Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review of White Jade

WHITE JADE (The Project, Book 1)

By Alex Lukeman

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

International intrigue with a little bit of mystic Chinese background is one way in describing this thriller. I did find the premise an unlikely event.

However, the writer did keep me interested with his crisp prose. The characters were well defined and would be enjoyable to follow through this series encountering other evil doers.

The main character is a super spy a la Indiana Jones who teams up with his strong arm sidekick and an extremely intelligent, beautiful, karate kicking Chinese women. Their mission is to save the world from WW III.

How they go about it, keeps you thinking that failure is right around the corner up until the final act. The action will have the reader turning the page and not watching the clock.

Well done.

Purchase at  http://amzn.to/1U6iA1S

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

First Chapter of Homeless



Winter 2002, South Florida

The day was cool with a frigid breeze blowing off the Atlantic westward up Calle Ocho, as I walked hastily in the same direction. They evicted me from my cheap room at the San Juan Motel on Southwest 22nd Avenue; and I was going back to retrieve my two bags, one with wheels.
       A conversation I just completed with a stranger put me in panic mode. My mind was in over drive.
      “What do you mean?” I asked the homeless man, sitting on his cardboard concrete comforter in front of Camillus House, a homeless shelter on Northwest 2nd Avenue, not far from the Freedom Tower.
      “What, are you deaf or stupid? He said, ‘You won’t get a bed in there tonight.’ They’re already taken! Only five of us in line will get one of the remaining beds. I’m number twenty-five waiting in line for a bed and dinner. Not all qualify.”
      My body was shaking; I was in shock. I asked, “Where can I get someplace to sleep tonight?”
“Don’t you have a friend that can take you in?”
I was distraught at what was happening to me.  My nerves were taking over my body. “No, I’m on my own.”
“If you can wait until later tonight, after ten o’clock, flag down a police car. Tell him you became homeless today and he’ll have to take you to Chapman’s shelter over on North Miami Avenue for the night. You look clean cut, so that won’t be a problem for a night.
Inside the shelter, they have their rules and you’ll have to meet their requirements. Don’t you have any warmer clothes, a blanket, or anything?”
“Yes. Why?”
“It’s going to be cold and rainy on the streets tonight.” He looked up from the sidewalk, wearing what seemed to be two or three layers of dirty clothing with a ripped gray jacket over them.
“Why won’t you get one of the beds in Camillus House?”
His saddened brown eyes looked at me, shaking his head. “Not tonight; I was in there the night before last. I think.”  I thought: Strange, he didn’t know what day it was. Maybe you lose all concept of time living on the streets. A chill went up my spine.
A stroke of fear overcame me. “Why couldn’t you stay in there?”
“You get only a bed and a shower once or twice a week in there…too many people waiting in line.” He pointed to the men in front of him. They were standing or sitting on the hard surface.
He pointed to the people across the street in front of a boarded-up-run-down building. It had some covering from the light rain that just began.  Obviously, he knew his way around. “Those guys are waiting in line also.  We know who’s who down here.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” I stretched out my arm. He took my hand and shook it. I introduced myself, “My name is Don Quixote Smith. What’s yours?”
“Derik…Don’t use your full name around here. Only give it to Camillus staff. Use a nick name.”
“Thanks Derik. Call me Q, then.”
“Okay, Q. Where’s your stuff?”
“My stuff is back at the motel on Calle Oche.”
“Well, go get your bags and get in line. Those here and across the street are in line. Go get your bags and put that coat behind me. I’ll keep your place. They serve dinner inside to all comers. Only a few get a bed for the night.”
I hesitated. Give a homeless man my only coat. What is he nuts? This leather coat cost me a hundred and fifty bucks. I looked at him and said, “I don’t know if I’m coming back.”
“Suit yourself. I can’t hold a place for you without something covering the space behind me.”
I replied, “That’s okay Derik. I’ll take my chances. I might not be right back. I have to call a friend first. Will you be here if I return?”
“I’m not going anywhere. Can’t you see that? They serve hot food in an hour.” He looked at me as if I was a foreigner, and I was.
“Take it easy. I just hope this won’t be my situation after I make my next call. I must go back and get my bags. I hope I don’t see you later…bye.” I left Camillus House for what I thought was for good.
So here I was, with little chance of getting a bed for the night, rushing up Calle Ocho to retrieve my only possessions that they locked up in the motel I had lived in for the last three weeks. My stomach was aching. I drank a lot of water today and hadn’t eaten for the last twenty-four hours.
My mind was not in harmony with my body. I walked into the Calle Ocho Cafe and Bakery looking for some free samples they put out for patrons. “May I have a glass of water?” I asked the young woman across the counter in Spanish.
She answered back in Spanish, “Yes, sir,” and poured me a full cup. I noticed some sweet cakes laid out for buying patrons. I took more than a normal person would have. I was famished. I got a dirty look from what looked to be someone in charge. I exited in haste with my dinner.
What happened next was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The abundance of water and the small amount of food in my stomach started to exit my body. It must have been my nerves. My body took control and I literally shit my pants a block away from the motel.
I had no room to run to clean up. I released - I was homeless with a brown watery substance filling my underwear and flowing down my legs when I walked into the small empty motel lobby. I stood rigid and let nature take its course.
Things weren’t looking up. I tried to smile.
“Mr. Smith, is there anything wrong?” The clerk behind the counter asked. He couldn’t see the little puddle next to my right shoe, but noticed my worried face.
“Yes, I just need to use the bathroom. Do you have a towel?”
“Wait a minute.” He left and came back, handing me a small thin white towel, which you only find in hotels that rent by the hour.
“Where are my bags?” I asked.
“Right here,” he replied, placing them at the end of the counter. Hearing a ringing telephone, he went into the office to answer it.
I bent over, took out a new pair of under pants from my carryon, and entered the bathroom at the end of the lobby before he could see what I was doing. Completing my due diligence, I looked in the mirror. Putting a smile on my face, I said with determination, “Show time.”
Arriving back at the front desk, I happily didn’t see the clerk, so I left without saying good bye in a hurry. I walked out the door with my shoulders straight and my eyes looking forward into the unknown, leaving the towel in the puddle on the floor.
I dialed the pay phone, next to the bus stop at the side of the motel’s building. It was a collect to a friend.
My friend’s wife answered, “Hello.”
The operator said, “This is a collect call from Don Smith. Will you accept the charges?”
“Yes; why not?” I could hear the irritation in her voice – why is this man always calling collect. It’s my telephone, not Fred’s.
“Hi, is Fred in?”
“Yes, wait a minute.” 
I heard her yell, “Fred, it’s your friend Q… again.” She seemed a little pissed off at my interrupting something and calling collect, again.
He answered, “Hi Q. Did you find out about Camillus House?”
“Yes, but I won’t be staying there tonight.”
“Why?”
“Long story, I’ll tell you when I see you tomorrow. Has Joan changed her mind? Can I stay with you for a while?” I knew the answer, but made another attempt.
“Sorry. She has her sick brother here to take care of, and you know all the rest. I’ll help you out with a little money tomorrow.”
I understood. Fred was walking on thin ice, living with his ex-wife and having his current calling his cell all the time. He might have bought the house, but she wouldn’t let go. He had no rights.
She got the house in the divorce settlement. He was also married to a woman in the Dominican Republic, which his Joan had no idea of it. Joan was in charge.
“No problem, I understand. So it’s off into the night I go, and where I land nobody knows.”
Fred laughed, saying, “Q, you are crazy and the most positive person I know.”
“See you tomorrow. Don’t let me down.”
“Eleven O’clock…in front of Camillus House…we’ll go for lunch…my treat.”
“It’s the least you can do.”
“I know. Bye.”
“Talk tomorrow. I gotta find me a cop.”
“What?”
“It’s a long story. See you.” I hung up the phone, knowing I would see Fred tomorrow at eleven.
******

Purchase: http://amzn.to/1T5QX9E









Monday, May 9, 2016

Review of Unlikely Soldiers 1

UNLIKELY SOLDIERS
BOOK 1: Civvy to Squaddie

Deb McEwan

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

There are many reasons why people join the Army. I, for one, was drafted in the Vietnam era and reenlisted a month in, to get an education before going to Nam. Deb McEwan’s story a la novella follows the lives of a few who decide to join the British Army.

Her series starter has all the elements a good book one should have. The three main characters stories are developed, their adventures are interesting, and you are left with a ‘What comes next’ need to know at the end.

Guy, overwhelmed at home with his mother’s inconsideration and a new overbearing step father, wants freedom from his situation joins the Army to pursue a career that is contra to his father's. Michelle, who is confused with her home life, wants to follow the steps of her brother Graham and get out of the town they grew up in. All were not of age when joining.

Ms. McEwan’s experience of thirty odd years in the British Army has given the reader a colorful look into what happens to a recruit in basic training. The three mentioned go through a learning curve that will have you laughing and rooting them on.

Their personalities will lead the reader to want to follow their future love affairs and Army endeavors. Unlikely Soldiers, Book #2, should be as enjoyable as #1. It’s on my reading list.


    

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review of Outsourced

OUTSOURCED

An Eric J. Gates Thriller

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

You receive a gift in the mail that will change your life forever after understanding what the gift can do. You use the instrument and someone dear to you dies.

This is what happens to one of the main characters in this nonstop thriller where faith and destiny come into play. This novelist believes, uses the instrument, and his life is placed in turmoil.

From this point, the reader is taken on a journey that includes a conspiracy theory, government interference, thoughtful insights into what one wants in life, and near death encounters. The three main characters come together to overcome all uses of the instrument.

Mr. Gates thriller is thrilling in all senses of the genre. His adventure keeps you turning the page until the in. The detail of some of the historic data used is smoothly woven into the story and adds to the plausibility of events within.

I’ll be back to read another of Gates’ books.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Review of The Surgeon's Blade

The Surgeon's Blade:
A Diana Rivers Mystery Thriller
(The Diana Rivers Mysteries Book 3)

FAITH MORTIMER

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

As many of my followers know, I love a good mystery and The Surgeon’s Blade falls into that category. Ms. Mortimer’s writing style has me going back to her library of written novels for enjoyment.

In this Diana Rivers mystery, Diana is the relative of one of the main characters, Robert. He becomes infatuated with Libby, a nurse, after rescuing her from a yachting accident on Nigel’s sailboat, as an air ambulance medic.   

Before and after getting to know each other, nurses are disappearing and murdered in Southampton and London, United Kingdom. The nurses, sisters, all have something in common that is the key to unraveling the mystery of the police’s predicament in not solving the crime spree.

Libby’s on again, off again fiancĂ© Nigel is a doctor who works at each of the cities and has a home in London where his ex-wife has reappeared to compete for Nigel’s affection. Libby’s relationship with Nigel never seemed to be real for her since the accident and she is about to call off the engagement.

This thriller takes off after the lead up Ms. Mortimer has woven with few clues left for the reader, but they are there. Diana consulting with Robert brings us to an ending that will keep you on the edge of your reading seat.

The storyline pace keeps you engaged throughout leading to a thrilling ending.



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review of No Hope in New Hope

No Hope In New Hope
By Peggy A. Edelheit
Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

Samantha Jamison just seems to be in the right place when something out of the ordinary happens a la TV 80 -90’s “Murder She Wrote.” Sam, as the TV character Jessica Fletcher (Actor Angela Lansbury,) lives in a world of mystery. Both are well constructed characters, who use logic to get to the answer.

Ms. Edelheit’s Sam has her crew who helps her with the clues in a non-murder mystery, that has a twist to it that art lovers will like. Oh, there is a death of an involved person, but it’s hard to connect it to the core problem – what is really going on in a small town’s art community.

Strange things are happening in an art gallery Sam’s lover is contemplating buying. They are also housesitting while his owner friends are in Europe on vacation. Mysterious items are confusing to Sam, her boyfriend, and her crew.

No one can understand what is going on. Ms. Edelheit gives us the clues one by one and the reader must watch for them, since they’re hidden in happenstance. This I enjoy about her writing.

Example: Who could go in and of the art gallery at will? Only someone with a key could. But who has the key and the alarm code?

This is my second novel in the Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. It's #7 in the series. It stands alone and its storyline will keep you interested to the end.


Buy at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NvyJfm

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review of Better Living

BETTER LIVING
Through Criticism

A. O. SCOTT

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry


“Who but a lunatic or an idiot would critique a rose or a mountain or a sunset, or for that matter an earthquake or a thunderstorm?” is a line from Mr. Scott’s inviting titled dissertation. I hope he got his doctor’s degree.

I am the lunatic that is reviewing a book about criticism written by a prominent critic. What a way to start a Sunday morning with coffee.

Kidding aside, I have been reviewing books since college and have as recent as three years ago been writing them for my blog to help promote my novels. If I wasn’t an avid reader with an eclectic background and a college education, I would have been lost in Mr. Scott’s historical interpretation of criticism.

From the allegories of Titian or Rubens to Kant in the 1790s to Keats and then to the present century’s anointed, Scott gives the reader an education – information for the inquisitive mind. If you are in this reader category or a college student studying World, English, or American Literature, this may be what you need to expand your mind.

His study into the psychological reasons humans criticize one another whether it be for poetry, writing, movies, theater or whatever, was an enjoyable read. I wasn’t surprised at the immense connecting content, after reading the Index and Acknowledgement sections while reading the core explanations.

As they say, “It takes a village to bring up a child,” I say about this book, “It took an army of critics, professors, and writers to put BETTER LIVING Through Criticism into print.” Mr. A.O. Scott spent his time wisely to get this thesis into print, but I don’t feel it was written for the general public, where I normally don’t fit.

A.O. Scott's discourse leads to what I already knew – The right way to do criticism, in other words, is not to do it. It's another line from his book. But we are all consumers and all consumers critise, as I just did, the lunatic I am for starting this read.

Good read for the inquisitive mind: http://amzn.to/1RSJrk0