Jonathan J. Brown (Down and Out Books)

| Reviewed by Philip Zozzaro

Lou Crasher is a drummer & private detective who has stumbled into trouble. He discovers singer Trix Rockland dead, her face buried in a pile of Cocaine. There is evidence of foul play. The police initially suspect Lou, but he provides an alibi and possesses no motive. The lead detective politely warns Lou not to interfere with the homicide investigation. However, Trix’s daughter reaches out to Lou and begs for him to dig into the case. Lou conducts a sub rosa inquiry, talking to Trix’s bandmates. Lou learns that Trix was about to sign with...


Hristina Bloomfield (Hristina Bloomfield)

| Reviewed by Morgan Amos

Becky, written by Hristina Bloomfield, is a beautiful yet painful love story about how a person has the tenacity to rediscover herself despite unfortunate circumstances that could cause her to lose everything she ever loved. You'll instantly gravitate toward Becky's story as you witness her fight to survive after being sexually assaulted, her persistence in seeking justice for herself and those willing to help her, and how she finds love despite everything she'd endured.Tears will flow as readers dive into this unforgettable story as sixte...

Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming

D. L. Norris (Outskirts Press)

| Reviewed by Matthew Novak

Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming by D. L. Norris is an endearing tale that will ignite strong emotions in readers and lift their hearts with its satisfying denouement. The sudden death of Jenna Davis-Wilson's father changes her life and the life of her family in ways Jenna could never have imagined. Jenna and Marcus decide to move back to the old family manor in Tilden, Nebraska, together with their 2 kids — nine-year-old Ben and six-year-old Allie. While Jenna and her family are settling into their ancestral home, Jenna inadvertently unearths...

Starship Malaysia: Lies that Save Lives

Keith Costelloe (Friesen Press)

| Reviewed by Matthew Novak

Scott Mitchell never loved his dad. He has always wanted to kill the violent father he never loved. But dreaming about him and learning he has died in an accident a day after is a terrifying experience. Seventeen-year-old Scot moves to Malaysia with his mother. While Scott misses California and his best friend, he must learn to adapt in his new environment. He makes new friends and falls in love with the sister of his best friend. When she gets kidnapped by a sex trafficking ring, Scott joins forces with his teammates and volleyball Coach to pl...


GARY V. BRILL (Independently Published)

| Reviewed by Robyn Pearce

This story of two halves begins with young James Woodman, a free black, running his successful livery stable in Maryland, where he is also a member of the local militia. Then the British attacks the region in what is often referred to as the Second War of Independence (1812-1814), and sack Washington DC. Despite James’ good standing with many white people in his community and his sterling service in the militia, he’s dogged by bigotry and anti-black persecution. Finally, he decides to return to the tiny community of his childhood where he can s...


Barbara Salvatore (BIG HORSE BOOKS)

| Reviewed by James Farlow

Magghie by Barbara Salvatore is a wonderfully crafted story that is permeated with humanity and magical realism. The reader is introduced to young Magghie, the only child of an industrious German couple in Northern Pennsylvania. Growing on the farm, Magghie learns to ''catch flutter-bys and dragonflies, and frogs under water, with her bare hands, and name practically every plant living around her.'' She learns about plants and medicine from her mother and her father teaches her to work with horses and drive teams. While she is not particularly...

Browning Road

Jeff Marlowe (Capablanca Books)

| Reviewed by Philip Zozzaro

Jack Pszcynack lives as a young adolescent in the house of his parents, who are still surprisingly married. Jack’s older brother, Joey, goes out of his way to torment and terrorize Jack. The Pszcynacks live in the town of Pennsauken, New Jersey. Jack’s parents, Barbara and Joe Sr., are all about maintaining appearances, especially when it comes to their neighbors. However, recent developments on Browning Road have upset the delicate balance in the neighborhood. A neighbor has decided to sell his house, and a barely concealed intolerance begins...

The Wisdom of Winter

Annie Seyler (Atmosphere Press)

| Reviewed by Daniel Rhodes

The Wisdom of Winter by Annie Seyler is one of those literary pieces that intelligently examines themes of reality versus appearance. Six-year-old Beatrice has strived under the shadow of her fashionable mother and father, a sweet, loving man. She is very intuitive and innocent about the world outside. That is until tragedy hits home and she loses her mother. She is thrust into a world she has never known and that makes her question if she truly belongs. Moving from Vermont to San Francisco as an adult, she struggles to fit in, embracing a pers...

Drawn into Danger: Living on the Edge in the Sahara

Keith Costelloe (Friesen Press)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

Drawn into Danger: Living on the Edge in the Sahara by Keith Costelloe is a tale of surviving in very austere and dangerous conditions in a foreign country. Twenty-four-year-old Dave accepts his first job as an English teacher in Algeria. That is 1978. He is just so happy to leave the UK and its doldrums behind. Going to Algeria offers the prospects of a new start, adventure, and an encounter with new cultures. But Algeria is not what he has imagined it to be. Everything changes for the worst when he helps a friend get revenge and finds himself...

Rafael Jerome: A Novel

Tobias Maxwell (Wheatmark)

| Reviewed by Franklin Bauer

Jeremey Jerome meets Gary Silverman in Paris in unusual circumstances. As the connection between the two deepens, Jeremy learns about an encounter between his father, Rafael Jerome, and Gary Silverman in 1949. Learning about his father’s secrets in Hollywood, Jeremy sets out to uncover the whole truth, a journey that takes him across different cities and that brings about exciting encounters. Rafael Jerome: A Novel by Tobias Maxwell is a novel with an irresistible appeal to fans of LGBTQ, a deftly plotted narrative with compelling dialogu...

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