Book Review: The Thruway Killers by Harvey Havel

Buckle Up For The Thruway Killers:
A Rollicking Commentary On Greed, Murder And Mayhem

When values collide and money is thrown in the mix, anything can happen. Author Harvey Havel is back with The Thruway Killers (America Star Books), a delightfully fast-paced crime novel that also points out the absurdities of our times.

Havel does not shrink away from touchy issues of race and religion. Droogan McPhee is the eldest son of a prosperous businessman, and he lacks his father’s sense of propriety and drive to succeed. To his father’s horror, the unemployed, overweight, crack-smoking Droogan becomes romantically entangled with one of the family’s African-American maids. His father uses money to put a wedge between the couple, and Droogan is motivated to act.

A botched murder plot follows, and Droogan and his beloved Angela begin their odyssey up the iconic New York Thruway, pursued by Agent Roderigo Rojas of the FBI and a mercenary named the Spartan. When Droogan slips into a shadowy religious cult, his problems begin to multiply. Havel, with an outsider’s perspective and a keen sense of fun, explores American cultural and political fault lines and whether crossing lines leads to ruin.

Havel, born in Pakistan with family ties to India, is a prolific writer. His third novel, Freedom of Association, was published in 2006.Other novels include Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and The Orphan of Mecca, Book One. He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany. Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at and by special order at fine booksellers everywhere.

The Thruway Killers
America Star Books
Available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon
and other online retailers
ISBN: 9781635080384

###

Reviews:

BN 5 starsTexas Book Nook
Harvey Havel has great attention to detail and makes everything from the setting, to the characters feel very real. It makes for a wonderfully written and very suspenseful novel. Definitely not for the faint of heart as this one definitely left me looking over my shoulder. Fast paced and filled with surprise moments.

Kirkus Reviews: “…Police chases and social commentary come together in this rollicking murder story about an affluent family torn apart by greed, prejudice, and its own foibles….Havel packs a good deal into his novel, which at first glance may appear to be a simple crime story. Themes of interracial or interreligious marriage predominate, from both a black and white perspective…a lot of fun.”

Novel News Network: “I liked the diversity of the novel. It pulls together different elements, all of which are executed well and come together seamlessly….I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed the fact that Harvey Havel was able to surprise me a couple of times. I always like a novel that keeps me guessing.”

Book Review: Dark Associations by Marie Sutro

Get Ready For A Sleepless Night Or Two:
The Deadly Game Within Dark Associations

Dark Associations by Marie Sutro (Viper Press) is a compelling new work of crime fiction pulling readers into a chilling battle of wits between a sinister, twisted mind and a determined young detective.

Following the discovery of her protégé’s mutilated corpse, SFPD Detective Kate Barnes vows to capture an infamous serial killer known as the Tower Torturer. After years of silence, the psychopath has emerged from the shadows.

Young women close to Kate begin to disappear, as the killer taunts the detective, torturing his victims in various and unspeakable ways before displaying their corpses in macabre public tableaus. The predator always seems to be two moves ahead of the rookie investigator, despite her best efforts. As the body count rises, Kate struggles to apprehend the brutal mastermind before he resurrects history’s most insidious form of torture upon her.

Marie Sutro is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and a member of Sisters in Crime. A proponent of adult literacy, she volunteers with California Library Literacy Services, helping adults improve their reading and writing skills. Her great-grandfather, grandfather and father all served in the San Francisco Police Department, the collective inspiration for her debut novel. She resides in Northern California and is currently at work on the next Kate Barnes story.

For more information please visit www.mariesutro.com

Dark Associations
By Marie Sutro
Viper Press
Available January 10, 2017
ISBN: 978-1943957033

Pre-order on Amazon

Pre-order on Barnes&Noble

###

Review

“Marie Sutro’s debut novel, Dark Associations, may just be this generation’s Silence of the Lambs. Erotic and frightening, it keeps the reader guessing until the last pages.”
– STEVE ALTEN, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Meg & Domain

“Dark Associations is a crime thriller extraordinaire that offers a deviously devilish mix of madness, murder, and mayhem. Marie Sutro’s finely tuned and polished debut effort channels the best of Thomas Harris, while serving up a serial killer who’d make even Hannibal Lecter blush… Grisly without being gratuitous, Dark Associations is like a literary battering ram, as relentless as it is riveting.”
– JON LAND, USA Today Best-Selling Author of Strong Cold Dead

“Dark Associations is a wickedly compelling debut by Marie Sutro, who presents us with a great cast of characters and a villain who’s as sadistic as they come. This one will keep you guessing right up till the end.”
– SPENCER KOPE, Author of Collecting the Dead

Book Review: Conquer Change and Win By Ralph Masengill

Conquer Change And Win:
Learn How To Embrace Change To Live A Happier,
More Fulfilled Life

Learn what 90% of Americans have no clue about.  Be the last person standing in the room by knowing how change affects our emotions and feelings.  Conquer Change and Win will show you how to control your reaction to those emotions and feelings that all change always causes. The result will be a happier and more fulfilled life.  This information will give you a leg up on making more money and having less stress in your life.

Every one of us is constantly affected by change. Change never stops, and no matter if it’s positive change or not, our first reaction is usually fear. The truly successful people of the world have a good understanding of change and how to make it work to their advantage. In his latest book, Conquer Change and Win, best-selling author Ralph Masengill gives readers an easy-to-read, fun book about the serious subject of change.

In forty-plus years as a consultant, coach, advisor and public relations strategist, Masengill has observed that successful people share two characteristics. First, they are willing to take a calculated risk and endorse positive change on a regular basis. Secondly, they have learned how change affects their emotions and how to overcome the fear of change.

“I believe the happiest and most successful people do not necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have,” Masengill says. He urges readers to choose change. “It is the path to true happiness and business success. Understanding how change works can alter your life for the better and give you a solid advantage.”

An advisor, coach, marketing expert, business consultant and public relations strategist, Masengill understands how companies work from within. He has the wisdom of one who has made the journey of sustained success himself, leavened by an ethics-based philosophy of helping others and the community around him. Masengill’s life story is one of personal challenge, tragedy, and triumph. His professional career has been defined by great success in both the private and public sectors. His agency, Masengill Marketing Associates, has won over 850 national and regional advertising and marketing awards.

One of the original change agents in the United States, Masengill and his team have been observing change and showing business leaders that embracing and understanding positive change is the sure route to effective quality improvement and substantial profit enhancement for decades. This extensive experience formed the basis for Conquer Change and Win, his second book.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Masengill’s postgraduate work includes the Dr. W. Edwards Deming course on quality and quality management. He and his wife Dianne live near the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. They have four grown children, two dogs and a cat. Masengill enjoys woodworking, oil painting, sailing and helping with his favorite charities in his spare time.

For more information, please visit http://conquerchangeandwin.com

Conquer Change and Win
By Ralph Masengill
Available at fine bookstores everywhere, at the author’s website,
Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble
ISBN:  978-1515191872

###

Reviews:

The Editors of CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company: “…As author Ralph Masengill Jr. observes, death and taxes aren’t the only things certain in life. Change is a given too. Understanding and managing change can help you succeed both at work and in your personal life. People who know how to deal with change are happier and less stressed out, and they make better decisions….In entertaining, jargon-free language…[Conquer Change And Win] demonstrates how to transform the way you think about change, become a better decision maker, and seize every chance for success.”

Richard H. Roberts, Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue, member of the Governor’s Cabinet: “…a valuable roadmap to the one thing in life that we are certain to experience….Change! The points in your book confirm my own experience; I wish I had been as organized in my thinking and understanding. The quotes and anecdotes were especially interesting, and kept the text moving….”

Chet LaFountaine, Retired, BASF Corporation: “…Ralph Masengill has truly captured the collective wisdom about ‘change’….Thinking back over my 35 years of industrial management experience, I quickly realize how this book would have been a tremendous help to me, personally, and to the process of our change efforts.  At whatever stage of life you are in, take time to read, enjoy and learn from this book.”

Raymond Clark, AIA, INCARB, KCP Architects, LLC.: “Human history, if nothing else, is a study in Change….yet we resist it, we fear it, we try to control it, we ignore it, and many times we try to pretend it doesn’t exist. This book, by Ralph Masengill Jr., takes us through all the fears and resistance and shows us how we can ride the waves of Change to the promised land of acceptance, success, peace and happiness.”

Brian Broyles, Director of Development, The University of Tennessee, The Haslam School of Business: “….Ralph is able to mix expertise, fact and even a little humor (some at his own expense) not only to teach, but to also tell a story to the reader. Time and time again I found myself having these ‘aha’ moments of clarity because Ralph was able to mold his principles into simple, constructive lessons. Each chapter builds on the previous ones, which makes for a simple, straightforward approach to implementing change – personally and professionally….[a] delightful read that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in improving their own life and/or their company’s well-being.”

Jeffrey C. Taylor, Lawyer and founder of Taylor Law Firm: “…Conquer Change and Win provides user friendly examples and models that inspire and equip the reader to be a Change Agent to enhance the lives of their families, employees and themselves.  Masengill’s approach to Conquering Change is articulate, well informed and when properly applied could yield enormous victory.”

Lynn Elkins, Retired educator, higher education administrator and former director of Tennessee College of Applied Technology: “….The truth is evident on every page. Anyone who wants to succeed with an organization or managing people would profit by putting into practice Mr. Masengill’s proven experiences and making them one’s own.….The message in this book provides the correct guidance to tremendous achievement at all levels of any organization.”

Earnest Walker, Ed.D, Director of Educational Leadership and Assistant Professor of Education, Carson Newman University: “….Even though change happens with every tick of the clock the vast majority of people still have difficulty understanding why it happens. Conquer Change and Win by Ralph Masengill presents helpful approaches to learning more about change, and provides interesting ways to successfully manage the change process.”

 

Book Review: Pianissimo by Lauren Shiro

Pianissimo

Pianissimo by Lauren Shiro

 by Lauren Shiro

Darryl and Corinne Richards purchase their first house. With Darryl’s army career coming to a close, they feel ready to settle down in Louisville, Kentucky. With impeccable timing, Darryl is sent on one final tour, leaving Corinne to live in this new house and new city alone.

Overwhelmed, Corinne becomes reclusive, living a quiet, boring life with her cats as she adjusts to her new surroundings. The problem is: someone or some thing does not want her life to be either quiet or boring. And then there’s the creepy piano in the basement…

There is more to that creepy, dilapidated piano and her new home than Corinne could ever imagine. Through highs and lows, twists and turns, she begins to understand that even the most softly played music is powerful – and that even soft realizations and quietly subtle changes can have a profound effect.

Pianissimo di Lauren Shiro ora disponibili in edizioni italiane!
(Italian Edition)

translated by Alessia Simoni

translated by Alessia Simoni

5 stars

 Imagine a piano, once beautiful now old, that holds a secret to change a young woman’s life.

reviewed by Don Thorkelson

A fascinating concept revealed through letters and an ancient much abused piano. A young couple buys an old house . The man goes off to his last tour in a war zone and left alone, the wife discovers more than she expected when she enters the basement.
Secrets, an exquisite love story from another era are revealed as the young woman struggles to remove paint from the piano where beneath the ugly green lies mahogany. Pianissimo is a story of growth, understanding and love to capture the readers heart.

 

About the Author:

Lauren Shiro was published nationally for the first time at age fourteen. Since then, her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and even textbooks.

In 2006, she began writing fiction and she hasn’t stopped yet. From her set of intertwined short stories in Loving Her, to the powerhouse duo of Imperfect and Impeccable, Lauren has written stories that are sure to touch your heart. Lauren continues to write stories of love without boundaries.

She resides in Rochester, New York with her wife and their menagerie of furry and feathered friends.

buy links

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

KOBO

Smashwords

Book Review: Human Origins and The Bible

Human Origins And The Bible: Combining Current Science And Scripture To Avoid “Creation Wars”

by Myron G Heavin

It’s no secret that conflicting models exist to explain creation and the universe. Young earth creationists, old earth creationists, theistic evolutionists, and evolving creationists all differ from evolutionists. Author and aerospace engineer, Myron Heavin, compares the strengths and weaknesses of the various models and shares his conclusions in his new release: Human Origins and the Bible published by Redemption Press, August 2016.

While studying for his master’s degree in theology, Myron Heavin was struck by textbooks that failed to ground their viewpoints on creation in Scripture. Heavin takes a scientific approach to the study of human origins, saying, “Science simply cannot conflict with nature, as our creator God wrote the Bible. We use nature to help us understand Scripture.” He says God wrote the two separate books of science and Scripture, and “we must read them both.”

The book is of special interest to those struggling with how to resolve a literal reading of Genesis with the latest findings of science. Heavin also discusses whether God created by guiding evolution, the fossil hominid record, Neanderthals, DNA research, whether Darwin’s slow evolution is dead, and other subjects relevant to creation studies.

With careful scholarship he resolves the conflict of Adam and Eve living 8,000 years ago and humans migrating out of Africa 50,000-plus years ago. He says, “Adam and Eve, as the first humans to recognize sin, lived just a few thousand years ago. Due to their new knowledge of right from wrong, a few generations later we have cities, farming, metalworking, etc. It took a cultural change, religion, for all these things to happen.”

This up-to-date treatment of the current science is also designed for use as a Bible study for individuals and groups, and is a valuable contribution to the discussion of human origins.

Human Origins and the Bible: A Bold New Theory Relating Genesis Human Origins to Science
by Myron Heavin
Redemption Press, August 2016
Available at Amazon
ISBN: 978-1683140078

###

Amazon Review

An engineer’s view of the Bible  reviewed by Thomas Law 
It is fascinating to read the Bible through the eyes of a scientist, particularly an engineer. I have discovered that engineers are precise and like for things to line up “just right”. As I read through the pages of this book, I could see the “wheels spinning” in the engineering mind trying to “make sense” of it all.

As scientist and particularly as an engineer, the author has a peculiar perspective on Scripture, the origin of humans, and science in general. This allows him to see things others might have missed and read the Bible with “new eyes”. These insights can help the rest of us gain new understanding of Scripture and science. I am sure that the author’s take on Scripture and science probably will perturbed many. But hopefully they will stay with him and hear his heart.

The author is concerned that those who hold a high regard for Scripture are turning off the younger generation and especially those raised in the scientific community. Although he admires those who have tried in the past to bridge the gap between science and Scripture he sees them as caving into one or the other camp and losing their audience. He feels that something is missing.

Although the author’s stated goal is to create a “bold new theory relating Genesis human origins to science”, it would seem his real passion is building a bridge between those who hold different views on the subject. The author seems to want to use his book to show those with different perspectives that there is common ground. You can both hold a high regard for Scripture and for science without either getting in the way of the other.

Unfortunately, some of the charts and explanations are lost on a more general audience. Additional clarity is needed on some of the issues, but overall he presents his arguments well.

Celebrate Veterans Day By Remembering

Shadow Commander: Celebrate Veterans Day By Remembering The Covert Commander Responsible For The Largest POW Rescue Mission In History

In Shadow Commander: The Epic Story of Donald D. Blackburn (Casemate Publishers), author Mike Guardia presents his readers with a memorable story of an underdog whose career was a testament to dogged determination and the will to stay alive.

The true story of the US Army legend who organized “Blackburn’s Headhunters” against Japan in WWII and went on to initiate Special Forces operations in Vietnam.

On the evening of April 9, 1942, the fires on Bataan burned with a primitive fury, illuminating white flags of surrender against the dark sky. Outnumbered and outgunned, remnants of the American-Philippine army surrendered to the forces of the Rising Sun. Yet US Army Captain Donald D. Blackburn refused to lay down his arms. With future Special Forces legend Russell Volckmann, Blackburn escaped to the jungles of North Luzon, raising a private army of 22,000 men against the Japanese. His organization of native tribes into guerrilla fighters would lead to the destruction of the enemy’s naval base at Aparri.

But Blackburn’s remarkable accomplishments didn’t end with the victory in the Pacific. He played a key role in initiating Army Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia, became commander of the 77th Special Forces Group and later took command of the highly classified Studies and Observations Group (SOG), charged with performing secret missions. Blackburn also revitalized the Special Operations campaign in South Vietnam, conducting full-scale operations against the NVA and Viet Cong in Laos and Cambodia. Following his return to the US, Blackburn was the architect of the infamous Son Tay Prison Raid, the largest prisoner-of-war rescue mission—and, indeed, the largest Army Special Forces operation—of the Vietnam War.

During a period when US troops in Southeast Asia faced guerrilla armies on every side, America had a superb covert commander of its own. This book follows Blackburn through both his youthful days of desperate combat and his time as a commander, imparting his lessons to the new ranks of Army Special Forces.

An internationally-recognized author and military historian, Mike Guardia is also a veteran of the United States Army. He served six years on active duty as an Armor Officer. He is the author of the widely-acclaimed Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always, the first-ever biography chronicling the life of Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore, whose leadership was popularized in the film We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson.  As a lecturer, Mike Guardia has given presentations at the US Special Operations Command and the George Bush (41) Presidential Library.  He holds a BA and MA in American History from the University of Houston and currently resides in Texas.

For more information, please visit:  https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Commander

Shadow Commander: The Epic Story of Donald D. Blackburn
Casemate Publishers
Available online at Amazon and at all fine book sellers
ISBN-13: 978-1612000657

###

World War II Magazine: “A follow-up to a fine bio of Russell Volckmann, this tale of guerrilla warfare spans from Bataan to Vietnam.”

Book News: “Donald D. Blackburn’s involvement in guerilla warfare against the Japanese in WWII qualified him to become one of the first commanders of the Special Forces. For this career biography, the author conducted personal interviews with Blackburn and his family in 2008, with access to all of Blackburn’s personal papers, documents, photos, and his war diary from 1941-1944.”

Miniature Wargames UK: “…very well researched and readable account of one man’s fascinating military career, which was rarely spent far from where the action was.”

Military Writer’s Society Of America: “An excellent biography of one of the Army’s lesser known but very important leaders. Blackburn’s activities in World War II alone would make him a hero, but the author goes on to cite in some detail Blackburn’s other contributions in Viet Nam as well as to the evolution of Army Special Forces. The author’s detailed accounts of Blackburn’s activities make this book a must read for anyone interested in military history, World War II, and particularly for anyone studying or who simply enjoys reading about guerilla warfare or Army Special Forces.”

Acclaim for Dog Training The American Male by L.A. Knight

Dog Training The American Male: Take The Test To See Who Is A Member In Good Standing Of The Canine Club

L.A. Knight’s own marriage and the experiences of two different dog trainers he hired to train his German Shepherd, provided the unique inspiration for his laugh-out-loud book, Dog Training the American Male. Realizing his wife often treats him like a dumb animal (deservedly so, he admits, since most men are simple creatures who essentially want sex, food and to watch football), he jokes: “Give us what we want and domestication is possible. After all, who among us hasn’t performed for a treat, peed on a tree, dry-humped a woman’s leg, howled at the moon, or stuck his nose in a groin or two.”

At the heart of this hilarious tale is Dr. Nancy Beach, a relationship counselor who hosts a local radio show in South Florida called Love’s a Beach.  Sadly, since this relationship guru can’t seem to make her own relationships work, her credibility and ratings are in the toilet.  She is set up on a blind date with Jacob, a casualty of Lehman Brothers, who lost his job and swagger and now yearns to be a stand-up comedienne/ventriloquist.  Since he’s already a walking thesaurus of phobias and now he’s dating a psych major― these two are either the perfect match or the relationship is a ticking time bomb.

Their siblings, for different reasons, don’t care ― they just want to be rid of them! Jacob’s brother (gynecologist Vinnie) and Nancy’s lesbian sister (Lana) encourage the young couple to move in together. When the honeymoon stage abruptly ends, Lana convinces Jacob to buy her sister a little white foo-foo dog ― a pet she enjoyed as an insecure child. Being a “typical man” Jacob doesn’t listen and instead goes to the dog pound, returning home with Sam – a 120-pound German Shepherd.

Needless to say, chaos ensues and Nancy flips out. But after hiring a dog trainer she has an epiphany … what if the dog trainer’s techniques can be used to housebreak Jacob?  What follows is a wildly hilarious, social experiment that every couple and dog owner can identify with.

Kirkus Reviews states “Dog Training the American Male is funny in the best way: the humor propels the action rather than pausing it . . . prose flows like a jocular babbling brook. L.A. Knight is a naturally-gifted comic writer; what is more, she is a talented storyteller.”  What is also funny is that like many readers, Kirkus assumed L.A. Knight is a woman. In fact, the author is NY Times best-selling author Steve Alten whose riveting hit series MEG was recently optioned by Warner Brothers for a movie to be directed by Jon Turtletaub and starring Jason Statham.

For information, please visit the website at: http://laknightentertainment.com

.

Available in bookstores and all online outlets including Amazon
Dog Training the American Male
A&M Publishers
September 2016
Paperback
ISBN-10: 1943957002
ISBN-13: 978-1943957002

###

Reviews:

Laysha Duran, Manhattan with a Twist:  “Laugh out loud funny!” Dog Training the American Male: A Novel, by L.A. Knight will have you in stitches … L.A. Knight’s debut novel and it’s a great one at that. Both sexes will enjoy reading this quirky take on how to housebreak the male species…”

CeliaSue Hecht, Writer/Editor , Have Dog Blog Will Travel: “This is definitely NOT your usual romantic comedy romp between the sheets and the relationship. It started kinda slow to me… but it is a very funny premise about a man and woman and a dog. The woman is a radio talk show host and a psychologist … Nancy has issues with men, to say the least. She moves in with her boyfriend, Jacob, he gets a dog and the dog is out of control so she hires a dog trainer… Nancy hires two dog trainers to help with the German Shepherd pound puppy five years old and not fixed. Then she decides to use the training tools she is learning on the dog with the man … what ensues is kinda kooky, crazy and just plain funny.”

Tom Mayer, Mountain Times Publications: “Teaching your old dog new tricks simply requires the right treat — so goes the story of Dog Training the American Male, a riotous romp through relationships of the young, the old and the restless … Comedic newcomer L.A. Knight offers a fresh farce replete with a cast of well-drawn characters, fast-paced wit and merging cinematic story lines that triumph as a novel, but would feel equally right on a London stage, as a Netflix original or in a theater near you.”

Arielle Sidrane, Spa Week Daily: “At first I thought it was a self-help book, but I quickly learned otherwise. It’s actually a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek novel that will have you in stitches from start to finish. Each character has the same smart, witty banter that you can actually hear going back and forth in your head. Although it’s a bit over-the-top, (I could have done without the sexcapades in retirement homes), I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this. And lucky for my boyfriend, I’m no closer to “training him.”

Paws4Liberty

A portion of the proceeds from DOG TRAINNG THE AMERICAN MALE book sales will be donated to Paws4Liberty www.paws4liberty.org in honor of Wade J. Maller.