October and Fall Leaves! Lovely!

Good Morning! Last day of September makes me think of once again thanking everybody who visited either BRH of JMPO Blogs last month! Many may be returning readers, which I'm not able to differentiate, but I certainly appreciated the 10,582, stops to read about all the wonderful books, and a few not so wonderful, that I've read...

Taiwan joined me this month and I was interested to read that they are supporting the Hong Kong protests. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29422233
I think in these days we must speak out for what we believe in, so hope those who visit from that country may find some words that are important to them, here, through these books, in some way...

I'm already backlogged into next year! LOL but do try to continue to accommodate as many requests as I can. Remember if you haven't seen your review, I appreciate being reminded and try to fit it in quickly. There really is no way to do first-come, first serve anymore. Mainly due to the continued overwhelming number of requests, but more, now, because I try to review as many books a week as possible and so pick out books based upon the length, as well as trying to accommodate some blog tours to keep things interesting...

Do take care of yourself and come back...tomorrow! LOL Leaves will soon start turning and falling in my area... God's beauty awaits our appreciation!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dying Phoenix by Loretta Proctor Epic Historical Romantic Novel Set Against Turmoil in Greece

Grigoris Lambrakis (Greek: Γρηγόρης Λαμπράκης) (April 3, 1912 – May 27, 1963) was a Greek politician, physician, track and field athlete, and member of the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of Athens...On May 22, 1963, shortly after he had delivered the keynote speech at an anti-war meeting in Thessaloniki, two far-right extremists, Emannouel Emannouilides and Spyro Gotzamanis, driving a three-wheeled vehicle, struck Lambrakis with a club over the head in plain view of a large number of people and (allegedly) some police officers. He suffered brain injuries and died in the hospital five days later, on May 27. The two men were arrested because of the reaction of a passenger who jumped on their vehicle and fought with them (Manolis Hatziapostolou, nicknamed Tiger).

Maria Nafpliotou
Nina subsided a little and gave
a shrug. It's hard, Niko, I hate
to see how Greece escaped the
wretched Turks only to become
a pawn for Britain and America.
Nothing is sacred, democracy is
lost. Plato would love it. He always
liked an oligarchy. Nevertheless,
his vision was one of reason and
order. We have little left of that."
"Which is worse? The
Americans, the British? They
made a pawn of Greece. If
Frederica hadn't come to
England, Lambrakis might
still be alive." ...He always
wanted to fight for justice
and peace...
Nikos looked around and
lowered his voice, "Shh...
not so loud, Nina...
Nikos Galanis watched her covertly as she sat opposite him in the fashionable London bar. Her long slender fingers moved up and down the stem of the wine glass as if caressing it, but her thoughts were elsewhere. Nina Hammett was a beautiful woman, there was no denying it. Her dark hair was sleeked back into a loose bun at the nape of her neck On anyone else it would look unfashionable and severe; on her it looked elegant and poised. It was something to do with her eyes as well, he thought, looking into them now; unfathomable, enigmatic pools of brown, depending almost to black When she spoke, her voice was low but clear. Her Greek was impeccable, without a regional accent. An educated woman and an intelligent one.
"I have always admired Lambrakis," she said, "and I always will. I met him just before he was murdered. He was a friend of my great aunt, Christoula. Auntie lived in Kavalla but she had a flat in Thessaloniki as well, where she used to hold little soirees....
It was three years now since that left-wing politician, Dr. Grigoris Lambrakis, was mown down by a vehicle and clubbed to death during broad daylighy in the streets of Thessaloniki. For Heaven's sake, the man was dead and gone and still she thought of him! Nikos wished a woman would speak of him with such admiration. How little he had accomplished compared to the brave and splendid things which that martyr Lanbrakis had done in his short life...

Dying Phoenix
By Loretta Proctor

This novel, above all, is a love story. Like many, however, it was filled with conflict, anger, and two individuals with completely different lives...who discovered their love was deeper than they ever thought... But Nina had another love--a love for her country--that seemed to be more important than anything else... would that ultimately affect their lives? 

Of course, it didn't help with Max had an affair with an office girl...

They were now separated. Nina was working as a reporter at a relative's newspaper, while Max continued his work selling tractors.... His background is quite different, being of humble beginnings. But he had begun early to pick up knowledge of tractors and other machinery and, in fact, he was soon off to Greece to attend a major sales event...

And that is where he made a personal enemy through no fault of his own! He had seen a man physically abusing a woman and stopped to help... She was the wife of the man and later escaped and came to find Max. He quickly worked with friends to help her escape to another location, but her husband found Max and beat him so badly, including a broken jaw, that he went into the hospital. Fortunately his friend and fellow worker, Dimitri, had a bad feeling and had got to find him, and fortunately did, because he would have died otherwise...

Everybody was trying to find Nina to get her there, but she had not left any information on her location. When she finally heard, she quickly got there and then went home to help him recuperate. But nobody had ever explained to Nina the exact circumstances behind his assault...

For a while, that was ok and they both returned to Greece when he was better, only to have the woman come to find Max, and ask for money... Nina saw the exchange! Nina was a passionate woman but had learned to control it, except she seemed not to be able to with her jealousy and lack of trust of Max.... They again separated... At a very dangerous time that was just beginning in Greece...

The author takes the time to bring readers fully into the lives of her main characters, allowing us to form our opinions of what might happen in this volatile relationship. It was quite a shock, therefore, when in the midst of this personal drama, we move into a period of time when, in many ways, seemed worse than entering into a war... Because most people didn't know what was happening!

"I'm not sure what you mean...a sympathizer," she
murmured at least.
"You were concerned about the Lambrakis business and
wrote a letter about it at the time; it was printed in the
Guardian. It's common knowledge and many admired you
for saying what you did. I admire you, Mrs. Hammett. It
inspired me to join the Lambrakis Youth when I finished
by National Service. I think it's a marvelous cause though,
as you know, it's dangerous these days to belong to such
causes. But we need to fight for justice in Greece. You
heard about Petroulas?"
Sotiris Petroulas was a young economic student, a member
of the Lambrakides. He had carried Mikis Theodorakis
through the crows in order for the heroic musician to make
a rousing speech against the tyranny of the government.
Later Petroulas was killed by a tear gas grenade that
exploded above his head and his body was whisked away
by the police...
It was while Nina was still in London, and working on an assignment, when she stopped in at the Troubadour. It was the type of place where the young and liberal congregated... many writers, journalists and other creative people. It was there that a young man came to talk to her. He introduced himself as George Praxiteles and explained he was attending school there... He knew who she was and quite a bit about her and her family, which, at first, made her feel concerned...

Their discussion aroused Nina's passion and she knew she must go back to Greece. She believed, like George, that something was going to happen...

There had already been many restrictions placed on the young--the music of Mikis Theodorakis had been banned, but was still played wherever they could. The group George had joined, the Lambrakides, were following the actions of
Grigoris Lambrakis who had been murdered...

"My friends caught some agents trying to bury Sotiris secretly but Theodorakis roused the local people and made them hand over the body. Then, do you know this, Mrs. Hammett?... Hundreds of people accompanied the body from Athens Cathedral to the cemetery...hundreds! Theodorakis wrote a song in his memory and it was sung by the cortege. If was so moving. I wept and so did everyone else. My God, it was so moving.
Nine leant back in her chair and stared at the floor for a long moment. "I heard of it but didn't know the details." Where had she been when this happened? Little escaped her attention when it came to Greek politics. Ah, of course, it was last summer. The time when she and Max had been in the process of reconsidering their marriage. She had shouted at him like a fishwife, like a possessed creature. Was that dreadful harpy really her? Nina tore her mind away from the memories and the uncomfortable and guilty emotions they produced in her.
"I would have wept too," her voice low with feeling. "But sadly incidents like that are no longer uncommon are they? The government which the King has set in place is utterly corrupt; the plaything of the King and his generals..."

When Nina returned, she stayed with George's family and started out to learn more about what was happening. But then one night she awoke at 3AM... It had begun...

Something was very wrong. She woke up and listened intently. There is was again, the sound of heavy solid wheels rumbing in the distance, but what wheel made a noise like that? Nina looked at the clock and stared into the darkness, broken only by the faint light that crept through the slats of the shutters. Her heart was beating with a mixture of alarm and excitement.
She rose, her throat parched and dry. Swallowing some water from the glass by her bed, she made her way over to the window. Pulling back the thickly pleated net curtains, Nina threw open the shutters and leant out into the coolness of an April night. Just a few hours earlier she had been chatting in a cafe with some friends; a normal and peaceful Athenian night. Now a strange atmosphere gripped the city, a sense of panic, anger and dismay. Shouts, strident voices and shrieks floated on the night air. She needed to find out what was happening. The commotion was round Fassileis Sofias,  a main road some way beyond where the Praxiteies family owned a small block of apartments in a quiet back street in Zografou...
Hurriedly Nina dressed, flung on a jacket and seized her Leika camera. She had no idea what was going on but her instinct told her that the unusual hubbub was due to some major crisis. A fire? No, not that--there were no fire alarms or church bells ringing the tocsin. It sounded for all the world as if huge vehicles such as tanks were rumbling along.
It had long been rumored in political circles that the King intended to enforce some kind of military law and disband his Parliament. Greece had been filled with unrest for so long...
What was this deep fear in everyone's hearts? Yes, there were communists in Greece and many others who veered to the left like herself, but they were small in numbers; nothing like the threat imagined. But fear is like a virus, spreading to everyone. Stories of communist terrorism, half-imagined, became reality in the minds of the comfortable middle classes, fueled by the propaganda of the extreme right who spread tales of paidomazoma--the supposed kidnapping of children for brainwashing into communism--tortures, massacres to strike fear and loathing in people's hearts...
At the corner of one of the streets, she stopped in sheer amazement. Hugh armoured tanks were rolling past. So she was right, that was the noise she had heard. There seemed to be armed soldiers everywhere, shouting commands in deep, harsh tones, stopping cars, pointing guns at ordinary unarmed people as if they were involved in a film, in a mock battle. It was pretense, surely? It couldn't be real. Not Athens on a quiet night before Easter? There had been no warning at all, nothing of late to indicate that simmering beneath the surface were  plots and counter-plots and discontented, power-hungry individuals ready to enforce their own version of the law. She snapped away with her camera, taking care not to be seen. Those soldiers looked unpleasant and she didn't want to get mixed up with them...
A soldier with a gun in his arms turned and stared in her direction...

Tanks were in the streets, communication lines had been cut...then the Prime Minister was taken...

And Nina was right in the middle, sending out the first exclusive article to England! But a later one was taken... All of her friends were in trouble and she went to the only man who had claimed he had connections... To get her friends' freedom, she must spend one night with him...

Wow! This story is full of thrilling human drama--the fear of the unknown, the loss, as people are taken without a cause, or family members must run to prevent being jailed... And the amazing thing was that the coup left the King helpless, since he had been bested by his opposition... Who was behind this quiet, silent invasion?

Like Nina, I was involved with my own life, working at a new interesting job in the 60s...What were you doing then? Did we even know that something like described in this novel was happening? No, I am sure many did not... And, yet, the most amazing thing for all of us should be that it was here, in Greek, that the world had its first democracy! This is a historical treasure that is well worth reading! Check it out!

Democracy can be traced back from the present day to classical Athens in the 6th century B.C.E. According to one definition, democracy is a political system in which all the members of the society have an equal share of formal political power. In modern representative democracy, this formal equality is embodied primarily in the right to vote...

http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/loretta-proctor-396527.html - Check out interview with "Female First..."

Born in Cairo, Egypt, to an English father and Greek mother, Loretta Proctor won prizes in the 1970's for essays and plays, then wrote specialized articles. She studied Jungian, psychology and worked as a counsellor. Now retired, she delights in story telling, writes poetry and is pleased to be a distant relation of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. Dying Phoenix is Loretta's fourth novel.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Web of Betrayal by Clare F. Price Takes Readers to Historical Power Struggles As World Wide Web Began!

Clare Price is a former technology reporter, technology marketing vice president, and author of five books on marketing; Five Easy Pages: The Essential Marketing System.
Clare saw the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principle analyst in Gartner’s Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world’s biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the information highway a reality.
Clare began writing at age five with her short story, “My Dog Nicky.” In her career she has been a business journalist, tech industry journalist, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups.
In addition to The 5 Easy Pages Essential Marketing System, Clare has written more than 700+ articles in the areas of information technology, marketing and business strategies and growth.
She has been a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, SARTA, the California Society of Association Executives, Women in Technology International (WITI), eWomen Network, uLinkNetwork, and the U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management.
Clare is an Ohio native and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. degree in Rhetoric. She currently lives in Sacramento, California with her two Shetland Sheepdogs, Dan and Toby. This is her first novel.


Heading into the historical background for the Internet is an important activity, so immediately I checked out the author's background... Nearly all of my professional career involved the use of, or development of computer systems, so I wanted to also learn from this book about what I personally saw happening... I got a little more than I bargained for, because I spent the first pages trying to figure out who the companies actually were in the battle... LOL

In any event, the author's credentials were out there loud and clear for me and after I got passed her not using real company names, I sunk deep into the story and loved it!  One ingenious action the author provided in the book is the inclusion of  QR codes to pull part of the time period directly to the reader... I cheated and brought some of those here as I usually do...

Web of Betrayal
By Clare F. Price

It only took the prologue to point out that Toby Eastman is a very dangerous man. Note that it is 1993 and he's in Colombia, due to his impending connection to drug lord Enrique Valdez. The fact that Arno, who had made the arrangements for the meet, was burned that night, slowly, was not part of the plan. You'd think that would have made him just a little concerned, wouldn't you?

Toby Eastman is a man you enjoy hating... He's willing to do anything to finish what he's started and a main revenge plan is what he's involved in now... It was ironic to me that what began to happen was due to his own actions. He'd sent a disk to a former colleague who he trusted, with only a statement that it was confidential. The man had thought it was a puzzle like they had always worked on! So when the man received it, he sent it on to several others of his "boys..." Individuals who had been working with him for quite some time.

Soon, they all started dying, seemingly accidentally...

"Henry, that disk wasn't just another puzzle,"
Toby said vehemently. "That disk has
information on it that belongs to some very
powerful men."
Henry's eyes blinked rapidly. He looked at Toby
as if he'd never seen him before. "Toby what
have you gotten yourself into? I'm sorry...
You're sorry? Toby queried silently. It's
too late for sorry...
"I'm sorry, old friend. I truly am," he
whispered, his lips brushing against Henry's
ear. "But if it hadn't been me, it would
have been them."
The fire crackled. A tongue of flame broke free, reigniting dying embers, warming the room. Toby leaned back in his chair, took a small sip of his brandy and glanced around the tight space.
Henry Rhodes's bachelor's quarters held the same comfortable clutter that Toby remembered...Henry sat in the other armchair, his feet barely reaching the floor. Like his home, Toby thought, enjoying the constancy, Henry hadn't changed much in the last eighteen years...
Despite the warmth of the fire and the brandy coursing through his veins, Toby knew he couldn't afford to relax; not until he had the computer disk back safely in his possession...
"And how are your boys?" Toby asked.
"I've got a couple of boys who are real crypto-wizards. Give even you a run for the money," Henry said, chuckling mildly as he set down the empty glass.
Henry referred to all the young engineers he'd shepherded through the company as "his boys," even the women. Although Henry had been a talented software programmer in his own right, his company soon recognized he had an even greater ability to mentor the young college recruits they hired...
"No more for me, Henry. I have to go," he said, rising. "I really just came to pick up that disk I sent you a few weeks ago."
Henry looked up at Toby embarrassed, his smile sheepish.
"I know you told me to keep that one strictly confidential, Toby. But your puzzles are always the best. It was just too tempting."
"What do you mean?" Toby asked, forcing a casualness he did not feel.
Sliding into a velveteen seat, Peter took
in the scene. The Hilton's gaudy bar, so
reminiscent of the 1970s, with its hot-
pink chairs and, red glow-in-the-dark
carpet... was proudly pretentious in a
way that only the leisure suit crowd
could truly appreciate...
Expectation, excitement and urgency
pulsed through the crowd's chatter...
"I couldn't crack it. I tried, but it was beyond me...When I couldn't solve it, I sent it to the boys to see what they could do with it." Henry's tone was mildly irritated, as if Toby had forgotten who was the student, and who the master.

It was January, 1994, when Peter Ellis hits Las Vegas and immediately realized how much he hated the town, thinking it was going to be a long three days!

He was struggling after a fiasco had occurred the previous year. That it happened was bad enough...

That it involved his sister was worse...

I'm not saying anything more about
Margaret turned back to
Adam and issued her
demands. "We want a
complete retraction, a new
accurate story written by
someone else on your
staff, and a personal
apology in writing from Mr.
Ellis here, or we will file a
multimillion dollar law suit
against the Valley Tribune
this afternoon."
this one--she doesn't deserve it! LOL! You'll quickly find out more about her and Peter during their early years... and find out just how cruel she is!

That she was involved in Peter's being accused of a fabricated story was, in my opinion,  due to her, even if the book really didn't say so... And now Peter was back to square one, rebuilding his reputation as a news reporter. Fortunately, his immediate supervisor was doing as much as he could to support him...

But then his girlfriend dumped him. She had tried to stick by him, but he had started to drink and Jessica had decided to move on... Only to become involved with an important player in the major stories he was soon to be following! Because he's been placed back on covering the CES trade show. David Lockwood was the keynote speaker and why he was here...

It may sound like Peter is on the way out, but, far from it! While you watch him, he picks up pieces of information and ultimately learns about three deaths that are linked to the activities that were now happening. Then, at this show, he was the only individual who pieced together Lockwood's presentation. Tracked him down and broke the lead story on 
his work!

Ellis to Lockwood:
"I got the message. I know what you're doing."
"I got it from the Holograms...
"Three points." Peter responded, fighting to keep his voice calm...
"First message you sent: all of those holograms illustrated firsts...
"Second message: those holograms moved out over the heads of the audience...
I liked the third message the best...Each of those holograms was more than a technical breakthrough, though that was impressive enough...They also opened up a new universe...
...One question. Mr. Lockwood, just one. Am I right? Yes or no?"
"Sapphire. Internet streaming video. Yes or no?" Peter asked again...

Lockwood turned toward Peter, his brow eyes so intense Peter felt as if they were boring a hole in his skull. "I'll give you some free advice. Follow the old saying and write about what you know." Capping the statement with a cryptic smile, Lockwood existed without another word.

Peter's story on David Lockwood's Sapphire Project scooped everyone...

The forty-by-sixty-foot, three-story
high Draco booth was one of the
largest and allest on the trade show
floor. In a nod to Law Vegas itself,
the Draco logo, a green and yellow
abstract of the Dragon constellation
blinked in neon boldness at the top
of the towering booth structure. Peter
had to crane his neck to see it.
Peter was Back! But that was only the beginning...and there were enemies out to see him fail!

His sister was watching every move he made for her own personal reasons. Jessica's new lover was a major player at Draco Communications who was slowly moving to a top position...

And let's not forget our major villain...he's got it in for Peter because he picked up on the murders and is following a trail...

But then there is MediaBuilders who are fighting to be at the top against Draco and some are fighting for both sides. In fact, you'll have a hard time keeping track of who may be involved because the players are, or have been, involved during previous activities. The one thing that comes out, of course, is that those who are honest move to make things right! And that's what readers will enjoy watching and trying to decide in advance what will happen!

Peter was there to meet Alex Kavanaugh. He already knew Alex knew little about the actual technological advances now underway...but...this was the guy who Jessica was now involved with, apparently pretty seriously. Alex was loving, and didn't mind, showing, that he enjoyed having Peter in the position of the jilted lover... Peter was still trying to get Jessica back at that point...

The booth contained four rooms divided by thermoform vinyl partitions. The one closet to the walkway, meant to draw in curious passersby, was styled as a tribute to Route 66 and hung with photographs taken along the venerated route. A video clip from the 1960s TV show of the same name ran in a loop in the background with Nat King Cole's recording of the famous theme song. A classic blue 1966 Corvette convertible roadster parked in the center of the display would be raffled off for charity at the close of the show. Peter made a mental note to buy a ticket for that one...
The screen faded to black. Peter turned to Kavanagh. "Impressive, Alex. I want it. So when can I have it?"
"It's 1994, Peter," Alex replied. "You'll have it before you know it."
"You want to be a little more specific," Peter said, knowing full well that most of the applications Draco was touting here were years if not decades away. "Realistically, you guys are laying pipe."
"If by laying pipe you meant creating the fiber optic backbone we need to send digital signals across the country, then yes, we're laying pipe. We've got about half our SONET backbone finished and it'll be completed by the end of the year," Alex agreed...
Anything else I can answer for you?" he asked
..."Just one more thing. Let's say, just for kicks, that you do get some cable partners. They the key question is how are you going to get those applications to the consumer? They need a way to access all those goodies on the information highway. And I'm hearing access is through Horizon."
Alex's jaw clenched briefly. He relaxed it and smiled  a little too broadly. His face took on the expression of an indulgent uncle humoring a bright but confused child...
Peter was throwing the technology at Alex fast, hoping to catch him off-balance. From the cautious expression on Alex's face, Peter thought he was succeeding...
Alex refused to take the bait. "I'd help you if I could, Peter," he said, standing. "But really, that is a question for our engineers.  As I said, I'm happy to arrange an interview..."

And then Peter met Jordan and he found himself falling in love for the first time, but of course there were also issues between them to be solved... Such as her love of music...
"David Sanborn," Jordan said, rejoining him on the sofa. "What do you think?"
The disheartened look on her face surprised him. "Very nice," He tried again, but her expression didn't change.
"Why don't you play some more?" he asked, buy time to discern her mood.
"Really?" That seemed to cheer her up. At least he was heading in the right direction.
"Okay, this is a classic," She pulled an old vinyl record from her shelf, put it on the turntable and turned toward him. "Tell me how it makes you feel."
Peter leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes. He had no idea why this exercise was so important to Jordan, only that it was for the moment, that was enough for him. He focused on the sounds and let him mind do what it did best: parse and analyze the data his senses were collecting.
"I'm on a city street, urban, kids are throwing coins in a gutter. Somewhere where stuff should be happening, maybe in the past, but not now. Like Hollywood and Fine."
"Are you serious? You got that from this song?" Jordan sounded incredulous.
Peter opened his eyes. "Yeah, why?"
"Because that's actually what that song is about, "It's Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin' on Sunset."

Lots going on in this one--a thriller that will entice you from many directions to both enjoy and watch as corporate deals play a deadly part in bringing the World Wide Wed to all of us to enjoy! Check this one out! You'll be glad you did...


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Deadly Odds Author, Allen Wyler, Here on Blog Tour - Paperback Available Tomorrow!

Arnold is under 40, but when you start reading Deadly Odds, you may indeed think of Steve Carrell in the movie...  Except this isn't a comedy. When his best friend, Howard, convinced him to seek out a prospective companion and meet her, he did exactly that...

And now Howard was dead...

"What exactly was your relationship with the deceased?" Detective Wendy Elliott asked. She was sitting on an aluminum chair opposite him, a small metal desk separating them. She seemed to be studying him with a freaky detached curiosity he found unnerving.
The deceased.  The words reverberated through his mind and decayed like the ring of a bell as they vanished into heavy silence.
Howard's dead. Howard is the deceased. Then the words finally began to sink in, his muscles going lax. He slumped against the hard cinderblock wall. Blowing through pursed lips, he scrambled to grasp the full reality of those words. Until this very moment he'd desperately held onto a threat of irrational hope that the detonation he assumed to be a gunshop had been something entirely different--although he had no idea what that might be. Or if it was a gunshot, it had served as only a warning, a threat, anything but a defenseless senseless murder.
His best friend shot dead.
Guilt engulfed him.
Had he not gone for pizza, this awful senseless act of violence would never had happened. Meaning, in a perverse way, he was directly responsible for this friend's death...
He blew another deep breath and rocked forward, elbows on his knees, fingers knitted together as an anxious storm of butterflies fought to escape his stomach. The metal chair suddenly became too hard to bear but fear of moving was paralyzing and he was too afraid to say a damn word. The acoustical-tile walls began squeezing his shoulders together and this room's air--smelling of sweat and fear permanently embedded in the cinderblock walls--had become too warm and stuffy to cat one satisfying breath...
"Mr. Gold?"

Deadly Odds
By Allen Wyler

"We're best friends. Have
been since grade school."
More than friends...brothers.
Having grown up together,
Bar mitzah's only a month
apart. Shared their
fantasies, dreams, fears...
He flashed on the countless
hours spent together linked
by a love of all things digital,
sharing copies of WIRED
when other kids passed
around comics, building
outrageous computers from
junked equipment, reading
operating manuals and books
on languages like C++
just for fun...
I certainly enjoyed the two earlier books by Allen Wyler that I've had the chance to read; however, I really loved the main character in this book... You can actually see him evolving in personality and character as the book proceeds. A wonderful accomplishment by the author in my opinion... And it wasn't because he was no longer a virgin... 

Arnold was a nerd, geek, hacker...whatever you want to call an individual who is brilliant in the use of computers. Arnold was rarely far away from this computer lab that he'd set up in his basement. It was only Howard who was close enough to worry about and urge Arnold to "get a life" beyond the computers...  For Howard, he thought that Arnold needed to find someone and enjoy what he'd never experienced...sex... He urged him to hit Vegas and
do nothing but enjoy some time away...with a girl...

A sad little story was that Arnold had always had feelings for Howard's sister, but had never done anything to forward that relationship until... now it was too late, for so many reasons...

Arnold was drilled by the police but had refused to talk. But when he got a lawyer, who was another main character who had been developed so wonderfully, a kind and caring man which is not the usual image for a lawyer, do we begin to hear all that had happened, there in Vegas...

It could only happen in fiction, I hope... But, let's just say that picking out a beautiful girl from so many choices, who happens to be a terrorist??? Wow!
Firouz let Karim drive, giving him more time to
think, regroup, strategize, always his responsibility
because that was the way things  needed to be with
Karim. If it weren't for being brothers he would
never bother using him. On the other hand, he was
a devoted believer, a good Sunni, which, in the end
stood for something. But the needless killing now
drew attention to them they could ill afford. Not
with what was at stake. But there was no sense
saying anything more. They now had to deal with
what they had, and, God willing, would still
"The Jew say you?"
Karim said, "Yes."
Firouz silently shook his head and bit his tongue
because the mission was not a total failure. They
did, after all, have the computer...Gjayoor was a
true believer as well as a brilliant computer expert.
He would be the one to examine the extract
information from the Jew's computer,
determine how he was able to see into the future
and predict events as Naseem had explained.
He had, though, in a personal way, chosen a lovely girl who did much to help Arnold... His request to her had been to explain and teach him what women wanted...

And she did, including helping him select non-geek clothes, about fine wines, where to dine...as well as all about sex.  If she had not discovered what Arnold was capable of, perhaps he could have benefited from their time together and just gone home...

But Arnold had developed a system...

He was good at analyzing issues and pulling in what type of information should be considered in evaluating how to proceed. He used it mostly for gambling--but, of course, that was part of the problem since he'd never paid taxes on any of his income...in other words, once he started talking to his lawyer, he had to realize that he was no longer the little boy that loved computers... He was now a man who was known as a "hacker..."

In fact it was his ego that first got him in trouble. For, of course, if you are going to be spending time with a woman day and night, she's going to start asking personal questions... Arnold had grown to like her so much that he wanted to appear special to her...

They first went to horse racing...where he made an impression on what he'd picked... But as she asked more questions and he wanted to impress her, he shared that the system could work on anything... When she expressed surprise, he told her more--too much more.

Soon, she had scheduled a meeting with her two friends, Karim and Firouz...

When later a bomb went off, Arnold knew he was in deep trouble, because that bomb was exactly where his system had said it should go... This was not really a game anymore... 

It wasn't long before the FBI was involved and Arnold was right in the middle... Afraid of getting killed by Firouz and afraid to be jailed by the FBI...

The strange but intriguing decisions made by Arnold is what makes this book far more exciting that the action of a good thriller. Arnold blamed himself for Howard's death and that was the most important thing--he wanted revenge even if he was killed in getting it. In deciding that, though, he put into action all of that hacker brilliance he had access to and that results in an unbelievably enticing look into a hacker's genius doing what he does best! Ok, my personal disclaimer that I hate all things illegal through use of computer, but I've got to say that Wyler's creation of Arnold results in one very cool novel! Highly recommended!


A Seattle native, Wyler’s parents died early,leaving him on his own by the time he entered college. He supported himself with various jobs including being a fry cook at a drive-in and a professional musician playing drums for various local blues and jazz groups. In his first year of medical school, he knew he wanted to specialize in neurosurgery. Upon graduating from residency he started on the faculty of the University of Washington and then the University of Tennessee where he developed an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. In 1992 the prestigious Swedish Medical Center recruited him back to Seattle to develop a neuroscience institute.
Wyler’s love of thrillers began in 1974 on his way to Cincinnati to take the oral boards in neurosurgery. At SeaTac airport he picked up a copy of William Goldman’s Marathon Man to read on the flight. He became so engrossed he stayed up all night to finish it before stoking up on coffee and meeting with the examiners. He aced the exam.
Wyler develops plots from actual events in his practice. While serving on a committee charged with selecting the medical center’s new computerized medical record system he wondered what might happen if the software had a random bug. From this came the story line for Deadly Errors, his 2005 thriller that has been subsequently translated into several foreign languages, including Russian. Crime Spree Magazine wrote:
“There is a grand tradition of medical thrillers in the suspense field – hardly surprising since medicine is one place where life’s rubber really meets the road. A new entry, Deadly Errors, by a new author, Allen Wyler, is right up there with the best.”
Much of the background for Dead Head, a story about keeping a detached head alive for the information in the brain, was derived from Wyler’s own research on recording the brain’s electrical activity. As Adam Woog (Seattle Times) wrote:
“Wyler’s premise is deliriously over-the-top… (You’ll notice I’m avoiding any cracks about how fiction writing ain’t brain surgery.) But the story barrels right along, and, as Wyler points out in an afterword, the science of maintaining a disembodied head is already chillingly close to reality.”
Wyler’s third thriller, DEAD END DEAL, originated a few years ago, he was a guest lecturer at a medical center in Seoul, South Korea. He wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a foreign country hunted by police because of being framed for a murder.
In 2002 he left active practice to become Medical Director for a start-up medical technology company, Northstar Neuroscience, which went public (NSTR) in 2006. At the end of 2007 he retired to devote full time to writing.

http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2012/12/allen-wyler-goes-beyond-medical.html in Dead Ringer

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