Saturday, June 28, 2014

Phantom Panthers by David Shultz--Historical Eeriness! Beware!

As they approached Wewelsburg, the Castle eclipsed the setting sun forming a black silhouette against the twilight sky.  The sun created shimmering lines of light around the edges of the Castle's silhouette, deep red and magenta clouds blended into gold across the evening sky. It was ias if Mother Nature herself were giving them royal treatment.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Hans said from his seat next to Otto...Otto had no reply. Seeing Wewelsburg Castle for the first time hadn't done anything to assuage Otto's unease
"Once you enter  these doors, you will not be able to leave until the
ceremony is complete. Any man without the courage to continue
had best leave now..."
Finally, they reached what had to be the top of the tower. The
stairs led them directly into an enormous circular chamber with a
massive roundtable at the center. The scene of fresh baked
bread filled the air, and Otto saw why. The table was set with
several loaves of break and just as many stoneware carafes.

Phantom Panthers

By David Shultz

"I hope you will forgive for preparing
such a modest meal, the pudgy man who
called himself Himmler said, "but I
thought it fit given the circumstances.
A 'last supper' of sorts..."

This was getting a little bit too strange for Otto and he didn't think that wine would do anything to help his nerves. So, he politely refused when Himmler went to fill his chalice. "Do you have water? I'm too tired for wine." Otto stated, trying to be polite but too exhausted to care if he failed.
Himmler smiled, which only made his double chin more noticeable. "Ah, I think you will find this particular wine more,,, Rejuvenating... Than most, gently. " he urged gently. "Plus, a little inebriation will help you to relax."
...Now that you've eaten your fill, the ritual can begin!

"I Otto Mader..."  Otto repeated.
"A trueborn warrior of the Reich..."


Otto Mader
This is the first novel where I've met German soldier characters, who are not bad guys,,, We'll always hate Hitler, Himmler and others who were obsessed in their goals for Germany, but at the same time, we all must recognize that not all Germans were fighting on behalf of Hitler--rather, on behalf of their country, which is what all soldiers do... Otto and Hans seemed to be serving together during their time in the service and became close friends. Readers get to know their families...and empathize when suddenly their families died just as many families were split by war. Otto had discovered his youngest daughter Petra was alive and found by a nearby family. They had taken her in, and when Otto came back to find his home totally destroyed, he was grateful that they agreed to keep her until he could come again...\

During the first half of the book, a very detailed accounting of the operations, such as Operation Bagration in 1944 are explored and the primary target for Germany in this action was Russia.
If you are interested in the details about the tanks used, you will greatly enjoy this early part! What I found most intriguing took place at the Wewelsburg Castle when the best of the
panzertruppen were pull together to form a new and special unit and were initiated into 
an  elite group that were to have special powers, including a new type of tank...
They each received the ring that bore the Luciferian Crown, the Spear of Longinus and the Teutonic Cross...

And, of course, the various new tanks that were especially equipped to allow connections between the man and the tank...

Interestingly, because of the superior numbers of the Russian forces, on the first meeting of the new tanks, all of them were destroyed except for those driven by Otto and Hans...

But many years later, when both men were out of the service, Petra, Otto's daughter was grown and working, they heard on the news... Where the tanks driven by Otto and Hans had been found... Both men immediately contacted each other, even though they had not been in contact for years! They knew what was going to happen!!!

I gather in putting my review together that there are many of what is included in this book that are, even today, of a dubious nature. None of that was included in this book. The two soldiers had assumed they had been drugged and never knew what had taken place at the castle, but they had not received any long- term changers. They were still loyal to their country, but had no super powers that had been implied by Himmler...just brave, strong men willing to fight for what they believed had to occur to save their homeland...

Also, another point that I need to mention... DON'T take the first 20 pages or so as the overall quality of the book. My guess is that the author got very involved in setting up his story and was not as conscientious about his writing skills...and it shows, for instance, in his handling of dialogue and telling rather than showing... But this overall story is quite fascinating and I decided to start over and continue reading the entire book. Soon I was captured with the science fiction and action that Shultz had created. What happened at the Castle was kinda spooky and mysterious; what happens in the last part of the book is edge-of-your seat stuff that results in an ending that could only have occurred in this situation.

There is a little romance when Petra has found and is living with her father and, after the news announcement, is requested by her father to go talk to the man who had announced what was happening on television... She was quite happy to since she had noticed he was attractive while he was on TV... Fortunately, he had the same reaction when he met her! That relationship does made the final ending one to be appreciated and enjoyed!

War buffs--this is a must-read, I think...  If you like action/adventure with a side of, do check this one! I'm certainly glad I gave the book a second chance after my first start! Do try again if you have the same'll be very glad you did!

He could tell from Hans' face that he felt the same thing he did; the pull was stronger now. He felt both alive and afraid at the same time, as if his very soul were humming in tune with some unheard melody. Which is why Otto had to do a double-take when he got out of the personnel truck and actually heard a melody, though faint, come from the clearing ahead. It was a tune that was somehow familiar, but altogether unsettling...


Meet the Author
Dave "The Tankman" Shultz is a Vietnam veteran that is a Machinist by trade, a Manufacturing Engineer by profession and a wanna be entrepreneur. His latest project, he has developed radio controlled Panther tanks to give this SyFy action adventure story the potential to be adapted into an exciting film commodity.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chapel in the Woods by Susan Louineau Provides Intriguing Historical Romantic Suspense!

"There was a car,. It came round the corner so
fast," she tried to control her voice which
had begun to tremble. "It was in the middle
of the road, I had to swerve..."
"Where do you live?"
We're moving in to the Champ de Foire in
rue Montgommery...
In the heart of every French village, town and city is a memorial to the fallen. This one was weathered, but nevertheless it stood tall and proud; a totem to the past, a talisman to ward off the eroding power of time. Diane was admiring it as she approached the bend in her battered 4-wheel drive...
Diane gasped as a roar and a blur of red filled the road ahead. She omjerked the wheel sending the car hurtling towards the side of the road. The blur sped past bleeding crimson in its wake.
Even seconds afterwards she couldn't remember the impact. There was a throbbing pain in her head. The engine was hissing and steam billowed. As it cleared, shed could make out a man standing next to the bonnet. In his armsBen was sobbing violently. She tried to move but found she couldn't. It was as if her brain no longer controlled her body. She began to panic as she watched her baby son crying in the arms of a stranger and she, his mother, was powerless to save him...She watched uselessly as the stranger shuffled Ben onto one hip and leant over the passenger seat. His free arm came towards her and clamped around her waist, pulling her from the car as if she was made of paper...
Diane looked over at her car, its front bumper was smashed in. It was wedged onto the stone pedestal with its two front wheels
lifted off the ground. Beneath it, a pool of water ran in steaming rivulets on the surface of the duty road.
Following her eyes Marcel interjected. "You're not the first to crash into it. Stupid place to put it. Anyhow it's the mayor's responsibility...In more ways that you can... imagine!"

The Chapel in the Woods
By Susan Louineau

What a wonderful imaginative story that brings three women from three time periods into a historical romantic suspense that is both memorable and enchanting...almost supernatural...
The book begins in the present with Diane and her husband buying a home in the country. She is the one who pushed for it since he was a fireman who was away from home, especially during the time of war. She was totally satisfied with her new home and hopedher husband would adjust to it since he liked living in the city...That was not to happen though... especially when an old girlfriend followed them to the area and now lived in a nearby town...

Helene Godard - 24. Nurse. Training: Couvent de Sainte Marie, rue d'Alabastre, Paris's  Come to work for the doctor in Jaunay. Codename: Francine. She ran it through in her head, just as she had done for the previous weeks...
In just twenty seconds Helene Godard would be born...The dispatcher nodded at her as he pulled open the trap door...Then the tap on the shoulder, and GO!
She hadn't wanted to upset her parents either, but she had to do something and joining the FANYs was the only thing she could do. How could she allow her nursing training to go to waste when it was acutely needed...
...She was the first agent to be sent into occupied territory in such a permanent capacity...

Helene was to work with a local doctor and all arrangements had been made. Only thing was she had no idea who knew who she really was. Her contact, of course, did and had worked with her to get established but he was later killed and knew nobody else to help her until... she met a certain farmer who was the son of one of her patients...
The doctor and housekeeper were hospitable and the doctor took her immediately on his rounds, assigning the ones she would be doing from then on. She bicycled to each of those placed on a daily basis and things were beginning to settle in, except she hadn't found a place to hid her radio, until finally she located the perfect hiding place--with a little help with her saw... 
Retrieving the mini saw issued to her in London she set about sawing through the two other plants in the base of the cupboard, whilst singing an Edith Piaf song to cover the racket as best she could. She removed the planks just as she reached the end of all nine verses. Downstairs she heard the front door clatter open. Madame Clement must have arrived...                                                                            ~~~

"It is the wrath of the almighty that I must suffer now,
on my route to purgatory. This is where I must go to
pay for my sins. Cowardice and self-interest have
driven me since the day of my birth; the day I took my
mother's life from her. By the grace of God I was
offered unto Him, and now I have disgraced his name,
in shunning Him and following my own selfish needs...
The pain in his head reassured him that he had not
yet met his maker...
"Touch me. Swallow me. End this miserable servitude.
I beg you." He lay waiting for a response, but none
But it is Clothilde who I would describe as the person who started the story.  She and Edward...
You might call Edward a "Monk of the Run..." He had left the monastery where he had lived and fled after some tragedy, although what that was never came out.  He had arrived in an area under the rule of the
Montgommery's... But was so involved in
his prayers that he appeared ill...
Clothilde found him and whispered that he
could not stay where he was, that there were
always soldiers riding through...
After they had talked a little, she led Edward to a sort of cave that she had found long ago but had kept a secret...
There she nursed him back to good health...but it was through his instructions to her that she was able to nurse him. Edward had apprenticed and learned much about healing, but didn't feel he was that good to help others--now he was helping himself... And soon he was helping others in the village by curing Clothilde's mother first... Thereafter they both starting collecting plants from the woods and Andrew started writing down as much as he remembered. Everything was going well until the Seigneur, the lord of the manor, became very ill... He wanted Clothilde to come to their home and nurse him. She had no choice and from describing what was wrong, Edward was able to send medicines with her... But the Seigneur had not followed all the instructions about his eating and drinking...
He died and Clothilde was accused and put in prison!
Three scenarios, but before the end of the book, those three times would have been crossed with each other in quite remarkable ways... 
So what do we get? Romance, betrayal, secret agents, murder, romance, war, nursing and healing, medical training/teaching, discovering and solving a long-term secret, baking and catering and a final romance. Now see if you can match up what each of the women were involved with! LOL... Actually, the key thing that connects them is their locations in France and their being near the chapel in the woods. The only hint--the chapel did not exist before these three women lived...
I think I'd call this historical romantic suspense--it's the closest I'd think of to cover the variety of material. Got to say I was intrigued all the way through and there wasn't a clue that would help you project the climatic ending...yet you will love, Just Like I Did!

Highly recommended!

Susan Louineau was born in 1966 in Bombay, India to a linguist father and a school teacher mother. She holds a first Class BA (Hons) in French and English Language from La Nouvelle Sorbonne and the Open University.Susan's international background and the strong influence of her father's language skills drew her to travelling. As a child she was struck by the exoticism of French food and culture and has remained smitten ever since.
Susan has been writing stories since she read 'Brer Rabbit', her first ever story, at the age of 4. 'It has just always been a part of me; almost an addiction! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Darcia Helle's Beyond Salvation - Another Outstanding Michael Sykora Novel!

"The cops won't believe us," Derek said, "She'd be just another runaway. They'll think exactly what you did. She went home. Or up and moved on to another place. Then they'll want our names and we'll have them on our ass while Sara's out there lost..."
Derek straightened his thin frame and briefly met Michael's eyes. He said, "Do you know The Ghost?"
Michael stiffened at the mention of his street name. He kept his expression carefully neutral and did what he always did when baffled. He repeated the words. "The Ghost?"
We've heard the rumors," Derek said. "What he did for Nicki. We know he's real. And someone that good, he'd be able to find Sara..."
"Missing?" Michael looked straight at the boys. "Like disappeared? Or maybe got tired of the streets and went back home?"
Derek and Jay glanced at each other in more silent communication. "She has no home to go back to," Jay said. Derek mustered all one hundred-thirty pounds into an angry shield. He said, "And living on the streets doesn't mean it's normal to disappear. People don't just disappear...

Beyond Salvation:
A Michael Sykora Novel
By Darcia Helle

Michael Smirked. "You two
would make great poster boys
for the diversity in career choices
with a business degree..."
"Business Slow?" Michael asked.
"Only because I've developed this
uncontrollable and most irritating
habit of turning down work...
Michael laughed. "Blame your
conscience, not me..."

Why do I always pick older guys
for characters? Well, they're my 
heroes earlier in life!
I love Michael Sykora and this series! Only wish I could keep up with all of them 'cause I'd hate to see it end! Want to know more about this character--check out his Character Introduction! I picture him as a Clint Eastwood type or how about Pierce Brosnan

"I do know."
"Because those kids told you. What about the proof you always require?"
"I saw Derek's scars," Michael said.
"He'd been whipped. And branded."
"The number 666."

Actually, there are four main characters working on this case including Michael...Cool group!
And Jackson could easily play any of the 3 male leads!

Michael and Sean carried the girls to Nicki's car.
One of them stirred. Her eyes flickered but she
couldn't fight the drug long enough to awaken.
Michael didn't introduce Nicki to Sean. He hadn't
even wanted the two of them to meet. However,
given the circumstances, he had been left with
little alternative...
Michael said, "Drive carefully. Don't give the
cops a reason to stop you."
"Sharon's place is less than a block from here,"
Nicki said... "How do  I explain where I
found them?"
"Say you found them in a park or something,
Michael said. "You wanted to bring them
somewhere safe..."

Avery had a very large congregation

with considerable financial tithing...
And when a child presented some type
of problem for his rich church members,
he had several ways by which he would
help them...

Sara's friends had asked for help and they
soon found that she had very likely been 
taken from the streets, like many others.

You know, sometimes I think I could take up the role of Michael Sykora and some other brilliantly created book characters... Some people deserve to die--because of what they do and the hurt they create.. Don't you think?

This book has one, and more, of those characters you love to hate... 

One is a psychologist handling a program for teens
One if a leader of a church congregation...
One is the preacher's son...
'Nuf Said!

When criminals enter the religious arena as the base for criminal actions, it is even more heinous, and the Divinity Church had individuals involved in kidnapping runaways, blackmail, sex and drug trafficking, in addition to the "tiny" sin of murder...
Even the very unreverend Robert Ward Avery didn't know the extent of what they were into! 
"Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not
permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law
also says."
Robert Ward Avery recited the quote as if he'd spoken it
a thousand times before. That, of course, was because he
had. His voice was deceptively quiet and calm...n the Lord's
house should not be tolerated. However, she did nod in
acknowledgment. No spoken words. Smart girl, she was
paying attention to my word.
"Do you remember the verse from Deuteronomy?"
Avery asked, "The punishment for not being chaste?"
"But if, evidence of virginity are not found for the
young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman
to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city
shall stone her to death with stones..."
Actually, Sara's father was a member of the Divinity Church and was in contact with Avery and knew they were supposedly trying to help her!

Fortunately, Sara had two street friends and Michael had accepted what they had told them, got further information from a friend of Nicki's who was still working the streets, and they moved quickly to try to find her...

I must admit that the complexity and twists just among the criminals--those that were members of the church but involved in activities not known by the pastor really set up this book for an unbelievable and extremely provocative thriller... Readers will not know the extent of what was happening until nearly the end of the book. All I can say is that if I needed similar help as Sara, then I'd be looking for Michael Sykora myself! You just gotta love him! Don't miss this and the other books in this series!


Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny.
Suspense, random blood spatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia's days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else's mind.
Join Darcia in her fictional world:
The characters await you.

Related articles

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Come Meet Fisher - A Boy Just Waiting For His Transformation... By Caroline S. Fairless in The Dance of the Caterpillars!

In the mid 80's, a young child whose name is James Fisher Ford--Fisher to his family and friends--refuses to sever his deep knowing of the mystical nature of the universe. He insists that he be an intrinsic participant in an ongoing song of the spheres. It seems at first that Fisher must pay too great a price for his choices, in terms of his relationships with family and friends. Yet even as he himself is transformed--and the work is deep and difficult--so does he become a catalyst for the transformation of others.

The Dance of the Caterpillars:

In a Time Before Texting

By Caroline S. Fairless

This is a fascinating book. It is the first I've ever seen for children, outside of fairy tales, that emphasizes the need for imagination, creativity--freedom--in each of our lives. The book itself is colorfully illustrated with primarily pictures of Fisher and his family similar to the front cover...

Fisher had always loved to play, to dream, to be outside, walking or just sitting... He would spend all of his time outside if he were allowed. And even at night, he held on to his friend and continued to talk to him until they both fell asleep... It was quite understandable to me why the author had decided to publish her first story and just add a sub-title. It is very clear and should be  for everybody, that the electronic age has greatly changed the lives of children, as they sit playing games on machines, computers, rather than using their own imagination to create the world they wanted to be in through their imaginations.

Actually, at this time in this generation, a child could be facing the same issues as Fisher was, but they could just be hiding behind that electronic device rather than allow a natural transformation to occur. Natural Transformation? Why, by that I mean, when the Caterpillars Dance! 

"Fisher!" she said. "Mama's crying again. And they were talking about
you. I heard them. You been bad, Fisher?
Could be. More time than not I'm, in trouble. And sometimes I don't know
a thing about it. When they surprise me with trouble, I don't even have a
chance to make my story sound good. They're asking questions while I'm
trying to figure out how much they know, and what it is they know
something about.
It was the last day of summer. Of course, Fisher had totally ignored that school would be starting again! He heard his Dad downstairs so wanted to spend a little time with him. Dad didn't live with them anymore and he could hear his mother crying; it seemed she always cried when Dad came now...

"You tell him, please?
I can't do it. I just can't."
"I have to tell him?"
"Yes, you tell him. It's your
idea. And you'd better tell
him tomorrow. You want
Fisher to go..."
I sucked in my breath so I
couldn't hear the rest of
what she said. You want?
Fisher to go? Go where?
I was in trouble so big they
were sending me away?
He was trying to figure out how to get out of bed without waking his sister in the bottom bunk bed...
But she had already sat up and was whispering that Mom was crying again. She went on to say that they had mentioned his name. Of course, she immediately asked if Fisher had been bad! Like she never was!!!
"Fisher!" Mrs. Bennett called
down the aisle and I jerked up
"Yes m'am?"
"Save your laughing for recess.
Now take this chalk to the
board and add up those

Fisher could hear laughter from
the back of the room, but he could
also see the grass outside the window
calling to him.
Fisher fisted his hand and shouted
"Don't talk to me now."
But, of course, the teacher didn't
hear the grass calling and thought
he had raised his fist at her...

Instead of being close together like they used to be, Dad and Mom both had their arms crossed and were on opposite ends of the room... If they kept talking about him, he wanted to see if he could hear what was being said!
I tried to sleep, All curled up in a ball in the corner, wrapped around my pillow like I might never see it again. I wondered what my Daddy meant. Where was I going? I couldn't get it out of my mind. Not school either.
School just let go and didnm't even stop to breathe before it chased away the summer. School plopped in my shadow like a squat toad waiting to hop on my back when I was lying in the park flicking bottle caps and watching the butterflies. A warty old toad, blinking its eyes and gulping flies too fat to move. That's school all right.

He tried to connect with the other kids in school, but nothing he tried would work. After lunch, all he could think about was what his Dad and Mom were talking about. Finally he knew he needed out! Running down the hall and after a short hide under a bus, he ran out into the fields. But by the time he'd gotten home, his teacher had called and his mother was waiting!

And later he heard his mother and father talking about packing his clothes! He saw luggage carried out to Dad's car! He wished he could remember what his mother had said, but he had been so scared and confused... He tried to talk to the grass, the birds, even the next-door neighbor who came out when he heard Fisher smashing his apples against a wall... But it was only later... 

Once his mom had found a strange kind of caterpillar on our door... Now Fisher was out in the woods, walking, thinking and he saw one just like it only orange... Unfortunately he was so busy looking that he wrecked on his bike. His head hurt!

Then he thought he hard somebody ask, "What do we do about Fisher?  And the caterpillars kept coming! Hundreds and hundreds! Soon Fisher was covered!


Has your child had the chance to grow and understand what his new life, at school, at home, or at play might be? This book allows the family to see the respective points of view when some change is planned... It says so much, but in many ways, doesn't say what really is going on... Isn't that the way life is lots of time? This is a wonderful way to help teach as well as learn how your children might feel when the parents are planning a change that needs to occur...

Highly recommended,


      Ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1989, Caroline Fairless has served several congregations, and founded – with her husband Jim Sims – The Center for Children at Worship, a non-profit whose focus is the full inclusion of children in the life of faith communities. She is the author of Hambone, a book for children; Children at Worship ~ Congregations in Bloom;Confessions of a Fake Priest; and The Space Between Church & Not-Church.

Filling in for Fisher's family is
the Bill Sangston family...