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review 2015-08-21 01:55
International political thriller with teeth
Minute Zero (A Judd Ryker Novel) - Todd Moss

“For every African state, like Ghana, where democratic institutions seem secure, there is a Mali, a Cote d'Ivoire, and a Zimbabwe, where democracy is in trouble.” -- Michael Ignatieff


“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” ― Nelson Mandela


Zimbabwe. Like so many African countries, and honestly so many countries across the world, “Zimbabwe was poisoning itself with a toxic cocktail of greed, dictatorship, and fear.” This is the Zimbabwe the American is concerned with, as he stands upon the bridge spanning Mosi-oa-Tunya, “the Smoke That Thunders,” the breathtaking expanse of Victoria Falls. And it is from here that he plunges to his death, a victim of all that is hidden in Zimbabwe.


“Minute Zero.” That time, even more urgent than the “Golden Hour” – as Dr. Judd Ryker, head of the State Department Critical Response Unit, describes it, “In analyzing cases of major political shock . . . Immediately after an upheaval, there can be a very short period of breakdown. A window of chaos . . . (when) the entire political system, even one that seems highly stable, is suddenly up for grabs.” The minute in time when chaos sits on the edge of the blade, when the edge turns one way to political stability, the other to war.

Zimbabwe sits on that edge – the edge where continuing dictatorship, murder, genocide and military control is faced by the hope of democracy in the form of Gugu Mutonga, the candidate for the opposition Democracy Union of Zimbabwe. The US has a chance here – a chance to help the Zimbabwean people to move out from under the thumb of the dictator who has drained the economy and the lives of the people for the past thirty years under President Tinotenda. It can happen.




As always, as with so much that makes America a joke in the international community - and for the same reason 9/11 was so easily carried out - “The Boys” can’t seem to play well together. The Secretary of State, the Zimbabwean counsel, the various and sundry Department Heads. Nobody wants to share their toys. And in this case? It isn’t just the political scene that is a cluster. There is a new variant of uranium hitting the world market. And that uranium has unusually high levels of the U-235 isotope. Of course, “The Boys” still don’t want to share their toys, their political flag waving and ladder climbing, their chance of impressing the next person up the ladder - their intel about the isotope and its mining in the backwaters of the world, even between their own agencies, not to mention the countries where the danger is perilously high.




What happens next is a cluster of the highest order as “The Boys” spend their time pissing into a high wind, the world sits on the edge of the knife, and a small group of people, including Dr. Ryker, attempt to dance along the brink of catastrophe. Todd Moss has a tight grasp on the idiocy of the political machine, the manipulations and missed chances, the stunted growth and stunted capabilities of the military industrial complex, and the horrors inherent in so many countries – not just Africa, but the rest of the world as well.


If you like military/political intrigue, give Todd Moss’s “Minute Zero” a chance. It will be released on September 15, 2015 by Penguin. I received this book from Penguin in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2013-11-15 09:31
Fortunate by Andrew JH Sharp
Fortunate - Andrew JH Sharp


Genres: British novel, African adventure, Mystery, Historical fiction, Drama, Suspense, Zimbabwe
Original title: Fortunate
Number of pages: 368
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Nook
ISBN:  1783060018 (ISBN13: 9781783060016)
Publishers: Troubador Publishing Ltd
Publishing date: July, 1st, 2013
Edition language: English

Purchase links: AmazonBarnes & Noble


Amazon Book Blurb:
From the winner of the 2010 Waverton Good Read Award comes another good read. Beth Jenkins – locum doctor, semi-bereaved wife – runs away from home at the age of twenty-eight and a half and becomes heroine of a revolution.
Locked into a lonely future by a cruel twist of fate, Beth reaches breaking point, leaves her husband, and flees to faraway Zimbabwe. But there she finds herself at the centre of a deadly struggle for the ownership of a farm. From a guest of honour at the President’s table to a disastrous decision that betrays a good man, her fresh start threatens to end in catastrophe. Does the land, and its painted rocks, hold clues to atonement and re-found love?
Fortunate is an intelligent, moving novel with a gripping plot about how to defy fate and about the relationship we have with the land we live on.



A true story embedded in fiction. From this angle the reader can expect that drama will be limited and characters cotton-wrapped. In a sense it is true.

Yet, Beth Jenkins, a locum doctor, young and somewhat lost in a one-year old marriage to the love of her life - who lost his mind, has enough on her plate, and enough inexperience to make a royal mess of things. Especially when she gets entangled with her patients such as Mr. de Villier. He needs a favor, and Beth has enough challenges, with her demanding mother-in-law, a new mysterious friend, Fortunate, and circumstances pressuring her, to evacuate her poshy life in England for the more intimidating African bush. 


Zimbabwe has just been liberated. What promised to be heaven soon proved to be hell-on-steroids for the inhabitants and a little bit better for tourists with pockets full of spending money. For illegal tourists it gets even more tougher and thrilling! The adventures are more intense, the ambiance volatile. That is where Beth's break from her own reality leads her to. She would make enough mistakes to last her a lifetime, but would gain enough new insight into a world her husband, as an archaeologist, discovered and loved. Her voyage will ultimately lead her home - a place she was unable to find before. Home. It is not what she thought it was.

It is a great story. A relaxing, informative, adventure. A soft-landing for anyone interested in reading more about the African lifestyle behind the glitz and glamour of an African Safari, but with the same intensity and feeling of being-there. Really being there. Nothing in the book is outrageously extravagant or overly exaggerated. On the contrary! ...

This is a really enjoyable book. It is multidimensional - covering the life of a young woman finding her path in life, meeting warm-hearted, sincere Africans, introducing tragicomedian politicians acting out their mafia-style looting of a continent's resources, and addressing loves lost and found. These elements serve a smorgasbord of different interests, which makes it an informative, great read. 

It is the second book of Andrew J. H. Sharp that I read. I am looking forward to the third, for sure. 



Source: wingbackchoices.blogspot.com/2013/11/fortunate-by-andrew-jh-sharp.html
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review 2013-04-21 00:00
The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe - Douglas Rogers The author, a travel writer by trade, relates his parent's story of trying to survive the chaos of Zimbabwe. Well written, at times funny, with enough background on the history of the region to make the book well worth reading.
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review 2010-04-16 00:00
The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe - Douglas Rogers Read by Jack Klaff. Abridged and produced by Jane Marshall Productions. BBC blurb - The author tells the story of his parents fight to stay on their backpacker lodge in Zimbabwe despite the political upheaval of the last decade. When he hears the news of the death of the first white farmer, Rogers is concerned for his parents safety but when he returns home to visit them, nothing has prepared him for what he finds.Categories:Factual, Life Stories, Drama
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