Milt Gross Book Review: "The Devil Wins" by Reed Farrel Coleman for the late Robert Parker
What to me is a mystery is how the other writer, Reed Farrel Coleman, was able to write in what appears to be precisely the same style as did the late Robert Parker. The Devil Wins, by G.P. Putnam's Sons, NY, is so new you can't renew it from the library. It is one of 13 Jesse Stone novels. The late Parker also wrote six Sunny Randall novels with which I'm not familiar, seven westerns of which I've read a couple, many Spenser mysteries that take place in and around Boston of which I've read most, four non-fiction books, and ten "also by Robert Parker" books.
Feb 7, 2016 - 9:43:00 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "White Ashes" by John D. Moulton
I sincerely feel that this ""timely, captivating" love story would make a wonderful movie! Kudos to Mr. Moulton, job well-done! Having read literally thousands of books since the age of eight, I feel that "White Ashes" is nothing short of a "masterpiece" in that the author, John D. Moulton, really was well-prepared when he sat to write this book.
Jan 31, 2016 - 7:28:01 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "A" is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
They all, including this first one, had some things in common. First, there is the last and final action. I think I've read varieties of this in Grafton's other books, but in this scene, Millhone is hiding in a trash can on a beach from the bad guy. I love this ending, "He lifted the lid. The beams from his headlights shone against his golden cheek. He glanced over at me. In his right hand was a butcher knife with a ten-inch blade. "I blew him away."
Jan 31, 2016 - 7:17:30 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Night and Day" by the late Robert Parker
This is one of seven Jesse Stone novels, set in a small coast town northeast of Boston, Paradise, MA. A woman school principal, Betsy Ingersoll, checks under her students' dresses at the beginning of the tale. Her husband is a high- powered attorney, who, of course, urges, threatens, and in other ways tries to get Stone, the police chief, to "lay off" his wife, after Stone begins to investigate her actions. Like all Parker books, Night and Day is fast, plot easy to understand, and a number of "wise guy" type comments. My kind of book.
Jan 24, 2016 - 1:20:02 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Bazaar of Bad Dreams" by Stephen King
Bazaar of Bad Dreams is the strangest Stephen King book I've ever read, all 495 pages. Most of these "short" stories I thought were good. Some were too strange for my tired old mind. This is not my favorite Stephen King tale, and, to be honest, I'm not sure which one was. But it was a full-length book. I recall waking on our late-night sofa after reading one of them and feeling, well, kind of spooked. Which I would guess was King's intention.
Jan 17, 2016 - 12:12:51 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Erosion" by Julie M.
This novel makes one stop and think about one's own upbringing and the way our own parents and families "loved" us. And I was happy to read on and find that if one can withstand all that "life" throws at you, you just might find happiness and fulfillment in the end. I found that the author "Julie M." had a "way with words" that very few authors have. Julie wrote about a little girl named "Kate," who is born into a family that doesn't know how to show her genuine love and affection. What they do know is how to "control" her every thought and action.
Jan 15, 2016 - 7:35:42 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Quartet" by Joseph J. Ellis
Were we too uneducationable (new word invented by me) to understand or was the world of education trying to simplify history so much they ended by creating a fictional history? "Ellis has given us a gripping and dramatic portrait of one of the most crucial and misconstrued periods in American history: the years between the end of the Revolution and the formation of the federal government." This story is too different from what we were all taught as young people to miss. For $27.95, the price on the cover and $18.37 for the hardcover at Amazon.com and $13.99 for the Kindle Edition. The front of the book lists ten others, all about early America, by the same author.
Jan 10, 2016 - 1:00:11 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Poems of a Divorcee" by Merawyn Harrison
These heartfelt poems takes one through memories of a happier time and place to the realization that upon being single once again, one must adapt, change and be proactive in order to gain some semblance of happiness and order in the coming days of separateness. Having experienced "marriage and divorce" myself, I found that I was able to relate and totally understand what the author, Merawyn, was trying to say in "Poems of a Divorcee" and I commend her for having the courage to publish her poems.
Dec 31, 2015 - 6:17:22 AM
M. Stevens-David Review: "Granny Glitter's Christmas Story" by Andreen Siracusa
This "children's" book "Granny Glitter's Christmas Story" by artist and graphic designer Andree Siracusa, was so beautifully written and colorfully illustrated that it takes the "reader's breath away. In my opinion, this is a story for all age groups and I'm certain that any child who has the opportunity to read this book for themselves, will cherish it too.
Dec 30, 2015 - 5:23:32 PM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "A Drill Sergeant's Fame" by Kimberly Mae
After reading Kimberly Mae's heartfelt words and descriptions about training, battles and the on-going mental struggles she endured even after having left our military to return to her family, I really realized that even though our soldiers have been able to survive unspeakable atrocities in a war zone, these mental images never really leave them all the days of their lives. And I now understand why my two brothers, upon leaving the service, kept to themselves and never fully engaged with those who they felt "would never understand" the horrors they have lived through.
Dec 30, 2015 - 5:07:19 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee
The story is well written and moves right along, but, looking back at it, I found a central part of the manuscript a work to expose bigotry. Blacks were still treated as not quite as "well" as whites, whatever that means. This central part of the manuscript appears to me to be a criticism of that white mindset. But it was in the Air Force in Biloxi, MI, where I recall the most blatant insult to blacks. A couple of white women had taken me to a Baptist church, about which I remember nothing, and on the way home as we approached the air base, one said, "They've got damn blacks guarding the base." That became my memory of Southern Baptists.
Dec 27, 2015 - 5:12:28 AM
R.P. BenDedek review: "Seeing the Life" by Sophie Dawson
When one reads the Bible one must surely ask, 'how did they know Mary was a virgin?' Sophie Dawson provides the answer within this story. Have you ever wondered about the background story to Jesus' disappearance when he was 12 years old and how Mary and Joseph found him? That too is covered in the story. Have you ever wondered what was in Mary's mind when she asked Jesus to help out at the wedding in Cana? If so you will love the way that the author treats this issue. I burst out laughing! The storytelling was really inspired! It would I think be an interesting story even if it did not involve the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Dec 25, 2015 - 8:59:29 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Breaking Point" by C.J.Box
Breaking Point was one of the best murder mysteries I've read for a long time. C.J. Box, the author, has written 13 novels featuring Joe Pickett. He has won several awards, and his books have been translated into 25 languages, according to the book cover. He lives outside of Cheyenne, WY with his family, a great place to live while writing Westerns.
Dec 20, 2015 - 3:25:22 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Cover Story" by Gerry Boyle
Cover Story was a fairly typical murder mystery written by a Maine writer, a news reporter for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel. Although our first-person hero, Jack McMorrow, who in the story lived in the area of Liberty, Maine, as the reader who knows Maine can tell from his occasional comments about home. He had a girlfriend, Roxanne, who lived near his home. McMorrow who had written for the Boston Globe and the Times, was known to be a good news writer.
Dec 13, 2015 - 5:02:12 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "A Year in the Village" by Petra Langa
This short story tells of the friendship of two young girls, Lisa and Eva and the different paths their lives have taken over the years. After years of separation, upon rediscovering each other, the two friends find that they still have much in common and Lisa sets out to help Eva gain control over her addiction to men, financial difficulties and alcohol.
Dec 13, 2015 - 5:00:04 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Ashes to Ashes" by Tami Hoag
The first line, "Some killers are born. Some killers are made. And sometimes the origin of desire for homicide is lost in the tangle of roots that make an ugly childhood and a dangerous youth, so that no one may ever know if the urge was inbred or induced," sounds like it has a real message or guide to the plot. But I found it was as long and dragged out as the story itself. The author's photo shows her looking either serious or angry, I'm not sure which. Or it may have been to alert the reader to some of the tough story her 1999 tale tells.
Dec 6, 2015 - 12:35:41 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Stories I Couldn't Tell While I Was a Pastor" by Bruce McIver
The book is a series of short stories, which reflect the writer's life. Some of them resembled my life in "the calling." Some of his stories are amusing, while some are a bit emotional. All seem to somehow convey the notion that everyone nearly worships a clergyman. This one lived in Texas but was from the Southeast. A few of his tales tell about his earlier home. Some of the tales are about his life after his wife passed away and his continuing relationship with his daughter.
Nov 29, 2015 - 5:43:11 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Alert" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
It was the kind of mystery that holds my attention, especially since after while I stop looking for typos. Or I could describe this one as "riveting," which I'm fairly sure means the same thing as "holds my attention." "James Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author. He is largely known for his novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, the protagonist of the Alex Cross series. Patterson also wrote the Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, and the Witch and Wizard series.
Nov 22, 2015 - 12:52:42 AM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Raine's Rainbow Socks" by Richard Ditchburn
This short story is very well illustrated, very colorful and it should hold the attention of both the reader/parent and the child. The story is so well-done that it also makes the adult stop and think, about the colors of the rainbow and how to solve problems such as a child might encounter, all the while helping the child to learn how to think for themselves.
Nov 15, 2015 - 2:45:29 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Naked Greed" by Stuart Woods
Theft, murder, or perilous confrontation, I did find the story a bit hard to follow, legs on the cover, Maine, criminal toughs, and all. (Maybe I should have been sitting up instead of lying on the sofa.) Priced $18.31 on Amazon.com for the hardcover, which I read, $13.99 for the Kindle Edition, and $6.13 for "used or new" editions.
Nov 15, 2015 - 2:42:57 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Hellfire Canyon" by Max McCoy
This Max McCoy, book was published by Thorndike Press, Thorndike, ME in 2007 by arrangement with Pinnacle Books, imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp. My copy was a large print hardback with no price. Amazon.com lists this version at $4.79 for the Kindle Edition and the paperback at $39.80. McCoy also wrote more than one Indiana Jones thriller, The Moon Pool by McCoy and Reed McColm, Billy the Kid Beyond the Grave, Jesse, A Novel of Outlaw Jesse James, Damnation Road, Quantrill, The Even More Continuing Adventures of Max Bullet: The Chinese Food Delivery Man Sometimes (but not always) Knocks, and in case you like days farther back than the 1960s western, Indiana Jones and the Dinosaurs, and more.
Nov 8, 2015 - 12:22:47 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough
Parts of it are almost unbelievable, like taking off from sand dunes to fly a few seconds. The pictures in this David McCullough book are also fascinating, seeing these two brothers and others as they fly and live normal lives. If you've only heard the tales of a flight on the shore, you "ain't heard nothing yet." For most interesting reading, grab this one somewhere and take a night off from the TV reruns to enjoy this spectacular tale of two guys who wanted to fly.
Nov 1, 2015 - 4:15:49 AM
Laure McCourt Lopez Book Review: "Ordinary Evil" by Gene Ferraro
Ordinary Evil explores corruption within the established hierarchy of the Catholic Church.. Via a series of vignettes revealing the various characters preparing to converge upon the stage, Ferraro introduces the reader to a host of individuals who are all touched by a common thread. The characters are as varied as the locales they represent; from the pomp and tradition of Rome to the local parishes of Massachusetts come young seminarians, parish families, soup kitchen volunteers, stalwart Vatican diplomats and Catholic clerics of varying personal convictions. Yet it is in the Prologue that we are introduced to one that carries with him seeds of deceit that will be spread along the path of many and will test the trust of those with whom he comes in contact.
Nov 1, 2015 - 4:12:59 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Life and Legend of a Polio Victim" by Dr. Cliff Edward Williams
Though his book is short with only seventy-eight pages, one can readily see from all Dr. Williams' awards, diplomas and credentials that this is a man who, when he sets his mind on achieving something, never gives up. Dr. Williams not only had to overcome the fact of being born a child of African descent but of being born in a "southern" state and all the "race and discrimination" that were so prevalent in that time and place. And he also had to deal with being a victim of Polio in that time and place.
Oct 28, 2015 - 7:43:14 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Wonderland by Ace Atkins," who used a manuscript that remained unfinished when the late Robert Parker died
The plot is a typical Parker plot, started by him before his death, with lots of action and some humor. I won't go into it because the plots aren't Parker's strong points. Its all about following the action, as usual, wondering how our hero this time will win over the villains. He does, of course, and ends up in the last scene with long-time girlfriend Susan. "'Together again,' Susan said." That's how the late Parker's books are supposed to end, Spencer, Susan, and Pearl, the dog.
Oct 25, 2015 - 12:03:19 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Motor Mouth" by Janet Evanovich
If you appreciate Evanovich's style, humor and mystery combined in a breath taking tale, grab a copy, sit down in a well-lit room, and enjoy the tale. I won't tell you the story. For that, you'll have to find your own copy, at Amazon.com for $7.99 for the paperback I read and $4.99 for the Kindle version. Or you can buy it in a book store. You can't borrow mine, because I have no idea where I put it after I read it. Somewhere, I'll bet.
Oct 18, 2015 - 7:05:53 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Calico Jam" by Joanne Greene
This story is not a "feel good" book but it does illustrate how families react to different challenges be they divorce, illegitimate children or human beings just trying to make it in a difficult society and world. This story keeps the reader guessing and I was sincerely impressed with the writer's command of the English language.
Oct 14, 2015 - 8:41:30 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Blaze" by Stephen King and his pen name, Richard Bachman
I learned a lot about Stephen King and his pen name, Richard Bachman, "King dedicated Bachman's early books -- Rage (1977), The Long Walk(1979), Roadwalk (1981), and The Running Man (1982) -- to people close to him. The link between King and his shadow writer was exposed after a Washington, D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, noted similarities between the writing styles of King and Bachman.
Oct 11, 2015 - 3:25:16 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "To the Sun and Back" by April Awalt
I was so touched by the writer's ability to put her own monumental grief aside in order to complete this heart breaking task. I doubt that many parents, when faced with the loss of a beloved child, could have completed this heartfelt task, but April Awalt has. To the Sun and Back, is a sweet tale of parental love. The author lost her son at age ten to meningitis and wrote the book as a way of healing by reflecting upon the love and bond she shared with him.
Oct 10, 2015 - 8:00:24 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Last Bookaneer" by Matthew Pearl
A well-written story, Buckaneer, one I thoroughly enjoyed and a tale you should read if any of the details of Stevenson's life at all interest you. Bookaneers were those who borrowed or stole book manuscripts before laws protected publishers and printing houses in the early 1900s. It was a fictionalized account of Robert Louis Stevenson's final days on a Pacific Island.
Sep 13, 2015 - 8:20:13 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "You Can Be Lucky Like Me" By Dr. Ron Deigh
Most people facing child abuse and abandonment would have just given up and let life over take them but not this man. He seemed to have an inner strength that others do not have and he learned from it and this intestinal fortitude has served him well, all of his days. Dr. Deigh's accomplishments are many and he has every reason to be proud. He illustrated that always having optimism, luck and determination to reach a given goal, is the best way to get what you want.
Sep 6, 2015 - 4:42:13 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Fear the Silence" by Iain Cameron
The story was good in the latter part of the book. During the first part, I wasn't sure it was a story. But it got better toward the end. In fact, toward the end, it was a good, readable tale. What made it different from the rest of the self-published novels I've read is that this one is British. This means I'm lucky I know what a "boot" is...not footwear but a part of a car. Another problem that hindered this American reader was that the author used too many initials in front of names or documents. What a DC was I never found out.
Sep 6, 2015 - 4:37:30 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Plum Lucky" by Janet Evanovich
Robert Parker and Evanovich are my favorite two writers, both fiction mystery, murder, and mayhem and both with humor tossed into the plot. The difference between the two is that Parker covers Boston, while Evanovich covers California and other warm places like Florida. In this one, there's crime, including kidnapping of Plum's grandmother, Grandma Mazur, as well as the horsey adventures. It's hard to imagine anyone with the courage to kidnap Stephanie's grandma! I can't loan you my copy, as its going back to Searsport's Carver Memorial Library soon.
Aug 30, 2015 - 5:03:12 AM
R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Unseen Tears" by Beau Sides
This book is an easy and quick read with a simple storyline and is full of cultural information and anecdotes. It would not qualify as a 'dramatic tear jerker,' but this fictional story is certainly an excellent vehicle for the author's educational purpose. Some readers may be shocked by some of the things that they will learn from this story, and that is to be expected because westerners naturally view the entire world through their own cultural perspective -- or 'rose colored glasses.' At one point in this story, Anne, the private orphanage director says, "...most foreigners have to be here a long, long time before they can begin to understand." How true that is. And I guess that is why the author has chosen to write the book. Merely quoting facts, figures and statistical information is hardly likely to engage readers with the reality of life in China.
Aug 26, 2015 - 10:30:07 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Dog on It" by Spencer Quinn
Does a writer become better as he writes through several books? Does he hone his skills for a better tale? I've wondered that and still do. But in Dog on It, Spencer Quinn did a better job on his first, this one, than in the one of his I had read earlier, the seventh one of his dog-and-mystery series. But in Dog on It, Quinn did a much better job of combining doggie humor with the actual story. In fact, some of the story featured Chet, the dog in question, with his being the only action and Bernie, the doggie master, not being present for those parts.
Aug 23, 2015 - 7:05:50 AM
M.W. Johnson Review: "Hope for the Nations" by Dr. Tom Holland
This book does not seem to be specifically designed for scholars and theology students. It is not a complicated read. The author's writing and expository style are delightful and illuminating. His presentation on the 'Law' and 'Circumcision' will surely be understood by everyone as will his explanation of the significance of 'Passover' and 'Atonement.' It is my personal belief that most Christians today have, and most Christian Preachers today preach, a poor quality imitation of Christianity. "Hope for the Nations" is not some fresh revelation of Christ but rather the 'meat of the Word of God.' It's purpose is to help the reader UNDERSTAND.
Aug 18, 2015 - 7:27:27 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Wolf in Timber" by John Connolly
The first part of the story was good, a mysterious tiny church in the woods on the outskirts of the town, a mysterious preacher at the church who doesn't preach because there are no services, an evil Police Chief Morland, and a host of Prosperous locals who took in the stealthy goings on that begin the mystery. Maybe I'm just too old and numb to have followed the complicated plot, but I didn't. Parker is the lead character in a series of John Connolly novels, described in a cover page as a "thriller." You may find it really good. I hope so.
Aug 16, 2015 - 8:07:36 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Special Prisoner" by Jim Lehrer
This is an excellent book. The Special Prisoner is a novel, written by a career news journalist on public TV whose long-time job was telling the truth. John Quincy Watson, the lead characters, took part in bombing Japan during World War II. He was captured, when his plane went down, tortured and learned to hate his main torturer. Years later, as a bishop, Watson comes across the torturer by accident in an airport, follows the man to a hotel, and subsequently kills him.
Aug 2, 2015 - 7:12:07 AM
M. Stevens-David Book Review: "The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes" by H.R. Jakes
This book "The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes," told by her son "H.R. Jakes" was very interesting to say the least. The book itself is not an "easy" read but the reader will learn a lot from what was written. Elaine Jakes lived in the eccentric community of New Hope, Penn., and in the 1970s and 1980s set out to discover her Welsh heritage, herself, and her God.
Jul 29, 2015 - 4:43:14 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Taking" by Dean Koontz
My impression of The Taking is that the story keeps repeating itself, the lead characters go to different places where the same gooey critters show up. This continues for most of the book, when, presto, the sun is out and the critters are gone. I've read a number of Koontz's books (for example Intensity which I reviewed in December 2012), but this one did not make the grade.
Jul 26, 2015 - 8:54:45 AM