The View North From Liberal Cemetery
By Joel Wapnick
ISBN-13: 978-0-9938662-0-3, 299 Pages, Four stars
Available on Amazon for Kindle $2.99
This is a story about a retired college professor’s late life shift in values that occur partially as a result of the influence of another person and partially as a result of encountering circumstances beyond his control in his own life that change his self-image. The story is, at the same time, humorous, tragic, moving, and puzzling. The change in attitude by Carl Anderson changes smoothly from sharp, critical tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to helpful concern as the story progresses.
Carl Anderson is a, eighty-three year old retired professor of religions that lives in a community for the elderly. He prefers the company of his own thoughts and shuns social interactions with the other residents. He has no patience for what he considers meaningless social interactions and less patience for other people’s problems. That begins to change when Carl meets Shelly the librarian at his local library. Shelly is fifty-seven years younger than Carl, but they become fast friends.
Carl suggests a trip to Liberal, Kansas, to look up a girl that he had befriended in high-school and to learn more of his family background. What he finds shakes his confidence and his self-image. Shelly tries to restore his perspective, but she has her own problems of which Carl is unaware. Later, Carl realizes that Shelly’s problems are larger and more important than his own psychological imperfections causing him to lay aside his own issues for a while.
This book is intense at times, gripping and probably not for everyone. The storyline and situations encountered by the characters are important, entertaining and designed to focus attention on a particular set of very human problems, however, it is written from Carl Anderson’s academic thought perspective. The style is likely to try the patience of many readers preventing a five star rating.
Overall, this is an excellent book and an excellent read full of dark psychological rumination and true-to-life and death drama.
Available on Amazon for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/View-North-Liberal-Cemetery/dp/0993866204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432213745&sr=8-1&keywords=Joel+Wapnick
"Lost Sols, Book 1, Ancient Treasure"
Lost Sols, Book 1, Ancient Treasure
James Kirk Bisceglia
ISBN-13: 978-1500617653 / ISBN 10:1500617652, 367 pages, Three stars
Available on Amazon for Kindle $4.99
This is a story about Vincent an archeologist who sets out to complete his Grandmother Maria’s archeological research. Maria, killed in an airplane crash, had been studying extraterrestrial structures and artifacts in Antarctica and other locations. Vincent, aware that Maria’s research was tightly monitored by the CIA, is shocked to learn that the U.S. government had murdered her on suspicion that she had taken a piece of alien technology from a CIA secured site. Vincent is thrust into a wild series of events both to further Maria’s research and to exact a measure of revenge against the government in retaliation for Maria’s death. The trail leads them into space aboard a transport named the Constellation pursued by the U.S. military. The mission becomes a very personal one for all of the members of the Constellation’s crew as the U.S. Government tries repeatedly to kill them and destroy the Constellation.
The action is quick, entertaining and holds reader attention. The characters are likeable, but thin. The end is satisfying. This could be a great science fiction book with a significant re-write.
Unfortunately, the copy I read suffered from serious editing flaws. To name only a few, there was no paragraph formatting, the wrong words were often used; for example “Then” rather than “Than”. Characters and objects were sometime mixed up; for example, interchanging Julie and Sarah, and mixing up the ships Constellation and Avenger. The writing style is stilted and awkward, with little or no character development or description. Conversations between characters are awkward and not believable. Without appropriate use of quotations and paragraphs, who said what in the conversations is confusing and hard to follow. Essential items magically appear; for example, instead of explaining that an unarmed transport was modified and had a laser installed before launch, the laser magically appeared fully installed because the captain thought it may be useful. The majority of the text is made up of short narrative statements, offered without background or detail.
In the hands of a master storyteller, this storyline has excellent potential. As written, it struggles for three stars.
Available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Treasure-Lost-Sols-Book-ebook/dp/B00MKUBW00/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432213048&sr=8-1&keywords=Lost+Sols
Clabe Polk is into a second career as a fiction author. He has taken more than thirty-seven years of professional managerial experience, scientific background, a lifetime of practical skills, his love of reading, research and writing and combined them into action stories about real people told in a tongue-in-cheek style all his own.
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