FAT PROFITS, by Bruce Bradley

FAT PROFITS, by Bruce Bradley

For a first novel, this book is extremely well-written with very well-defined characters.  Even though, as the author points out in his final comments, this is complete fiction, it still describes the mind-set of  corporate upper echelon individuals in a very incisive way. He describes the behavior and attitudes of the higher-ups in the company where his protagonist is employed with absolutely accuracy in the “up or out” corporate environment.

There is well-written, realistic action and a great build-up to the final denouement.  The characters have the attributes and foibles of actual people – no “Mary Sues” in sight.

Even though this is a work of fiction, there is a great deal of actual information contained in the book about how our national food supply is treated by the corporations that provide it and the cutthroat atmosphere of competition between huge, multi-national entities.

I recommend FAT PROFITS  as a good and intense thriller that will actually inform the reader while keeping them entertained with edge-of-your-seat action right up until the very end!

I will post this review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Library Thing when the book is available for purchase since I don’t believe I can post a review of a book that is not for sale.  I will also publish this review on my blog at https://museofhellreviews.wordpress.com

Disclaimer:  I received a review copy of this book free of charge in return for writing a review.

http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Profits-Bruce-Bradley/dp/1938053079/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

DARKBEAT, by James Solo

DARKBEAT, by James Solo

A professional drummer of some note is dragged from his car and attacked violently by a police officer in a case of mistaken identity.  This is witnessed by his wife and many bystanders.  As a martial arts student, the drummer feels he should have been able to do something to defend himself and develops a severe case of depression over his “emasculation” and becomes impotent with his wife, develops writers block when he desperately needs to be writing lyrics for a new album, and, in general, feels that he has been singled out for humiliation by the universe.

He and his wife go to a resort in Cuba for a winter vacation to see if that will help clear up this debilitating condition.  The drummer is introduced to the practice of Santeria (even though it is illegal and must be practiced in hidden, out-of-the-way locations) by the resort director, and becomes obsessed by the feeling of power he experiences during the rites. After having extensive discussions with the resort director, a psychiatrist who is running this resort because the government says he must, the drummer returns to Canada and studies everything he can find on the subject of Santeria.

The more he learns about Santeria, his obsession with the power he felt during the ceremony increases, and he begins to practice the rites in secret.  He experiences blackouts where he comes to himself in odd places having no idea what he is doing there or what has happened in the time since he was last aware of himself. He also exhibits radical personality shifts from his “normal” self to a violent, unreasoning persona.

As his behavior becomes more and more bizarre and violent, his wife contacts the resort director who has traveled to Toronto for a meeting of psychiatrists from around the world and the man is surprised and concerned that the drummer has become obsessed, even though he is the one who introduced the drummer to Santeria and had many intense, detailed conversation with him while he and his wife were at the resort.

This seemed to be disingenuous and I kept waiting to find out that the resort director was, in fact, a devotee of Santeria but denying his role to the wife for ulterior purposes. Not so.  For some reason he is depicted as genuinely concerned and astonished at the change the drummer’s wife describes of her husband’s behavior.  I found it odd that the writer would portray this character, who was instrumental in introducing the drummer to this voodoo-like religion, even giving him supposedly “sacred” stones used in rites for decades, to be suddenly baffled by the drummer’s continued obsession with Santeria after returning home. Due to his schedule at the convention, he is never able to meet with the wife or the drummer and tragedy results.

With the exception of the jarring note of the inexplicable response from the resort director/psychiatrist, the book is well-written and carries the continually heightening tension of the obsession well through the entire book.  It certainly works as a horror story and even has a surprise disastrous ending! For true horror fans, “DarkBeat” is well worth the price.  They will enjoy figuring out why the book is titled as it is.

Per agreement with the provider, I was given a copy of this book free in exchange for a review.  I will post this review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, LibraryThing,  Smashwords and on my blog athttps://museofhellreviews.wordpress.com.

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! by Joe Wenke

ImageYOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! by Joe Wenke

A wonderful, biting, incisive “Cultural Arsonist’s Literal Reading of The Bible” in plain English, with terrific descriptions of the Old Testament God and the New Testament God (somewhat different individuals…); very tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic and pointed, dedicated to Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Paine, both of whom would, I believe, really enjoy this book!  I know I did.  Having a sense of humor is required to enjoy this book.

Disclaimer:  I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

This book will be published on October 1, 2012.

THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES by Regina O’Melveny

THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES, by Regina O’Melveny

This book is an excellent example of the reason why book lovers read. Because every once in a while we get to read a book this good.

If I didn’t know better I’d almost believe Ms. O’Melveny discovered a previously unpublished diary written by a woman in 1500s Venice who trained with her father as a physician. This is the story of her journey to find her father who left Venice to seek more information to include in the book he is writing (with his daughter’s assistance) called “The Book of Madness and Cures” detailing the understanding of mental illness, or “madness” as it was conceived at the time.

As her father traveled through Europe and England, meeting with other Doctors to gather information for his book, he sent letters back home, sharing what he learns and what he thinks about the information. His letters become more and more disturbing and distressing in tone, and come less and less frequently.

After ten years, the daughter decides she must follow her father and find him, leaving Venice with two servants, using her father’s letters as a guide. The journey is fascinating as are the people she meets. At that time, in some places, if it was discovered she practiced “medicine” especially using any herbs or plants or their derivatives, she would be accused of witchcraft and executed, so she must hide her training and knowledge, while seeking out and engaging doctors her father mentioned in his letters.

I will not spoil the book by continuing with the story, but it is so very, very worth reading to find out.

Ms. O’Melveny’s voice is rich, authentic, poignant and moving. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I am quite sure it is one I will remember for many years.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in return for a review and will be posting it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Library Thing and NetGalley.com as well as my blog.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Madness-Cures-ebook/dp/B005SCRQ4S/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-book-of-madness-and-cures-regina-omelveny/1105946082?ean=9780316195836

THE HERMITAGE HOUSE MIRACLE, Malcolm Ater

THE HERMITAGE HOUSE MIRACLE, by Malcolm Ater

A very short, sweet story of a boy who remembers nothing from before his first day at school, for a very good reason, which I will not ruin for you. He does not have a storybook life after that and ends up at The Hermitage House, a genteel but crumbling children’s home that once housed many children. The home has lost financial backing and is deteriorating, but the original director, Sister Catherine, is still able to take in a very few children, but not for long, thanks to state codes and regulations.

There is a somewhat mysterious aspect to this story, but it does not render the story “supernatural.” So do yourself a favor and take a short time to read this story.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this story in return for a review. Per agreement I will post this review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, LibraryThing, NetGalley.com and my blog at https://museofhellreviews.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/Hermitage-House-Miracle-Malcolm-Ater/dp/1470129361/ref=cm_aya_orig_subj

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-hermitage-house-miracle-malcolm-ater/1111192864?ean=9781470129361