Tuesday, June 30, 2015

U of Wisconsin Press Brings Another Great Mystery, by James Devita, From Beautiful Wisconsin!

Wisconsin - Alfalfa and Corn Fields 
J. McClay/Killing/American Forum

The Killing of Deborah Ellison

Three and a half hours northwest of Chicago, deep in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, I drove past a sign that said Welcome to Winsome Bay, Home of the Wildcats. As I took the next left, a rural, angled lane, the inside of my car suddenly shadowed and cooled as an endless emerald wall appeared out my driver's-side window: Corn, corn was everywhere, thick leaved, rainforest green, eight to ten feet tall. Every square foot of earth in Winsome Bay that didn't have a house on it seemed to have corn growing on it. If not corn, then soybeans or hay: timothy grass, bluestem, red clover, alfalfa. I continued driving, passing field after field of green gridded farmland, the crops pushing right up to the backyards of homes and businesses. 
West of the Wisconsin River, just below Friendship, Winsome Bay doesn't have a bay at all but a medium-sized lake, one of over fifteen thousand left behind after the glaciers melted away  some ten thousand years ago. No one in the town seemed to know why the lake was called a bay when it wasn't one, and no one really seemed very interested in the question. The town had a population of 632 and boasted a high school, a public swimming pool, three churches, and four bars. A sign on the local liquor store said Wine, Cheese, and Bait.
Night crawlers were $2.50 a dozen.

Jillian saved her document, scrolled up to the top, and began editing the first few paragraphs of her new story. At five that morning, she had hobbled into her sweatpants, hustled down the stairs to the kitchen, poured a thermos of coffee--preperked on a timer--and headed out the back door, wide awake and ready to work...

A Winsome Murder

By James Devita

I was just a short way into the book when Jillian McClay appeared and begged permission to do the story on a death of a woman in Wisconsin. Almost immediately I had concluded she was the main character and, through her article writing, would solve the case!

Unfortunately, she was later murdered for writing the articles! She had stirred up a lot of attention of something that had happened recently, but trailed back in history to when it actually started... Needless to say, this novel kept me totally involved in the whodunit! And it was only near the end that I began to hone in on the serial killer. Cool, right?!

Melissa Becker was the first girl that
Deborah Ellison ever kissed. She'd
kissed girls before, of course, when
she was little, at sleepovers, lying under
blankets on living room floors or
sleeping in the same bed with a play-
mate, but that was always practice, as
they giggled it, practice to kiss the
boys. But for Deborah, it wasn't
practice. She enjoyed it. She craved
the tingly feeling she felt when a little
friend's hand accidentally brushed
her body while whispering sixth grade
secrets. There, nested into each other
so close that each could smell the other's
candied breath. Deborah felt an over-
whelming desire to be the other girl,
to be all of her, to dissolve within her...
But there was also a tender story of love, which starts right at the beginning, that grips readers' sympathy and leaves a nagging feeling that somehow this love story is part of the murder case now underway...

Melissa was Deborah's first love. The kind of love that marks you for life, the kind of love that can damage you. She'd felt this way about Melissa ever since middle school, but never dared to say a word...

It was young, new love when they first kissed... But it turned into tragedy when Melissa was diagnosed with terminal cancer... Deborah was never the same after that--but it was for more reasons than that her first and best friend had died. It was because Deborah was now "outed" and the family and community were not the least bit sympathetic. It didn't take long for Deborah to leave town as soon as she was old enough... Unfortunately, she got into the same type of trouble there  that many young girls get into... She had hooked up with another girl, but then that girl introduced her to the man that would make all the arrangements for his new stable addition...

Nobody knew when and why Deborah Ellison had returned to Winsome Bay.

Using the serial articles on the murder that Jillian had begun, readers begin to meet the people in Deborah's home town... But not many were willing to even talk to her... And the police was not much help. In fact, Deborah's father, Tom Ellison, a member of the police force, was grieving and had no desire for the type of publicity that Jillian was outlining!

And right about then, it started to get strange...

Jillian's boss became involved! He received an envelope containing the hand of what clearly was a woman... It was a padded envelope that was often used to send submissions for consideration--Not This Time!

Soon Detective Mangan, who is the character that claims dominance in readers' minds as he, as his partner says, "creeps" individuals out as he stops and stares...and accepts the literary words that comes into his mind... Mangan was involved, and stayed involved, traveling as things got more complicated... And it was the police who discovered the note that had been stuffed at the bottom of that envelope

And who has cut those pretty fingers off?
Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy tears.
What accursed hand hath made thee handless?

This simple overture was selected to help we who have not studied Shakespeare quite so effectively as the author and his character Mangan,  to allow us to see the potential connections to the cases in Wisconsin and Chicago...

And then it was discovered that the police in Wisconsin had kept it quiet that the hand had been removed from Ellison's body... Was these the words of the killer...or were they the words that sounded from Mangan's mind?

Now this one addition to the novel makes it a cut above the normal police procedural or serial killer hunt. Mangan has an avid interest in literature and, throughout the book, quotes from Shakespeare, Melville and other classical authors come into his head, most times bringing words that could be from multiple Shakespearean plays or even from a different author...But they come in response to what he's digesting from a crime scene, which results in some literary quote(s) that supports what the crime or emotions behind the crime might be. A truly intriguing concept that will expose readers to many of the plays of Shakespeare, albeit, the bloody parts...

Actually, the lines above are samples of Mangan's thinking...Here's what the note said...





Of course, everybody started trying to figure out what it was meant to really say. It was only by accident that the word Winsome was finally connected to the Wisconsin murder... This individual by the time he was finished was formally classified as a serial killer.

But the investigation, even when Mangan and his partner joined with officers in Wisconsin, was moving very slow... And every once in awhile, Mangan stops and stares at the floor...his mind picking through all of the literature he has studied all his life, trying to seize on a potential clue or pattern similar to what has happened in today's world...

...and I...with tears...do wash...the blood away...in my heart...vengeance...
in my heart...death in my hand...Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, Blood and revenge are hammering in my head....


Like Patricia Skalka with her wonderful Door County Mystery Series, this time the University of Wisconsin Press brings an exceptionally well-written mystery with literary additions that provocatively grips readers minds as Detective Mangan explores similar acts of violence from the greats of classical literature.

The challenge of correlating the bits and pieces of the literary excerpts brought an unexpected challenge to this reader's normal clue-search technique that forced a tantalizing look into the many plays from Shakespeare and Melville, which resulted in a added bit of learning normally not provided in a mystery novel. Of course, that could have also prevented me from actually identifying whodunit! LOL... But I didn't mind. I loved the literary police officer Mangan and hope to see him in future books... Highly recommended!


James DeVita, an author and actor, has published two award-winning novels for young readers as well as numerous plays. He is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a member of The Dramatists Guild and Actor's Equity Association. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two children.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Michael Phillip Case Crashes Genres With Witches Protection Program - Verrrry Cool!

 When I hear the word witch, I first think of the two from the classic film...

Hey, the beautiful witch's name was Glinda so I was partial to her, you might say... But, then, The Charmed Ones came along and we witch followers were entranced by these good witches as well...

Witches have been around since the beginning, but the most notoriety was when the Pilgrims started killing...people...whether they were witches or not... Sometime during the more enlightened years, the government stepped in to provide protection and the Witches Protection Program was born, according to Michael Cash...

"You're crazy, dude," Wes smiled lazily.

"Not so crazy. They've been around for years, living underground, hiding their abilities. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The history of witches and our country goes way back. Please pay attention to the monitor." Alastair gestured to the far wall. West noticed he aimed a remote at the blank space.

Imaged flickered on a screen West hadn't noticed was there. It filled the room with cinema quality actors, and West Stretched out his long legs, getting comfortable.

It was a black and white grainy documentary style. The words Salem, Massachusetts, 1692 identified the time period. Fields of corn and small cottages, clearly New England streets. Wes admitted the realism of the set...

"I knew we shouldn't-a let Good Prudence in which her potions..."

Witches Protection Program

By Michael Phillip Cash

Wes Rockville is a cop, maybe not the best but maybe part of his problem was that he reported to his father and his sister was a distinguished prosecutor in New York City... But, then, Wes did seem to mess up on what would be several simple cases--like not being able to transport one little old lady...

All he had been told was to not look her in the eyes...But he must have...

And his father was on the line and Wes was given his last assignment, or he would be kicked out! He had been assigned to the Witches Protection Program...

A secret part of the force referred to as DUMBO...

...West ambled to a darkened corner of the street,
pressing the phone to his ear to make sure he
heard the message correctly. He stared absently
at the setting sun that washed the sky to a faint
pink. The light wind ruffled his jacket, sending
a chill down his spine. It was an unfriendly street;
there was not a pedestrian, baby carriage, or even
a delivery bicycle in sight. The policeman in Wes
scoured the facade of the brownstones, looking
for a hint of life. There was not even a chirping
bird. The sound of cars racing overhead created
a wind-tunnel effect, so the whole place had an
unearthly air.
"The line you've called is currently out of service"
Shit, he messed up. He blew air through his lips
in a rush. "Please leave a message after the beep."
Closing his eyes wearily, he repeated the number
again, then looked back at his phone, the glare
painting his face blue. The sun disappeared,
bathing the entire street in blue...West shivered
in the cold. Wait a minute. He paused. What
line that is out of service takes messages? He
redialed the number. West anticipated the beep
and held the phone close to his mouth. He said
softly, "Alastair? This is Wes."
Now I found this totally plausible. After all, humans don't have a good history of accommodating to individuals that are different from them... Besides, it had been recognized that many witches were able to provide support for the needs of the world...

But that's when the fun begins...

(pop. less than 1200 according
to Wiki)
Wes is unable or unwilling to accept that witches actually exist! But now, he will be out of a job if he doesn't proceed with the reassignment. So he heads on down to DUMBO--Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, but he couldn't find the place!

And the rest of his getting to work is, to be brief, mind-boggling... To Wes, that is; to the readers, it is humorous and quickly gets us totally involved in this strange world where quite a bit of their work is saving the good witches (Davinas) from the bad (Willa).

"The accusations caused a great schism.
Witches split into two factions: the
Davinas and the Willa. Both groups
continued to practice their brands of
magic even though they disappeared
into the fabric of society. Davinas
mastered medicine and healing. You
may have known one as a teacher or a
nurse. They used their powers for the
good of mankind.
The Willa went dark--very dark--
embracing the nefarious arts and
anything that thwarted goodness.

But first Wes sits through a lengthy documentary of what has happened to witches in the past...in which Wes is certain that Jennifer Aniston stars!  His mind began to wander a little, but was quite shaken when he realized he would no longer use his Glock!

First he received a Steampunk Vaporizer, then a Darrow Trance Lifter,  a mirror, which he was told would be used--at times when he would know how to use it--and, finally, a roll of duct tape.

And then he was given his first assignment. He read through the folder materials and responded, "I won't do it." Which was quickly followed by a need for him to turn in his resignation... In other words, he didn't have a choice...

He was going to be introduced to Junie "Baby Fat" Meadows of the Meadows Witch family. On the way, Wes at least found out she was Davina...

Soon they were in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and entering the home of Pendragon Cosmetics, known to most women throughout the world. It was a lower-end cosmetic found in most drugstores.
A squat woman wearing a polyester skirt and a vest-like apron covered in shamrocks walked down an alley of containers, a clipboard under her arm and a pen designed to look like a tree branch in her gnarled hand. She had unkempt, mousy hair, with a tortoiseshell barrette holding it back from her bulbous eyes. Spider veins created a road map on her flabby face, and most would call her ugly. Junie "Baby Fat' Meadows didn't mind. She had a magic mirror at home, so it didn't matter. 

And Junie is about to be called to the office by her "pain in the ass" boss... She has an idea of what is going on, but it could be dangerous for her to do anything on her own... Morgan, niece of the head of the company, soon also learns she is in danger... Alastair and Wes are called to the rescue. Wes takes one look at Morgan, thinks she can't possibly be a witch, then decides he doesn't care if she is!

And then the fight is on!

"You're a witch!" Dominic shouted.
"No shit, Sherlock," Scarlett replied, pointing to a container thirty feet high. "Box them in, seal the door, ship them all to Singapore."
...Scarlett turned to the vast cavern of the warehouse, the drumming from the men imprisoned in the metal box becoming fainter as she walked the aisles. "Oh, little playmate," she began iin a singsong voice. "Come out and play with me. You'll bring your dollies three. Climb up my apple tree..." her voice had a breathy quality that echoed down the deserted warehouse. "Cry down my rain barrel. Slide down my cellar door..."
Morgan's foot slipped. The singing stopped abruptly. Scarlett's eyes widened, an evil smile on her face. She wet her lips, beginning the song again. "And we'll be jolly friends..." Scarlett tossed aside a heavy container with her bare hands, her mouth a snarl as she finished the childhood ditty, expecting to find her prey. "Forevermore!" Morgan wasn't there. Scarlett sniffed the air; she knew the girl was nearby. "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

There is an underlying edge of humor throughout the entire book, but some places are even hilarious! For me, I enjoyed this one more than any other novel by Cash. This is the kind of humorous mystery that is worthy of a series and I hope the author considers more activities for the Witches Protection Program! The characters are wonderfully drawn, reminiscent of other witches stories, but with a unique twist that, I believe, is the first providing witch protectors!

The blend of old instruments used by witches, such as brooms, combined with contemporary cosmetic schemes has brought a delightful, fully satisfying--and without much violence--novel that is exciting, audacious, with an innovative humor that will be fun for all readers--YA and above!


Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series.

Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming kids in the background.

Connect with Michael on:
Facebook: facebook.com/michaelphillipcash
Twitter: twitter.com/michaelpcash
Web: www.michaelphillipcash.com
Email: michaelphillipcash@gmail.com

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Giorgina Liguori Pens First Y.A. Novel, E. V. & Rome

(Kathryn Prescott)
E. V. Blog

1. My name is E. V. Well, obviously, that's not a name. I've reinvented myself. I did that when we moved to Florida. Hated my name. Named for a great-aunt I've never met. She'd been dead a while when I was born. Just shows you the family's prioriy: honor the dead. Screw the kid.

I've wanted to do a blog for a long time. I think I want to be a writer. I love putting words on paper. The only thing wrong with being a writer is that so many never make it and I like a full fridge and nice clothes. So I'm not sure.
Anyway, since I know no one down here, I guess this is the time to begin.

September 2

Mr. "L" says part of my IEP (buzz word of the decade, if it's a word) is to keep a journal. That he believes might let me get rid of some of my anger. Yeah, so you know what? If I wasn't pissed off all the time I'd be crazy. Want to get your jollies Mr. L. well here goes.
My mother is a screwed up psycho. My dad never married her. He married someone else and they had two kids. Her name is Marion.
(Alex Pettyfer)
Dad is OK. I mean he calls, gives me some money sometimes. But you know what I think about a lot? I always wonder about?
Would Mom be the freakin nut job she is if he'd married her? Please notice Mr. L. that I am trying not to use "profanity" - I hope you appreciate it, as I love to use p-rofanity especially like here where it would be so totally right.
My name makes me sad. Rome. I asked my mom where she'd gotten that weird name and she said she named me that because she'd never gotten there and always wanted to. She said the name was about maybe I'd get there, but I could see in her eyes that she didn't think that would ever happen - I'd end up a total loser like her.

E. V. and Rome

By Giorgiana Liguori

This is a debut young adult novel for Lignori, although she has two other books available--Samsara and Creating the Creative Child. She has 18 years of experience as a teacher and counselor with teenagers and this book is actually true situations that really happened, although the characters who are fictional have been endowed with all those situations.

It took me a few minutes to get used to the book's format--two teenagers are responding to a school assignment to keep a journal--a blog for the year, at which time it will be turned in. Readers do not know what the plan is for the IEP for either, but we quickly begin to understand each teen's issues. Somehow it felt more like we are reading their diaries--something that should not be read unless it was permitted... Nevertheless, I read on...

Ms. M gave me a nickname. Cobain. She thinks
I look like him. I'm flattered, I guess. But I
don't really look like him...Rich before he blew
his head off, he on on this show Unplugged. I
watched it on the Internet and he was so good.
Just him and his guitar. Acoustic. Playing
Apologize. It was so haunting. So beautiful.
Then he kills himself... I heard someone say
he was on drugs. But I remember thinking.
He just felt too much. Then one day Ms. M
Played "Dear Vincent" for us and used it
for a writing prompt.


I had no real reason to choose those playing the two characters, except they are actors playing in YA movies. And, they are of an age when all of the teenage angst is the hardest to understand, both for themselves and for others around them.  Both E. V. and Roman start out telling us about themselves.

Basically E. V. hates her mother and it seems the feeling is mutual according to E. V. Even if her mother doesn't hate her, she's a snob and plays the role to the extreme, so there is a good reason for E.V.'s feelings, it seems. E.V. is considering becoming a writer so she tends to provide longer entries than Rome. 

Charlie. I really love Charlie.
The dog really looks at me. He
listens when I talk to him.
He seems to know what I'm
thinking or feeling.


There is a distinct difference in the writing style for Roman and it is easy to move from one entry to the next--more specifically, the entire book contains nothing more than entries from each of the two characters! Somehow it works, although you may have to wait to learn something you are curious about, to find on another entry. Roman is a normal guy and just shares a little about what he enjoys--music, his dog, Charlie who you can tell is Roman's best friend...

...I guess I'll put down some stuff I like. I really like Metallica. That song, One, especially. They are so good. I like a lot of the old stuff. Like the Goo Goo Dolls and Nirvana. Yeah, I really like Nirvana. A teacher once called me Kurt Cobain. I could kinda see that I look a little like Him. Not so fragile looking. Me, I mean. And I would never off myself. No. I think I'm too curious about stuff. I'd want to see what was going to happen next. But I love playing the guitar

Overall, it was apparent that the author does indeed have excellent skills and knowledge from her counseling experience. The blog/journal entries are solid with the voices from each character being realistic based upon their age and sex...Their interests are varied and reflect the particular setting from which each have grown. 

For instance, it was refreshing to see that E. V. had found the life of the rich and famous not to her liking and that, although it did drive a wedge between her and her mother, she could logically see that something was not right with her mother's choices. But then, she, too, played the routine games between teens and parents...

I made myself throw up today. No, I'm not bulimic. I just wanted to stay home from school. So, I had to convince my mother that I was ill. That finger-throat-thing worked well, but my throat hurt afterwards and I was nauseous the rest of the day. It's actually too disgusting. I think I'll find another way to stay home. Gagging is a terrible feeling...

10  I just saw August Rush. It's a great film. I wonder: does love like that exist? 
Can a person really hope for that? Do such men really exist? Are there men
who are romantic? Who can really love someone so much? To search for her, to give up so much to find her and to KNOW, to just KNOW that this is the one and to settle for nothing else. And, also, if a man did act like that, was so fixated to find this woman who so haunts his thoughts and dreams, how removed would that be from Sting's "Every Breath You Take..."

At the same time Rome lived a life where he had few choices--his parents were who they were and he had reacted emotionally and intellectually to that environment. For instance, Rome writes about his younger life, admitting his own choices were not the best...but right for him...

Ever since fourth grade I've been labeled a gifted underachiever. I see it more like a kid who doesn't give a sh.. (see Mr. L, I'm being a good boy) If I could skateboard, play video games and put graffiti around the neighborhood, I found that a lot more fun that studying times tables.
Then I got some social worker who would sit me down and tell me how lucky I was to be gifted. How I can choose any area of "endeavor" for a career. So, I'd say with a straight face (she was a total idiot) "I want to sell shoes. I love sneakers. Do I need a college degree for that? Somebody's got to sell shoes, right?" And she's tongue-tied. The first time I did this I was only nine. I think that's a pretty cool kid. I mean what could she do? Say people who sell shoes are dumb? So the next year, they sent me to another one. This one was prepared. He wore some t-shirt with like Twisted Sister on it. Like I was supposed to think he was cool...

E.V. and Rome--of course, they know each other. They are doing the same project, right? But how they meet, how they feel about each other...well, that's all woven up in the daily activities of each individual. How does their relationship affect the other parts of their lives? Does it change them in some important ways and does their relationship develop into something more?

The real lives of any of us are affected by daily activities. No matter who or what we have strong feelings about, there is always something else that pulls us away from something or someone we prefer to do or be with. Frustration, longing, fear, anger are all emotions that we face in so many situations...If you, perhaps, are facing some of your own, you will undoubtedly find something in this book that will express what someone else is doing or saying about the same things. It's an excellent book for teenagers--and any adult who wants to know more about their own or their teenagers friends. 

The book itself if very well written and moves constantly from the perspective of E. V. and Rome. The amazing character development is readily apparent as readers begin to know each of the characters and respond to their respective situations. Truly an authentic and provocative book that will not only intrigue, but may be helpful related to tough personal areas of life that teenagers, in particular, may face. For instance, I found the brief touch with bulimia uniquely done and yet with such found determination in response to trying it of potential value to all those who may have or could consider this type of action.

Highly recommended for YAs in particular! But a great read for anybody!


Giorgina Liguori is a writer for television, of novels (Samsara) which is based on Brian Weiss' ideas on reincarnation and asks the question: what if..., books for parents and grandparents (Creating the Creative Child), and the true-to-life story of real teenagers in E.V.& Rome. She has had published hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers. She is also a counselor, group leader and workshop leader for women and parents and does public speaking engagements around the country. As a teacher and counselor, she has 18 years experience. For five years she worked as a supervisor for the NYC drug and alcohol prevention program, teaching parents, teachers and guidance counselors how to work with at-risk teens. As a writer she has worked in NYC as a television writer and as a journalist and editor. In addition, she has worked on newspapers in Florida and North Carolina. She has done, and continues to do, workshops on writing, and "re-writing your life" which blends writing and psychology. She was trained by Cambridge University in England to teach American high school students Cambridge University writing and literature classes. She is a born and bred New Yorker, a proud "downtown" girl, but is now working in Ft. Lauderdale. She's lived in Morocco and "the furthest place from home for this New Yorker", a mountaintop in North Carolina. "My greatest achievement", Giorgina will tell you, "are the amazing young adults I have raised: each so different; each so wonderful."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reprint and update of Review Not Previously Posted in Book Readers Heaven - First Novel by Thomas T. Kemp

The Clouds are high and moving fast..
The woods across the road stand tall,
but they're as naked and as cold as the night I last saw you
The road from here to where you stay
seems so long and far away.
I have put too much distance between us
since the night I last saw you.
Winter is howling and holding on.
My bird feeder needs replenishing each morning
as I am afraid the birds will not make it through the day.
I want them here this spring if it ever comes.
It has been so long since the night I last saw you.
I am coming with the highest cloud tonight.
I am going to fly up over the roads and leave winter for a while.
It has been too long since the night I last saw you.

How many times do you find a book that excites you, that intrigues and yet leaves you wanting more--Well, I found it!

This book, The Road From Here to Where You Stay by Thomas Kemp, is the best action book I've read in many, many years. Perhaps it was because the author lived along with me; i.e., he'd be around the same age; only the author left the US for Vietnam , while I began to work back in the early '60's. This book demanded ongoing attention, once I started to read...and it is definitely one I will reread many times! Not a usual activity for me.

Do you remember when the announcement was made about the assassination of John Kennedy? I remember I was in my office where I was working at a local university. Thomas Camp, who was already in the marines had already been to Vietnam when our President was shot. Thomas, a native of Ohio, becomes very real to the reader, as he tells the story of his career...as a trained killer for the US Government. Thomas tells the story as if he were sharing it with you personally; and he talks to each of us, as he moves from story to story, reliving each memory so that we, too, become a character.

Thomas Camp, based upon a set of tests administered when he entered the Marines, was designated for special service. He was to use his special talents of almost a photographic memory and an exceptional memory for details, but also to later become a "marker" for the US Government.

Thomas entered the service at the age of 17; and his fellow Marines determined that, as a young virgin, he needs to be introduced to, the ultimately named prostitute, Jewelko. But, young Thomas surprises the older woman with his gentleness and his words, and Jewelko and Thomas fall in love. 

The touch of gratification she offered was electric and instant. She, on the other hand, held herself back. I searched for her favor while grasping for the bend of her body. That let me feel the hesitancy she would only now begin to shed as heat came from the surface of her wet glowing skin. Then came the almost involuntary flow of moisture and the emitting sounds of her confessions of love for me. She had held back the feeling of loving so long. Now I had to do so little, just hold and touch her; and the  happiness and joy of life resulted in laughter that ran from her lips and embraced our souls. The rest of my perception of what could have been was to be placed away, time was running out for us...

Age Difference

There is this disparity between us
    But it is only in my mind that the
Dissimilarity lives

Our age difference . . .
You are a young man
But very manly in the way you treated me
You are wise beyond the years God has given
Your wisdom shines
It does not change my feeling for you

You will always be in my future
And an important ingredient of everyday
There are many sad circumstances for us all
These things we can often dispel with
The credits we build up in our relationships with others.

The qualities in us mirror and reflect
All the goodness And create a home in our souls
Where love stays. 

This love is not offered as payment 
for our goodness to others
But it is given as hope and faith
In the present and the morrow
This love may look back
But it will not go back

Love does not ride the tops of the waves
But rather rests in the depths of its
Own pleasure of giving.
This love you gave to me willingly. 

Love will always outshine the physical part
Of the day the earth moves, and the sun stays still
And shines over everyone
Yet even in darkness, I can sense the love
Which holds the warmth of the Summer of our lives
Love will shape you, and the polishing
Of your spirit will glow past the day's end
And into the next world. 

Yes, I love you still and cry over the words
You pull from my heart when I think
What could have been possible...

Once in awhile, Jewelko reappears in Thomas's memories, through the letters she wrote to him; but major events, including the assassination of John Kennedy and President Diem of Vietnam, bring about a major role for Thomas--one which he has hidden, as mandated by presidential orders, for more than 30 years.

Remember that Lyndon Johnson became president upon the death of John Kennedy. Remember also that many claimed that his murderer was killed immediately there in Texas. But many wondered and questioned and could not believe it. Now you will find out why you questioned. Now, as you meet Thomas, you will see a plausible alternative, that the US Government had those, who really murdered Kennedy, actually trained by Thomas to be able to accomplish this feat. You will visit Texas and review the facts and understand how the assassination was committed. Then you will live through many, many years while Thomas tracks down the six men, on behalf of, and as ordered by...president(s).

Thomas shared much of the pain and anguish of those who felt abandoned there in Vietnam. He shares how his hand moved to kill, because dying would be better than the torture being endured by those he killed. And, he shares how he tracked down those marked to be killed, those he hunted in response to direct orders.

Why? Why does he decide to share this story? For many years, Thomas has lived in Ohio. He married and became a father and the past fades--until a young girl enters his life. She is a young girl who was raped and indoctrinated to a wild life and she weaves a spell around Thomas until he is addicted, addicted to who he later comes to refer to as "his angel of death." Jean Marie's life and love brings back memories of his past life, in such vivid detail, that Thomas begins to relive his role as a personal vigilante, deciding that he must now hunt down and kill the men who raped and sodomized his lover.

This book combines sex, love, death, murder, and war in a combination that normally would be offensive and unbearable, except that the reader continues to visualize Thomas, as that very young officer--the good guy following orders and trying to save mankind. And, in the end, Thomas Camp can be nothing else than a knight in shining armor, still trying to save the world.

Needless to say, I recommend this book to all who have an interest in "life-time" history, fiction based on the history happening at that time...all those who enjoy "on the edge" action...and those who enjoy seeing the "good guy" win. But has he? Only you can judge.

 I must alert you that you may find that some historical facts are not correctly presented. Indeed, the book moves continuously from one time to another and may be hard to follow at times. It is very long and includes poetry that may break the reader's attention. There are several themes running at the same time, mostly via flashbacks. To me, these issues were not disruptive; however, to other readers, they may be. Still, I have to admit that I loved it and recommend it highly...especially if you were young and involved during the war in Vietnam...


Thomas Kemp, a Fascinating, Passionate Storyteller, Presents Second in Series, The House on High Bridge Road...

“OH NO !” Her lips form the words silently, until her brain catches up. She screams, hushing the room. All eyes follow hers outside the observation window where fire engines and ambulances race to the smoking fiery debris of the airplane that just took off minutes before. The Sony TV blares into the silent room, “Our CNN affiliate in New York is telling us there has been unconfirmed reports out of Kennedy Airport and that Flight 800, TWA 747 bound for Paris France, has disappeared from radar, east of Long Island minutes ago. We are already receiving reports that a plane blew up and has fallen into the Atlantic. Stay with CNN for more about this tragedy, wait, yes, it is confirmed, a TWA 747, Flight 800 has crashed miles out in the Atlantic.” 

Arlene, shaking , feels Thomas’s hand on hers. The rest of her is numb. Millions and millions of thoughts are charging the room, the Airport and the country. Thomas claims two of those thoughts, “I was supposed to be on that plane and it blew up!” and “Terrorism!” Within moments, every television station in the country was speculating what went wrong and how could this happen. Close to the canyon walls off the Atlantic coastline, Thomas sees the Angel of Death hiding her smiling face in the deep sea. 

It appeared as if the airplane had both wings blown off. An eyewitness had seen a fireball falling somewhere off the coast of Long Island. Whatever happened? Both of them sat in shock as they realized both were just spared. Arlene spoke first, “I remember you now. Death follows you wherever you go. She must love you.” Her disposition suddenly changes and the bartender and other patrons glare at her when she yells, “Hey, I was suppose to be on that plane! I deserve a free drink!”

Thomas was studying Arlene’s hands, nice and warm. She stunned him with her remark. If cold hands indicate a warm heart, what do warm hands mean? Her cold and cutting demand most likely came from shock; he could not believe she could be that heartless and self-centered . The danger he saw in her eyes earlier overcame the warmth he had imagined. Was he like a mosquito, risking his life for a warm place to land? Arlene pulls her hands out of his and begins searching and meandering for everything on the tabletop. Her fingernails are plain, nothing fancy or loud . She is five foot seven or eight with short blond hair, touched up some to hide the gray. Her skin’s too soft and smooth for a woman her age and her body screams to be touched. Arlene has enough ammunition to lure most men and Thomas senses she uses it. 

Later that night, she proved him right. She sent her driver home and they wound up on her attractive couch in the middle of her television show’s sound stage office. Although he knew, he asked who she was to be able to afford her own driver and limo but didn’t wait to find out as their bodies linked. 

Arlene purred and rubbed
 her leg up and down his,
“You sure know how
 to fix me, baby.” 
“My god man, don’t you know I am Arlene Stuyvesant? I met you at Jackie Kennedy’s house years ago; I lived right below her. You were some sort of repairman, but I knew the minute I saw you, you were not a fix-it man , at least not in that sense of the word. God does provide for us does he not, furnishes us with our daily bread and such. Look what he brought me tonight!” 

Thomas, having had enough of her patronizing, was unyielding to her request to spend the night. He got up, dressed, and started to leave. Arlene bounded from the large poster canopy bed as if she is a thirty year old and sets herself firmly in front of the door. Wanting a chance for at an armistice she says, “At least let me call you a cab and have someone take you home. It is dangerous out there this hour of the night for someone Death loves.” 

“Have someone take me home? My home is in Ohio but I promised I would go to Paris to meet my children and I am going tonight.” 

Oil and jet fuel will kill almost anything living near the surface of the water. Surprisingly, little was floating towards the beaches, to the warm places mosquitoes come to rest for the night. Close along the shoreline, a small pleasure yacht was motoring south of the city. The Statue of Liberty, lighting the way to freedom for millions of others, watches it pass by. Four men squat on the shoreline, mumbling to each other , scratching through bits of debris deposited there earlier that evening.


The House of High Bridge Road
Part Two of the Road From Here to Where You Stay

By Thomas T. Kemp

The thing you will most remember about Thomas Kemp's writings is his poetic passion... Somehow common verse becomes tender words of love and you, the reader, feel as if you are receiving his words--just you... Kemp is a brilliant storyteller. He merges his own life experiences and emotional responses with any given story he is sharing with you either through one poem, or through a novel. I read his first novel many years ago, but discovered while I was writing that my review had never been published at Book Readers Heaven...So, that will appear as a separate article! Do check it out!

Present Day: The phone in my pocket
 started its riotous chiming and startled me
 to a consciousness of sorts. 
“Hello this is Thomas Kemp.”
 Come back now, Thomas, I thought.
 I needed to be in the present.
 Someone wanted me. “Thomas, 
this is Terrace. Tell me, have you started
 on your new book yet?”
One of the things I have always suggested to authors, when asked, is to select a photo and use it as your identifying brand, rather than some cute kitten or other icon. Thomas T. Kemp has learned this by using the same cover format on each of his latest poetry books and this second novel... It is easy for readers to place him in the role of the writer--of poetry or, in this case, the passionate scenes in his novels... Hey! I've been in love with him for years and even got my name in this book! Of course, all his other female fans feels that same emotion, so I'm not unique, LOL!

Kemp writes as if he were sitting across that picnic table on his patio at High Bridge Road, and telling you about his life...You begin to see a pattern--he loves women and they have always been woven into whatever else he might be writing. Read any of his poetry, and you will usually find an unknown female in it somewhere. But what makes this intriguing in his novels is that there is normally one primary female main character with whom he becomes involved... At the same time, this is surrounded by innuendo of his professional life and how and why that female is involved with that side of his life as well.

In this case, we meet Blythe Danner as Arlene Stuyvesant. Thomas Camp and Arlene met when both of them were kicked off a flight that had been overbooked...and wind up intimately together that same night...

The thing for readers is that we are not quite sure how he feels about Arlene. Was their meeting even just as coincidental as it seemed? There is an ongoing shuffle of different assignments he has had, together with some of the present life of the author. You will learn some of the names he has been assigned and/or used during his life. One thing you will quickly realize is that they are all the same. That is, his fiction, even his poetry, is fiction based upon his own life... Quite frankly, because of his poetry, it would be hard for readers not to be able to identify his wonderful style of writing, so he's accepted this and allowed his true self entry into the book in a few places...

I am trying to figure out whether

 my desire to give myself to you i
s selfish or unselfish. I lust for your
 words and hands and the sound of 
your voice brings a delicious ache
 to my breasts and belly. 
Lust is bearable, but longing is


I do not know what I’m longing for. 
Perhaps you do, perhaps you sense
 where my heart is hidden.

On the other hand, Arlene is quite fictional, the character being an internationally known advocate for animals who has built a successful career out of her personal love. Readers will learn why her emotions took second place in her life...

Until Thomas enters... Has she fallen in love with him? Really? If not, let's just say she has fallen in lust with him and Thomas is willing to accommodate her desires... Spends time thinking of how her life has changed since she they've been involved and writes to him...

The letter read: “Thomas, Nice things about Limos, some have laptops and printers. I decided not to go to Paris but to call and have my boys come home with me. I picked them up on the way over to the airport to find you. They brought me Portuguese bread from the Nantucket bakeshop, flour-dusted and fresh— sorry you missed it… the bread that is. So I’m here now in my office, inhaling the wonderful smell of yeast , feeling good and bad at the same time . Yes, I have two small sons but no spouse, their father lives out on Nantucket Island. I don’t think I will ever recover from the tragedy of the plane crash. I think my X would have liked it if I had been on the plane. I’m grateful to whatever force there may be that I was spared, but I feel guilty I was spared. Why was this privilege extended to me and not to the others? I remember the “prophet” saying we are all given 24 hours a day to spend, but it is apparent that one day, we will cash in early. I was granted another day and for this day, I feel joy and sadness. Feeling good and bad is a condition I find myself in often. Perhaps it is a prerequisite for serenity, feeling the dual nature of all human emotion and ultimately becoming comfortable with that duality. I am trying to hear the words behind your words last night; I know they must be there. You told me you did not want to break my heart, well, fear not— you first must find my heart in before you can break it!...

Scowling, the little lines above
 her lips were revealed as she
 tried to whisper, but
 immediately became too loud;
 “Thomas come back here!”
Soon Thomas was traveling to her home whenever they could get together. Being lovers was satisfactory for awhile, but Thomas was the one that always was doing the traveling--Arlene's schedule was always too busy... Still, their time together was always good and they've become close...

 He watches her eyelids close tightly as he whispers, “How do I say this any simpler? Do you know a ray of light that is so strong that it could still the illumination coming from your face right now? You are satisfied with my touch —I know that. My voice and words that I’d wrapped up so carefully, seem rusted and yet…” His lips stopped moving as the words dried up, their work done...
“Your body is so firm, the stern side like soft skin pulled tight over a rocker.” He moved even closer, dropping his voice, “I am the man who knows your secret strength. I know how much you always wanted to be…” 
Quickly putting her hand behind his head, she pulled him to her wet lips. They were almost stoic kisses at first and then she thought about what he had said and she began to trust he did know her secret. Her face gently roamed across his and back again a hundred times before she pulled away. Without missing a breath, he was back at her ear, “I know—it’s okay, I understand. I even like the feel of it on my mouth.”
 “How do you know so much about me so fast?”

Readers will be privy to stories of men Thomas has been assigned to kill, one of the latest being J. Edgar Hoover. There is mention, as I've said, that Thomas wants to meet Arlene's father. If you're an intuitive reader, you will have a potential reason for that, but, instead, Kemp sets up his readers and then drops us in the middle of what his assignment has and will continue to be... If you don't like to read books that leave you hanging, you've been warned.  

For me, however, I didn't mind because I know I'll be reading his next book just like I've read all of his books... You see, he's not only a favorite author, but has become a friend...

This book will appeal to romance novel readers as opposed to history buffs. There is insufficient detail in this book for more than, shall we say, establishing Camp's credentials as a military retiree for special projects (?)government(?) assassin... I'm wondering already about how and if Thomas can salvage the growing relationship with Arlene Stuyvesant if  it turns out her father is in the middle of the assignment Thomas is working on....

Which is more powerful--blood or love??? Can't wait to continue reading... Wonderful romantic suspense!

Highly recommended!


Read reprinted, jazzed up review of the Debut Novel by Thomas Kemp coming next...