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Monday, August 22, 2011

FEATURE THREE AUTHORS - LARRY SHERIDAN - TRACI SLATTON - GERARD de MARIGNY




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Work In Progress
Author: Larry Sheridan
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Jeremy Jackson is about to experience life as if he is the primary actor in an episode of the Twilight Zone/ What you are about to her and real will enlighten the reader and help you understand that life throws you definite curves, appearances are deceiving, things happen and situations can be orchestrated, created and unexplainable. Jeremy stated his day like any other going through his normal routines, But, this day would turn out toe be anything but that. So, why would Jeremy be contemplating using a gun? What could make this intelligent and rational man want to resort to violence?

As he states, Let’s start at the beginning! Revved up like a racecar motor, excited about closing a potential business deal, Jeremy prepares to go to the airport and fly to LA. Events that happen forewarn him that something might go wrong and thing feel off balance. Premonitions, we all have that sixth sense or unnerving feeling that makes us wonder if we should get out of bed in the morning. We get that gnawing, nagging feeling that something is not right. But, do we listen to our inner voice or self, or just ignore it, shrug it of as just plain nerves or paranoia? Can you retrace your thoughts or double back when something seems wrong? So, when Jeremy relates to the reader his argument with his wife Cassie, his things he’s hiding for the form her, seeing a black cat stare at him when he leaves the house and a violent encounter with a police office plus getting rear ended, do you think maybe a warning or siren should have gone off in his head and yelled: STOP and THINK? But, Jeremy leaves the house, speeds to where he is going, gets stopped by a violent officer and meets one gorgeous woman at the airport who sets a plan in motion that you won’t believe and neither will he. Conniving, cunning, definitely outfoxing our Jeremy he falls prey to her wiles, and never suspects what is happening to him until it’s too late. Helping him through security, getting on the plane and not realizing that what he thought he was taking in meds was anything but his prescription.

Waking up feeling disoriented, unable to focus and unbalanced he thinks its stress, just not feeling well and never suspects the truth. You hear his fears, his frustrations, anger and inner most thoughts as Jeremy tries to figure out what is happening to him and the author takes you on a journey that will be anything but someone’s nightmare but definitely during the day. Trying to process what is happening and the events, he can’t. Maybe it’s something he ate or drank or something unknown. Able to understand most things but being able to process and put the facts together and in some order, no.

Every man needs an assistant to prepare his schedule, make appointments, take phone calls and keep his day straight. Tish is Jeremy’s trusted assistant. For all appearances she seems to be the perfect assistant able to coordinate his life, make sure that everything goes right, get the deals in order and make sure that Jeremy rakes in the money. As a financial advisor he comes in contact with huge amounts of money that he handles for clients. But, when he meets his driver and arrives at the airport things happen that make you realize there is much more to this meeting than meets the eye. John Stephens is the name of the man who is his driver. Appearances are not what they seem as you will learn. Tish his assistant appears to want to help him close this multi-million dollar deal at all cost. But, when the meeting is over and the plan presented to the group of men present, Jeremy thinks all is well, but is it? Ross Holder is the man in charge of the meeting and the group that he is presenting to. Who Ross and his connection to the truth behind the deal and the group funding it remains to be seen. As the men assemble in the conference room the games begin. Jeremy once again addresses the reader explains how the players appear to him, but who are they really and what are they really after? After all this is Las Vegas and the stakes are higher than the payout in black jacks or roulette.

As the meeting begins Jeremy thinks out loud to himself, switches fears, changes his plan and his presentation hoping to engage his audience, make a better impression and close the deal. Three strategies that are proposed yet not embracing any one. Engrossed in his presentation those present seem to be listening, hearing what he is saying, taking notes for further discussion. Questions flying, making, final decisions not made. But, as Jeremy leaves there are three more groups waiting in the wings to present their plan to win over and get the account for Portfolio K. Who will be the victor?

Returning home he sees his wife Cassie, expresses his true feelings, his thoughts about their past, their lives and their future. Regaling how life has its disappointments, joys and hoping to recapture some of their beginnings. But, then something happens, snaps his out of his reverie. Cassie begins to yell, scream and his vision is blinded and he does not know where she went or what happened to his children. Winding up win a car with his driver, his vision limited and his facts confused, he is not sure whether he dreamed what happened or if it is real. Jeremy’s lack of perception and reality become his norm, disoriented and confused his world turns dark but he has no idea the cause. Thinking he was in a car accident and in a coma for two weeks he awakens finding himself in restraints, his driver present and the truth about his identity revealed. What he learns frightens him, changes his perspective on life, his job and those he thought he could trust. Learning what is expected of him, who might be behind the deceit, the deals, and his supposed accident not only angers him but also puts him and his family in grave danger. As things progress he’s made to believe that he is in another car crash causing the deaths of several people, defending himself against an intruder in his home and finding out that one nurse is anything but what she appears to be and much more. Why? Threats, innuendos, intruders, police brutality, messages that are given and implants within his body to prevent him from not complying with the plan, Jeremy begins to not really know who or what he is. Would you squawk at getting an account that brings in over 300 million dollars? Would you complain if your assistant were so efficient that the financial benefits of what she has done are astronomical? Would you care if what she is into were illegal money laundering, deceit, murder and fraud? Would you fire her to learn you cannot? Who is behind the deals, the group that claims its works for the government? Where is the money coming from and what part does this John play, Tish and even his wife Cassie? Who can he trust? Anyone? Why are there so many bodies piling up and why is his world becoming surreal, contrived and totally orchestrated by a master conductor?

Author Larry Sheridan takes the reader along with Jeremy on a dangerous roller coaster ride with so many twists, turns, ups and downs, curves and fast paced speed that you won’t see the end coming and the final outcome will keep you on edge until you turn to the last page and find out the truth.

Life like a house of cards or dominoes can come falling down in a flick of a finger or wink of an eye. As the pieces fall into place and the truth behind the deception revealed what will happen to Jeremy, what will his final fate be and what will happen to his life, as he knows it? One ending that will have the reader hoping that Jeremy will come back again in another novel written by this outstanding and creative author. What is the final outcome? What exactly is the Company and when and how did it start? Well, there are cameras, bugs, videos, and surveillance equipment all over the place so that this reviewer will not reveal the secrets nor tell you the final outcome will be. This is one book you definitely want to read and one author who has taken the mystery/thriller genre by storm. Watch out Larry Sheridan is definitely going to be right up there with Steve Berry, James Grippando and Daniel Silva. Will Jeremy remain a work in progress or will he become a finished product? You decide when you read this Five Star Novel.

TRACI L. SLATTON

Reviews Written by
Surya Reader "Jess"
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Immortal
by Traci L. Slatton
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.24
Availability: In Stock
111 used & new from $0.01

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Life changing book!!!!!!!, January 31, 2008
This review is from: Immortal (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have ever read, of any time period, by any author! From start to finish, I couldn't put this book down. And for anyone looking for something deeper than your run-of-the-mill cheap, popular thrill - Immortal is definitely for you. This novel, set in 13th century Florence, follows the unnaturally long life of Luca Bastardo, an extraordinary man searching for love and the meaning of life. Luca is not your typical hero. He lives through the most horrible, depraved of sins and goes on to pave his winding path through the exciting worlds of art and alchemy, war and power, the most uplifting love and the agonizing pain of death. Along the way, he makes friends with many famed artists and political figures of the Renaissance. Let me emphasize though that you do NOT need a background in Art History to love this book! Slatton brings one of the most exciting periods of history to life and it stands completely on its own. No one could have created a better depiction of this time. Slatton does an impeccable job of merging a fascinating story with real historical events. And you'll fall in love with each and every character on the way!

This book takes a unique and interesting approach to historical fiction, one I haven't seen carried out with such artistic skill since Richard Powell's "Whom the Gods would Destroy," and that is placing a fictional character in a fantastical yet historically accurate world. Luca, by virtue of his long life, gets to meet and know some of the major figures of the Italian Renaissance, including Giotto, Boticelli, Lorenzo and Cosimo di Medici, and the great Leonardo da Vinci himself. Slatton creates such wonderful, true-to-life characters from these art history icons. I couldn't believe how much I, as the reader, felt for them, completely entrapped in their trials and tribulations. How strongly I loved the young, passionate and deeply intellectual Leonardo! How strongly I hated the brutal and severe Savonarola! And of course there is Luca's inveterate enemy in the Silvano family, but I'll leave that to you all to read...

"Immortal," like all great books, raises a few philosophical questions to the reader and explores them throughout the progression of the novel. Who, or what, is God? If God is all, how do we reconcile the "good" aspects of God with the "bad" ones? Is love the ultimate goal of any life? Luca lives through quite a few wars and participates in many battles over the course of his lifetime. We see Florence go through various ups and downs through his eyes, and we are left with the ultimate paradox between the "grand scheme" and the "individual experience." Is history about the big events, or is it merely the sum of more meaningful, personal experiences? In war, are unnecessary deaths sacrifices for the greater good, or should we take a more humanist approach and do whatever we can to minimize casualties and 'keep the peace?' You can see, this may be a historical fiction novel, but it's very relevant to our world today.

Highly well-written, richly detailed, yet completely readable; filled with history and still a complete page turner, "Immortal" is a must read for, well, everyone! Highly recommended!

-Jessie from CA


Title: The Watchman Of Ephraim
Author: Gerard
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Ash, cinders, smoke and fog filled the air, blinded the vision and burned the hands, faces and bodies of many as the two planes minutes apart crashed into the Twin Towers forever changing the skyline of our magnificent city and leaving in its wake a carnage that would forever be embedded in the mind, hearts and soul of every American. Air permeating with a foul and burnt smell that would remain as a lingering perfume that would haunt those that live near what is now names ground zero forever, one man, Kris DeNiro, shares his story with everyone as he remembers that fateful morning when all he wanted to do was present his precious wife, Lisa with some magnificent roses, take her to breakfast and savor the life he so proudly loved not knowing seconds later it would all end. 8:46 A.M. on September 11, 2001 would be the time that no one would ever forget. Walking into the North Tower, carrying these magnificent roses, Cris witnesses a sight that he would never forget, a pain that seared through his entire body and a loss that would never be replaced. As he walked to the elevators only to be shot back, burned, pushed and thrown into a heap on the street. Clothes on fire, body burned and trying to make sense of what happened, he manages to help a woman in distress, answers his cell phone only to hear his wife's plea for help hoping it was not too late. As the author allows the reader to hear Lisa's voice, her final words and experience the pain and agony of one man, who goes back into the building only to be forced to turn back. As he walked up the steps and made it to the 30th floor one firemen who would become a lifelong friend, ushers him back outside. Explaining that his sons needed him and that there was nothing they could do to save those on the 104th floor where his was trapped, Cris made his way back down, left the towers and had to find a way back into the world that would never be the same and deal with a pain, or permanent throb that would always be a reminder of that horrific day.

Moving to Las Vegas, millionaire, Cris DeNiro started over again along with Lisa's brother and his best friend Ricci. Starting their own business they would soon become involved in missions so dangerous and grave putting them in danger yet, hopefully saving the world from another September 11th. Working his way to the top of the hedge fund world, he becomes the owner of his own counter terrorism agency. As De Niro reads from the Bible, he finds a passage titled the "Watchman of Ephraim,' a defender who watched and defended his land. Buying into this counter terrorism agency he decides to form sculpt, form and create one that would mirror the original of the Watchman for the United States.

Cris DeNiro sent his brother-in-law to begin work as President of the new counter terrorism agency The Watchman Agency formerly Liberty Defense Contractors. Upon entering the office he encounters a pompous man named Les Pastek acting as President and another Charley Santappai, Director of Operations. But, that changes in as heartbeat as Ricci enlightens everyone and explains to Pastek his new role or fate.

At a gathering at his home in Las Vegas close friend and firefighter, Keith Tompkins asks Cris for a favor. Prominent in the news is the building of a mosque at Ground Zero that many; especially the family of the victims and Cris are opposed to. Enlisting his help to find out more about who is behind it and hoping he can some how buy the property of stop the construction of it, causes Cris, unknowingly to come front and center with the man that would eventually try and bring down a lot more than the Twin Towers. Hiding behind his true agenda, and pretending to want to know his views on the mosque being built there, Cris discuss his viewpoint as this man puts his people on alert and wants to find out more about our billionaire mogul.

The ten-year anniversary is coming up. A sober reminder of the horror of that day. What could be next? Are we ever going to be safe? As DeNIro viewed the site-remembered the day, you hear his voice, echo his words on the page as he reminds us of how many were buried alive there in what many of us call a true burial ground and building anything there would desecrate the memory of those lost and much more.

As he reflects and is approached by one man who questions his feelings about this mosque not realizing that he could soon be more than the downfall of our country. Victims reduced to ash on contact, soot, dust and cinder how could anyone in due conscience think to build on such sacred ground. But, the man, Aref Zamani masks his thoughts and marks his words. Alert! Red! Flash! Zamani- sends his men to investigate Cris. Would he realize the danger before it is too late?

As the true or prime focus of this company is brought to light we learn the history involved and behind the name Watchman and the reason why he formed this company. Purpose: Never let your guard down. Protect your country. Since our government had no warning nor did the American people- We were caught off guard that day- not forewarned by our intelligence organizations and the end result we all know.

As the new team and heads get to work and form their teams and choose their respective staffs, Cris informs Mugsy, Charlie and Johnny F the new head of intelligence and security of the real reason behind the agency and the Black Ops unit he needs to form and keep under the radar of everyone. ArchAngel: Never again will he allow what happened to his wife Lisa happen again. Just what this group will do and who will run it and how many men will be involved that remains to be seen.

Intel information alerts Cris about an operation in Mexican dealing with a dangerous drug cartel. Sending two men to investigate and find out more information should have been no problem. But, there's a plant or traitor working within their walls whose feeding Zamani information and the end result proves fatal when they come face to face with their killers. Through the information found in their new Big Brother computer network they learned about a 25 million dollar cash flow related to a Mexican operation. Knowledge needed: Is this money funding the building of the mosque or something else? Frustrated whey they do not hear from the agents, what they learn will leave permanent chills down your spine after you read the events so expertly described by this outstanding author. What really ads to the plot is the author allows the reader to hear the inner thoughts, conflicts and emotions of each character when he/she expresses doubt, fear or conflict.

Truth be told and the traitor uncovered what happens next will alert this person of impending danger when teaming up with the wrong side. But, although injured and hurt what happens next creates fear in the minds of the terrorist forcing them to take stronger action and hopefully revenge on the one man he is really after: DeNiro.

DeNiro's team finds out more than these people realize and the race to see which side will succeed is definitely on and the starting gun has already been fired.

As Charley and the crew of the Santana go on a recovery mission and hopefully bring back the two agents, they face other adversaries before the truth about what really happened to the men is revealed. The end result will cause your heart to race, ignite your energy and create a definite rise in your anxiety level as you cannot put the book down, rush to turn each page and wait for the explosive ending.

Thinking he can bring down DeNiro hacking into his network, Zamani is toying with the wrong man and just might be out of his league. The Watchmen are smart, clever and crafty and definitely not to be under estimated and Americans: never underestimate us either!

Each member on high Orange Alert at all times using methods not often conventional, you come to route for their success and with they were not just part of the author's imagination in this first rate thriller.

Underlying this plot is one between Cris and Moriah that is not fully developed but hopefully will unfold in the future. Each losing a spouse on September 11, 2001, their feelings even after ten years raw, and the memories fixed in their minds, they are not ready to fill that empty void. Will they in the future remains to be seen as the main even has not been unfolded. Meeting her at a July 4th gathering the author allows the reader to her thoughts feels and entertains her doubts about meeting his billionaire and his two sons. Will something happen between them? That remains to be seen.

The truth behind Zamani's miss is revealed and the players are all in place- bomb is set to explode and the martyrs thinking they will succeed. A bomb is supposed to explode over Las Vegas is the goal? Can he be stopped? Wait and see! What they have planned is so far creative that no one will expect it. Invade DeNiro's ranch- capture or interrogate him but first they have plans for his kids, staff and more- horrific, deadly-bone-chilling to say the least.
As the phones go dead, computers compromised, leaks revealed- what happens next you will not believe as the enemy finds it way to close to its targets. Battle lines drawn- on site combat- families in danger. DeNiro needs to work fast as ArchAngel and Shadow Wolves team up to fight for their lives when the enemy comes knocking at their front door.

But, just who would deliver this package and where will it land? One twist, turn and surprise that I cannot reveal: You can place your bets on the roulette wheel as to who comes out the winner: Red the Enemy or Black DeNiro!

Just what happens you will not expect and will surprise the reader. One-man fights not only for his family, county and the memory of his wife Lisa, but those who gave theirs on 9/11 and those who lost theirs fighting this war you have to read for yourself. Who wins and who loses? Just how many lives are sacrificed and what is next for the team of the Watchman- only the author Gerard demerging knows that for sure. Let's hope he brings Cris, Brian, Johnny F, Michelle and the rest back again in a sequel to this great thriller. This book is a sober reminder that we must never let our guard down, we must fight for our country and we must remember those who gave their lives that horrific day. Tuesday: September 11, 2001: Never Again!