Greetings from The Raven!

Nov. 25, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and the 100 Per Cent Society by Arthur Hall

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this book. I appreciate every book!

Possible Spoilers, none on purpose…

Sherlock Holmes had a saying that there is nothing so deceptive as an obvious fact. This book may be a serious nod to that particular phrase.

Someone is murdering people across London. This malefactor has entered 221B Baker Street and stolen the belt from Holmes’ mouse-colored dressing gown! Then a man turns up strangled by that very belt.

Whispers go around about a character called Rendt, but everyone that knows anything about this person ends up dead. Moreover, everyone who is connected to them also is murdered. There is no mercy for anyone Rendt feels threatened by—man, woman, or child.

Holmes cannot guarantee the safety of his Baker Street Irregulars, Doctor Watson, or even Mrs. Hudson. The evil Rendt seems to be able to reach anyone. People are not safe from this felon, even inside of prison!

There is a mysterious card with a Medusa head left on the scenes of the crimes. This symbol is tracked down by the Irregulars and proves to be the 100 Per Cent Club. The club appears to be made up of all the black sheep from various noble families. Holmes begins to smell a rat, wondering if he is being manipulated and that everything that has happened has been to the script of a mastermind…

The twist in this story comes somewhere close to the middle of the book and is so good I will not spoil it. The rest of the book deals with bringing a villain who might be the equal of Professor Moriarty…

Hall’s prose may not completely a mirror image of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s but it is incredible! The subtle use of vague hints to mask things until the reveal is fantastic! The book is one you will find hard to put down!

I give this book five stars…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Nov. 19, 2017

Then She Was Born by Cristiano Gentili

The shocking tale of how being different can also be fatal…

My thanks go out to the author for my copy of this book. Thanks for sharing this haunting novel…

When Adimu was conceived, it was a time of rejoicing for her parents and tribe. The pregnancy went well. And then Adimu was born and the world went mad…

This is the gripping story of how superstition and fear can lead to people who are different being treated as though they are not human. Adimu represents many other children who are born into a world that does not want them. She represents people who are destroyed by others because they do not fit what some people feel is normal.

Adimu was a healthy baby but was born what her people on the island of Murutanga referred to as a zeru zeru. She was born albino. To her people, such babies were evil and were generally left to starve in the forest. Adimu was allowed to live, to grow up into a young woman, although she did have to serve as a servant to her stepsisters. She was treated like a daughter by white gold-mine owner Charles Fielding and his wife Sara.

To the people of Murutanga, Adimu was as outcast as ever. But the people were possessive of their resident zeru zeru. When Adimu vanished from the island tension exploded that someone would dare steal their zeru zeru!

That Charles Fielding loved this girl with the odd complexion and the blonde hair is unquestionable. Then, when times had grown dark and his fortune began to wane, Fielding begins to listen to the native people talk of how possession of body parts from a zeru zeru can bring the most amazing fortune to whoever has them. He begins to see dollar signs dancing before his eyes and the lust for wealth drives him to the unthinkable.

He had thought that it would be someone besides the blonde young lady he knew all too well…

This book reveals man’s greed and cuts to the heart of Civil Rights. People are being denied basic rights because their skin is a different color; because they are women; because they have a different religion; because they have a sexual preference that others find detestable and more. People set themselves up as judge, jury, and executioner because they somehow feel they have the right. When you deny rights to another person based on trifles you take offense to, you are the one who needs a good look at yourself. No one has all the answers, and treating people as inferior shows just how ignorant, hateful, and loathsome you are…

Civil Rights leaders from all over the globe have come together to promote this book. I will add my voice to theirs. I give this book five stars plus…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Nov. 19, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru by Karen Lee Street

 My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

 SPOILERS POSSIBLE BUT NOT ON PURPOSE

 Poe receives mysterious packages that seem to be threats. One contains stuffed and mounted ravens which have then been dismembered; one seems to indicate a grave, and one even seems to be an effigy of Poe’s wife Virginia!

 Poe then discovers that his enemy, George Rhynwick Williams, and his wife are now in Philadelphia passing under the names of George Reynolds and wife. Mrs. Reynolds is an actress of some renown, though Poe feels the plays in which she acts, written by George, are very inferior.

 

Poe’s friend, Miss Helena Loddiges, daughter of a collector of rare birds and a skilled taxidermist, arrives at the Poe home. Men who worked for her father, Andrew and Jeremiah Matthews, have died under suspicious circumstances. They were recently collecting birds in Peru, and there are whispers of a lost tribe and a hidden jewel…

 When reading the prose of Karen Lee Street one would think of Edgar Allan Poe even if the hero of the book went under another name. Street has managed to channel the spirit of Poe in this narrative, and packs the novel with Easter eggs and actual lines and names from the writings of Poe himself!  Readers of Poe’s works will recognize the name Valdemar, the lines “again there came a rapping,” etc.

 Set amid the quarreling of Protestants and Irish Catholics, the mystery is a multipronged staff—a mysterious journal left by Matthews Sr., the death of a priest at nearby St. Augustine Academy, the theft of rare books from the same Academy, a learned professor who was recently in Peru, and more. Each point could be a mystery in and of itself. Yet there is a method in the madness of the points, building to a crescendo as the plot is finally revealed and the villain exposed! This is a book you won’t want to put down!

 I give the book five stars…

 Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Nov. 13, 2017

Stop Licking That by Karin Mitchell

My thanks go out to Karin Mitchell for my signed copy of this book! Thank you very much!

Make no mistake; there are parts of this book that are knee-slapping funny. Any parent will recognize situations and immediately think, oh, yeah, I could tell you some stories of my own! But I do agree with the critic who felt that “'cute' went to 'cutesy'” very quickly.

The things I found most hilarious were the pages that preface every chapter. I don’t think there was a single page that I couldn’t personally relate to from raising my own three kids. The chapters dragged at times. I also felt that the book would be more appealing to mothers than to men in general. I am male.

I also think the cover was kind of ‘meh,’ the orange-yellow clashes with the color photo. The kid on the potty is cute, but there are many stories in the book that would have made extremely funny cover art. The potty shot also doesn’t go so well with the title…

Did I enjoy the book? Probably half of the book was killingly funny, but the other half could have been trimmed a bit. It’s like making a movie; every shot filmed doesn’t make it into the finished product. There are snippets that are cut for dramatic effect, to shorten the movie, because they didn’t quite turn out as intended, etc. The book could have had a bit more trimming without adversely affecting the flow of the novel. I am just being honest here.

I do give the book three stars…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>  

Nov. 3, 2017

Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin and Marv Wolfman

POSSIBLE SPOILERS!

When Dick Grayson moved on to become Nightwing, it left the role of Robin wide open. When Batman discovers a young boy boosting the tires off the Batmobile, he is amazed at the kid’s moxie and natural ability. Adopting Jason Todd, Bruce Wayne now has a new Robin as his sidekick.

But Jason Todd is not Dick Grayson. Jason has his own ideas and is not content to simply follow orders. The partnership is often a bit messy as Batman and Robin continue to have words.

Jason is chasing his real mother and ignores all of Batman’s orders. Finally tracking his mother down, he discovers that she doesn’t have clean hands and is in fact currently in a deal with the Joker.

The Joker now captures Jason. He beats the lad within an inch of his life with a crowbar and then sets an explosive to kill both Robin and his mother.

But for the first time in comic history, there were two endings offered to the public. In one scenario, Jason Todd would survive both the beating and the explosion. It would take a long time to heal, but he would live. In the second scenario, Jason Todd would die before Batman could save him.

And in September of 1988, the ending was put to the readers. For thirty-six hours starting September 15, the public would cast their votes. Jason Todd was the first comic character to be voted to death!

This is the full story of that saga, along with a continued story leading to the next Robin, Tim Drake. And the art is beautiful, the story a real tear-jerker, and the lead into the next Robin very well done!

I give this book five stars plus!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>