Thursday, October 19, 2017

Review of "Hill Country Rage," by Patrick Kelly

Review of
Hill Country Rage, by Patrick Kelly ISBN 9780991103331

Four out of five stars
 When the story opens, the reader is not given a clear picture of the kind of man the main character, Joe Robbins, is. In the prologue, the reader learns that Joe was a good boxer in college and one of the other significant characters, his former wife Rose is introduced. His relationship with Rose and their two children is a recurrent theme throughout the book.
 In chapter one, the reader learns about Joe’s best friend for life, Neil Blaney and that Joe is now playing the sexual field with other women. In chapter 2 the reader learns that Joe is a financial officer for Hill Country Capital, a group that operates in the real estate market of Austin, Texas. The company has raised a first round of twenty million and another investor named Kenji Tanaka has expressed a great deal of interest in investing millions of additional money.
 Later in the story we learn that very little is what it appears to be. Tanaka is a channel for dirty money from illegal drug business and he employs some ruthless henchmen. Robbins is a man with an unusual streak of willingness to do good deeds. He takes a drug-addled prostitute off the street and pays an enormous sum to get her into treatment.
 However, the person that is most not like originally portrayed is Robbins. When Neil is gunned down in what was clearly a professional murder, Robbins becomes a ruthless and very capable vigilante, almost single-handedly taking down a complete drug operation. Truly not what one thinks of as a finance officer. While there are hints that Robbins has some previous experience in professional gun slinging, there is nothing solid, other than the fact that he spends a great deal of time at the gun range.
 The two threads of Robbins’ love and professional life are meshed fairly well, he and Rose are very much dancing around their love for each other, even though each has other people in their lives. It ends when Robbins tells Rose that he will always be one that will go towards danger, never move away from it.
 I give the book four stars because there is a little too much in the area of superhero action. The opponents are ruthless, extremely powerful men, yet when there is a physical confrontation, Robbins wins. Furthermore, the positions of the police are a bit absurd, Robbins cannot count on their assistance until the very end. Their arrival in the nick of time was predictable.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review of "Firefighter Leo to the Rescue!" by Amy Wilhelm & Heather Miranda-Miller

Review of
Firefighter Leo to the Rescue! by Amy Wilhelm & Heather Miranda-Miller ISBN 9781635351163

Five out of five stars
 This is an excellent book describing what is a common play theme for children, pretending to be a firefighter. Leo is a boy that has aspirations to role playing as a firefighter, but he is uncertain as to exactly what firefighters do and how to accurately emulate them. In this book, Leo is stepped through the process of determining what firefighters do so that he can pretend to do their job.
 Early in the book there is the very important sentence, “Before Leo can play firefighter, he needs to think about everything he knows about firefighters.” This hooked me on the book immediately, for the young reader is being instructed to research their play topics. something that I have rarely seen in books for children.
 There are those that might consider this to have a dampening effect on play, but that is nonsense. Children try to be as realistic as they can in their play and the child that researches their topic before engaging in their pretending will have more fun. Especially when it is a job category that is so critical to society and regularly featured on television.
 Parents will find this to be a quality book, it can accurately be described as an educational primer for make-believe.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review of "My Fine Feathered Friend," by William Grimes

Review of
My Fine Feathered Friend, by William Grimes ISBN 0865476322

Five out of five stars
 The main premise of this book is a simple one, a chicken wanders into the back yard of a New York Times restaurant critic. The critic has no experience with chickens and the animal rapidly adapts to its new habitat, reaching a level of mutual tolerance with all of the other creatures sharing their local ecosystem. Being an otherwise intelligent person that is ignorant of live chickens, having been intimately familiar with many dead and seasoned ones, the critic consults several resources in order to learn more about the domesticated chicken.
 What makes the story go is the understated explanations and the deadpan humor. In many ways it is a lengthy and sophisticated chicken joke. The reader learns about chickens along with the author and it is not long before you care about the feathered pet. Although it is short and a quick read, the writing is so engaging that you would have preferred that it be a little longer.