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Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Emma is a teenage girl who has spent most her life being shuffled from place to place. Between her mother’s drug addiction and her sister’s overbearing nature, Emma feels she is being forced to grow up sooner then she should. Using her love for brooding music and paranormal romance novels to escape; Emma hides from this stress that she faces every day.
Finally settling in a small coastal town, Emma meets Matt, a man who she believes to be the prince that she has always dreamed of. At first she finds herself drawn to his dark and strange desires, but the closer they become, the more Emma realizes that there is something horribly wrong with Matt. The man who she thought could save her from her life, might be the same man who could end it.Review:
Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Michael Carson is an Afghan war veteran who is just trying to find normalcy in his life. Teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown; a sudden push comes along which submerges him into a world where violent episodes equal heroics. Becoming a vigilante, he stalks the streets of Miami disposing of what he deems as human trash. The deeper he sinks into his twisted psychosis, the more he starts to believe that he is in fact a superhero.
When he meets Grace, she quickly becomes the love of his life, forcing Michael to walk a tightrope. He finds himself struggling between his vengeful persona and his need to leave behind the personal war that he has waged. Driven by his madness, he is consumed in a situation that is beyond his control. Before he knows it, Michael is sucked into an undertow of corruption with no means of escape.Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Also at Barnes & Nobel in paperback and nook.
Sandra Sanchez, Book Pleasures
As the title implies this book contains a great deal of violence. Michael Carson, the protagonist, is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. After his return to civilian life, he takes it upon himself to fight crime after a traumatic experience with sadistic thieves and indifferent police. He becomes a vigilante, a soldier, a hero, who commits acts of violence either to protect or avenge victims of violence. He begins with the thieves who robbed and beat him, next stops a rape in the park at night and then begins to avenge the innocent victims of perpetrators who got away with their crimes such as a priest who is well connected and thus has gotten away with molesting children, a lawyer who is acquitted of hiring someone to murder his wife because of a legal technicality. Along the way he meets someone he thinks he can love and yearns for a different life, but he cannot stop his own personal war on crime.
The story is told in the first person and in between describing his exploits with almost as much shock at himself as he clearly expects the reader to feel, the protaganist justifies them with angry but logical arguments:
"We were facing people who weren't militarized and bowed to no codes or laws. These were formless warriors who had no qualms in taking you with them to hell. As US soldiers we had rules of engagement and procedures to follow, we were slaves to the Geneva code. The only way you could go wild and do what you wanted to do without punishment was if you were part of a private security firm. Those guys got away with anything, even mass murder. In order to truly combat unlawful beings, you must engage in unlawful actions. You must break the bars of the cage of lawful procedure and become a beast of natural disorder, a disciple of chasos."
When talking about the men in his veterans support group:
"Like many of the others, I was having flashbacks, and sometimes they felt so real, but I just shrugged it off as the trials of being in a war. All the while there were arguments raging in congress over the existence of PSD - Post traumatic Stress Disorder. Some member said it was a real disorder while others claimed there was no evidence. The glaring difference was that the nay sayers were mostly those who sent us over to these hellholes. Not only did they send us to war but this was their attempt to deny us benefits: further proving that one of the ugliest faces of war is the bureaucratic aspect."
After describing the scene in which he kills the lawyer who had paid to have his wife murdered (rather than split up his assets in a divorce) and who has gotten rich representing banks:
"Making money while others starved, getting bonuses while many watched their dreams shatter - these immoral actions cannot go unpunished. Those who committed these acts should have been locked away for years at a time, not handed billions in bailouts at the expense of the same people they ravaged. . . ."
I found the graphic descriptions of violence disturbing but, that being said, no more disturbing than much of what I read in the news these days. One day I read that some millionaire CEO owns a mansion with not one but three indoor swimming pools, 29 bedrooms and 39 baths and the next day I read that a poor man robbed a bank for $1 (yes that is not a typo, ONE dollar) and then waited for the police to arrest him because he needed medical care he knew he would get in prison. This kind of thing makes me think that we need to re-define that word "violence" not by its method, but by its consequences. Bankers who use bail out money to buy jets and pay themselves obscenely high bonuses even as they are foreclosing on properties and forcing families into homelessness don't have gunshot residue on their hands or blood spatter on their clothes but the consequences of their behavior is to ruin more lives than they can (or care to) count and, in some cases, may lead to suicides they will never even hear about. And of course there is the shame of how war veterans are treated back home. This novel is dedicated to one of them, the author's father.
In 1996 the Willis’ and their friends were harvesting the good life. Secluded in the mountains of Northern California, they lived like simple farmers and ignored the rat race. They existed like many in working hard and paying their taxes. Unlike the majority, they were making their livelihood growing medicinal marijuana. In the blink of an eye, their harmony becomes shattered when Thomas Willis mistakenly shoots a federal agent.
Barricading themselves in their home out of fear, the events quickly spiral out of control into a grueling thirteen day standoff. Armed with simple rifles and homemade weapons, they bide their time in a house with no electricity. Tormented by their would-be captors outside, Thomas decides to keep a journal, and page by page he documents the daily struggle of being imprisoned in his own home. As the farming colony is killed off one by one, Thomas comes to the conclusion that he must get his son to safety before it is too late. Thirteen days of hell boils down to mere moments and every second counts.Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Also at Barnes & Nobel in paperback and nook.
Sandra Sanchez, Book Pleasures
Lost Cries from the Emerald Triangle is a book I wish I’d had the creativity and courage to write and I am thrilled that Paul Allih did. It is an important book on many levels. The author is clearly well versed in portions of our history that are not traditionally taught in public schools and he folds descriptions of important historical political events into the narrative by a clever mechanism. The entire novel is the journal that the narrator keeps while he, his family and friends are besieged in their Northern California home by government troops for 13 days. His intention is clearly to preserve the truth because he knows what spin the government agents will put on it. The plot is simple and tragic: two families move out of the urban rat race to farm legal medical marijuana on land in and near the small town of Redwood Valley . Encouraged by undercover DEA agents posing as legitimate buyers they cultivate more plants than their allotment. One night the narrator shoots at a thief in the greenhouse only to find out the thief was a DEA agent. This brings out the troops and the tanks, their crop is destroyed and a sadistic sergeant with a bullhorn taunts them. The power is cut off and their only connection to the outside world is a radio. By listening to two competing radio personalities the people barricaded in their house learn about the lies being told to the public and also hear about protestors who try to rally to their support at the end of their road. The narrator wants to remain and fight for the truth to come out instead of being railroaded in the legal system which he describes (accurately I think) as a system of laws created as a “guise to give shelter to the rich using the bones of the poor.”
Without disclosing too much of the heartrending plot I will say that an initial incident reminds the others that they cannot trust the people outside and that they are not likely to get out alive. The narrator remembers and describes other incidents like Ruby Ridge and Waco and reflects on the history of government wrongdoing and cover up from the Ludlow massacre to Iran /Contra that dominated the news briefly before it disappeared from serious public scrutiny. Interspersed with the narrator’s reflections on factual history are lyrically beautiful descriptive scenes of intense tragedy.This book advocates a sane and sensible approach to the use of marijuana reminding us not only of the history lesson we should have learned from prohibiton in the thirtes but also reminding readers that while marijuana is a naturally growing plant that has been demonized, Big Pharma is allowed to flood the market and charge big bucks for all kinds of chemical products that have a list of side effects far worse than the conditions they claim to relieve (to quote some warnings from their ads: “including death” and they are not kidding). The book also advocates a sane and sensible investigation into the greedy motives behind too many of our laws. I once said about Toni Morrison’s Beloved, that it was a masterpiece but not for the faint hearted and I’d say the same now about Lost Cries From the Emerald Triangle. It will put you there at the scene feeling the pain.
Skunk Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 1
To say the events spiral out of control in Lost cries from the Emerald Triangle would be a drastic understatement. The novella by Paul Allih blurs fact and fiction in the storytelling of a family living in the mountains of Northern California, farming medical marijuana. The trouble begins when the patriarch of the family and small group of farmers mistakenly shoots a federal agent that he finds trespassing on his property. The horrific story of what follows is made all the more visceral by referencing actual events where the law has committed heinous acts in the name of prohibition or drug law enforcement. Due to some dicey decision making, the group finds itself barricaded inside their home, facing off against the DEA with no electricity or access to a media being fed steady diet of lies and misinformation. The story is told from the journal entries documenting the 13-day standoff and will have you flying through the pages. - AB