that there is a link between the shootout and a young socialite, Camilla Rose Morgan. When she supposedly falls to her death Matt’s investigation ratchets up. Did she jump, fall, or was pushed? The more Matt digs, the more complications he discovers including that Camilla suffered from bi-polar disorder. He is determined to find the answers even though the Philadelphia political elite wants to throw him under the bus. All of these series written give a shout-out to so many who put their lives on the line, those in the clandestine series, the military, and the police. William noted to blackfive.net, “All these groups are sworn to protect and serve. I told dad that he was one of the first writers, in the early 1980s, to come out with a positive story on the military after the Vietnam War. I think the Brotherhood Of War series was so successful, because finally people who deserved to be written about bought these books. Likewise when he started the Badge Of Honor series about the police. He even spoke to the Philadelphia police force to tell them how much they are respected. We write about good and decent people doing an honorable job.” A very potent scene in the book shows how the Philadelphia Mayor, Jerry Carlucci, wants to railroad Matt for political expediency. When asked, William told of a real scenario that made a lasting impression on him. “In Chicago a policewoman was horribly beaten and when asked why she did not shoot the perpetrator her reply, ‘I did not want to be the one in the next Black Lives video.’ They no longer go on instinct but feel they must think through their actions. Unfortunately, I do not see it getting better anytime soon.” They even did a shout-out to the wounded warriors. He recounts after “My dad and I visited Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. We had, Amanda, Matt’s Fiancé, decide to go there for a few months to do an emergency medicine residency program. This is one of the premier places that handle burn and trauma as a result of the wars and the IEDs. My dad and I wanted to write about what we experienced when we went there: the incredible inner strength, determination, and perseverance of the patients. We were taken back by their attitude, ‘the harder it gets; the tougher we get.’ After all they’ve been through they still would do anything to get back to serving with their brothers and sisters in uniform. It is awe-inspiring and humbling.” Readers also get a word of warning after a cell phone rings with an “unknown” number and the person does not leave a message. How many people have had that happen to them? The author has his own rule about this, “if I do not recognize a number, I do not answer it. I will only call back if someone leaves a message. If you answer it you set yourself up for possible robo calls. Once, I got an unrecognizable number where a message was actually left saying ‘This is the IRS and you are not in compliance with your taxes. You must call this number.’ I decided to play it out. After I called I got a male with a foreign accent. I asked for proof that they were the IRS. After going back and forth I hung up. So many people would call them and have their credit cards sucked dry. It is important to understand nothing is as it appears anymore. You cannot take anything at face value.” Broken Trust is very realistic. Unfortunately this fiction parallels what is happening today. It is a very action-packed and suspenseful, but also allows readers to get a glimpse of those in the police. Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Ever since Theodore Herzl had the vision to re-establish a Jewish State, Israel became a prominent player on the world stage. To put it in perspective, this country is one-tenth the size of the state of Texas and has a population one-third of Texas. Yet, it plays a far more central role in world affairs than its tiny size might normally dictates. A book recently published explores Israel’s history, and how it succeeded in the face of insurmountable odds. Daniel Gordis in his book Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn speaks of the founding of Israel as “a fairy tale. Israel is a story of a homeless people that kept a dream alive, of a people’s redemption from the edge of the abyss, of a nation forging a future when none seemed possible.” While he recounts its history, readers begin to understand that Israel has become a blending of democracy and tradition with far more prosperity than anyone expected from it. He stated to blackfive.net, “I wanted to show of the many countries that were created in the twentieth century, Israel is one of the very few that was founded as a democracy that has remained democratic. This would be impressive in its own right, but it is even more astonishing when we consider the fact that the vast majority of Jews who immigrated to Israel, from Russia, Arab countries, etc, came from countries without a democratic tradition. There was this unwavering determination of Israel’s founding generation to be part of the Western world.” The book opens with a quote by Mark Twain that summarizes Anti-Semitism throughout the centuries. What Gordis does well is show how Israel sprang from the effort to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. It appears that Anti-Semitism in Europe is never ending. In the late 1800s Theodore Herzl came up with the idea of a Jewish state to shelter the Jewish people from the European abhorrence. This hatred culminated in the Holocaust. Fast-forward to today where Jews are once again fleeing Europe. Gordis noted, “In 2016, about 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, the world is much less changed than we had hoped. And Israel is the only country in the world that as a matter of law guarantees Jews on the run both refuge and citizenship. The State of Israel was created first and foremost to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people.” But what role has American Jews played over the years? Many were ambivalent about supporting a Jewish state. Gordis explains, “American Jews feared that if they supported the idea of a Jewish state they would be accused of having dual loyalties.” A further wedge in the relationship between Israel and American Jews occurred with the capture of Adolf Eichmann who was the Nazi in charge of the death camps. Gordis told American Thinker that it was David Ben-Gurion, the father of modern Israel, who best summarized the conflict, “Now I see it argued, by Jews among others, that Israel is legally entitled to try Eichmann but ethically should not do so because Eichmann’s crime, in its enormity, was against humanity and the conscience of humanity rather than against Jews as such. Only a Jew with an inferiority complex could say that; only one who does not realize that a Jew is a human being.” Gordis recounts how American college students are conflicted over the issue with Palestinians. “American Jews often appear paralyzed, ostrich-like, intimidated, or otherwise ill-equipped to make Israel’s case beyond simple clichés. Some American students asked, aren’t Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, to blame for the conflict? I asked if they knew what year the occupation started, or the circumstances in which it did. I figured we should quickly review the history, which is one reason I wrote the book.” Gordis shows how Israel has battled the odds for decades. He feels that a quote from the book after the Six Day War can apply today. “The Jewish state had more than survived. Betrayed by the French, put off by the Americans, and rattled by the Russians, Israelis had been left entirely on their own. Gone are the days when Jews would cower in fear. Israel has triumphed over boycotts, attacks, threats, invasions, and isolation. People should be in awe of what has been accomplished, becoming a cultural, economic, and military powerhouse.” Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Without Mercy is from the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Jefferson is the writer and Dr. Bass is the forensic anthropologist and creator of the Body Farm. Jon Jefferson noted to blackfive.net, “Brockton is a cheerier protagonist than those in most crime novels. I drew directly from my collaborator, Dr. Bill Bass. He does not solve crimes, but is also a researcher and a scientist. He advanced the state of forensic science. We want people to enjoy the plots but also learn from every book about bone detection. We try to instruct and delight.” The two plots have Dr. Bill Brockton investigating a bizarre murder, while confronting a deadly enemy. Called to a remote mountainside he finds a ravaged set of skeletal remains chained to a tree. This shocking case reveals a hate crime where the person was eaten by a bear after having bear bait spread over them. The other plot brings back serial killer Nick Satterfield who wants to make Brockton suffer. Fans of the series should recognize Satterfield from the novel, Cut To The Bone. In that book Satterfield blames Dr. Bill for ruining his career. After Brockton comes forward about a woman strangled, Satterfield received a dishonorable discharge. Feeling it is personal he seeks revenge. Brockton must solve the hate crime, while handling the dangers to himself and his family. Unfortunately the authors go off on a tangent, which distracts from this suspenseful murder mystery. They insert their own political agenda into the storyline. Readers will feel they are being hit over the head with the feelings and opinions of the authors, something completely unnecessary. During a few scenes they seemed to have moved away from what made these books stand out: the interplay of academic anthropology, collaboration between the FBI, TBI, and local law enforcement, and the relationships between the characters. The movie The Revenant also plays a role in this book. When asked why, Jefferson commented, “We had already started writing the book when the movie came out. Since it talks about the Arikara Indians, I thought ‘how perfect.’ Bill Bass spent thirteen summers early in his career excavating the Arikara Indian burial grounds out of the Great Plains in South Dakota. The book and movie had two parallels, a bear attack and the Indians.” The book also has Brockton’s long time assistant, Miranda Lovelady, preparing to depart for a possible job at the FBI. Jefferson believes “everything is up for grabs. It is possible this is the last book in the series. It is also possible Miranda will be spun off in her own series working for the FBI. I do have a friend working as a forensic anthropologist there. She said she would let me borrow from her life. But first I must finish my own thriller with new characters and new settings out next year.” Without Mercy was riveting enough and there was no need for the authors to inject their personal agenda. Because it is an interesting storyline if the transgressions are too much, skip them. Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Drone Threat by Mike Maden is not just a thriller, but a thought provoking book. The theme is so realistic it is ripped from the headlines, questioning the use and danger of drones. Within an action packed plot readers will be confronted with the use of drones in war and civilian life. Former CIA Special Forces operative Troy Pearce returns. Now the CEO for Pearce Systems, a leader in Drone technology, he is asked by the President to head Drone Command, a new covert department that runs on black ops funding with little oversight. Almost simultaneously with Pearce taking command, a series of drone attacks are carried out on American soil: a subway train in Washington DC, an airport in Texas, and water contamination in California. The most serious attack was a drone landing on the White House lawn demanding President Lane hang the ISIS black flag over the White House or suffer the coming consequences. With American lives at stake and an economy in a downward spiral, Pearce and his team must find a way to expose the terrorists and take them out before it’s too late. Maden told blackfive.net he wanted this theme to be a warning, “Technology is getting better and better, cheaper and cheaper. They are amazing devices, but are only as good or evil as the people that have them. One of the reasons why I wrote Drone Threat was to highlight the fact that commercial off the shelf hobby store drones can also be deadly. The primary advantages of the lower tech, smaller payload civilian systems is that they are easy to acquire, operate, and difficult to locate because of their size. These highly capable and yet inexpensive systems are begging to be weaponized. About two weeks ago this happened when ISIS converted a small cheap commercial model by fitting an improvised explosive device that injured two French paratroopers and killed two Kurdish soldiers. We should expect more of these kinds of attacks including here in America.” Beyond the theme of drones Maden also explores the psyche of Pearce, a heroic American warrior, and the horrific mistreatment of women by ISIS. Through these issues the former President Margaret Myers is interjected into the plot. She does not have much of an active role in this book except to be the supportive mate of Pearce, since they are now in the early stages of a relationship. Pearce is suffering from traumatic brain injury from his days in combat. He has anger issues, nightmares, and at times wants to withdraw from the world. Maden wanted to acknowledge those US warriors “who serve in combat and pay a big price for that. I reflected their wounds in Troy. The human body does not take numerous blows to the skull without taking a toll. Although Troy is a fictional character he represents on some level the brave men and women on the front lines fighting the war on terror.” Something that gets very little play in the mainstream press is the treatment of women and how ISIS captures girls that they force to become sex slaves, selling them to the Saudis. There are some scenes, which are very descriptive and saddening regarding the abuse and how no one seems willing to help. A book quote, “A dozen women sat cowering on the floor, their faces covered by hijabs. But their downcast eyes told all, dazed and red with tears. Some were even blackened.” In all of his books Maden always shows the political maneuvering and through Pearce’s eyes readers see why many politicians should be distrusted. In this book he confronts the issue of lobbyists and the power they can yield. Pearce’s disgust comes through in his thoughts, “Washington’s famous revolving door between government service and the lobbying agencies made him sick to his stomach. More than a hundred formerly registered lobbyists now served on congressional staffs...Worse, more than four hundred former Congressmen and Senators were now highly paid lobbyists.” What Maden hopes to show is that these lobbyists are more concerned with their own pockets than American Security. “There is no accountability or penalty. How can we regulate out of corruption? Politicians who leave office can leverage their Congressional relationships and influence into multimillion-dollar second careers.” Drone Threat exposes the dangers of drone technology as well as politicians. With a plot filled with action, intrigue, and political maneuvering, it is a very powerful read. Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Crime Plus Music edited by Jim Fusilli is a collection of twenty darkly intense music related noir stories. Best-selling authors such as Peter Robinson, Craig Johnson, Alison Gaylin, and Reed Coleman along with many others combine their mystery skills with their music interests. Blackfive.net interviewed some of these authors. Jim Fusilli, a crime author and the Wall St. Journal’s rock/pop critic, thought an anthology involving the themes that link his professions would be interesting. The chronology of the authors’ chapters showed a sweep of emotions and avoided putting similar stories together. He hoped readers would be exposed to new authors and would get twenty different perspectives involving the world of music; although his role was to provide consistency among the stories. It is not uncommon for crime fiction writers to weave music into their stories with Peter Robinson coming to mind. Although his novels have the main character, Detective Alan Banks listening to some type of music, this short story, The Blackbird, does not include him. In the short story, the main character Tony Foster, a musician, is a loner until he met Connie, but unfortunately drugs destroyed their relationship, a subject that comes up a lot when speaking of rock music. Robinson commented he did not have a Banks story in mind and wanted a modern version of the Greek Music G-d. Because the Blackbird had a gimpy wing “I had the main character imitating this bird. Connie led a Bohemian life and I had the crime involving a drug overdose. What I realized part way through the story was how my thoughts went to the Paul McCartney song ‘Blackbird,’ with the lyrics ‘Blackbird singing in the dead of night.’ Using that and combining crime with horror I created this story.” Regarding his own short story, Boy Wonder, Fusilli wanted to explore the contemporary electronic dance music world. His character’s Hollywood-type mother wanted her son to become a famous music star, something she always dreamed of. What would win, his soul or the executive scumbags? The plot has a boy, Bowie Thomas, from a small town in Michigan coming to Los Angeles. His choice: to pursue art versus commerce. Fusilli had “The mother name her child after the rock star David Bowie. At the time of writing I did not know David Bowie was going to die. I was quite fond of him so if it is in some way a tribute to him that is kind of wonderful. I wanted to write about the conflict between art and commerce. I find the commercialism of popular music very disturbing.” Another story by Reed Coleman is about a one-hit wonder and explores how organized crime is big part of the music industry. Look At Me/Don’t Look At Me has Terry James Lake as a folk/R & B singer. His manager, Carla Saroyan, sold his rights to some disdainful people and they required him to go on this disco dance show, lip singing his hit or there would be dire circumstances. Based on an incident Reed remembers from his childhood, this story was something he had on the back burner for quite awhile. He spoke of an incident “in the 1970s on the show Dance Fever, a disco dancing show. One Saturday night I was watching an appearance by Johnny Rivers, a 60s recording song. I thought it odd he would appear on this type of show. He looked so uncomfortable and out of place lip singing his famous song, Secret Agent Man. I included the real fact that music in the 60s and 70s were controlled by the mob, bringing into the story gangsters.” The story by Alison Gaylin is centered on the punk scene. Using the band X’s lead singer, Exene Cervenka as a model, she wrote about a strong-willed singer. The song mentioned in the short story, Johnny Hit and Run Paulene, is about a man who begins attacking women after taking a drug that makes him need to have sex every hour on the hour. Gaylin thought about this song she heard, while in high school. “It is such a bizarre song with a creepy meaning. It is about a fictional drug that makes a man want to have sex every hour. The story, All Ages, has Lara Ramsey, wanting closure as she gets her revenge. It's a great basis for a female revenge story.” Craig Johnson is one of the few writers who actually used his main character Walt Longmire in this story, Unbalanced. The Sherriff gives a young woman a ride as he heads to the airport to pick up his daughter. This troubled young woman tells him her story with the CD of Merle Haggard playing in the background. He noted, “Since Merle had just died I wanted this story to be a shout out to him. I really felt the song was the connection between the story and the characters. This was a story I really wanted to write.” Crime Plus Music has most of the stories with unhappy endings. Anyone who likes to read short stories will enjoy reading how the music is blended into a mysterious plot. Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at BlackFive
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The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. The Will To Lead by Anders Fogh Rasmussen details why America has an indispensable role in the global fight for freedom. Having served as Denmark’s Prime Minister and Secretary-General of NATO he knows the importance of having a US President that leads from the front and not from behind. The book starts off with an impassioned plea to Americans that someone needs to be elected in the spirit of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. He speaks of how “President Truman showed strong leadership and effective conduct by establishing the world order that for nearly seven decades secured an unprecedented peace, development, and wealth. President Kennedy came to stand as a beacon for the free world with his energetic and eloquent communication. And President Reagan led the United States and the world to victory and freedom over Communism and oppression by his firm conviction of American exceptionalism.” Critical of President Obama, he sees the need for a strong President who is not afraid to restore order. The downsizing in Europe, the Iraq withdrawal, and the hesitation in Syria are just a few examples cited to show President Obama’s inability to stand up to his adversaries. He concludes, “the US must be everywhere to make sure they can uphold the world created after the Second World War.” This includes President Obama’s decision to pull the troops out of Iraq in 2011. Rasmussen emphatically believes before the US troop pullout “it was relatively quiet and stable. Then the US left Iraq and its Prime Minister, Maliki, marginalized the Sunni community, which allowed for ISIS infiltration. As I said in the book, ‘Communication should not just be words, but should be backed up with decisive actions and visible leadership.’ We need to understand democracies must be defined as not just organizing elections and having majority votes, otherwise we end up with another dictator under the guise of a democracy. There must be protection of minorities, the rule of law, and human rights.” Rasmussen told blackfive.net that President Obama’s strategy has emboldened Russia, making the world more dangerous and unstable. “Russia is now threatening her neighbors in Europe, primarily the Ukraine and Georgia. The political and strategic goal of Russia, part of President Putin’s ambition, is to restore Russian greatness. He feels he could get away with these attacks because American has reduced its presence and interests in Europe. President Obama has sent a very dangerous signal to the autocrats and terrorists in the world. Basically Putin exploited how people can get away with terrible acts without any consequences.” The book has a poll that states the majority of Europeans are against the use of military force to defend an ally, a direct contradiction to the very foundation of NATO. When asked about it, he commented, “I disagree that NATO is obsolete as Mr. Trump has said. On the contrary, NATO is just as important as it was during the Cold War. It is more important than ever thanks to President Putin’s aggression. People must realize the security environment and Europe has drastically changed. We must adapt to this threat. I do agree that the Europeans should invest more in defense and our common security. All twenty-eight NATO allies pledged to invest at least 2% in defense. Today only five live up to that, but this year Europeans will invest much more than last year, and hopefully within a decade they will reach this benchmark.” The theme of the book, The Will To Lead, has America once again becoming the world’s policeman. He concludes that starting from WWII up until President Obama, US presidents were committed to internationalism. He hopes that whoever becomes America’s next president, “they will have a bi-partisan approach to foreign policy, and serve America’s self interest by leading and not retreating from world affairs.” Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2016 at BlackFive