Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bookviews - March 2013


By Alan Caruba

My Picks of the Month

To understand what is wrong—and has been wrong for a very long time—with our healthcare system, you must read Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father and How We Can Fix it by David Goldhill ($25.95, Alfred A. Knopf). It is singularly the most cogent, must comprehensible book on the subject and his analysis explains why the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will only make the system worse, more costly, and fail to address our individual healthcare decisions and options. He begins with telling the reader how his father died in a hospital from an infection he contracted there and then reveals that a hundred thousand Americans die each year from similar infections. A hundred thousand! The healthcare industry—and it is an industry—takes in $2.5 trillion annually and then identifies the factors that affect our health, “your wealth, education, and lifestyle—not your access to healthcare.” Amidst all the babble about health care insurance, Goldhill points out that “We call it health insurance, but in reality health insurance has little in common with traditional insurance and provides few of its benefits.” This is because “health insurers can achieve long-term profit only if the amount of money spent on health care increases.” On page after page Goldhill dissects the health care industry and the insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, that have destroyed the traditional doctor-patient relationship; corrupting it. If you read no other book this year, you must read this one.

The most powerful factor in human history is demography, the study of the birth and death rates, the migrations of people, and the impact these have on our current society and nation. Jonathan V. Last, a senior writer at the Weekly Standard, has written What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster ($23.99, Encounter Books) that looks at America’s failing fertility rates in which not enough babies are being born to replace the current population, leaving the nation with a growing population of the elderly dependent on a decreasingly smaller group of workers to fund its entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The U.S. fertility rate hasn’t been above replacement rate since the 1970s! It is part of the problem that is exacerbated by out of control spending by the federal government. Michael Novak, the recipient of the 1994 Templeton Prize and author of “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism”, says of Last’s book that it “explodes old ways of thinking. Not moralizing, not blaming, Jonathan Last peers methodically ahead at the cold consequences of plunging global birth rates, aging, ever small national populations.” Another book sounding a warming is Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff ($29.95, Current, an imprint of the Penguin Group) argues that our society has been so conditioned to live in the present, devoid of knowledge or understanding of ours and world history, that a younger generation of Americans has lost touch with the ability to analyze what is occurring or why. Rushkoff notes that the one reason that civilizations and their values persist over centuries is their shared faith systems and national histories. This explains the global interest in the naming of a new Pope or a generalized concern about the revived Islamism that uses terror worldwide to impose itself on all peoples. The role of the media, Rushkoff warns, creates “false and misleading narratives by elites who mean us no good, but also tends to leave everyone looking for direction and responding or over-responding to every bump in the road.” An example of this is the global warming hoax that has no basis in science, but which intrudes into every aspect of the global economy and our lives, contributing to enormous waste of money and time. The rise of technologies that encourage people to post every insignificant aspect of their lives, often ignoring the greater issues affecting them, is another example cited.

With terrorism in the headlines daily, Dr. Jeffrey D. Simon has taken a look at Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growth Threat 26.00, Prometheus Books), noting that a new era of terrorism is emerging in the form of the lone wolf, individual terrorist such as Anders Breivik in Norway who killed scores of young people to the mass-shooting by Nidal Malik Hassen, the U.S. Army major who killed many soldiers at Fort Hood. An expert on this topic, Simon cites several key factors. They are more dangerous that many terrorist groups, the Internet has provided a breeding ground for isolated individuals with terrorist tendencies, and that the common perception that nothing can be done about them is wrong because innovative strategies and policies can be developed to prevent and respond to this type of terrorism. Most recently the killings in Newtown, CT, evoked a tremendous response among Americans, but also spurned those opposed to the common sense option of armed citizens to call for more restrictions, not less. Drawing on twenty-five years of experience, Dr. Simon offers an interesting book for anyone concerned about the threats posed by violence-prone individuals in our midst.

Now that Hillary Clinton has concluded her role as Secretary of State, many are already asking if she will make a second run at the presidency. For her many admirers, The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power by Kim Ghattas ($27.00, Henry Holt and Company) will prove irresistible reading as the BBC’s State Department radio and television correspondent tells the story of a popular but polarizing politician (she was a Senator from New York) to her role as America’s envoy as she strove to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world. Ms. Ghattis does not come with the baggage of American reporters, being a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen, so her insights are detailed and keen as she seeks to answer whether America is still a powerful force or if it is in decline, and what that will mean for the world.

Some books are just too long for their own good. A recent example is Power, Inc: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government—and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead ($16.00, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, softcover) by David Rothkopf. This is a writer who will take a thousand words to say when a hundred would do. He often seems a reluctant apologist for capitalism and the free market that says consumers will decide if a product or service is worth purchasing. He has taken on a very big subject, some 800 years of struggle between the powers in charge—mostly monarchs—and the emerging merchant class. He argues for a public-private partnership and believes it has worked for the U.S. it did in the days, for example, of the first railroads, but now all it does is “invest” in ideological enterprises such as solar and wind power that can never compete with the abundance of traditional sources of energy the U.S. possesses, wasting billions in the process. Too often the government has inserted itself into the marketplace with the 2008 mortgage-based crash as the latest example. Rothkopf examines the growing power of multinational corporations and doesn’t like what he sees in terms of their power versus that of government power, but government power often leads to failure when it intervenes and interferes in the marketplace and it is dealing with taxpayer’s money; the latest example being Obamacare. So, feel free to take a pass on this book. The author has impressive credentials, but so much to say that whatever point he is trying to make is lost in a Niagara of words.

To Your Health

Americans may be among the most health-conscious people on planet Earth. There are a number of new books on health-related topics. Among the latest arrivals are The Best Things You Can Eat by David Grotto, RD, a national spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ($15.95, Da Capo Press, softcover). It is an interesting and informative look at common foods and their benefits as he relates their nutrient value, which foods help reduce or ward off common problems such as high blood pressure and various diseases, and the best choices one can make from dairy, grains and vegetables to induce sleep, improve memory and aid overall health. Much of what he relates is quite surprising in a good sort of way. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about what they eat daily.

The Family Guide to Mental Health Care by Lloyd I. Sederer, MD ($25.95, W.W. Norton & Company) is officially due off the press in April. The author is the medical director of New York State’s Office of Mental Health and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. As he notes, mental disorders left untreated can devastate a family and a community, but often the families of the more than fifty million people a year diagnosed with a mental illness feel they have nowhere to turn for authoritative advice. Now they do with a book that provides the answers families need to understand a variety of disorders, to assess whether they are receiving proper help and to help choose the right treatment. The author takes one through illnesses from depression to schizophrenia and evaluates the medications prescribed.

Life After 50: The Road to Longevity by Dr. Paul M. Valliant ($16.99, Mill City Press, softcover) offers advice on how to take control of your life as you age via diet, daily exercise, and other techniques to address the changes that occur as one grows older. With more and more Americans entering this age group or already in it, this book provides easy-to-follow rules for aging gracefully, increasing one’s stamina, and being less stressed about it. Dr. Valliant has authored 32 psychology, health, and sports-related research papers. If you or a family member are entering or in “the golden years”, this book will prove of interest. One of the problems associated with aging is dementia and I will Never Forget by Elaine c. Pereira ($20.95, iUniverse, softcover) tells the story of her mother and her journey through dementia and how the author learned to cope with its affects. She tells a heartbreaking story with a dash of humor that will help others encountering this condition in a parent for its excellent advice. The book was a finalist in the Best New Non-Fiction category of the 2012 USA Book Awards.

We all know people who struggle to keep their heads above water, trying to cope with work and family situations that are overwhelming. Fast Minds: How to Thrive If You Have ADHD (Or Think You Might ($25.95, Berkley Books) by Craig Surman, MD, Tim Bilkey, MD, with Karen Weintraub says that the ADHD brain is structurally different in the areas that control behavior, manage habits, and maintain attention. These are biological differences, not character defects, and the authors address why such folks are often forgetful, achieve below their potential, are time challenged, motivationally challenged, impulsive, and easily distracted, among other attributes of the problem. If you or someone you know needs to take control of their lives, this book provides the knowledge, tools, and resources to address these behaviors.

One publishing company, Central Recovery Press, devotes many of its books to issues involving various kinds of addictions. Among its new and forthcoming titles is Game Plan: A Man’s Guide to Achieving Emotional Fitness; The Light Side of the Moon: Reclaiming Your Lost Potential; It’s Not About You, Except When It Is: A Field Manual for Parents of Addicted Children; and Intimate Treason: Healing the Trauma for Partners Confronting Sex Addiction. If any of these topics interest you, I recommend that you visit their website at www.centralrecoverypress.com. I have received and perused many of their books over the years and have no doubt they will prove very helpful.

Getting Down to Business

The headlines are filled with news of government spending debates, fiscal cliffs, and sequestration, to it is natural that people and businesses are trying to make the best decisions about their finances. Financial Fresh Start: Your Five-Step Plan for Adapting and Prospering in the new Economy by Shari Olegson ($26.00, Amacom) offers a lot of information regarding the new rules that are causing changes in banking, borrowing, credit, debt, savings, investments, home ownership, and everything else that involves planning for the future as well as current options. The author is a legal, financial and real estate expert who has simplified what often seems an impenetrable maze. Reading this book will help you adapt your banking and borrowing, fix your credit and debt status, protect your savings, investments, and retirement, and determine if home ownership is right for you.

Likewise, The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t by Bill McBean ($24.95, Wiley Global Finance) should be must reading for every business owner today. The author has been a successful business owner in the automotive industry for nearly forty years, purchasing and transforming underperforming dealerships into businesses that generate more than $160 million in annual sales. McBean writes about the need to understand how changes occur as a business goes through an inevitable life cycle and the need to adapt to those changes. The books chapters include “If you don’t lead, no one will follow” and “If you don’t control it, you don’t own it.” In easily understood chapters, he addresses how one must protect a company’s assets, plan for the future, and understand that the marketplace is a war zone. When you finish reading Bean’s book you will be ready for whatever changes occur. A slimmer book by Beverly D. Flaxington, Make the Shift: The Proven Five-Step Plan to Success for Corporate Teams ($19.95, ATA Press, softcover) outlines the goal-achievement process she has developed over decades of working with individuals and businesses. This is nitty-gritty advice such as avoiding the top mistakes interviewers make when questioning potential hires and how poorly planned interviewing procedures impact hiring results. She discusses how to match a candidate’s behavioral style to the position to be filled and the candidate’s values to those of the firm’s culture. There’s a lot of useful psychology discussed such as being aware of the real problem one is trying to solve, anticipating obstacles, and why brainstorming solutions should be a regular part of the process. This is one of the books that can help the reader break through problems that are delaying success.

The ocean plays a role in two business-related books. Into The Storm by Dennis N.T. Perkins with Jillian B. Murphy ($24.95, Amacom) is sub-titled “Lessons in teamwork from the treacherous Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race.” Those who love sailing will thoroughly enjoy this account of the 35-foot sailboat and its crew that needed to survive hurricane-force winds and giant waves. They knew they could die in the storm and they knew that teamwork would help them survive during the 1998 race. It’s a heart stopping tale. Grand Ambition: An Extraordinary Yacht, the People Who Built It, and the Millionaire Who Can’t Really Afford it by G. Bruce Knecht ($26.99, Simon and Schuster) describes the building of a 187-foot luxury yacht, the Lady Linda, at a cost of $40 million. It is filled with interesting, audacious characters and events from the explosion of wealth that made it possible for Doug Van Allmen to dream of having such a yacht and the 2008 economic implosion that suddenly made his lifestyle unsustainable, leading him to fall for an outrageous Ponzi scheme. It is a fascinating story.

Reading History

I love to read history and a new book, The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in the Tenth Century BY Paul Collins ($29.99, Public Affairs) provides an extensive look at that century that preceded the first millennium. The Renaissance was still several centuries to come and the 900s was a century in which “Europe” did not exist. Instead it was an era of chaos in which the Vikings marauding the continent along with the Magyars from the East. The average life span was a scant 35 years and everyone was dependent on the weather for crops to sustain life. As such bad years produced much starvation and almost any illness resulted in death. Childbirth was fought with danger to mother and child. Healthcare was virtually non-existent and superstition was widespread. It was the spread of Christianity—Catholicism—that saved Europe despite the constant strife between the various “nobles” of the era. They did, however, stop the spread of Islam. Religion infused the lives of everyone within the context of a strong system of castes, mostly based on protecting them as much as possible. In parallels that reflect our times, this look at the earliest century of an emerging concept of a Europe and its nation-states, the book provides a look at the harsh times and ruthless history of those who shaped it.

The Second World War was brought to a dramatic end with the use of two atomic bombs against the Empire of Japan. They enabled the U.S. to avoid estimated casualties in the many thousands had we been required to invade mainland Japan. A little known aspect of the story of the development of those first nuclear weapons is told in Denise Kiernan’s The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II ($27.00, Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.) It arrives just in time for Women’s History Month and tells of the thousands of young women who were recruited by the U.S. government to serve the top-secret Manhattan Project. Their destination was “Site X”, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a city that did not appear on any map at that time. The author introduces us to a half dozen young women who worked in a variety of roles from secretaries, statisticians, to calutron cubicle operators and chemists. The year was 1943 and Oak Ridge would go from being a ramshackle mud-pit top a bustling city of 75,000 by 1945. Despite the shroud of secretary that included gates and security fencing, watch towers and armed guards, the workers held Saturday night dances, enjoyed movies, and, with the surplus of army men, scientists and doctors, many of the girls became married women. Based on interviews with dozens of the surviving women and others, it was not until August 6, 1945 that many realized what their efforts had led to. It’s a great read.

The period of history leading up to and including the end of WWII is captured in A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Middle East, 1914-1948 by James Barr ($18.95, W.W. Norton, softcover). These are the last years of colonialism and few know of the machinations, the politics and espionage, the secret deals, as both nations vied to determine who would control the Middle East, all of which climaxed with the birth of Israel in 1948 and the emerging nations, many of which that had been drawn as lines on a map by British and French diplomats. It is a compelling tale of clashing efforts, moving between London, Paris, and New York; Jerusalem, Beirut, and Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad and Tel Aviv. The personalities involved included Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle. It is filled with many more characters who come alive again on its pages. The world is still engaged in the Middle East and, as a region in turmoil, this book provides invaluable insights as to how we have arrived at this point.

War, as always, provides much of literature and Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher ($15.99, Da Capo Press, softcover), provides snapshots of the wars fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most importantly how they affected the lives of its participants. The book brings together fifteen stories by writers that include front line soldiers, staff officers, and a military spouse. It is a way for those who only read about the events or saw bits and pieces on television to grasp the truth of the battlefield, the “fog of war”, and the lurking promise of death around every corner and down every road. Scranton, an Iraq veteran, was an artilleryman in the Army. Gallagher is a form Army captain who served 15 months in Iraq. I previously reviewed and recommended his account, “Kaboom”. Anyone who served and anyone who wants to know what it was to serve will value this book.

The ocean liner, Titanic, continues to attract the attention of the generations, already the subject of many books and several movies. Titanic Tragedy: A New Look at the Lost Liner, by John Maxtone-Graham ($15.95, W.W. Norton, softcover) is regarded as the dean of ocean liners historians and has long been fascinated by the story. He turns his talent and knowledge to the ramifications of that fateful night it sank.

Let’s round out Women’s History Month with One Glorius Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix by Jane Kirkpatrick ($14.99, Waterbrook Press, an imprint of Random House, softcover) which, though a novel, has much to tell us of the life of this remarkable woman. Born to an unavailable mother and abusive father, she longed to protect and care for her younger brothers, but at age 14 she was sent away to live with relatives. She discovered she wanted more of life than the social expectation and limitations. Discovering a gift for teaching and writing, her pupils became her new family and she went on to become a leading voice for the mentally ill at a time when they were institutionalized and forgotten.

Odds and Ends

As is often the case, some books do not fit into easily recognizable categories. For example, Practical Classics: Fifty Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School by Kevin Smoker ($18, Prometheus Books, softcover). An older generation of Americans will recognize titles such as “Catcher in the Rye” and “Slaughterhouse-Five”, but I am unsure that these and classics such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” are even being assigned in schools these days. That would be a great loss to a new generation. Reading these and other classics are a great aid as well as great reading experiences and enjoyment. If you have been thinking about revisiting the books of your youth or those you have promised yourself to read, but haven’t, this entertaining book provides practical, real-world reasons by you should read them.

In my youth, I was a magician entertaining at many children’s birthday parties and other events. I learned a lot of valuable skills in the process and made a fair amount of money as well. Fifty years ago, two magicians, brothers, founded The Magic Castle in Hollywood, now a landmark and still a magical mecca for fans and practitioners of illusion and prestidigitation. Milt Larsen, one of the founders, has written a history in My Magical Journey: The First 30,000 days ($40.00. Book ledge, softcover) that is extensively illustrated with photos and artwork collected over the years. Located in the Lane Mansion, it became the clubhouse for a private magician’s group in 1963. It now includes thirteen performance areas plus a museum for many artifacts. In addition to famed magicians, it has also hosted many amateur illusionists including Cary Grant, and Johnny Carson. The current president is Neil Patrick Harris. Anyone who loves magic will treasure this wonderful history.

Fans of college basketball will enjoy Gene Wojciechowski’s The Last Great Game: Duke Vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds that Changed Basketball ($17.00, Plume, softcover).  The date was March 28, 1992 when the Spectrum in Philadelphia was packed for the NCAA East Regional final. What occurred was a game that was so well-played, so close, and so dramatic that it is remembered twenty years later. The shot that ended it was an 80-foot inbounds pass from Grant Hill to Christian Laettner with 2.1 seconds in overtime. It gave Duke the 104-103 victory that is remembered to this day. The author has written a delightful account of the game along with the discipline, strategy, gamesmanship, philosophy and group psychology that lifted it to legendary status.

Novels, Novels, Novels

The flood of new novels continues and includes many self-published books. There used to be a time when self-publishing was frowned upon by reviewers, but no more. The new technologies and companies such as Amazon that have created their own imprints have transformed the way new novels make their way into the marketplace.

I have known “Samuel Jay” the nom de plume of the author of Shadow of Love ($17.95, available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble) since I was a young journalist and he was already a successful New Jersey public relations professional. In recent years he has turned his talents to writing novels and his latest is a sequel to “Shadow of Guilt”, two novels that will greatly entertain anyone who loves a fast-paced story, filled with realistic dialogue and plenty of action as its main character, Chip Keller, copes with life’s disappointments and challenges in ways with which the reader can identify. In his latest novel, Keller is the victim of a deliberate crash by a heavy pick-up truck, survives, and hires a detective, a boyhood friend, to find out who his would-be killer is. He is also drawn into an effort to thwart the building plans of a powerful developer with corrupt political allies who threatens an ancient north Jersey forest area. And he wrestles with a complex love life that is woven into an intricate plot. I guarantee that, once you begin to read this novel, you will not put it down until the last page. To learn more, visit www.samueljaynovels.com.

The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue ($23.00, Atria Books) tells of a long ago age when a young woman named Aoife is allowed the rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. When she discovers a secretive people who live in peace among great wealth and when she reports their existence, the community is targeted as a threat. When she tried to warn them, she is exiled and finds refuge among them. The story is told as an autobiography and contains all the elements of life we recognize from our own lives. It is a mesmerizing, original adventure. The Sunshine When She’s Gone by Thea Goodman ($24.00, Henry Holt and Company) tells the story of Veronica Reed who wakes in her Manhattan apartment one frigid morning, rested for the first time in months, and her husband, John, and baby, Clara, are gone. What she does not know is that John has left for a weekend in the Caribbean. It isn’t a kidnapping. Just an impulsive choice he made. The story is told from their alternating points of view as both grapple with the sacrifices of parenthood and any parent, particularly a new one, will find this a sometimes hilarious, always eloquent story.

Alan Bradley has authored a series of books featuring an eleven-year-old heroine, Flavia de Luce, a chemist and sleuth-extraordinaire, that has captured the imagination of readers of all ages as almost a million copies combined have sold in print thus far. His fans will welcome news of Speaking Among the Bones ($23.00, Delacorte Press) the latest in the series in which Flavia returns to solve another murder—one that hits close to home. When she discovers that the tomb of St. Tancred, she cannot pass up the event. When opened, a priceless heirloom is missing Flavia is on the case. This and the other novels in the series are a lot of fun. Lee Child’s debut novel, “Helpless”, a thriller, generated raves and he is back with Stolen $25.00, Kensington) in which John Bodine discovers a malignant melanoma growing on the bottom of his wife’s foot. It is just the beginning of a nightmare that proceed from one bad decision after another when he steals an identity and files a false insurance claim to cover the cost of her healthcare. When the real person discovers what he’s done, he blackmails him, and Bodine must play a very dangerous game with the blackmailer.

Softcover novels abound and here’s a quick look at several new ones. Fight Song by Joshua Mohr ($15.95, Soft Skull Press) begins when Bob Coffen, out riding his bicycle, is intentionally run off the road by a neighbor’s SUV. Something snaps in him. Modern suburban life has been getting him down and Bob is suddenly desperate to reconnect with his distant wife and children. He embarks on a weekend quest, meeting a motley crew of strange and wonderful characters who help him discover his fight song and the way back to a meaningful life. This novel is a call to arms for anyone who feels beaten down by life in which many feel they are losing control. A very contemporary novel, it is well worth reading. For those who enjoy a good thriller, there’s Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery by Chrystle Fiedler ($15.00, Gallery Books) featuring the sleuthing adventures of Dr. Willow McQuade, N.D., a naturopathic physician. This is a story of interlocking relationships when she is invited to a party on the estate of Roger Bixby, a television producer. Willow is more interesting in the lavender farm on the estate, hoping to pick up ideas for her new aromatherapy workshops in her story. Roger, it turns out, is working with her ex-boyfriend, Simon, who is dating Rogers soon-to-be-ex-wife, Carly. After the party is long over, Willow gets a frantic text from Simon saying Roger has drowned and been found on the beach. He is now the main suspect. When an autopsy report turns up lavender in Roger’s lungs, she is instantly suspicious. You will be, too!


Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books, has published three novels for spring. They are Fear of Beauty by Susan Froetschel ($15.95), Hammet Unwritten by Owen Fitzstephen ($13.95), and Dante’s Wood by Lynne Raimondo ($15.95).  All three are quite distinct. In Fear of Beauty, the battered body of an Afghan boy is found at the base of a cliff outside a remote village in Helmand Province. His mother, Sofi, is desperate to know and so does US Army Special Ranger, Joey Pearson. Together they must confront extremists in their search for answers and both learn that the urge to preserve a way of life can lead to a fundamentalism that destroys a society’s basic value. Hammett Unwritten stars the famed detective, Dashield Hammett, who closes his final case as a private eye, acquiring as a souvenir the counterfeit statuette that he will later make famous in “The Maltese Falcon.” A dangerous series of events takes Hammett from 1930’s San Francisco to the glamorous Hollywood of the 1940s, to a federal penitentiary, and finally to a fateful meeting on New Year’s Eve. You will want to go along for the adventure. In Dante’s Wood, psychiatrist Mark Angelotti knows that genes don’t lie. Or do they? Back to work after a devastating illness, Mark believes he has put his past behind him when he is asked to examine Charlie Dickerson, a mentally handicapped teenager whose wealthy mother insists he is the victim of sexual abuse. He diagnoses a different reason, but his prescription turns deadly when a teacher is murdered and Charlie confesses to the police. This is a case in which nothing that first meets the eye is true as Mark seeks to prove Charlie’s innocence.

That’s it for March! Tell your book-loving friends, family and coworkers about Bookviews and come back in April for a bevy of new non-fiction and fiction. 

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