Friday 56 #101 – Cape Cod by William Martin

.
The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and find any sentence or a few ( no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading along with you initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Please include the title of the book and the author’s name.

~~~

2014-03-25 02.46.13Cape Cod by William Martin would have been on my reading list because of the many trips I have taken there. It is a very unique place and that cover pretty much tells it all for me.

2911819
Amazon  /  Goodreads

My 56

Then the woman in front called, “Ten.” And before Geoff could get his hand up, the bid bounced to ten-five, then eleven.

Geoff’s hand relaxed, as though it had gone beyond him.

Janice said, “Thank God for her.”

“Are we out of it?” G” Geoff said to his wife. “I think so,” he whispered to his friend.

(Page 56 in hardcover, published in 1991)

Book Beginnings

Each year the whales went to the great bay. They followed the cold current south from seas where the ice never melted, south along coastlines of rock, past rivers and inlets, to the great bay that forever brimmed with life. Sometimes they stayed through a single tide, sometimes from one full moon to the next, and sometimes, for reasons that only the sea understood, the whales never left the great bay.

My question to you:  Have you ever been to Cape Cod or gone whale watching?

GOODREADS BLURB: By the bestselling author of Back Bay, this is a majestic multi-gnerational saga that brings to life the story of Cape Cod, from the landing of the Mayflower to the present. From its highly-charged opening to its shattering conclusion, Cape Cod is a novel as impressive and captivating as the land it portrays.

  • To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.
  • To see all my reviews, go HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’ talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Problem commenting, look for the twitter, facebook…buttons.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

WHICH COVER WOULD YOU CHOOSE, including the one above?

Cape Cod

Save

Giveaway – Oubliette by Vanta M Black @VantaMBlack

obliette_851x315.

Oubliette by Vanta M Black has a simple, yet awesome cover for a novel that was inspired by true events. Check it out closely and, if you see what I see, you will be eager to open the pages and learn what’s inside.

Be sure and scroll to the bottom of the post for the giveaway!

.Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place

Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Genre-Fiction, New Adult, Horror

Publisher: Black Chateau Publishing

Date of Publication: March 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9964488-2-6  /  ISBN: 978-0-9964488-1-9  /  ISBN: 978-0-9964488-0-2

Number of pages: 566

Word Count: 247,912

Cover Artist: Black Chateau Enterprises

Book Description:

Veronica knows the monsters aren’t “just in her head”, but no one listens to the headstrong ten-year-old as they tie her to a hospital bed every night.

Years later, after being dumped by her business-partner/boyfriend, Veronica finds herself on the verge of bankruptcy. Then a late-night call promises the perfect solution — a job opportunity decorating a castle in France.

Will Veronica risk what little she has left to chase a fairytale?

When the shadowy things that once terrorized her come back, Veronica must decide how much she’ll sacrifice for them, for her sanity, and for her life.

This epic book consists of interwoven stories with paranormal twists. A horror-filled historical fiction adventure, it spans nearly two millennia.

You’ll be transported to an ancient Pagan ritual, Roman-ruled Gaul, the bloody Inquisition of the Knights Templar, France as it’s ravaged by the Black Death, the duplicitous Reformation, the Paris Catacombs, and the gory French Revolution, while you unravel Oubliette’s cryptic layers.

Amazon    BN    Author Website

PROLOGUE

LA Early 1900s

Veronica didn’t understand why they looked for the monsters in her head, that’s obviously not where they were. Instead of listening, the doctors stuck pads with wires to her temples and increased the dosage of an IV that dripped into her veins.

They also told the nurses to tie her down with thick, leather belts every night.

The tethers didn’t matter though, because when the monsters came, she wouldn’t be able to move anyway. The only thing Veronica could ever do was scream.

The doctors called them “night terrors”. The pudgy lady who talked funny –– she told Veronica it was her accent –– said they were “spirits”. Mommy used the term “shadow people”. Veronica just called them “monsters”, and wished they’d stop scaring her when she slept.

They wanted her. Deep inside, on a primal level, Veronica knew the monsters –– or whatever they were –– craved her, and if given the chance, they would do something very, very bad to her.

The little girl tried to explain this to the doctors, the nurses, the accent-talking lady, and her mother, but none of the adults really listened. Instead they argued and shouted at each other, and huffed in and out of the room –– but the thing that frightened Veronica the most, is when the adults would simply shrug their shoulders, and admit that they really didn’t have any idea what the monsters were at all.

It was almost ten o’clock –– shift-change time. The night staff would come now. The nurse on duty was a plodding and lazy lady who would only check on Veronica at the beginning of the shift, and then abandon her in favor of the nurses’ station and a VHS tape of the day’s soap operas. Veronica didn’t like her. Sometimes it would take “Nurse Lazy” a full five minutes before she’d respond. She never came fast enough.

Veronica tried to tell the doctors that the nurse was too slow, but the complaints of a ten-year-old weren’t taken seriously against the word of the lazy nurse who smiled sweetly and said, “Poor dear and those dreadful night terrors. I always come running as fast as I can!”

Veronica cringed as the television automatically turned itself off. It always happened at ten o’clock; it was on a timer. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt it protected her and wished more than anything it could stay on. The noise, the pictures, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, there was something inexplicable about the TV that kept the monsters away.

Veronica’s pleas to leave the television on all night were never honored by the adults. Nurse Lazy actually once told her, “Oh, we can’t leave the TV on, it’ll give you bad dreams.”

Ha! Little did she know the TV prevented the bad dreams.

The door opened and in walked Nurse Lazy. Her metal nameplate actually read “Lucy”. She handed Veronica a little paper cup with a green pill inside and waited with a thin, forced smile. The longer Veronica took to take her medicine, the longer Nurse Lazy would have to wait until she could watch her soaps.

Veronica plucked the pill out of the cup. “Aren’t they ’sposed to be yellow?”

Lucy flared her nostrils ever so slightly as she replied, “No, your new doctor prescribed the green ones. Hurry up and take it.”

Veronica studied the pill closely, holding it inches from her nose. She looked at it slightly cross-eyed. “I don’t think I like the green ones though. Yellows are better.”

Lucy’s trembling hand clutched a Dixie cup of water. “That’s for the doctors to decide. Now eat it up! Time for sleep.”

Veronica painstakingly laid the pill on her tongue and grunted for the nurse to hand her the water.

Lucy thrust it forward. “Here, drink!”

Veronica pouted, though she knew the cute face wouldn’t work on ol’ Lazy.

“Thanks,” she muttered as the nurse buckled down Veronica’s arms and legs and pulled the covers up to her chest.

“Goodnight,” Lucy grumbled. She snatched the mermaid doll that sat by Veronica’s side, and tossed it on the nightstand before careening out the door.

Random acts of meanness like that weren’t uncommon for Lucy. Veronica sniffed as the silence left in the nurse’s wake permeated the room.

Then familiar, tinny tunes from a transistor radio wafted through the air. It hung from the janitor’s cleaning cart. He always blared it while mopping the halls. There was that song again. Some stupid radio station played it almost every night right around this time. Veronica stared at her doll on the nightstand, just out of reach, as the lyrics began:

Dream the dream that only you can dream

Sing the song that only you can sing

Dance with me, we’ll start slow

Clasp my hand, now lose control

Bite the monster only you can see

And dream the dream you only dream for me

Veronica tried to squish her head into the stiff pillow so her ears were covered, but it didn’t work. The heavy metal song’s pounding chorus kicked in.

Spirits in the maze

Burning brighter

Like a dream within the haze

Dancing fire

Deep inside malaise

Hungry spider

Force your screams to blaze

Spinning spiral

The song frightened her. It seemed to always precede a particularly bad episode. She really wished she had the yellow pills. She felt defenseless as sleep consumed her. The green pills would be no help if one of the bad ones came…the real Bad Ones, that is.

She twisted her head and glared into the large mirror on the wall across the room. People watched her from inside there. Veronica wasn’t sure if they were the doctors, the accent lady, or maybe even her mother, but every now and then someone would move, the light would catch just right, and she would see a figure behind the glass. Dimly, she watched them watch her. They studied her and talked about her and wrote notes about her on clipboards. Knowing they were there gave Veronica little comfort because they weren’t there to help; they were only there to watch.

Her sleepy eyes narrowed at the watchers and she whispered with dopey lips, “What, no popcorn? You gonna stare at me all night and you got no stinking popcorn? You’re all a bunch of stupid heads, ya’ know that? Stooopid heads…”

Sleep quietly took over while Veronica cursed the stupid heads behind the glass. She jerked her droopy neck to force herself awake, but the green pill was powerful. It pushed her into the darkness where the shadow people waited.

Veronica, here we are!

Veronica, time to steal your dreams.

Time to let us steal your dreams and break your bones and slip your soul right out of your slimy sack of skin…Veronica!

She fought to wake up. With all her might she tried to scream, but the green pill seized her motor functions and paralyzed her. She was like a petrified slab of meat laid out on a table –– unable to move, unable to cry out, unable to defend herself.

Do you know the evil that you dream, Veronica?

Do you know the song that only you can sing?

Veronica!

In the limbo between sleep and lucidity Veronica sensed their heinous presence with crystal-clarity. She was hyper-alert and instinctively knew these were the real Bad Ones. Without looking she saw one crouching in the far corner of the room. It glared at her intently and oozed animosity. It waited patiently, almost casually, for Veronica to succumb.

With a sudden surge of intense willpower she cried out — just a little — it was a tiny whimper that was barely audible. It wasn’t loud enough to scare the shadow people away though, and it definitely wasn’t loud enough for anyone living to hear.

Another Bad One pulled itself onto the foot of her bed. This one was small and hairy like an animal. Scrooching under the blanket, it crept slowly along the side of her bare leg. It felt for a nook to burrow — a soft place like her stomach or side so it could squirm and writhe itself into her flesh — where it could rip her apart from the inside out.

“Help,” Veronica whispered one last time before falling into the dark depths of sleep –– deep, down, spinning ‘round, until the darkness took a hold…

obliette_Button 300 x 225

About the Author:

Vanta M. BlackVanta M. Black, author of Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place, enjoys uncovering the dark mysteries of our Universe. In addition to writing,  she enjoys traveling to provocative places and studying all things esoteric.

Black has degrees in English, communication and art. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two pug-mix dogs, and spends her time in support of causes that empower women and advance science and technology.

Website  /  Author: Facebook  /  Novel: Facebook  /  Goodreads  /  Twitter

Tumbler  /  Pinterest  /  YouTube  /  Author

GIVEAWAY

2 $50 Amazon Gift Cards

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link to entry form:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba112ffc1379

  • To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments, I’ll drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Problem commenting, look for the twitter, facebook…buttons.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

 

Save

Save

Giveaway – The Last Great Race by Mark Morey @markmorey5 @GoddessFish

 VBT_TheLastGreatRace_Banner copy

Guest Post For the Last Great Race by Mark Morey

I love learning about covers and characters and this is what Mark Morey has to say about The Last Great Race

ABOUT THE COVER:  The Last Great Race is based upon the life and loves of 1930s Italian motor racing champion Achille Varzi, so the choice of cover was quite easy.  Achille Varzi was a heavy smoker at a time when the health consequences of that were not known.  His joining the Auto Union racing team in 1935 set in train a sequence of events which almost destroyed him emotionally.  A picture of Achille Varzi in an AutoUnion smoking a cigarette is not only typical of the man at the time, it’s also poignant that a few weeks after that picture was taken at Monaco in 1936, he was about to suffer two savage blows which took him years to recover from.

 

ABOUT THE NAMES:  I have followed Formula One car racing since the early 1970s, and through that I was aware of the story of Achille Varzi, a good driver of the 1930s, until his private life got in the way of his racing career.  When I looked into the facts about Varzi I didn’t realise that he was the best racer in a legendary era, certainly one of the best of all time, and that his love affair with Ilse was so passionate and ultimately so destructive.  I thought that passionate love, the tragedy that came out of it, and his recovery with the help of Norma who came back into his life, made a great story.  Norma Colombo was a woman against the odds.  She lived with Achille Varzi unmarried when women didn’t do that, and when Achille broke up with Ilse she came back to him.  That was just as amazing as anything that happened between Achille and Ilse.  One man and two women who adored him completely, totally and absolutely.

The names of most of the characters are real, except for the fictional characters Paul Bassi and PIa Donati.  Paul (real name Paolo) is a straightforward name for a straightforward man, while I thought that Pia Donati was a particularly attractive name.

Thanks so much for sharing Mark. Now…on to the info about the book:  The Last Great Race by Mark Morey.

I love reading about any type of auto racing and watch many of the races on TV. How about you? Are you a fan?

MediaKit_BookCover_TheLastGreatRace

The Last Great Race by Mark Morey

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Historical Fiction

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB

This story is based around the life of one of the most fascinating and enigmatic sportsmen of his era, Achille Varzi: multiple race winner, twice Racing Champion of Italy and a hero to his many followers.  Told partly through the eyes of Varzi and partly by fictional Italian-Australian racing journalist Paul Bassi, we follow the many triumphs and tragedies of Varzi’s life: his passionate love affair with Ilse, his tragic morphine addiction, his recovery from his addictions, his marriage to Norma and his re-signing to race for Alfa Romeo.

Only war intervenes, and Paul and his wife Pia leave Achille to spy for the British at the naval base in Naples.  Paul and Pia endure hundreds of Allied air-raids, they join the partisans who fought off the German army until the Allies could rescue them, and then they survive in a near-ruined city as best they can.

By 1946 Italy is still shattered but life is returning to normal, and no more normal is Achille Varzi winning the Grand Prix of Italy that year.  Over the next two seasons Achille Varzi scores more successes, until he makes his only ever driving mistake and is killed in Switzerland in 1948.  Even though he died too young, Paul and Pia know that Achille Varzi would never have lived in his life in any other way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT

“Achille crashed,” she said and drank some more.  “I have never seen anything like it.  He was the only driver taking the banked curve at the end of the straight flat-out.  Each lap I heard the exhaust note of his car never wavering as he took that curve with his typical, stylish precision.  And then on lap fourteen a sudden gust of wind came in from the desert, blowing dust and debris.  I held my hat and glanced at the Englishman nearby, just as the wind caught the front of Achille’s car and lifted the front wheels from the track.  The car rose higher and higher like an aeroplane, flying away from the track until the rear of the car hit the ground and then the front, and it rolled over and over with the most terrible noise.  Over and over until it stopped on its wheels in the middle of an orchard.  There were Arab men dressed in robes and they ran to the car.  I was on the wrong side of the circuit and checked that nobody was coming before I ran to it as well, and so did the Englishman.”  She drank more water.  “I thought he must be dead, nobody could survive a crash like that, but he climbed out of the wrecked car and brushed dirt from his overalls.  He looked around and saw me but I don’t think it registered.”

“Is he alright?” Paul asked, worried.

“He’s fine although shaken.  He didn’t even light a cigarette, and then he fainted. The Englishman Raymond Mays helped him, and he drove us back here.”

Paul contemplated what he heard, and that would have been a terrible thing to see.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Pia repeated and Paul hoped that Achille really was alright.  If he was taking that curve flat-out he must have been doing about 300.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheLastGreatRaceWriting technical documentation and advertising material formed a large part of my career for many decades.  Writing a novel didn’t cross my mind until relatively recently, where the combination of too many years writing dry, technical documents and a visit to the local library where I couldn’t find a book that interested me led me consider a new pastime. Write a book. That book may never be published, but I felt my follow-up cross-cultural crime with romance hybrid set in Russia had more potential. So much so that I wrote a sequel that took those characters on a journey to a very dark place.

Once those books were published by Club Lighthouse and garnered good reviews I wrote in a very different place and time.  My two novels set in Victorian Britain were published by Wings ePress in July and August of 2014. These have been followed by a story set against the background of Australia’s involvement on the Western Front, published in August 2015. Australia’s contribution to the battles on the Western Front and to ultimate victory is a story not well known, but should be better known.

Staying within the realm of historical fiction, one of the most successful sportsmen of the 1930s, Achille Varzi, lived a dramatic and tumultuous life.  It is a wonder his story hasn’t been told before, beyond non fiction written in Italian.  The Last Great Race follows the highs and lows of Varzi’s motor racing career, and stays in fascist Italy during the dark days of World War Two.

Mark Morey

http://markmorey.blogspot.com.au/

@markmorey5

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Mark Morey will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/05/vbt-last-great-race-by-mark-morey.html 

  • To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments, I’ll drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Problem commenting, look for the twitter, facebook…buttons.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

Save

Save

Review – The Tree of Life by Dawn Davis

The Tree of Life banner

The Tree of Life

About the Book

Title: The Tree of Life
Author: Dawn Davis
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 304
Genre: Historical Fiction

MY REVIEW

The Tree of Life by Dawn Davis is her debut novel. It is part of a series, but does stand alone. Each book will represent new characters and a different time period in Canda’s history.

The Tree of Life starts in 1999 but spends most of its time in 1939. It is a fun and lively adventure through time with Charlotte as she strives to solve the mystery of the missing brooch, The Tree of Life.  She lives the history she has been taught.

Charlotte is a precocious 11 year old girl. She is headstrong and some think she acts like a know it all. She is always getting Henry, her best friend, in trouble, bossing him around.

She will learn first hand about the wealthy, discrimination, and hard work.

Gwendolyn is prim and proper, a perfect example of the snobbish and haughty air of the privileged.

I feel this is a very creative way to write a coming of age story. A heartwarming story of life – its rights and wrongs, its hopes and dreams, its wants and desires, its loves and loss…

There are no bells and whistles, no blood and guts of the thriller and horror novels I love, but a wonderful story just the same.

I received a copy of The Tree of Life by Dawn Davis in return for an honest review.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  3 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Two accidental time travelers explore Canada in 1939 in THE TREE OF LIFE, the first installment in the Tower Room series by Dawn Davis.

As THE TREE OF LIFE opens, Charlotte Hansen and her friend, Henry Jacobs, are hanging out in the old mansion where Charlotte and Leo, her grandfather, live. Henry is there to practice the piano, and Charlotte is waiting for him to finish so that she can supervise his work on a massive school project researching the 1930s. When Leo leaves the house to pick up his friend Gwendolyn Fenton—whom Charlotte does not like—the two eleven-year-olds prepare tea and cookies for the grown-ups’ visit and then rush to the Tower Room. The room is located on the top floor of the mansion. Charlotte is not allowed in the room without permission; but she is headstrong and ignores the directive. After leaving the tray of tea and sweets on the tabletop, Charlotte pulls Henry underneath the table with her.

The children soon hear Gwendolyn telling Leo about a magical brooch from her childhood. Suddenly, a large hand grabs Charlotte, who clutches Henry tightly before the hand thrusts the pair into nothingness. After Charlotte regains consciousness, she and Henry meet the younger version of Gwendolyn, a spoiled force of nature determined to appropriate the brooch her late mother left her brother. The friends learn that they are still in Rose Park, the neighborhood they both call home, but the year is 1939.

As Charlotte and Henry realize that they have traveled backward to move forward, the purpose of their time travel is revealed: Charlotte is there to help Gwendolyn resolve the pain of her past. During the adventure, Henry advocates against the anti-Semitism and racism of that time, and Charlotte learns to look beyond her own desires to help a person in need.

The idea for THE TREE OF LIFE and the Tower Room series came to the author after she attended a centennial celebration at her daughters’ school. “What might happen,” Davis thought, “if two children lived their research instead of simply reading about it? This one step outside the restrictions of time became the foundation for the series.”

As in THE TREE OF LIFE, the next three books will highlight different time periods in Canadian history, with the one constant being the appearance of Charlotte and Henry. Although the children will appear in each book with different names and bodies, they will be easily recognizable as eternal soul mates, and the harbingers of love and connection for those who have stumbled and lost their way.

For More Information

EXCERPT

They needed to work on our outfits for school on Monday.

There was to be a parade in the playground, a decade fashion show parade. Since most of the parents refused to scour the bins at Good Will for appropriate clothing, Henry and Charlotte were the only ones so far who had volunteered. Technically Henry did not volunteer. Charlotte signed his name in invisible ink and was planning on informing him later this afternoon. She would tell Henry that he would get special marks for being in the parade (a lie) because Henry was motivated only by marks. Their grades were already as high as they could go, mostly for bringing in a lot of old junk from Charlotte’s great aunt Dilys’s decaying trunks; printed spun rayon dresses, white nubuck open-toed Cuban-heeled shoes, step-by-step instructions on how to pluck out all your eyebrow hair and draw on fake eyebrows that had a larger arch, one of the first ballpoint pens ever made (1938), a picture of a chesterfield suite in mohair that cost $1.95 at the Adams Trade-in Store Special, and a spring hat with a lilac ribbon purchased at Fairweathers for $2.00 and still in the bag. In reviewing her list, Charlotte found one item to be extremely interesting. In the 1930s, a hat cost more than a chesterfield.

It irked Charlotte that she needed to refer to her lists to remember how many items she had collected because Henry never needed this crutch. He could recite any list, any page of a book, any tiny print on a newspaper, even if he had only seen it once and for less than a second.

That’s because Henry had a condition called eidetic memory bog.

A bog is a swamp, a very damp place where unpleasant things grow and multiply. This was Charlotte’s way of describing the interior of Henry’s skull.

Eidetic memory: an article in a newspaper, a children’s story, musical notes from dingy old manuscripts, the script on a Chinese menu, junk mail forced through the mail slot, recipes, etc. etc. misc., all absorbed, imprinted, collated and filed away for future reference, word perfect. Although Henry denied it, Charlotte believed he had this disease because of his permanently crossed eyes. Therefore his brain was unable to process information the way the brain of a normal person (like Charlotte’s) did by sucking up facts through perfectly aligned eyeballs and expelling it all through the very same portals. Henry’s out-take portals were plugged by all the surgeries he had when he was a toddler, and Charlotte feared that someday Henry’s brain might explode from all the useless information he could not eliminate.

A handful of people knew he had this illness, and Henry utilized it sparingly.

“Because I appear to be blind, I overcompensate by having an unusual ability to retain data that may or may not be useful in the world at large,” Henry once told Charlotte. “Is that so unusual?”

Of course she immediately had to set him a test.

Henry was lounging around on Charlotte’s bed, breathing her air and staring at her ceiling and moving his lips in a really annoying way so she said: “Let me show you something.”

He ignored her for a while but finally cranked his head over to where Charlotte was stitching together a hole in the leg of one of her stuffed animals.

“What?”

She dropped the dog and held the World Book up to his face.

“Look at this.” She pointed to the section on German wirehaired pointers. She let Henry look at the article for three seconds and then she whisked the book away and sat cross-legged on the end of her bed because Henry was taking up all the middle space.

“What about it?” he asked.

“What kind of dog is a German wirehaired pointer?” Charlotte asked.

“A hunting dog,” he replied immediately.

“How did it come to be?”

“It’s a cross-breed which means the dog was developed by breeding a German short haired pointer with a poodle pointer.”

“And how much does it weigh?”

“About twenty-five kilos.”

“Does it like having its ears scratched?”

Silence.

“How many times a day do you have to take it out for a walk?”

Silence.

“What do you do if the dog howls in the middle of the night?”

Angry silence.

“How long does it take the average German short haired pointer to devour a bowl of food, and what happens if one freshly cooked pea is buried in the midst of its food?”

Confused silence.

“What good does it do you to be able to memorize this anyway?”

Superior silence.

“Facts are meaningless,” she said. “Experience is everything.”

“Shut up,” Henry said. “There is only one fact that is significant. I blend in. I get along just fine.”

In fact, Henry did not get along just fine, and if it weren’t for Charlotte, he never would have survived at Rose Park Public School.

For some reason the mere presence of Henry on the playground at school annoyed a few of the boys in the grade five class, the ones who weren’t very bright—Tyler MacKenzie in particular. Tyler invented a few colourful names which he felt best described Henry’s exterior; cross-eyed creep, frogman, slimebucket, and monster boy were a few of the favourites. These insults usually bounced off Henry, drifting into the air like soap bubbles, which then quietly burst, leaving Henry unharmed. He didn’t seem to hear the words directed at him. But once Henry made the mistake of getting in Tyler’s way. He was standing at the southern end of the playground reading a book he had projected onto the wall of the school, the same brick wall Tyler and his friends were using to see who could slam a baseball the hardest.

Henry didn’t know he was in the way because he was not present to the reality of the moment.

He returned abruptly when Tyler stood before him, blocking his view of the wall.

“Hey, slimebucket, we’re playing a game here. Move.”

Henry didn’t.

“Or maybe we could use you as a target and just aim for your nose.” Tyler touched Henry’s nose lightly with his fingertips. “That would be easier to hit than the wall.”

Henry brushed aside the grubby fingertips and stared straight at Tyler.

“Smell,” he said, “is stored in the limbic area of the brain.” His voice was measured and precise. “That’s why whenever I smell dog shit, I think of you…”

“In fact, all our memories and emotions are stored in the limbic area,” Henry told Charlotte five minutes later as they were both hurried off to the nurse’s office. Charlotte got an elbow in her eye trying to defend Henry whose upper lip had been cut right open.

He continued to talk as blood pooled in his mouth.

“The emotional content we all have stockpiled is extremely personal,” he said matter-of-factly, shifting the ice pack from the staffroom freezer to spit in the yogurt jar from the daycare centre. “And everything we possess inside here,” he said, tapping his forehead with three fingers, “is warehoused instantly with no conscious intervention on our part at all.”

So much for blending in.

ABOUT DAWN DAVIS

Dawn DavisDawn Davis is a writer living and working in Toronto, Canada. Before becoming a writer, Davis worked as a teacher after completing her education at York University and the University of Toronto.

The Tree of Life is Davis’s debut novel, and the first book in her Tower Room series.

For More Information

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To see all my Reviews, go HERE.
To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.

If you have a problem commenting, look for the twitter, facebook…buttons.

Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

 

Choosy Bookworm Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

 


Choosy Bookworm has partnered with eNovel Authors at Work to bring you a month long celebration with great books, great book deals, and let’s not forget the great giveaways! 

Check out today’s featured authors and books, then head on over to the event page and enter to win one of two $250 Amazon Gift Cards or Paypal Cash!

Be sure to check out the featured books and the awesome author sponsored giveaway below!
 

 

 

The Bride Wore Dead
by E.M. Kaplan
Series: Josie Tucker, #1
Genre: Mystery/Crime Thriller

Just days after cranky food critic, Josie Tucker, is the last-minute bridesmaid at a massive Boston wedding, the bride dies on her honeymoon at an Arizona resort. The mother of the bride thinks Josie, with her…unique people skills, can find out what happened. Josie discovers the dead bride may not have been the first to die. And to Josie’s horror, the killer has set his sights on her next.

 

Meet E.M. Kaplan

Award-winning EM Kaplan writes snarky, fun Josie Tucker mysteries as well as epic fantasies. She’s classically trained as a technical writer and as a world-class smart aleck. Currently in Illinois, she enjoys embarrassing her children and scratching her dog’s belly.

 

All My Love, Detrick
by Roberta Kagan
Series: All My Love, Detrick, #1
Genre: Historical Fiction

“All My Love, Detrick,” is the story of forbidden love in Nazi Germany. It is a tale of two families, one German, one Jewish and how Hitler’s dark and terrible regime changed their lives forever.

 

Meet Roberta Kagan

HI, I am an American author of Historical Fiction and Holocaust novels. My mother was Jewish and her father was Romany and therefore I grew up with  memories of the Holocaust hovering over me.  I write in this genre in the hopes that maybe through recognizing past mistakes we can find a way to stop the genocides that are still going on today. Thank you for taking the time to read my work. Blessings to you.

 

Tyrant Trouble
by Phoebe Matthews
Series: Mudflat Magic, #1
Genre: Urban fantasy

When a conman wants you as the patsy for a crime, you run, right? That’s what Claire decides. She makes it out of town and into an Otherworld situation that is filled with so much terror it makes the conman and his threats look easy. This novel won the Eppie for Best Fantasy of the Year.

 

Meet Phoebe Matthews

Urban fantasy is Phoebe Matthews’s favorite reading. She likes a mixture of current events and fantasy and sets her stories in places where she has lived, from Scotland to Washington State.

Her Mudflat Magic series combines sword and sorcery with a neighborhood in Seattle where old magic runs amuck through the families. The first book, Tyrant Trouble, won the EPPIE for Best Fantasy of the year. Book seven, Jimmyed Coffin, is now available.

Head on over to the
Choosy Bookworm
Holiday Extravaganza
event page to learn more and enter to win one of two $250 Amazon Gift Cards or Paypal Cash!

 

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To see all my Reviews, go HERE.
To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.

If you have a problem commenting, look for the twitter, facebook…buttons.

Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

 

Free Book – Choosy Bookworm Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

 


Choosy Bookworm has partnered with eNovel Authors at Work to bring you a month long celebration with great books, great book deals, and let’s not forget the great giveaways! 

Check out today’s featured authors and books, then head on over to the event page and enter to win one of two $250 Amazon Gift Cards or Paypal Cash!

Be sure to check out the featured books and the awesome author sponsored giveaway below!
 

 

 

Grand Master’s Pawn
by Aurora Springer
Series: Grand Master’s Trilogy, Book 1
Genre:  Science Fiction/Fantasy

One young woman challenges the super psychics ruling the galaxy, and finds an impossible love.

Young empath, Violet Hunter, travels to strange planets on missions for her mysterious Grand Master. Life-threatening cracks appear in the vast web of portals and Violet agrees to investigate the disruptions. When she discovers the perpetrator comes from within the ranks of the Twelve Grand Masters, she must penetrate their curtain of secrecy to fulfill her task. Armed with only her erratic powers and a mishmash of allies, she must tackle the most powerful beings in the galaxy.

Goodreads ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Free
November 16-17 & 28-29
On sale for 99¢
November 18 – 27

 

Meet Aurora Springer

Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. Her works are character-driven adventures set in weird worlds with romance and a sprinkle of humor.

 

Just Add Water
by Jinx Schwartz
Series: Hetta Coffey Mystery, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Hetta Coffey is a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht and and she’s not afraid to use it. She’s a globe-trotting civil engineer with swath of failed multi-national affairs in her jet stream. Plying the San Francisco waterfront, trolling for triceps, her attention is snagged by a parade of passing yachts–especially their predominantly male skippers–and experiences a champagne-induced epiphany: If she had a boat, she could get a man. In spite of a spectacular ignorance of all things nautical, Hetta buys her dream boat, but shadowy stalker, an inconvenient body, and Hetta’s own self-destructive foibles, give a whole new meaning to the phrase “sink or swim!”

Goodreads ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK
FREE
November 14 – 18

 

Meet Jinx Schwartz

Jinx is the author of ten books, including the award-winning Hetta Coffey series. She spends her time between her boat and her home.

 

Escape From Zandell
by Dale Furse
Series: GodSword Chronicles, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Hankley is a brown-robed servant of the Inner Realm God. His job is to discover why the wall is stuck and his viewing screen is set to the Kingdom of Zandell. His god has warned him not to interfere with the goings on of humans, no matter what world they inhabit. But Hankley loves the people of Zandell and more especially the royal family. And he knows the queen is up to no good.

Eva is married to Prince Micah and she is carrying their first child, a baby she must protect in her battle against her own frailties and a power mad queen in an effort to bring her unborn child through betrayal and deceit into a safe world.

Goodreads ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

On sale for 99¢
November 1 – 30

 

Meet Dale Furse

Dale Furse lives in North Queensland, Australia.

Dale has enjoyed many creative pursuits including playing guitar and singing in a band, acting and directing in theatre, written novels, short stories, plays, songs and poems. She also reads any genre so long as it is a good story.

After over thirty years of writing, she still loves her journeys to unknown places, meeting unheard-of peoples.

Head on over to the
Choosy Bookworm
Holiday Extravaganza
event page to learn more and enter to win one of two $250 Amazon Gift Cards or Paypal Cash!

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To see all my Reviews, go HERE.
To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.

If you have a problem commenting, look for the twitter, facebook…buttons.

Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

 

Friday 56 #19 – Dieselpunk and Paranormal – Dragonfly by Charles A Cornell

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader and find any sentence, or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

DRAGONFLY by Charles A Cornell

I am a huge fan of Charles A Cornell, since reading his thriller, Tiger Paw, an awesome debut novel.

DragonFly (The Illustrated Edition)… Parts I & II with 30 color and 30 B&W illustrations… price of $3.99

DF-Main-Book-Cover_Internal

 

1771e-addtogoodreadsblack(56% on Kindle)

“Hans and I have seen Trevillian, the ghost of Affodill’s father,” I said. I was no longer uncertain about my insights, nor afraid of speaking about them. “He told us… ‘to bring the black one to the deep-water cave where your dragons rest’. We will find Affodill there. He’s waiting to take the Blutskrieger away. We need to move the Blutskrieger before the power of that crystal fades and time runs out.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SYNOPSIS

 A young woman with the fate of a nation in her hands.
An aircraft designed by science, fueled by magic and flown with passion.
A World War re-imagined like never before.

Strap yourself in for a wild ride as award-winning author Charles A. Cornell takes you on his dieselpunk adventure, DragonFly; a collision of science fiction with fantasy that fast forwards steampunk into an alternative World War Two.

In 1942, an unlikely heroine changes the course of history.

On the eve of invasion by the Nazis, twenty-two year old RAF pilot Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Somerset is fighting another battle – winning respect within the stuffy, male-dominated British military. She’s feisty and brash and determined to overcome every obstacle to become Britain’s first female combat pilot.

When Ronnie is re-assigned to Enysfarne, a mysterious Royal Navy base off the coast of Cornwall, fate places her inside the cockpit of the most revolutionary aircraft ever invented. Brilliant engineer, Dr. Nigel Pennbridge has discovered quadra-hydrogen, an element that powers the DragonFly, a remarkable fighter-bomber that carries the hopes of Britain on its blue and silver wings.

Across the English Channel, Nazi Germany is busy planning its next conquest. Reichsführer Bernhardt Morax, Hitler’s personal sorcerer and leader of the Third Reich’s Zauber Korps is preparing his Blutskriegers for the invasion; bio-mechanical warriors created by a depraved occult science whose dark secrets cross the boundaries of evil.

In DragonFly, Veronica Somerset’s adventures unfold in two self-contained novellas:

In Part I: ‘To Hell and Back’, Ronnie proves she’s a hard-nosed, quick-thinking daredevil. She embarks on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines to spy on Hitler’s invasion plans and rescue a defecting officer from the Zauber Korps. Hans Schüller is a Nachtjäger or Night Hunter who introduces her to psychic powers she didn’t know she possessed; powers that entwine her destiny with his.

In Part II: ‘Victory or Death’, DragonFly comes to its dramatic conclusion. The Nazi invasion fleet is gathering off the shores of England. Morax, with help from his spies, is determined to seize the DragonFly and unlock the secrets of Enysfarne’s Druid past. Will the Druid wizard, Affodill – whose ancestral home of Enysfarne has been expropriated by the Royal Navy – join forces with the British, or will he make a pact with the evil Morax? Can Princess Victoria and Ronnie Somerset convince Affodill to place his magic in the service of a nation that has betrayed his Druid ancestors for centuries?

‘DragonFly – the Illustrated Edition’ is the ultimate DragonFly reading experience! It’s packed with sixty illustrations that make the action jump off the page, including character dossiers, historical ‘retrographs’ and fantastic designs of retro-futuristic aircraft. Eleven of the sixty illustrations are exclusive to this omnibus edition of DragonFly and will be unavailable anywhere else!

 Click on the cover below to get your Amazon copy Dragonfly by Charles A Cornell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

What are you reading?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To see all my Reviews, go HERE.
To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook below or on the right sidebar and let’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blog Tour – Excerpt & Giveaway for Moccasin Trace by Hawk MacKinney

SBB_Moccasin_Trace_Banner_copyHawk MacKinney is a writer that I have had my eye on for a while. Any time I see one of his books come up for promotion, I’m in. So let’s check out Moccasin Trace.

 photo goodreads-badge-add-38px11_zps1ae6e47f.jpg

Moccasin Trace by Hawk MacKinney

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB

 … it was about the land…a tale of love and loss and hope…

 Hamilton Ingram looked out across the fertile Georgia bottomlands that were Moccasin Hollows, seeing holdings it had taken generations of Ingrams to build.  No drop of slave sweat ever shed in its creation.  It was about the land…his trust, his duty to preserve it for the generation of Ingrams to come… It is July of 1859, a month of sweltering dog days and feverish emotional bombast.  Life is good for widower Rundell Ingram and his Hazel-eyed, roan-haired son, Hamilton.  Between the two of them, they take care of Moccasin Hollows, their rustic dogtrot ancestral home, a sprawling non-slave plantation in the rolling farming country outside Queensborough Towne in east Georgia.  Adjoining Ingram lands is Wisteria Bend, the vast slave-holding plantation of Andrew and Corinthia Greer, their daughter Sarah, and son Benjamin. Both families share generations of long-accepted traditions, and childhood playmates are no longer children.  The rangy, even-tempered Norman-Scottish young Hamilton is smitten with Sarah, who has become an enticing capricious beauty—the young lovers more in love with each passing day, and only pleasant times ahead of them. But a blood tide of war is sweeping across the South, a tide that might be impossible to stand before.

 “The most engaging and brilliantly crafted historical work since Margaret Mitchell’s great classic.”

Barbara Casey – Author, The Gospel According to Prissy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 EXCERPT

Bessie’s head jerked around, “…them gun shots.”

A stooped-over Sarah looked up, “What?”

 “Gun shots…”  Bessie put down the box of jars and headed toward the cellar door.  “From the direction where the men be.  We gittin’ upstairs, an’ gittin’ now.”

Sarah’s heart pounded as they came up out of the cellar and looked in the direction of more shots.

“Come on…”  Bessie hurried into the pantry where she reached down the powder horn from the top shelf, then the rifle and pistols. “Git ’em ready with all that shootin’.  Till we know different, we make sure two-legged low-downs don’t sneak to the house.”

Sarah rushed to the window and murmured, “Hamilton…”  She feared  for him, for their child, for all of them.  “Surely you don’t suppose it’s Federals?”

“Might be better if’n it is ‘stead of what else be skulkin’ in them woods.  Stay away from the winder, an’ finish rammin’ this powder.”

Sarah poured the ball and powder firm, rammed it, pulled the rammer out, and whispered, “Bessie listen…birds stopped singing.”

“Except that cawin’ crow seein’ somethin’ what don’t belong.”

Sarah took another quick peek, “There’s several horses, but I don’t see any riders.  Mules are still hitched.  I don’t see anyone at the plow, but there’s men on among the trees.”

“You watch the front door.”  Bessie snugged the pistol in her apron pocket.  “I cover the back.  Anybody tries comin’ through the dogtrot door or through the parlor, we back into here, keep ’em from circlin’ us.”

“What about Papa Rundell?”  Sarah’s stomach was queasy.

“He keep his rifle ready.  Anyone bust in his room be dead ‘fore they twitch a hair.”

With a crash the kitchen door flew open.  Sarah brought her rifle up and fired, the shot splintering door and jamb.  The sound thundered through the house.  Bessie’s rifle steadied dead-on.

The silhouetted head and shoulders ducked into a hunch and Hamilton yelled, “Sarah!”  His hand smeared at stinging blood-speckled splinters of wood along his cheek.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MEDIA_KIT_Hawk-DSC3024_jpgWith postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction. Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.  Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012. “Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy–these are the things that take Hawk’s main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation’s capital and across Europe and the Middle East.”

Barbara Casey, President

Barbara Casey Literary Agency

 Website  Amazon  B & N

GIVEAWAY

taiwan flag smiley animated gif Pictures, Images and PhotosHawk will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking on the image below:

 Goddess Fish Partner

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To see all my Reviews, go HERE.
To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook below or on the right sidebar at Home and let’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blood and Gold by Hawk MacKinney

A wonderful blend of the past and the present – The Tenth Circle by Jon Land Tour Giveaway

.
 I am happy to be a part of The Tenth Circle tour.
.
Jon Land is a prolific thriller writer and I have checked out many a book of his from my local library. I have never failed to be enthralled. I hope you enjoy the journey into A Blaine McCracken Novel.
.

SYNOPSIS

1590: An entire colony of British settlers vanishes from their settlement on Roanoke Island, seemingly into thin air.

1872: The freighter Marie Celeste is found drifting at sea off Gibraltar, its entire crew and passengers gone missing without a trace.

But what if there’s a connection between two of the greatest historical mysteries ever? And what if the roots of that connection lie in a crazed plot to destroy the United States as we know it today?

Those are the questions confronting Blaine McCracken as he takes up the trail of small time preacher Jeremiah Rule whose hateful rhetoric has done big time damage by inflaming an entire people half a world away, resulting in a series of devastating terrorist attacks stateside. Rule, though, isn’t acting alone. A shadowy cabal is pulling his strings, unaware they are creating a monster soon to spin free of their control.

McCracken has just returned from pulling off the impossible in Iran, ridding the world of one terrible threat only to return home to face another. Isolated in a way he’s never been before and now hunted himself, he’ll have to rely on skills and allies both old and new to get to the heart of a plan aimed at unleashing no less than the Tenth Circle of Hell. This as he contends with a failed congressman intent on changing the country to fit his own vision and an Iranian assassin bent on revenge.

Blaine’s desperate path across country and continent takes him into the past where the answers he needs lie among the missing Roanoke colonists and the contents of the Marie Celeste’s cargo holds. Those secrets alone hold the means to stop the Tenth Circle from closing. And as the bodies tumble in his wake, as the clock ticks down to an unthinkable maelstrom, McCracken and Johnny Wareagle fight to save the United States from a war the country didn’t even know it was fighting, but might well lose.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Open Road Integrated Media
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
Number of Pages: 420
ISBN: 978-1480414792
Purchase Links:

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1
The Negev Desert, Israel; the present

“We have incoming, General! Anti-missile batteries are responding!”

General Yitzak Berman focused his gaze on the desperate scenario unfolding in amazingly realistic animation on the huge screen before him. Eight missiles fired from Iran sped toward all major population centers of Israel in a perfect geometric pattern, about to give the nation’s Arrow anti-missile system its greatest test yet.
“Sir,” reported the head of the analysts squeezed into the underground bunker from which Israel maintained command and control, “initial specs indicate the size, weight and sourcing of the missiles . . .”

“Proceed,” the general said when the analyst stopped to swallow hard.

“They’re nuclear, sir, in the fifty kiloton range.”

“Targets?”

Another young man picked up from there. “Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Mediterranean coast, the Sinai, our primary airfields . . .” He looked back toward Sherman. “And here, sir.”

“Anti-missile batteries are launching!” a new voice blared through the strangely dim lighting that seemed to flutter as the missiles drew closer.

And Sherman watched the animated simulation of dozens and dozens of Israeli Arrow rockets, along with larger American Patriots, shooting upward in line with the incoming missiles. Four hits were scored in the maelstrom of animated smoke bursts, more rockets launched to chase down the remaining four nukes that had survived the fist salvo.

“We have two more confirmed downed!” yet another young voice rang out.

But the bunker fell silent as the sophisticated animation continued to follow two surviving Iranian missiles as they streaked toward Tel Aviv and Haifa.

“Schmai Israel, hallileh hoseh,” one of the young voices began, reciting the prayer softly as the missiles’ arc turned downward, on a direct course to their targets with nothing left to stop their flight.

“Order our fighters holding at their failsafe positions to launch their attacks,” instructed Berman. “Destroy Iran.”

He’d barely finished when two flashes burst out from the animated screen, bright enough to force several squeezed into the bunker to shield their eyes. As those flashes faded amid the stunned silence and odor of stale perspiration hanging in the air, the bunker’s regular lighting snapped back on.

“This concludes the simulation,” a mechanical voice droned. “Repeat, this concludes the simulation.”

With that, a bevy of Israeli officials, both civilian and military, emerged from the rear-most corner of the bunker, all wearing dour expressions.

Israel’s female defense minister stepped forward ahead of the others. “Your point is made, General,” she said to Berman. “Not that we needed any further convincing.”

“I’m glad we all agree that the Iranian nuclear threat can no longer be tolerated,” Berman, the highest-ranking member of the Israeli military left alive who’d fought in the Six-Day War, told them. “We’ve been over all this before. The difference is we’re now certain our defenses cannot withstand an Iranian attack, leaving us with casualty estimates of up to a million dead and two million wounded, many of them gravely. Fifty simulations, all with results similar to the ones you have just witnessed.” He hesitated, eyes hardened through two generations of war boring into the defense minister’s. “I want your formal authorization.”

“For what?”

“To destroy the Iranian nuclear complex at Natanz.”

Israel’s defense minister started to smile, then simply shook her head. “We’ve been over this before, a hundred times. Our army can’t do it, our air force can’t do it, our commandos can’t do it, and the Americans are saying the very same thing from their end. You want my authorization to do the impossible? You’ve got it. Just don’t expect any backup, extraction, or political cover.”

Yitzak Berman returned his gaze to the wall-sized screen where animated versions of Tel Aviv and Haifa had turned dark. “The man I have in mind won’t need of any of that.”

“Did you say man?”

CHAPTER 2

Netanz, Iran

“We are descending through a million tons of solid rock,” the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Minister of Energy, Ali Akbar Hosseini, told the filmmaker squeezed in the elevator by both his equipment and the trio of Revolutionary Guardsmen. “A technological achievement in its own right. You understand the great task you’ve been entrusted to perform.”

“Just as you must understand I’m the best at my job, just like your scientists are at theirs,” said the bearded, award winning filmmaker Hosseini knew as Najjar. Najjar’s appearance was exactly as depicted in photographs, save for the scar through his left eyebrow the minister did not recall. He was dressed casually in dark cargo pants and long-sleeve cotton shirt rolled up at the sleeves, bulky clothing that hid what was clearly a V-shaped, well-muscled frame beneath. “I was told I’d be given total access to the facility.”

“And you will, at least those parts deemed appropriate by me.”

“That wasn’t part of the deal. It never is with my work.”

“This is a different kind of opportunity.”

The elevator started to slow.

“Then you should have gotten a filmmaker more adept at wedding videos,” Najjar snapped. “Perhaps we’ve both made a mistake.”

“You are about to see what few men ever have,” Hosseini continued, wearing a fashionable suit instead of a military uniform. “And it will be your blessed privilege to chronicle it for the world to see when the time is right. You call that a mistake?”

“You chose me because I’m the best. I ask only that you treat me that way.”

“I could have retained a simple videographer for this assignment,” Hosseini said, his shoulders stiffening. “I chose you because I wanted something that would stand the test of history. This will be my legacy, my contribution to our glorious Republic, and I want it to be celebrated, not just appreciated, a century from now. I want anyone who watches to see not just a place, but a point in history that changed the world forever. An awesome responsibility I’m entrusting you with.”

“I look forward to exceeding your expectations.”

Hosseini’s eyes fell on the bulky equipment lying at the filmmaker’s feet; a camera, portable lights, and a quartet of shoebox-sized rechargeable batteries to supply power. “Others I’ve worked with have turned to much smaller cameras for video, even ones that look like they only take pictures.”

“And how did their work turn out?” asked the filmmaker, his tone still biting.

“Acceptable, but not impressive. This assignment clearly required something more, a case I had to make to the Council’s finance board to justify your fee.”

“If you aren’t satisfied with what I produce for you, you owe nothing. I’ll return my fee to the Council personally.”

“Both of us know that will not be necessary. Both of us know you will produce something that will stand the test of time through the ages and serve both of us well,” Hosseini said to the man he’d personally selected for the job.

“I value your regard and the confidence you have in me,” Najjar said more humbly in Farsi.
Then he slung the camera over his shoulder and scooped up the batteries and portable lights in his grasp, beckoning the minister to exit ahead of him.

“After you,” said Blaine McCracken.

CHAPTER 3
Washington, DC; two months earlier

“You’re kidding, right?” Blaine McCracken said after the Israeli he knew only as “David” finished.

“You come highly recommended, Mr. McCracken. Back home you’re considered a legend.”

“Another word for dinosaur.”

“But far from extinct. And my American friends tell me you’re the only one they believe can get this done.”
“Meaning I’d have to succeed where two governments have failed.”

David shrugged, the gesture further exaggerating the size of his neck that seemed a stubby extension of his shoulders and trapezious muscles. He wasn’t a tall man but unnaturally broad through the upper body. McCracken couldn’t make out his eyes well in the darkness, but imagined them to be furtive and noncommittal.
They’d met at the Observation Deck of the Washington Monument. Closed to the public for repairs indefinitely, but still accessible by workmen, though not at night, always McCracken’s favorite time to view Washington. He liked imagining what was going on in offices where lights still burned, plans were being hatched and fates determined. There was so much about the city he hated but plenty from which he couldn’t detach himself. In the vast majority of those offices, officials were trying to do good; at least, they believed they were.
McCracken found himself wondering which of those offices David had come here from; it would be State or Defense in the old days, across the river in Langley just as often. These days it was Homeland Security, the catch-all and watch word that got people nodding in silence, Homeland’s offices spread out all over the city proper and thus responsible for an untold number of the lights that still burned.

A few work lamps provided the only illumination inside the gutted Observation Deck, riddled with a musty basement-like smell of old, stale concrete and wood rot mixed with fresh lumber and sawdust which covered the exposed floor like a floating rug. David had sneezed a few times upon first entering, passing it off as allergies.

“It’s not that we’ve failed,” David told him, “it’s that all the plans we’ve considered have been rejected out of hand. We’ve come to you for something non-traditional that no one expects.”

“You’ve got a lot of faith in me.”

“If anyone can do it, it’s you. Otherwise, we will have no choice but to try something that is doomed to fail and perhaps even make things worse. But our hands our tied. With Iran so close to getting their bomb, the choice is gone.”

“Your name’s not really David, is it?” McCracken asked the Israeli.

“Why would you think that?”

“Because the last few times I’ve worked with your country, my contacts were named David too. A reference to David and Goliath maybe?”

A flicker of a smile crossed the Israeli’s lips. “I’m told you had a plan.”

“No, what I’ve got is an idea. It’s risky, dangerous, and I haven’t even broached it to the powers at be here.”

“Because you don’t think they’d be interested?”

“Because they haven’t asked.” McCracken looked out through the window at the twinkling office lights again, already fewer of them than just a few minutes before, imagining the kind of things being discussed after office hours had concluded. “The only time my phone rings these days is when the SEALS or Delta have already passed on the mission, with good reason this time.”

“We’re asking,” said David. “You, not them. And we’ll provide you with the right resources, any resources you require.”

McCracken gave David a longer look, the younger man’s thick nest of curly hair making him seem vulnerable and innocent at the same time when neither was true. “Tell me you’re ready to fight fire with fire. Tell me that’s what you meant about making the right resources available.”
David seemed to grasp his meaning immediately. “And if we are?”
Blaine smiled.

CHAPTER 4
Netanz, Iran; the present

McCracken lugged the equipment from the elevator, careful to show strain and exertion on his features to avoid raising any suspicions in Hosseini. The hall before them was brightly lit, as clean and sterile as a hospital’s. The air smelled of nothing; not antiseptic, not solvent, not fresh tile. Nothing. The lighting looked unbalanced, harsh in some places and dull in others.

The new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s successor, had made no secret of his desire to chronicle Iran’s greatest technological achievement ever. When the time was right, he wanted the world to see the true scope of his country’s accomplishment, so long hidden behind innuendo and subterfuge. Like the mullahs themselves, he was at heart a braggart obsessed with cementing his own legacy in a way history could not deny.
Najjar, the award winning Iranian filmmaker chosen for that task, was virtually the same height and weight as McCracken and the two men bore more than a passing resemblance to each other right up to the scruffiness of their tightly trimmed beards. Of course, the plan was not without its flaws. Most notably, McCracken had no idea when Najjar would be summoned to capture the Natanz facility in all its glory. Based on the current timetable for the Iranians’ ability to generate enough fissionable material from the refuse of their vast centrifuges, though, he guessed no more than six months.

It turned out to be only two.

The filmmaker Najjar was already under twenty-four-hour surveillance by Israeli Mossad agents long entrenched within Iranian society. Barely an hour after the filmmaker was contacted by Minister Hosseini’s office on extremely short notice, McCracken boarded a private jet with a make-up specialist on board to finish the job of matching his appearance as closely as possible to Najjar’s. The result, after a laborious process that took much of the flight, exceeded even his expectations. The lone oversight had been not to disguise the scar through McCracken’s left eyebrow from a wayward bullet decades before. Although Minister Hosseini had clearly noticed it, he seemed unbothered by its presence.

While Najjar waited in his apartment for his government car to arrive, a fresh Mossad team just in country entered his apartment by using a key fit to the specifications of his lock based on the serial number. The filmmaker, who was still packing, was unconscious in seconds with McCracken ready in his stead, equipment in hand, as soon as the car arrived for the first leg of his journey.

Once out of the elevator, he knew he was about to encounter plenty not mentioned in David’s reports on the structure and its schematics. Israel’s intelligence on the Natanz facility was an amalgamation of satellite reconnaissance, prisoner and defector interrogations, and four separate brilliantly crafted infiltrations. Each of these had revealed the particulars of at least a section of the facility, but even taken in sum they didn’t offer a thorough rendering of all of it.

The assembled intelligence did reveal a sprawling single-level underground facility. The original plans had called for multiple levels but this had proven too onerous from both a construction and security standpoint. Natanz had been chosen for the site of the plant specifically because of the heavy layers of limestone and shale beneath which it would be contained, along with an under layer of nearly impenetrable volcanic rock formed in prehistoric times. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the nuclear generating plant that sat at ground level was not positioned directly over the underground facility at all; rather, it served as effective camouflage for the vast tunneling efforts that had forged Natanz from the side instead of from above. The facility was laid out roughly in a square, the size of six football fields laid next to each other, and featured the sophisticated technology required to enrich uranium along with the centrifuges responsible for generating it, a process that undoubtedly included the massive pumps and water systems required for cooling.
But the very features that made Natanz impenetrable to an attack from above made it vulnerable to what McCracken was planning from within.

David versus Goliath indeed.

“One more thing before we get started,” Hosseini said, opening a door McCracken hadn’t noticed before. “If you’d join me inside here. . . .”

* * *

It was a locker room, more or less, each open cubicle featuring an orange radiation suit and wrist monitor hanging from a hook inside.

“Standard procedure,” the minister explained. “The lightest weight suit manufactured anywhere. You slip it on right over your clothes,” he continued, starting to do just that himself.

McCracken followed in step. Modern, sophisticated nuclear plants like this were hardly prone to leaks, so the donning of such protective material could only mean Hosseini meant what he said about assembling a complete picture of one of the world’s most secret facilities. And something else was obvious as well:
That after hearing and seeing so much, there was no way McCracken was getting out of here alive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review OF The Tenth Circle by Jon Land

De Opresso Liber – Then, now, always.

A hero is no braver than an ordianry man, but he is braver five minutes longer.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

~~~~~~~

The Tenth Circle is another Blaine McCracken adventure that takes you around the globe. A riveting and action packed novel, beginning to end.

The US is under siege from coast to coast. A fantastic unsolved mystery.

I love the blend of the past with current events. So many familiar things and places were mentioned – a Roll Tide hat, Sherman and Mr. Peabody, a Croatian Indian boy that reminded me of Jacob in Twilight, Boston and Faneuil Hall, the Crazy Horse Sculpture, a ghost ship, a vanished settlement, the Mary Celeste….

I love and hate the characters. I find it so hard to fathom some people’s hatred, especially when they call on religion to explain it.

I like humor with my terrorists and murderers.

Blaine McCracken has several nicknames – McNuts and McCrackenballs had me laughing.

“… I realized…that the craven heathens…have a circle of Hell all to themselves…”

“The Tenth Circle”

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos   5 STARS – Would Buy It For Them (lol)

I received an ARC paperback copy in return for an honest and unbiased review.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jon Land is the award-winning, critically acclaimed author of 36 books, including the bestselling Caitlin Strong Texas Ranger series that includes Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance and, most recently, Strong Rain Falling. The Tenth Circle marks the second return engagement of his longtime series hero Blaine McCracken on the heels of last year’s Pandora’s Temple which was nominated for a Thriller Award and received the 2013 International Book Award for Best Adventure Thriller. Jon’s first nonfiction book, Betrayal, meanwhile, was named Best True Crime Book of 2012 by Suspense Magazine and won a 2012 International Book Award for Best True Crime Book. He is currently working on Strong Darkness, the next entry in the Caitlin Strong to be published in September of 2014. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Brown University, where he continues to maintain a strong volunteer presence, in 1979 and can be found on the Web at www.jonlandbooks.com.

Catch Up With the Author:

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To get your Amazon copy of The Tenth Circle, or to learn more about Jon Land’s novels, click on the cover below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

taiwan flag smiley animated gif Pictures, Images and PhotosGIVEAWAY

Jon Land is offering for the giveaway 1 (one) Signed hard copy of The Tenth Circle. How awesome is that? I am sorry, but it is for US & Canada Only.

Leave your email and answer the question:

Do you have a favorite adventure novel?

Ends February 28, 2014.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

To see all my Reviews, go HERE.
To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook below or on the right sidebar at Home and let’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~