Tag Archives: politics

Book Review: False Flag in Autumn

False Flag in Autumn

By Michael Bowen

Josie Robideaux Kendall, Louisiana born and bred, has had aspirations for years to work in the White House. She has jumped into everything surrounding politics in Washington DC with both feet in the meantime. She is a “hard-nosed political apparatchik* who can make things happen”. She knows who to call and what to do to make things happen or not happen – depending upon who she is working for. But her usual job of getting someone elected has taken a turn.

There is some convincing evidence that a heavy hitting politician used a spin on a murder that he most likely committed himself to get elected. Rafe, Josie’s husband, encounters the revelation from one if his cronies in DC so she knows it is credible. Now what will she do with the information?

So begins the heart-pounding twists of events that takes Josie from coast to coast. Not only is she working to get the probable murderer out of office, Josie steps into a bigger situation that will have global impact. Not only is the President of the United States a target, but she is now on the assassin’s radar. Putting herself in mortal danger isn’t what she bargained for, but she has never shirked her duty or compromised her convictions.

False Flag in Autumn is an interesting romp in politics. It gives outsiders like me a fascinating glimpse inside a world that I will never be a part of but find interesting. The action heats up as Josie pulls out all the stops, no matter what the personal price, to save the President.

Michael Bowen, recently retired from a lengthy career as a trial lawyer. He is a prolific and critically acclaimed author of 19 books. They range from thrillers such as False Flag in Autumn to political satire. This is the first book I have read by Bowen and thoroughly enjoyed it.

*Yes dear readers I had no idea what a political apparatchik meant so – per Google: “An apparatchik is someone who works for a government or a political party and who always obeys orders” – now we both know (unless you already did) if so, kudos!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Fake – Mystery Ripped From Today’s Headlines

Fake

By John DeDakis

White House Correspondent Lark Chadwick has seen more than her fair share of dead bodies. But when Rose Gannon, the First Lady of the United States drops dead during an interview with Lark, it is beyond horrific. It was just bad luck that Lark was present at the time of Mrs. Gannon’s collapse, but she didn’t have to snap a picture of the President trying to revive his wife to no avail. Once the picture hit the papers, Lark’s life became more complicated than even she could have imagined.

Soon she again finds herself on the front pages, this time not as a reporter, but as the subject of a national controversy. She is accused of having an affair with President Gannon. Becoming a victim of the fake news stories her former colleagues post in the papers and on social media about her, losing her job in the story’s aftermath. Lark is determined to find out who leaked personal information which became the basis of the fake news story.

Much like the headlines of today, the stories bring strong feelings about Lark from friends, strangers and colleagues. Many feel as if they know the story and Lark without getting the facts. Becoming the judge, jury and jailer, some of the general public hates Lark without ever meeting her. Will someone take matters into their own hands?

Lark’s story could be taken from today’s headlines. She is merely doing her job to the best of her ability. Getting caught up in the court of public opinion to the point of being in danger is the last thing she imagined for her life.

DeDakis brilliantly combines the current trend of the general population’s personal feelings about public figures as well as the personal side from the accused point of view. The real consequences to the lies that have been published change lives.

The characters in Fake are brought to life in the realistic setting DeDakis creates. From the insider look into the lives of the White House press contingency to the appointments with a grief counselor, the characters are interesting and quickly become real to the reader. He touches on many hot topics in addition to the fake news thread that runs throughout. Sex abuse, the ethical decisions journalists make and the personal effects half-truths have on the characters are all brought to the reader to think about long after the last pages are read.

I love a book that is current and relevant in addition to telling an interesting story. Fake makes the reader think about the nightly news in a different, more personal way. The mystery of who leaked personal information was an additional layer of interest. Hopefully we will see more of Lark Chadwick in the future.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Shirtless Men Drink Free – Hidden Agendas Are Ugly Bedfellows

Shirtless Men Drink Free

By Dwaine Rieves

Jackson Beekman is a rising star in his home state of Georgia. Currently the attorney general, his sights are set on the Governor’s office. But nothing is free in this world, least of all politics. Jackson needs to hedge his bets, so he begins building his campaign team.

Dr. Jane Beekman, Jackson’s sister-in-law, is one of the handpicked circle he chooses for his team.  She brings a personal agenda to the table. Politics are known for quid pro quo, and Jane is no exception. Her mother recently died a painful death due to her lifelong addiction to tobacco. She agrees to work for Jackson, and he agrees to push her agenda of raising the tax on tobacco as soon as he gets in office.

Jackson, like any human, has baggage. The problem with his is it is deep seated and hidden from almost everyone. His brother Price shares the sorrows and secrets of Jackson’s past. Price will keep the family secrets, but unbeknownst to the candidate, someone else from their past may come back to haunt Jackson.

The emotional roller coaster that the main characters ride is lightning fast. Jackson, Price and Jane are complex and complicated, their individual personalities jump from the pages and into the reader’s head.

The depth of this novel is coupled with an easy style that flows beautifully for the reader. It is hard to put this book in a box. It is fiction laced with facts, politics, social issues and human fallibility. The closest I can come to placing a label on Shirtless Men Drink Free is contemporary literary fiction. Contemporary due to the recurring theme of tobacco legislations and known health problems associated with it as well as social issues of today. I add the label “Literary” because Rieves’ beautiful use of the English language is evident throughout the book, but never pretentious.

If you only read one book this year that is not in your usual genre, I highly recommend this brilliant debut novel by Dwaine Rieves, Shirtless Men Drink Free. Read it for the human side of volatile issues that are hot topics in today’s headlines.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Mark on Eve – History and Mystery in a Perfect Package

The Mark on Eve  The Mark on Eve

By Joel Fox

280 pages

Fox  begins The Mark on Eve in New York City 1835. Eve Hale (one of the many names she goes by throughout her life) scoffs at P.T. Barnum’s 161 year-old-woman. It takes one to know one and Eve knows a charlatan when she sees one. Born in the early 1700’s, Eve was cursed by a spell when she tangled with a local witch, Eve was left to wander the earth until the end of time or break the curse by kissing her dead lover on the lips, whichever comes first.

The next chapter is set in modern times. There is a woman running for president and Eve is the first to support her. She has seen women become more powerful over the years and is doing everything she can to get her candidate elected. That literally translates to taking a bullet for her.

Without thinking, Eve jumps in front of the candidate when she sees a would be assassin take aim. Eve is hurt, but miraculously survives a wound that would have killed any other person.  The candidate feels indebted to Eve,  and makes her a part of the political machine rolling towards the White House.

With the national exposure of this incident comes the press. In particular Tom Evanger. Eve Skeller is a mystery to him. She doesn’t want any press for saving the person most likely to be the next President of the United States. What intrigues Evanger even more is he cannot find a record of Eve anywhere other than the fact that she owns a production company that focuses on historical movies. No birth certificate, marriage or divorce information or even a driver’s license can be found in Eve’s name.

His persistence forces Eve to face the demons of her past that are rushing towards her as Evanger begins looking under every stone to uncover her secret. If he keeps digging, he might just bury them both.

Expertly weaving between the past and the present, Fox fills in all of Eve’s years and past personas until they collide in present day California. I love the way he lets the reader know where Eve is with section headings such as “Washington, D.C., 1867”. The chapters are short within the sections, making the reader keep turning pages to see where Eve will take us next.

Watching Eve morph into each different setting she has to adapt to is really interesting. She keeps some of her basic traits, but must change and grow with the times to fit it. As she leaves friends and lovers behind when age catches up with them, she begins closing emotions deep inside herself to avoid the pain. It is very interesting watching her interact with Evanger. He is a man that interests her and frightens her at that same time.

History buffs, mystery fans and anyone who loves to get lost in an intriguing tale will love this book. Fox deftly changes settings and locations, pulling the reader along for a fabulously interesting ride. Any author that can combine pirates, lost love, witches, a woman that cannot die and a few other twists and turns that I’ll let you find on your own is a master.

Fox has written two other books that I will be adding to my queue, FDR’s Treasure and Lincoln’s Hand. Both are from his Zane Rigby Murder Mystery Series.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

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Now for Something Completely Different

And now for something completely different. The challenge of the week is fun. It makes me think and stretch my chops as a writer and blogger.  Check it out here and write along. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-and-now-for-something-completely-different/

I am one of the bloggers that has one foot in the technical, informational posts and one foot in the personal posts. I originally had one blog where I wrote about my fiber arts and my quest as a newbie writer. Then I worried that I was boring the handful of readers I’d collected and decided to split the blogs apart so said handful could decide which interested them, either or both and have the choice.
Both of them have posts that are technical, such as knitting techniques and writing/publishing links and references. And both of them have bits of my personal life woven in. I am always hesitant to post blogs that outline my day or those that give too much of me to the world.

I don’t really post opinions about things I feel strongly about because there are plenty of soap boxes out there with people shouting from them without me adding to the din.

Since this week’s challenge asks for something completely different, soap box it is.

 

Politics. Only second to religion in controversy. (One shaky foot lifting slowly, every so slowly up to the rough pine boards of the box)
I HATE POLITICS. Politicians are a rare breed. They bluster and bore, lie and promise. Who are the real people behind the red, white and blue masks? I don’t know and I don’t care.

One party is as bad as the other. Unless you live in Illinois. Then some of them have dropped to new lows by becoming felons. (Seriously, two of our last three governors are in federal prisons right now!)

I am tired of listening to one candidate trash the other and the second candidate trashing back during every commercial break. The papers are slanted. Television news shows are slanted and there are excuses abounding from both sides.

Some people live for politics. Good for you, grab your own soap box and megaphone and go to town. This is my soap box of political apathy, so listen or walk away. We live in a free country.

 

We are promised change, but the only changes I’ve seen are not good. Unemployment is still rampant. Don’t start shouting back at me that the numbers are down. Of course they are, people have been on it so long they have dropped off because they’ve used up all of their benefits. You say I don’t know what I am talking about? HA. We had a big RIF three years ago at work. Less than half of those workers have found jobs and those that have not are no longer eligible for unemployment.

There there is health care. Don’t get me started (pulling the second foot onto soapbox because now I am getting into this) because I personally know someone was critically ill for over two years after being laid off work because his department was closed. No insurance, 72 days in one hospital, also in 2 other hospitals, literally was given less than 30% chance of making it and didn’t qualify for any government health assistance. Now said government wants to require him to purchase health insurance or face a fine if the new laws got through. He can’t afford his RX, make enough money to live on his own yet and would have starved to death with out help from his family. How are people like him supposed to pay for government mandated insurance???? As a politician. I am sure they have a list of pat answers ready to spout.

Then there is voting. Maybe I can make a difference in a local election. But I seriously doubt my vote for president matters at all. Apathy abounds! But then again, look at the voting record of your state reps and congressmen. Most of them don’t show up to vote either.

Do you think I am anti-American? If so, you haven’t seen the flag waving behind my soap box. I love this country. I love the freedoms and opportunities the USA provides. It is the politics and lobbyists and special interest groups that I abhor.

 

If one politician ran without a huge war chest of money collected from groups and individuals that weren’t expecting something in return I just might put a sign in my front yard. But until then, I am sick and tired of being lied to. Don’t promise me anything you can’t deliver. And quite talking about how much you have done to make life better when it is all smoke and mirrors.

But for now I am carefully stepping off of my soap box, folding up my unpopular opinions and picking up the story I am working on and my knitting needles.

Wow. Being different from my usual me is exhausting.

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