Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Run For Your Life By Judith Lucci in Love Under Fire Box Set!

“Hey, John,” Secret Service Agent Rob Henry said softly as he peered at his monitor. “I’ve got some turbulence over on the southern end of the estate, looks like it’s near the riverbed. Can you come over here and check the topo map with me?” 
Special-Agent-in-Charge, SAC John Cole, a distinguished man with silver hair in his early fifties, moved quickly from his desk to Rob’s and looked at the map on Rob’s monitor. “Yeah, I see it. It looks weird. Could it be a vibration?” 
Rob tugged at his ear, a sure sign he was in heavy thought.” It could be, but I’ve never seen vibration appear like that on the monitor. The pattern seems, well, inconclusive.” He reached for his coffee.  
John shrugged his shoulders. “It’s been quiet around here for months and we both know there’s chatter about a planned attack on the Congressman’s estate.” He paused and gazed at the map on the monitor. “Blow it up. Put the image up on the wall.” 
Rob flipped a switch on his main console and immediately a topo map of Wyndley Farm illuminated the entire wall of the Secret Service compound located on Congressman Adam Patrick Lee’s rural Virginia estate. Both men, retired military Special Forces and seasoned Secret Service agents, studied the image on the wall.  
John Cole scanned the image carefully. He’d been head of the Secret Service detail at Wyndley Farm for several years, ever since Congress had appropriated funds to safeguard the nation’s greatest statesman who’d become synonymous with American’s fight against radical Islam. Prior to his assignment at Wyndley, SAC Cole had guarded the President, whoever that was at the time, for fifteen years. He’d personally overseen the Presidential security team. Many of the changes in security at the White House, especially since 9/11, had been planned and executed under his direction. If there was ever a warrior who knew security and security breaches, it was John Cole.  
But, in its own way, Wyndley Farm was more difficult to protect than the White House. He had a tough assignment. The estate was open and wooded and there were multiple ingress and egress sites where a single terrorist or an entire group of hostiles could slip in and out without detection. And, Congressman Adam Patrick Lee had some enemies. Adam Patrick Lee, better known as “the people’s politician,” was a son of Virginia. He was a descendant of the famous Lee family that included Light Horse Harry Lee and General Robert E. Lee who headed the Army of the South against Northern aggression during the Civil War. His estate in Northwestern Hanover County was over twelve hundred acres situated on the North Anna River. 
Wyndley Farm was located less than an hour from Richmond and two hours from Washington, DC. The Secret Service monitored a state of the art perimeter security system with internal and external video and audio surveillance. The residence had electronic keypad locks, sensors, and infrared technology. The interior of the house had a safe room. A six-foot hurricane fence topped with razor wire surrounded the property. The fence also had motion and vibration sensors.  Nevertheless, the vast estate was difficult to protect. The estate included hundreds of acres of forest, several residences, a horse-breeding facility, and multiple barns and outbuildings. Wyndley was a famous horse-breeding farm and multiple customers visited each day. Security was tight, but even in the best of worlds, John Cole knew the farm could easily come under attack. 
Tension was high in Secret Service headquarters. Several attacks on the farm had occurred in recent years, but had been diffused due to a lot of luck and the swift, expert action of the Secret Service. Just a few winters ago, the Secret Service had lost one of their very own. Seth Farmer had been killed by a terrorist seeking revenge against Adam Patrick Lee for an off-the-cuff comment he’d made to a reporter in New Orleans after the terrorist attack.

Run for Your Life

By Judith Lucci

I would image in getting a boxed set put together, it's a lot of work. Run for Your Life is an excellent book but it is not a medical thriller, and  Alexandra Destephano is not a character in the book, so followers of that series should be aware that this is, more, a political thriller that is well worth a recommendation in that genre...

I was reminded of John McCain who had a stellar reputation as I read about Congressman Adam Patrick Lee, who had been serving America well, in fighting  against fanatic Islam.  He also had a large estate that was the home of his family...  It also was a horse breeding farm with hundreds of acres. The Secret Service had been assigned to guard Wyndley Farm, since there had been a number of attempts by terrorists to seek revenge...or a trophy by their fellow countrymen...

The latter was what drove Syrian extremist Salmud Hafiz-- he wanted to garner praise and more importance and his drive allowed him to consider any type of action to do so, including murder. The author's decision to include American-born terrorists as characters, in my opinion, added a significant dimension to the story as it brings home exactly whether a religious conversion of these American's has actually occurred, or whether they were merely disgruntled and chose to make a break, thinking they would have a better life... Billy Jack Walters quickly realized his mistake...Hafiz was ordering them while he sat and watched and was expecting the digging under ground that Bill and his friend were doing, to go faster... When Billy complained and left, Hafiz made his first mistake by following him and leaving him in a provocative manner for officials to find... his head in a public restroom--dead!

The murder added to the fact that Secret Service equipment had already picked up vibration that had put them on higher alert... quickly changed what was happening to prepare... 

The personal element of the characters was key to the  quality of the book. Family and close friends were in danger and one of those was a newly adopted baby who was brought back to America after a battle...Now revenge was to be had and the baby was in danger plus those that had been in that combat were targeted for death. The storyline is complex, with edge-of-the seat tension as readers watch to know that, once again, good wins out over evil...

There was some concern that I had that the security team was too loose in the followup, implying they were not efficient, in order to provide a more dramatic tale. That is, I felt that the security agents were not given their due so that the main characters became the heroes. This was opinion based upon early detecting of vibration, without adequate followup... This led to a bit of credibility for me about the overall storyline. Nevertheless, the concept was consistent, well drawn out, and the final method for attack, as brought in by the author, made sense, was well written and provided a climatic ending that was quite satisfactory... Do check it out!


Dr. Judith Lucci is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best-selling author. She's won awards for the Alexandra Destephano Medical Thriller and the Michaela McPherson "Two Sleuth's and a Dog" Crime fiction series. In 2017, Viral Intent (Book 3) Alexandra Destephano Series) was awarded a Gold Medal by Readers' Favorites for 'Best Political Thriller' as was her crime thriller 'The Case of Dr. Dude (Michaela McPherson #1) for a Gold Medal for 'Best Amateur Sleuth for 2017. She has contributed to four anthologies and collections and is the creator of Author 911: The Authors Guide to Writing and Medical Information. She is a registered nurse and college professor and holds graduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Virginia. Judith always like to connect with her readers and is available at

Monday, November 26, 2018

Latest by Aaron Paul Lazar, The Asylum, Appears Now in Love Under Fire!

No matter when I hear the word Asylum, I immediately think of an old song that was sung in the movie, Snake Pit..."Going Home"... The song evoked such sympathy for those crowded in the older asylums, with only one thought. They wanted to go home...

St. Michael's had been an asylum for many years. Now it had been greatly upgraded, but still had the same purpose--to house those that were mentally disturbed... Or was it?

As her mother slid the tray out of the oven, Carmen thought about giving up her apartment. She knew she should have saved more money, but her blasted car 
had needed one repair after another for the past two years, and she’d barely made ends meet. “I know you’re right. But I feel like a failure. I need another job. Fast.”
“You’ll find something.”
“What? With my limited experience? All I’ve ever done my whole life is work in
that sardine factory. I check fish for freshness, proper packaging, and weight. How desirable are those skills, mom?”
“Come to dinner tonight, baby. Let’s talk about it. Rocco said they’re hiring at
Saint Michael’s. They pay pretty good, even though it’s not the nicest place in the world to work.”
“St. Michael’s?” Carmen made a face. “You mean working with all the, um, crazy people?”
“Rocco says we should say ‘mentally ill,’ or some term like that. He says we
can’t call them crazy. It’s not proper.” She started to loosen the cookies with a
“Is it dangerous work?”
Her mother grimaced. “No more so than working with a snake like Dixie, I
guess. But Rocco would be there. He’d have your back.”
“True.” Carmen drained the tea in her cup. “You really like him, don’t you,
Rosita snorted a laugh. “Well…yes. I do.”
“You gonna get married?”
“Oh my goodness, I don’t know.” She batted a hand in the air. “Now, try one of
these cookies. They’re Miss Lolly’s favorites.”

...Rosita nodded. “We missed you too, honey.” She glanced at the man who sat beside her, his head bent low over his plate. “Now, you want to tell Rocco what happened?”
“Okay.” Carmen took a deep breath and turned to him. “Rocco?”
He straightened and gave her an interested smile. “What’s up, little Angel?”
She warmed to his nickname for her. Rocco had always been the gentlest man
she’d ever met, and he always made her feel comfortable and safe, unlike any of her own boyfriends. “I need a job.”
“What’s that?” His eyebrows shot up. “Something happen at Rocky Shores?”
His voice was low and soft, with a touch of a slight Southern drawl.
Rocco had come north many years ago when he married his beloved Maybelle,
whose family lived in Maine. She died eight years earlier when visiting her sister in Kansas. The tornado had swept the car into the sky, dropping it into a field miles away. They’d both died instantly.
Carmen went on to tell the story of Dixie and the planted drugs. She’d already
shared the news with her brother and sisters, so they listened again while she
explained what had happened.
His eyes narrowed. “You want me to go have a talk with those high-and-mighty
Munros?” He cracked his knuckles. “I’ll teach them not to mess with you.”
Carmen laughed. “I’d love it.” She took a sip of her milk. “But for now, I just
need a job. Mom says you’re hiring up at Saint Michael’s?”
“Well, yeah. We are. But I’m not sure you really wanna work there, Angel.”
Her mother gave her an encouraging look. “Go on, honey.”
“You’d be there, right?” Carmen said. “And Mom says they pay pretty well.”
He sat back and exchanged a glance with Rosita. “You sure about this, Rosie?”
Rosita buttered a piece of French bread. “Carmen’s a big girl, Rocco. She can
handle anything those mean nurses can dish out.”
“Please, Rocco? Will you put in a good word for me?”
He shrugged and gave her a half smile. “Okay. If that’s what you want. But be
warned, most of them folks up there aren’t real nice. And I don’t mean the patients; they’re a hoot. It’s the staff.” He stabbed a meatball and took a bite. “Maybe you do this only while looking for a good job. Then it’ll be temporary.”
Carmen nodded and reached for his hand. “Thank you.”
Rosita kissed Rocco’s cheek. “He’ll take good care of you, honey. Nobody
messes with my Rocco.”

The Asylum

By Aaron Paul Lazar

This is not the usual drama presented by Aaron Lazar. Sure, love comes into the picture fairly early, however, the thrust of the book relates to the inner workings of an asylum for the mentally impaired. St. Michael's had been an asylum for many years; however, with new ownership, it had been upgraded, especially the inside facilities, so that it catered to a clientele who was rich and expected comfort for their family members.

Carmen Garcia had been set up to be fired from her long-time job, because of jealousy--she had started to date the boss' son and his old girlfriend wanted her new competition...gone...

She had given up her apartment and moved home into the attic because of the numerous family members. She was happy to see everybody, but she needed a job...and, with the help of her mother's male friend, Rocco, who already worked at St. Michael's, she was interviewed and hired as an orderly assistant. But as time went by she learned that in emergency situations, especially. everybody was called upon to help in any way necessary...

The receptionist had been kind and given her a few play down her looks. They didn't want to have pretty girls working there... and it helped so she was hired immediately. The orderly assistant turned out to be handling and stocking supplies for the facility, mopping and taking care of accidents of the patients...But after being around fish for years, Carmen didn't mind.

Routine set in and she had a chance to get to know some of the patients. Lollie, her mother's boss, had been placed at St. Michael's recently, and Lollie was thrilled to have somebody that was close to her friend and helper Rosita... In fact, Rosie came in routinely with baked goodies for Lollie, but made enough to share and the patients loved her...

Only one thing raised some concern--when she had been introduced to the director of the facility, he had made a point of talking about discretion, security...and that his word was final... Of course, Carmen expected and did just that...until... later...

She was also introduced to Dr. Michael Worthy, who was the nephew of the director...and was surprised that he was much friendlier than anybody else she had met... Of course, Dr. Michael was handsome and easy to be attracted to...and he felt the same way... although that mutual attraction became a problem quickly!

Carmen was often asked to help patients to their room. It was then that she talked with that individual and began to wonder. They were effective communicators, knew what was going on around them... As one man and woman came to trust her, she was told similar stories...the families placed them in the home to get rid of them, and control their estate in their absence. And often that included the patients being drugged excessively... When Carmen was in one of the rooms when the director visited, she asked about the patient and almost got fired, being screamed at for questioning the director's orders...

Something was wrong...but who and what was responsible. Carmen began to investigate and keep track of questionable things...But could she, alone, do anything to help the patients? I think we have always heard stories about how patients might be treated in homes for the mentally disabled. Lazar has made this sad, but important, issue, into a fascinating suspenseful mystery that not only is interesting, but important for all of us who may have relatives in all types of facilities for the elderly... 

As always, Lazar as a wonderful storyteller keeps readers interested, with the activities of the characters and before the end there is dangerous action as the climax of the book takes begins! It's different from his other books, but one that provides the heartwarming story we have come to expect,  that underlies the mystery. Highly recommended.


Note: This story is now only available through the Love Under Fire Box Set... A major deal for only 99 cents for a limited time! Enjoy! Watch for more individual book reviews as I read them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving with Margaret Caso...and Family... on Sullivan Street...

Author Margaret Caso writes for her family--first, with her From my Kitchen to Yours recipes from family and friends and now, with Sullivan Street... The Book Description tells it all...

Sullivan Street, By Margaret Caso Sullivan Street is not just an address; it is the name of the memoir written by Margaret Bosa Starrett Caso. She tells about the house where she was born and lived in for the first years of her life. The house is located in Berlin, New Hampshire, which she describes in detail. Her family has always been important to her, and since she is the last remaining member; she has taken it upon herself to describe the house and its surroundings, the city of Berlin, where it is located, and the people there. She describes the City of Berlin and tells about the Bosa family and how they all got to Berlin. There is a section for each member of the family where Margaret describes his/her interaction with the others there. The book is unusual because it is filled with pictures, beginning with the old wringer washer that her mother used that had to be brought out to the kitchen and she had to connect the hose to the sink, and then drain it also into the kitchen sink. here are stories of the Starrett family—the first marriage of Margaret Bosa. Her years at college—Mt. St. Mary College in Hooksett, NH and a picture of the wedding of Margaret and Adolfo which took place in the beautiful room at Hanscom Air Force Base. The last pages are devoted to pictures of the 17 grand-children—10 boys, 7 girls. Some pictures were taken when they were very young and then pictures as older. The last picture is of Rudi Starrett, a medical student at U of Michigan, who with a Sherpa, walked many, many miles to arrive at the base of the mountain facing Mt. Everest.

It is clear that the author's life and interests surround her and her family, and I thought it quite appropriate for her as a member of the Branden Books Publishing company, to document her memories in a photo book, with narrative. Margaret writes as if you had joined her for lunch or stopped by the house and she begins to share her life's story...

My memoir would not be complete without my years of teaching at Reading Memorial High School--27 wonderful years. It was from 1974 when I arrived to be a substitute teacher for Gladys Roberts in the business Department. I had taken many business classes in college. In fact it was my major.
The many large typing classes meant that there are so many in Reading who are young (relative term) out there who learned to type in my class. I also taught Accounting for one year when Mr. Richard Gillis, our Department Head left on a sabbatical. It was a challenging thing to be sure. But I did keep one chapter ahead of them.
It was my last seven years that I remember with fondness because I was allowed to start a newspaper The Orbit and have a journalism class.
It was what I can say was my highlight in teaching. We purchased the Adobe Pagemaker software, which I still use doing the covers of Adolfo's publications.
I would meet with the students and we would, together, decide what they would write about. It could be about an event coming up, a game or a show that the students were performing. It also could be about National News and our opinion of what was happening. Then there was one young man who was interested in traveling--because he had already traveled extensively with his parents. I let him develop his own column...
I cannot tell about RMHS without mentioning my dear friend, Dorothy Woods Quintan. She and I met at Reading early on. She was a Guidance Department Counselor and we worked together on a team--one from Guidance (Dotty) one from the Business Department (Margaret) and one from the English Department (Ellen Gorsey) to assist a group of students that were having difficulty in class...

Margaret takes the book up to the present, but she starts back in the 1940s about where she lived and shares much about her family members, including pictures, especially of her close and extended families. I couldn't help but think about all of the photographs that we have accumulated, but, now, with so many gone, nobody knows who they are. That compels me to add that Sullivan Street makes an excellent example of the possibility of creating your own picture family memoir!

Setting the story from her perspective allowed her to roam through years of her life--and how and who were part of that life and how they affected her. I smiled as she even included "As part of my new life, I'll tell you about the 3 young men who lived next door..." Of course, it just happened that one of those young men became her husband and makes a great lead-in for the "in-law" family of Ken Starrett, even including a picture of a portion of the genealogy of that family...

Of course, I was most interested about when she met her present husband, Adolfo Caso, and found that they married on May 2, 1999...Their wedding pictures are included, along with one with the "Ferrari Testarossa" which they took on their honeymoon. If you've read some of Adolfo's writings, you may already know about his "baby..."  Speaking of human babies, Adolfo and Margaret have 17 grandchildren--a true blessing they both add... and the last pages of the book are pictures of those children. I can't help but imagine what it would be like to have joint a Thanksgiving family gathering, if they could ever get together somewhere...large!

Actually I can, since one of my cousins who, like Margaret, dedicated her time to helping keep the family pulled together... Every family needs that individual, don't you think?!

I realized quickly that this is a book that is a "prize" to have for a family history. When there are multiple marriages in a family, especially, it allows children to come to know the combined members and welcome the connection established forever... And, of course, getting to know the children always becomes fun and exciting as grandparents welcome all of them, no matter from what branch of the family. Note that pictures I included her were found on the Internet. All of the pictures, going back to the 40s and moving forward, however, include family, places, and things...I know you'll enjoy them!

Margaret notes: Her family has always been important to her, and since she is the last remaining member; she has take it upon herself to describe the house and its surroundings, the city of Berlin, where it is located, and the people there...

On Thanksgiving Day, many come together to be with family, and close friends. Margaret Caso has shown us in this book, just how all of us can take the time to record that family life we all share. I enjoyed the opportunity to go through the book, even as a distant acquaintance. Do check it out! Family is Important!


Happy Thanksgiving to All!

from Book Readers Heaven!!!


Friday, November 16, 2018

A Little light Music to Enjoy the Afternoon - Featuring Ezio Pinza - Narrative from Bravo! by Guy Graybill

South Pacific - Tony Award!

Enzio Pinza (1892-1957, bass)

Ezio Pinza, a native of Rome, was born into a poor family. He considered two other professions--civil engineering or cycle racing--before setting on a singing career. Pinza's singing debut came when he was in his early 20's; but he is remembered, today, for the work he did while in his fifties.

His debut occurred in 1914 in Bellini's Norma in the Lombardy town of Soncino. Later, after military service in the First World War, he returned to singing. Ezio Pinza sang at La Scala
from 1922 and at the Met from 1926 until 1948. As the best-known bass singer of his day, Pinza sang all of opera's major Italian bass roles.

The total singing roles that he mastered were said to be near the hundred mark. His professional and personal reputations were both built on his role as the title libertine of Mozart's Don Giovanni...

During his frequent tours, from city to city and country to country, Pinza was reported to be steadily rehearsing Don Giovanni's behavior while away from the theatre.

Among Ezio Pinza's favorite roles was that of the title character in Modest Musorgsly's Boris Godunov, a role he insisted on singing in Italian, even when the rest of the cast was singing the English version!

When he was 56 years old, ancient by some standards, he moved out of the Metropolitan Opera House and onto Broadway, to star in a lead in South Pacific, for which he won a Tony award. 

He also appeared in another play, Fanny, as well as in operettas and motion pictures. 

One is left to wonder how successful he might have been if he had every learned to read music...


Many thanks to Guy Graybill, for allowing me to feature individual artists who appear in his book, Bravo!

His latest novel is... 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

R. D. Murray Debuts With Page-Turner - My Dead Blue Caterpillar!

Karen had met her one true love in high school and they'd been married ever since. Karen did everything for him--when he came home, she had dinner ready and waiting, got up early to iron his clothes so that by the time he would leave for work, he looked great. And his smile and loving goodbye held her throughout the day...

Until it didn't. Harold had isolated Karen--she hadn't seen her family for three years. That wouldn't have been so bad, except Harold worked constantly and Karen was often alone...and lonely.
Meet Karen
 Good Karen and Bad Karen

It’s funny, just looking at him reminds me of how great a night we had and how horrible I feel this morning. Harold is like alcohol. He goes down so nice and easy, you can have the time of your life, but when it wears off, you’re reminded of your pain. Shit, you might even vomit on yourself, 
but I love alcohol and I love Harold.

...I remember sneaking off with him and fooling around on the roof of the school that night. We were so scandalous as teenagers. I think to myself now, what the hell were we doing? But then there is a part of me that says, I wish we could hold onto those days now. I miss those days. 
I don’t know what happened last night, but Harold made me feel like that young girl again. That girl he so eagerly wanted. He brought those feelings back at least for one night. The way we made love last night was so amazing, but this is not who we are. We are not the same people anymore. 
In our early thirties, we have become something else. We have become animals in our own right. I guess I can’t think of the good without the bad creeping in. You see, I’ve been fighting with two personalities in my brain for some time now. One wants me to die while the other wants me to live. They always interfere with each other. One thinks with evil intent while the other has a lot of good in her, even though I think she’s bad as well at times. Let’s say she’s the least of the two evils. Just don’t let her hear you say that. 
I call the two parts of me Good Karen, and Bad Karen. I wake up every day wondering which personality will win. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s who I am. I love my husband so much, but I feel like he is slowly fueling the fire. He is feeding the badness in me. I love him dearly, but he is the one ruining my life.

As I gaze at this cover, I realize how much it represents this very unique debut by R. D. Murray. Karen, the main character, is hidden from life by her husband, who she loves dearly. But when left alone so much, she begins to dwell mostly on internal conversations, trying to understand how she got this life, when she loves her husband so much...

We all have both good and bad tendencies in our human nature. But once Karen realizes that her isolation is not what her life should be, she begins to look toward some answer, some way to change how her life has evolved... You see, Harold trusts Karen. She has followed whatever he has said and done whatever he said...until...until she is no longer willing to be the silent member of the marriage. She starts by going into his home office, where she has never been before...

What she finds there is immediately understandable... Harold has a book of women's names and addresses--with notes about some of them, perhaps saying she is his favorite, or other thoughts...


Kill Bill was mentioned in the book, and it was easy to see the correlation for what happens as Karen discovers that not only does her husband have one mistress...he has many! Bad Karen was quick to tell her to kill him, or kill herself to get away from him (which she often tried to get her to do)... but Good Karen would talk about her life, telling her to find that independent, special woman that she had been before being not only subordinated by her husband but also his not being faithful!

Karen wanted revenge--the question was how was she going to get it?

Karen had decided what to do, but she could not ever have expected what secrets started to be revealed. I began, like eating a potato chip, for which it is always said that you can't eat just one...I read the book in one setting, but the taste of the book is not easily swallowed and enjoyed. Karen had decided on revenge, but discovering just what her husband was involved with, related to violence, criminal activities, and the betrayals she discovered were overwhelming... Actually downright disgusting. Her drive for revenge grew...

I wondered about the potential connection between a serial cheating husband and whether there is an evolutionary movement into criminal activities. And then, at the end, with still another surprise, Harold begins talking about Good Karen and Bad Karen... I admit that I felt deprived as the book ended...I wanted to proceed on with the story, refusing that it was possibly ending as it was in the last few pages...

The book will not be for everybody, so make sure you read sufficient information/reviews to decide you want to read the book. In many ways, I felt the book was aimed more at women than men, although the next book may prove me wrong. Many women are purposely left in a vacuum of loneliness by a husband who supposedly works many hours. Karen, instead of thinking through the situation that had been created by her marriage, had allowed it to fester, internally believing that love was enough to keep herself happy... But love without a responsive feedback soon festers and breeds unhappiness and...possibly...contempt...

Murray presents a dark drama that is, at first, unbelievable, and even mind-boggling. No, it's not a realistic tale, nor is it totally fantasy. Some may think that the activities of Harold are overkill. In fact, each of the activities with which Harold was involved are now happening all over the world, in one way or another. Sexual exploits and Human trafficking are just examples, horrible to consider, but worse in the reality. The author creates a world in which Harold, along with like-minded individuals, live to respond to their own desires and their thirst for money and power, caring not about anybody who is hurt by their actions. Even the bright spot of the introduction of a police officer became a dark scene... as he too faces one of the common crises happening today.

Yet, Karen's responses seemed to be right--Good and Bad Karen was rarely considered. Had Karen gained sufficient courage and strength to ensure what needed to be done, was done? You may want to wait until the next book is out before reading the debut, but I do highly recommend you read this first book. It is an important book, but does need the second one to be a satisfactory read. Still, this is a story like no other, amazing, gut-wrenching, and is almost compulsively to be consumed...  I've followed the author on Amazon so I will know when the next book is ready! I was that impressed with it... 


R.D. Murray was born and raised in Harlem, New York. He has written for Alfred Hitchcock magazine and has a Bachelor's Degree in cultural arts from Empire State College. His love of writing thrillers, mysteries and suspense novels has translated into an explosive debut novel.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Eerie Walk Through a Fantastic Fantasy World Created by Mark D. Giglio - The Patron's Wife

We mounted the last rise. El Paradiso, protected by a high, white washed adobe wall, dominated the view. A vast prado, or meadowland spread out to the north and the south and in front of me. The jungle crept up the rugged foothills in an extreme incline to the eastern edge of the plateau and was stopped by the rear wall of the compound. 
El Paradiso was a relic of colonial days with its white stucco colonnade, roofed in red tiles that defined the court yard and side yards. The large two story house sat back maybe twenty meters from the colonnade. The tall windows were framed with heavily decorated stone casings, undoubtedly imported from Spain or Italy. Much of the stucco was chalky and crumbling, and long dark stains bled from the corners of the windows and roof scuppers. All of the trees, plants and vines around the house were cut back. I saw an octagon-shaped reflecting pool done in yellow and blue tiles reminiscent of something one might see at the Alhambra.

I was tired and the wine was having the effect I wanted it to. I undressed, blew out the kerosene lamp and crawled under the netting. The cool sheets felt wonderful against my skin. I listened to the insects and frogs and other night noises that rose up from the selva in a shrill, cyclical chorus. The milky glow faded and then brightened as the clouds passed between my window and the moon. 

I closed my eyes, and was just about to slip into sleep when I heard a loud thump outside the door that lead to the balcony. I opened my eyes and sat up. I heard a deep, hollow ratcheting sound followed by labored, guttural exhalations. Something big was out on the balcony.
My heart raced. A dark shadow flashed across the window, landed on the railing and was gone. I got out of bed and went out onto the balcony. Under the bright moonlight, in the mist-shrouded yard below, I saw a jaguar and I also saw a naked woman standing very close to the animal. Both looked up, gave me long curious stares and headed off, stopped, turned back and looked at me again before they entered into the jungle thicket that met the edge of the plateau. 
I strained to see them, but they had disappeared. The French doors to Hector's and Alma's bedroom also lead out onto the balcony. I looked in and saw them both in bed, asleep. I wondered if I should disturb them with what I saw, or thought I saw. I went back inside my room and locked the door. I thought better of telling Hèctor and Alma and went back to bed. I did not sleep that well. 
I was already up, dressed and tying my boot laces when Leòn entered the room. “Señor, I see you are almost ready. There is coffee and toast and mango for you in the kitchen.” I grabbed my topographical charts and followed Leòn down the stairs.
“Leòn, do you sleep in the house?”
“Did you hear anything last night, around eleven o'clock?” “Maybe señor, I heard noise from the stables. But that was much later, much closer to the sunrise.”

The Patron's Wife

Mark D. Giglio

He had wanted to get away, so had taken a project that would take him to a place he'd never been. All that was important was that he get away from where everything reminded him of Sylvia--the woman with whom he'd had an affair, and who now was pregnant, staying with her husband. All he could think about was whether the child...was...his... It would haunt him for the rest of his life, wondering if he had a son or daughter, being raised by another man... But now, he was content to explore and try to settle into his new home away from home...  And that's when he heard a woman's voice, quoting poetry aloud...

“All the glory of my golden tresses gleams upon the air, How it falls about my snowy shoulders, round and bare and white; My lips are full of love as rounded grapes are full of wine, And my eyes are large and languid, and full of dewy light; Oh, I lure the idle landsmen many a league for love of me, For I am the Siren, the Siren of the sea.”

Loving poetry as he did, he recognized the poetry of Marietta Holly and without thought, automatically, followed on with the next verse...

“Sometimes they press so near that my breath is on their cheek, And their eager hands can almost touch the glowing bowl I bear, They can see the beaded froth, the ruby glitter of the wine, Then I slip from their embraces like a breath of summer air; Oh, I lightly, lightly glide away, they come no nigher me,
For I am the Siren, the Siren of the sea.”

Aguila had now met Senora Alvarez, the wife of his new boss. She was beautiful and much younger than Senor Alvarez... He knew he had frightened her, for there was nobody else who could quote poetry within the house, when he responded back to her.  He knew he had frightened her, for there was nobody else who could quote poetry within the house, when he responded back to her. He quickly introduced himself as the individual who had been hired to design a solar system to generate electricity; she quickly initiated further conversation and let him know how pleased she was that he had quoted the remainder of her poetry... Poetry proved to be an instant bond between the two, but Aguila knew he would have to play it straight in such close quarters--and because he still loved Sylvia...
He had no idea what he would be called on to do during the time he spent there...

Senors Alvarez and Aguila spent much time talking about the plantation, El Paradiso, and about their surroundings. Travel into the plantation for supplies would be a challenge and they decided to ride out to tour the next morning... In the meantime Alvarez kept talking about the animals and warned Aguila not to go into the selva and to be careful of la cienga because of the anaconda... Aguila quickly remembered how his fingers might have been bitten off as they hung into the water and a anaconda swam up to check them out!

But now he was learning of a legendary giant anaconda that lived somewhere nearby and learned that it was said: “The Great One guards the path to the mountains. Only the honest and selfless and worthy may pass.”

Readers will get a chance to meet the Great Anaconda and will be quite satisfied with that adventure!

In the meantime, Aguila was left at the plantation quite often as Senor Alvarez attended to his crops and he seemed quite willing to have him alone with his wife. Soon, Alma and Emilio were reading poetry, getting to know each other and soon took a fateful walk through the mist...

Alma explained they were heading to the selva, while Emilio quickly commented that Senor Alvarez had explicitly told him not to visit there...

Still they kept on walking... It was there in a hidden lake that they swam naked and then sunned themselves. And when a jaguar came to drink, as they lay on a high large rock, Alma assured him that she knew this jaguar... and while they stayed there, she read from her poetry book, The Jaguar's Dream, commenting that the author must have known the selva...

“Beneath the dark mahoganies, creepers in flower Hang in the heavy, motionless, fly-filled air, Twining among the tree-stumps, falling where, They cradle the brilliant parrot, the quarreler, The wild monkeys, spiders with yellow hair. There the wearied, ominous horse-killer, The ox-slayer, returns with a steady tread, Over the dead mossy trunks of old timber...”

Emilio soon came to realize the great tension within this house, where the owner claimed everything, including his wife, as his possession, and where he openly caressed the servant serving at dinner, only to take her into his library thereafter... Leon and Maria Teresa, the two house servants, were willing to respond to Emilio's questions but Leon was quick to point out: “You white people do not understand. We pass through many worlds every day, the world we can see and the world of spirits. We are always in both worlds. For you Señor, I suggest you stay in the world you understand, and do not venture into the bigger one..." Both of them told Emilio to take Alma away before it was too late...

But it was already too late. Emilio had been pulled in to a world where strong desires were in control, where a spirit could leave the body and commune with animals, for safety, for comfort, or for destruction... It was a different world, where a secret place, the selva, brought them into that spirit world where anything was possible...and where Emilio would meet his first challenge...

Giglio presents readers with a fantasy that may not be new--there are other novels where humans and animals merge. It's exciting to read impossible fantasies that are still so intriguing to consider! But it is the human drama that happens there at the plantation, much like that of southern plantations where an owner believes everything belongs to him and he is free to manipulate and ensure that what he wants to have happen does indeed happen. Only thing is that love was not to be part of the plan. And when love enters, it almost always wins out over evil... And the climatic ending...actually, two different climaxes so different and yet so much the same, brings readers into the wonderment of that world where spirits are a natural part of existence... It is eerie, strange, and yet captivating. We are caught in the spell of The Great Anaconda, deciding

Wow! This is a personal favorite for me and highly recommended for your consideration!


Mark Giglio has always been fascinated by the connections people have with each other and the world around them. What we do or what we say is a result of our most recent and our forgotten ancestors. Like our ancestors, we will have that same effect on countless people yet to be born. He has always loved history, the humanities, art, philosophy, anthropology, world religions and the natural world. All of these things have been a fountainhead of inspiration.
He spent the first nine years in upstate New York and the next ten in southern California. He started his adult life when he joined the USAF and got his discharge after four years. He then went to SDSU and earned a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. At that point, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Somehow that Great American novel didn’t materialize, not for want of trying.
Life gifted him with a wife and in no time a little boy then another and another. Not able to wait around for those huge royalty checks to roll in, he fell back on his family heritage and became a craftsman. He needed something he could do to make a living, cabinet and furniture making to be specific. He worked for an outfit called California Design Group for a couple of years; then decided to go it alone.
This exacting work satisfied his need to create something by designing and making furniture. He has been doing that as a lifetime career. He did have a lapse of reality and worked for the USPS and delivered mail for four years … not his cup of tea. He even earned a teaching credential and tried his hand getting a teaching position. Historically and economically speaking, it wasn’t the right time.
Over the years he kept up his writing with little vignettes or the occasional short story for his own amusement. It wasn’t until he made a specific piece of furniture, The Alchemist Cabinet, that he felt inspired to write seriously. He had entered his art furniture in contests and came away with first and second prize ribbons.
A few years back he had a rush of creativity and produced a dozen short stories and a 450-page historical novel, “Alchemist Gift.” He learned patience and the value of editing from that experience.
His latest novel is “The Patron’s Wife,” The novel involves a love triangle. The setting is on a sprawling plantation in the Ecuadorian highlands and the Amazon jungle below. We meet Hector Alvarez the controlling patròn who is nearly thirty years older than his unhappy wife, Alma. Alma was invited by her dying cousin to help Hector deal with his grief and put the estate, El Paradiso in order. Emilio enters the story. He is trying to escape his past and his latest failed relationship by taking on a project in the remote reaches of Ecuador. He makes a promise to himself never to get involved with a married woman. Fate takes a hand in this romantic thriller that includes Alma’s and Emilio’s love of Romantic period poetry, the ayahuasca ceremony that enables Alma to enter her spirit animal, the jaguar, and the unpredictable wonders of nature. 
He has also been working on the next installment to the Alchemist trilogy, “Curious Journey”, and has a toehold on the last novel. 
Mark has three grown sons. He lives in Escondido, California with his partner, Mary Ellen Cavanaugh-Wilson. His other interests include painting, piano improvisation, and interior design.