A Moral Dilemma

Mercy by Flavia Ida addresses the subject of who deserves mercy, who is responsible for dispensing it, and the moral question of what the definition of mercy is. The theoretical is put into a pragmatic context as the reader meets Linda, a caregiver in Unit 39, the psychiatric ward of a hospital. Linda had worked in several wards during her twenty-six years. This tour in the psychiatric ward precipitated a crisis in her personal and professional life. John was a patient who sought only one thing, to leave life. As Linda came to know his story, she agreed that he should not be discouraged from succeeding in his various efforts at suicide.

Family Secrets

In Deadly Secrets by Teresa Burrell, we meet Johnny Philip Torn (JP), only seven years old when he saw his brother Gene sneaking out of their bedroom. Gene said he was going to look for their father, Elvis. When JP heard the front door of the house opening and closing, JP decided to follow his brother and find out what was going on. JP saw his father and Gene outside a neighbor’s house, one belonging to Jerry Durham. JP had heard one shot and now Gene and his dad were struggling over a gun. There was a second shot. JP’s dad shouted at JP to run home, hide, and never tell anyone what he had seen. JP complied.

Liberal Mom; Conservative Daughter

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire  by Sandra Hutchison is an excellent character-driven novel with a controversial and possibly…

Murderously Funny

Murder Feels Awful by Bill Alive is Book One of a series called An Empath Detective Mystery. This first novel has three distinct approaches to a story which make it different from a run of the mill mystery novel that the cover suggests. Yes, there is murder, the story starts with one murder followed by characters who start dropping like flies, literally, as in out of the sky. The second approach is the story of an empath, someone who can feel the experiences, both painful and pleasant of those around him. The third approach is a type of quirky humor demonstrated in the dialogue between two almost-detectives. The combination makes for a surprisingly good entertaining read. Why surprisingly? The cover suggests something different. It looks like a very conservative, dry mystery set in wartime England. This novel remained on my TBR shelf longer than necessary in favor of more interesting looking stuff to read. So I do judge a book by its cover. I recommend the author repackage the novel to make a more engaging presentation.

Jealous of Who(m)?

Origin Story by Bill Alive contains stories about Mark Falcon, Akina, and the Condo Killer, all characters which either appear or are mentioned in another Bill Alive book, Murder Feels Awful, reviewed here https://ron877.com/2018/10/27/murderously-funny/ The author recommends that this prequel novella be read after Murder Feels Awful. For me, this means I don’t really appreciate the meaning of the word prequel. Or it means that author Bill Alive writes in any fashion he desires; this is also a possibility. This novella is done in the form of Pete, good friend and sometime protector of Mark, doing an interview with Mark about events that happened prior to events in Murder Feels Awful.

Arrogance Rewarded

He Who Drinks From Lethe… is a short story by John Wayne Falbey. I would feel guilty if, during the month of Halloween, I failed to read and comment on at least one “spooky” story. The story description on Amazon calls this a “Neo-Gothic horror tale in short story format.” I do not have a sense of what that means so …

Corporate Zombies

The Incorporated Dead by Nick Keller and Ian Cannon is a story for zombie lovers. To be clear, it is not for lovers who are zombies; it is for “normal” people who like zombie stories. This is a story about the many permutations in character of Hoop, or Edward Hooper, a recent graduate from university looking for his first job so he could realize his part of the dream. Unfortunately, his first opportunity was with a marketing firm that had a pretentious vice president of marketing, Kym (with a “y”, never an “i”) Durant. The VP never took the time to get Hoop’s name right and insisted on calling him Eddy. Durant followed this up by giving Hoop creative advice on decorating his work cubicle. Hoop could do it any way he wanted as long as it suited Durant.

Police Rookies: Don’t Try This At Home

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Monday’s Child is a novella or short story (653 Kindle locations) published in 2014 by Jamie Lee Scott. This story is part of a Gotcha Detective Agency series. This is Nick’s story. By the end of this story, we know that Nick is a detective in the Salinas Police Department, a city in Monterey County. I was attracted to the story because I was a Monterey County Sheriff’s deputy; the county jail facility was located in Salinas, and I spent more time in the jail (not as an inmate) than I would have liked.

First We Kill The Editors

The House on Lynch Street by Adshan Jaffery has an engaging cover with these words: “You can leave the house; you cannot leave the game.” Those words are the best part of this novella or short story. The rest of the story, one with a very interesting premise, is full of typographical and egregious grammar errors. If an editor was paid to look at this, the author should request a refund. Because it is a short novella, I read to the end to see if there was any change or improvement. There wasn’t. From beginning to end, this was an editing nightmare.

Ghostly Discoveries

The Secret Diary of Helen Blackstone by Michele Pariza Wacek is an account of Helen’s experience of going home after a five-year absence. From 15 May 1929 to 01 June 1929 Helen describes her struggle to reconnect with her father, her brother “Henry” (who could be Edward at times) and a lifestyle that, unknown to her, had descended into near poverty. She hadn’t exactly wanted to leave their home, but the house she called home had been the scene of a tragedy. Her mother had at first become mad and had finally committed suicide. After an undetermined period of grief, Edward had been sent to school and Helen had been sent to work to help pay for Edward’s school.