Self-Published Book Review: “An Inky Summer”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

an inky summer by fred and cheryl lowman

cipa evvy merit

An Inky Summer

by Fred and Cheryl Lowman

ISBN: 9781478777434

Synopsis*:

When 12 year old Freddie discovers Inky, an American crow, sitting on the fence near the back steps of his house, it is the beginning of An Inky Summer. Read this true story and laugh as this crafty and intelligent corvid upsets neighbors and relatives with his antics.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

A Wonderful True Story!

A delightful book! This book will not only be enjoyed by children, but by the adults who read it to them. The story will make you smile, laugh, and maybe even cry. It takes you back to a simpler time when kids didn’t have all the electronics in their lives. You will never look at a crow in the same way after reading this story. They are truly a very intelligent creature that we should learn more about. Also the illustrator, Dan Carsten, did an excellent job in bringing the story to life with his vibrant drawings. A must read for all ages!!!

– reviewed by Crowman on Amazon

Other Reviews

A Special Encounter to Enjoy.

A wonderful remembrance that is recalled and shared with the reader. It create’s our own wish to have an “encounter” with a creature to recall. It is a heart warming story that expresses much honesty and joy in the what may be if we are accepting. This story sparks the imagination and is made that much more special knowing it is a “true story”.
Well done!

– reviewed by Boppa on Amazon

Great Read!

I just loved this book. It really captured a perfect time in a young boy’s life. I was drawn in right away, and it made me want an “Inky” crow as a pet for myself. I learned a lot about crows. In the past, I would just see them as large, black birds; and now I am looking for individual personalities when I see them. The illustrations are wonderful and brought the book to life. A perfect read!

– reviewed by Gail V. on Amazon

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Tuesday Book Review: “Cursed”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

cursed jeanne blanchet

cipa evvy merit

Cursed

by Jeanne Blanchet, PhD

ISBN: 9781478747901

Synopsis*:

The year is 394 CE. Christianity has recently been declared Rome’s state religion, and the empire’s pagan temples are being shut down. When Christian Princess Serena accompanies Theofilus, a young priest, to oversee the closing of Vesta’s sanctuary, she pilfers a necklace from the statue of a goddess, inciting the head Vestal to call a horrific curse down on her and her family. Cursed traces the remainder of Serena’s life as she wonders if the curse will destroy her completely and attempts to cope with her gradually rising desperation. Meanwhile, Father Theofilus embarks on a lifelong quest to find the priceless antique Palladium, which had been housed in the sanctuary and which he plans to donate to the Church as a means of furthering his ecclesiastical career. Stilicho, Alaric, Theodosius I, Bishops Ambrose and Augustine, and Saint Jerome are among the fascinating individuals who return to life in this historical fiction thriller. Their exciting adventures are set against the background of the fall of the once-mighty Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity, and the mass migrations characteristic of Europe’s turbulent fourth and fifth centuries.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Jeanne Blanchet’s “Cursed” is an epic historical account of Christianity’s strong entrance into Roman culture, and how religion came to be more absolute than the power of even the emperors.

Christian Princess Serena and a young priest and aspiring Bishop of Rome, Presbyter Theofilus, make up two of the principal characters in the cast. Serena is pampered and used to living a life of luxury.  While her heart is often in the right place, she is easily misguided, however, by material aspirations and the beauty and allure of things, like jewelry.  Presbyter Theofilus started out as a promising young military prospect but turned his sights on the Church when religious traditions in Rome became overrun by Christian teachings and power.  What these two young people learned during their years, as did every other Roman citizen and intruder, was that Christianity’s power was to be stronger than anything else.

“Cursed” starts out strongly and is filled with rich details and obvious research.  The terminology which the author inputs into the story represents long hours of academic study, which help produce an authentic picture of Rome in its final century.  While the details remain strong throughout the novel, the pace staggers a bit as the story progresses.  It seemed that the author’s aspirations for the novel almost became a little too broad.  Whereas the synopsis of the book intimates at the book being about a young woman being evilly cursed by one of the remaining pagan priestesses, or Vestals, of Rome, and about Presbyter Theofilus’s journey to find the antique Palladium, these storylines become a little blurred.

While most of “Cursed” takes place toward the end of the 4th century CE, there are various chapters that almost randomly go back in time 30, 40, or 50 years.  One contains details about the coming of the Goths, while another provides backstory on the current Bishop of Rome.  While the historical details are strong, the context of why these chapters are included in the midst of the main story is lost.  I think the too-broad aspirations and outlook for the plot ended up overshadowing the intended theme and main point of the book, albeit unintentionally.

I am not sure I would consider this a read for the general audience.  The historical and technical terms may make the prose seem a little dense and hard to understand.  I am a history student and an aspiring historian, so the inclusion of the historical facts was perfectly normal, easy to understand, and even exciting to me, but it may pose as a barrier for those who aren’t as historically inclined.

“Cursed” certainly shows a lot of promise as a work of heavily research historical fiction.  The idea for the story is unique and captivating, and the characters are unique enough to make you want to know what happens to them by the end of the book.  In the end, “Cursed” by Jeanne Blanchet is a great example to aspiring writers of how important structure, pacing, and context are in contributing to the overall understanding, execution, and package that is a novel.

– reviewed by Megan Weiss on Reader Views

Other Reviews

History come to life.

The author has taken the historical account of early Christianity and the fall of Rome and woven together a most descriptive narrative to bring the events to life.

– reviewed by Nancy Redmond on Amazon

This book has inspiring attention to detail and emotional depth. The knowledge and research that went into the writing of Cursed has made it a real page turner that pulls you right in and won’t let you put it down.

– reviewed by MacLennan on Amazon

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “The Paymaster”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

the paymaster adeed dawisha

download

1st Place Winner in the 2018 Reader’s Favorite Awards Mystery Category

The Paymaster

by Adeed Dawisha

ISBN: 9781478783152

Synopsis*:

George Haddad is a deeply conflicted man. A doyen of Washington’s high society, he is also a life-long member of a terrorist organization. George resolves his inner conflict when he discloses secret information to Tessa Barnard, a young television reporter, who soon finds herself treading a treacherous path of intrigue and deception involving murder, abductions, and brutal assaults. Someone is determined to silence her. Is it foreign terrorists, or does the danger emanate from somewhere much closer to home? Meanwhile, George Haddad himself becomes the object of the boundless cruelty of his organization’s star assassin, and he has to make a fateful decision that could cost him his life. He knows the odds are heavily stacked against him. A tightly written and intricately plotted novel, with many twists and unanticipated revelations, The Paymaster is hard to put down.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

The Paymaster is an exciting exploration of terrorism and counterterrorism, a twenty-first-century thriller done right.

Adeed Dawisha’s fast-paced novel The Paymaster unites a former nationalist and an ambitious journalist to take aim at one of the modern world’s biggest problems—terrorism.

George Haddad is a veteran of a nationalist terror organization, a former idealist who spent his young life sipping black tea in bombed-out warehouses in the Middle East. Now, with a mansion and a family in Virginia, Haddad has grown bored, tired, and despondent. He seeks to combat his ennui by aligning himself with Tessa Barnard, an aspiring investigative journalist who is stuck in West Virginia.

The initial purpose of their meeting is to expose Emilio Luciani, a man posing as an Italian but who is really a Hezbollah terrorist, Nizar Saleh. Haddad wants Barnard to unmask the man while he is in a secret meeting with the CIA, but one murder throws the entire scheme off of the rails.

The Paymaster is a quintessentially modern thriller set in some unexpected places. Besides the usual milieu of Washington, DC, the East Coast megalopolis, and the jet-set spots of Europe, the story also touches down in frozen Chicago, small-city West Virginia, and during the heady days of the 1979 Iranian revolution. It is an entertaining journey, the main thrust of which is that the worlds of terrorism and counterterrorism are far more entwined than most people think.

Although he is a scholar who specializes in the troublesome politics of the Middle East, Dawisha does not write like a pedantic professor. Indeed, The Paymaster moves at a quick clip, with concise, utilitarian language far outpacing fancy linguistic displays.

Characters are believable, though Barnard conforms to a certain stereotype. She is almost amoral, a careerist who seems mostly driven by a desire to get the heck out West Virginia. Although she certainly grows in maturity as the novel progresses, she is not as artfully drawn as the conflicted Haddad.

If Haddad is emblematic of real terrorists, or of terrorists who have lived long past their prime, then your average bomb maker or cell functionary is a lot more conflicted than news reports would suggest. Haddad and Barnard make for an exciting team, while the expert assassin hired by Haddad’s former comrades makes for a threatening adversary.

The Paymaster is an exciting exploration of terrorism and counterterrorism, with the daily monotony of both captured in between cinematic shootouts and cat-and-mouse games. This is a twenty-first-century thriller done right.

– reviewed by Benjamin Welton for Foreword Reviews

More Reviews

“The Paymaster” by Adeed Dawisha is an exciting and electric mystery/thriller that submerges readers deeply into the plot and leaves them guessing until the very end.

The story begins with George Haddad, a wealthy man of deep political influence in Washington DC, who is actually a member of the Revolutionary People’s Front, a Middle Eastern terrorist organization.  Attending a budget meeting of said organization, Haddad’s mind was not in the meeting as he was preoccupied with other matters: not being late to his daughter’s Christmas’s show, and making ‘the call” to Tessa Barnard. This call would finally put an end to his life of conflict by sharing the secret information he knows with the T.V. reporter. But instead of realizing peace of mind for himself, divulging the secret information puts Tessa in mortal danger and makes him a target within his organization.  Efforts to keep this information under wraps set the tone for this thrilling, intricate adventure.

Adeed Dawisha created a well written thriller with simple, engaging dialogue, and a fast-paced integrated plot that flows beautifully, keeping readers from putting it down. As much as I like to brag on how I always am able to figure out plots, I must admit, this one did have few surprises for me. Dawisha truly knows how to master pace and plot in a way which unravels unexpectedly. His characters are not just genuine, the way he built them with dialogue and description made them come alive in my mind. Dawisha also features impeccable writing skills within the action scenes as I could picture things happening vividly in my mind as clear as having it play on a screen in front of me.

I can’t recommend enough “The Paymaster” by Adeed Dawisha. It is an awesome five-star read. A thrilling and intriguing page turner that made me jump from my seat more than once. I will definitely look out for more work from this author!

 – reviewed by Michel Violante for Reader Views

This spicey thriller with multiple surprises includes characters drawn from the FBI, the CIA and television journalism, covering and uncovering international secrets and dirty deals with shady organizations from abroad. Murder, sex, betrayal, vengeance, redemption — even confirmation hearings — this fast-paced story has plenty of human interest. Lots of fun!

– reviewed on Amazon by Stephen Nimis


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Tuesday Book Review: “When is Sylvia Wallace”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

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When is Sylvia Wallace

by Brad Anderson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478763949

Synopsis*:

Her new world began in complete silence and absolute darkness. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t even supposed to be possible. All the science and technology said so, but a freak accident changes everything and Deputy U.S. Marshal Sylvia Wallace finds herself sometime in the future when the Janus Project does not exist and most of the people around her are prison escapees. All is not forsaken, however. A note from the past gives her hope. Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Mackie (the Guardians trilogy) and Colonel John Callan (The Janus Project) are coming to take her back to her time. All she has to do is stay alive until they find her, which becomes the most dangerous time of all.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“When Is Sylvia Wallace? from The Janus Project files,” by Brad Anderson is a roller coaster ride from the time U.S. Marshall Sylvia Wallace wakes up in an abandoned mine. The Earth has undergone a geomagnetic shift and is tilted on her axis, sending most of the planet into an ice-age when, in a Western-style shootout, friends Robert Mackie (from the “Guardians” trilogy) and Colonel John Callan (from “The Janus Project”) attempt a retrieval to take her back to her own time.

Brad Anderson does a wonderful, thorough job at describing this cold, nearly barren world Sylvia now finds herself in. The dystopian society she is surrounded by is so believable and realistic that one shudders to think how easily circumstances could devolve into the very struggle for day-to-day existence he so graphically portrays in this tale. With a style reminiscent of Stephen King, note how he describes one of his protagonist’s actions.

Escaped criminal and self-appointed mayor Rich Witkowski has realized that he must dispose of the bodies of his abducted victims quickly and chooses dismemberment:

The ulna and the radius just above the left wrist were exposed because that was where he had first grasped this corpse. He slipped the joined bones into the cutter opening. “Good. Just wide enough. I can save the hatchet and the hacksaw for the larger bones.” He lay the used shop towel on the concrete near the hand. “But first, the fingers.”

This novel is not just for those who wonder about the possibility of time travel, but also for those who enjoy dystopian tales, psychological thrillers, or high drama. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with science fiction and time travel in general. But, what I most enjoyed about this story was the minute details concerning survival itself. With both John Callan and Sylvia, Anderson goes into extensive description of just what is necessary to survive in an arctic environment. From the character’s step by step thought processes on deciding how to wrap one’s head for protection against the harsh elements, to the lengthy descriptions of ice walls and submerging into below-freezing water, to the panoramic detail of the physical environments the characters encounter.

Without having read The Janus Project, the connection, the familiarity and loyalty between the main characters nevertheless came through loud and clear. “When Is Sylvia Wallace? from The Janus Project files” works perfectly as a stand-alone novel, and will encourage readers to seek out the original story. However, in my opinion, the author could spin this into a series of its own: “From the Janus Project files, volume XX,” because this is a topic and genre that could garner an increasing fan base. With the blurring of genre lines, Brad Anderson has written an engrossing story that will grab readers of science fiction, action and adventure, and psychological thrillers.

– reviewed by Judy Derby for Reader Views

Other Reviews

This is a time travel novel and an adventure.
Sylvia Wallace is a Deputy US Marshall who works with the Janus Project in protecting people who were put in the Witness Protection Program. Unfortunately, she was in her pod when something happened and her pod crashed. She finds herself in the year 2036 in a coal mine. This is one of the areas where the program had a base. She knew the procedures to follow and did. She found her way out of the mine to the headquarters building where she found a number of men who were dead. They had died trying to take another man who had killed most of them. The others died in a blast from a sabotaged metal box. Past them was the entrance to the headquarters emergency base. Here she found food, clothing, shelter, and other equipment. She knows the protocol is to find her way to Alexandria to the main headquarters so they will know where to find her. To do this, she must walk out in the middle of a snow and ice storm.
John Callan is called back into action by Rob Mackie to help find Sylvia. First, they had to search many years from 2015 to find her. Once they found her, John and Rob were taking a risk to go into the future. No one had ever gone into the future. Would they make it in one piece? Would they be in the same year as Sylvia and the same place? If they did find her, could they get home?
This novel was excellent and just as good as the first one. I am not usually a fan of science fiction but with Brad Anderson’s books, I am definitely caught up in this series. I certainly hope there will be more. Be careful or you will find yourself staying up all night to finish it!

– Amazon reviewer P. Blevins

The story, “When is Sylvia Wallace” is engaging. Even the title is intriguing and draws you into wanting to know exactly what that means. Brad’s detailed descriptions of the physical and emotional allows you to become fully immersed into the story. Mr. Anderson helps you feel the cold, smell the natural gas in the tunnel and take part in the action. “When is Sylvia Wallace” is one of those books that is hard to put down and will leave you wanting to know more about these characters and follow them into future or past (in the case of time travel) adventures.

– Amazon reviewer NeoTheOne

 


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From the Archives: “Book Review Leads for the Self Published Author”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: September 12th, 2008 ]

Getting your book reviewed is an important part of book promotion for the self-published author.

If you are seeking book reviews: BookPleasures.com is a website you may want to investigate. They’ve been known to write book reviews and even interview authors for additional exposure. There is more information on their site at www.bookpleasures.com

Another opportunity exists at http://www.reviewyourbook.com where you can submit your book for a possible free review and listing on their website. There’s no fee (that I could see) and every little bit helps.

If you’ve written a travel log, or a book that fits the description of “travel log” (a memoir involving a foreign locale, for example), you may also want to look into: sketchandtravel.com

Good luck and have fun!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

A lot of time has passed since 2008 when I first posted some go-to reviewing resources to our blog, and while some stalwarts are still in business (including BookPleasures and SketchandTravel) several others are no longer in operation–at least not in any incarnation which would be useful to you, our readers. Hence the line through one of the sites listed above.

There are, however, quite a few new and wonderful resources, many of which remain free, including:

  1. www.ReadersFavorite.com (free!)
  2. www.digitalbooktoday.com (offers a slew of options, some paid, some free)
  3. www.SelfPublishingReview.com (charges a fee, with multiple packages)
  4. www.IndieReader.com (expensive, but offers a “rush” option which is useful)
  5. IndieBRAG at www.bragmedallion.com (charges a small fee, ebooks only)
  6. www.BlueInkReview.com (charges a small fee, but flexible)
  7. www.MidwestBookReview.com (charges a small fee, but gives great exposure)

There are, of course, a thick pile of reviewers who are always willing to review in exchange for free book copies, but these are scattered throughout the internet and in no one place.

Just because a book review is free doesn’t mean it’s the only review you’ll want … or need. So consider your options–all of your options!–and pursue the ones that are both time and cost effective for you!

(And if you have any review websites we’ve missed that you’d like to see posted here, drop me a line!)

book review

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Saturday Book Review: “It’s Me, Achilles B: It’s Time to Say Hello”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

its-me-achilles-b-its-time-to-say-hello by michelle bravo

It’s Me, Achilles B: It’s Time to Say Hello

by Michelle Bravo

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755258

Synopsis:

Achilles B Is New in Town, and Ready to Meet You! Achilles B is friendly, sweet, and up for just about any adventure. He’s here to delight and inspire kids as he navigates challenges such as making new friends and starting school. He also gives fun, positive examples of how to make healthy decisions and keep an upbeat, kind outlook on life. Achilles’ intelligence and charm endear him to everyone he meets in this charming story for readers of all ages.

Critique:

Achilles B is a fun loving little dog who tells what it is like for him to adopt a family. In his own words he reveals his life with his furry friend Coco and the many adventures he is able to have in his life. “It’s Me, Achilles B”. is fun reading for any dog owner to enjoy. Though a kid’s title readers of all ages can enjoy Achilles B’s story.

 

reviewed by Gary Roen of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Many of us have dogs that are part of the family. We call them our “fur-babies” or the “grand-dogs.” And we’ve all seen (or heard stories about) dogs that are jealous when a human baby arrives on the scene and the dog is no longer the only little person in the house. But there are also those dogs who are incredibly close to their human siblings and treat the whole family as their pack.

Achilles B. definitely thinks of himself as an equal member of the family. He talks about his parents, and his friends (the kids), and the family pet (a cat named Coco). With the direct address style that young readers enjoy in books like Junie B. Jones, Achilles tells about his family’s move from Texas to Connecticut. He shares what his favorite activities are and how he helps with the family cat by chasing her around the house to make sure she gets enough exercise. He even enjoys having pancakes on snow days. (Who doesn’t love snow days?)

The friendly and positive tone of his explanation makes a move to a new home seem like an adventure rather than something scary. Achilles explains that his father got a new job, so he gets to meet new kids. He also finds out that kids are alike no matter where you live; they all enjoy having fun. His discussion of how the family chose their new cat and shared out the responsibilities for her care is a good introduction to talking about being good pet owners. Young readers will probably laugh when Achilles says that he volunteered to play with her, and they may even point out that he can’t feed her because he can’t open the cans of cat food.

Readers may want to write out stories from the viewpoint of their own pets. How do pets see their human family? What do they think of all the things that humans do, but pets don’t? With the popularity of the recent movie, “The Secret Lives of Pets,” there is plenty of inspiration. Others may want to write a story about a time they moved to a new home with their family.

Whether it leads to new stories and artwork being created, or simply creates an enjoyable reading experience, the book and Achilles will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

– Amazon Reviewer Suzanne R. Costner

Michelle Bravo’s story is full of emotion, magnetism and surprise. Through Achilles, we learn about the closeness of family and the love children and adults have for their pets. More importantly, we learn that family is ever changing, but love for one another, including the family pet, remains constant. After reading this book, I want to know more about this family and their day-to-day interactions with the world and one another. A truly delightful book for children. Adults will enjoy the read as well.

– Amazon Reviewer Gale Bellas-Papageorge, PhD

 


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Saturday Book Review: “The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of BlogCritics.org:

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott michael osborn

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott

by Michael Osborn

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432788933

Synopsis:

Matthew was fired from his job as church historian. His wife divorced him. At the funeral of his father, he realized it was his excommunication that killed him. Does Caitlynn have to die also, because Matthew was a naughty boy? Can he find her before it’s too late? They took everything from Matthew. All he had left was his rage.

Critique:

I was interested in how a book written in the thriller genre could answer “Was Joseph Smith the Hugh Hefner of the early 1800s?” and was soon to find out.

The beginning of the plot finds Matthew Alcott in the desert, naked and beaten. He makes his way to a small New York town, Resurrection Corner, and settles in find solace in a 12-step meeting for alcoholics. Alcott writes a book, gleaned from information gathered while he was a historian for the Mormon Church, which exposes Joseph Smith and revelations that were hidden by the church. The hierarchy of the church finds out about the manuscript and uses unscrupulous ways to prevent its publication.

That is the premise and the mainstay of the plot, but there is another side to the story and that is the struggles of an alcoholic and how the disease influences life. There was a complete sub-culture that readers, especially men in recovery, would relate to and get pulled into the story.

Personally, I found the exposed information on the Mormon Church interesting. Being this is a fiction book, I’m not sure how much of the information is embellished, but I would assume the basis is true. The power of the church and those running it are viewed as being corrupt with political and cultural clout.

The beginning of the book was very difficult to read because it in written in staccato style. The overuse of fragmented sentences presented flow issues and got boring. I also found redundant and irrelevant parts of the book that could be left out. These alone were burdening. As well, there were a significant number of editing issues that a professional editor would catch and polish up. Because of these issues, it was hard for me to convince myself to continue reading, but after reading reviews of the book, I continued with the challenge.

The second half of the book became more urgent than the first half, and the writing style changed to give the plot more flow and begged interest to move forward. I enjoyed reading the second half because the writing was more grounded. In fact, a few chapters did end up being page-turners, but the whole book fell short of the thriller genre.

I believe Michael Oborn has a gift of writing and could have his work developed into thrillers worth mentioning. His dedication to research the topic is noted and his knowledge of alcohol dependency and addiction certainly comes through in his writing. Although fiction, I do encourage readers interested in some aspects of the Mormon Church to check out The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott: Heritage of Secrets I think you will find it fascinating.

reviewed by Cristina Lanzi of BlogCritics.org ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

This somewhat fact-based, action packed fiction, is suitable for any ‘thriller’ reader – and you do not have to be Mormon or ex-Mormon to understand or enjoy it. Other reviews have already explained the storyline, and I don’t like to write ‘spoilers’, so I will in the main concentrate instead on the actual ‘read’.

One reviewer commented that they did not like the clipped sentence style but I found it dramatic and compelling. One or two other authors are renowned for it but it must be difficult to make it work as the style is rare. Mike Oborn has no such problem and I found it refreshing, quite appropriate for the story, and absolutely delightful to read. For me it added a quality to the work which is somewhat unique and I found it very enjoyable.

The book contains a book within a book, a story within a story, as our hero tries to publish a book which his Church would rather did not see the light of day. Another review describes the work as being similar to ‘Angels and Demons’; something I very much doubted – until I read it. Turns out that it is that good and it would make a very powerful movie. I simply could not put it down – all the time captured by where we were and wondering what happens next – just the way a good thriller should be.

I know the author suffered at the hands of the Mormon Church and left the fold several decades ago and it has taken this long for him to find a way of putting the past behind him – he finally found it in the form of writing. This I can thoroughly empathise with as I am a fellow ex-Mormon. I resigned membership and wrote my own way (non-fiction) through the trauma that follows such action, with the loss of friends and family who reject you as an apostate. Unconditional love is preached, but not practiced with someone who discovers that Mormonism is a provably hoax religion in which the conspiracy to deceive modern day members and investigators is alive and well. Only those who have experienced discovery of the truth and subsequent rejection could ever empathise with what Mike Oborn has been through in real life.

The main storyline is current, but to clarify and update background as we go along, the author constantly takes us momentarily back in time to several points, from the early 1800s and Joseph Smith’s depravity, to Matt’s (our lead character’s) earlier life and to what was happening a few years previously, to him and also to other characters in the book. This again is criticised in another review, but I thought that was harsh as it is not an unusual style of writing and I was very happy with the way this not only helps the reader understand appropriate background right at the point where such understanding is required, but I was also impressed by the way the author cleverly integrated such departure each time in a succinct and meaningful way – always tying in such links clearly and professionally, and quickly – back to the present.

I for one was never confused, never lost – and always on the edge of my seat with anticipation. It was a very satisfying way of bringing essential background into the story. I didn’t have to try to remember anything important for later in the book – it was brought in at exactly the right point in a ‘short and sweet’ manner. The fact that there is indeed quite a lot of such departure was clearly a deliberate style adopted by the author in order to enable the reader to understand everything in context and it worked very well; it enhanced and explained – but never detracted. All the threads were carefully and expertly brought together in a very satisfying manner.

In short, I cannot say enough about this work. Whilst writing it was an outlet for the author’s grief at the loss of so much – the outcome, regardless of what is ultimately true and what is fiction – is a masterpiece of writing and will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good thriller. The Mormon aspect in this work detracts no more than the Catholic aspect in Angels and Demons – it is a natural integral part of the plot which is as easy to understand for someone who has no idea what the Mormon Church believes as for someone who does. All I can say in conclusion is – just get the book and enjoy the ride – you won’t be disappointed.

– Amazon Reviewer Jim Whitefield

A classic novel starts with a crisis. As this book begins, Mathew Alcott has been divorced, fired, robbed, drugged and left naked in the Nevada desert. Powerful forces want him silenced, but have stopped short of killing him. Having already fled his native Utah and cut ties with his family, Mathew resolves to change his identity and disappear altogether.

He sets off on a drunken odyssey across the country. Arriving at random in New York State, Matthew goes to ground in a small town called Resurrection Corner. There he finds rest, companionship and a measure of peace. I enjoyed how Oborn built up slowly the relationship between Matthew and his new lover Cate. She is intrigued but disgusted by him at first, a drunk trying not-too-successfully to sober up. The description of their first night together is original and beautiful. But Matthew has brought with him burdens that he cannot easily put down.

A former newspaper journalist, he is determined to write a book examining critically the foundations of the Mormon Church. Matthew sees something of himself in Joseph Smith, the Church’s charismatic founder. And Matthew is determined to bring to light discoveries he made while working in the Church archives. The novel alternates between vignettes of Smith’s life and Matthew’s.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Oborn’s portrayal of Mormonism in general or Smith in particular. Suffice it to say that the Church and its members portray the rich, powerful and morally challenged opposition, a role played in other novels by capitalists or politicians depending on the author’s taste. We are meant to despise the bad guys, so they are made loathsome.

As a Chemical Dependency Professional, Oborn writes with passion and compassion about Matthew’s struggles with alcoholism. Other characters in the story -fellow addicts, counselors and caregivers – share this theme. The novel’s climax and conclusion feature an ensemble of unlikely heroes.

Like the Da Vinci Code, Oborn’s novel is at one level a long-running battle between Mathew Alcott and a secret society allied with the church. At another level it explores men’s use of religion to subjugate and control women. One may read it for entertainment, or to ponder deeper questions not limited to fiction.

– Amazon Reviewer David K. Stone

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