Monday, January 28, 2013

Obsession for Vengeance JT Kalnay

JT Kalnay is such a romantic guy that in one of his books even dead people fell in love.  Imagine my surprise to find that he wrote a book about pure evil!  Meet Hank Adams, perfect psychopath.  He is a serial rapist, mass murderer, computer hacker and domestic terrorist.  With his partner, Elsa—big breasted blond nymphomaniac—he commits a series of terrorist attacks that are eerily prognostic of the 9/11 attack.  Obsession for Vengeance was written in the early nineties, but describes more than one event similar to things that actually happened in the years between then and now.  The depth of JT's military knowledge lends credibility to this tale of one maniac's obsession for vengeance against society and a woman.  It also serves to demonstrate some rather gaping flaws in our military and political thinking.  If you like a little apocalypse now and then, Obsession for Vengeance is a sure bet.

Price: $.99 (It's a bargain!)
71612 words.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hangar 84, no Catch 22

It pains me to give a poor review but I must be honest or lose credibility.  Hangar 84 is a flawed piece of work.  It is ostensibly a satire about the Roswell Incident but when I threw in the towel at the midpoint, I hadn't encountered a single alien.  The biggest problem is the pace.  It just doesn't move.  Another issue is the dialogue which is usually a very dense and sloppy dialect that does not read convincingly and is not employed uniformly.  The dialect even creeps into the third person narration, which I found extremely odd.  Furthermore, the same dialect is put indiscriminately into the mouths of army brass and New Mexico hayseeds.  As for those hayseeds, they all have Anglo names, which is a mighty strange take on the population of New Mexico.  The humor is good for a smile now and then but there isn't enough good quality wackiness to overcome the inertia of that nearly retrograde pace.

This is disappointing not only because it's a premise that begs to be lampooned, but also because with a greater effort and some hypercritical self-editing it could be made to work.  I would urge the author to rework it, and if he hasn't already done, make a trip to Roswell.

Love the cover, though.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Convergence of Valor Redux

Convergence of Valor  Guntis Goncarovs

A stunning piece of work. Mr. Goncarovs displays three great gifts: a talent for meticulous research, a fluid, original style and the ability to recreate a period and place.
The H.L. Hunley was the first submarine successfully used in war time. It has only recently been recovered from the bottom Charleston Bay, and as one who has seen the wreckage, I can say that I learned more about that bold Confederate experiment from Convergence of Valor than I did from examining the original artifact. As a writer of historical fiction Guntis Goncarovs is first class.

Price: $.99
88481 words

I am republishing this review because in the my review of another Hunley story, The Hunley: the Civil War's Secret Weapon by Larry C. Kerr, I plugged Convergence of Valor.  It only seems fair to be reciprocal.  I found it fascinating to compare viewpoints.

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Chaos in Canada

Elise Marquette, archeologist/anthropologist, with a passion for bones, is stuck in a "go nowhere" job doing archeological assessments for oil companies and the military.  Her days are spent mired in conflict with workmates, bureaucrats safety managers and the myriad of regulations that kill productivity in twenty-first century industry and degrades the quality of life itself.  Elise's dysfunctional family rates twelve on a scale of ten and she has resigned herself to a life of lonely celibacy—and then there's that comfort food thing.  It looks like Elise will being spending all of her days trudging around with the mosquitoes under the blazing sun on the prairies and through the muskegs of western Canada, forever, wearing a day glow vest, hardhat and steel toed boots while lugging a ream of safety forms.   
Then she spends a single afternoon in Galway with an Irish archeologist named Gavin.

This is not a romance.  I don't read romance.  It is frankly a memoir, fictionalized I presume, and I surprised myself by becoming engrossed so early in the story, but then again, it has many things I like: archeology, wit, government bashing, and bears.  Memoirs are by definition a first person narrative and it is the strength of Elise's character that makes this book irresistible.  She is a cynical, foulmouthed, girl-next-door that the reader, of either gender, simply wants to get to know.  For those who have tried to do business in the brave new world of over-regulation, Elise is a kindred spirit.  For those who haven't had the pleasure, this is an insight into the absurdity of modern society.  Everyone will relate to her trials with co-workers and family.  It's a quirky story that's well worth the price of admission.

As is my habit to be supportive of self published authors, I compiled a small list of typos which I will share if I can contact the writer.  I cannot find an email address for Yvonne.  If anyone can help me get in touch with her, I'd appreciate it.

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Treachery Under Charleston Harbor

By the title we enter expecting to read about the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime.  However, the reader is quickly following multiple subplots that give one to wonder how, or if, they are connected—they are.  The historical facts presented stretched my knowledge of the Hunley and I began to have doubts until I did more research and found that by and large, except as disclaimed, Mr. Kerr is pretty well on target.  So, I've learned some fascinating history and that's always a good thing.

The Hunley: The Civil War's Secret Weapon is a very well executed piece of historical fiction with extraordinary character development.  The period settings are generally first rate and the depiction of human drama during a catastrophic time is done remarkably well.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for all fans of history.  In my personal opinion, it's a bit overpriced at $5.99, but then again, I'm a crusader for the $2.99 e-book.

If you enjoyed The Hunley, you will surely also enjoy Convergence of Valor by Guntis Goncarovs which deals with the same topic from a slightly different point of view.

As is my habit to be supportive of self published authors, I compiled a small list of typos which I will share if I can contact the writer.  I cannot find an email address for Larry.  If anyone can help me get in touch with him, I'd appreciate it.

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