Monday, January 31, 2022

Linda S. Prather Presents Latest Novel - Checkmate!

 

It was only as I thought about writing about Linda Prather's Newest and maybe her best so far...at least for me... was the old debate about Nature Vs. Nurture... Yesterday, I mentioned that one of my nephews had Asperger's Syndrome which is a form of Autism...a growing concern for parents in America... I also mentioned that he was well-loved, grew up with close family's care and joy in his life... Was it his nurturing family who influenced his life so that his limitations were to disappear?  
This book gives you time and thought-provoking questions about how sociopaths or psychopaths are "born..." For me, the two male main characters--A FBI Special Agent and a Serial Killer... who, in the book begin both a board chess game, and a deadly chess game in reality... where replicas of people were carved and became actual pieces to play on the chess board...  is an excellent study of the NVsN issue.  






Prologue 
Simon walked through the empty rooms of the run-down house, oblivious to the dust his shoes kicked up. The years had not been kind. Flowered wallpaper hung in strips down the living room wall. The pink of the baby’s room had faded, and the once-white trim was a dusty brown. 

Rock-a-bye, baby… *

He clapped his hands over his ears to shut out the sound. “It wasn’t my fault. I told him Adam could have saved her.” He trudged back to the living room window, the image as clear as it had been twenty-seven years ago—the screams, the blood on his hands highlighted by a sliver of light from the full moon. He raised his hands and stared at the stains no amount of soap and water could wash off. He was damned. 
“I have to be cleansed.” 
Rage flowed through his blood. He’d begged them to send Adam, pleaded with them as he’d bared his soul of his innermost secrets. It wasn’t his fault so many sinners in the world pretended to be good, honest people. He’d known as soon as he’d seen them and the blood had appeared on his palms that they had to die. They had been chosen. He opened the front door then stepped into the balmy night air. It would be over soon. Adam would come home, and he could be cleansed. His thoughts turned to the package that would be delivered in the morning. Adam would understand. Together they would finish the game. Together they would fulfill their destiny.
~~~

My name is Adam Blackstone. My badge is stamped Special Agent. To be honest, I was not quite sure what agency it was from. It opened doors for me that would otherwise be closed, and that was all that really mattered. The agency introduced me to local departments as a profiler. I considered myself a demon hunter—not demons in the biblical sense, but the two-legged monsters that walked among us and killed for pleasure or profit, the ones we called serial killers. 
The agency had deemed I needed a bodyguard, and I was currently waiting for the seventh candidate. Three had decided they didn’t want the job prior to the end of the interview, and three I had dismissed before the interview had started. The last thing I needed was a mini-skirted, stiletto-heeled, cleavage-showing female by my side. 
The current candidate was two hours late—not the best recommendation if she truly wanted the job. I watched from the upstairs landing as she parked her ancient blue Fiat in the driveway. Unlike the other candidates, she didn’t immediately grab a briefcase filled with her training accolades and rush toward the house. Instead, she climbed out slowly, lit a cigarette, and stood surveying the estate grounds. I let my gaze travel from the top of her head to the tips of her tennis shoes. She hadn’t bothered to dress for the interview. A lightweight cotton blouse was tucked into well-fitted, faded jeans. Her holster lay low on her hips, and her badge gleamed in the late-afternoon sun. 
Her finely arched brows knitted as she turned her gaze on the hundred-year-old renovated home. She wasn’t at all impressed and, instead, appeared to be mentally ticking off the pros and cons of guarding the house and grounds. She took a final draw off the cigarette, stomped it out, and picked it up. She placed the butt in a plastic baggie before reaching inside the vehicle and retrieving a jacket. 
As she headed up the walk, I turned from the window and made my way to the downstairs conference room to await her announcement. 
“A Miss Samantha Prescott to see you, sir.” 
“Thank you, James. You can send her in. This shouldn’t take long.”
~~~

The main female character, Samantha (Sam) Prescott was not what you think of as an FBI agent... she had no concern for her appearance, was late for the interview, and even could be seen smoking a cigarette before she came to the door, even though two hours late. Further, she had all the vices--drinking, smoking, drugs sometimes, which were quite opposite to Blackstone who led a quiet life, with scheduled meals and a butler and housekeeper to handle all issues for him. He was thinking she would be an impossible fit, yet he hired her--she had seen what he was working on and actually provided competent input for the case!

I began to see Sam as a very concerned woman. Justice for her was most important, and she aggressively acted on behalf of those who needed her help to obtain it... But it was the pair of agents who, together, made this book, which actually increased my reading speed from the norm...watching and seeing the two interact. Prather was so persuasive in character development that readers were caught in their anxiety, their fear, and their need to avenge those who had already been murdered and strive to keep the serial killer off the streets by one way or the other... Prescott had actually been reassigned to another agency. Her job was to protect, or possibly, kill the FBI Agent, Adam Blackstone if he proved to be the serial killer that was now being hunted!

In general, Sam didn't have much patience with her, supposed peer, Blackstone. He was obviously so rich he really didn't need to work, and, yet, he was able to think through what the serial killer might be doing and thinking. Intrigued was not even a beginning definition for what Sam was to learn... Bluntly, that Blackstone had been diagnosed as a psychopath...

And it was very easy for him to emotionally connect with the man who was killing and, who, obviously, was interested in "playing" the game with Blackstone himself...  

Surprisingly, to both Sam...and readers... Blackstone was not embarrassed to explain his personal history to Prescott. In fact, he really needed to, to be able to work with her on the case! Because, soon, it became very clear that it was Agent Blackstone's history which was now being used as a basis upon which those to be killed were selected.

Given the proliferation of both fictional and non-fiction television programs spotlighting serial killers, the reason for those diagnosed as sociopaths or psychopaths, has been almost avidly explored, wanting to know...WHY?

Is it a function of genetic creation or is it how a child is nurtured? One of the things that the agents pinpointed quickly was that all or most of the victims had Biblical names. Were they being judged and put to death? But how could the children who were killed be judged as guilty of anything? And slowly, Blackstone and readers discover that Simon, who is the serial killer, knows Adam...and so much more about what had happened many years ago, in the local town where they both lived and in the house where once Adam lived.

Could Adam continue to work on a case with which he was so intimately involved? Or, even, as Sam sometimes feared, was Adam actually the serial killer, investigating the case on his own terms and, now, with her help!

By the time the book ends, I believe Prather has given readers an answer to the nature versus nurture debate... I agreed... but were all those diagnosed born into the same mold? There seems to be a potential plan for further books with this pair, working in their own agency... I would certainly applaud that decision if Prather decides to move these two characters further! 

In any event, fans or new readers, I believe, will be completely blown away with this latest novel by Linda S. Prather. It is breaking the mold of any other serial killer books I've read or know of, by having a psychopath seek out another psychopath... Prather talks about needing to challenge herself! Well, she's done it in spades this time and all readers, me among them, will want to watch as Adam moves forward under the influence of his new partner Sam Prescott!

Brilliantly conceived and executed. A fast-paced, page-turner that you won't be able to stop reading until the very end! Don't miss this one! 


Friday, January 28, 2022

Dishonorable Death, Second in Trilogy, by Linda Prather, For Pure Enjoyment, is My Favorite!

 

Something evil this way comes. 

I shuddered, trembling hands splashing coffee onto my bare legs. Since becoming a detective with the Chicago Police Department, I’d acquired a certain sixth sense, an atmospheric shift that caused my stomach to clench when something bad was about to spring from the shadows. That clench had become a painful knot, and I shrugged it off to nerves and emotions. 
Today also marked the sixth-month anniversary of my twin brother’s murder, and I mentally willed the phone not to ring again. I needed the downtime to submerge myself in self-pity and guilt. The pain was there, still raw and festering. Most of the time, I could shake it off. I didn’t want to shake off the guilt. Since Kyle’s death, I’d fed it daily and pushed myself to the limits of human endurance to solve every murder that crossed my path—especially those with drug connections. Dave had accused me of charging at the enemy with no thought of safety, and he and Greg were beginning to worry that I had a death wish, which, of course, was utter bullshit. 
I raised my cup for a birthday toast. “Happy birthday, Kyle. Maybe if I wasn’t such an anal jerk, I could have saved you, and we’d be celebrating today together.”
~~~

I've always been especially interested in both the cultural and spiritual component of Native Americans, having read many fiction and non-fiction books, especially, recently, of those by Manny Monolin Moreno, an Elder. I've been intrigued how their spiritual lives included the natural world around them, as well as their ancestors. Later, evolution occurred as some became involved in life of missionary Christians who came to tell them about Jesus. But I had never heard of any of the ritualistic acts that were included in this book. Kudos to Prather for her excellent research and knowledge sufficient to merge into an exceptionally complex series of murders. Warning: these were necessarily graphic, but not so much so that they could just be seen as clues to consider how and why the deaths happened. Good over evil is always what I'm looking for in such books!

Dave came to stand beside me as I took the envelope, 
lifted the flap, and pulled out the single sheet of paper.
 A body a day keeps the demons away. 
It’s time to dance with the devil, Kacy.
~~~


"Most of us have a good and evil side.
Things happen, and sometimes
we just can’t control the evil.”

Retrieving my cell phone, I located the pictures I’d taken of the rock formation and Sicily’s body. “The rock formation appears to be a Native American dream catcher. We’re hoping you can give us some insight on what it means.” I watched closely as he studied the pictures.
Redwine shook his head and passed the phone back to me. “That is not a true dream catcher.” He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a small tear-shaped object. “This is a dream catcher, and each part has a different meaning.
“For reasons we can’t share at the moment, sir, I’m afraid time is not something we have a lot of. If it’s not a dream catcher, what is it? And why do you think our killer used it?” 
“The dream catcher was sometimes referred to as a medicine wheel. Medicine wheels were constructed from stones like the one in your picture. The outer circle represents the circle of life. The spokes are placed in the four directions, which have different meanings to different people. To know why your killer used it would involve looking into the history of both the dream catcher and the medicine wheel. 
Clearly, your killer knows some of the history, as it is believed the dream catcher came from the Ojibwa Chippewa tribe.” 
Dave fidgeted in his seat, pulled out his cell phone, and loaded up the last picture he’d taken. “What about this demon thing? I didn’t think Native Americans believed in demons.” 
“All cultures have their mythical demons, Detective Capello.” Redwine glanced at the picture then sighed. “The most common demon associated with the Ojibwa’s and the Great Lakes Region would be the Baykok. Were there any wounds on the body?”
I shook my head. “None visible, but we’re waiting on the ME’s report.” 
“The Baykok would often paralyze or kill its prey, then devour the liver of its victim, or in some instances, cut an opening in the chest and remove a piece of stomach without disturbing the victim.” 
“Jesus,” Dave blurted out. “Did it eat that too?” 
“I’m afraid I can’t answer that question. What can you tell me about the victim? Baykoks only preyed upon warriors...”
~~~

By the second book, Greg Stevens has been promoted to a detective and placed under the tutelage of Team Leader, Kacy, and David. Greg was a quick learner but most of the time he used his computer expertise to gather all data that might be used or complement what is already known. Much of their work is done at a local restaurant, Arlene's, where they get a back table and can go over in private what they've all learned. 

Good thing they were all friends, I thought...I'd early in my career learned not to expect luncheon meetings to be conducive to getting things done. I learned not to get a salad--it takes too long to eat and keeps you chewing... A grilled cheese sandwich seemed to be perfect...But this group chowed down, talking with their mouths full, arguing and laughing, enjoying the fun of working with a good, close team. For me, that choice by the writer, created an image of comradery and a full dose of philia love that grows with mutual respect and sincere feelings of concern for each other. Good thing, too! Because one or the other was targeted within the three books, thankfully to be saved by their partners. 

As the most vocal, and the most aggressive, Kacy, a badass female who has no problems interacting with men, women, criminals, lawyers, and other cops... Of course, several grow to hate her...one in particular in this novel reminded me of many people who I see as two-faced. They smile and agree with you and charm you, letting you think they admire you... Then they cheat and lie about you behind your back.  Thing is, though, Kacy saw through him immediately--kinda like I did with our former president...LOL

Seriously, a cross-mix of Christian and Native American rituals caused the team to get confusing signals. I found I was losing any ability to figure out what was happening, along with the police, as I am usually able to do. When an FBI profiler came in to help, it confirmed and clarified Kacy's conclusions... And she knew who and how to find who was murdering many people in different ways. Kacy finally decided she was going to confront the man... She wore a cross and took holy water with her... I was wishing this scene was expanded a lot more, but time was moving fast and Kacy had gotten the reaction she needed to confirm she was right. 

The ending was both surprising, yet if you read carefully, completely understandable...and satisfying... I learned maybe more than I wanted to learn about ritualistic deaths within religious beliefs. Still, the symbols used, such as white feathers, added to the complexity and depth of the plot. Many Kudos to Linda Prather, with this and the entire Death Trilogy. I recommend you read all three... The buildup from the first novel to last is dramatic and should not be missed, in my opinion!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Triology So Powerful Read in Two Days - Skipping Book 2, My Favorite for Next by Linda Prather!


 

“We need to talk to a child psychologist before we do the interviews. Someone who can give us some insight into the problems teenagers face today, and what would push them over the limit of what they can take.” 
I rose, grabbed the notepads and headed for the door. “Bring the paperwork. We’ll pick up Greg and see if we can find a psychologist willing to talk to us.” 
“On it, boss.” 
Heat rose from my neck into my face. “Stop it.” 
Dave slipped his arm through mine and hummed the "Wedding March" as he pulled me down the hallway. “It’s just a matter of time.” 
“Yep. When hell freezes over.” 
~ ~ ~

Linda Prather ends her last book in the Death Trilogy that is so unbelievable, it stuns you... Even in the beginning as I started reading, I knew something was different. It was tense, provocative, and so deeply complex that each word must be slowly read and absorbed, understood--sometimes I even had to stop and go back and read what exactly was happening. This book is awesome! Unforgettable!

And not in any way, able to be reviewed without providing too much of the plot. It is a Must Read, like no other, especially if you are a parent. I am in awe of Prather's skill and obvious research needed to create such a much-needed book, albeit, 
fiction. Only one other book, Seduced: The Grooming of America's Teenagers, has made such a long-lasting impression on me. The topic could only be relieved by the humorous dialogue that, having read the first two books in the series, we have come to enjoy. The characters have already been finely drawn. But in this book, the potential power of the ultimate goal of the crime is breathtaking... 

“I knew there was a reason I kept you around.”  Dave guffawed, started the car and pulled away from the station, humming a love song.  I gritted my teeth to keep from sticking my foot in my mouth with a comment that would only escalate his brutal teasing. It’s my own fault. I’m the one that said we were friends with benefits.

And, don't pay attention to Dave's teasing, there is no wedding in this last book! But...lots of Lillipop

“That all?” Dave threw his hands up in the air. “You jumped my ass like I’d eaten your last dog biscuit.”  “First of all, I did not jump your ass. Put your hands back on the wheel.” I glanced in the rearview mirror and Greg smiled. “If Greg were a lollipop, little miss cheerleader would still be licking.”  

The car swerved, and Dave headed for a driveway, whipped in and stopped. His face flushing a deep red as he gasped for air. “Dave, are you okay? What’s wrong?”  He beat his hands against the wheel and gasped. “You… got… to… warn…a… guy… before… you… say… something… like… that.” He opened his door and scooted out, tears rolling down his face as he bent over from the waist. “Lollipop.” A deep shuddering howl rumbled up from his stomach as he slapped his knees. “Licking.”  

“Shit.” I crossed my arms and huddled in the seat. “I thought the bastard was having a heart attack.”

~~~

I can only finish by adding hash tags:

#Awesome #Teenagers #computer gaming #mind control #parental responsibility #parental abuse #outstanding plot #Unforgettable #Hacking #Voice Control #child psychology

Linda Prather Brings New Trilogy Seeking Justice...or...Revenge by Female Lead Character!

Dave’s voice was soft, and I think he knew too. Five minutes passed, and I swallowed hard and hit the play button. “Ninety-nine shovels of dirt in the grave… ninety-nine shovels of dirt…”
All she had to do was hear the tune of the song...the words didn't matter even after so long... The tune and what my captor sang, changing the words to tell...his...story... At first, she almost always had a panic attack...after all, he had sung it as he was burying her alive... Still when they were called out for the latest murder scene, it seemed like it was all happening again... 

Kacy buried her feelings as much as possible, but Dave, her long-time partner, knew exactly what was going on...and she knew he would be there, especially, for this latest tragedy against a woman... She could tell herself that, but in time she realized that she had to deal with it for herself. But when her twin brother was murdered, her response went straight to her heart, her love, and the need for...revenge...


“Jesus, Kacy, it’ll be a bugger identifying this one.” Under normal circumstances, my partner, Dave Capello, would have had a point. The body had washed up from the icy depths of the Chicago River near the fork of Eleanor and Loomis, and the call had come in minutes before quitting time. Dave had wanted to ignore it. For once, I wished I’d listened to him.
A blowtorch had been used on the face, and all the fingers were missing. The angles of the arms and legs told me bones had been broken. I didn’t need the ME to tell me the identity. Nor did I need to see the small skull tattoo above his left ankle to verify it. 
Kyle and I had never shared the twin bond in life, but as I stared down at his tortured and mutilated body, I realized a part of me was missing. I’d never considered it a vital part—until now.
Police officers, firemen, and two other detectives from Cook County had responded to the call. Dave and I weren’t needed, and I had a lot to do before the commander took me off the case.
“Let’s go, Dave.” 
“What do you mean? We just got here.” 
I strode toward the Ford sedan parked at the edge of the street, with Dave huffing to keep up. 
"We’re off the case. The victim’s name is Kyle Lang. He’s my twin brother.” 
“Jesus.” Dave said that a lot, and at times, I wondered if it was a habit or a prayer for insight on bad cases. 
Perhaps he simply found it preferable to the trash that often came out of my mouth. Solving this case wouldn’t take a lot of insight. Kyle had been working with Chicago’s drug dealers, thieves, and murderers for over ten years. We’d both known since the day I graduated from the academy that one day, he would wind up on my beat, and I would have to arrest him, shoot him, or bury him. I took comfort from the fact it was the latter. Arresting him would have been hard and shooting him even harder.
~~~

Wow! This first book is awesome! Although I haven't had the chance to read all of Prather's books...yet... I stopped reading another great series to read this latest from one of my favorite authors. When I was into this book, I realized that the main characters, Kacy Lang, was a woman that I hoped to see in a lengthy series... In fact, I almost didn't start writing this review because I had really fallen in love with the next book in the series and didn't want to stop reading until I finished! That book, which I'll be telling you about soon has two main themes about which I have a somewhat avid interest--Christianity and the Native American culture.

Many women may have realized that many writers are creating some really bad-ass women who, although sometimes for revenge, but more so, to provide justice, are often out there doing the work of law officers or, when they've had problems with formal law actions, have gone out on their own... My first love for such a female came from J. D. Robb and the Death Series. So the title Prather shared reminded me of that body of fictional intrigue. I have to say, though, Prather has, perhaps, created a character that exceeds the Robb series,  since I haven't kept up with the Robb series. But, no matter how many writers I find, I never tired of reading about women fighting for justice, wherever and whatever it may be! Even more so in today's world! I may be against violence...but not if it is against criminals...

Sure, according to a few poor reviews on Amazon, it may seem unbelievable...if you have no idea how women are treated by the men of this world... Or maybe, if you do not realize that fiction is an escape into what the reader "wants" to have happen in real life. Yes, we know that justice often doesn't come through the efforts of law officers and the courts. 

In Sins of Edom, the latest novel written by Carl Brookins, he adds a set of professional retired investigators who are asked to help with the investigation of a double murder. In that book, the police were willing to work with them, especially since it was the church officers who requested it. There is an entire cozy amateur investigator world that many, many people, including myself love! So what if they aren't realistic...who cares that an individual who owns a bake shop is out there solving cases... Well, some would disagree and claim it is unrealistic... Again, imagination is such a powerful weapon, especially for women... 

We Want Justice... And if it is personal, as often it is...we are wanting revenge for the loss of a loved one... To me, this happens daily on the news as Black people are murdered on the streets by cops, and children are killed in schools and social event arenas, because of the proliferation and lack of control of guns! Find me one mother who, in lieu of the loss of a child, does not want that murderer...dead! So we seek out those types of books, no matter it couldn't happen in real life... We rejoice in seeing what is possible, even in somebody's imagination...

Seems fair, given that some men think nothing about going to war or even anywhere they want, purely because they like guns and want to kill... Statistically, I think America has more murders...than any other country...that are done outside of the military! I wish I could say that was unbelievable...

I want to talk about the two main characters... What I have seen from reading many different authors, almost all of them are uniquely drawn and presented for the strong emotions of love or hate... Kacy Lane was adopted. This first book doesn't go into much, except that she has no real family connection. Apparently the couple that adopted the twins did it to appear...normal, with a home life and children. Adopting children not wanted, for whatever reason, such as political, is heinous. It should not surprise most readers that she was barely involved with her parents. 

Her brother, he'd become estranged because of his connections with the criminal element--drugs and more... Kacy doesn't control her speech...I've never liked to hear women curse...but today's entertainment world thinks nothing about it. So, I overlook it, especially when the woman is in a male-dominated position and she's viewed not as a woman but as an officer...

But Kacy found that Kyle had many secrets that he had not even attempted to share with his twin...until it was too late... Readers learn about him as Kacy recognizes him as a murdered man for which she will need to be removed from the investigation... But she knows... She will be working the case! And she will not stop until she has revenge...and...justice!

Not many officers would want to have Kacy as a partner, but David, a long-time police officer chose her to become his partner. You'll immediately notice that they are completely in tune with each other. Often this happens between business partners who work closely together, protecting and supporting them. Each has learned the other's problem points and sometimes chips those issues to the point of frustration...but later...thankfulness... 

Dave is clearly a Christian... And it is not because of saying "Jesus" every time he wonders what Kacy is getting into now... The dialogues show it, but more, the way he treats those with whom he interacts, easily shows how good a man he is... Only one negative comment...I'll admit from personal experience, I don't think the author should have had so many different characters in the books call Dave, "Chubby." To me, this is demeaning if used by so many characters...even if the eating locations of the people are a major part where the team interacts. Too much of a good thing...for sensitive me...who has had weight issues all my life...Oh well...

On the other hand, between partners, Dave jabs Kacy quite often with issues she is sensitive about...like not having a husband, no sex...and more... I've had those too...but funny, since I never had a real drive for marriage, those never bothered me...

I woke to the aroma of fresh coffee, opened one eye, and glanced at the bedside clock. Twelve thirty. Groaning, I rolled my legs off the bed, sat up, and cradled my head in my right hand. How the hell do people who drink do it? I had a massive lack-of-sleep hangover, and my head was pounding. I’d barely made it to bed and kicked off my shoes before passing out. 

I groaned again as Dave’s voice carried from the kitchen, singing a nineties rap song. I hate rap. What the hell is he saying anyway? Ego tripping? 


Dave was wearing my pink apron, swiveling his substantial backside, and flipping pancakes when I dragged myself to the kitchen.
His voice rose to a high pitch as he sang off-key. “I’m the life of da party.” 
“For God’s sake, Dave, shut up.” I walked to the counter for a much-needed dose of caffeine. 
“You’re waking the dead.”
He turned, a huge smile crossing the chubby features. “Good morning, beautiful. Breakfast is almost ready.”

Greg Stevens comes in as an officer that is supporting the team who is doing the investigation... We'll watch how he learns from the professional detectives and, soon, is ready to join their team, which he does in the next book. And if you notice, Greg and Kacy are doing some eye contact, even from the beginning... 

The plot twists and intrigue were enough to totally envelope me and keep my attention. It's complex, meaning I'm wagering you won't guess who the killer is...but, like I've often said...that's when I enjoy a suspenseful thriller, or mystery, most of all! 

Dishonorable Death coming next! 



Enjoy!


ATTENTION: Alert: Watch for news on a new bi-partisan bill announced today to provide significant support to upgrading police agencies across the nation! Work to publicize and seek support for this bill. This evolved, partially, out of two police officers in Pennsylvania being killed on a domestic violence call.  Violence is increasing in America...due in part of incitement of violence over the last five years... Stop the Steal of our country by domestic terrorists of all kinds!


Sunday, January 23, 2022

ALIVE!

 



Was it only a few days ago, when I awoke with His Spirit singing Alive!? While I heard the words most of the day, I didn't feel a need to write about it...then... Today, Yes, Today, was the day to share about Jesus...My Friend. When I was young and my father had been killed in a mine accident before I was born, my Mom made sure that we were all dressed nicely and were taken to church, later participating in all things, especially music. She had our neighbor teach my sister and I basic piano skills, and later mostly hymns. I remember the first hymn that I played...


Tears fill my eyes as I read the words of the hymn, and remember that I was particular to pay attention to the timing provided... The Words: They've stayed in my heart and have been those I've strived to follow... For whatever reason, I found that the words of music came to mean more to me than the Bible... Later, when I was able to play a little better, although not ever the greatest, I came to play as if I were singing the words, the phrasing of the music then became more of my prayer, I believe...


I learned all of the children's songs early in my life, memorizing the words that were to become so meaningful to me even later in life...especially now. When I was old enough to understand about the Holy Trinity, I quickly began to consider just what that meant! Well, I had no earthly father, so I realized that God was My Father (who art in Heaven). Jesus was His son, and became my closest Friend (even today)... And then when Jesus died for me, he told me that he would leave His Holy Spirit to live in me! Wow! Cool! Amazing Grace!


Once I didn't understand, but somehow, I believed that God Himself was alive in ME...Because Christ died for ME... And I...believed! He's Alive! In Me!

I was a child, a baby in Christ and He welcomed me as He does all children, no matter what race, color, or religion...God the Father sent Christ His Son to sacrifice His life for all of His children. His Name is Wonderful!




I love Wonderful Grace of Jesus, don't you? Especially when sung in parts. It's fun to sing and brings joy to you, right?! But His Name is Wonderful brought different and new thoughts...

Thoughts about just how and why God became "God" to so many different people... Nearly everybody in the world now thinks there is a God... Even God's People, who rejected Christ--could that have been part of God's long-term plan? Jesus said to go out and speak of His Name across the World. And, today, these days, I often think about the Woman of Samaritan, to whom Christ went to speak, even though that should have been forbidden... What He didn't do was ban that woman from His Presence... He didn't hate her but loved her. He didn't use violence to assault and possibly kill her as His enemy... So why are so many supposed "Christians" doing that in today's world? This is not of God...

I used to sing Jesus Gave Her Water as a solo, although not so spirited as my Black spirited friends. I normally sing slowly, spelling out the words I want to share... Jesus Gave Her Water! THAT WAS NOT FROM THE WELL! Gave Her living Water...and sent her forth to tell.  That's a powerful message, isn't it? Jesus went to a woman who was not of his faith, perhaps not even a woman who spoke of a god... And she went away singing...came back bringing!

I am so saddened by what is well-known that the Evangelical Christians not only supported Trump...because he agreed to do what they wanted...and allowed Him to do anything He wanted thereafter. I am wounded for my friend Jesus, who went out across the country, sharing His Love, His Words... Why? I wonder, analyze, scream about, even, sometimes... Why? Is it part of His Plan?

I don't know... What I do know is that God does not need so called christians to bring about His plan. He is in Control. God One Human can know...

You know, I was going to do an entirely different angle for today's talk about being alive...You know,  I was going to talk about my health, and how books have affected my thinking... I even was going to talk about the first book that truly affected my life.

You Know, Folks (I know, I know, I did it on purpose, LOL) I believe that, having been created by Him, that Jesus takes us, just as we are! It's not about being white, or black, or "non-white" as they say these days... It's not about whether you believe in God, or not... It's about opening your heart and life to what is meant for you to be...I happen to believe that Jesus wants to speak to all of us and share His Love, no matter who you are or what race, religion, or nationality you happen to have been born into. So I'll share, but never condemn your own beliefs, sound fair?

But as my late beloved brother-in-law, Bill, used to say, "That's on Another Page, Sister..."

In the Meantime...Shall we Pray?

You Know (yes, I'm doing it on purpose, emulating who I believe is a man of God), and as I speak the prayer He taught us...I can't help by sing it...after all, He made me as I am...and Loves Me! Sharing my favorite Tenor, who sings the song like I would! 





God Bless!
Glenda

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Carl Brookins' Latest Novel, Sins of Edom, Grabbed me on First Page!

 

As I starting reading the first page of the latest book by Carl Brookins, I found myself entering into a space where I have often gone. Even as one of the main characters studied the way the sanctuary was presented, I could hear the soft music playing in the background. Perhaps someone was practicing or perhaps quiet meditative hymns were played in the church at all times. In any event words written by Brookins took on a life that was common for me...

ALAN Lockem stood in the back of the sanctuary of the church, leaning against the wall. His arms were crossed. He hadn't been in that church since his baptism seventy-plus years earlier. The sanctuary wasn't large; it held maybe 250 worshippers on a busy Sunday. 

He stared at the pulpit, a simple lectern of finely crafted and polished white oak. It was draped with a banner in royal blue that carried a gold representation of the traditional Protestant Christian church. Behind the pulpit was the choir loft, a series of hand-made wooden chairs in a box. Against the back wall, behind the pulpit stood the altar. 

In this church, it was a well-designed table that could be moved about the elevated platform as appropriate for different celebrations and services. The elevated platform or stage stretched across the breadth of the space, four wooden steps above the floor of the sanctuary with its fixed rows of wooden pews. Above the altar, against the wall of the building the arrangement of organ pipes, both real and false, soared in a precise arrangement of several rows, some extending to the ceiling thirty feet overhead.

As bespoke the modern church, the vaulted wood-sheathed ceiling that reached high overhead was festooned with high intensity lights, speakers, and a network of black connecting wires. Two walls carried multiple well-crafted stained glass windows that displayed fragments of important Christian messages from the Bible.

Between the pews and the steps to the altar, a long strip of bright yellow plastic tape hung from the railings on each side of the space and displayed a different message repeated in black block type.

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS

~~~


A church setting is often used for many fictional novels in the Christian faith. Perhaps it is to remind us that, even in the church, participants can commit sins of the flesh. Indeed, once Alan had studied the "scene of the crime," he went on to where the sin of murder had occurred. Was he surprised that one of the victims was the pastor of the church? And who and why was the young woman there in the church with him? Perhaps a natural assumption was that the two individuals had been involved in an affair. That was, of course, one of the options that Alan Lockem and his partner in more ways than one, Marjorie Kane would explore. 

Backgrounds of both of these main characters had brought them together for many things, one of which, by word of mouth, they would be asked to "investigate" while the police officers were also doing their jobs. From the readers' standpoint, inserting civilian investigators into the plot allows  a more in-depth analysis and discussion to be considered and shared by the main characters who are able to go beyond the normal procedures required by law. This is standard for a cozy but the characters in this novel, make this book several steps above that genre, given the wealth of professional experience provided by the investigators.

Lockem was the first one to enter the scene and envision what might have been happening at the time of the double deaths. Being thorough, however, only brought to light a damaged area in one of the organ pipes behind the pulpit. After taking considerable time to gain significant recall of the scene for the future, Alan went out to talk with the Church Secretary. And it was there that Lockem began to experience...something... Later, research found that perhaps it involved a city of ancient Edom...

Lockem looked up from his notebook and shrugged. "I don't know, but ever since I sat down an odd feeling has been growing. I can't define it, just a vague unrest, I guess."

Action nodded. "It's the painting." She gestured over her shoulder at the huge oil hanging on the wall. "Others have had a similar reaction. Pastor Elliot had the picture returned to this original location. Maybe it is the size, perhaps it is the subject, such very early Christians, but several people over the years have had reactions to being in the office with it. It is supposed to have been painted by Talegiease. He was a friar...

Murder motive possibly," agreed Marjorie. "There's controversy over ownership of some of the painter's works. You know, the usual. Passing through family hands for generations. gifts to friends and lovers, donations to a church. Even thefts. Now let me tell you about Edom...
~~~
Instead of a routine murder mystery which needed to be solved, readers are almost immediately assaulted with the potential for historical treasure hunting...or maybe, something totally different. When Lockem meets members of a bikers' club, and the name of the individual he first met was Obadiah...I was so sure I could see where this was going...

Brookins doesn't give us the thrill of the hunt, a la Indiana Jones, though. This mystery is to be solved through extensive research, evaluating options, and a continued gathering and exploration of the necessary information which would lead, hopefully, to helping to solve the murders. And readers are privy to explore and consider along with Alan and Marjorie, oftentimes during a meal or relaxing afterward, exploring what is the latest information and assigning tasks to move their investigation further. I chuckled at the light banter between the two individuals who have been together so long that they come to think alike to a great extent, while only learning "just enough" to start me thinking again, but not enough to move ahead of what the author was wanting us to know at that point in his book... A thoroughly enjoyable experience... even if a bit frustrating given the speed of television shows during which a case is solved in an hour or less!

I must admit that, given the daily news on the cult-like followers who attacked our Capitol, I had a twinge about what might be coming. However, I knew anything was possible but that the author would handle it in an intelligent manner. One of the things I like most about the book is that the main
characters are retired professionals who continue to be involved even in their declining years. I have interacted with the writer online and found him to be a concerned citizens of America, as well as having an avid involvement in the Arts, sharing about his experiences often about this symphony or another program. It was easy for this reader to place him into the main character's role and I found getting to know him and his family life was heartwarming. Much like another favorite writer of mine Aaron Lazar, who often sets his mysteries in his home environment where he's constantly tending his garden, dealing with children... Both write not quite "cozy" but similar in style, just with more complex,  and often extraordinary, in the type of plot created. I enjoy both types, of course...as an avid fan of all things mysterious...

What type of reality faces Alan and Marjorie as they dig further into two murders of people who seemingly have no or little involvement, a painting that could be worth millions...and a biker club with members with Biblical names... Wow! If you aren't interested at this point...forget about it...But if you enjoy watching investigators work to find the truth and find criminals, using intelligence and any forensics sciences available, then I highly recommend this book! Me, I'm going out to check the other books by this author which features the same retired professionals--still actively involved in improving the world around them!


GABixlerReviews


Thursday, January 20, 2022

I Was Happy - A Lovely Poem by Regis Auffray! Take a Break and Relax!

Tired of Winter, Worry about Covid, or Divided America?

Escape with Regis Auffray into Summer's Delight~

 


 I Was Happy

 

I was intimate

with happiness

when birds sang

flowers bloomed

sun shone and warmed

rain refreshed and cooled

children played carefreely

I was one of them

moon rose and silver lined

the night

with love and light

skylarks soared

wild creatures

went about their way

delightfully

the sea sighed

in sweet serenity

swishing the shore

of golden sand

in tune

with the lilt of the breeze

caressing our presence

the fullness of it all

enchanting us

 

all was well

when you were here with me

 

it is still all fine

all well in the waiting

 

© Regis Auffray

authorsden


Regis has given me blanket authorization to use any of his poetry here at Book Readers Heaven...Thank you So Muc Regis! Find his home at Authors Den!

I chose Summertime as one of my Oldie Goldies songs which will never be forgotten...

Now Spend some extra time, just relax...enjoying my favorite Tenor, and a wonderful surprise, His Daughter! You Can't Help but Become Calm and Enjoy!

Andrea Bocelli Hallelujah with Daughter Virginia, Sacramento Ca. October 23, 2021




God Bless!
Glenda

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Deception Bay by Chris Patchell - A Fun Romantic Suspense



The ocean isn’t like the land. It is a living, breathing thing. It sighs, and heaves, surges, and writhes with life. And death. It was there, three miles east of Deception Bay, on a day much like this one, where my life was forever changed. My heart beats faster, keeping time with my racing thoughts. My fingers curl around the iron railing in a death grip and I realize what a colossally stupid mistake I’ve made. I shouldn’t have come out here. I should go back inside where it’s warmer. Safer. But my feet refuse to budge. 
The bubble of anxiety inside my chest bursts. I struggle to draw in a breath. It’s no use. The darkness is closing in. I’m shaking. Sweating. My knees buckle, and I’m sinking to the deck. I hear the distant, muted spike of alarm in the voices around me. The words are indistinct—the sound distorted, as if I’ve plunged beneath the frigid surface of Puget Sound. 
“Hey.” I startle at the feel of warm fingers curling around my forearms. It’s a woman. The faint floral scent of her perfume cuts through the briny breeze.  “It’s okay,” she says. “You’re safe. Just focus on your breathing, slow and easy. Okay?” 
I try to speak, but no sound emerges. I barely manage a nod. “Maybe everyone can step back and give us some room.” 
Her voice is like a life ring amid the storm of panic. I cling to her soft, calming words. Little by little she draws me back into the sun. I open my eyes. 
“Where are you from?” she asks. 
“New York,” I squeak, sounding like a middle-grader whose voice hasn’t yet dropped. 
“I love New York. It’s been years since I’ve been there. Born and raised on the island, though. Whidbey will always be home. Is this your first time here?” 
I draw in a shaky breath and focus on her. She’s pretty. Oval face. Dark hair. Steady brown eyes.  “No…it’s been…a long time.” “Well, it hasn’t changed much. That’s part of what I love about the place. Predictable. Definitely slower paced.” 
“Glacial,” I add. She laughs. It’s a sweet, melodic sound that reminds me of wind chimes. 
“Well, yeah. The slower pace of island life might be the kind of therapy a city boy like you needs.” 
I like her gently teasing tone and I flash a shaky grin. The engine drops in pitch. The wind dries the sweat on my brow, and my heart begins to slow.  
“How are you feeling?” 
“Better. Thank you.” 
“I’m Ellie.” 
“Austin,” I say. 
“Well, Austin, do you think you can stand?” 
People are staring. A flush of shame rises up my neck as I avoid looking around. She pushes to her feet and offers her hands. And though I’m perfectly capable of standing on my own, I twine my fingers in hers. Her grip is strong. Shifting her weight back on her heels, she pulls, and I rise from the deck and start to feel like myself again. 
“Was that the first panic attack you’ve had?” 
“Not exactly. I once had an epic meltdown on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.” 
“Really?” 
“I shrieked like a toddler. It took an entire precinct of NYPD officers to talk me down.” 
“You’re joking.” 
“Would I lie to you?” I smile directly into her lovely eyes. Suddenly aware that I’m still holding her hands, I release my grip. Not many people know that I suffered from horrible anxiety attacks the first year I lived in New York...
“Any idea what triggered this one?” 
“The water.” 
“The water? And you’re heading to an island?” “I never said I was smart.” We both laugh at the irony of it. 
The wind blows her dark hair around her tanned cheeks, but Ellie doesn’t seem to notice. She’s so natural, so un-New York. I’ve never been attracted to the girl-next-door type, but I find myself mesmerized by her pretty smile.
The ferry horn blasts and I know we’re close to our destination. A scratchy, near-unintelligible voice comes across the speakers. Riders scurry back down into the bowels of the vessel to their waiting cars.  
Ellie glances over her shoulder, then back at me. She’s going to leave me now. I shouldn’t care, but for some odd reason I don’t care to define, I do. 
“So, Austin, you’re going to be okay?” 
“I don’t know,” I say, hitching my shoulder in a shrug. “As you pointed out, I’m on an island surrounded by water. It’s not every day a guy gets rescued by a pretty woman. Maybe you should give me your number…you know…in case I have another emergency.” 
“Oh, don’t worry. If you have another emergency, I’ll find you.” 
I have no idea what that means, but before I can ask her to clarify, Ellie is gone.
~~~

Deception Bay is one of the books that I originally bought in Love Under Fire. I've been reading the books in this set sporadically, so it's not now available. However, each of the books are! This book, I just finished. And I loved it. A little bit of romantic suspense, a little bit mystery, and a lot of fun conversation between the two main characters. Austin and Ellie.

Austin met Ellie on the ferry to the island on which he had grown up with his family. He had been called back; his mother had been in an accident and was in a coma. He was urged to come. But when he got there and talked to the doctor, there was some question as to how her injury came about.

Enter Ellie, who us Chief of the police on the Island! One thing you'll see quickly is that, most of the time when Austin and Ellie meets, he's had some type of accident as well... At first, Austin had assumed that it was just more of his clumsiness which he'd suffered throughout his life...

When Austin enters his home, he was shocked. His mother had become a hoarder and when he fought his way to his room, he discovered that it was also stuffed full of...whatever... Readers learn of the estranged relationship which came about when his older brother was killed in a sailing accident and his mother, not thinking of him, had told him she wished he had been the one on the boat... Could anybody expect Austin to forgive her? He loved her and hated her. But as he looked at her lying in the hospital, he knew he should try to forgive...

Austin found that many of the residents on the island were still there. And they all knew he was a successful author... Austin had been a chubby boy, helped along by his mother's constant comparison of him to Scott his brother. His father had died and then Scott, who had been close to Austin, was killed. Now, his last family member was possibly in danger of dying...

Soon Austin was questioning what was going on. What kind of accident did his mother have. And many of the people still there were actually friends of his brother Scott, so he quickly became entangled in their lives...almost as if it had just been yesterday when Scott had died, when actually it had been many years.

Scott's girlfriend at the time of his death,  had asked for Austin's help when she revealed that the business which they owned was not doing well financially. Austin quickly "knew a guy," a forensic accountant, who he would ask to help discover what was going on...

Being pulled in with that group, also resulted in Austin getting assaulted by the ex of one of the women who had now decided that Austin was to be her new lover... That ex? He was soon murdered and Austin found Ellie, The Chief, considering whether he was the killer...or it could be his ex-girlfriend who was now "closely" involved with Austin--at least once...

Attempts on Austin's life began! What was going on? Slowly Austin learned the present was pulling him back where he didn't want to revisit...the time when Scott died... But would he survive long enough to discover what had happened?!

Highly recommended!

 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sharon Sala Shares Thoughts for America! With Responsive Music... An Important Reblog...



At first, you're certain you just misunderstood.
Then it happens again and the shock that goes through you is sharp and sudden.
When you realize it is their truth, then comes horror, followed by a seeping fear.
It doesn't make sense to you.
You don't understand... will NEVER understand...how your view and their view of the same world can be so different.
And then you remember, we are not cookie cutter people.
We are not cut from the same cloth....nor were we raised the same.
And there's where you stop.
We are not the same. We didn't have to think the same.
But we DO have to treat each other with dignity and respect.
And they didn't.
Before, celebrating differences was beautiful.
Now, some have made it a sin... a crime...to be different.
I have no dealings with people like that anymore.
They crossed a moral line with me that I can never unsee...or unhear.
And I am sad.
The world is uglier than I knew.
They kept it hidden... their hate and prejudice.
I let their smiles and laughter...and the familiarity of their faces delude me into believing they didn't mean what they'd just said.
But I was wrong.
They meant it.
And now it shows.
Like a festering sore that won't heal.
The pain of their discontent is unbearable.
I don't know how they walk in the world carrying this kind of hate.
I don't understand them.
I don't know them anymore.
I am a stranger in the place where I was born.
The ultimate irony.

I do not belong here... and yet, here I am. 

~~~







!!!


Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has over 125 books and novellas in print, published in six different genres - Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction and Non-Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, five-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, winner of the Heart of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Booksellers Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 Romance Writers of America presented her with the Centennial Award for recognition of her 100th published novel.
Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher's Weekly best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.



I Love meeting authors I have not read via their posts on Facebook or elsewhere... So I took the opportunity to learn about Sharon Sala's writing by reading!

But it was the beautiful thought-provoking words that she posted yesterday on Facebook. I immediately asked if I could share it across the world with my blog...And She Agreed! Thank you so much, Sharon!

Election Day 2020 is, perhaps, the most memorable election that America will ever experience. In a Nation divided, each side wondering why... We, the People, have the momentous responsibility to choose who will be our next president.  As written by Sharon, many of us just don't understand WHY? Why is there such a divide...We may never know... All we can do is accept our responsibility and make that choice, on this the final day...Election Day 2020...

I pray that you follow your heart, mind, and God as you accept your responsibility and cast that vote... We are, indeed, fighting a war...God be with All of Us!
~~~