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review 2018-08-18 15:50
"The Angel of Justice", by Michael Ledoux
The Angel of Justice - Michael Ledoux
Mission to the Past

This stunning debut novel is a highly imaginative blend of fiction enhanced with historical events and well-known personages. It also gives us a well-researched travelogue and insights into cities and countries visited by the story’s main player. 

Richly written the story transports us back to the mid-1970 where high school graduate Ian Richard, a highly recruited athlete questions his future after viewing a documentary of the liberation of thousands of prisoners at Bergen-Belsen at the end WW11 by the Allied Forces . Ian’s father was among the liberators. Over several weeks Ian immerses himself in articles of past atrocities and those guilty of war crimes. He particularly concentrates on those who never came to trial. The novel tells Ian’s newfound interest in finding one particular guard Gertrude Sommer and bringing her to justice. 

The story opens slowly as we are introduced to Ian, his parents and his interest then as it progresses with his training with the Mossad and his hunt for “The Angel of Death” commences. To Argentina he is sent and we soon fall into a very intense and captivating drama which gives us a lot of action, some predictable twists and others we hardly can imagine. Ian has a soft spot for beautiful women and plays with his good looks to lure the illusive Gertrude into a trap. Suspense is at times intercepted by some sex scenes, we have a few but they are quite vanilla. To add tension to this exciting read, Ian encounters violence and demonstrates that all his training was not wasted time…… During this nail-biting journey, the author did not forget to give us a taste of culinary delights ….

In short words, we have an original and well-written plot, smooth narration, good dialogue, great characterization and where this novel excels is in its sense of place….

Well-done Mr. Ledoux “The Angel of Justice” is an excellent debut and I hope to read more of Ian’s missions in the future. 


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review 2018-08-16 10:25
The sacrifice and the slaughter
Private Peaceful - Michael Morpurgo

One of the most tragic events of the 20th century was the senseless slaughter and sacrifice of many young men on the battlefields of the Somme,Verdun and Passchendaele. The iconic 1914 recruitment poster of Lord Kitchener, wearing a cap of a British Field Marshall, stares and points at the viewer pleading to their sense of allegiance and responsibility by declaring..."Your country needs you" The specially constituted "pals battalions" resulted in friends, neighbours and colleagues enlisting together at local recruiting drives with the promise that they could serve alongside each other. However many of these battalions sustained heavy causalities and this had a significant impact on their communities at home.


In the small Devon town of Hatherleigh lives young Tommo Peaceful with his brother Charlie and the girl they both adore, Molly. This is family life, village life, captured in the idyllic Devon countryside before the encroachment and black clouds of world war 1 destroys the dreams and aspirations of so many in pointless sacrifice ensuring that life would never be the same again....."We'd lie amongst the grass and buttercups of the water meadows and look up at the clouds scudding across the sky, at the wind-whipped crows chasing a mewing buzzard"....Tommo and Charlie are gripped in the romantic notion of helping to eradicate the threat of the Hun who were attempting to grow their military might and realize their imperialistic ambitions. So the two brothers and close friends from the village march blindly off to war where the initial patriotic enthusiasm dies tragically amidst pointless butchering when the reality of war is revealed...."I could no longer pretend to myself that I believed in a merciful god nor in a heaven, not anymore, not after I had seen what men could do to one another. I could believe only in the hell I was living in, a hell on earth and it was man-made, not God-made"......."the terror that is engulfing me and invading me, destroying any last glimmer of courage and composure I may have left. All I have left now is my fear"....


Michael Morpurgo expertly portrays the senseless  slaughter and sacrifice of world war 1 to a young impressionable adult audience. This is achieved by comparing the beauty and peacefulness of the English countryside with the shell ravaged mud filled trenches of France....this was the raw reality of war. Private Peaceful is a sombre novel to be read by young and old. It's simplistic language is very effective in creating an image of a time when the romantic notion of war quickly became a vision of hell and where the loss of millions was seen as an acceptable price for the march of imperialism and the misguided ambitions  of WW1 military leaders. Highly Recommended.

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review 2018-08-15 19:39
Unidentified by Michael McBride Audio Review
Unidentified - Michael McBride,Joe Hempel

This is a brief little novella that runs a little over 2 hours on audio. It’s narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Joe Hempel, who helps the story leap off the pages. He also never grates on my last nerve like some narrators do. His pace is on the slower side and it draws you into the chilling atmosphere of the story and his performance of the characters sounds natural. If you like audio and scary tales, this is a really good one. 

40 years ago a group of teens stumbled across something terrible in the aftermath of crop circles, missing teens and animal mutilations. They woke without memories of the events that cost them a friend but now that another child has gone missing and one of them writes a chilling email saying only “I remember everything”, they reunite to start digging into the past and end whatever it is from tormenting their hometown once and for all. 

Since this is such a short story I don’t have a lot to say about it. It left me guessing and I loved the bleak threads running throughout it and if you listen to the author notes at the end, and you should, you might be a little terrified of the sky!


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text 2018-08-15 16:53
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan $1.99
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World - Michael Pollan

In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant—though this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin?

In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings—and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?

Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.

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review 2018-08-14 20:49
Review of The Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee
Life and Times of Michael K - J.M. Coetzee

The is my second novel by Coetzee and I am still not that impressed.  This one is depressing - it starts that way and ends that way.  I understand that the author is describing how awful wartime can be, especially for people limited by money or by intellect, but I just felt that it was overdone.  

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