by Richard Bard
The first in the series

When terminally ill combat pilot Jake Bronson emerges from an MRI with extraordinary cognitive powers, everyone wants a piece of his talent--including Battista, one of the world's most dangerous terrorists. To save his love and her autistic child, Jake is thrust into a deadly chase that leads from the canals of Venice through Monte Carlo and finally to an ancient cavern in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan--where Jake discovers that his newfound talents carry a hidden price that threatens the entire human race.
To be honest, in the past I could take or leave action thrillers, but Richard Bard's exciting style has won me over. From page one, Brainrush grabbed my interest. Once I started I couldn't put it down. I found the situations to be believable; the characters realistic; the dialogue, natural; and the descriptions put me in the scene, without making me think I was reading a tourist brochure. I had to keep turning the pages to learn more.

The only place I found lagging is when Mr. Bard talks about the weaponry, and that is due to my lack of interest in weapons. It certainly wasn't enough to put me off. 

I like the science fiction element, but was confused by the abrupt departure. I figure this element may be an introduction to what's coming in the second book, so I'll reserve further comment. 

I also like the fact that I didn't see the ending coming. This book was an absolute adrenaline rush from start to finish. If this first book is an example of what we can expect from Richard Bard in the future, I predict his name will become as well known as James Patterson and Dan Brown. 

If you're looking for "more bang for your buck", you've got to read Brainrush. It is an exceptionally well written, fast paced, action thriller. I've bought expensive books and not been nearly as engaged nor entertained as with Brainrush. I highly recommend it and I look forward to reading Richard Bard's next book. 

Kudos to author, Richard Bard.

by Donis Casey
The fourth book in the Alafair Tucker Series

Ms Casey has woven another fascinating mystery story, entwined with the history of twentieth-century, Oklahoma. The author touches on the changing role of women in America's pre-war period. Casey's ability to tell a compelling, believable tale of a simple farm family and wrap it around historical facts, is nothing short of brilliant.

It is September of 1915 and Alafair Tucker along with two of her daughters, Martha, the eldest and three-year-old Grace, are on a train heading for Enid, Oklahoma. Alafair's long ailing, brother-in-law is dying and her sister, Ruth Ann has requested her presence. Ruth Ann's son-in-law, Kenneth seems to have taken a business trip just when he is needed most, Leaving his wife, Olivia to handle her family's business.

After their arrival in Enid, Alafair realizes there's a lot about Kenneth and his business dealings that just don't add up. When Kenneth doesn't return and Olivia has had no word from him, Alafair and Martha begin to investigate. 

Casey introduces many characters, lots of twists and turns, romance, a touch of the paranormal, and of course... mystery. The Sky Took Him is a superb addition to The Alafair Tucker series.

by Donis Casey
The third book in the Alafair Tucker Series

The Drop Edge of Yonder starts out with a page from Mary's diary. Pages from her diary are dispersed throughout the book and is important to how the story unwinds.

It is a hot August evening in the year 1914, just outside of the small town of Boynton, Oklahoma. Widower, Calvin Ross lives on a farm near Alafair and Shaw Tucker and their ten children. Mr. Ross' widowed sister lives with Ross and his three pretty daughters as housekeeper and to watch after the girls. The girls are growing much too fast to suit him, especially when fellows come around to see them. But when his eldest daughter, Laura tells him that she is in love with Bill McBride, her father is pleased. Bill is the young step-brother of Shaw Tucker and the son of Peter McBride, one of the more influential clans of Muskogee County, Oklahoma.

When Bill comes calling on Laura to go horse back riding, bringing his twenty-one-year-old niece, Mary Tucker and Mary's fifteen-year-old sister, Ruth along to chaperon the betrothed couple, Ross gladly gives his permission. Little do any of them know that events will soon change their lives forever.

The little group rides unhurriedly, enjoying the dusky evening, the sisters riding a little ahead and behind to give the couple some privacy, then Ruth spots a swarm of bees heading for an old oak tree. Encouraged by the promise of honey and with the urging of his nieces and Laura, Bill climbs the tree to retrieve the hive. The outing is disturbed by gunfire. At first it is thought to be a stray bullet from a careless hunter, but soon more bullets hail down upon them. Laura is trying to calm her horse when Bill yelps and drops from the tree. Bill tries to stand, but falls to his knees. He yells to the girls to get on their horses and ride "like the devil". 

More bullets ping around them, one hitting Laura's horse causing it to rear and throw her to the ground. a fourth shot goes into the ground at Bill's feet. He yells, "Ride, you girls, ride. Get help." Mary starts toward her uncle, but he waves her off. She assesses the situation and asks Bill if he can get to his horse. She never hears the answer. She hears the crack, feels hot pain over her left ear, then everything goes dark.

This is a heart wrenching story that will grip you from the first page to the end. I think this is the first story that had me crying in the first chapter.

Donis Casey proves once again that she is a master story teller.

by Donis Casey
The second book in the Alafair Tucker Series

The year is 1913. The place, an Oklahoma farming community. Fifteen-year-old George Washington Tucker, known as Gee Dub, is trying to fight off the gnats and mosquitoes as he fishes along the overgrown banks of Cane Creek. 

Gee Dub usually loves fishing, but between the bugs, the hot July weather, and having to keep an eye out for his eleven-year-old brother, Charlie, it isn't as pleasant as he'd like it to be. To make matters worse, Charlie the boy and his ever present companion, Charlie-dog insists on swimming in the creek. With all the noise and splashing, Gee Dub knows the fish he hoped to eat for dinner are miles down the creek by now.

Charlie is oblivious to his brother's irritation and is enjoying using a low hung limb as a rope to jump from. Gee Dub pulls on his line, ready to give up when he hears a loud snap followed by a splash. He looks in Charlie's direction, but Charlie is no where to be seen. The big yellow dog barks and jumps  on the bank, but all Gee Dub can see in the water is the cottonwood branch floating away from him.

Gee Dub runs to the spot and jumps into the creek. Try as he might he can't locate Charlie. He calls frantically and hears Charlie call back to him from under the cottonwood roots tangled along the bank. Gee Dub is so relieved to hear Charlie's voice that he forgets to be angry, but his relief is short lived when Charlie gasps, "Gee Dub, there's somebody dead down there."

At first Gee Dub doesn't believe Charlie, but once the boy climbs out of the water he becomes so adamant that there is a woman tangled among the cottonwood roots, that Gee Dub agrees to take a look. The water is so murky he can't see anything so he moves his arms back and forth among the roots, entangling his fingers in what feels like hair. When he brings it close enough to his face to see that it is hair, he hopes it might be the tail of a mule that has fallen into the creek and drowned. He stretches his arm out along the hair and feels the head and then a face. 

Charlie is sent for help while Gee Dub waits. When Shaw Tucker and the sheriff pull the woman from the creek they discover the woman is the barber's wife,  Louise Kelley. And the knife sticking out of her chest is proof she didn't drown.

Alafair is not happy at all when later, her daughter Alice becomes enamored of the newly widowed Walter Kelley. He was cleared of his wife's murder, but something doesn't sit right with Alafair. When her children are involved, Alafair Tucker will leave no stone unturned.

Another delightful murder mystery by Donis Casey.

by Donis Casey
The first book in the Alafair Tucker Series

The Old Buzzard Had It Coming is set in a 1912 Oklahoma farming community. Donis Casey returns us to a time when family and community were respected and embraced. In this, the first of the Alafair Tucker Series, we are introduced to Alafair and Shaw Tucker, along with their nine children.

As it is in all large families, Shaw rules the farm, but Alafair rules the household. Alafair is a strong, opinionated woman who'd fight the world to protect her children.

Alafair's neighbor, Harley Day, a drunkard and wife beater is found in a snowdrift, frozen to death. The family may not be overjoyed at his death, but it is apparent no one will miss him. Alafair goes to help Harley's wife lay out the body and as she washes the mud from Harley's hair she discovers a bullet hole behind his ear. It is quite apparent that Harley Day's death was no accident.

Phoebe, Alafair's 17-year-old daughter is in love with Harley's son, John Lee. Alafair fears for Phoebe's happiness when John Lee becomes the main suspect in his father's murder. As Alafair discovers more about what led up to Harley's death she begins to fear for more than Phoebe's happiness. Could Phoebe be an accomplice to Harley's murder?

Donis Casey writes a colorful story of farm life in 1912 and spices it up with a "scratch your head" murder mystery. At the end of the book she includes some mouth watering recipes from Alafair's kitchen. 

by Pamela K. Keyser

The Red Glass, Memoir: From Abuse-Hell to Living-Well, is a testament to the human spirit, to self preservation, and the will to survive. 

By the age of eight Sadie has learned how to administer drugs to her mother. She has been tortured by one of her mother's boyfriends and raped by another.When Sadie is removed from her drug addicted mother, it takes six months before her absentee father comes to claim her from juvenile hall. He takes her cross country, only to be dumped with his twin brother and his family. Her aunt Essie, (Sadie refers to her as The Lady), is determined that Sadie learn manners, never mention her mother, not bother her father, and not sexually corrupt her cousin, Ned. Essie's way of insuring manners and discipline is by torture and abuse. 

An incident with some moving men, Essie, and a red plastic glass, gives Sadie a talisman she can cling to when things go wrong and out of her control.

Sadie's neglectful father passes her from one relative to another. Always in the back of her mind is the memory of her mother's teachings, before the addiction. They, along with Sadie's ability to create a world within herself in which to escape, and the red glass are all that sustains her through the bad times.

Sadie is a surviver. She comes out of an inhumane world no child should ever experience, to become a loving  and caring human being.

A must read book. Three cheers for Pamela K. Keyser!

by Vicki Hinze
The first book in the Crossroads Crisis Center series

Vicki Hinze's Forget Me Not is a fast paced compelling novel. She plops us down in the middle of a murder, then fade to... Three years later. A young woman is talking on her cell phone to her financial adviser as she rides through the hurricane devastated city of New Orleans. She is trying to find a site to build a children's center for the impoverished youth in the area. Her adviser gives her the news that her whereabouts is known by her nemeses and they are a part of an international bio-terrorist group known as NINA. She's been on the run for some time, now she must run again. But, before she can get to her hotel, she is carjacked, beaten, drugged and dumped in a Florida woods.

An elderly farmer, Clyde Parker, goes out to investigate the lights he sees in the woods and discovers the young woman bleeding and unaware of who she is. Something in her pocket jabs her in the side and when she pulls it out it is a cross on a chain. Sight of the cross gives her comfort so she puts it around her neck. There is also a business card with the establishment, Crossroads Crisis Center on the front and on the back someone has written the name Susan. She remembers one of the carjackers called her Susan. Does she work at Crossroads or is she a patient?

Clyde helps her to his car and tells her he'll take her into Seagrove Village to the hospital. Though she can't remember Seagrove, she is terrified of it. She convinces Clyde to take her to the crisis center where she discovers a huge picture with a name plate that reads Susan Brandt and is a mirror image of her, minus the bruises. But the woman in the picture died three years earlier.

When Benjamin Brandt, owner of Crossroads is called to talk to this woman who bears a striking resemblance to his late wife, he will only do so as a computer conference. He believes this woman to be some kind of con trying to get money. His wife and son were both murdered and he has separated himself from his work as a counselor, from the clinic, and from God.

There are many characters in this book, all connecting in one way or another. There are plots and subplots. But at the center is this "Susan" with a Swiss cheese memory. There are several attempts on her life and through it all she maintains her faith in God.

"Susan" is a victim, but she is a strong woman of faith and that faith drives her to find out who it is that wants her dead. Ben is a man who has lost his faith and carries guilt for not protecting his family. Together they try to solve the mystery. Good and evil battle and not everyone is who they appear to be.

This is a suspense story, though faith plays a large role, it is not preachy, it is a part of the main character.

At the end of the book Vicki poses some thought provoking questions. This is Vicki Hinze's first Christian  novel and it is well worth the time to read.


 by Amanda Lee
The second book in the Marcy Singer Series.

Marcy Singer moved from San Francisco to Tallulah Falls, along the Oregon coast and opened The Seven Year Stitch, a specialty embroidery shop. It is doing a fantastic business and Marcy is enjoying her independence. An elderly woman, Louisa Ralston enters her shop, obviously in some physical distress. Marcy offers her a cup of tea and as she sips it she shows Marcy a delicate embroidery sampler and requests that she help her locate Ivy. Before Marcy can discover if the woman is talking about a thread color or a person, Mrs. Ralston falls to the floor. The EMTs arrive quickly and take Mrs. Ralston to the hospital where she dies a short while later.

On an earlier visit, Marcy's mother left a bottle of pills at Marcy's house inadvertently implicating Marcy in the murder of Louisa Ralston. Louisa's death from an apparent heart-attack was caused by poisoning. Can Marcy exonerate herself? Will she discover the mystery surrounding Mrs. Ralston, and what or who is Ivy?

Amanda Lee has written another intriguing book of mystery and suspense. Her characters are well rounded and believable. If you're an old movie buff you'll find the references to movies and actors of Hollywood's glory days to be an added bonus.

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