Monday, June 25, 2018

Kill Shot - A Review

Kill Shot

Susan Sleeman

A Review

Ace said he was going to be killed, but his therapist, Dr. Olivia Dobbs, did not believe him. After all, PTSD had defined his fears over the last few years. She thought they had made real progress, but now he was back with the delusions again.

Except this time he was not delusional and before the first chapter was half over, he was dead.

The FBI’s Critical Incident Response team was called in to investigate – not because of who was killed, but because of how he was killed. And that was Top Secret and could not be shared outside their own unit.

Agent Rick Cannon, though not the team leader, was asked from the beginning to take charge the investigation. But from the moment he first crossed paths with Dr. Olivia Dobbs, he had to separate his personal reactions to her from his professional responsibilities – after all, she was the first person on the scene and was a likely suspect. That distinction would not come easy.

Both Olivia and Rick would have their faith challenged as they worked the case. Their families would find ways to interfere with their personal lives and hard decisions would have to be made in response to each of their families of origin.

The author has written an exciting, thrilling, story that would take the FBI unit and its home office, more than simple forensics to solve. The number of bodies would grow – including members of Congress and personal friends of the FBI team. Their team would travel from Washington DC to Atlanta, GA. And the 7 days would see non-stop action for those involved in the case.

Two comments. First, the book involved more romance than I would normally like to see in a book I would choose off the shelf. Relationships, healthy relationships, do not develop in seven days, though that is part of the thesis of this book. However, the book was a romantic thriller and those kinds of relationships are often found in the plots of these novels. Regardless, this reader was disappointed.

Second, if the author would choose to create a series of books using these characters, there would be time for a healthy, growing, relationship to be modeled. The Critical Incident Response team did not have a profiler on staff – Olivia could easily fill that position – as a consultant, if not a formal FBI agent. Perhaps this is planned, but it was not obvious to this reader.

Even with these two concerns, the book warrants 5-stars. The plot is intense, the characters are real, and settings are believable.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Monday, June 18, 2018

100 Bible Stories for Children - A Review

100 Bible Stories for Children

A Review

An interesting collection of mostly well-known Bible stories – 53 from the Old Testament and 47 from the New Testament. Biblical references are given for each story. The stories are well written and easily understood by the older preschool or elementary child. Younger children will, of course, need to have the stories read to them; whereas, older children will be able to read the stories for themselves. The brightly colored images will attract children's interest as well.

I would like to see additional helps included with the stories. These might include questions aimed at the child, questions aimed at the adult, and a set of family or Sunday School activities that would help the child and his or her family or Sunday School class to internalize the lessons. Almost all the stories have enough white space that it would be easy to add this material to the book. An accompanying website would be another way to deliver this type of material. Without this additional material, the book is a collection of stories that many (most?) children will not be able to connect to their 21st-century lives.

The book could easily find a place in the home of Christian parents or grandparents. Similarly, it would easily fit into the local church or public library. Even the new believer of any age would find these stories a helpful step in providing a foundation of Biblical history if they missed gaining this information in their youth.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Story of Computing - A Review

The Story of Computing

Dermot Turing

A Review

Alan Turing’s nephew has compiled a history of computing. The book is an interesting read for this reader who lived through much of it beginning in 1968. Lots of trivia bring the story alive.

Two flaws make the book less than perfect. First, the book reads as it were a compilation of magazine or journal articles compiled into a book, rather than a book written as a complete whole. This is most notable when the reader finds the same individuals reintroduced as if they were new characters in different parts of the book. One gets the impression that the author has forgotten that he had previously introduced the character in a previous context.

The other flaw is the occasional historical gaffe introduced by the author. For example, while discussing the problem of calculating taxes during the time of Caesar Augustus, the author says, “and as our informant is St Luke, who was a tax man, we can assume he is reliable.” But as most students of scripture know, St Luke was not a tax man, but a physician. St. Matthew was the tax collector. A small error, but it makes this reader question the other bits of trivia throughout the book. The scholar who may choose to use this book as a source would be wise to verify any details borrowed from the book.

The book does provide details that this reader has not seen elsewhere – making it an interesting read. It would be a valuable addition to the library of anybody interest in computer history. It also has the potential for serving as an ancillary text for the computer science service course or in the first course as part of a computer science degree.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Formula of Deception - A Review

Formula of Deception

Carrie Stuart Parks

A Review

Ms. Parks presents a roller coaster of a story – where determining the good, the evil, and the crazy, becomes almost as important as determining who-done-it. This reader could not put the book down.

Murphy Andersen had a mission to complete, but truth was not part of it. Her sister had disappeared, her friends were dying, and she needed to put the pieces together. Determining who to trust was as difficult for her as it was for this reader, but slowly and surely, the clouds of uncertainty begin to lift. And when they do, she must fight for her own life and the life of those she had learned to trust.

The book had it roots in Alaska’s part in WWII and the United States involvement in chemical and biological weapons in the late 1940’s through the late 1950’s. Sadly, the US government is not as innocent as our history books would have it’s citizens believe. The author has done an excellent job of weaving history and fiction together into a readable tale.

Formula of Deception is a summer or fall thriller that easily earns the reader’s attention. Some church libraries will appreciate it (though the faith component is not as strong as it is for some faith-based books), but the public library could easily find a place for this book in their collection. This book is perfect for the reader looking for a thrill ride along Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Kremlin Conspiracy - A Review

A Review

Joel Rosenberg has put together another thrilling espionage thriller. The new President of Russia has the singular goal of making Russia great again. The new US President is a bit of whimp that has a similar goal for the United States of America. Together they are pushing the world toward a thermonuclear meltdown.

It will take Markus Ryker, former US Marine and Secret Service agent, and Oleg Kraskin, senior aide and son-in-law to the Russian President, working together to find a way to pull these two superpowers away from the brink of cultural annihilation.

I could not put the book down. I had to - but did not want to. I stayed up nights to get more reading done. If I woke up at night,m I would pick up the book to get another chapter under my belt. The author has done a wonderful job of blending life, faith, and a political thriller that tracks with current events.

My hope is that Markus, Oleg, and Jenny (an unwitting CIA operator), are brought together again for more adventures.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.