My review of Mob Daughter


Mob Daughter

 

Karen Gravano

 

 

Close your eyes and visualize yourself surrounded by four walls, no windows, cameras all around you and no access to the outside world. Keep your eyes closed, as your world is just a black as what you are seeing at this moment. Imagine your family at home wondering if you were alive, what was happening to you and when they might see you again. The world of mob boss Sammy Gravano was now exactly what I have described but ten times worse. No access to his family, one 15-minute phone call a month, behind a plexa glass window when his wife visited him and his words and movements monitored. Think about the fact that he was shackled and could not even attempt to reach out for her even though he could not because of the gravity of his crimes and his designation as a dangerous criminal.

 

These are the thoughts and descriptions as Karen, her mother, daughter and her nephew take a long car ride to finally see Sammy under the strict guidelines and rules set out by the prison. Open your eyes and look real hard as for the first time Sammy sees his family in a long time, is no longer in solitary confinement but is in a prison in an undisclosed location. Here is my review and my thoughts of Mob Daughter by Karen Gravano.

 

As Sammy comes into view what they see and the image is not the one they remember. Gaunt, pale and quite thin his physical appearance would remind anyone of a starved person whose body needed more than just nourishment. His grandchildren looking straight at him one wanting to know more about him the other quiet and subdued as Nicholas asked some very pointed questions of Karen on the ride back to the hotel. Honesty and truths you might not use those words when it comes to Sammy but when Nicholas asked him the hard and fast questions about his life, whether he killed and the definition of Mafia he remained calm and explained. He also explained to him why he never wanted him to wind up where he is and made him promise to follow the rules and stay in school. Family has many definitions and when many immigrants came to our shores they needed jobs and would do anything to protect and care for their families regardless of the consequences or end result. Now, let’s take a look back at the beginning when at age 9 Karen realized that her father was part of the Mafia a much different and larger family than most belong to.

 

Nine years old and enlightened to the realities of her father’s life. As Karen’s family moves to a different neighborhood in Staten Island she learns the truths about their neighbors, her father and his friends. Glad to attend P.S. 60 she is not thrilled to be transferred to a private a more prestigious school. As she was driving around with her father she learned the identity of his mob boss, Paul Castellano, although that is what he told her. Instead, he explained he was in the same business as this man, which was construction. However, there is much more that this curious and smart young child learned. As her new friend referred to him as a gangster she began thinking this term might apply to her father. Slowly and deliberately, she did learn that on her own and never once faltered, questioned her father’s motives or turned away from him, nor did her mother. Allowing Karen into his world did not prevent her from realizing that things were not always the same when visiting his friends, visiting his clubs and learning the protocol involved when greeting people. At age 12 she realized the truth, as one night would bring it all into focus. Asking for a simple sleepover would ordinarily have been no big deal but the events of that night changed everything as one man wound up dead, the end result would put her father in harms way. Learning the definition of Mafia and seeing it in full swing is not the same. Hearing her father’s private conversations, witnessing certain events would bring it all into focus for Karen. Families came to visit but rarely did his father’s friends come alone as one night her father sent her along with her mother and brother back to Staten Island after realizing that a murder was committed and that her father was at the center of what would happen next. Framed for two murders that he did not commit, having to make ends meet for his family did not stop him from taking matters into his own hands, committing crimes and doing as he said after Frank Fiala was found dead, what he had to do.

 

Sharing the story of how her parents met, their courtship, family reactions and grandparents allows the reader to relive along with Karen the family’s history. Called the Cosa Nostra, many of the families in her neighborhood were part of the Mafia even though her grandparents were not. Cosa Nostra as Sammy defines is Italian for “Our Thing.”

 

An article about her father in the paper would spell it out. In 1985 he was arrested for tax evasion and money laundering with her uncle in connection with the murder of Fiala. Next her father’s closest friend Stymie was gunned down and at the funeral Karen would learn her father’s new status. Paul Castellano was the next hit and he was the Cap di tuttucapi or the boss of all bosses but when someone wanted you dead it did not matter who you are or where. Learning more about her grandparents, her father’s youth and what led him to become a gangster enlightens the reader and helps you understand the respect he received and the frustration she felt and the family too every time they had to move. Now, as Underboss under John Gotti her father’s position changed and his responsibilities too. Before he was killed he took out someone who wanted him dead. Going from the Colombo family to the Gambino was a step up. Learning who ordered the hit on his friend Frankie angered him. Moving from their huge house in Todt Hill upsetting to Karen but no choice to her father. When the landscape architect of his new house tried to cheat him you can only guess the end result.

 

But, the story has much more as Karen and her brother learned some very hard lessons and when things were out of control and John Gotti betrayed him instead of going along he decided to testify against him. Going against Gotti should have been a death sentence. Both men placed in the same jail cell and one man not going to back down no matter what. When Sammy decided to become as they say a Rat Karen was enraged and his wife Debra did not support his decision. The end result was not what you would expect and the outcomes became tragic. More lives were lost, many more went to jail and Karen at the age of 19 rebelled. Deciding his fate and his decision would change the lives of many in his family as Karen went into selling weed and other drugs. Along with some of her friends she made it into a lucrative business after closing her flower shop. Her father bought her a flower shop, which was watched by the FBI and caused his arrest and much more. The events you need to read by yourself and the end result you will need to decide whether you agree or not for yourself. One family ripped apart because of one man’s decision to be who he wants to be. One man who took the rap for others and is now serving more time than he should as documents were withheld and information still needs to come to light. As Karen meets Dave, have her daughter Karina and winds up in jail herself, the fear was a wakeup call and her mother fell prey to it too accused of supplying the money for the operation for the Ecstasy drug ring. The final realities will definitely shock the reader as Karen does her own 360 and what she is doing well you need to learn that when you watch Mob Wives and find out about her other enterprises when you read this honest account of her life as a Mob Daughter. Straightforward, from the heart told in her own voice as you hear her inner most thoughts, feel the anger and understand that when you are part of the Mafia you protect your family and never tell on anyone. So, where are they and what about Sammy: his blood family comes first and she hopes he survives and gets out when all is said and done. Open your eyes and see the world clearly and realize that you don’t want to wind up in a cell with no window and walls. Lessons learned, betrayals, lies and deceits a part of her life and one woman that stands on her own.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Operation Downfall : My review


Operation Downfall

 

Author: Daniel McNeet

 

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

 

Lillian McGraw took what she thought belonged to her from her employer’s home. Breaking into his mansion, going undetected and stealing files, folders, discs, VHS’s videos and CD’s and money she managed to disappear undetected. Mariah O’Leary is an attorney that works out of what most would say a sleazy bar. Finding her a man named Jones enters, wants to hire her for a friend, thinks she’s desolate from her appearance, illiterate by the way she speaks and finally arranges a meeting with her with his employer.  But, when she arrives at the home of Mr. Jonathan P. Kennington he is surprised and thinks the man he hired needs some retraining realizing his assessment of Mariah was more than must way off base. Explaining that he wants to hire her to find Lillian McGraw we learn more about her business ethics and much more. As they begin to confer about her fees he realizes that Mariah is no one to trifle with and that her remarks often sarcastic and her sense of humor quite dry she is capable of handling his case and her fee schedule is as we say non-negotiable along with her terms.

 

Outlining the payment fee, asking for 750 thousand as a retainer and one thousand on the spot for the two hours or service she now had a rich client who she relates to the reader lied to her in many different ways. The reason he wanted to find his secretary, claiming she did not steal anything, lying about his family and his status and claiming he did not know how rich he was is seriously doubtful when you are a billionaire.

 

As Mariah questions Kennington she realizes he’s keeping more than just some facts from her. The dossier on the missing secretary is sparse, pertinent information is missing and his reaction to specific questions marked that he was a fairly poor liar. Added to the situation is the charade he and Mr. Jones have created and the illusion that he terminated him yet hired him in another capacity unknown to Mariah or his staff. But, Mariah is astute and realizes there is much more behind the disappearance and the reasons he wants Lillian found.

 

Next we learn more about the elusive Mr. Jones and his relationship and connection the Robert Harrison the current President of the United States. Granted an audience to discuss his employer and their future communications and the problems that could cost all of them far too much he enlists the help of the President to find Lillian.

 

Lillian has in her possession documents and information that could create a nuclear explosion in graphic terms and bring down the President and Kennington too. Therefore, until she is found he is the new go between himself and the Kennington when needed by the President. You begin to realize that this man is definitely pulling the President’s strings in more ways than one. Mr. Jones is an enigma and both Mariah and both realize that much of life is an illusion and everything and everyone are not always as they seem.

 

Confidential secretaries are not always what they appear to be. In her possession are tapes, documents and CD’s that could bring down not only the President by Kennington too. As the VHS tape is placed into the slot and the record button is pressed on the screen are images that will become ingrained not only in her mind but Sean’s too. As she and the President’s son are lovers and the stark truth is about to be revealed to him. How would you react if your mother had you and your sister from a different father other than the one whose last name you have? How would you feel about the man who is really your father and what would your reaction be? Sean has the solution but Lillian has a better one. What better way to get revenge than creating a plan to hit this billionaire right where you know it will hurt the most? Furthermore, how would you feel if you knew that you were the granddaughter of the first lady and your lover was your half-brother? Lillian is smart and resourceful and her plan so clever and diabolical Kennington will never see it coming. So, how will she pull it off and what part will our lawyer, Mariah O’Leary play since she is already working for the other side? This all remains to be seen as I continue my review of Operation Downfall by author Daniel McNeet.

 

Requested by the President to find his son Mariah manages to fleece him out of quite a bit of money in order to obtain her services. Not because she needs the money but because of the corruption in his administration starting with him and ending in many foreign countries and more. Taking bribes, depriving the homeless and poor of services and needed help the President and his friend JP have created a diabolical plot that would not only destroy the credibility of the United States if found out but would kill innocent Black Americans because they were poor and he felt did not deserve to live. What would happen if the government asked a chemical company to create an odorless poison to eliminate many and blamed it on a country of their choice hoping to create a war? Deceptions planned, false trail left as Mariah uses her resources to not only bring down one administration but also aid the Sean and Lillian. Showing her the War Plan that the President and JP signed, other legal documents that showed his true parentage and a video so horrific he could barely watch the actors in it, Mariah embarks on a quest for justice. Giving the President an ultimatum and way out does not work as he puts another plan in motion hoping to eliminate anyone in his way. But, Mariah and Greg see it coming and what they do to foil his plan will definitely let you know who is charge and just might come out ahead. Tough, clever, resourceful and quite sassy Mariah leaves no stone unturned as the reader gets a deeper understanding of what it would mean if the President succeeds in creating what you might call One World Order.

 

The corruption goes up high and the end result would be killing defenseless Black Americans, blame it on the Muslims, unite the Christians create a war against Islam and the Anti-Christ. With the help of his loyal or really not so loyal staff the President thinks he can pull this off. But, whom can he really trust and just how far will Mariah be able to go to stop him? But, meeting with JP set in motion another part of her plan as he tried to coerce her into working for him and taking Lillian’s place. To learn about that meeting you will have to read it for yourself. What happens next will definitely not endear you to the President, his staff or his moral ethics as he plans to move ahead with his War Plan and so does JP on his end. Imagine what will happen if it works!

 

The conspiracy is far from over as more lives are lost, threats are made, kidnappings occur and both sides seem to be relentless as Mariah makes sure so that try to find and get Sean and Lillian learn a long and hard lesson yet Sean was taken and those responsible would learn a whole lot more about what happens when you cross this lawyer and go against the grain of what our country stands for. A President, Vice President and many others that are in it for the greed and power and some just for the money and one lawyer who hopes to stop them cold. But, can she do it before anyone else pays the ultimate price?

 

As the pieces for Operation Downfall come into place and some of the players sink before they can win their battles, Lillian gains control of Kennington, some arrests are made but the major players have yet to be foiled. Just how this all comes together and what happens you won’t believe as one lawyer, one smart computer savvy woman named Lillian and the President’s son go after the President, Vice President and more to make sure that War is just a three letter word and no more. The final outcome and end result cannot be revealed, as they are the work and creative planning of one innovative author named Daniel McNeet. As the author brings to light what happens when money rules the roost, overpowers your life and greed becomes you own personal vow and goal, you never know what might happen and where you just might fall prey to those capable of creating your Downfall!

 

An ending so explosive you won’t see it coming and neither will those who think they are going to get away with it. One smart lawyer, some very powerful people and a group of corrupt politicians all vying for the same thing: running the government of the United States: Mariah trying to eliminate the guilty, the treasonous and the corrupt the others just wanting to rule in the style of one man who killed so many in Germany and created his own dictatorship. Operation Downfall should teach the corrupt what happens when Mariah O’Leary, Jerry Spencer and her team decide your fate.

 

One interesting story, one unique ending and one lawyer who have the tenacity so many wish they did. Let’s see if the author brings her back for more and find out who would dare cross paths with her.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My review of The Chase


Kariss Walker is bold and adventurous in more ways than one. Kariss is a New York Times best selling author whose agent is opposed to her writing her first suspense novel. She will even go as terminating her contract with her agency if she does not stick to the prescribed genre she is famous for. But, five years ago an unidentified little girl was found murdered and starved to death in the woods. Imagine a parent so cruel as to do this to a young child and the killer not caught. This case really struck a chord with Kariss at the time. Kariss was the new anchor that reported the case and wants to avenge the child’s murder by writing her first suspense novel hopefully with the help of the FBI.

Kariss cannot erase the image of this child seen in her autopsy picture from her mind and reporting the murder on Channel Five, as their anchor would haunt her until the case was resolved. Her solution was to write a suspense novel, which would give the case a positive solution, but not before learning more of the facts, following a really hot FBI Agent around for three months and learning what procedures went into solving a cold case.

 

Enter FBI agent Tigo Santiago whose reaction to Kariss was anything but elation. Noted for writing women’s fictional novels this change of genre would not only surprise her readers but also upset her literary agent who threatened to drop her. Headstrong, bold and determined she enlists his help, allows him to create the guidelines and hopes he will get the case reopened.

 

Cherished Doe is the name of the child found dead five years ago. Hopefully her novel will enlighten the public, parents, educators, guardians and hospitals to be more vigilant in protecting our children. Child abuse is wrong and never understandable. Anyone seeing a child hit, abused or in danger of being hurt needs to report it on the spot as any educator, principal or guidance counselor should. With the help of the HPD she prays for a miracle to not only reopen the case but also hopefully they will solve it. But added into the mix is the issue of the murder of Tigo’s informant Candy, threat on his life by her handlers, the weapons smuggling he hopes to stop and his terminally ill mother.

 

As the author brings to light more about Tigo you understand his passion of for his job, the fact that not only he has invested time in the case about Cherished and the love he has for keeping his mother alive and not giving up on her. When Tigo suggest that the three agencies pool resources, hold a press conference and offer a huge reward for information Kariss is excited and hopes that someone will come forward but after two weeks no one does. Added into the mix is Tigo’s impending problem with the cartel, their hopes of finding out that Candy was giving up information to and his hope for his mother. Making life more difficult for Kariss is her agency that does not support her efforts and wants to control her work. What she does will definitely not surprise the reader but let everyone know that she stands by her convictions. But, the program on the Spanish network proved positive as someone came forward and identified the young child as his niece Benita Olvera. Living with a feed tube due to a physical condition she was born with, the uncle provided them with the father’s name and the name of her doctor and hopefully they would find her missing mother. Just who killed her has yet to be seen as the weapons smugglers have started to fight back, kill more people and want revenge for those they lost.

 

Meeting the child’s father and uncle made a marked impression not only on Kariss but on the agents too. The story behind her short life was sad as what would have happened if they never deported Xavier, her father. The sad thing is a child died and suffered at the hand of someone who did not care. But, what happens next would change everything for Kariss as she winds up in the middle of gunfire at a hospital when an informant is stabbed by the Arroyo’s because their head guy gives orders and eliminates those who do not follow. Looking into the eyes of one of the assassins Kariss is now front and center in the line of fire along with Tigo.

 

Trying to remember the faces of the two men would not be easy. One got away and the other was dead. Recalling the incident and giving Tigo a physical description of the man would hopefully help capture him. But, there are many twists in the investigation as Kariss receives an urgent phone call and plea for help from Benita’s father, Tigo continues on his quest to get Cheeky and more lives would be lost before all was said and done. Did the child’s mother really leave her for dead? What really happened to Benita and did this tie into the guns and weapons smuggling?

 

Why would Kariss risk her life and to try and help Xavier find his wife and possibly another child? How would Tigo go undercover to get Cheeky? But, things get out of control and other man is a die afraid to remain in police custody. When Kariss decides to buy a handgun the author explains the steps required by law, the classes needed to get her Concealed Weapons License and the fact that Tigo might have more than just a professional interest in her. But, first he and Ryan have to go deep undercover before the cartel takes out more people and in the interim he manages to go head to head with Kariss’s sister’s ex-husband. The author also interjects some of her own religious background and Kariss’s parents hope that she will return to the church as the author shares an incident from her past explaining why she lost faith.

 

Author DiAnn Mills brings to light just how far one woman will go to avenge the death of an innocent child, help save others and protect those she loves. Added to that we learn much about the FBI, the inside workings of an investigation and the faith and harmony of a special family. But, everything points to her mother Delores who is seen on a daily basis visiting her grandmother at her nursing facility. Added to that Vicki is pregnant and her ex-husband is knee deep in this mess too as a connection is found linking him to two disreputable businessmen who have ties to the gun smugglers and more. Plus an old reporter friend who seems bent on destroying Kariss because of her lack of interest in him and goes about it in a really sleazy manner. So, why is Kariss taking shooting lessons and why does she need a concealed weapon?

 

Then something happens that places Kariss in danger and front and center with Tigo, Ryan and the sting they hope to pull off in order to finally bring down Cheeky and his gang. The Arroyos seem to be immune to the law and nothing seems to stop them. Can they?

 

An ending that will renew your faith justice and one FBI agent who would not give up. Just how all of the pieces fit together and how this ends is definitely concealed like the weapon Kariss is allowed to carry so that no one see the gun and no one will know the dramatic ending with its twists, turns and definite surprises. DiAnn Mills delivers a novel that will keep the reader pinned to the printed page, in suspense and on edge until the very end. Let’s hope she brings a suspense novelist back with her FBI partner again in another novel. Does her novel about Cherished Doe get picked up and what is next for her? The first question can only be answered by reading this great book and the second only the author knows. Loyalties come from strange places and betrayals, lies and deceits come out. As Kariss learns the true meaning of friendship, helping Tigo during a rough time and find her way back to God.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

A Perfect Storm: My review


A Perfect Storm:

Lori Foster

Human traffickers often set their sites on those they think are the most vulnerable, fearful or trick them into thinking they will protect them and make them safe. On the pretense of giving them a place to stay, clothes and food some young kids that are so unhappy at home fall prey to the wiles of unscrupulous men and women out to make money at their expense. Defined it means: Human trafficking, is a part of the larger problem of slavery. Human trafficking is one of the most common way people end up in slavery. While the term is increasingly used instead of the word “slavery”, this is misleading. The term is often misused when it is confused with human smuggling. In essence, human trafficking is when people are transported, by force or deception, to become enslaved. By transported, we are typically talking between countries, but people can become trafficked within their own country. Arizona Storm fell prey to this life as some set their sites on her and in order to survive she set herself up as bait. Spencer Lark is the one man she seems to trust and confide in. Spencer will stop at nothing to protect this young woman and keep her safe. But, Arizona is headstrong and brazen and will do anything to stop what she has been through from happening to others even at the risk of her own safety and life. There are few women who can come out unscathed and determined to survive at all costs. Spencer is a bounty hunter and her goal is to find those who took her innocence with his help. A relationship with a touch of chemistry even though they are ages apart, Arizona’s life has never really been centered, with no parents to guide her, no one who truly worries or loves her she has built up a protective shield of armor in order to forget what her father did to her, the traffickers and many others she could not help. Without having to say anything you can tell that Arizona feels something for Spencer and that anyone that comes close to him she wants out of the way.

 

Jackson, not his real name, saved her from drowning the drug cartel. With the help of his team they managed to free her and give her some semblance of a life. So, why would she want to revisit it and place herself in jeopardy again? The love hate relationship between her and Spencer adds to the story as she finally is free of Coke and the meeting he has with the Trace one the men who helped saved her would bring to light what just might happen next. On the pretense of doing some research she uncovers a bar that might be into trafficking. The Green Goose is the bar and her instincts on target.

 

Sharing her past with him and allowing him to get inside her life and letting her guard down was huge for Arizona wanting revenge on those who abused and hurt young people her goal. When she decided to branch out on her own and find her way to the Golden Goose someone had to stop her and the end result was her anger and distrust for Spencer. Disabling her car was their temporary solution finding a way to protect her.

 

The author allows the reader to hear her inner most thoughts as she relates in italics what happened to her in the past, the dealings with the drug traffickers and her anger at being used.

 

Allowing her into the bar and hopefully pulling off what they wanted, she lured many customers, was disliked by the women, loved by the bar tender, tried to help one of the workers and realized that the food and drink might be tampered and was watched by the team but would she be truly protected or would they find out why she was really there. Offered a job as a waitress would they take the bait and allow her inside their operation and would she survive this time? The end result is really quite startling and remarkable as fight breaks out, Spencer does his thing gets her away and takes care of Carl before he can take care of her. Thinking it is all over she receives a call from the bar she agreed to show up thinking that the young man that was hurt was now save. But, it was a setup and giving this Quinto her number just might prove a mistake. Added to the story and the mix is the tension and chemistry between her and Spencer and the added distraction of Marla who has her mark on Spencer and uses everything she has to get his attention and let Arizona know she has no chance. But Arizona was smart and Spencer could not resist her any longer. What happens will let you know which one has the upper hand. When the final sting occurs will she get out and finally be accepted as part of the team? Defying him and doing her own thing will she ever follow the rules? Just think it all started when she broke into his house on her 21st birthday and just wanted to feel loved.

Author Lori Foster created on character named Arizona that is headstrong, feisty, straightforward, no holds barred young girl. With the help of Dare, Trace, Chris who is really a great character and friend to Arizona, Jackson and the entire team she just might find her place in this world and rest assured it won’t be without danger. Arizona is one girl that will as the song says will always do it Her Way!

Just how she works to take down the owner of the bar is really quite creative as he thinks that he has her and that she is totally naïve.  However, throughout the novel the sparks fly between her and Spencer and if you want to know if they ever ignite you need to read the book for yourself. Arizona has a shield up that just might never be let down but her heart is always in the right place when others are in danger and she tries to save many. An ending that will have you rooting and taking sides and one young girl who has done it all, seen it all and now needs to decide if she can remain in one place or if she is going to hide from life.

 

A Perfect Storm definitely refers to our main character Arizona: she hot, she smart, she is extremely beautiful and will she ever be Spencer’s Perfect Storm?

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

 

 

 

Murder One reviewed by fran lewis


Murder One: Author Robert Dugoni

 

 

Rebecca Han stood in front of Judge Myron Koslowski and received an oral reprimand in front of an entire courtroom. Preparing her case against a man noted for drug trafficking she hoped to be able to present evidence to lock him away for along time. What she did not expect is getting you might say blindsided by the legal system, red tape and judge who was unyielding. By the time all was said and done in the courtroom Rebecca Han knew that the defendant would not do any jail time and that his lawyer had one more than just this round. As Vasiliev’s defense attorney leaves the courtroom he nods at one of the spectators as his message rings loud and clear. Claiming that the sheriff’s department violated this man’s Fourth Amendment when they did their search left little room for a conviction.

 

David Sloane is an attorney who is attending a black tie dinner where he is the keynote speaker. A chance encounter as he is trying to slip out unnoticed would bring him face to faced with an old friend. Things often happen for a reason whether good or bad. Sometimes a chance encounter might change the course of events of your life in a different direction. Bumping almost head on into Barclay Reid this chance meeting would not only draw them closer together not just in the courtroom but in fighting for one of their lives too. Murder One by Robert Dugoni starts out on a fast paced track and the rest will keep that roller coaster going as I review this first rate novel.

 

As Barclay and David decide to get reacquainted he tells her of the tragedy of his wife’s death and she of her daughter’s overdose. Barclay had close ties to the case regarding the drug dealer and hoped the Attorney General would pursue it even further. Filyp Vasiliev is the Russian Mafia head that is responsible for her daughter’s death and she aims to make him pay. As David and Barclay get closer someone is definitely out there following their every move. Tina, his wife was murdered and her daughter gone this makes for an interesting start to a unique relationship. But, Barclay is relentless in her quest to take this man off the streets and hopes that justice will prevail. After Tina’s death his law partner and several others decided to intervene and get him back on track.

 

As we learn more about Barlay the reader begins to wonder about her true character and whether she is using David for her own ulterior motive. As they rapidly become close or you might say an item as it appears to others some warn him to be careful and not jump into a new relationship so fast. Barclay has her eyes and mark on David as more than just a friend when she broaches him about filing a wrongful death suit in her daughter’s murder. Revenge is a heavy component or player in this novel as both Barclay and David want to avenge the death of his wife and her daughter. But, fate plays its own hand and rears its ugly head when Vasiliev after threatening David in person and his family too, winds up dead and now the rules change.

 

Detective Kinsington Rowe enters the picture and the crime scene along with his partner Tracey Crosswhite. Warrants in hand and entering the murder scene, paper completed and all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, Rowe and his team assessed the scene but not before making sure that their warrant covered every single facet needed and allowed them all the information including technology available. Added to this unique team was King Country Senior Prosecuting attorney and part of a new unit called the Most Dangerous Offender’s Program. Experienced prosecutors working the start of an investigation join with the regular team in a violent crime. Even the call to the police, a gunshot alerts the reader to know that the police in this case responded within an hour and not rapidly. Author Robert Dugoni takes the reader inside and directly through the investigative process, procedures and stages as described and experienced by the investigators allowing the reader to experience the action first hand. The author even describes how the warrants are prepared and how the investigator decides which judge to approach for it and why. The lead or Cerrabone chose the judge he thought would grant a warrant that encompassed a wider and expansive search. But, the worst has yet to be revealed as Sloan goes to file the wrongful death suit for Reid, learns about the murder of drug trafficker and then stands by as she is brought in for questioning. Barclay’s reaction to the murder and learning Vasiliev’s fate was not really relief it was quite cold and stark. Most would cry or be overjoyed that the criminal got what he deserved she seemed in control and very reserved. As Rowe questions her concerning the deceased you feel a certain amount of detachment in her voice.

 

Then things heat up even more as the detectives get enough evidence to arrest Barclay and she convinces David to defend her. With his legal team of Charles Jenkins, Alex and his assistant Carolyn they uncover more about Barclay then they care to know. Interviewing her ex-husband they get a whole other side of her that does not match his perception but maybe others. The judge on the case is no nonsense and both sides win and lose some before the trial begins. A dirty DEA agent and a judge that might need a lawyer himself, the corruption goes way up and you won’t believe where it stops. A polygraph that some thought proved her innocence and a young teen that would change it all by placing her at the scene of the crime and one sentence that might convict her for good.

 

The courtroom is set and the players are seated but first Barclay presents David with something special as a thank you. Barclay is not what she appears to be on the surface. Her demeanor too calm her reactions appear rehearsed. Did she really bump into David or was it planned and what about the night she saw her ex-husband? Too many things add up and the sum total is definitely incorrect as the scales of justice are tipping but definitely in the wrong direction.

But, the judge set the stage in a different direction even before the trial begins. The opening statements given and the trial proceeds and both sides present their cases. But, the explosive ending and the trial will definitely keep the reader glued to the printed page. Author Robert Dugoni takes the reader through the trial; the judge’s rulings, the investigation and the lessons learned by one lawyer that he would never forget. Not everything and everyone is what they seem. Loyalties, trusts, betrayals, determination and revenge all play a part in this novel. Which one wins out? Who comes out the winner? Remember: Barclay does not like to lose? What do we learn about her from her ex-husband and what do we learn about him? Just how far will everyone go to keep her free? What happens at the end you won’t believe as the special twist will definitely put a super grin on the reader’s face.  Remember Rebecca Han: She just might be smiling too!

 

Murder One is a fast paced, research filled, based on a real case novel that only author Robert Dugoni can deliver with his special brand of delivery. This book gets: Five Wins!

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

My review of Boneyard II


 

 

Boneyard II

 

Nan is a prostitute but not an ordinary one. When approached she will stand up to the best of them use force to ward the unwelcome off and take action when needed. Nan is not afraid to speak her mind, take care of business and make her presence known even to those that control her destiny. Nan is chosen for a special job that will take her within the walls of “The Joint,” of Boneyard II. Nan is striking, she bright and yet in some ways vulnerable and fragile. Gaspar her intended “John” has a reason for wanting her there and it is not just to get to know. Gaspar is what you might call “The Godfather,” of his family. Business associates have been blocked from contacting him as well as his family. But, Gaspar has a plan to change all of that and reconnect with the outside world.

 

Acceptance is something both children and adults covet. Some children no matter what a parent has done their unconditional love shines through no matter what. Even just saying name brings a smile. Magdalena Gaspar is ten and misses her father who is imprisoned in Boneyard II. Every night she prays for him but not to the delight of her mother who stands impatiently outside of her room waiting for her to complete her evening prayers.

 

Nan is Gaspar’s only hope and link to the outside world As the author introduces the characters to the reader we realize that Nan, might be a prostitute, but she has a special angelic, and fragile quality that brings out something in Gaspar most would not expect. Nan upon meeting Gaspar realizes the man is quite dynamic and has a commanding presence. Although speaking through a glass window on a phone, they learn something about each other and the conversation to say the least is not what you would quite expect. Human interest or definite connection? After all she was there for a definite purpose. What did he want and why? Why was it legal and what would the end result of their encounters be? Marriage is the proposition and she did marry him.

 

Some arrangements are definitely unconventional, as this would prove to be. Returning to the house where she worked and lived she learns of her new status, what her role is and what is expected of her Alfredo. Reentering the prison and going to where she would meet her new husband for the first time, she enters the boneyard, hears his name called and realizes the hush that comes over the outer yard when Gaspar is called. It might not be the Presidential suite of the Plaza but to them it was their own special hotel room filled with the main amenity the bed. Making small talk, relating the end result of his divorce Nan learns not only did she marry a drug kingpin but one whose wife cleaned him out. Sense of humor in hand and soon much more they began their strange life as man and wife.

 

But, Nan is about to get a rude awakening when the police take an interest in her in more ways than one. One rookie officer that tries to befriend her and another that threatens to make her life miserable but she does not flinch. As the pieces start to fit closer together and the bars get tighter in the prison setting Nan learns more about Gaspar and about herself too. Loyalty comes at a high price for some and she agrees to help him and the security being married to him provides. A new house, food and definite benefits being married to a kingpin but Nan has not seen the ugly side of things yet but she will. Sean Reach tries to help her, Ray Ray Mobley much tougher but they are putty in her hands in more ways than one as this tough, hardnosed money for hire 32 year old woman shows the world she’s got smarts, guts and faith in herself and loyalty to her man. Nan is really smart and tries to convince Gaspar that playing the game might get him ahead. Get his GED, take a better job offer and maybe he might get early parole. But, anyone listening to the Feds and the cops know they have something else in mind.

 

Sean Reach was the chosen one who they decided would get close to Nan. As Reach was coming to see her Nan was had a Zen Mp3 in her ear so when Mango and Reach fell down out of nowhere things began to more than just heat up. As Nan realized what was happening she handled it with her usual sarcasm and humor making Mango into less than chop meat and having two the guards dispose of him. But, Reach had other ideas and what they were more than one person would see. But, what Reach learns and what Nan does will definitely surprise the reader and Gaspar when he sees the instant replay. Loyalty, trust, betrayals and possibly a set up to see what information she can give them to make Gaspar a more than must a permanent resident of Boneyard II.

 

A riot and deaths at the Pilates mall sets the stage for what is about to happen next. Senseless deaths, threats against children and Nan are right in the thick of things. Dumping some kids at McDonalds with ten dollars and then leaving Reach wanted to confer with the authorities on this but Nan had to be debriefed first. Nan stood her ground and would not allow him to come to the rescue even though the kidnappings and the entire incident was because of her and who she married. Reach tried to convince her to get away and get out but for some reason Nan stood loyal to Gaspar and rejected his help.

 

Nan is under pressure from all sides and what will she do when approached by Reach to leave it all and let him protect her or will she remain true? Invasion of her privacy on the ruse that he wants her help but attempts more than he should as another agent puts the moves on her but Nan takes it in stride and the revenge you just want to applaud.

 

The stakes become higher and Nan decides to take it all in her own hands. As one agent tries to heat up the situation another tries to help in a different way. Nan is now the head of the drug cartel and has taken Gaspar’s place. Going as far as approaching his ex-wife, befriending his children, getting them to visit him in the hospital and trying to find out who was behind the attack on her husband dealing with them with Alfredo and her bodyguards. The put downs, the business dealings, the attempts on her life and those behind it you just won’t believe how far up it goes. But, Nan will not be bullied and she won’t let others fall either. She is gutsy, she is smart and no holds barred she is Nan Gaspar and a definite force to be reckoned with. She is a dynamic character whose rough exterior has a soft-core heart within. Just how this plays out you won’t believe.

 

 

A drug war started and the death toll piles up and Nan is right in the middle of it and many lives are lost. The end result betrayals, deals, drug lords each fighting for territory and the outcome you will have to learn for yourself. Just where do all the loyalties lie and where will Nan place hers? An explosive ending that will teach the reader and the drug cartels just how far one woman will go to avenge her husband’s attack. Several federal agents gone rogue, others in the take, mayors in dire need of help and many head drug lords caught in more than just the gunfire. Author Linton Robinson brings to light many issues. What started out as a contract, which was to be short, lived wound up as a cause and crusade for one woman who had nothing and no one and learned the true meaning of hope. Sometimes it is not the life we deserve it is the life we have. The topic provides much pause for thought as you either root for the drug lords and hope they even out the territories, side with law enforcement even though their methods might not seem right or just plain applaud Nan. The end and final outcome is in the hands and computer of our author. Once you start reading it you won’t out it down. Boneyard II enter at your own risk.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

THE HOUSE I LOVED


The House I Loved

 

 

Rose Bazelet will not give up or leave the one thing she loves more than anything in the world, the house she loved. As the story opens we learn that Napoleon III has a plan of his own along with his Prefect, Baron Haussman, have decided to tear down and rebuild a newer and more modern Paris to their specifications. But, Rose Bazelet will not leave her own and has locked herself away in the confines of the basement of her home and refuses to leave. Napoleon III’s dream is to create a Paris filled with magnificent boulevards, eliminate the small and beautiful winding streets and pay many of the shop owners and home owners to relocate to another part of the city. But, Rose Bazelet’s voice is heard throughout this novel as she recounts the events in heartfelt words spoken in letters to her late husband, Armand. The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay depicts the life of this woman who for her time was strong, determined and definitely defiant refusing to give up what she so rightly owned. Rose lived in her husband’s family’s home on rue Childebert. As hears the sounds of those coming to destroy and tear down her home she spends her remaining days or hours reliving her past. Beginning with a group of woman and shop owners on the streets and discussing their plight. Some thinking lawyers will help and others realizing they could not and knowing the Prefect would have the final word. But, in the background she hints of a terrible nightmare that plagued her for 30 years that her husband never knew about as someone came into her room and the rest will be revealed later one.

 

Progress brings change. A new and more modern town, germ free water, public lighting and no more cholera so why was Rose fighting it and standing her ground? Rose would not accept the one thing that made her husband feel safe and secure the loss of his home. As she continues and hears the sounds have stopped and she suddenly feels safe but for how long. Many of the shop owners will take the money offered but is not about money to Rose. As Rose tells the story in her cold and empty house you can feel the chill within the walls. Telling the story in journal or letter from she sits quietly with quill in hand writing the story of her life for the reader to hear. Armand started to slip away but as with all memory losses as he must have had Alzheimer’s although not named it but dementia back then, she reveals her secrets and explains her love for him even though he did not really understand. One other voice is heard and that is of Gilbert who visits her as she relates to him and her late husband how they met. When her mother remarried she relates how she never really cared for her or her brother yet when she met Armand’s she was accepted as her daughter. As Rose recounts her feelings for Armand in a beautiful journal entry and we also hear the voice of Armand tell of his love for her. The author flashes back to their life together and then to her feelings in the present about what is inevitable. Next, you hear the voice of Odette Bazelett her mother in law as she tells Rose how special she is to them, how she brought the sunshine into their lives and how wishing she had met her soon. The letter on pages 57-59 will bring tears to your eyes as it did mine.

 

The sadness within her words is paramount as she relates the nightmare that tormented her, the intruder within and the lack of love between her and her daughter.  Although her grand children hope for her to come and stay with them Rose would never give in. Furniture gone, belongings delivered to her daughter’s home Rose is steadfast in her ways. There are so many voices heard within the pages of this story. Each voice telling their own story and proclaiming their relationship with Rose as we learn more about her brother Emile. Emile lost his home to the renovations years before and now he tells her how he sympathizes with her situation. Explaining to her that where she lives is not sage and that she needs to move out, but Rose knows only what is in her heart.

 

The author then relates her relationship with her daughter and her feelings along with the trembling in her fingers writing down her inner most thoughts as she relates her fears knowing that someone had invaded her home. Moving on to his death, her loyal Germaine who helped get her through the grief. Mariette crying along with her taking care of Rose the entire time as we hear from Violette her daughter. Letting her know that they have found a small house nearby for her to live and have become alarmed that she has yet to arrive. But, Rose does not care for her daughter and there is no love lost as she shutters at the sight of her writing and her letter. Next, we learn about Baptiste her son and her feelings for him as she preferred him to her daughter and she relates why.

 

She is alone in the house and screams. No one is there yet she is hidden away in the basement as she tells of the death of her son and you hear Armand’s voice once again. Gilbert is sharing her thoughts and her dreams as she continues her story. The woman in the flower shop is close to her and the man in the bookstore provides her income. As the reader reads a letter from the woman that owns the flower shop you learn of the love she had for Rose and that of the others that frequented it too. Take the journey along with Rose within the walls of the house she loved, the bookstore that was filled with pale blue walls, armchairs and so many books to read and then close your eyes and smell the roses and flowers with Alexandrine’s shop and picture Rose in the middle of it all.

 

A nightmare that haunted her dreams and realities and an ending you will have to learn for yourself. From the edict to knock down many houses and businesses to the protestors hoping for a final reprieve author Tatiana De Rosnay takes the reader on journey to the streets of Paris before the world was changed and to the end where things would never be the same. When Rose states that sometimes when reading one book it leads to reading another how true as I finished one and had five more to read and this one I could not resist. The final step a letter to the Prefect, which I will not reveal to you. The intruder revealed and the ending a true surprise and what happens to Rose and one other you will learn when you read The House I Loved. Read the last entry and understand what really happens as Rose stands her ground. A very heart wrenching novel with a central character that you have admire and love. Some things are worth more than money. Rose loved Armand and this was her final tribute to him and his family. As the author takes you back in time decide whether you would do the same.

 

I GIVE THIS BOOK FIVE PINK ROSES

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer