net galley/book review/crime fiction/fiction

How much faith do you have in our legal systems?

Losing Faith

By Adam Mitzner

Not as one might expect from the title about religion but about a person – Faith.

A person who knew too much and who threatened a man’s reason for living – his business, which in this case was a law firm and a Judge and thus corruption probable or real in the determining of sentencing for a lawyer’s clients.

Here we also have the system of how judges are promoted from one level of the judiciary to the next- is it by political favour? Or by their behaviour towards criminals whilst in court? Or by their personal life?

There was a long running series on British TV called Judge John Steed who was rather a ‘naughty’ man – in that he seemed to be constantly having affairs. The question was when was this behaviour acceptable and when wasn’t it? The series revolves around a central plot whereby the politicians and civil servants don’t like him as he a: doesn’t come from the ‘correct’ background in that he was not Eton educated etc; and b: he was a liberal or left-wing judge it was felt by the small ‘c’ conservatives in power in the Civil Service.

So why was he promoted? Was it the influence of his wife’s father who was also a judge? Unlikely, in that Steed was divorced for continuous adultery and again was ‘not quite the right sort of person’. But rather through popular opinion from when he was a Barrister defending the rights of his clients.

john steed - How much faith do you have in our legal systems?

Now clearly the personal behaviour of a Judge is important – it must be seen not to influence judgements and also must not in fact do so. And when a lawyer is involved with a Judge then things become complicated.

I did enjoy this book, mainly because it rang true in its courtroom scenes and what happened within the law firm.  The legal aspects seemed correct as far as I can judge US law – not that I know that much about UK law either…

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes legal thrillers or courtroom dramas. 4 stars.

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Penny goes on her Travels with Dave

Travels with Penny Large Banner - Penny goes on her Travels with Dave


Travels Cover 197x300 - Penny goes on her Travels with DaveTitle: Travels with Penny
David Alan Morrison
Publication Date:
April 2015
Publisher: Booktrope

Two things flashed through my mind when I opened the door to the sex shop to find my mother standing in front of the display case talking to a tall salesman wearing a leather harness, jock strap and a dog collar. The first was, “Oh, crap.” The second was, “I hate when Dad’s right.”

Following the sudden death of his father, a single, middle-aged gay guy struggles with his own mortality be reminiscing about the travels with his gregarious mother. It is a look at the transformation of the baffling, complex relationship between children and their parents.



DAMheadshot.jpeg - Penny goes on her Travels with Dave


Author Bio:
Dave Morrison (CI & CT, NIC-A, SC:L, NAD-5). Dave received his A.A. in ASL/ENG Interpreting from L.A. Pierce College in 1989. In 2000, he obtained his M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Kentucky. He has interpreted in a variety of venues, from the courtroom to funerals to underwater conservation forums. As an actor, he has been seen on stage, TV and film. He is currently an adjunct instructor of Drama at Skagit Valley College and works with local theatres as a director, actor and instructor.
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This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.

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Did she fall or was she pushed?

Crash and Burn

By Lisa Gardner

A very complex tale with the medical symptoms well detailed but just how she fell down the first time still remains suspicious in my mind.

A tale full of twists and turns and flying into the unknown. Di d she/didn’t she? Did he/didn’t he?  With little explanation until the very end and yet…

Post concussion syndrome and PTSD seem to have go scrambled in her memory so that reality and imagination become intertwined and then whose memories is she remembering anyway? Are some of them false? And implanted by her husband?

Post concussion syndrome – according to has three major aspects: physical, emotional and behavioural.

Physical symptoms include headaches, vertigo, nausea, and problems tolerating light and noise; emotional and behavioural can include aggression, anxiety, depression, disturbed slep, personality changes and sudden emotional outbursts; cognitive symptoms can include difficulty in memory, concentration and attention, problems with reasoning and learning new things. All or most of these were demonstrated by the wife here in this story.  But as we don’t know exactly what her behaviour was like before she ‘fell’ down 3 times we cannot tell just which symptoms were there before or not. We only have the husband’s word for what she was previously like. And slowly we learn that she was not who we thought she was. And just how much of a victim she was or wasn’t.  We also learn different stories about how she came to leave the Dolls House all of which are traumatic. What is clear is that her time in the House scarred her dreadfully and whatever she did afterwards can be thought of as being a direct or indirect result of what happened to her there.

I had realised who the husband was – or at least his relationship to the Dolls House by half-way through but still failed to guess what his actual role was – I knew what he had done to the Dolls House but not the consequences.

Here we see a tale that encompasses child abduction – or is it? Fostering for cash or is it? And do remember that when children go missing for any length of time, the parents are always the prime suspects, just like the spouse is in a case of a murder.

I give this 5 stars. It kept me hooked and kept surprising me. A Lisa Gardner goody.


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Skeletons on the beach

LowCountry Boneyard by Susan M Bowyer

A Boneyard here in the Lowcountry is where trees go to die. It is the beach of trees washed up from the sea and delta, and the branches remind the artist of skeleton hands and fingers.

jekyll driftwood beach - Skeletons on the beach

This is a story of betrayal, corruption, over-whelming pride – leading to a fall, and forgery. Lust and greed and most of the other seven deadly sins also make an appearance.

As it so often seems, in many of these ‘aristocratic’ families, there is a fearsome matriarch with an over-wheening pride in an ancestry such that only marriage and children from a limited genetic pooll will answer, and woe betide anyone who defies the matriarch!

Genetic traits however, are just that, and are passed down the family tree, often unwelcomingly – hence the Habsburg nose (and lip) for instance. habsburg - Skeletons on the beach

But other traits are mental rather than physical and artistic ability is one such trait that is often passed down the family line, and so it is here.

This third book in the series about the Lowcountry is not quote as fresh as the first and the romantic storyline is getting rather laboured I felt. I also linked the genetic trait very early in the story although I never suspected quite how determined the matriarch could be about preserving her lineage.

So some more obvious points and some not, still plenty of twists and turns to intrigue the reader and keep you wondering how it all happened. 3.75 stars.

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BlogTour: Guild of Immortal Women

Guild of Immortal Women Large Banner1 - BlogTour: Guild of Immortal Women
9781940598444 201x300 - BlogTour: Guild of Immortal WomenTitle: Guild of Immortal Women
Author: David Alan Morrison
Publication Date: November 2014

Two bodies are discovered on the grounds of “The Bastille,” home to a coven of witches who belong to the Guild of Immortal Women. The bodies have strange characteristics, so what follows is a combination merry and sinister romp through ancient history. Medieval times are brought to life through a massive Tapestry adorning the mansion’s walls where the characters — animals and humans — emerge through tears in the fabric. It is up to Detective Matt Mathers and social worker Lynn Swanson to solve the murder-mystery while dealing with the strange world of magic, Guardian Abbey’s amnesia from her past lives, and the devilish mission of Robert and the Doctor to create an immortal heir through the laboratory.

Foreword Reviews‘ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist


DAMheadshot.jpeg - BlogTour: Guild of Immortal Women Author Bio:
Dave Morrison (CI & CT, NIC-A, SC:L, NAD-5). Dave received his A.A. in ASL/ENG Interpreting from L.A. Pierce College in 1989. In 2000, he obtained his M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Kentucky. He has interpreted in a variety of venues, from the courtroom to funerals to underwater conservation forums. As an actor, he has been seen on stage, TV and film. He is currently an adjunct instructor of Drama at Skagit Valley College and works with local theatres as a director, actor and instructor.
Author Links:


Q: What is the story of how you came up with the idea for GUILD OF IMMORTAL WOMEN.

In 2007 my father died. We had been estranged for most of my life and we had just spent the last couple of years rebuilding a relationship. I went to my best friend’s house to do some healing and she reminded me of the book idea she had told me about years before.  She convinced me to write it as a way of grieving.

Q: How did you pick the women who would be Immortal?

Holly wanted Joan of Arc to be Amelia Airhardt and had always been set on Eleanor as the head of the Guild.  As for the others, we literally sat on the phone – me in Seattle and she in southern California – and searched the internet for the most interesting women we could find.  I was surprised at the lack of information on famous females of ancient times!  

Q: What was the hardest part of writing your books?

 Editing! That answer is easy – it’s always the editing.  As writers we put so much of our life and soul into these written pages! Many of us slave over specific words or phrases for hours. None of that matters in editing.  If it doesn’t work for the story or pacing, out it goes.  Books are so much like turkey at Thanksgiving – one knows about the preparation of an eloquent meal, but when you have to face the heat of the kitchen yourself….oy! Another story.

Q: What project are you working on now?

 Once TRAVELS WITH PENNY and GUILD are out into the world, I’d like to take a short break first.  I feel pretty ragged about now…signings, book festivals and so forth take a lot out of you.  When I’m back at the keyboard, I have another work, ANGAKOK, with Booktrope, that needs some attention.  Tick tock!

Q: What is the most interesting part of your daily life?

 Wow.  Good question.  I never saw myself as having a particularly interesting life.  But, then again, “interesting” is relative, isn’t it?  My day jobs are a sign language interpreter, instructor at a community college and theatre director.  I like to think that just by showing up I get a full plate of drama and entertainment.  

Q:  What is your writing process like?

I’ve always been one of those people who sees entire scenes in my head.  As soon as a scene appears, I try to rush over to the keyboard and get it down.  The problem is that the scenes don’t always appear in the correct order. I see the end of a book (or play, as I’m also a playwright) first, or the dramatic climax first.  Every so often I write down the scenes on index cards and lay them on the floor to see what piece of the story is missing.  Maybe this is why editing is so difficult.

Q: So you don’t pre-plan your work?

Not usually, no.  I follow the age-old advice of “write with the end in mind” as well as my characters, but not much else.  I’ve found this syle has pros and cons – like anything – but for me it works.  I set out with my characters’ having a goal, some personality quirks and things they are afraid of.  Then, I just throw obstacles at them.  It easier with something like TRAVELS, as it was a memoir and I didn’t have to invent anything.  If you knew my family, you’d understand.  Once I got over my anger at them, I learned to see them as an entire lifetime of entertainment value.

Q: What advice do you give new writers?

Write. Write what you see.  Write what you feel.  Somewhere, somehow, someone is going to love your stuff.  But always remember – someone is going to hate it as well.  Ultimately, you need to be satisfied with what you’re doing.

Q: Any last words?

Yes.  Make sure to have a life.    Let your art flow from your observations of the everyday; don’t lock yourself away in some dark, dank place with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a laptop.   We are on this Earth to engage with our surroundings; to love and experience this great thing called LIFE.



62999 final5 - BlogTour: Guild of Immortal Women
This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.

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