Don’t Bet On This Wolf

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Wolf by Kelly Oliver attracted my attention because of its cover. Following the title, the cover informed me that this was a Jessica James mystery. Jessica James? Jesse James? The Amazon page claimed that this was a witty suspense thriller. The elements were there that led me to believe this would be a fun read. I purchased the novel for USD 0.99 although it is listed on Amazon at USD 4.99. The novel might be far more interesting to fans of Russian art, Russian culture, Russian expat culture, the Russian mob, and Russian slang than it was to me. I felt it dragged along with occasional contrived interjections of forced humor. Most of the humor was of the double innuendo sexual type which I felt was added later in the novel’s development during the editorial or revision process. If a reviewer with interests in all things Russian gave the novel four Amazon stars, I could understand that. But several things kept me from giving such a high rating.

Criminal Writing

Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry is a three hundred plus page crime thriller highlighting a larger than life female Main Character acting out her part mostly in India. The geographical setting and the observations of a different culture are the parts that make the novel at least interesting. In the categorizing of “heroes,” there is a level which includes superheroes with incredible powers like the Hulk or the Marvel hero group and a level which includes real-life folks with great abilities like Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris. Between these levels are characters like Kal Medi who demonstrate abilities incredible but believable.

Stalkers and Stumblers

Wayfair Lane by Randi Zeff is an interesting story of three dysfunctional to semi-dysfunctional families. Greg Hosmer used to be the husband of Elizabeth Hosmer. Now divorced, why did he buy a house very near the house he had once lived in with Elizabeth? True, it still took binoculars to see her daily activities clearly, binoculars he had to hide along with the log books in which he recorded her daily activities. Was he a stalker? Elizabeth thought so but for years Greg claimed he only wanted to remain close to his daughter, Kaylee. But she had moved out years ago and was now married and pregnant. Greg kept observing and kept recording.

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.