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Today’s feature review ( Kindle book on sale): Â THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT by Tom Schreck
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“Itâ€™s not every day that you attend the funeral of your husband as organized by his other wife. Or, rather, the funeral of the man youâ€™ve been calling husband for six months. Who was John Taylor? I no longer have a clue.”
Review by Eleanor Bukowsky Â (MAR 4, 2014)
John Taylor does not fit the stereotype of a polygamist. Although he is handsome, charming, and charismatic, he is not selfish and arrogant, nor does he seem obviously abnormal or deviant. On the contrary, Taylor is a doctor who uses his impressive skills to perform reconstructive surgery on children who have facial deformities. His partners are unhappy that Taylor insists on doing pro bono work, since the big money is in cosmetic procedures for the affluent. Still, Taylor is a complex individual who, for reasons of his own, married three women who live in Palo Alto, Los Gatos, and Los Angeles; he somehow managed to juggle his myriad professional and personal responsibilities. It is only after Taylor dies in his hotel room of an apparent heart attack that his trio of wives become fodder for the tabloids. Read the rest of this post »
“It is natural law thatÂ all complex systems move from a state of order to disorder. Stars decay, mountains erode, ice melts. People get off no easier. We get old or injured and inevitably slide right backÂ into the elements we were first made from. The organized masterpiece of conception, birth, and maturation is really only two steps forward before three steps back, at least in the physical world. Sometimes when Charlotte lost a patient she thought about that and found it comfortingâ€”a reminder that she hadnâ€™t failed in what was ultimately an unwinnable game. But if she thoughtÂ about it too long, she had to wonder if her entire medical career was an interminable battle against the will of the universe.“
Review by Jana L. PerskieÂ (MAR 3, 2014)
Gemini is an intensely absorbing novel which I found difficult to put down. It is a very human tale which delves deeply into subjects like love in its many shapes and forms, and time – too little time, not enough time, counting time, too late. The author, Carol Cassella, uses time to move her storyline back and forth in years, seamlessly weaving together the characters and the events which impact them.
The novel is narrated by two characters in alternating chapters: Raney, (Renee Lee Remington), an adolescent when the story begins, unfolds her life over the years. She is an illegitimate child, abandoned by her mother and birth father. Raney lives with her extremely eccentric grandfather, who adores her, in the small town of Quentin, WA, near Olympic National Park. He goes so far as to build an underground bunker, fully supplied for TEOTWAWKI, (“The End Of The World As We Know It).” Read the rest of this post »
“Why are we interested?” Taggart said. He smiled at his old teacher. â€śWeâ€™re both just curious about themâ€” thereâ€™s a lot of discussion about how they evolved. Why do you think a cave-dwelling species might lose its eyes?â€ť
Review by Roger BrunyateÂ (MAR 2, 2014)
Phoebe Cornelius, the protagonist of “The Ether of Space,” the second of the five long stories in this collection, makes a living explaining scientific concepts to laymen. This is Andrea Barrett’s forte also. Three of these stories are set in the wings of some great scientific discovery: Phoebe is trying to comprehend Einstein’s Relativity; her son Sam becomes a pioneer in the relatively new science of genetics; and an earlier story explores the impact of Darwinism on the younger generation of scientists in America. In all these cases, Barrett explains the underlying concepts with great clarity. Sometimes, though, the stories seem to be running on two tracks simultaneously, one scientific and the other personal; I don’t know that readers with little interest in science would get much out of the book on the personal level alone. Read the rest of this post »
“Shouting himself hoarse, sweat-soaked and exhaustedâ€” ‘Cressida! Honey! Can you hear me? Where are you?’
Heâ€™d been a hiker, once. Heâ€™d been a man whoâ€™d needed to get away into the solitude of the mountains that had seemed to him once a place of refuge, consolation. But not for a long time now. And not now.
In this hot humid insect-breeding midsummer of 2005 in which Zeno Mayfieldâ€™s younger daughter vanished into the Nautauga State Forest Preserve with the seeming ease of a snake writhing out of its desiccated and torn outer skin. “
Review by Bonnie BrodyÂ (FEB 28, 2014)
Carthage is quintessential Oates. It is stylistically similar to many of her other books with the utilization of parentheses, repetitions and italics to make the reader take note of what is important and remind us of what has transpired previously. The book is good but it is not Oates’ best.
As the novel opens, the Mayfield family resides in Carthage, New York in the Adirondacks. Zeno Mayfield, once mayor of Carthage, and a political bigwig in a smallish town is the head of the family. His wife, Arlette, along with his two daughters, form the whole. Juliet, 22 years old is the “beautiful” daughter and Cressida, 19 years old is the “smart” one. Juliet is still living at home and she is an obeisant and sweet child, a devout Christian. She is engaged to marry Brett Kincaid, an Iraqi war hero who has been seriously injured in battle. He has suffered head injuries and walks with a cane. His face is badly scarred and he suffers from myriad problems requiring many psychotropic medications. However, Juliet’s love for him has never faltered. She drives him to rehab and stands by his side in all ways. Read the rest of this post »
There are ten of them in the limo’s plush passenger bay, the eight remaining soldiers of Bravo squad, their PA escort Major Mac, and the movie producer Albert Ratner, who at the moment is hunkered down in BlackBerry position. Counting poor dead Shroom and the grievously wounded Lake there are two Silver Stars and eight Bronze among them, all ten of which defy coherent explanation. “What were you thinking during the battle?” the pretty TV reporter in Tulsa asked, and Billy tried. God knows he tried, he never stops trying, but it keeps slipping and sliding, corkscrewing away, the thing of it, the it, the ineffable whatever.
“I’m not sure,” he answered. “Mainly it was just this sort of road rage feeling. Everything was blowing up and they were shooting our guys and I just went for it, I really wasn’t thinking at all.”
Review by Jill I. ShtulmanÂ (FEB 27, 2014)
It is, perhaps, a fortuitous accident that I turned the last pages of Ben Fountainâ€™s absolutely brilliant novel during Memorial Dayâ€¦a day when rhetoric about courage, support, sacrifice, and patriotism overflows.
Billy Lynn â€“ the eponymous hero of this book â€“ is a genuine American hero. He and his fellow Bravo Squad members decimated an insurgency â€“ caught on film by an embedded Fox News crew — and became overnight sensations in a nation starved for good news about Iraq. They are brought home for a media-intensive â€śVictory Tourâ€ť â€“ in cities that happen to lie in an electoral swing state — to reinvigorate support for the war. We meet them at the end of that tour, on a rainy Thanksgiving, hosted by Americaâ€™s Team, The Dallas Cowboys. Read the rest of this post »
February 27, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 21st-Century, Football, Great American Novel, Real Event Fiction, War Story Â· Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Humorous, National Book Award Finalist, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), Texas, Unique Narrative, United States, y Award Winning Author