Each month Author Michael Scott Clifton will post featured book reviews for your enjoyment. These books are new releases or just books he thinks you may enjoy.
By CW Hawes
The Nine Deadly Dolls is a fast-paced novella filled with all the bells and whistles associated with a mystery thriller. There is murder, occult entanglements, puzzling clues, and of course, the unexpected plot twist. The main character, Justinia Wright, is a tall, cigar-chomping former spy now turned, investigator. Interestingly, the story is narrated through Justinia's ("Tina") brother's POV instead of Tina. The plot centers on a client who inherited his uncle's estate. The uncle, formerly from Haiti, died under mysterious circumstances. The nephew employs Tina to investigate, but then he himself is also killed.
The one clue which ties all this murder and mayhem together is a set of nine voodoo dolls. If Tina can somehow determine the connection, the case might be solved. Complicating her efforts is a deadly Haitian voodoo cult determined to kill anyone who threatens their plans.
Crisply written, CW Hawes delivers a great story. Five Stars!
By C.J. Peterson
In this compelling story of overcoming tragedy and adversity, Stacey, a high school teenager, must deal with the devastating news her mother has been killed in a car accident. The memories are just too painful so, Sam, Stacey's father, decides to move them to another state and another town. This means Stacey has to adapt and fit in at a brand new school.
Almost immediately, problems occur. A fluid social structure of various cliques, complicated relationships, and evolving friendships make Stacey's transition to the new school a minefield. A wrong step could alienate the wrong person. To make matters worse, some of the boys at school, including one of the most popular, begin to compete for her attention. Do they really like her, or is there a different motivation? Who can she trust? There is no easy answer.
I liked that an inspirational quote segued into each new chapter. I wasn't expecting that, but it is a nice change of pace from typical works of fiction. Kudos to Author C. J. Peterson for this different spin.
Christian values are showcased throughout Strength From Within, and although I hesitate to use the word "normal" (as the 21st century defies normalcy), these values reflect upon the way we should act and treat one another. A lesson, I think, we could all use a refresher on.
This is a great read. Five Stars!
By N.E. Brown
Unraveled is a period novel set in the mid-1970s while the Vietnam War still raged. It follows the story of Carson Chance, his struggle with PTSD (as a former Vietnam War soldier), and his girlfriend Amy. Rotary phones, Ford Mustangs, and 30 cents per gallon gas rule the day!
Carson's PTSD puts an incredible strain on his relationship with Amy, finding and keeping a job, and living life in general. Carson manages to control his paranoia to the point he can start a new job as a Private Investigator, but not in time to save his relationship with Amy.
The plot really takes off at this point as Carson plunges into his new job and is assigned a pair of difficult investigations. His path and Amy's cross again, and author N. E. Brown really does a good job leaving you guessing until the very end if they resolve their problems.
Romance, danger, mystery, and Dallas, Texas in the 70s. What can beat that? Five Stars!
By Linda Pirtle
Scrabbled Secrets is a cozy mystery with a bang! Here are some of the ingredients:
A missing Aunt
A cross-country trip across the U.S. in an RV with a number of heart-pounding stops along the way
A Standard Poodle who is anything but "standard"
Into this mix we add Lillian Prestridge, a modern-day Jessica Fletcher, who unravels the mystery of the missing Aunt Sophia. The mark of a good book always leaves you wanting more, and Scrabbled Secrets delivers this and then some!
By Kelly Marshall
Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned has all the elements you look for in a Detective Thriller; murder, mayhem, deceit, tangled relationships, and of course, plot twists. The action starts almost from the first page and doesn't end until the breathtaking finish. Some scenes are graphic and defintiely not for the squemish, but add to the gritty feel of the story. The detective duo of Winston and Strom is interesting in that the two are polar opposites personailty-wise, but still manage to make a dynamic team.
By CW Hawes
Zuvembies by CW Hawes is a unique book which combines elements of horror with fast-moving action. Pierce Mostyn is an agent of the Office of Unidentified Phenomena (OUP), a little-known government agency. Their mission is to investigate phenomena "outside" the perview of agencies such as the FBI. In this case, the FBI is baffled by a number of cases in which family members are murdered in horrific fashion. In each instance, one family member goes missing.
Unknown at the time, the "missing" family member has drank a concoction called the black brew which turns them into a murderous zuvembie. Not alive nor dead, a zuvembie is a hybrid creature who does the nefarious bidding of Valdis Damien van Dyne, a truly evil personality. His plans include turning the entire population of New York into the mindless zuvembies.
The seventh book in the Pierce Mostyn series, get ready for a wild ride!
By Caleb Pirtle III
Caleb Pirtle knows how to paint a picture for readers to follow. His description of Depression-era East Texas is filled with poignant and vivid imagery. The crispness is such you can almost smell the coal smoke from trains, feel the cold sting of sleet, taste the corn liquor served in the local saloon. His depiction of a small town transitioning from the depths of the Depression to a booming oil town is especially good.
Lost Side of an Orphan's Moon, the third book in the Boom Town saga, begins with a grisly discovery; the body of a young woman. Pirtle keeps you guessing until the end as to who the murderer is. Suspects abound, but clever plot twists and turns keep you on the edge of your seat never quite sure who it is.
An interesting cast of characters populate Lost Side of an Orphan's Moon. Pirtle's characters are introduced in such a way that leaves no doubt as to their traits. There's Eudora the beautiful but flawed widow hopelessly in love with Doc, the card shark and conman, and Ollie Porter, a little boy engaged in a desperate search for his father. Each play a part in Pirtle's tale, and are cleverly woven into his masterful book.
Lost Side of an Orphan's Moon is a page-turning novel that will keep you engaged to the last page.
An enthusiatstic Five Stars!
By Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey
Star-crossed lovers, Buzz and Zara, find they have much more in common than tech and programming skills. Unfortunately, Zara's tormented past won't allow her to fully comit to Buzz. Teaming tobether to start a technical college on a sun-drenched tropical island, the sky's the limit for the young couple. Will it be happily ever after, or will Zara's past come back to spoil their blossoming relationship? Get this fast-moving short story to find out.