Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Guns of NavaroneThe Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A team of world class rock climbers must destroy the lethal guns commanding a strait that is the only access to a thousand British troops trapped on the doomed island of Kheros. New Zealander, Captain Keith Mallory, leads a team that includes a giant Greek and an aging American explosives genius to the German occupied, and seemingly impenetrable, island of Navarone. The danger starts before they approach the island, sailing in an ancient, leaking skiff, they are halted and boarded by a German patrol in a similar vessel, which they sink handily. Next, they shelter from a storm beneath a German watch tower, whose defenders are dispatched by the oversized Greek. When they approach the vertical cliffs of Navarone, they are still in the grip of the storm and are dashed against the rocks. The wall is considered an impossible climb, but it presents no obstacle to Mallory. Unfortunately, there is a German sentry at the top. From this point forward, things really get difficult.

The Guns of Navarone is an iconic war story made famous by a movie of the same name. It is at once a page-turner and an introspective tale. It is unconventional in its nearly complete disregard for viewpoint, with the narration moving freely among the characters. There is, perhaps, a minor weakness in that the characters tend to give speeches and are prone to do so as the Germans are breaking down the door. It is a white-knuckle trip with more close calls and narrow escapes than some readers will easily stomach. Mr. Maclean tells us in the forward that he invented Navarone based on his own military experience in the Mediterranean. He did a fine job.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017


In the #RRBC Spotlight today Rhani D'Chae 
Author of Shadow of the Drill

Rhani has a slightly different story to tell.

My mother doesn't really know me

I was raised in a middle class home, the youngest child of devout Christian parents who met as kids, and married in their late teens. We didn't have much money, but I never wanted for the necessities of life. I was surrounded by love, and a strong sense of family. It was a good childhood, and I had no reason to wish for anything more, but…I did.

Like many young girls, I had dreams of finding fame and fortune in my life. I dreamed of being an actress, and just knew that all I had to do was get down to California, and my future would be assured. I left home the first time when I was fourteen, but things didn't go the way that I'd planned. I did find fame, of sorts, in adult films, but they sure weren't the kind of films I could brag to my family about. I also began dancing in topless/nude clubs, and I enjoyed that line of work enough to use it as a fill-in job when I wasn't doing something else, or if I just needed some quick and easy cash. I remember that my mother once found a visor that had the name of a local topless club emblazoned over the stage name that I was currently using. She was horrified, so I told her that it belonged to a friend, and she was more than willing to accept that as the truth. From that point on, whenever she asked about if or where I was working, I gave her an answer that she would be okay with. Something "respectable," that she could tell her friends and sisters when they asked for family updates. Basically, I lied.

Since then, I've done a lot of things for fun and enjoyment that my mother would most definitely not approve of. I've always had a thing for the bad boys, and dated several men that would have made her skin crawl. So I decided that there was no reason to add that kind of stress to her life, until such a time as I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. End result – she never heard about any of them. For years, I've been involved with a fundraising group that held its events in bars, or other places where alcohol is served. Again, not something that I told mom about. I went through my drug phase, my alcohol years, and a revolving door of lovers; none of which I ever mentioned to her. She and dad didn't even know that I was pregnant until my son was almost four months old. I knew how she felt about pregnancy out of wedlock, and I didn't want to cause her that kind of disappointed sadness until I absolutely had to. I wish that things between mom and I had been different, that I could have shared more of my life with her. But her vision of the world was so tightly wrapped up in what her Bible, and what her personal sense of morality said was right and wrong, that such conversations would have only caused her to be more disappointed in me than she already was. She would have felt like a failure for not raising a daughter who shared her desire for a morally upstanding and religiously grounded life, even though her definition of those things had not changed since the early 1930's. To this day, I'm amazed by how different the actual world is from the one that she lives in. But, she has no desire to open her eyes, or change an opinion at her age, so that's another conversation that we don't have.

Cancer took dad ten years ago, so I've spent a lot more time talking with mom. During my visits and phone calls, we've covered an assortment of topics such as our respective health issues, how my son is doing, what's going on with my sister's family, and should mom sell her house or stay. We've talked about a few things of interest on the voting ballots, such as Tacoma's ban on casinos, and the legalization of marijuana. We've also discussed a few of the Presidential elections, and the Trump/Clinton showdown fueled several interesting discussions. We've talked about Christ's return; she thinks it will happen in her lifetime, but I don't agree. I showed her my newest book cover, and she told me that she didn't like the blood, though it did add much-needed color. But she didn't ask about the book's plot, or how my writing is going. She doesn't ask if I’m seeing anyone, or what I do with my free time. I think she's afraid I'll tell her, and she'd rather not know. She never wanted to know. And because causing her pain is something that I have always tried to avoid, I did – and do – allow her to live in ignorance where I'm concerned.

So now, after decades as her daughter, my mom doesn't really know me, and probably never will. But she does know that I love her, and at the end of the day, that's what counts.


A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine. For 15 years he waited, building his body into an unstoppable weapon so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.


Rhani D'Chae is a visually impaired writer, reader, and lover of cats. She is currently working on the second book in the Drill series, about an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

Twitter - @rhanidchae
Website -