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Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Good Story Is A Good Story

Fran Lewis has three wonderful book reviews that we would like to share with you. Enjoy!

Odd Jobs

Author Benjamin Lieberman Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Odd jobs centers around a college student named Kevin Davenport who takes anything but a nine to five normal job to make ends meet. Taking the reader inside the mind of one young man whose voice is heard from page one and who tells the story in his very own way and time. Told in the first person narrative, the reader becomes one and the same with our main character as he takes you on a face paced and rocky ride of a lifetime hoping to survive. Kevin Davenport introduces the reader to the inner workings of a corrupt and dangerous business: Kosher World Meat Factory. Thinking that he has the odd job from heaven which will help him finance the lifestyle he wants and tuition for school, Kevin takes on more than just hauling carcasses of beef, pulling skin off of a tongue and learning how to make pastrami towers. Odd Jobs by author Ben Lieberman takes us into the world of Kosher World Meat Market, the ins and outs of what really transpires, the graft, the deceit and the murders that occur while Kevin is just trying to survive.

Kevin Davenport, our main character, witnessed the deaths of his father and sister leaving him to care for himself and his mother. Accustomed to taking Odd Jobs to make ends meet to pay for his tuition and the finer things in life so many desire, Kevin gets sucked in. Friends that he made introduced him to living high on the hog and indulging in pastimes that he really could not afford. Kevin did a favor for one man and that one favor changed the course of his life forever. Becoming a product of his own environment and needing fast cash, he allowed himself to work for this man, Jimmy Baldacci not realizing what that entailed. Kosher World Meat Factory was anything but Kosher in its management and daily operations. As he became more ensconced in the daily operations of the company he crossed many lines, angered many people and formed several wrong alliances, some which might prove deadly. Learning some secret truths about what was really behind the lack of production and numbers in the company, joining forces with those behind it, betrayed a trust that he had developed with his boss and friend Sev, Kevin is about to lose even more. Pulled in several directions, Kevin now has to decide which road or path to follow and whether he would remain someone’s valuable commodity concerned about the all might dollar, or a man with integrity and loyal to his friends. As Kevin immersed himself into the real structure of Kosher World Meat Market he finds out what is really behind the lack of production in this company. What happens next will seal his fate and change the course and direction of his life.

Decisions you make should be your own and not forced on you by others. The consequences born by those decisions are yours alone. Imagine your life hinging on the decisions that others have inflicted upon you to make because you have decided to follow the wrong road in life in order to get what you want: STATUS and Acceptance and Power! Status comes at a very high price when gaining importance and reaping wealth deteriorates your inner core, your very nature and underlying being. As you choose the many roads and paths and become enveloped in the will and desires of gaining status, acceptance and importance you might sink deeper and deeper in a dark pool filled with quicksand hoping that someone will pull you out before it’s too late.

As Kevin is speaking with Sev his immediate supervisor, he inadvertently learns the truth behind the deaths of his father and sister. Anger sets in and then rage and what happens will not surprise the reader or Kevin. But, just how much of his soul and integrity will he sell in order to stay on top and in the good graces of those in charge. What will happen if he falls from grace and realizes just how deep and dangerous the waters are? Will he ever be able to swim back to the top or will he sink? Murder is serious and never really justified but some feel it’s the only way to avenge the death of someone they loved and cared for. Kevin crosses that line, finds the killer of his sister and father and slowly lowers himself deeper into that quicksand until only his head is sticking out. But, he’s not done yet. Deceit runs deep within him and although this powerful man was once his friend, Kevin hopes to become his downfall. But, can he do it with the meager help that he has? Formulating a plan to take down Baldacci and entering into other areas of employment to supplement his cash, our main character can add bookie, numbers man, drug dealer, and more to his employment resume. Keeping afloat will not be easy and covering all the odds and bets made by some powerful people will require creativity, manpower and more to prevent more deaths as they mount up. With his college friends Loot and Carey they manage to become entrepreneurs in many illegal fields, forging ahead and hoping to unglue Baldacci , Petro and many others. Hoping to bring Petro into his corner and away from Baldacci.

Standing at the center of a dangerous intersection not knowing which direction to walk in when the light turns green. Imagine the outcome of all of your decisions, life’s choices and future hinging on that green light and which you decide to walk. Kevin Davenport is about to approach that light what will he do next?

Realizing that the law will not be able to aide him in bringing this man down Kevin becomes no better than him, justifying his reasons for being as corrupt, deceitful, dishonest and unscrupulous as this man in order to bring him down. Vigilante justice is not new and many belief in it. Kevin has literally sold his soul, moral integrity in order to avenge the deaths of his sister and father. But, is this the answer? Added to that is his new girlfriend Rocky, who has issues of her own and had become part of his world.

Author Ben Lieberman created a character with guts, gum shin, fortitude, determined, persistent and methodical mind who does not give in to fear, force or failure. Kevin Davenport is different from most young men. Using what the enemy does best and fighting back by taking over what the other side has is his way of creating, in his mind, justice for his family’s deaths. Spying on the other side, feeding information to someone who wants to get close to Baldacci, he rigs his own plan to get everything, but can he or will he when things go awry, money is lost and bets need to be covered. With his loyal friends Loot, Carey, Sev and the help of Special Forces, they unleash a plan that will that sends Baldacci hiding in fear, his accomplice thinking he’s home free and one young man from Hempstead avenging more than just his family. Relentless in his pursuit for justice, an ending that will give the reader pause for thought and a character who is resourceful and unyielding, he will have to decide which way to go when that light at that dangerous intersection turns green and one final decision must be made. With strong dialogue that allows the reader to become one and the same with the main character, you feel every punch, understand his frustrations and cheer for his victory, but at what cost? Is there really a winner at the end or is Kevin still fighting for his life and a place in this world when all is said and done? Will he win or will he be totally covered in quicksand with no way out?

Lives hang in the balance and others will be lost. Friendships will deteriorate, hardships will be endured as murder and corruption reign and how the end plays out will surprise the reader and keep you wondering about the true definition of justice and whether it was rightfully served. Kevin Davenport: What is next for him? This is one novel you want to read, odd jobs that might having you thinking twice before you undertake them, fast cash that can be made but is it worth the risk? What would you have done in if you were Kevin? Think about it but not until you read the book and get all the facts and weigh the evidence for yourself. Odd Jobs a must read and now endorsed by this reviewer.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Posted on Amazon
CBB Cold Coffee
Mind’s eye

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Title: Too Far Under

Author: Lynn Osterkamp

ISBN: 9781933826691

Publisher: PMI Books

Take a huge block of ice and leave it out. Ice melts until it becomes water with no shape or form. As it drips down the counter or is spilled out of a glass there is nothing left of its original form? Your brain requires mental stimulation and activities to keep it active. There are many reasons why people forget, lose their memory or worse. Alzheimer’s disease erodes your brain and destroys it until just like the piece of ice there is nothing left of its original form and person housing this brain exists in body only and not in mind. Indigo children are different from everyone else. Their minds work and function on a higher level. Feeling superior to their friends, teachers and parents they feel that school and the work given is beneath them and not necessary. Mirabel Townes is murdered. Heiress, scientologist is drowning in her hot tub. Pronouncing her dead at the scene and a tragic accident the police are satisfied but her children suspect murder. Cleo Sims helps people communicate with the dead through her Contact Project. Two different minds, one that is going to crumble and another that no one wants to believe as Angelica Townes fights to find out the truth behind her mother’s death as I review Too Far Under by author Lynn Osterkamp

Cleo Sims’s Gramma has Alzheimer’s. Cleo agreed to care for her. With her grandmother’s nursing home about to close down and all of the residents become homeless, Cleo needs to find a viable solution to this serious problem. Nursing Homes that are safe and care for their patients are few and far between and the one her grandmother lives needs funding and those in charge have no qualms about shutting it down. As Cleo is focused on her grandmother’s situation and finding another home for her, Lacey Townes the daughter of Mirabel Townes approaches her leaving frantic messages that she needs to enlist her help to find out the truth about her mother’s death. With a sister, who is an Indigo child, one that has psychic abilities, bright, sensitive and sees beyond the surface, Angelica knows that her mother was killed but cannot tell who did it without Cleo’s help. But, there is much more to this outstanding paranormal and unique novel.

Author Lynn Osterkamp introduces us to many areas many of we would ordinarily not be aware of. With the ability to contact those that are deceased using her Contact Program, Cleo hopes to help Lacey and her family find out the truth behind Maribel’s death. But, at what expense and how dangerous can this become? Added to that Cleo has a ghostly friend named Tyler, who appears only to her and who specifically tells her to help Angelica and her sister and put her grandmother’s problems on the back burner? But, can she when the home is closing in 60 days, where will she turn and what will she do when the pressure is on.

Angelica is a special child crying for help, but are her concerns unfounded? As Cleo tries to find out the truth behind Angelica’s sense of her mother’s death, her father and live in mistress foil any further opportunities for her to learn more stating that she needed direction, medication and treatment by a doctor of their choice. Hiding the truth, covering something or just not wanting to believe this ten-year-old child’s insights and senses Cleo becomes embroiled in situations that could cost many lives. Feeling a close connection or strong sense of her mother being murdered, Angelica pleads with Cleo through Lacey to help connect with Mirabel and learn the truth. Suspects mount up but where should the final finger point? As Angelica’s father and live in mistress foil any attempts from Cleo to treat her or communicate with her again, Cleo decides to work with either Lacey or Shane. Greed can do many things to a person and money is one of the prime issues of all of the suspects. Who gets Mirabel’s money and who is cut out of the new will if anyone can find it? When Angelica takes matters into her own hands and gets foiled by the killer, will anyone be able to save her or will it be too late? Added to that is the rocky relationship that Cleo has with her boyfriend Pablo and the twist at the end that might change it all.

Author Lynn Osterkamp created a plot filled with twists, turns and surprises placing Cleo, Angelica and Lacey in the direct path of a clever murderer. Everyone wants to know what is in Mirabel’s will and what her final wishes really were. Who will benefit and who is really cut out? What is the hidden truth about why Cleo’s Gramma’s paintings are not selling at full price? Who stands to lose if a new will is uncovered and to what lengths will the players in the story go to find out? The suspense becomes intense and the ending is quite riveting as our author brings this story to a dramatic conclusion. Who killed Mirabel? What will happen when Shady Terrace closes and will her Gramma have a safe place to live? Read Too Far Under and find out who got in too deep. A mind is precious: Use it for good!


Brendan Malone: The Last Fenian

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

A parent’s dream is often for his children to follow in his footsteps whether career wise, the woman he marries or the causes he follows. Brendan Malone believed in the Irish Republic Brotherhood. He was a true Fenian who would do anything to help the people of Ireland survive, keep to the land and never waver from their homeland. But, Brendan Malone never really looked at the entire picture nor did he hear the plea or cries of his younger son, Hugh when he explained his position on being a Fenian and his causes until it was too late. Dylan Malone was diametrically opposite of his brother Hugh. Falling in line with his father’s wants and wills, he willing took the sacred Oath of the Fenians in front of all of its membership, would marry the girl chosen for him and become a staunch member of the Brotherhood. Both young men college educated coming back with entirely different viewpoints on how they wanted to spend their lives and where they would spend it. Hugh considered homely, not good looking and definitely the victim of many amusements by classmates and friends growing up had a magnificent singing voice but he had even more: Conviction and his own plan for life. Although he seemed like a willing subject to be brainwashed by his father’s beliefs and desires, hidden and masked under that fragile exterior was a strong-willed young man who had made his own bed, would lie in it and not one of Irish descent. He found a British woman, married her, had a job in Belfast and would become his own man. Expounding his viewpoints loud and clear Hugh tells his father while preoccupied with taxes and crops and keeping his tenants glued to the land and Ireland he made his way on his own. One father and two sons so different. One would side and go with the cause while the other decided to see the world in a different way. What will happen and the final outcome will rip the heart out of one man and destroy a family that was once so close as Dylan follows in his father’s path and Hugh makes his own way as I continue my review of Brendan Malone The Last Fenian by author Marina J. Neary.

As the author describes the life of these men, the women they will marry or are married to you see some similarities and differences. Women were not considered intelligent nor were they supposed to have any income of their own. In some families the children were supposed to accept handouts from parents, follow suit and their rules and eventually take what they can when they had children of their own living under the same roof or a roof built by their parents thereby creating a dependent society and not one able to present a single thought of their own. Yet, Hugh, intelligent and bright would not let this happen and his decision to leave, based on his lack of any desire to help liberate or free Ireland. Will they drift apart or will they stand tall as brothers even though they are so opposed to what they believe in? Men who want to fight for their cause, too old to really endure battle but hope their young offspring will perpetuate their cause.

The Fenians, both the Brotherhood and Irish Republican were a fraternal organization dedicated to establishing an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is to this cause that Brendan Malone hoped his two sons would subscribe. Founded in 1858 by John O’Mahony, this was a secret organization founded in America. In Gaelic Ireland these bands of young men were called upon in times of war. Their purpose was to free Ireland from Great Britain. Fenian, a term used in Northern Ireland and Scotland includes all supporters of Irish Nationalism. Brendan Malone was a staunch supporter of this cause and enlisted his son Dylan as a member. Dylan submitted to the taking the Oath while Hugh, walked away never turning back. Alienating himself from his family, Hugh pursued the Edith Ashley the daughter of a college professor. Welcomed into the world of academia he still needed and wanted the love and approval of his father. But, lives would change as Dylan and his brother-in-law Donnie leave home to lead a rebellion and the worst is revealed upon their return. Soldiers with no regard for anyone will attack women for their own fancy as Donnie learns upon returning. Edith, Hugh’s wife had to reconcile herself with the lack of feelings her father showed her before her wedding and the three years his lost taking care of her sisters and not being able to pursue her career as a concert pianist. Married to Hugh, he promised to change that. Only time would tell and both brothers would learn many hard and fast lessons and one family would be permanently torn apart. Causes are great and standing by your convictions even greater, but when the cause has not means to a good effect, then you need to reassess your reasons for pursuing it, but Brendan and his group of Fenians could not look past their goals and desires nor would they.

As each side takes a stand and Brendan seeks revenge on those who took his family and more, the end result will astound the reader and make you wonder why more thought was not put into what these men decided to do. Author Marina J. Neary brings to light a time in Ireland that battles were fought, lines of demarcation drawn and destruction of families that would never remain whole again. What happens will not endear you to the British and make you understand what the Irish fought for as an entire IRB unit learns what happens when vengeance is sought and clearer heads do not prevail. Historical fiction, real life drama and the pain of one man, named Brendan Malone who believed in his cause, gave up everything for his beliefs and an ending that lets the reader know the story is not over and there is much more to come.

Vividly portrayed characters, incidents that you can picture in your mind and characters that you will either love, respect, understand or even misunderstand as one man tries to keep his family in tack and the end result you need to read for yourself. The sadness is real, your tears will definitely flow and the anger might well up as the fate of the Malone family comes to light and end result will definitely surprise you.

The Last Fenian: Which ones survive the carnage and which ones continue on? One great novel, one great cause: One great Man!

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

I never give stars to great novel. ***** -f1ve Victorious Fenians