Managed Care by Joe Barrett might be considered a call to action against incompetent bureaucracy. Franklin Johnson loved his grandfather and had enough extra money to pay one year in advance for his grandfather’s stay in an assisted care facility. But granddad died just days before he was scheduled to move in. Franklin tried to get a refund from manager Ed Hardy but Hardy used lawyers to prop up his claim that he didn’t have to refund any money; the death was not Hardy’s fault. Franklin Johnson’s grandfather was named Franklin Johnson, the same as the grandson. If he could not get a refund, Franklin Johnson the grandson would move into the senior care facility and dedicate one year of his life to making the life of manager Hardy a living hell. Frank (the grandson) moved into the facility and demanded all services, such as the changing of his adult diapers. Frank’s job as a software developer could be done from anywhere. Frank worked from the Hardy Managed Care Facility at night as a software developer and spent his days thinking up situations that would annoy and irritate Ed Hardy. The idea was to annoy Hardy so bad that Hardy would refund his money.
Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash The photo prompt for this week has high buildings that seem to enclose lots…
Posing in Paradise by Robert Bruce Stewart has a provocative cover featuring semi-clad half-human creatures. I can find no relationship between this cover and the content of the novel. I could have easily missed any relationship because this is a collection of multiple mental prods that somewhat numb rational thinking. Harry Reese, the protagonist, calls it Emmie-land, Emmie being the name of his wife. This presentation is humor on its own level and is hard to categorize. It would be very easy to fall into a trap of calling the novel a collection of humor for intellectuals. If Harry Reese thinks you believe that, he will attempt to stifle his chortles and you, dear reader, will have proved his point about the self-declared superiority of the inhabitants of Emmie-land.
J.A. Konrath writes a lot under the Konrath name and even has at least one pseudonym. That much is revealed on an Amazon author page. I resisted the temptation to count how many novels he has written. I am sure the total number of published works is revealed somewhere but the information would just settle in my pile of never reviewed facts next to my books TBR pile. In the Jack Daniels thriller series, there are eleven novels with catchy names like Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, and Rusty Nail. You get the idea. In all novels of this series Jack (for Jacqueline), Daniels appears as a clever, witty, and super smart detective. You can pause now and think of all the clever play on words that the detective’s name might give rise to. When finished, think about this novel, Shot of Tequila. It seems another clever title in the series. Not true. Jack Daniels is a very busy detective. She wandered outside the boundaries of a series devoted to her and appears in this stand-alone novel, as well as in nine others. Jack also appears in approximately fourteen novellas. All figures are plus or minus one or two. As you might note, I could construct a supplementary TBR shelf for JA Konrath novels alone. Then I could begin with novels that he has written in collaboration with others.
Scoundrels was so hilariously unique and funny, I looked at the Amazon page to see what the advance reviews were. I don’t read the reviews of other readers until I write mine. Sometimes it is interesting to see how other reader reviews refute or support the early or promotional reviews. Because I looked at the Amazon page after reading 50% of the novel, I had a good idea of what I would agree with. There were some descriptions so accurate I wanted to note them in my post. Not a fan of posts that only copy other posts, I will confine my copying only to the following comment from the novel’s Amazon page.
“Historically accurate, morally questionable and absolutely true, SCOUNDRELS is one part Flashman to two parts Mordecai Trilogy stirred vigorously and dashed in the face of Ian Fleming. It will leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth, and horribly hungover.”
Vintage True Crime Stories published by Historical Crime Detective Publishing is almost as interesting in its organization and compilation of stories as is the content of the stories themselves. The work reviewed here is Volume I: An Illustrated Anthology of Forgotten Cases of Murder & Mayhem. There are two primary historical sources for the stories. Refer to the section About This Book to learn about the primary sources as well as contributions made by the publishers. Ten clearly defined publisher actions make this an interesting addition to libraries of crime literature addicts. There is a companion webpage which provides images and additional reading sources for each of the twenty chapters/cases in this volume. For fans of the crime genre, this is a rich resource which will provide much reading for the Amazon price of USD 0.99.
On the cover of Jilted by K. T. Rose, I see a picture of a woman with the eyes concealed or blanked out as if someone swiped from left to right across the book cover. Maybe they swiped from right to left. Your Tinder preference may vary. Below the picture, I see that this is A Trinity of Wicked Tales. Further, it is only Volume One. And then comes the clincher, this is A Dark Suspense Short Story Collection. OK, I’m in, the author has hit all my favorite genre buttons. That is a lot of information on the front cover.
The Key by Kathryn Wise is a super-spy story that some may consider a “007” type novel. Unlike novels by Ian Fleming, this novel, and presumably others in the series, include a presence of creatures from another world. This is Book One in the series and I could not define what this “other world” was or its function in the story. This first novel is available in a boxed set of three novels. There is a Book Four which is available as a stand-alone novel. Because my impression of this novel was one of astonishment at how poorly it was written, I went immediately to the Amazon page to get an idea of what the follow-on novels might be about and to see what other reviews had to report. I believe I have only checked prior reviews first three times in several hundred reviews. I don’t want to be influenced by other reviews before writing mine. I rarely look at other reviews unless mine is so far out of alignment with others. Even then, if I look at other reviews, I do it after I read and post mine. This novel required a shift in my usual practice.
Book covers attract buyers; there is nothing new about this. We can tell a book by its cover, or at least we think we can. Fourteen by Leslie Johansen Nack communicates several ideas all at once. Fourteen, hmmm, that might be the age of the female on the cover. She is wearing a bikini. The next point that catches reader attention is the subtitle: A Daughter’s Memoir of Adventure, Sailing, and Survival. That last word is a trigger that evokes the possibility of domestic child abuse. Then there are the words “adventure” and “sailing.” Not available on Kindle Unlimited but selling for USD 0.55, I was interested in what this novel is about. I was happy. I discovered a story with meaning on many levels.
Tim Rowland has presented a collection of tales, Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War. Sixteen chapters are filled with many elements of history mostly skipped in high school textbooks. No trigger warnings are necessary but there would probably be objections if young minds were exposed to the prevalence of venereal disease, tales of ridiculous situations that came about due to being under the influence of alcohol, and a detailed history of a prominent political figure, Maj. Gen Sickles, who lived with a family where he bedded the matriarch while he was waiting for an infant to grow up so he could marry her. OK, maybe the last one is not so shocking. And although Gen. Sickles did not shoot someone in Times Square and get away with it, Sickles did murder the son of Francis Scott Key. And got away with it.