Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!

Book Review: Mom’s of the Missing by Steffen Hou

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. I normally do not read a lot of non-fiction, but I am truly glad to have read Mom’s of the Missing.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steffen Hou for reaching out to me.

 

About the Book:

 

Release Date: 10-15-2019

Paperback: 262 pages

Genre: True Crime

ISBN: 978-1-54397-972-5 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-54397-973-2 (ebook)

Publisher: BookBaby

 

 

“Oh my God, we found a dead body.” The man’s voice, calling from a mountain trail in Cleveland National Forest, was frantic. “Please hurry. I’m so scared. It’s a little kid.” When police arrived, they were met by a horrific sight. The girl was naked and had been positioned in such a way that detectives believed the murderer had seen his kill as some kind of a trophy. As if he were showing off his “work”. The little kid was Samantha Runnion, a five-year-old girl who had been abducted while playing in her parents’ garden the day before.

Samantha is just one of too many American kids who disappear. Almost half a million children are reported missing every year. And all across America parents are searching for their missing children or—if the worst case scenario has come to pass—the person who killed them.

Moms of the Missing investigates ten abduction cases. Through personal and heartbreaking interviews with the victims, it describes how parents maintain their hopes of one day finding their children—some of whom were taken by a stranger, a family member, or human traffickers. And two survivors tell what it is like to be held captive.

Moms of the Missing explores the principal types of abductions, and—not of least importance—who’s most likely to become a victim of the epidemic of missing children.

About the Author:

Steffen Hou (born 1975) is a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author he
has written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking,
and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is his
third book.

Contact the author: steffen.hou@houmedia.dk

Website: steffenhou.com

Facebook: facebook.com/steffen.hou

Twitter: @steffenhou

My Thoughts:

As clearly stated in the synopsis, this book deals with facts and investigates ten abduction cases. Through each case we are introduced to the kinds of abductions that exist and how they can happen. This is presented to us through interviews with family members who have had to deal with the loss of a child.

Each experience shared is harrowing and scary, difficult for most of to understand, but necessary for us to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult to digest the kinds of cruelty out there in the world, but through this book, Steffen Hou and the affected people would like to bring about an awareness. Awareness is a must to be able to take preventive actions.

The book is very well structure as explained by the author in the prologue. The reader is introduced to the type of abduction, followed by a description and the authorities or body(ies) to be alerted. This is then followed by a detailed account of an experience. What happened on the day of the abduction? The nature of the child in general and their relationship with their family. The heartbreak and trauma the family faces when the child is missing. The support or non-support of the authorities. A step forward and a few backwards everyday towards trying to find an answer. And then a conclusion, good or bad, but with a strong message.

I would like to share that I respect those who have come forward to support this book and share their stories. It is definitely not easy to have your life taken apart and then to talk about it. The main message of the book is to keep up Hope and to contact the right people if a crime has already been committed and a child is missing. It is also about the prevention of such crimes and the steps we can take to educate ourselves, our peers and our children.

Though this was a difficult book to read, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it brings about an awareness on a very important topic that could help any one of us in the world today.

We are all in this together and we should learn to support one another. Also, please be aware and sensitive towards other people!

Thank you Steffen for bringing your book to my notice!

Book Review: The Legacy of the Heirs by A. V. V. Reddi

It is with great pleasure and pride that I write this post today.

I would like to introduce you all to The Legacy of the Heirs, Book 1 in a series written by my good friend A. V. V. Reddi. This is his first published work.

Read on to know more about the book and my thoughts about it.

About the Book:

Paperback: 348 pages

Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (13 July 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1645465934

ISBN-13: 978-1645465935

 

John Rolland, the head of an erstwhile crime family, discovers a plot to murder him. The person he turns to for help is his grandson Viktor. With each member of the family having their own agendas and alliances, Viktor embraces the legacy of his family and begins work on protecting his inheritance and the ones he loves. As Viktor goes deeper into this world, he discovers that more people are involved than he first expected and that more drastic steps needed to be taken for him to survive.

The book can be found here: Notion Press, Amazon, Flipkart

About the Author:

A. V. V. Reddi, an entrepreneur and heir to a legacy, brings his passion for writing forward with his first novel at the age of 27. It can be said that the apple does not fall far from the tree, as Reddi is the great-grandson of the famous film producer B. Nagi Reddi, who helped shape the foundations of Indian cinema.

A businessman and startup founder by day and an author by night, Reddi is fun, charismatic and intelligent, as is evidenced by his writing style and narrative. Having experience in various walks of life right from the world of politics to the world of industry, thanks to his legacy, Reddi brings to life compelling characters with strong motives and bold personalities.

Reddi now runs a successful educational startup and works in his family business while dedicating his spare time to creative writing both in the form of fiction and poetry.

My Thoughts:

Note: This is my honest and unbiased opinion of the book.

The Legacy of the Heirs is built up on a strong plot filled with intrigue, mystery and a whole lot of family drama. At first it might seem as though the story is confusing, but upon persisting, the reader is in for a treat.

On the surface, the family seems to work fine together, but if you go and peak beneath, there are so many shades to each character. Everyone has secrets to hide and their own confidantes within the family circle. The story focuses mainly on Viktor, the grandson of John Rolland, and his aim to protect his family no matter the cost. We are introduced to his close knit circle of friends who are ready to do anything for him.

These characters are brought in one by one and are well thought out. We are given glimpses into who they are and how they fit into Viktor’s life. Apart from the friends, comes the entire Rolland family: the children, their spouses and the grand children. The reader is dropped right in the middle of a murder plot and then something along the lines of revenge.

Reddi weaves an intricate web of love, lies and deceit to ensure that the reader remains hooked. He has also managed to handle a large number of characters with ease. As a reader, we can understand each person’s significance and their role in this elaborate plot. The story is well written and seamlessly flows from one situation to the next.

By the end of the book, the reader is left yearning for more!

 

Join Leopold Blake on his thrilling adventure in Panic by Nick Stephenson

About the Book:

Panic

Swift. Silent. Deadly.

Leopold Blake, expert criminology consultant for the FBI, had his weekend all planned out – and it didn’t involve dealing with a murdered senator, a high-profile kidnapping, and at least three near-death experiences.

Three politicians have been murdered in as many weeks, all expertly dispatched, and only Leopold can get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, as all hell breaks loose on the streets of New York City, he soon finds himself the next target of a powerful enemy who wants him silenced. Permanently.

Against a backdrop of political corruption and murder, Leopold and his team must fight for their lives to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

This book is  the second in the Leopold Blake series and is a fast-paced thriller. There is an ongoing murder investigation and Blake is called in to consult.  It is interesting to read about how his mind works and how he works with people. Being rich and having access to everything he wants, he sometimes takes advantage of his position and power! His bodyguard, Jeremy is a tough and interesting guy who ensures that he always has Blake’s back. Bring in a police detective and a civilian, and the author gives us a random mix of people, who are unlikely to meet, let alone work together under normal circumstances.

Though the story flows very well and the plot is well thought out, at times it felt as though the deductions were too easy and that Blake doesn’t have to put in too much effort to solve things. This makes it a little unrealistic to read about. However, putting this aside, the way the story is written is intriguing, making it difficult for the reader to figure out what is going on before the characters in the story do. The story has a lot of action, and adventure in it, with the characters racing against time to catch the culprit. The characters are mostly well developed, though at times they tend to behave in ways that might be difficult for the reader to relate to, but they are deep and complex overall.

As they race against the clock, so does the reader, as we turn page after page to quickly understand the plot and the meaning of the title “Panic”. This book is definitely worth the read for those who love a good mystery thriller!

Book Review: Fraternity of Fractures by Mark Pannebecker

About the Book:

Fraternity of Fractures

Justin Sunder and Phoenix are master cat burglars and best friends until Dylan Panicosky enters their circle of hedonism and crime. Set in the blighted city of St. Louis in the ‘80s, Fraternity of Fractures is a love triangle played out in an urban setting full of nocturnal adventures, drugs, sex, and danger, with all the players fractured in their own way.

My Thoughts:

This is a rather dark story that delves into the minds of people and shows us the ways of criminals. The author portrays crime as an art, describing it with great care and attention to detail.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story as it was a little confusing. The style of writing is very different and the characters themselves, though clear about their lives are confusing. After a while, it became easier to settle into the story and follow the lives of the characters. There are a variety of character types in this story adding more color to the general mix and helping to setup the scenes.

One thing that stuck with me was the way the author played out the love triangle. It was masterfully crafted with a clear direction. The author does not beat around the bush and make it a messy affair. The focus on crime is the basis on which the rest of the plot is built and the turn of events eventually will give the reader the kind of closure that one can come to expect from this author’s style of writing.

An overall interesting experience, this story delivers what it set out to, with a mix of crime, romance and some dark humour thrown into the mix. It is from a rather different perspective having characters who are flawed just like we are, making it easy to relate to them and understand what makes them tick. Once you get used to the writing, and look past all the heavy description, the story is worth the read!

Book Review: Operation Superstar by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao

I have been quite fortunate to get a chance to connect with and collaborate with Juggernaut.

I was given a free copy of this book, published by them in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know my thoughts.

About the Book:

(Taken from the blurb mentioned on the app)

operation-superstar_300_rgb

Bollywood superstar Junaid Kapoor is in deep trouble. Ex-wife Neha is not happy with the alimony settlement. She is threatening to release photographs of JK with his mystery lover.

Operation Superstar by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is exclusively available on www.juggernaut.in

My Thoughts:

This book is around 60 pages and is a very quick read. The story revolves around Junaid Kapoor, a Bollywood superstar, recently divorced and trying to ensure that his wife doesn’t release some photographs that she has of him with his mystery lover. The story jumps right in with Junaid meeting our protagonist, the lady who will make all this go away and ensure that his ex-wife has nothing to threaten him with.

The story is written in the typical style of a Bollywood film, but is lacking in substance. For a short story, it is thorough, but there is not enough information anywhere about any of the characters. The author’s style of writing is good and flows well, but the characters are not developed enough. Everything just seems to happen and fall into place so easily. Quite frankly, however good you are, things are not this easy in reality. This put me off the book a little and was the reason that I did not enjoy it a lot.

Overall, this can be read while taking a break from work or having a bite to eat. It has some elements of entertainment that will keep the reader momentarily entertained.

In Conversation with E.S. Ready

We have had the pleasure of talking to E.S. Ready about the author’s life, writing and interests. Read on to know more.

Find my review of Until Someday on the blog. The review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon.com

The next book by the author, titled Crywood, is expected to be released in July this year!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

         I graduated from the University of New Haven in 2011 (A lifetime ago it seems) with a degree in Criminal Justice. Back when I was searching for colleges I wanted to be an English major. I was convinced the pursuit would be fruitless. The Criminal Justice major was ultimately fruitless so I wrote Until Someday. Funny how the world works. I wanted to become a cop and I became a plumbing apprentice for my father’s business and a writer of stories people seem to enjoy.

  1. How did you get into writing?

         I didn’t really get into writing, writing got into me. Don’t worry… it was consensual. Writing has been a part of me ever since I can remember. I always had a fondness and appreciation for stories and telling them, whether it was with a pen or in a social setting. I unfortunately ignored it for a huge chunk of my life and then Until Someday arrived like an overdue baby.

  1. What are your favorite genres and your favorite books?

          My favorite genres are mystery, crime, historical, action/adventure and some horror. I’m a sucker for a realistic romantic subplot. I’ll read just about anything accept fantasy or BDSM crap.

          My favorite author is Dennis Lehane. I’m also pretty fond of Richard Matheson and Charles Bukowski, two very different writers. I of course admire guys like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Its important to read a variety, you grow more as a writer that way. Some of my favorite books include the Kenzie/Gennaro series by Lehane, I Am Legend by Matheson, and Women by Bukowski.

  1. How did you get the idea for Until Someday?

       I’ve always been fascinated by the first half of the 20th Century. The 1920s, 30s and 40s were an especially interesting and tough time to be alive. The roaring twenties gave us the splendor of The Great Gatspy. Two of my favorite movies growing up were Key Largo and Die Hard. I guess you could say Until Someday is a sort of the oddball offspring of Gatspy, Die Hard and Key Largo.

  1. Tell us about your research process into the year the book is set in.

       Thank God for the internet. I found everything that I needed to find far faster than I would if I’d written this book even fifteen years ago. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it was easy. I had to get everything accurate or as damn close to accurate as possible. This meant materialistic things such as cars, clothing, guns and décor, but also language/ dialect. I wanted it to feel real an immersive. I wanted the reader to be right there in the action.

  1. Who is your favorite character among those you have created and why?

       I won’t include Emmett as an option for favorite. I don’t think its fair to include the main character of anything in a favorites contest since the reader spends more time with that person than anyone else. If my arm was being twisted I would have to say that Luther Irvin was the most fun to write. Actors often say its more fun to play a villain and now I see why. Unfortunately, the creation of Irvin’s character was bittersweet for me because I already knew how he would end up before I put him on the page.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

       Not much was difficult about actually writing it. Stories flow out of me pretty easily. Finding the time and place of peace to execute it wasn’t always easy. It will be harder in the future since I’m now working full time. But where there’s a will there’s a way.

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel?

       My best advice to anyone wishing to write a novel is to read a lot of novels. When you actually do write, start small with poems or short stories. If you do want to dive into writing a novel, try and keep it under 300 pages. Think shorter but dream big. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

Book Review: Until Someday by E.S. Ready

About the Book:

Until Someday

The year is 1927 and professional boxer Emmett Roane is losing his grip on reality. His career is faltering, memories of a lost love haunt him and the horrors of the Great War muddle his mind. Emmett’s past is hobbling his future, and no amount of booze or knockout blows can ease his painful memories. Seeking solace in the place where he and his Anna had once been so happy, Emmett leaves Brooklyn for a few days alone in Newport at the gilded waterfront Hermann Hotel. During a fateful weekend as he tries to make peace with his ghosts, Emmett crosses paths with Maude Mable, a lively beauty with secrets of her own. But they soon learn the luxury hotel also hosts Luther Irvin, an opium-addicted mobster who is as violent as he is desperate. When Emmett and Maude discover Luther’s hideous plan to wage war on a rival gang, the pair is thrust into a deadly match of wits and force. His back against the ropes, Emmett finds his quest for self-restoration has become a mission of survival-for him, Maude and everyone at the Hermann. Can Emmett Roane, a fighter who desperately seeks an elusive peace, halt the embodiment of evil while finding a way to heal his own heart and mind?

My Thoughts:

E.S. Ready has given us a good novel set in the year 1927, when mobsters tended to make the rules. The protagonist Emmett Roane, a professional boxer is seen fighting not just people but also his own demons. Haunted by the death of his love, Anna, he is seen talking to her a lot. These situations feature direct conversations which make us believe that Emmett is actually talking to Anna and in a way I assume he is. As he struggles to move past her death, while trying to divert his mind with alcohol, he goes to Newport for a few days to take a break. As fate has it, we are introduced to Maude, a sassy, forward lady who singles Emmett out and spends time with him.

In a slightly cliche manner, a romance develops between the two. However, the author does throw in some twists when we find out that a mobster, out for revenge is also staying at the same hotel. Pulled into the same plot, Emmett and Maude are forced to face their fears and help save innocent lives. Emmett, having fought in the Great War, and partly haunted by the horrors of then, but well trained is seen wielding the various guns that the mobster and his goons have.

The story is fast paced and set over a weekend. The plot flows well in-spite of some of the cliches and it makes for a good read. There is a good amount of action thrown in and each persons desires and fears are brought out. The plot features characters filled with hatred, lusting for revenge and death while others that want to move forward from their pasts and have a better life. As one can conclude, our protagonist cannot go somewhere and expect a quiet time! Trouble does seem to follow him around even if he isn’t trying to seek it out.

The characters of the story are well developed and the story comes to life withe the author’s vivid descriptions of the scenes, especially the ones that involve fighting. Everything is described as though under scrutiny of a microscope and each part is broken down to the very last bit. A good read, the author seems to have depicted the time in which the story is set pretty well. He paints a strong and vivid picture.

Until Someday, the title of the book resonates in the pages towards the end when Emmett makes peace with Anna’s death and promises her, in his mind that they will meet again, someday! A worthy read!

Sirens spell danger

This is a novel which consists of 3 stories written by 3 different people. The is an anthology of crime novellas and are centered on murder, mystery, and crime. The authors: Suresh C, Karthik L and Radha Sawana brought together their love for reading and their passion for writing in their stories, Femme Fatale, Bellary and Bella Donna.

sirens spell danger

I read this book at the request of the author and with the promise of an honest review. So here goes. As an avid reader myself, I found this novel an interesting opportunity to explore new authors. I can frankly admit I was mind blown. I have observed that it is very easy to write a conventional 300 pages or more novel, but to write a story, to put out everything you want to say in about 100 pages and still convey everything you want to is an art and takes a lot of practice. Most authors may find this difficult, but the authors of this novel have tackled this with ease.

I am going to share my thoughts on each story separately.

Femme Fatale:

This is a story that kept me hooked till the end. The story follows the protagonist Vicky as he is mistaken for a secret agent and gets dragged into the middle of a plot which may mean the end of Bangalore. The character is portrayed beautifully and in a realistic manner with hardly any exaggeration. The story is well written and told in such a manner so as to keep the reader sitting on tenterhooks waiting to know what happens next. For a short story, this gets straight to the point and the author keeps true to his story line with no deviation. This story is full of twists and the ending is surprising and very well rendered.

Bella Donna:

Keeping true to her background, author Radha has used her expertise in the field of chemistry to write a beautiful story full of mystery, murder and intrigue. The story is well crafted and beautifully written. The plot is intriguing and  has been well tackled. The details of the deaths and how the bodies are placed when found and forensic evidence is interesting and a lot of research seems to have gone into writing these.The suspense is built up really well and twist at the end is brilliant. The few lines before every chapter that are dedicated to what the killer thinks are well written introspection’s and a good insight into the character’s mind. The characters are well thought out and well placed throughout the story and this makes it much easier to relate to them.

Bellary:

This story taps into mythology and the world or demons and is a good read. It is delivered precisely with no deviation from the plot whatsoever. A supernatural occurrence and all things supernatural are sometimes hard to comprehend and relate to, but the author handles it effortlessly and delivers a wonderful story that will keep the reader turning the pages. The plot is fast paced and all questions that may arise throughout in the readers mind are answered by the end. The characters are brought into the plot as required and the details necessary are presented neatly and concisely. I really enjoyed this story as it was handled differently from the conventional murder mysteries and crime stories that come out.

Sirens Spell Danger: An overall view

Overall, I loved this book. Each story made me feel like I was a part of the story and that I was also experiencing what the protagonist or any other character was. The situations and setting of each scene were so aptly described that it was easy to draw parallels in my imagination. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading stories from this genre.