Myths and Mysteries of New York


Myths and Mysteries of New York

Author: Fran Capo

 

Fran Capo takes the reader inside many places most never heard or would dare to visit. Revealing the myths and mysteries of the greatest city in the world, New York, she entices the reader to stop working, what their doing read the book and maybe even take a few trips to see what she has vividly described and related in this book. From the introduction we become enveloped as she shares some of the wild and zany things she encountered and did to research four specific chapters, which I will highlight in this review.

 

Do you believe in time travel? Read the Montauk Project and learn about her meeting with Preston Nichols the foremost authority on the subject. Next, the Mysterious Leather Man will definitely intrigue the reader. Would you want to see someone dressed in heavy leather trudging along to test his endurance for 34 days? What would you think of this person? Imagine doing this for a 365-mile route for 34 days. Next, the Lake Champlain Monster her ideas and thoughts about hoping to see Champ and the original bait she used to try and lure him out.

 

Chapter 8 Tales of Buckout Road: Ghosts, murder, and suicide: Let’s get to the body of this book and learn more.

 

Reptiles always fascinated me but who would want one living in their sewers or water supply. Imagine going to the Bronx Zoo and having one escape as some have in the past and winding up in a sewer near your home. Take a trip back to 1935 to Harlem where some teens were trying to be helpful by shoveling snow. In perfect precision Salvatore, whose turn it was at manhole rim duty as described by the author was cleaning up the snow around the rim of the manhole when something he saw inside of it caused him to stop cold. Imagine thinking you saw an alligator inside of a manhole. Imagine wanting to get him out. What is he really was happy right where he was and did not want your help? With the help of his friends and a long rope the poor alligator was rescued until he got violent and decided to make his presence known. So, why does he wind up dead and what do these teens to go cover it up? Even the police who investigated it did not know what to do with the body so they called Sanitation to clean it up. The first details of alligators living in sewers took place in 1831 and many other sightings took place in different places throughout the years that followed. Is this truth, myth or legend? Did alligators really live in sewers? The answers are in Chapter One and only you can decide for yourself after the information is presented and the sightings described by the author are read and the end result will be yours to decide.

 

Chapter 2 tells about the Famous Ghosts of the Dakota followed by a spotlighted chapter The Montauk Project that takes place in 1943 in the month of August. The ship was the USS Eldridge the target of an experiment known as the Rainbow Project. The goal was the first attempt at stealth technology hoping to end WW2 but how? The Montauk Project was alleged to be a series of secret United States government projects conducted at Camp Hero or Montauk Air Force Station on Montauk, Long Island for the purpose of developing psychological warfare techniques and exotic research including time travel. Jacques Vallée[1] describes allegations of the Montauk Project as an outgrowth of stories about the Philadelphia Experiment” The description provided by Wikipedia the pictures are in the book for you to see and decide for yourself. Imagine what happened to the live subjects and the end result of this project. Would you want to be apart of something that would make you disappear and travel somewhere else in time? Just how this affected the bodies and minds of those that were used as human guinea pigs you have to read for yourself in Chapter 3 and decide: Myth, Legend of TRUTH!

 

The next story is quite frightening as the author tells us all about Typhoid Mary. Mary Mallon aka Typhoid Mary was the first person that was said to be the carrier of an asymptomatic pathogen linked with typhoid fever. What a great distinction. Presumed as the author relates to have infected over 51 people, three died as a result of her cooking, she was quarantined twice by health authorities and died after thirty years of being isolated.

 

 

Working in Oyster Bay as a cook for the New York banker Charles Henry Warren and his family was probably their first big mistake. From September 3 to the sixth 11 people in that house came down with the dreaded typhoid fever. This was not usual for Oyster pay and many other families had the same end result when hiring her to cook for them. George Soper a civil sanitary engineer was hired to investigate this situation. Publishing his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association he stated that soft clams might have been the source of the outbreak. Since changing cooks this epidemic broke out in this family and remaining there fro three weeks was all it took for this to happen. When Soper approached and confronted Mary about her role in spreading this disease she refused to admit anything or submit to having herself tested. During an encounter with her when she was in the hospital he told her he would write a book about her and offered her the royalties, which she turned down. Trying to force her to take medication they claimed would cure her she refused. As it stands the medication Urotropin, just think about the prefix and the name was for kidney problems not typhoid. The rest is really quite compelling and sad as she is forced into exile or quarantine to save the city from more outbreaks and the end result you decide if you agree with it or not.

 

The Legends of Hell Gate follow and then The Mysterious Leather Man is next. For thirty-four days the children and housewives the author states from Hudson to the Connecticut River would hear the familiar sound of “squeaking leather.” A lone figure silent in his ways never speaking to anyone would appear out of the woods and walk silently toward their homes, the leather doing his talking. Leather Man was a homeless wander. He wore the discarded boots and leather and roamed Westchester County and Western Connecticut for decades in the 19th century. He slept in caves and lean-tos, and very rarely said anything to anyone. Once in a while he accepted food and them left wherever he was. A mysterious figure that fascinated many died on March 20, 1889. A man who understood and knew nature better than most would sleep in caves along his route. So well know the author states that he has been seen commemorated in portraits, magazines, news stories and books. Even the New York Times and New York Herald carried stories about this man. But, in 1953 the town of Ossining decided to put up a tombstone in his memory that you can see with his name and more on page 86 and the inscription on page 85. The next two chapters focus on the Lake Champlain Monster and the Bizarre Tales of Buckout Road. McGurk’s Suicide Bar is quite interesting but the story that I really want to spotlight next if The Beautiful Cigar Girl.

Mary Rogers was born in 1820 in Connecticut. Her father died in a steamboat explosion when she was just 17. Taking a job as a clerk in a tobacco shop that was owned by John Anderson in New York City would be where this tragic story continues. Men loved women that are attractive and he paid her quite a bit because of it. She was part of the reason why his sales went up and the customers kept coming into his shop. On many occasions writers and authors would frequent the shop spending time there and relating by word of mouth about her. Imagine meeting Edgar Allan Poe or James Fenimore Cooper that to me would be the ultimate experience. But, the New York Herald carried an article about her and stated that something needed to be done about placing girls like Mary in shops like that. But, she was independent and could handle herself. But, on October 5, 1838 the New York Sun reported her missing from her home. Her mother Phoebe claimed she found a suicide note which the coroner analyzed. The following day the Times and the Commercial Intelligence wrote that the incident was a hoax and phony and said she went to visit a friend in Brooklyn. Some thought it was a stunt created and overseen by Anderson. But, on July 25th of 1841 Rogers told her fiancé, a man that her mother disapproved of and who was a drunk and alcoholic, that she was visiting her aunt and other family members. Three days later her body washed up in the Hudson River. Nicknamed the Beautiful Cigar Girl the mystery of her death was definitely quite an attention getting in all of the papers, which suggested murder. After the autopsy the doctor concluded she had been violated. Thinking she was murdered of dumped by abortionist Madame Restell after a failed procedure, the inquest followed and her fiancé turned up dead. What really happened to her and how this story was covered proved the poor training and poor police work and corruption in the city’s watchman law enforcement system. Many thought that she was a victim of gang violence as the author relates or as Frederica Loss who came forward stated she was a victim of an abortion gone wrong. Police refused to believe this and the press released their own thoughts. Edgar Allan Poe published the story “The Mystery of Marie Roger,” which took place in Paris. The truth or what happened lies buried with her and the mystery of Mary Rogers is quite compelling and still unsolved. The Unlucky General Slocum the final story in this great book of myths and mysteries of our wonderful city follows the Friendly Ghost Hostess of Skene Manor. If you want to know more about each event you need to read this book for yourself. The stories are quite interesting, vividly depicted and told and the author’s account of each accurate. Imagine September 11, 2001 and the fall of the towers and the tragedy of General Slocum. Read it to learn more. Once again author, free lance writer, stand-up comic and television show co-host, pens a book that will keep the reader fixed to the printed myth or mystery until you learn the facts and decide for yourself: FACT: FICTION: MYTH OR MYSTERY!

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

 

 

AD NOMAD: MY REVIEW: A MUST READ


AD NOMAD:
ERIC JAY SONNENSCHEIN

Would you quit your job to become the older living copywriter in the world? Dane Bacchus is a professor without tenure forced to change careers. Now in his forties he had decided to plunge ahead into the untenable field of advertising. Eric Jay Sonnenschein is about to take the reader into a world that most of us think as glamorous where actors read the words, copywriters create the copy and artists might use graphics to create the scenes or pictures to produce the billboards, ads in papers, magazines and television that take up the spaces between programs, news articles and stories. But Dane is thirsty for success gut the roadblocks ahead are many and the end result is far form what he expects. Dane is smart, creative, resourceful and definitely eager to please and succeed but there are many who would rather see him fail.

 

When teaching was no longer an option for Dane Bacchus life became different, choices had to be made and career decisions carefully thought out. But, why would a college terminate someone that was enthusiastic, working with remedial students and actually wanted to educate our youth? Why create a contract that interrupts a person’s career and force them to leave a profession they love? Why? That’s the system that ‘s why. Dane Bacchus is a victim of red tape, college bureaucracy and mundane rules. Hoping to forge ahead in another career he comes across a magazine ad that would set a chain of events in motion and take him back him time 20 years. Dane loved what he did but advertising was always in his blood and seeing the ad that he wrote in a paper rekindled the passion. The only problem is Dane was not getting the credit for his own work. Someone stole the idea but maybe this was the kick, the force the impetus he needed to take action and make a change in his life. But, no one said it would be easy. There is no cookie cutter that you can creatively use to write perfect ads in a uniform way that will please everyone. In Ad Nomad, the Case Histories of Dane Bacchus, the author allows the reader to enter the world of advertising from the bottom up. Faced with many challenges he forges ahead and gets an interview with a creative director of an ad agency only to learn that what he thought was great work was far from it. Not discouraged he followed suit, took classes, worked hard and finally decided to try again with an old friend and received the same response. Not discouraged and definitely determined he enrolled in a class in a prestigious school with three teachers hoping to learn something: a creative art director and two others taught the class. But, rather than teach, they tore apart, debased, humiliated and criticized everything their students created or did but never explained how to improve or showed them how to make it better. Dane was smart, worked out and would not give up under any circumstances. But, sometimes things go too far and when presenting a campaign that these three so called teachers were too review they would literally tear it apart piece by piece leaving shreds of paper in a trail on the floor or worse. But, Dane would not give up and voicing his concerns, asking questions would only alienate him further. His classmates resented him and spoke against him to the three up front, the teachers were bent on discouraging him and hoped he’ d leave and Dane just wanted to succeed. But, would he and at what cost? The world of advertising is definitely competitive and only the best will succeed. But, from what I have read so far it requires stamina, perseverance, diligence and a thick skin.

 

Interviews, mentors, failed interviews, poor responses and definitely a lot of trial and error before anything happened for Dane. Told to improve his art direction, get an art director, sent on interviews but lacked the proper finesse at times or even a resume Dane plotted along until finally someone offered him his first chance at a real job and to prove that he had talent. Real estate advertising was his first shot and the assignment made him hungry to get started and succeed. Creative directors, art directors and copywriters overworked, pushed to the limit and definitely out for themselves, Dane learns the ins and outs of the business and much more. Backstabbing, jealousy, few assignments and then working with the top bosses, Dane often found himself either floundering or hoping for more work. Each case history deals with a different branch of advertising from real estate, to cereal ads, pharmaceutical products, medicines and much more as Dane proves that he is a definite force in this business filled with competition, decide, corruption and where his ingenuity he hopes will pay off. Bosses that appear to love his work and account executive that resent him being in their air space this book tells it all. But, when you look deep into the core of Wittman or WIF ad agency you will see the dark side of the world as account executives use Dane’s ideas and make tons of money. Rarely acknowledging his expertise you begin to wonder why he just doesn’t go in business for himself.  Drug abuse, deceit, lack of trust and even fraud Dane begins to wonder if this is what he really wants, if he is part of this flawed system or why if you are trying to please a client doesn’t everyone work as a team?

 

When you think about the title if fits Dane’s career to a T as he moves from company to company finding the situations just about the same. Some ideas stolen, others taking credit, ads for incontinence, vaginal dryness expert and menopause as well as acid reflux are just some of the ads and copy he is asked to create. Working with many different creative art directors, writers, editors and more Dane learns the hard way at times that his talents are not always appreciated and others resent his work. Even more standing up for yourself and place you in a difficult position as well as alienating you from your co-workers.

 

Author Eric Jay Sonnenschein takes the reader inside the world of advertising and allows you to learn, see and experience first hand what a junior copywriter goes through just to get experience and hopefully a better paying job to support his family and feel good about himself. However, throughout the novel this reader and reviewer has to wonder why Dane is so determined to remain in this field, how his wife really feels about his job and his dedication, is it taking a toll on their marriage and what about his daughter?

 

Dane is truly a wanderer of a nomad in this field as he goes from company to company just trying to succeed and make a name for himself with many stumbling blocks, roadblocks, sabotages and conniving account executives ready to chomp down on him or anyone else that dares to test his/her creative talents at their expense and wants to look better. Ad Nomad Four is his time with Unihealth as each company presents a different perspective on the industry, different drugs this time for prostate and different cases that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes really sad and at other times you begin to wonder just why anyone would want to do this. This time the job was fifty miles away from home, which had to be hard on his family and him.

 

From Unihealth to Mentos and now to Georgian Shield New York Dane would encounter still another manager more cunning, devious and backstabbing than the rest. Enter Nigel who lived to destroy his underlings and loved to exploit their weaknesses. But, when something happens to alert him that his eyes and brain were having difficulty processing words and more you won’t believe the end result as he and his wife see a specialist that appears to understand but is seriously quite strange. The end result and where he winds up and what happens you have to read for yourself because you just won’t believe it. Freelancing, finding his own niche in the business and finally and ending that you will give you much pause for thought as Dane Bacchus comes full circle and realizes what he wants, where he might wind up and the rest: Find out when the author relates the last Ad Nomad 7: Nomad’s Land you read Living your Dream vs. Dreaming your life! If you want to understand what this means read the book, enter the world of advertising at times gratifying and others cutthroat and dangerous as you will learn when Dane goes too far and things heat up. Will he survive his own human frailties? Will his wife stand by him in the end? AD NOMAD: Where does the wanderer wind up? Thought provoking, entertaining and definitely makes you wonder just how true some of this is when you learn what the author reveals in this outstanding novel about the drug and pharmaceutical industries and just how far they would go to get their products sold and who they would sell out to get there.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer:

Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLD ADS FOR DANE

What’s in the Clouds: Trent B. Dean


What’s in the Clouds?

 

Trent B. Dean

 

Look up at the sky on a sunny day and see the amazing billowy clouds floating by and think about the amazing things you might see. Check out the man in the story as he takes readers young and old into a world that many of us miss using our imaginations to see: What’s in the Clouds? He starts by saying that he loves to watch the clouds float by. Each cloud is special and what he sees you might not see the same way. In cloud one he sees something so cool. Look at the picture and you decide what it might be. Good for you. It is a horse as the author and illustrator brilliantly outlines the shape for you the reader to see. Why don’t you get a pad and pencil and trace the horse and make your own book of clouds adding your words to make a story of your own. Sounds like fun to me. Next, turn your head just a bit, and wow, wait until you see this special shape. How cool is this wild looking fish that smiles back at you. Next, this one is much harder so stop and look at it carefully. You might want to get your pencil out and trace the shape. Did you get it? I will give you a hint. Crick Croak is the sound this animal makes. Think hard. Do you see what I see? You are right it’s a frog. Well, we are having so much fun but we are far from done. Next, we see a reptile that many would not like to have in their back yards but up in the sky looking down might not be so scary. This could is a ….. I can’t tell you everything some things you need to read and find out for yourself. Hope you are having fun because I am and I am not bored. I am making my own book of clouds since it looks like there are some really good ones when I look up into the sky sitting here reading this great book in the sunshine. Next, we have a special animal that goes quack. But, I am afraid I have to go inside and so does our narrator. But, first there is one more animal that you might not want to see when you go to the beach but you will have to draw and trace him to find out just what it is. But, afraid it’s getting dark out there. Do you know what that means? Where did the sun go? Can’t tell you what happens but you better get inside that’s all I can say.

 

 

What’s in the Clouds is a great way to teach the names of simple animals, reading these important sight words, creating their own book of clouds and animals and just understanding the power of your imagination. Teachers can have children create their own clouds out of cotton or just draw them using a white crayon or chalk on blue paper and create their own story for our narrator. Great story and cute pictures that every child will definitely enjoy reading. Great book even for children that cannot read they can make up the story and understand it just reading the pictures. As an educator you can really do a lot with this and it lends it itself to starting a unit on clouds.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

Deadly Pleasures


Deadly Pleasures

Mary Firmin

 

Some men don’t know when to quite or all it a day. George Fisher was hot for a quick, looking for a romp in the hay with Sherrie Weston prostitute extraordinaire. Something happens. Pent up, excited and definitely poor George was hoping not to strike out with Sherrie. But, Sherrie as the reader learns can’t stand George and is just doing this, as a business opportunity that she hoped would be lucrative in the long run. Poor George never saw it coming and this dear readers was his final jolt in life. As tings heat up our prostitute decides to go in for you might say financial kill. Sherrie having her own agenda in mind for George whispers something in his ear that either got him too excited, frightened him or just plain made him keel but not over just on top of poor Sherrie. Sometimes blackmail can work but in this case the poor man died and left his big corpse right on top of this woman who remained stuck under him until she was finally rescued.

 

George or the late George Fisher was a member of the Bayside Yacht Club and the women of this club would now when they find out facts have something besides tanning and eating to occupy their conversation and thoughts. Megan, Alexandra, Kathleen and Rachel are four friends that belong to this club and when the facts about the murder are brought to light and made public, you know women, they have their own take on it and can’t help but weigh in with their own opinions.

 

When your husbands are notorious for cheating, but still pay your bills what’s a wife to do except spend his money. Alexandra is married to a cheat, Megan’s relationships have all gone sour, Kathleen is not very stable and Rachel finds the world quite humorous. What is the plan to get revenge on a rotten fiancé, cheating husband and just plain need to have some real fun, get a toy boy? Rachel feels that this is the perfect solution to their problems. Why not hire a guy or guys to take care or service you when the call, desire or urge befalls you. Enter Helen Jennings the queen gossip of the club who makes sure that everyone knows the dirt and facts behind poor George’s untimely demise. Heart attack or something else? Why is this about to be treated as part of a murder investigation linked to the death of Sherrie’s friend Allison? But, dear reader let me add that just before George keels over he spies the picture of Allison and becomes irate when he sees it. Studying the picture in the frame for some reason upsets poor George. Well, Alex things this whole situation is appalling. Rachel finds it humorous. Megan is dismayed and Kathleen is just too fragile. But, what about his poor wife Junie? Does anyone really care about her feelings or is she going to run, skip and laugh her way to the bank?

 

Enter one hot detective named Matt Donovan who has Megan’s interest from the start. Questioning all of the women about George brings to light the murder of Allison dubbed the Bondage Murder. As Matt delves further into his death he finds a link between Sherrie, George and Allison. One business card with Sherrie’s information found in George’s jacket pocket, on the reverse side Allison’s number. Just how do these two deaths tie together? But, some fates are not just left for one but for more than one as Sherrie’s fate was the same as her friends. The author describes the victim, the murder and the mutilation quite graphically for the reader as we learn that George had Sherrie’s card in his jacket pocket with Allison’s number of the reverse side as Matt Donovan delves into the murder. The crime scene was not wiped clean and the evidence just might be there. What was the connection to George as we also learn that Sherrie was filming the events, DVD’s were sent to her and others found. Someone was making plenty off of this and a serial killer or mutilator was out there targeting prostitutes. Why?

 

Megan’s ex decided to pay her unwelcome visit to get some of his clothes. Brian seemed strange, his behavior odd, too friendly and suggestive when talking to Megan. Jumpy and on edge we learn more about her past, how she met Brian and her addiction to alcohol and food. Megan drowns her sorrows in chocolate. But, we now have another play Detective Angelle Bentley who Matt finds alluring and attractive but will she do the job? So, why is he thinking about Megan and what will happen next?

 

Mrs. Zuckerman is a wealth of too much information as Matt learns more about a man named Michael Harrington and hopes to link him to the murders. Working for the same place as Sherrie, going over to her house to check on her does not give him the perfect alibi according to the two detectives. Party Favorites provides entertainment for many different occasions. Imagine your own personal birthday card from someone like Sherrie! But, Sherrie was often high on drugs, Allison too and the link to these S&M murders has yet to be found. Is this Michael the real killer?

 

Back to the four friends who are now drowning their sorrows and woes in drinks as each one relates the next unfortunate chapter in their love lives to each other. Megan just recalls her own, Rachel’s husband is cheating and she caught him in the act. He doesn’t know. Alex has it all figured out. Don’t let on you know and poor Kathleen’s husband Gino has decided to move on child and all leaving her a wimping and crying mess. Just what happens to drag these women into the murder just wait and see. There is much more to tell as I continue my review of Deadly Pleasures, which if you think about it, is the end result for these women.

 

 

George’s funeral would bring all of the players together but not before the police decide to question and arrest Michael Harrington for Sherrie’s murder. Blackmail, lies, deceit and a serial killer are just some of what makes up this intriguing and fast paced plot. As Rachel decides to do something about her life, Megan wonders what she is really up to, as Alex and Charlie along with the rest go to the funeral, which proves to be quite unique. Each one reacting in her own way, poor Junie playing the grieving widow the scene was often comical or surreal but definitely not indicative of your typical funeral.

 

The funeral over and no one seemed that upset as they party returns to the Yacht club to celebrate George’s life. But, what happens next will definitely rock you to the core if you are not familiar with hard core S&M you will definitely get a first hand view, education and tour of many places that offer this as recreation, diversion and much more.  Why was Rachel definitely going to enlist the aid of her own toy boy hoping to entice the others too? Let’s recap for just a moment: Why was Rachel trying to gain entrance into a kinky club?  Where does Brian fit in? Why was he so friendly with Gino?

 

The investigation revealed that there were many others involved including a murder in San Francisco that links with the ones Matt was dealing with. Even more the owner of the Party Favorites, Fantasy Films where the DVD’s originated and his wife was a member of the Yacht club even more she had not idea about these businesses or her husband’s sexual preferences. The plot thickens, the suspects add up and the clues are all scattered but the murders all the same. But, when the detectives approach Helen, whose ex-husband owned all of the above another piece of the puzzle is revealed about the location of the Bondage Murders. But, Helen decides a little afternoon diversion for the ladies might be fun who better than to serve it up: Michael Harrington!

When the pieces finally fit into place and the players are all together just who the killer is will definitely surprise the reader and the reasons behind the murders too. Who lives? Who else falls prey to our killer you won’t believe as Matt and Angelle race the clock to save not only Megan but also the others when the killer is revealed, their lives are in danger and one woman would never be the same. Author Mary Firmin allows the reader to take a first hand look at these S&M clubs, the history behind them is shared and the need to have a man in some women’s lives might just lead to more than just Deadly Pleasures. This is one book that will make you think twice before getting involved with a toy boy, going to these clubs and finding happiness in all the wrong places. Great novel. Great characters. Let’s hope they return to solve more murders.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

 

 

Deadly Pleasures: Mary Firmin


Deadly Pleasures

Mary Firmin

 

Some men don’t know when to quite or all it a day. George Fisher was hot for a quick, looking for a romp in the hay with Sherrie Weston prostitute extraordinaire. Something happens. Pent up, excited and definitely poor George was hoping not to strike out with Sherrie. But, Sherrie as the reader learns can’t stand George and is just doing this, as a business opportunity that she hoped would be lucrative in the long run. Poor George never saw it coming and this dear readers was his final jolt in life. As tings heat up our prostitute decides to go in for you might say financial kill. Sherrie having her own agenda in mind for George whispers something in his ear that either got him too excited, frightened him or just plain made him keel but not over just on top of poor Sherrie. Sometimes blackmail can work but in this case the poor man died and left his big corpse right on top of this woman who remained stuck under him until she was finally rescued.

 

George or the late George Fisher was a member of the Bayside Yacht Club and the women of this club would now when they find out facts have something besides tanning and eating to occupy their conversation and thoughts. Megan, Alexandra, Kathleen and Rachel are four friends that belong to this club and when the facts about the murder are brought to light and made public, you know women, they have their own take on it and can’t help but weigh in with their own opinions.

 

When your husbands are notorious for cheating, but still pay your bills what’s a wife to do except spend his money. Alexandra is married to a cheat, Megan’s relationships have all gone sour, Kathleen is not very stable and Rachel finds the world quite humorous. What is the plan to get revenge on a rotten fiancé, cheating husband and just plain need to have some real fun, get a toy boy? Rachel feels that this is the perfect solution to their problems. Why not hire a guy or guys to take care or service you when the call, desire or urge befalls you. Enter Helen Jennings the queen gossip of the club who makes sure that everyone knows the dirt and facts behind poor George’s untimely demise. Heart attack or something else? Why is this about to be treated as part of a murder investigation linked to the death of Sherrie’s friend Allison? But, dear reader let me add that just before George keels over he spies the picture of Allison and becomes irate when he sees it. Studying the picture in the frame for some reason upsets poor George. Well, Alex things this whole situation is appalling. Rachel finds it humorous. Megan is dismayed and Kathleen is just too fragile. But, what about his poor wife Junie? Does anyone really care about her feelings or is she going to run, skip and laugh her way to the bank?

 

Enter one hot detective named Matt Donovan who has Megan’s interest from the start. Questioning all of the women about George brings to light the murder of Allison dubbed the Bondage Murder. As Matt delves further into his death he finds a link between Sherrie, George and Allison. One business card with Sherrie’s information found in George’s jacket pocket, on the reverse side Allison’s number. Just how do these two deaths tie together? But, some fates are not just left for one but for more than one as Sherrie’s fate was the same as her friends. The author describes the victim, the murder and the mutilation quite graphically for the reader as we learn that George had Sherrie’s card in his jacket pocket with Allison’s number of the reverse side as Matt Donovan delves into the murder. The crime scene was not wiped clean and the evidence just might be there. What was the connection to George as we also learn that Sherrie was filming the events, DVD’s were sent to her and others found. Someone was making plenty off of this and a serial killer or mutilator was out there targeting prostitutes. Why?

 

Megan’s ex decided to pay her unwelcome visit to get some of his clothes. Brian seemed strange, his behavior odd, too friendly and suggestive when talking to Megan. Jumpy and on edge we learn more about her past, how she met Brian and her addiction to alcohol and food. Megan drowns her sorrows in chocolate. But, we now have another play Detective Angelle Bentley who Matt finds alluring and attractive but will she do the job? So, why is he thinking about Megan and what will happen next?

 

Mrs. Zuckerman is a wealth of too much information as Matt learns more about a man named Michael Harrington and hopes to link him to the murders. Working for the same place as Sherrie, going over to her house to check on her does not give him the perfect alibi according to the two detectives. Party Favorites provides entertainment for many different occasions. Imagine your own personal birthday card from someone like Sherrie! But, Sherrie was often high on drugs, Allison too and the link to these S&M murders has yet to be found. Is this Michael the real killer?

 

Back to the four friends who are now drowning their sorrows and woes in drinks as each one relates the next unfortunate chapter in their love lives to each other. Megan just recalls her own, Rachel’s husband is cheating and she caught him in the act. He doesn’t know. Alex has it all figured out. Don’t let on you know and poor Kathleen’s husband Gino has decided to move on child and all leaving her a wimping and crying mess. Just what happens to drag these women into the murder just wait and see. There is much more to tell as I continue my review of Deadly Pleasures, which if you think about it, is the end result for these women.

 

 

George’s funeral would bring all of the players together but not before the police decide to question and arrest Michael Harrington for Sherrie’s murder. Blackmail, lies, deceit and a serial killer are just some of what makes up this intriguing and fast paced plot. As Rachel decides to do something about her life, Megan wonders what she is really up to, as Alex and Charlie along with the rest go to the funeral, which proves to be quite unique. Each one reacting in her own way, poor Junie playing the grieving widow the scene was often comical or surreal but definitely not indicative of your typical funeral.

 

The funeral over and no one seemed that upset as they party returns to the Yacht club to celebrate George’s life. But, what happens next will definitely rock you to the core if you are not familiar with hard core S&M you will definitely get a first hand view, education and tour of many places that offer this as recreation, diversion and much more. When Matt and his partner decide to find out just where the House Of Destiny is and the link to the murders what they find, experience and learn will definitely educate the reader and our two police detectives too. But, what was Megan doing there and why was she determined to learn the connection between her ex- fiancé Brian and Rachel’s cheating husband David. Why was Rachel definitely going to enlist the aid of her own toy boy hoping to entice the others too? Let’s recap for just a moment: Why was Rachel trying to gain entrance into a kinky club? Why was Brian going to visit Destiny? Did the detective recognize her at the House of Destiny? But, the conversation goes back to the club and each one venting her sorrows and troubles.

 

The investigation revealed that there were many others involved including a murder in San Francisco that links with the ones Matt was dealing with. Even more the owner of the Party Favorites, Fantasy Films where the DVD’s originated and his wife was a member of the Yacht club even more she had not idea about these businesses or her husband’s sexual preferences. The plot thickens, the suspects add up and the clues are all scattered but the murders all the same. But, when the detectives approach Helen, whose ex-husband owned all of the above another piece of the puzzle is revealed about the location of the Bondage Murders. But, Helen decides a little afternoon diversion for the ladies might be fun who better than to serve it up: Michael Harrington! Where does Brian fit in and what about the link to the House of Destiny?

 

When the pieces finally fit into place and the players are all together just who the killer is will definitely surprise the reader and the reasons behind the murders too. Who lives? Who else falls prey to our killer you won’t believe as Matt and Angelle race the clock to save not only Megan but also the others when the killer is revealed, their lives are in danger and one woman would never be the same. Author Mary Firmin allows the reader to take a first hand look at these S&M clubs, the history behind them is shared and the need to have a man in some women’s lives might just lead to more than just Deadly Pleasures. This is one book that will make you think twice before getting involved with a toy boy, going to these clubs and finding happiness in all the wrong places. Great novel. Great characters. Let’s hope they return to solve more murders.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

 

 

Back Channel: William Betrand McFarland


 

Back Channel: Bertie MacFarland

Some books or memoirs tell the life story of the author, a family member or friend. Not this one. Some relate secrets, innermost fears or use their writing as an outlet or vehicle to enlighten readers about an issue, illness or hidden truth they or a family have lived with and have decided to share. Decide what applies to this story. Bertie Mac fought over the pros and cons of writing this detailed account of his time working for the Kennedy Administration as well as nine other presidents. The information presented would might change the way you think about our government, our Presidents and the way the lives of many are manipulated. Reliving, Back Channel will open your eyes wide to what happened during the Kennedy Administration. It will take you inside the Oval Office, allow you to hear the secret conversations between MacFarland, the President. “Decide what applies to this story, which I am treating as a memoir, but it may be historical fiction. There is no way to ascertain.”

 

This is the first of nine books in this series written by MacFarland who was the Special Assistant to the President.

Back Channel first began as he states in the prologue, when meeting JFK in June 1962. Let’s begin by explaining that he was involved in many covert operations. Some were by choice and others he was thrusted into by the President or a member of his administration. The author begins documenting his career by explaining how in his position he had access to the heads of government, our President and world leaders. Even after Kennedy was assassinated LBJ kept him on realizing that keeping your enemies closer was a wise decision. We begin our journey with his recruitment into the CIA but first realize that within the prologue he includes his Life Insurance and states why. With any dangerous job and this one was you often need to put precautions in place stating that if anything happens to him as a result of releasing this book and the next eight secret and classified documents stored safely would be released. He also includes at the end declassified documents dealing with “Operation Mongoose, Civil Rights Legislation and much more. The final section is an appendix, which includes supplementary materials on the mob, LBJ and others that you will definitely want to read. But, first let’s highlight the body of this book and enlighten the reader as to why Back Channel will make everyone that reads it stop and thin. You decide what is fact or fiction.

 

Would you want to be recruited by the CIA? What would you gain at 25 years of age working for this agency? Approached, promised a great career our young Bertie took the bait and agreed to enter their training program at what they call “The Farm.” Intense, rigorous and often at times demeaning he succeeded in surviving round one. Continuing on to the next mode of training which was paramilitary, trade crafting, Para trooping and much more. From there he entered ranger training, special point to get to operations and this was just the beginning. I bet you never realized the intensity of the training these agents go through to work for the CIA. Lonely at times, isolated and realizing any real friendships were less than short term he weathered many storms and finally entered the Monterrey Lang School and then off to Moscow where things took a sour and bad turn. Detained at the airport he was sent to Lubyanka where he was taken prisoner and tortured. After getting rescued and entering Walter Reed he finally convinced the staff to allow him to meet with JFK. What happened to him and what he learned about the Soviets would change his lives, that of Americans and what he reveals quite compelling and frightening. But, was he believed? Entering the oval office was more than just impressive but MacFarland seemed to handle himself quite well. Allowing the reader to know that he felt the government betrayed him and he relates this to the President allows the reader to understand that he was you might say in many ways the sacrificial lamb. As Kennedy reveals some startling information about what he thinks happened we learn that there might be a traitor within their mist and that someone felt Bertie knew more about what was happening and had more information than the ex-cultured attaché also in prison at the same time and place as him but treated quite differently.

 

The conversation is quite enlightening and there is much more to tell about what happened and his being placed in a safe house in Moscow and the events that led to this moment. The rest of the conversation refers to the late Chairman Khrushchev and two American generals who gave him a message to relate to JFK. False names, one message were the Chairman really planning some type of nuclear launch using missiles? Were these IRBM’s and others headed for Cuba? The conversation is quite compelling and the implications startling. The events recounted and the truth behind them would shake anyone’s inner most core. The rest a blur at times to him as he relates more of what he endured and his time in rehab that was just beginning. Attending Duke University, working for JFK and then the transition to LBJ he allows the reader to learn the inside thoughts and actions of these two administrations first hand. The supporting documentation that allows the reader to really understand and read first hand the workings of our government at the highest level will definitely clarify any misconceptions you might have. He continues with the history of The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Civil Rights Legislation and references to our Domestic and Foreign Policies plus the Camelot Time. Throughout this book you will learn about many conspiracies, betrayals and at times when you hear the conversations and read the dialogue you might think they are heartfelt but at times they sound condescending. But, after several meeting and many unusual incidents he realizes that although he has been rescued he is a hunted man and lives are lost as a result of the government protecting him. Friendships that he would have liked to cultivate more come to an end because of the danger surrounding him as his feelings for Helen Edberg and her family is short lived. Imagine knowing that someone that was guarding you was killed. But why? As JFK on page 61 relates to our author what he think happens and why he is in the situation he presently encounters. Moving him once again to Blair House, the safe house he meets many new people that he hopes he can rely on and trust. But, when the President places him front and center with those that can harm him what will he do? Instructed to go the Russian Embassy to meet the Ambassador he is told to deliver a message from JFK to him and him alone. The meeting is quite interesting and the end result will let you know that our author has it under control and definitely knows how to handle foreign diplomats and others. Next, he works for Robert McNamara and joins his team but only from the safe house when not in his office. Restrictions placed upon him for safety reasons and specific protocol for contacting anyone. Just who was after him and why was security increased since the KGB was involved. Imagine that what we learn and what we see, hear and view on the news is what they want an absolute account and not always us to learn. Including next the Vietnam War and his assessment of what really went on behind the scenes this book really provides us with much pause for more than just thought. But, more deaths occur as another guard who just returned from a tour of duty is deliberately run off the road. How this made him feel and the next step is startling as it is business as usual.

 

Going after the man who is hunting him, winding up in Walter Reed again and the Vietnam War, interviewing the village elders and his experiences there are all graphically described as if he is reliving every moment. Chapter 6 focuses on his time at Hyannis Point and his work, family gatherings with the Kennedys, difficult situations and much more. August 1963 he adds more the close of the Vietnam War, his experiences and the rest you can read on page 139.

 

We come to the saddest and hardest part of this book as he recounts the moment he learned of Kennedy’s death, the questions he asked himself that so many others did and what follows. To secure his safety and his life he needed to protect himself with some type of insurance policy that in this case does not yield a monetary gain when paid off. Documents were photocopied and carefully guarded and the person of interest you might say was someone high up. Why would anyone want to kill Kennedy, a motivation for murder, Hoover and the FBI, the Mafia and their possible role and Johnson round out Chapter 8 followed by the transition in Chapter 9. As he openly and honestly relates his meeting with LBJ and his offer of remaining in government even though he wanted to leave. Why he wanted him there and what it would do to his career you have to read for yourself and decide if he made the right choice. Taking out the documents which he had secured and placing them somewhere safe, making sure that others and note to the new President. Where does he go and where does he wind up? Why does he go there and what will happen next? What happens when he returns and who is waiting for him at the airport?

 

This is the end of Book One and the rest you need to read as he reveals in this Official Documents much about our government and more. Why was a wanted poster included for the President? Read this outstanding account of the Kennedy years and decide what is fact and what still needs to be told. Added are accounts of attacks directed at him, the information about LBJ and his research and time with the LBJ and what he reveals is truly remarkable and frightening. Read this account of the Kennedy Years: Back Channel: fast forward to the next. Remember: this is historical fiction. I will not state whether the information is true I reviewed the book and what was presented.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

Immoral: Brian Freeman: WHO KILLED RACHEL?


Immoral: Brian Freeman

As you hear the voice of the killer in the prologue an image begins to form within the reader’s mind as to who would do such an evil thing to a young girl. Several teens are missing and one dead as Rachel Deese disappears but finding her will not be easy. Rachel is not the most wonderful teen nor does she endear you to her as you get to know her better. Listening to her two friends when questioned by the police, you hearing their conflicting accounts of her character, where they saw her last and why and their opinion of what kind of person she is or was. Jonathan Stride is the detective in charge of this case and he tolerates nothing short of honesty from everyone. Along with his partner Maggie he hopes to uncover the hidden truths and lies that befell this victim. As you listen to Kerry and Sally her two friends tell their account of what happened that last night they were with Rachel, the daredevil feat she wanted to try on the bridge and her callous attitude for life and lack of feelings for others you begin to create a picture of a young girl who cannot seem to find herself and needs the attention of young men and everyone centered on her. Why? Her father died while on a ride at the fair and not realizing that something might have been wrong with him she took it out on her mother. With a stepfather who claimed to want to get close to her and a mother who can’t seem to come to grips with what might have happened the story becomes quite intriguing to say the least. From the author of The Bone House and Spilled Blood comes his first novel that started it all Immoral by Brian Freeman. The title fits the character as most would say Rachel Deese is definitely the perfect definition of the word. As Jonathan begins his investigation and speaks to some of the teachers at the school he finds himself rather stonewalled when dealing with Nancy Carver. Nancy is brash, bold and hardnosed when discussing Rachel. Told things in confidence she shares nothing of any consequence with him nor does she think anyone will ever find her. Rachel they feel does not want to be found and her relationship with others not that tight. Part-time counselor and mentor to some of the girls that were deeply affected by the disappearance of the first girl, she won’t budge, gives him her assessment of how he sizes her up but first the author allows the reader into one of his vivid dreams where he sees not only his wife that passed but both girls too.

 

But, the pieces start to fit together when Emily tries to commit suicide, Nancy Carver the same and Sally admits what happened to her in the barn. One man stands to bind all three women tighter and when the truth about him comes out just where and how Rachel fits in will make your blood curdle and bones chill. As the snow and ice pelt away and the cold weather becomes more intense the police are trying to find any evidence of where Rachel might be. As author Brian Freeman takes us back to where it all began with Emily, how she managed to get Graeme to marry her and her many deceptions.

 

 

 

 

Heather Hubble and her daughter Lissa were riding on a bumpy road when she stopped her car to take a look around and photograph some pictures. Highway 53 onto a nondescript dirt road about 10 miles northwest of Duluth where she recalls for the reader going as a teen. Many teens likes to meet guys there and the barn that loomed out was a constant reminder of her youth and its former beauty. But, leaving Lissa to explore in the brush might uncover something that would have helped to find Rachel or Kerry. Coming out of the brush or the woods she is holding a bracelet, which her mother insists she put back. Dirty and having been on the ground her mother does not alert herself to the fact that maybe she needed to look into where it was found rather than insisting she put it back. But, you know kids.

 

Jonathan is working overtime on this case when approached by the Deputy Sheriff his immediate boss. Warned that he has only two weeks left to find the kidnapper or killer and the fact that the previous case from the past year was still unsolved he knew he was on borrowed time to get this done. But, time off to relax at the casino would bring him another distraction in the way of Andrea a teacher at Duluth High School.

 

But, a tip comes in and alerts them to the area where Rachel was before she disappeared. A gold bracelet the key and a piece of where white turtleneck. When Stride meets with the Tenby he learns more about Emily and Graeme’s marriage. From the start it was unique, almost a marriage of convenience and after Emily loses a child emotionless. With Rachel hoping to create a wedge between her mother and stepfather things in that house were worse. But, when Emily sees the bracelet she turns more than white as the investigation is now in full swing, the area is being combed, witnesses reinterviewed and Rachel still missing.

 

When the evidence is compiled and the blood is found the man that they think killer Rachel is her stepfather Graeme Stoner and the attorney for the defense Archie Gale is ruthless, could care less if he is innocent or guilty but hopes to destroy and take down the smart prosecutor Daniel Erickson. But, the case has Stride worried that they missed something as the evidence is too pat, the blood stains, the pictures, implication that she and Graeme had an affair and the word of the counselor all seem to tie the case up in neat bow but too neat. Stride feels that they missed something but what and his relationship with Andrea although great he begins to wonder if it will work.

 

As the trial is about to begin and prosecution seems to have won on jury selection, the jury sequestered and the players in place what will happen might surprise you as the author creates twists you won’t see coming as everyone tries to find out what really happened to Rachel and if she orchestrated the events. As Daniel Erikson presents his opening arguments that are compelling, detailed and definitely leave no doubt that Graeme is guilty but we need to hear from the defense first before we make our final decision. Could someone be framing him? Did he really have an inappropriate picture of Rachel? Did he really have an affair with her? Where is her body? Did he dispose of it?

 

The trial heats up and Stride takes the stand followed by Emily. What the jury and the reader learns will shed light on what might have happened to Rachel but will definitely bring the curtain closer to Emily. But, when Emily decides to put an end to it all guess who winds up dead?

 

Three years later the case is closed and the victim thought to be gone but what happens next will astound you as we learn Rachel was alive at the time of the trial but someone dumped her body in the desert in Las Vegas. Enter Serena Dial of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who will now meet both Stride and Maggie. Their relationship heats up but the end result of what really happened to Rachel, who is guilty and more you won’t believe as the master of deceit, deception, intrigue, surprises and twists and turns author Brian Freeman definitely stumps the reader when he delivers his action packed and shocking ending to this explosive first novel. Wait until you find out who killed Rachel! Can’t wait to read the next in this series and find out where life takes Stride. Immoral: just who fits the definition. Read it and find out. Stride is hot, cool, smart and definitely determined to solve a case and relentless in his pursuit of the truth. Read Immoral.

Fran Lewis: reviewer