BOOK REVIEW: Biokill

I'm a member of Rosie's Book Review Team.
I’m a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

These lazy days of summer sometimes need a little action, and a novel packed with rousing adventures is the ticket to losing oneself in the nefarious world of a terror campaign with a biological terrorism bent. This is fourth in my series of book reviews; I hope that my recommendations inspire you to read these books.

. . . .

“BioKill” by Stuart Handley is novel bursting with intrigue, action, a terrorist cell, biological warfare, electrifying chases, lusty scenes, murder, mutilation, a cat fight, government subterfuge, escape, humor, and remarkable characters in an extraordinary plot.

While a terrorist cell conspires bioterrorism in the United States, Matt Lilburn, an American special agent with Homeland Security, finds himself on the case, along with the British Dr. Evangeline Crawston and a slew of memorable protagonists ranging from a tentative neighbor lady, to the virtually hilarious gang of the five Bloods, the bizarre chief of Homeland Security, the owners of an aviation business, and, of course, the terror cell inmates composed of Bomani, Bashir, and Yusuf, just to name a very few of the rich cast of personalities.

The author is astute in his use of scene-changing within the novel. He cleverly and seamlessly moves his story, chapter to chapter, from Brooklyn, to England, and to places within the United States with such deft smoothness that the reader easily follows the action without questioning or backtracking to previous pages to re-read. Indeed, whereas one chapter may be taking place in Brooklyn and the next in London and later, on a pig farm in New England, Stuart Handley ties each scene so well to another it’s as if the entire novel is akin to a quilt of individual blocks with no visible seams at all.

The players in the novel are real and well-developed, and where necessary, the author gives them accents and vocal modulations. For example, Alessio enunciates his accent well: “I see you ‘ave brought a friend . . . I canna but try.” We can hear neighbor Bonny as she talks to the police: “I was gonna get back on the phone and tell you to . . . bust those A-rabs . . . I see you brought the whole dang station wid you!” We get indignant along with blonde Timothy the caterer/waiter as he “let out his own shriek” when he exclaims that he “’ordered lilac-colored napkins, lilac, not … blue.” Timothy owns and operates The Galloping Caterers, and I could not help to give Timothy a slight, albeit faux, British accent in my mind to go along with his hissy fit, because the name The Galloping Caterers reminds me of the late British gourmand Graham Kerr of The Galloping Gourmet. And when the “lucky” five Bloods found the red Nissan Maxima and attempted to drive it, the manual transmission threw them for a hilarious loop: “Yo man, I seen on the movies – this car had one of those things and you got to push something in with your foot to make it go . . .”

Yet, there was something so real and creepy when the members of the terrorist cell, Bomani, Bashir, and Yusuf spoke. “Yusuf and I go to a cattle auction” “ . . . when we have finished our work for Allah . . . we return to our home and assimilate ourselves back into Western society.” Their voices and personalities are real and wicked, and Stuart Handley captures this flawlessly. Bomani, in particular, has a distinct voice in using variances in verb usage and not uttering contractions.

I enjoy Stuart’s writing style. It is very vivid, descriptive and intelligent. He uses foul language sparsely, as in those moments when characters are so totally shocked or frustrated that a four-letter word slips out. Lusty scenes are tasteful and allow the reader to envision all the naughty little details within the imagination. Stuart’s background in livestock production and an inspector for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), et al gives authority to his novel.

There are a few instances within the novel where the author (who is from New Zealand) moves from American English to British English, such as “bonnet” for a car “hood,” “petrol tank” instead of “gas tank,” “mobile” for “cell phone,” “air-sock” for “wind sock,” “windscreen” for “windshield,” and a technical description of a helicopter’s speed measured in miles per hour, when airspeed is actually measured in knots. I caught the aviation-related points immediately, since I have a long background and career in the aviation field. It stuck out for me. Yet, I believe it all will not take away from the story for most readers.

Admittedly, this is the first novel in this genre that I have read. I was not disappointed at all. Moreover, I cannot say enough positive statements about “BioKill.” It produces non-stop action; it lays out a very real and plausible evil; it brings a little lightness to round out the reality; and it makes the reader think, laugh, and become more aware of contemporary events.

I highly recommend “BioKill” by Stuart Handley, and if I rated this novel on a five-star scale, I would give it six stars.

Yes; it’s that good.

© Susan Marie Molloy and all works within. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and any works here on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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BOOK REVIEW: Red Clay and Roses

rosies-book-review-team-1Summer is in full swing and what better way to relax after a sizzling day than with a book about the Deep South and family secrets and surprising discoveries. This is third in my series of book reviews; I hope that my recommendations inspire you to read these books. . . . .

“Red Clay and Roses” by S. K. Nicholls is an honest look into the joys and ruthless realities of life in the Deep South during the 1950s and 1960s. The novel predominantly delves straightforward into lust, rape, murder, criminal abortion, lies, adoption, denial, and love, and particularly how race and gender relations intermingled within those ruthless realities of life.

The author presents this story as roman à clef; that is, as a novel based on a real life overlapped with fiction. She skillfully wrote to give the reader an interesting, eyes-wide-open view into the foul side of human attitudes and behavior, mirrored with the sweeter side that life can bring. Not only does she present to the reader the ugliness of lust, rape, abortion, et al, she also lays out the misery of mental illness, financial chicanery, and the protracted goals for women’s rights and civil rights in general.

It is obvious that the author researched well, as not only were the historical events correct, but also were the everyday things of life: Hair styles, clothing, language, place names, popular singers, and product names, for example. She is meticulous in describing things, sometimes to the minute detail. The reader, if familiar with places in the South, will recognize such places as Rexall Drugs, Kay Bee Jewelers, the Chattahoochee River, and Merritt Pecan Company. Even the late Freddie Hubbard, an American jazz trumpeter, was spun into the story early on.

What also makes this novel real is the author’s expert use of medical terms and medicine in general. As she is in real life a registered nurse, her knowledge becomes an excellent asset to the descriptions of the characters’ experiences with hospitals and their nefarious involvements. She uses medical terms and medicine in such a way that the reader is at ease; the descriptions do not come across at all as dry nursing class lectures, but almost as a matter-of-fact professional descriptions that the reader accepts.

S. K. Nicholls writes with ease and clarity and gives the reader rich, full scenes to imagine with the simplest of words, such as in the telling of “ . . . my first kiss in the midst of the rain of swirling pink crabapple petals . . .” She proves that simplicity paints a masterpiece.

She also effortlessly shows the soul of a building where it “reeked of chemicals and pain.” With just those five words, the reader feels and smells the repulsion of what once existed in one room. Even the real, but imaginary, “fairy babies” with their stinging “insect-like tails” that Ms. Bea fears almost materialize within the novel’s pages.

The author is adept at using dialect to give her characters a real life to their voices. Though a different dialect than those utilized by Mark Twain and Charles W. Chestnut, S. K. Nicholls nonetheless hears dialect well. She also employs the use of early twentieth century and mid-century slang to a T. “Slap me some skin!” was my thought as her characters, particularly Moses, spoke easily with words and phrases common decades ago.

“The word from the bird” is this: S. K. Nicholls’ “Red Clay and Roses” is a well-written, factual fictional novel that will grasp the reader’s attention from start to finish. I would place it among other well-known historical fictional novels (such as, for example, those written in the vein of Anthony Trollope and Margaret Mitchell) to be used as, perhaps, required reading in both high school and college English and American history, and social studies courses.

I highly recommend this novel.

© Susan Marie Molloy and all works within. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and any works here on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

BOOK REVIEW: All My Sins Remembered

BOOK REVIEW: “ALL MY SINS REMEMBERED”

Summer is here with its sweltering days and warm nights, so books are a fabulous way to relax, get away, and imagine. This is second in a series of my book reviews. I hope that my recommendations inspire you to read these books. ~Susan Marie Molloy
……….

“All My Sins Remembered,” a fictional novel written by Adam Stanley, is a quick-moving, “warts-and-all” work. Through the first-person narration of the central character, Andrew White, the reader experiences Andrew’s seemingly undying obsession with Leigh Mallory, a girl whom he loved and “turned . . .into something unreal” in his psyche.

The novel takes place in 2009. Andrew is sweating out a sweltering July evening in a cheesy motel, contemplating his life, searching how to ditch his two decade obsession with Leigh, and weighing his options to continue on his life’s path.

This is a love story, a narrative of deep guilt, a tale of maturing, a parable of life and death in all its manifestations.

One of the continuing underlying themes in “All My Sins Remembered” is baptism and rebirth. Adam Stanley puts forth myriad descriptions of water, oceans, floods, and fire that are interlaced within each narration wherein Andrew struggles. Indeed, the protagonist is facing his own baptism and rebirth into a life with or without Leigh, and around him are cleansing waters and fires – but does he notice?

Yet, this novel does not portray the pure Pollyanna view of life; it is life, warts and all. To be sure, there are the sweet moments of love where Andrew tells us Leigh “moves like sunlight on a swift, clear river.” He also tells us that “there were girls much better looking than Leigh . . . [though] her hair was never quite right, always tousled and out of place, giving her a rough, wild look like a feral child.”

Conversely, life itself for and around Andrew was also callously ugly: drunkenness, drug use and abuse, physical fights, murder, death, suicidal feelings, and abandonment in several forms. Andrew muses quite convincingly that “[d]eath is easy to ignore if you are caught up in living.” And Andrew tried to live – really live – his life, and most assuredly try to ignore death at all levels.

The novel flows well with splendid narrations and descriptions of life as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Adam Stanley makes great use of what was extant in those years: Music bands, styles of clothing, and types of vehicles, for example. The reader feels and sees the scenes quite clearly. Parts of the book, in its narration, have a general feel of a hard-boiled novel à la Dashiell Hammet, with its blunt, quick, and frank “talk.” That is what makes this novel move quickly. As a caveat to the reader, there is harsh language that may be unpleasant to some readers. I will leave this to the author writing the novel with real life scenarios as much as possible through his characters.

I have the Kindle version of this book.  Unfortunately, I discovered errors in spelling, word usage, grammar, and format (format especially in the last couple of chapters). Since I don’t have the paperback version, I cannot compare if this is an oversight or not. It was a bit distracting to come across them.

Overall, I highly recommend “All My Sins Remembered” by Adam Stanley. The story is a very good one, and it’s one you might just relate to.

“If you live your life like you want to live it, people are going to think
you’re insane, call you crazy, and label you with lots of other labels.
But just think about this, the crazier you seem to the world, the more you
have really lived. Even if you end up with only a handful of lost dreams,
they can never take away all that living from you.”
— “All My Sins Remembered,” by Adam Stanley

You can find Kindle and paperback versions of “All My Sins Remembered” by Adam Stanley on Amazon by clicking HERE.

© Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and any works here on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

BOOK REVIEW: Voices of Nature

With the arrival of summer and its sweltering days and warm nights, books are a fabulous way to relax, get away, and imagine. I seem to read more books during the summer than any other time of the year. Today, I’m kicking off a series of my book reviews. I hope that my recommendations inspire you to read these books. ~Susan Marie Molloy
……….

“Voices of Nature,” written by Pamela B. and Kirsten A., is a beautifully penned assemblage of poetry celebrating Nature’s varying seasonal beauty.

The book is cleverly categorized into logical chapters: Seasons (generically), Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, and ‘Nature’s Best.’

The first chapter, “The Seasons” is a delightful hors d’oeuvre that tempts the reader with the “lush meadow of green,” “golden red splashes,” “frosty grip of winter,” and “the prelude of sunny days” in Pamela’s “Four Seasons.” Kirsten places the pièce de résistance in “Seasons Pirouette” where she describes seasons “they courtesy, they bow . . . Nature’s annual ballet.”

Each season is felt and described differently by both poets, and rightly so. For example, whereas Kirsten welcomes “sweet fall” in “Dear Fall,” Pamela longs for “beaches and sunshine” during the fall months in “How Many Days?” This “bouncing off one another” helps the reader to feel their individuality and interesting views, while arriving at one’s own experiences with the seasons.

Kirsten wrote how Nature continually moves and changes in “Creation Grooves,” where the “trees snap their fingers” and “. . . nature plays her drum beats.” This is a grand symbi poem that perfectly showcases the music-like rhythm of each facet of our natural world. I could feel the beat as I read each line and conceptually created an orchestra of Nature in my mind. This poem has a definite musical beat.

Indeed, I could go on specifically about “Voices of Nature,” yet to do so would take away the joy for readers to make their discoveries here.

The sea and seasons, butterflies and birds, wind and sunsets, flowers and stars – Pamela and Kirsten give us their view of Nature in myriad forms, thus helping the reader to see our world in a focused, yet enriched, infinite manner through other eyes.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the final chapter is devoted to providing definitions of the types of poetry they wrote. I found this very helpful in better understanding some of the types of which I unfamiliar. As a poet myself, it gives me impetus to expand my writings.

I highly recommend “Voices of Nature” by Pamela B. and Kirsten A. With just under fifty poems and each succinctly written, one can read them in snippets or whole chapters in one long, luxurious sitting, or sittings.

I chose to read “Voices of Nature” through my Kindle. It’s also available in paperback through Amazon. No matter which form you decide to purchase, you will be pleased and delighted with every page.

© The Sugar Bee Chronicles, Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and any works here on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Old Movies and Old Television: “Zorro”

Over the past couple of weeks, my beau and I have been watching Zorro. There are many different media versions of Don Diego de la Vega, a Spanish nobleman who takes who takes care of business in Old California during the Spanish Colonial Era as his alter ego, Zorro, most particularly in the pueblo of Reine de los Angeles (modern day Los Angeles).

Zorro began with the original, pulp fiction stories written by Johnston McCulley, a native of Ottawa, Illinois, and published as a serial in 1919.

He debuted Zorro in a five-part series, The Curse of Capistrano. It became a hit. So much so, that the hugely popular silent movie actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford decided during their honeymoon that this story would be the first movie for their new studio, United Artists. (Note: Charlie Chaplin was the other founding member of United Artists.) In 1920, The Mask of Zorro debuted as the first-ever cinematic version of the black-masked outlaw. Fairbanks gave us the visual style that which most of us identify: A masked man, dressed in black, wearing a flowing Spanish cape, carrying a rapier and bull whip, and riding Diablo, his black horse.

The movie was a hit, and this prompted McCulley to write more stories over approximately the next 30 years or so. His characterization of de la Vega/Zorro fluctuated wildly. For example, in one story, Zorro revealed his identity, yet in the following one, his identity remains secret.

After United Artists’ The Mask of Zorro came Don Q., Son of Zorro in 1925 with Fairbanks again as the star. Eleven years later, in 1936, the first talking Zorro movie, The Bold Caballero was released by Republic Pictures with Robert Livingston as de la Vega/Zorro. This movie was different again, since Alejandro de la Vega (ol’ Dad) and Bernardo (faithful sidekick) were not included. However, the actor Chief Thundercloud played the sidekick.

1939 brought the Zorro serials to theaters via Republic Pictures. Zorro’s Fighting Legions was a 12-part serial, with Reed Haley as the brave outlaw/milquetoast nobleman. There were other serials, but Hadley was the only one to consistently play Zorro.

The Curse of Capistrano returned as a talkie in 1940, but just like in 1920, the title was converted to The Mask of Zorro. Tyrone Power starred as de la Vega/Zorro, Basil Rathbone as the villain, and Linda Darnell as the love interest.

It wasn’t until October 10, 1957, that the Walt Disney Studios version with Guy Williams in the lead role debuted on television. In past versions, Bernardo was a deaf-mute, but in this version, he was only mute, pretending to be deaf in order to spy for de la Vega/Zorro. Additionally, the actor who portrayed Bernardo, Gene Sheldon, was a master pantomimist who studied the silent film era’s Harry Langdon, who himself was masterful at pantomiming in films and in vaudeville. Henry Calvin, who played Sergeant Garcia, was the lead vocal in the program’s opening theme song.

There were radio versions, made-for-television movies, a parody starring George Hamilton (Zorro, the Gay Blade), and other movies on the silver screen.

Zorro is international. There are films that were made in Mexico, Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, et cetera. Zorro even made it to the stage, with a stage production and musical. Zorro is collectable. Lunch boxes, trading cards, coloring books, toy hats, swords, computer games, and other paraphernalia were produced for popular consumption.
Creators of other popular crime-fighting characters admit to being inspired by McCulley’s Zorro. Bob Kane, Batman’s creator, even wrote that Bruce Wayne/Batman’s parents took him to see The Mask of Zorro after which they were murdered, which led to Wayne becoming Batman. The Lone Ranger, too, has obvious links to being inspired by Zorro. In the film, The Artist, the character George Valentin plays a version of Zorro.

Zorro, even in his many incarnations, has proved to be a great success. One could apply one’s life to the general approaches and principles of Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro:

Let no one stand in your way of positive success. Work hard and work smartly. Do good. Fight wrongs. One doesn’t have to brag about successes. Anonymity can be its own reward, because the results will show anyway.


©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

Eva Newermann

Art and Books

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An amateur writer trying to make an impact through her words, just to feel the beauty of life and love. Cherishing the beauty of Hope 💞 I am a banker by profession but I love to write everything that comes to my heart and mind. I am actually hopeless but yet I try to find hope in every aspects of life. I believe life has stored better things for me, so just while keeping wait, I prefer to write 💕 Its about my feelings expressed in words as I am so introvert to express in front of people. It's my diary and pen that understands me better. I love to write and hope other people will also like my write ups. Thank you so much for stopping by and having a look at my blog, Keep reading and suggesting. Love, nirja

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Современные пьесы - блог Алексея Марковича. MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com

Writing, Reading and Stuff

A place for my various ramblings and musings

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

Pamela Allegretto Artist/Author

Original Art and Fiction Writing

Love Travelling

Travel diaries providing inspiration for planning the perfect trip

The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Author, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense/Thriller Short Stories & Articles

Create Space

Creating, living, learning.

Sycamore Stories

One Southern Girl's Life in Vermont

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witness2fashion

Sharing the History of Everyday Fashions

Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

Mindfulness, Philosophy, Spirituality, Meditation, Awareness, Religion, Nature Photography

The Lonely Author

A quiet corner for writers to get inspired one word at a time.

Victor Travel Blog

An illustrated travel magazine by Victor Tribunsky.

The Austrian Dish

Welcome to Austrian Cuisine!

Preserving the Past

50 years of research about aviation by Clarence Simonsen

Forktrails

Indulgent escapes of the Banjaran Foodie

The Ink Owl

"If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story." -Terry Pratchett

Beans, Pen & Nirja

An amateur writer trying to make an impact through her words, just to feel the beauty of life and love. Cherishing the beauty of Hope 💞 I am a banker by profession but I love to write everything that comes to my heart and mind. I am actually hopeless but yet I try to find hope in every aspects of life. I believe life has stored better things for me, so just while keeping wait, I prefer to write 💕 Its about my feelings expressed in words as I am so introvert to express in front of people. It's my diary and pen that understands me better. I love to write and hope other people will also like my write ups. Thank you so much for stopping by and having a look at my blog, Keep reading and suggesting. Love, nirja

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FiveFeetAndOneInch

Just a blog about a short girl in her twenties

The Gardenia Cottage

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Donald on dining in and out

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

In Dianes Kitchen

Recipes showing step by step directions with pictures and gadget reviews

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JANE STURGEON

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Bad decisions make good stories.

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IMPREINT journal

The official bulletin of the artist IMPREINT created to repost excerpts from 'En plein air'.

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Entries from the Violet Basket Cottage Diary

The Gardenia Diary

Thoughts on Life Written from The Gardenia Cottage

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