Here's the one that started it all. Reviewer Paul S. Brandt on Kremlin Tide. It seems so long ago now!
An interesting page turner harping back to crime TV shows, this book is a great addition to anyone who enjoys suspense/thriller novels.
-As like the first book I read from this author, Kremlin Tide has fascinating characters.
-While the other book, Serial Rites, focuses more on one character, this book gets into the minds of all the characters.
-Great writing and good pacing especially as the book nears the end.
-Intriguing, complex plot
-Too much detail bogs down the story especially early in the book.
-With the nature of this being a complex story, the details can easily be overlooked. The story, therefore, can become quite confusing.
*My opinion: what I didn’t care for or do not prefer. This will not lower a rating unless it overly distracts from the story.
A great read and I highly recommend. 5-Stars
At first, Joe Siccardi's Heaven Shining Through was a startling read for me. It moved so quickly I thought I had a James Patterson Alex Cross thriller. Now, this is Christian Fiction, a literary book with some romantic touches laced within it. Through the eyes Samantha, the reader learns everything about her upbringing and her relationships with her parents and girlfriends to her present day. She experiences love, joy, loss, life, death, forgiveness, vulnerability, fear, and reconciliation with those personal relationships.
It was a strange feeling as the major events of her life whizzed by. Some were shown with actual scenes played out for dramatic effect while others simply told in the narrative. That took some of the power away from those life experiences. The book's a short story or short novella. I get that. But again, some dramatic moments were lost with Siccardi's decision to inform the reader via narrative through the flashbacks in the mind of Samantha. I guess I wanted more depth and Siccardi had enough material for a full-length book. Again, it's a novella that actually read like a memoir. I'm used to reading longer pieces. It wasn't dull that's for sure.
In the end, all roads lead to what happens to Samantha and her mother, who remained distant and critical of her daughter growing up. This relationship drove the story and reading it to the end will answer the question of what happens to them. The use of a few profane words wasn't necessary at all and jarred the reading for a moment.
Overall, I give Heaven Shining Through 3.5 stars but with no half star designations available I'll make it a three.
Hey, Goodreads Members!
Hello and Happy New Year! I’m looking to start 2019 off right with solicitations for fair and honest reviews in exchange for my supernatural thriller novella ARC, EVIL REALMS. EVIL REALMS tells the story of fearful and discordant ministry leaders, Joel and Deborah Benjamin, fighting to save their crumbling marriage and their lives from a series of bizarre and disturbing occurrences that possess dark secrets. The book will publish in May 2019.
The book is available in PDF, .MOBI, and .EPUB formats. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which format you need, and I'll send EVIL REALMS to you. Thank you for the consideration, members!
Cortez Law III Author of Kremlin Tide, Cold Lick, S.Y.P.H.E.N. and Serial Rites
Serial Rites: https://youtu.be/Dzu6YgpQMIc
Cold Lick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crx1xFyp3No
Kremlin Tide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZmBAAXQgAE
Tracy Clark's Broken Places, A Chicago Mystery, is aptly named. Former Chi-town Detective Cass Raines survives a shootout with a suspect thanks to some incompetence from a colleague. She decides enough is enough and resigns from the force. She elects to take on private investigation work instead. Her first case involves a beloved priest, Father Ray Heaton and a young man named Cesar Luna murdered in the priest's church. Heaton, as P.I. Raines finds out, has a list of enemies who despise him for one reason or another. Who wants a beloved priest and a young man he tries to help dead and why?
Clark takes her readers on a journey to the truth and multiple encounters with interesting people in the Windy City. While the storyline thankfully didn't progress the way I thought it would, simultaneously, it wasn't complex or thought-provoking either. Not that it wasn't compelling which makes for tough reading and reviewing. The people of Raines' neighborhood, her analyses of them and vice versa, rings true. That made the book for me even though some of Raines' decisions skirt on the not-so-smart. I realize she's a private investigator now and not a detective with all the bells and whistles. Some choices in the heat of conflict were head-scratchers though they put me in the midst of that conflict with her. Good writing.
Be warned, readers. There is R-rated language in Broken Places. Spirits, souls, and bodies break in spades, especially for Cass Raines. This suspenseful mystery paints the portrait of a strong, insightful heroine, friends, and foes alike amidst an ordinary plot. Still, not a bad start, Ms. Clark. Three stars.
Charles Prandy introduces his upcoming Detective August Miller novel, A Cold Day for August, with three mystery/suspense short stories titled, The Elephant Bowl.
The title story, The Elephant Bowl, centers on a piece of evidence that springs the story toward high drama. The Endearment Diary finds Detective Miller on the trail of a cold case murderer with sad tragic results; Between The Trees depicts a cat and mouse game between Miller and her suspect that reminded me a little of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI Trainee Clarice Starling in their verbal jousts in The Silence of the Lambs. This last story hints at the first novel in the coming series. Good collection. Four Stars.
Just a heads up for next spring/summer. I have two more novels to hit the marketplace. I'll continue the adventures of Sergeant Malcolm X. Hobbs in Atlanta Homicide Squad #4, which will again take on the thriller genre albeit a bit differently than the Atlanta Homicide Squad #3 psychological thriller, SERIAL RITES.
The other book mines my speculative fiction side. I delved into those weird tale waters with the science fiction/thriller S.Y.P.H.E.N., a few years back. Next year, my creativity will plunge into the supernatural/paranormal thriller/chiller territory with a spec' fic' story that started out as a movie script. Funny thing is with that reveal, S.Y.P.H.E.N. was also borne out of a potential screenplay as well. To all the writers in the world (if only I could reach that many people, right? Hope springs...), I ask this question: What do you have in your house?
Neither book has an official title yet. I have temporary ones now. We'll see if they maintain their number one status. Even at this early stage, I'm studying covers as well. I don't want to wait until the last minute for all things promotional to crash and burn because I didn't give myself enough time.
Check out the following Goodreads links for a little more information:
Untitled Atlanta Homicide Squad #4
Well, now you know what I know. Happy reading, writing, reviewing, and living!
Kellye Garrett's cozy mystery Hollywood Ending begins after the first book, Hollywood Homicide, ends. Amateur investigator and former one-hit wonder food commercial actress Dayna Anderson soon finds herself sleuthing for the murderer of Tinseltown hotshot publicist Lyla Davis the victim of a botched ATM robbery. The homicide takes place during the time of the biggest party of the year: The 18th annual Silver Sphere Awards for TV and movies. The SSA's surpass the prestigious Golden Globes and nip the heels of the Oscars for the most coveted awards show in Hollywood. This is a big deal to Dayna because her boo, Omari Grant, the star of the new series LAPD 90036, is up for a Silver Sphere Best Actor in Television Award.
The basis of the investigation centers upon was it live or was it Memorex moments that lead to little sex, plenty of lies, and yes, videotapes and DVDs. Oh yeah, and a big money payout that sets Dayna hot on the trail of Davis' killer.
Back as Dayna's unofficial sidekicks are Omari, Emme Abrams, the Internet shorthand speak and computer whiz, Sienna Haynes, the vain sidekick and still shooting-for-the-stars girlfriend, though some of her tolerance of those high-profile entertainers made me want to slap some respect into her, and of course, Day's partner-in-crime-busting, Aubrey S. Adams-Parker.
Concurrent to the investigation, Danya and Aubrey pursue official private investigator documents so when she hands out business cards, it reads who they say they are. This thread takes on a bit of mystery as well when the humorless and straight arrow Aubrey discloses other career plans. With this pursuit, however, drama and comedy follow.
Who killed Lyla Davis and why takes the reader through a labyrinth of interesting characters including the married duo Mack and Janet Christie, Silver Spring Award President Gus 'The Gossip' Ortiz, Omari's high-strung publicist Nina Flynn, Nina's stressed assistant Kitt, mechanic limo driver Dante Brooks, Dow Jones couple Javon Junior Reid and Regina Jones, and lastly the mystery friend or foe Z, who possess an uncommon knack for phantom manifestations alongside one creeped out Dayna Anderson. Girl, pepper spray might not be enough! She expresses her fear with a Hollywood nod when she internally thinks if captured by Z: "...I'd have to hope someone tweeted my pic and it somehow went viral. That would be my only chance of escaping from the hole in Z's basement. I made a promise to myself I would not put the lotion in the basket. No matter how melodic his voice was."
With these characters, author Garrett casts a wide net of blackmail and betrayal that had this reader pointing at every one of them at some point or another. Once more Garrett's depiction of Anderson rules the day. Her exasperation phrases like, 'Fudge' or 'Blurg' or 'At All' and other one-liners with that LA insider's knowledge peppered throughout the book like its predecessor, Hollywood Homicide. Garrett provides additional growth to her characters since the first book too. Dayna's relationship with Omari steps up to another level, the Dayna/Aubrey investigation status, and the novel concludes with a clear open door for the third story in A Detective By Day Mystery series. I know I'm walking through it. Come on and join me! Four and half stars.
Hollywood Homicide, the multiple awards nominated and winning cozy mystery novel by Kellye Garrett, delivers its charm via the voice of the main character, Dayna Anderson. Day, as her friends call her, was a former star of a Chubby Chicken commercial that people she meets seem to recall to her displeasure. But on several occasions, she has fun with it through her dialogue and internal monologue. The first chapter sets up this funny and engaging voice that sings until the end of the book.
Down-on-her-luck, she struggles to pay bills, her parents experience mortgage challenges she wants to help with, and she hits dead ends seeking employment not necessarily in Los Angeles' entertainment industry. It's ugly.
So, when someone runs down a young woman named Haley Joseph as she enjoys (sort of, read the book) a night out with her companions, she discovers that a $15,000 reward accompanies the solving of her murder. Say no more. Amateur sleuth Dayna Anderson to the rescue!
However, she doesn't take on the sleuthing alone. She enlists the help of those companions including best friend and LA fashion queen (nearly everything she wears is red!) Sienna Hayes. The computer expert, gamer, introvert and shorthand Internet speak geek, Emme Abrams. Her on again, off again crush and she's not sure where to place the check mark on that count, the up and coming TV actor, Omari Grant. Not outdone, some bonus help comes in the form of the quirky Johnny-on-the-spot ex-cop turned private investigator, Aubrey S. Adams-Parker or A.S.A.P. (Is that a character insight, Ms. Garrett? Hmm.)
Okay, with the team in place, they learn that several celebrities' homes were robbery targets including female rapper Kandy Wrapper, Oscar Blue, and Emme's famous twin sister, Toni. From here author Garrett bobs and weaves, zigs and zags, and sends her characters to the edge and some over that edge to join Luca Brasi and the fishes.
The mystery is solid though I thought a few times Dayna needed her head examined for some brazen decisions in her pursuit of Haley's killer. I was spot-on with some plot points and surprised on some others. The book stands out due to the character personalities led by Dayna. Garrett infuses her voice with insider knowledge of how the Hollywood game is played, the commercial and residential Los Angeles landscape, the fashion of the rich-and-incubating famous, and her nods toward some of my favorite police procedural TV shows like Law & Order and The First 48.
Dayna's witty, smart, persistent, brave, calculating (hey, need that 15 grand after all), and patient referring to the Chubby Chicken commercials and, 'The Voice.' Read the book for the humor of the latter.
I'm not a cozy mystery reader by any stretch, but I will more thoroughly delve into the various offerings especially by African-American authors after reading this solid debut. Garrett honed her skills and insight after eight years in Hollywood that included writing for the CBS Drama, Cold Case (one of my favorite crime dramas at the time), which I happen to be watching or more so listening to actually, as I write this review!
The cover states that Hollywood Homicide is the 'First In A New Series.' The sequel, Hollywood Ending, hit the marketplace on August 8th of this year. I'll get to that one and to the rest of them I'm sure that will publish in the future. Highly recommended with a Four and a half Stars for Kellye and Dayna!
Denzel Washington Prayed and Read the Bible Every Day While Shooting 'Roman J. Israel, Esq' (Interview)
Denzel Washington stars in "Roman J. Israel, Esq.” alongside Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo. The film hits theaters November 22, 2017. Getty Images
Denzel Washington revealed that while shooting the forthcoming film, "Roman J. Israel, Esq.," he and producer and writer Dan Gilroy prayed and read the Bible every day.
"God put us together," the 62-year-old Academy Award winner told The Gospel Herald during a press junket at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles Saturday. "We prayed every day, we read the daily Word every day."
He added, "Dan and I have been prayer partners in this whole collaboration...We were on the same page from day one. We know Who we work for, and we're just trying to do our best work."
Roman J. Israel, Esq.," also starring actors Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo, follows an idealistic defense attorney (Washington) whose deeply-held beliefs are shaken when an unexpected series of events challenge his passion for helping the poor and disenfranchised.
"He is Old Testament, he knows the law, but, not to say he doesn't have faith, but he has faith in the law," Washington explained of his character. "His conviction was through the law."
While the film isn't "faith-based," it's chock-full of biblical themes, including sacrifice, (Roman gives up family, fortune, and reputation for the sake of a cause he firmly believes in), honor, and faith in the unseen.
"I speak now and I'm doing what God told me to do from the beginning," Washington told GH. "It was prophesied that I would travel the world and preach to millions of people. It was prophesied when I was 20. I thought it was through my work and it has been."
"My mother said to me when I was 59, she said, 'Denzel, you do a lot of good. You have to do good the right way and you know what I'm talking about,'" Washington continued. "I don't drink anymore, I don't do any of those things. I'm all about the message, to the degree that I know it, and I'm unashamed and unafraid to share it!"
In the age of social media, Washington said it's easy to lose sight of one's convictions, as society is constantly bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information.
"I was reading about this today in my prayer and meditation - it is so difficult to trust that Jesus died for our sins because the mind never shuts off, especially in this world," he said. "We know, we know, we know, but we forget, moment by moment."
He urged young people to ask themselves: "What is the long, if not short-term effect of too much information?"
"It's accelerated now, it's on steroids, it's moving so fast that it's almost impossible to keep up," Washington said of the social media age. "What happens to the part of the brain that figures things out? We better understand that we are addicted to this," he added, holding up a cell phone. "It's not its fault, it's a magnification and a reflection of our own free will."
Washington revealed that Pastor A.R. Bernard, senior pastor of Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, once shared with him Daniel chapter 10 from the Bible, saying, "'God puts leaders in place for a reason and a season.'"
"There's a reason, you may not like what's going on but the boss has a reason," Washington said, pointing heavenward.
Like Roman, Washington urged millennials to hold fast to their convictions and share the truth of the gospel with a watching world -- no matter how unpopular.
"I pray for your generation," he said. "What an opportunity you have! Don't be depressed by it because we have to go through this, we're here now. You can't put that thing back in the box."
The actor went on to say that his father, who was a pastor, once "slapped him down" because he questioned his father's predictions about the End Times.
"Each generation, we're all guilty of it, we think it's gonna happen when we're here. We as a species, God's children, have to go through this!" he emphasized. "We don't know where we are in it [the End Times]'. We may think we're at 10, but we may just be at one. None of us know, but we are going through it. And you, after we're long gone, are going to have to go through. So at least be aware."
He added, "I would say to your generation - find a way to work together because this is a very divisive, angry time you're living in, unfortunately, because we didn't grow up like that."
"Roman J. Israel, Esq." hits theaters on Nov. 22. For more information on "Roman J. Israel, Esq." visit the movie's website.
*I think Denzel does something similiar for all his film roles. For TRAINING DAY, he wrote on the script: Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death..." Keep on keeping on, Mr. Washington!*
I write stories of suspense, mystery, thrills and chills that I hope keep readers' eyes bloodshot and raccoon like the next morning.
My Creative Kudos to
Serial Rites Cover by Fantasia Frog Designs
S.Y.P.H.E.N. Cover by Page Weaving Cover Designs
Kremlin Tide & Cold Lick Covers by The Book Cover Machine
S.Y.P.H.E.N. Soldier Images:
Header Images by Bigstock.com
"Blood Pressure" Music: http://www.purple-planet.com
the Following Artists:
Metro Black & Blue Books Logo by Cool Text Graphics Generator
Author Photo by
The Image Makers