Friday, September 30, 2016

Adolph Caso Presents Latest Book - A Novel, Amalfi Re-Visited

It's 11:10 PM on September 28, 2016. At 11:00 PM I closed the book, Amalfi Re-Visited by Adolph Caso, in shock, breathless. I can't get past it; I am in awe. Will I be able to go to sleep after that last chapter? Not for a long time... I could not stop myself from coming to write this first paragraph of my response to Adolfo's book... I'm chilled, coming out of the shock, considering, even, the magnificence of the ending and, yet, of its incongruity? Yes, I think I must say that as I marvel at how the author has played us...

Just like life has played us all...

We go through our life, living, loving, dreaming, working... Sometimes, though, there are those who purposely work to do evil and we are angered, agitated, wanting to rid the world of it all...

And then, Adolph Caso writes a book that places us squarely into our true reality... I'm choking up with the emotions, the feelings, again, of awe as I consider the masterpiece he has given the world...

And yet, I know that many will not read it as I have. There are many that will even stop reading the book, not knowing what awaits...never knowing...the ending...

How shall I share my thoughts and reactions without telling the entire story? How can I not want to talk to somebody, even right now as I write, to see if others will have reacted as I have. Tears making it hard to type, rolling down my face, lights blurring as I try to ensure my fingers are on the right keys...

Because I must write a disclaimer at this point. This book was dedicated to me by Adolfo, my friend... Can I convince anybody that my response to the book had nothing to do with that relationship? I include it now just to ensure that I've acted in good faith by pointing out that my name appears on one of the early introductory pages... All I would say is, begin, again to read my response to the story above... I will begin again, tomorrow, to share as I routinely do with all of you... Good night...*
~~~

Amalfi Re-Visited

By Adolph Adolfo Caso


So there I was on my first trip to Italy, to Amalfi, which is apparently a luxury vacation spot these days, but the first chapter is dedicated to Amalfi's history. However, it is the cultural history and the people living there today which is the book's setting.

With an intriguing start, I realized that the book was a thriller, but as I read it was soon apparent that it was also romantic suspense which merged together into an alternative history novel that, well, totally soon caught my attention, especially toward the end.

The beginning seemed somewhat stilted. The location is the Pentagon where a General Miller has called a secret meeting. It seems at first that the General is unprepared and readers wonder about the character; however, it is soon apparent that the issue is that he really doesn't know anything about what has happened, yet has been assigned the responsibility to investigate. 
"There is no bonafide source for the information other than the fact we believe a high ranking member of the terrorists in the Middle East has been found dead--not due to any drone attack or to a specific shooting, or even to his death from poisoning. He is dead as a result, we have surmised, of a rare attack on a specific individual without any prior cancer of any type--of his vocal chords, which brought about a sudden and excruciating death. I cannot tell you the name, nor the age of this individual, not whether he was wittingly or unwittingly exposed to this new chemical attack, or whether this is limited to this specific man singly or with collective ramifications. Worse, we know nothing other than to admit only to speculations which may turn out to be unfounded... "Coincidental to that is the following, which is based on two separate incidences--one recorded from one of our orbiting satellites, the other from a military intelligent unit surveying the Naples area. Both reported two brief, supposedly random radio transmissions with no further intelligence..."
He has a team to which specific assignments are made to various locations, one of whom is Jody Villa as a special agent. It is Jody who becomes the main character as she acts on her special assignment. Here, too, Jody appears somewhat clumsy in her initial investigations. She must also keep everything secret from anybody, including her mother, with whom she will be traveling incognito to Italy, and has clearly never been in a position where she's had to make up her own cover story,which turns out to be a research project for her thesis, which is really even unbelievable to herself, the readers, and those she interviewed, LOL. Nevertheless, she fumbles those initial activities and narrows down a potential candidate with the educational training and experience to have created a method by which "something" can ride on top of transmissions....


The ruse of a little research work on her degree is combined with some vacation time spent with her mother as she travels to Italy for a conference, related to her professorial position. And since, of course, there is always free time and a desire to see everything when traveling, readers are privy to all types of special events and visits to cultural sites throughout the rest of the book. This was really an enjoyable part of the book as we learn what is available in Amalfi. 

"One other piece of trivia: do you mind?"
"Please do ahead." Jody got to understand how much Michael like to delve into the significance of things.
"Being you are staying at Castellammare di Stabbia," he commented with special emphasis on pronouncing the port city, "few people know that the popular Neapolitan song, Funiculi, Funiculi, was first sung to the public at Castellammare di Stabbia. You know, every famous tenor, from Caruso to Gigli, to Pavarotti and Bocelli--they all sing it. The song is part of a universal repertoire..."

And who, by the way, is showing Jody most of the sights as her mother attends the conference? Why it is Michael, the main character (and suspect) of possibly being the man who had been murdering people through this strange new method...

And with whom Jody is falling in love--and he, her...

Actually, Jody's mother, Julie, also became involved with the team captain with whom she was working!

On hearing her name called, Professor Villa stood up, raised one arm; and, with a large smile, she thanked the Captain. On seeing her, he turned his head to the right to avoid being heard. But to no avail. "Maronna!" (Madonna) he exclaimed, barely audible, causing many to snicker in wonderment...



It was Mount Vesuvius that had brought both Julie Villa and Michael to the conference as they planned to try to prevent future major damage if another eruption occurred. Michael had invented a new apparatus that was to be used to register
and transmit any tremors that occurred...and it was through that device that Jody started interacting with Michael with her open declaration "I would love to see it..." And that, was all it took. Soon Michael was sharing much with Jody, but she was also reporting back her intel to Washington... She was falling for Michael, but also had made a commitment as an agent... How was it going to work out, especially if he was guilty?!

Readers who have read Adolph Caso before will see his thoughts on various world-wide issues, woven into the story, especially once in Italy. As I've mentioned before, in addition to God, his family and friends, Adolfo has a special love for his adopted country, America, and his homeland, Italy. His strong patriotic feelings and concern for those he loves comes through clearly in this merge of a political drama together with the very human need to love and be loved. This is another of those books about which I would love to share more, and perhaps I will spotlight sections in further blog articles. 

The impact of this book for me was unbelievable. It is suspenseful as we follow the investigation to discover who is killing terrorists, it is wonderful to tour parts of Italy through the joy and reactions of the main characters, yet it is a magnificent look at today's world and what we must do on any given day to protect those we love. I sat, in awe, as I closed this book... and I recommend it to you as a must-read...





GABixlerReviews


Having survived World War II, Adolph Caso completed only first grade in 1947, he joined his family in Boston. Eleven-years-old, speaking a limited Neapolitan dialect, he was placed in the sixth grade. Thereafter he received his high school diploma, his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University, his graduate degree from Harvard University, and various military diplomas from courses leading to promotions up to the rank of General. He has written more than 40 books and developed 12 interactive cultural courses available online. Among others, he is the author of Water and Life (poems and photos in English and Italian), We the People: Formative Documents of America's Democracy, The Straw Obelisk (post anti-World War II novel). To America and Around the World--The Logs of Columbus and Magellan, Dante in the 20th Century (anthology on Dante), God, and Evolution or Evolvement (rejection of Darwinism), Centennial Special (history of Branden Books), Kaso English to Italian Phonemic Dictionary, Bilingual Two-Language Assessment Battery of Test (English, Spanish, Franch, Italian, Portuguese, Vietnames, Russian, and Chinese) and co-author with Captain Charles Francis of, The Tuskegee Airmen--The Men Who Changed a Nation. Though almost 83, this Octo is bound to stop working 30 minutes after he will have died.


*I debated whether to include this after I reread it the next day. However, since I've always tried to share my honest feelings about what I've read, I decided to include it here only on my blog.