User Reviews

Reviews by Uncle Will
Hitler in the Crosshairs
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Back in 1966, Argosy Magazine ran a picture of Adolph Hitler and a gold .32 automatic pistol on their cover.   The fascination with this pistol's history started back during WWII when it was found in a desk drawer in one of Hitler's homes.  This book documents the events leading up to the pistol's discovery and the soldier that smuggled it back to the States.

Teen Palm is an unlikely name for a hero.  Palm was a talented and promising singer and musician before the war in Europe beckoned for his services.  He was a devout Christian; and his faith was the foundation for this story.

This story includes a historic perspective that is not widely known or written about.  It chronicles internal German guerrilla warfare that was taking place just prior to the downfall of Berlin.  It also tells of an assassination attempt on Hitler that failed.   History fans of that period will enjoy the telling of those lesser known facts.

Spoiler alert!  If the intention when reading this book is to get answers about the infamous pistol...this will not happen.  Questions remain to this day.  If the intention when reading this book is to gain some insight on how man's faith in his God and his country prevails, then there'll be little disappointment.

Subtitled:  The stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the international hunt for his assassin; this book takes the reader back to 1967, prior to the killing of MLK.  A prisoner in a Missouri maximum-security prison escapes.  His name is Eric Galt.  He has several aliases.  James Earl Ray is another.

How a drifter, turned convict, turned porno-wannabe, turned white segregationist, turned assassin, turn No. 1 Most-Wanted by the FBI, is fascinating.  Sides uses an abundance of material that has not yet been published.  Amateur historians of the troubled '60's will undoubtedly be pleased.

This work took a great deal of research and time to write.  It shows by how the story flows and keeps the suspense at the forefront.
The Ice Princess
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For those who found Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series of books to be  fresh, invigorating diversions, prepare thyself - there is a new Swedish Sheriff in town!  Her name is Camilla Lackberg and this book is the first in her series of seven mysteries.

Besides the common thread that both authors were born in Sweden, they share the same American translator, Steven T. Murray.  The major differences are that Lackberg is alive and writing and has been deemed Sweden's most successful writer of all time.  This series has surpassed her late counterpart's in gross sales.

Not certain what is fed to young mystery writers in Sweden that enables them to create such troubled, yet interesting characters.   The storylines do dip towards the dark side.

Erika Falck is a biographer who returns home to sort out the estate of her late parents.  Erika learns that her once best friend, Alexandra, has been found dead, frozen in her bathtub, in an unheated house.   Erika's curiosity about her friend's death leads her to the police investigator in charge of the case, Patrik Hedstrom, another old childhood friend.

Fortunately for Erika (and readers who enjoy a nice romantic twist) Patrik never got over his childhood crush on Erika.  Flames kindle as the investigation grows more complicated by the day.  The town drunkard, who was having an unlikely affair with Alexandra, is then also found dead. 

There is no shortage of characters in this book and all have significant back-stories.  For a book being 400 pages long, there are only six chapters.   Dialog is buried in paragraphs.  The story starts slow and is not very seductive, but gains speed after about 50 pages.  This was a similar criticism for Larsson's first novel, that didn't hook the reader until after 75 pages or so.   Sticking with this book is worth the time invested.  Because of the number of characters and sub-plots, it will be difficult to guess the ending.  Lackberg has laid the foundation for a long-running series.
Other Kingdoms
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Even though this book is cataloged as Fiction, it is definitely Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  Matheson is probably best known for his novels:  I am Legend, What Dreams May Come, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Hell House, and The Night Stalker.  He also penned the short story Nightmare at 20,000 Feet which is one of the most famous episodes from the "Twilight Zone."

This story begins as a recollection by the 80+ year old author, Alex White (aka Alex Black).   During World War I, Alex meets his soon-to-be best friend in a trench in France.  Alex is fighting for America and Harold is there for his beloved Britain.    While dodging mortars and hand-grenades, the two form a special bond.  As the war progresses, so does the likelihood that their deaths are near. 

Harold's dying words to Alex are the rekindling of past stories about Harold's "gorgeous" village in England named Gatford.  Alex is bequeathed a wad of gold the size of a fist and vows to find the place after his medical discharge.

Gatford proves to be almost impossible to find.  When Alex finally discovers it, he agrees it is gorgeous and decides to settle down there.  Only 18 years old and very impressionable, Alex gets into a relationship with the local witch, Magda, who is old enough to be his mother.   Alex discover that the nearby forest is called Middle Earth; the home to a nation of fairies. 

Alex slowly begins to break the rules passed on to him by town-folk and eventually falls in love with the diminutive fairy, Ruthana.  What follows is a sweet story of love and loss in a mixed-marriage (human and fairy) peppered with a vow of vengeance by the vindictive half-brother of Ruthana.

The narrative of this book is borderline grating.  Alex is the type of person that cannot take a stand on anything and questions everything he says and believes.  Not a good quality in an author leastwise a narrator.  The frequency of the narrator's "second thoughts" is so reoccurring that it almost becomes annoying.   And yet this story has enough twists and turns to keep the pages turning.
I'm a Fool to Kill You
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This is the 5th book in Randisi's Rat Pack series.   Baby boomers and boomettes recall that the Rat Pack was comprised of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.  The '60's were their heyday and their kingdom was Las Vegas.

Eddie G. is a pit boss in a mob-run Nevada casino.  He also is a fixer.  Eddie G. ("...just call me Eddie...") knows a lot of people.  This knowledge endears him to The Chairman of the Board, aka:  Sinatra.  In past Randisi novels we learn that Eddie was minutes late to Marilyn Monroe's date with destiny,  helped Dino when he was being blackmailed, assisted Sammy when the little man shot someone in Eddie's living room and  is currently attempting to protect Ava Gardner. 

All of the books have titles that play upon popular song titles:  "Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime";  "Luck be a Lady, Don't Die"; "Hey There, You With the Gun in Your Hand"; "You're Nobody Till Somebody Kills You."

The narrative is right out of film noir.  The sentences are clipped.  The characters' shoulders all have chips.  Sexism is the standard where women are "broads" and nothing gets discussed unless it is over a few fingers of booze and several smokes.

Eddie G. is a lover, not much of a fighter, so he always teams up with a lovable enforcer named Jerry Epstein.  Jerry loves to cook and eat and has no qualms about breaking bones.  It's his business.

Mystery lovers should make it their business to check out this series.  It will deliver.  That's a fact, Jack.