Thais That Bind

Dilemma by Stephen Bentley is Book Two in a series: Steve Regan Undercover Cop. I was attracted to this book because of its geographical setting, Thailand, where I have spent fifteen of the last thirty years. “Undercover Cop” is a bit misleading as protagonist Steve mixes elements of police and intelligence functions. One hundred forty pages make for a comparatively short novel that tries to explore three things: police work, intelligence work, and (most interesting of all) cross-cultural understanding as British Steve builds a relationship with Thai Fon. Although an interesting story, in trying to include too much this novel loses a lot of its appeal. It barely provides a surface look at three complex issues.

To Post Or Not To Post

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year as far as blogging and posting book reviews. I stayed with my general policy of not reviewing certain novels because they are thinly disguised porn. I’ll keep that resolution. I don’t want to write negative reviews; I don’t see the point because I will not waste my time by engaging in the type of dialogue I have seen on a national level. This second resolution is one I will bend a bit in the review posted below. I will not post the review on Amazon, Goodreads, or BookBub, sites I usually post to in addition to this one. But I will post the review here because I took the time to download the novel and comment on some of the good points until there were so many errors I abandoned the book. This is the first time I have stopped and given up in approximately 800 reviews.

What (Am I Reading)?

The Second Sherlock Holmes: The Rise of Thunder  by John Pirillo is probably a type of steampunk novel although in this case technology does not go into the past. Figures such as Adolph Hitler and Heinrich Himmler come to the present, meet the technology of today plus futuristic technology from a possible alternate reality, and another battle for world domination either takes place or will take place without the intervention and help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Alaskan Crimes

A Story of Betrayal by Michael Ace Smith is a 92-page story of, just like the title indicates, a betrayal. Ben Churchinoff is a Captain, and thus commander, of the Juneau police force. He is described on the Amazon page as a small-town Captain. I am not familiar with Alaska but I did not think of Juneau as a small town. The way this story is told, it seems the police force is large. In one case, Ben calls his office and seems not to know the person, Morgan Turner, answering the phone.

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.

Unbelievable Serendipity

Captured by David Callinan is a 71-page short story that sells for USD 2.99 on Amazon. I managed to get the short story for free through a combination of book giveaways. The story is interesting in its niche but because of typo errors, not grammar errors, I would not pay to read it. For readers who like to read of superheroes, fantasy, and amazing coincidences, this will be a good read. I found it too formula driven and extremely predictable.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Fear

Panacea by Zacharius Frost is described by the author in a subtitle as a Demonic Experiments Horror Novel. The book’s subtitle is catching and ambitious. It promises more than the novel delivered.

The novel begins with an interesting chapter. When I try to write comments or a review I attempt not to insert spoilers. With this novel, Frost wrote his own spoiler. Chapter One is good, captivating, and offers something possibly new. Unfortunately, it is extreme foreshadowing. Hinting at events to come is one thing but giving almost the entire story away is like shooting oneself in the foot. At page 236 of a 285-page novel (85%), the rest of the novel has caught up to Chapter One. Because I always knew where the end point of the story was, I was fairly bored by the content but read the entire book because I wanted to see if there were any unheralded events along the way that would provide some excitement and I was curious to see if there was anything in the rest of the novel that was not in Chapter One. There was.

Good Story, Horrible Presentation

Dutch Schultz is a name known to those who follow the culture and history of the United States during a particularly perverted social experiment known as Prohibition. This boxed set of three novels tells the story of Masie, the daughter of Dutch Schultz, as she matures from a family member school-aged daughter to becoming a confederate in an enterprise she despises. It is not the morality of illegal alcohol sales that bothers her, it is how the violent trade changed family members. Masie despises her father, the prominent gangster. She is barely tolerant of the way her brother, JD, has become the willing assistant and second in command of her father. And she would like to have a much closer relationship with step-brother Vinny, the Dutch Schultz family enforcer. Adopted into the family at a young age, he is not truly a brother to Masie. And that suits Masie fine as she considers another role for him.

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