Tag Archives: Murder

Is Vengeance ever right? An Interview with Anthony D’Augustine

Interview with Anthony D’Augustine author of Just Vengeance

  • Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

One of the tenets of good writing is to write about what you know. After 37 years of investigative work, I felt my strong suit was the detective mystery genre.  I didn’t want to write a book, though, on police procedurals or true crime. I wanted to create fictional characters and challenge them on ethical and moral grounds. Molding the attitudes and actions of these characters held a great deal of appeal for me. I believe my approach is different from other detective mysteries in that my stories go beyond the plot driven variety. My characters are described not only by their actions, but by their inherent nature (Best Enemies) and their metaphysical viewpoints (Just Vengeance).

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I spend a great deal of time formulating a sub-text for my books. I don’t take notes during this period of time. In Best Enemies, for example, the underlying theme is “Man in Nature”; in Just Vengeance it is “Man’s view of God”.   After I decide on a sub-text, I begin to work on the plot. I spend a lot of time thinking about the opening chapters, about how to grab attention and set a base line for my plot. I do make notes at this time; however, I never make outlines. Why? Because I never know in which direction my stories and characters will go.  My characters always seem to create the story.

  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

 I like to work backwards when it come to researching a section of my story. Instead of researching then writing, I write, then research. I do this because as the story develops on its own, I let it take me where it wants to go. After I see what I have written, I go through it section by section. That’s where the research comes in as to accuracy/preciseness, and corroboration/conformation with other sections within the story.

  • What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

My areas of research generally consist of conversations with law enforcement personnel, the use of Internet search engines, news feeds, and maps.

  • How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

Being a retired police officer, I have no problem discussing police matters with other officers, active or retired. Were I not associated with police work, I would approach a police officer for information or advice by being straight forward. I would tell the officer I have a high regard for his/her profession and that I would like to learn about their successes as well as the difficulties they face. Then, I would be honest about the reason I would like that information: I’m writing an article, a book, doing a video, establishing an organization, etc.

  • How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I believe my first book was rejected five or six times by agents. I try not to remember the negative aspects of the book marketing business. I don’t recall my first book, Best Enemies, being rejected for any specific reason. I can understand not being accepted at the start. I was a first time author with no published track record; I had no history of articles or books; no literary degrees or awards; I didn’t have celebrity status or any other form of name recognition; nor did I have a large following. Agents and traditional publishing companies like a sure thing. I was not that. It was then I looked into self publishing.

  • Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

No, I didn’t need to self-publish on e-book before going to a publisher.

  • Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

 I would recommend self-publishing for first-time, non-celebrity authors in the fiction genre for the following reasons: -1- total control over you work product, -2- total control over the marketing and distribution of your book, and -3- you have an opportunity to establish an audience from the bottom up. Self-publishing allows the author to set his or her own parameters. The self-published author controls all aspects of the publishing process.

  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

 In my opinion, the vast majority of authors do not make a sufficient income—by writing alone— to live on. They generally supplement their love for writing by working a separate part time or full time job, or, as in my case, living on a retirement income. There are exceptions, though. Like the multi-millionaire actors in Hollywood, there are those in the literary world who have achieved great fortunes. Others have made a comfortable living writing for newspapers, magazines, blogs, television, radio, advertisers, or as speech writers.

  • What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I don’t have any funny stories to tell about book tours I’ve been on, because I haven’t been on any. I’ve chosen to promote both my books through other venues, most notably through the use of the Internet and its worldwide marketplace.

Outskirts Press Announces the Highly Anticipated Sequel to Best Enemies:

Just Vengeance: A Detective Novel by Anthony D’Augustineperf6.000x9.000.indd

“The only justice I’ve ever seen in my life came at the muzzle of my gun.”

December 1, 2015 – Denver, CO and New York, NY – Retired detective lieutenant Anthony D’Augustine has released Just Vengeance: A Detective Novel, published by Outskirts Press. The new book is the sequel to his well-received debut novel, Best Enemies, in which readers first meet Mac Taylor, a rough-and-tumble ex-Newark cop.

Now married and recently granted a PI license, Mac’s very first case finds him embroiled in a global terrorism investigation. Originally hired to investigate a reported suicide, he soon uncovers a sinister plot that involves murders in Scotland and Italy, and plans to destroy several U.S. landmarks. Shortly after his discovery, Mac and his pregnant wife, Cheryl, become targets of international terrorists; specifically, a psychopathic killer named Dirk Conroy, aka Ahmed Sal Mohammed.

In the world of espionage, where it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad, Mac deftly maneuvers among agents, operatives, and confidential informants as he sets out to find Conroy. His partner, FBI Agent Sara Dillon, wants Conroy captured alive, but Mac wants him dead at all costs.

His old friend from Vietnam days, Nick Polsani, tries to convince him that seeking justice is the only course of action to be taken, but Mac disagrees. He’s going to settle a score, regardless of the consequences, and in the process he hopes to save thousands of innocent lives and the financial future of America. It’s not justice he’s looking for. It’s Just Vengeance.

Just Vengeance is fast-paced, exciting, and insightful, offering the reader a realistic view of detective work and an understanding of its psychological impact. The book is dedicated to the author’s son, Staff Sergeant Joseph D’Augustine, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 27, 2012.

At 312 pages, Just Vengeance is available online through Outskirts Press at www.outskirtspress.com/bookstore. The book is sold through Amazon and Barnes and Noble for a maximum trade discount in quantities of 10 or more, and is being aggressively promoted to appropriate markets with a focus on the mystery & detective category.

ISBN: 978-1-4787-6307-9

ISBN: 978-1-4787-6361-1

Genre: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Hardboiled

For more information, visit the author’s website at http://outskirtspress.com/bookstore/justvengeance.

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About the Author: Anthony D’Augustine is a former detective lieutenant and firearms training supervisor with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey. In addition to working with the county, Anthony served ten years as a Dumont, New Jersey, police officer. He and his wife, Patricia, have three daughters and five grandchildren. Retired from law enforcement, he now donates much of his time running a charitable memorial fund in his son’s name. The fund provides scholarships to local students and support to military families in need. For details, go to SSJDMF.com.

 

 

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Enter the Queendom of the Red Academy

The Rise of the Red Queen

By

Bourne Morris

An interesting title for this novel, as reading  it you might assume the book was fantasy or YA in genre. But no such thing. It is a crime novel set in a university.

The Red Queen of the title is an academic whose rise is chronicled through the faculty management structure to being Assistant Dean in this university set high above Lake Tahoe in the Nevada Hills, and who has red hair.

She is thus commonly known as ‘Red’ and many of her colleagues see her as their born leader and that they are members of the court of her faculty.

However, not all members of the university appreciate her qualities and there is still a significant misogynistic element  amongst them. Especially in the higher management echelons.

Prejudices and academic rivalry abound and are very intense and even lead here to murder and criminal behaviour.

And then there is the warped mind of one of the community who abducts a young girl. So within this story, other stories intertwine here there are mysteries and suspicious behaviours and suspicions that leave you guessing.

A note here on academic tenure in American universities (generalised).

Tenure in American universities is extremely hard to achieve.

It requires not only a PhD but a significant body of publications, grants, and conference appearances achieved; and then you have to be liked by all the members of the faculty committee that will review your record and award you tenure – or not.

Tenure, is effectively for the rest of your life. It is almost impossible to be fired, and it is very much your choice as to when you retire. Only about 2% of tenured Professors are fired each year – and then it has to be for ‘due cause’.

And: “As a tenured Professor, you are free to do your own work, your own way” (quoted in the book).

The probationary period averages three years for community colleges and seven years at four-year colleges. This is a period of employment insecurity almost unique among U.S. professions. People denied tenure at the end of this time lose their jobs; tenure is an “up-or-out” process.

During the probationary period, almost all colleges can choose not to renew faculty contracts and terminate faculty without any reason or cause. Throughout this time, senior professors and administrators evaluate the work of new faculty-teaching, research and service before deciding whether or not to recommend tenure. The most recent survey of American faculty shows that, in a typical year, about one in five probationary faculty members was denied tenure and lost his or her job.

No more than one-third of all college and university faculty members are tenured. The reason? More and more colleges are relying on part-time or temporary nontenure-track faculty to teach undergraduates — part-timers constituted about 38 percent of the professoriate in 1987 and grew to 43 percent in 1992.

http://www.nea.org/home/33067.htm

Blood and Knives = Red

Red Hourglass

by

Scarlett Risque

Red is the blood that drops from her fingers – as red as her name is Scarlet.

Sharp are the knives she uses to cut the flesh – snip and swish and slide and slink, but always in. Knives are a motive, a tool, an obsession.HourGlass_Shapes

Yet for a time she can overcome her programming, a programming that began when a ‘mother’ appeared for a lost, hungry and despairing homeless teenager. A mother who provided a home; sisters; love; and a  reason to live. A mother who sheltered, taught and programmed obedience into all her girls (daughters). To disobey a request / order was to be killed by a sister, and even the thought of disobedience was anathema.

So what ‘tasks’ did Mother want her daughters to do? Well each tasks was given a rationale that it would  , the economy, the local businesses, or the local residents. To defeat the large and powerful on behalf of the small and lowly and weak. A compelling reason to kill? To murder? She argued it well and they believed. They had to believe for this is what she trained them, educated them, for.

Each daughter specialising in differing skills but for Red it was the knife and she always obeyed until she met someone she didn’t want to kill.

This book highlights the problems of homelessness and the abuse of young girls that leads them to want to join a ‘family’ aka a gang, that will love and support them. The same psychology that keeps gangs together and enables an end justifies the means attitude.

A gang leader influences and controls the members, sometimes through intimidation and always through manipulation of the emotions that enables to continue their control.

Each leader will have a special ‘second’ in command who ensures that the will of the leader is carried out (Mother’s biological daughter). They will also dominate the lower ranks. Pack instinct and the desire to conform and be accepted and love by the pack keeps each member motivated to remain within the gang.

It is clever in this book to use the girls as assassins and gang members as it is often, erroneously, thought that female gangs are less violent than male. In the right circumstances they can be just as dangerous and violent or more so.

I enjoyed this book more as a story of female gangs and how girls can be programmed into violence, than the romantic relationship aspects. I quite understand why the relationship had a sado-masochistic element as a result of Red’s programming but I did not see it as a relationship that would last once lust had been fulfilled. I was not convinced by the ending or the exploration of Red’s emotions.

The author says that The Hourglass series is a sociopolitical discourse about capitalism and how top down decisions affects the lives of ordinary people. I am fascinated with financial centers and major property acquisition players. My approach is unique as I do not state the obvious but let the reader decide what is obvious to them.

I saw this element in the rationale behind the assassinations but felt that it could have been brought out more – the ending did not emphasise this enough.

Thinking back over the writing style and general story-telling, I would not read another in this series.

3 stars.

Can you Fix a Psychopath?

Fixed in Fear

By T.E. Woods

Review for

NetGalley and Alibi

Now this book set me wondering – psychopaths – are they born or are they made? Can PTSD cause a person to become a psychopath?

And then there is the whole issue of revenge killing. Do we really believe in an eye for an eye? And you kill one of mine and I’ll kill one of yours? If so, then we can expect far more of the scenes such as recently in Paris and the US and even in the London where the cry comes – ‘This is for what you have done in Syria’. With France declaring that they were at war with so-called ISIS as a result of the Paris bombings and shootings.

So I read with great relief and empathy the article by Caitlin Moran in The Times Magazine. She muses on what you tell your children about the terrorist attacks. How you explain what is happening and why. And why we should, here in London at any rate, and in most if not all of the Western World, not be afraid. And why? Because we have lived through worse.

She lived through the IRA bombings as did I in the UK. Where they bombed busy shopping centres, where they bombed Regent’s Street and where there were no waste bins in case they hid a bomb, and where your briefcase or sports bag or even shopping carrier, if left unattended in a train station, was blown up by a nifty robot. As was your car if left in a route of importance –  I remember watching out of our office window as the police did just that when we were expecting the Queen to pass by our block. Even now, we get plenty of warnings about not leaving our baggage unattended or telling staff of a ‘suspicious package’, and even when they regularly stopped trains as someone had done just that – usually a shopping bag someone had forgotten. I remember this on one train when the American tourists in our carriage were having kittens and we were very blasé as it happened so often to us.

This doesn’t change anything. You are far more likely to die on the loo than being killed by a bomb or a bullet even in a country where there are 88.8 guns per 100 people such as in the US. See the table on the most common cause of death.

causes of death

As Caitlin Moran says, there are certain things that cause psychopaths (back t that word) who want to kill: an unhappy combination of humiliation, bereavement, and fear. She believes that terrorists are psychopaths who simply want to kill and their purpose in life is to find a reason that they can use to justify that want.

Fear can be weaponised, she said, some people want us to be afraid and scared and angry and that can turn us into terrorists too.  And so the war continues.

SO I did my research and it seems that there is some conflict as to how you can become psychopath and just what is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. psychopathhttp://hubpages.com/education/The-Four-Basic-Pillars-of-A-SociopathPsychopath

diffs psycho

The four Pillars are:

1.People with Anti-social Personality disorder whether psychopath or sociopath have a great deal of pride. They demand respect and they will ensure that they get it, whatever it may take. They believe that they are better than anyone else, and others should treat them as such. Rules of society and norms are not for them to respect. They are above them.

  1. They are spiteful. They have low tolerance and this can lead to outbursts of aggression or violence. They find a little irritation a major nuisance.
  2. These are sex addicts with high levels of testosterone – which also increases aggression. They need the sexual experiences even if they receive little satisfaction from them and cannot have relationships without sexual intimacy.
  3. They are self-centred, self-absorbed, and very selfish. Everything they do has a benefit to them. They lack emotional sensitivity or empathy and always bored and seeking stimulation though risk or excitement. They don’t care about others or what others need.

For a Psychopath all these attributes are very high but pride and lust are the highest with insensitivity to others coming next and anger being the least prevalent in them.

So we come to the book. Is the Fixer either a psychopath or a sociopath?

I noted a number of interesting points in this book and the first the one about body memory. The concept that trauma is retained in muscle memory. The body of an abuse victim will remember to cower or protect itself when triggering circumstances occur. Interesting as I have just started watching Bone and flesh on Amazon and the girl, who is clearly a victim of familial sexual abuse immediately turns and hits a man with a bottle when he touches her without her seeing. An instinctive behaviour or a muscle memory? More likely the latter I should think.  According to http://www.survivormanual.com/ we do indeed have a ‘mind’ in our muscle that retains moves – in my own case I often move into Tai Chi poses because I learnt it for so many hears when undertaking a gym workout. My legs remember this shaping. And n addition we have the idea that instinct tells us to behave in certain ways under certain circumstances. The Police Chief says a running animal always turns right when trying to escape. This is muscle memory. However, it can also be conditioned in by past experience so here I am not sure of the accuracy of this statement. But it is an interesting thought. Turning left requires the instinct to be over-ridden and thus the brain has to come into action was her theory.

I also looked up the village/town that the murders took place – and yes, it is a real place in the States. Enumclaw is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 10,669 at the 2010 census.

The Enumclaw Plateau, on which the city resides, was formed by a volcanic mudflow (lahar) from Mount Rainier approximately 5,700 years ago.

The name Enumclaw is derived from a Salish Native American term that translates as “place of evil spirits”, apparently referring to Enumclaw Mountain, located about 6 miles (9.7 km) to the north, and referring either to some evil incident that occurred there or to the frequent powerful windstorms that affect the region. Native American mythology tells the story of two Pacific Northwest Native American brothers – Enumclaw and Kapoonis – whose father turned them into thunder and lightning respectively. The City of Enumclaw says the name means “thundering noise” [Wikipedia]

I was also interested in the idea of each religion have a ritual for forgiveness and the Professor having drawn up a grid. This is just the sort of thing that I would do… as a Jew I like the idea that you only confess sins that have offended God, and that if you have offended a person you confess that to them. This makes society operate well I think. What is also interesting of course, is that the 3 Abrahamic religions have such similarities in their rituals about forgiveness and other religious practices. Which of course, brings us back to why are we fighting each other? Perhaps it is that very similarity that we fight in order to define ourselves as different?

So these are some of the very interesting points that I picked up from the book regardless of the story. The Fixer has come out of her ‘retirement’ and tries to over-ride her innate instinct to act as a psychopath and give an eye for an eye but her instinct to help in circumstance where something unjust has happened still operate.

Is this book as good as the previous ones in the series? I think by a hair margin not quite. It is getting difficult to find a scenario under which she will operate in her role as a Fixer. And so I needed to find interest in elements that were not perhaps as key to the story-line. I will still give it 4 stars though, as I do intend to read the series as it continues. I am not yet bored by her, and the story-telling is good stylistically and contains a lot of interesting ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet Women: An author explains

 

An interview with:

Scarlet Risque 

 author of:

Red Hour Glass

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

The Hourglass series is a sociopolitical discourse about capitalism and how top down decisions affects the lives of ordinary people. I am fascinated with financial centers and major property acquisition players. My approach is unique as I do not state the obvious but let the reader decide what is obvious to them.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

The Red Hourglass took four years to write and I was actively writing the book in five different countries. I research different topics that interest me on a daily basis through a combination of Wikipedia, news, YouTube, books and talking to people who are in similar positions or characteristics to those I write of.

I visited New York twice (2011 and 2013) and wrote the subway scenes by spending a long time observing homeless people begging for change. It was a novelty to me, and I was immediately drawn to that. I wrote the first scene of the White Queen finding Mary in the subway back in 2011 as I was inspired by the subway stations of New York City when I first visited.


  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I believe that we write based on what we know over a period of many years and try to condense it in a novel form that is easy and enjoyable to read. Most of the research literature I read are academic and non fiction, they hold no interest to most people.

I wanted to write something I would love to read and still have something to think about. I prefer reading books that allows me to question and find out more answers for myself. In this sense, I try to do just that.

  1. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

Interviews with famous actors on YouTube is my favourite resource as I can play back and study their word choices and way of thinking, to get into their “heads”.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

I would prefer to casually chat with anyone no matter what their position or authority as they give inspiration to different things. I don’t believe in stereotyping. A good way to approach someone is always to get a referral from a friend who knows that person, so that he would speak as naturally as possible instead of putting a professional front. I prefer the realness to my character development sketches. I don’t sketch my characters just based on one person but a few different people usually.

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I went directly for self publishing.


  1. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

Above answer.

  1. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I haven’t reached this stage yet, it is something to consider to reach a different target market. It would really depend. From where I am at, most physical book stores and music shops had closed down as they are unable to meet the rent. I believe the trend is towards virtual publication and virtual outreach.

  1. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Definitely not. My previous income was much higher as I used to do consultancy. I felt dead inside. Despite the external achievements and materialistic acquistions, it gave me no sense of fulfillment. I gave up my shadow life to pursue writing. I had cut back on my expenses and traveling. Some rewards cannot be measured in monetary terms. I used to dread waking up, but since I turned full time as an artist, I wake up before my alarm and I feel energised to take on the world. I receieve fan mails daily and I feel that is the greatest reward that my work has impacted others.

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I am on a YouTube “book tour” at the moment on my own channel. I am surrounded by my Knights and minions. What is funny is one of my Knights commented he was waiting for me to do a Sharon Stone Basic Instinct move by crossing my legs. But I didn’t. Haha!
Red Hourglass Available Now: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Kobo International, Barnes and Noble
Weekly YouTube Episodes: The Scarlet Queen YouTube

Follow Scarlet Risque: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, Amazon, Wattpad
Website: http://thescarletqueen.com

 Red-Hourglass-3D

Scarlet Risque Releases Her New Romantic Thriller: Red Hourglass

Singapore – A POWERFUL, MYSTERIOUS woman finds a homeless girl in a New York subway and adopts her. Janet swears loyalty to the White family and they train her at their Academy as a secret agent. Before long, her transformation into the Red Hourglass—an assassin—is complete. She is ready to start her missions in service of the White Queen.

In order to learn the whereabouts of her real mother from the White Queen, the Red Hourglass must stop the planned expansion of Wilmar Enterprises. She goes undercover to infiltrate Wilmar, and she is hired as the executive secretary to the Chief of Security, Conan Casey.

Janet works diligently to uncover all Wilmar’s secrets. She soon learns that Conan Casey, her target, is heir to the billion dollar Wilmar organization. She falls prey to his dark seductions and twisted secrets … and they leave her gasping for more.

About the book:
Red Hourglass by Scarlet Risque
ASIN: B0179EKC70
Publisher: ScarletCorp
Date of publish: October 2015
Pages: 249
S.R.P.: $0.99

About the author:
Scarlet Risqué stars in Scarlet Queen YouTube with over a million views. She is the author of the Hourglass (Romance/Thriller) Series. She holds a degree in business. She uses writing, dance, and theater to explore her dark and light desires. She’s a poetic soul where pain and pleasure meet and East collides with West. She is passionate about traveling, dancing and kink. She loves her cat and crystal collection.

Each book in the Hourglass Series has a female lead searching for her identity and truth in today’s world. Set against a backdrop of globalization, these stories of intrigue and espionage are full of undercover agents and themes of dominance and submission.

 

Just what are the best sins for each climate? Should we change our behaviour?

A Book Review for NetGalley

Practical Sins

By

Shelley Costa

Somewhere in the cold far north of Canada, there are some lakes that experience a brief summer. A summer full of rain, fog and mosquitoes. But a summer where birds hatch chicks on the lakes and if you are so inclined you can catch fish. You may even catch sight of the loons with their chicks riding on their backs [photo].

In these watery environs you boat or canoe to your destination. Your destination may well be an island and your nearest neighbour is on the next island but one, and it takes 30 mins by boat to go and shop for food, but your family has a cabin here and has been coming here every summer for 100 years or so, and you love the rustic atmosphere.

You sit on Adirondack chairs (which personally I find very uncomfortable). You cover sofas with hand- made afghans and your beds with hand-made quilts of all the summer dresses your forebears wore and cut up when they got too dilapidated.

Your window shutters are held open by hand-hewn logs and you use Native American craftwork for baskets and wall-coverings and rugs. Sometimes you still use the outhouse dug out at the back of the property too.

And when the brief summer ends, you g home to your urban life, sunburnt, covered in mosquito bites, but a little fitter and ready to watch Cable and Netflix and drink cappuccino with multi flavours and eat muffins on the way to work in your glass-sided office block. Warm and safe from wild life and full of noise and bustle.

But some people stay on back at the Northern wilderness. Some are hermits and have run away from the world, or have run to a life that is simpler and others are native to the area and their tribes have lived there for all their memory.

But these tranquil shores are ripe. Ripe to develop. More cottages and marinas and lake shore amenities.

There is the demand.

There is also a continuing demand for good wood from well grown trees – such as the forests that surround the lakes. And the easiest way to obtain this wood is to clear-cut the hills. To de-forest and not to replant.

Prior to the arrival of European-Americans in 1600, about one half of the United States land area was forest, about 4,000,000 square kilometres (990,000,000 acres). 95% of the original forests were logged during the past 200 years.

Clearcutting produces: Torrential floods wash away the rich topsoil and gouge deep ravines, exposing rocks, clay or sand. The bare earth is saturated with plant-killing chemicals, the land bulldozed, the remaining branches and fallen tree trunks soaked with gasoline and set on fire; every living thing above and below the ground is dead. The entire scene is crisscrossed with dirt roads leading to…nowhere. Only 20% of the US forests are protected.

Once a logging company deforests an area, the landowner now has several acres of clear land. Prompted by money, a landowner can sell these acres to developers for new housing complexes.

So your sins relate to the practicalities of living in this wilderness area. Adultery is always popular, but sometimes the only way out is murder.

Into this life comes Valjean looking for her hermit author.

I really liked this story and thought it was well written. However, there were times when I got somewhat confused about the characters and their relationships to each other.

Overall good story. Some interesting ideas and concepts and morality questions raised.

4 stars.

 

A Mulligan

Seeing Evil

By Jason Parent

A NetGalley Review

How would you / could you live your life if when you touched someone you saw the potential for evil in their life? A psychic ability that you never asked for but came upon you unannounced with a fainting fit or a nightmare.

Well that is what happens to our young ‘hero’ in this book. He sees the potential for evil occurrences and then he tries to thwart these happenings – when he can – and sometimes he gets lucky – sometimes he doesn’t. Michael feels that if the vision is about his future it might be

‘a virtual reality training area. .. a mulligan’.

Which is, according the Urban Dictionary of Slang:

A Mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action; usually due to lack of skill or bitter luck. A “Do-Over”. Like getting an “Extra Play” in pinball due to sinking the ball before obtaining an arbitrary amount of points.

Left an orphan he is a reclusive shy boy with no friends and bullied at school, moving from one foster parent to another with only a remote friend in Sam the cop who found him at the scene of his mother and her lover’s murder by his father aged 3 years old. Sam kept a watching brief over Michael but lacking a maternal instinct it was not at all motherly until he began seeing visions when she realised he needed her help in a more practical manner.

Most people don’t believe in psychic visions and this belief is not helped when looking on our ‘trusty’ Google you can find people who offer to teach how to become psychic. And lots of people claiming to find your soul mate and so on or the lucky lottery ticket or… and yet from time to time there are people who visions that do have value .

Wikipedia has documented a number of cases where the psychics were wrong but also a few where they were right as below:

A body was located in the US by Psychic Annette Martin. Dennis Prado, a retired US paratrooper, had gone missing from his apartment and police had been unable to locate his whereabouts. With no further leads, the chief investigating officer, Fernando Realyvasquez, a sergeant with the Pacifica (California) Police, contacted psychic detective Annette Martin. Prado had lived near a large forest, some 2000 square miles. Martin was given a map, she circled a small spot on the map, about the size of two city blocks. She said that Prado had struggled for breath, had died and his body would be there within the indicated area. She described the path he took, and where the body would be found. Although the area had been searched before and Prado had not been found, a search and rescue officer initiated a new search with the help of a search dog, as Martin suggested “A search dog is going to find him.” They found the body covered with dirt at the location, as Martin had indicated. While the body had deteriorated, there was no evidence that he had been attacked and it is thought likely he had died of natural causes, as she also indicated.

In 2001, the body of Thomas Braun was located by Perth based Aboriginal clairvoyant Leanna Adams in Western Australia. Police had initially been unable to find the body. The family of Braun had been told to contact Adams, an Aboriginal psychic who lived in Perth. The Braun family had requested police to do a search based on Adams’ directions but they had not assisted. Adams went to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, and took the family members directly to Braun’s remains, a spot high on a ridge west of the town, some 20 kilometres out. The remains were not immediately identifiable. Police later confirmed the remains to be his using DNA testing.

So whether you believe or not is up to you, but it makes a good story and ramps up the tension as Michael attempts to thwart his visions.

Overall a nice read with enough tension and a clean writing style that keeps you hooked.

4 stars