Monthly Archives: October 2015

Travel: Shahidlar Xotirasi Monument (Tashkent)

I think you will find a war memorial in every capital city in the world. I’ve lost count how many memorials I’ve visited, but I always think it is time well-spent. Whether you are searching for meaning, perspective or simply to understand, the need to honor our dead and the way we do so is a telling commentary on both our values and humanity.

I had an opportunity to visit the Shahidlar Xotirasi Memorial in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It literally means “memory of the victims of repressions” and it was built to honor the 13,000 Uzbek citizens who were shot on orders from Stalin. On the inside, it bears the inscription: “The memory of those who died for their country will live forever.”
tashkent war memorial


Book Review: Final Hour

This is the second novella that features Makani and Pogo in the build-up to the release of ASHLEY BELL. Makani has the supernatural ability to read a person’s darkest secrets with a simple touch, but as we found out with LAST LIGHT this power can lead to devastating results.

In FINAL HOUR Makani again crosses paths with a psychopath—but unlike LAST LIGHT, which saw Makani and Pogo fighting for their own survival, this time they are on a mission to save an imprisoned girl.

It’s a quick read, and while it’s not even close to my favorite Dean Koontz novella it is still much, much better than the typical “short” that noted authors are routinely releasing these days in advance of their new novels.

There is always a reason for the madness in a Dean Koontz story—and I find that incredibly admirable, especially given the shallowness of the society we live in today. A quote from FINAL HOUR illustrates this: “It’s the sanest thing of all to live your life with the understanding that every hour may be the final hour.”

I would definitely recommend this novella: 5/5 stars.

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Book Review: Rogue Lawyer

If John Grisham is ever in urgent need of help from the police, for his sake I hope the officers that respond haven’t read this book. I understand this is fiction, but I seriously don’t understand how Grisham, his agent, editors, publicists and publishing team thought it would be a good idea to create a protagonist that denigrates police officers and other public officials on nearly every page of the book. I would be very interested to read a review of this book that is written by someone affiliated with law enforcement.

There is even a character that declares he is going to renounce his citizenship and leave the country because he can’t take “it” anymore. “It” being America, I guess. Well, hey, in the real world I have lived overseas in service to my country and I have been in places where the people truly live in fear of the cops and the government. And guess what? It doesn’t look anything like America.

Again, I know this is fiction—but even setting aside the asinine ramblings about how corrupt it is in America, this is still a terrible book.

It is divided into six parts, and they are so disjointed that for the first half of the book I couldn’t fathom why it was being sold as a novel. It felt like a collection of unrelated novellas. There is very little dialogue in the beginning of the book. It’s “this” and “that” and “then” and on and on it goes. The threads do finally come together, at least somewhat, in the second half of the book, and for a moment I thought it might even get interesting because there was a scene that perfectly set up the rogue lawyer to show some growth as a character … but geez, it turns out he was right all along. The cops, mayors, judges, soldiers and city councilmembers are all evil.

Honestly, if this is a reflection of John Grisham’s worldview—and it might be, because as he did with GRAY MOUNTAIN he tends to insert his causes into his writing—then I feel sorry for him. I don’t care how much money he has, it must be a miserable existence to have such a bleak outlook on life. Look, I get it—we have problems in America. Things aren’t perfect. Fiction is a great tool for illuminating those problems and generating discussion for how they can be fixed.

But that is not happening with this book.

I simply can’t recommend it: 1/5 stars.

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