A Farewell to Walmart by Carly J. Hallman is a Kindle Single (it is short) that I downloaded using a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription. The reason I gave it five stars was the tone of the writing. Combining humor with insightful observation, she was describing the place where I grew up, Indiana (OK, I didn’t grow up in Texas, but you get the idea).

For those readers who have lived through the Reagan years, Finale, A Novel of the Reagan Years by Thomas Mallon will almost seem more heavily weighted towards history than historical fiction. We see the prime actors of the Reagan years as they try to negotiate an arms control agreement and an acceptance on the part of the Soviets of “Star Wars.” We revisit the Iran-Contra scandal that threatened the survival of the Reagan Presidency. These events are a matter of historical record. But when we see world events played out through the interactions of the personalities involved, we realize that this is very well written historical fiction. This is one of the books I would give more than five stars to if I could do so.

The Mysterious Tongue of Dr. Vermilion by Robert Isenberg is a collection of stories which describe incidents of the weird and unusual. These incidents are investigated by Elizabeth, a self-styled “uncannologist” with the aid of assistant Maude. Initially, the stories don’t seem to be connected but this is not true. It is just that the development of each story is slow, complete and well done. The reader who sticks with the novel will be pleased as clues appear to hint at how the parts are connected.

This is a note to students in my Literary Appreciation class. I read and reviewed this book elsewhere on this…

Stories From Hell with the subtitle A Series Of Fictional Interviews Into The Lives Of Those Who Are Lost Forever by Daniel Aleman was offered for free on Amazon for two days. The author sent me an invitation to read and review the book. I read the Amazon website description prior to downloading and was intrigued by the premise. The narrator is transported to Hell to interview five residents as they describe what got them to Hell rather than Heaven. The narrator is accompanied by two entities named Patience and Goodness. They describe the rules to the narrator and are present during the interviews to make sure rules are adhered to. The basic rule is that once the narrator begins, he must hear all five interviewees. The narrator agrees; the game (novel) begins.

A Breach of Security by Susan Hill is a Kindle Single (meaning short) which I downloaded from Kindle Unlimited (KU). This is a very British book. That is not a criticism but is to say why I could not appreciate it the way a British or Commonwealth citizen might.

Vile Means by Steve Dimodica is a political, terrorist, spy thriller that has it all. Set in the political realm of the Bill Clinton administration, it has the premise of a very serious international situation involving relations between China and the USA being handled from the very top by a man embroiled in a personal sex scandal. And that is about all the sex there is in the entire novel, almost. Far later in the book, bad boy retired ISA agent and supposedly dead Major Gordon will have a tryst with Jessica Flekk who is his boss of a mission he is on but that is it. No strange graphic descriptions of unusual stuff.

The Troop by Nick Cutter is a dark horror story of a group of young people which has been abandoned on a presumably deserted island. Usually, the island was deserted at the time when Scoutmaster Tim took his five boys on a planned three-day outing. They had food, a radio for emergency communications, and the use of a deserted shack for shelter. During the evening of the first night when most of the boys were just falling asleep, an uninvited stranger appeared on the island. The boys and Tim had heard the motor of his small boat as he landed. The man looked almost skeletal except for an extended stomach. And he was hungry. He ate everything offered by Tim and slept a bit. Tim, a doctor when he wasn’t being a scoutmaster, judged Thomas Padgett to be ill. Following the Hippocratic Oath, Tim felt bound to treat the stranger but he also thought something was strange and could possibly be dangerous for the boys so he initially locked the boys in their bedroom

I am attracted to novels with subtitles like “A Psychological-Legal Thriller.” Right to an Attorney by R. Sims carries that subtitle. I visited the Amazon website to look at the reviews, looked at the summary and decided to download the novel from Kindle Unlimited (KU). I am happy that I did not pay for it. It is well written as far as grammar, phrasing, and all the mechanical stuff. It has some unusual vocabulary. I probably will never look at the word “fulfilling” in the same way ever again. But it was disappointing in several ways up to 86% of the novel. After that, it was fast-paced, interesting, with several twists. But I felt like I had paid my dues to get there.

Although not listed as a Kindle Single or a short story, True Justice by Joshua Grisham is a legal thriller of about 70 pages. I read it through the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. It is a fast read and ends with a surprise I didn’t see coming at all.