RULA, The Heist ISBN: 9781976968525, copyright and written by Nicole Parris.
The story opens when a young woman checks out of a cheap hotel on the fourth day of a dismal rain in London. Apropos instructions she had been given, it was late in the evening when she hires a taxi to be taken to a remote location. Supposedly her activity was being undertaken in an effort to right numerous wrongs. On the way, her cab is struck purposely and repeatedly by a car she assumes contains someone wishing to steal the contents of a small metal box she had been instructed to guard with her life. It was a box that held centuries of secrets and codes of Rula – a strange, ancient game whose secrets had been retained for centuries by one noble Italian family and had impacted society through the years in often evil and unexpected ways. Another car attempts to cut in but quite literally explodes just before the three cars arrive at a bridge crossing a sizeable stream. The original attacking car precedes them onto and across the nearing bridge and on the other side shoots out the taxi’s tires to stop the car. The attacking car’s driver then shoots the driver, and moves to open the passenger door where “trapped alone in the back seat, a part of Abby died with him. She relaxed. This was how she imagined her life would end – on the side of a dark road, alone at the mercy of ‘them’.” From this initial activity the reader is taken on a complex journey that begins in 1980 when the heir to the noble Italian family decides to acquire five new players to participate again in the ancient game. One of the players engaged is a prominent, intelligent and cunning magician who has an agenda of his own in playing. The ensuing action then shifts constantly through multiple scenes in London and others here in the U.S. and involves the now twenty-year-older magician, his henchman, a beautiful, spoiled, rebellious, wealthy young woman wishing to make her own way as an investigative reporter, the small paper’s owner, a male co-worker, a new husband who is the best friend of a man who also serves in the same capacity with her, her dominant father and several other interesting individuals.
Discussion: First and foremost, the author has provided a well-written, fascinating plot with most empathetically presented characters in a story that should offer various degrees of appeal to devotees of mystery, suspense, romance, thriller, for those enjoying erotica and even a bit of paranormal interest. The plot is complex, the main characters all exhibit varying degrees of mental ‘quirks’, some from obvious past occurrences while others are discerned as arising from other unknown factors. Most of the rather copious descriptions of places and activity appear to be justified with the particularly descriptive erotic activity, although well-done, appearing to be somewhat overly presented in that the quantity does not add appreciatively to the story. Further from this reviewer’s perspective, although some confusion occurs occasionally, most is eliminated as one progresses through the book, so there is really only one problematic feature for certain prospective readers – those who do not like being forced to read a serial. This volume introduces the reader ONLY to the first part of a story that seemingly will be extended through several episodes.
3* 5* fascinating plot, empathetically characterized. 3* important caveat.
The Caged Butterfly, published by L. B. Publishing, a novel copyright and written by Marian L, Thomas.
The story is presented in three parts, the First follows the life of a young black girl who had been in a sincerely loving relationship with an equally young white boy. Because it was thought best by the boy’s parents and the girl’s mother she is whisked away to Chicago from the small Georgia town. The boy does not know she has become pregnant and the girl learns just before giving birth that her heart probably will not survive the process. She writes a letter for her unborn child asking that he/she blame no one and not to generate any hatred. She gives birth and as suspected does not survive. The next part follows the life of the child who is male, adopted by a wealthy couple as the totally white child he appears to be, only to be discovered a couple of years later because of faulty adoption agency records to be black. The discovery makes no difference to the husband but severely affect his southern-born wife who heaps all types of abuse on the child until he moves out of the house when reaching his legal age. During his growing years he is raised by a black Nanny who is recommended by a woman who knows her well but not her undisclosed relationship with the child. She is responsible almost literally for the child’s survival and when he decides to leave persuades a jazz playing relative to take him to New York and attempt to get him a job as a musician. The boy is a superb pianist, is hired to play and becomes famous, especially because of his ability as a white person to beautifully perform jazz and soul music with the distinctive ‘feel’ of a black musician. Suddenly he learns he actually is black, cannot withstand the backlash all with disastrous results. Meanwhile, he had fallen completely in love with a singer at the club and unknowingly had impregnated her. The third part of the story follows the life of the little girl who is the result of the loving relationship.
Discussion: Although the book’s introductory material lists suggested short reference titles to be looked for as 1. Women’s – Fiction. 2. Romance – Fiction 3. Domestic – Fiction, the reader gains an immediate sense of being introduced to something unique with a deeply thoughtful theme existing just below the surface. Not only is this thought substantiated, but actually strengthened as one continues to read. The tale begins with a prologue that contains a letter from the protagonist of the first part of the story that begins “To the child inside me” and sets forth the first activity of the book as well as portending much of the subsequent action and the importance of her letter on succeeding family members. Her words actually well explain the substance and theme of the story. “Inner beauty and intelligence, that’s what makes a woman.” But not knowing the gender of the child to be born, she also says “If I could give you one piece of advice, I’d tell you this – love the skin you’re in. Believe in inner beauty. Even a man has it.” Also, if you don’t believe this “you ain’t nothing but a caged butterfly.” So “Don’t prove my dream a lie. Don’t be a caged butterfly”.
Conclusion: From this reviewer’s perspective, the single error the author has made in this book is to suggest short listing be confined to “Women’s Romance Fiction/Domestic Fiction”. This is a most stimulating and compelling presentation to initiate thoughtful introspection by any male or female of any race, color or creed.
5* Highly recommended for any male or female of any race, color or creed.