Friday, October 31, 2014

Bookviews - November 2014

By Alan Caruba

My Picks of the Month

If you have been having problems figuring out what is going on in Syria, then I recommend you read Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect by Reese Erlich ($25.00, Prometheus Books).  What began as a civil war to remove Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator and son of the previous one, turned into conflict that pitted a number of different groups against one another and against ISIS, an offshoot of al Qaeda that has since seized a swath of northern Syria and Iraq, declaring itself the Islamic State. Erlich has reported from the Middle East for many years and knows all those involved. He provides a useful history of events that began with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I and the subsequent creation of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon as England and France divided up the area as colonial possession only nominally ruled by local sheiks. The Syrian people, largely secular, have been caught in between the Assad forces that those seeking to oust him. The result has been a bloodbath in which some 900,000 have died and two million or more have fled Syria to neighboring nations. Naturally, powers like Russia and Iran have wanted to play a role, supporting Assad, while the U.S. lined up with the free Syrian forces. While Erlich brings politically liberal point of view to the text, he does so while also providing a useful explanation of what is occurring and why.

November is a political month thanks to the midterm elections, so I am happy to report that there’s a book for conservatives—women in particular—by Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark, Right for a Reason: Life, Liberty, and a Crapload of Common Sense ($26.95, Sentinel, an imprint of the Penguin Group) that puts aside the usual ultra-serious examination of the differences between conservatives and liberals and defends conservatism with a heaping of humor and straight talk. In that regard it is very refreshing. The authors started a website, ChicksontheRight.com in 2009 and it became a very popular site for all the issues that conservatives grapple with. The authors are unapologetic about believing that America is an exceptional nation, unhappy with the way schools and universities preach a liberal doctrine replete with political correctness. They don’t look at people in terms of their race or gender and have a problem with those who do. It’s a relatively short book, but a breath of fresh air and a reminder of the values that conservatives hold despite the lies told about them as bigots, waging “a war on women”, and other inanities that are repeated endlessly in the media.

We tend to take for granted the fiction that has transformed America by their impact on the generations that have read them. In The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books Azar Nafisi examines her favorites, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Sinclair Lewis’s “Babbitt”, Carson McCuller’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, plus—despite the book’s title—James Baldwin’s “Another Country.”  Nafisi became famous a decade ago when her book, “Reading Lolita in Tehran” was published. She told how, despite Iranian morality squads and even executions, she taught American literature to her sometimes skeptical students in iran. The book became a bestseller with a million copies in print. She became an American citizen in 2008 and is now a fellow at Johns Hopkins University of Advanced International Studies. This is a woman who has deeply pondered what it means to be an America? Why are the values of American art, music, and literature so evidently at odds with the nation’s politics? Is America founded as much on heartbreak as on hope? Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of the books she has selected, she seeks answers to those any a host of other questions. In doing so she has written a book that invites the reader into the “Republic of the Imagination”, a country that has no borders, one in which the real villain is conformity, and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

I have seen many cookbooks over the years and have wondered why few. If any, were written exclusively for men who like to cook or want to learn how. Tastosterone: The Best Cookbook for Men by Debra Levy Picard ($39.95/$14.99, hardcover and Kindle, DLP Enterprises) is not only filled with lots of delicious recipes, but also the kind of instructions that cookbook authors tend to assume the reader already knows. I can’t say this is “the best”, but I can say, given its specific audience of readers—men—it surely fulfills its mission. It does not assume that the recipes are super simple to prepare or that men would not be interested in a wide variety of dishes to tempt the palate. Each one comes with a shopping list of elements needed to prepare dishes ranging from lasagna to veal Milanese. Each recipe comes with estimated time of preparation and how many servings it provides; good, useful information. This would make a great Christmas gift for the man who wants to enjoy cooking and baking.

Throughout the year Bookviews receives books that don’t fit into any category and most surely Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers ($24.95, Quirk Books) fits that description. Margaret C. Sullivan loves everything Austen and is the founder of AustenBlog.com and has authored “The Jane Austen Handbook.” This book is filled with the cover art of her books from the years, 1811 to 1818 when she was published. When she died suddenly in 1817 her work almost slipped into obscurity, but publisher Richard Brankley recognized that there was still an audience for it. Since then publishers have worked overtime to produce editions of her novels and film adaptations have introduced it to new generations. If you are one of those fans or know someone who is, this book would make an idea Christmas gift.

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Those of us who grew up enjoying “Happy Days” on television, will especially enjoy Anson Williams delightful autobiography, Singing to a Bulldog ($14.99, Reader’s Digest). I have read many autobiographies, but rarely with the enjoyment of Williams’. Throughout the book he tells us of the advice he received as a young boy from an older African-American worker, Willie, in a department store where they both swept the floors. His parents were an unhappy argumentative couple who he left behind at an early age, harboring a dream of becoming an actor and singer. Along the way to the fame he would achieve, it was Willie’s advice that was a constant guide to his behavior, advising him to pursue his dreams, remain humble, and to give back to others as his success would permit over the years. In addition to his years on “Happy Days” he would become a successful director, writer, producer and entrepreneur. He would also meet some of the most famous people in show business and others like Ronald Reagan. Every page is filled with the events and personalities that helped him and his appreciation for them, as well as the friendships he enjoyed with his fellow “Happy Days” performers. Married with five daughters, this is a life well lived and an inspiration to the readers of his autobiography.

As this is written, a Missouri police officer who killed a young, black man in self-defense has endured a firestorm of attacks that have also generated riots in Ferguson. In time the facts will exonerate him and Michael Cover’s memoir Behind the Badge: A Policeman’s Legacy ($18.99, self-published, softcover) of his 24 years as a police officer in Southern California provides an excellent insight to the reality of being a police officer, one who must constantly operate in the midst of uncertainty, deal with gangs, the mentally deranged, and the drug crazed. They face knives, chemicals, and betrayal on the job as they daily fight criminals, bureaucracy, and, as we have seen, negative stereotypes. I have known a number of police officers and to a man (or woman) they go into the profession with a desire to help people. His book is well worth reading, particularly in a time when police officers now find themselves under attack by Islamic fanatics in addition to the others that would harm them.

The criminal world is one which we all live, fearful of becoming its victims, and Katarina Rosenblatt, Ph.D., tells of her horrendous youth and survival of having been lured into child prostitution as part of a sex trade that exists in the shadows of society. Recruited while staying with her family at a hotel in Miami Beach, she was already a lonely and abused young girl who simply yearned to be loved. For years afterward, she endured a cycle of false friendships, threats, drugs, and violence. As she points out, this could happen to any child. She tells her story in Stolen ($14.95, Revell, softcover) and was saved after she heard Billy Graham preach that God would never forsake her. She escaped her fate and went on to earn a Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolutions, and a law degree in intercultural human rights. Today she works with law enforcement agencies that include the FBI and Homeland Security as she focuses on the prevention and rescuing of the victims of the sexual slave trade. This memoir is well worth reading.

Reading History

I love reading history and, in particular, American history. While we are all familiar with the names of the Founding Fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Monroe and Madison, one man who played an extraordinary role in defending the Constitution is finally given his rightful honors in Harlow Giles Unger’s book, John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Save the Nation ($27.99, Da Capo Press). Rarely mentioned in the history books that are used in our schools, Marshall’s life is a reflection of the turmoil that accompanied the Revolution in which he fought with distinction, followed by the his biggest battle, to protect and assert the role of the federal government and the Constitution that defined its powers and limits. He begins with the death of George Washington in 1800, the man who had led the fledgling nation through the long Revolution and then with two terms as its first President. As Unger says of the young Union, “they lost their way.” Indeed, “Chaos engulfed the land as surviving Founding Fathers…turned on each other as they clawed at Washington’s fallen mantle.” That’s the dramatic beginning of a book that will give you a very different view of the men we hold in such great honor because with the exception of those who clung closely to the Constitution, others like Jefferson were so power-hungry, they would have tossed it overboard if Marshall had not been appointed Chief Justice by John Adams who followed Washington as President. The Supreme Court rendered decisions in the nation’s earliest years that defined the powers of the federal government and those of the states. It protected contracts. And, what Marshall feared came true; the southern states declared secession and a brutal Civil War threatened the republic. Thanks in great part to Marshall and his Court, the Constitution sustains the oldest system of self-government in the history of man. This is a great book that I heartily recommend to everyone.

Thomas Jefferson is one of the nation’s iconic founders and while there have been many books about his life, M. Andrew Holowchak has written Thomas Jefferson: Uncovering His Unique Philosophy and Vision ($26.00/$12.99, Prometheus Books, hardcover and Ebook), delving deeply into Jefferson’s writings to reveal an intensely curious Enlightenment thinker with a well-constructed, people-sympathetic, and consistent philosophy. Holowchak has written a number of other books about Jefferson and his knowledge of the man is amply on display as he examines Jefferson who was himself greatly influenced by Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and John Locke. This book looks at Jefferson’s views on human nature, morality, education, and the liberalism he brought to bear in his service to the nation. Jefferson was most surely a man of letters and his gifted writings helped shape the new nation.

I particularly enjoy reading about people who changed history because of a dream they had and most certainly that describes Golda Meir, one of the pioneers of the state of Israel and one of its prime ministers. Ann Atkins has written a very readable biography, Golda Meir--True Grit, ($14.95, Flash History Press, softcover) of this remarkable woman who, from very early in her life, concluded that the Zionist dream of a nation where Jews could be free of the prejudice and oppression they faced in the world, could be made a reality. She was a woman of remarkable capabilities who earned the respect of all who heard her speak or dealt with her. Not only did she help bring about the creation of Israel in 1947, she was instrumental in securing the funds needed to defend it and for years after she held a number of key roles. She is an inspiration and I would surely recommend this autobiography to anyone who wants to learn about her and Israel.

For those of the era in which Playboy magazine, which debuted in 1953, became an empire of Playboy clubs around the U.S. and the world, Playboy on Stage: A History of the World’s Sexiest Nightclubs by Patty Farmer with contributions by Will Friedwald ($24.95, Beaufort Books) is a special treat, especially like myself, who can recall visiting the clubs and being entertained by some of the greatest musical and comedic talent of those days. At the height of their popularity in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, the clubs were collectively the largest employers of talent in the nation. To his credit, Hugh Hefner and his staff were colorblind welcoming African American starts and furthering both civil rights and gender equality. The original club was in Chicago, but it was soon joined by venues in Miami, New Orleans and New York, and other global cities. Who could ever forget the lovely “bunnies” that served food and drinks? Not me. The book tells the story of clubs in the words of many of the artists, musicians, singers, and comedians, as well as those behind the scene. This is history that is, dare I say, very entertaining.

Food for the Mind and Body

My Mother taught gourmet cooking for three decades and wrote a number of cookbooks, so food was always a topic in our home where dinner was always an adventure. For others who enjoy the topic, I can recommend Best Food Writing 2014, edited by Holly Hughes who has edited this series ($15.00, Da Capo Press, softcover) since 2000. Some of its articles discuss the latest food trends, minus the hype, such as the trend toward spicy foods and the heightened popularity of bacon. Fifty writers have their say in this edition and there’s plenty to enjoy in it.

Like a lot of Americans, I had no idea what gluten was or that it caused thousands of children and adults the distress of health-related problems. Dr. Alessio Fasano is one of the world‘s leading authorities on gluten and celiac disease and in Gluten Freedom ($24.95, Wiley) he presents the facts about what gluten does, whom it affects, and what can be done for the millions of Americans, most of them undiagnosed, with celiac disease. Dr. Fasano is the founder and director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and a visiting professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He notes that gluten intolerance hadn't even been identified as recently as twenty years ago, nor recognized by either the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the National Institute of Health. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the last ten years,” writes Dr. Fasano.  His book provides a clear, concise roadmap for understanding why gluten does what it does and what can be done about it. Celiac disease is a genetic disorder affecting children and adults; even the slightest bit of gluten can set off an autoimmune reaction, one that can eventually lead to the complete destruction of part of the small intestine. If you suspect you or someone you know might have Celiac disease, this is definitely the book to read.

Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human ($17.77, softcover/$9.99 Kindle, Olingo Press, Foster City, CA)  is one of those titles that is hard to resist even it may sound a bit intimidating. Written by Peter Schattner, a member of the Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, it is written for non-scientists. Its chapters focus on age-old questions such as “What is Love?”, “What is Sex?”, and “What Makes Some People So Smart?”  This is what is often called popular science and we are fortunate that this particular science, as provided by Schattner, will astound and entertain you far more than any science fiction might. It is a fascinating journey into the biology of our cells as the author explains how proteins and DNA affect our lives. He should know. He is a scientist, educator and writer with thirty years’ experience in molecular biology, biomedical instrumentation, and physics. This book explores the mysteries of being human and I heartily recommend it.

Science Stuff

Richard Grossinger first published The Night Sky: Soul and Cosmos in 1981, updating it in 1988 and again this year ($29.95, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, softcover) and if you have an interest in astronomy, this massive 800-plus page volume will pretty much tell you everything you ever wanted to know. Where he found the time is a mystery given the fact that he has written more than twenty other books and edited eight others. Grossinger believes that “science is telling us half or less of what it is doing.”  He has devoted his life to investigating four main topics, medicine, cosmology, embryology, and consciousness. I would have been exhausted just investigating one of them! “The universe that science can’t get out is the university of our being, e.g., our basis as cosmic witnesses…”  So, if you have ever looked up at the night sky with its countless stars and wondered what was out there and how you relate to it this book will surely provide some profound answers.

Getting Down to Business

What is often forgotten about America and what makes it truly exceptional is the world of opportunity it offers to those willing to work hard to make their dreams come true. That is the message of Bill McDermott’s Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office, written with Joanne Gordon ($28.00. Simon and Schuster). These days McDermott is the CEO of SAP, the largest business software company in the world. It’s a long way from working-class Long Island where he had traded three hourly-wage jobs to work at a corner deli. When its owner decided to sell the story, McDermott was still in high school, but he bought it with a $7,000 loan, learning how to serve customers, outshine competitors, and growing his small business. Using the deli’s profits to pay for college, he moved on to selling copiers door-to-door in New York City for Xerox in the 1980s. Not surprisingly he became a top salesman and Xerox’s youngest ever corporate officer. SAP was a languishing unit and he was named its president. He would lead it to nearly triple software revenues, outpace the company’s overall growth, and achieve market leadership. Inspiring? You bet! Worth reading? You bet!  

The world of business is filled with fascinating personalities and their stories. One of them was Albert Champion, the founder of AC Delco and Champion Spark Plug. He would become a tycoon investing in what was there the new and revolutionary auto industry when Chevrolet and General Motors, among others, were just beginning. Peter Joffre Nye has captured his life in The Fast Times of Albert Champion: From Record-Setting Racer to Dashing Tycoon, an Untold Story of Speed, Success, and Betrayal ($26.00 Prometheus Books).  Champion rose from poverty in Paris to great wealth and fame in both his native France and the United States. As a bicycle racer, he set more than a hundred world records. He used his prize money to invest in an industry that would make the U.S. a world leader in automobile manufacturing. He also famous for many dalliances and his final love triangle resulted in his death under mysterious circumstances. This one is fun to read from start to finish.

No More Business as Usual by Chutisa and Steven Bowman ($24.99, Access Consciousness Publishing, softcover), a husband and wife team who currently advise more than 440 organizations a year, along with a thousand CEOs and board chairs at international companies, is definitely unusual because it departs from the usual books on the subject of business success. They describe it as a “paradigm-changing book that presents a system and tools for consciously generating different possibilities” to grow a business. They believe they have found the underlying reasons why leaders succeed and fail. In short, they believe that being able to see different possibilities instead of concentrating on what the competition is doing opens doors to success. I have seen comparable books on this topic, but this one has merit too.

Books About Christmas

This is the time of year when new editions and versions of Christmas-related books arrive. For a younger generation they provide their first introduction and for older generations they can be gifts to the younger that will be long remembered.

Penguin Books offers “classics” and this year they have five, all priced $16.00, that are a little library of Christmas classics. They are A Merry Christmas & Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott, The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol, The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman, Christmas at Thompson Hall & Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. At 5 inches wide and seven-and-a-half long, they would be easy for a youngster to hold while reading and easy to stuff into a Christmas stocking. For anyone who loves this holiday, they are a small treasure.

A Christmas Carol has also been published by Running Press, a member of the Perseus Group under its “Steampunk” imprint ($18.95). It also includes “A Christmas Tree” and “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton.” This edition is beautifully illustrated by Zdenko Basic. It would make an excellent gift for anyone of any age, but the younger reader in particular will enjoy it. From Carlo Devito comes Inventing Scrooge: The Incredible True Story Behind Dicken’s Legendary A Christmas Carol ($22.99, Cider Mill Press). Devito has delved into the story of the classic from when it was conceived by Dickens on a train ride to Manchester in October 1843. He would write to his wife, “I can never write with effect…until I have become so excited with my subject that I cannot leave off.”  That’s a good description of the way this now classic Christmas tale grips a new reader of it. The literary story behind it is explored and Devito says he has uncovered the true identity of Ebenezer Scrooge. Indeed, the Carol is highly autobiographical, utilizing his youth and his family’s earliest travails.

A parent’s crazed efforts to prove to his 4-year-old that Santa is real is the crux of a curious story, Real Santa by William Hazelgrove ($29.95, hardcover; $16.95 softcover, $7.99 Ebook,  Koehlerbooks) George Kronenfelt is an unemployed engineer who is intent on keeping his daughter’s belief in Santa intact. When she tells him that the only way she will believe in Santa is if she can videotape him and post it to YouTube. George realizes he must become the real Santa and from then on we are entertained by his efforts to find reindeer, hire a broken down movie director, and fulfill his promise becomes a funny, heartwarming story of parenthood gone awry as keeping a child happy dominates everything else for a while.

Our Furry Friends

Over the years Lissa Warren has sent me many books as the director of publicity at Da Capo Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group. We’ve never met, but I most surely recognized her name as the author of The Good Luck Cat: How a Cat Saved a Family and a Family Saved a Cat ($21.95, Globe Pequot Press). She writes of Ting, a seven-pound Korat who was brought into the family as a companion for her father while his wife and daughter were at work. Ting quickly endeared herself. In late 2008 Lissa’s father died of a heart attack and less than a year later Ting was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition. They made the decision to have a human pacemaker implanted, a rare procedure to be sure but they were determined not to lose their beloved gray cat. If the memoir ended with that, relating the grief and hope that they had all shared, it would be a testament to the close relationships we share with our pets, but Lissa received her own diagnosis, multiple sclerosis, There is no cure, but Lissa thinks Ting has taught her how to cope and has a remarkable, positive attitude. MS has taught her how others love her, including Ting. Anyone who shares their life with a family cat will absolutely love this book and be inspired by it.

Ask Anna: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn by Dean Koontz and his dog Anna ($20.00, Center Street) is a pure delight. Koontz is one of the most successful novelists of our time with more than 450 million copies in print, in 36 languages, 14 of which have been number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. Anna is identified as an advice columnist for dogs. This is her first book. It is a marvelously funny, entertaining book that is further enhanced by the wonderful photos by Vincent Remini. Koontz introduces the book saying he had noticed that other dogs in the neighborhood seemed to consult with Anna, a Golden Retriever. Then he noticed she appeared to be having conversations as well with all sorts of people they encountered in their daily life. Then, if you can believe this, he discovered she had “secretly acquired her own computer and was engaged in the dispensing if advice online to all manner of species.” Suffice to say that the advice is worth a good nod of its worth on every page and more than a few laughs. A great gift for sure.

Novels, Novels, Novels

I like when a novelist can turn history into romance or drama and Renee Rosen does both in What the Lady Wants ($15.00, New American Library, softcover) with a story that begins with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which left the city in a state of destruction and depression. With typical American vigor, men of wealth saw a greater future for the city and began building department stores and other enterprises that led to the city hosting the World’s Fair in 1893. On the night of the fire, 17-year-old Delia Spencer watched as the flames consumed her beloved hometown and on that same night she met a man named Marshall Field. He built one of the department stores with the motto “Give the lady what she wants” and Delia fell in love with him. Behind the success and the opulent life style of his fellow entrepreneurs, Potter Palmer and George Pullman, their private lives were riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness in their separately ruined marriages, but their love deepens and they stand together despite ostracism in an age of devastation and opportunity. Moving forward to modern times, the city is Dubai and it is the setting for Kay Tejani’s debut novel, Power and Passion, ($9.90, Global Impact Publishers, softcover). The novel encompasses three women living in a world of extreme wealth, filled with seven star hotels, man-made islands, and even glass-enclosed ski slopes. Sara Shariff had come to Dubai with her Muslim parents from Canada three years earlier and is working as the events coordinator for the Middle East section of the Special Olympics. Her fiancĂ©, a non-Muslim real estate executive from the United Kingdom suggests she run a gala on a grand scale to raise money. She is joined by Joan Harrison who has been running successful charity events for years and by her best friend, Maryam. All is going well under a devastating lie changes the course of Sara’s life, putting everything she is doing in jeopardy. The author knows the city well, having lived there for many years. She brings an authenticity to the story that women readers in particular will enjoy.

Mysteries and suspense novels just keep coming. Here are some of the latest softcovers.

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek—A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames ($15.95, Seventh Street Books) After Jarrett Creek went bankrupt and Gary Dellmore, heir apparent to the main bank is dead, The retired Craddock is asked to return as police chief. Dellmore was known to have a roving eye despite his marriage and Craddock wonders whether a husband or father of those women thought he should be eliminated? What he discovers is that Dellmore had a record of bad business investments including the loan he took that brought about the bankruptcy. The more he digs, the uglier the story becomes. Also from Seventh Street Books, Black Karma: A White Ginger Novel by Thatcher Robinson ($15.95) in which Bai Jiang, San Francisco’s best known souxun—people finder—is hired to track down the mysterious Daniel Chen. Police inspector Kelly suspects Chen of being involved in a botched drug heist that resulted in the death of an officer. Bai has her own suspicions. She thinks the police just want to see Chen dead. In the course of the investigation, she finds herself caught between international intelligence agencies and merchants of war, who deal in death, drugs, and high-jacked information. There’s intrigue aplenty here.

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni ($15.95, Thomas & Mercer) will add to his fame as the author of bestselling legal thrillers. In this novel Dugoni returns with a powerful and poignant story of a homicide detective determined to avenge the murder of his beloved younger sister. Seattle cop Tracy Crosswhite was a high school chemistry teacher when her teenaged sister Sarah disappeared one night on her way home to their small town of Cedar Grove. A young ex-con, Edmund House, was quickly tried and convicted. Twenty years later and a career change later, Tracy has dedicated her life to questioning whether the right man went to jail. When Sarah’s remains are uncovered from a newly-exposed lake bed, new evidence seems to support Tracy’s theory. Somewhere in Cedar Grove is a killer. Blame: A Casey Portman Novel by Linda Rocker ($14.95, Wheatmark) is enhanced by the fact that Ms. Rocker worked more than 35 years as a trial lawyer and judge in Ohio’s highest trial court. Lawers turned novelists is becoming a trend, but it helps if they’re good at it and Ms. Rocker is as she tells the story of a young man who dies of a drug overdose and his mother is looking for someone to blame. She embarks on an obsessive crusade to destroy the pain doctor who gave her only son the pills the killed him. The Palm Beach Courthouse and an ambitious prosecutor become the tools of her revenge. Casey Portman, the judge’s bailiff, is dealing with her love for a handsome sheriff, but the ripple effects of the young man’s death and a trial of a respected neurosurgeon fills this story with plenty of twists and turns, that will keep you reading it. Lastly, Unrelenting Nightmare by Stan Yocum ($20.95, iUniverse) follows a virtual reality software developer on the cusp of industry domination as he navigates a deadly cat-and-mouse game with an international assassin hired by his fierce competitor. The author brings both his theatre background and extensive background in the business world in the writing of this novel as he tackles the prevalence of violence and the impact of virtual reality on youth.

That’s it for November! Come back next month as we look at some ideal books for Christmas gifts and just good reading. Tell your book-loving friends, family, and co-workers about Bookviews.com. Happy Thanksgiving!

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